Airing in the US on CBS All Access Sundays at 8:30 pm ET and at 12pm on Mondays in the UK on Netflix
Written by: Lisa Randolph
Director: T.J. Scott
Set spoilers to maximum
This week’s episode had a tough act to follow…but it’s clear that Star Trek: Discovery has finally found its feet. After the abortion that was the 50th anniversary and the fact that neither Paramount nor CBS really acted on it, with the latter only realizing too late that it was missing a golden opportunity – like someone oversleeping and having to rush getting dressed so they’re not late for work – and haphazardly putting a new TV series together…it’s about time it finally became what everyone wanted it to be from the beginning.
This episode, The Wolf Inside, was an emotionally-charged confirmation of almost every fan theory that’s been circulating the past 10 episodes, from the very first Tyler-is-Voq to the more recent who-is-the-Emperor.
It begins with Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) narrating about how difficult it had been to remain true to herself and maintain the illusion that she was Evil Burnham, bitch captain of the ISS Shenzhou. A nice touch is when her personal slave, MU Saru (Doug Jones) enters her quarters, bathes her and polishes her nails. “What is your name?” Captain Burnham asks. “Slaves have no name,” MU Saru replies.
The ISS Shenzhou receives an urgent message from the Terran Empire. New intelligence suggests there is a rebel base nearby and the Shenzhou should utterly destroy it from orbit. Naturally, being a Starfleet officer, Burnham is reluctant to kill hundreds of innocent aliens, so she formulates a plan – taking Tylervoq (Shazad Latif) with her, she will attempt to infiltrate the base and recover vital new intelligence before returning to the Shenzhou to unleash its mass drivers, or whatever it is they use in the Star Trek: Discovery Mirror Universe.
Burnham consults with Lorca about her plan…and clearly Lorca is a little worse for wear. Evidently he’s been spending too much time in the pain amplifiers. He’s hesitant at first, another subtle sign he has ulterior motives behind this whole caper, but finally agrees when he realizes he doesn’t have an awful lot of choice.
Soon after beaming to the planet’s surface, Burnham and Tylervoq are taken captive and marched to a camouflaged encampment to speak to the leader of the resistance, known only to the Terran Empire as Firewolf.
And…waddaya know…it’s MU Voq! That’s a really nice touch in terms of the big reveal. Tylervoq is basically standing there, looking at what he used to be and when you think of how many ways this could’ve unfolded, this is a lot better than it could easily have been. Naturally, he starts to struggle with it.
The resistance take some convincing that Burnham is on the level, so they bring out MU Sarek, sporting a dapper-and-slightly-dark goatee. He mindmelds with Burnham and assures everyone she’s A-OK.
Throughout this episode there are some great, emotionally-fueled scenes, from the “umbilical chord” conversation Burnham and Tylervoq have before they leave for the away mission to the exchange between MU Sarek and Bunham as he looks into her mind and sees glimpses of the relationship they have had in her reality. They’re nicely placed, well-written and not over played…something which Star Trek has shown us time and time again it can do well, when it wants to.
Burnham learns that the resistance against the Terran Empire is made up of Vulcans, Klingons, Andorians, Tellarites…who have all banded together and joined forces. Burnham knows if she can find out how they all agreed to join forces, she could take this invaluable knowledge back to her reality and somehow use it to end the war and unite all races. Sadly, at this point, all she’s given is the inevitable “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” maxim, so there’s not much help there.
Meanwhile, Tylervoq can’t contain himself; he freaks out and attacks MU Voq, spouting Klingon as he does so. Naturally, this casts doubt on Burnham’s intentions, but MU Sarek sticks up for her, so for the time being at least, they are allowed to live. She explains her orders to bombarde the rebel base and says they must exfil immediately. In order to make her away mission look legitimate and buy the resistance enough time to complete their evacuation, she’s given some intel containing details about other rebel encampments. “By the time you’ve managed to decode this, the information will be out of date,” she’s told.
