Star Trek Discovery Point of Light Review

At first I thought this week’s Star Trek: Discovery episode, “Point of Light,” was a little all over the place. But the more I reflect on this, I think this episode should be thought of as a building block. Did it make a lot of narrative sense? Maybe not. But does it set the stage for what’s going down the rest of the season? Absolutely.

With that said, let’s talk about the building blocks we were privy to this week.

Spock, Michael and the Red Angel

Something we’ve already known coming into this new season is that the Red Angel has some connection to Spock. But now we know that Spock’s connection to the Red Angel is much more emotional than we thought. Whatever’s going on between him and the Red Angel, it has a lot to do with Spock’s shattered relationship with Michael.

Amanda, Spock’s biological mother and Michael’s foster mother, comes to the Discovery to try to get some answers about Spock turning himself in for psychiatric care. When it’s discovered that some higher ups at Starfleet are lying about Spock’s status–supposedly he killed his caretakers–Amanda starts blaming herself for not showing her human emotions in front of Spock. She feels like she showered all of her emotions on Michael because they were both humans, whereas she felt pressured to keep to Sarek’s wish that Spock be raised the traditional Vulcan way.

Like many good mothers, Amanda wrongly blames herself for her son’s behavior. But it turns out that a lot of the onus is actually on Michael. As you recall from the first season, Michael was nearly killed by Vulcan extremists because she was a human child enrolled at a Vulcan school. Michael couldn’t bear to tell Amanda what she actually did to hurt her relationship with Spock, but she did admit that whatever she did, she did to protect him from getting killed by the extremists. “He was my little shadow,” she said, adding that her reasoning was that if the extremists felt they couldn’t get to her, they would get to Spock.

Personally, I feel like Michael could have come to her mother about this much, much sooner. Seems like Amanda felt like this too, since you could see the waves of disappointment. When Michael said she would find Spock, Amanda gave her a motherly kiss, but then coldly said, “No, I will.” In other words, Amanda was saying, “I don’t trust you to find your brother since you purposefully broke up our family.”

Tilly and her fungus

Now we know why Amy is mysteriously here: she’s an interstellar parasitic fungus that attached itself to Tilly during last season. Out of all of the spores that escaped, one of them lodged itself into Tilly and grew until it developed a personality and sense of self. The mystery about why the fungus decided to pretend to be Amy is still out there, and clearly, it’s a mystery we’ll get into more and more as the season goes on. After seeing the preview for next week’s episode, it’s apparent that the fungus still wants to be attached to Tilly by any means necessary.

At first, the fungus situation seems like a weird puzzle piece to the Red Angel mystery. But I have a sneaking suspicion that the presence of the fungus will somehow give us a clue as to how to approach the Red Angel. Perhaps the Red Angel is itself a type of parasite–maybe not a fungus, but definitely an entity that feeds on certain emotions.

Like how Amy appeared to Tilly, the Red Angel only appeared to Spock and Michael under extreme duress, particularly where family is involved. The Red Angel has also once again appeared to Spock for reasons unknown, but more than likely, it has something to do with Michael. While the Red Angel might be a threat at some point, its presence might also be pointing to the parasite that Michael and Spock have allowed to fester in their relationship–the parasite of hurt. Instead of addressing it, both Michael and Spock have distanced themselves from the emotional work they need to do. By doing so, they’ve allowed Michael’s mistake to become a huge gulf in their relationship.

The Ash Tyler-L’Rell storyline gets cleaned up

If there’s one storyline I’ve had trouble with throughout the entirety of Discovery’s first season, it’s the one with Ash and L’Rell. For all intents and purposes, L’Rell violated the body of Ash Tyler when she thought she was having sex with Voq. This is such a complicated emotional place for two characters to be in, and it’s even more uncomfortable to try to write it off as acceptable. However, the season finale tried its best to make us believe that Ash really wanted to spend the rest of his life with L’Rell.

Thankfully, this episode has acted as course correction for that very dangerous path. At first, we see Ash try to live as Voq, even down to accepting the title of “Torchbearer” despite the other Klingons despising him. However, in close quarters, Ash still can’t accept L’Rell’s advances because, in his own words, it feels like “violation.”

Ash finally uttering that word gave a sigh of relief, since it seemed the show finally understood how weird the L’Rell/Ash “relationship” actually is. More proof that they understood is that they made it clear L’Rell and Voq’s offspring was conceived before Voq became Ash.

Even still, Ash tries to make it work with L’Rell because he’s trying to belong to the Klingon culture Voq remembers. He even helps her kill off their attackers, members from an opposing Klingon faction of the council. However, Emperor Georgiou beams down and gives L’Rell an ultimatum: if peace is to remain in Klingon, she will have to give up her son and man to become the queen mother of her people. She will have to stop wavering between her heart and her right to rule.

L’Rell agrees, and with the fake severed heads of Ash and her baby, she weaves a tale about how her biggest opposition was killed trying to protect her and her son from Ash, a turncoat. Her son was “killed” in the process, and her grief has led her to reassert herself as queen mother, a uniter of the Klingons.

In reality, Ash and his son are aboard a cloaked vessel belonging to Starfleet’s shadow organization, Section 31. Ash follows L’Rell’s orders and leaves his son to a Klingon monastery, but he, on the other hand, wants to figure out where he actually belongs, “and to whom,” he adds, meaning that the relationship with L’Rell is finally, thankfully, over!

Maybe now, after all of this mucking about, we can finally have the Ash/Michael relationship we should have had without L’Rell in the picture! Even though L’Rell still exists, maybe there will finally be no more weird and problematic love triangle between the three of them. Ash should be with the person who didn’t molest him, for starters, and that distinction belongs squarely to Michael.

Speaking of Section 31, it seems like this episode is the backdoor pilot for Georgiou’s upcoming spinoff show. If Section 31 seems as shady as Georgiou made it look, then the spinoff is going to be ripe with all kinds of awesome drama. It also allows for the new Star Trek franchise to have somewhere to put all the action plots without messing up the overall feel of the flagship brand. Where Discovery failed last season was trying to have action movie theatrics in a way that didn’t mesh with the brand. However with Section 31, they can pull all the stunts and shenanigans they want since a shadow organization’s bread and butter are stunts and shenanigans.

As I stated at the top, this episode wasn’t much on an overall storyline; there was a lot of stuff happening and not much of it flowed together. But overall, it was an episode that further laid out the components of this season’s mystery, so for that, it was worth the watch.

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