After a mid-season hiatus, Star Trek Discovery has begun again its
episodes for the rest of the season Star Trek: Discovery S1 E10: Despite
Yourself answers many swirling questions that cliffhanger episode 9
asked in December. Many conspiracy theories have been confirmed while
some still linger like Section 31, “a deep state” in the Federation.
This episode is sure to please as Jonathan Frakes takes the helm of
Discovery as its director in this episode “Despite Yourself.”
THE MAIN AND GUEST CHARACTERS, WRITERS AND DIRECTORS
Director: Jonathan Frakes
Writer: Sean Cochran
Okay. The last episode, “Into The Forest I Go” the Discovery made a jump to unknown coordinates which was thought to be near Starbase 46. And it was. In this week’s episode, “Despite Yourself,” we find out that Discovery reached Starbase 46…but in a mirror universe. In other words, a universe like our own in most ways with some exceptions.
Okay. The rubble of what should be Starbase 46, the USS Discovery immediately is under attack from a Vulcan ship. Only the Cooper is there to save Discovery. The ISS Cooper. The ISS could stand for The Imperial Star Ship.
Lorca describes the mycelial network and their jump into this parallel universe through his map using the 133 jumps around the ship of the Dead. A pivotal scene. With a tribble on one side of his mycelial map and fortune cookies on the other, Lorca paraphrases his talk with Lt. Stamets about the realization of the paths the network accesses. Burnham and Saru visibly doubt Lorca’s credibility of this innocent mistake and Burnham wishes to review the navigation logs which Lorca shoots down the idea. Saru implies Lorca’s fault in Stamet’s condition and Lorca deflects it. His idea is this: Blend in with this mirror universe, seek a way to survive and then find a way home. He orders Discovery to comb the Klingon wreckage-leave no stone unturned-for information on this parallel universe, the exceptions in it, what makes it unique from our own universe and what they can learn about it.
Lt. Ash Tyler is appointed to sift through the Klingon rubble for a data core that will answer all their questions. During his mission in space, Tyler has flashbacks of his time in prison with L’Rell. They are vivid and to him horrible. Burnham confirms they are in a mirror universe and the Terran Empire exists not the Federation. This empire has a faceless emperor and they are prejudice against all who are not like themselves. This includes the Klingons, Vulcans and Andorians. All aliens are subject to their rule. Lorca understands they cannot ask these people for help. Burnham also elucidates that an identical Discovery may be in their universe now. Or you could meet your alternate self in this mirror universe.
Tilly’s twin in unearthed as the captain of the Discovery. An exception in this mirror universe. A long haired blonde, she is evil and ruthless. The Cooper thrusts Tilly in her captain’s role when they communicate by audio only and she must respond as captain. Lorca responds as her Irish engineer. The ship is refitted with the acronym ISS instead of USS. So, the crew wears different uniforms and rank insignia. The alternate universe Burnham was killed by the Lorca copy or so the Klingon data core states. And Lorca is a rebel. More exceptions.
Stamet is in and out of consciousness since the 133 jumps in the spore drive. He rambles about the palace and the enemy is near. Culber stays by his side. Lorca approaches Culber about his supposed guilt of persuading Stamets to perform the 133 jumps and he informs Culber that he wants some other doctor to provide care for Stamets. In fact, he believes Culber is too close to the situation.
Tyler visits L’Rell in the brig for some explanation. She answers with releasing her to receive that information. When he does, she uses the prayer of Kahless to trigger his memory. To resurface them completely. He recites the prayer in perfect Klingon. He recalls some of his memory but not enough. L’Rell is forced into her cell again by Tyler.
He goes to Sickbay to ask the doctor for help concerning his “imaginations.”
Tyler becomes highly irritable when the doctor questions him and Dr. Culber threatens to take him off duty. Tyler just wants some tests run to check himself out and not let the team down. Culber agrees. His tests confirm Ash Tyler has been altered in his physical body and psychological state-another personality lay underneath his Ash Tyler persona. After receiving this information from the good doctor, Tyler kills him. He rushes to the transporter room for an away mission with Burnham and Lorca. They all will transport over to the Discovery where Burnham is captain-an exception of this universe.
