Matt and Sean talk about the Star Trek mirror universe, echoes of Treks in both directions, and a whole new approach to the characters. Star Discovery has literally flipped the script.
102: “Despite Yourself” – Star Trek Discovery Season 1, Episode 10
Details on Sean’s book reading in NYC on June 24th: https://www.mcnallyjackson.com/event/middle-grade-launch-sean-ferrell-sinister-secrets-singe
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So we’re looking at things going on in discovery, which means we are just now entering literally like. But the thinnest of margins were into 2018. Doesn’t seem that long ago, but as we get into some of the details about what was going on in that year, it feels a lot longer than anybody could imagine.
Yeah. And who are we? I’m Sean Ferrell. I’m a writer. I write some stuff for adults. I also write some stuff for kids like my recently released the Sinister Secrets of Singe, which is an adventure book involving robots, mad scientists, and pirates. I hope you’ll be interested in checking it out. And with me as my brother Matt.
He’s that Matt of undecided with Matt Ferrell, which takes a look at emerging tech and its impact in our lives. Matt, how are you doing today?
I’m doing great, and on your book, and it’s gonna be a little late notice for this podcast again, but your book reading in the New York City area, if you’re in this area, is the day after this podcast comes out.
So if you’re, mm-hmm.
If you’re late, you have 24 hours. Yeah. You’re too late and you’ve got 24 hours to get to my reading. My reading will be on September. No, that’s not, except not right. June. My reading will be on June 24th, 2023 at noon at McNally Jackson’s Seaport Lorcation, and I will be reading a opening chapter of the book and then signing copies for anybody and chatting with anybody who wants to chat afterwards.
So I hope anybody who’s in the New York City area will be interested in checking that out before we get into our. Discussion on this week’s episode, we like to share previous episode’s, comments. So Matt, what have you found in the comments for us today? There’s a few
comments I wanted quite a bit. Yeah, there’s a few I wanted to bring up here.
There’s a couple of ’em are quick one from Dave Scott. First one of these I’ve watched turns out watching you guys chatting about Star Trek. Discovery is more interesting than Star Trek discovery. Mm. So first, thanks for finding us, Dave. Yeah, that’s pretty funny. The next one was from. Dan Sims knowing what is coming.
I love these two episodes. This is referring to the last episode we talked about where we did the back to back episodes. Yeah. I love these two episodes and I like that you guys picked up on so many subtle nuances that I didn’t on my first viewing. It really is better the second time through. Yeah. It’s
inadvertently made a show that’s better to watch twice than just once.
Yes. And it leaves some people cold on the first watching, so they’re not gonna come back and see the second stuff. So. Ugh. It’s really, I’m finding that myself. I’m like, wow. Really well constructed, and yet it didn’t grab fans in the way that. They were hoping so, yep. The next
comment was from Technophile.
Don’t read my comment until 2024. I’m gonna ignore that and I’m just gonna go ahead and read it. So it says, no spoilers here, but I’m watching Star Trek New Worlds and has totally changed my mind about the Klingons in discovery. I made the excuse that the producers just reimagined what Klingons are, but discovery and star Trek, new worlds overlap.
So you’d think at least those series would be consistent. Nope. They changed again. Now I’m thinking maybe Klingons should look human until after the original series. So this is where I, I think we gave a little too much credit. I think you gave too much credit to this show Discovery for what they did with the Klingons, cuz clearly they didn’t care.
They were just doing something different, different, some new because Star Trek New Worlds just like walked away from it.
I disagree that I disagree with that sentiment. I think the reason they’ve done what they’ve done in strange New Worlds Uhhuh is because of backlash from discovery.
Okay. That’s fair.
That’s fair. The
last, these were two things were made at the same time. I would agree with you. Yeah, but they weren’t so. Okay,
so the last comment is from Jason Dumb. He said, I think the Klingon design in first season of Star Trek discovery is cool if you want star Trek more realistic than making aliens seem actually alien.
Makes sense. Same with those some other production and design choices, but the plot involving the Klingons does not make much sense. The science of star Trek discovery also is disappointing. Not as much as the current events. Pre disappointing. I was also looking forward to star Trek discovery when it debuted, and the current events of the time, highlighting why I needed some optimistic science-based imaginative storytelling, and we got star Trek discovery instead.
Guess how I feel about the first two seasons of Picard? No spoilers. Thoroughly enjoying your conversation. Great discussion. Yeah, so thanks Jason. I, I, I get his point of view. It, it star Trek discovery is kind of like timeless storytelling. It doesn’t really relate to what current events actually are too much.
actually, I actually go ahead and finish your thought. Sorry,
I said too much. There is elements of that, but the, the basic storyline is really kind of isolated. Not only from current events, but also from kind of like the rest of Trek to a certain extent. And, and, and it feels like it. They kind of had to do that because they went so far out in a limb with what actually is happening in discovery.
Whereas Star Trek fans, you’re like, how have I never heard about this thing before? Right. And they kind have to explain why we never heard about it before. So it kind of puts them on an island. So they’re kind of on an island by themselves within Star Trek universe at that time. And also, Within the actual current events of the time of making of the show.
