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STAR TREK DISCOVERY “Vaulting Ambition” Review

By on January 23, 2018

Ben Mark Holzberg benmark.ca

STAR TREK DISCOVERY “VAULTING AMBITION” REVIEW

 

BY GEANNIE BASTIAN

 

Discovery’s House of Mirrors Just Got More Twisted

 

Wow. Okay before we talk about that ending, heaven only knows there are a few things we should get to.

The smallest of the subplots I suppose is the, for lack of a better word, “unhacking” of Tyler. Basically Saru realizes that Tyler’s current ‘split’ condition will tear him apart (perhaps even literally), and approaches L’Rell to beseech her to end his suffering. She refuses, reminding Saru that “this is war.” However it’s clear that Voq/Tyler’s agony is deeply distressing to her, even so. In a desperate measure, Saru plays on her emotions by beaming the agonized Voq/Tyler into her cell and leaving him there with her. Witnessing his pain up close finally convinces L’Rell to help. Back in sick bay, they undergo some form of ritual that seems to involve painfully realigning the pathways in Voq/Tyler’s brain. Is Tyler’s okay now? Or is it more likely one of the personas living in his body is now dead? The question is, is it Voq or Ash Tyler?

To be honest it’s all kind of distracting, because there’s so much else going on in the episode. Like Stamets in the spore network, which apparently is connected to both networks. Oh and then there’s the Michael/Georgiou reunion and the fact the Lorca is…an evil universe jumping Mirror spy?!

Yeah lets get to that…

Let There Be Light

So Lorca and Michael are taken aboard the Imperial vessel. Lorca, at first seeming his usual badass self, refused to bow to Georgiou. So, like any good Mirror baddie, she strikes him down and makes him. Michael, meanwhile is welcomed home as a daughter. It seems in this universe it was Georgiou who adopted the little orphan.

But the familial feeling doesn’t last very long, because it turns out that Georgiou believes Michael betrayed her by siding with Mirror universe Lorca, who had manipulated her into taking him as a lover. Awkward. Georgiou orders Michael taken away, where she intends to execute her herself the next day.

Only, Michael in a desperate move, insists that she is from another universe and that she has proof. She hands over the beloved pin that belonged to her former captain, and once it is scanned, the proof of a second universe is impossible to refute. Georgiou looks on, interested, then promptly kills every guard in the room who might bear witness, save one, who is offered a fairly hefty bribe to clean up, never to speak of it again and leave she and Michael alone.

It seems that the Empress knows fully well about the history of the Defiant crossing over to her universe. She also knows that the accidental method of their entry drove the entire crew mad. But clearly, the Discovery, using the spore drive escaped that fate. Georgiou agrees to allow the Discovery what it needs to attempt to return home in exchange for the schematics for the spore drive. 

As she is filling Michael about Lorca and his treachery with her own Michael, and how they turned against her, Michael recognizes certain things that Lorca said to her as well. And then she notices something interesting – Georgiou has a sensitivity to light. Yes, she says it is the one physiological difference between our unverses. Suddenly Michael realizes – Lorca, always sensitive to light from a “recent war injury” isn’t from her universe and all – he’s been from the Mirror Universe the whole time!

And he’s broken out of containment.

The Network Between Life and Death

So when Stamets meets his Mirror Universe alter ego, he seems pretty cooperative and we wonder whether or not he knows just how dark and evil this Mirror Universe is. He’s been getting strange flashes, like calls across the network from his other self. But something is wrong and it seems the Mirror version needs our chief engineer to find a way out of the network. Or does he?

Stamets gets distracted by the sight of Hugh Culber, and follows him instead. He learns that his partner has been murdered, and yet somehow is simultaneously here in the network with him. Culber says he came to warn him, because Mirror Stamets can’t be trusted. He’s the one contaminating the network. And after a sweet reunion Culber gives his partner what he needs. The way out is to simply wake up, so he can stop the contamination of the network before it’s too late. But it looks like Discovery’s spores have already been infected.

And we have a lot of questions. If Mirror Lorca was in our universe to acquire Michael so that he could get on board the Imperial ship, where is the real Lorca? And if our crew gets home, what happens between Michael and this Lorca  — the man behind her current freedom? Not to mention the corrupted spore network, and that little thing called the Klingon war that’s still going on back home?

And have we seen the last of Hugh Culber this time, or is that bridge between life and death an open channel?

More when Discovery returns next week.

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