An episode that shows some of the strengths of Discovery as well as it’s tendency to plot holes the size of that wormhole from Deep Space Nine.
The episode leads with Airiam’s funeral and various characters get to say something about the character who the show blew out of an airlock. It’s moving and well done and I’m glad that Detmer had a chance to speak. The opening sets the tone: this is an episode of plot exposition and character development — an extended debrief on what has happened and a plan for what happens next.
Section 31 gets to info-dump most of the answers about the mysterious Project Daedalus (a final clue from Airiam and also the title of the last episode) and those revelations keep coming at a personal level for Michael. Doctor Hugh and Stamets continue to negotiate their new reality, while Michael is forced to do the same with both Spock and Ash.
It’s no surprise to have the time-travel plot confirmed. Nor is it a spoiler to reveal that the Red Angel has two agendas: get Star Fleet’s attention and keep Michael alive…or rather keep Michael alive in Season 2, having left her alone in very life threatening situations in Season 1. It’s a big plot hole but we know why it’s there in terms of TV production.
And of course, we finally get to learn who the Red Angel is…and it is…ha, ha I’m not saying but there’s some twisty turns and another plot hole (or maybe Doctor Hugh is bad at doctoring). Either way, no the whole mouse trap plan is full of holes as a plan given what everybody knows but honestly it’s as good a plan as everybody given the obvious paradoxes of fore-knowledge that are implied by their Red Angel theory.
Mainly though this is an episode that keeps up a steady pace and let’s characters talk through issues and theories in a way that feels as genuine as it can be given the inherent absurdities of a Star Trek time travel plot. Discovery’s strength is its characters and their dynamics. With very little action until the end, the episode gave lots of opportunities for different dynamics to play out. The Doctor Hugh, Stamets, Tilly, Georgiou scene was something else but Michael punching Leland was pretty good too.
I’m still not wholly sold on Ethan Peck’s version of Spock but the Spock-Michael dynamic works very nicely. The idea of once character essentially explaining to the other the nature of another character is a bad idea but Michael is well established as a person, mainly though Sonequa Martin-Green’s excellent acting over two seasons. Spock’s multiple assessments of her character are convincing both in their accuracy and as something a sibling might say AND as being very Spock-like in their analysis.
The final part of the story hits all of his analysis perfectly: her tendency towards the dramatic and also placing the whole weight of saving everybody on her own shoulders. So we get a big set piece with Michael centre stage, strapped to a chair facing almost certain death *INTENTIONALLY* in a bid to save all sentient life. Michael is also once again placed in the role of mediator between worlds — a recurring theme for multiple characters in Discovery — in a spot that Georgiou calls “the ninth circle of hell” the circle of traitors, where according to Dante, Judas is held immobile and unable to speak.
Not flawless but I found this a strong episode that made use of Discovery’s story arc structure to do an episode that would have been structurally harder for other Star Trek series to do.
- An Obol for Charon (e4) – Classic Trek on a magic mushroom trip
- Point of Light (e3) – season one Discovery is back for revenge
- Brother (e1) – an action orientated fresh start for the Discovery crew
- The Red Angel (e10) – the cast gets an episode to catch up with the plot and trap the Red Angel
- If Memory Serves (e8) – A sequel to The Cage and a prequel to The Menagerie
- New Eden (e2) – The Next Generation of The Next Generation
- Saints of Imperfection (e5) – Let’s get the old gang back together!
- Project Daedelus (e9) – Airiam we will miss you, though we barely got to know you
- Light and Shadow (e7) – Michael goes one way, Discovery goes another
- Sound of Thunder (e6) – Non-consensual medical procedures on a whole species
Bits and Pieces
- So Airiam’s casting. Season 1 Airiam was play by Sara Mitch. Season 2 Airiam was played by Hannah Cheeseman…but Sara Mitch was still in Season 2 but now as Lt Nilsson who had minor appearances. Near the end of this episode Lt Nilsson takes over Airiam’s position on the bridge. 3D chess but with actors and roles.
- The Red Angel is NOT the missing shuttle pilot from Season 1 and hence the evil AI must be the missing shuttle pilot from Season 1.
- That’s Sonja Sohn aka Kima Greggs from The Wire.
- The bridge crew get another let’s exchange glances shot.
- I’d be OK with Admiral Cornwell also being a therapist if that all therapists are evil hadn’t been the theme of this weeks Brooklyn 99.
- I haven’t used that EXACT dialogue that Tilly used when she interrupted a meeting of important people because she found something…but close to that.
- Four more episodes to go…and looking at the dates I’m going to miss the finale as I’ll be traveling!
- Cora’s review has new candidates for her Darth Vader Parenthood Award for Outstandingly Horrible Fictional Parents.