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Star Trek: Discovery - Vaulting Ambition - Review: "Lorca's Secret"

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Star Trek Discovery 1.12 "Vaulting Ambition" - Review:
Directed by Hanelle M. Culpepper & Written by Jordon Nardino

There was as ever, a lot to unpack in this episode of Star Trek: Discovery which has never slowed down since making the trip into the mirrorverse, giving us one awesome episode after another. The show is building towards its climax with just three episodes left in the season now, and the way things are panning out, things are certainly shaping up to be very entertaining indeed.

The cat's out of the bag now, so we might as well start with the big secret. The Lorca reveal at the end of the episode was timed perfectly - any longer and it might have risked becoming too obvious, but although it was a fairly popular theory among fans and I was very much settled on this coming true by last week's episode, the way in which Lorca was revealed to be from the Mirrorverse was certainly a gamechanger, and it was handled a lot more effectively than the Ash Tyler is actually Voq reveal (more on that later). This is the second time in as many episodes that Michael has found out that someone close to her isn't who they seem, and of course that's not including the fact that she has to deal with the Emperor being Georgiou, her Captain on the other Earth.

It makes sense now, all of Lorca's rash actions, how far he's willing to go to get the job done, and leaving Mudd behind in the Klingon torture chambers. None of this felt like a typical Starfleet Captain behaviour and the answer is quite simple - it's because Lorca isn't actually a Starfleet Captain at all. He's a Terran who's been hiding under Starfleet colours this whole time, having swayed the Terran Michael away from Georgiou to join his rebellion. We're still not quite sure what happened to the Terran Michael, but this further showed the extent of Lorca's manipulations and brought them to light. It also looks like Lorca deliberately brought the Discovery into the Mirrorverse too, which is something that is sure to have dramatic repercussions on his character. Surely he won't remain Captain of the Discovery when the show escapes the mirrorverse now that his secret's out? Will he decide to remain in the mirrorverse? There's plenty of unknown factors to take into account here, but turning Lorca into a wildcard and possibly leaving Michael forced to choose between this world's version of Georgiou and Lorca will no doubt be an interesting one for sure.

The ISS Charon proved to be a sweet staging post for the scenes with Georgiou and Michael. It's a pretty awesome vessel that makes a nice change from the Discovery, and also shows what the benefits of working with an impressive CGI budget for a television show can bring. These scenes in particular between Georgiou and Michael also revealed that Michael of this universe had actually fallen in love with Lorca on top of betraying Georgiou, and paved way to another shocking revelation about Lorca. It's pretty clear now that him getting Michael on board the Discovery back home was no accident, but it also begs the question - what happened to the Lorca back in the Discovery's universe? Was he killed by this world's Lorca? Or is he still out there? How different would he be from the character that we know? I'm kind of hoping that we get to see a time travel episode or a flashback episode, or at least something that will let us see what the other Lorca looks like at some point. There's too much potential there not to ignore.

The side story in Star Trek: Discovery again focused on Stamets as his character was trapped inside the mycelial network and it had rapidly become infected. His only way out it seemed was relying on the help of his mirrorverse counterpart, who was also trapped - and had been for a long time. Both versions of Stamets initially work together only for Stamets to be distracted by the appearance of Hugh Culber, or at least a manifestation of Hugh Culber, his doomed boyfriend. Stamets doesn't even know that he's dead, believing that holding his corpse in his arms was just a dream, meaning that it's Hugh that gets to break the bad news to him. But that's not all Hugh is there for however, as he appears to help Stamets find his way back home by helping him come to terms with the fact that Hugh's not around anymore. It turns out as well, that surprise, surprise - the Mirrorverse Stamets is actually not telling the complete truth, and that he was trapped in the mycelial network as a result of his own ambition and ego rather than his self-sacrifice for his crew, and he was responsible for corrupting the network in the first place.

We also briefly touched on Ash and Voq, and the conflict of the two different characters inhabiting his body. L'Rell was informed this week by Saru of their current status in an alternate universe, and that here the war no longer matters so that they must work together. Eventually she's willing to help, and ends up performing the necessary surgery. Despite struggles from both Voq and Ash, with Ash using Michael as someone to cling onto his human form - (it turns out that there was a real Ash after all), and seemingly Ash comes out on top over Voq, much to L'Rell's dismay. However, this feels too abrupt an ending to a storyline of this potential, so I have to assume that there's more to this than meets the eye.

What did you think of Vaulting Ambition? Were you surprised by the Lorca reveal? Let me know in the comments section below and be sure to check out the next episode of Star Trek: Discovery on CBS All-Access this Sunday and on Netflix outside of the US and Canada from Monday onwards.

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