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Star Trek: Discovery - Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad

episode 1.7

USA 2017
produced by
Aaron Baiers, Kevin Lafferty, April Nocifora, Gretchen J. Berg (executive), Bryan Fuller (executive), Akiva Goldsman (executive), Aaron Harberts (executive), Alex Kurtzman (executive), Rod Roddenberry (as Eugene Roddenberry, executive), Trevor Roth (executive) for Roddenberry Entertainment/CBS, Netflix
directed by David Barrett
starring Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Shazad Latif, Anthony Rapp, Mary Wiseman, Jason Isaacs, Wilson Cruz, Katherine Barrell, Peter MacNeill, Rainn Wilson, Milton Barnes, Emily Coutts, Jason Deline, Hamza Fouad, Julianne Grossman (voice), Patrick Kwok-Choon, Sara Mitich, Oyin Oladejo, Ronnie Rowe, Izaak Smith
screenplay by Aron Eli Coleite, Jesse Alexander, series created by Bryan Fuller, Alex Kurtzman, Star Trek created by Gene Roddenberry, music by Jeff Russo, special effects by Alchemy Studios, visual effects by Pixomondo, Spin VFX

TV-series
Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek, Harry Mudd

review by
Mike Haberfelner


During a party, Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Ash (Shazad Latif), who just had some proto-romance going, are called to the bridge as the scanners have spotted an unidentifiable object - which turns out to be a space whale (!) lightyears away from its natural habitat. So they decide to teleport the animal inside the ship and take it back. But once the whale's on board, out steps Harry Mudd (Rainn Wilson), who pretty much starts killing people right way, making his way to the bridge, as he does hold a grudge against the Captain (Jason Isaacs) - see episode Choose Your Pain. But also, he wants to take over the Discovery and sell it to the Klingons, but first of course needs to learn more about the ship's spore drive - which the crew though isn't likely to give up. So with the help of a time crystal (!) Mudd has created a time loop that plays the exact same last 30 minutes of the Discovery (which Mudd destroys at the end of each loop) over and over again, to gather more and more information about the ship - but also to kill everyone over and over again, because that's the bastard he is. Nobody but him though has knowledge everything's caught in a timeloop, for everyone else, things happen for the first time each time they're repeated - for everyone but Stamets (Anthony Rapp), the navigator who's so much in constant touch with the spores that he exists out of time (?). And he tries to warn the others, build up a plan of defense - which isn't an easy thing since he only has 30 minutes each loop before things are reset again. But he makes up an elaborate scheme that involves Burnham and Ash hitting it off on the dancefloor (?) but also voluntary surrender by the captain. And ultimately, the scheme works and instead of Mudd handing over the ship to the Klingons, he himself is handed over to his obnoxious bride-to-be (Katherine Barrell) and very strict father-in-law-to-be (Peter MacNeill), and everybody thinks that's hard enough punishment ...

 

A time loop was once an interesting premise for a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, Cause and Effect - Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad however is at best a weak rehash of that one, everything's just too forced, the budding romance between Burnham and Ash, and how it's treated, is rather cringeworthy, and while Harry Mudd the intergalactic con-man was always one of the most interesting Star Trek villains, he's pretty much reduced to killing people in this one, while his comeuppance fails to really strike a chord. Rather a let-down to be honest.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
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WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
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written by
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starring
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out now on DVD