Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)

As the crew attempts to let loose at a party, Harry Mudd triggers a time loop that repeatedly destroys the ship and kills the crew in an effort to learn the secret of the spore drive and sell the Discovery to the Klingons.

Summary Edit

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Harry Mudd uses a time crystal to trap Discovery inside a time loop in a attempt to figure out the starship's secret and sell the ship to the Klingons. Paul Stamets is able to exist outside of the loop and figures out his plan. In the end, Mudd is handed over to Stella and her father.

Memorable quotes Edit

"You are mad!'"
"No, I'm Mudd."

- Michael Burnham and Harry Mudd

"Never hide who you are. That's the only way relationships work."

- Paul Stamets, to Michael Burnham

"Dance with me. For science."

- Stamets, to Burnham

Log entries Edit

  • "Personal log, Specialist Michael Burnham, Stardate 2136.8. Despite my fears to the contrary, I seem to have found my place on this Discovery. An air of routine has descended upon the ship, and even I am a part of it. I've made friends. Well, one at least. I take comfort in my work. This ship has quickly become the most important weapon in the Federation's arsenal in our war against the Klingons. And because of her, the tide has turned. Because of us, we are winning. Lieutenant Stamets' ability to pilot the ship's spore drive has given him access not just to all of space, but to unseen parts of his personality as well. As we perform our daily responsibilities, I confess I find some members of my fellow crew more interesting than others. Lieutenant Tyler has suffered so much, and still maintains such dignity and kindness. I find him... intriguing. But I fear my personal history interferes with my ability to forge relationships. I am among the others... but also apart. I wish sorely to step out of my comfort zone, yet don't know how. But tonight, I will face one of my greatest challenges so far. Tonight we are having... a party."
  • "Captain's log, Stardate 2137.2. Captain Harcourt Fenton Mudd recording. I am about to close the deal of the millennium..."
  • "Personal log. Just as repetition reinforces repetition, change begets change. I guess the truth is, we never really know what's coming. Sometimes the only way to find out where you fit in is to step out of the routine, because sometimes where you really belong was waiting right around the corner all along."

Background information Edit

Format and title Edit

  • This is the first episode of the Star Trek franchise since "Encounter at Farpoint" not to start with a teaser. This episode, instead, opens with a recap of previous episodes before going straight into the opening titles. It was the first of two consecutive episodes to do this, with the second being "Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum".
  • The episode's title is taken from Homer's The Iliad, Book XIV.

Story and script Edit

  • At first, there was a longer backstory about the first meeting between Hugh Culber and Paul Stamets than ultimately ended up in this episode. This original version of the story provided more details than the installment ultimately established about the incident. (After Trek: "Episode 6")

Cast Edit

  • Katherine Barrell is the first actress to portray the actual Stella Mudd. Kay Elliot played multiple android duplicates of Stella in TOS: "I, Mudd".
  • In retrospect, Stamets actor Anthony Rapp commented that, prior to finding out the backstory between his character and Dr. Culber in this episode, he and Culber actor Wilson Cruz had a pretty good idea about how their characters first met. "I mean, it's really helpful to know some of that," Rapp observed. "I think it was pretty evident already in the sort of fabric of the writing before we knew the details. It was something like that." (After Trek: "Episode 6")
  • Rapp also appreciated the scene between his character of Stamets and Burnham dancing in a corridor, a significant contrast to the science-heavy dialogue Rapp had been tasked with delivering in a lot of the series' earlier outings. "It was really refreshing to get an intimate, quiet scene, talking about, you know, intimate, quiet moments between Human beings," he said. "So that was really refreshing and it was also in the middle of shooting this really kind of crazy episode." (After Trek: "Episode 6")

