In this episode of Discovery, “Saints of Imperfection”, monsters are all a matter of perspective.
1. We’re still searching for Spock
Discovery picks up Spock’s shuttle; it seems like they’ve tracked it a bit too easily, and as it turns out, it was too easy. After disabling his shuttle and bringing it aboard…Georgiou steps out. Pike and Georgiou have the opportunity to meet and we find out the two have already met at the Academy and that Pike believes her a force to be reckoned with; a force that records show has retired, which must mean she’s on a classified mission. Pike is no one’s fool. Well, he doesn’t know she’s not his Georgiou, but in fact an Emperor from the Mirror Universe, but who would suspect that. She more or less confirms his suspicions with a Section 31 badge, which looks vaguely similar to a TNG badge. Georgiou does confirm the fact that she is authorized to hunt down Spock and found his ship abandoned. I didn’t expect Spock to be one of the biggest mysteries of the season, but this is what is shaping up to be a defining quality of season 2. Side note: Michelle Yeoh as Georgiou is amazing. Her acting is putting everyone else’s to shame. When the man that recruited her for Section 31, Leland, is hashing it out with Pike, she’s just sitting down eating an apple, letting these guys discuss the next course of action, when it’s completely obvious she is going to do whatever she wants. No one tells the Emperor what to do. And it’s Georgiou that defies and convinces Leland to help the Discovery, at their own peril. Oh, and by the end of the episode, still no Spock.
2. Organic Transporter
Did you think only science could transport a human from one location to another? Turns out that’s not the case because an organic transporter takes Tilly into the mycelial network and she has to claw her way out of the transporter, covered in gunk, in a less scary Alien situation. May is there with Tilly and informs her that this place “used to be a paradise,” but a monster appeared and this creature destroys everything in comes in contact with within the network. All of this started when Stamets entered the network, and May needs Tilly to kill the monster. In a turn of events that have been hinted at through social media and various promotional events, it turns out that the monster is Hugh Culber. He’s alive! And he’s just trying to protect himself from the living beings in the network, begging the question, who is the real monster in this scenario.
3. Dr. Hugh Culber
Burnham and Stamets travel into the Network to find Tilly – no one left behind is a recurring motif of the season. Once they discovery Tilly, and Culber, and attempt to make it back into the human world and out of the mycelial world, they discover that mycelial Culber cannot translate back into the human world. After some quick thinking from Stamets and May, they decide Culber could enter the organic transporter and, in essence, remateralize on Discovery. Just as Spock is reborn in a photon torpedo case in The Search for Spock thanks to the Genesis effect, Culber is reborn within the organic transporter, an organic case, aboard the Discovery.
4. Ash Tyler
I think this may be the review where I write least about Michael Burnham. In this episode, Tyler is sent aboard the Discovery to liaise with the crew. He and Burnham meet in the mess hall, at least I think it’s referred to as the mess hall. I’m used to Star Trek series having named locations for food and drink consumption, like Ten Forward and Quark’s, but perhaps this is a time period in which these places are not named. Starfleet is too new. Tyler and Burnham seem to have a number of heart-to-hearts in this location and things are awkward and undefined between them here during this meeting. I wonder where this relationship will go from here. Remember that Section 31 badge Georgiou had in her possession at the beginning of the episode? Tyler has one too, and uses it as a communicator, TNG-style, while on the bridge of Discovery. This is shocking to the crew and a solid link to the future Trek universe. Perhaps this badge/communicator technology started with the top secret group and only made it into common Starfleet ranks hundreds of years in the future.Continued below
5. Random Thoughts
The Discovery makes a jump into the network, a half jump, which begins to tear the ship apart. I enjoyed the throwback, and often parodied, event of the crew being thrown across the bridge as they are engaged in some sort of difficulty. Even the world of Discovery is seatbelt free. It appears we’re going to see Pike and the Discovery crew working together with Section 31, which will inevitably lead to friction between the two entities. Georgiou wants Burnham to help her find Spock before, as she puts it, “gun-wielding vigilantes do.” The tension between the two is palpable and Burnham makes no such commitment to the Emperor from the Mirror Universe.
At the conclusion of the episode we’re not sure who the monsters will turn out to be. Section 31? The Angel? Is Spock truly the monster Starfleet is making him out to be? Or is it all a matter of perspective.