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STD "Choose Your Pain" Thoughts

So this might actually be the most hopeful episode because it's all about escaping from different kinds of prisons; it's the sort of ep that shows off its complex writing, and you can really see through the intersecting layers of the story...and makes me look forward to reading the inevitable volumes of academic criticism.

There's three prisons here: the Klingon prison ship where Lorca is kidnapped; the science module thing where the space critter is being tortured; and the prisons of regret where Michael and Saru both live. Also in a weird way, Star Trek's historic closet, because the last scene is devoted to the adorable Space Boyfriends.

I love that Lorca gets some time here to fledge out his backstory: His tragic manpain is that when his ship was captured he escaped...and destroyed it so that his crew wouldn't be tortured and worked to death on Praxis. That is some hella survivor's guilt, and an incredibly human layer to add to the war-mongerer he is despised as--because he actually KNOWS what war is far better than most everyone. There was also some interesting dialogue from Harry Mudd about Starfleet Captains looking out the windows of their starships that placed a class emphasis point of view on things that generally isn't seen on Trek, but one that I think works. (I always think of that TNG ep "The Lower Decks" from the point of view of the low-ranking officers, and how everything suddenly looks so much different and messier when none of the decisions are in your hands.)

In the Klingon prison the prisoners have to choose their pain--literally enacting 'the prisoner's dilemma' puzzle with three prisoners who can choose to punish themselves or someone else, with a 2/3 rule. I was half-waiting for Lorca to choose the pain for himself as self-flagellation; that's what Kirk or Picard would have done, I think. Instead, he and another prisoner fake things out and end up escaping, and Lorca clearly has a man for life. He also continually refers to the guy (apparently the character's name is Ash Tyler, and I totally had to google it) paternally as "soldier." Oh, said guy has also been serially raped by the woman commander of the ship, so that's a lot of baggage. ....Basically it's classic hurt/comfort stuff and I NEED THE FIC ALREADY.

(FYI There's currently 77 stories on AO3. Good job, gang. But....we need more!)

Apparently I overlooked that Rainn Wilson played Harry Mudd? I've never cared for that character, but yay fan service.

Anyway, back on Discovery, Saru angsts about being a good Acting Captain while Michael tries to save the space critter, arguing that is likely sentient, and that bearing that kind of pain is a sacrifice that should be chosen. The ship's doctor--but apparently not CMO--agrees, and surprisingly enough Science Asshole Stamets chooses to bear it himself. We only see the aftermath where he's lying unconscious and then comes too, giggling a bit. But....I that was such a beautiful moment. And then the arc concludes by setting space critter free.

And then the very end: Sweet Doctor and Science Asshole are space boyfriends who apparently share quarters. They brush their teeth in the mirror and snark at each other and it all comes from love and my heart, she grows. But I teared up a bit because I'm a squishball: This is only the second scene of mutual love--the first being that between Michael and Georgiou in the pilot, though that was agape (well prob not in the fic....)--we've seen and it's between an interracial gay couple. Like, that's the utopian future I want: Interracial science space boyfriends. (And girlfriends. I could 'ship Michael/Tilley.)

Final thought: I like that this episode's MA rating was brought to us by the phrase "That is really fucking cool!" TWICE! <3

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