Fourteen minutes of show before the opening credits usually indicates an action packed episode and that’s exactly what we got this week on Discovery. Was the episode all over the place? Yes. A bit sloppy? Yes. But it was still intriguing and exciting. We see Mirror Universe executions for the first time. Execution by transporter . . . into space. Beware: there are definitely spoilers below.
The title of this episode, “The Wolf Inside,” appears to reference a specific character we encounter, but members of the Disco crew have to come to terms with their own wolves inside. After the opening scene, Burnham discusses the difficulties she has living her life in the Mirror Universe. She states every moment is a test, she has to bury her heart, and she has to hide her decency. This society made up of Terrans is brutal, oppressive, and fearful. Burnham is studying their ways, and it’s getting easier to pass, which is what she fears the most. She needs to find that wolf inside her in order to survive. She is given orders, from the Emperor herself, to to kill the resistance leadership. In typical Burnham fashion, she forges her own path and attempts to negotiate with the resistance. Once Burnham gains the trust of the resistance, through a mindmeld with Mirror Sarek, complete with a look alike Spock mirror goatee. We now know about Tyler’s wolf inside, and it makes a second appearance. after the murder of Dr. Culber, while Burnham is negotiating with the resistance. Turns out the leader of the resistance is Mirror Voq. Tyler attacks mirror Voq after his Klingon speech triggers his Klingon, or wolf, inside. Mirror Voq, the Firewolf, does not kill Tyler in battle after Burnham asks him to stop. (What would happen if Mirror Voq killed Voq?) The Firewolf decides to trust Burnham, all too quickly it seems, and plans to have his rebels quickly evacuate before she blows their planet up, as The Emperor has commanded. All Burnham can give the resistance is time.
From the moment we met Tyler, he has been fearful regarding what the Klingons could possibly have done to him while, he believes, he was held prisoner. That wolf inside finally lets him reveal his true identity to another, and that other is Burnham. It only makes sense. They’ve grown close. Once they return from the resistance base, he tells her about how he feels something for L’Rell and how he feels compelled to listen to her. He remembers killing Dr. Culber. He remembers being Klingon. It’s confirmed; he’s Voq. He tried to be human for Burnham; he was afraid of what he really was, but now remembers her killing his messiah on the bridge of his ship and he strangles her for that crime. But, mirror Saru, a slave, saves her. Terran law is binding and Burnham is informed Tyler must be executed by transporter. Burnham insists on executing the execution herself, of course. I REALLY thought Tyler/Voq would give Burnham away before his death; she gave him too much time to speak. Why not sentence her, the one that killed his lord, to a similar death? But he didn’t. She beamed him into space! Unexpected. Burnham had no choice if she wanted to maintain her cover, but she obviously cares for Tyler. Is she turning into Mirror Burnham? Oh, wait. There was some kind of trick double beam. She sent him back to Discovery with the USS Defiant info in his pocket. Transportation of Defiant info problem solved. Plus, Burnham does not let Tyler/Voq die with honor. He’s now a prisoner on Discovery.
The episode starts with a quick zoom in on the Discovery. There are repairs being made to the damaged ship. The crew woman discovers Stamets holding Dr. Culber’s dead body. Stamets repeats, “The forest is dark, but I can see through the trees. The trees, the trees, the trees.” I’m waiting for the episode where we find out how his ramblings are important. They have to be significant, right? We now know why he referred to Tilly as Captain, Tilly remembers too. Stamets is suspected of killing his partner, but Tilly, good ol’ Tilly, defends Stamets and insists “this is not Paul Stamets.” We get to see Tilly back in action in her regular science capacity, as opposed to Captain Killy. She insists Stamets’s condition is a spore issue, not a medical issue, and begs to be allowed to help him. She floods the drive compartment, Stamets inside, with spores in hopes to improve his condition. He goes into cardiac arrest and we get a glimpse into his mind, two Stamets in a spore field. Stamets and mirror Stamets? Is he the key to figuring out this new universe? Is he the key to figuring out how to get back to their own universe?Continued below
4. The Emperor
After spending time in the mirror universe, we discover the Terrans are led by an emperor, a leader feared. After Burnham sends Tyler/Voq back to the Discovery, Lorca advises Burnham to stay on the ISS Shenzhou. It seems she agrees, but is summoned back to the bridge as there is an unknown vessel targeting the resistance base…before they’ve had ample time to evacuate. Turns out, it’s the emperor’s ship. Burnham has been dragging her feet in terms of killing rebels, and so she, yup, she, had to swing by and take care of business. And who is the emperor? Mirror PHILLIPA GEORGIOU. It’s her. She’s back. All clad in gold. Back to shock Burnham, back to (maybe) shock the audience, back to make Burnham feel that guilt all over again. I have to say, it seems like these episodes were designed around a shocking revelation. It’s not necessarily bad, but it’s almost as if these stories were designed backwards, from the shock to the story beforehand.
5. Random Thoughts
Soniqua Martin-Green has been killing it with her portrayal of Burnham and her portrayal of Mirror Burnham. She gives this great head tilt and glare that looks completely ruthless when in the captain’s chair on the ISS Shenzhou. We didn’t get much Lorca this episode, but we are led to believe he’s been undergoing fairly constant torture. He even advises Burnham to kill the resistance members on the planet, stating, “sometimes the end justifies the terrible means.” She is afraid Lorca’s suffering has influenced his judgement. He even advises Burnham to stay on the Shenzhou. I’m curious to see why he’s making the decisions he’s making. He wants to stay and enjoy some more torture? Tyler tells Burnham she’s his tether; she brings him back from things he fears. Is Tyler beyond redemption? Can Burnham bring him back from this? Will Voq prevail? He’s still alive for a reason. The Terrans in the Mirror Universe possess characteristics similar to Klingons from the regular universe. The Klingons are seeking racial purity and are willing to kill all those standing in their way, just like the Terrans. Looks like we’re stuck in the Mirror Universe for at least one more episode. I’m excited for this next one based solely on its title: Vaulting Ambition. Why? Because, it’s this guy, Macbeth’s, tragic flaw.