'Star Trek: Discovery' recap: 'Vaulting Ambition'

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On the latest Star Trek: Discovery Michael brings Lorca to Emperor Georgiou, while Stamets tries to escape the mycelial network.

Previously, Michael met with the resistance fighters and tried to stay in her mirror character. Tyler regained his Voq memories and attempted to kill Michael. Finally, Emperor Georgiou appeared and destroyed the resistance base.

“Vaulting Ambition” begins with Michael taking Lorca to the Emperor’s palace to meet Emperor Georgiou. On the shuttle, Michael tells him Saru found some data on about the Defiant, but most information was redacted. Michael gives him a drug to numb him for when he is tortured. Lorca says he trusts Michael to see the mission through. Michael touches her Georgiou’s Starfleet badge and shares her worries about seeing her again. Lorca reminds her this Georgiou is different and her friend is dead.

On the Discovery, Saru and Tilly discuss Stamets condition. He is getting better but is in a coma. While Tilly believes they should let the spores take its time to fix him, Saru is worried if Stamets will recover fully. Saru notes if Michael and Lorca fail their mission to locate where and how the Defiant crossed into the mirror universe, they may be stuck.

Star Trek: Discovery
Photo Cr: Jan Thijs/CBS © 2017 CBS Interactive. All Rights Reserved.

In the mycelial network, Stamets chats with mirror Stamets who explains to him that he is in a different universe. The network changes, and inside of the spore forest now looks like the Discovery. Mirror Stamets says he had an accident on the Emperor’s ship and is in a coma as well. He has been attempting to contact Stamets through the network, which explains all the visions Stamets saw when using the spore drive. Something in the network is corrupted and it comes toward them like it wants to attack. Mirror Stamets needs Stamets help to get them out of the network and the two run to engineering.

Meanwhile, Michael and Lorca arrive at the Emperor’s ship. Mirror Georgiou welcomes Michael and has her pick out a Kelpien to have and she picks mirror Saru. Michael hands over Lorca, who refuses to bow to Emperor Georgiou. She hits him and says his remaining life will be spent in an agony booth. He is taken away to be placed in a booth and tortured. Emperor Georgiou touches Michael, calling her daughter and sharing her pleasure that Michael is alive and well.

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Photo Cr: Ben Mark Holzberg/CBS © 2017 CBS Interactive. All Rights Reserved.

Back on Discovery, Saru arrives in medical to find Tyler in a panic, speaking Klingon and struggling against his restraints. The doctor is at a loss on how to treat his condition. Tyler changes and asks about Michael and then for help. Then he loses himself again and starts struggling and yelling again.

Michael has dinner with Emperor Georgiou and is forced to eat Kelpien. She questions Michael, who claims Lorca has spies so she could not risk letting Georgiou know what was going on. Emperor Georgiou does not believe Michael and says she knew Michael was conspiring with Lorca to kill her and take the throne. Emperor Georgiou has the guards take Michael away and says she will be executed for treason.

Star Trek: Discovery
Photo Cr: Ben Mark Holzberg/CBS © 2017 CBS Interactive. All Rights Reserved.

Stamets and his mirror counterpart work on finding the best way out of the mycelial network. Mirror Stamets shows him an injury on his arm he says it is from being in the network too long. Stamets then sees Culber and runs after his partner. Mirror Stamets chases him, saying he will get lost and they will never get out.

Emperor Georgiou sentences Michael, saying she will give her a quick death because she still loves Michael. Michael in turn, tells Emperor Georgiou she is from another universe. She hands over her Georgiou’s Starfleet badge and Emperor Georgiou scans it and sees it has a different quantum signature. Emperor Georgiou then kills everyone but Michael and a man who she has clean up the bodies. She mentions the Federation and acknowledges Michael is from the other universe.

Back on Discovery, Saru visits L’Rell and asks her to help with Tyler. Saru reveals they are in another universe and that the Klingon’s plan is pointless here. L’Rell says Tyler was captured and his DNA was grafted onto Voq. She refuses to help, saying Voq knew the risks. Later, Saru visits L’Rell again and shows her video of Voq/Tyler in pain. L’Rell refuses to help again and Saru transfers Voq/Tyler to her cell. L’Rell admits she can undo the procedure.

Stamets finds Culber in their room. Culber gently tells his partner that he died when asked if he too is trapped in the network.

Michael talks to Emperor Georgiou, who says the Federation is dangerous and wants Michael gone. Michael finds out the Defiant crew lost their minds because of how they traveled through the universes. Emperor Georgiou is confused as to how Michael is still sane, and she admits they came a different way. Emperor Georgiou asks for the plans for their spore drive in exchange for letting them go.

Mirror Captain Maddox talks to Lorca, saying Lorca used his sister. He brings in one of Lorca’s men and kills the man when Lorca refuses to talk about the woman.

On Discovery, L’Rell works on Voq/Tyler’s brain and speaks to him in Klingon, and he responds in Klingon. He then starts speaking in English and L’Rell yells no.

Stamets remembers Culber’s death. Mirror Stamets bangs on the door and Stamets has the computer play opera to drown him out. He asks Culber to stay with him and have it be like it was. The two talk, Stamets wondering if he told Culber he loved him enough, and Culber saying he showed it enough. The two talk about the network and Culber says the network is in danger. Culber says mirror Stamets is the one who corrupted the network and Stamets must fix it or the world is in major danger. Stamets does not want to leave Culber and the two kiss. Both Stamet’s wake on their own ships. Tilly is surprised and follows Stamets to the spore forest, which they find is dying.

Michael contacts Saru and sets a rendezvous. Mirror Maddox continues to torture Lorca as he continues to refuse to say his sister’s name. Emperor Georgiou tells Michael that she trusted mirror Lorca, even trusted him with Michael. She says mirror Michael saw mirror Lorca as a father figure for a time, but mirror Lorca “groomed” her and they had a romantic relationship. During the conversation, Michael begins thinking about Lorca and seeing some of his comments in a new light. The final piece of the puzzle happens when Emperor Georgiou flinches from the light. She explains Terran’s are more sensitive to light than people from Michael's universe. Michael realizes Lorca needed her so he could get close to Emperor Georgiou and reveals that Lorca is actually mirror-Lorca. In the brig, mirror-Lorca tricks mirror-Maddox and says his sister’s name before he attacks.

Star Trek: Discovery
Photo Cr: Ben Mark Holzberg/CBS © 2017 CBS Interactive. All Rights Reserved.

I think this was one of the best Star Trek: Discovery episodes so far. Michelle Yeoh is great as Emperor Georgiou and I am glad she back on the show. The Stamets/Culber scenes were touching. I wonder if Stamets will figure out how to bring Culber back with the spores. Jason Isaacs will always be Lucius Malfoy to me, so I was expecting Lorca to be at the very least morally grey. I was unsure until this episode though if Lorca’s issues involved the mirror universe, despite fan theories being pretty compelling. Now his interest in Michael makes complete sense and makes their relationship much, much creepier.

New Star Trek: Discovery episodes are released Sunday’s at 8:30 p.m. on CBS All Access for the U.S., and air at 8 p.m. on Space in Canada. Other countries can use Netflix to watch new episodes on Mondays. Check out the trailer for the next episode of Star Trek: Discovery below.

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