Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 Episode 13 Review – What’s Past is Prologue

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It’s difficult to say that the twist about Lorca’s identity works. Up to a point, that’s just a personal thing; I have long since gotten bored of identity reveals that rely on the idea that everything we know about a character has been a pretence. There’s a lack of nuance to it, and ultimately there’s a lack of nuance to the ‘real’ Lorca. He is, in the end, little more than a power-grabbing usurper with delusions of a destiny and a sexual obsession with Michael Burnham. It’s not so much that this casts a new light on everything we’ve seen already – it’s that everything we’ve seen already was entirely false.

Sure, there was interesting stuff that could have been done with this idea – but, at the same time, I’m starting to grow a little tired of that caveat. After a point, there’s little to be gained by focusing on what could have been done with the idea, when time after time Discovery makes the least interesting choice. Taking such a simplistic approach with this reveal diminishes Lorca’s character, and all the nuance and subtlety we’ve seen so far; it’s a waste of Jason Isaacs, to be frank, who gives a great performance but in the end is still limited by the constraints of the script. If all he’s given to do is sneering, snarling villain, the character can’t rise above that – and it’s a shame that such an interesting character as Lorca was reduced to this.

A much more negative review, because honestly, I was feeling a little frustrated at Discovery this week. I suspect my thoughts vis a vis Captain Lorca are an unpopular opinion, but I’m not sure.

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Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 Episode 4 Review – The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not for the Lamb’s Cry

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There’s an obvious parallel – obvious to the point of being heavy-handed, really – being drawn between the tardigrade and Michael Burnham in this episode.

The tardigrade is misunderstood; it’s believed to be dangerous, a predator, something to be feared. It’s responsible for the deaths of Starfleet officers, and it’s being drafted into the war – a weapon to be used rather than an individual to be understood. Burnham, of course, is much the same; when she comments that the creature “can only be what it is, not what you want it to be”, it’s an implicit rebuke of the prevailing perception of her. As she notes that the Discovery crew “judge the creature by its appearance and one single event from its past”, it’s a comment that is fundamentally about herself, and the way she’s now perceived.

Of course, it transpires in the end that the creature isn’t a weapon – it’s docile in its own right, and in fact its primary use to the Discovery ship is a scientific one. As the creature proves its worth, so does Burnham; it’s the same moment of triumph and of success for them both, allowing them to find a place on the ship. One can take it as something of a microcosm for Starfleet, really; an indicator of how, in the context of this war, they’re losing sight of what exactly they’re meant to be. When confronted with a new life, the response must be curiosity, rather than an intent to militarise; no doubt this is a thread that will continue across the rest of the series, grappling with the dichotomy between Starfleet’s true mission and the role it’s thrown into.

The excerpt from this review is a bit of Discovery analysis that, while I thought it was pretty obvious, I’ve not actually seen picked up on anywhere. Odd that.

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