In the third episode of the second season of Star Trek: Discovery, Tilly deals with an impossibility; a surprise visitor brings upsetting news to Burnham and Pike; Tyler deals with a secret. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek.
Oh, there’s just so much here to chew on, y’all! I wrote that I found the place where the Klingon arc ended last season to be a lot more interesting than what came before it. And now? Oh, this is so much better! I know a lot had to happen to set up this part of the arc, but this story of belonging and identity that’s now attached to both L’Rell and Ash Tyler? OH MY GOD, I’M SUPER INTO IT. In the time since the season one finale, L’Rell had built some sort of organization and alliance of all twenty-four houses, but that alliance was unsurprisingly precarious. I kind of expected that there would be Klingons committed to their own selfish desires for power. More so than that, though, I expected that Tyler would not have an easy time fitting in with this society, even if he knew the language and the customs. How could the Klingons ever get over his outward appearance?
Which does transform Voq’s original struggle into something similar yet completely different. He faced stigma for being an albino Klingon, but Tyler faces an even worse stigma for being… a human Klingon? I don’t even have the terms to properly describe him, which is the whole point. His very existence is unprecedented. So, in that context, I understood why L’Rell kept her child a secret. First of all: Wow, Tyler already had a lot to deal with? The fact that L’Rell had a child with Voq before his transformation was already a huge thing, but I can see L’Rell being afraid that Tyler would be pushed away even further from her. I can see her being worried that her having a child while being one of the first female Klingons to lead them would be seen as a weakness, too. I CAN SEE A MILLION POSSIBLE REASONS FOR ALL OF THIS. I mean, she hadn’t even bothered naming her child for fear of attachment and fear of how it would upset her mission to unite all the houses.
Which doesn’t mean she made any of these decision lightly, of course, though Tyler’s anguish over discovering this secret is valid, too! He is constantly torn between the world of the Klingons and the world of the Federation, and it certainly didn’t make him feel better to find out that L’Rell had kept his child from him. That would be such an invalidating thing to experience! Still, that being said, I wasn’t sure if I necessarily bought how quickly Tyler decided to jump headfirst into being a father and L’Rell’s partner? It was absolutely believable that he did not reciprocate L’Rell’s affections for him because of what had happened to him. We saw that acted out in the first half of the episode, but then Tyler makes a change after holding his kid once? I don’t know, it’s entirely possible that I’m missing some crucial emotional context because I don’t have any experience with children of my own. I will say, though, that I found it interesting that Voq’s memories/personality were what reached through to Tyler and helped him change his mind. It would have been easier if the writers had established that Tyler no longer had access to anything Voq once knew or experienced, so this being more complicated is more interesting.
Regardless of how I felt about all that, I was OVER THE MOON at the first appearance of Section 31 on Discovery, which also arrived with CAPTAIN GEORGIOU. Oh my god, she has her own ship? She works for the secretive nightmare part of Starfleet??? Because of COURSE she does! What other place could she possibly thrive in? The part that doesn’t abide by any of Starfleet’s regulations!!! I feel like unleashing Georgiou on the world without any accountability is potentially a bad idea. Here, we see the ramifications of Tyler’s contact with Burnham. The news of potential instability within the Klingons was passed to her so that she could ensure that L’Rell stayed in power. AND OH LORD, DID SHE EVER. Her solution—to fake the death of Tyler and the child and let L’Rell craft a narrative of unity—is absurdly effective, and it’s also so feral??? Like what the fuck???? I wasn’t surprised it work, given that the other Klingons responded so well to L’Rell’s apparent dedication to the Empire. (I mean, she was dedicated to her, but she managed to save the man she loves and her child in the process.)
I feel like introducing Section 31 has just given Discovery another dose of chaos, y’all. I’M READY.
I’m a big fan of stories about complicity and accountability, so holy shit, I’m so excited to see how Spock’s story will further unfold? Yet I can’t even guess as to how this all fits together. There is either a species or an individual who is behind what is now known as the Red Angel, the figure that visited Spock, Burnham, and the people of New Eden. They’re obviously tied to the Red Bursts, but I can’t even BEGIN to piece this all together. Why Spock? Why at the moment when Burnham fled from her home on Vulcan, desperate to return to Earth? None of this feels like an accident or coincidental. Burnham might be hesitant to assign meaning where there is none, but I’m ready. I’m ready to link all of this together.
Thankfully, while this mystery is utterly compelling ever time it appears onscreen, I was glad that the writers didn’t ignore the potential of having Amanda visit Burnham by herself. God, MIRA SORVINO RULES AS AMANDA. What she has to convey here is so complicated. There is grief. Anger. Confusion. Desperation. By the time Burnham began to reveal her role in the events of years prior, Sorvino had already given a show-stopping portrayal. But y’all, my favorite scene in “Point of Light” has to be where Amanda and Burnham try their best to be honest with their failures as a family. I could see both of them butting heads with Vulcan logic, all while the most intense emotions swam about in their hearts. While Burnham doesn’t reveal what it is she did to deliberately hurt Spock all those years ago, it was obvious that the act was immensely, immensely fucked, so much so that she could only tell her mother that something happened. She can’t even speak the full truth aloud. Amanda, on the other hand, is vulnerable as hell when she reveals how she believes she failed Spock: By withholding her human side to best raise him as a Vulcan. I think that confirms my theory that the scene where young Spock watches Amanda and Burnham bond while Amanda reads spurned jealousy in him. Burnham got something that Spock never had a chance to have: open affection from his mother.
So: how is the Red Angel connected to all of this??? I don’t know!!!
I ALSO DON’T KNOW HOW THIS PLOT CONNECTS TO THE RED BURSTS AND THE DARK MATTER EITHER!!!! Holy shit, that tiny, tiny moment in the season one finale that I saw but otherwise let pass out of my mind was A KEY PLOT POINT. Tilly got infected by some sort of fungus from the Terran universe! Oh god, I really, really think my theory is right: May is not from the Prime Universe! It would explain why May’s personality is so vastly different from the one that Tilly remembers. Of course, it’s possible that age and time changed that, because I don’t believe I have the same personality as I did back in junior high. (I’m nowhere near as shy as I once was.) But this has got to be it. Why else would she think Stamets was the captain?
OOOOH NEW THEORY: What if this has to do with what the other Stamets was doing to the mycelial network? Maybe??? I don’t know. We get cliffhanger’d in this episode once the fungal parasite thing is pulled out of Tilly’s body. But it’s gotta be connected to all of this!!!
Oh, y’all, this is so fun to try and figure out. I said this in the video, but I love mysteries like this, particularly in the speculative fiction realm. I don’t feel ready at all, and in this case, the storytelling around it is just so good!!!
The video for “Point of Light” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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