Star Trek Discovery: Despite Yourself

Stamets’ last jump has gone horribly wrong, leaving Discovery stranded – in what turns out to be the mirror universe. Determined to survive in a universe where the Terran Empire reigns supreme, the crew decide that they must impersonate their mirror selves.

And we’re back. It’s 2018, and the next batch of Discovery episodes are heading our way, starting with this instalment. There’s some good stuff, and some things I could have done without, leaving me ambivalent overall.

First off, let’s address the big thing – the mirror universe. Coincidentally, I actually have an article in development about the mirror universe in general and some of the spin-off novels about it. I had tired of the mirror universe after its overuse in DS9, and had only just grown to like it again after In a Mirror, Darkly – but not so much that I wanted to see it again here.

On the plus side, the mirror universe offers Tilly the chance to transform into an utter badass – and I am certainly enjoying that. But in general, this episode just makes the mirror universe feel overused again. Why is it so important, anyway? In Parallels, we saw plenty of parallel universes – what makes the mirror one so special?

That being said, I’m still intrigued by some of the other ongoing threads. Just what is going on with Tyler? His body has been completely transformed, and possibly his personality has too – is he actually the original Ash Tyler? Is he even human, for that matter?

Further observations and questions

  • Culber has just been killed by Tyler, and Stamets is barely in touch with reality – it’s not looking good for the gays of Star Trek.
  • When Stamets addressed Tilly as captain in an earlier episode, I assumed he was seeing a future where she became captain. In fact, he was likely referring to her mirror self, who is captain of the ISS Discovery.
  • Were all the Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass references a subtle hint that we were going to end up in the mirror universe at some point?
  • I’ve been meaning to mention this for a while, but in the 23rd century different ships tended to have different, non arrowhead insignias – it was only the Enterprise which had the arrowhead/delta insignia. Yet Discovery and Starfleet in general seems to have the arrowhead insignia at this point.
  • I wonder if some of the mirror universe backstory from the novels will be adopted into canon over the next few episodes.

Summary – Despite Yourself: I hope we get out of the mirror universe soon.

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