Yeah. But I do, there are elements of current events and current thinking that are in the show for sure, but it’s not as, I don’t know, blatant or on the nose as a lot of star Trek sometimes can be. Yeah. So I would say it’s a little more subtle at times. And then other times with like the, uh, transgender, homosexual relationships.
You know that that is very much on the nose and very much in the current culture at the time of making this. So there are elements that do seep in, but it’s, it’s not, I think, as blatant as
some star Trek gets. Yeah, and I think that one of the things for me on discovery that is evident is that it is, it feels almost more like it’s born of having digested the era when enterprise was made.
More than it is about the era in which discovery was being made. Because in watching discovery, you are given a lot of elements that are basically, you can’t really trust the system to do right by everybody attempts at diplomacy maybe out of date. That all seems born of a, of a nine 11 world to me. True, and, and it feels like.
All of the elements of idealism and vision and hope that are in discovery are there because they’re part of the DNA of Trek and the world in which those elements are at play feels like a post nine 11 world. So it holds onto a sense of idealism. It holds onto a sense of hope, but it is also given, I think it’s very interesting that we have, and we’ll talk about it in some detail in this conversation.
This show is being produced during Trump’s presidency and that the helm of this ship, they put an unstable person who could not be trusted, who had secrets. And I think that that is very much of the era. I think that they allowed the current events to leak in, in that form and it’s, it’s almost like flying under the radar a bit.
And I think as we get into today’s episode, the stuff will come up and as we move forward, it’ll come up more and more because this is described as chapter two of season one. There is very clearly a breaking point, which was the last two episodes we talked about discovery. Everybody will remember from last week’s discussion, uses its Spore drive.
One last time before Stamets says I can’t do this anymore. And. Lorca does something onto a keypad, and this is one of those little nuggets that I missed completely on first watching, but he goes in and does something to navigation as they are making their final jump, and then they end up in a place where they do not know where they are.
It does not make any sense to them. So that’s where we find ourselves as we leap into this discussion on this week’s episode, despite yourself, before I go much further, that sound in the background is of course the reed alert, which means it’s time for Matt to tackle the Wikipedia description. Take it away.
yourself, that’s the name of the episode. That’s not a sentence. Mm-hmm. Discovery’s crew determines that they have arrived at a parallel mirror universe with Stamets now unconscious and unable to power the Spore drive, Tyler confronts L’Rell. She attempts to use a verbal cue to trigger something within him, though he fights it off.
They find a data core in the wreckage of a Klingon ship, and learned that this universe is ruled by the human Terran empire who are fighting a resistance that includes species such as Klingons and Vulcans. And here Burnham is the former captain of the I Ss Shenzhou, presumed dead after an attack by a fugitive Lorca
the I Ss discovery is Captained by Sylvia Tilley’s counterpart. So Tilly and the crew pretend to be their mirror selves. They deliver Burnham and Lorca to the Shenzhou under the ruse that Burnham has been hunting Lorca since her presumed death and has now captured him. Culbert informs Tyler that he also appears to have undergone major surgical modifications, which triggers something in Tyler, and he kills Culbert.
Tyler joins the others on the Shenzhou, where Lorca is tortured. While Burnham assumes command, you gotta
love Wikipedia descriptions. Spending as much time as they do on the fact that Tilly tries to talk to an unconscious Stamets, but then is very hand-wavy about the fact that Tyler kills Culbert. Oh yeah. And then he kills him cuz you know, post hypnotic, yada yada.
Yeah, despite yourself directed by Jonathan Frakes, if nobody knows who Jonathan Frakes is, why you listen, you’re clearly listening to the wrong podcast. Yes, and I have some thoughts about Jonathan Frakes directorial decisions in this episode. One scene in particular. Okay. Written by Sean Cochran. This episode aired on January 7th, 2018, and we have our usual cast of characters, Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham, Doug Jones as Saru Shazzed latif as Ash Tyler Anthony Rapp as Paul Stammets.
Mary Wiseman as Sylvia Tilly, Jason Isaacs as Captain Gabriel Lorca, and Wilson Cruz as the aforementioned doctor who is killed in this episode. And what was the world like January 7th, 2018 when this episode dropped? Well, Matt, believe it or not, you ended 2017 dancing along to post Malone’s Rockstar featuring 21 Savage.
Guess what? It was still the number one song. You were still dancing along to it. That’s right. Rockstar by Post Malone and the movies. What were we lining up to see? Well, this is interesting, I think. Oh boy. Jumanji, welcome to the Jungle, had been released in December of 2017. But it took three weeks for it to hit the number one spot.
So I think that’s very interesting that a movie could sit. And build an audience over time. Clearly this time of year with the holidays, with time off from school, audiences were taking families, kids were going to the movies. So Jumanji, welcome to the Jungle. Hit number one. That’s third week of release making 37 million.
