Star Trek: Discovery

"Choose Your Pain"

2.5 stars

Air date: 10/15/2017
Teleplay by Kemp Powers
Story by Gretchen J. Berg & Aaron Harberts & Kemp Powers
Directed by Lee Rose

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Choose Your Pain" is an intriguing, entertaining, confusing, and frustrating hour that's proving Discovery to be, at times, a maddeningly murky narrative engine that can work well moment to moment. This series operates in a very gray area. I'm not talking about gray morality (although there's plenty of that for sure); I'm talking about gray narrative clarity. I'm doing my best to keep up with the characters' motivations, but the vagueness and choppiness of the plot are not helping. Watching this show can be like walking on ground that shifts beneath your feet.

Is this show merely trying to keep me off guard, or is it kind of a mess? Characters' actions can seem wildly inconsistent, perhaps because I previously read them wrong, or perhaps because the writing was done haphazardly by committee. Time will tell — unless, of course, it doesn't. My comments from last week apply again here: I'm not sure if this series is just sloppy, or if they're strategically hiding things so they can reveal more later. Maybe both. But that makes for a sometimes strange viewing experience.

Certainly this outing's individual structure is sound, taking a fairly episodic notion (Lorca's capture and eventual escape from a Klingon torture/prison ship) and following it from beginning to end as a stand-alone action/adventure. Meanwhile, it would seem the mini-arc involving the tardigrade is resolved in a fairly responsibly Trekkian fashion that acts in the interest of preserving alien life while fleshing out the supporting characters as they embark on scientific research.

Following Lorca's kidnapping (which, of course, is contrived; why would he need to conduct a meeting with the Starfleet brass in person, and why would he take a shuttle so vulnerable to Klingon capture?), Burnham concludes the tardigrade is being harmed with each successive jump using the spore drive, so she recommends to Saru they stop using it. (This happens after Starfleet has already asked Lorca to stop using the spore drive in order to maintain a lower profile in the war effort, but the rest of the Discovery crew does not know this.) But Saru — whom you would think would be the first to listen to Burnham's line of reasoning about not harming another lifeform based on his presumed moral code — instead tells Burnham to drop the matter until the captain is rescued. I can see the military argument, but this seems odd when the previous episodes seemed to put Saru in a position of moral authority as Lorca's ideological opposite. But now, in the interests of the mission at hand, Saru says use of the tardigrade-powered drive should continue. It's ... kind of strange.

And too bad, because otherwise, the interactions between Saru and Burnham as he undertakes his first command — amid a great deal of personal uncertainty — make for solid and interesting character-building scenes. Saru's uncertainty as a commander leads him in one scene to consult the computer for examples of past Starfleet captains who exceled in the role (and, naturally we get some familiar names on that list). We've seen the "first command" storyline many times before (even as recently as The Orville's "Command Performance") but this mostly works, despite Saru's initially confusing starting point, in large part because of Doug Jones' consistently intriguing performance.

Meanwhile, I like Stamets more every week. The guy is arrogant, cocky, and abrasive, but he's great, and he exhibits a genuine curiosity when presented with a challenge. The sci-fi plot here does right by this group of characters working to solve a problem that seeks to further explore the experimental technology in a way that doesn't exploit the tardigrade.

But where does Starfleet stand in all this? Don't they bear any responsibility here? At the outset they say they want to replicate the Discovery's technology and even hope to find more tardigrades to exploit (though they certainly don't use that word). How does this square with any previous version of Starfleet we've seen, including the "we come in peace" one in "The Vulcan Hello"? Has the war effort already taken this much of a toll on its moral bearings that they're turning a blind eye to the fact that the tardigrade is essentially slave labor? Maybe they just see these creatures as 23rd-century horses and don't yet know they are possibly sentient and feeling pain. The bigger problem is that the issue isn't much explored at all; it just kind of sits there in the background as noise, not facing any scrutiny, as if everyone forgot to ask the questions.

The spore drive still feels more magical and goofy than a lot of Trek science, with all the snowflake VFX and the network of infinite connections that span the universe, or whatever. But I'm not too hung up on it as long as they aren't technobabbling me to death.

