“The Red Angel” is the 10th episode of the 2nd season of the TV show “Star Trek: Discovery” and follows “Project Daedalus“.
Note. This article contains spoilers about “The Red Angel”.
After the funeral of Lieutenant Commander Airiam, the USS Discovery meets again Captain Leland (Alan van Sprang) and Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh), who reveal their information on the Red Angel. When Ensign Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman) discovers a file in Airiam’s memories containing a bioscan with a precise indication of Red Angel’s identity, a trap is set up to capture her.
The farewell to Airiam shows that they eventually teleported her to the USS Discovery but only after she died. The time to “reformat” her and copy some important files and they ejected her into space again after her funeral. In the end, all of that was just useful to Sylvia Tilly to find what appears to be overwhelming proof of the Red Angel’s identity.
Note. Airiam’s place is taken by Lieutenant Nilsson, played by Sara Mitich, who played Airiam in the first season of the show.
The whole Red Angel story seems a version of the grandfather paradox pushed to a truly remarkable point. There’s also a considerable exposition due to a number of revelations and various information that are provided in the preparation of the trap but in the end the episode is decidedly more oriented to interpersonal relationships than to the potential headaches that you can get reflecting on the possible consequences of time travel.
Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) is once again the center of attention and while she’s setting up a trap for himself in which nobody thinks that her future version is prepared despite the fact that she’s supposed to be aware of what she did in the past she must also deal with the complicated relationships she has with a number of persons.
Despite the plot that goes towards a dramatic ending, the episode has many lighthearted moments. The other complicated relationship, the one between Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) and Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz), is at the center of a funny scene thanks to Philippa Georgiou, who confirms to be a useful character even in moments when easing the tension is needed.
Finally we arrive at the grand finale and for once in “Star Trek: Discovery” the writers prove that they can create a twist that wasn’t widely discussed in the fandom weeks in advance. It’s the culmination of a build-up that comes from afar, given that Leland’s involvement in the death of Michael Burnham’s parents was already mentioned in “Saints of Imperfection”.
Perhaps they’re finally succeeding in building plots that have long-term solidity and consistency rather than relying on twists that can work on the spot but leave problems in the story-arc. It’s above all for this hope, which includes the possible developments of this second season’s final episodes, that for me “The Red Angel” is a good episode.