“Perpetual Infinity” takes some build leaps and delivers the emotion in an otherwise uneven episode.
This Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 Episode 11 recap for the episode titled “Perpetual Infinity” contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
There’s a lot to chew through here, so open wide and indulge on the time-and-space-warping-canon-convoluting shenanigans of “Perpetual Infinity.”
Firstly, after discovering that the enigmatic red angel is, in fact, Michael Burnham’s (Sonequa Martin-Green) long-presumed-dead mother Dr. Gabrielle Burnham (Sonja Sohn), we need a bit of explanation. I’m not a scientist, so this is translated in layman’s terms, but here it goes: When the Klingons attacked, Gabrielle intended to use the Daedalus suit to hop a little while back in time, but instead got yanked 950 years into the future and has been slingshotting back and forth ever since. Now, while I’m aware that the science behind this show is pretty rigorously researched, there are some obvious questions here, and even more by the end of the episode. But no matter. I’m going to leave them alone because ultimately I don’t think they matter to the overarching plot. She’s here, and she can’t stay, and that’s the central emotional conflict in “Perpetual Infinity.”
Next: Now that Leland (Alan Van Sprang) has been injected with Control’s nanites he’s fully under the sway of the AI, essentially giving him superpowers and tasking him with stealing the data from that living sphere, which it turns out was knocked into Discovery’s path by Gabrielle because destroying that data is the only way to prevent Control from evolving and wiping out all sentient life. (Note: A reliable Trekkie informs me that Leland’s assimilation by nanites is a sneaky backdoor origin story for iconic Star Trek baddies the Borg, which on cursory research seems pretty plausible.)
So, here’s the plan: Because that data can’t be destroyed for convenient science reasons, what will work instead is uploading it all into the Daedalus suit and pitching it so far into the future that Control can’t retrieve it. Solid! The problem is that Leland, after realizing that Ash (Shazad Latif) won’t nick the data straight from the ship, instead has Mirror Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) plant a hacking device that will funnel the data away from the suit during the upload. The way he convinces Georgiou is embarrassingly silly, but we won’t dwell on it.
Anyway, Georgiou doesn’t remain complicit in the plan for long, as she figures out that Leland has been compromised and tells Tyler to halt the hack remotely. Leland catches him at it, batters and stabs him, then beams down to retrieve the data himself, resulting in a lengthy (and rather good, as it happens) fistfight with Georgiou, which anyone with any sense has been waiting for ages for. Unfortunately, with everything kicking off, the only way to keep the sphere data out of Section 31 and thus Control’s hands is to jettison both the suit and Gabrielle back into the future. Cue yet more phenomenal emotional work from Sonequa Martin-Green and a standout guest performance from Sonja Sohn as the Burnham’s say their tragic goodbyes. Must admit, though, that the visual of Gabrielle getting sucked back into the time stream was… distracting, to say the least.
Let’s do a head count. Tyler was badly wounded, but as he managed to get away in an escape pod the assumption is that he’ll be fine. Leland manages to safely abscond with over half of the sphere’s data, which is problematic. Spock (Ethan Peck) decided he wants to play chess with his sister again. And the fate of all sentient life still hangs in the balance.