(Jason Isaacs as Capt. Lorca in “Star Trek Discovery.” Photo credit: CBS)
Each week, Monique will sound off on the current episode of Star Trek: Discovery. For more, read Monique’s Star Trek: Discovery recaps at SlashFilm. These mini-rants will contain SPOILERS–You’re warned.
I don’t even know what to say after this week’s Star Trek: Discovery episode that would be anything else other than “I CAN’T BELIEVE THEY TRICKED ME LIKE THIS!” It was a good trick, and a trick that was a huge risk as well.
As someone on Twitter rightly said, the writers of Star Trek: Discovery have been playing a long con game, and it’s to their credit that it’s paying off in spades, the cherry on top being this triple-cross of Lorca being a bad guy-turned good guy-turned bad guy.
As I write in my recap for SlashFilm:
Star Trek: Discovery is all about messing with the preconceived notions and expectations we have for a Star Trek series, and one of those expectations is for the captain to be the good guy. However, Isaacs as Lorca was supposed to be a big clue for us about Lorca’s true intentions, if not a huge red flag. We are told from his acting resume to expect him to be a villain, and yet we are told by our Star Trek conditioning to expect Lorca to be, at the end of the day, a good guy. Maybe he’s a captain who’s too overzealous, too headstrong, but at the end of the day, he’s supposed to be good, right?
We were wrong, like we were about so many things with this series.
Looking back on it now, it’s almost hilarious how there were so many clues staring us in the face, but the show lulled us into a faint stupor. We were guided along and, at some points, even made to feel guilty about ever assuming Lorca was anything other than a wayward captain finally reorienting himself and finding his path once again. For awhile, the show actually presented him that way. The hypnotism was complete.
But again, let’s look back at what led us to this point. Lorca specifically choosing Michael Prime for duty instead of prison, his reasoning not making sense unless closely inspected. Lorca grooming Michael Prime on Starfleet, just as he’d groomed Mirror Michael through her childhood. (His fascination and twisted love for Michael is also a Sweeney Todd-esque Judge Turpin/Johanna situation isn’t it? That makes him even creepier.) Lorca’s impulsiveness while acting as Captain, his rash decision-making that put Stamets at risk. And of course, his blasted eyes. It’s funny how we were led to believe his eye problem was an injury.
Of course, with us realizing the Lorca we thought was Lorca Prime is actually Mirror Lorca, we can only assume we might come to know who the Prime Lorca was or is. There has to be one, since Mirror Lorca impersonated a captain. So where is Prime Lorca? And, if we ever find him (or if he even exists), how do his transgressions match up to Mirror Lorca’s?
Honestly, I think this week’s episode might be the best one yet. What’s even better is that we’ve gotten to a point in the writing where the show continually tops itself each week. I’m glad to report that we haven’t been let down by Culber’s death—we have seen him after the fact, and I’m not even sure this is the last time we’ve seen him, especially since he told Stamets that nothing is truly ever gone in the….mycelial network? The temporal space within the mycelial network? Is the mycelial network a theory the show is positing about the afterlife? In any case, within the show’s logic, the mycelial network acts as proof that all universes, all possibilities and all outcomes do exist. It also builds on the hard science that energy can never be destroyed. In this case, the “energy” is our very souls.
I’m highly anxious to see the types of conclusions all of our characters are going to get as we get closer to the first season’s end. I’m already jonesing for the next season—why can’t it be here already?