Last night’s After Trek broke down the Star Trek: Discovery episode “Vaulting Ambition,” with host Matt Mira welcoming in-person guests Jonathan Frakes and Anthony Rapp, while episode writer Jordon Nardino appeared via Skype. Frakes, of course, directed the recent, pivotal hour, “Despite Yourself,” which helped set the stage for the events of “Vaulting Ambition,” while Rapp delivered a tour de force in “Vaulting Ambition” as Mirror Stamets and “our” Stamets.
Here are our top eight After Trek takeaways:
1. Lorca's Reveal
An early bumper video called “Lorca’s Reveal” assembled the clues building to the blockbuster revelation that “our” captain hails from the Mirror Universe. Coolest bit: the side by side photos of Michael’s Mirror Universe meal and Lorca’s meal. Had you caught that one?
2. They've Been Right
Mira asked Nardino how he thinks fans should/might feel about the reveal. His reply: “Betrayed, lied to, tricked,” he joked. Then, he turned serious: “Really, I hope they know what it feels like to have a Terran in their midst, because that’s what they had this whole season. They just didn’t know it.” Many fans had started to guess about Lorca’s true nature, and some guessed correctly. They said, “That’s not Starfleet” and “That’s not what a Starfleet captain would do.” And, as Nardino succinctly put it, “They’ve been right.”
3. Lorca's End Game
Mira noted that he’s not sure what Mirror Lorca’s end game is, even asking aloud if he wants to be Emperor. “Yes,” Rapp replied quickly. “That’s what they all want. They’re all always trying to kill each other, leapfrog over each other to get power. It’s such a corrupt place that the end always justifies the means, no matter what.”
4. Georgiou's Takedown
Emperor Georgiou’s cool takedown of her inner circle with a floating, spinning metallic device impressed everyone in attendance at After Trek. “That was fantastic!” enthused Frakes, who went on to slyly reference another great franchise, the James Bond saga. “That was spectacular. It was sort of minimalist Oddjob.” The device’s inspiration: fidget spinners, which, according to Nardino, were the writing staff’s obsession during season one of Discovery.
5. Gabriel and Michael
Mira asked Nardino to confirm a key point: that Mirror Lorca lost his Mirror Michael, hence his investment in this Michael. “Yes,” the writer said. “You’re going to get a little bit more of that in #13. So, I don’t want to step on that wonderful episode. But, yes, Mirror Lorca and Mirror Michael had some sort of relationship. But he wasn’t invested in her so much emotionally. That might be a component. Let’s talk about it when you get to #13. She was the key to the palace. He couldn’t have gotten on board that ship without her.”
6. Riker and Riker
Frakes played William Riker and Thomas Riker in a Deep Space Nine episode directed by LeVar Burton. Frakes recounted that Marina Sirtis used to say that Thomas was “a lot cuter” than William Riker. As for shooting the Riker-Riker sequence, “We did lockdowns, then we did two passes and then we did split-screen and put the two pieces together.” Frakes went on to praise Rapp for creating two distinctly different Stamets, adding, “I had trouble finding who Thomas Riker was.”
7. Trek's Diversity
Stamets and Culber got to share a genuine goodbye, and a farewell kiss. How, Mira asked, did Frakes feel about the franchise being even more diverse. “It’s about time,” he replied. “It’s the 21st century, people.” Frakes recalled the TNG episode “The Outcast” and how the androgynous character that fell in love with Riker “should have been played by a man, and the people at the studio didn’t have the guts to cast a man.”
8. Mirror Riker
A fan asked Frakes if it was ever on the table for the TNG crew to visit the Mirror Universe. His reply: “Not that I know of.” How would Mirror Riker have been different from William Riker or Thomas Riker? Frakes cracked, “He probably would have sat down differently.” Of course, Mirror Riker was just introduced in The Next Generation comic series, "Broken Mirror."
FYI: Mira introduced a clip from next week’s episode of Discovery. In it, a familiar figure returns, seemingly from the dead: Landry. She suggests that Lorca pull back, regroup. He leans in, looks her dead in the eyes and says, “I have been to another universe and back. You think I’d come all this way without a plan?”
The After Trek journey does not stop with the show. Visit www.aftertrek.tv on Wednesdays at 4 p.m. ET for Starfleet trivia and a chance to win prizes.
Next week’s After Trek guests are: Ted Sullivan, Rekha Sharma and, via Skype, Jason Isaacs.
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