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Peremensoe
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 9:50pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Choose Your Pain

"@Peremensoe -- stating that escapism is the opposite of moral courage may be true, but how is that relevant in the least to Discovery? These cats are some of the most morally bankrupt, amoral people we've seen in positions of authority in Starfleet. Again, these folks behave like the jerks that are messing up the 21st century. Who wants that? "

Look. The themes of a narrative work, including a film or show, are not just in the explicit words and deeds of the central characters. Stories can have flawed, even reprehensible protagonists, and still carry righteous messages. Despite what you may have heard about "Roddenberry rules," Star Trek has always depicted some members of Starfleet and the Federation as being morally problematic people, to say the least. The "insane" (or evil) admiral is a Trek trope, for godsake. We've literally seen traitors and murderers in positions of authority in Starfleet, not to mention all manner of prejudice, vanity, and pettiness. It's not just a matter of individual miscreants, either; Discovery's Mudd isn't the first the see the "arrogance" of Starfleet and the Federation as institutions.

None of this detracted from the moral themes; often these aspects were the fulcrums of the narrative. Stories about people struggling to discover and uphold principles in difficult circumstances, to become better, are generally a lot more compelling than people just *being* perfect, in perfect organizations.

Besides all that, I think you're just wrong about the Discovery characters. Lorca may be an impenetrable thicket as yet, and Burnham is a troubled soul, but even so I think most of the named crew we've seen are people who want to do the right thing, as best they can discern it and are able.
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Peremensoe
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 1:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Choose Your Pain

Yanks: "I don't know that I subscribe to the Multi-Verse thing in trek. We only got that in one episode (TNG: Parallels) right?"

"Parallels" is the most explicit presentation of the larger (beyond the MU) Trek multiverse. But it's *so* explicit, it seems to me you really can't have any other interpretation without throwing away that ep. And it's a great one (IMO) so why would you do that?

Accepting the Trek multiverse has a lot of advantages in interpretations of other episodes. It gives a logic and a 'place' for the MU (or the complex of related MUs), the reverse/antimatter universes, all manner of "fluidic" and "trans-dimensional" and "non-corporeal" spaces, the Nexus, the Continuum, and wherever the Traveler comes from. It gets you out of just about any time-travel 'paradox,' if you need it, as well as any continuity 'problem' between series.
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Peremensoe
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 12:29pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Choose Your Pain

William... what *did* Discovery do? The tardigrade was freed, and a crewman took its place in the drive system (at the possible cost of himself, maybe the whole ship, perhaps the war effort). It's not "devolved" to acknowledge that moral challenges can be complicated, that principles can conflict, that things are not always what they first seem, that people do not always know the right thing at once.

HawgWyld: "The Federation was presented as an ideal which appealed mightily to the escapist in all of us."

Escapism is the opposite of moral courage. Star Trek was at its least important when the Federation, and the audience, were most comfortably assured.
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Peremensoe
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 12:05am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Choose Your Pain

"But somehow if it's a gay scene I don't want in Star Trek it automatically means I'm a homophobe."

What else could it mean? Could an objection to characters of various skin tones be anything but racism?

Same-sex couples are a normal part of civilized society, and it is strange and repressive if they are *not* represented in popular stories. As wolfstar said, "If it's not what you grow up seeing, it's always gonna take you aback a little, especially if you don't know any gay people, don't see gay couples in public where you live, and don't see them on TV." That's why we need to see them on TV.
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Peremensoe
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 11:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Choose Your Pain

vofeeto: "(btw is the $9.99 worth it for anyone who pays for it? Curious)"

Absolutely. The time not spent watching commercials, and mood-impact not incurred, is easily worth four bucks. (See www.jammersblog.com/2017/09/26/should-you-pay-for-cbs-all-access/ for the discussion of the access model.)
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Peremensoe
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 11:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Choose Your Pain

Yanks: "Also, the mirror scene at the end... What do you all think the remaining reflection for lack of a better way to put it means? Are we in a mirror universe?"

