Thursday, February 14, 2019

REVIEW: 'Star Trek: Discovery' - Tilly's Trip to the Mycelial Network Forces a Shocking Reunion in 'Saints of Imperfection'

CBS All Access' Star Trek: Discovery - Episode 2.05 "Saints of Imperfection"

Burnham and the crew navigate a dangerous alien landscape in a race against time to save Tilly's life, but Stamets is not at all prepared for what they find in the process. Section 31 is assigned to help track down Spock, much to Pike's dismay.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of CBS All Access' Star Trek: Discovery.

"Saints of Imperfection" was written by Kirsten Beyer and directed by David Barrett

Hugh Culber's death in the first season was awkward, problematic and anti-climatic. The show always told the audience that we should care about Hugh and Stamets as a couple. That was mostly because of the importance of them being the first gay couple in Star Trek history. However, the show never really showed us a reason why we should care about them. That certainly wasn't true at the bizarre moment when Hugh was killed just to signal that something more was going on with Tyler. Plus, it played into an absolutely horrible stereotype that rightfully sparked a ton of conversation. The actors and creative team could never offer up a satisfying answer to the outrage either. It felt like yet another instance of "Bury Your Gays." They could only come up with the vague answer of Hugh and Stamets' story not being over just yet. Of course, it was over for the first season. So, that made the audience feel additionally cheated. Plus, the show ruined its own surprise here by listing Wilson Cruz's name in the opening credits alongside the rest of the series regulars. As such, it was inevitable that some twist would occur that would seemingly bring him back to life. The explanation here is mostly just science fiction craziness the audience immediately has to accept. There are moments where the characters are just as baffled by how Hugh could still be alive. Stamets offers up a brief explanation for how his energy was transferred to the mycelial network because of their connection. That means his body was recreated in this other dimension even though the particles there have been openly attacking him ever since. That's why May has been so forceful with Tilly. She wants her help in defeating the monster who could destroy the network. At first, it seemed like this chaos and destruction was a result of the Discovery sailing through the mycelial network in order to travel across long distances. But that's not ultimately the case. Instead of offering up a simple solution for why this technology is never seen again, it all just ties back into the Hugh mystery. And so, there is a happy reunion for the couple. It feels like a moment that should be joyous and celebrated. But again, it's hard to muster up too much excitement because the only notable thing that Hugh did in the first season was die. That's not great in the slightest. Moreover, the show really doesn't earn that moment in which May and Tilly make a pinky promise that they will see each other again one day. Sure, the story overall proves that they have to be willing to listen to each other and trust that everything will work out in the end. This adventure into the mycelial network to save Tilly seems crazy and dangerous. However, it also shows how limited the scope of the show can still be because all of the action still occurs on the Discovery just with some different lighting. That's a little lame and unimaginative too. Plus, all of this continues to delay any progress in the search for Spock. Some updates are given. The ship the Discovery was tracking was a dead end. Section 31 followed it as well. And so, those two factions come together for the first time this season. They will have to work together because something more is going on that connects Spock to the mysterious signals. But there is also no reason to trust anyone from Section 31 because so many of their operations are kept classified by Starfleet. Again, the show continues to insist that the people aboard the Discovery uphold the proudest ideals of the Federation while the people actually in charge of the organization are much more cynical and willing to do just about anything in order to remain strong throughout the universe. That could be fascinating but the show really doesn't explore it further.