The following are a few notes I took while watching Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode 10. Warning: mild spoilers may be included, though I’ve tried to stay away from including anything too glaring. Either way, consider yourself warned.
In Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode 10, Burnham is stunned to learn her ties to Section 31 run deeper than she ever suspected. Meanwhile, the identity of the Red Angel is revealed. Ultimately, this leads the U.S.S. Discovery toward its most critical mission to date.
Continuing to build on the narrative momentum of last week, tonight’s episode covered a lot of bases. Interestingly – as a viewer – it started in a place where I was initially disappointed over what was supposed to be the big reveal of the season. Without warning, however, Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode 10 later turned everything on it’s head with an unexpected swerve. I don’t want to give away anything so early in this article, but it was definitely a shocker.
Basically, Star Trek Discovery just took a lackluster but inevitable fan theory about the season’s central mystery, made it seem as if it were true in a very disappointing way, only to finish the episode in a much cooler place. I’ve got to say that I didn’t see that coming.
Now let’s talk about that Red Angel reveal. Obviously, those hoping to avoid spoilers should skip this middle section of the article.
I’ve said already that tonight’s twist actually caught me off-guard, and that alone is quite refreshing. Like with the big Captain Lorca reveal last season, I truly didn’t see it coming. The reason for that, of course, lies in skilled writing. These days, it’s not entirely unexpected for twists to be utilized in storytelling, but Star Trek Discovery seems to have a particular way of being sneaky about it.
They lull you with a story that seems to fit perfectly within the confines of a particular sci-fi trope. In fact, it’s sometimes even one specific to Star Trek. At the last minute, though, they throw a curveball that keeps things much more unique than expected. This tactic was evident again in tonight’s Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode 10, wherein the audience was fooled by a fake reveal, only to see a much more powerful one later.
At first, we are told the Red Angel is actually Michael Burnham herself, confirmed through her bio signature. Needless to say, there’s no way this could be wrong, we are told. It couldn’t be fake. There’s a slight variance, but that’s just more proof it’s accurate, because the AI wouldn’t be able to recreate that. Or whatever. Long story short: it turns out the variance red herring was because it’s actually Michael’s mother instead! You know, the one who is supposed to be long dead and who we now know was a member of Section 31, along with her father who apparently did die. And, also, the suit that allows its wearer to travel through time was a Section 31 project they were developing.
So yeah… there were a lot of big reveals in Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode 10. It was a busy episode of television.
A refreshing take on a common trope and a whole new ballgame for a beloved character
So, quite deftly, Star Trek Discovery took a common sci-fi time travel trope and turned it into something else. It’s still great science fiction, but now it’s a family story that literally rewrites the history of a major character. Everything she knows about where she came from was wrong. Every assumption upon which she has built her personality was false, or – at best – represented an incomplete picture. All the guilt Michael has carried with her for her entire life was completely misdirected.
It goes without saying that the fallout from such revelations will necessarily be immense. Tonight’s episode was a watershed moment for the character Michael Burnham. It’s anyone’s guess where her story will continue from here, both in next week’s finale and in future seasons. What we do know for sure, however, is that we just witnessed science fiction being turned on its ear and used as a means to service character development, rather than the characters somehow servicing just another version of something we’ve seen over and over again in the genre. That alone is something to truly be applauded.
In the end, Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode 10 was a tightly written piece of television, full of foreshadowing. It delivered a satisfying twist that made its more overt sci-fi elements all the more meaningful. I honestly thought it was a very well done episode.