My guess is that interacting with the mushroom world has caused Stamets to begin 'smearing' into a macroscopic quantum superposition, kind of an incomplete separation of the multiverse timelines that slightly different choices (turn away versus stand longer at the mirror) would normally spawn in Trek cosmology. Because we know that Trek is a multiverse (not just Prime and Mirror 'verses, but countless parallel possibilities), and we've recently been told that the key to understanding the mushroom world is on a "quantum level."

By the way, I really liked how this moment was preceded by a very mundane domestic scene. It kind of lulled us with the idea that this was just a little character moment for Stamets and Culber, before going spooky.
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Peremensoe
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 10:57pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Choose Your Pain

Peter G.: "Returning to my concern about the previous episode, we do indeed bear witness in this installment to the fact that the creature howling in agony whenever it's plugged in seems to be unrecognizable to anyone on the ship as torture, or even discomfort or mistreatment. Is the audience being treated to Ripper's inner monologue whenever we watch it scream? If not, what gives? We seem to have it confirmed that this is a ship of Nazis, where even the suggestion that the creature is suffering, no less sentient, is brushed aside with zero crew members raising a fuss about it."

Huh? This issue is literally the primary theme of this couplet of the last two episodes, and the referent of both titles. "Choose your pain" was a phrase used by the Klingon thugs, but the thematically-relevant painful choices are those of Discovery crew, namely Burnham, Saru, and Stamets, each of whom has a struggle along character and story rails established in previous episodes. The crew initially has no reason to think of the tardigrade as more than an animal (and this is an era when some humans are still eating animals), and most of them don't see its experience in the chamber. But the abuse is explicitly recognized, and rejected in the end.
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Peremensoe
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 12:26am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Choose Your Pain

I suppose another advantage would be that you could rotate the image, or walk around it, to see the other side.
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Peremensoe
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 12:23am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Choose Your Pain

You think holographic tech "of this quality" is harder than molecularly-accurate matter-energy transport?

The existence of conventional mirrors (if that's what they are) is irrelevant; the advantage of the holo app, like the phone light, is that you can call it up from a general-purpose system when you don't have the standard, dedicated tech available.
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Peremensoe
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 11:48pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Choose Your Pain

There's nothing absurd about the holomirror app. It's a simple, obvious, and practical application of holo tech--the equivalent of using the camera-flash LED on your phone as a flashlight.
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Peremensoe
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 11:43pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry

Oh, on the Elon Musk line: I happen to agree with Yair that he is less like the Wright Brothers and more like the 1909 investors in the Wright Company (betcha don't remember them). But either way--Elon Musk shouldn't even exist in the principal Trekverse timelines in any way similar to ours. Eugenics wars and atomic horrors, people!
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Peremensoe
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 11:31pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry

John Harmon: "Does it bother anyone else that the spore drive is based on panspermia, little more than a crackpot hypothesis?"

But panspermia is a canonical fact in the Trekverse.
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Peremensoe
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 11:13pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Choose Your Pain

"Miraculously Stamets is used for the jump and it works just fine."

Not quite.
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Peremensoe
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 6:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry

I'm unclear on how the Discovery crew are "bloodthirsty." All previous protagonist ships in Star Trek fought and killed for the Federation when the circumstances arose; what have we actually seen Discovery do that wasn't "necessary" on similar terms? Or does Lorca just seem too zesty about it?
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Peremensoe
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 4:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry

Nice to see the Klingons again, and the confirmation that the story will continue to follow their perspective.

Rahul: "At least in this episode, there didn't seem to be anything that ran counter to canon (i.e. no beaming up corpses)."

It's not counter to canon. It's established that the T'Kuvman spiritual perspective is not universal among Klingons. We *do* see some elements of the same practice that appear in TNG Klingons, with the eye-opening and the howl. Above all, this is more than a hundred years before "Heart of Glory"--it's perfectly reasonable that beliefs and practices (will) have changed. In fact, Trek canonically suggests that this is exactly what has happened, when Spock identifies a Klingon "mummification" symbol, and Worf in DS9 performs the "ancient" practice of guarding a slain comrade's body.

Karl Zimmerman: "The Klingons were better than in the prologue, but still the weaker part of the episode. I'm beginning to think the Klingon speech/subtitles were just a bad idea. The font they picked isn't the easiest to read quickly, and while I'm reading I miss out on the facial performance (which is very subdued due to the heavy makeup). I do appreciate that the Klingon culture they have put together seems rather deep and layered (and they aren't one-note bad guys) but still, I feel like so much more would have been gained if the 'universal translator' was in use."