Preproduction Edit

Production Edit

  • Aaron Harberts stated that part of the motivation of making this episode was financial, stating "In terms of the time loop, we were desperate to save money, I am not going to lie."[1]
  • This episode required a lot of filming. As a result, Anthony Rapp commented afterward, "It was a frantic shooting schedule. (After Trek: "Episode 6")
  • The party footage in this episode took four days to film. (After Trek: "Episode 6")
  • Although the "Andorian" space helmet was extremely hot to wear, Rainn Wilson nonetheless had fun doing so. (After Trek: "Episode 6")
  • During filming, Mudd's crystal kept sliding down his wrist, so the production staff used magnets to hold it in place. (After Trek: "Episode 6")
  • Many takes of Mudd killing members of the Discovery crew were filmed. In each of those takes, Rainn Wilson had fun addressing members of the cast with nicknames. For example, he referred to Lorca actor Jason Isaacs as "old man", and addressed Saru using a variety of names alluding to tall, lanky people, including Manute Bol and Yao Ming, as well as calling him "Lurch", "Stilts", and "Avatar". The fact that so many takes of Mudd offing Discovery crewmembers were shot gave Wilson lots of opportunities to make up such nicknames. (After Trek: "Episode 6")
  • During the breaks from filming, many games of ping-pong were played. Ping-pong players among the shooting company included Rainn Wilson, Jason Isaacs, Tyler actor Shazad Latif, and Director David M. Barrett. "This was an intense episode, and they played a lot," remembered Wilson Cruz. (After Trek: "Episode 6")
  • In directing this episode, David M. Barrett became the first director of a prior Star Trek show to work on Discovery, having previously directed the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Divergence".

Music and sound Edit

Continuity Edit

  • The stardates given in this episode (2136.8 to 2137.2) appear to be more chronologically advanced than the first onscreen five-digit stardate seen in a filmed Star Trek episode (1965's "Where No Man Has Gone Before", whose beginning stardate was 1312.4), despite this story taking place nine years prior to the TOS episode. They are also higher in number than the stardate in the following episode, "Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum", which is set on stardate 1308.9.
  • The multicolored holographic display Lorca is studying in the montage at the start of this episode previously appeared in "Lethe" (when Admiral Cornwell arrived on the Discovery) and later reappears in mid-first-season finale "Into the Forest I Go". The latter episode establishes it as a display of parallel universes.
  • This is the first episode of Discovery in which no Klingons appear, though they are Mudd's would-be customers.
  • As well as featuring in this episode, time loops are depicted in TNG: "Cause and Effect" and ENT: "Future Tense". When he first read the script of this episode, Anthony Rapp was taking a break from binge-watching through the entire run of TNG, and the next episode on his list was "Cause and Effect". Once he watched that installment, he came to the opinion that this one is "a great tribute" to that episode. (After Trek: "Episode 6")
  • This episode marks the first known 23rd century time travel loop and the earliest chronological time travel event in that century before the TOS episode "The Naked Time", which was the first of three such time travel episodes of Season 1 of TOS. The next two were "Tomorrow is Yesterday" and "The City on the Edge of Forever".
  • Mudd destroys the Discovery with an anicium-yurium reaction; this explosive interaction also featured in TNG: "Night Terrors".
  • This is the second episode to feature the destruction of a Crossfield-class starship, the first having been DIS: "Context Is for Kings", which depicts the destruction of the USS Glenn by the Discovery, the latter itself being destroyed in this installment.
  • Like Guinan in TNG: "Yesterday's Enterprise", Stamets is somehow conscious of changes in the timeline in this episode.
  • The "random communications officer-man" Mudd disparagingly refers to in this episode is actually R.A. Bryce. This episode was his first appearance since "Context Is for Kings", and he wasn't named on-screen until the next episode, "Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum".
  • Whereas this episode includes Burnham revealing to Mudd that she killed T'Kuvma, she admits the exact same thing to Kol (and his Klingon followers) in "Into the Forest I Go".
  • Although numerous android duplicates of Stella previously appeared in TOS: "I, Mudd", this was the first episode to feature her father.
  • Assuming Harry Mudd's kill count of Captain Lorca is accurate, he kills Lorca and the entire crew of the Discovery at least fifty-six times in this episode.
  • Using conventional mathematics, the same thirty minutes being repeated, Mudd's statement of killing Lorca fifty-three times, and the additional three loops after Mudd's statement, at least approximately twenty-eight hours pass between the beginning of the episode and the end of it.
  • By setting up a romantic relationship between Michael Burnham and Ash Tyler in an alternate timeline prior to that relationship being initiated in the main timeline shortly afterwards, this episode is similar to the TNG installment "Parallels", which set up a married, romantic relationship between Deanna Troi and Worf in an alternate timeline. The foreshadowing was paid off for Burnham and Tyler in "Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum", and for Worf and Troi in TNG series finale "All Good Things...".

