Star Trek: Discovery – Vaulting Ambition

Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) in Vaulting Ambition (Image courtesy CBS / Netflix)
Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) in Vaulting Ambition (Image courtesy CBS / Netflix)

“Vaulting Ambition” is the 12th episode of the TV show “Star Trek: Discovery” and follows “The Wolf Inside“.

Note. This article contains spoilers about “Vaulting Ambition”.

Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) takes Captain Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaacs) to the Emperor (Michelle Yeoh) as a gift while Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) meets his doppelganger and Ash Tyler / Voq (Shazad Latif) seems close to collapse.

In this continuation of the story arc that sees the USS Discovery in the mirror universe, various characters must face their ghosts or their doppelganger, in Paul Stamets’ case both. The episode mixes moments of introspection with a series of events that culminates with a final twist that confirms another of the theories existing in the fandom.

For Michael Burnham the danger is always lurking and the tension is very high also for what she discovers during the episode. Facing the Emperor knowing that she’s the doppelganger of the Captain she betrayed makes it particularly difficult and there are some unexpected developments, a positive fact in a show too often predictable.

After having a Kelpien for dinner, the Emperor and Michael Burnham basically reveal themselves showing the complex network of interpersonal relationships that seems to exist in both versions of the two women. The discovery of the relationship between the other Michael Burnham and Gabriel Lorca adds further complications.

The episode also brings progress to the stories of Paul Stamets and Ash Tyler / Voq. These two subplots include only a few scenes each but they’re all very significant. “Vaulting Ambition” is short compared to the average episode of the show, less than 40 minutes including the starting bits from previous episodes, but it’s very dense.

The scenes with the two versions of Paul Stamets are built in a dreamlike style close to some horror movies and I almost expected Freddy Krueger to appear as well. It could be the subplot that will offer the most developments over the next episodes due to the possible long-term consequences of what’s happening.

In the case of Ash Tyler / Voq, what we’ve seen leaves the possibility open to any developments. L’Rell (Mary Chieffo) tries to stabilize him but her scream seems more like the traditional one of Klingon funeral rites. The character’s death, however, would be a too simple solution.

The final twist is a cliffhanger and the revelation will certainly be an important element of the coming plot developments. Apart from the fact that the writers seem to always make the most predictable choices for what are supposed to be the most significant twists, the sotry arc in the mirror universe keeps on looking to me the best of the show.

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