The diversion continues as Discovery wraps up the middle part of what’s turning out to be a Mirror Universe trilogy of episodes. I’m not really wild about this. While the story is definitely pushing forward, it’s hampered by the tedious anxiety of people who don’t want to be found out. Does the inevitable revelation of Tyler/Voq and Burnham’s utter betrayal really work that well when it needs to be whispered under the threat of an even more evil third party? What is the Mirror Universe getting us that couldn’t have been done better in the proper one?
The answer is an almost adventure game-like hint at how this show will wrap up the Klingon war. When Burnham makes her head scratchingly quick and easy way to the rebel leadership, it turns out it’s headed by Mirror Voq. When he tells her the Klingon people will only open themselves to outsiders once its own internal factions are unified I could hear the little “ding” that lets you know you’ve scored a point.
Let’s talk about this rebel meeting for a moment. It’s a “federation” of aliens made up of Klingons, Vulcans, Tellarites, and Andorians. Burnham wonders aloud how such disparate aliens could get along, and in doing so shows us one of the major problems of science fiction and fantasy genres: the one note race. Vulcans, Klingons, Dwarves, and Elves– they all have a single trait that defines them as a species. In the real world this would be incredibly racist, but in genre fiction it’s some how ok. Burnham walks through the rebel group like a Klansman on an episode of Jerry Springer calling out everyone there based on stereotypes: the warrior, the peacenik, the willful jerk. The Andorian literally has a look on his face of “what did she just call me?” When Burnham starts picking apart Mirror Voq it gets even worse with her interrogating him on why he’s not all the things she personally expects from a Klingon. Happy Martin Luther King Day!
Meanwhile, back on Discovery, we get another glimpse at the empty corridors of the heroic ghost ship. Tyler didn’t bother to hide poor Doc Culber’s body. He just let Stamets out of the force field so the two could have some posthumous cuddle time. Several hours later some tech assigned to replace a broken lightbulb accidentally spots them. We’ve seen these very corridors before on Burnham and Tilly’s Disco run. They were packed. So why does it now look like the Glenn after the tardigrade got loose? Also, why doesn’t anyone suggest they review the sickbay video log we all know would exist by now? If it’s tampered with that alone points to a murderer other than Stamets.
I hate to be upset with any scenes involving my beloved Tilly whose light shines a beacon of joy and hope on everything it touches, but her technobabble attempts to wake Stamets up are the very reason I stopped watching Star Trek in the 90’s. Seeing people push buttons and talk out their asses is not fun to watch. There are so many ways bringing someone back to reality could be sexed up. I kept thinking, “show me what’s going on in Stamets’s head!”, but the writers refused until the end scene where we see a mental avatar of Stamets meet his Mirror doppelgänger. Why wasn’t this seen through the whole episode? Instead of Tilly button pushing, why weren’t we privy to a Stamets fighting madness, grappling with his husband’s death, and trying to find out for himself how he got trapped in this fugue state until he stumbles upon the Mirror Stamets? That would have been interesting to watch. The very fact that the writers give us this at the end makes me even more annoyed. They obviously knew what to do, they just didn’t.
All in all, this was another filler episode with not much going on. The Mirror Universe schtick is such a distraction from the main plot. The writers seem too invested it in, though, to give us any real drama back on Discovery. Now the faceless Emperor of the Galaxy is Captain Georgiou? She sure is well recognized by the Shenzhou for someone so secretive.
One great thing about this episode? Andorians don’t have ears again!