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Star Trek Dis - Season 2 - Episode 11

Star Trek Dis - 2x11 - Perpetual Infinity

Originally Aired: 2019-3-28

Synopsis:
Burnham receives the reunion she's been longing for, but it doesn't go quite as she imagined. Georgiou and Tyler sense a disturbing change in Leland.

My Rating - 4

Fan Rating Average - 4.86

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Problems
- So if Gabrielle Burnham can't stay in the past for very long before she gets pulled back to the future, how then could she save a huge number of World War III refugees and relocate them across the galaxy as she was said to have done in New Eden?
- Discovery fired photon torpedoes from its nacelles.

Factoids
- Kenric Green, Sonequa Martin-Green's (Michael Burnham's) husband, plays Michael Burnham's father Mike Burnham in this episode.
- The supernova young Michael wants to watch is Alpha Lupi, the brightest star in the constellation Lupus. It is one of the nearest candidates to Earth for going supernova soon in the real world, at 460 light years away.
- Starfleet is said to have a fleet of 7000 ships at this time.
- Gabrielle Burnham was stranded in the 32nd century. This would be after the time of Daniels from Enterprise's Temporal Cold War, but before the events of Calypso.

Remarkable Scenes
- The flashback to Burnham's childhood.
- Gabrielle trying to use the suit to prevent the Klingon attack and getting stuck 950 years into the future.
- Gabrielle to Pike: "I could say more about your future, but you won't like it."
- Gabrielle: "People think time is fragile, precious, beautiful. Sand in an hourglass, all that. But it's not. Time is savage. It always wins."
- Gabrielle telling her daughter about how she watched her childhood.
- Discovery bombing the facility from orbit.

My Review
This episode is a mixed bag. On one hand, the presence of Gabrielle Burnham giving a firsthand account of developing the red angel suit, being forced to use it, getting stranded in the 32nd century, and using time travel to prevent a galactic calamity is welcome exposition. It was also fantastic to finally see direct flashbacks to the moment when Burnham's parents were lost, which was a notable oversight in the first season's finale. Now they are finally adhering to the principle of, "Show, don't tell." All of that was great payoff, but it could've been worth a lot more points if there weren't so many terrible details dragging things down.

For starters, Leland's story eerily resembles having been assimilated by the Borg. We must pray that it's only a superficial similarity and that there is no actual connection between Control and the Borg, or that would likely be yet another continuity error that the series would have to clean up. Also the debate in the episode about whether to delete the sphere data is idiotic. Saru was right. Burnham, Gabrielle, and Pike were wrong. Knowledge is good. Deleting knowledge is bad. Destroying Control should've been their goal.

But even so, suppose for whatever godawful reason that destroying the data truly was their only option... okay, what's so hard about that? Sure, some kind of firewall or DRM prevents itself from being deleted. Whatever. It's unclear how that could possibly work, but let's go with it for now. Did anyone think to physically smash the computer it's stored on? Or blow up Discovery? It turns out they can transfer the data to the red angel suit (move it, not copy it; which itself implies deleting the copy from the computer it started on, but we digress), so instead of the bizarre plan of "send the suit to the future with the data" why not just transfer the data to the suit and then destroy the suit?

Speaking of the suit, its incredible superpowers are well beyond reasonable suspension of disbelief by this point. Gabrielle and Section 31 appear to have built it without too much difficulty beyond locating a "time crystal." Once constructed it possessed the power of time travel, flying through vast distances in space despite having no apparent means of propulsion, the ability to emit powerful signals that can be detected from across the galaxy, a "heal beam" that brought Burnham back to life, weapons that could effortlessly neutralize the Ba'ul in The Sound of Thunder, and "literally infinite" computer storage capacity. And who knows what else?

Perhaps its best superpower though is it provides the series a way to carve out Star Trek: Discovery as taking place in a multiverse, similar to the Kelvin films, which is a possibility we should not only start taking seriously now, but begin assuming is the case immediately for the long term health of the franchise's canon. We should now assume that 20 years prior to the start of Discovery when Gabrielle Burnham began traveling through time to escape the Klingon attack and began altering historical events, she contaminated the timeline which spun off the prime universe into a multiverse that now exists separate and apart from the main canon, just as Nero spun off the prime universe into a multiverse in Star Trek XI (2009).

Unless and until a future episode contradicts this conclusion, it will be official editorial stance of this publication that Discovery exists in a multiverse apart from the main canon for this reason. Hopefully the writers either 1. validate this on-screen at some point, or 2. at least do nothing to contradict it in a future episode. If so, this can fix all of Discovery's breaks with canon. Even visual canon. So perhaps this otherwise mixed bag of an episode is the greatest gift Star Trek: Discovery has given us so far. It gave us the tools to strike all of this from the main canon to undo all the damage that has been done to canon by this series. Hooray?

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