Star Trek Discovery: Mirror, Mirror Redux

Title: Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 Episode 10: “Despite Yourself”
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction
Platform: Streaming – CBS All Access
Director: Jonathan Frakes
Writer: Sean Cochran
Rating: TV-MA
Release: January 7, 2018
Cast: Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Jason Issacs, Anthony Rapp, Mary Wiseman
Feature image: Source


“Spooked by rebels, Discovery? You’re losing your edge.” I.S.S Cooper’s Captain – Star Trek: Discovery

The episode picks up where the midseason finale left off. The crew of the U.S.S. Discovery doesn’t recognize where they are. Commander Saru (Doug Jones) says they should be where the Starbase is located. There is Klingon wreckage all around them. A Vulcan ship appears and begins to fire upon them. A Federation ship, the Cooper comes to their aid. The Cooper’s captain sends an audio-only transmission: “Spooked by rebels, Discovery? You’re losing your edge.” The Cooper destroys the Vulcan ship. Saru reports that the Cooper and Vulcan ship don’t have the same quantum signature they have. Since Lt. Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) is still unconscious, they can’t use the spore drive to get out of there. Captain Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaacs) realizes the Discovery is in a different universe.

Lorca, Saru, and Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) discuss the situation. He and Stamets planned to explore parallel universes after the war. The 133 jumps must have created the opening to get them there. Burnham reminds them that they hadn’t transferred the Klingon cloaking signatures back to Star Fleet yet, they have to get back home. In sickbay, Cadet Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman) tries to jog Stamets memory and wake him up. She apologizes to Dr. Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz) for not telling him about the side effects that Stamets was experiencing. Culber tells Tilly not to fault herself, Stamets is her superior officer and he gave her a direct order she had to follow. Speaking of someone who is at fault, Culber says, “Speaking of the devil,” when he sees Lorca. Lorca asks Tilly to leave so he can talk to Culber. Culber blames Lorca for Stamets condition and the Captain agrees. Lorca tells him that since he is too close to this case, he is assigning another doctor to treat Stamets. Culber: “Suddenly you care about protocol?” He objects because he feels he is best qualified, he questions whether Lorca wants Stamets to recover. Lorca tells him it’s an order.

“What did you do to me?” “I’m not myself.” Lt. Ash Tyler – Star Trek: Discovery

Lt. Ash Tyler (Shazad Latif) is in a shuttle to obtain the data core from one of the wreaked Klingon ships. The crew will be able to use the information from the data core to figure out this parallel universe. Tyler is using cool holographic gloves to get the data core. Burnham is giving him instructions back on Discovery. Tyler begins to have flashbacks to his torture. Burnham realizes something is up and continues to give him instruction and try to keep him calm. Lorca notices. Tyler spots some dead bodies on the Klingon ship; there are Andorians and Vulcan bodies on the vessel. Tyler eventually gets the data core. Lorca tell Burnham that being in the dangerous waters that they are in, he’ll need to depend on the crew more than ever. He asks if she understands. She confirms that she does. L’Rell (Mary Chieffo) is in her cell when Tyler screams at her, “What did you do to me?” “I’m not myself.” She tells him she’ll tell him if he opens the door. He does and it looks like they are about to make out but then he grabs her by the throat and puts a phaser to her head. She starts reciting a Klingon prayer and Tyler joins her. He is in a trance. When he comes out of it, he is on the other side of the room. He demands to know what is happening. L’Rell is also confused. This was supposed to trigger him. After threatening her more, Tyler regains some of his composure and leaves.

Tyler is in the dining area enjoying a beverage by himself when Burnham joins him. She asks him what happened in the worker bee. After trying to deny anything was wrong, Tyler finally comes clean. The flashbacks have come back stronger. Burnham tells him that he needs to tell the Captain. Tyler says he can’t, Starfleet regulations call for him to be taken off duty for PTSD and for him to be observed at a Starbase. With them being in another universe, that isn’t possible. He asks Burnham to keep helping him and not to tell the Captain yet. Burnham gets a call to go to engineering. She tells him she will. He has a quick flashback and the sound of breaking class brings him back. He has broken the glass he was drinking from in his hand.

