Friday, March 19, 2021

Star Trek: Discovery Review: 2x07 "Light and Shadows"

This episode marks the first time we see Spock in Discovery outside of Michael's memories. Going into these episodes, I was curious what they'd do with him as a character, and even though Spock is limited in how much he interacts with the other characters in this episode (because of his mental state), the first time I watched this episode it made me even more curious about where the story was going.

At the start of the episode, Michael is granted leave to go to Vulcan, where she plans to speak to Amanda about Spock. She already suspects that Amanda knows something that she's not telling anyone, and once she gets to Vulcan, she's right. Honestly, I was surprised at how quickly Amanda gave in and showed Michael where Spock was. It shoes that they're close and that Amanda does ultimately trust Michael.

Amanda takes Michael to where she's keeping Spock hidden, and this is the first time we see him. He doesn't acknowledge Michael's or Amanda's presences and instead keeps muttering to himself. His muttering includes a set of numbers that Amanda says she can't find the significance of. It's a shocking first look at Spock. Despite only seeing episodes here and there from other Star Trek series, I know enough about him as a character for his demeanor in this scene to be jarring.

Sarek shows up as well, having followed them, and there's quite a bit of tension between him and Amanda over what to do about Spock. I like seeing their differences explored here. We also learn that Spock had a condition similar to dyslexia that he seems to have inherited from Amanda (i.e. his human side) which resulted in him being isolated as a kid. It's a sad story and makes me wonder if learning disorders just don't typically exist on Vulcan or if they have any that are different than those humans have. Either way, it's an interesting insight into Spock's past.

During his muttering, Spock starts quoting Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, which Amanda read to both him and Michael as children. Sarek expresses disapproval over this because the absurdness of Wonderland conflicts with Vulcan culture and, in his view, hearing it as a child harmed Spock. There's a connection between the absurd nature of Wonderland and Spock's mental state that's interesting. Back when this season was first released, I remembered reading some stuff where people were complaining about it being Alice that Amanda read when it could be any book from history or in the galaxy, but I do get what they were going for with it, and it does make sense to me that Amanda would choose that book, both because she's human and because she was trying to counter the extreme focus on logic that Spock was getting from the Vulcans.

Sarek believes that taking Spock to Section 31 is the best course of action. He's convinced that Spock has information that the Federation needs and that, if Spock is innocent, he will be fine. Michael ends up taking Spock to Section 31. However, Georgiou reveals to Michael that Section 31 plans on removing Spock's memories and helps her escape with Spock. Georgiou/the Emperor and Michael's relationship is one of the most interesting on the show to me, so I love the dynamics we start to see where Georgiou actually wants to help Michael.

This episode also includes quite a bit of tension between Pike and Tyler. Pike still doesn't trust Tyler, which is understandable considering what information he has on him. The Discovery encounters temporal distortions, and Pike and Tyler wind up together on a shuttle only to then get lost inside a temporal distortion themselves. While there, their shuttle gets attacked by a probe that appears to have come from the future. It attacks their computer, though they're not sure why.

Once back on Discovery, they point out that the Red Angel and the probe have both come from the future and might be connected to each other. Airiam also begins acting strangely, and from the way the scenes are shot, it's made clear that this has something to do with the probe who attacked the ship's computer. It raises some interesting questions about both the Red Angel and what will happen to Airiam.

At the end of the episode, Georgiou also reveals that Leland is responsible for the death of Michael's parents. Because we've seen a few glimpses of Michael's parents recently too, it seems a little obvious that we're going to be learning more about them in upcoming episodes.

The episode ends with Michael figuring out that Spock's numbers are coordinates, and she starts heading for the planet.

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