Reception and aftermath Edit

  • After Trek "Episode 6" discusses the making of, and events in, this episode.
  • Precisely two weeks before this episode was released, Executive Producer Aaron Harberts revealed, in After Trek: "Episode 4", that it would explain how Culber and Stamets first met. The next episode of After Trek debuted the scene where, in a corridor, Burnham and Tyler accidentally meet with an uncharacteristically optimistic Stamets and an apologetic Culber.
  • After Trek host Matt Mira was highly appreciative of how this episode portrays Mudd, Mira telling Rainn Wilson, "You stole the show and the Discovery." (After Trek: "Episode 6")

Production history Edit

Links and references Edit

Starring Edit


Guest starring Edit

Co-starring Edit

Uncredited co-stars Edit

Stunt double Edit

Stand-ins Edit

References Edit

airlock; Alpha Centauri; alpha particle; Alpha Quadrant; anicium; armory; arms dealer; bank; bat'leth; beanpole; Bee Gees; beer pong; Betazoid bank; black alert; brain; Buran, USS; cafe; cane; captain's chair; chronal displacement; Code 7.5.3; con man; containment field; court martial; cybernetics; dance; dark matter; DNA; dowry; Endangered Species Act; Endangered Species List; extinction; fish; four-dimensional race; funk; funkmaster; fraternization; French language; GNDN; gormagander; Gorn; Green, Al; Grimes' ship; hoverchair; humor; hunting; intruder alert; Jean, Wyclef; Kasseelian opera; katana; lei; "Love and Happiness"; man cave; mating ritual; mek'leth; messiah; molecular lock; motor; Mudd's ship; multidimensional creature; non-equlibrial matter state; officer trainee; officers manifest; orthogonal index; partner; petunia; phone; power relay; Prototaxites stellaviatori; pulse scope rifle; red alert; Romeo and Juliet; sanctuary; science specialist; self-destruct; Shenzhou, USS; small talk; solar wind; space whale; Starfleet General Orders and Regulations; Stuart; suicide; T'Kuvma; tardigrade; temporal loop; time crystal; time loop; time stream; volatile encryption; Vulcan Science Academy; "We Trying to Stay Alive"; weaponized dark matter; worker bee; xenoanthropologist; xenology; xenologic classification; yellow alert; yurium

Alpha/Beta Quadrant Overview Edit

11 Leonis Minoris; Acamar; Adelphous; Ajilon; Aldebaran; Alpha Onias; Alpha Quadrant; Amar; Andoria; Archanis; Archanis sector; Archer; Ardana; Azha; Azure Nebula; B'Moth; Ba'ku; Balduk; Barolia; Beta XII-A; Beta Lankal; Beta Leonis Minoris; Beta Quadrant; Beta Pictoris; Beta Rigel; Beta Thoridar; Brestant; Briar Patch; Carraya; Castor; Celes; Chi Leonis; Coridan; Cursa; D'deridex; Delta Outpost; Delta Outpost 6; Delta Outpost 7; Delta Outpost 8; Delta Outpost 9; Delta Outpost 10; Delta Outpost 11; Deneva; Dewa; Deep Space K-7; Dinasia; Elas; Elora; Epsilon Outpost; Epsilon Outpost 1; Epsilon Outpost 2; Epsilon Outpost 3; Epsilon Outpost 4; Epsilon Outpost 5; Epsilon Outpost 6; Epsilon Outpost 7; Epsilon Outpost 8; Epsilon Outpost 9; Epsilon Outpost 10; Epsilon Outpost 11; Galorndon Core; Gamma 400 system; Gamma Eridon; Gamma Hromi; Ganalda; Gasko; Gorath; H'atoria; Halee; Hromi Cluster; Hyralan; Iconia; Iconians; Iccobar; Ikalia; Japori; Jouret; K't'inga; Khitomer; Klach D'kel Brakt; Krios; Korvat; Lambda Geminorum; Mempa; Mempa sector; Miridian; Morska; Narendra; Nequencia; New Providence; No'Mat; Omega Leonis; Organia; Orion; Paulson Nebula; Pheben; Pollux; Praxis; Qo'noS; Qo'noS sector; Qu'Vat; Ramatis; Regulus; Risa; Rura Penthe; Sherman's Planet; Son'a; Starbase 12; Starbase 23; Starbase 24, Starbase 157; Starbase 234; Starbase 343; Tarlac; Tananda Bay; Tellun; Tomed; Tranome Sar; Troyius; Unroth; Valt; Vulcan; Xarantine; Yridia; Zibal

Unreferenced material Edit

hip hop music

External links Edit

Previous episode:
Star Trek: Discovery
Season 1
Next episode:
"Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum"