Star Trek: Discovery

"The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry"

2.5 stars

Air date: 10/8/2017
Written by Jesse Alexander & Aron Eli Coleite
Directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

One of the things about Discovery's serialized format is that it's hard to know whether questions I have with the story will be answered soon, later, or never — whether gaps are a result of unfinished long-form storytelling or simply sloppy writing. With certain aspects of "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry," I'm leaning toward the latter.

Consider the plot's central motivation, which is that the tactically crucial dilithium mines on Corvan II — which are responsible for nearly half the Federation's fuel supply — are under attack by the Klingons, and Starfleet needs the Discovery to come through with a miracle by making its experimental spore-drive engine technology functional so they can get there before the defenses fall and the Klingons kill everyone and destroy the facility. Why is this crucial facility so utterly defenseless that only a hail-Mary pass employing a starship using untested, dangerous technology can now save it? Starfleet must really be out of practice when it comes to war strategy.

Meanwhile, we learn that along with his crew, Voq (Javid Iqbal), the late T'Kuvma's hand-picked albino successor, has been left sidelined and starving for six months on the adrift sarcophagus ship while all the other Klingon houses went to war with the Federation. Why was he left here, against the ostensible wishes of T'Kuvma, whom the Klingons were willing enough to follow into war? Given how Kol (Kenneth Mitchell) ultimately treats Voq, there's a distinct possibility T'Kuvma was merely a means to an end for war, and his religious/cultural movement was not important to them. But exactly what makes the Klingons (and these scenes) tick is not made adequately clear. It's kind of a muddle, which can be blamed partly on the six-month ellipsis which puts us in the middle of the war with a lot of missing context.

On a related note, which is also a symptom of that six-month gap, Lorca's hierarchy on the Discovery is confusing. (Maybe I missed it in the last episode, but is Lorca even Discovery's original captain, or was he assigned there after the war started? His natural militarism doesn't seem to fit with what was supposedly Discovery's original scientific mission.) Burnham is assigned (with no rank) to work with security chief Landry, who appears to take orders directly from Lorca. Burnham's task is to study the creature that killed members of the Glenn crew and figure out, at least initially, how to weaponize it for possible use against the Klingons. This seems like a questionable plan when most battles take place in space where ships fire at each other from a distance, but whatever; it does set up an interesting conflict where scientific study is employed for militaristic purposes, which is this episode's biggest thematic asset.

It also, alas, sets up the series' dumbest scene so far, where the stunningly brazen, hostile stupidity of Landry gets her killed in swift and stupid fashion. She ignores all of Burnham's well-reasoned warnings and even simple, obvious things like "exercising caution around a creature already known to be very deadly" and just opens the force-field and starts firing phasers at the thing. Because, you know, reasons. She's killed immediately — which is good for the series because it means we're done with this terrible character, but boy is this ham-fisted and contrived. When you are rooting for a character to die for being so inexplicably hostile and inept, the writing has failed.

Unclear is how much of Landry's hard-assed worldview is actually Lorca's. Certainly, Lorca is more thoughtful about his militarism, as when he appeals to Stamets' refusal to rush the spore-drive experiments by playing live audio from the ongoing assault on the colony as a reminder of Why We Are Doing This. Sure, the scenario is forced (crew must accomplish the impossible on an impossible timeline to complete a life-or-death mission) but it at least gives everyone solid motivation. It also sets up the tensions between scientific research and the military (certain to recur on this series) and how one services the other. And it makes for the most Trek-like technobabble-driven problem-solving Discovery outing yet — even if I have my doubts about the magical spores and how the creature so neatly ties directly into the spore-drive technology the ill-fated Glenn crew developed. Burnham and Stamets reveal genuine curiosity (a key Trek quality) in their study of the creature, which is actually a tardigrade (dubbed "Ripper") that somehow grew from microscopic to massive because of strange sci-fi occurrences aboard the Glenn. Credit here for the writers using the real world as the basis for some sci-fi ideas and the design of a CGI creature.

But going back to my confusion about this ship's crew: How and why did Saru become the first officer? We have no inkling of the relationship between Lorca and Saru (they've not yet shared a single scene of any significant dialogue). In "Context Is for Kings" Saru told Burnham he would do a better job protecting Lorca than he did Georgiou — but it wouldn't seem Lorca needs any "protecting" at all. Indeed, Lorca and Saru seem philosophically at odds with each other and, if anything, Saru needs to be a voice that protects Starfleet's morality from Lorca's potential overreach. There's a good line here where Saru says to Burnham, "I was wrong; you will fit in just fine here." He's referring to her propensity for deceit and ethical line-crossing, and that this crew seems to do so as a matter of course. But where does he fit in all that as second in command? This is something that needs further examination, please.

As for the Klingons, I'm still not sold on them, but this is better. The subtitles continue to be more trouble than they're worth, and the insistence on having them always speak Klingon mostly serves to hamper all the actors' performances (who are already disadvantaged by the prosthetics). But this subplot does take an interesting turn when Kol betrays Voq and maroons him on the dead Shenzhou (from which Voq had already retrieved a dilithium core that will now fuel future plots for Kol), and Voq finds himself with only one ally in L'Rell (Mary Chieffo), who speaks of a new plan that would require Voq to "give up everything." The Klingons have not been a particularly good part of this series so far, but I am hopeful about Voq and L'Rell as outsiders among them.

Some other quick thoughts:

  • Lorca overpromises to the admiral regarding the readiness of the experimental drive. This is the exact opposite of the "Scotty It" motto of underpromising and overdelivering. Unwise.
  • The Discovery jumps in above the mining colony, destroys the attacking Klingon ships to save the day, and then jumps out. Is that it? What about all the injured among the survivors? Couldn't the Klingons send more ships and attack again?
  • Voq and his crew ate Georgiou's corpse. That's not exactly a touch that seems in keeping with the supposed goal of giving the Klingons depth rather than making them seem like savages.
  • The episode title is especially long and arty. What's the lamb and what's the butcher's knife? I have opinions here, but not strong ones.
  • We meet the ship's doctor, Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz), who shares some snark with Stamets.
  • The Discovery saucer section is also a centrifuge. Um, cool?
  • Regarding the war backdrop, the storytelling appears to prefer being vague to using lots of exposition, but that leaves holes where this still feels half-formed. Maybe this will be cleared up over time. I sure hope so, because right now certain details are pretty murky, and not in a good way.
  • Burnham's receipt of Georgiou's will allows a welcome guest-star turn for Michelle Yeoh (as a holographic recording that reminds Michael, and us, how far she has fallen from the time the recording was made). The telescope is a nice touch.

Previous episode: Context Is for Kings
Next episode: Choose Your Pain

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207 comments on this review

Rahul
Sun, Oct 8, 2017, 8:21pm (UTC -5)
DSC is starting to grow on me -- found I enjoyed this 4th episode more than the other 3 for an initial viewing. It helps that there are fewer unknowns now as far as the Discovery's mission, Lorca's motives, characters, the overall story arc etc.

Still a couple of weaknesses for me: 1) The nonsense of the spore drive. Now the "Ripper" creature apparently is attracted to the spores in some kind of symbiosis and can be used to navigate the ship when using the spore drive by attaching some kind of device (from the Glenn) to its chest? A bit excessive on the sci-fi suspension of disbelief for me. 2) The Klingons are back looking like orcs from LoTR. It's hard to get a feel for their emotions due to the subtitles and heavy costumes but it wasn't as bad as the 1st 2 episodes. At least in this episode, there didn't seem to be anything that ran counter to canon (i.e. no beaming up corpses).

Great title: "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry" -- with (I assume) the lamb being the "Ripper" creature and the butcher's knife being Lorca's orders. It has to be noteworthy that the security chief gets killed by the creature -- probably like Yar getting killed in "Skin of Evil" from TNG S1. Here's somebody who I thought would be an important cast member going forward but her death adds gravity to the situation and Lorca doesn't want her death wasted, obviously.

The action scene rescuing the mining colony wasn't anything special -- that wasn't the point of the episode. But at least Burnham has proved herself and is starting to win points with the crew, and the spore drive actually works although how much longer they can use the "Ripper" becomes a question in my mind.

As far as characters, I'm warming up to Stamets and really liked his confrontational attitude with Lorca, who I'm also liking more and more. The captain's conversation with an admiral at least confirms that he's not some cowboy and that he is following orders, albeit with great latitude. I think we know what to expect from Burnham and Saru now. Tilly continues to annoy me and I'm not sure what the purpose of her being portrayed as so awkward is.

3 stars for this episode -- the capabilities and mission of Discovery are becoming more clear as well as getting a handle on what's going on with the Klingon side. We've got 2 Klingons who are (I assumed) presumed dead as being banished on the remains of the Shenzhou, but they've got a rapport with each other and I guess we're supposed to be pulling for them against Kol and the other Klingons. I think DSC is heading in the right direction.

Rahul
Sun, Oct 8, 2017, 8:43pm (UTC -5)
Just to correct one thing in my 1st comment final paragraph:

I assume Kol and the other Klingons believe they've left the pale-faced Klingon to die on-board the Shenzhou but unbeknownst to them the female Klingon comes to the rescue (I believe she said she has a ship that will take them to the matriarchs etc.).
Startrekwatcher
Sun, Oct 8, 2017, 8:48pm (UTC -5)
2 stars

This episode really sent home that the writers shouldn’t have tried recycling “the Federation goes to war” and that these writers don’t know how to execute solid arc storytelling

The inner sanctum Klingon stuff was filler. No compelling characters like the Founder/Weyoun or even the Xindi council. In fact it was as dead in the water as far as plotting forward as the sarcophagus ship—which was absolutely stupid in and of itself to be adrift for the entirety of the war

Then the reveals of the tardigrade creature being able to commune with the spores is absolutely DUMB. Silly absurd pick your adjective

The show has created THE blandest Trek casts and the actors are just as woeful. After a bit of hope last episode Sonequa is back to mediocrity. Thank goodness Landry is gone cause the character was awful and so was the actress. Don’t expect me to view Landry's Exit as nothing more than gratuitous offing but appreciated since don’t have to sit through any more scenes with her.

Jason Isaacs was miscast. Again the only saving grace is Saru

And the rescue of the mining colony did nothing. No urgency, no excitement, no tension.
Karl Zimmerman
Sun, Oct 8, 2017, 8:54pm (UTC -5)
This was the first episode of the series I genuinely liked. What I particularly enjoyed was the twist in the middle of the episode, with both the death of Landry and the discovery the giant tartigrade was not a monster/potential weapon, but a navigator. Sure, it's goofy Trek science, but both of these plot points served an important role - signaling that although this is a war arc, the instincts of people like Landry (and Lorca) to see everything as a threat and/or weapon are still not welcome in the Trekverse.

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.
Jeanne
Sun, Oct 8, 2017, 9:34pm (UTC -5)
I was grateful to see not just one but several Calm Science Mystery Discussions. The whole infinite improbability spore drive is doofy, but it at least sort of appears to have internal rules, so I can give it a pass. Appreciated Lorca a lot more this outing, and the Saru/Burnham relationship is interesting for sure. Liked the doctor. This is the most sarcastic ship since TOS-- the twenty-third century had some kind of gift for sass, maybe!

I am hoping that the Klingon plot builds to something. I appreciate that Voq is kind of a loser, honestly--something about Klingon Strivers like Alexander or Duras always appeals to me, and I'm excited to see what's up with his weird little death cult of two members going forward.

I'm glad that the "pilot" part of the show is over now and that we can move into some good episodic development. I was leery of "Context is for Kings"--the treatment of prisoners just felt super not Starfleet to me, and Captain Lorca didn't leave a good first impression. But i feel like this is a solid if maybe ultimately Not That Special episode, back on track, and starting to build character relationships and lines of mutual respect. Three stars from me.
Reign1701A
Sun, Oct 8, 2017, 9:38pm (UTC -5)
I give it 4 stars. Great use of a Trekkian trope with the tardigrade turning out to be a misunderstood creature. My only issue is that although Landry wasn't supposed to be a likable character, that was pretty dumb of her to let out the tardigade; but I love Michael's simultaneous logic and empathy in trying to understand the tradigrade. Seems obvious now why this method of propulsion isn't used fleetwide in future Treks, and it seems like they're building toward conflict over the ethical treatment of the tardigrade.

Can we talk about the special effects? Because my goodness they were SPECIAL. This show has so many visually "wow" moments. The Discovery's saucer spinning (shush, people whining about the saucer gaps) spinning up to jump, the rescue sequence on the colony, and the Klingons' spacewalk on the Shenzou were awe-inspiring.

Also, the Klingon B-plot was compelling, though imperfect. Much better pace with the dialogue, and much better emoting from the actors. I felt bad for Voq when Kol turns on him. I found myself rooting for him, which is good character development.

Looking forward to more!
mosley
Sun, Oct 8, 2017, 9:59pm (UTC -5)
i continue to be surprised about how much i like this.
all the negative hype beforehand might end up playing to the shows advantage :)

lets see - i like the characters. lots of nuances, motivations and conflicts. this used to take up to 2 seasons in classic trek, so, well done on that front.

liked the plot. as mentioned above already, nice use of a classic trek plot point with the monster not being one.

production is great. great space FX, but also lots of nice little touches.

overall arc, we will have to see. shows with plans for long arcs but without confirmation for additional seasons tend to make me slightly nervous :) so, lets hope that this doesnt get killed by the no true scotsman syndrome that surrounded BSG and trek fans give this a fair chance to get going. i for one think its finding its tone a lot faster than any previous trek, but of course these are different times and the "2 seasons until it knows what it wants" rule of thumb of the past is unthinkable these days.

anyway, im rooting for it. 3 weeks ago i would have never thought id say this. i still think its stupid that they label this a prequel (for what, really??), but as long as they take enough freedoms in their storytelling they like and dont fall into the enterprise continuity angst freeze trap, im fine with that. explain it away as it all being section 31 and just take the story whereever you like, i say.
MidshipmanNorris
Sun, Oct 8, 2017, 10:09pm (UTC -5)
Landry.

I mean, that really pushed home for me how bloodless and peaceful past Trek deaths have been. The thing throws her around like a rag doll, and unlike the previous three episodes, the editing and action blocking provide for a much clearer idea of what's going on.

That was...utterly graphic for Star Trek. Good Lord.

Landry is gone! Wow. This is something Trek hasn't ever drawn so quick on...

Eleventy-Six Point Two Stars out of 17? I dunno. This episode threw my rating meter for a loop.
Greg M
Sun, Oct 8, 2017, 11:10pm (UTC -5)
I've been liking Discovery so far, but I really hope the review mentions how this spore drive technology is taken straight out of Voyager's Equinox storyline. With all this talk about Orville not being original, Discovery is basically borrowing something Voyager did and making an arc out of it. I wouldn't say that's original either.
J.B.
Sun, Oct 8, 2017, 11:17pm (UTC -5)
That was okay, not as focused or as entertaining as last week. 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. Everyone is very grim, going about doing their jobs. It doesn't leave a lot of room for learning more about them. I had a similar issue with the last two seasons of Enterprise, although these two shows are very different from each other. 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.

(That said, killing off the security chief is probably the smartest thing the show can do at this point. The character was aggressively one-note and unpleasant. Almost the entire cast has a serious likability problem so it's good to start culling them down early.)
Garak
Sun, Oct 8, 2017, 11:51pm (UTC -5)
Really trying to like this show, but...

The Klingons are beyond terrible. Razor thin characterization. Horribly unbelievable and unsympathetic villain. As a foil for the Federation, they're laughably lacking.

The Starfleet characters are dismally one-dimensional and wholely unlikeable.

90% of the drama unfolds around a single character, a departure from traditional Trek storytelling that I'm finding extremely limiting.

The show makes little or no effort to align itself with canon. Different is fine. Some ommissions for the sake of good storytelling would be acceptable. But this isn't Star Trek. It isn't even very good television.

I have this sinking feeling that in a few years the world will look back and group DSC's spore drive and other absurdities alongside transwarp salamander sex and Lester-in-Kirk switcharoos.


Desmond
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 12:22am (UTC -5)
This was probably the best episode yet and felt more like Trek, with some good old fashioned ethical questions that will likely drive the plot next week as well.

Really not liking the Klingons; they made a very bad production decision having them all speak Klingon. It gets old very fast. You can't pay attention to the actors while they are speaking (not that the heavy makeup would allow much emoting anyway), and it's just grating after 3 or 4 minutes of guttural dialog.

It's also a bit weird that we are four episodes in and it still doesn't seem like we've met all of the main cast.
Troi
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 2:03am (UTC -5)
Oh dear... we're getting into sheer fantasy here. What exactly is the point of rotating the ship's sections during travel? Wouldn't the crew be tossed about like a centrifuge?

Some of the acting is really quite dreadful. Stamets' attempt to feign surprise when the creature reacted to the mushrooms in particular. Burnham is almost as bad at expressing emotion. Lorca and science officer alien are by far the best here.

I still enjoy it, but I really don't know whose idea it was to call this Trek.
Dobber
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 2:33am (UTC -5)
This is the first episode that I thought was any good. Very happy that the security chief was killed off. I loathed that character. The plot had a more trek-like element with the suffering of the tardigrade, I found it more interesting than the snooze fest alien horror story we had last week. Although it was also kind of predictable. However, the moral quandary surrounding this technology does not repair the significant continuity failure of its existence. This technology clearly works, so why has no other race anywhere in the entire galaxy ever developed it independently? Just not plausible in my opinion. Also, did we really need space mirrors? Did that really add anything? The producers constantly say that when they change something they only do it when it’s in service to the story or the characters, but at this point that seems to be a total lie. I wish they would just be honest with us.
WTBA
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 4:31am (UTC -5)
@Troi As for "sheer fantasy," even though I am enjoying the show immensely, I couldn't help but chuckle at the lunacy of it. Totally ludicrous. But 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.

At least there is a sort of attempt at science in the spores and the creature to explain it. There isn't really any science to the Q, for example. They are just superbeings. Trek science isn't the hardest science sometimes. That doesn't necessarily make it any less Trek.
WTBA
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 4:44am (UTC -5)
Another thought: this week's Elon Musk reference was IMO much more forced in than last week's Beatles and Alice references. Those things are already decades old and art/music seems to endure. Elon Musk way well be largely forgotten in 100 years. Or he may be remembered as king of Mars or whatever. It just took me out of the show for a second.
Lore
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 5:09am (UTC -5)
WTBA - I also found the Elon Musk reference to be unfortunate. What has he done exactly besides make far-fetched statements about the future? It seems like the only reason for it is that he has some fans in the writing staff, nothing more.
Squid
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 5:30am (UTC -5)
I agree with Startrekwatcher on a lot, although I probably wouldn't be quite as harsh.

The Klingons have been really disappointing and boring so far. Really doesn't help barely being able to show any facial expressions on top of having to just go by the subtitles. Every time it's a Klingon scene I just want it to be over and back to Discovery.

I would say that there's a fair bit of potential in the cast, but it's barely been realised so far. Saru and the Captain are good in the screen time they've had, Michael is fine too (although I hope she does eventually open up and become more interesting), but the writers seem intent on making everyone (except Tilly) sarcastic and sassy. I understand wanting to have some conflict between characters, but it just seems like it's constant conflict all the time in this show so far. I understand it's war time, but they just don't seem like a cohesive crew at all. How do they get anything done with all this arguing and conflict?!

It's still early, so things may change and grow as the season progresses, but so far I still feel like I know very little about the actual characters on the show.

Having said that, the production was great as always, and the way Michael solved the problem of the week and dealt with the Tardigrade was 'logical and empathetic' as Reign1701A put it.

I would've done the same as Jammer and given 3 stars to the 3 previous episodes, but I think I'd give this one 2.5 stars. Some of the plot and writing decisions are becoming more apparent to me, but there's still some nice touches and it's still entertaining.
M.B.
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 6:09am (UTC -5)
I enjoyed the episode more for what it said about what this show will be, than for the episode itself.

It's encouraging to see DSC pivot slowly towards being more classic Trek. Perhaps not much exploring has happened so far, but this episode definitely showed characters making discoveries.

It's also interesting to see a presumed main cast character killed off as easily as though it was a redshirt. Not quite unprecedented but very rare. Is this just an early season one gimmick, or is it meant to signal that actions can have permanent consequences in this series?

While the tone of this episode was super intriguing, its execution wasn't that great. I wasn't buying the plot timer on the mining colony... really, the Klingons had to hammer that shield for 48 hours before it would finally reach 0%? Some of the sci-fi concepts are a little too goofy, and it's very difficult to feel invested in the Klingon B-story. The dramatic tension left a lot to be wanted.

Viewed in isolation this was not a spectacular episode -- in fact it was pretty clunkt -- but it felt more "Star Trek" than any episode thus far, which makes me feel more invested in the series overall.
Hunter
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 7:24am (UTC -5)
* 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?

* The Klingon language is starting to sound like a Canadian trying to speak guttural Mongolian. They are quite interesting as an alien race, BUT they just don't feel like Klingons. At all.

* Using the Tardigrade creature in that way kind of reminded me of Equinox from Voyager. But at least it was upgraded from 'monster of the week' which was what most people were thinking.

* You know.. the blue control panels, the holo communicators, the jump drive tech... This all would be very fitting in a 25~26th century series. Sigh.


Other than those nitpicks, I quite liked this episode. Much better than the previous 3 to be honest.

Joseph B
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 8:11am (UTC -5)
I gave this episode 3 1/2 Stars!
Had it not been for the presentation of the Klingon scenes, I’d give it 4 Stars!!

The plot was pure Trek, with the “monster” ultimately revealed to be the crux of the entire Spore Drive. And I *really loved* the execution of this scenario.

I have to admit that I was very skeptical that this series could even approach something that even felt like Trek. But I’m ALL IN now!!

LLAP!

Chrome
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 8:37am (UTC -5)
The A story with the tardigrade was awesome, like many others have mentioned, a very Trekkian moral on alien life. Burnham’s interactions with Saru were great too, I especially liked how Saru highlighted that his values are different than Lorca’s and teased Burnham for fitting in so well with him. I hope we jump to a point where these two work a lot more together again.

I actually thought the mirror looked cool, since reflections can be generated with simple water; I find this to be very plausible technology. Speaking of tech, did anyone else hear Elon Musk among the greats with the Wright Brothers and Zephran Cochran? An interesting, if not Silicon Valley-centric view on technological progress.

I also thought the B plot with the Klingons was boring, but Kol looks noticeably like a TNG-era Klingon. It was also good to see the Shenzen again. Hopefully something will come of this thread next episode.

A very strong 3 stars, maybe even 3.5 for the execution of the A plot. I hope we get many more episodes of Burnham turning war orders into life-appreciating discoveries.
BZ
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 9:04am (UTC -5)
I'm wondering about the Shenzhou. Why did the Federation leave it adrift with potentially salvageable components, crew manifests, ship's logs, etc in Klingon controlled territory? If they didn't have time/resources to salvage it, they should have destroyed it.
Mal
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 9:42am (UTC -5)
Mal’s review of Star Trek: Discovery season 1 episode 4

“The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry”

before Jammer’s review…


“That’s not fair! T’Kumva said I could be in charge! I’m hungry! You’re a meanie!”

