Star Trek Discovery - Episode 7 - Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad

"Listen, (Do-wa-do) do you want to know a secret? (Do-wa-do) Do you promise not to tell?  Whoa-oo-whoa, Closer.  Let me whisper in your ear.  Say the words you long to hear.  I'm in love with you!  Ooo-ooo."

Okay, so the crew of Discovery loves disco.  I love the Beatles.

Poor Burnham.  She's never been in love.  But before we get to that emotional roller coaster let talk about the other thrill ride in this past Sunday's Discovery, time travel!

We all love carnival rides right?  Round and round, up and down, loop de loop.  The only bummer?  When it ends!  Star Trek Discovery had one of its most satisfying episodes to date but like all good things it had to end.

Was that end satisfying?

It wasn't really.  The thrill was in the journey not the destination.  I for one, should be happier with this conclusion in that I criticized STD for leaving the Stamets "Temporal Shadow" thread hanging a couple of weeks ago and now here we are and it's all sewn together again.

Stamets recognizes he lives outside the normal time stream and drops it into the conversation.  Small boom.  Since it didn't seem to faze anyone I guess we're all good right?

I suppose Stamets's admission is saved as a secret because there were so many time loops that no one is going to remember the last one thanks to all the time stream changes. (But, I still want to see Dr. Colber's reaction to his partner's "gift".)

It was a convenient way to get Discovery and it's crew out of Mudds' perpetual trap.  Maybe too convenient.  But, like I said before, at least the thread was picked up.

Okay, let's get to the more fun aspects of this episode.

Michael Burnham

Star Trek Discovery is making a deliberate attempt to humanize Michael Burnham. 

Hmm, do we want her to be that half-Vulcan, half-human fish out of water or full on human shipmate?  Tough call.  She was so conflicted before that she betrayed her mentor and best friend Captain Phillipa.  But, if she continues on the "human" track her character may fall prey to the cliches of forming relationships, falling in love, being hurt and falling back in love again.

Blah, blah.

I think I prefer the "fish out of water" human.  (That pretty much describes all of us anyway.)

So, despite all the Mudd shenanigans (Rainn Wilson awesome once again as Harry) this was a Michael Burnham episode.

Sonequa Martin-Green ran the full spectrum of her talents and we came out the better for it.  We were treated to some incomparable facial expressions, the perils of new love and the capacity of her character to show courage under fire.

She confided in Stamets she's never been in love as a "key" in breaking  Mudd's temporal stranglehold on the crew.  It was a bit sad and what really sold the hurt in this scene was Anthony Rapp's sadness for her.  (Rapp's been killing it too and his performance has garnered greater poignancy since his revelation of being sexually assaulted.)  

Burnham found herself thrust into the intricacies of human mating rituals when Tilly pretty much pushed her there.  (The hair down disco Tilly was a pure joy.)

This was Burnham's reaction when Tilly told her Ash Tyler had a thing for her.  If you thought navigating Klingon space was tough try working your way through an alcohol fueled dance party.

"Ouch, are you really hugging me?"  Here's Burnham when Stamets decides she could use a nice hug. Help!

Of course, one of the ironies of the episode is finding out Mudd is actually running from a relationship.  He looks to be in more pain than Burnham did when she got her hug.


Here are our two star crossed lovers once the time loop chicanery has ended.  

"Winter is coming?"

Things may look a little icy here.  But, now that they know they have a past that no longer exists I'm sure they will find a way to get back together.

Crackpot theory?  They will be thrust into each other's arms due to Lorca's perfidy.  (He rid himself of his nettlesome lover by sending her into the arms of the Klingons.) (Ha, maybe he and Mudd should share notes.)  Nothing like a little "physical contact" to take care of that nasty tension.

Burnham as a character may be reaching a crossroads here.  Should she dive head first into her new responsibilities on the bridge?  Should she pour her untested heart into a relationship with Ash?  How much of this will compromise her ethics once Lorca's misdeeds come to the surface?  Losing her Vulcan nature may cause her to lose that analytical dis-compassion when she needs it most.  

As I've asked before, she can't commit mutiny twice can she?

Mudd Love

As I noted earlier, Rainn Wilson was brilliant as Mudd.  If you thought he was an understated madman in "The Office" his portrayal of Mudd is one of gleeful sadism.

One of the "53" ways Mudd managed to dispose of Lorca was to jettison him into space via the transporter.  Seen above, he does so while enjoying a snack.  It was pretty hilarious.

Wilson's Mudd is great fun.  Would it be too much to ask to see more of him this season?  My dream scenario would be to see him match wits with  Khan Noonien Singh.  Please let this happen.

Lorca Lowdown

Discovery managed to pick up the thread of Lorca's previous command, The Buran.  As you may recall, Lorca sacrificed his crew of the Buran lest they suffer torture at the hands of the Klingons.  "Tough love" I think I've called it in the past.  Yes, he killed them all to spare them.

Ash should know this as should Mudd.  Certainly, Admiral Kat Cornwell knows of it and now the Klingons have her.  So, here's another bit of a crackpot theory.  All those deaths Lorca suffered from the hands of Mudd, were those some sort of cosmic penance for his misdeeds?  If so, he got off rather lightly since ultimately survived the whole ordeal.

Or, was this part of the narrative used as foreshadowing telling us that someday Lorca will suffer for his sins?  I'm leaning towards the foreshadowing.  Lorca dodged fate 53 times this time.  Number 54 should be killer.

Here's an interesting bit of trivia.  The real "Buran" was the Russian space shuttle that never carried a crew into the cosmos.  It now lies rotting in it's old hanger suffering an ignominious fate.  

More foreshadowing for Lorca?

Odds and Ends


Good to see the tradition of "Space Whales" continued in Star Trek.  I got a fond memory of "The Beast Below" an episode from the Matt Smith Dr. Who era.  Long live non-atmospheric organisms!

Breaking up is hard to do?  Yikes, is this foreshadowing for Tyler and Burnham too?  If not, it's still a pretty cool piece of digital effects.

Lastly, our lesson for the next episode, "If you want peace, prepare for war."   Sounds ominous.

See you then.


  1. That Mudd was running from Stella isn't something we didn't already know. As he said in the TOS episode "I, Mudd" when showed the Stella model to the Enterprise group:
    "You see, gentlemen, behind every great man there is a woman urging him on. And so it was with my Stella. She urged me on into outer space. Not that she meant to, but with her continual, eternal, confounded nagging. Well, I think of her constantly, and every time I do, I go further out into space. "

    Also, Mudd meeting up with Kahn would absolutely destroy any continuity with TOS

    1. Also, I am extremely disappointed at the missed opportunity that the writers had. Stella's first words off of the Transporter pad should have been:
      "Harcourt Fenton Mudd, what have you been up to?"

    2. Good Mudd points John. Glad to see you are a die hard Trekker. If Stella would have said those words I would've fallen right out of my chair. To tell you the truth, I have my reservations about the timeline they are in. It seems like the original one but the "Space Seeds" of doubt have been planted. Thanks John!


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