Star Trek: Discovery S01E11 Recap: 'The Wolf Inside'

The further we move passed the earlier episodes of Star Trek Discovery, the clearer it is that the show and its writers came up with a hell of a plan of what they wanted to do with this first season. I've enjoyed the show thoroughly since the very beginning, but it wouldn't be crazy to say that it's been getting better and better. Not only that, but every new episode seems revelatory in one way or another, as of the first half of the season was this dangerous game of Jenga; this whole time, Discovery was stacking pieces on top of one another, leading us to an ever-rising apex where everything is explaining and leads to a meaningful outcome.

Last week's episode answered a lot of questions in an exciting way and began to set the path forward, as it looked as if the crew of the Discovery was strapping in to spend an extended amount of time in the Mirror Universe. This week, "The Wolf Inside" does more of the same, but blows up all the theories and predictions that fan have had, making it impossible to predict what could possibly come next. The Voq/Tyler thread has closed its loop. Captain Georgiou's mirror doppelganger is revealed as the Terran Emperor. Even goateed Mirror Sarek makes an appearance. All that's left is a crew looking for a way home, and the predicaments of varying precariousness that they all find themselves in.

Let's start with Lieutenant Tyler. At the top of the episode, Burnham trusts him implicitly. With Lorca playing the role of tortured prisoner, and Mirror Saru being a lowly slave, she has no one else on the Mirror Shenzhou, which she's supposed to command with an iron fist, so she shacks up with the only person familiar to her, unaware of what Tyler did to Dr. Culber before they left for their assignment, after Culber found out that the very shape of his body had been altered in order for him to go undercover on Discovery and get revenge on Burnham and the Federation for murdering T'Kuvma.

Tyler seems to have his visions under control on the Shenzhou, but it all comes to ahead when he confronts the mirror version of Voq and realizes that they are one and the same. Tyler and Burnham beam down to a planet where the resistance to the Terran empire supposedly houses their headquarters, only to find some familiar faces among their leadership. Voq is qhat they call the "Firewolf", while the aforementioned goateed Sarek is also in their ranks. Sarek mindmelds with Burnham to find confusing memories of which he seems to be apart of, and confirms the pureness of her heart. However Tyler can't accept Voq, a version of himself he doesn't deem honourable, fighting alongside people and races his true self considers his enemies. So Tyler explodes, starts speaking in Klingon, and attacks Voq. Voq still decides to trust Burnham based on Sarek's council, but upon returning to the Shenzhou, Tyler goes Full Voq and attempts to kill Burnham, as he originally intended to do.

The crew of th Shenzhou stops him just in time and he is sentenced to death, but through some trickery, Tyler gets transported back to Discovery along with the data they need to find a way home. Things don't go so well for Burnham though, as she (and Lorca, still playing the part of prisoner) discover that the merciless Terran leader is actually Mirror Georgiou.

The Tyler/Voq stuff is pretty great. His arc has never been a very well-kept secret, but they held onto it just long enough. The amount of time his fellow crewmembers were unaware of who he truly was worked and his turn and reawakening was played perfectly. Even his relationship with Burnham made sense. They're both outsiders, they're both, in a certain sense, going through some traumatic sense, so even though they're inherently different people, it made sense that they might be attracted to one another. What's more, "The Wolf Inside" shows us that Burnham is capable of having a dark side herself. It may be out of necessity to maintain her cover, but Captain Burnham does some terrible things leading the Mirror Shenzhou, and the episode shows us how that takes a toll on her very well, especially as it's later capped not only by the Tyler/Voq betrayal, but also when she finds out her former mentor is the evil leader of this universe.

These last couple of episodes have truly stacked the deck against Burnham in a spectacular way. A way that kind of even justifies everything that some didn't like about the first half of the season. Burnham had to make questionable decisions in the first couple of episodes because the show had to set up that she's capable of doing anything and everything necessary in the line of fire. In that sense, this isn't a traditional redemption arc, as Discovery places the onus of the more traditional or telegraphed reveals on other characters and subplots, which makes what happens to Burnham more compelling and less predictable.

Burnham is in fact such a good main character that she kind of makes everyone who comes anywhere near her that much more compelling. Lorca is infinitely more mysterious, especially now that every reveal except for his true nature has been solved. Tyler is just as punished, and now he holds the status of pariah that once belonged to her. Stamets has his own shit going on, meeting the mirror version of himself in the catatonic fungus forest they've created in their heads. Tilly's even coming into her own. And most interestingly, her relationship with Saru is summed up with an incredibly well-played conversation between the two, in which they both lie. Saru doesn't tell her Culber's dead, and Michael doesn't tell him his mirror self is a slave who just got through washing her.

I can't even fathom where this might all go, but "The Wolf Inside" continues to prove that moving Discovery to the Mirror Universe was an shrewd move, and it gets 8.5 daily ablutions out of 10.

Notes & Quotes:

  • I know that Mirror Sarek having a goatee is just fan service, but it's good damn fan service. I'm also very compelled to hear someone behind the show explain a world where Sarek is part of the resistance and Mirror Spock is loyal Terran officer.
  • Also among the resistance are an Andorian and a Tellarite. The Andorian looked perfect. The Tellarite was a more extreme makeover from the ones we've seen, but it's fine because they all looked silly.
  • "Even the light is different. The cosmos has lost its brilliance."