It’s Gormagander Day as someone’s idea of Harry Mudd traps the Discovery in a time-loop in an murder-laden attempt to sell out the Federation to the Klingon Empire.

Strangely enough, it’s also the lightest-toned ep thus far. I fully expected to hear the TOS “funny” music at some point.

Titles: “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad”

Directed by David M. Barrett
Written by Aron Eli Coleite and Jesse Alexander

Cast
Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham
Jason Isaacs as Captain Gabriel Lorca
Doug Jones as Saru
Shazad Latif as Ash Tyler
Anthony Rapp as Paul Stamets
Rainn Wilson as Harry Mudd
Mary Wiseman as Sylvia Tilly
Wilson Cruz as Dr. Hugh Culber
Katherine Barrell as Stella Grimes
Peter MacNeill as Baron Grimes
Emily Coutts as Keyla Detmer
Jason Deline as Medical Officer
Patrick Kwok-Choon as Rhys
Sara Mitich as Airiam
Oyin Oladejo as Joann Owosekun
Clare McConnell as Dennas
Kenneth Mitchell as Kol
Damon Runyan as Ujilli
Julianne Grossman as Discovery Computer

Premise:

After playing Jonah, Harry Mudd uses alien technology to trap the Discovery in a time loop so that he can sell the ship’s secret to the Klingons.

High Points:

The plot may be a little absurd– time travel often is– but they use it to explore the developing relationships among the characters, and this episode does that better than anything Discovery has shown us so far. And, despite all of the temporary death, it downplays the violence, which I think some viewers will appreciate.

Low Points:

Discovery calls itself a prequel to the original series. It looks and feels more like a reboot. The powers that be want it both ways. In this ep, they want to give us a Harry Mudd who bears scant resemblance to the character we saw in TOS, but they want to give him an ending that sets up his appearances in TOS.

Can we really believe the crew of the Discovery would be okay with leaving a homicidal maniac/traitor in the hands of Stella and her father, and smirk, in the way Kirk did when he left a far less dangerous con man to a similar fate?

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6 I have a feeling I’ve experienced this premise before. Repeatedly.

Effects: 6/6 The gormagander gets reduced to plot device, but it illustrates the potential for contemporary effects to expand on Trek‘s potential.

Acting: 5/6 Wilson may not be the Harcourt Fenton Mudd we remember, but he makes a memorable villain.

Production: 6/6

Story: 5/6 It’s good to have the occasional standalone (more or less) episode in a serialized show.

Emotional Response: 4/6 This story has many things in common with old Trek. It needed to call its villain something else.

Overall: 4/6

In total, “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad” receives 32/42