*Spoilers for Star Trek Discovery up to most recent episode*
Captain Lorca, played by star actor Jason Isaacs, has had a rough reception on Star Trek Discovery, a show that seems intent on blowing its own narrative legs off to make things more interesting (it hasn’t). Until this second half of the increasingly likely only season of the show he’s been widely portrayed as this unconventional officer in Starfleet, a militaristic officer who may not fit the traditional remit of the organisation but one suited for the current times of conflict. His no-nonsense attitude and ends justify the means style was frequently a source of moral dilemmas for a show that has always sought to play it by the books in terms of the good guys with hearts of gold, with even the “darker” Deep Space Nine not exactly differing from that benchmark.
It was always clear that eventually Lorca would have to exit stage left given the story focuses around that of Michael Burnham, portrayed by the incredibly talented Sonequa Martin-Green, and that inevitably demands that she finds herself sooner or later in the Captain’s chair but in that first season it appeared more that Lorca was a mentor for the troubled character, seeing her have to understand that while the principles of Starfleet are honest the means to following those principles is slightly more foggy, and would end up more a recurring role which many thought would see him revealed as part of Section 31 or another Black-Ops unit of the Federation.
Instead, like it’s done repeatedly now, Discovery fucked it up.
We’re now several episodes into the Mirror Universe creek that the show finds itself paddle-less and it seems to be deciding to throw all its character development under the bus, first with Ash Tyler and Voq where it reduced those two interesting if underdeveloped storylines to some weird “psych, they’re the same person through completely ridiculous surgery” twist that fell flat and decided having two Gay men in a loving relationship was distracting for the show, and the latest victim was Lorca. Instead of being this mentor figure of a different philosophy he’s turned, in a fraction of a moment, into a power-hungry maniac with a creepy implied sexual relationship with his version of Michael who he helped raise.
Even with this twist that the Lorca we knew wasn’t the Prime Lorca but a Terran it could’ve still worked, with Lorca being what passed for a good guy in that universe and trying to overthrow the Emperor for somewhat noble goals. Instead this idea of it being a “Mirror” is thrown out the window with him being downright evil, for again no explained reason, and the other version of Philippa Georgiou, who was Emperor, was effectively the same as her Prime counterpart as a noble leader. It’s a bad decision for a show already struggling that makes no sense as it makes everyone again look untrustworthy. If you can’t trust any of the character’s motivations or growth then why would people continue to watch in the future?
But now Lorca is dead and buried, all that character development gone simply because the show wanted yet another “shock twist” on a show that has felt the need to include them in seemingly every episode with some being immediately ignored. At this rate it seems the show only exists to make the Abrams films more palatable as Trek for the diehard fans.