Back on the Discovery meanwhile, Tilly (Mary Wiseman) and Saru are trying to bring poor Stamets (Anthony Rapp) out of his delirious state in an alternative attempt to find a way out of the MU. Needless to say it doesn’t go well.
But in a beautiful throwback to the end of S01E05 “Choose Your Pain” there is an extremely understated reference to the MU Stamets. Honestly, like the haunting scene with the mirror in that episode, if you blinked, you would’ve missed this one too. As he’s floating around the sporeverse…guess who he bumps into…
Of course Dr. Culber’s (Wilson Cruz) body has been discovered, but at this point it’s believed that Stamets did it, ’cause you know, no one has thought to perhaps put CCTV in the medical bay on order to monitor patients.
Burnham and Tylervoq return to the ISS Shenzhou. She takes him to her quarters and they finally have it out…and he admits to everything that we suspected. He is Voq. He was surgically altered to become a spy. We some of the same flashbacks as we did in S01E09 “Into the Forest I Go” plus a few more. Then he switches to his Klingon aler-ego and tries to kill Burnham. Thankfully MU Saru enters at just the right time – bath time – and smacks out Tylervoq.
Like other traitors to Terran Empire, Tylervoq is to be executed…by being beamed out into space and not like in the TOS episode S2 Ep14 “Wolf in the Fold” where the transporter is set to “maximum dispersion” but instead they materialize in space and painfully suffocate/freeze. Burnham gives him a farewell punch in the gut and energizes the transporter beam herself.
Though the Klingon T’Kuvma, Dr Culber and Captain Georgiou are now all gone, it is comforting to reflect that they are all, in some small way, commemorated by the fact that 29 seconds later, Tylervoq was, in fact, rescued.
With a plan so cunning it’s got an honours degree from Starfleet Academy, Burnham shoved a data disc/stick/drive/crystal into Tylervoq’s pocket before he was transported into space, when she gave him a satisfying smack in the stomach, containing all the information from the ISS Shenzhou on the USS Defiant. Saru then beamed him aboard the ISS Discovery in the nick of time…recovered the data and threw Tylervoq in the brig.
Suddenly, from out of nowhere, a ship appears…it’s the Emperor.
Oh yes, the main subject of discussion in the world of Star Trek fandom for the last seven days has been, who is the Emperor. And the general consensus was that it was going to be Philippa Georgiou. After all, she did confirm her reappearance at the Star Trek: Discovery panel at NYCC last year.
And she’s not a happy bunny. Emperor Georgiou immediately opens fire on the planet below as Burnham can only look on in horror, as only she knows the rebels have not had enough time to complete their evacuation.
The last remaining fan theory of any consequence now is whether Lorca is actually from the MU…and there is a lot of evidence to support this. Funny how this theory was largely scoffed at to begin with while everyone gushed about Tylervoq, but it’s proving to be more and more relevant as each episode passes.
His subtle smirk at the end of this episode seems to be based on the fact that it now appears they will have to spend longer in the MU than previously thought. Something he’s been trying to achieve all along, especially since the whole jump to the MU seems to have been carefully orchestrated by him in the first place.
Some fan theories even suggest that not-so-bright Head of Security and Final Five Cylon, Commander Landry (Rekha Sharma) was also from the MU, accompanying Lorca back into our reality on his mission. So we might see the Normal Universe version of her, who knows.
Basically, when you look at his behaviour – and how Admiral Deadmeat Cornwell (Jayne Brook) commented on how much he had changed – added with his fairly obvious insincerity every time he lies to someone to convince them of something he wants, he is so from the Mirror Universe. The real question is…how much of this torture can he take before he himself cracks…and what are his real motives?
Getting down with a Deltan ✓
• Sarek’s goatee was damn cool
• Well-written scenes with quality character interaction and dialogue
• Emperor Georgiou, predictable but nicely handled
Hooking up with a Horta ✗
• Inconsistencies with Saru’s threat ganglia
• No CCTV in the medical bay..??
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