Second Union

Second Union

STAR TREK REWIND: “The Wolf Inside”

“I see a world… bursting with potential and a child molded by wisdom and a seemingly impossible depth of Human compassion.”

Settling into Discovery, there’s a lot to recommend for it beyond the tedious pacing and the whisper-acting style of the leads. The production design is staggering. The photography and editing are on-point and cinematic, and the visual effects integrate successfully with the image. If only we had a decent narrative engine to make this ship fly. We don’t get it, but what we do get is more of Burnham’s (Sonequa Martin-Green) introspective and passive narcissism. Burnham also has a stellar boyfriend in Ash (Shazad Latif), who (like a perfect buttercup) repeatedly builds her up and never seems to let her down, or so we think.

Burnham discovers Saru (and his Kelpian race) have been enslaved by the Terran Empire, not only as servants but also as food. I don’t get it. It must be some form of domination (like we dominate ducks), but Saru, while a decent officer, doesn’t look particularly delicious. He looks stringy and gamey, and an hour after you eat him, you’ll be hungry again. Michael spends her time undercover on the Imperial Shenzhou, while the Discovery crew investigates Hugh’s murder. Saru initially suspects Stamets, but Tilly shoots him down immediately because of his spaced-out condition.

Tilly, perhaps empowered by her field promotion to tyrant, decides to study the effects of the spore drive on Stamets. The Emperor commands Burnham to destroy a group of rebel insurgents. She decides to gather intelligence from the rebels before exterminating them. Obviously, this is a ruse, but she delivers her message with such gusto, she has her crew snowed, but it is a violation to disregard orders. That much I know, so this may not bode well for her continued existence. Interestingly, we’re fourteen minutes in before we get the credits. I wonder why.

Burnham goes to Lorca (who is being held as a prisoner) for advice. Lorca tells her she should proceed with her orders. Burnham thinks the rebel resistance is a good idea because all other alien races are united in their war against … well, us, so it’s a good thing. She thinks it’s the closest this mirror universe will ever get to a Federation of sorts. I think I’m with her on this, but, as is always the case with Star Trek: Discovery, there will be blood. Back on Discovery, Tilly puts spores into Stamets in the hope they will repair his insides.

There’s been a lot of banter back and forth lately about the impracticality of Enterprise-D’s size; that the ship was simply too big for a comparatively small crew. Here, the ship is designed with space in mind. All the rooms (the bridge, the transporter room, even Burnham’s quarters) are outsized, and these ships really do seem like luxury hotels in space. Ash and Burnham beam down to the rebel planet, which is populated with Andorians (great to see them again), Vulcan, Klingons, and others. After a brief firefight, Burnham convinces them they come in peace, and they are taken to the leader’s tent.

The leader is none other than Voq, the Klingon torchbearer from the first few episodes. Ash … seems to …know him. Burnham rats out the Empire. She tells Voq they’ve been made and they should evacuate. She also discovers their “prophet” is none other than Sarek, who mind-melds with Burnham to see if she is indeed telling the truth. He gets three episodes worth of backstory in the mind meld, figures out she is from another place, and tells the gathered rebels she means them no harm. This isn’t bad. Burnham wants to know how all these species managed to assemble and support a common cause.

Voq speaks of Kahless, which gives Tyler ‘Nam flashbacks or something. The Tyler subplot is a weak link for me. It smells of All My Children and General Hospital. Tyler flips out and fights Voq. This confuses Burnham because apparently, she’s rock-stupid. Voq is almost ready to destroy this union, but Sarek comes to her defense. They reach a compromise. The rebels skedaddle, but they have to give her proof she “destroyed” them and took their information. They give her their database and flee.

Back on the Shenzhou, Tyler tells Burnham he has a creepy connection to L’Rell (because she’s worth it), and with all the montage-style editing (as well as the graphic depiction of radical reconstructive surgery), it’s not hard to come to the conclusion that Tyler is Klingon. He’s been conditioned to become some kind of Manchurian candidate. He tells Michael his mission was to infiltrate her ship and learn Starfleet’s secrets, and that he is Voq, “son of none, torchbearer.” I wonder if it says that on his driver’s license.

It isn’t long before Burnham points her phaser at him as he starts spouting Klingon dogma. Make Qo’noS Klingon Again! Oh, Discoveryhold me in your automatic arms, your electronic arms. Ash manages to get the drop on her before her faithful slave, this mirror universe’s Saru, subdues him. He is to be taken to the transporter room and beamed into space to die for his act. Burnham takes the controls herself and beams him out, but right before he freezes and dies, he is beamed to Discovery, where our Saru (who teases data on the Defiant) takes custody.

Meanwhile, Stamets shows signs of a slow recovery after Tilly’s last-minute brilliant diagnosis. He sees himself in a strange spore-driven forest conversing with his mirror universe counterpart. Unfortunately, another Imperial ship commences the attack on the rebel planet before they can evacuate. That ship is commanded by this universe’s emperor (or empress, I guess): Philippa Georgiou! DUN-DUN-DUN! Neat, huh? These episodes have improved immeasurably upon repeated viewing, and but one episode of Star Trek: Discovery has more going for it than an entire season of Picard. That’s embarrassing, to say the least.

Star Trek Rewind explores the Star Trek universe. From Archer to Janeway, Kirk to Picard, and Georgiou to Sisko — boldly read what no one has read before!

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