Star Trek Discovery: 2.10 The Red Angel
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Note: This review contains spoilers. The whole episode answers most of the questions of the season so far so to avoid spoilers would be near impossible...
The Red Angel is one of the most revelatory episodes of Star Trek: Discovery so far - but it's an episode that is packed with twists and turns that, unfortunately, don't quite make complete sense. That said it's another thrilling episode that opens on a sombre note with the funeral of Airiam; one which harks back to Spock's funeral in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, which somehow continues to be truly heartwrenching despite us only having a short time to get to know the character. It gives our cast a real opportunity to act their socks off and is very effective.
Airiam's death hangs over the whole episode but doesn't overwhelm the story. Even before the opening credits we get the reveal that Michael is the 'Red Angel' - or to be more accurate, that's what the information recovered from Airiam suggests. From the moment this is revealed the episode becomes a story about trying to capture 'future' Michael and to find out exactly what and why she is jumping back to the present to influence the future but without sharing anything actually useful.
But that's not all - as already hinted, Section 31's Leland had something to do with the death of Michael's parents; and we now find out exactly how he was involved - the Burnhams were Section 31 agents working on a time travel project; which just so happens to be the Red Angel suit that 'future Michael' has been using. It was Leland who recruited them and gave them the job that eventually lead to their murder at the hands of Klingon spies.
There are some fantastic moments that I'm going to avoid even mentioning to leave a few surprises for you. We finally get the opportunity to see Spock and Michael begin to develop something of a relationship - there's a warmth between the characters that we haven't seen before so there's a chance that bridges are beginning to be built. They may not be permanent bridges but it is nice to see they may not remain totally distant.
Leland's revelations to Michael are also well handled - although I'm not entirely sure the person they're hoping to capture should be given all of the information about HOW they plan to capture her. The moments where he admits his involvement in her parents deaths is raw and Sonequa Martin Green's reactions are perfectly judged.
There are questions raised over just why 'Emperor' Georgiou is so maternal towards Michael too. This is a woman who wouldn't think twice about genocide and she knows this Michael isn't 'her Michael.' But there's a genuine care here that hints at Georgiou knowing far more about Michael's past AND future than she (or we) do.
The Red Angel mostly works - it sets up the final few episodes of the season and the final revelation of the episode is going to turn Michael's life upside down; it will be interesting to see how the story develops now that the main thread of the season is spun out in front of us. There are a few narrative jumps that, while we don't need exposition for, could have been more subtly handled and it could be that there was a bit too much happening to fully take it all in; to the point that it's probably worth a couple of watches just to make sure you don't miss something ahead of next week!