It’s. The 2017 American Fantasy Adventure comedy film directed by Jake Kazhden from a screenplay by Chris McKenna, Eric Summers, Scott Rosenberg and Jeff Pinker. The film is the second installment in the Jumanji Films series. It’s a sequel to Jumanji, 1995. It’s Stars Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, and Bobby Cannavale and on television.
What were we watching? Well, once again, we’re trying to. Compare apples to apples and not look at ratings numbers via Nielsen. But it’s getting harder cuz information at this point with streaming programming’s. Hard streamers don’t often share numbers, so it’s a lot of estimates, it’s a lot of information based on assumptions in some cases and sources that I’ve found to provide information from one year.
Don’t always do it. A following year. So I had a very nice list that did a really nice job of compiling 2000 seventeens viewership. I’m having a little bit more difficulty with 2018, but I have found some information around what are the most binged programs for 2018. So in trying to compare apples to apples and say, okay, what were people watching heavily and in repetition.
Compared to a show like Discovery, which would also be able to deliver that kind of experience, you could binge discovery in the same way that you could binge these programs. And the number one program for binge watching in 2018 was a little program called Friends. Matt, you and I used to talk about this when we were watching.
Discover or Enterprise. Yes. And it was one of the top programs and then it ended and I thought, well, good. I don’t have to ever say the word friends again, but here we are friends, which was available at this point in 2018 on Netflix, was getting about 2.3% of all viewers at any given time. So that is, I mean, it’s a juggernaut.
It’s a monster. You can’t, you can’t ignore it. So we’ll see what number two was next week and in the news. Well, I’ve already given a hint about what era we were living in at this point in early January, 2018. There was a little news story in the New York Times about Trump defending his mental fitness by saying he was a very stable genius.
So, When I say that this era may have leaked into discovery in the form of a somewhat unreliable and unstable captain in Gabriel Lorca, this is the kind of leadership I’m referring to. Lorca is a very stable genius. He’s a very stable genius. Also, in the news were news articles about how the US intelligence agencies had underestimated North Korea.
For decades, they had warned that North Korea was making progress on a missile that could reach the United States, but the last breakthroughs happened faster than expected, and also, India’s economic woes are piercing. Modi’s Modi’s, air Aura of invulnerability. Prime Minister n Brenda Modi’s policies are being criticized as India’s hot economy cools, but with society, so per polarized, his Hindu base still appears solid.
This I think, is important because this is a news story from 2018, and he is still in power. To this day, so this episode, I do appreciate one thing about this episode. Within the first five minutes, they’re like, mm-hmm. Hey. We’re in the mirror universe, they just very quickly are like, bing, bing, bing, bang.
Quantum signatures aren’t the right, the, the quantum signatures of the things around us don’t match with the ship, and that’s not possible. If we’re in our universe, oh my gosh, we must be in app parallel universe. They want to get this out of the way as quickly as possible to be able to get to the plot.
It is not labored. I really did appreciate that. So very quickly they hit the, like, we’re in a Mary, Mirror universe. Then we enter a scene, which is what I wanted to mention before the directorial decisions about Jonathan Frakes. There is a scene in which everybody is looking at a holographic display of Lorca’s research into the jumps and his discovery of the parallel universes and the timelines.
He describes his hope with Stamets to eventually have explored these. The choice made of having the camera swivel around the three participants in the conversation and jump to focus on whoever’s talking while rotating behind the other two. I literally got dizzy. I remember getting dizzy the first time I watched this episode.
I got dizzy this time watching this episode. I did not, I do not like that as a technique. I, I, I, that’s all I have to say about his directorial choices. I think he does a wonderful job for the rest of the episode, but that scene in particular, Oh, hand me my motion sickness pills. Yeah,
I, I did not have the problem.
There’s one thing about this scene I did wanna call out that I really liked how you were talking about how like they ripped the bandaid off of we’re in the mirror universe now. Let’s go. Yeah. I appreciated that. The other thing I appreciated was, we had talked about already before, how there were so many hints dropped over the first half chapter one of season one, that Lorca is not what he seems and there’s something else going on.
They’ve been leading that way through very subtle hints. And the first more obvious hint is the last second navigation thing that he puts in. Yes. That’s the first time as a viewer if you caught that or would be like, what’s he doing? Yeah, I didn’t catch that. But this scene has the first. Like rip the bandaid off.
Lorca’s outright lying. Yeah. In this scene when he says, I talked to Stamets and he was very excited to work with me to explore this. Yes. Where we, as viewers know, the last scene we had on the, the, the deck where the two of them were talking, Stamets was like, I’m out. I’m not doing anything with this anymore.
So was like, it was very clear that he’s lying here. So now we know Lorca is a liar,
helper. Very helpful to remember. It is very helpful to have spotted. And hold on to his control of the data pad. Yeah. In the last episode without that, this is, he’s just lying. But with that, you’re like, he did something here.
He brought them here. Yep. So this is now the first moment. Not only is he lying, but you’re like, he’s manipulating everything that’s going on and he’s largely responsible for what’s happening here. This is also in this episode, I think one of the, the, again, I think the writing here is super terrific and subtle and pushing forward in a very natural way.
