'Star Trek: Discovery' Review: "The War Without, The War Within"

Each week, Star Trek: Discovery has found new ways to up the ante. In this penultimate episode, "The War Without, The War Within," the ante has been upped even higher than before...and last week, the entire multiverse was about to become extinct!

This week, the Federation is ready to take the fight to the Klingons on their own home turf thanks to insider knowledge from Mirror Georgiou. But the real fight, in all honesty, is the one governing the heart. That battle is what sat in the driver's seat this episode, and it's a battle filled with some tough, real talk.

Tyler must go it alone

Going into the back half of the season, I assumed Tyler was going to have to find his internal mettle and fight his own fight. I thought he'd have to do this while fighting Voq in his mind. But Voq has been subsumed and now Tyler – who is both Klingon and human while being neither – must now figure out who he is and how he can find internal peace with a clear mind...but without much support.

As nice of a guy Tyler has been before Voq, he's a little selfish when it comes to matters of the heart. He's dependent on others who he feels are stronger than him to help him figure out who he's supposed to be. Technically, Voq is like this too, so it's understandable why these two individuals ended up melded together. I know Tyler expected to be ostracised to some degree, but I'm still not sure if he knew what kind of interpersonal battles he'd be up against after leaving the safe confines of sickbay. For instance, I don't know if he thought simply apologizing for his actions would be enough to have Stamets not want to cold-c**k him. To Stamets' credit, he held back and only killed Tyler softly with his words, but the look in Stamets' eyes said so much more.

Since the crew was able to let bygones be bygones and separate Voq from Tyler, Tyler apparently felt Michael should be able to do that, too. Wrong thought, buddy. How can Michael move on in their relationship, when it's clear that there is nowhere left for their relationship to go? It's rather indignant of Tyler to get on a high horse with Michael about how the rest of the crew let things go and welcomed him back. Michael shouldn't have had to remind him that, regardless of whether or not it was actually him trying to kill her, the face she saw staring back at her belonged to the man she loved. There is no going back.

For all of his assumptions about Michael not wanting to be in love with a Klingon – a member of the race that killed her parents – and how she needs to work through her own biases, Tyler's fatal flaw is that he's a guy who doesn't want to do the emotionally hard work when it's his time in the hot seat. Until Michael spelled it out for him, it seemed like he didn't realize that his emotional work was just beginning, and that he was going to have to do it by himself. She couldn't be there holding his hand and babying him through it. He was going to have to grow up.

If there's one thing we can say about Michael it's that she's learned the hard way what it's like to lose the favor of the people you care about. She knows how hard it is to work your way back to a place of stability. As she said herself, she's still not where she wants to be. But she's a dogonne sight farther along than Tyler, and she knows how treacherous the road will be for him. I'm sure all of us have been through a moment in time where it seems like life is forcing you to sit with yourself. It is a tough process, and as Michael said, it's one you have to do alone. Otherwise, you're not going to learn anything from it.

Tyler is a man who seems like he's never been tasked with something as serious as self-reflection. Maybe in his past life, he was a hotshot Poe Dameron-type. But even Poe had to get checked by Leia and take a seat to grow into a hero, and even Michael's own tribulations have made her even more heroic than she was before. Tyler has a long way to go when it comes to grappling with his guilt, his traumas, and his confusion over who he wants to be. But hopefully, he can find some redemption, and maybe even a chance to be the hero.

What does Mirror Georgiou know?

So the plan for destroying the Klingon army is to wipe out their defenses from an underground location. That's the gist of what Mirror Georgiou told Michael. But what else did Mirror Georgiou tell Sarek? From the sound of it, this could be a suicide mission.

Sarek is a man who's doing the best he can to be a good father, but we know he's never been the most demonstrative person, despite the clearly seen care he has for Michael. However, his goodbye to Michael was the most PDA he's shown yet. Michael's right to worry about why Sarek seemed intensely keen to give her such an emotionally-charged farewell.

I'd hope this isn't the case, since it'd be cruel to sacrifice your child for the good of the rest of the universe. But that's the worry – we don't know what else Mirror Georgiou said, and if Starfleet has signed off on the entirety of Georgiou's plan, then we can only assume Starfleet is aware of the dire outcome that could await the Discovery crew.

Whatever it is that Georgiou knows, she doesn't seem entirely worried about it. Granted, she was ready to die for her throne before Michael transported her onto the Discovery. But sitting in the captain's chair as our own Georgiou, she seems ready to get the party started. In any event, she doesn't seem like a person ready to die for a cause just yet, especially a Starfleet cause. I will say, though, it was startling to see Mirror Georgiou inhabit the clothes, hairstyle, and persona of our Georgiou. It was discomforting, and that discomfort was clearly present in Michael and Saru's faces.

What will uncharted Klingon space hold?

I know the mystery of Klingon territory is what the season finale is all about, but I literally can't make heads or tails of what we were seeing in next week's preview. Are there interspecies brothels on Klingon? Is Georgiou going undercover as a lady of the night, as it were? Will Tyler somehow come into play again? Could he be used as a bargaining chip, or a martyr, or both? There's so much the preview dangled over our heads, but there's so much more it didn't tell us. This series has been a mycelial network of twists and turns so far, so I can't hazard a guess at what awaits us next week. But whatever happens, I'm sure it'll cement Star Trek: Discovery as one of the strongest Star Trek TV series ever.