Originally Published on There Are Four Mics – A Star Trek Podcast

(We’re moving our Star Trek Discovery related content over here where it belongs)

Turns out in “What’s Past is Prologue” last episode, Stamets overshot the universe a little bit and spit them out nine months later than when they left. And without the Discovery, the war against the Klingons really imploded. We open The War Without, The War Within review with a brief recap of events. Turns out it’s real ugly out there, folks. 

Forced Mind Melding Seems Bad

Klingons are eliminating the atmospheres of entire planets. It also seems that this has had an impact on morals a bit. When Sarek and Cornwell beam aboard the Discovery, they do so armed, and force a mind meld on Saru at gunpoint without his consent. Spock gets in on that force mind meld action a bit in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. And Valeris is crying through the whole process, so it doesn’t seem a nice move. When Enterprise had a non-consensual mind meld back in “Fusion,” the entire episode was an allegory for rape. So this isn’t a good look, Starfleet.

Spock forcing a mind meld with Valeris in Star Trek VI The Undiscovered Country

But, man. Does Georgiou enter this universe like a goddamned boss. Barely stepping off the transporter and already shouting at Saru about how she literally just ate one of his people last night. Mostly I’m impressed with how seamlessly Saru has transitioned into the role of captain. Doug Jones’ entire demeanor has shifted subtly into authoritative figure — a transition I find exceptionally easy to embrace.

Still Waiting for the L’Rell & Cornwell Buddy Comedy

That relationship we found so compelling back in Si Vi Pacem, Para Bellum between L’Rell and Cornwell comes back here to pay some dividends. There is a respect between these two, and it’s exciting to see it continue even though the roles of captor and captured are reversed.

The Discovery show writers continue to just be absolutely wild with what they are willing to do. Spore drive the entire Discovery not only all the to Qo’noS, but inside the planet itself? Also, as a huge fan of Enterprise, I’m definitely here for all references to Captain Archer. This time it was when Cornwell noted that Starfleet hasn’t set foot on Qo’nos in a hundred years. Seems like she’s referencing my man Jonathan Archer in Broken Bow Part 1 and Broken Bow Part 2. This under-appreciated series deserves all the attention thrown its way.

Tilly bringing “The War Without, The War Within” into the fore

Burnham popping by Engineering to get a status update from Tilly and then just bursting out with “Just said goodbye to my father and it felt different” is a neat way for the series to show the friendship between these two continuing to blossom. And like in “What’s Past is Prologue” and “The Wolf Inside” before that, Tilly continues to be exceptional.

They have a quick chat about Tyler, and Tilly busts out some wisdom. “What we do now, how we treat him — that is who we will become.” Daaaaaaamn, Tills! This also dovetails nicely with the reason Burnham told Georgiou she brought her to this universe: to show her a place of morality and hope.  After a season that has had a lot of dark moments and questionable decisions, Discovery is refocusing on what makes Starfleet good. Love a good fight for morality.

I find the progress of the war provides a compelling justification for keeping the Mirror Universe a secret. With so many lives lost, it could spark a mad dash for desperate people trying to once again find their loved ones. It’s a neat mechanism to explain why Kirk had no clue about its existence when he found his way over there in “Mirror, Mirror.” I am disappointed on the lack of evil goatees, however.

Stamets plan here to grow a bunch more spores on this moon in the Veda system come across as a direct ancestor of the Genesis device that will serve as the plot of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. It’s also an incredibly ambitious undertaking to have just thrown together in a day or so.

“Things got complicated” is a weird way to say “attempted murder”

Ash Tyler trying to murder Michael Burnham in The War Without, The War Within
A photo of when “things got complicated”

“Things got complicated” is a bit of an understated way for Ash Tyler to describe the fact that he tried to murder Burnham like three days ago in “The Wolf Inside.” Sonequa Martin-Green has a terrific heartbroken face. It should never be looked at directly because it will inspire years of despondency in a person. Like Medusa, it is only safe to look at her heartbroken face using an elaborate system of mirrors.

Cornwell confirmed that the ISS Discovery was destroyed after it arrived in our universe. She also suggests that our Lorca is actually dead. But without a body, I’m hoping for a Jason Isaacs cameo in season three.

Want more Trek talk? Check out our Star Trek Discovery podcast dedicated to “The War Without, The War Within.”

Pick up all of Star Trek Discovery season one on Blu-ray from Amazon here.