Setting up the first season of any new series is tricky business and with Star Trek even more so, with so much history and canon, people already have their own idea what Star Trek is. Those behind Discovery know this but thankfully they are following their own story, their own path, giving us a small glimpse into the backgrounds of characters as the show builds it story lines through multiple plot arcs. This week, we learn more about the connection between Burnham and Sarek, wonder about the new guy and yes, are exposed to more of Captain Lorca’s ‘unusual’ behavior as he struggles to keep control of his ship, let alone his sanity.
When Sarek’s shuttle is sabotaged by what is described as a Vulcan logic extremist (a fascinating concept I hope to hear about more down the line), Burnham becomes instantly aware of his pain. We find out this is possible due to an incident in her past where it was necessary for Sarek to share his katra, or soul, with her in order to save her life. Sarek resists her help and this plot arc is made more interesting when Burnham discovers that his resistance dates back to a shameful decision he made that concerned both her and Spock.
It is a great story of family, with Sarek having two children who are not fully excepted by his people and culture and how his decisions changed the destinies of both of them. Burnham and may not be the same species, but they share some of the same problems most parents and their children have growing up. I hope they explore this more down the road.
Then there is Captain Lorca, who is busy trying to destroy any connections to those he holds dear. Admiral Kat Cornwell drops by and while there is some official business to attend to, as in Sarek’s meeting with two Klingon houses, it is clear she is also there to check up on her old friend. As it turns out, they are even closer than that and as events unfold it is also clear that Lorca is barely holding it together, no matter what his outward demeanor may be.
As the Admiral departs, he offers to get help, but no one really knows if he means it. When the Admiral runs into trouble as a stand-in for Sarek with the Klingons, it also becomes clear just how far Lorca is willing to go to hold onto his command. There is definitely enough evidence floating around that there is some connection the mirror universe going on here, but just how much remains a mystery for now. The scene with Lt. Stamets was more evidence of this, his cool and calm demeanor creepy and uncomfortable, making you wonder just how much of him has changed after his little experiment last week.
Also, what are we to make of Tyler? The fact that Lorca has made an instant connection with him doesn’t exactly help his cause, especially with his very quick rise through the ranks. Could both of them be from the mirror universe? Is Tyler a Klingon spy? No matter what the answer is, I’m pretty sure this isn’t going to end well.
In the end, we got some more insight into what drives and haunts both Lorca and Burnham and everything is seemingly being set up for a big reveal and/or a massive shit storm to hit the Discovery and its crew. (Hey, they can swear, why can’t I?) It was an interesting and fun episode, touching on more personal darkness than the obvious one surrounding the war with the Klingon Empire.
Four out of five stars
- Great moments between Sarek and Burnham
- Lorca may be mad but he's never dull
- Mirror universe? Bring it on.
- The Admiral's storyline with the Klingons was far too obvious