Star Trek: Discovery Review by John Keegan

Star Trek: Discovery 1.10: Despite Yourself

Star Trek: Discovery 1.10: Despite Yourself

Written By:
Sean Cochran
Directed By:
Jonathan Frakes

The mid-season cliffhanger promised horrible consequences for pushing untested and questionable technology too far in the name of expediency in wartime, and so it wasn’t too shocking to see that the Discovery wound up in parts somewhat unknown.  What was surprising, in a rather good way, was that the Discovery found itself in another universe, one that is either the precursor or a variation upon the Mirror Universe.

 


 

The advantages are immediate.  For one thing, it could explain rather tidily why the Discovery has never factored into the Prime timeline’s continuity previously: it is a ship that was all but officially disavowed or downplayed by Starfleet Command in the first place, but might also have been lost to parts unknown.  If Stamits cannot find a way to control the spore drive again with enough finesse to deliver them back to the Prime universe, then they could simply be trying to survive for the rest of their existence.

 

Things go wrong quickly, both on and off the ship.  But the item that is most likely to cause the most controversy is Tyler’s killing of Dr. Culber.  It’s highly unfortunate because not only is he a vital member of the crew and a character that was getting solid development, but this is the straight-up murder of a character that is openly gay.  As much as I don’t think that one can apply a blanket judgment on such fictional circumstances, in the current hyper-aware environment, it isn’t a good look.

 


 

Entry in a Mirror Universe (I’m still not sure it’s the same one we know from the rest of the franchise) does give the writers a chance to explore the existing character in contrast to aspects of their personality given extreme form.  This is most useful and meaningful with Tilly, a character that the writers have gone out of their way to make a bit “adorkable”, to say the least.  The persona she must adopt in this new universe, Captain Tilly, is confident, driven, and quite frankly very alluring.

 

It's something worth reflecting on, in terms of the audience’s reaction to a more dominating presence, but there is an intriguing nuance to how it plays out.  Tilly represents an extreme difference, which only serves to highlight how little some of the other characters differ between the universes.  Some of them fit into the cutthroat madness all too well, and that point is not lost on them, either.  Burnham, for example, seems to be able to adapt quickly, which bothers her tremendously.

 


 

I’ll be the first to admit that Stamets’ abilities are so vast at this point that anything is possible, and they could end up getting “home” sooner rather than later.  But that’s a plot device that the writers should be wary of overplaying.  Killing Culber is a questionable idea, but sticking to that loss would be a bold plot point that would drive the stakes even higher.  Bringing him back would make the entire situation feel even more manipulative as a whole.

 

The one item that is a huge wild card in the story right now is Tyler.  Just what is really going on in his head?  Has his entire personality been subsumed in some strange way by Voq?  Or has he suffered a complete psychotic break?  Considering that he wasn’t entirely sane when Lorca first met him and then recruited him, it could be a combination of all those factors.  But it seems as though Tyler is the means by which the plot arc of the first season will remain tied together, since it is a dangling thread of a war that is no longer front and center.


Our Grade:
A-
The Good:
  • Captain Tilly
  • There are some very strong character moments in this episode
The Bad:
  • Culber’s apparent death can be viewed as problematic, manipulative, or both

John Keegan aka "criticalmyth", is one of the hosts of the "Critical Myth" podcast heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @criticalmyth

Star Trek: Discovery by - 1/9/2018 1:31 PM55 views

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