Star Trek #1474: Point of Light

CAPTAIN'S LOG: Tilly has a ghost. Tyler and L'Rell have enemies. Amanda talks to Burnham about Spock.

WHY WE LIKE IT: Georgiou with the baby.

WHY WE DON'T: A lot of pieces, but does it have its own story to tell? Not enough Pike!

REVIEW: While there's plenty going on in Point of Light, it doesn't hang together very well. To date, while they were part of a larger story, each episode in the season still had a complete story to tell. I suppose in this case it's the Klingon politicking, but that's not really where you want to be at this point (it's a bit early to catch up with characters not on the Discovery - why couldn't this have been a Short Trek?) and while it can be considered the A-plot, it doesn't feel like it because of everything that DOES happen on Discovery, i.e. the Amanda/Spock/Burnham storyline and Tilly being haunted. Even thematically, we might have parents and children in two of the stories, but not the third, and ultimately, I get the feeling even the A-plot is more of a set-up for other things, including the upcoming Section 31 program, than anything else.

A set-up and maybe walking back some of the less than popular changes made to the Klingons in Season 1? I ask because after some chaos behind the scenes, Discovery had a change of showrunners. And suddenly, the Klingons are growing their hair back, pushing them towards a more recognizable look (although still not the human-looking Klingons of TOS that were meant to be explained away in Enterprise, but I guess that's not it). They're talking about building the D-7 Crusier, a ship that embodies a united Klingon culture. It even sets up the Klingon sexism that exists in at least some Houses, and that by TNG's time means a woman can't accede to the High Council. And I guess that's all good, but it's the kind of world-building we really shouldn't have needed in the first place. World rebuilding is more like it. It's also odd to think that while the Federation thrives thanks to the IDIC principle, the Klingons have suffered under it. Diversity has only led to civil war. L'Rell's "We are one culture now" is convincing, but worrisome in the context of Trek's message. But think about it. If the Klingons are on the verge of being stand-ins for Cold War Soviets, then the latter's brand of Communism is evoked in that one line, even if L'Rell attaining the title of "Mother" is more in line with Elizabeth the First's royal persona (though you could certainly say she builds a myth around herself much like Lenin and Stalin did).

Klingon politics have always been interesting, ever since they were addressed in TNG and ST VI, because they're grand opera, on the one hand, and full of ironies and hypocrisies, on the other. Certainly true here. When L'Rell holds her baby's bodiless head in her hands during a speech, I don't think we can call that anything but operatic (I guess we can call it Game of Thrones, and all this Klingon stuff is definitely informed by GoT at this point). In terms of realpolitik, the notion that jealous Houses would consider L'Rell Tyler's puppet is natural, and Georgiou makes some good points when she shows up in the final act. While she prevents the Klingon Empire from falling into chaos once more, her advice does seem to push L'Rell into Mirror Universe territory. She must bear some of the responsibility for the Klingons being a dangerous power for the next few decades. That's interesting, but I do have problems with her acting as a deus ex machina. She shows up with a cool costume and all sorts of crazy tech, saves our Klingon heroes' bacon, takes Tyler away for whatever is next for him, reveals she's with Section 31 which perhaps isn't as secret as we want it to be at this point in Starfleet history (if Tyler knows about it), and... what next? Are the the people "on it" in regards to Spock, or are they the ones who framed him for murder? It's too early for this to just be a backdoor pilot, but it has that function too. One thing I'll say is that Georgiou is a very fun character, her best moment being when she's about to make goo-goo sounds at Tyler's son, but rapidly lifts her nose at the disgusting thing when Ash turns around. That and "don't give me notes". (By the way, I so want the baby to grow up to become the Albino who plagues Kor, Kang and Koloth, but he had no connection to the monastery on Boreth, and I don't remember an albino Klingon in Rightful Heir.)

Going back and forth between the Klingons and the Discovery, the direction keeps entering scenes from weird angles, as if to acknowledge that in space, there's no up or down per se. It calls attention to itself more than anything, but okay. Two plots retain our attention Starfleet side. First is Spock's mom showing up with stolen medical files and the deepening mystery of what's going on with Spock. By the end, we still don't know what Burnham did to turn her brother away and "break" his empathy, but we know that she pushed him away on purpose to draw Logic Extremists' attention away from him. Further, the night she had a run-in with those terrorists, Spock was contacted by the Red Angel who gave him her location. So the Angel has been connected to Burnham and Spock since childhood, and it's all now coming to a head. More to come. Pike doesn't have a lot to do in this episode, but I'm glad that Burnham goes to him directly, clearly finding Amanda's request difficult - stop trying to make me into a mutineer, mom! - but willing to find the loopholes that would make it possible to crack the file open. As usual, I like Pike in these scenes, and he does the right thing, suspecting some kind of conspiracy and remaining loyal to his friend. I'm less entranced by Amanda, who takes off on her own adventure at the end, but I don't really care. The new casting is serviceable, but the actress is stuck with some massive infodumps (there's a LOT of recapping by different characters throughout this episode, it's a problem) and she fails to get a rise out of me.

The Tilly subplot is far more engaging though she really is losing it if she doesn't twig to the obvious clues of May's existence (like when she talks about her planet), but Mary Wiseman sells it. She'd despondent, and in her scene with Burnham, quite touching. I also love that Burnham forgets her problems by trying to solve others'. Tilly taking part in an officer training program is interesting anyway, it's stuff we've never really seen, even if things take a turn for the disastrous because of a fungal parasite. Though taken out of Tilly, the story will go on with May as a gross CG blob. What is clear is that she's an entity that lives in the mycenial network, the Mirror Universe's at that (though there's evidence that all universes are connected through it), and that her world is in danger. I expect she won't stay hostile forever, and that eventually, Discovery's crew will help her out.

LESSON: Two heads are better than one.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium - Feels a lot like a Mytharc episode in The X-Files, where you spend all your time catching up and nothing is truly resolved. Required viewing to understand the season's story.

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