I agree that the *font* (and all-caps) is not ideal. It's actually my least-favorite element of the Klingon presentation. But, I'm still glad we get the immersive, authentic vibe of hearing them in their language. (At least when they're not talking to the Feds; maybe the viewscreen conversation with T'Kuvma in the prologue *was* the UT, rather than his facility with English?)

J.B.: "I think the biggest problem I have at this point is that the show is so aggressively focused on moving its plot forward that it doesn't really seem to have time for its characters. ... I also can't say I was thrilled to have the Klingon scenes back, which retain the same lethargic pacing problems as seen in the pilot."

Slower pace *is* time for characters. The best character scene in this episode was Voq and L'Rell in the Shenzhou engineering room. The show would be improved by giving the Fed characters similar breathing room.

On to non-Klingon aspects...

WTBA: "... arguably spore travel is no less 'fantasy' than giant green hands, Nagilum, Kevin Uxbridge, time travelling, the Q, Wormhole Prophets, shapeshifting founders, de-evolving crew members, etc."

Or beaming! Star Trek has been *soft* science fiction from day one. Individual episodes occasionally get a little harder, but overall, spore drive is pretty much right in the zone; we're just not used to it.

Hunter: "A dillithium producing planet, crucial to the fleet (40% of all dilithium seems rather high!) but the closest (intact) ship is 84 hours away? Oh dear Star Trek, haven't we been down this route before?"

Of course. Not for the first time, I wondered if the writers were deliberately invoking such 'classic' Trek tropes on purpose.

John Harmon: "This series doesn't seem interested in dramatic build up at all. It does something similar later when the Discovery saves the mining planet and it happens in a very frantic span of maybe ten seconds."

Peter G.: "Could the idea of a spore network be interesting? You bet. But the show revolves around action shots and tense pacing so that there's no possibility of an observation lounge discussion about what this tech implies or could mean. How about a discussion about what it even means for there to be a unifying spore network in the universe?"

I agree. On both scores, again--slow it down, take the time, breathe. It's not like this thing has to fit into any broadcast slotting.

Peter G.: "By the end of this episode I was upset. Not only at the elimination of sci-fi being the centerpiece of Trek, replaced by magic and doublespeak, but because of how they treated that creature to use it as a computer against its will. The sad part is I know the audience is meant to feel for the creature, and therefore in so doing the writers deliberately have the crew do a terrible thing (use a potential sentient as a slave, torturing it) *so that* we may feel bad about it. That's exploitative writing, like showing someone being tortured just to make us squirm. That's not storytelling, that's sadism. The moment it was suggested they use the creature for that purpose, where was the crew objecting to 'But Captain! Can we use a living being for that??' Where was the Data trying to speak on behalf of the Exocomps. Zero people objected or said one word about it, and the audience is supposed to feel that the ship experienced a big success. They gave many reaction shots to happy crew members when the colony was saved, and it was blatantly filmed as a triumphant moment. Maybe (maybe!) they'll follow up in a subsequent episode about reflecting back on the morality of what they'd done, but that's not good enough. Forget Trek, ANY SHOW should notify the audience immediately of such a moral transgression."

Did you not see Burnham watching it, right along with us? Lying on her bunk afterward, troubled? I think the show telegraphed the message pretty clearly. Surely we don't need characters on-screen to literally say everything for us? Anyway, I can't see how it will not be revisited.
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Peremensoe
Thu, Oct 5, 2017, 1:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Context Is for Kings

Rahul: "Initially in viewing "Context Is for Kings" I thought we were in the mirror universe."

I think we're kind of supposed to. Not literally; this isn't "the" MU, though the Alice references recall a DS9 MU title. But there are so many nods to differences of perspective in this young series. The Klingon versus Federation views in the prologue. Vulcan versus human. Starfleet as scientists and diplomats, versus soldiers. Truth and deceit. Ends and means. Scenes shifting back and forth between actual darkness and light.
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Peremensoe
Tue, Oct 3, 2017, 7:04am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Context Is for Kings

Hunter: "'If you kill him you make him a martyr - someone they can fight for endlessly.' Yet Michael did just this in a moment of anger: as Sarek said her human heart her 'failing.'"

