Oh, I enjoyed this episode.
The episode opens with Burnham attending a party. A disco on the Disco if you will. She and Ash Tyler, the guy Lorca rescued from the Klingon ship, are called to the bridge. The sensors have picked up an object that turns out to be an endangered space whale. Because clearly in the future endangers space whales are a thing.
The whale is beamed on board but it turns out to be a Trojan horse type of whale as a space suited figure (wearing a gloriously cheap looking Andorian helmet) emerges and starts firing on the crew. It turns out to be Harry Mudd, out for revenge after he was abandoned by Lorca on said Klingon ship.
But he’s talking like he’s done this before. And then the Discovery blows up.
We are back on the Discovery and Burnham is attending the disco on the Disco.
Oh my. They’re doing a time loop episode. Cue happy dancing around the living room. Ok, metaphorical happy dancing. But still.
So the loop begins again. But this time it’s completely different. Stamets somehow knows that it’s happening and warns Burnham and Ash. They are more wary when beaming aboard the whale. But this time Mudd doesn’t emerge from it. He’s elsewhere on the ship causing mayhem. He’s trying to gradually gain the secret of the Discovery’s special drive so he can sell it to the Klingons. And if he gets to kill Lorca a few dozen times along the way then that’s a bonus. Each loop lasts 30 minutes and usually ends with the Discovery blowing up.
Because he injected himself with DNA from the JJ Abrams CGI creature Stamets has a memory of each loop and is looking for information to defeat Mudd. He approaches Burnham again and asks her to tell him something, a secret, that she has never told anyone else so he can prove to her they’re in the loop. Turns out she has never been in love and in the midst of the mayhem they take a loop to talk and slow dance in the ship while discussing if she has feelings for Ash and if Ash has feelings for her. And for the first time I’m starting to “get” Burnham. She’s the outsider character, the one trying to learn to be human. Headslap.
Then it’s back to the Mudd mayhem. Rainn Wilson plays Harcourt Fenton Mudd with relish. There is a mix of genuinely despicable villainy with Mudd happy to vaporise Lorca or indeed any random crewman, but it’s all done with a glint in his eye and a smile on his face. You can’t help liking the guy just a little as he prowls around the ship, locking out the computer and appropriating the captain’s chair. All the while Mudd is thinking up more ingenious ways to kill Lorca which we get to see in an amusing montage.
So I really enjoyed this one. Like, as I was watching it I was thinking “this one is a little bit special”. Rainn Wilson steals the show as Mudd but special mention must be made of Anthony Rapp whose Stamets is turning out to be an interesting character and almost steals the episode back from Wilson.
May Mudd return.