If you would like to read my review of last week’s episode, click here.
Synopsis: As the U.S.S. Discovery crew attempts to let loose at a party, an unwelcome visitor comes aboard bringing about a problematic and twisted sequence of events. (IMDB)
Writers: Aron Eli Coleite & Jesse Alexander
Director: David M. Barrett
Running Time: 43 mins
“Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad” starts off with Burnham recollecting her journey aboard the Discovery, their mission and her relationship with the other crew members. She explains her inability to connect with others and fear that she never truly will. She shows off this lack of social ability at a Discovery ship party.
During a conversation with Tyler, the two of them summoned to the bridge. On their way they bump into Stamets and Dr. Culber, where we get our first taste of the new personality of Stamets. He is much more cheerful, engaging in gossip. What is going on? The crew has found an endangered space whale sailing through space that they decide to beam aboard and out pops an intruder from the whale’s mouth. Turns out it’s Harry Mudd. He’s here for that so-called revenge he swore to Lorca. He threatens that he plans to kill Lorca numerous times and he will eventually commandeer the ship. And with the click of a button he resets time.
And finally Star Trek: Discovery has done what had been mentioned many times already. They focused on a ship-based, character-centric story. It uses the “time-loop” trope of many sci-fis before it, including the very memorable “Cause and Effect” episode of TNG, without making it boring or too repetitive.
Throughout the episode we watch as Mudd resets a 30 minute window repeatedly until he learns everything about the Discovery to take it and deliver the ship to the Klingons. What he didn’t count on was that Stamets new tardigrade DNA allows him to live outside the time-loop and remember everything. He’s able to convince Burnham of his crackpot theory thanks to him getting Burnham to tell him a secret during one of the loops. This intelligent decision by the only character with knowledge of the situation is why this trope worked so well here.
After a montage of Mudd continually killing Lorca and the crew, they are finally able to gain the upper-hand on him and break the time-loop. And what will be the punishment for Harry Mudd? Going back to his concerned wife and her now very rich father. Um what?
- What does Stamets ability to live outside the confines of time mean for his character?
- What other cybernetic enhancements could Stamets or other crew members receive this season?
- How is Tyler so comfortable with Burnham given she was the cause of his imprisonment?
- What other social aspects of modern life could be sprinkled into the show like the dance party?
- What are the Klingons up to?
- What other stand-alone style episodes could we see this season?
Overall, this was a great episode. We are given our first stand-alone Discovery story and it shines as one of the best of the series so far. The story tied up its loose-ends, but there’s no doubt that some of the events in this episode will have fallout later on in the season. The story also shows how Discovery can do more lighthearted episodes rather than the constant doom and gloom of war. And while the story was superb, yet again the character development steals the show as we learn even more about Michael Burnham’s complexities.
What did you think of “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad”? Did you enjoy Discovery’s first stand-alone episode? Let me know in the comments below!