Welcome back to another week where we recap, react to, and ruminate about Star Trek: Discovery Episode 11: “The Wolf Inside.” This post will contain mild spoilers, so don’t read head until you have watched episode 11.
As with the other posts in this Star Trek: Discovery series, there won’t be a lengthy recap. Instead of we will focus on the basic of what we learn. As before, I’ll be pulling reactions and ruminations from my Star Trek community.
All previous discussions and posts in this series are linked at the end of this article.
Star Trek: Discovery Episode 11: “The Wolf Inside” Recap
Episode 11 of Star Trek: Discovery opens with a heartbreaking scene of Stamets holding and rocking Culber’s lifeless body, and mumbling something about seeing him in the forest. Later, Tilly devises a plan to fix the weird stuff going on in Stamets’ brain. It doesn’t go as hoped but all is not lost.
There is an intimate scene between Burnham and Tyler that leaves viewers uneasy because we know she is not safe with him.
Tyler lies to Burnham. Burnham lies to Saru. Lorca gives Burnham some questionable guidance that serves to fuel a fan theory that will be discussed in the reactions section.
Burnham is given orders by the emperor to bomb a planet where the rebel leader is. Instead, she devises a plan that will allow her to covertly meet with the Fire Wolf to learn things about the Klingons, thing that would hopefully enable Starfleet to make peace with them in the Prime Universe.
During that meeting, she undergoes a mild meld with Mirror Sarek. Sarek sees everything and reassures the Fire Wolf, who is Mirror Voq, that the humans can be trusted. Mirror Voq utters the magic word “Kahless,” unleashing the wolf inside of Tyler, leaving fans vindicated.
Mirror Voq and Burnham agree to a plan, and Burnham and Tyler return to the Shenzhou. Burnham confronts Tyler. Tyler attempts to kill her, leaving her heartbroken. Burnham agrees that Tyler should face the required punishment for attempting to kill the captain: death by transporter. Tyler gets spaced but the Discovery picks him up.
Star Trek: Discovery episode 11 ends with Emperor Georgiou (as predicted) making an appearance, bombing the planet, Lorca looking far to happy to see her, and Prime Stamets meeting Mirror Stamets in the forest.
Star Trek: Discovery Episode 11: “The Wolf Inside” Reactions
Overall, Star Trek: Discovery episode 11 was met with a positive reaction from my Star Trek community. Like previous episodes, especially last week, it was rather heavy. As much as we are enjoying Star Trek: Discovery, many of us need a good dose of hope; that feeling that drew us to the franchise to begin with.
Scott Carpenter made a comment that I think sums up very nicely what a lot of us are feeling right now because of the current state of the world:
Would it be sacrilege to say I’m over the Mirror Universe? Yeah, yeah, yeah, thrills and chills, and Michelle Yeoh as Emperor. Maybe it’s just that I’m already fed up with adults behaving badly and giving in to their worst and most repulsive selves. I want some hope, I want some cheering up. I want some freaking inspiration.
The story is good, I’m still watching, but damn – what I wouldn’t give for a nice first contact scenario. I guess the timing is just off, for me.
You would think that with the “big reveal” that Tyler is Voq, that is what we would have reacted to the most this week. But it wasn’t, because we’ve known this for weeks. We’ve spent many weeks discussing how we hoped that the writers wouldn’t go this obvious route. Not only because it’s obvious, but also because it’s a horrible thing to do to Burnham as she’s trying to embrace her humanity and falls in love for the very first time.
So, even though Voq being “The Wolf Inside” Tyler was supposed to be the big ta da moment of the week, the things we reacted to the most this week were other things about the Mirror Universe. Specifically, we are now pretty much convinced that Lorca is Mirror Lorca and has been this entire time, despite half of us not wanting that to be so, and what Mirror Sarek being a rebel means for what we know about Mirror Spock.
“The Wolf Inside” of Captain Lorca
If you haven’t been reading all of our discussions about Lorca, then some background is needed.
Since nearly the beginning of Star Trek: Discovery, about half of the community wanted Lorca to be Mirror Lorca because they couldn’t stomach such a horrible human for a captain. The other half of the community, including myself, rejected the idea because we much preferred having Lorca being a jerk than the standard admiral-jerk-of-week cliché.
Since the morality of each series has been illustrated through the captain, I can understand the need of the first group to believe he can’t truly be the real Lorca. For the latter group, we were enjoying the harder examination of ourselves by putting these qualities in a main character, instead of through the lens of “other” because it forces one to do some extra self-examinations.
But, then, Lorca said and did things in episode 10 and episode 11 of Star Trek: Discovery that caused those of us on the “Nah, you all just have to accept that there are even jerk captains” to believe that Lorca is Mirror Lorca and has been since the very beginning.