Since her absence, Connor has control over the Shenzhou and its crew. They are shocked and amazed to see Burnham and Lorca. She unwillingly takes him to the agonizer chamber for torture. Burnham and her away team must access the database to understand how the Defiant, another USS starship returned home after being caught in this universe. Connor escorts her to the bridge. On the turbo lift he explains that he never instilled the fear in the Shenzhou crew the way she did and he now knows why. He attacks her in the turbo lift in an attempt to kill her. He fails and she stabs him. Surprised by her own actions, Burnham can only stare into the eyes of her young crewman. The turbo lift doors open and she is welcomed by her crew who witness the result of her devastating act of violence. They remove his body from the bridge and she takes the captain’s seat.
THEME AND OTHER LITERARY DEVICES
Connectivity is the theme in the mirror universe. How we relate to
one another is almost as important as our actions toward each other.
Networking. The empire despises anyone “other.” If this empire can ostracize everyone else and their needs, they can sniff out any rebel like suffocating a fire.
Torture. Lorca was tortured in the agonizer booth as a type of punishment for betraying the Empire. Tyler was tortured by his memories in the Klingon cell and what happened there. L’Rell, the Klingon traitor, does not interpret Ash Tyler’s memories as a tortured experience, but an enjoyable one for both of them.
The ISS Empire. The empire is an example of networking. How they
relate, interact and their actions towards others are decided by Terran
relations and that is the only way they will do business with anyone. They believe they can survive without anyone else and if they keep their network exclusive they can defeat anyone else. These people represent oppression.
The Rebels. Vulcans, Klingons, Andorians and other aliens make up a group to dispel the ISS Empire so they can live peaceably in the galaxy. These aliens are outside the “network” of the ISS Empire. They are segregated and hated by the empire for simply no being a part of Terran empire. They are the opposite of the network. They embody the idea of freedom.
The ISS Gesture. Among other things, it may hint at something greater. Observe that when Tyler is on his mission to retrieve the data core he extends his hand through his machine in quite the same way. Just saying.
A very important scene in Lorca’s room where he explains to Burnham and Saru the depth of the mycelial network has him situated at a map of the network and its many locations. On one side is a tribble. On the other side are his fortune cookies. Not only symbolic, but doubtless, a portentous event. It was a well directed scene.
PARALLELS IN A PARALLEL WORLD
Tyler and Lorca parallel each other in that both are being tortured- Ash Tyler is psychologically and he does not know why. Lorca is being tortured physically in the agonizer. He definitely knows why. He is a traitor to the Terran Empire and he is trying to free the aliens suppressed by this regime.
Tyler and Burnham. Tyler kills out of aggression, but Burnham out of self defense. She is attacked in the turbo lift by Connor who was captain of the Discovery before Burnham’s return.
All in all, this episode felt right for starting the second half of the season. It has uncovered some interesting surprises and yet more remains. We have new questions which leads to the next episode “The Wolf Inside.” It has been confirmed that the crew of the Discovery is in the mirror universe. Although, Star Trek: Discovery is not quick to reveal a plot twist as in Lt. Ash Tyler failing a medical examination that would insist he is human when it does the episode races through the moment. So, the crew of the Discovery counterparts like Capain Tilly in the mirror universe did oppose their regular universe characters to me and Burnham and Lorca’s equivalents are thought to be dead. Lorca, himself, a known fugitive. The different sleek bridge design of the Discovery in the mirror universe was larger than the regular bridge and more breathtaking. I liked it.
There are many unknowns in this mirror universe. Nothing is as it suggests. This universe reflects some social issues of our times. Dr. Culber’s death was unexpected. It does fit nicely within the context of Lt. Tyler’s emotional problems and it was a logical progression that the lieutenant would act forcefully in that way.
Jonathan Frakes who played Commander Riker in The Next Generation directed “Despite Yourself.” His direction was above par. The fight scene between Burnham and mirror universe Captain Connor in the turbo lift was well done. I must also say that the scene with Lorca, Burnham and Saru in his room as he explains to them the mycelial network and other places it could take them may hold significance in episodes to come.
So, this episode was a well-rounded episode for the second half of the season and should pilot us to more revelations in the series.
The mid-season opener of Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 Episode 10 “Despite Yourself” was shipshape this week. The episode rubber-stamped some theories of Star Trek fans. It also surprised us with the death of one of the more important Starfleet characters. The Discovery appeared in mirror universe where nothing is as it seems. Many questions have popped up in the selfsame episode where there have been a few obvious questions answered.
The second episode of the second half of this season, called “The Wolf Inside,” will debunk the rumors of Star Trek: Discovery’s success as a series or will seal its demise depending on the direction of the show.
Either way, it is a certainty we will have to watch next week’s episode before we can decide on this series’ fate.
What did you think about this week’s episode? How many of your questions does this episode answer?
Please leave your comments below…