Star Trek #1482: Perpetual Infinity

CAPTAIN'S LOG: Discovery tries to get rid of the Sphere Archive. Burnham learns the Red Angel's story. Control takes, uhm, control.

WHY WE LIKE IT: The secrets of the Red Angel. Its emotional punch.

WHY WE DON'T: The pacing. Culber's screw-up.

REVIEW: I'm detecting something in the zeitgeist. Having recently watched Umbrella Academy (and I realize it's based on an older story, but why now?), Discovery is exploring a similar premise. There's an apocalypse coming, and we have to stop it, but it seems like the forces at work won't let us no matter what we do. Sound familiar? In this case, Michael's mother has been living with this burden for who knows how long, and she's become despondent. Still thinks she can fix the timeline and prevent Control from getting its "hands" on the Sphere Archive and its A.I. 3.0, but at the same time, filled with despair. Both Burnhams are all over the place emotionally in this, often coming across as less than reasonable, but the acting is strong and supports it. I especially like Michael's initial reaction to learning of her mother's survival. She's completely overwhelmed. Dr. Gabrielle Burnham, for her part, puts up a brave, no-nonsense front, but we come to realize she's only trying to protect her own resolve. She may say otherwise and put on a cold demeanor, but of course she wants to stay and get to know her daughter in a more direct way. Though she explains what's happened, some of it is still enigmatic. I get the feeling conversing with Michael is "meaningless" because the timeline keeps shifting and it all may never have happened. For all we know, she's had the conversation already and it's been wiped away. Just how Dr. Burnham has been observing her daughter all these years is likewise unclear. And what about the signals she expressly says are not her doing?

Speaking of enigmatic - Philippa Georgiou, am I right? I think Control-as-Leland has her all wrong. It tries to manipulate a master manipulator and fails. Dr. Burnham's prophecy that Georgiou will sacrifice (has sacrificed) herself for Michael actually happens in this episode, if not in the most literal way. She cares for Michael enough that she would restore her mother to her, and "lose a daughter", so to speak. Control tries to appeal to the power-mad Emperor, but fails. I think Georgiou has moved on from that. One might almost say she's actively trying to manipulate Dr. Burnham so she opens up to Michael (and she does); it's not just a passive stance. This is one perceptive lady, and Control-Leland is acting out of character just enough to set off her Spidey-sense. Control doesn't do much better with Tyler (he questions everything) and the two Section 31 agents end up making an uneasy alliance and squaring off physically with the nanite-charged Leland. Exciting, but it goes on a bit (Georgiou also seems to take too long to deactivate the bug, so pacing issues) while technobabble stuff goes on, and I'm afraid I'm not entirely sure what's happening at the end there even on second viewing. Dr. Burnham is separated from her suit by a glitch, and is sucked into the timestream where she may or may not be reunited with the suit, is that it?

The episode does seem to sow the seeds of Control's destruction, however. The Archive won't let itself be deleted and encrypts itself using a language that's been dead 100,000 years? Well, we do have have access to a time travel suit. It would take the power of a supernova to break Dr. Burnham's tether to the future? Well, one was about to go off when the Burnhams were attacked by the Klingons and their ginchy bird-of-prey, and we have access to a time travel suit. We'll see if that pays off. I'm also sort of holding out hope that Dr. Culber wasn't a total idiot when he identified the Red Angel as Michael and that she will wear (have worn) the suit later/earlier, because I don't really buy the whole "oh well, her mom is genetically similar". The test seemed more thorough than that. Anyway, we'll see. Perpetual Infinity ends on a low-key cliffhanger with Michael's hand raised to make a chess move. Hopefully this means Discovery is now ready to act rather than react as they've been forced to up 'til now.

(Finally: Shout-out to Disco's commitment to diversity and representation. I noted the crewmember in a wheelchair several times. One might wonder what's the story behind it, what with Starfleet's medical prowess, but I like the statement anyway.)

LESSON: You can't trust time. Just remember all the times it got away from you.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium-High: Really a mother-daughter-mother story, even if it's couched in high stakes, end of the world, technobabble stuff.

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