[REVIEW] STAR TREK: DISCOVERY Episode 7 “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad”

Mudd’s back! After Lorca and Tyler stranded him on a Klingon Vessel two episodes ago, Mudd is back for revenge. Of course, though, for Mudd, what good is vengeance if you can’t make some money off of it?

Review: Star Trek: Discovery – Season 1, Episode 7 “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad”

By far, the best part of this episode is Rainn Wilson as Harcourt Fenton Mudd. Wilson just gets this character and delivers a performance this both pays respect to Roger Carmel’s portrayal while perfectly updating it for a modern audience and the tone of Discovery.

If only the rest of the episode was as good.

Katherine Barrell as Stella and Rainn Wilson as Harry Mudd
Katherine Barrell as Stella and Rainn Wilson as Harry Mudd (CBS)

The plot of “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad” is simple: Mudd’s plan is to get back at Lorca and Tyler by capturing the Discovery and selling it to the Klingons. To do this, Mudd’s using a device that sends the ship into a time loop, repeating the same 30 minutes over and over again. This allows him to learn the ins and outs of the ship while everyone else is caught in the loop.

Well, almost everyone. Stamets’ recent injection of tardigrade DNA allows him to keep his memories from past time loops. He soon is able to convince Burnham, who in turn convinces Tyler, to help. Once all three are on board, they’re able to stop Mudd and save the ship after an undisclosed amount of loops (though, at one point, a number in the 50s is thrown out). While it is fun to see Mudd using this technology, it seems like the main reason for the use of this mechanic was a shorthand to further the Burnham/Tyler relationship.

Shazad Latif as Lieutenant Ash Tyler and Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham
Shazad Latif as Lieutenant Ash Tyler and Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham (CBS)

The ending comes off as a bit easy and pandering to fans who know Mudd’s wife Stella from “I, Mudd” (or at least her android replica). Also, the fact that the device Mudd uses to create the loop disintegrates once he closes the loop is very convenient.

Stamets’ actions also seem to change depending on what the plot required him to do. He needed to be aware of the loop to give the crew a chance to break free and spends countless loops working towards that goal, but then gives himself up to Mudd after seeing Tyler die, even though he knows the loop will repeat itself. Prior to that, he doesn’t help Burnham get Tyler on board for no other reason than because they needed alone time to confess their feeling for one another. All the actors involved do their best, but they can’t save this episode.

Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham
Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham (CBS)

“Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad” marks the 732nd across all Trek series. Even considering the sheer amount of different writers involved, there’s bound to be some repetition from time to time, but strange to see one that so clearly mimics another the way that this episode does with TNG’s “Cause and Effect.” While that is one of its show’s classics, this episode is ultimately a bit sloppy, and probably Discovery‘s weakest thus far.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Tell us in the comments below.


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Andrew Cardinale is from a Boston suburb where he works in IT. When he’s not doing something Star Trek related, he writes, follows local sports and listens to far too many podcasts.

You can follow Andrew on Twitter @acardi.

7 Comments Join the Conversation →


  • ItsTheXfactor

    your an idiot i loved it

  • Ed V

    What are you smoking? I liked it the best so far!

  • Chris Newport

    I am sucker for time travel ST. DS9 did it, TNG did it too. I really enjoyed this one

  • cass ada

    This is arguable the best episode so far.

  • Mr. Chris Rasdale

    I enjoyed this episode and found it to be a bit of welcome light relief from all the darkness that we’ve had so far on ST:DIS. On the other hand I found Tilly’s new-found confidence a bit unbelievable – even if it was because she was a bit drunk. Apparently the replicators don’t do synthahol yet o

  • chiffmonkey

    Weakest yet? The last 4 were utter shit but episode 7 was fantastic…

  • Mac D

    Yep this was poor,was happy to get a decent Star Trek since TNG, this felt just like a filler,wanted to see this war with the Klingons,not this..I understand we need to know the characters but this was weak.