He is so fixated on keeping Burnham safe. Yes. That she has to argue with him about her relationship to what has to be done and saying, if I’m not here to do these things that I know about, why am I here? So here we have a captain who is overly protective of something that is seen as an asset. He is doing things to take the ship and to places where everybody else is in the dark, but he clearly did something and now he’s lying actively to the people around him.
And he has made a pattern of saying like, I need people I can trust. I pull in people I can trust. I need that. And he has pulled in Ash Tyler. Ash Tyler at this point has had a full on P Ts D breakdown in the previous episode. Yeah. And here he continues to have flashbacks. He is hiding this from everybody except for Burnham.
Whom he shares this with, and he asks her for leeway in, let me figure out what’s going on with myself. Let me do this in my way. He convinces her of this in what I think is a very tender and loving scene, and really this episode does a lot in taking their relationship forward in a huge way and in a huge way that if you kind of blink at a certain point, it seems very lovely and natural.
But if the blink I’m talking about is if you ignore the fact that he kills somebody on the ship because. He kills somebody on discovery and then by the end of the episode, they’re having this loving moment and you think, oh, they’re really there for each other. And you have to remind yourself. Yeah, hold on.
And he’s a killer. Yeah. He killed the doctor before they left. So this, I remember this conversation is gonna be a lot of back and forth, I think. I don’t think we have to, I don’t think we have to withhold information in the form of spoilers or confine ourselves to a direct A to Z plot. Well, when it comes to,
in this one, when it comes to the Tyler killing the doctor and then Tyler at the end, I remember the first time my wife and I watched this when it was first aired, both of us were like audibly saying, oh God, I like, we were terrified for her because you know, he’s this killer killer that could snap at any moment.
And you think that he might turn on her. Of course, she’s part of the reason that he’s not. Turning into the secret agent that the right L’Rell was trying to turn him into. Yes. But we don’t know at this point. So it’s, it’s, yeah, there, there’s interesting things that they’re doing with Tyler. It stretches believability for me a
little bit because he was So let’s talk about, about this, this aspect of the show.
Yeah. At this point. But go ahead and just launch into what you were saying because he was so
on the edge during the opening sequence where he’s trying to go get the Klingon data core from the debris and has a breakdown there. And the only thing that keeps him on. Point is when, uh, Burnham talks him over the radio and talks him down, everybody knows this.
Everybody’s recognizing this. The entire bridge crew recognizes that something’s not right here. Lorca comments on it, like everybody’s aware that he’s un coming unhinged and yet Lorca picks him. It’s like it doesn’t quite make sense why he would’ve done that. Yeah. Even, even needing somebody he can trust, it didn’t make sense why he would went along with that.
The second issue was I had was it was awfully convenient that he was alone with a doctor in the medical bay to kill him. Yeah. No other patients. No nurses, like nobody around to see him. To s doctors, the guys
twisting in and out of there in every other scene. Yeah.
Correct. It’s like this is the only scene where suddenly.
It’s ghost town and nobody’s around. And at this point, the doctor knows he is not who he says he is. He knows this. Yeah. He wouldn’t be alone. He knows this. It’s not a, I’m not quite sure what’s going on. He’s like, they reshaped your bones. They like changed you from something into what you are now. You are not Tyler.
He knows that. He doesn’t know why, but he knows that. How is he so casual and comfortable to be talking to a man that is clearly not who he says he is. Yeah, he would’ve had somebody else there. He would’ve had security there. It’s like, there’s, there’s so many issues I have with the way that scene was set up.
I’m not, I, I don’t have a problem with him. The murder, cuz obvious interesting storytelling. It’s great, great tension that pays off over the coming season. But it’s just one of those, the way it was set up to me felt a little hand wavy and a little, um, thin. It didn’t, it didn’t hold together for me.
Yeah, for me, I think this is a great demonstration of something we always complained about in enterprise.
Yeah, which was, if you’re gonna have a character show up to be disposed of having them show up unexpectedly in one episode, only to die in that episode is telegraphing what’s coming. This was a killing of a character that you do not anticipate because the doctor, of course, the doctor of the ship is going to be a character, recurring character.
And of course, if it’s gonna be a recurring character, if you get an actor like Wilson Cruz. To play that character. This is a well-known actor. This is an established guy. So for him to make an appearance in multiple episodes, he’s not always in every episode, but he’s also the partner of one of the main characters.
Like this is a guy who’s gonna be around. So the murder, I think, is a storytelling element, is fantastic. It is. Mm-hmm. And it is gripping and it is harrowing in that moment leading up to the murder as illogical as you point out. Why is nobody else in the medical bay? Are they having this conversation super late at night?
What is like, what is the setup here that makes this work? Waving that away, I. The conversation I felt did a fantastic job of charging it up with you are not who you think you are. I don’t know what you are because the entire thing is, we’ve taken a look at you from the perspective of did the Klingons do something to put something into Ash Tyler?
