I must admit I wasn’t that thrilled to hear that this week’s episode was going to involve a time loop. Star Trek has been using this as a storytelling device for a while now and it sounded too much like a throwaway episode to me. However, using Harry Mudd helped changed things up and we got a closer look at a few characters which helped keep things interesting.
The episode centers on some revenge and the emotions/love life of Burnham. It seems Harry Mudd didn’t take too kindly to being left behind in the Klingon prison by Lorca and Tyler and after escaping himself (I think the Klingons need to beef up security) he makes it his mission to not only sell off Discovery’s secrets to the Klingons but enjoy some personal revenge as well. He slowly manipulates time, this is explained, to gain more information through each and every loop.
His downfall would be Stamets, whose new relationship with the universe has allowed him to see Mudd’s plan. This is where the race begins, Mudd trying to find the tech and Stamets trying to get people to believe his story, in this case, Burnham. While I’m pretty sure Stamets is going to pay for the decision he made to become the link in the spore drive, I am enjoying his fun and carefree demeanor.
As the time loops progress, we watch Burnham try and deal with her feelings for Tyler, shown in a wonderful way via a ship party no less. It is great to see Burnham deal with these feelings and each loop providers her with a chance to delve deeper into something she has never experienced, that being love. While love between her and Tyler at this point might be a bit premature, they do share numerous moments that are all the more tragic do to the fact they can’t remember them and Tyler…well, he might not be what we think he is.
There is no denying Discovery plays a little fast and loose with the rules of the time loop but this is a minor quibble. This was a fun episode in terms of delving deeper into Burnham and Tyler’s characters and ‘romance’ and letting Rainn Wilson continue to chew up the scenery as Harry Mudd. He is obviously having a great time with him and gives the character that solid balance of humor and focus of someone who is completely self-centered and makes no apologies for it. There were enough little tidbits in most of the loops to keep me interested and adding Mudd as part of the deal was a great idea.
Discovery obviously is a very plot-driven show and up until this episode, it’s been war, Klingons, war, Klingons, etc. Maybe with the success of ‘Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad’ will give the writers pause to throw in some more stand-alone episodes. Focusing on the character, their everyday lives will give us more insight into who they are. (Who knew Cadet Tilly would be so much fun at a party?) One thing is for sure, we have not seen the last of Harry Mudd.
Four stars out of five
-Rainn Wilson was great again as Harry Mudd
- Fun, loose vibe this week which was a nice change of pace
- Burnham and Tyler...a tragic love story
- Discovery was a little fast and loose with the time loop rules