Star Trek Discovery Saints of Imperfection Review

How can every episode of this season’s Star Trek: Discovery be the best episode ever? Just last week, I thought “An Obol for Charon” was at the top of the pack. But somehow, this week’s episode, “Saints of Imperfection,” is just as amazing, if not better, thanks to the writers’ amazing ability to rewrite the wrongs that occurred in the first season.

Let’s get into what went down this week.

Culber is Back!

Can you believe it! I can’t believe it! But I don’t care! I’m just glad Dr. Culber is back!

Dr. Culber’s death was one of the biggest let-downs last season. All of it smacked of “bury your gays,” and the last thing a forward-thinking show like Star Trek needs to be saddled with is a backwards trope like that.

Again, it seems to speak volumes about the show’s former management, since everything about last season–despite peak points of writing–was dour and depressing. Clearly, the writing talent was there, but their talent was being clouded over by (alleged) harassment. As I wrote a couple of reviews ago, as someone who has worked under horrible conditions, I understand how your talent can get f*cked up by some poor leadership. So the situation surrounding Dr. Culber lends itself to my personal conspiracy theory that the decision to kill him wasn’t a unanimous one in the writers’ room, if you get what I’m saying.

So, how did Culber come back? Well, honestly, in terms of science-fiction, Culber’s return was more “fiction” than “science.”  However, does it really matter? Do I really care? Hell no! Give me a loose reason to believe, and I’ll run with it, as long as it means Culber is back!

I mean, I guess if you break it down, the way Culber comes back from death–via mycelial transport–could work. But you know what you have to take into account? Faith.

The mission to save Tilly from the mycelial network May transported her to provided a way to actually bring Culber back. May was able to break down Tilly’s DNA and reconstruct her inside the network, like an “organic transporter,” as Michael called it. The wild thing is that the mycelial transport was retroactively written to be in effect long before we ever met May. When Culber died, Stamets was already had the mycelial network flowing through his veins. As Culber’s spirit left his body, Stamets kissed Culber as a tear rolled down Culber’s cheek. By accidentally taking in some of Culber’s organic matter via the tear, Stamets sent Culber into the mycelial network, where he learned to fend for himself using poisonous bark from the trees within the network.

Again, does it make sense? To a rational, purely-scientific mind, no. But does faith in a higher order make sense? According to the thesis being laid out by this season, it would appear that we must begin to take this question seriously. Something like Culber coming back from the dead is a feat that only makes a semblance of sense once you combine the know-how of science plus the will of spirituality. Once again, the show is blurring the lines between two realms of thought that have always been split apart. We’re seeing how they actually could have much more in common if we only open our eyes to the possibilities. Seems like Michael’s beginning to think so; she’s come into this season an atheist, and by the end of this episode, she’s at least an agnostic. Instead of disbelieving in the possibility of something bigger than her, she instead hoped that if a higher order is out there governing the universe, that it guides her and her crew with a kind and just hand. I think that’s all any of us want, whether you align with a religion or not.

Michael and Ash

Section 31 and Starfleet now have to work together to find Spock, which means that Ash, the newly-minted liaison for Section 31, must be a part of Starfleet for the time being. This will make for a very awkward working relationship for Ash and Michael, seeing how they together in the past.

From a writing perspective, Ash’s ledger has now been cleared; he’s no longer under L’Rell’s thumb, Voq’s child is now living in a monastery, Culber, whom Ash killed as Voq, is back from the dead and Ash can now find his true identity and calling with Section 31. As a character, he’s been rehabilitated from the mess the last season put him through. But if we’re thinking as characters within the story, there’s still a lot of personal junk he and Michael have to sort through. Neither of them have forgotten what happens, so watching them sort through everything that transpired is going to be interesting and, dare I predict, rewarding.

What will be especially interesting is how the rest of the crew will react if and when Michael and Ash decide to get back together. I feel like Ash will have to have a special sit-down with Culber and Stamets to make sure there are no hard feelings for everything. But somehow, I’m still rooting for Michael and Ash to make things work.

As we’ve seen from this episode alone, not to mention the entire season thus far, this writers’ room is dedicated to rewriting some of the bad decisions that took place last season. Aside from Culber’s death, another talked-about moment was when Michael and Ash broke up, resulting in Ash going to the Klingon Empire with L’Rell.

First of all, it was poor storytelling to make Ash willingly want to go with the woman who violated his body, regardless of whether his mind was Voq’s. That just sounded like Stockholm Syndrome to me. Secondly, as the lead of this series and as a woman of color, seeing Michael left alone and loveless felt like another gut-punch. Having Black women be the strong sufferer has been a trope throughout media, and to see it continued in a show like Star Trek was annoying. As I wrote above, Star Trek is too forward-thinking of a show to fall into the trap of tropes.

Perhaps having Ash back means that writers are going to do what they can to rebuild the relationship that the first season wrecked. Maybe they are going to be the mycelial bugs and clean up and repurpose what the first season left behind. They’ve done it throughout this episode and this season, so there’s no reason to think they won’t keep it up.

Georgiou actually cares

I feel like even Georgiou is getting a minor rewrite. She’s still the ruthless Terran Emperor she once was, but she seems to actually care for Michael. As to why Michael doesn’t see this is beyond me; she’s so obsessed with hating this Georgiou as much as she was obsessed with loving the original one. But as Georgiou said, Michael only has herself to blame, since it was her bright idea to bring the Terran Georgiou to Starfleet.

However, with all of their complex history, Georgiou actually does want the best for Michael, since she still sees the Michael she trained within the Terran Empire. She still sees her daughter in Starfleet’s Michael.

I’m hoping that we find a new relationship growing between Michael and Georgiou. The main reason Michael seems to hate her so much is because she’s not the real Georgiou. She is still wrestling with the fact that she can’t replace the Georgiou she lost with a woman who just shares Georgiou’s name and face. But a lot of those feelings are merely misplaced grief. As soon as Michael fully understands the truth of the matter, maybe she can finally accept Georgiou as her own person, not as a replacement. We’ll see. But with how the season has gone so far, I have faith.

What an episode, guys. Each week I’ve been blown away by what Star Trek: Discovery has given us. Each week, we’re inspired to hope and dream for a better, more peaceful future. That should give us the jolt we need to actually (if I may paraphrase Captain Picard) make it so.

Cool Posts From Around the Web: