Oct 31, 2017

Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad

11 comments

Great episode, the first really stand alone episode. I think that this is the show getting out of the setting the scene phase and into it's storytelling phase and I like it. Mudd was suitably deranged and maniacal. Burnham was being pushed out of her comfort zone into some serious personal development. Tilly was a bit wild when drunk and was, as always, absolutely hilarious and sweet. Ash is starting to grow on me so I really hope he is what he seems and isn't some sort of cuckoo in the nest. And Lorca, his role was die and die again. Stamets is really losing it, despite being instrumental to this episode he is most obviously undergoing a profound mental change. It is perhaps a foreshadowing of why the spore drive is not the future of space travel, it drives it's navigators mad. I really loved the tables being turned on Mudd. So well done, so funny. I really hope Valerie loved this one.

Oct 31, 2017

Yes, this was an extraordinarily fun episode! Kev, where do you think the Stamets story is going? What is going to be the end result of his tardigrade DNA infusion? Murdery madness? Physiological transformation? The Enemy Within (His Mirror)?

Oct 31, 2017

Well now, Stamets as we saw him in this episode seems to be totally bereft of any negative emotion. There is no hate, fear or frustration evident in him here, he is so laid back he is almost horizontal and the thing that comes to mind is the film Serenity.

In that film an experiment on a planet full of people to attempt to rid them of violence had the effect that 90% of them became so apathetic they simply died of inaction and the other 10% became cannibal, homicidal maniacs.

So Stamets may become so docile as to be unable to operate and his alter ego, The man in the mirror, becomes a vessel for all the negative emotions which were rather obvious in earlier episode where Stamets was insecure, resentful and quite vicious towards those he felt inferior.

 

The question is if that other mirror Stamets can manifest himself in some manner and interact with the rest of the crew.

I would imagine the end result is going to be that the human/tardigrade DNA fusion is going to be considered a failure and this will result in the failure of the spore drive project. This would at least explain why all the rest of the cannon uses conventional warp drive.

Unfortunately I think that the prognosis for Stamets is not good, that he has been significantly changed by the experience and the effects will be irreversible and ultimately fatal. There is the intriguing possibility that there may be some sort of attempt to reintegrate the two parts of his psyche and the possibility for that to unleash evil Stamets on the crew.

Oct 31, 2017

Oh, that's an awesome point about the Reavers! And now I'm imagining Mirror Stamets running amok in all the mirrors on Discovery as a kind of haunted ship story.

Nov 1, 2017

Hi kev may! Love your thoughts on this episode and I couldn't agree more. Our recap is up, and you'll learn in the fisrt two minutes that my reaction was just as you predicted: I loved it!

 

As for Stamets, I really, really hope that your "ultimately fatal" prediction doesn't come to pass. To me, Stamets is a vital part of the Disco family. I'm putting my money on your last theory: "the intriguing possibility that there may be some sort of attempt to reintegrate the two parts of his psyche and the possibility for that to unleash evil Stamets on the crew."

 

Maybe this is all just the beginning of Stamets going through his own personal journey of growth, overcoming his bitterness about having his research co-opted and the trauma of losing his best friend by having to physically confront his negative emotions in the form of Evil/Mirror Stamets.

Nov 1, 2017

I think the actor is great, and I hope that he continues to have a significant part of the ongoing episodes and there is an incredible scope for possibilities inherent in this character. The show seems to be very determined to present us with complex, multi-layered characters, no shallow single dimension parts here. I love that. Given that the show does not seem to be reticent about killing off characters it is a possibility that they may have him make some sort of ultimate sacrifice. On another subject, the introduction to this episode, the voice-over by Burnham indicates that the war progresses without showing any of it, does this mean that the war is going to be significantly less of a major plot but a background in front of which our series is taking place?

Nov 1, 2017

Hi Kev, that's a great question. I've been fascinated by Discovery's use of time. Some episodes we pick up right where we left off, others we jump forward a few weeks. Already we're eight months into a war that we know can't go on for long. I wouldn't at all be surprised if the cease-fire is signed at the end of the first or second season.

Nov 2, 2017Edited: Nov 2, 2017

I'm just surprised no one's mentioned how this episode actually gave us the BeeGees singing *disco* on *the Disco!* hahaha! (ok as Glenn points out it was a sample by Wyclef Jean, but still)

 

Loved this episode.