Aside from having way too much knowledge about the Mirror Universe in episode 10 and it looked like he purposely caused the jump into this universe in episode 9, other pieces slipped into place during Star Trek: Discovery episode 11. Here are snippets of the conversation we had this week. I purposely made my comment vague to allow viewers to discover what I’ve been seeing:
Me: I’m going to throw a wild idea out that I thought of when I was re-watching the “In a Mirror, Darkly” episodes that the Discovery episodes are heavily based upon and could explain why Lorca smiled when he saw the emperor:
Lorca having a Gorn skeleton makes sense if he is Mirror Lorca who somehow got into Prime, because of Archer’s fight with the Gorn on the Defiant. It would also explain why he made some of the comments to Burnham when she was given orders to bomb that planet.
There is also that one scene where it looks like Lorca sabotaged the jumps so they would end up in the Mirror Universe. I was hoping that Lorca is just an a-hole instead of the cliché ahole-admiral-of-the-week but now there are more and more little clues, like making the Defiant a big part of this plot, that make this Lorca being Mirror Lorca more plausible.
G.H. Brothers: Looks like this person agrees with you.
Me: Except for it appears the writer of that article forgets that, if Lorca has secrets about how the Defiant entered the Mirror Universe, then he would know how to travel between the two universes. Maybe he went into Prime specifically to get a hold of Burnham for reasons not yet known. But, if he is Mirror (I dismissed it completely until a few things from episode 10), then I think he did it deliberately. He also had a big hand in getting the spore drive created and that was done purposely to get him back home once he got what he needed.
G.H. Brothers: I’ve gone back today and re-watched “Context Is for Kings” and “The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not for the Lamb’s Cry,” and it just reinforces a conversation we had a few months ago.
Landry toootally feels like somebody who came over with him. Her sycophantic loyalty and downright impatience to see what made the tardigrade tick feels even more out of place now than it did then. And after she died, that’s when we see Lorca begin to soften and ease back on the aggression quite a bit. Seems like not having that simpatico person around, who shared his vision, caused him to lose his edge a bit. If she wasn’t from the Mirror Universe, and he is, then he has a miraculous knack for finding the ONE officer in Starfleet with borderline sociopathic tendencies to bring into his inner circle. Ya know what they say. ‘Takes one to know one.’
Me: Totally with you on Landry. I always wondered how that Landry managed to pass the psych evaluation because she was cruel and sadistic. And we’ve yet to see Mirror Landry. We’ve seen every other mirror character except for her (and Culber for reasons stated in After Trek).
G.H. Brothers: One final thought: is this the face a NON-mirror universe person makes when seeing the Emperor for the “first” time? Ehhhh……I don’t think so!
Me: Yup, hence my smile comment earlier. But maybe it’s better classified as a smirk instead of a smile. Anyway, he wasn’t surprised, and it made him happy on some level to see the emperor dragging herself out there (which I think is what he was hopping would happen).
What I didn’t say in the discussion is that it would also explain the comments he made to Burnham in a previous episode about how he knows her better than she realizes. At that time, I thought he figured he knew her because they share trauma.
“The Wolf Inside” of Spock and Sarek, and the Paradoxes of Time Travel
“The Wolf Inside” isn’t only about the obvious of the whole wolf in sheep’s clothing that is Tyler/Voq, but also that mirror that represents the polar opposite of who we are, which led to discussions about the ramifications of the mind meld.
H.U. Graedner: What do you think will become of Mirror Sarek now that he knows the truth about the Discovery‘s origin (pretending maybe he made it off the planet before the attack)?
Me: I’ve asked the same thing but have yet to come up with anything other than: to use that information somehow to the benefit of the rebels. Or maybe, some point in the timeline, the Terran empire gets a hold of him and learns of it and that is why by the time of DS9, they can go back and forth whenever they want. At some point, the Mirror Universe becomes fully aware of the Prime but it takes longer for Prime to become fully aware.
Lorien: How the bleep is Sarek a rebel when Spock is a loyal member of the Empire 10 years later? Yes, I know the two never got along well but the level of divergence seems too much. Who would have trusted Spock with a rebel daddy?
G.H. Brothers: THAT…is actually a really great question! Hadn’t even occurred to me, to be honest. But now I’m quite curious.
Me: I think Tilly is even more divergent from Prime than the Sarek/Spock difference. I’d expect those issues to be amplified even more. Instead of joining Starfleet which caused the rift after the sacrifices Sarek made at the expense of Burnham, Spock wanted to be part of the Empire instead of a slave like Vulcans were in ENT. We don’t know if Vulcans are still slaves or just broke away to become part of the rebels.
And it would also add to how Sarek responded to the images he saw of Burnham graduating.
Ryan Hayle: I assume that the reality we saw in TOS “Mirror, Mirror” no longer exists. That was the reality as it existed without the Defiant ever being sent back in time, where the ISS Constitution class was developed organically, just like in the prime timeline. Once Defiant went back, it changed everything, including the role of the Vulcans and other species at that time, and very likely changed Spock’s course as well.
Lorien: Except the Defiant going back was from Enterprise…which puts that earlier in the Prime timeline than the “Mirror, Mirror” episode.
Ryan Hayle: Yes, I am aware. I’m suggesting we got to witness a future Mirror Universe where this event never happened in TOS. Essentially when the Defiant went back, it branched out again and created a second Mirror Universe from the one in TOS and DS9, which is also the one we’re seeing in Discovery.
Me: The Defiant was displaced into the Mirror Universe after the events of “Mirror, Mirror”. “Mirror, Mirror” was Season 2 and “The Tholian Web” [when the Defiant enters the Mirror Universe but back in time 100 years] was Season 3. So, this is one of those paradoxes they (especially Janeway) kept telling viewers to not think about.
What we do know for sure is Vulcans were slaves. And as we know from history, when slaves find freedom, they don’t know how to take it so stay with what they know. Also, Hoshi took the Defiant when she was Empress.
Maybe the writers were hoping that we’d be talking about Voq/Tyler. After Trek certainly wanted us to believe that this would be the thing that we are supposed to be discussing around water coolers and that they have a big twist up their sleeves that we won’t see coming.
Frankly, I’m not so sure about that since my Star Trek community has, to date, already figured out what was supposed to be major plot twist.
But, maybe they will surprise us yet which will make us enjoy the show even more. We are hoping for a big surprise.
Star Trek: Discovery Episode 11: “The Wolf Inside” Ruminations
This week, we are going to briefly ruminate about hope. Something we desperately need right now. While a lot of us appreciate the honest way in which Star Trek: Discovery has been dealing with war, especially trauma, after 11 episodes, we are becoming emotionally exhausted, desperate for that feeling.
That said, there were a few of lines from Star Trek: Discovery episode 11 that have me feeling that hope is just around the corner; that by the time we finish season 1, we will reach that place in the timeline where all isn’t heavy.
The first, I’m going to paraphrase. It was that moment when Burnham was talking about how she was hoping to learn something from the Mirror Klingons that could help the Federation to make peace. She desperately wants to find a way to reach an understanding with the Klingons, instead of destroying them.
The second moment came after the mind meld when Mirror Sarek said, “I see a world bursting with potential… a child molded by wisdom and a seemingly impossible depth of human compassion.” That is the Star Trek that we know and love.
The final moment comes near the end of the episode and seemed to be picked up by more viewers, when Saru said, “We are stranded in a cruel, anarchic world…but we are still Starfleet,” as the reason for why a surprised Tyler was not spaced.
At the beginning of episode 11, Burnham’s thoughts were filled with fear and self-doubt, “Can you hide your heart? Can you bury your decency? Can you continue to pretend to be one of them? Even as, little by little, it kills the person you really are.”
Yet, she puts her life at risk of death to find some wisdom as to make peace, Sarek sees the impossible depth of human compassion, and Saru reminds us that even if cruelty surrounds us, we do not give in or give up hope.
I see more hope at the end of this long, dark tunnel in which we currently find Star Trek: Discovery.
Until next Wednesday, Live Long and Prosper.
Catch Up With Other Posts in the Star Trek: Discovery Recap, Reactions, and Ruminations Series
Star Trek: Discovery Episodes 1 and 2: Recap, Reactions, and Ruminations: We ruminate about Burnham’s actions as it relates to her past, and how the message of “we come in peace” will not always be received as such.
Star Trek: Discovery Episode 3: Recap, Reactions, and Ruminations: We ruminate about Section 31, the many Starfleet officers who have broken the prime direction, and Alice in Wonderland.
Star Trek: Discovery Episode 4: Recap, Reactions, and Ruminations: We ruminate about Captain Lorca and his requirement for unquestioning loyalty and the consequences; blindly following orders versus challenging them.
Star Trek: Discovery Episode 5: Recap, Reactions, and Ruminations: We ruminate about the times some of our favorite captains did extremely questionable and unethical things, and how it related to Lorca.
Star Trek: Discovery Episode 6: Recap, Reactions, and Ruminations: We ruminate about the effects of surviving trauma, C-PSTD, PTSD, and how it relates to Burnham and Lorca.
Star Trek: Discovery Episode 7: Recap, Reactions, and Rumination: We ruminate about relationships in the context of Burnham and why the interpersonal relationships amongst the crew seem to be so important to fans
Star Trek: Discovery Episode 8: Recap, Reactions, and Ruminations: We ruminate about the real-world implications of war and PTSD and how this reality is reflected in Star Trek: Discovery.
Star Trek: Discovery Episode 9: Recap, Reactions, and Ruminations: We ruminate about trauma and the difference in how the cishet couple is treated compared to the queer couple.