In Godfather 3 fashion I wanted to title this review “Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in.” The difference from episode 10 to episode 11 is simply night and Day. This episode breaths life back into the whole series for me and gets me so incredibly pumped up for what is to come next. It should be noted that the show seems to have an excellent writers room and this episode is no exception. This episode was written by one the co-executive producers of the show Lisa Randolph. While episode 10 meandered in an aimless direction this episode moves with intent, building on each plot point previously left hanging to build an almost perfect Star Trek episode. Star Trek Discovery Season 01 Episode 11, “The Wolf Inside” gets 5 Stars out of 5 stars from me this week. Beware, I am not sure I can write this episode 11 review without spoilers.
!!RED ALERT!! Spoilers ahead!
I guess my main struggle with the last episode was wanting to care for characters and I couldn’t. I think it would be better if I list out what I did not like from Episode 10 then List how I think Episode 11 fixed those issues and I hope to be far more positive here than last week’s review.
- Burnham’s relationship with Tyler
- It seems to me the emotional connection basis for putting Burnham’s future career on the line to avoid dealing with Tyler’s very real PTSD issues in episode 10 lacked enough merit. Burnham seems to truly fail Tyler by not getting him the help he needed. Which seems to be a commentary on our current society and how we have failed to help those in crisis with PTSD. While I applaud the attempt to bring out the horrid effects of war, torture and killing to survive on the human psyche ultimately it failed to deliver because of the chaotic numbing way the episode was put together.
- Episode 11 corrects this issue first by giving the emotional connection between Burnham and Tyler, even though it was short, the scene sets the tone for you to feel Tyler’s betrayal later in the episode. It gave me the needed emotional connection to relate to Burnham’s hurt so much more.
- The Deaths
- In episode 10 Burnham kills a Redshirt* captain to take control of her former vessel, now called the ISS Shenzhou and unfortunately doesn’t seem enough out of character for her, but I think it should have. *(Red Shirts in the original series seemed to be throw away characters, hence Red shirt Captain)
- In Episode 11 Burnham has to kill Tyler and I have to say I did not see it coming and that she used him to deliver the Defiant plans to the Discovery was ingenious.
- In episode 10 Tyler kills Dr. Culber and I feel like I should care, but I don’t because the series never made his voice important. He was just the guy Stamets, the mad scientist, kissed.
- In Episode 11 When Tilly tries to save Stemets with the spores, it was heartbreaking when he died. Mary Wiseman showed her true chops as an actress, and the script uses her perfectly to convey not just the disappointment in what she was trying to do to save Stamets, but also the loss of a strong character in the story that continuously brought the story back to the science. It also made it so much more powerful when he came back to life, which Tilly speculated he would.
- The Subplot
- In Episode 10 the writers were trying to be sneaky, but with a bullhorn telling us to look the other way nothing to see here… except for the flashes of a naked Klingon female nipples, which I found disturbing and I wish I could forget. I think Tyler’s emotional failure in the pod and later his confrontation with L’Rell where clearly she was trying to awaken some mind control in him was a good faint.
- In episode 11 the previous misdirection worked I was not ready for Tyler to snap and become Voq, attack Mirror Voq, and tell Burnham he was Voq. Tyler’s actions explained a lot of plot problems I had with episode 10, one of them the death of Dr. Culber. It shows why Tyler would kill the doctor after he discovered the physiological changes in his body and then tried to stop him from going on the mission. It makes me wonder if Burnham or the Captain would have tried to stop him would he have attempted to kill them as well, something to ponder.
I cannot go back and give Episode 10 a better score, but I will say this these two episodes, 10 and 11, should be played together as a part 1 and 2 of the same story arc. While it does not complete the plot of the season so far, it brings it back into focus. I want to say this episode felt like the first real Star Trek Episode of the series. I am not saying this lightly or to be argumentative. I have really enjoyed episodes 1 through 9, but they did not feel like Star Trek, maybe like Star Trek Enterprise they lacked the hope you see in the other Star Trek Series. Conversely, Episode 11 really changes this. It brings Burnham’s story into focus like only other episodes have hinted at. When she is talking with the tortured Captain Lorca she exudes the passion and hope she has in the federation, by discussing the power of the alliance of alien species and how they are led by a Klingon, it shows the hope that has been missing from the rest of the series. I think it’s best summed up when Burnham says,” Please sir. I no longer have my pips, but I am still Starfleet.” They did so many things right in this episode I cannot wait to watch the next episode.
Last but not least I find it interesting that Philippa Georgiou is the emperor. If you remember how Star Trek Enterprise Season 4 Episode 19 “Mirror Darkly part II” ended, Hoshi Sato Killed Archer, taking control of the Defiant to go to Earth and become Empress Sato. I find it rather interesting that the last two serialized Star Trek shows have made the big bad an evil empress. The plot thickens.
Episode 11 has renewed my faith that Star Trek Discovery is worth watching and I have hope they will continue great storytelling. I can’t wait to see what they do next!
Ever the Fan Boy,