I did like the way this plot resolved itself, with Stamets ultimately figuring out how to hook himself into the drive in place of the dormant tardigrade (something that has ominous possible consequences), as well as Saru's order to Burnham to set the creature free (but not in so many words) before Lorca returns — in what is Saru taking his own personal stand for the moral good when he knows Lorca clearly would go against it. Unclear is how much of this will have consequences next week and who will face them. Will Lorca have a significant conversation with Saru about this choice (in what would be their first significant conversation of the series)? Will Lorca confront Burnham for her role in setting the tardigrade free? Or will this just disappear into the narrative ether after a three-week time jump, never to be referenced again?

Aboard the Klingon ship, we get a serviceable prisoner-torture-escape plot. We finally meet the last remaining regular-credited character on this series, Ash Tyler (Shazad Latif), a Starfleet officer who was captured when his ship was destroyed and who has spent the seven months since then in captivity. Allegedly. Also aboard this ship is L'Rell, which is interesting because the last time we saw her she was adrift on the Shenzhou with Voq. This is again where the narrative, in being murky and coy and probably deceptive, comes off as clumsy. Where's Voq? How did L'Rell end up here? L'Rell tortures Lorca by shining bright lights into his damaged eyes, but the scene ends just as soon as the torture begins and we're given no idea what, if anything, Lorca tells L'Rell under duress.

Also, Harry Mudd (Rainn Wilson) is one of Lorca's cellmates, and it turns out he's feeding information to the Klingons. I'm not sure why Mudd specifically was chosen to be the character to be repurposed from TOS, but the role and performance are decent enough as an isolated plot device also featuring some colorful dialogue that expresses a point of view that blames the Federation for the war.

Naturally, this all ends with a prison break and escape, and we get some reasonable action scenes. But the writing on this show really needs to be tighter and cleaner, clearer and more disciplined. "Choose Your Pain," for all the things it does effectively — and there are a number of them — feels like it's glossing over entire conversations. Context is for kings, but apparently we're all court jesters.

Some other brief thoughts:

  • The relationship between Stamets and Culber is confirmed on screen here, even if it was revealed seemingly forever ago in various promotional statements. I thought this was perfectly executed in its low-key, matter-of-fact way: Just two guys brushing their teeth, completely devoid of exposition, making clear in retrospect the reason for all their previous snark in earlier scenes.
  • The final moment where Stamets walks away from his reflection in the mirror and the reflection remains was a great touch indicating the side effects of connecting to the spore drive bio-technology. Very effectively eerie and yet simple in its execution; it's something that would be at home on Fringe and indicates an element of sci-fi horror that is relatively fresh in the Trek universe.
  • Lorca had a previous command at the beginning of the war, and he blew up his own ship and crew rather than allowing them to fall prisoner to the Klingons for torture and public exhibition. He doesn't fix his eye injury in part to remind him of that choice. But why didn't he go down with his ship? Escaping alone seems awfully cowardly for a man of Lorca's ilk, and especially a captain. Does Starfleet know this? More questions needing answers...
  • Lorca leaving Mudd behind to rot as a Klingon prisoner is a harsh move, even considering Mudd's betrayal. Definitely not very Starfleet. Again, I'm not sure how much of this is typical in Starfleet (I'm guessing not much) versus how much is just Lorca being the rogue asshole he is.
  • All the torturous screams in the background aboard the Klingon vessel are a bit much. Yeah, it's an unpleasant place. We get it.
  • The Klingon shuttle design is bizarre. I'm not a fan of the baroqueness of everything Klingon on this series, from the Klingons themselves to their ships to their clothes.
  • L'Rell apparently used Tyler as a sex slave. Allegedly. Because we need more reasons to make the Klingons horrible.
  • "This is so fucking cool!" says the oft-awkward Tilly about various science-y revelations. The f-bombs come across here as "because we can" rather than "because we should."
  • Despite the producers' promise to the contrary, it's becoming harder to fathom how this series can fit the established Trek continuity in a way that makes sense. Not only are they going to have to plausibly bury the spore drive technology, which we see here Starfleet wants to adapt on a mass scale, but they're going to have to figure out how to Make Starfleet Sane Again after this war has unbalanced the moral compass. It's not impossible, but it remains to be seen how much the producers actually plan to make this fit.

Previous episode: The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry
Next episode: Lethe

◄ Season Index

240 comments on this review

WTBA
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 8:04pm (UTC -6)
Really enjoying this one so far (halfway through), but the f-bombs are near unforgivable. Absolutely gratuitous. Just cringy.
WTBA
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 8:29pm (UTC -6)
Overall, this was the most Trek episode so far. 3.5/4.

