Review: Episode 7 – Magic To Make The Sanest Man Go Mad

Harry Mudd sits in the captain's chair of the USS Discovery
** Caution – Please skip this review if you want to keep in your
mind the warm, fuzzy magic spread by this episode. **

Thar’ Be Whales!

Let’s face it, this sucker made no sense but it was fun to watch – a suitable Halloween episode. We got a treat instead of the usual tricks.

The episode opened with a Halloween party aboard the Disco where everyone dressed and partied like it was 1999. Seriously, would it have killed the producers to encourage a few struggling millennial musicians by commissioning an original 23rd Century tune and dance music?

Moving on – Tyler and Burnham get summoned to the Bridge to deal with an unidentified object which is identified as a gormagander which, like the tardigrade, seems to be just living in space. This space whale is an endangered species and it’s in distress, which turns out to be because it’s actually a turducken or rather a gormshipudd – A Mudd, inside a ship, inside a Gormagander, all alone with no Gormagoose to protect her from being inappropriately stuffed.

Mudd emerging from Gormagander like an Andorian Jonah from the whale.
Mudd emerging from Gormagander like an Andorian Jonah from the whale.

Frankly, My Dear, I Don’t Give A Damn!

I guess it was Lorca’s turn to swear – but so mild for such a forceful character, though he did say it twice just to emphasize that he gave zero damns.

This uncharacteristically laissez-faire attitude from Lorca, or rather, his momentary lapse in tactical thinking, proved costly. It allowed Mudd, wearing an Andorian Halloween costume (he obviously hadn’t gotten the memo about the 1999 theme), to come in and show his displeasure at not being given the treat he’s asking for, over and over again.

Because this was done in such a lighthearted, over-the-top manner, there was never any suspense or feeling of real jeopardy, beyond the first merry go-round.

‘Wibbly wobbly, timey wimey’ stuff

The whole loop, from the party, to the stuffed gander coming on board, to Mudd coming out and murdering Lorca, multiple times and mostly out of spite, to Burnham’s emotional awakening, to Tyler’s strange patriotic chirpiness, to Stamets’ efforts, to the ship’s destruction, etc., would take more than 30 minutes. There’s no way there would have been enough time in the last go-round to repeat these and get to convince Lorca to give up his throne to the usurper before Mudd got to him.

Stamets trying to convince Burnham that there’s a problem.

Anyway, there are as many ways that multi-dimensionally-enhanced Stamets could have stopped Mudd and taken the Disco out of the time loop as there are repetitions to the loop minus one, or maybe two. But that doesn’t matter, really. Let’s not pull apart this piece of Halloween candy floss – it’ll just shrivel up like so many over-stressed tardigrades.

Fifty-Plus Shades of Hurt

Here’s the thing that really bothered me about this episode. This is a show that wants us to care about the horrors of death, strife and war. Burnham is reviled as (mistakenly) responsible for her captain’s death and the subsequent death of 8000-plus Federation members, there are now 10,000 or so dead Starfleet soldiers that were toasted by Tyler, we were meant to be horrified at Lorca’s murdered USS Buran crew, and the Klingons’ treatment of POW’s and their remains, etc., yet we’re given an episode where the fifty-plus ways to murder Lorca were given to us as comic relief.

Lorca saw it coming at least once.
Lorca saw it coming at least once.

I hope Stamets gets therapy for the trauma he suffered in this episode. But who’s going to believe him.

Muddy Conclusion

I had high hopes with the Mudd character as he was introduced in the Klingon prison, especially after his caution to Lorca about Starfleet’s arrogance and disregard of the little people down here (Les Miz anyone?). But he was delivered aboard the Discovery as a cartoon character, true to his TOS iteration and not the dark, dangerous dealer with a few legitimate bones to pick with Lorca and Starfleet. In the end, he didn’t have to face up to the actual consequence of his actions but was given back to his betrothed, and her arms dealer father.

Mudd back in the arms of Stella - matrimony as punishment for multiple murders and treason.
Mudd back in the arms of Stella – matrimony as punishment for multiple murders and treason.

Seriously, there’s an arms dealer on board the Disco and Lorca’s nowhere to be seen?

But here’s the answer to the question everyone’s been asking – Stella is supposed to be the epitome of a nagging battleaxe. Well, now we know where Mudd goes his hands on the Venus Drug – from Stella herself.

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About M Pilon

M Pilon is a retired TV Producer, Director and Writer who now spends her time developing and writing her own projects, satisfying her curiosity and trying to do her part to make this a better and more inclusive world. M Pilon credits TOS with influencing the course of her life, like thousands of other kids of her generation. She's maintained an interest in the franchise.