‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Season 2 Episode 10: Recap, Reactions, and Ruminations – “The Red Angel”

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Welcome to another week where we recap, react to, and ruminate about Star Trek: Discovery. Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 Episode 10 “The Red Angel” managed to truly surprise us, for which we are grateful.

This post will mostly contain minor spoilers and a medium-ish spoiler that can’t be avoided. So, don’t read ahead until you have watched Episode 10.

As with previous posts in this Star Trek: Discovery series, there won’t be a lengthy recap, but instead of we will focus on the basics of what we learn. Once again, I’ll be pulling reactions and ruminations from my Star Trek community.

Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 Episode 10: “The Red Angel” Recap

In Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 Episode 10 – “The Red Angel,” the Discovery says a teary goodbye to Airium. We learn more about Airium through eulogies. Her body is cast out into space, similar to the end of The Wrath of Khan. Is this the last we’ll see of her?

We learn about Project Daedalus during which we are led to believe that Burnham is the Red Angel. A plot is hatched to capture the Red Angel which requires Burnham to sacrifice her life.

We also learn that Burnham’s parents worked for Section 31 on Project Daedalus. Burnham learns the truth about who is responsible for her parents’ death. Leland’s face meets Burnham’s fists.

Spock doesn’t hold anything back while Burnham is in sickbay being examined to confirm she is the Red Angel. He makes sure everyone knows that she takes on burdens that are not hers as the result of her childhood trauma. Later in the episode, Spock and Burnham reconcile in a very touching scene.

Burnham also reconciles with Tyler.

Culber is unofficially back on duty. Pike has him helping with the plan to capture the Red Angel while he figures what Culber’s duties will be now that he’s back. Culber’s still struggling a lot. He reaches out to Cornwell for a bit of therapy. We learn more about how he is experiencing trauma and the effects of this trauma.

Leland is still up to no good and gets taken out in a way that was very reminiscent of the Borg.

The crew of the Discovery carries out their plan to capture the Red Angel and succeeds. The Red Angel is not who everyone thought she was.

Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 Episode 10: “The Red Angel” Reactions

My Star Trek community is still moving to its new home, but we did manage to have a bit of a conversation this week:

G.H. Brothers: I’m less than 15 minutes in, and there’s one detail that is getting majorly overlooked by the crew, and it’s bugging the $#!^ out of me. If what they say is true, and Burnham is the Red Angel, WHY are they having discussions and making complex schemes to trap her WHILE SHE’S IN THE ROOM??? If she is instrumental in the creation of the plan, wouldn’t her future self be able to side-step it with ease?? I’m obviously going to continue watching, and I hope this gets mentioned. If not, that kinda smacks of lazy writing.

Me: I am so glad that the Red Angel is not Burnham. Not only because I had the same thoughts you did, but also, I want to be surprised for once by ST:DSC. Also, there were parts that just didn’t fit with the Burnham theory which we discussed last week.

I liked the conversation between Spock and Burnham. That was touching. I also liked the scene in sickbay where Spock brought up her survivor’s guilt. That was a much needed laugh. Also, all the laughs Tilly continues to provide.

I liked the scenes with Culber. I’m glad they are doing this storyline properly, even if it’s not getting enough screen time. The scene with Stamets, Georgiou, and Culber was hilarious and excellent of the writers dropping in the term pansexual.

Even though it caused me to exclaim, “Well sh!t!” when the eyeball puncture a la Borg took out Leland, that was a great “Well, I didn’t see that coming” moment, too.

I’m not sure how I feel about Tyler and Burnham getting back together. But their relationship never made sense to me, to begin with.

There was also a few more “the needs of the many” themes in this episode. And while it would have been nice to get to know Airium better before she died, the funeral was a nice epilogue. And I don’t think that’s the last we’ll see of her after they torpedoed her a la Spock at the end of TWAK.

Ani Hatzis: Same thoughts during the first minutes and feeling myself like an oracle. I already pictured us discussing whether it was a plot hole or a “paradox” thing. But what actually happened was quite a surprise, and a good one.

I really love how ambivalent some roles are portrayed, especially Ash Tyler and Philippa Georgiou. I always have mixed feelings watching them.

Me: My article is a bit late this week because of an unexpected event yesterday. I’m currently writing it up and had the following thought: What if during the process of erasing Airium’s memories, part of her consciousness didn’t get erased and she’s the one who took out Leland because her connection with Control would have given her the knowledge that Section 31 thinks Burnham is the Red Angel and Section 31 is responsible for her parents’ death?

Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 Episode 10: “The Red Angel” Ruminations

Once again, there were a lot of different emotions, and layers of trauma and relationships in Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 Episode 10. The thing that really struck me was, for a second week in a row, there were themes around “the needs of the many” and self-sacrifice.

Self-sacrifice can be extremely tricky. The ethos of “the needs of the many” is something that is very much apart of the core of who I am. But when trauma and post traumatic stress are also involved, self-sacrifice becomes very complicated and nuanced.

I’m the type of person who would sacrifice my life for those whom I consider a friend. I have a very strict definition of what “friend” is and don’t use that term lightly. I’m also the person who would put my body between a stranger on the street who is in danger and the thing that is the source of that danger.

That said, and one of the things that often gets worked through in my trauma therapy, self-sacrifice can also be harmful when you are always putting the needs of others before your own and taking on burdens that are not yours to take. Or you find yourself in relationships where you are carrying all of the burden and the other person never shares the load. Or the other person would never even consider stepping in front of harm for you.

Outside of my own traits, “the need of the many” is also a core part of Canadian identity and the culture in which I grew up. The very first section of Canada’s constitution embodies this ethos. Individual rights are limited when they do not benefit the whole of society. It’s why we have limits on free speech–hate speech is a criminal offense—just as one example.

Burnham is in this same situation. She has childhood trauma that makes it difficult for her to recognize when her self-sacrifice is healthy or when it will result in self-harm. She also grew up in a society which firmly believes in “the needs of the many” which creates an added sense of needing to carry all burdens, adding further nuance to the how trauma and self-sacrifice are intertwined.

It can be very difficult for others to understand the psychology at play here, the cognitive processes that drive this type of behavior. When people do not understand this psychology, they may view the person exhibiting these traits in a negative way, resulting in either stigma and/or a strong dislike of the person who exhibits them.

The fact the writers of Star Trek: Discovery are also perusing this face of trauma and its effects is yet another reason I’m so very grateful for Season 2.

As an end note, my Star Trek community is in the process of moving with the upcoming shutdown of Google+. You can find us and join us at The United Federation of Planets. It’s free to join but there are paid options with extra features to help offset the costs of hosting and building the apps. The Android app is now available and so is the iOS app.

Until next Sunday, Live Long and Prosper!

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Jules Sherred: @https://twitter.com/GeekyJules Jules Sherred is a parent, author, radio personality, blogger and freelance writer, gamer, tech enthusiast, website designer, science nerd, sci-fi freak, hard core Trekker, and has an unnatural obsession with Optimus Prime. He/him/his.