Review: Star Trek: Discovery, “The Wolf Inside”

Well, this is better than last week’s disaster, even if that’s not a high bar to clear.

The official logo for Star Trek: Discovery“The Wolf Inside” sees Burnham continue to struggle to maintain her cover in the Mirror Universe. When she’s ordered to massacre a group of rebels, she seeks alternate solutions, seeing the multi-racial insurgents as a pale shadow of the Federation of her own reality.

I really enjoyed this hopeful, idealistic Burnham. I wonder if she’s met the Michael Burnham who started a war with the Klingons out of blind racism.

This is another episode that hearkens back to Star Trek’s traditional identity — full of adherence to an idealistic morality — and it’s nice to see, but it’s starting to just feel like paying lip service. It’s like every few episodes the writers are like, “Oh, right, this is a Star Trek show. Better throw in a couple quick lines of moral pontificating.”

Because there isn’t a whole lot of depth here. The Mirror Universe is too much a cartoon parody of evil for this philosophizing about the potential for darkness within us to have any real resonance. One or two instances of the protagonists demonstrating basic decency does not a profound message make. Any claims to diversity or inclusiveness have been rendered moot by Discovery’s consistently shabby treatment of anyone who isn’t white or Burnham.

Also, the Tyler/Voq arc is still a mess. They’ve really painted themselves into a corner here. They can’t wrap it up too fast because it’s too integral to the both the main plot and the character arcs, but I really find nothing at all appealing about it, for all the reasons mentioned in my last review.

The titular ship in Star Trek: DiscoveryA betrayal story works best when the traitor is someone who should know better. Someone who was once good, or appeared that way, but fell from grace. Their bonds with the other characters need to be real for severing those bonds to mean anything.

There was never anything decent in Voq. It was all just smoke and mirrors. The stolen memories of a dead man. He’s just a monster. He can’t truly betray the Discovery crew because he was never really one of them. Emotionally, it all falls flat.

Once again, the highlight comes from Tilly. Oh, her story is boring and predictable in the extreme, but Mary Wiseman plays it so well.

She is too good for this show.

It occurs to me this reads as another very critical review, despite the fact “The Wolf Inside” was really a pretty decent episode. But that’s the risk in an arc-based series like this. If the entire arc is based on fundamentally weak premises, it kind of sucks the fun out of everything.

Other Star Trek shows had rocky first seasons, too, but in those cases you could just shrug and move on after every bad episode. Each week brought a fresh start.

Cadet Tilly's Mirror Universe counterpart, "Captain Killy"Discovery doesn’t have that luxury. Its stumbles just keep accruing, threatening to sabotage the whole series. To paraphrase the great Sir William Talent, Discovery dug a hole so deep it’s going to drown in its mistakes.

Overall rating: 7/10

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