Star Trek Discovery “Despite Yourself” Review

Captain Killy Strikes Again

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Star Trek Discovery is back and they’re in the mirror universe. That was a pleasant surprise. What was more of a pleasant surprise was seeing the reactions of people who had previously been dismissive of Discovery. Now on with the review:

In many ways the mirror universe has always been one of those concepts from TOS that nobody was able to build upon properly in the fifty years since it first appeared. And that’s because it’s kinda camp and silly. And that’s what’s so lovable about it. Deep Space Nine tried to have it both ways by being both campy and serious, but failed at it. So far Discovery seems to veer away from both previously tried approaches and goes with a dramatic serial that allows characters to experience new elements of their personality and travel down a road not taken. Bringing back the Shenzou and the characters that Burnham saw die in the pilot was a fantastic move. Now that Burnham has already made ammends with Saru and by taking down the Ship of the Dead, it was hard for me to tell what would next happen with the character. You can now see that the loss of the Shenzou and her captain is something she will always carry with her.

The episode also benefits from being part of a longer on-going story arc with the T’Rell/Tyler plot and set against the backdrop of having to return home quickly in order to save the Federation from the Klingon cloaking tech. The Tyler plot itself now seems to be exactly what Reddit suspected a good two months ago, similar to what happened with the Man in Black on Westworld the year prior… okay, here’s what I think about it:

I’m okay with it. Yes, a shocking twist would have been nice, but a) this is the problem with the improved writing of television weaving in and out of individual stories that are then not released to binge and b) if it means that I get to infer from quality writing and set-up what might happen down the road I will take it 100% over JJ Abrams’ mystery box and a twist coming out of nowhere with no set-up. If you consume media and put enough people in a room to talk about it, eventually they will discover what happened.

In regards to whether or not Lorca is from the mirror universe? I wouldn’t mind, because the idea that the Lorca from our universe is the bad guy and MirrorLorca is the heroic freedom fighter is an interesting dynamic I would love to see explored. But it wouldn’t really have to be that way, and it might just be damaging if they did go that way. Star Trek, and especially its fans, have a big problem with making all morally ambiguous characters part of Section 31, the mirror universe, or simply an enemy spy. The idea that everyone in the Federation would have to be ideologically pure and can never clash with Federation dogma is scarier than anything a morally ambiguous character could ever stand for.

Author: Alex

Full time student, part time "writer" of things.

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