I’ve always suspected that Gabriel Lorca wasn’t the run-of-the-mill starship captain. But then again, who is run-of-the-mill when in command of a titular ship in the Star Trek universe? The casting of Jason Isaacs himself was an immediate hint that he’s not what he seems. That somehow he’s a captain with a questionable agenda. Well, that’s the result of his great performance as Lucius Malfoy of Harry Potter and lately as Apocalypse in X-Men: Apocalypse. The worse that he could have been in Star Trek was a Section 31 officer, but the writers of Discovery were more sinister. For those who haven’t caught up to Star Trek: Discovery, SPOILER ALERT.
Trek fans who enjoy Star Trek: Discovery are going nuts over the last four episodes of the series. Admit it or not, Trek fans love glimpses of the mirror universe. Ever since Star Trek: The Original Series episode Mirror, Mirror, sci-fi fans became intrigued with opposite parallel universe versions of their favorite sci-fi characters. At how their favorite characters will act without a moral compass. The Star Trek Mirror Universe this time is seen as never before in Star Trek: Discovery. The Terran empire is shown in its height of power and gave us some startling twists that cement this series in Star Trek canon.
I can’t say I didn’t enjoy watching Star Trek: Discovery while still struggling to get past the Klingon redesigns and tech that shouldn’t be there. Like many, I’m thrilled at seeing the mirror universe discussed in various series. Modern Trek featured it in Star Trek DS9 and in Enterprise. Now we get to see the Mirror Universe at its height in Star Trek: Discovery, episodes eleven through thirteen. We’ve been given hints to it as far back as episode five and later when Stamets mistakes Tilly as a captain. At first, I thought that Stamets has seen the future of has been into another universe but didn’t expect it to be the mirror universe.
The last four episodes have given us a lot of surprises except for the revelation of Ash Tyler of course which many have suspected for a long time to be Voq, Son of None. It’s both a shame and a clever way of revealing him so soon. It was also jarring to see Captain Georgiou as the Terran Emperor and that the imperial palace turns out to be a mycelium-powered Terran dreadnought ISS Charon. But none was as surprising as the revelation that Gabriel Lorca was actually from the mirror universe. He was transported the same way as Kirk through an ion storm while escaping persecution from Emperor Georgiou. What I find a bit off about it is his seeming quick change of character, being a full psychotic being able to kill mirror Stamets so nonchalantly.
As some other articles have stated, there were parallels to ‘the other franchise’ as my Star Trek group calls it. Like ‘princess’ Burnham being able to, and having to smuggle important data on a physical medium to defeat the evil empire. It was convenient that Voq had to reveal himself at such the right time that Burnham had to send him back to Discovery with information about the USS Defiant. The same Defiant that got lost in the original series through Interphasic Space which was later discovered by mirror NX-01 Enterprise and became instrumental in the Terrans and Empress Hoshi Sato’s rise to power. The other similarity is that the gigantic ISS Charon can easily destroy planets and that a ship (the Discovery) has to enter a tunnel to detonate a target to destroy a threat to the entire multiverse (The Charon). This mission has given Discovery much significance to the Star Trek canon where a ship manages to save the entire multiverse though I find it hard to grasp how a fungal infection can destroy all life as we know it.
It was nice to see Michelle Yeoh once again as Philippa but as the Terran emperor no less. But the twist that Lorca was from the mirror universe all along was quite jarring and that it makes much the entire season one giant Star Trek mirror universe episode. Though I can’t remember in Trek lore where mirror universe natives are inherently sensitive to light as Lorca was. All in all, Star Trek: Discovery has been great, even if conservative fans do not consider it traditional ‘Trek.’
Star Trek has gone a long way from a budget-strapped sci-fi space adventure production forced to become philosophically cerebral. Today’s technology and resources have allowed it to expand into something what Gene Roddenberry may have meant it to be. It could have been if Gene were still around. But as hardcore fans know, Trek has continued on a questionable evolution into something that fans have grown to love despite Gene’s oppositions. Deep Space 9’s war-torn later seasons would have been met with disapproval from Gene himself, but the insistence of Star Trek’s writers and producers up until The Next Generation made possible the franchise we love pre-Star Trek: Nemesis. Star Trek’s evolution continues on to become grittier, more action-packed and somewhat more enjoyable. For this space sci-fi fan, I love me a good space battle that Star Wars continues to give. But if conservatives cringe on Star Trek: Discovery, what would they think of an upcoming Quentin Tarantino flick? Tarantino himself is a conservative guy who leans on the grindhouse but he treats the stuff he likes with respect and he may with Star Trek with some Q flavor of course.
But the whole point is, I’ve enjoyed Star Trek: Discovery, not just because of the mirror universe, but because of the stories, the action, the awesome special effects, the sheer amount of work done never before seen in Star Trek outside of the cinema. Can’t wait to see what happens next to their ship with no captain, a ruthless empress on board and a love interest gone bad.
Star Trek: Discovery may not be our traditional Trek, but it’s still Star Trek, kept alive on TV. You can think of it as more of an extended Section 31 thing. Dark, gritty, secretive, full of deceit and intrigue, something you’d actually expect from that Federation agency. It may sound like I’m making excuses for this series departure from both canon and storytelling, just saying every Trek fan can give it a shot.