Thursday, March 28, 2019

REVIEW: 'Star Trek: Discovery' - Michael Has a Surprising Family Reunion as Control Pushes for More Power in 'Perpetual Infinity'

CBS All Access' Star Trek: Discovery - Episode 2.11 "Perpetual Infinity"

Burnham receives the reunion she's been longing for, but it doesn't go quite as she imagined. Georgiou and Tyler sense a disturbing change in Leland.

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.

"Perpetual Infinity" was written by Alan McElroy & Brandon Schultz and directed by Maja Vrvilo

Storytelling is more grounded when there is an emotional through-line to what is going on. The war over protecting the future from the emerging threat from Control hasn't really had that. When Airiam was taken over by this advanced programming, it was absolutely devastating. That was the most effective episode of the season so far. And now, the show is putting in the work to personify these conflicts even more. That means Michael's mother is revealed as the Red Angel while Leland becomes the human interface of Control. Both of those decisions are incredibly smart. The inclusion of Dr. Burnham gives Michael such a surprising realization that truly shakes her to her core. Sure, the show skips over some essential parts of Dr. Burnham's experiences of the world and her adventures with time travel. She makes the argument that she has seen Michael die over a hundred times. As such, she doesn't want to get invested in yet another timeline that will only lead to despair and destruction. However, it's still such a solid hook for story here because it explores a connection that everyone thought was lost for good. The hour opens with a flashback to the day in which Michael thought her parents were killed. And now, it's through the context of seeing Dr. Burnham actually transported to over 900 years in the future. That era is absolutely desolate. Whenever she has tried to return and save her family, she keeps being pulled back to this specific point in time. That too is such a tragic circumstance. She has come to learn a lot about Control and the actions taken in the present day that further creates that threat to the entire universe. She knows so much about the futures of each of these characters. She has manipulated the past in order to influence events. She's the reason why the Discovery intersected with the sphere in the first place. She thought Pike and Michael would be able to protect that information and keep it out of Control's programming. Even that isn't enough to change the timeline. This is a threat that has proven too difficult to defeat. It has made Dr. Burnham cold and cut off from the world. She is still being targeted by Control which sees her as the greatest threat to its existence. And now, Control has Leland as an interface to only further influence the actions of everyone in the story. Georgiou and Tyler only begin to suspect that something more is going on with Leland after it's too late. Georgiou and Dr. Burnham have their own interesting conversation. These are two women who are alike in many ways. They both want to protect Michael. One is just in the position to do so even though she doesn't receive the love that Michael has to give. Michael wishes to save her mother from this experience that has tortured her for so long. The Discovery crew comes up with a plan to send the time travel suit to the distant future with all of the information from the sphere which would ensure that Control never gets it. They also have a plan to stop Dr. Burnham from being pulled back into the future. But that's what makes it so devastating when that still occurs. It happens with no way of Dr. Burnham returning either. The mystery of the Red Angel is gone. All hope is not lost. It's just fleeting and bleak at the moment. Control is still out there as well. It got just enough information to develop into the threat that will destroy the universe. And yet, the characters have to keep moving forward. The actions they make now will all have longterm consequences. As such, they have a responsibility to ensure that they are moral and just no matter what. It is meaningful for Michael to mourn the loss of her mother once more. But it's also important for her to fight to keep that connection alive in the hopes of seeing her again. That's a gift that Spock is able to give her here.