And now the doctor has taken a different approach, which is did somebody take something and put Ash Tyler on top of it? And he has identified that. The scar tissue, the psychological scarring, the things that he’s identifying, he’s like are consistent with imprinting as opposed to subverting. So he re that conversation as he’s revealing these things.
I felt it charging up the room in a really fantastic way, and I really loved the depiction of that moment. And when the killing comes, it happens in the blink of an eye and it happens in the way that. Tyler in that moment appears both there and not there. It’s sociopathic. And his goal then is revealed later because what he reveals in his conversation with Burnham is no matter what else happens, you need to survive and I will be the one to protect you.
Regardless of what it means to survive here, what it means to be here, whether we ever get home again, you will survive because I will make sure you survive. So he kills the doctor in that moment so that he can go on the mission because he has to protect her. It is a level of devotion that it goes beyond romantic interest between HU two humans.
It’s like stalker. It’s stalkerish and it is, yeah. Depicted as the latter part of the episode where the prior part of the episode is all about him and L’Rell and him going into conversations with L’Rell some of them that seemed fantasized, some of them that are literal, but those conversations revealing, what am I, what did you do to me?
You know what you are, she says, and then they both begin to speak Klingon and his depiction of Klingon. Is not a human depiction. No. No. Given what we’ve seen in discovery, he is speaking as a Klingon. So this is the, we then get, in this episode, they give us all the equation that we need before the equals sign.
They’re like this, plus this equals, Yeah. And then they don’t say it. Yeah. They don’t say what it equals, and I’m not gonna say what it equals either, but they’re giving us all the parts. So if you are an astute viewer at this point, you are sitting there saying, I know what, I know what this is. I know what has happened.
Mm-hmm. For me, one of the big leaps in this episode and in this series at this point in season one of Discovery, I had an issue with the Klingons ability to do this. I did not. Yes. Yes, I did not like it as a, as a part of the show. I was just like, this doesn’t work for me. And having said that, and I mentioned this last week, there are elements of discovery that as much as I don’t like them, I still like them.
So I don’t like the fact that this is depicted now is the Klingons ability to do this because this is something that doesn’t fit, I don’t think with. What we know of the Klingons in the future, and there is of course, the opportunity to say discovery is taking place a long time before next generation.
So the Klingons of next generation may have a different definition of what it means to be honorable, what it means to be Klingon. They may be redefining it in the in ways over a hundred plus years, where they’re saying like, we are Klingon, so this is what we do and we would never use subterfuge. That’s one of the key things about Klingons in the next generation era is they talk about to be Klingon means to boldly go forward as a Klingon, present yourself as a Klingon.
We do not use subterfuse. We do not use trickery and, and spycraft is not something that is utilized by the Klingons the way it is used by Romulans that is one of the reasons why Klingons view Romulan as dishonorable. So this level of, we’ve taken somebody and we’ve turned them into a human, we’ve imprinted a personality on top of them to, to create a Starfleet officer to do this thing does not feel like it is within the same realm as the later plans.
I would agree. But again, I, I would disagree. I could, I could be wrong
because this does not feel like a Klingon society decision to do this. This was L’Rell and L’Rell has been set up as coming from the House of Thieves and liars. Yeah. She is duplicitous. She’s not, her entire family is not to be trusted.
She’s an outcast of Klingon society because her family is considered. A bunch of thieves and liars, right? She, and we’ve seen her do this over the entire series so far, where she will basically say whatever she, she’s like Gaas from Battlestar Galactica. She’ll say whatever she needs to do at that moment to weasel out of whatever situation she’s she’s in.
So it makes sense that she would have been pushing to do whatever this thing is that they did to Tyler because she’s trying to do this duplicitous subterfuge. That’s what she’s all about. So it makes sense from a. Personal Klingon point of view, not a Klingon, capital K kind of Yeah. Point of view. Yeah.
So it’s like, I don’t think this flies in the face of what we know of Klingons at all. Um, but I do agree with you the, the technology and the ability to do this is like, what the hell? Yeah. It’s like if they could have done this back in here, it’s like, why have we never heard about this before? Yeah. It’s like, it seems kind of crazy that this is a technique that was doable hundreds of years before every other show we’ve ever seen.
par with the spore drive itself. Crazy. It’s like, it’s crazy. Well, these crazy technologies that are wild and like, if you could do this, but to, to lean back into what you just said about like individual Klingon actions versus Klingon societal actions. I do, I do appreciate that. As, as an aspect of this, and I do agree that that does explain a good portion of like my, my con not confusion, but just.
It’s wild because when we’re watching these episodes, what I have is the experience of, huh, that doesn’t make sense, but fine. Right. Yeah. Yeah. I find myself like making a footnote as I’m moving forward in the episode, and I’m like, but that’s fine. And, and that I think is a testament to the writing, the performance, the directing.
Like they’re convincing you that yeah, some of these things don’t mesh, but you know what, you’re still enjoying the story. Yeah. And so it’s working in that way. It would not work in a lesser program or a lesser movie. Sure. I just, last night watched a film, which arguably had a lifetime movie plot. Okay.
