Star Trek Discovery - Vaulting Ambition

So, it's all over but the shouting?

Everyone can go back to their respective galaxies.  Nothing to see here.  Collect your communicators at the interphasic door and say goodbye to your respective narcissistic Virgils.

Star Trek Discovery finally dropped that other shoe at the foot of the bed down the hall from the Kelpien kitchen.

At last.

Star Trek Discovery's worst kept secret was finally confirmed.  Did it land with a thud?  No, it did not.  Unless you count the thud made by Lorca's boot when it connected with Mirror Maddox's face.

Now the real fun begins.

I thought Discovery handled the revelation rather well.  (Despite the fact that the only person surprised by it was Michael Burnham.)  Since we were all in on the mystery of Lorca's true nature (Sorry Discovery, you tried.) it was interesting to see how it all played out.

Central most to this faux drama was Jason Isaac's acting skill.  As Lorca, he was neither too heroic, too angry, (the only time Lorca really lost it was when he was in bed with Admiral Cornwell) too pliable or inconsistent.

If anything he was the model of consistency.  There were small measures of astonishment (Captain Tilly), reasoned equanimity (Being captured, dealing with Mudd) and most importantly persistent rationality.

If you watch "The OA" you'll find Isaac's character of "Hap" Percy to be remarkably similar.  They are both goal driven and ruthlessly logical.  And both men have a subtle dark side that does not interfere with their overall plans.  They are eminently driven.

So when I speak of "the real fun" I want to see this character unshackled.  At the very least, as far as his machinations are concerned.  Lorca can't become unglued or he won't win.  When he pulled a phaser on Cornwell is when he came closest to upending his own plans.  As it was, he had to maneuver her into captivity.  A close call.

If Lorca loses his cool he is done.  I suspect this where we find the inevitable alliance between Mirror Georgiou and Burnham to be finalized.  After all, they do have a "past" together.  Seriously, they do kind of know each other and the deal would be to send Discovery back in exchange for Lorca.

This brings to mind Lorca's need for Burnham.  He did "choose her" but not for the reasons we thought.

Burnham was instrumental in getting the Spore Drive to work.  But it's inception was prior to her arriving on board.  Was it to replace the Tardigrade with Stamets?  That was a pivotal moment.  

Is it that Lorca went from father figure to lover with Burnham?  (At least on the Mirror side.)  Super creepy but Lorca's long game may not only be to usurp the throne but to have Burnham sit at his side.  Apparently, it doesn't matter to him which Burnham it is!  

Would Burnham be okay with that?  I would think not.  Lorca may think he has emotional leverage with her in that he saved her from a life in prison.  He could also prevail upon her to rule by side in a more liberal galaxy.  Free all the enslaved and oppressed in this new life together and be seen as a hero instead of a traitor.


This seems to be Lorca's long game but I can't help think he has one more card up his sleeve.  Lorca's dream of rule with Burnham seems plausible but I have a sinking feeling there is one more thing.  What is it?

There are three more episodes to go after all.


I've openly wondered how the characters of Tyler and Lorca are going to survive into the next season.  For at least one of them, there is reason to hope.

The deeply damaged Ash Tyler is barely hanging on.  A human psyche trapped in a Klingon's body.  Saru's appeals to L'Rell fall on deaf ears.  Voq, after all, is a soldier and this is war.

If this is war then Saru is a master tactician.  (Not only that, but a hero in two dimensions.)  Saru correctly deduces L'Rell has feelings for Ash/Voq.  Seemingly, out-maneuvered by her intransigence he plays his strongest card and beams the dying Tyler into her cell.

It works.

L'Rell will attend to Tyler but only by her hand.  

As the procedure begins she calls to the warrior she loves.   A painful rewiring begins and Vog chants a prayer to Kahless and family.  As he finishes, his human voice returns.

L'Rell bellows loudly.  A warning to all in Sto-vo-kor, "Beware, a Klingon warrior is about to arrive."

The flash sequence that followed highlighting all the good times between Voq and L'Rell was both sentimental and sad.  Now I miss Voq!  Is it too much to ask for L'Rell to be reunited with Mirror Voq is he survived the Imperial onslauhgt?


Stamets continues his own personal journey of discovery as he passes through Wonderland.  Or is it the eighth circle of Hell?

It was interesting to see how Stamets reacted once he saw his opposite number in "The Forest".  Naturally, being of high opinion of himself, he assumed his doppelganger would be the embodiment of one of ancient Rome's greatest poets.  (Virgil wrote the Aeneid the epic poem of Aeneas who survived the Trojan War and eventually helped found the Roman civilization.) In doing this, he reveals a high opinion of himself, wherein, he is either a revered classical poet, a war hero or heretical guide that despite his pagan lifestyle still holds the exalted position of guiding people through Dante's Inferno.

As revelatory as this is, it also quite humorous.

Stamets not only labels his counterpart "Virgil" but a "Narcissistic" one.  Knowing full well even his opposite number must be fully consumed with himself.  

Not to be outdone, Mirror Stamets informs his double there is a God and She is mad at him.  "Very, very mad."  I'm sure this is meant to feed into Stamet's guilt.  Probably something to do with gender and lifestyle but unfortunately it was not explored enough before Mirror Stamets reveals he was just messing with him.

