Thursday, May 23, 2019

Star Trek: Discovery -- Season 1 Episode 7 (Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad)

I suppose that it’s inevitable that every science-fiction show will do at least one time travel/time loop episode.  Star Trek had it with City on the Edge of Forever.  The Next Generation had at least one of each with Time’s Arrow and Cause and Effect.  The crew of Deep Space Nine even went back to visit The Enterprise with Trials and Tribble-ations.

Time travel isn’t so bad.  It’s usually the time-loop stories that get me.  You see, there can be, at most, one person, other than the perpetrator, that knows about  the time loop.  In case there isn’t anyone, everyone will have a sense of déjà vu. But there has to be a way for the characters to break the loop.

With the case of Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad, Harry Mudd is back.  Yes, he skipped an episode and he wants his revenge on Captain Lorca.  He’s going to do this by stealing the Discovery.  To do this, he’s gotten a time crystal to work, meaning he can make all the mistakes he wants before destroying the ship and jumping back 30 minutes to try again.  This effectively wipes the crew’s memories with the exception of Paul Stamets, who remembers everything.

Stamets enlists the help of Michael Burnham and Ash Tyler.  It’s not clear why he chooses these two people, as they are the two newest additions to the crew that we know about and most people still see Burnham as the mutineer.  (Even the captain, who wants her there, makes her a specialist.  If we are to assume that this means the naval rank, that’s about as far down the ladder as you can get.)

I have to say that this is pretty ambitious for Harry Mudd.  In The Original Star Trek, he was generally pretty petty.  Our first encounter had him trying to make a buck off of finding wives for lonely miners.  To actually steal a ship with the Klingons as the buyer is a pretty big con.  It’s actually worthy of the con that the crew pulls on him.  In fact, they bring him to his long-lost love, Stella, who I am to assume is the same Stella referenced in I, Mudd.

I do get that the writers are trying to nudge Tyler and Burnham together.  It would make more sense to have Staments go to the captain or to his partner.  Given the number of iterations the time loop had, it’s possible that he did.  The important thing for us, the viewers, is that we learn a thing or two about Burnham and Tyler and that they save the day.

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