Really compelling. Much more of an episodic feel, despite the continuing arcs throughout. Much of the crew seems more likable than ever.

As I said above, the f-bombs were the low point by far.
Michael is a boy's name
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 8:29pm (UTC -6)
This episode had a more of one element the show needs to express - human feeling and friendships. I hope it is a sign of things to come.

I wondered after watching tonight whether I liked this episode entirely on its own merits, or just in contrast to the dreary episodes that preceded it.

Rahul
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 8:37pm (UTC -6)
This DSC episode felt to me more than any other like a typically structured Trek episode that wraps up conveniently in an hour. You have your escape from a prison, a bit of debate around how to treat or not abuse another sentient life form, and bit of character examination for Saru. Nothing exceptional or even very good here for me, just felt like standard stuff.

The continuation of the ethical/moral dilemma of needing to use the tardigrade for jumps was well portrayed through Burnham and Stamets mostly, while acting captain Saru doesn’t seem to care for the creature’s wellbeing. But he puts the captains rescue above all else, which is understandable. The creature suffers and is weakened and then ultimately shrivels up after the final jump to rescue Lorca. But finally Burham and Tilly nurse it back to life let it go, which seems like a nice Trekkian thing to do. Advances in CGI help here!

Miraculously Stamets is used for the jump and it works just fine. Pushing it a little bit here in terms of suspension of disbelief. Chalk this up along with Scotty’s many miraculous marvels of engineering in TOS escapes.

Not sure why Harry Mudd was brought into the brutal Klingon prison scene — maybe purely for some link to TOS to keep old school trekkies happy? Wasn’t very true to the original portrayal by Roger C. Carmel, for me. Will he be back in a future DSC episode?

Not sure what Lorca was doing with that device and his eyes earlier in the episode but apparently the Klingons found out about it and torture him Clockwork Orange-style. But he seems to show no effects and is able to fight for his escape the next time the captors come to play “choose your pain”. Lorca and Tyler’s escape came as a bit of surprise for me. But the Klingons stupidly allowed themselves to be outnumbered when coming to play “choose your pain”.

One major drawback with this episode: there’s no need for the f-word from both Tilly and Stamets. That does not belong in Star Trek which should elevate itself from the riffraff of other fiction produced today. Tilly is already an annoying character who has contributed virtually nothing so far, and now she drops an f-bomb. She had continued with her annoying role in a brief lunchroom scene with Burnham early in the episode.

Thought Saru did well as an acting captain -- clearly he has ambitions and is jealous of Burnham's success and the confidence captain Georgiou placed in her. But Burnham appears to be a team player here giving him the telescope in a nice gesture so it would seem these 2 aren't going to be competitors but rather good colleagues.

2 stars for “Choose Your Pain” — the weakest DSC episode so far but only by a small margin. There’s been nothing exceptional or awful so far in the series. This was a good episode for being capable of standing on its own with a plot and resolution in an hour. The Discovery has a new crew member in Tyler who seems interesting and Lorca's character is on the right track.
MidshipmanNorris
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 8:40pm (UTC -6)
:|

Discovery just doesn't seem to know what kind of Trek it wants to be. It bears the distinct mark of writing which is trying to please too many different kinds of people, and ends up simply alienating most.

...There's something a little mustache-twirly about having Harry Mudd scream the line "You haven't seen the last of me!!" ...Ehhh. Is this what Star Trek is supposed to be about? The episode goes off in 4 or 5 different thematic directions at once, never seeming to find its feet, even in the main plot concerning the 'ethical treatment of sentient life' angle, which itself comes off as forced and also well-trodden Trek territory. Am I supposed to be happy to have a familiar plot? Or does it represent the problem with making more Trek stories at this point? That most of what can be done with the world has been done already, so you're going to be riffing on it no matter what kind of plot you write.

This episode left me with kind of a patchy feel. 2 stars out of 4.
Karl Zimmerman
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 8:40pm (UTC -6)
Well, that was a good one, minus some minor plot issues.

This episode did a lot to allay one of my deepest fears about the series - that only Burnham was being given character development. Stamets, Lorca, Saru, Ash, and even the doctor got a fair amount, although Tilly was still functionally more as Burnham's sounding board than a character of her own. The episode was full of quiet character moments, not just dumb action scenes. This was the first episode that truly felt like it was from an ensemble cast show rather than a "protagonist driven" one. Rainn Wilson was also great as Harry Mudd, although the female admiral was flaccid. Ash Tyler=Voq also became a bit stronger as a concept, as the actor's mannerisms were the same, there was a plausible time jump for the "procedure" (3 weeks) and plenty of dialogue which could be interpreted in two different ways.

