STAR TREK DISCOVERY served fans a big helping of nostalgia pie in “Light and Shadows” by introducing some familiar franchise faces. Most notably, the Spock block is finally over. After nearly two months of waiting, DISCOVERY finally introduced everyone’s favourite Vulcan logician — although some outliers may prefer STAR TREK: VOYAGER’s Lieutenant Tuvok — and he’s a raving lunatic.
That wasn’t all that DISCOVERY’s writers had on offer, though. DISCO fans also got to see Captain Pike and Lieutenant Tyler develop some small level of mutual respect when they were nearly killed by a deadly version of a Discovery probe that Pike postulates was modified by an unknown party from the future.
Lt. Stamets gets another chance to show off how useful it can be to be infused with tardigrade DNA, and Ensign Tilly gets another chance to show off how frikkin’ awesome she is at math by performing a complicated beam out.
A story may finally be developing for Lt. Cmdr. Airiam, the weird robot-looking character who engages Discovery’s spore drive, helps Tilly and Burnham do research, and makes an audible whirring sound whenever she makes the slightest move. DISCOVERY writers seemed to have been at a bit of a loss about what to do with the synthetic being until now, so I hope that the virus transmitted by Discovery’s modified future probe makes Airiam a bit more interesting.
STAR TREK DISCOVERY – “What a twist! Section 31, the immoral spy agency loosely associated with Starfleet, is up to no good!”
Amanda proves just how bad she is at keeping secrets by immediately caving and showing Burnham where she’s hiding Spock. And, because Burnham is apparently very bad at determining when she’s being followed, Sarek follows his wife and adopted daughter to the place where the Vulcans keep all the katras — telepathic imprints of the deceased. Amanda has been hiding Spock here to keep him hidden from his father’s telepathic probings.
Spock has been doing some interior decorating, carving likenesses of the “Red Angel” alongside seemingly meaningless numbers while reciting the first tenet of Vulcan logic, “Thou shalt get a bowl cut,” or something like that…
Sarek barges in and demands that they hand Spock over to Section 31, and, surprisingly enough, conversation in the katra cave devolves even further from Spock’s ramblings. Amanda raves about reading Alice in Wonderland to Spock so that he could understand that feeling strange was a natural state of affairs. Burnham doesn’t have much to offer in this scene, and she eventually agrees, for some reason, that the appropriate thing to do is hand her mentally ill brother over to Capt. Leland of Section 31.
“Did you say mammary extractor?!”
Proving that she’s not all bad, just self motivated, Capt. (Emperor) Georgiou informs Burnham that Leland’s plans for Spock are not altogether diplomatic: he plans to use a memory extractor, which could cause permanent brain damage, on the raving Vulcan to acquire information about the Red Angel.
By staging a breakout, Georgiou facilitates Burnham and Spock’s escape. While Michael hides her and Spock’s shuttle behind an asteroid, Michael determines that the number Spock is repeating are spatial co-ordinates in reverse. Michael reverses the number and enters the co-ordinates into the shuttle’s conn. The name of a planet comes up, Talos IV…!
STAR TREK DISCOVERY S02E07: “Light and Shadows” – “It’s a time hole.”
While Michael is off gallivanting with her brother, the crew of the Discovery are — surprise, surprise — in grave peril. Discovery’s probe proving unworthy of the job of scanning temporal energy left by the appearance of the Red Angel, Captain Pike attempts to pilot a shuttle within sensor range of the anomaly.
Accompanied by a protesting Lt. Tyler, who voices concerns about Discovery’s captain piloting a shuttle into a cloud of dangerous temporal radiation, Pike promptly mires the shuttle in the temporal muck. Using an old test pilot trick, though, Pike does some quick thinking and manages to provide Tilly and Stamets a signal that the two geniuses use to track the shuttle within the mycelial time-stream.
Using his uncanny powers of mycelial navigation after beaming over to Pike and Tyler’s shuttle, Stamets manages to pilot them all out of the “time rift.” Unfortunately, the Discovery’s probe, which has apparently been modified to kill while acting like an octopus, comes along for the ride.
STAR TREK DISCOVERY S02E07: “Light and Shadows” – “Yep, here’s your problem. Someone set this thing to ‘Evil.’”
After Pike, Tyler, and Stamets are safely beamed aboard, Discovery makes short work of its upgraded death probe. But the probe, having breached Discovery’s shuttle’s data core before its destruction, has also breached other systems, including Lt. Cmdr. Airiam’s brain. Although the whirring commander hasn’t yet displayed any psychotic tendencies, any Trekkie will tell you that malfunctioning robots are best avoided.
STAR TREK DISCOVERY S02E07: “Light and Shadows” – Final Thoughts
Mirror Georgiou’s apparent altruism did little to mask her obvious self interest in making Capt. Leland look like a jackass. But even though she’s a self-interested reflection of the high-minded captain her counterpart was, it’s easy enough to believe that Georgiou has some interest in seeing Burnham succeed, even if it’s only to feed her own vanity. That Leland was somehow involved in the murder of Burnham’s biological parents was a juicy tidbit, so it should be interesting to see how that story plays out.
I may sound like a broken record, but why are writers turning Sarek into such a jerk? Logical though he may be, Sarek has never appeared as out of touch as he did in “Light and Shadows.” Sure, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, but Section 31 is hardly the right place for one’s mentally ill son. Bleah.
The Talosian Hello
And what the heck is going on with Talos IV?! As any Trekkie worth their pips could tell you, the first time that Pike and his crew, including Spock, travel to Talos IV is chronicled in STAR TREK’s rejected pilot, entitled “The Cage” which most viewers first saw broken into clips in STAR TREK’s first-season episode, “The Menagerie, Part I.”
“The Menagerie, Part I” and its conclusion “The Menagerie, Part II,” were clip show episodes of a sort that allowed Roddenberry and his team of writers to air the “The Cage” on NBC even though the network had rejected the story in the first place.
“The Cage” and “The Menagerie” both focus on the Enterprise’s mission, under the command of Capt. Pike, to investigate a distress signal emanating from Talos IV. As Pike and Spock are unfamiliar with Talos IV and the large-domed Talosians in “The Cage,” which is set years after the events chronicled in DISCOVERY’s second season, it stands to reason that whatever happens on Talos IV in “If Memory Serves” will stay on Talos IV.
Pike and Spock may have no memories of traveling to Talos IV in “The Cage” because of something the Talosians will do to them in “If Memory Serves,” or because of something the Red Angel will do to erase the events featured in the upcoming episode. Either way, I hope writers address this particular plot point since the Talosians and the plot of “The Cage” played such a large part in developing STAR TREK during its inaugural season.