“The Slayer of Sorna Prime, the Witch of Wurna Minor, and Captain Killy. That’s not very clever.” Commander Saru – Star Trek: Discovery

Tilly has extracted the data core. Burnham is off to decrypt it. In a meeting with Tyler, Tilly, Saru, and Lorca, Burnham gives her findings. The Federation does not exist in this universe, the earth based Terrans are, “An oppressive, racist, xenophobic culture that dominates all known space.” All the non-human races are against the Terrans. The I.S.S. Cooper hails them; before Lorca answers them, Burnham stops him. He isn’t the Captain of the I.S.S. Discovery, Tilly is. Lorca: “Get rid of them as fast as possible. And talk as little as possible.”  Tilly: “Have you noticed that I talk a lot?”  Lorca: “Defy your every instinct.” Captain Tilly [to the Cooper]: “What the heck! Hold your horses!”  She has her engineer, Lorca [using a Scottish accent] tell them about the technical problems they are having. The Captain of the Cooper buys it. While they are redecorating the ship and themselves to look Terran, we get a Lorca voiceover. Lorca: “To successfully crash a party you have to look like you belong. You must project confidence. Every detail of this so-called Terran Empire must be replicated exactly — and where we may fall short, we have to get creative.” He tells the crew when they finish, “From now on, we’re Terrans. Decency is weakness and will get us killed and the lives of everyone on this ship and the Federation are at stake. So you do what you must, whatever you must, to anyone.” In her quarters, Tilly discusses her Terran counterpart with Burnham. Tilly: “She’s-she’s like a twisted version of everything I’ve ever aspired to be. I’m gonna have nightmares about myself now.”  Burnham: “You don’t actually have to be her.”  Tilly: “But how do I project that strength?”  Burnham: “I’ve been trying to understand them better. And Terran strength is born out of pure necessity. Because they live in constant fear, always looking for the next knife aimed at their back. Their strength is painted rust. It’s a facade. But you have the strength of an entire crew that believes in you. Fortify yourself with our faith in you. That’s what a real captain does.” Saru walks in and gives some of the nicknames the Terrans call their Captain Tilly, “The Slayer of Sorna Prime, the Witch of Wurna Minor, and Captain Killy. That’s not very clever.”

“Destiny didn’t get me out of prison, Captain. You did.” Michael Burnham – Star Trek: Discovery

Lorca asks Burnham where they are in this universe. She was the captain of the I.S.S. Shenzhou, but she is believed dead, and Lorca who was captain of the I.S.S. Buran is wanted for her murder. Lorca attempted a coup against the Emperor, whom they have no info on. Lorca had hoped he’d find a better version of himself in a different universe. He asks Burnham to join him to look out his window. Lorca:  “Amazing, isn’t it? Different universe, but somehow the same people had a way to find each other. The strongest argument I’ve ever seen for the existence of destiny.” Burnham doesn’t believe in destiny. Lorca argues that she was in prison, facing a life of misery, but fate had something more important for her, so she finds herself out of prison. Burnham: “Destiny didn’t get me out of prison, Captain. You did.” Since everyone thinks he and Burnham are dead, Lorca has a plan to get them back home.   He tells both Burnham and Saru that going through the Klingon records, he discovered that the U.S.S. Defiant had crossed over to this universe but somehow got back home. It was a time anomaly since the Defiant is back home and no one knew about it. The I.S.S. Shenzhou has information about it. Since Terran Burnham isn’t officially dead, he as Burnham’s captive can get aboard the ship to get the information. Saru thinks it is a suicide mission. Lorca appoints Tyler as Captain Burnham’s bodyguard. Tyler goes to Culber to see if he can detect what L’Rell might have done to him. He isn’t forthcoming on why he is there. Culber tells him that they did a number of test when he first came aboard, and they found nothing. Stamets wakes up for a moment and says, “Stay out of the palace.” Culber kisses him and Stamets says, “Be careful, the enemy is here.”