My big issues with this episode have to do with the plot, which was semi-nonsensical in places. I could deal with the McGuffin of Lorca being kidnapped, and his escape with Ash being perfectly timed to Discovery's jump - Trek history is littered with junk like that. However, it stretches credulity that an admiral would tell Lorca not to use the jump until the health of the tartigrade could be guaranteed, but then have the exact same admiral contact the Discovery and say nothing about it to Saru at all. This in turn sets up the central crisis for the Discovery section of the episode, which is amazingly solved not through hard choices, but technobable worthy of Voyager.

I kind of felt like the episode wrapped up a few too many things all pretty in a bow by its end. The episode solved Lorca's kidnapping, ended the "tartigrade arc" (for now at least) and resulted in a reconciliation between Burnham and Saru. If it wasn't for the weirdness with the mirror at the end, it would almost seem like an old episodic Trek episode.
Michael is a boy's name
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 8:53pm (UTC -6)
So Lorca was dropping key phrases such as 'ghost ship,' to see who might leak info to the Klingons. He said 'ghost ship' to Ash, but later attributed it to Mudd's listening device. But couldn't Ash have passed it to the Klingons instead, as far as Lorca knows? Eh.

Lorca left a fellow prisoner behind. No other captain on any series would have done that.
Geekgarious
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 8:55pm (UTC -6)
A little closer to classic Trek in spirit, but still not that great. I’m canceling my subscription to All Access after next weeks episode. The writing is just not up to snuff and the fixation on the TOS era and disregard for the Fanbase is absolutely ridiculous. Trek, just like Star Wars, has been gutted by corporate suits in this age of endless remakes and reboots. I’ll give credit to Fuller for actually wanting to give us something new. Sheesh.
Startrekwatcher
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 9:03pm (UTC -6)
2 stars. By far the worst episode so far. It’s official this is the worst start to any Star Trek series. The characters have no chemistry, they barely interact, they’re insufferable people. Saru The one character who escaped all these many weeks from being characterized as morally bankrupt and unlikable is soiled in this eposode by his callous disregard for the tardigrade to rescue a monster like Lorca who admitted killing his own crew and not going down with them.

The whole subplot in the Klingon ship was utter filler. Nothing happened. No plot development, no adding to the arc.



The spore drive continues to grow more and more ludicrous. Ascwas the whole Saru scene stbthe end where he acts so childish about not being able to be reasybto be a first officer because he didn’t benefit from the tutelage of Georgiou—then why the heck is he first officer on the Discovery

I guess this series goes to show you can throw crap at the wall and see what sticks and get paid very well for it

The only decent things in this episode were Rainn Wilson managing to pull off a pretty good Mudd—even if the character was pointless—and the scene between Stamets and his boyfriend at the end

The Klingons now fly around in ships resembling peacock feathers
WTBA
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 9:06pm (UTC -6)
@startrekwatcher

" The characters have no chemistry, they barely interact, they’re insufferable people."

I really thought they worked well together this episode. Stamets, the Doc, Michael, and Tilly.
WTBA
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 9:16pm (UTC -6)
also @startrekwatcher

"The whole subplot in the Klingon ship was utter filler. Nothing happened. No plot development, no adding to the arc. "

We got some of Lorca's backstory. We added Ash Tyler. We met Harry Mudd. We saw L'Rell has a ship now. We didn't see Voq. (And without the need to go after Lorca, the tardigrade/Saru plots don't move in the same ways.)

This is one of the issues with the serialization. All these pieces add to the overall framework, but may be largely unsatisfying until they pay off.

I rather enjoy this change (toward serialization). It is more DS9 than Voyager. I like things to pay off and have many layers. Voyager was the king (queen?) of leaving plots unreturned to.

I understand that some viewers do not enjoy this change. They are not wrong to not enjoy it. To each his own. I, for my two cents, enjoy it.
Del_Duio
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 9:26pm (UTC -6)
"It's fuckin' awesome!"

Blah oh man swears and Trek don't mix.

Also this whole episode seems to have been edited weird. Like here's Lorca and then the next scene poof he's on the shuttle all of the sudden. And when they say this way to the escape and then poof they're on the raider already being chased.

Ah I don't know it just seemed like this episode is missing some scenes or something.
Del_Duio
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 9:30pm (UTC -6)
Oh and they actually had the lines: "to boldly go where nobody has gone before" and even a shout out to CBS "all access pass"!

I haven't felt a cringe like that since Cochrane said "you're all astronauts on some sort of Star Trek!" In First Contact lol.
J-P
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 9:33pm (UTC -6)
Things I liked:

Old Trek morality issues

Lorca strategically luring the civilian prisoner reminded me of Captain Picard in Allegiance when he fooled Cadet Haro.

As someone mentioned earlier, most of the characters are evolving in a good way. Stamets scored some major points by putting his life on the line to save the Tardigrade.

Best episode so far with a 3.5/4.
Startrekwatcher
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 9:34pm (UTC -6)
@WTBA

I don’t mind Trek being serialized. I can be patient and let things develop but this sort of “arc” storytelling is not very good with its scattered approach. I realize that ever since LOST the approach to arcs has been a more puzzle piece strategy where you are told to wait and see the Big Picture but if you go back to the 80s/90s and watched good serialized storytelling you’d know that each individual chapter can be satisfying and that you don’t have to wait for some Big Picture, where all the pieces fall into place. Rather old school arcs treated each episode as a link in a tight linear narrative where the story progressed and there were plot developments—none of this nonsense about this chapter will be better appreciated once you see the Big Picture. No, the chapter itself could stand alone back then. Now people settle for writers telling them just wait, bear with us, it’ll be a thing of beauty when all said and done
Chrome
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 9:35pm (UTC -6)
I agree mostly with Karl Zimmerman’s review above, I’ll talk more on this one later but I liked it.

“Blah oh man swears and Trek don't mix. ”

Not a fan of Star Trek: The Voyage Home?
Jeanne
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 9:46pm (UTC -6)
Nggg. The "what the fuck" ending with Stamets got a lot of points back from me, as did the concept (if not the execution of "Saru in command.") But the Harry Mudd segments of the episode majorly rubbed me the wrong way:

(1) exactly why did Lorca need to be at a physical meeting in the middle of a war? Why did he travel alone by shuttlecraft through a clearly insecure part of space? If only they had some kind of ship that could fly by SPACE MAGIC

(2) Harry Mudd should be distinguishable, as a character, from one of the randos on that Con Air episode of ENT ("Canamar," I believe)

(3) Since when do Klingons torture people?

(4) Since when do Klingons take sex slaves?

(5) Since when does a Starfleet captain fire at the face of an unarmed combatant?

I can buy exactly zero of it and see no purpose, other than to get a Lorca backstory drop that could have happened any number of other ways, as well as to get the name HARRY MUDD all over the internet. I can do without a lot of torture of humans and animals. Lorca even punched the cyborg cockroach thing. I like my DS9 a ton, but even DS9 didn't have EVERY EPISODE be "Inter Arma Silent Leges" or "Pale Moonlight."

I really want the show to spend a little bit of time just dealing with characters, less hell-bent on assembling the next piece in the Spore Engine War Tactical Puzzle at the rate of 1 per episode. I just finished watching the Xindi Weapon arc on ENT: even that took some detours into time travel, Hoshi in the haunted space castle, "Evolution" (God help us), etc. There must be some way that we can just chill out a little and get to know these characters for a while. "Saru in command" is a promising idea, but in practice it turned into his having one "now this character uses his superpower and earns his keep" moment with the "prey patterns" thing, then retreading the already-old ground of his relationship with / trust in Burnham, and mostly yelling at everyone. I'm ready for some kind of episode-of-the-week break here.

2 stars. The major misfire "captain is in jail!" plot outweighs the nice character stuff with Stamets and the affable Tilly material.
Del_Duio
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 9:48pm (UTC -6)
@Chrome:

I don't think DSC dropping f bombs is anything like Kirk's double dumbass on you line. Kirk and co were already proven characters by the 4th movie, DSC can't figure itself out yet and the best character just got jettisoned into space.
Chrome
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 9:56pm (UTC -6)
@Del_Duio

I don’t think you need to be proven character to cuss. The whole swearing conversation got started by a woman with autism, so the awkwardness fits the her character’s trait in that scene. Kind of like Data saying “Oh SH*T!” in Generations, though I buy Tilly using it a little more precisely because I don’t think of her as too good to swear yet.
Dobber
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 10:01pm (UTC -6)
Last weeks was the first episode that i thought was any good. This week managed to completely undermine it. I was shocked to learn that they had continued to use the spore drive beyond that initial trial after learning of the suffering it induced. More so that starfleet wants to actually start rounding up these creatures for exploitation. I was expecting this episode to be about the morality of abusing a living creature to help win a war, but nobody cared about that. The only thing they cared about was that if it died the shore drive would stop working. They tried to imply that Michael was bothered by it on an ethical basis with her nightmare, but everything she said and did ignored that. If she really felt that way and these were truly starfleet officers she shouldn’t have to lie to convince them to stop. Also Lorca “spared” his crew but conveniently got out alive himself. Go #$&* yourself Lorca.
Hank
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 10:03pm (UTC -6)
Best episode so far. Makes me question even more why they did episode 1 through 3.

Overall I can find nothing wrong with this. Yeah, sure, Lorca escaping so easily was a typical trope, and I found the intro scene to be really over the top. Yeah we get it, the tardigrade suffers and Michael feels bad about it. The computer telling Saru to get rid of the distraction felt out of character for the computer. After all, he just does what he is told to, but apparently he now is more or less sentient? And I agree that the "Fuck yeah" moment felt forced and tonedeaf.

Lorca killed his previous crew. Huh. Why does he tell anybody? Is he not afraid that StarFleet will become aware of that? Are they already aware? I have no issue with him leaving the prisoner behind - makes sense, as he is portrayed as an asshole anyways.

Otherwise, I have no gripes with this. Finally an episode where people talk. That ending scene with the mirror was actually intriguing. The rest was mildly entertaining. Oh, and apparently the Klingons come from the Lexx universe now ... at least going by their ships. I rate this episode "I worship his shadow"/4
Anthony Laviano
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 10:17pm (UTC -6)
I didn't find the fuck any more jarring than when Scotty refereed to a character as a bastard in one episode. I was surprised that made it through 1960's TV.
Frederick Lang
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 10:40pm (UTC -6)
This episode is definitely centered around the characters and their development.

*We get into Lorca and see more of his dark disposition and backstory. In a dark twisted way he does care for his crew despite constantly arguing and lashing out as we've seen in the past two episodes.
*Saru is feeling conflicted and concerned about his skills and place on the ship. It's hard to imagine how it must feel when a mutineer is seem to be held to a higher standard then a First Officer.
*Stamets was the GOAT this episode with the self sacrifice. I'm starting to feel another mutiny building up between the "We Must Do What's Right" and "The Ends Justify the Means" groups.

Ultimately this was the most Star Trek structred episode so far, with an introduced A plot, touched upon B-plots and character development and it's all nicely wrapped up within the last 5-10 minutes with a slight cliffhanger for the next episode. My only gripes were:

*How did the Klingons know Lorca was even on that transport in the beginning?
*How is Lorca able to see and fight after that light torture?
*The F-bombs really threw me off and took me out of the scene. I know CBS is loving their MA rating but there's no need to go super vulgar.

3/4 stars
J.B.
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 10:41pm (UTC -6)
Like others, I also found some of the pacing jarring. I can't decide whether scenes were cut for time or if it was just filmed this way. Just felt like stuff was missing.

Tonally, I still don't like that the show doesn't have a lot of room for humor. Everyone is on edge, arguing with each other and it gets wearying. And a lot of the dialogue remains clunky. But I very much appreciate that they're continuing to humanize the rest of the cast and it feels like an ensemble that is coming together. More scenes that don't revolve around Michael would be appreciated (like the closing scene with the doctor and Stamets).

I really wish they'd go in a different direction for the underscore, though. There were entire scenes that would have been better off with no music in them at all, given the amateurish way they were scored.
Del_Duio
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 10:57pm (UTC -6)
^^ Yeah, sometimes the best musicians know when NOT to play ^^

A lot of great TNG scenes had only the soft backdrop hum of the ship for example.
John Harmon
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 11:01pm (UTC -6)
I'll admit, this one actually had me smiling. It actually felt like Star Trek. Morality issues, the characters (mostly) actually acting like members of Starfleet. And it almost felt weirdly comfortable in a way with the prison escape trope. I enjoyed the more episodic feel. Even in serialization, each chapter should feel like its own story.

I'm curious why Lorca is still a Captain though. The way he casually mentioned he blew up his own previous crew read to me like it wasn't a secret. So why the hell is he not rotting in a Federation prison?