But it was written and directed by an incredibly accomplished director. So despite the fact that is effectively a lifetime movie plot, it is so well told that it’s captivating and it was an enjoyable watch. So I think that’s some of what’s happening here. The talent and skill going into some of this storytelling is good enough to make a hardcore Trek fan.
Accept things that don’t easily mesh with what we know or what we anticipate. Mm-hmm. And they are, of course, walking on a razor’s edge because they’ve set up a show that’s a prequel again to the original series. So if this was all taking place a thousand years after Next Generation mm-hmm. We would be like, Hey, Trek is in the far future now, but they’ve put themselves in a position of you’re gonna be judged against.
Not only the original series, but literally enterprise. Yep. And one of the things that I wanted to point out briefly before we move on to what I think should be the last part of our conversation, I hope everybody picked up on, they refer to The Defiant Yes. And The Defiant was the one of my favorite stories from enterprise.
Yes. Right at the end when they had a whole, oh, you know, the Defiant in the original series that got pulled through A Tholian Web and it disappeared. Turns out that was into the Mirror Universe in the past, and that entire storyline is referenced here. I loved the fact that direct connection, yeah, we’ve got this thing.
We’ve identified it must be The Defiant. How is that possible? Well, it’s from our era, but it went into the past of this universe, so if we can get a hold of something, Yeah. Like it becomes this whole, uh, layers of like, oh, oh, that’s so
cool. Yeah. We’re seeing, we’re seeing the ramifications. We’re seeing the ramifications of what happened in enterprise happen now.
And it’s like, it’s, it’s, it’s really cool. I do, I did love that call
back. Very cool. Very tight, very nice fan servicey stuff, especially like, like, come on. They’re referring back to a show that nobody really watched. Yeah. And it’s like Trek is Trek. Like, they’re like, yeah, so the right people will know what we’re talking about.
Yeah. Like how did the defined end up here? For a lot of people it’s gonna be like, oh, the Defiant is another spaceship. It must have been another spaceship. Yeah, but to that audience that watched Enterprise and the original series and makes these connections, it’s one of those, like, this is so cool moments.
So the last thing I wanna end on, we’ve, we’ve talked about Lorca duplicity plans. Within plans. We’ve talked about Burnham. Who in this episode largely takes kind of a back seat. Yeah. She is involved in making arguments of like what we have to do and what’s appropriate, but she is there in support of Lorca’s agenda of how do we get back to our universe?
He makes the argument with her, here’s what we need to do. We need to do this auspicious act of masquerading as this universe’s Burnham who is assumed dead. This universe’s Lorca who is a fugitive and a rebel against the inner galactic. The, the interplanetary fascist human empire will masquerade as the two of them to get a board.
The Shenzhou, you as captain of the Shenzhou, will have access to files. You will get on the information you need about the Defiant so that we can figure out a way to get home. So, That plan is supported by Burnham, but it’s Lorca’s Plan. Burnham is in support of Tyler, who we’ve already talked about. He’s having, he starts off at bad and only goes downhill from there.
He starts off with, yeah, I remember last week I had a PTs D breakdown. Now I’m having a breakdown in space. As I’m flying through Klingon wreckage, I am having flashbacks to sexual or surgical. Experiences that involve L’Rell that I don’t understand. I am speaking fluent Klingon, the way a Klingon talks.
I am doing all these things. So I’m gonna go to the doctor, I’m gonna ask the doctor, help me, doc. You gotta figure out if they did something to me, oh, you figured it out, I’m gonna kill you. Yeah. And then it ends with him saying to Burnham, I will be the protector you need. And she says, I will be yours. So they are now like full-blown.
Like they’ve committed themselves to each other and then go to bed. So the episode ends with her aboard the Shenzhou with him as her bodyguard, and they are in bed together making this promise of, if the mirror universe is where we have to be, we will survive because of each other. And he is a killer and we know that, and he is not what he appears to be and we know that.
So all of that is incredible drama with Burnham being largely in the kind of background role in these ep, in this, these story elements to say, I’m here for you guys to support you guys in your efforts. And then there’s Tilly. We just talked for a few minutes about the depiction of Tilly, captain Tilly. I love it in this episode where it is determined that she in the mirror universe as a result of the likelihood being, creating romantic relationships with superior officers and offing them at various stages.
So that as a young woman, cuz it is Cadet Kelly, uh, cadet Tilly. As a young woman, she’s already a captain. She’s a captain of the discovery in the mirror universe, and she has a multitude of nicknames that all refer to the fact that she is a dangerous, dangerous individual. So what did you think of two things?
The actress’s depiction. Oh yes. Of this version of a very uncertain Tilly, and we’re talking about Mary Wiseman. What did you think about Mary Wiseman’s depiction of Tilly through this entire episode, and what did you think of Cadet Tilley’s? Depiction of, oh, was
Captain Tilly, it brilliant. Would not. Be an understatement.
It was. I just, this is my favorite part of the entire show was watching this squirrelish. Like she’s talks a lot when she gets nervous and finding out that she’s actually the captain. And I love the way they thrust her into the captain’s chair to talk to the other ship because of like, it can’t be Lorca, it’s gotta be you.