“Is that how you treat your long-lost captain? If you greeted me that way, Connor, I’d cut out your tongue and use it to lick my boots.” Cadet Sylvia Tilly – Star Trek: Discovery

Tilly is on the bridge dressed as Captain Killy.  They have located the I.S.S. Shenzhou; they hail the captain of the ship, Danby Connor (Sam Vartholomeos). Tilly tells him that they found a shuttle with their captain, Michael Burnham. Burnham tells him that she has her bounty Lorca, and she wants her ship brought to her. Connor is hesitant to do it. Tilly: “Is that how you treat your long-lost captain? If you greeted me that way, Connor, I’d cut out your tongue and use it to lick my boots.” He agrees to meet them. In sickbay, Culber tells Tyler that the Klingons performed “bone-crushing” procedures on Tyler that have transformed him both mentally and physically. Tyler still wants to go on the mission, Culber tells him he cannot; he is not himself. Tyler snaps his neck.

Tyler shows up late to the transporter room. They beam aboard the Shenzhou. Burnham orders Lorca taken to the brig and for no one to touch him. She doesn’t want one of them killing him before she can hand him to the Emperor. Burnham gets in the elevator with Connor to go to the bridge. To remain the captain of the ship, Connor tries to kill Burnham. They fight and Burnham stabs Connor. When the elevator door opens on the bridge, Connor falls out of the elevator dead. There is a moment of silence and then the bridge crew chants Burnham’s name in approval. In her quarters, Burnham feels shaken by what happened. Tyler offers his support. Tyler: “I need to tell you something. Whatever you do, whatever this place makes you do, whatever happens to you. Or me. However, we change; I am here to protect you. Nothing will ever stand in the way of that. Nothing. Do you understand what I’m saying?” Burnham: “Yes. I’m saying it back.” They kiss and begin to make love. In the brig, Lorca is in the agonizer booth being tortured.

The Discovery crew is in a parallel universe. This universe does not have the Federation. An evil earth based empire called the Terrans rule it. We first met them in Star Trek in “Mirror, Mirror”. One of the biggest surprises is that Tilly is the Captain of their ship in this universe. In the funniest scene in the episode, ‘Captain Killy’ has to get tough with her Terran counterparts. We have a great scene where the U.S.S Discovery has to remake itself into the I.S.S. Discovery. Not only does the ship have a makeover, the crew does to. They also have to act as ruthless as their Terran counterparts do. The Terran Burnham and Lorca are possibly dead, so Lorca cooks a plan for them to get aboard Terran Burnham’s ship the Shenzhou and get the information they need to get back home. Burnham kills Connor in self-defense; he was the ensign who died in the Battle of the Binary Stars in our universe. This pleases her Terran crew. Tyler is cracking up. He continues to have flashbacks that are debilitating to him. After Tyler asks Dr. Culber to run more tests, Culber finds that the Klingons did more extensive work on Tyler than they initially detected. When Culber won’t let him go on the mission with Burnham, he breaks his neck. Stamets had warned Culber in his confused state that the enemy was here. He couldn’t do anything to save his lover.

The episode was a fun and exciting way to welcome the audience back from their mid-season hiatus. It was fun going back to the mirror universe, a tradition going back to the original Star Trek, and that was explored further in ST: Deep Space Nine and ST: Enterprise. We didn’t meet Tilly’s Terran counterpart, but she got to portray her; it was delightful to see. If there were any questions [and I know there weren’t], Tyler is Voq. The Klingons somehow implanted Voq’s memories, or implanted his body into Tyler, or modified his body and put Tyler’s memories in them, I’m not quite sure yet. He killed Culber, which was sad. Stamets is completely out there and can’t help the crew get back home. The fight scene between Burnham and Connor was well done. The Discovery crewmember, Keyla Detmer (Emily Coutts) finally stood out as her Terran counterpart. The writers really need to do a better job with the other bridge crewmembers. A special note, Commander William Riker (Jonathan Frakes) directed the episode. I hope he directs more for them next season. They should have other actors from the old series who are now directors direct; that might help the series be more Trek.

Grade: A-











Anthony (Kbear!) Nichols | Editor-in-Chief
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