- Son of None. I admit, maybe my translation from the original Klingon is a bit off...


Better this week, but the writing is crap. Is this what $6m buys? Actually, all the plot points are here - the story outline was done right - but holy crap, it’s like the people actually tasked with fleshing out the script have absolutely no idea how to create a feeling.

First, the Klingons are boring. Bo-ring. End this subtitle bullshit. Clean up the makeup. Bring back some passion. Remember General Chang, twirling in his chair while torpedoing the Enterprise and reciting Shakespeare in The Undiscovered Country. Now that’s a fucking Klingon! Not some whiney-ass Son of None.

Second, howzbout a little dramatic build up. Bombs going off on random dilithium planet - no one fucking cares. I know these writers can’t seem to do anything unique, so here’s a cheat. Go watch DS9: “the Breen have attacked Earth.” That’s hairs on the back of your neck. Or how about B5: “they’ve started bombing Mars. I repeat, they’re bombing Mars.” Yeah baby, war time! The way STD played out, it seemed like some backwater out of Andromeda was under attack by monsters of the week, and Captain Dylan Hunt and his crew are on their way to save the day. Mr. Gaeta, set jump engines. Jump.

Third, what’s a guy gotta do to get a little water works? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m happy Rekha Sharma is dead. But dude, maybe a memorial? Some, I don’t know, swelling music? By the time Michael Burnham opened Georgiou’s box, we should have been primed and ready to go. Instead, I barely cared. And I really liked Georgiou. But the writing is just off.

Personally, I didn’t mind the Equinox plot with The Ripper (@Greg M, good catch). But you’re telling me Stamets, who complains about everything Lorca does, doesn’t have any problem with this? That said, Burnham figuring out what’s up with The Ripper was a highlight. So 2.5 stars. With writing like this, we can use any highlight we can get.

Love,
Mal
John Harmon
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 10:03am (UTC -5)
The chief of security might be in the running for the dumbest character in the history of Star Trek. She's a total moron.

First off, why did the Captain play the audio of the mining people through the entire ship? That doesn't seem very Captain like.

Second, why did the security character get all worked up over it? As soon as she heard it she was like "that's it I'm going to chop off an arm!".

Completely ignores protocol. Completely disregards Burnham's statements about the gas likely not working. Completely forgets that phasers did nothing to the creature. Decides to unleash the monster completely forgetting what it did to the Glenn and everybody on board. And then she's killed. And this happens in a span of less than ten seconds.

WHAT WAS THE POINT??? You feel nothing for this character except lament how completely stupid she was.

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. No drama. No actual writing. You can't tell what's going on at all. It just shows up and leaves and you get a close-up of a little girl asking who saved everyone.

Let's forget that this show doesn't feel like Star Trek, it doesn't even feel like a competent TV show. The writers of this series are very bad at their jobs. They should have never gotten rid of Bryan Fuller.
Nathan
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 10:24am (UTC -5)
I just can't get my head around the spore transport. Do they mean to say that when they attempted the first jump there were spores floating above the sun? How did they get there?
Jack
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 11:47am (UTC -5)
I liked it. Yes, it's different. Yes, it's a reboot in all but name. Who cares? The world doesn't owe us anything! I do hope we see more interesting characters and it's not a complete focus on Michael.

I think that's the first time we've seen a replication close up (the new uniform). Very cool to show the scary, incredible energies at work.

Spore drive aside, how does the Discovery have site-to-site transport withn the ship like its nothing? I thought that tech wasn't invented yet.
Erik
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 11:49am (UTC -5)
Here's why DIscovery is not working for me: the US and the industrialized world are in a relatively dark time. Trump. Putin. European far-right nationalism. Climate change. I don't want more darkness from a franchise which once was able to paint an optimistic picture of the future. With the threat of the cold war in the 60s and 80s, TOS and TNG showed us a way out, when Americans and Russians (and then Klingons) sat side-by-side on the bridge. In the mid-90s, after the Iron Curtain fell and before September 11, the US was in a relatively calm and prosperous period. So, DS9 could be a little dark and that was OK, in fact it seemed to carry some insight. But now... well, I turn on the news and see neo-Nazis elected into the German parliament, the entire island of Puerto Rico ripped apart in storms... and I don't want to see more violence coming up 200 years from now.

Rather, I want to see how we worked our way *out* of warfare, bigotry, and environmental destruction. The captain of a Starfleet ship treating a newly-discovered life form only as a source of weaponry is exactly the opposite of what I want, psychologically, from my Star Trek. I can imagine cruelty already. It's all over my TV. Ugh. What I need help imagining, is a beautiful future.
Erik
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 12:11pm (UTC -5)
@Erik

Did you really watch this episode? The person who was desperate to weaponize the alien got killed, while the people willing to makes steps to understand it were spared. If you don’t see a peaceful message there, you might not be looking hard enough.
Hank
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 12:15pm (UTC -5)
So, my review for this will be pretty short.

After rating the previous three episodes at 0 out of 4 stars, I can give this one ... 1,5. The positives for me were:

-Sets are finally lighted more than "candle in a hallway".
-"Sciency" exposition regarding the creature. More of that please.
-No moments that completely took me out of the story.
-Teeny-tiny bit of Star Trek feeling.

Now, the negatives:

-Everybody is still an idiot. Except Michael of course.
-Did they change the makeup of the Klingons? With better lighting they look even more hideous.
-And a few other nitpicks that are mentioned in the comments above.

Now, I was one of the most vocal and firm detractors of the series. So you might wonder why I can get behind some of this episode, and don't dismiss it completely out of hand. Well, the reason is simple: I am no longer invested in this series. We had three episodes setting up a certain feeling, setting up conflicts, implying certain possible future plotlines. Now this episode comes along and ... the first three episodes are basically meaningless. T'Kuvma, the big bad? Dead. His chosen successor? Taken out of the story for the immediate future. Not to mention the utter idiocy of having his ship adrift for half a year - when his side one. But I don't care, just another pointless plot point in a long list of mistakes. The Klingon War is now basically just pointless backdrop - we are back to TOS, in the sense that, yes, the Klingons are the enemy, but only because we need some enemy for our hero(es) to fight. Also, what happened in the war? Six month have passed, apparently nothing of importance happened. At least nothing that we care about, but, what should we even care about? We only know Michael, there is nothing at stake. That Dilithium Planet? Yeah, great plotpoint. Have 40% of your Dilithium refining capacity on ONE planet. Great. Why should we care? It was clear that you wouldn't let the Klingons take it, because we are back to 100% predictable storylines.

Oh sure, killing that security officer came as a surprise - but why even introduce her in the first place? And now there is a vacant position for Michael-Sue to fill. Another thing that makes the first three episodes pointless. Everything else was telegraphed ten billion kilometers away. That "chair"-looking thing and talk of a missing "supercomputer" - yeah, of course, organic computer. At first I thought they would put Michael in there (to give her another thing for which she is essential), but having the Tardygrade be the Computer was equally obvious. Dune, anyone? Or - every second Anime? Spore drive still makes no sense, but again, couldn't care less. Oh, It is also a superweapon ... war won, good game Federation. I also have to question the wisdom of exploding a fleet of klingon ships in an athmosphere a few kilometers above the thing you want to protect, but hey - who cares?

Insofar as character development is concerned: Well, we learned that Michael is even more super duper awesome than we thought: She can tame the beast, solve the mystery of the supercomputer and is really sad that Georgiou is dead. Lorca is an "Ends justify the means" guy. Saru had... one line of dialogue. Like me, he seems quite disenchanted with the whole premise of the show/mission. Someone mentioned that Tilly was supposed to have Aspergers/Autism or something: No. My sister has aspergers, that is NOT how they behave. But alas, she had no screentime either.

What else can I say? Mildly entertaining trope-ridden "Sci"-Fi, with mild Star Trek undertones to it. The first three episodes were completely unnecessary, but they at least make me angry, now I am completely indifferent. So: 1,5 stars. About as entertaining as a video on youtube of some guy reviewing power tools.
Hank
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 12:18pm (UTC -5)
Short not: The sentence "Not to mention the utter idiocy of having his ship adrift for half a year - when his side one." should read as: "Not to mention the utter idiocy of having his ship adrift for half a year - when his side won!"
Alexandrea
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 12:23pm (UTC -5)
Discovery's shaping up as worth watching, with flaws. We're delivering ethical conflicts to our characters, and because of the long-form format of contemporary television, we aren't resolving them within the hour. Instead, Burnham is party to something she already knows is wrong: the non-consensual harnessing of an uninvolved and possibly intelligent being for wartime convenience. Our crew will face consequences for this choice, but not immediately.

Burnham, Tilly, Stamets, Lorca, and Sura all continue to receive fleshing out as characters. Lorca uses the voices of the mining colony to manipulate, but that's because they drive him as well. Burnham's manipulation of Sura to confirm her hypothesis defined both characters and their relationship nicely. Tilly feels like something rare, a TV character on the autism spectrum who gets to feel like a complete human being and not a savant or a trope. Some may find Stamets unlikable, but we see clearly how this comes from his being deeply unhappy and conflicted about where he is.

The superscience is silly, obviously, but it looks undeniably cool. The unusual shape of Discovery now has an in-universe excuse, and the Discovery now counts as the single most striking ship I can recall for its faster-than-light tech's appearance onscreen. The action sequence at the end also managed far more excitement than Voyager or Enterprise's standard fare, even with the "shields down to X percent" trope in play.

Landry's death counts as the biggest flaw in the writing: as with Burnham's mutiny and subsequent murder of T'Kuvma, the script forces characters into rash actions that the circumstances don't appear to warrant and which we as audience don't have adequate cause to believe the character would take. The voices from the mining colony might prompt her to action, but what happened to "your science plus my tactics"? Don't tactical officers have, you know, tactical training of some kind? The writing to that point had depicted Landry as ruthless, but not as an overwhelming dunderhead.

The writing of the Uruk-Hai also remains weak, but not as overwhelmingly one-note and boring as in the premiere. The line about cannibalism just induced a groan: oh look, we need reminding that these are the savage villains. If Discovery used the Klingon appearance that had been in use since 1979, it would be more bearable, but watching a bunch of monsters growl expressionlessly at each other gets old quickly. Like watching wookies in the Star Wars Christmas Special.

I'm not sure why this isn't set after Nemesis: we could have a destroyed Romulus leading to a Romulan refugee crisis, thus leaving the Federation and Klingons as the only remaining major powers and removing the military reasons for their always-shaky alliance. You could tell this story in the late 24th century, no problem. It doesn't matter too much, it's just a shame that the franchise is looking backward instead of forward.

It may not be perfect, but it passes the Trek test.
bhbor
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 1:29pm (UTC -5)
I'm having trouble even finishing this episode. It was strongly hinted that this Star Trek was going to be a war story, and although I intellectually understood this there was still an excited little voice inside me that was just happy to have his favorite series back on the air and I refused, refused, refused to except it. I'm about 20 minutes in and if I have to see one more Klingon Honor speech, Michael have one more pissy interaction with another crew I'm going to start to throw stuff at my TV.

Its 2017. I am tired of war stories. I love war stories but I'm tired of them. All I see on the news and in my city streets is violence, crime and hate. A man just shot 500+ people in Las Vegas last week, war rages on all over our planet (right now) and the world political environment is tumultuous, unpleasant- even frightening...

and it pisses. me. off, that I cannot look at this Star Trek as escapism, that I cannot see a better and brighter future from which to inspire in myself a more hopeful outlook on my species or way to think about my own world.

I hate this Star Trek. I knew they were going to do this and now that I realized they have I can't bring myself to watch this shit.


(apologies for not very articulate rant)
von Bigglesworth
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 1:50pm (UTC -5)
I'm seriously conflicted by this series. To put my opinion into context, I should let you know that for the past couple of months I've been working my way through Voyager, and I'm struggling. Really struggling. The plots are too derivative from what Trek had done before, the character development is poor, and the story arc is neglected. Frankly, I only like half of the Voyager episodes. Whereas Discovery is the complete opposite, the story is new for Trek, characters have personalities with potential arcs, and there is an actual story arc. It is refreshing and entertaining, and I like it. But do I like it because it is refreshing or because it is quite good? I'm not sure.

However, one thing that I am finding very disappointing is the lack of episodic plots. Having a series story arc is definitely the way to go, but at the same time is there really any need to push the episode story to the background? In previous incarnations of Trek, the story of what happened to the Glenn and the race to save the mining colony would have been the major plotline to an episode. In Discovery, it is again the opposite, with the stories just being an afterthought in which to wrap the series story arc into segments. I feel that it is suffering because of this. The balance just seems all wrong to me.

So do I like Discovery? Kinda. Do I like the episodes? Not really. Am I currently enjoying it more than Voyager? Yes.
wolfstar
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 2:12pm (UTC -5)
3 stars. (I have to retroactively downgrade last week's weaker and more offputting episode to 2 stars.) The characters are improving (plus the one character who was a complete knucklehead has been written out, and Saru is still solid) and I thought this was the show's best storytelling so far. The main, huge, caveat for me continues to be the science - to say it's bad science is euphemistic, it's anti-science, ridiculous make-believe magic presented as science. It was nice to see the show settle into something like a groove this week and tell its story confidently - I was never bored, and I liked and engaged with all of the characters more than last week (when they were presented as much more one-note and needlessly abrasive) - but I feel like the more I think about what actually happened in this episode (to disperse a Klingon attack on a colony, they instantly teleported across the quadrant using magic fungus spores interfaced with a giant water bear whose brain contains a map of every star system in the galaxy) the less I'll like it in retrospect.

The Klingon part of this episode was OK but the weakest. The fact that Kurtzman said that the Discovery writers wanted "to humanize the Klingons" can be responded to in one word: Worf. For him to say something like that makes it sound like he's never seen any other Star Trek. TNG put a Klingon on the bridge 30 years ago and we spent a decade over the course of TNG/DS9 exploring Worf, his culture and society, and his troubled relationship to it. He's one of the most beloved and hallmark characters of all of Trek. So while Kurtzman says the aim is to "humanize" the Klingons, what's showing up on screen is pretty much the exact opposite - they ate Georgiou???

Discovery's biggest overarching problem is that it really, really looks like they just took the protomolecule from The Expanse, the monster from Stranger Things and Jason Isaacs as the mad scientist from The OA, threw in the Orcs and Elves from the LOTR and Hobbit films (here repurposed as Klingons and Vulcans) and baked themselves a show. That and the unlikeable and inconsistently characterized protagonist. It really feels like a show inorganically cobbled together from various haphazardly borrowed elements, or like it started life as another show and was adapted into the Star Trek brand by changing a few of the names and elements. I appreciate they're not just trying to do business as usual, but I'd easily take Past Prologue/A Man Alone or Parallax/Time And Again over these past two episodes.
Stefan T.
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 2:26pm (UTC -5)
To put it in a nutshell - 1.5 stars. After giving the first two 3 stars if you dont know trek and 0 if you know trek, 2 for the second one because it was still amusing even though the story lacked a lot, I'd give this episode 1.5 stars.

Star Trek: Discovery has the major flaw of many successful series after a while: Because there is almost nothing, which hasn't been already there in some episodes, the writers start, to try to make it feel more...powerful. So instead of bringing something new, they try to either expand the old content or exaggerate everything until the point where it doesnt feel real anymore.

This results in stupid characters, a stupid storyline, and a lot of total illogical nonsense where you as the viewer asks yourself as to what you are actually watching there. For example: Why does the federation have an important mine with many civilians, but nothing close by to protect it? Not to forget that its all for almost half of the fleet.
Why does an officer, of whose name I had to read the commentary section, because I simply forgot her insignificant name, release a monster, then shoots at it, even though she knows, phasers wont work, and basically commits suicide through this?
Why did Saru become the first officer in the first place, when he is so morally conflicted about his superior? Who would even promote such a coward?
And who had the idea to let a monster be a super computer for a jump drive like that?

Honestly - I couldnt care less about most characters. It just feels ridiculous because it feels so unreal watching it. The plot up to now is absurd. What even happened in half a year of the war? Why this timeskip at all? Why three episodes trying to build up tension when there is in fact none?
I bet if Michael'd meed Chuck Norris in real life, Chuck Norris would lick her feet because she's so awesome - at least that's what the show seems to promote.

I still have no idea which direction this show is going to take or should take. I just know that the more I watch of it, the more I am seriously doubting it.
BZ
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 2:34pm (UTC -5)
@Wolfstar,
I don't think Worf humanizes the Klingons in the way they meant. He was raised by humans and is constantly struggling to be the idealized Klingon, but still a Starfleet officer. Now, we do see "ordinary" Klingons and Klingon politics a few times in both TNG and DS9, but these are still 24th century Klingons, allies of the Federation (for the most part). What we are meant to be seeing here is what the Klingons from the TOS era are like. We haven't seen that in Enterprise in any appreciable way.

That said, I don't like the subtitles at all. How do you humanize the Klingons when you don't understand what they're saying?
Karl Zimmerman
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 2:40pm (UTC -5)
For no particular reason, here are my predictions for the upcoming episodes. Feel free not to read.

Voq (the albino Klingon) seems to be developing an obsession with Burnham. He has also been given a chance at survival by L'Rell, but only if he "gives up everything." My guess is (given her mother's house essentially is the Klingon Obsidian order) he will be given the option of becoming a Klingon deep-cover operative by taking the augment virus (or possibly extensive surgery) and passing for human. He will then assume the identity of Ash Tyler, and be thrown into prison with Lorca and Mudd (who we know will end up imprisoned in the next episode). Following this, he will be assigned to Discovery, but, despite his best intentions, fall into a real relationship with Burnham, and become conflicted as a result.
Andy G
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 3:00pm (UTC -5)
This is the first episode of the series where I felt I was watching Star Trek and it gives me hope. I've been entertained thus far, but really the show could have been called anything. I'm hoping the moral conflict plays around the tardigrade plays out more in upcoming episodes and it isn't swept under the rug or technobabbled away. Even with the war storyline, I'm not watching for a shoot em up. Trek can do war just fine but stories like "In the Pale Moonlight" or "Damage" are what they should strive toward, not the CGI fests we've seen so far.
SX
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 3:08pm (UTC -5)
It's okay. Visually it's incredible and you can see where all that money went, on your TV, in the comfort of your home. But the story is slow and just not that interesting. The creature / spore transport is really silly.

Positives: Isaacs is good as the captain and could be great. The Klingons are finally standing apart from each other, with individuality and character development.
Gumbamit
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 3:21pm (UTC -5)
It would be nice to make a show that is not dark, but in the words of Nicholas Meyer, there is no evidence that bigotry and racism disappeared between the 1960s and the year 2364. Star Trek VI was his attempt to prove his point and the events in Star Trek VI were well AFTER those in Discovery

See p. 214 of this link:
https://books.google.com/books?id=E2sIDAAAQBAJ&pg=RA1-PA214&lpg=RA1 -PA214&dq=nicholas+meyer+racism+did+not+disappear&source=bl&ots =eNtxbWhEPZ&sig=XRGmxOSS7Re_NYYZ4wvXeMXEHko&hl=en&sa=X&ved= 0ahUKEwibvNX-q-TWAhXLjFQKHZ5WAyQQ6AEIODAD#v=onepage&q=nicholas%20meyer% 20racism%20did%20not%20disappear&f=false

Meyer has made the point before and since, many times.

Deep Space Nine's "Past Tense" two-parter showed that bigotry and racism were alive and well on Earth in the 2020s, and the World War III referenced in the Star Trek Universe which followed some decades later reinforced the point that humanity had not indeed outgrown thousands of years of warlike thinking. (Enterprise, as well, showed us that acts of terror still happen, and humans will still respond vengefully, like Archer did with the airlock incident in "Anomaly." TOS' "A Private Little War" showed that humans still think as their war-prone ancestors did (Kirk vigorously argued that both sides of the conflict in that episode should have been equally armed, while McCoy passionately disagreed, as Kirk referenced "20th century brush wars" - Vietnam)

In fact, no Star Trek episode or movie made to date shows how, even in a vague sense, human beings came to be TNG-era enlightened. The process of enlightenment has never been shown, I think, because a writer would find depicting it to be dramatically false, and to write something that would strain credulity.

Making an "optimistic, characters don't fight with each other) Star Trek show in the year 2017 that depicts the 23rd Century before TOS as an enlightened age of humanity, would be making a lie.
Trent
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 3:47pm (UTC -5)
In the 1950s, SF was rekindled by short stories, short story compilations and old pulp magazines. These SF tales were concise, mind-bending, made their point quickly, and got out. They were little thought experiments. In television, the best SF (Star Trek, TNG, X-files, Twilight Zone etc) has likewise embraced an episodic, anthology-esque format. This allows for more wackiness and more room to experiment, a level of experimentation which I think Discovery's realism-heavy serialization doesn't allow. Thus far, it seems primarily an action drama.

Canjobear
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 3:54pm (UTC -5)
I have a strong desire to like this show and to welcome it enthusiastically to the Star Trek canon. It's getting hard. For me it was the Landry character that signaled something was wrong: her mean, cynical, violent perspective was something I'm used to seeing in other sci-fi shows and seemed really out of place. So I was glad to see her go, but the way she went underlined my point!

What I like the most in Star Trek is scenes like at the end of Undiscovered Country where Kirk says "second star to the right" with a twinkle in his eye. And the best Star Trek makes moments like that earned by putting the characters through tough times, like in DS9. I'm not getting that vibe at all from this show: it's basically snarky and sometimes downright mean characters fighting monsters in space. The snarkiness and forced quirkiness (like Captain Lorca's fortune cookies) reminds me of Firefly but not written by people witty enough to pull it off; the result is that I just don't care about basically any of the characters. I'd like to see more Burnham + Saru: they're the only characters who seem intelligent.

This episode tried for a Trekkian ethical angle by having Michael Burnham care about the tardigrade and discover that it's true desire wasn't violence, but peace. There's a potentially interesting contrast with the Klingons, who seem to emphatically *not* desire peace, and would consider peace to be a dilution of their identity. Unfortunately I found the writing here very very heavy handed. Michael asks, "You're going to judge a species based on one past action?" --- the connection to modern stereotype problems is not subtle at all.

In fact, as a bit of a side bar, the whole fact that Star Trek uses alien species as a metaphor for stereotypes and race/gender relations is pretty weird. The point of being anti-racist is that people are all fundamentally human despite superficial differences. But when it comes to aliens, there's no reason to believe that: these are *not* humans and they may very well have deep-seated and irreconcilable differences. The fact that humans want to think of all other species as just humans with weird foreheads---in an interesting version of this series, that would be the Klingon complaint against the Federation.

I still think the series has a lot of promise and interesting avenues but I'm just disappointed with the quality of the characters and writing so far.
carl
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 4:24pm (UTC -5)
Does it both anyone else that Voq seemed so sad about someone taking over his ship? Or that L'Rell would lie to get her way? I remember Klingons as being very direct and violent in conflict. Like, I would have expected a very Klingon Voq to have had a duel with someone trying to take over his ship. Voq just seemed sad. And then for L'Rell to pretend to turn her back on him, only to lie and escape? I would expect a Klingon who wanted to unite all the Klingons to do it in a very Klingon way. This way seemed very human...

