So, Tilly is seeing a dead friend from her school-days. Spock’s mum explains at length about Spock’s half-Vulcan/half-human psychological disorientation (stuff we all know very well). Ash, down on the Klingon homeworld, is going through his whole I’m Volk-the-Klingon in the body of the human Ash Tyler confusion. And Burnham is hallucinating red angels and crying about it – actually crying, even though we’ve seen her go through hell and highwater in season 1 without shedding a single tear! Okay, okay, we get the theme of duality and self-doubt already! Do you really need to belabour it so damn self-indulgently? Stop whining about your anxiety already.
The main problem though is that with so many split personalities needing ‘resolution’, the 50-min episode really doesn’t have time for us to go through the crisis and dramatic symbolic/psychological progression for each character. So what do we get instead? We get a big block of exposition or an immediate explanation and solution for the ‘problem’. The closest we get to an actual plot-line is down on the Klingon homeworld, where all sorts of politics are going on. Yet, we expect Ash to prove his worth and save the day… except that all gets fudged and we get an awful deus ex machina moment of salvation… with a character who’s already died at least twice and really shouldn’t exist anymore (except they’re a big star and the series doesn’t wanna waste them).
In summary, then, we only stay engaged because we have learnt to care about these characters in previous episodes. We give the episode leeway and tolerance. But, honestly, it’s a really duff episode (that’s me being polite). A critic friend of mine called it a ‘process episode’, which means it dumps a load of info on us so that we will understand/enjoy the drama and action of upcoming episodes. Fair enough. But it’s sooooooo clumsily done. Oh well. Onwards!