And when they shove her in, they’re like, don’t you understand? I talk so much the way that. It reminded me a little bit of Han Solo from Star, the first Star Wars movie when he like gets on the radio, are all fine. How are you? How are you? It reminded me a little bit of that, where it’s like, it is so rough and so off and she, she barely pulls it off, but it works.
Especially when like she’s talking to them, they’re like, why, why aren’t you on the view screen? And she’s like, uh, it’s um, it’s broken. Um, technical, technical error. Me engineer. Yeah. Yeah. Cause she’s just basically like calling it quits. Like, I can’t do
thought her depiction of what a
Tilly would be like in trying to depict this cold-blooded killer Tilly.
I thought it was great. I thought it was so much fun and as an actor, I think she was probably having a blast with this polar opposite portrayal. But it’s also fun because like they, they’ve shown that Tilly wants to be a captain. Like she made this statement, yeah, I want to be a captain. So it’s like, it’s clearly in her, in both universes to do this, but one is clearly got more confidence Yeah.
In pulling it off and the other one doesn’t have that confidence yet. I loved it. It was, it was great.
and comedy. So it, like it did a great job pulling off both things.
Yeah. And it did it in a way that felt very Trek. I thought. Oh yeah. It was, yeah. It, it was reminiscent of those moments where you take some, some character who you know, and you know them as they’ve got their little fifedom that they operate well in, and you.
Plop them into something well deeper than what they’re accustomed to. And I’m thinking of some of the fantastic scenes between like Oto and Cork, where mm-hmm. Like the darkest storylines are deep space nine storylines. There’s, there are seasons of that show, which are about an era of Trek, which is very dark.
And the two of them, along with Garrick. We’ll have conversations where it will lighten the mood of an episode for just long enough for you to catch your breath. And that’s what she’s doing in this one. Yep. I love that. The prep involves, they, they decide that they’re gonna masquerade the entire ship.
They repaint the ship and they can do all of this apparently, like within a matter of hours, but they repaint the ship so that it is now gold. It is. They suit up all of the officers, uh, apparently with, you know, replicating new uniforms, even new communicators for them. So they no longer look like standard Starfleet communicators.
They now look like the symbol of the i s s. You end up with armor on everybody, so it’s gotta sort, uh, the human empire, the Tarran Empire is kind of portrayed in this as having a pseudo. You know, Roman look is always part of the, the mythos of it in any depiction of the, the mirror universe. But in particular, I just kept thinking about like how, how Klingon it was for them to be wearing the armor and the way they do.
There’s a fantastic segment when they go into the alternate universes, Shenzhou, and Burnham’s, previous navigator. Oh yeah. Is now captain and he is clearly upset at the fact that Burnham has returned. The very moment that he sees her on a holo projection, he kind of in stun silence, says, it’s you, you’re back.
She plays this whole game of I wanted everybody to think I was dead so that I could pursue, pursue Lorca and get ahold of him, and now I’ve got him. And then, They go to the ship and he is constantly undercut by her. Burnham plays it perfectly to be able to play this aggressive captain who is defending her terrain and she’s taking hold of Shenzhou again right out from underneath him.
And there is a moment in one of the lifts where he says, you know, they, I made sure that everybody bowed when I took command, when I, when you disappeared, and I was able to take command. I made sure everybody bowed, but they never bowed quite as deeply as they did for you. And I think I figured out how to fix that, can I, and attacks her.
I thought this was an amazing scene leading up to that
scene. Another thing that was led up to this, Was as they’re coming off the transporter pad and she’s making eye contact with the different people in the room as she’s walking out, all of them look hurt their eyes. They’re all terrified of her. Yeah.
And I loved that they, that was happening. And then the look on Burnham’s face when sh you can see her recognizing of like, uh, oh crap. Like they’re terrified
of me. What I loved about that too Yeah. Is it’s a callback to Burnham’s arrival and discovery. She was the traitor. As she went everywhere, everybody avoided eye contact.
Yeah. So it’s back to the same response, but for a very different reason. Very different reason. It was she was judged as a traitor previously. Now she’s walking to an environment where nobody wants to look at her again. Yes. But it’s not because of traitor dom, but it’s because she is such a badass and she’s reading that so perfectly.
And by the time the fight and the turbo lift starts. My first thought was, this guy’s a goner because we’ve seen her fight, fight to fight a standstill with Saru, and we’ve seen her kill a Klingon. Like we, like, we know that she knows how to take care of herself. Yeah, so in this fight, in the turbo lift, I think that it’s, you know, star Trek fights are always fun because depending on the era, like an enterprise, you got, uh, oh man, slowing moving, Klingons, waving bat lists, clumsily in the air so that.
The Starfleet officer could run up and go punch, punch, and somehow knock a Klingon out. This, this is not in the original series. You had Kirk at every opportunity ripping his shirt, and a lot of what looked like tumbling, tumbling classes where it’s like Con Kirk tumbling around the engineering room.