Yes, thank you. I should have had this in my enumeration of her aggro moves upthread.

"The show is a lot more coherent after you've had a chance to think about it. To me that's bad direction."

Kind of on the audience, too, isn't it, if we react without thinking? O for the human heart.
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Peremensoe
Tue, Oct 3, 2017, 6:38am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Context Is for Kings

"Even the presentation of this show is quite similar, lots of blue hues everywhere..."

Sure. That's how you know it's the future.
https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/future-screens-are-mostly-blue/
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Peremensoe
Tue, Oct 3, 2017, 12:13am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Context Is for Kings

"So, the physics/biology thing. Is it bull?"

More like meaningless truism, it seems to me. At the *quantum* level, biology is the same as physics? Well... no shit. *Everything* is physics at the quantum level.

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Peremensoe
Mon, Oct 2, 2017, 4:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Context Is for Kings

Dom: "I think this episode also shows the dangers of excessive serialization. This episode didn't really have a core. It was partly to introduce Burnham to Discovery, partly a horror show, partly a high-concept episode about space-traveling fungus spores, but the disparate parts didn't fit well together into a single package."

This I agree with. Personally I'd have liked to see these three parts in three separate episodes, with more of Burnham-as-prisoner in the first part. Apparently there are people who think the pace of events has been too slow as it is... but I'd just as soon stretch the big story out longer, in order to make room for some smaller stories to resolve in each episode.
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Peremensoe
Mon, Oct 2, 2017, 4:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Context Is for Kings

Karl, you may be right about how the two-part prologue came about. If so, I'm glad. I actually liked the Klingon parts best. So far, T'Kuvma is my favorite character in the series... and when was the last Trek death scene treated with such reverence?
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Peremensoe
Mon, Oct 2, 2017, 4:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Context Is for Kings

Whether she is factually responsible for Klingon actions is a different matter from how her own actions look to everyone around her. Burnham trespassed on the Klingon Beacon first, a violation of their code and her Captain's orders. Then, upon the Torchbearer's move to defend the sacred artifact, instead of retreating, she killed him. Then, she assaulted her Captain, and tried to seize Shenzhou and open fire on a vessel which had yet done them no harm. You can't imagine why people would think her an aggressor and instigator?
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Peremensoe
Mon, Oct 2, 2017, 6:06am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Context Is for Kings

There's been a lot put forward in the show is yet to be justified. There are some off notes in the execution.

We needn't imagine problems that aren't there.

"That redheaded chick? She would never be on a Star Ship in the first place. She is the stereotypical hysterical woman, incompetent, no self esteem, no single redeeming quality." There's been nothing to mark Tilly as hysterical or incompetent. To the contrary--she has the nervous tic and insecurity about others' perception, but a matter-of-fact awareness of these things--and she is perfectly adept in her actual work. And see her stand forth on the away team (about 31:47 in the stream).
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Peremensoe
Sun, Oct 1, 2017, 10:47pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Context Is for Kings

Pretty wild! I sure hope the writers have a better handle on this than the 'Temporal Cold War' ones did.


"The first two episodes - the pilot/prologue - seem to have been COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY UNNEEDED based upon what I've seen in this episode. While people referred to Burnham's mutiny, it wasn't discussed in enough depth that it would be hard to follow for someone just tuning in."

Except that the Burnham/Starfleet story was only half of the prologue. Surely we're going to be revisiting the Klingons, and not only when Starfleet does.
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Peremensoe
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 2:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: The Vulcan Hello / Battle at the Binary Stars

Hank, I like your latest comments on the erratic character of Burnham, and the shade on the Federation actions, which comport closely with things I've been thinking about since the premiere. I understand that these aspects may turn off some people, that it "isn't Star Trek" as they understand it, if the lead character and the Federation itself aren't ethical exemplars. For myself—and pending further development—I like the ambiguity of it all. I still want stories that make me think, but I don't need the Feds to be right, or even in the right, all the time.
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