Star Trek: Discovery Review by John Keegan

Star Trek: Discovery 1.12: Vaulting Ambition

Star Trek: Discovery 1.12: Vaulting Ambition

Written By:
Jordon Nardino
Directed By:
Hanelle M. Culpepper

It seems more and more apparent that the second half of the season is going to be all about revelations in the Mirror Universe and the fight to survive long enough to make it back to the Prime Universe, which is frankly quite the adventure.  While there are still some big questions as to how this story might play out beyond this first season, it definitely feels as though a coherent season arc is coming to fruition.



The best part about this episode is how it utilizes Empress Georgiou.  I love how Michelle Yeoh had this opportunity to come back into the story, and it serves to underscore the differences not only between the Terran Empire and the Federation, but the different way that Michael’s life unfolded.  Since Michael’s personality and that of her (presumably dead) doppelganger are disturbingly similar, a point driven home in previous episodes, these conversations play out with a surprising amount of nuance.


This also turns out to be a plot point, since all those hints that Lorca is an oddity in the Prime Universe finally come to something substantial.  While the detail that the light from the Prime Universe causes sensitivity to those from the Mirror Universe is a new addition that adds fuel to the fire that this is a separate Mirror Universe entirely, it explains why Lorca was so dramatically more martial, unorthodox, and psychotic in earlier episodes.



This twist is particularly interesting because, unlike the clunky reveal with Tyler/Voq, this begs the viewer to go back to earlier episodes and really see how well it was constructed.  My recollection is that it adds up, but there will also be a bit of work in the next episode to follow through on what Empress Georgiou was speculating.  The biggest question is how much of Lorca’s apparent plan was dependent on convenient plotting.


There is definitely a direction that is forming with the Stamets subplot within the spore network, which is good to see.  Not only is it hinting at the method by which Discovery will go back to the Prime Universe, but also a way for the spore drive itself to be rendered ultimately useless.  And that’s necessary to cut off the implication that the technology should have been available on an ongoing basis in the Prime Universe (or any other, for that matter).  So that potential definitely makes me breathe a little easier, along with the implication that Lorca only pushed so hard for its use to facilitate his own endgame.



But the death of Dr. Culber continues to be an open wound, and in some respects, this episode rubs a lot of salt in that wound.  We get a proper goodbye between Stamets and Culber, at least, but if this is what the producers meant when they said that his death scene wasn’t the end for the character, it’s going to feel like a real cheat.  I suppose that one could take some solace in the fact that Stamets/Culber was the only relationship with depth enough to have the impact that it did when Tyler/Voq went rogue, but it doesn’t change the context of what happened.


There are three episodes left this season, and still quite a lot of ground to cover to bring a lot of the open threads of the narrative to a conclusion.  I suspect the general tone of the opinions for Discovery will depend greatly upon how these final few episodes deliver.


Our Grade:
The Good:
  • The Lorca reveal was well played
  • Michael’s central role in the narrative is even more cemented
The Bad:
  • Was this really how Culber was supposed to “come back”?

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 - 1/23/2018 4:09 PM210 views

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