This looks like a brutal fight. The other thing, it’s very small in a small quarter. Yeah, it’s
very well choreographed the entire sequence. But the part that just stood out for me was when she’s getting choked and she’s realized she can’t reach the knife and she kicks open that panel and recognizes the thing and kicks it.
And it causes the turbo lift to kind of reverse direction or something really quickly. I don’t know if you picked up on it, but as they’re flying up and the camera’s above them and they’re coming towards the camera, he’s looking like, oh, crap. And the look on her face is like, I got this. Yeah. It was like, it was exactly what she wanted to happen, and I just love the fact that it looked like.
She’s in control. He has no idea what to do right now. Yeah, it was like in that moment you knew, oh, she’s got this because she won the fight. She was trying to do this, and I was just like, I just love the whole portrayal of this just all out brawl that would look brutal. And just her not only just out fighting him, but just outsmarting him.
She outsmarted him in that fight the way that it ends with her stabbing him. Yeah. And her doing it because she had to. Yeah. And the way she twists the knife,
yeahs like, oh, shock. She knows she has to kill him. There’s no knife. Kill him, has to kill him. She has to kill him. Then it ends with the shock,
but opening, and she turns around and she falls out and the entire crew sees this body fall out and she’s standing there in shock.
I did like how sh it was came, it came across to me as, here’s Burnham knowing she’s in shock. A little bit of the Vulcan in her coming through of like, I have to maintain control even though I wanna freak out right now. And just witnessing all of the shock on the faces of the people on the, the bridge looking here.
And then the slow applause. I just thought this was this entire sequence. It fits so perfectly for this mirror universe. It’s exactly what they expect. And like the fact that the way she portrayed it and held it together was so well done. I loved this entire sequence.
Yeah. And Tilly’s involvement in.
Fulfilling the role. Yeah. Of the arrogant, aggressive captain, reluctantly at first, and then warming up to it and practicing. And in the scene where she’s finally put on her full uniform and says something to the effect of, well, let’s go take care of these assholes. And then looks around like, is that a problem?
And Lorca is proud of her in that moment. Like, no, you’re doing exactly what you need to be doing. Even Lorca’s imitation of a. Irish engineer, a little bit of a, a winking call back. That’s his actual accent to, to Scotty? Yeah. Where he, he leans into, oh, we got a wee bit of a problem. And it’s this whole like, like, is any of this gonna work?
He’s got an expression on his face, like, I hope this gets us outta here. Um, the whole depiction of how Tilly leans into aggression even with the crew. She has to stay in character. Mm-hmm. So she’s barking at people even though there are no other mirror universe people around, she has to do that for herself.
So she’s being mean to the people around her, and it’s a demonstration. I think for us. As you mentioned, this is a character who wants to be a captain and she’s leaning a little bit into like, I’m uncertain about my ability to do this, but she’s learning that she can. And so that’s, I think, a really great turn for that character.
Mm-hmm. So we end the episode. There was a part of me that I was almost ready to say like, should we view this as a two-parter? But then I realized this isn’t really a cliff cliffhanger ending. This is just the opening of a new chapter. So that’s why this discussion has been limited to one episode as opposed to last week, where we dealt with it as a two-parter.
What we are left with here is not a how will they get out, but how will this continue because we’re left with Lorca in a torture chamber. That looks terrible. That’s the first depiction of the torture chambers in the mirror universe, where it legitimately looks terrible. Yes, yes. The depiction of it in the enterprise episode was largely like, oh, it’s a phone booth, but here we see it and it’s, it legitimately like the effects now are able to do things that reveal skeleton underneath and the electricity and energy pouring through the body and.
Lorca looks largely incapable of having any kind of coherent thought at this moment. He has gone so far. He’s actually slam his own face into a door in order to break his nose and break the skin and be wounded. So it looks like Burnham took him, took him down. But we are left with him in a torture chamber.
Burnham and Tyler rolling around on a bed. Tyler, of course, is just hours away from having killed the doctor. The discovery is largely playing a hiding game of like, we’ve gotta pretend we’re this badass crew doing all these terrible things where what we’re really doing is waiting for Burnham and Lorca hopefully to come back with information about the Defiant.
So this is less of a cliffhanger. How will they get out of this problem? As much as it is they’re in a new circumstance and they’re now exploring this new world a little bit, so, mm-hmm. That’s why this is a single episode conversation as opposed to the beginning of a two-parter. So next time we’re gonna be talking about the episode, the Wolf Inside, and once again, I encourage people to jump in the comments.
What do you expect to see in the Wolf inside? Wrong answers only. And before we sign off, Matt, is there anything you’d like to remind our listeners about? What do you have coming up on your main
channel? Uh, right now I’m in the middle of my UK Nuclear Fusion tour. The second video in the series of three videos is out now.
And so if you’re interested in fusion and seeing what’s happening, definitely
check this one out. As for me, please check out my website, sean Ferrell dot com. You can find out more information about my books. You can also. Find them directly at whatever bookstore, which includes Amazon, Barnes and noble bookshop.org, or your Lorcal bookstore or public library.
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