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Did we get a new origin story in Star Trek: Discovery’s 'Perpetual Infinity'?

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Mar 28, 2019

Every time I start writing a Star Trek: Discovery episode recap, I want to write something trite like “What an episode!” or “This one blew me away!” That’s because these episodes are, in fact, one gut punch after another, with the incredible twists and turns that the writers take us on each week.

But it’s more than that. The thoughtful way that the plot has unfolded, and the character development that has gone along with it, is truly incredible. It takes time for the viewer to process all of it, and it’s hard to really come to terms with what it means, especially when we don’t have all the answers. But the overarching plot for this season appears to be something completely different than what we went into expecting for the second season. Was the Red Angel, in fact, a red herring? Were we looking for something else all along?

I’m speaking, of course, about Control. This AI was designed by, presumably, Section 31 and the Federation. At this point, it’s out of the control of either party. We also know that Control modified Discovery’s probe and sent it back in time. We’ve had the disparate pieces of the puzzle for a while. The question is, how do they all fit together?

The answer appeared in a single scene of “Perpetual Infinity” — when Ash walked into the room where Leland was being held by Control. He turned and looked at Leland, and for a few seconds, before the AI reacted to Ash’s presence, Leland’s biological distinctiveness was added to Control’s own.

Meaning:

Is Leland the first Borg?

Is Control the AI that created the Borg, with the help of the sphere data?

Did the Federation and Section 31 inadvertently create the Borg?

There is no guarantee that this is where this storyline is heading. I could be completely wrong about this. But the second that Ash walked into that room and we saw those technological components on Leland’s face, that’s the first place my mind went.

What if, cloaked in this story of the time-traveling Red Angel, the writers were actually delivering the origin story of the Borg?

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Credit: CBS All Access.

Moving on (but if it looks like this season is, indeed, trending that way, you can bet I’ll come back to this idea over and over again), Michael had a pretty big emotional episode with “Perpetual Infinity,” which felt like the culmination of a huge emotional arc for her. She’s shed a lot of tears these last few episodes, and she finally got to have a reckoning (and a tender few moments) with her mother. We learned that Dr. Burnham’s entire mission has been to prevent Control from obtaining the sphere data. If it does, the end result is always it wiping out organic life. The Discovery crew was only partially successful in this goal; time will tell if they did enough. If this is actually the Borg’s origin story, perhaps it was enough to create the Borg but not quite enough to result in complete destruction.

It was nice to see Georgiou trusting Ash in this episode. I’d love to see more of that team-up. He got some really good scenes, standing up to Leland and Control, and that resulted in him getting stabbed. He’ll likely be okay, but the question is, does Control have its literal and metaphorical hooks into him?

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Credit: CBS All Access.

I also appreciated the revelation that it was Spock’s unique mind — his half-human, half-Vulcan self, along with his dyslexia — that allowed him to understand the messages from the Red Angel. We know that Spock has long struggled with his dual nature, and it’s great to see it as an asset here, rather than the hindrance he’s long treated it as. His relationship with Michael is developing quite nicely, and it’s lovely to see him have her back when she needs it most.

Despite Hugh being unsure how to feel about himself and his personal relationships, one thing he knows is that he’s a part of Discovery’s family. I was so glad to see him put the white uniform back on. He needed to be a part of this, perhaps because it gives him a sense of purpose. It’s an important step on his long road to recovery (plus Wilson Cruz just looks great in that white uniform).

This episode gave us a whole lot to think about, especially in terms of what Control really is, what it will become, and what its end goals actually are. It was also huge for Michael, who finally got some closure with her mother, even if it wasn’t in the form that she preferred. This episode moved at a breakneck pace, and it’s going to take me another watch or two to fully appreciate everything that happened.

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