So all the rumors come home to roost with Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 Episode 10. Discovery is indeed in the Mirror Universe, and Ash Tyler may very well be what the interwebs have suspected all along.
Don't get me wrong. I'm super stoked about adventures in the Mirror Universe, and I'm absolutely tickled by how beautifully they're pushing the Alice in Wonderland allegory.
Or Alice Through the Looking Glass, as it is now.
But the entire exposition about how Tyler's wounds were assumed the result of torture but are evidence of the Klingons turning him into someone else?
Despite the shades of one of my favorite films, Gattaca, it is so contrived, I cringed.
I mean, even if he were surgically changed to look human, inside and out, wouldn't medical scans detect Klingon DNA?
I know that Klingon and human DNA is compatible since bi-species children are canon lore, but there has to be enough difference to be able to distinguish it medically.
Double sigh. And so the implication is that Voq was surgically "adjusted" to look like Ash Tyler and then psychologically overlayed with Tyler's memories and personality to infiltrate Star Fleet for the glory of Kahless but now his love of Burnham has shorted out the programming?
I didn't like the Ash-is-Voq theory when it was proposed because it was just a stupid too far for me. I stand corrected. Running this story device where love will (or won't) save the day is the STUPID too far.
And then... Culber. Dammit, talk about kicking the puppy of the crew. Only, they KILL the only crew member who does nothing but heal and help and love his husband. My heart breaks for Stamets...if he ever gets his brain back.
So, if that's the bad of the winter premiere, what's the good?
Two words. Captain. Killy.
Lorca: Get rid of them as fast as possible. And talk as little as possible.
Tilly: ...Have you noticed that I talk a lot?
Lorca: Defy your every instinct.
Watching the bubbly, goofy, awkward cadet take on the persona of her Mirror-Universe-self was pure awesome. Even better was how obviously hot, yet scary, Mirror-Universe Connor found her. And now she gets to use all the cuss-words. Woo-hoo?
Seriously, it was a lot of fun to watch her embrace the role. Because, double seriously, Prime Universe Tilly is super annoying, so it only makes sense that I LURVE the Mirror-Universe Tilly.
Burnham's reaction to seeing Connor again is evidence of how open she has become to her human emotions. It foreshadows a lot of angst as she will be playing the role of captain of the ship she saw destroyed at the Battle of the Binary Stars.
Functionally, she will be in command of a ship full of her ghosts. When she has to kill Connor in self-defense and watch him die in front of her once again, we know that she took Lorca's advice to heart.
From now on, we're Terrans. Decency is weakness and will get us killed and the lives of everyone on this ship and the Federation are at stake. So you do what you must, whatever you must, to anyone.Lorca
Her summary of Terran society and psychology perfectly sums up the world they enter when they board the I.S.S. Shenzhou.
Might is right. Machiavelli had nothing on this professional ladder. And the Terran Imperial Forces look good climbing it.
Burnham in her captain's seat, proclaiming "Long live the Empire" was a glorious, electric, bone-chilling moment.
Terran strength is borne out of pure necessity because they live in constant fear, always looking for the next knife aimed at their back. Their strength is painted rust. It's a facade.Burnham
And as a reward for the looong hiatus, the show wasn't shy about throwing in some clever little in-jokes.
Lorca's "disguised" Scottish engineer voice was a sweet little Easter Egg for fans of the franchise.
And the reference to the Defiant was exciting for those who followed Star Trek Enterprise down its dark rabbit-hole as well as Original Series aficionados.
As for the ugly of the episode, I'd have nothing to pick on if they'd just run the credits after Burnham took her seat on the bridge of the Shenzhou. That would've been an end scene of cinematic epic-ness.
But no, instead, they tack on Tyler's love declaration in her captain's quarters. Three issues here.
First, his role in this mission is as her personal guard. Where the frak was he when Connor tries to off her in the lift?
Second, why in the multi-universes would the I.S.S. Shenzhou in the Mirror Universe have the same access codes as the U.S.S. Discovery from the Prime Universe?
And how heavy-handed is the foreshadowing when he states for no particular reason that he knows all the codes as security chief?
Lastly, oh my god, WHY are they making whoopie when Lorca is being held in, presumably without coffee breaks, something called an AGONIZING BOOTH? Worst. Mission. Agents. Ever. Get the intel. Get out.
So if you just watch Star Trek: Discovery online for the first, oh, 97% of the show, it's a heckuva return for the series.
Okay, so who is on your Mirror Universe wish-list?
Do we get Anarchist Saru? Serial Killer Culber? Do Mirror Lorca and Burnham show up?
OOOH, and where's Mirror Landry? And Mirror GEORGIOU?
As I said, I'm excited about this second chapter. Despite the mushy stuff.
Further on the Alice allegory, my money's on the "faceless" Emperor as the Jabberwocky because if you're gonna riff on Through the Looking-Glass, you gotta suit up with your vorpal sword.
And if anyone's gonna wield a vorpal sword, it's the dude with all the crazy, illegal weapons in his captain's cave.
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.