Star Trek: Discovery – Despite Yourself Is A Weak Start to the Next Chapter

When we last left Discovery it had just just used the spore drive to jump to a supposedly unknown location in the universe. Or so we were lead to believe. It turns out Discovery jumped to the correct location in space, just not their space.

The Discovery and her crew quickly realize that they are not in the correct universe because the quantum signature of all matter is different from their own. How did this happen? Lorcas explains that this was a theoretical possibility with the spores, but there wasn’t enough data to make it work, but apparently 133 jumps is enough data.

Here is where I started losing interest in the episode. It was painfully obvious where Discovery had jumped to and from that the entire rest of the episode had been telegraphed to the point where if I finished it or not made no difference. I could have waited until the next episode to continue watching, and only fine details would have been unknown.

The Mirror Universe was first presented in the 1967 episode of Star Trek Mirror, Mirror. In this alternate universe there is no Starfleet and no Federation. Instead there is the all powerful Terran Empire where right by might is the rule. The Mirror Universe was used five times in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and once in Star Trek: Enterprise. This episode relies on what happened in the Star Trek: Enterpise In a Mirror, Darkly as a jumping off point for further plot development. How to get home?

Captain Tilly of the I.S.S. Discovery (c) 2018 CBS All Access
Captain Tilly of the I.S.S. Discovery (c) 2018 CBS All Access

It is difficult for Discovery and the crew to adjust to this new reality. They have to act like vicious killers with no remorse and no fear. A difficult task for progressive Starfleet officers. To make things worse, Lieutenant Stamets is in some sort of delirious semi-coma babbling nonsense and wisdom, but without any frame of reference. And then there is Ash Tyler, who’s emotional stability is in serious question by Burnham and himself. Ash’s thinly disguised turmoil is only exacerbated by the presence of L’Rell. Unfortunately this turmoil leads to devastating actions.

The Mirror Universe has been a fan favourite and often speculated about. There is no question about this version of the Mirror Universe though. Star Trek: Discovery has used it to move away from the normal Star Trek ideals and into a much darker and violent realm. This is perhaps in keeping with this new universe, but should it become the dominate theme of future Star Trek? I hope not.

Star Trek: Discovery has been a bit wobbly to say the least, but with this change we now have a more murdery and sweary Star Trek that will make Game of Thrones fans happy, but few others. What this tell me is that the creators of Star Trek: Discovery had difficulty in completing the series within it’s original intent. Rather than working harder to show us a credible version of the Klingon War they espoused. Instead they’ve had a mini restart to the series and will most likely finish up disappointing many fans.

Despite Yourself is a rather terrible pun on the part of the writers. I think they were hoping that you would enjoy the episode despite yourself, but what we got was a confusing mess that did nothing to further the original storyline. Instead it resorted to some sort of misguided ‘fan service’ in hopes of keeping viewers engaged.

Star Trek: Discovery has fallen into the trap of trying more adult themes without offering any competent story to go with it. Unless some changes are made very quickly, I think Star Trek: Discovery is in peril of losing viewers at a rapid pace.

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