Film & TV Reviews

Review: Star Trek: Discovery Embraces the Dark Side in “Despite Yourself”

by on January 8, 2018


As much as I’ve enjoyed the darker tone of Discovery, I was beginning to wonder where they were going to take this. I mean, you can’t have a show about a war with the Klingons forever, good or bad. Enter the Mirror Universe, the Terran Empire and the possibilities of the Klingon war looking like a walk in the park.

Two theories about what was going on, or going to happen on the show were confirmed this week. The first and most obvious was that Discovery had indeed entered the Mirror Universe and the second was that Tyler does seem to be some sort of surgically altered sleep agent for the Klingons.

This week’s episode picks up right where we left off, with Discovery in unknown territory. It doesn’t take long for the crew to figure out that they are in a Mirror Universe and that they will have to drastically alter who they are and how they act to survive here. With the humans forming the Terran Empire and pretty much everyone else working against them, this is not the best situation to be in. In this universe, Lorca is a traitor, Burnham is sent to hunt him down but presumed dead and the best part? Captain Tilly. Yes, in this universe, Cadet Tilly is Captain and pretty ruthless at that. Watching her try and change her persona was entertaining and hilarious.

Meeting up with the I.S.S. Shenzhou, where Burnham was Captain before her ‘disappearance’, Burnham, Lorca and Tyler come aboard with a plan in motion to get some much needed information, using Burnham’s capture of Lorca as the cover to throw off suspicion. It’s a great plan and well executed, but it doesn’t take long for Captain Connor, yes that Connor, to try and keep his command by killing Burnham. The death of Connor at the hands of Burnham would have been enough to show how brutal this new world might be but the show runners took it a step further with the death of Dr. Culber, killed by Tyler no less. I’m not sure this was necessary, and I’m damn sure he will be back somehow, but it was a little over the top, even for this dark and dangerous new world.

Jonathan Frakes, good ole Commander Riker, does a great job behind the camera with some wonderful shots and angles, complimented by a good pace and to the episode from start to finish. His experience and fun attitude was probably a breath of fresh air for the actors on this show.

There were a few things that bugged me, though. If Tyler was supposed to be Burnham’s guard while on the Shenzhou, where the hell was he during the fight between Connor and Burnham? Also, why were Burnham and Tyler rolling around in bed while Lorca was being tortured? However, I did love Lorca using a Scottish accent while pretending to be an engineer. Somewhere, Scotty is raising a glass to a job well done.

Overall, it was a good if not flawed return for Discovery, moving quickly and efficiently through the plot, even if there were some head scratching moments. It will be interesting to see how the writers juggle this Mirror Universe without making it a stroll down memory lane. And hey, does this mean the Discovery from the Mirror Universe switched sides with this one? Stay tuned.

Three and a half stars out of five


- Mirror Universe has loads of potential

- Captain Tilly was great

- Dark atmosphere is still working for the show


- Silly, head-scratching plot holes

- Overkill with the kills?

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Bottom Line

A solid if unspectacular return, Discovery roars into a new direction with the Mirror Universe in "Despite Yourself". For those who don't like the continued dark tone well, this won't be a great episode for you

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