Almost got whiplash, because I hated last week's episode.

ANALYSIS:

Well, I did love how my arch-nemesis Sarek wasn't even mentioned this week. Either he was still in his medical bed during all those time loops - how depressing a notion is that - or he healed and got his pointy-cheeked butt back to Vulcan between shows. But even more so? I just love these episodic episodes which give us a break from STD's serialized format. My favorite show before this one was "Choose Your Pain" - another mostly-episodic one, and a Harry Mudd one, which I don't think is a coincidence for me, as awesome as I find Rainn Wilson's performance to be. But I think there is something about Mudd which draws the writers into writing on a more... traditionally Trek wavelength. And I like it!

Nov 2, 2017

I agree that Mudd is the type of villain we are used to. Perhaps almost a caricature of a villain, irredeemably villainous, massively over confident and unable to even consider his own fallibility despite it having been manifestly obvious. I think these caricature types allow for the more typical Trek episode where there is no ambiguity, no shades of grey. We know exactly where we stand and who we should be rooting for. This however is not what the show-runners have given us so far so I wonder at the decision to return to a classic Trek meme here.

Nov 2, 2017

Oh, man, Dave, I can't believe I missed the disco on the DISCO! I was too busy reminiscing about dancing to the Wyclef version at my own barracks parties when I was in the military!

 

And I just assumed that Sarek was off the ship, but you point to the horrifying possibility that he is still there, just not appearing in this episode. Please no!

Nov 2, 2017

Hi y'all! I hate to rain(bow) on the parare, but this episode left me with many questions, though I did find it fun. Maybe you can help me think through my issues.

1) I, too, was quite confused as to why Stamets would suddenly spill the beans to Mudd, after withstanding so many previous iterations. Maybe, as you said, he just doesn't have the fortitude anymore as "good/trippy Stamets," but if that's so, how did he stand it for so long before then? Was this the first scene where he actually *witnessed* someone die a painful death in front of him, and that's why he couldn't take it? Maybe it was all part of some master plan that we didn't witness because it happened offscreen in one of the many skipped repetitions?

2) Wait, so, why would the Disco crew let Mudd go, knowing that he now knows the secret of the spore drive? I'm imagining from a storytelling perspective that this might set up future shenanigans, where Mudd can escape from Stella and still try to sell the Disco's secrets to the Klingons or something. But if I were a crew, I don't think I'd let go of someone who was privy to some major military secrets. I guess it's just supposed to be a silly ending, and I'm being too serious about its ramifications?

3) What about the poor gormagander? Is it still lying there in the Discovery with a ship in its belly? Does that ship still have a time crystal in it??? (Or did it disappear when Mudd didn't re-set the clock?) I realize this is a minor point, but I would have liked to see the space whale go on its merry way, since it was the creature who got the whole escapade started.

Nov 2, 2017

Guys, I’m loving this thread! Thanks to everyone for sharing their thoughts.

 

I’m glad to hear that there is general consensus on loving this episode. Glenn really helped me see how Q-like Mudd is in this iteration, and the fast pace and zany whimsy in the episode definitely gave it a Q-like feel.

 

BionicDave, I’m actually pretty freaked out/laughing a bunch at the idea that Sarek was just sitting grumpily in sickbay while this was all going on. Maybe he was just meditating the whole time. Maybe he didn’t even notice anything was happening! Or maybe there was entire subplot with Sarek asking nurses “Hey, what’s going on?” again and again over the course of sixty-plus time loops. I wonder why they’d have cut that…

 

To answer your questions, Rainbow, I’d say “Welcome to Trek!” A lot of episodes leave you feeling that way, and personally, I think it’s part of the fun. It is, however, a break from the tight storytelling that Disco has been giving us, so maybe every single one of your queries will end up being resolved? I suppose the issue is that campy gimmicks and whimsical plot holes only really work out when there are no consequences to other narratives, because each episode is self-contained. For example, TNG would have episodes where Picard and Crusher more or less declared their love for one another, and by the next episode it was as if that had never happened. What, then, will it mean for Disco to play with episodic tropes like this outside of an episodic structure?

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