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REVIEW – Star Trek: Discovery Season 5 Episode 5 “Mirrors”

We’re now halfway through Star Trek: Discovery’s fifth and final season. Having destroyed the Krenim Time Bug from last week’s Face the Strange, the Discovery and her crew are racing to catch up with Moll (Eve Harlow) and L’ak (Elias Toufexis). This episode sees Captain Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Book (David Ajala) exploring inter-dimensional space in search of the next clue. The episode is entitled “Mirrors” and is directed by Jen McGowan, written by Johanna Lee and Carlos Cisco.

But the danger and surprises that await Burnham and Book could be more than they bargained for. Adding some drama, back on the Discovery, Dr Culber (Wilson Cruz) is going to open up to Tilly (Mary Wiseman) about something that’s bothering him. Meanwhile, Rayner (Callum Keith Rennie) is in command of the USS Discovery for the first time, getting to flex his Captain muscles again.

WARNING – This review contains full spoilers for Star Trek: Discovery Season 5 Episode 5 “Mirrors”.

Inter-Dimensional Space

The setting of the episode is a little unconventional, to say the least. Inter-dimensional space, a sort of spot between worlds. Seeing Burnham fly her shuttle through all of that debris set a really haunting atmosphere. It’s dangerous, anything could happen, who knows what’s around the corner. Such an interesting space to hide a clue. This is especially true when they see a nearly completely-intact ISS Enterprise floating menacingly. Eagle-eyed viewers may have caught a glimpse of it in the trailer at the end of episode 1.

Despite problems I have with the episode, which I’ll get into later, the visual effects all throughout this space are absolutely gorgeous. It’s dark, a little creepy, all the good stuff Star Trek does best when exploring new space. Making it even better, Burnham and Book are cut off from the Discovery. It’s an atmosphere that really carries through the rest of the Discovery Season 5 Episode 5 “Mirrors”. The Enterprise is very dark and battle damaged. Sparks are flying everywhere and it’s really tense, especially the fight in sickbay with all the holo doubles.

It all ends exactly how you’d expect, a bit of a change from last week’s time jumping into the unknown. The Discovery crew get the clue, and are left very close to finding out where the Progenitor’s tech is. After this, the antagonists are left running scared, with the Discovery set to track them yet again. After 5 episodes, this cat and mouse game is becoming a little repetitive. Although, this ending does set the stage for an exciting back half of the season.

Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham and David Ajala as Book in Star Trek: Discovery, episode 5, season 5, streaming on Paramount+, 2023. Photo credit: Paramount+

The Enterprise

Revisiting a ship from the 22nd Century was a goldmine of potential opportunities. Especially when it’s a ship from the Mirror Universe. Saru gets a fun name drop as leading a rebellion, a nice follow-up to “Terra Prime”. But outside of re-used sets from Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, the episode didn’t go too deep into anything like that. We spent the last two episodes saying that Rhys (Patrick Kwok-Choon) loves the original Constitution Class. Well, here’s one, and the episode didn’t really do anything with it.

Given this is the Enterprise, odds are that a lot of the escaped crew are characters we know. The idea of doppelgangers running around in the Prime Universe at any point is incredibly interesting, something I’d love to see expanded on. Such a shame that the episode didn’t seem interested in expanding on it after they mentioned it. Unless they’re exploring this further down the line, this is a lot to add to the lore if the only lesson is self-determination in your destiny.

We learn that one of the scientists working on the Progenitor’s message was Terran as well. Separated by over 100 years from their arrival. I assume that temporal shenanigans are at work here, unless it was a particularly long-lived member of the crew like Spock (Ethan Peck). Weird complaints aside, the Terran Enterprise was gorgeous, even if it was just a visit to the Strange New Worlds set. The escape from the wormhole also had the sort of majesty the Enterprise deserves. Gorgeous effects work yet again, all the way through.

