…I really don’t want Mirror!Lorca to be the “big bad” of the season?
(Also spoilers, whatever).
But look, hear me out. One of the things I like about Discovery is the ambiguity of its main characters. Burnham‘ a ‘good guy’ sure, but she’s also a mutineer and a killer, and that’s fine. Star Trek is full of diverse, rich characters, but they often glaze over the fact that, The Federation is a big organization that is…curiously militaristic for a peaceful union of planets. Other shows would take an episode or two to look at this, but ultimately the answer was always the same “The Federation are the ‘good guys’, and they do the ‘good things’.”
Discovery is interesting to me because although sure, The Federation are still “the good guys,” they’re also in an active and violent war, and as such, their choices are much less clear cut on what is the “right thing.”
As such, The Mirror Universe always seemed, to me at least, an odd choice for a story arc, because if there is anything the Mirror Universe isn’t it’s ‘morally ambiguous.’ The Mirror Universe is so painfully black and white, where all the bad guys come with helpful evil goatees so you can identify them. And Discovery’s Mirror Universe is definitely suffering from a subtly shortage: everyone is just violent and evil and awful, to a point that it’s almost comic.
Which is why, I’m super torn about Lorca being from there.
Because that moral ambiguity? That’s what I like about Lorca. Lorca wasn’t diplomatic like Kirk or Picard: Lorca was a war time Captain. Who cared about his crew, sure, but who was also willing to pay any price to win his war…what ever that war was.
Now, with the reveal that he’s been from the Mirror Universe the whole time, I can’t help but fear that all that ambiguity is going to just be washed away and Lorca will end up this moustache twirling villain for them to fight.
And that’s such a pity, because there is so much good material that could be mined from this revelation: so much of that ambiguity I love about the show. Sure, we hear Mirror!Georgiou say that Lorca groomed Mirror!Burnham (and if he did do that, fuck him sideways) and that he was an awful mutinous monster, but…can we take a second to consider the source?
Prime!Georgiou was a good person and noble Captain: Mirror!Georgiou is the Emperor of this violent trecharious Universe, and in the canon media we have seen of her so far she sentenced whom she believed to be her daughter to death, after feeding her/eating one of the Kelpians she seems to specifically keep around for the purpose of slave labour and food. This is a set up with so much promise: that maybe Lorca - still a ruthless product of his Universe - rebelled again this Empire for ‘good reasons.’ That maybe Mirror!Burnham had reasons to align herself with that cause that weren’t ‘manipulated sexual victim’ (and again if he did that then seriously I’m ok with him dying painfully) but rather as someone who shared his ideals?
I’m not saying Lorca is a good guy, or that I want him to be a good guy: I want him to be an ambiguous guy. And I think this Mirror Universe twist has so much promise in it.
I’m just sad to say I don’t have much faith in the show delivering it.