When I learned the writers were trying to humanize the Klingons, I thought they meant figuratively, like they were trying to flesh out the Klingon species with more nuance. Voq's and L'Rell's reactions don't seem like nuanced Klingon reactions at all - they just seem like human reactions, which makes the Klingons as a race a shallower concept, not a more fleshed out one.
Chibbi
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 4:51pm (UTC -5)
There is too much Klingon material in the show.

Why did they kill off Landry? Michael and Tilly were the best bit of this episode, in my opinion. Lorca needs a refresher course on how to treat animals properly.
Hank
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 5:02pm (UTC -5)
@Gumbamit: So - ten years before Kirk, where there was no racism and humanity was reasonably enlightened, everybody was just as bad as we are now? Doesn't make sense either. Even Enterprise was more enlightened than STD so far. And I hate to use that argument, but just a few incidents of stubborness or vengeance have no bearing on the overall state of humanity - not all humans. And we have come a long way from the sixties as well, even if some people want to preach that everything is as bad as ever. Let me rephrase that. Some people actually want us to return to the sixties, or the fourties, or the fourteenhundreds, for that matter, and they are doing a really good job. I'll leave it to you to figure out which people I mean.

As to why the enlightenment was never depicted: Because you can't. It took hundreds of years for enlightenment-thought (the real world kind) to fully take hold. Social change does not happen in an instant. But as we can see, it had happened by the time the NX-01 launched. Oh sure, not everybody was super enlightened, and I am sure that you could find humans who really hated those dastardly Klingon bastards just for being Klingons. And Archer wasn't to fond of Vulcans either. But he had his reasons. That was no blind racism. And, to be honest, I don't see the connection to STD in the slightest. I guess you could argue that Burnham is really racist towards the Klingons - at least some people did. But as depicted, the Klingons really ARE monsters if measured by our standards. So, provocative question, why wouldn't you be "racist" towards them? Wasn't that what the "Vulcan Hello" was all about? Treating Klingons differently than vulcans? Just shooting them until they listen?

Anyway, this constant talk about racism is unhealthy, and in the end, just leads to more racism, as witnessed in the real world today. To paraphrase Morgan Freeman: If you want to stop racism, stop talking about it.
BNJT
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 6:25pm (UTC -5)
I'm glad to see them pushing the technology forward with the advanced displays, holomirrors and spinning saucers section. My hope would now be that they advance it forward even further for futurology's sake, then use the magic mushroom spore tech as an Alpha Quadrant-wide EMP McGuffin that brings us back to Kirk-era tech in time for TOS.
Mal
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 6:46pm (UTC -5)
@Hank "Saru had... one line of dialogue. Like me, he seems quite disenchanted with the whole premise of the show/mission.”

LOL. Love it - so true. Seems like the only good part about the future is unlimited blueberries.



@Alexandrea, and @Chibbi, I agree, I do like Tilly. But that may be because no one else around is likeable at all - so you just reach out for anything remotely positive.



@Stefan T., "Why did Saru become the first officer in the first place, when he is so morally conflicted about his superior? Who would even promote such a coward?”

I think Lorca is a pretty incredible guy, but he knows he walks a little too close to the edge. He has to, yes, this is war. But he also likes to - his collection is a testament to his base nature. Saru is a canary in a coal mine. You need a birdie to sense when shit is about to hit the fan. And Saru stood up to Burnham when he thought she might be committing mutiny. That’s something that Lorca, with his god-aweful management style, will probably need in a first officer. So Lorca gets two things out of Saru: Foresight and Loyalty. It’s actually a great choice in first officer.



@Trent, "In the 1950s, SF was rekindled by short stories, short story compilations and old pulp magazines. These SF tales were concise, mind-bending, made their point quickly, and got out. They were little thought experiments.”

For sure. And things have been dry for the last 15 years or so. But the author of one of my favorite scifi books, “Never Let Me Go” just got the Nobel Prize. So things are looking up again. Scifi is thriving: The Expanse, Man in the High Castle, Guardians of the Galaxy, Sense8, Intersteller, etc. Maybe Trek is stuck in the era of Archer, but the world has moved on.



@bhbor, "Its 2017. I am tired of war stories. I love war stories but I'm tired of them. All I see on the news and in my city streets is violence, crime and hate. A man just shot 500+ people in Las Vegas last week, war rages on all over our planet (right now) and the world political environment is tumultuous, unpleasant- even frightening...

and it pisses. me. off, that I cannot look at this Star Trek as escapism, that I cannot see a better and brighter future from which to inspire in myself a more hopeful outlook on my species or way to think about my own world.

I hate this Star Trek.”

Wow. Yeah, I think you hit the nail on the head. I guess I just needed to see it written out like that.

I feel Angel might lecture the crew of Discovery:

"Nothing in the world is the way it oughta be. It’s harsh and cruel. But that’s why there’s us: champions. It doesn’t matter where we come from, what we’ve done, or suffered. Or even if we make a difference. We live as though the world were as it should be, to show it what it can be. You’re not a part of that yet. I hope you will be.”

Discovery, you’re not part of Star Trek yet. I hope you will be.


BZ
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 6:51pm (UTC -5)
@Hank,
Wait what? Stop talking about racism and it will go away? I'm sorry, but that is the opposite of true. Most of us have some level of racist impulses, but as long as we most of us think they are wrong, we keep them under control. If nobody talked about racism, we'd begin acting on our impulses, and *really* slide backward into the 1400s or whatever.
Traveler
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 7:10pm (UTC -5)
Mal - "Scifi is thriving"

I haven't seen any of those except for Interstellar and Sense8. Interstellar was quite good but Sense8? One thing I can say for Discovery is that it hasn't (yet) sunk to that level and I hope it never does - the show is absolute drivel.
Mal
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 7:42pm (UTC -5)
@Traveler, it reminded a lot of Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land. Like a 60's version of scifi, with a bisexual orgy every episode.

Certainly not everyone's cup of tea.

But the point being, there is now Neo-Nazi scifi (Man in the High Castle), absolutely modern post-Interstellar level scifi (The Expanse), The Doctor just got a sex change scifi (Who), sit-com scifi (The Orville), Asian sex-robot scif (Humans), a group-of-strangers-become-a-crew scifi (Dark Matter), and on and on and on.

And that's not even including movies. Blade Runner just came out, a new Star Wars every year. Wonder Woman was gorgeous. And my absolute favorite: Guardians of the Galaxy.

YMMV
bhbor
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 8:01pm (UTC -5)
@Mal
"Nothing in the world is the way it oughta be. It’s harsh and cruel. But that’s why there’s us: champions. It doesn’t matter where we come from, what we’ve done, or suffered. Or even if we make a difference. We live as though the world were as it should be, to show it what it can be. You’re not a part of that yet. I hope you will be.”

Man I loved Angel, despite the camp which was sometimes (hell, often) cringeworthy, at its heart it was a pretty inventive series with interesting character arcs and a compelling fantasy plot, good villains, etc.


"Discovery, you’re not part of Star Trek yet. I hope you will be."

Yeah, me too, man.
John
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 8:14pm (UTC -5)
STD is too kind a name for this show, an STD must be infectious.

Should this appeal to Star Trek fans when it ruins the spirit and canon of the show? No.

Should it appeal to people who like good TV when it is preposterous and highly flawed, with unlikable mean characters? No.

This show has only one audience, people that kinda like scifi and aren't to smart.

It is not worth the aggravation in watching it let alone the cost.
Chrome
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 8:53pm (UTC -5)
@John

“This show has only one audience, people that kinda like scifi and aren't to(sic) smart.”

It’s one thing to not like a show, but quite another to start insulting others because they don’t agree with you. If you’re really a Trek fan, I think you can aspire to be better than this.
Sadly Enough
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 9:03pm (UTC -5)
Really keep hoping this show will surprise and delight me but it never does. The characters are all so unappealing, there's nobody to root for. Michael keeps posing dramatically in shots that are more suited to promotional stills than drama. Poorly directed, poorly written, poorly lit.

If Trek's name wasn't attached this, would this even be made? The scripts would be chucked in the trash.
John
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 9:16pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome

Why is my browser speaking back to me? *too

When I said "not to0 smart" it was based on a view that the show would be more enjoyable if you didn't think much while watching it.

I wasn't really trying to insult those that do like it, just stating a fact that is unintentionally insulting. Now I could defend my point that it is flawed if you think about it, but that seems like it would be digging the hole deeper...

So instead I will admit that sometimes I like stupid shows that work as long as you take them at face value and don't ruin them by thinking too hard.

So maybe I should have said "Will suit the lover of dumb action flicks", because you don't have to be dumb to sometimes enjoy dumb things.

But the fact remains, and I stand by it as self evident, that this show does not bare much thinking about, not if you want to like it anyway.
HawgWyld
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 11:47pm (UTC -5)
There's still a major problem with this show -- so far, Voq is a more sympathetic character than anyone in Starfleet. That's a bad sign moving forward...
Cosmic
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 12:02am (UTC -5)
Sigh. The Klingon storyline is going to drag this show into the ground. It has become complete and utter nonsense at this point. We're supposed to believe that their flagship has been drifting off into the graveyard from ep. 2 for 6 months without ANYONE (Klingons, Feds, etc.) doing anything about it.

They rescued the crew from the Shinzhou and everything and just... left the Klingon ship alone? Ridiculous.

The Klingon scenes are unfortunately so tiresome at this point... let them speak English, please! I loved TOS/TNG Klingons because you could have people like Gowron, Martok, Kor, etc. put some real weight and power into their performance. Those performances weren't restricted by the mumbling nature of a fictional language and weird makeup. Such a waste.

The Discovery rescues the miners and then leaves? They don't provide any sort of relief for these people? Jeez...

I enjoy what they're doing with the spore drive and the revelations about the creature felt very in line with Star Trek, so those are some positives about this one.

I thought Saru and Michael were in a good place after last week's episode, but now they're back to this weird conflict that doesn't exactly mesh with what we've seen up to this point.

I feel like they were on the right track with last week's episode, but this one was a major step down in quality. Doesn't help that it was apparently written by some awful writers that worked on Heroes, a show that unfortunately descended into mediocre absurdity.

2 stars for this one.
Michael
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 1:17am (UTC -5)
It's becoming clearer to my why we needed the first 2 episodes to focus on the Shenzhou, at least in the minds of the writers. They wanted to establish what the ship and crew of a "normal" Federation ship in the 2250s is like, in order to contrast it against the relative strangeness of the Discovery.

Judging by the comments about the show, this isn't working. People are taking the attitudes and staff on the Discovery to be typical Starfleet, and I don't blame them. I think we need to see other Starfleet ships and how the moral license on board the Discovery differs from them. Also, how could things have got so desperate in the war that the Discovery was commissioned in the first place? We're missing a huge chunk of the story that I hope will be revealed in time.
MKC07
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 4:33am (UTC -5)
OK, I'm won over.

This is shaping up to be a very thoughtful Trek in the best sense of the franchise with intriguing ideas and interesting questions should it continue to execute.

The "science"- OK I'll admit it's a little out there but the writers have done their homework and come up with a technobabble that is at least more thought out than polaric ions or delta rays and they did so by asking a question: Is there a relationship between the large scale structure of the universe, consciousness and quantum strangeness? That, or they fleshed out the navigator concept from Dune. But in any case, the answer to the question as discovered by our crew (pun intended) is torturing Ripper into being an unwilling navigator because Ripper's sin is being able to experience multiple places in the galaxy by tripping off the spores. It can travel the universe by shrooming.

The Federation- You wanted grittier Trek, here it is. All the tough questions you want about scientific and situational ethics are spelled out for you now: is it right to torture a creature if it means winning a war for your own existence? Is it right even though you instigated that war through your own ignorance and arrogance? Remember that the Shenzhou was in Klingon space poking around the Torch of Kahless. Georgiou might have prevented the fight had she listened to Burnham but decided in her ignorance of Klingon culture to treat the situation as if everyone acts like a 23rd century human.

That leads us to the monoculture. It looks like the Federation is the monoculture here. Sure there are some funny looking aliens on board but they all think the same: they thought the same about Burnham and so far they've all thought the same about the spore drive: did anyone in Engineering besides Burnham give Ripper a second thought? Anyone with empathy could have heard it crying. I like this angle because the Federation is us: in "The Vulcan Hello" replace "We come in Peace" with "We come in the name of Democratic Capitalism" and you have the history of Western Civilization since the end of World War II.

Finally, we've got the Klingons who may become much deeper as villains now that we see factions: the True Believers vs. the Opportunists. What Devil's Bargain will Voq have to make to pursue what is looking more and more like a jihad? Will that get the Klingons closer to TOS canon? In the end, will it even matter?

It doesn't mean the show is perfect and there are still some strange acting and character choices and though I think Burnham's general backstory serves the story well (she's the outsider and the explorer) I really hate the "small universe/fan service" idea of Sarek being her adopted father.

But these are quibbles.

I sure hope the cast and crew can pull this off because right now I think they have what could be the best Trek ever and a story that could rival reboot BSG.
Harry H
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 4:37am (UTC -5)
I'm getting that 'Phantom Menace' feeling. I *want* to love it. But can't.

Yes, it's a good show (and way better than Phantom). But it's not Trek. It's good scifi with interesting characters. But it's just. not. Star Trek.

If anything, it tries to be BSG.
Hank
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 5:59am (UTC -5)
@BZ: If you constantly talk about how this and that is racist and how we are different from them or how this and that is racially charged or that everybody has some "unconcious" racism or somesuch, people start to think along racist lines. And it is clear as well, thats why people got upset when there was a "bracketing-addon" that added brackets to jewish names in your browser - I know, that is not quite the same as racism, but it is similar enough in principal. If you are so focused on skin colour, it influences your thinking. Instead of thinking: "Captain Sisko did great today" you think "Black Captain Sisko did so great today, and it is good, because he is black and has a history of slavery etc. etc." Being black should have no influence whatsoever on how we view Cpt. Sisko, but if you are used to thinking along racist or anti-racist lines, it has, because in both cases you use "racial" features to define people. The only thing that an anti-racist should do, is view everybody as a human being, and leave it at that. Everybody knows that racism is wrong - even the racists know that thats the consensus, they just chose to ignore it. By constantly talking about racism, wether imagined or not, you not only devalue the word, you also make people immune to the accusation. At a certain point they just say "Ok, then I am a racist, fuck it", and you have achieved the opposite of your goal. Constant talk of racism, and accusations of racism, just plants the thought into peoples heads, and they start to see racism everywhere. You are right, we are not in the 1400s anymore, and we are not in 1960 either, the social change has happened, the vast majority of people is already convinced that racism is wrong (at least in the west), so you are not going to make it better. You will never convince 100% of people - but we managed to convince 99%, and thats good enough.
Discovery Forever
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 6:10am (UTC -5)
@MKC07 Actually, the Shenzhou was on the edge of Federation space.
Del_Duio
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 6:45am (UTC -5)
I haven't read any of the above comments yet, just some quick thoughts:

1) These new Klingons are really starting to grate on me. They are not Klingons. They stand around and blah blah blah. Where's the passion of this race? Klingon scenes in TNG or DS9 were always highlights or (at the very least) interesting. These are not.

2) So they're hooking an innocent creature up to use it for fuel? Didn't VOY do this with the much better "Equinox" two parter? Did anybody else think the same thing?

3) Again, there's really nothing that even says this is a prequel at all, what's the deal?

It's interesting and it looks pretty but this isn't Trek. I watched DS9's "Duet" right afterwards actually. I needed some substance.
Karl Zimmerman
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 9:27am (UTC -5)
The absolute worse Klingon scene was when Voq just stood there dumbfounded during Kol's coup and L'Rell's seeming betrayal. This cuts against absolutely everything we have scene about Klingons. A true Klingon would respond to Kol's boasts with violence (since it didn't seem he had heavies backing him up). The scene wasn't helped because the "rubber mask" quality of the Klingon makeup means we didn't see anger on Kol's face to speak of. Hell, I'm not sure that the actors could snarl if they wanted to without ripping the prosthetics to bits.
Del_Duio
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 9:53am (UTC -5)
"Spore drive aside, how does the Discovery have site-to-site transport withn the ship like its nothing? I thought that tech wasn't invented yet. "

The same way how it has holo communicators that weren't invented until almost the end of DS9's run.
BZ
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 10:15am (UTC -5)
Early episodes of TNG had these hologram thingies on conference tables where they could view things they were talking about. They stopped using them because of budget issues / looking impractical. Certain species have holodeck-like tech in the Enterprise era, so all the pieces are there. It's just never been used before. Still, it does seem jarring and unnecessary from any perspective, like staying ahead of today's tech or aiding the plot. Site-to-site transport, though, should be conceptually possible from the very invention of the transporters. I don't remember how big a deal was made of it when Scotty first did it on TOS.
Dobber
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 10:46am (UTC -5)
Site to site transport was explained to be very dangerous in TOS. I would guess it’s because all the targeting scanners are directed away from the ship so the accuracy on board the ship would be very low and you could end up inside a wall or something.
Chrome
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 10:58am (UTC -5)
@Dobber

It occurs to me that a reason not to have site-to-site transporting would be for budgetary constraints. Is it possible it was technically more difficult to make the transporter effect on the existing ship set than say, the planet sets?
Peter G.
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 11:47am (UTC -5)
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. The series 24, famous for creating desperate scenarios requiring extreme measures, took pains to make it clear when and why Jack Bauer had to go too far. You don't do that hours after the fact, you make it clear when it's happening so the audience understands the moral context. So EVEN IF Discovery covers this later on, it's already too late. They perpetrated a moral atrocity on screen with no commentary about it, and with the crew's de facto thumbs up since no one stands up and says anything. Even the chief engineer, who hates violence, war, or misuse of science, seemed gleeful to find a way to power his spore drive. Is that an inconsistency, or is he just a psychopathic monomaniac who cares about his drive and nothing else, and makes up mealy-mouthed BS when his tech isn't used the way he wants? I bet that question will never be answered.

And don't even get me started on the "science" involved in the spore drive. I'll give one example: the engineer mentions something about the Glenn failing because they hit a "Hawking radiation manifold". Nice technobabble there. It's too bad that TNG and DS9 (more so TNG) took pains to incorporate cutting edge physics theories to back up their episodic plots, and that nowadays any old garbage filler serves as the "science" behind the engine. I think Voyager destroyed peoples' minds more than they realize if they'll accept lines like this as "science" fiction. It's just fiction, and not even a contextually rational use of technobabble. Hawking radiation is particles that escape from the event horizon of a black hole due to quantum fluctuations. It isn't something that would be relevant to space jumps, or something that would even be relevant unless you were dancing around a black hole. Maybe in the future we'll discover something new about Hawking radiation, but for now that's what we know about it, and implying some fantastical Warhammer 40k interpretation of it (i.e. space fantasy) is just pathetic. Don't bring science into it if you're a writer and don't know crap about science. It's just insulting to the physics and engineering fanbase that used to love watching TNG because of how on point its science was. We're closer to Dr. Who at this point in terms of the show being about talking about how the universe really is.

Medal for dumbest scene ever on a Trek show (including salamanders) go to the security chief suicide by creature. She was a Nazi anyhow but the way her death was handled was equally fascistic, as another commenter mentioned.

This show isn't Star Trek. For that I could never forgive it, but I could learn to like it as something else, something new. That it additionally has no brain is something offering me no chance to like it.
Chrome
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 11:53am (UTC -5)
Eh, I dunno. Tell me how it is that solar sails work again? Or trans-warp conduits? Most if not all travel in Star Trek is based on imagination, because our physics doesn't allow for FTL travel.
S19
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 12:02pm (UTC -5)
I'm surprised people are so willing to judge this show already. It's only been for episodes so far and storytelling takes time; the narratives here are brave and new . . Give them time to follow these threads forward. I loved tng and ds9 but I would have been disappointed if this show followed in the vein of either. There is a confidence in the storytelling that is refreshing; that confidence indicates more rather than whether the characters are immediately likable . . In fact the lack of easy likability bodes well for character development.
Peter G.
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 12:07pm (UTC -5)
@ Chrome,

Well, sure. You can take particular tech and ask how it makes sense. The old Okuda joke about how the Heisenberg compensator in the transporter system works come to mind: "It works very well!" So we know there are just conceits that help the story so that people don't have to shuttle all over the place, and to try to imagine new technologies. If anything a spore drive could exist in a Trek show dozens of even hundreds of years after Voyager. But putting aside the continuity issues, there is zero science, theoretical, fantastical, or anything, that would suggest a system of living spores inhabits every part of the universe. Isn't this just The Force or whatever? Star Wars had no pretension about discussing physics, right? They were basically on a metaphor about the Yogic system and Qi.

It's true, though, not every Trek tech is really plausible. But at least they're based on an in-universe understanding of reality within some parameters. How does a solar sail work? Presumable surfing on cosmic rays. Is that enough to make a ship go? We already know (in 2017!) that the EM drive works to create significant propulsion using very little electromagnetic input, in a way that is very odd indeed. I definitely think of that when I think of the solar sail. The EM drive didn't exist back then, but it's funny that something potentially like it already does exist. Trans-warp conduits were never explained, but at least it seemed clear that they were some physical structures that the Borg travelled through, like tunnels. Was it artificial wormholes? Who knows. In Voyager it's implied they are entirely artificially constructed. DS9 shows us that wormholes are something that can be constructed, and this doesn't defy modern science in any notable way other than we don't know at present how a wormhole aperture could ever be large enough to fit more than a particle or two. But all that to me is still musing on the limits of what we know. A Dr. Who spore drive (teleportation anywhere) is more like the Outer Limits, if you catch my drift. It's not an attempt at prediction of any sort; there is no reason to believe it's any more real than elves and dragons. Even warp drive is entirely believable as a tech, and NASA even has it in mind that a warp drive could be a legitimate method of conveyance. Even in Dune, which also incorporates teleportation, there is a serious effort made to portray this as being an interpretation of how science really works and how it will be used in the future. So teleportation itself isn't what I'm objecting to, but more the idea of spores being all over the universe and that 10 years before Kirk they'll be able to harness this and have UNLIMITED POWER! Yes, I do imagine Palpatine in Ep III when I think of Isaacs with this tech.
Chrome
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 12:44pm (UTC -5)
"How does a solar sail work? Presumable surfing on cosmic rays. Is that enough to make a ship go? We already know (in 2017!) that the EM drive works to create significant propulsion using very little electromagnetic input, in a way that is very odd indeed."

Cosmic rays don't travel FTL either, so the fact that they could perform FTL travel is beyond comprehension. But if this is enough physical science to be sufficient for you, I would look at the mycological TED talks that Paul Stamets (Yes, Fuller gave Discovery's engineer the same name) gives explaining how mycelial networks function and their potential to hold large masses that can traverse distances the same way at which mycelium is filtered in existing fungal networks.

As to the point of why Starfleet doesn't use it in the future, there could be dozens of reasons, but at least from what we've seen happen to the Glenn,the plausible explanation is that it's just way too dangerous for Starfleet to use. Also, if Section 31 is involved, it's also possible they confiscated the technology and use it only for themselves.

But my point is this is all fridge logic. It's like asking what kind of human bio-fusion could actually be used to run the Matrix. Does the lack of a solid scientific explanation make the Matrix a bad movie or is there value if we concede the technology is just a vehicle to tell a bigger story? If you're not willing to suspend your disbelief and get stuck nitpicking pseudo-science instead of actually looking at the story being told for what it is, science fiction is probably not the place for you.
Gumbamit
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 12:59pm (UTC -5)
@Hank

Whatever ideological axe you have grind, don't take it out on other people, thank you. And spare us the race lectures. People who quote Morgan Freeman and Chief Justice Roberts about "stop racism by not talking about race" have a valid opinion, but theirs isn't the only one. I think I mentioned the word "racism" in my comment above once (I think you mentioned it six times). Perhaps the irony is not understood, but someone who accuses others of "Constant talk of racism, and accusations of racism" at length is not, by your standards, "not talking about race."

Bigotry (as opposed to American racism) found new forms of expression in the Enterprise area as man could now travel to new worlds. Take, for example, the Enterprise two-parter, "Demons" and "Terra Prime," as well as the Enterprise episode "Home." These showed that xenophobia had hardly disappeared by the 22nd century, so it is a matter of debate as to who became enlightened, when, where and how.

Anyhow, what I was actually talking about in my post was that vengeance and war-like thinking did not, in the Star Trek world, leave us overnight, and were not replaced overnight by optimis and enlightened thinking.

The facts of the Star Trek timeline - not what I think or want or assume humanity should be or become - govern this conclusion:

1. 2050s: World War III, in the Star Trek Universe, ended in the 2050s.
2. 2063: The voyage of Zefram Cochrane's Phoenix. Earth, at this point, was still ravaged by war and ruled by "factions," i.e., tribes/
2. 2151-2155: These traits I just mentioned - vengeance and war-like thinking - were still present - in Enterprise (witness Trip's thirst for revenge upon the Xindi for murdering his sister). In Enterprise, even the supposedly enlightened Vulcans were spying on Andorians through a secret listening post at P'Jem, and Romulans were manipulating Aenar Andorians' telepathic abilities to attack other words. "Babel" and "United" showed that tribalism was not only not dead, but was not even past.
3. 2160: The Earth-Romulan war in 2160, which resulted in almost two hundred years of cold war.
4. 2161: The United Federation of Planets is founded.
5. 2255: Discovery takes place.

Based on the above, If there was a great enlightenment that occurred in the Trek universe between 2161 and 2255, it occurred off-camera, and "off-book," as it were.

You stated that we were reasonably enlightened by 2255, and the process of englightenment took "hundreds of years." There are less than one hundred years between 2161 and 2255. There are not even two and one half centuries between our own time and 2255.

In any event, it is unremarkable as a sociological observation to note that an entire society does generally (and indeed did not, in Trek) rid itself of aggressive and tribal impulses in the span of 94 years, based on nothing more than the mere passage of time.

As Kirk said to Anan 7 in "A Taste of Armageddon," "You said it yourself. I'm a barbarian." The notion that man was "enlightened" even by Kirk's time is refuted by this dialogue and other dialogue.

If you actually watch what Star Trek is up there on the movie screen and TV screen, you'll see how easy to conclude that human pettiness and vengeance was not limited to a few isolated incidents by the 22nd century.

What exactly happened to eliminate this behavior? Religion, in the Star Trek Universe, stopped being a motivating force on Earth by the 22nd century. The human brain did not become more complex between now and then. The advent of advanced technology is what separates our 21st century from the centuries ahead in the Star Trek universe, and it wasn't warp drive that brought about our newfound pacifism.

I am not denying we have come a long way since the '60s(we have come a long way), or that as centuries go by in our real world, progress will continue to be made.

Your point was that in the Star Trek universe, we (as a factual matter) went from being warlike to some different kind of plane of thinking by the year 2151 (or 2255 or whichever). The actual facts on the screen (as opposed to what we want to believe) tell a different story.

If you think otherwise, you should be able to present facts from the Star Trek timeline to rebut my argument.

Dobber
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 1:17pm (UTC -5)
Actually they called it a hawking radiation firewall which is actually a real theoretical concept about a phenomenon that may happen near the event horizon of black holes
Peter G.
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 1:20pm (UTC -5)
@ Chrome,

The issue you raise about how solar sails could achieve FTL is directly addressed in the episode. The Cardassians' entire case is based on that argument! You may not like that it's explained away by FTL eddies in space, but at least they answer the question.

About fungus-based processing power, I do like the idea. I said in a previous post I thought it was cool. That it covers the entire universe would seem to be counter-factual based on what we know now, rather than a possibility modern science may suggest. That a Trek ship magically not only discovers this network but has already created a propulsion system based on it (how? doing what?) it the part that's just magic fantasy stuff. It would take ridiculously long to develop that kind of tech, and it would be a game changer as much as the warp drive was. Like heck the other races wouldn't use it, especially since they just showed it off in front of Klingons (and took no pains to make sure they didn't send out messages about it). Even if it was limited to short jumps they'd use it, so no, I don't think there's any way to make sense out of the continuity. But I'd be ok with that: just call it a reboot, or else some other name than Trek. What we have here looks more like a technological dystopia.

But even putting aside what I think Trek should be, even taken as a stand-alone sci-fi I feel like Discovery so far does little more than insult the intelligence of the audience. 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? Nada, it's all just how can this be turned into a cool special effect. The showrunners seems to be of a like mind to Lorca. That's what will drive me away in the end.
Michael is a boy's name
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 1:31pm (UTC -5)
I think one fundamental problem is that this is a show about miserable people. And nobody wants to watch miserable people. Real life is miserable enough. I'm not saying it has to be a dick-joke comedy all the time like Orville, but for God's sake, has anybody even cracked a smile once on the show? Maybe Captain G (yeah, and see what happened to her)? There's no charm to these people. They have no charisma. Jim Kirk had a sparkle in his eye that made people love him. Hell, even Wesley (the boy?!) had more likeability than any of the cast here with the possible - possible - exception of Saru. Everybody's either bland or an asshole!

I know 10 year old me is spinning in his ... uh... grave, but I just can't get any enjoyment out of this Trek incarnation so far.
Michael is a boy's name
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 1:33pm (UTC -5)
I forgot to add, I think the title of this episode refers first to the producers and second to the fans.
BZ
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 1:45pm (UTC -5)
When I think of Star Trek, I don't think of hard science. Sure, there are exceptions, but most Trek science is just technobabble. Rather, Star Trek gives us ideas to try to emulate, so cell phones and tablets are influenced by Star Trek. When I hear robotics researchers say they want to invent someone "like Data" they don't mean a positronic brain, whatever that means.

Would anyone try to emulate the spore drive with space whales as navigators? Maybe not, but the general idea to travel faster than we can now has been at the heart of Star Trek since the begining, from the original warp drive to the traveler to the Gamma Quadrant wormhole. And of course Voyager is practically all about faster travel and communication. The how is never really important except to further the story in-universe. It's the idea itself.
Del_Duio
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 1:56pm (UTC -5)
Yeah there are no Datas, Worfs, Kirks, McCoys, O'Briens, or Tripps here.

You need a likable cast in order for this to work. It's pretty sad when Saru and the Navagator creature are the most likable cast members of this show. It's Rogue One all over again. If you can't get invested in the characters does anybody care when something happens to one?

I was glad when that security chief got killed in what is EASILY one of the stupidest actions ever: Pump knockout has into the creature's chambers and then open the force field up TWO SECONDS LATER. What, it's not knocked out yet? Wow! This scene would have been right at home with any of the several equally as stupid scenes from the Prometheus movie lol.

Luckily she was a terrible terrible character and wholly unlikable.
Del_Duio
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 1:58pm (UTC -5)
OH!

Just thought of something else: If spore drive existed at all in the past- even if it was super dangerous- Wouldn't they have tried to use it to rescue Voyager at least once?
Michael is a boy's name
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 3:17pm (UTC -5)
Spore Drive might actually give them an out, if the show proves to be as unpopular as I suspect it will. Simply say that the Spore Drive can make you shift between universes and strand them in the actual Prime Universe where everything is much closer to the original TOS timeline. Destroy the ship in the process so that their technology doesn't contaminate the real Prime verse. Kill off the unpopular characters and put the popular characters on a prime Starship to continue into season 2.

Did anyone notice that they killed 'Zaphod' on the mine planet? I noticed it in the captions. Lol
Peremensoe
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 4:30pm (UTC -5)
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.
Ben S
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 4:46pm (UTC -5)
...and this was the episode where I quit trying. I shut it off three quarters of the way through and turned on an episode of TNG to wipe the bad taste out of my mouth. If this is the future of Trek, I’m out.

So many things I hate about this show. So many. I gave it 3 3/4 episodes to impress me, which is more than some shows get, but it failed on so many levels.

They could have stripped out everything that references Star Trek and had a workable grim sci-fi show that was its own thing. But, no, they had to try to cash in on the Star Trek name with something that is clearly not Star Trek. Doesn’t work for me. If I didn’t already pay for CBS for other reasons, I would cancel my subscription.
bhbor
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 4:52pm (UTC -5)
Del_Duio said,

"I was glad when that security chief got killed in what is EASILY one of the stupidest actions ever: Pump knockout has into the creature's chambers and then open the force field up TWO SECONDS LATER. What, it's not knocked out yet? Wow! This scene would have been right at home with any of the several equally as stupid scenes from the Prometheus movie lol.

Luckily she was a terrible terrible character and wholly unlikable."

God, I know. What was the freakin point of this character and why are we expected to believe someone would actually do something so profoundly, utterly stupid.

Also, the references to our time period are annoying- in this one "Elon Musk" was put side by side with the Wright brothers and Zefran Cochrane.. jesus christ
Chrome
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 5:01pm (UTC -5)
"Also, the references to our time period are annoying- in this one "Elon Musk" was put side by side with the Wright brothers and Zefran Cochrane.. jesus christ"

I know, how dare they compare a fictional character to someone who's actually had an impact on the scientific community.
WTBA
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 5:11pm (UTC -5)
Not sure it has been mentioned yet, as I was waiting for Jammer's thoughts, but I wanted to ask what others thought about Voq (Vok?) having to (potentially) "sacrifice everything" for help from "The Matriarchs?"

Presumably, these are a cabal (or even a specific House) led by (or exclusively made up of) Klingon women.

I doubt they are going to go the Profit & Lace route of making Voq into a woman (or even the Bosom Buddies route of playing the part of one).

Might we be heading toward his becoming a eunuch? Historically, these are men castrated and put into the employ of powerful women.

It is probably something altogether different, but that is what jumped into my mind.

Any thoughts/theories?
DJ
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 5:33pm (UTC -5)
"And nobody wants to watch miserable people."

Clearly you are unaware of how popular The Sopranos was.

I for one am enjoying this series so far. It's different, but still has a Trek feel to it. I wouldn't want to see a new series try and emulate what's already been done, and I hope the writers of Discovery try to avoid that as much as possible.

Too many people seem to be in a rush to judge this only a few episodes in. I can't help but think of how this would have worked out for the first season of TNG (which is almost unwatchable now, and was tough to get through back then).

DS9 got a lot of "this isn't Trek" criticism as I recall, and turned out to be amazing. I'm hoping Discovery does the same.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 5:33pm (UTC -5)
@Gumbamit

I'm sorry, but your expertise on Trek history leaves much to be desired.

First of all, the film "First Contact" established that humans stopped all that primitive nonsense within 50 years of 2063. I'm not saying that humanity became perfectly enlightened by 2113 (or even by Kirk's time) but 22nd century humanity was already above shooting people just because they make big racist speeches.

How do we know that? Because we actually see this demonstrated for realsies in the first two seasons of Enterprise.

The NX-01 met plenty of bad guys out there in space, and not only Archer never "fired first" but he also seldom "fired back". Had the NX-01 crew been even half as blood-thirsty as the characters of "Discovery", the Earth would be in the midst of an interestellar war within a week.

Then, of-course, came the Xindi Arc. When was the last time you watched it? The whole point of that arc was to show how 22nd century humanity responds to a large-scale attack and an immediate danger to our home planet.

And if you look carefully at how things progressed there, you'll see that once the initial shock of the attack wore off, the Enterprise crew was anything but blood-thirsty or vengeful. Sure, they made some really tough moral choices ("Anomaly", "Similitude", "Damage") but none of them had anything to do with war-mongering or blood-thirstiness. The Enterprise hadn't attacked a single Xindi vessel or base without it being completely necessary. The closest thing they've come to being "vengeful" was when Archer man-handled Gralik in "The Shipment"... The same episode, I might add, where humans and Xindi actually cooperate to stop the impending attack on Earth.

Now, do you really see anything there which is remotely similar to the stuff going on in "Discovery"? Archer and co more-or-less kept their humanity intact, WITH AN IMPENDING DOOMSDAY ATTACK ON EARTH.

And then... you went into a strange tangent:
"In Enterprise, even the supposedly enlightened Vulcans were spying on Andorians through a secret listening post at P'Jem, and Romulans were manipulating Aenar Andorians' telepathic abilities to attack other words. "Babel" and "United" showed that tribalism was not only not dead, but was not even past."

What does any of this have to do with 22nd century humanity?

The Romulans have been war-mongering since pretty much forever. And Vulcan was actually under Romulan influence at the time (see the Vulcan Trilogy, ENT season 4). Once that plot was uncovered and the Kir'Shara found, the Vulcans were on their way to become the peaceful TOS race we all remember.

As for the Andorians, I agree that they *might* have retained some of their warlike characteristics for quite a while after the founding of the Federation in 2161. But we haven't seen any Andorian on "Discovery", so I'm not sure why this would be in any way relevant.

Now, with "Terra Prime" you do have a point. But the xenophobia there didn't happen just because some scary dude made threats. It happened after AN ATTACK THAT KILLED SEVEN MILLION PEOPLE and the knowledge that another weapon is on the way to destroy our entire planet.

Doesn't make the resulting xenophobia any more right, of-course. But still, if it took *this* to reveal the ugly primitive side of 22nd century humans, then "Discovery" still seems to be a big step backwards.

Peremensoe
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 6:16pm (UTC -5)
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?
bhbor
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 7:03pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome

"I know, how dare they compare a fictional character to someone who's actually had an impact on the scientific community."

I know, right? Musk can't even boogie woogie
Brian
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 8:30pm (UTC -5)
I say we treat Kurtzman as the new Rick Berman/Brannon Braga start blaiming him for everything wrong with this series. Any takers?
Startrekwatcher
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 10:08pm (UTC -5)
@Brian

I say blame the creative powers and thatvwould inckude Kurtzman who I think is a horrible writer based on not just DIS but all the other series like Sleepy Hollow, Fringe, The Abrams trek films etc

I’d also add Akiva Goldsman, Gretchen J Berg and Aaron Harberts. Not talented st all. I’m continually amazed that people like this are employed let alone in Hollywood guiding a property like Trek.

And while I don’t know the extent of Bryan Fuller’s work on DIS, I do know he’s overrated with artsy pretentious crap like Pushing Daisies and his Trek episode credits boast some of the weakest Outings like Gravity, Mortal Coil, Juggernaut and Spirit Folk?!?!? Which wasn’t a script Brannon handed to him but was one he came up with himself So I was never someone elated or relieved by his early attachment to this series

And while ENT wasn’t the best I will say I’ll take it’s first four episodes over DIS’ first four anyday. Those episodes had a scope that wasn’t flashy and told entertaining hours that mined the Trek spirit quite well
Iceman
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 10:35pm (UTC -5)
There you go again startrekwatcher! Having a good argument and then ruining it by defending the aboslute shitshow that is Enterprise.
Startrekwatcher
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 10:43pm (UTC -5)
@iceman

I’ll criticize ENT when it deserves it but won’t wholesale bash it. It’s a weak Star Trek series but at times it did do some good episodes and its first season may be the best of all the modern shows

And for all its faults, ENT did feel like Star Trek at times which DIS hasn’t so far
Peter G.
Wed, Oct 11, 2017, 1:20am (UTC -5)
@ Peremensoe,

"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."

I know. But what I'm talking about is someone in the show making a fuss about it. Burnham did look troubled by it, but said nothing, and more importantly, no one else said anything either. Maybe it'll be implied that everyone on this ship is basically a Nazi, in which case that would explain it. But if they're even vaguely normal Federation citizens then I can't see how it would go without strenuous comment. Presenting the Captain with at least a counter-argument "Sir, are you sure we should do this?" Something. Even an average American in the present day would probably speak up about an animal being tortured. And in Trek they're supposed to be so advanced that they're beyond racism, hate, and prejudice. I find the incident really troubling, mostly in terms of how cynical and jaded the show implies the crew is to gleefully allow it to happen. Again, if we later learn that the Captain hand-picked all the most villainous crew possible I guess I'll admit it made sense in hindsight.

Darren
Wed, Oct 11, 2017, 3:56am (UTC -5)
@ Peter G:

How Michael surmised Ripper's true nature--and how this then made it possible to use Ripper and the spore drive to save the miners--was the true highlight of this episode. It did the best so far to make Discovery feel like Star Trek, and was really, really uplifting.

On the other hand, the clear implication that Ripper is harmed by the spore drive was rather upsetting, though dramatically-purposeful. Perhaps Discovery, no matter how hopeful or uplifting it ever gets, will always balance that with depressing darkness.

Anyway, I hear your concerns about how no one spoke up for Ripper. But I think there might be a reason for it that doesn't involve the crew simply not caring, or perhaps worse, not even putting any thought or attention to it. Keep in mind that until Burnham and Stamets surmised / deduced Ripper's role in using the spore drive, no one had even the slightest inkling about it.

Furthermore, since Ripper can "communicate" with the spores and can evidently use them to travel about autonomously (or at least I gathered this from the episode), there isn't necessarily a reason to suspect that, as the navigator, the device would hurt Ripper in any way. (Like how riding a horse from place to place doesn't harm it, at least in moderation and with proper hydration and such.)

And finally, while Ripper *did* appear to be in discomfort at least during the jumps, to me, it was really near the end of the episode--when Michael brought Ripper some spores and he / she seemed averse to eating--that it became apparent how much the drive may have affected her / him.

In conclusion then, I don't think that no one on the crew cared or was paying attention to ethical concerns with using Ripper in the drive. Rather, I see it that there was no reason beforehand to anticipate the harm to Ripper, and, that it was really only Michael, after the crisis and the jumps, who saw firm evidence that the drive had indeed harmed Ripper. (Not to mention that given the crisis situation, there was no time for testing or thoughtful speculation. Frankly, the crew were lucky themselves that nothing went seriously wrong.)

So, I tend to feel that so long as the next episode indeed addresses it--ideally with several people on the crew weighing in--there really isn't a problem. But how will it be portrayed? We can only wait and see. (This might be a test of sorts for how Star Trek-y Discovery actually is. Of course, while on past shows protagonists have occasionally committed morally-questionable acts, they've only done so after a lot of somber thought and consideration and guilt. If Discovery lets people get wanton with such acts, well, that won't be good at all, so far as Discovery's status as a Star Trek series is concerned.)
Yanks
Wed, Oct 11, 2017, 6:41am (UTC -5)
Still soaking all this in.

Love Michael. I don't know that I've ever seen a trek actor get the treknobabble down with such ease.

Love our "special needs" crewman. :-)

I canon hit (I think). Big bad Klingon guy (can't remember all the names) came back, apologized and stated that the sarcophagus ship had something the "houses" didn't have; a cloaking device. Well, The Klingons in Enterprise had that technology.

Maybe I'm missing something.

Loving this show. Visually, it looks like a movie. Awesome stuff.
Jason R.
Wed, Oct 11, 2017, 6:56am (UTC -5)
How does the crew read the Ripper's mind? It knows all the pathways of the spores and has a map of the galaxy in its head? Okay I'll buy that. How do they know what it knows and how do they tell it where to go?

Oh wait, I know the answer! Some other Starfleet officer on the Glenn who we never met invented a magic machine to do it! And it's plug and play! Like something in an RPG game - you figure out what quest item you need to insert into it to make it work and BADANG +500xp now the discovery can teleport instantly to where they want to be just in time to destroy the Klingons and save the miners +1,000xp level up (at this point I am sure a tutorial should pop up explaining how to use the jump drive - just open your auto map and click on wormhole symbols on the map)

This is some seriously lazy, sloppy Abrams style storytelling.

By the way, when they jumped above that star I figured well maybe they got close enough? Maybe they can go the rest of the way by warp? I was waiting for someone to ask where they were, but nope.- wherever it was it wasn't instantly over their mission objective so who cares? Another galaxy maybe? Borg space? Whatever get with the program. Imagine my foolishness thinking that there could be, you know, *discovery* on my Star Trek show called discovery. Remember Where No One has Gone Before? (both original and TNG) wasn't that cool when Starfleet officers cared about exploration?

By the way, I hate the main character's name. It really is starting to bug me alot. Michael is a man's name. It isn't even androgynous like Kelly. And the character isn't trans. It's just pretentious and obnoxious. It just makes you want to punch someone in the face.



Reign1701A
Wed, Oct 11, 2017, 7:30am (UTC -5)
@startrekwatcher sorry, wholly disagree with you. Enterprise was stale, boring, and derivative for it's first 2 seasons. Season 3 was all about the Xindi war, which had some good moments but largely uneven. Season 4 was decent to good, but we all now what happened after Season 4.

In contrast, DSC has grabbed my attention already. It's a fresh take on Star Trek, which was badly needed after the myriad of Bergman/Braga-era spinoffs all felt the same (with DS9 being the exception). Ya know I remember back in the day when Voyager was still new, people would sign on weekly to bash it, say they're done with it, and be back the following week to rinse and repeat. All of this has happened before, and all of it will happen again.
JohnTY
Wed, Oct 11, 2017, 7:57am (UTC -5)
And a step backwards with this episode..

Space spores that use space bugs to navigate with spinning saucer sections..

2/4
Dom
Wed, Oct 11, 2017, 8:59am (UTC -5)
Wow, extremely lazy storytelling. Did the writers even bother to think through what actually happens in a war. The Federation has a mining colony that provides a critical fuel and doesn't have ANYTHING protecting it? No ships, no defense platforms, nothing within 84 hours travel time? The Klingons aren't much better. They left T'Kuvma's ship abandoned in a debris field for 6 months with people on board! And nobody bothered to plunder the abandoned Federation ships for intel or technology. I hope both sides lose this war and the Romulans take over because this is just dumb.

The sad part is this episode had some really good ideas, especially in the second half. The show could be setting up a good classic Trek conflict between idealism and pragmatism in using the creature to navigate the spore ship. It's just being really lazy in how it gets there.

Also, I've decided in my personal canon that this show takes place in the year 2449, not before TOS. Nothing in this show seems like it takes place before TOS and it actually makes such more sense if it takes place after Voyager.
Robert
Wed, Oct 11, 2017, 9:14am (UTC -5)
@Reign1701A - I agree with you about ENT, the first time it was on I stopped watching, not because any single hour was unworthy of my time, but just because Star Trek lost it's status as "appointment TV". I just wasn't dying for more every week. So I missed an episode here and there and by the middle of S2 I just found that I wasn't watching it.

But that said... there is a case to be made for it having the most solid first season of all the modern Trek shows anyway. TNG's first season was awful. And it's held up to modern scrutiny not at all. If we had 7 seasons of that I wouldn't even be a fan of the show.

Jammer rates only 7 of the episodes at 3+ and if I'm being really honest that's incredibly generous. He gives Hide and Q 3 stars (the same as he gave True Q, which was better) and he only gave Cupid 1 star, which was far more entertaining. Even something like Datalore (also 3 stars) really sucked. It's only good for Lore/Crystaline Entity origins... but the episode itself is awful. Wesley and the viewer solve the puzzle what feels like hours before the "brilliant crew". I'd give "Coming of Age", "11001001" and "Heart of Glory" all 3 stars and everything else less.

DS9 is easily the most mixed bag. It ends ridiculously strong. "Duet" and "In the Hands of the Prophets" are 2 of my favorite episodes of the series, both high 4 stars for me and would both be contenders for a top 10 list (and definitely end up on a top 20 list). And the pilot is really strong. But that said.... almost every character needed to be reinvented after this season in order for the show to be truly great (Odo in "Man Alone" bears little resemblance to later Odo, Rom might as well be a different character, they haven't found Sisko yet and Dax is totally rebooted in S2), and they had a lot of middling garbage that felt like TNG castoff episodes. Still Jammer gives 10 episodes 3+ and I only disagree with 2 of them ("The Storyteller" and "Dax" aren't really 3 stars for me) and I'd add "Babel". So I give 9/19 and Jammer would give 10/19. So let's say roughly half are good.

VOY is also significantly better. "Caretaker" was solid enough, "Phage" was interesting (and the first time it felt like VOY was truly paying off it's premise of giving us something altogether NOT Alpha Quadrant), "Eye of the Needle" was decent, "Prime Factors" and "State of Flux" were both excellent, and "Faces" and "Jetrel" were at least 3 also. So that's 7/15. And I MIGHT give "Emanations" a 3 also, I liked it better than Jammer. So about half. Same as DS9. Though I'm a bit torn because as VOY changed also after S1/S2 I felt like it changed mostly for the worse. But the first season was solid enough. And probably with less total clunkers than DS9. Current ranking for S1s VOY > DS9 > TNG.

Which brings us to ENT. Jammer gave 12/25 episodes 3+ stars. I actually don't disagree with any of those and I'd give 1 more episode 3 stars that he didn't (I personally feel his 2 stars for "Shadows of P'Jem" is way too low). I feel like in a lot of ways the problem with ENT is that I never fell in love with the cast. Even on days when I hated VOY I loved the characters. But there is a case to be made for ENT having the strongest first season... and I think I sort of made it. TNG's first season sucked, DS9's first season was largely only mediocre until the final 2 episodes elevated it (a lot IMHO), VOY's first season was solid and ENT's first season might have even been a drop better than that.
Peter G.
Wed, Oct 11, 2017, 9:39am (UTC -5)
@ Robert.

You've done a good job illustrating the difference between review and analysis. If one reviews Voyager S1 there is a lot one can say that's good, including the FX, production design, editing, pacing, and even some of the stories. But there's a je-ne-sais-quoi missing that would place a ceiling on how interesting it could ever be, in my opinion. And to solve what that is takes analysis. I think, for starters, there's no character on Voyager who cared about anything as much as Kira cared about Bajor (and about hating Cardassians), as Sisko cared about his wife, and as Miles cared about duty. Heck, not even as much as Julian cared about scoring with women. There's a lot of flat energy in there, with the exception of B'elanna and the Doctor, and even then their ferocity is more a matter of temperament than a result of them having some great need to be fulfilled. They're feisty, but seem to have nothing to do. If anything Seska fits the bill more than the rest of them on this score of having some driving force behind their behavior. So you look at Duet and realize that this kind of episode was set up by Kira being who she is and having the problems she has. It's a natural unpacking of her 'issues' when confronted by a good Cardassian. So that's a very high ceiling in terms of what could be done with that raw material. Voyager painted themselves into several corners over the years, most notably with the fact that the crew for the most part had no wants or needs that weren't being met. So you can have technical ratings for Voy S1 based on objective criteria and see it's rated often higher than DS9, while still somehow noting that something's missing and that while some DS9 episodes are wanting in the plot department there is still that magic something in the mix that could be harnessed at any moment (and finally is by the end of S1). A DS9 2.5 star episode might be imperfect but it can point towards something better, while a Voyager 3 star episode is very often a dead end that doesn't suggest anything better to come. And this is borne out in the flow of the series over seven seasons, where they either knew there was nowhere to take the crew, or refused to do so, or both. Introducing Seven of Nine was a more or less blatant admission of this, and the rest of the series is her show. I think ENT had some of that same problem, where there wasn't much they could do with some of the crew with the exception of T'Pol and Tripp, and Phlox I guess. So you could have a good ENT episode but it ends up being a stand-alone, and the next script's quality will make or break next week's outing. In DS9 a good script actually served to enhance future episodes, giving even the mediocre ones still some part in paving the way for the better ones. Was VOY S1 better than DS9 S1 in some respects? Yes, technically. But it didn't lay bricks to allow itself to ascend, and so (for me) the viewing experience is hampered by knowing that nothing good that happens goes anywhere. That's something not captured by the star rating, which reviews stand-alone merit but doesn't address series progress (and I don't mean story arcs). Jammer has mentioned this himself, I think, in some of the season wrap-ups. So you can have the peculiar case of noting higher Voyager or ENT episode ratings while still somehow sensing that the show is suffering from problems.
Mal
Wed, Oct 11, 2017, 9:43am (UTC -5)
@Peter G., "Even an average American in the present day would probably speak up about an animal being tortured. And in Trek they're supposed to be so advanced that they're beyond racism, hate, and prejudice. I find the incident really troubling, mostly in terms of how cynical and jaded the show implies the crew is to gleefully allow it to happen.”

Well said.

I’m reminded of a conversation between Mal and the Operative in the movie Serenity ( https://youtu.be/rxcTDoE_Kbg ),

Mal: I don't murder children.
The Operative: I do.

Only it would go something like this,

The Orville: We don’t imprison animals.
Discovery: We do.

What the fuck kind of Star Trek is this!?
Robert
Wed, Oct 11, 2017, 9:52am (UTC -5)
I will admit, that even when DS9 S1 was using recycled TNG garbage (often poorly) that it was still world building in a big way that'd pay off later.

The thing is, at the time I felt VOY was doing the same thing. It felt like it was building a world too. The fact that they didn't capitalize on in is the fault of later seasons though.

And ENT was building a world but it wasn't really building it's characters, which was a big problem.

A good example of a bad episode of DS9 that still worked in a million little ways is "A Man Alone". The episode itself pretty much sucks. Odo isn't Odo, the Bajorans are too quick to make a lynch mob (which isn't really very Bajoran-like) and the murder plot is uninspired at best. Dax isn't Dax. Steamed azna? Really? Raktajino chugging Dax wouldn't touch that crap (although I like the rest of that conversation). That said, Keiko opens a school, Nog and Jake start up their friendship, Sisko is racist against Nog, Kira is fiercly loyal to Odo... the plot is seriously bad but the episode turns a million little cogs that pay off later.
Chrome
Wed, Oct 11, 2017, 10:30am (UTC -5)
This discussion reminds me...

Red Letter Media actually had some interesting thoughts about the franchise in their review of Discovery. Though I don't think Rich liked it at all like Mike did, they both agreed that you couldn't really make shows like TNG anymore because the formula had been done to death. Even TNG, in its 7th season was getting pretty tired. DS9 was clever enough to do something way different than TNG and it paid off. VOY, on the other hand, tried to just be TNG again and it suffered from a lot of the sloppy writing and stale issues TNG's seventh season did.

ENT's biggest problem was that it was way too removed from the other shows, yet it was still just trying to do the weekly starship thing TNG/TOS did. Even when the ratings started tanking, they couldn't throw in Scottie or a time-travelling LaForge to help save it because the era gap was so big.

- So I don't know, I haven't seen enough ENT to even say I agree with that point, but I think it's valid to say "You can never go home again" when it comes to TNG. I think The Orville tries, it *really* does, but it's just not the same.
Yanks
Wed, Oct 11, 2017, 11:11am (UTC -5)
Well.... my season of trek is better than yours :-)

I always thought that ENT seasons 1&2 were the best of the spin offs. TNG and DS9 it was no question, but I surprised myself when reviewing and grading each episode, Voyager eeek'd out Enterprise.

Thank Chrome, I didn't know RLM had done any discovery reviews.

Mal, jump down off the horse and think a minute. This is a science ship turned warship in time of war. The Captain will use any means necessary to win the war.... as all other Captains have (see Sisko). I think they are setting this up for a moral fight at the end and therefore this propulsion method will be out of reach by season's end.

Peter, I don't see anyone gleeful about it's use.

As to DSC Season 1 v other trek.... I think this is dwarfing other spin-off trek. Really... visually it's not even an argument, and we've got really good actors and the making of a great story here. As much as I love my treks (and I do), this is much better early on.

I do hope we have a couple stand alone episode thrown in though.
Shannon
Wed, Oct 11, 2017, 11:32am (UTC -5)
I really enjoyed this episode, and feel that the series is starting to get its footing and tell good stories. The storyline regarding the "monster" actually being a peaceful creature simply defending itself is a great tip of the hat to TOS, with parallels to the Horta defending its unborn children. The characters are getting flushed out a little more, and I'm loving the palpable tension between Burnham and Saru. That will be an interesting relationship to watch. Lorca is a mystery to me, but that's part of the fun. Not crying over Landry, she was annoying... I would give this episode 3.5 stars!
Dixie
Wed, Oct 11, 2017, 12:04pm (UTC -5)
As others have said, I think the show's biggest problem right now is a lack of likable characters and on-screen chemistry between them. Even the darkest Trek storylines understood the importance of having characters crack a joke or have a little friendly banter or shenanigans every now and then. DS9 took us through a brutal, bloody war - but it also had Miles and Julian bro-ing it up in the background, Odo and Quark knocking heads, and Damar and Weyoun sniping at each other. Enterprise threw its crew into uncharted space on a hopeless suicide mission and set them up against the biggest baddies in the Alpha Quadrant, but it still made time for Archer, Trip, and T'Pol to trade banter over dinner and for Phlox's irrepressible optimism to start rubbing off on Hoshi.

We're not getting any of that here - Saru's the closest thing to a genuinely likable character on the show, but so far all his banter and wit does is contrast him with how bloody serious and miserable the rest of the crew is. The characters don't play off one another like in other Treks, we aren't getting a real sense of comradery or friendship building between them. On a normal show that wouldn't be an issue four episodes in, because we'd have another 20-something left to go before the end of the first season... but we're nearly a third of the way through the show and there's basically zero chemistry between most of our main characters - and therefore very little motivation for us, as viewers, to invest in them and their stories.

Compare that with what we're seeing over on Orville where they're constantly setting aside 10-15 minutes of every episode just showing characters palling around on the holodeck, bickering with each other as they get ready for work, unwinding over drinks, or pulling pranks on each other. It absolutely kills me to think that the show that feels the need to cram a dick joke into every episode is doing a better job of portraying a likable, relatable starship crew than the genuine Trek show.

I'm determined to stay on board and see the season through to the end, I have to believe that things will get better over time, but if I don't start seeing some real chemistry between these characters I fear watching Discovery is going to become more like a chore than entertainment.
Del_Duio
Wed, Oct 11, 2017, 12:11pm (UTC -5)
@Yanks:

"As to DSC Season 1 v other trek.... I think this is dwarfing other spin-off trek. Really... visually it's not even an argument, and we've got really good actors and the making of a great story here. As much as I love my treks (and I do), this is much better early on."

If you take out that terrible "Move Along Home" episode I'd say DS9 had a really strong S1. Much better than TNG or ENT for sure.

For example even by the end of "Emissary" DS9 had a lot of likable characters (minus Bashir maybe, who got way better later on). We're at episode 4 for DSC and no such luck.
Chrome
Wed, Oct 11, 2017, 12:32pm (UTC -5)
DS9 was fortunate enough to have a lot of stories seeded from TNG ready to go from the start of its story. Putting aside the fact that "The Best of Both Worlds" and Patrick Stewart himself were directly used to add weight to the pilot, "Ensign Ro" successfully seeded the whole Bajoran conflict, with episodes like "The Wounded" providing a proven Cardassian character actor, "Marc Alaimo". Then there's Miles and Keiko with their direct connection to the Enterprise-D.

Granted there are some bad plots from the TNG stories like, "Q-Less", but I think overall DS9 benefited from being the companion piece to TNG. DSC doesn't have that advantage, and also has to work with a fanbase that may only know Star Trek from the 2009-onward movies.
Mal
Wed, Oct 11, 2017, 12:41pm (UTC -5)
@Yanks, jumping. inter arma enim silent leges, bitches! But... but... I can’t imagine Spock not protesting (Captain, I should point out…), or Data (same), or Bashir (I can’t believe the Federation would go along with this?! To which Garak might reply: dude, grow up), or Kim (I really don’t think we should be doing this), or Trip (I brought you some pecan pie, and I basically think you’re becoming evil), or Scotty from Abrams-Trek (I quit!) But like you @Yanks, I live in hope of an eventual confrontation.

@Chrome, thanks for the RLM pointer. Enjoyed it.

@Peter G. & @ Robert, love your posts.

In The Captains, a 2011 documentary on all the actors who play Star Trek captains, William Shatner asks Scott Bakula why his show didn’t succeed? And Bakula says it basically boiled down to the cast. They just didn’t have the chemistry. Especially when compared to Bones/Kirk/Spock. But I think @Peter G. has an even better analysis. It boils down to motivations.

Characters are defined by their motivations. Data wanted to be human. Spock wanted to control his human emotions. Kira wanted what was best for Bajor. Odo craved order. Bashir wanted to live the principles of the Federation. Worf wanted to be a true Klingon. O’Brien was deeply loyal. Garak had daddy issues. Wes wanted to grow up (I think there was an episode where he got his wish from a Q-ish Riker). And Kirk wanted. everything. so. much. he. talked. like. this. :-)

What did Mayweather want? Or Malcolm? Or Phlox? Or Hoshi? No wants, no character. VOY didn’t have to be that way, but it became bland when the likes of Chakotay abandoned their motivations. Only The Doctor’s motivation survived, and lo, he was a pretty good character. Getting home is not a motivation. The motivation is why you want to get home.

Deforest Kelly was 46 when TOS first aired. Shatner was 35. When a 35 year old work-a-holic goes to his 46 year old colleague and asks what he thinks about foregoing having a family to pursue a career in starfleet, it is natural that the 46 year old pours him a drink and offers to listen. It worked on the show. (In Abrams-Trek, Chris Pine's Kirk talks to Bones about turning the age his father was when he died - it's a great beat).

Patrick Stewart was 47 when TNG started. That’s Bones territory. Too old to really second guess his main choice of work over family. But Jonathan Frakes was 35 - same age as Shatner was when he played the captain. And Frakes’ Wil Riker went 7 years without a promotion! Oh my god. That would cause a mid-lift crisis in just about anyone. Sisko lost his wife, had to raise a boy alone. We saw that boy grow. Paris was an ex-con, got married, started a family.

These are real people. Real emotions. Things that happen the same way to folks, whether back in the 1960’s (TOS) or 80’s (TNG) or 90’s (DS9) or today in the 20-teens.

Who are the people on STD? What do they want? I hope they don’t fall in that ENT/VOY trap… Michael is going to hit Kirk's age, and won't be captain. She's going to hit Riker's age, and won't be first officer. She’s going to hit Kira's age, and won’t even be a freedom fighter. She’s Paris’ age when VOY started. She’s an ex-con. But Paris had Harry.

Who will pour Michael a drink on her birthday?
Peter G.
Wed, Oct 11, 2017, 12:42pm (UTC -5)
@ Chrome,

That's fair. DS9 came in with certain advantages baked in, based on the concept and timeframe of the show. It's accurate to point out that DSC has set itself up with none of those advantages and so has a harder task of creating characters and a world in which to inhabit. And this goes to what some people are saying, which is...why did they pick this setting? Your point would seem to suggest that they basically shot themselves in the foot and made it harder than it had to be to create a backbone for the show. If it had been set in 2400 we could have had cameos from Trek veterans, references to things we know, and milked things set up by other series. The fact that they can't do any of that is their own fault. Want to make a prequel series? Ok then, but you'd better be able to back it up.
Akkal
Wed, Oct 11, 2017, 1:03pm (UTC -5)
I'm enjoying Discovery more and more! Captain Lorca is at war, and he knows it, but he must be doing something right, as he seems to have (most of, anyway) the crew with him, on the more questionable decisions as in this episode. Obviously, he sees something in Burnham that others don't.

Did anyone else notice how the "new" klingons have features that reminds of the remans in ST: Nemesis? That's been my first assosciation all along, which is kind of disturbing. However, judging the timeline this series is set to, Starfleet doesn't know too much about the klingons yet, so I think it makes sense to portray them the way it is done!
Robert
Wed, Oct 11, 2017, 1:28pm (UTC -5)
@Mal/Peter - I never really thought about it before, but I think you are 100% right. I've always wondered why I liked early VOY better than later VOY when early VOY really wasn't nearly as good. Late VOY clearly had some amazing sci-fi episodes. It's because the characters stopped wanting stuff.

Janeway wanted to make her makeshift crew work together, both sides. Wanting to bring Torres into the fold was the first indication of that. And she wanted coffee. And it was in that nebula. LOL. (I'm joking but only sort of). And Chakotay wanted Janeway (and GOD that didn't pay off).

In the earlier seasons Paris wanted redemption, a home/family, a second chance and Torres. And she felt like she wanted a second chance and a place she belonged too.

In the earlier seasons Kim wanted to get home, more than any of them, in a way that was defining.

Neelix wanted a family, somewhere to belong. He lost his (FWIW I actually think HIS arc is pretty satisfying. He does find a place to belong on VOY and find a family that's important to him. And in the end he finds a different kind of family. And he gets one episode per season that lends good insight to all of this).

Kes wanted to explore, both herself and the universe. I missed her.

The doctor started off wanting nothing and ended up wanting everything (he also ended up well off).

They really had good, strong characters, but they let them all spoil. It was a shame. And that's probably why I like early VOY better even though it was worse. They hadn't spoiled yet.
Chrome
Wed, Oct 11, 2017, 1:41pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G.

I wouldn't say DSC shot itself in the foot; indeed Sarek is already a figure in the series who will likely lead to some payoff. Then there's always the option to have Spock, who would have just started his career in the prime timeline, appear. Kirk might be done with his academy years too, so depending on what direction the showrunners want to go, there's seems to be many options available from popular Trek history.

It might be better if they did a show 15 years after Voyager or something like RLM suggested so all the TNG/DS9 actors could come in at the appropriate age, but for whatever reason the powers that be don't like that idea. Maybe it's just easier to reuse ST:2009's sets/props like TNG did with the TOS movies? Or maybe a show in the future would be stepping on Star Trek: Online or some other project the franchise has planned.

At least I like the idea that DSC is doing something creative and different. Maybe it will payoff, maybe it won't.
BZ
Wed, Oct 11, 2017, 2:47pm (UTC -5)
@Robert,
I have to disagree about Voyager and characters' motivations. Janeway's wanting the crew to get home and her self-introspection about whether she was right to get the crew stuck in the DQ in the first place was a series-long thing. The Paris/Torres relationship was also a series-long thing. As for wanting redemption, that was never a point early on and, in fact, first showed up in "30 days" and was brought back sporadically after that. Kim's wanting to get home never went away either. See the series finale.
Patrick
Wed, Oct 11, 2017, 3:18pm (UTC -5)
This ain't Star Trek. It's dark, gritty and the crew do not get along. They look like bullying teenagers. No likeable characters. One character driven.

The Klingon speak is terrible (and its not the subtitles, I'm used to those), inside mouth gorgeling tikh tokh oh. Just terrible. And the thick masks mean NO facial expressions. They really didnt do anything in this episode.

Then the spore drive... do the writers not know implications of introducing unbelievable way too powerful features (just as in those reboot movies)?

Then the unbelievably stupid dead of crew member whatshername. Yeah lower the force field and let him out. I'm gonna cut his feet. Waaat? We barely got to know anyone and already cast members run away ;

For all trying hard to make characters look 'deep' they are just 1 dimensional stereotypes.

the CGI of the ships look sooo video game like. Way too smooth. And the washing machine saucer section uhmmm OK.

No scifi, but action fantasy in space. I'm really interested in The Orville. Not on Netflix here (yeah at least I don't have to subscribe to some niche stream service and I wouldn't too for what I saw. It gets worse instead of better). From what I hear they do a much better job at making a new Trek after few bumps.
Patrick
Wed, Oct 11, 2017, 3:43pm (UTC -5)
The feeling of this show is close to the Battlestar Galactica reboot Trek. At least BG had some awesome space battles and I like to forget the later seasons. Whiskey anyone? I've had enough of dark grim tv series thats apparently o so hip the last couple of years.
James Alexander
Wed, Oct 11, 2017, 3:59pm (UTC -5)
the emotional aspects of Discovery will need to be worked on.
I watched the last two back to back and I felt no emotional investment with what was going on, I could identify with one character and she was a little irritating, I was playing with the tabs on my laptop's browser, and I'm still at that point of calling Jason Isaacs by his real name rather than his character's.

I'm just not attached to anybody still, and I'm struggling to pay attention because I'm not hooked.
that's my one major complaint, lack of emotional attachment and a complete lack of immersion.

the production values are spectacular and its good to see the moral questions being raised, as well as not painting our "heroes" as a group of White Knights. got the potential there for a truly breathtaking show if it doesn't fall flat on its face.
James Alexander
Wed, Oct 11, 2017, 4:02pm (UTC -5)
got the potential if it knows how to use it, but I need to be immersed and I need to fall in love with The Discovery and her crew.
Yanks
Wed, Oct 11, 2017, 7:01pm (UTC -5)
Mal,

Too bad you weren't around when I was watching and grading DS9 :-) If I ever get back to it I'm about 1/2 way through Enterprise :-)

Great group of posters Jammer has corralled here.

As to the "I don't feel anything for these characters" .... personally I like it. I think all the spin-offs threw "you have to feel" in your face early on in their run. Many times I just kind of rolled my eyes. I'd rather the characters earn that feeling from me over time. One of the things I didn't like about Enterprise was they kept throwing in your face how important Archer was to everything from the founding of the federation to saving Earth. Don't tell me that, show me!

I want to learn more about all of these characters. This isn't a series like the others, we aren't out being "all trek and all" from the get-go. It's about the Klingon war.

I think we'll grow to love/hate these folks over time. I'm not sure we are supposed to love them all?

I especially love the Michael character. Love her unique background. Love her acceptance of her wrongdoing and love that she appears to be ready to stick to principles and take advantage of her second chance. She carries herself very Vulcan but I see a big hear there and I think we'll see it before all is said and done. I think we should have got a tear when she received the telescope.

Sorry to see our resident Cylon get schwacked. I also love our new special needs gal.

Issacs is going to be awesome!

We've all seen so much trek, it's hard to accept a different format?

This isn't cookie cutter trek.

Funny, as most complaints used to be "tried to be too much like TNG", etc.... now we get something different and folks don't know what to do.

I don't think this is going to "fall flat on its face", far from it.

Enjoy it folks!

Jammer
Wed, Oct 11, 2017, 7:18pm (UTC -5)
Review now posted.
Startrekwatcher
Wed, Oct 11, 2017, 8:30pm (UTC -5)
@Yanks

I don’t have an issue with DIS doing serialized storytelling. I thought the Circle trilogy, the Occupation arc and Final Chapter In DS9 were its highlights and in my life I’ve enjoyrd as many shows that were full on serialized as I’ve enjoyed episodic series. But DIS isn’t good arc storytelling. It’s sloppy and lazy and vacuous. The storytelling isn’t tight or urgent or entertaining. There’s no fresh ideas. It is recycling the war idea from DS9 and doing so poorly.

If DIS was as good as DS9 then by all means do arcs
Startrekwatcher
Wed, Oct 11, 2017, 8:37pm (UTC -5)
@Robert

Early VOY has its appeal for me because it felt like TNG. It had a gravitas to it. But after Season two ended and Piller left the show degenerated into a campier, sillier show with more in common with subpar shows like Xena or Hercules or Stargate

Plus the characters were ruined or on the way to ruin—barring Janeway—In season three and four.
Startrekwatcher
Wed, Oct 11, 2017, 8:50pm (UTC -5)
For me

Season1:

ENT best season one
TNG
VOY
DS9 worst

Season 2:

DS9 best season two
TNG
VOY
ENT worst

Season 3:

TNG best season three
DS9
ENT
VOY worst

Season 4:
TNG best season four and imo best Trek season ever
ENT
VOY
DS9 worst
Karl Zimmerman
Wed, Oct 11, 2017, 9:18pm (UTC -5)
Regarding the characters on the show...there aren't any yet, which is really odd for a "character-driven show."

All of the "also starring" cast on Discovery (Lorca, Stamets, Saru, and Tilly) are basically one-note characters. They have one, and only one, personality trait each. They only exist at the moment to either move the plot along or interact with Burnham. The show could have added human touches to each of them - say have Lorca call home to his family, or see Tilly do great karaoke - but the show seems to have no desire to do so.

Burnham has a character, but her main trait seems to be that she is incredibly inconsistent when making decisions. This could again arguably be attributed to poor writing - the writers understand they want her to be the protagonist, but they're letting the needs of the plot arc drive her actions rather than have it naturally flow from the character herself.

The three primary Klingons (Voq, Kol, and L'Rell) are so incompletely sketched out I can't think of a single defining personality trait for any of them. I guess Voq is a "true believer" while Kol is an opportunist?" Regardless, they have been given less screen time, so it's not that surprising.

All in all, we have yet to see any real character development. Considering we're only four episodes in, it's perhaps not that unusual. But with the modern short season length, along with the hyper-focus on Burnham, one wonders if we'll get time to humanize each of them.
J Ryan Fenzel
Wed, Oct 11, 2017, 9:23pm (UTC -5)
Great to have you back in the review game, Jammer. I don't have CBS all access so I'm vicariously viewing Discovery via your reviews. Meanwhile, I'm working my way through DS9 season 5, and truly enjoy reading your take on each episode after viewing them. Very glad I discovered your site a few months ago. Keep it up!
John Harmon
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 12:37am (UTC -5)
Glad to see the review is up. I've been refreshing for days haha
Skifbo
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 2:28am (UTC -5)
First, I just wanted to say that I find it annoying to sit and read about how TNG is better than VOY or how Sisko is better than Archer when I'm came here to read about DIS.

Anyway.

When they were in the turbolift, they didn't have handles to hold on to and twist like they did in TOS, and that was sort of a joke in the tribble DS9 episode. They didn't know how the turbolift worked. Would liked to have seen those since it's supposed to be 10 years before TOS. A very minor point. :D

What's with the phasers and pistols? They have Star Wars blasters in this one. Instead of a steady beam, they are shooting laser blasts.

As far as the Klingons eating people, they only ate the hearts of their enemies, not the whole person. In this episode they talk about eating Georgiou's whole body and licking meat off of her skull. A bit uncanon maybe.

The ship graveyard is in Federation space, and they come rescue the crew of the Shenzhou, but leave it and all the other ships adrift? Not even taking the dilithium or anything actually important apparently. And not noticing the giant disabled Klingon ship still sitting there with a full crew on it? For 6 months?

And of course there is the stupid security officer that opens the pen to kill herself or whatever. And then Mike does the same thing a little bit later, just opens the pen right up with no precautions whatsoever. Because she has a hunch that the thing will like spores and is actually a big puppy and not eat her face? Ok then. But of course she's right and instead of eating her face it licks her instead. Awwww.

And Mike tricked Saru into coming to the pen to see if his 'threat ganglia' will act up by faking an apology. Which is a shitty thing to do. Why couldn't she just ask him down there to get his opinion without doing the whole fake apology business and making herself look like an ass?

I know why. Because everyone on the show, except Saru, is either annoying or an asshole or both.

Why does the saucer spin? I don't get it.

On to this silly spore drive thing.

So the Glenn was researching this drive for months and finally got it working by using the 'Ripper'. Fine. So why did they crash and die if it was working? Why did they not tell anyone at all that they got it to work using a giant microscopic monster they magically found in their cargo hold? That would have been some information you'd have thought they would share with someone. Like maybe Discovery who was working on the same freaking thing? Makes no sense.

How did the spore drive kill all of the Klingon ships at the outpost? Didn't really show or explain how or why that happened.

And the Ripper can travel across the galaxy using these spore things, and that's how it got onto the Glenn. It teleported in to eat their spores or something. So why can't it teleport back out? Why was it stuck there? Why is it stuck on Discovery? Can't it teleport itself anywhere in the galaxy? Maybe it needs the spores to do it or something, but they keep giving it spores all the time, even letting it loose in the spore garden. So that makes no sense.

How are they forcing it to go where they want to go? Why wouldn't it go where it wanted to instead? How can they see the map of the entire galaxy that's in the thing's head? Was the Ripper microscopic and grew? It looks exactly like an earth tardigrade. If that's what it is, does that mean that the earth tardigrades can travel around the galaxy? Or is it just a coincidence that some giant space monster and a microscopic earth creature look exactly the same?

The whole spore drive thing makes no sense at all.

And if the Ripper gets super pissed off anytime anyone threatens it or hurts it, why doesn't it go berserk everytime it's tran-spore-ted to the spore drive and smash the hell out of it? It knows it's going to be hurt again, but it just sits there.

And the Klingons were a little bit better this time, but still pretty awful.

2 stars.
Ruth
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 5:27am (UTC -5)
I’m very glad the horrid soldier woman got what was coming to her. (What “tactics” were those, by the way?? Burnham knew how to get the creature back in the pen without going near it, she knew absolutely nothing - I suppose because she was not willing to listen). Now I’m just waiting for the captain to get his!

This is more classic Star Trek again now with Burnham’s discoveries about the creature. I mean, it is very much a straight rip from Voyager, but that is an easy way to make it feel more like Trek again, right? In Equinox, the Equinox was the evil animal abuse ship. Minor(?) spoiler if you’ve not yet seen it: Janeway was so furious she almost ended up torturing one of them to death before she was stopped. Where’s the Voyager crew here? So far only Burnham seems to care and she’s strongly the outsider. She’s pretty obviously depressed on top of having little power. I don’t think I want to watch multiple episodes of what was going on on the Equinox - their captain spurring them into greater and greater evil - without more of the outraged side. Another minor spoiler: the Equinox captain tried to kill one of the voyager crew for utility’s sake. He could have at this point stayed on voyager with a better chance of getting home but would have been punished eventually. Our captain here, did he kill the pilot of the prisoner ship? That’s still not clear to me. At the end of Equinox, you were meant to feel better about him, I think he sacrificed himself or something. But I didn’t like him better at all. I wonder if that’s what the next episode is about. It’s not going to work if I’m begging the Klingons to eat him or the other prisoners to shank him!

In the first episode it was clear that there was a parallel between Giorgio and T’Kuvma and Burnham and Voq. It went the opposite way, that Voq was elevated so high from nothing and Burnham fell so low from being recommended for captain. Now we’re back on the Klingons it’s continuing and I like it! Finally saw some face emotions from them in this ep.

Voq and L’rell(?) = Burnham and Tilly now

We saw that Voq was basically adopted by T’Kuvma. I’m not totally sure if he was an orphan or merely didn’t know his dad and his mum had no standing. Burnham of course is an actual orphan and here we see in black and white what I think we’d all surmised, that her captain had seen her as a daughter

We knew Voq was “son of none” and now he’s back to being called that. I think this must be the point of the initial scene (if not perhaps “ordinary-in-the-Star-Trek-future helpful science can be scary if you’re looking too closely”) that her rank is “none”. We technically knew this last episode but that must be the reason for only printing her uniform now.

L’rell saying “I’ll take you to the matriarchs of my clan to learn back stabbing and politics like later Klingons” = Tilly saying “I’ll give you the will of your important starfleet mom who tells you to keep being good starfleet like in the later times”

“My mom hated me for not choosing between two houses” = “my mom was a bully”

Tilly and L’rell snuck behind the captain’s back to help Burnham and Voq

Tilly still wanted to be friends when Burnham was a prisoner. L’rell is still on Voq’s side after he’s lost his ship.

There were a few more smaller ones but I’ve forgotten.

I liked how Tilly didn’t leave after bringing snacks for the creature. For her standing and her safety she should have left. Did she stay for Burnham, to see the creature, because hang for a penny hang for a pound? I’m not sure, perhaps it was all three. It’s clear she genuinely does like Burnham but we don’t know much about her opinions of what’s going on. The spores guy, he’s telling everyone! From the body language on sickbay, they all hate him too (interesting because they have stricter moral standards as doctors as well as starfleet members). But it’s not clear what she thinks. Has she perhaps never been on a normal ship? I guess it makes her more mysterious, like L’rell. You’re only 90% sure they’re actually loyal to this person they’ve latched on to

The will shows they’ve not forgotten what a normal starfleet ship is meant to look like. We are very clearly and deliberately on the evil ship. I just don’t know how long Star Trek fans or perhaps anyone can tolerate it. There are some lovely, wondrous moments and some funny lines and cuts but not enough. I think going at this slow pace PLUS fewer episodes can’t work. If we were going at this speed but for twice as long as they’ve announced I wouldn’t worry. The characters would have some more time to not be over dramatic and just be... people

What’s up with Saru blowing hot and cold too? In this ep and in the preview, I like him but what is his personality meant to be? What are his values? Does he like Burnham or not? Every time I think I know he goes and does something counter to that. Like I thought he’s good and hates this captain and what they’re like here - he says to Burnham “you’ll fit in here” as an acid burn - but next ep he’s all for the evil crap when he’s filling in for him? I don’t get it
djkazaz
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 5:30am (UTC -5)
Like a lot of old trek fans I was a bit ambivalent when DSC started but overall I find myself pleasantly surprised.

But Star Trek hasn't been on TV in so long and the last time it was (enterprise) it was already really behind the times, that I feel its unfair to judge this show with only four episodes in. The producers are having to re-invent a lot of story elements to make the series both trek and successful by modern standards.

So far I feel they're getting it mostly right. The idealism is there, even in the face of terrible circumstances, the passion for discovery and exploration and the moral conflicts. On top of which we get updated visuals and designs (that I mostly like), modern direction and pacing and very good acting.
I honestly don't know what people who slam the acting are talking about and who they're comparing it to. I often found the acting in old trek shows to be very stilted.

True this episode was weak, I personally liked ep3 a lot and eps1-2 quite a bit, this one not so much. Gaping plot holes that other have pointed out, left much to be diesired. And I also find myself bored by the klingons because of the language/subtitles thing. I guess it does make them more truly alien, but at some point they need to let the actors speak english and move.

Overall though DSC still holds my interest and I'm looking forward to the next one.
Ruth
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 5:31am (UTC -5)
Oh, Jammer and I think someone else mentioned them jumping straight back out after dealing with the initial Klingons. That’s because Discovery is an “ordinary science ship” that’s been drafted into the war and definitely is only wherever you’ve seen it travelling at ordinary warp speed like an ordinary ship because how could any ship travel so far in the blink of an eye hahaha.

But what’s to say none of those birds of prey have recoverable logs or none of the equipment on the colony could have picked them up? It seems far from foolproof to me, but I’m pretty sure that’s what they’re doing, trying to keep the spore drive secret.
Chris Papadopoulos
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 7:12am (UTC -5)
I think 2.5 stars is generous. This is a very poor episode that treats the viewers as idiots. Fancy production value can only get this series so far.
Yanks
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 7:20am (UTC -5)
"The whole spore drive thing makes no sense at all."

Biology and physics are one and the same at the quantum level. (says our good scientist)

Jason R.
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 7:28am (UTC -5)
Djkazaz you do make a good point that the franchise has alot of catching up to do. Heck with any new show even one that was well supported and easy to bridge from previous ones (like DS9) it takes time for the actors to grow into their roles. With the exception of Buffy and maybe a few others I can't think of too many shows that were running from the opening gate. So I will cut Discovery the tiniest bit of slack on this.

I do think the storytelling has been wesk so far, but that seems to be a feature of modern storytelling and obviously audiences don't mind so I'll set that aside. The negation of Trek canon and the decision to essentially reboot the setting is a slap in the face to the fanbase, but that should not stand in the way of the show being good - maybe it won't be good Trek but it can still succeed.

For me the two issues that will need resolution if this show is to succeed are the Klingons and the main character Michael Burnham.

I admire the ambition of trying to make the Klingons alien and speaking purely in their language. But as others have noted ad nauseum this has crippled the actors, making their jobs impossible. Something needs to be done about this, especially if the Klingons are going to be a central part of the story. I actually do think there might be a good actor or two buried in there somewhere as I did find myself feeling bad for the albino no-name Klingon - kind of a loveable loser. But it is really really hard with the artificial impediments the show has imposed. That needs to be fixed. Time to tone down the makeup and find some way to get the Klingons speaking English ASAP. Just do it.

The Michael character is a tougher nut to crack because with her it's not a technical fix but goes to the abilities of the actress. And let's face it she just isn't that good.

If you are going to make the entire show revolve around her you need a Patrick Stewart, a Shatner, someone with charisma. Say what you will about Brooks' s acting as Sisko (and I know many didn't approve of it to put it mildly, though I am not in that camp) the man had energy and charisma. He gave a performance! Kate Mulgrew as Janeway also managed some energy despite the characterization issues that were more the fault of writing than the actress.

I'm sorry but Michael is not cutting it. She's not only bland and low energy, she is just boring. The writing certainly isn't helping what with her wildly inconsistent characterization. By the way was she raised by Vulcans because at this point you'd hardly know - it seems like even the writers forgot that detail. I still know almost nothing about her personally, what she values, how she thinks except the barest sketches and the whole show is about her! The first officer, frankly, is far better developed despite having 1/8 of her screen time.

And getting back to the point, even if you hated Brooks as Sisko or Stewart as Picard, they were not the be all end all's of their respective shows! Those were ensemble shows. Unfortunately for STD thus far it's been the Michael show with that actress carrying the entire series on her back. It is unsustainable. She just isn't good enough.

To sum up, the people writing this show need to eat crow and fix the Klingons and they need to allow the focus to shift away from the Michael character. It needs to be Star Trek Discovery, not Star Trek Michael's Redemption.
wolfstar
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 9:39am (UTC -5)
Jason I'm afraid you're right. A friend who loves DS9, was excited for new Trek, liked the pilot, and liked Captain Georgiou and Saru, went off the show by the end of episode 4 because, quote, "her facial expression never changes". It's not T'Pol bad, but her acting is nowhere near on the level of Jeri Ryan's playing a similar character (dispassionate and logical, traumatised, and dealing with complex emotions beneath the surface that occasionally bubble over into strong-willed behavior that puts her at odds with those around her). You can't just play it with a constant sulk. The writing isn't helping her at all, though, in terms of the character's inconsistent plot-driven decision-making.
HawgWyld
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 10:18am (UTC -5)
@Jason -- I completely agree. It is really difficult to embrace "Discovery" because the primary character is so dull I find myself wishing she'd just vanish and be replaced by someone interesting. Expecting her to carry an entire series is just asking for too much (rather like centering DS9 around Jadzia Dax).

And, double shame on those who complain about Avery Brooks -- Captain Sisko was just awesome and who couldn't help but root for that guy? He was one of the many reasons DS9 is still my favorite Star Trek series. I doubt you'll ever find fans that enthusiastic about this moping Michael character...
Del_Duio
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 10:27am (UTC -5)
@Skifbo:

The Discovery destroyed the Klingons by dumping a bunch of photon torpedoes and then spore drivin' the hell out of there when they detonated. As somebody else pointed out above though, wouldn't that have also taken out half of the colony since their shields were down and it looked to be 100 feet above the ground?

"It might be better if they did a show 15 years after Voyager or something like RLM suggested so all the TNG/DS9 actors could come in at the appropriate age, but for whatever reason the powers that be don't like that idea. "

Honestly this is the absolute best idea for everybody. You can explore the ramifications of the Dominion War, or how the Federation took the tons of data the Voyager collected from the Delta Quadrant and maybe used it in some cool ways, and yes absolutely you could have cast members from other shows appear from time to time and they'd be the correct ages and everything (no more gussying up Riker and Troi, pretending they're "The Pegasus" ages and etc).
Del_Duio
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 10:29am (UTC -5)
"And, double shame on those who complain about Avery Brooks -- Captain Sisko was just awesome and who couldn't help but root for that guy? He was one of the many reasons DS9 is still my favorite Star Trek series. I doubt you'll ever find fans that enthusiastic about this moping Michael character... "

Word!
Doctor Franklin
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 10:52am (UTC -5)
Captain Sisko is great. Avery Brooks the actor... not so much.

Am I the only one who likes the Discovery Klingons? Disregarding continuity and canon, I think they're better done than most Trek aliens. They genuinely feel like an alien culture and I find there is a sense of fascination when they are on screen. Their ways are mysterious and their ships are inscrutable. I hope they don't start talking English.
HawgWyld
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 11:18am (UTC -5)
"Captain Sisko is great. Avery Brooks the actor... not so much."

What? It was like watching Hawk in space.
Skifbo
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 11:40am (UTC -5)
Del_Duio

'The Discovery destroyed the Klingons by dumping a bunch of photon torpedoes and then spore drivin' the hell out of there when they detonated. As somebody else pointed out above though, wouldn't that have also taken out half of the colony since their shields were down and it looked to be 100 feet above the ground?'

Thanks. I went back and looked at it again and saw the torpedos, and yes it would seem that the colony would have been blasted to bits.

I had assumed that the spore drive left some sort of spatial vortex that destroyed the ships or something, cuz why not? It does a bunch of other unexplainable things. But that's one thing about it solved for me. Too bad there are 50 other unexplainable things left to go.
Chrome
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 1:13pm (UTC -5)
I could see why Sonequa Martin would get criticism, but the Michael character seems incredibly difficult to play. I'd give her a little more time before throwing her to the wolves. Brent Spiner's Data, another complicated character, was terrible for about a year before he made it into one of the most involving figures in the franchise.

Oh yes, and DSC also gets major points for not having any character close to as annoying as Wesley Crusher or Neelix. TNG was lucky enough to survive Wesley, I'm not sure I could say the same in VOY's case.
Dom
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 1:20pm (UTC -5)
@Doctor Franklin, "Am I the only one who likes the Discovery Klingons?"

Probably. In all honesty, I agree that the Klingons really do come across as alien and impenetrable. But they also play into many of our stereotypes about primitives. And some of those stereotypes are pretty racist, from the extremely dark skin to the cannibalism. Nothing about these Klingons suggests a race capable of inventing the wheel, much less spacefaring ships.
Lod
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 2:00pm (UTC -5)
Jammer, as far as I understand, Discovery was built around Stammet's research (he says something like this in the episode), when Starfleet coopted said research to use its results in the war. So I think it is a scientific vessel, yes, but one built to employ scientific discoveries in the ongoing war, that's why it has a militarist captain.
Lod
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 2:05pm (UTC -5)
'The Discovery destroyed the Klingons by dumping a bunch of photon torpedoes and then spore drivin' the hell out of there when they detonated. As somebody else pointed out above though, wouldn't that have also taken out half of the colony since their shields were down and it looked to be 100 feet above the ground?'

I guess this isn't how they destroyed the Klingons. From what I saw, they waited for the Klingon's ships to be into firing distance from one another and then spore drove the hell out of there, leaving the ships to fire at each other, basically destroying themselves.
Peter G.
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 2:41pm (UTC -5)
I could swear I saw them leave behind canisters/explosives when they jumped out. I automatically assumed they had mines there and detonated them just as the Klingons closed in and they jumped out.
Yair
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 3:39pm (UTC -5)
I, for one, like the new Klingons too, for precisely the same reasons as Lod. But leaving Voq alone for six months doesn't seem right. No matter, given his zero political support he'd have been betrayed some other place had he left.

As for the Discovery, the good part is that the ship is actually run by its Captain unlike the Shenzhou. But this crew also has nigh-zero chemistry. It says something that an officer is killed in a stupid way and the viewers are approving it.

All in all, this chapter is better than all the previous ones, but the plot still isn't brilliant and the lack of chemistry will kill the series if it continues.

P.S. Comparing Elon Musk to the Wright Brothers/Cochrane is wrong even in the best case scenario where all of his projects succeed. Musk is a financier with no scientific work of his own. He funds others creating his vision (or maybe their vision if they convinced him). The others are engineers or scientists. They work on their own vision directly and get people like Mush to fund it.

A more proper comparison would involve someone with also more process-like contribution. Maybe Eddison (an inventor, but actually his contribution by running the first modern-like R&D lab is greater), or Gates/Jobs (didn't invent their stuff but popularized it), etc.

P.S.S. I thought they killed the Klingon ships by getting them to collide in the engine's wake? Oh well, might as well let the Discovery have its moment of victory even if it seems arbitrary.
Yair
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 3:40pm (UTC -5)
Err.. Musk not Mush of course. %$#@! typos.
Kuebel
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 4:05pm (UTC -5)
There's a typo:

"Saru told Burnham he would do a better job protecting Lorca than he did Georgiou"

"she", because actually he said: "I intent to do a better job protecting my captain than you did yours"
(which is not a nice thing to say, because Georgiou died beaming into a hostile ship with just another person, a not so wise move on her part ...)

I just had a thought: Voq has to give up everything if he follows L'Rell's plan. Does this include looking like a Klingon and will this explain their future human like look?
Dr Franklin
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 4:11pm (UTC -5)
@Dom - I'm struggling to see the racism in the new Klingons. They ate Georgiou's body because they were starving. They are proud of their culture and wish to preserve it. They seem to be predisposed to infighting. And they are technologically advanced, even possessing technology in advance of the humans (cloaking). I don't see the show passing judgement and saying they are lesser creatures because of any of this, which I quite like.
Chrome
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 4:25pm (UTC -5)
"P.S. Comparing Elon Musk to the Wright Brothers/Cochrane is wrong even in the best case scenario where all of his projects succeed. Musk is a financier with no scientific work of his own. He funds others creating his vision (or maybe their vision if they convinced him). The others are engineers or scientists. They work on their own vision directly and get people like Mush to fund it. "

I think you're underselling Musk. If you look at many of the projects he's achieved with SpaceX (reusable space launchpads, private commercial spaceflight) and his aspirations like Mars colonization, he has pioneered some significant projects. The point isn't whether he personally invented all this stuff, the point is that he's got the vision to do things in space that other contemporary figures lack. And it's pretty clear they wanted to use a contemporary figure; the ones you mentioned like Gates, Jobs, and Edison don't really fit the whole flight theme alongside Wright and Cochran.
Yair
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 5:42pm (UTC -5)
I mentioned Edison, Gates and Jobs as proper comparisons to Musk, not as a proper comparison to Wright or Cochran. I get that Musk can be counted as a visionary, but still, it's seems to me a different thing than, say, Cochran.

Musk is a businessman who is a visionary which funds scientists and engineers to create his vision. Cochran is a scientist/engineer who dreams of women and drink** which probably got some other Musk-like person to fund him. The Musk-Cochran comparison doesn't entirely fit. Oh, well, that's just a nitpick with no real bearing on the episode.

** Hmm... It's possible Cochran gave a sanitized version to the ST:DIS history books.
John Harmon
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 10:29pm (UTC -5)
Does it bother anyone else that the spore drive is based on panspermia, little more than a crackpot hypothesis? The idea that spores are in the vacuum of space and everywhere is absurd. At least the warp drive has some theoretical basis. The spore drive is just pure fantasy.
Hpontes
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 12:27am (UTC -5)
Insteresting show:

High lights: music, graphics

Low points: trigger happy, "you don't know how eeeeevil we are!!" Character.

I do have to say, I was a little disappointed when I realized this whole series was heading towards that voyager episode where they find another federation ship that was hurting beings to fly fast in space...

Lod
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 12:30am (UTC -5)
"Does it bother anyone else that the spore drive is based on panspermia, little more than a crackpot hypothesis? The idea that spores are in the vacuum of space and everywhere is absurd. At least the warp drive has some theoretical basis. The spore drive is just pure fantasy."

No, it doesn't bother me, mostly because the warp drive, apart from the matter/antimatter reaction part, depends on the existence of something called "subspace" to exist, and in real life subspace does not exist in any way, whatsoever, and it's, in fact, as much of an invented concept as the "mycelial plane" mentioned in this episode is.
So in both cases we have real science (matter/antimatter reaction/quantum entanglement) being applied to fictional concepts (subspace/mycelial network) to create a fictional FTL drive. I can't see the difference.
Skifbo
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 12:36am (UTC -5)
@Dom

'...I agree that the Klingons really do come across as alien and impenetrable. But they also play into many of our stereotypes about primitives. And some of those stereotypes are pretty racist, from the extremely dark skin to the cannibalism'

I agree with Dr Franklin. I don't see how they are primitive or being depicted as if they are. After all they are just as advanced as the humans technologically. And the only one with extremely dark, nearly black, skin was T'Kuvma and he was the hero and saviour of the Klingon people. All the rest of them are sort of greyish color, except the albino of course. And the Klingons have always eaten at least the hearts of others, so that's nothing all that new. I don't see them as anything but aliens, with alien skin and an alien culture, not something analagous to a primitive African tribe of cannibals as you seem to insinuate.

@Dr Franklin

'They ate Georgiou's body because they were starving.'

I don't think that's the case. Unless they were starving after about 2 days, or else preserved her body to eat later. Otherwise, she would be quite decomposed by the time they got that hungry I imagine. I think the writers did that just to make them seem more ruthless and alien and evil to us humans.
Skifbo
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 12:49am (UTC -5)
Also I think it's a little disingenuous to say the depiction of Klingons is racist because they have sort of dark skin and do bad things, when Mike has sort of dark skin and is the hero and does good things. Well, she hasn't done many good things yet, but you know what I mean. :D

Anytime any character that has dark skin does something negative, it's suddenly racist. That's a very racist attitude to have. All people (and aliens) of all colors do bad things.
John Harmon
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 1:47am (UTC -5)
"No, it doesn't bother me, mostly because the warp drive, apart from the matter/antimatter reaction part, depends on the existence of something called "subspace" to exist, and in real life subspace does not exist in any way, whatsoever, and it's, in fact, as much of an invented concept as the "mycelial plane" mentioned in this episode is. 
So in both cases we have real science (matter/antimatter reaction/quantum entanglement) being applied to fictional concepts (subspace/mycelial network) to create a fictional FTL drive. I can't see the difference."

Good point. That actually makes the idea less frustrating to me. Though I do think the idea of "subspace" is More vague and we know it's made up so for me it's easier to buy into. But we know what spores are and we know for a fact that they aren't in space. The Alcubierre Drive is at least some form of potential theoretical possibility, though likely hundreds of years away if at all.

It really irked me when they had the real Paul Stamets on After Trek and gave him a platform to talk about panspermia. Just kinda gave me the impression that the writers don't know what actual science is.

But I think, if you accept the idea of spores in space, then yeah it's pretty darn neat. Though ultimately it's pointless since we know at some point this tech will either fail or be barred from use since this is a prequel and we know this tech has never existed in Star Trek before. This is why I hate prequels. Now I'm just ranting.

Kira Nerys
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 2:29am (UTC -5)
I think I'm slowly getting used to this show. Though none of its plot points have managed to intrigue me so far, somehow each episode turns out (more or less) watchable mostly because everything is very pretty...kinda feels like amusing yourself on a long car ride by staring out of the window at the passing scenery.

Georgiou's holo-will was a nice moment, not to mention the first time moment the series actually rgesonated with me emotionally :O

Plus, I'm actually stating to tell the ˝Klingons˝ apart! :O
John Lemon
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 3:19am (UTC -5)
Worst episode so far in my opinion, mostly do to very dumb decisions by supposedly competent officers.

I also have to voice my problems with the klingons. I don't mind the new make up, its bit too heavy on face which limits the facial expressions, but that ok, not all species need to show their emotions on their faces. What I do have problem with though is how every line they deliver is very monotone and seems to lack any emotion. Without subtitles you could not tell if a klingon character is happy, angry, constipated or sad.
Discovery Forever
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 4:31am (UTC -5)
@Doctor Franklin You're not the only one. I love the new Klingons!
Yanks
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 6:40am (UTC -5)
@ Chrome
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 1:13pm (UTC -5)
I could see why Sonequa Martin would get criticism, but the Michael character seems incredibly difficult to play. I'd give her a little more time before throwing her to the wolves. Brent Spiner's Data, another complicated character, was terrible for about a year before he made it into one of the most involving figures in the franchise.

Oh yes, and DSC also gets major points for not having any character close to as annoying as Wesley Crusher or Neelix. TNG was lucky enough to survive Wesley, I'm not sure I could say the same in VOY's case.
===================================================

I agree. I think Michael will be a slow, probably entire season type reveal. I love the actress.

I read a great article last night that I can't pull up at work. The title of it is:

"Star Trek Discovery is still Star Trek. It's just swapped idealism for realism because that's what we need right now"

I thought it put our new trek in logical perspective.

I'm astounded reading these comments. .... what "they" are dinging STD for and knowing what was accepted in TNG/DS9/VOY/ENT.
Yanks
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 6:48am (UTC -5)
@ Peter G.
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 2:41pm (UTC -5)
I could swear I saw them leave behind canisters/explosives when they jumped out. I automatically assumed they had mines there and detonated them just as the Klingons closed in and they jumped out.
==================================================

That's what happened Peter.

For those that thought that explosion should have finished of the mine below I would say that those shields are extremely strong, built to withstand about anything because of how important the mine is to Star Fleet and the Federation. They withstood hours of attacks.

For those that say "what's keeping the Klingons from just coming back?"

Nothing, but the rest of the war and the knowledge that Star Fleet now has a weapon that just wiped out about 4 BOP's with ease. Assets are a problem in war... I'm certain it's an issue for the Klingons.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 7:58am (UTC -5)
@Yanks
"I'm astounded reading these comments. .... what "they" are dinging STD for and knowing what was accepted in TNG/DS9/VOY/ENT..."

Huh?
Dom
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 8:26am (UTC -5)
@Skifbo, yes, the Klingons have advanced ships, but they don't behave like a society that could have actually achieved such levels of technology. Unlike the TOS or TNG Klingons, these Klingons never really display any signs of intelligence or cunning. Martok for example talked a good deal about honor and Klingon traditions, but he was also a smart general and could be diplomatic. Discovery's Klingons seem like they're always fighting or going on about religious mumbo-jumbo. And eating an enemy's body... sorry, but that's just disgusting. Even my girlfriend watching this who is only a causal Trek fan commented that they really made the Klingons look more dark-skinned for this show, and not in a good way. I think the worst thing about the Klingons is, as others noted, they're just dull. There's no joie de vivre, no emotion, no passion.
Shannon
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 8:36am (UTC -5)
A lot of negative comments about the Klingons. Were they more colorful in prior series? Yes. But my problem with the prior series is that they seemed more like aggressive humans dressed up as werewolves. In fact, too many "aliens" throughout all Star Trek series are depicted as way too "humanoid" (a notable exception would be the Tholians, which we saw in Enterprise). I get it, budget constraints were usually the issue. But I like that the producers are going to great lengths to show them as a very different culture than humans. That being said, yes, the prosthetics are getting in the way of the actors. And the subtitles need to go away, they are more distraction than anything else... But I stand by my original comment, I like this episode and thought it did a nice job of flushing out these characters a little more. Were there some plot issues, as Jammer point out? Sure. But you could so that about 90% of all Star Trek episodes. Writers a lot of times take the plot to implausible places in order to get them to the end game.
Peter G.
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 10:46am (UTC -5)
I just had some thoughts about Lorca. I think I'm getting where they're going with him. My initial concern with him was that he was the Section 31 man, an 'evil' character employing ends justify the means mentality. But my read on him may not be their intent, and I think what they're going for is more of a Captain Gideon thing. Has anyone here seen the short-lived spin-off of Babylon 5, Excalibur? The Captain in that one was played as more of a Kirk-like character without being a Federation softie, who had no compunctions giving the finger the stupid people while still trying to help Earth's cause. It was a mix of having an edge with having a sense of humor, and the casting and performance were no doubt presaged by Cole's performance as Sheriff Buck on American Gothic. For those familiar with these two characters, I suspect that's maybe where they're going with this. I do see inklings that intend for Lorca to have a sense of humor, although the writing thus far hasn't done a good job getting that across. But Isaacs seems to want to go there, and it would be good if they let him. The character *could* work if he had that amazing charisma that a charmer can have, but as it is he is coming across as a Nazi to me.

Another thing I noticed is how he phrased one command in this episode: "Get it done." Captain Jellico reference? That was also a captain who at first made me hate him but who has earned my respect over time as being the right man for the job. The thing is, though, that Jellico wasn't un-Starfleet, he was just a hardass who lacked Picard's charisma. In Lorca's case he seems to both be a hardass as well as being in the wrong in terms of his values. But nevertheless maybe they're also trying to channel the Ronny Cox factor here, where his methods begin to be validated the more we see. I hope not, though, because they're not valid! But the Jellico reference may indicate that's what they're thinking of when they write it.
Jason Rabin
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 4:26pm (UTC -5)
Just as a commentary on the spore drive I don't agree that this belongs in the same category as subspace. For subspace there is no evidence that it exists, true, but also no evidence that it doesn't. It is some sci-fi concept that relates loosely to our universe's physical laws that is simply unknowable at present.

The spore drive isn't unknowable because we know what spores are. We have them here on earth. There is evidence that spores don't live naked in the vacuum of space (and right next to stars!!) because it's fucking impossible.

There is writing a science fiction story about a man walking on the surface of Mars and then one where a man walks on the surface of the sun. There's speculative bordering on fantastical and then there's impossible. The spore drive is really pushing heavily into the latter category.

I am not saying this is my biggest beef with STD. Actually, I kind of like it if I'm being honest. If they really run with the concept and we get some stories like STNG Where No One Has Gone Before or Q Who then I'll forgive them the conceit. Even in the context of a gritty war story one hopes that sooner or later *someone* is going to notice that they can travel anywhere, ANYWHERE.

The big irony is that the only character thus far to give us an inkling of this so far was Lorca of all people in his speech to Michael.
Sulu
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 6:14pm (UTC -5)
Jason - Actually, spores do survive in space.

The following is an abstract from a 1994 research article published in Advances in Space Research:

"On board of the NASA Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF), spores of Bacillus subtilis in monolayers (106/sample) or multilayers (108/sample) were exposed to the space environment for nearly six years and their survival was analyzed after retrieval. The response to space parameters, such as vacuum (10−6 Pa), solar electromagnetic radiation up to the highly energetic vacuum-ultraviolet range (109 J/m2) and/or cosmic radiation (4.8 Gy), was studied and compared to the results of a simultaneously running ground control experiment. If shielded against solar ultraviolet (UV)-radiation, up to 80 % of spores in multilayers survive in space. Solar UV-radiation, being the most deleterious parameter of space, reduces survival by 4 orders of magnitude or more. However, up to 104 viable spores were still recovered, even in completely unprotected samples. Substances, such as glucose or buffer salts serve as chemical protectants. With this 6 year study in space, experimental data are provided to the discussion on the likelihood of “Panspermia”."
Steven
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 8:12pm (UTC -5)
I used to enjoy Jamahl's reviews for TNG and also participated in the discussions for many of the TNG episodes. Usually his rating were rather reliable.

But here? It seems utterly random to give these Discovery episodes 2.5 - 3 stars. Because frankly, we haven't understood enough about this series yet to rate it at all. What metric are the ratings even based on? Gut feeling? There are only 4 episodes out so far.

My gut feeling is 2.5 stars for the first part of the pilot, and 1.5 for everything else (second part of pilot, third and fourth episode). So far the series is very lazily written. But I hesitate to give ratings at all, because it's much better to wait a bit longer and do it in retrospect - after the first season. Until we know which questions will be explained, and which will be left unanswered, it's difficult to rate this thing. If it turns out to be like the TV series "Lost" - creating a hype and then leaving lots of stuff answered in the end - the ratings have to be lowered accordingly.

----

For the current episode "The Butcher's Knife ..." I complety agree to what "Dom" wrote on Oct 11th: Neither the Federation nor the Klingons seem to have ANY idea on how to fight a war. This is really insulting to the intelligence. If the series continues like this, I won't enjoy it much.

The Klingons hanging out at the site of the battle for six months while no other Klingon ship is either helping them or capturing them (?), also apparently in no fear that the Federation could return; all the while being too stupid to salvage the Federation ship or study it for intel (instead they have a dumb discussion on how Federation tech is "impure" for the Klingons). And then in the end, there is a mutiny because they're running out of food (seriously, you can't stock 6 months worth of food on a large spaceship?) This is kindergarten-level writing.

The Federation isn't any brighter. They seem to have no plans in place to defend that strategic outpost. And do they need to show us civilians with families and children... isn't this a military installation? Just to have a little girl ask empathically: "Who saved us?" Also, back to the first battle, why did they leave the Starfleet ship to the Klingons instead of self-destructing it? You know, either with a self-destruct mechanisms or one of the torpedoes that they certainly had, because they intended to use them on the Klingon ship first. Why would they leave the ship behind?

I don't enjoy watching a TV series that gives me the feeling that all the characters and institutions are dumber than us, the audience, because then I can't take them seriously. Both the Federation and the Klingons deserve to lose this war if they're being so pathetic.

The most pathetic character is the main character though - I didn't understand her reasons for mutiny in the pilot, which is why I could never connect to her. She went from "let's shoot and destroy their flagship" (for which she got courtmartialed later) to "no no, we can't destroy that ship because then we'll create a martyr" 15 minutes later, jumping inexplicably in her "logic" of what to do and whether the Klingons will interpret those actions as a sign of strength, or as an insult making a war inevitable. Her decisions are supposedly somehow explained by the "context", which I tried to figure out but failed.

This show needs to improve a lot.
Jammer
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 9:03pm (UTC -5)
"What metric are the ratings even based on? Gut feeling? There are only 4 episodes out so far."

I kind of acknowledged this with the first paragraph of this very review. Regardless, the star rating has *always* been a gut feeling of whether I think the hour worked or not. The question usually comes down to: Does the hour work as drama and plot based on what we currently know and what we might reasonably expect to find out? Beyond that, with serialization, there's no way to know. But if a show were not entertaining enough to make me want to watch more, then that would lead to a lower rating.

I would actually disagree with you about "Lost." As much mythology as that show had, it also had a structure where you could understand and enjoy an individual hour based on the story being told from the perspective being used. That show was as much episodic anthology as it was serialized mythology. And I also disagree with the common refrain that inadequate "solutions" or "answers" (usually in a series finale) negate all the enjoyment we got out of the mysteries of a series in the preceding episodes.
Peter G.
Sat, Oct 14, 2017, 12:09am (UTC -5)
@ Sulu,

The fact that a thing *can* survive in space doesn't mean it lives there or hangs out there or is all over the place out there. According to Context Is for Kings Michael can live in space for 10-20 seconds and survive. Not as long as the spores can, but she *can* survive being out in space. Does that mean the cosmos is filled with Michaels and that they encircle every star, ubiquitous elements to a universe dense enough to be an equivalent to subspace?

The whole thing is laughable, unless they mean a different thing by "spores" that we mean. And since Ripper is an oversized version of a common "tiny bear" creature that literally lives on Earth, we know it is *that kind* of spore. So, no, sorry.

And PS - I think some people misunderstand what subspace is. The concept of the warp drive is to use focused graviton fields to bend space in front of the ship, condensing space so that a large distance can be travelled quickly due to it being compress, and it's uncompressed when the ship has passed. This is 100% plausible and hinges on the mastery of gravity fields. Subspace is what you get after you ask this: if you can bend space, then that means it's made of something. Well then if it's actually something, then that something must exist within some medium, which is - presumably subspace. It's literally the substratum beneath normal space. Does that actually exist? That depends on whether there is an aether (and old physics question) and I believe that question become prominent again soon. So much even of TNG Trek is based on either real science or extrapolations of the best guess about science based on what we know now. Even TNG's Parallels went into multiverse theory; there are so many science nods in the show that Prof. Hawking wanted to be a guest star. It's no accident, they did the work. Nowadays I guess [tech] is jut filler.
Skifbo
Sat, Oct 14, 2017, 2:15am (UTC -5)
Speaking of things that survive in outer space, not too long ago it was discovered that tardigrades (water bears) can live in space. Which I would have to assume is where the idea for the spore monster came from.

Here is one of many articles about them.

www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2017/07/14/these-animals -can-survive-until-the-end-of-the-earth-astrophysicists-say/

My favourite quote from that is:

"Nor are they indestructible. 'We work with active animals and they're quite easily murdered,' he said. 'We kill thousands of them every day.'" lol
Skifbo
Sat, Oct 14, 2017, 2:18am (UTC -5)
None of my links ever seem to work. If you want to see it, remove the space between 'animals' and '-can'. Someone likes adding spaces to things I guess.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2017/07/14/these -animals-can-survive-until-the-end-of-the-earth-astrophysicists-say/
Skifbo
Sat, Oct 14, 2017, 2:20am (UTC -5)
Now the space moved! lol

ran dom space s for l inks I gue ss.

In the second link remove the space between 'these' and '-animals' :D

Steven
Sat, Oct 14, 2017, 5:14pm (UTC -5)
Me: "What metric are the ratings even based on? Gut feeling? There are only 4 episodes out so far."

Jamahl: "I kind of acknowledged this with the first paragraph of this very review. Regardless, the star rating has *always* been a gut feeling of whether I think the hour worked or not."

Okay then, if you feel confident that you can already judge the series, I retract my criticism. I know I couldn't do it though. And if I was forced to do it, I'd give very low scores.

I think that your and my overall impression are very different. My impression so far has been rather devastating... I feel that the series has failed in almost every significant way. Paper-thin plots and characters, pointless action and visuals that are more of a distraction than woven into the atmosphere (the designs are all over the place; both the Federation and the Klingons have lost their flair). The new series is little better than my least favorite Star Trek movie, "Nemesis", and reminds me much more of that movie than I'm comfortable with.

My proposal to wait with the ratings is an attempt to save the ratings, because I hope that they'll go up in retrospect. I try to give this new show a chance. Most importantly, I need to get invested in the characters, which I am currently not. I believe that Michael Burnham is incompetent. And I also dislike the barbaric version of Starfleet that we're shown, the one that throws someone into prison for life (!) for a mutiny that was stopped after one minute and failed to do any harm, because Michael never really managed to fire on the Klingon ship.
Jammer
Sat, Oct 14, 2017, 5:34pm (UTC -5)
Steven: "Okay then, if you feel confident that you can already judge the series, I retract my criticism. I know I couldn't do it though."

I *don't* feel confident I can judge the series yet, because, like you say, we're only four episodes in. I'm just rating the individual episodes based on what I've seen, what we currently know, and what I feel about it so far (on the aforementioned gut level).

"And if I was forced to do it, I'd give very low scores."

Fair enough. Based on your reaction and criticisms, you should.

"My proposal to wait with the ratings is an attempt to save the ratings, because I hope that they'll go up in retrospect."

I prefer to rate it as we go and react to what we have. If I turn out to be "wrong" in retrospect, then so be it. But my ratings are based on my own viewing experience, which is weekly, not knowing where we're going and what comes next.
WeliHall
Sat, Oct 14, 2017, 5:36pm (UTC -5)
I have been reading the latest round of comments , to find that Jammer is being attacked for not having sufficiently "explained" what his rating system is based on. I don't understand what the people who have a problem with the system are animated by. Maybe they do not like the scores given, but that fact is not grounds to attack the system as arbitrary

Please keep reviewing, Jammer, without taking to heart these calls to define what but definition can't be defined
Welihall
Sat, Oct 14, 2017, 5:38pm (UTC -5)
Worth reading:

www.jammersreviews.com/info/ratings.php
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sat, Oct 14, 2017, 7:52pm (UTC -5)
I don't think anybody "attacked" Jammer.

Since when does voicing an opinion and asking questions constitute "an attack"?

That said, it would be helpful if people remember that any rating is inherently subjective. Different reviewers look for different things when they review an episode (or a movie). We already know that Jammer gave "Star Trek into Darkness" 3 stars, which tells you - right there - about his willingness to accept silly stories as long as they are cinematically enjoyable and has other kinds of artistic merits.

And that's, by the way, a perfectly valid way to rate films. If anything, it's the default way to rate films and TV shows, given that they exist primarly in order to entertain the audience.

Of-course, some of us expect more from a show that bears the "Star Trek" name. Some of us even expect more from ANY show we decide to watch, Star Trek or no. And that's a perfectly valid way to rate these creations as well.

So if you're from the second camp, don't be surprised that your personal ratings agree with Jammer over much of TNG and DS9 but don't agree with him here.

Startrekwatcher
Sat, Oct 14, 2017, 8:57pm (UTC -5)
Absolutely ratings are very subjective. What a “3 Stars” means to one person may mean something else to another.

For me a good series like TNG In a season should follow a Bell Curve with a whole bunch of should have 3 star episodes—entertaining and solid but nothing classic; one or two 4 star episodes—solid from the first scene to the closing scene and truly outstanding; and maybe a couple lower episodes 2 stars or lower

And for a good serialized drama aiming for solid 3 stars for most of the arc and then reaching for 3.5-4 stars for the last couple chapters is ideal in my opinion. Ie DS9 Final Chapter. The problem with modern arcs is they have adopted a very scattered approach to arc storytelling where they plant seeds and puzzle pieces so the individual chapters feel very stitched together andvis really hard to judge until everything plays out and you can look st the Bog Picture. Serialized dramas from the 80s/90s were more satisfying because they didn’t approach each individual chapter that way—they tended to break the ensemble down into parallel arcs that were very linear and the cliffhanger from the previous week was used to springboard into the next chapter which told a complete story that progressed the story. They’d pick up rught where they left off. Nowadays the writers do a whole lot of jumping around
Welihall
Sat, Oct 14, 2017, 9:33pm (UTC -5)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi,

Thanks for telling me how flawed my knowledge of Star Trek is, and for telling us what other people's motives "really" are when they complain about ratings systems.
With respect, and I doubt you intend to act this way, your comments (explaining why Jammer gave STID three stars, as if someone could not figure it out for himself or herself) sounds pompous and ministerial.

One of the reasons I do not post much on this site is because certain posters rather zestily are eager to show how superior their knowledge is to that of others'. It is intimidating, the idea of posting a thought only to be struck down by someone who claims to know better. I like discussions on this site where, if factual errors are ,as by someone, the error serves as a basis for a richer discussion, as opposed to an opportunity to try to destroy someone's credibility.

I have no idea how much you do or do not know about Trek

An earlier point I made was that humanity becoming enlightened in Star Trek has always been something more talked about than developed dramatically over time. I think I should be more clear (my apologies) in what I mean by "enlightened."

In the 2300s, Picard tells Lily that humans do not succumb to revenge, as by that time we have an "evolved sensibility." (Lily actually called bullshit, but that is tangential).
Not succumbing to revenge, not engaging in petty arguments, not responding with diplomacy or thinking over fists first-these I think we can agree are things reviewers and commenters talk about when they talk abou "enlightenment."

Your most recent response to what I wrote suggested that Enterprise was led by an at least semi-enlightened Jonathan Archer. To be sure, the characters act more civilized on ENT than on DIS. However, and this is the point I have been trying to make all along, that doesn't mean they acted as superior, enlightened beings. They kidnapped people (Stratagem). They ruthlessly deserted peopl in need to get to Atari Prime. Although I guess you are the ultimate arbiter of whether this is true, I actually watched the Xindi arc carefully. It was riveting TV. What I noticed though once the Xindi were defeated, Terran xenophobia reared its head immediately (see "Home," where Phlox was too afraid to go out with his shipmates). The question is, by the time of Enterprise, did prejudiced attitudes that had been cast aside by the Tim eof 200 years later, still exist?

Yes. I think a more probing question is: were they the exception and not the rule? I would like to think that even today, most folks are good at heart and it takes an ugly turn of events (such as 9/11) to bring out the most unenlightened aspects of ourselves. By Archer's time, we still reacted to traumatic events by attacking people different from us (my point, which I guess is a tangent now, about the Vulcans and Andoriams, is that although bigotry may present itself in subtler forms at later times, such behavior is universal - even, as the Trek writers tell is - across different species).

What we have been chewing over is whether Discovery shows humanity as not being as civilized as other pieces of Trek canon over the years have told us, ipse dixit, it is, or should be, and all I am saying is, it is unfair to attack the show on this basis of characters acting badder than they are "supposed" to when they have done so in EVERY Trek incarnation. "I was used to hating Klingons" Kirk said in Trek Vi )a human sentiment. How exactly was this sentiment eradicated by the time of TNG?)

There is a differnce between what Leonard Maizlish, whispering into Roddenberry's ear, says and what we are shown on the screen. The Trek powers that be can talk all they want about how conflict is gone by the 23rd century, but if we see it on the screen (as we did again and again in TOS, in movies 1-6), we see it. It is there; it is part of the canon. The writers' telling us that what we see is not the actual reality is the equivalent of interpreting a law by looking to what legislators "meant" (as evidenced in the legislative history record) as opposed to what the law actI ally says on its face (which is what a judge must look at first and foremost).

Also, and I do no write this to excuse lazy screenwriting, but not EVERY character we see on TNG is "unenlightened." Stamets, the Doctor, and Michael's roommate don't seem to act savagely. It is up for debate as to whether the events and behaviors we are witnessing on DIS are typical of humans at the time, or are atypical, either because the Lorcas of the world have exploited the opportunity of a war to push their agenda; or because the universe is a mirror universe, or for other pieces of stOrytelling yet to be told.

Finally as Jammer cautioned in his review of STID, Who Watches the Watchers, and others, trying to draw, from the actions of a mere handful of characters, what an entire society thinks, feels, or stands for, is a pointless exercise. We may be dealing with, on the Discovery, a ship that was made a warship by virtue of self-selection on the part of a few. This tells us little about what The billions of other people on Earth are like at the time-savage, perfect or otherwise, and I hope the show does give us more information going forward that allows us to get a clearer picture of where humanity at large (not humanity as represented solely by Lorca and Landry) is at

Vladimir Estragon
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 2:18am (UTC -5)
When you pitch a tv show to a studio these days, you have to be able to say "It's just like (insert previously successful show), except different!" So, the answer to every question about this series is: so it can be different.

Picture the writers' room:
Characters talking to viewscreens is boring. How can we make it different? Holograms!

Every series had a heroic, righteous star who was the captain. How can we make it different? Make the star a misunderstood hero and the captain an amoral warmonger!

Everybody on these shows always loved and respected the captain. How can we make it different? Make everyone (especially the engineer) insubordinate!

The security chief has always been a valiant warrior. How can we make it different? Make her a Nazi.

Ron Moore doesn't work here anymore, and we're tired of Klingons . How can we make it different? Subtitles! Religious fanaticism! Cannibalism! Even more prosthetics!

All the ships have always looked the same. How can we make it different? Rotating hulls! A giant, dark bridge full of cyborgs!

Kinda makes you wish for a sarcastic bartender, doesn't it?
Vladimir Estragon
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 5:07am (UTC -5)
Actually, it isn't really cannibalism, since Klingons are a different species.
MadManMUC
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 9:50am (UTC -5)
I loathe this series.

Does it not bother anyone else that EP4 practically lifted an entire plot point verbatim from Voyager (Equinox, Parts I & II)?
MadManMUC
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 9:52am (UTC -5)
And by 'lifted', I really do mean 'ripped off'.

Lazy, miserable writing from the production team.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 11:24am (UTC -5)
@Welihall

"...and for telling us what other people's motives "really" are when they complain about ratings systems."

I wasn't talking about their "motives". I refered to the contents of their posts. Asking questions and voicing a personal opinion do not constitute an "attack".

On the other hand, what you're doing right now...

"With respect, and I doubt you intend to act this way, your comments (explaining why Jammer gave STID three stars, as if someone could not figure it out for himself or herself) sounds pompous and ministerial."

Huh?

I myself didn't realize it until the time I've written that post. People here have been wondering why Jammer has given these last few Discovery episodes such a high rating, and that's when I realized the connection.

Sorry if it sounded "pompous" in your eyes. Not everybody can be as fast on the uptake as you (least of all myself).

"One of the reasons I do not post much on this site is because certain posters rather zestily are eager to show how superior their knowledge is to that of others'. It is intimidating, the idea of posting a thought only to be struck down by someone who claims to know better. I like discussions on this site where, if factual errors are ,as by someone, the error serves as a basis for a richer discussion, as opposed to an opportunity to try to destroy someone's credibility."

You mean, like that lecture you've given Hank about his beliefs being unsupported by Trek cannon? Or the "axe" he had to grind?

You're right. It is both intimidating and rude. And I didn't notice you had any problem with it until you found yourself at the receiving end of that stick.

But enough about that. Let's get to the meat of the discussion, alright?

"Your most recent response to what I wrote suggested that Enterprise was led by an at least semi-enlightened Jonathan Archer. To be sure, the characters act more civilized on ENT than on DIS."

That was my main point. Glad to see we agree on it.

"However, and this is the point I have been trying to make all along, that doesn't mean they acted as superior, enlightened beings."

Again we agree.

They still acted way better than the way present day humans behave, though. That's one of things I loved about Enterprise: it realistically showed us an intermediate step between 20th century humanity and Kirk's/Picard's time.

Even during the Xindi Arc. I love it precisely because it shows us how this intermediate-step humanity deals with a 9/11 scenario, and it does it incredibly well.

"Although I guess you are the ultimate arbiter of whether this is true..."

Please cut it out with these sarcastic remarks that contribute nothing to the discussion, alright? Moving along...

"I think a more probing question is: were they the exception and not the rule? I would like to think that even today, most folks are good at heart and it takes an ugly turn of events (such as 9/11) to bring out the most unenlightened aspects of ourselves. By Archer's time, we still reacted to traumatic events by attacking people different from us."

True.

And it isn't any different by the 24th century, either. That was the exact point of several DS9 episodes ("Homefront/Paradise Lost" and several of the later war episodes) as well.

But what does any of that have to do with Discovery? I don't recall earth or any other major planet being attacked. The problem is not that the "heroes" are doing questionable things. The problem is that their reasons for doing these things are unteneable.

Niether Archer or Kirk or Picard would have started a war just because they feel threatened by some Klingon dude's rhetorics. None of them would plant a bomb in a corpse to gain a tactical advantage (unless the stakes are really really high, which hasn't been shown here). None of them would imprison a living creature to boost their warp drive. And more importantly: none of them had crews who would sit quietly and let such things happen without protest.

I've already said these things explicitly, yet for some odd reason you completely ignored them.

As for Kirk "hating Klingons": That was how he felt, yet he *still* followed his orders and made peace with them. This is actually an excellent example of how "Discovery" is getting everything completely wrong. Just because you have some primitive feelings within you, does not mean you act on them.

As Kirk himself said: "We're barbarians. But we can decide that we aren't going to kill... today". There's a difference between acknowledging this to ourselves and actually acting on these impulses whenever we see fit.

"The Trek powers that be can talk all they want about how conflict is gone by the 23rd century, but if we see it on the screen (as we did again and again in TOS, in movies 1-6), we see it. It is there; it is part of the canon."

Indeed.

But it's a matter of degree. And my point is that nothing we've previously seen even approaches the kind of moral bankruptcy we see in Discovery.

And you seemed to agree with this assesment. So what, exactly, are we arguing about here?

"It is up for debate as to whether the events and behaviors we are witnessing on DIS are typical of humans at the time, or are atypical, either because the Lorcas of the world have exploited the opportunity of a war to push their agenda; or because the universe is a mirror universe, or for other pieces of storytelling yet to be told."

You're right.

The producers may have some unknown rabbit up their sleeves that might explain everything. I'm not holding my breath for such a revelation, though.

Besides, even if they did come up with such an explanation, it wouldn't change the basic fact that Hank was 100% right in his assessment of the problem. The fact that it can be retconned away does not mean that Hank's own analysis was wrong.

(and let us be honest: there are a million other reasons why Discovery can't be set in the prime timeline. The "unenlightened humanity" problem is just more bothersome, because it is at the very heart of the Star Trek Mythos rather than being some unimportant trivia nitpick).
Paul M.
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 11:42am (UTC -5)
I myself am not quite sure of this show yet. Storytelling and plot have to improve, especially when compared to mindblowing sci-fi shows like The Expanse. That said, it's very difficult to have a productive argument with people whose primary motive for watching Discovery, when all is said and done, is to relive their youth. Trek as comfort food... I guess I can see it, but it's hardly a compelling starting position.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 12:35pm (UTC -5)
Paul, I'd really appreciate it if you stop mocking people who think differently than you, alright?

Since when does expecting a series to show at least a minimal respect to canon is "wanting to relive our youth"?

Since when does expecting a Star Trek series not to be morally bankrupt is "wanting to relive our youth"?

Really. We've had this discussion a dozen times over, and if the thing you've gotten out of it is "they dislike Discovery because they want to relive their youth" then you haven't been listening at all.

And you're right. It is very difficult to have a productive discussion when you're not making the tiniest effort to understand the people you're talking to.

May I remind you that it isn't us who asked CBS to create a prequel? Nobody wanted this shit. Everybody wanted a show that goes forward. A show set after "Nemesis", preferably with completely new ideas. That's the exact opposite of "wanting to relive our youth".

Instead, what did we get? A show that markets itself as "before Kirk and Spock..." and than tramples all over the thing it claims to be based on.

Surely you can understand why this bothers some people, even if it doesn't bother you personally? And surely you can try being a teeny bit more respectful towards such people, instead of painting them as continuity-nazis with no life wanting to relive their youth?

(For those who just want to enjoy and discuss the show: I apologize for getting sidetracked again. Why do people always have to bring these topics up?)
MadManMUC
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 12:45pm (UTC -5)
'a Star Trek series not to be morally bankrupt'

This summarises it perfectly. Yes, I hate the redesigned Klingons, es I hate the JJ Abrams-style visual treatment, yes I hate the fact the writers are so devoid of ideas that they're ripping Voyager episodes off wholesale.

But, above all, I hate the moral bankruptcy. This is absolutely not what Star Trek is about, even during the Enterprise days. As much of a rancid turd that series was, too, at the very least the crew were mostly principled in the same way future crews were.

If I wanted to watch morally ambiguous people violently carry out morally ambiguous things, I'd watch the BSG reboot and GoT. And I have, religiously.

This is not what Star Trek stand for.
Chrome
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 1:06pm (UTC -5)
The morals are still there, they’re just being told from a different starting position. It’s the same with the Abrams movies. Funnily enough, I decided to dive into the Star Trek: Into Darkness comment section and it looks like we already had this same discussion. Not that I’ve changed my mind about ST:ID, I’m just reminded how dark and action packed that film was YET, it ended on a very upbeat high moral note. I wholly expect the same from Discovery.

I guess you could say “it’s not Trek” if you define Trek as the 90s era television show, but I’d like to think the Trek tent is larger than that. Indeed I remember these same discussions back when DS9 was airing and the same comparisons being made to TOS. “Where’s Kirk to come in and show Sisko how Trek’s really done?” Some things never change.

Jammer puts it best when he says that as the franchise continues, there will be different versions of Trek, each fitting its era in its own right. As long as all these iterations reach the core of Trek, seeking out new life, and new civilizations, boldly traveling space, the Trek legacy continues.
Alexandrea
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 1:08pm (UTC -5)
Those who wish for escapist sci-fi clearly watch Trek for far different reasons from me. I love Trek because of its confrontation of injustice through allegory and its ability to provoke new perspectives on real-world problems. Usually we've seen that accomplished through the people who live Starfleet's highest ideals. If we do that by watching one of the Federation's worst criminals instead, that's also an interesting story.

If anything, I worry that our current storyline is too escapist, in that a war against an equal superpower isn't high on most people's real-world concerns right now. Is this really the most courageous story that Discovery could be telling?

Also, little detail...

"Klingons ambushed the blockade that was protecting the colony."

Why are so many people responding as if the Federation had left an important outpost undefended? There was a blockade. The Klingons blew it up, along with the patrol ships the distress call also mentions. It's war, and there are multiple strategic points to defend, of which the less-prepared Federation just lost one. Discovery is Starfleet's ace in the hole to snatch victory from an opponent who is famously martially superior.
Dom
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 4:41pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome: "I’m just reminded how dark and action packed that film was YET, it ended on a very upbeat high moral note. I wholly expect the same from Discovery."

That film ended with Spock acting like a gangster and punching Khan into a bloody pulp. Seriously, Spock scared me and I felt sorry for Khan. That's not a high moral note. That's a moral note that says violence is OK if you're the "good guy."
Chrome
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 6:08pm (UTC -5)
@Dom

What I’m referring to is Kirk’s speech at the denouement of the film. You’re describing an event that happens towards the end of the climax. Anyhow, if you read my review of Into Darkness, you’d see I’m not a fan. But I know people who like it, so maybe it’s just not the version of Trek for me. And that’s okay.

@Alexandrea

You’re right, a cold war parallel between superpowers isn’t immediately relevant to our world. I suppose there’s some commentary on religious zealotry in DSC, but perhaps it’s too early to gauge where they’re going with the Klingons. From this episode at least, it looks like they want us to sympathize with a faction of them.
Riker
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 6:13pm (UTC -5)
Why does aspiring to ask the big questions have to be "escapist"? You know the questions I'm talking about - who are we, why are we here, what's this life about, what do we live for, what do we want. Trek has always tackled those questions. So far, Discovery has made no attempt to do that.

In fact, I would say that Discovery is the furthest from "real life" of all the series. My life is not a series of forced dramatic moments seen from the perspective of someone who has been watching too many horror movies. Drama happens in my life, like it does everyone's, but I like to focus on the bigger picture. Because like space explorers, I seek something more.

Discovery hasn't shown us any bigger picture so far. I hope it will soon.
Discovery Forever
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 6:41pm (UTC -5)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi: "Nobody wanted this shit."

Really? Many people are perfectly happy with "this shit."
Peremensoe
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 11:31pm (UTC -5)
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.
Peremensoe
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 11:43pm (UTC -5)
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!
Nic
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 7:17am (UTC -5)
Well, this episode was a rapid descent into nothing that ineterests me. I told myself I'd at least watch the entire first season, but now I'm not sure I'll make it that fair.

Kudos to the writers for crafting a character death that is even more ignominious than Tasha Yar's in "Skin of Evil." I barely even reacted to it and, apparently, neither did any of the characters. If Lorca or Stamets had mourned her, at least it would have given them some depth, which they desperately need.

The more I get to know Burnham, the less I believe that she would have betrayed her Captain in the first episode, much less understand why she did it. And seeing that all seems forgiven now, why did the writers have her do it in the first place? It would barely change the overarching plot of the season, but it would make her character more believable.

And who could ever have thought that Klingons could be so BORING?

The only thing that even felt remotely like Star Trek was Burnham's curiosity and ethical concern for the captured creature which is enslaved to power the Magic Mushroom Drive [TM]. But she goes along with Lorca's plans, and so does the rest of the crew, which for me, sinks the episode and maybe even the series. I was reminded of the Voyager episode "Equinox," the main difference being that the crew of the Equinox were the villains of that episode, and that even Captain Ransom showed some regret at what he did.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 9:47am (UTC -5)
@Discovery Forever

Taking a single line out of context does not make you cool.

@Peremensoe
"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!"

Who knows?

Maybe Musk started his company much earlier in the Trekverse.

Maybe that's why they have interplanetary spaceships by 1996. Musk was 25 then, so it could definitely be his design. And I'm willing to bet that some of the genetic supermen were recurring costumers.

Just imagine, the nationalist hype that got Man on the Moon in the 1960's combined with Musk's ingeniuity. Is it any wonder that space Treknology advanced so quickly in the 1990's and the early 21st century?
Steven
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 12:53pm (UTC -5)
"Is it any wonder that space Treknology advanced so quickly in the 1990's and the early 21st century?"

If I remember correctly, that was explained in that Voyager episode in which a timeship from the future is stranded in the 1980s-90s on earth and an enterpreneur brings parts of its technology to the market, leading to the "microchip revolution".
Discovery Forever
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 11:25pm (UTC -5)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi: "Taking a single line out of context does not make you cool."

The context of your statement doesn't change it one bit. You don't like the show so you qualify it as "shit" and you assume nobody wanted it because you don't. On top of that, you complain about someone disrespecting your right to think differently while your statement is a blatant dismissal of tastes and desires that don't match yours. I quote: "Nobody wanted this shit. Everybody wanted a show that goes forward." Believe it or not, there are people who are satisfied with Discovery and who would say it is exactly what they wanted. It would have been more accurate and mindful of others if you had referred to yourself instead of "Nobody" and "Everybody."

You know what isn't cool? Generalizations based on your own opinion are not cool. I hope this helps you use the word more appropriately in the future.
Quincy
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 12:16am (UTC -5)
Discovery is flawed to be sure, but I'm enjoying it so far. I'm as much a trek fan as anyone, but it's about time we deviated from the old formula. The production quality is quite good and I'm willing to give the show time to grow and cast to gel together. Lord knows every first season of every trek show sucked anus. It's a wonder I kept watching trek long enough to become a trek fan, but it sure as hell wasn't because of any first season.

I really wished they'd placed this show after Voyager in the ST timeline. They could've had the 1st season villains be species 8472 or even the Tamarians from TNG. The only way this won't be a glaring error is if they manage to execute some promising twist that warrants this story as far back as it is. I found myself thinking while watching this, is this actually the birth of the Mirror Universe? (especially with the last scene) Or Section 31 origin story?

People nitpick the oddest things. Inertial dampers are going to struggle with a rotating ring in the saucer section? These are the same inertial dampers that regularly deal with some of the absurd purely impulse (not warp) accelerations seen on the view screens of certain TOS episodes? They're already planning to rotate space stations to add artificial gravity in the real world. How the hell am I supposed to take such a criticism seriously?

Panspermia? I don't recall any such implication, but I could be wrong. The Discovery mushrooms seemed to me to be based on 2 real life things: 1) fungal root systems that give rise to incredibly large organisms, like a certain honey fungus measuring 2.4 miles across in Oregon's Blue Mountains, which is thought to be the largest living organism on Earth, and, 2) mushrooms that do remarkable things, such as hyper-accumulate lethal radioactive substances, like Cesium 137. Good catch Chrome. I couldn't remember that guys name for the life of me.

There's enough to criticize Discovery with all the flaws. I thought Landry could've grown into a good foil for Michael's character. However, they just summarily kill her off in such an incredibly stupid manner. It was ridiculous.

Also, the writers must have used one helluva shoehorn to ram the Doctor's and Engineer's relationship into the script. Other than the fact that they were both obviously gay, there was really nothing suggesting that they were together... especially in the final scene where they were actually together. Talk about lame star trek romances. It seemed to me they were originally implying Stamets had a very "close" relationship with his friend that got killed on the other star ship and then this shit comes out of left field.

That said, there's enough good here that I'll keep watching to see if the writers and cast can gel together to make this a good series.

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