We finally see one of the main cast members, after 4 episodes, and see an old familiar character albeit played by a different actor as well as a different look. Also, what the heck is up with Stamet’s reflection?
After a month of successful operations, Lorca is ordered to protect the spore drive until it can be replicated for other Starfleet ships. As he returns to the Discovery, he is taken captive by the Klingons. Burnham has grown concerned with the toll that the drive has taken on Ripper. Along with Stamets’ partner, medical officer Hugh Culbert, Burnham convinces Stamets to find an alternative to run the drive. Lorca is imprisoned with captured Starfleet officer Ash Tyler and human criminal Harry Mudd, and in discussions Lorca reveals that he killed his entire crew during an earlier battle to spare them from the Klingons’ torture, but escaped himself. Lorca is tortured by L’Rell, who wants the secret behind Discovery’s new form of travel, but Lorca and Tyler escape before the Klingons learn anything. For the final jump needed to escape the Klingons, with Lorca and Tyler onboard, Stamets connects to the spore drive himself using Ripper’s DNA. Later, Burnham frees Ripper, while Stamets’ reflection does not walk away from a mirror when he does.
We see a lot of things – Lorca’s back story is very interesting. A captain not going down with his ship and instead is the only one survivor while the rest of his crew is dead? Apparently seeing that the crew would be captured by the Klingons and unable to save them and not wanting them to be tortured by their enemies, he took the decision to blow up the ship. This makes us understand his willingness to win the war at all costs.
Saru shows some character growth and development here. Saru gets his first taste of command when Lorca is captured and he asks the computer to list out the best captains in Starfleet’s history – a list which has Robert April, Phillippa Georgou, Matthew Decker, Christopher Pike and Johnathan Archer – and asks for common characteristics. He wants the computer to analyse his performance and check to see if has common traits. At the end, despite the rescue of Lorca and fellow Starfleet officer / POW Ash Tyler, Saru does not want to know the results from the computer, instead he lets his actions speak for themselves.
That brings us to Ash Tyler, a POW who has been on this Klingon ship for about 6 months. Klingon L’Rell (Mary Chieffo) has taken over as captain of the ship and has taken a liking to him which has eased up his torture. And when I say liking – yeah, she is using him as a sex slave! Lorca meets Ash as well as Harry Mudd, who was captured while trying to escape his debtors. I think this Mudd is interesting; he has been a snitch for the Klingons and thus has been so far almost bruise free while other prisoners get beaten. He has a creature named Stewart who he has trained to steal food as well.
Lorca and Ash are able to escape, after Lorca has had a torture session, beat up and kill a few Klingons. When Ash is alone, L’Rell comes to find him and asks him how he could leave her after what they have been through. It’s a threat more than a lover’s lament and the look on Ash’s face says it all. Lorca shoots at her but it hits a beam and sparks ricochet off it onto her face, giving her a massive burn. She yells him pain as Lorca and Ash make their way to some shuttles and escape to be picked up by the Discovery, evading chasing Klingons.
The poor tortured Tardigrade is being put through the wringer and Burnham is feeling empathy for it. She questions usage of the spore drive, which is hurting the creature so much. At one point it shrivels and shrinks down and Stamets uses it’s dna on himself and connects himself to the spore drive making the rescue of Lorca and Ash possible. And what the heck happens to him? After seeing him and his partner, Dr. Hugh Culber, are in their quarters brushing their teeth in the bathroom and while Stamets says he is fine, after he walks away we see his reflection still in the reflection with a sinister smile and then it walks away. What the hell?
Is this a foreshadowing of the mirror universe? Does the Discovery’s work with the spore drive cause the mirror universe to connect with us from time to time? We don’t know. Only time will tell. Also, is Ash a Klingon spy? Talks have been around that he is actually Voq, who has undergone surgery at a genetic level to disguise himself as a human. As wonderfully unique as that would be, it does not seem feasible and will have a lot more questions. I give the episode an 8.5 outta 10!