Star Trek: Discovery: “Despite Yourself”

Star Trek: Discovery boldly goes where the Star Trek series have gone before several times…. but man, they sure have a way of making feel goddamn terrifying.

Spoiler Alert

Solidifying its place as the darkest Trek since that ill-advised Doctor McCoy spin-off, Game of Bones, Discovery finds out that she’s jumped into the goddamn Mirror Universe and has switched placed with mirror Discovery who are, I’m assuming, running around Discovery’s universe wondering what the fuck has happened to the Klingons faces.   Now, trapped in a parallel reality with no way of transmitting the crack to the Klingon cloak that the Federation desperately needs to win the war, Burham, Tyler, and Lorca must go undercover and board the ISS Shenzhou to get some much-needed intel about how to get home.

Meanwhile, Tyler is totally Voq (Derrrr), but something is wrong (Arrooo?).

It’s hilarious to watch the Discovery haters complain about the lack of continuity on the show and then see an episode steeped in continuity from the classic series, DS9, and, of all things, Star Trek: Enterprise.   Discovery was obviously intended to be a gateway series for a new generation of fans, something that Star Trek desperately needs if it hopes to survive, but it’s showing that it is still not afraid to dip into its vast well of history without drowning the newbies is convoluted continuity.   The complainers set up the complain dominoes and Discovery takes out its dick and swats them down.

More than that, Discovery makes the mirror universe a scary place.   Sure, it’s been a little unsettling in the past… I remember DS9 portraying it as an allegory for concentration camps before it decided that the mirror universe was just full of hot lesbian women and it would be a prime vacation destination.   On Discovery, the allegory is… it’s a horrible fucking place.   Racism, xenophobia, brutality… it’s worse than you remember and it’s completely terrifying to behold.   What’s more, it’s just a corrupting influence, beckoning you in with the visages of old friends and lost places, all you have to do is give in to the worst of your nature.

This mirror universe is personal, seductive, and far too easy.

No wonder the Republican party has gone full out Nazi on us in such a short time.

I would be remiss in mentioning the now confirmed Voq/Tyler connection… in that Voq is Tyler and Tyler is Voq.   If this took you by surprise, perhaps you’d like to learn that water is wet, fire is hot, and shit smells bad.   This was one revelation that’s been spoiled for months now, but Discovery pulled a fast one on us by revealing that the real surprise was not that that Tyler had a little Voq inside of him, but that the nature of what’s happening is now completely up in the air.   L’Rell doesn’t know either which makes TylerVoq a wild card and I love it.

Despite this episode being a large touch on the dark side, there was still a bit of humor.   Captain Tilly was a a pure delight seeing the entire crew play the parts they needed to… campy, but fun.

Finally, the biggest shocker in the episode, the quick and brutal death of Doctor Culber at the hands of TylerVoq.   Say what you will about Discovery mixing up the formula, it takes some incredibly bold risks, the likes of which we’ve never seen in a Star Trek series.   Killing off one of the mains like this took medium sized balls… I won’t say “large” because they are in the mirror universe and there’s likely a spare Culber running around, but still… hardcore, Discovery.   Hardcore.

I goddamn loved this episode.   We were told that this episode was essentially reboot the show and, not sure what they meant by that, I watched in trepidation as Discovery laid all of her cards on the table, slapped my face, and then made me make it a drink.   “Depite Yourself” is thoughtful, fun, scary, and shocking… it’s a type of Trek that we just aren’t used to anymore and that makes it a precious thing in my book.   I’m reserved, hoping that the follow up episodes don’t fall flat on their face, but for right here and right now, I’m enjoying this ride.



About the author

Jason Donner

Jason Donner devoured the universe and you are all living inside him.