What a joy it must be to meet with your equal but opposite number that shares your out-sized ego and deepest insecurities.  

Mirror Stamets and Stamets Prime catch up on their respective Spore drives and the access to the Mycelial network.  Mirror Stamets conveniently leaves out the part where he has been trying to profit from the network and in turn has been doing incalculable damage to it.  He does confess he is trapped in this nether world and has been calling to his counterpart to get him out.

So, there is a subtle difference between the two.  But Mirror Stamets isn't outright hostile to our Stamets nor is he dismissive of him.  Even Emperor Georgiou tolerates Burnham before and after she learns of her true identity.  You'd think given their cutthroat nature neither would be given the time of day.

Quick aside.

There has been an ongoing argument throughout the internet on whether the Mirror universe is "Evil" or not.  It could be argued they just have a different set of priorities where their ethics have evolved in a different manner.

Although unleashing the "Frisbee of Death" upon the Imperial Council could be seen as evil.  Eh, maybe it's just being efficient.

Back to Stamets

Stamets is afforded a last (?) conversation with his lost lover, Hugh Culbert. 

I'm not sure how this was possible.  It's either because the Mycelial network is "The thread that weaves life through space" and therefore keeps what was once alive still animate to those who can access it.


Stamets is having an internal dialog that is made manifest by the unique nature of his "Wonderland" setting and he is both working out his guilt and his grief.  

Either way it is very poignant.  I went to "Psychology Today" on the web and found this insight to love and death.

"For many people, romantic love forms an essential aspect of their lives; without love, life may seem worthless, devoid of meaning. Romantic love is a central expression of a good, meaningful, and flourishing life. Without love and desire, many people feel that a large part of them is dead. The lover is perceived to be "the sunshine of my life," and for many, without such sunshine, decay and death are all around."

This is especially meaningful for Stamets.  It's obvious he is looking for a way to move on but he is being held back by his guilt over not telling Hugh he loved him enough.  Culbert's "spirit" assures him his actions were enough and it is okay for him to move on.

This freedom allows Stamets to break free of Wonderland and in doing so, sends the Mirror Stamets back to the Charon.


At first, I thought Stamets had been sent back to the Charon and I thought, "Uh-oh!"  But it seems Mirror Stamets was sent to the Charon.  My confusion stems from Mirror Stamets not having the leather sash or belt that went horizontally across his uniform.

Here it is as seen in "The Forest" but it is missing in "reality".  Why the difference?  A continuity error by the production staff or simply the nature of being in the Wonderland "Forest" versus the real world?  (The Imperial sigil does remain constant.)

Stamets had to get back as Mirror Stamets' damage is getting beyond the point of fixing.  It was the Spore drive and Lorca's intervention that got the Discovery to the wrong universe.  Now it seems the only way back is through the knowledge preserved from the old USS Defiant.

The maneuvering towards this particular plot line may seem rather obvious but it does bring all the factions together.

Stamets and Tilly will have to use the information brought back from the Defiant while Mirror Georgiou and Burnham will have to come to an arrangement that both preserves the Empire and allows Burnham and Discovery to escape.  In the meantime, Lorca will use his time to unseat the Emperor and convince Burham to stay with him.  (If that is his plan.)

Most of these thing do not dovetail nicely together.


Odds and Ends


I was going to re-name my collection of miscellany from the episode, "Bits and Pieces" in honor of the fine Kelpien cuisine served at the Emperor's table.  But, I felt a gag reflex coming on and couldn't bear it.  Ganglia anyone?  (Heave!)

Some of Star Trek Discovery's main plot lines may have easily deduced but they still have the capacity to shock us.  Slave Kelpien selected for dinner.  Wow.  That's what Burnham was picking out in the Imperial chamber, dinner!  (Yes, I know you know that.  I'm still trying to wrap my mind around it.)

What is that thing churning and burning at the core of the Charon?

A captive star used as a power plant?  Take a look at the inside surface of the ship.  Are those buildings or, at least, landscaping?  Does that "star" provide heat and energy enough to make an atmosphere possible?  Does it make cloaking possible?  Whatever it is, I love it.

When Mirror Stamets reappeared in the Charon sick bay we got this digital schematic of the ship.  Why?  Well, for one to identify for the viewing audience where he was and two, another look at the power plant star thingy.  This must come into play near the end of the season.  Hit a button and it turns into a Black Hole?  Let's hope so.

Lorca allowed Barlow to be executed in grotesque fashion in order to keep up his pretense.  If he only said "Ava" in time for him.  But no, he needed to preserve his secret until Maddox was so enraged that he released him.

Even in the vicious Mirror universe, Maddox was angry enough to defend his sister's honor.  Does this give us a glimpse into Lorca's true nature especially when it concerns women?

He seems to treat woman aboard the Discovery equitably.  Although there was that incident with Admiral Cornwell.  Also, let not forget his stunned reaction to Tilly being captain of the ISS Discovery.  He was supposed to be a father figure to Mirror Burnham but became a lover instead.

Does this mean he is a misogynist or worse a lecher?  What becomes of Burnham if she says yes or no to his supposed entreaty of ruling the Empire together?

The title of the final episode takes on further meaning with, "Will You Take My Hand?"



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