“Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad” is the 7th episode of the TV show “Star Trek: Discovery” and follows “Lethe“.
Note. This article contains several spoilers about “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad”.
There’s a party on the USS Discovery and cadet Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman) tries to push Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) to dance with Lieutenant Ash Tyler (Shazad Latif) but everything gets ruined by Harry Mudd (Rainn Wilson).
The time loop is a classic of science fiction and has already been the focus of the episode “Cause and Effect” in the fifth season of the TV show “Star Trek: The Next Generation“. In this case there’s a possible romantic development between Michael Burnham and Ash Tyler, so there seems to have been some inspiration from the comedy movie “Groundhog Day” too.
About love, in the Iliad the effect that gives the title to this episode is mentioned. To me honestly it tends to cause boredom because in a science fiction Tv show I look for something else. Consequently, for me the interesting part was the one in which the scientific officer Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) tries to prevent Harry Mudd from selling the USS Discovery to the Klingons. His story also allows to see the consequences of having experimented on himself to pilot the USS Discovery using spore propulsion.
My problem is that the this episode’s plot is developed from Michael Burnham’s point of view but for me it would have been more interesting if it was centered around Paul Stamets. He’s the true protagonist of the resistance to the attack by Harry Mudd, who someway acquired technologies sophisticated enough to take control of the most sophisticated Federation’s starship.
The relationship between Harry Mudd and Captain Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaacs) is really limited, yet Mudd’s motives seem to go beyond the simple profit. On some occasions Mudd states that he wants to revenge over Lorca because he abandoned him in the Klingon prison so I’d have expected something more than quickly killing him. Is that the reason why at the end Lorca doesn’t teleport Mudd into space?
The result is that the episode will probably appeal to Burnham-Tyler shippers. Other fans, who claim that Tyler is actually a Klingon spy, might have reacted worse to the developments between him and Burnham. For me, their relationship has only burdened the episode and as a result I found it overall decent but nothing more.