With each new Captain, I usually put them through the Arena test. Fighting for your life against a deadly enemy, and you're told that killing your enemy is the only way out. And Kirk still chose not to kill the Gorn.

I firmly believe that Lorca wouldn't hesitate to murder the Gorn. He feels more like a Starship Troopers Captain than a Star Trek Captain.
HawgWyld
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 11:05pm (UTC -6)
This series is becoming entertaining at times, but this Michael character just seems extremely limited. In fact, we can primarily find her doing three things:

1. Following orders when she agrees with them.

2. Disobeying orders when she does not.

3. Glowering at people.

It's telling when the most enjoyable parts of the show are the ones without her in them. And, she's supposed to carry this series?
Peremensoe
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 11:13pm (UTC -6)
"Miraculously Stamets is used for the jump and it works just fine."

Not quite.
Snitch
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 11:17pm (UTC -6)
This was the best Discovery episode yet. It helped they avoided long Klingon subtitles and the resulting boredom. Klingons are the worst part of the new show imo.

The show is a lot darker then I anticipated, but that is not a problem for me. The whole prison ship was just McGuffin to give the crew some more depth, it worked well in that respect.

I don't mind the cussing... I am surprised some Americans are uncomfortable with cussing or nudity. Normal humans cuss a lot, it has always been that way and I foresee no change in the future.

Character development finally happened this episode, which is a great plus. I start to get a sense of who those people are. More of that is needed.

Captain hardass crosses the line quite a lot. I wonder if that will set him up for another mutiny or if they will push the might makes right attitude even further.

The action and production value were all excellent. Makes old Trek look dated.

Michael's role is still weird, the whole mutiny, blamed for the war part is so over the top. I am not sure what they are going for. Her actions do not hold up to close scrutiny, so they might want to cut their losses and let it go.

But overall this was a good episode, 3*** out of 4 from me.
WTBA
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 11:36pm (UTC -6)
@snitch "I am surprised some Americans are uncomfortable with cussing or nudity."

For the record, I am uncomfortable with neither. America has nothing to do with it.

The "fucks" felt gratuitous because we have hundred of hours of Starfleet crews interacting (many in life and death scenarios) and no one ever said "fuck." Leaving out the movies (and Picard's French muttering), no one ever said "shit" either.I curse more in an afternoon than Star Trek ever has. It just feels weird so far. As time goes on, it won't. But right now, noncursing Starfleet is ahead 4000 hours (or whatever) to 5.

That being said, this usage was more organic than most (an excited utterance).

I have seen the argument elsewhere that cursing (and potential nudity - since you brought it up) makes it a show people cannot watch with their kids. I don't really but that words themselves are "bad" (aside from slurs), but that doesn't mean there are no consequences for using them in the wrong place (school, job interview, court, etc.).

I do, however, not want to alienate part of the audience, because the use of unnecessary f-bombs turns them away.
Dobber
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 11:41pm (UTC -6)
Oh btw, we have actual mirrors now instead of the stupid holographic mirror from last week, since this time it’s convenient for the plot... Making last weeks absurd holomirror even more gratuitous
Peremensoe
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 11:48pm (UTC -6)
There's nothing absurd about the holomirror app. It's a simple, obvious, and practical application of holo tech--the equivalent of using the camera-flash LED on your phone as a flashlight.
Dobber
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 12:09am (UTC -6)
"There's nothing absurd about the holomirror app." Putting aside the fact that conventional mirrors are used exclusively in all other trek well into the 24th century (and that holographic technology of this quality shouldn't exist in the 23rd century), a holomirror doesn't have any advantages over a conventional mirror. A regular mirror already produces a fully 3d and completely faithful image.
Peremensoe
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 12:23am (UTC -6)
You think holographic tech "of this quality" is harder than molecularly-accurate matter-energy transport?

The existence of conventional mirrors (if that's what they are) is irrelevant; the advantage of the holo app, like the phone light, is that you can call it up from a general-purpose system when you don't have the standard, dedicated tech available.
Peremensoe
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 12:26am (UTC -6)
I suppose another advantage would be that you could rotate the image, or walk around it, to see the other side.
Dobber
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 12:32am (UTC -6)
“You think holographic tech "of this quality" is harder than molecularly-accurate matter-energy transport?” Apparently so, since that’s how it has been established. All the holo tech we see in the 23rd Century is very low quality. When janeway sees Sulu in Tuvoks mind meld she notes that he doesn’t look anything like his holographic portrait. Tuvok explained that that was because the resolution of holographic imaging technology was much poorer in the 23rd Century. In voyager it’s made into a big deal about how difficult it is to project a hologram into an arbitrary space (i.e. not on a dedicated hologrid). Sickbay was designed specially for it but they had a lot of trouble projecting the Doctor into other parts of the ship. Ultimately they resorted to 29th century technology for that!

