THE WOLF INSIDE
After the initial shock of entering the
mirror universe in episode 10, Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 Episode 11
handles the crew descent into the “abyss” of life as Terran Empire
crew mates and the effects it has on the moral and ethical foundation of
their Starfleet upbringing and training. This week’s episode reminds me of an old Cherokee parable. A very mindful one. Episode 11 has deep roots in the moral duality of right and wrong.
MAIN AND GUEST CHARACTERS, WRITERS AND DIRECTORS
Dr. Hugh Culber
Captain Gabriel Lorca
Director: TJ Scott
Writer: Lisa Randolph
Airdate: January 14, 2018
On the Shenzous Burnham lies on her bed in her captain’s quarters of the ISS (Imperial Star Ship) Shenzhou. If you recall, she and Captain Georghiou spoke of her being a captain one day in episode 1 called “Battle at the Binary Stars.” Now in episode 11, Burnham is unhappy and unsettled by the idea. Her monologue is simple, she cannot rest in this universe and will not likely find any so long as she is here in the mirror universe. However, in an intimate moment, Burnham and Tyler admit that each is the strength of the other. The Saru’s echo which is a slave in the mirror universe enters the room. Tyler checks on Lorca and the slave is named by Burnham Saru.
Later, Saru communicates to Burnham about their plan to find information about the USS Defiant that disappeared into this mirror universe years ago-a key to returning to their own universe, in their own timeline. Saru is curious about Kelpiens in his timeline and though Burnham knows about the Kelpien existence, she lies to Saru about that knowledge for fear of hurting him. Kelpiens are slaves in this universe and Saru’s counterpart is just that on the Shenzhou. When she asked his name, he said he had none. Slaves have no names. But Burnham named him Saru. No only is Burnham lying, but so is Saru. He did not inform Burnham of Dr. Culber’s death.
The bridge is another story all together. The Shenzhou receives a transmission that Fire Wolf, the leader of the Resistance, has a base on Harlak-a planet nearby. Her orders are to destroy him-Terran General Order 4. It states: Any exotic species deemed a threat by the Imperial Supremacy will be extinguished without prejudice.
Instead of launching a strike against the planet, Burnham and Tyler beam down to contact Fire Wolf-with a proposition. Burnham questions Lorca about which plan of action is correct-hers or the Empire.
Meanwhile, Tilly with the help of Saru attempt to save the life of Stamets. Tilly believes Stamets did not kill Culber on purpose. Stamets has proven violent against Culber in the past after his transformation in last week’s episode before killing him. So, Tilly believes she can save Stamets. How? With the spores that impaired him. The mushrooms used in that spore drive have the ability to bridge life and death. Perhaps reverse the neuro problems his is having.
On the surface of the planet Harlak, Burnham and Tyler are quickly surrounded by a rebel party. As a sign of peace, Burnham puts down her and Tyler’s weapons in exchange to talking with Fire Wolf. Agreeing, the party take Burnham and Tyler to a secret location. Tents line the city. There Burnham meets the correlative Voq. Equivalent Voq wants to unveil Burnham’s truest intentions and alternate Sarek is called in. His name-The Prophet. Through a mind meld, Sarek sees and comprehends their special relationship in another universe. She is honest and innocent to him. He treasures the connection of our or the prime universe.
Tyler almost extinguishes that moment when he has a bad reaction to the sight of mirror universe Voq and he rushes mirror universe Voq. But this Voq is prepared, a real warrior, and Tyler and Burnham on the brink of being killed. Sarek and therefore Fire Wolf Voq trust Burnham. He gives her the data chip of the rebel bases in the entire quadrant. In exchange the rebels evacuate Harlak.
On the Discovery, Tilly tries her theory on Stamets and it appears to be working. But Stamets loses his vitals and all seems lost.
Beamed on the Shenzhou again, Burnham inquires of Tyler about his actions against Voq in the copycat universe. He confesses to her he is the Voq in their universe. After that admission, he goes in for the kill against her proclaiming in the name of T’Kuvma. But substitute Saru, restrains him.
Stamets responds to the efforts of resuscitation. He meets himself in the plant life of the spores with his twin, Stamets from the Imperial Fleet.
Burnham beams Tyler out to space for his murder attempt on her life not before punching him first. Betrayal in the Terran Empire is punished one way. Discovery is waiting on him and he is beamed on board almost immediately. Saru retrieves the data from Tyler that was hidden by Burnham on Tyler unbeknownst to him.
However, the rebel base is demolished by another ship carrying the Emperor- Phillipa Georgiou. And she wants answers.
THEME AND OTHER LITERARY DEVICES
Contrast. Good vs. Evil. In the Mirror Universe, our prime universe Discovery crew has to fake for the real thing. They are making choices whether to follow the principles of Starfleet for the sake of right or fit in for the sake of survival. Burnham has to decide to fire on Harlak or not. Do the ends justify the means. And to what extent.
Chaos. In words with Tyler and Stamets. Clearly reality is shifting under people’s feet in this episode. Even Burnham senses an uneasiness in the episode early. Think of her monologue.
Dark vs. Light. The lighting used in this episode shows the contrast about right vs. wrong and morality vs. immorality. All of this has to do with choices. What is inside of us all. What will we do when we are surrounded by darkness. Will it consume us or are we the beacon? And how?
Abyss. Space. The Terran Empire which represents fear, hate, inferiority, false superiority and anger. When all these vices stare back through us like Nietzsche states: If you star long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.
This Terran Empire which is a maze of our worst selves, and the monsters we fight could consume us if we are not careful. And how do we stop it? How to win?
Perhaps the Cherokee parable of “The Two Wolves” can shed light on this conundrum. The key may be in the title of this week’s episode.
“The Wolf Inside” revealed more character counterparts from the mirror universe. We met Voq, but not Lt. Ash Tyler. Sarek was an interesting twist as an introduction of Prophet. Lt. Ash Tyler’s confession of Voq and his transformation was eerie. The direction was excellent and represented the confused state of Voq/Tyler well. Canadian T.J. Scott is to thank for this. His work includes Orphan Black about an outsider who watches a woman who looks like her commit suicide then she steals the woman’s identity and Gotham. Everyone knows about the FOX hit. The lighting in this episode was more unearthly and darker than usual. Glen Keenan is responsible for the cinematography in this episode. Some of his work includes “Max Payne.” The rebel city and the tent scenes were basic and yet poignant of the resistance’s condition. Scott outlines this universe’s sinister feel quickly in the show. The writing was also noteworthy. Give credit to Lisa Randolph. She assisted on the television show for “Shield” in its heyday. From Lt. Tyler’s outbursts to Stamets prophetic ramblings. Chaos is enunciated throughout this episode. Very fine episode.
Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 Episode 11 “The Wolf Inside” found Burnham making a difficult decision about the planet Harlak and the inhabitants of the base. She met the leader of the rebels, “Fire Wolf.” Not only that she has crossed paths with her late captain’s counterpart Phillipa Georgiou. The next episode “Vaulting Ambition” is sure to be just as exceptional. Stay tuned for episode 11.
What do you believe will happen to Voq/Tyler now?
How will Georgiou greet Burnham on her vessel…with open arms or rejection?