‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Season 1, Episode 12: Man in the Mirror

‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Season 1, Episode 12: Man in the Mirror

What Worked

1. Stamets and Culber saying goodbye

We never got to know this relationship very well — and that’s too bad. Anthony Rapp and Wilson Cruz have excellent chemistry. Culber is one of the few characters able to get Stamets to stop being so grumpy. The relationship allowed Rapp to explore Stamets’s depth instead of his grouchiness.

I was confused as to how Culber reappeared in order to say good bye. It had something to do with the mycelial network — but this is one of those Trek moments when the means mattered very little compared to the end. It was very sweet to see brief glimpses of Stamets and Culber as they shared happy recollections about their relationship, especially on a show so filled with anger and bitterness.

2. Burnham and Georgiou

Sonequa Martin-Green is brilliant as Burnham in the scene when Mirror Georgiou tells Burnham, “Everything will be the way it was.” It’s clear that Burnham actually wishes this were the case. Of course, Georgiou means back in the original universe, before the mutiny, back when she was actually a mentor to Burnham. Martin-Green doesn’t say a word — Burnham can’t reveal her true self at this point — but her face paints a vivid picture of her internal monologue.

What Didn’t Work

1. Why is Saru trying so hard to save Tyler?

Doug Jones is putting in yeoman’s work as Saru, showing genuine concern for The Klingon Formerly Known as Tyler. And yet, I don’t understand why the crew is working overtime to try to save Voq. He is a Klingon spy! He was never actually a human. Saru seems to be trying to save the human side of Voq — but there never was a human side! He was surgically altered to look like this.

Which brings up something else: I am further confused over why Voq went so far out of his way to repress his own memories of being a Klingon. Shouldn’t an effective spy know that he’s a spy?

2. The darkness

We know “Discovery” is dark. It’s the darkest of all the Treks. It’s also wildly unpredictable. But is anyone having fun watching it? In this episode alone, we see Kelpiens who are either enslaved or eaten. We see a random human’s body explode for a crime we know little about. Mirror Georgiou unexpectedly (and seemingly without justification) kills several people using a device that would be more at home in an “X-Men” movie.

It would be one thing if this episode were an outlier. But this is the general makeup of the show. (Recently, we saw Culber — a key character — have his neck snapped out of nowhere.)

The crew members seem merely to tolerate one another (Culber and Stamets notwithstanding). No one is having fun. This means the audience doesn’t have fun. The crew of the Discovery doesn’t seem like the type that wants to sacrifice for one another. Why should they? There is very little affection between the characters we see most.

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