Star Trek Discovery: The Wolf Inside

"Sometimes the end justifies terrible means."

In this second episode set within the Mirror Universe, Michael Burnham must successfully fake evil in order to save her people, while the evil within Tyler finally emerges permanently. (I was going to say "for good," but it's certainly not good.)

I have to give this show credit for continuing to explore how emotionally devastating it would be for a caring human being to do what Burnham is doing. She can't sleep because she is caught in a waking nightmare. She said that even the light was different. "Can you bury your heart? Can you hide your decency?" It's not like there are no consequences to innocents because of her masquerade, either. Execution by transporter, shudder.

Burnham told Tyler that the darkness is waiting inside, unaware that his darkness actually was waiting inside. During that interesting visit to the rebel base, Tyler met the mirror version of Voq, and literally lost his mind. Suddenly, Tyler was calm, and speaking Klingon, before he nearly ruined everything with unexpected violence.

I'm still confused about what is going on with Tyler. It's clear now that some sort of surgical alteration has taken place, which creeps me out big time, that Tyler physically contains Voq. But what about Tyler? Does Tyler even exist? Help me out, guys. What is going on here? If this were an earlier and less radical version of Star Trek, I'd be relatively certain that Tyler is retrievable, but now, I wonder.

I wasn't surprised that Burnham managed to get Tyler and the all important disc of data on the USS Defiant back to the Discovery with that transporter deception. Although for a moment, I did wonder if maybe Tyler/Voq had met his end. Note the extra added complexity that Mirror Voq, "Fire Wolf," is a good guy, what with being the leader of the multi-species resistance and all. Are they suggesting that we might actually like Voq if we got to know him? Will Tyler/Voq turn out to be important to the peace process in the prime universe?

There were so many other interesting bits to this episode, too. My favorite was Sarek's confused reaction to mind-melding with his mirror step-daughter, and the way he kept exchanging looks with her afterward. And that they gave Sarek a goatee to echo Spock's beard in "Mirror, Mirror." These guys have done their fan homework. Of course, the big surprise, or non-surprise, was the identity of the Emperor, who showed up at the end to bomb the rebel base and ruin everything Burnham had just set in motion. I think we'd all already guessed that it would be Georgiou. Here's hoping the anti-Imperial rebels got out in time.


The B-plot was also fascinating, as Tilly, still in her new "Captain Killy" outfit, used the spores and a lot of technobabble to experiment on recovering Stamets, who mostly looked as if he was being executed by lethal injection. So sad that everyone on Discovery seemed to think that Stamets had unknowingly killed his own husband, and confusing that the outcome seemed to be that Stamets entered some sort of crystally multicolored spore-world and met his sarcastic mirror self. Although I'm fascinated by the possibility that they're setting up a way to go to any planet and any dimension, because that would be where no Star Trek series has gone before.

Stay tuned for part three, because our trip to the Mirror Universe isn't over yet. Arcs. I love arcs.

Bits and quotes:

— There was so much going on in this episode that I went right past Burnham pulling Lorca out of the agony booth to get her orders. He clearly did not feel well (understandable), and yet he also seemed to think what they were doing was worth his own suffering.

— I particularly liked how they brought in the mirror version of Saru as Burnham's nameless body slave, and how positively this mirror Saru responded to even the smallest hint that Burnham was seeing him as a person by saving her life.

— Burnham lied to Saru about his mirror self, and Saru didn't tell Burnham about Dr. Culber's death.

Stamets: "The forest is dark, but I can see him through the trees." Awww. I'm still hoping they'll find a way to bring Culber back, although it appears unlikely.

Tilly: (to Stamets) "I hope wherever you are, he's with you." Awww.

Another exceptionally cool episode. Four out of four goatees,

Billie
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Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

7 comments:

Heather1 said...

One thing that Stamets meeting Mirror Stamets means is that now the Mirror Universe might know that Discovery (and therefore Burnham) is not from their universe. If Mirror Stamets is in control of himself on his ship... and he expected to see our Stamets (or even if he didn't), couldn't he report back to his captain that there has been an infiltration?

To me, this was the most surprising thing about this episode. I expected a Voq reveal... I hoped for a Georgio reveal... Mirror Universe Voq and Sarek were lovely to see but not shocking. But Mirror Stamets encountering our Stamets could really put the mission in danger. I'm just hoping that Mirror Stamets isn't evil.

