Star Trek Discovery Turns Into a Voyager for Chapter Two

first_img The first half of season one sure went by fast. It seems like just last week we were arguing over whether Star Trek: Discovery was really Star Trek or not. (Of course it is. The mere fact that anyone is even having that argument is proof of that.) Now we’ve reached the midseason finale, which is a weird concept for a streaming show. I know it’s not the first to split up a season like this, but the whole point of streaming is to get away from broadcast TV rules. The break is especially frustrating because it comes when the show is really starting to hit its stride. In the last two week’s we’ve had a fun time loop and an alien planet exploration episode that reminded us of the original Star Trek. Now, the series ends its fall run with a massive space battle and a cliffhanger. At least we can say it left us wanting more.Lorca takes on more of a heroic role in this episode, which complicates his character even further. I really like what the show has been able to do with the captain just by virtue of him not being the main character. They can make him an antihero or bring him right to the edge of becoming a villain. The show has given us a character that’s complicated to root for. His motives are admirable, but his methods are warlike and don’t square with Starfleet ideals. And given that we’ve invested ourselves so heavily in this 50+ year old sci-fi franchise, Starfleet ideals are something we care a great deal about. This is one of those episodes where Lorca’s methods and what we think of as Starfleet ideals line up perfectly. He deliberately disobeys orders to retreat, choosing instead to fight. But he does so to defend the lives of this new species they found and to ensure the future survival of countless other members of Starfleet. Lorca consistently tries to do what he feels is right, even though he sometimes goes about it in very un-Star Trek ways.Sonequa Martin-Green (Photo via CBS)Even with most of the episode revolving around a giant ship battle, Star Trek: Discovery still found room for some… discovery. To detect the Klingons’ cloaking technology, two crewmembers (guess who!) have to install sensors on board the Klingon Ship of the Dead. Then, the Discovery has to force it to cloak and make 133 small jumps all around it. That’s going to be a problem because each jump is having negative effects on Stamets. Still, Lorca convinces him to do it by appealing to his scientific curiosity. The ship has been collecting data on the spore network with each jump. Already, the data suggests parallel universes, and with 133 jumps, they could collect enough data to figure out how to access them. So this is how Discovery plans to get to the mirror universe. Can’t wait to see what Stamets looks like with a beard.The battle itself is pretty fantastic. It’s like if somebody watched the end of Star Trek: Nemesis and said, “what if we wrote a good story to go along with that?” Burnham and Tyler are absolutely the two people who should definitely not be beaming aboard a Klingon ship, but we wouldn’t have a story if they didn’t go. It does give us some harrowing scenes aboard the ship. Sensing a living human presence in the corpse room, Burnham and Tyler find the still-alive Admiral Cornwell. Yay, I knew she was too important to be killed off after two episodes. Unfortunately, L’Rell is alive in there too. Upon seeing her, Tyler immediately goes into shock, forcing Burnham to complete the mission on her own. The show continues to toy with us over whether Tyler is who he says he is. I think they new we’d suspect that he’s secretly Voq, and they’re strategically dropping hints that could mean anything. The flashbacks Tyler has could just be memories of extreme torture. They do look a lot like major surgery, though. Later, after he has nightmares about L’Rell (and now we know what Klingon sex looks like), he visits the captured Klingon in her cell. She says she’ll make sure they don’t hurt him. That really sounds like she’s talking to Voq, but she could just be calming a lover after a nightmare. We’ll have to wait to know for sure, but the evidence is starting to stack up in the Tyler=Voq column.Kenneth Mitchell (Photo via CBS)With Burnham completing the mission by herself, she’s able to ensure the Discovery has time to complete all its jumps. After placing the second sensor, the Discovery starts jumping all over the place. She hears the Klingons talk about fleeing, so she comes out of hiding and challenges Kol to a duel to buy the ship time. All this ensures we have everything we could possibly want out of a Star Trek battle. We have a one-on-one fight with two nasty-looking Klingon daggers, and we have a larger ship battle. It all looks so cool, and it’s a spectacular way to send us off into the winter hiatus. It also marks a huge moment of character growth for Burnham. She gets to confront the Klingon who’s been wearing Captain Georgiou’s Starfleet pin as a trophy. While she doesn’t kill him personally, she gets it off of him just before she’s beamed back onto the Discovery. I have to say, beaming a character away just as a Klingon is about to stab her is a really cool way to end a fight.Stamets’ deteriorating health during all these jumps adds even more tension to an already harrowing battle. Anthony Rapp and Wilson Cruz are so great together early on, it’s painful to see Culber having to watch his boyfriend go through so much agony. With Burnham, Tyler, Cornwell and the captured L’Rell safely on board, Stamets’ job is done. The Discovery speeds away, but not before firing everything they have at the Klingon Ship of the Dead. Cool starships don’t look at explosions. By the way, I love Lorca’s reaction upon hearing that Burnham and Tyler returned with Admiral Cornwell and a captured Klingon. It’s the same look the DM gives you when you roll a natural 20. (Hey, if there’s one place I can be sure that reference will fly, it’s in the Star Trek recap.)Jason Isaacs, Anthony Rapp, Wilson Cruz (Photo via CBS)For the last few weeks, it’s felt like Star Trek: Discovery has really found its identity as a Star Trek show. It’s been fantastic, and last night was no exception. That’s why it’s so annoying that we have to wait for January, but that’s the sign of a good show I guess. It also left us with a cliffhanger that promises an even larger scope for the season’s second half. Stamets offers to make one final jump to make sure everyone gets home safe. After that, he needs some serious medical attention. Though he does promise Culber that they’ll go see La Boheme. That’s such a brilliant Rent joke, the theatre kid and Star Trek geek in me are both dancing for joy. That final jump is one too many. Stamets starts shaking in the spore drive, and the Discovery is stranded in an unknown region of space. Yeah, it looks like January is going to kick off with a hint of Star Trek: Voyager. (Man, that was a good show too. The one bright side of this hiatus is it gives us time to revisit TNG, Deep Space Nine and Voyager while we wait. Enterprise is alright too, I guess.) Also exciting is what exactly happened to Stamets. He has all white eyes, and from the looks of the January preview, some serious telekinetic powers. Could Star Trek: Discovery be referencing Where No Man Has Gone Before? Is Stamets the next/first Gary Mitchell? I guess we’ll find out next… year. Crap. Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. 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