This review contains spoilers.
1.14 The War Without, The War Within
Finally some answers! After spending several episodes throwing out insane twists but never quite following them up, this episode reveals that firstly, there was no Tyler before Voq, and secondly there WAS a non-Mirror Lorca. Though if you think that the line “it sounds like my Lorca wouldn’t have survived” closes the door on any return for Jason Isaacs, you are sadly mistaken, friends, because nothing says “We’ll definitely see non-Mirror Lorca one day” than everyone agreeing he’s definitely dead.
Although there was a lot riding on this episode after the game-redefining Mirror Universe arc, I think the show held up well. Best of all, Sarek gave us some of Star Trek’s prime philosophical meat to chew on, suggesting we learn to love and forgive our enemies even as they’re turned into a thinly-veiled space version of Islamic State. Fairly bold stuff, I think you’ll agree.
We also got to see Stamets actually react to Culber’s death, though it seems like he got off fairly easily for that level of trauma. More amusing was Tilly’s confession that she didn’t quite know what joining Starfleet was getting her into. Mate, just be glad you haven’t been fried by 50,000 volts for sitting in the wrong chair or had a console blow up in their face. You think anyone signs up for that nonsense? Harry Kim DIED and was replaced by ANOTHER HARRY KIM. You think he mentions that on his Christmas cards?!
But hey, even though this episode wasn’t exactly thick with twists, I still enjoyed it. I’m increasingly enjoying getting to see more of young Sarek, who apparently led a very eventful life. Mirror-Georgiou is great too, like a Bond villain dropped into a Star Trek episode. I approve of her “joining” the crew (I guarantee she escapes next episode).
And hey, what a plan to defeat the Klingons. Mess them up as badly as possible. I mostly approve because we’re likely to see one hell of an effects budget next episode…
This week’s in-universe references:
Cornwell mentions the USS Saratoga being destroyed. The name was (apparently) re-used for a ship that appeared in Star Trek IV, as well as in Benjamin Sisko’s backstory as the ship he served on. Starfleet does have a tradition of re-using the names for ships, though only the Enterprise gets the letter suffix to its registration to indicate the number of iterations. Or at least, it’s the only one that’s supposed to. You can’t make sure EVERY writer and editor knows that.
Qo’noS (pronounced Kronos. As in quartet.) is the Klingon homeworld. It was not give a name until Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, though it first appeared in TNG 3×17 (Sins Of The Father) which is set long after Star Trek VI. Also one time they called it “Kling” but the less said about that, the better.
The terraforming device cannot help but recall the Genesis Device from Star Trek II & Star Trek III. By the time TNG rolls around terraforming is a much longer process, probably because Starfleet didn’t like the idea that you could shoot a few drones at any planet you fancied and completely refresh it.
Cornwell also mentions that this’ll be the first visit to Qo’noS by a Starfleet crew in nearly a hundred years, and later references Jonathan Archer and the crew of the Enterprise NX-01. These events happened in ENT 1×01 (Broken Bow). Which is, to be fair, one of Enterprise’s better episodes.
I do feel like that last one crosses the line from fanservice to begging, but what the hell, let’s be generous, it is Christmas. Or at least it was last time I checked anyway.
DIS WTF: The Mirror Discovery got blowed the hell up as soon as it arrived in our universe? I suddenly have no respect for Captain Mirror Tilley. Aren’t those guys supposed to be human supremacists? Where the hell are their chins?!
DIS LOL: Very much enjoyed the Klingon Graffiti on Starbase 1. They tagged Federation territory? What are they, skaters?
Also I literally cannot hear “Admiral Cornwell” without thinking “Admiral Cornhole”. I’m sorry. I just can’t do it.
OH! And this episode had a transporter chief, and they even remembered to swear him to secrecy after having a conversation about insane alternate universes right in front of him. O’Brien is no longer alone.
Mistakes and minutia: Someone claims Starbase 1 is 100 AU from Earth, which would make it just over twice as far from Earth as Pluto is. Seems like that Starbase swarming with murderously Klingons should be a bigger concern than it was.
Time to meeting: Next season I’m replacing this section with “Reason for Threat Ganglia” because I feel like that’s the interesting trope here. He can sense death, you know, as metaphysical as that sounds.
See you next week for the finale.