Billie Doux said...

Heather1, I hadn't even thought of the possibility that Mirror Stamets could endanger the mission. Like things aren't bad enough.

Heather1 said...

Unless... they don't meet in any particular universe. Meeting along the spore superhighway might not be related to the mission in that way? However, Mirror Stamets indicated that he had been expecting our Stamets. Why? Yikes. My head hurts.

Any Stamets from any universe, able to navigate the spore drive would probably, at some point, be aware of the existence of other universes. So... if Mirror Universe Stamets is evil... it is a danger. Let's hope that all Stamets are beyond that sort of thinking.

However, I believe that this arc, which is so interesting, might also -- among many other things -- explore: can good exist in the Mirror Universe? We've seen it with Mirror Voq and the rebels. Living beings aren't born bad, they are made that way. With the Terran Empire, we are only getting their version of things.

milostanfield said...

Mirror Stamets really did come out of nowhere. I’m confused too. For one thing that means that the Terran Empire must be, in some respect, aware of the spore network and also its potential use as a military weapon. So why aren’t we seeing them knowing this and using that power to exterminate the Alliance?

Perhaps the writer’s room workaround is that, given Stamets’s very personal connection to the spore network, both versions of him are thus connected, and Mirror Stamets, who seemed as friendly as Stamets and greeted him not as an enemy, caught the same "Summer Of Love" vibe that Stamets was tripping on. And now they both want to do the right thing and will work together. I say this because I’m convinced that if there is a Deus Ex Machina anywhere in the story, that Stamets (to the power of 2) is the Deus. Yeah it’s a reach.

Deus or no, I hope that Burnham clinging to Starfleet values is what saves the day, and that whatever Stamets can do will be a means subordinate to that.

Another possible help may come from Sarek (Was James Frain born to play a Vulcan or what!?), having melded with Burnham and seen much.

- - -

Burnham is in a hell like no other. Every single person In Mirror U that she has had any emotional connection to, including Ash from her own universe, has fought, threatened or abused her, or is about to. Vulcan training or no, Michael is a very emotional person, and those connections are what sustain her. Been a while since I have seen the other Trek "Mirror" episodes, but I don’t remember them exploring the personal, emotional side of Mirror encounters.

- - -

Sadly, Wilson Cruz (Culbert) was listed as a guest star.

- - -

Rewatched the previous episode and noticed that there was a tribble in the scene where Lorca explains the research he and Stamets were doing on the spore network (first scene after opening credits). It even tribble-purred a couple of times. Hmm. Thought they weren’t discovered until that TOS episode later in the timeline. Yeah, nitty picky.

milostanfield said...

Yeah BD, Tyler is a puzzle, and the pieces of him literally don't fit together. It was mentioned that the lengths of his bones were even altered. Could this be Voq's body altered to look like Ash and Ash's personality is just along for the ride to help Voq infiltrate? If so then Tyler is already gone or still imprisoned by the K's. But nah, Culbert should have caught that. I'd like to see Ash back because someone so damaged makes for an interesting character, A male #MeToo.

Heather1 said...

Milostanfield, this is my hope about Stamets as well. There are so many exciting avenues they could pursue... but many they ultimately can't because they are in a time before TOS. It would be wonderful if some of the rebel alliance were able to evacuate before the planet was bombed, however, as a real force to be reckoned with, they can't right now because we know that there is still a Terran Empire in TOS, 10 years later. In a universe's history, of course, 10 years is nothing. Wouldn't it be great if Sarek survived and ultimately worked with Mirror Spock to help overthrow the Empire? We know that Mirror Spock was considering Kirk's words at the end of "Mirror, Mirror". I've mentioned in previous posts that I've never been a fan of the Mirror Universe... but I admit that the way Discovery is going about it; the options this story line makes me consider.... it's delicious!

Patryk said...

I'm in the Ash Tyler is just a random POW downloaded into Voq's altered body and probably long dead camp. I was a bit confused about how much Saru knew about Tyler from Michael when he intercepterd him with the data. Will they put him next to L'rell in the brig? I bet they will..;

While I enjoy the role reversals, I think I'm ready to leave the Mirror Universe.