Warning: This contains spoilers for Episode 7 of Star Trek: Discovery. Not caught up? See our spoiler-free review of the series’ opening episodes here.
Ever since Spock uttered the immortal words “There is the theory called the Moebius…” in Time Squared, the temporal loop has become a Trek tradition so well-trodden that it’s in danger of becoming a cliché. That’s certainly the case in this episode of Discovery, in which the Groundhog Day shenanigans get weary pretty quickly.
There’s a lot of fun, though, not least Rainn Wilson’s wonderful scenery-chewing turn as villain Harry Mudd, here in possession of time-crystal tech that, Michael surmises, must have been perfected by a “four dimensional race”. His plan – to keep infiltrating The Discovery over and over until he successfully takes over and uncovers the secret of the Spore Drive so he can sell it to the Klingons – is neat enough – although a tad reminiscent of Tom Cruise’s mission in Edge Of Tomorrow.
The space-whale gormagander is a fun creature, too, although its four-jawed mouth looks uncannily like the demigorgon from Stranger Things. Having Mudd come bursting out of the stranded beast, once it was beamed on board the Discovery, was a great moment – at least the first time round.
Of course, the real meat of the episode comes in the form of Michael and Ash’s burgeoning relationship and, in true Trek style, they both enjoy a first kiss that neither of them will remember – on account of both getting killed a few minutes later. On the plus side, the love affair it sets us up for promises to be awkward but endearing.
But, overall, seeing our heroes die over and over just gets ludicrous, rendering this an inconsequential filler of an episode – the last thing the series needs at this juncture, following missteps involving magic mushroom space spores and some jarring curse words.
Star Trek: Discovery remains a fantastic show, but its growing army of detractors will not be assuaged by this episode. Where some episodes have strayed over the line into adults-only areas, this feels too light and silly. The show needs to get back to its own Goldilocks zone that its strongest episodes occupy – it needs darkness and edge, but not too much, and not too little. Here’s hoping Episode 8 sees them get it just right.
Star Trek: Discovery is available on Netflix UK, as part of £7.49 monthly subscription. New episodes arrive every Monday, within 24 hours of their US release.