Title: Despite Yourself
Director: Jonathan Frakes
Writers: based on Star Trek created by Gene Roddenberry, created by Bryan Fuller, and Alex Kurtzman written by Sean Cochran
Starring: Sonequa Martin-Green, Michelle Yeoh, Doug Jones, Shazad Latif, Anthony Rapp, Jason Isaacs, Mary Wiseman, James Frain, Chris Obi, Kenneth Mitchell, Mary Chieffo
Duration: 1 hr
Network: CBS and CBS all access
Beyond the basic qualities, they all share, all of the Star Trek series also have one thing in common. Eventually, they all visit a mirror universe where they encounter darker versions of themselves and the universe they inhabit. It’s become a tradition, and with this weeks episode, Discovery has officially become the latest to be baptized by joining in this rite of passage.
Each series portrayed the dark universe inhabitants as murderous, unethical, and greedy for power, wealth, or both. Each also dressed in its unique change of attire from the amusing almost pirate-like costumes in the original series to various military type uniforms. I liked what Discovery did this time around when deciding what the dark universe locals would wear, a sort of Edwardian costume with embellishments that hinted at armor.
(*warning spoilers follow*)
This week’s episode of Discovery had three storylines going, the main one being the discovery that they weren’t in Kansas anymore, and that if they wanted to survive, they had to look and act like the locals. They find themselves in a universe dominated by the Terran Empire which is apparently at war with all the other alien races. The whole universe gets turned upside down with the somewhat silly notion that here Tilly is captain “Killy” of the Discovery who later utters the word assholes. The characters are portrayed dealing with the fact they had had a lot to learn and improvise to not raise suspicions. They discover Burnham is thought to be dead, murdered by Lorca but come up with a story that explains her being alive and turning him in for a bounty on his head.
The other two plot lines are concerned with Tyler who is still struggling with the knowledge the Klingon L’rell had messed with his mind way more than he ever suspected and to make matters worse something is going wrong with his programming. He is portrayed as becoming increasingly stressed and erratic in his behavior. The third plotline is, of course, concerned with Stamets who has still not recovered from all the jumps he did that landed them here in the first place. He is depicted as drifting in and out of reality and also behaving very erratically while being tended to by his saint-like partner Culber. In a shocking turn of events, Tyler responds poorly to some news about his condition from Culbert and is shown snapping the poor doctor’neck and killing him
There is an attempt on Burham’s life by an ambitious junior officer who fails at his attempt to kill her. When the lift door opens on the bridge spilling his dead body onto the floor, the bridge crew responds with the slow clap which slowly builds to an enthused response at the young man’s death which Burnham is apparently upset about being forced to kill him.
The episode never got to the meat of the story but spent most of its time setting things up for what is still to come in a story that continues next week, so we only got a small sampling of the dark universe and what its like.