Callum Keith Rennie as Rayner in Star Trek: Discovery, episode 5, season 5, streaming on Paramount+, 2023. Photo credit: Paramount+

Villain Backstory

The bulk of Discovery Season 5 Episode 5 “Mirrors”, to my surprise, was a massive backstory to our villains Moll and L’ak. Looking at the synopsis, I really wouldn’t have guessed that this would be it. Believe it or not, this is the best part of the episode, by far. After this week, I’m really excited with where their stories are headed. In all seriousness this is probably some of the coolest character work that Star Trek: Discovery has done in ages. My biggest problem is that it happened until halfway through the season for this to happen.

L’ak, as I think most people have seen coming by now, is Breen. What we didn’t know is that he’s exiled Breen royalty, with a massive bounty over his head. He’s doing this all in the name of love, most noble and pure of motives. They intend to pay off this bounty with the Progenitor tech, even though they don’t know what it is. They’re not totally evil, even Burnham sees it. The show seems to be setting up Moll and L’ak betraying the Imperium. It’s quite compelling stuff and it’s a shame it took so long to get here.


The scenes in the flashback show a more traditional Breen look. This was in contrast to the almost Tron-like suits worn by Moll and L’ak earlier. All the Breen stuff is lit beautifully, too. The yellows and greens are gorgeous and it’s a sweet contrast to the Enterprise. Moll also has a sweet reunion with Book, my favourite character moment of the episode. There’s a weird sense of trust that’s starting to build between them, and I’m not entirely sure where it’s all leading. But she’s the closest thing Book has to family, which is really sweet.

Mary Wiseman as Tilly, Blu del Barrio as Adira, and Anthony Rapp as Stamets in Star Trek: Discovery, episode 5, season 5, streaming on Paramount+, 2023. Photo credit: Paramount+

Back on the Discovery

A whole sentence of the synopsis is taken up with the idea of Culber opening up to Tilly. After an interrupted conversation toward the start of the episode, this isn’t touched on right until the very end. It’s strange, and the end result is honestly just a bit of nothing that only serves to pad the runtime. The conversation amounts to Culber having a bit of a spiritual crisis in light of his experiences with Jinaal in episode 3 and the god-like nature of the technology they’re searching for.

So basically, it’s a repeat of Culber’s conversation with Burnham right after the whole Jinaal thing in episode 3. I appreciate the show leaning on the lines between the spiritual and the scientific. How they’re both in search of knowledge, facing down the unknown. However, for the second time, it’s been brought up, it still feels very surface-level for what’s a very complex topic. I hope as they get closer to the Progenitor’s technology that the story leans into this, and this discussion becomes more complex.

The biggest treat of the whole Discovery side of this episode was seeing Rayner in charge of the crew. My biggest complaint is that there should’ve been way more of it. He’s spent the past few episodes really trying to get to know the crew. In fact, he managed to de-escalate a season 1 era Burnham last week, proving once and for all that he knows these people. I’m glad to see him in a captain’s chair, and seeing him comfortably direct the crew around was fun. I really wish that they had more to do in this episode.

Wilson Cruz as Culber and Mary Wiseman as Tilly in Star Trek: Discovery, episode 5, season 5, streaming on Paramount+, 2023. Photo credit: Paramount+


Visiting the Enterprise is something that should realistically be the standout of the season. Unfortunately, there was no real payoff or story reason for it to be the Enterprise. It made the episode feel like a massive wasted opportunity. From a production standpoint, they got to save on money and use the Strange New Worlds sets. Honestly, that’s admirable, and I respect that a lot. The story just didn’t feel interested in delving any deeper into the impact of visiting a remnant of the Mirror Universe beyond the reuse of the sets.

It’s really nice to finally have some kind of motivation and backstory for the antagonists. They’ve not been too present through the season, but at least they’re starting to feel more like three-dimensional characters. However, a lot of the drama on Discovery felt more like it was there to pad the runtime, repeating many of the stuff we’ve seen before. While the episode was fine, I was left really wanting more. I hope next week’s episode, “Whistlespeak”, can pick up a little more.

Star Trek: Discovery Season 5 Episode 5 “Mirrors” streams via Paramount+ in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Latin America, France, Germany, Brazil, South Korea (via Tving), France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. It is also available on CTV Scifi / Crave in Canada and TVNZ in New Zealand. The show is also available on SkyShowtime in the Nordics, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, and Central and Eastern Europe.

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