It’s not like they couldn’t have done this effect before if they wanted to. Split screen doubles were done on many shows even in the 60s (e.g. I dream of Jeannie). It’s pretty easy especially when the characters don’t have to interact.
Dobber
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 12:34am (UTC -6)
“walk around it, to see the other side.” well as presented if she did that the image would just walk around her. But I grant that you ought to be able to freeze it or rotate it.
Brian
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 1:31am (UTC -6)
This was the best episode of the series so far, but the bar is pretty low after the last few. Finally the writers realized you need some kind of sub-plot to allow characterization to occur, instead of some grand umbrella called "serialization." So we got a prison-break episode set on a Klingon ship and it didn't turn out half bad. Lorca is the tough guy. Mudd is onboard (why?). I still don't like how the Klingons are portrayed, but it's becoming apparent that the writers feel that is how they must be portrayed if we are to buy into them being the enemy. It just feels wrong though--we have many years worth of Klingon episodes etched into our hearts--those honorable, tough, warriors, yet somehow remarkably human at the same time. Those Klingons are gone and I think they made a mistake doing it that way. It could have been done so much better.

The spore plot advanced a bit and possibly ended--we'll see. There was some attempt at characterization of the crew members, which is a promising sign.

Still, the writers continue to show their immaturity and lack of writing prowess. We still get several long expositional speeches to cameras. In one scene, it is particularly cringy--this time, a 30 second recap of the spore drive plot delivered speech-to-audience style by Burnham. This one had me hitting the pause button to have a laugh with my wife about the quality of the writing.

Sometimes, it appears as if the cast are being forced to deliver their lines at 2x speed.

The editing is loose and in several parts, just poor. The captain appears in a shuttle by himself with no warning, and we are left wondering why he is there and then is suddenly attacked. The captain somehow steals a shuttle from the Klingons without us knowing about it. We don't need to see every single thing that happens behind the scenes, but glaring errors like these pull you out of the action and it's just poor editing. I bet the scenes were shot, even. But where are they?

The cinematography--passable. We still have copious amounts of exaggerated lens flare, washed out colors, and monotone sets. Camera angles are all over the place although not as blatant as the pilot.

F-bombs--unbelievable, seemed forced, like the writers were trying to say "Hey look at us, we do unexpected things like put swearing in Star Trek. Watch the next episode please."

Gay scene--sorry, this is not a judgement, just a preference--I don't think gay belongs in Star Trek. It's just annoying. I know there are people out there who live that way and that's fine. But to force it into my living room because I'm a Star Trek fan is beyond annoying. Also, having a romantic couple being already established on the crew is a writing cop-out. The challenge to writing romance is the build-up. If they were truly trying to take a risk, they'd let the relationship evolve naturally during the course of the show. It feels like it was forced into the show by some committee--yea "real" progress.

During this episode, it has become become apparent that Burnham is dragging the show down. I'm not sure how many more extended shots of her expressionless face I can take. I sincerely hope that the writers have done this purposefully, in preparation for her character to shed her tough exterior and evolve into this wonderfully colorful person. If so, great. Let's get evolving. She's dragging every scene she's in, and it's possible it might just be her. She needs some fun episodes to let her character come out.

It's a slow start. For DS9 this early on, we had already met Garak, who would go on to be one of the shows most memorable characters. And the 5th episode was "Babel"--an interesting story about a virus that induces speech oddities that allowed the actors to say funny things. Voyagers 5th episode was "The Cloud"--about harvesting resources out of a living nebula. It was not an incredible episode but I do remember it fondly--it was, similar to Discovery, about the ethics of harming sentient life forms. TNG's fifth was "The Last Outpost"--a misguided introduction to the Ferengi that never went anywhere.

2 stars for me. There was some promising characterization. The prison-break sub-plot was a welcome departure from the ponderous serial arc. But the writing, pacing, and editing continue to be poor, and Burnham is dragging the show down. Overall it still feels like fan-fiction with good CGI.
John Harmon
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 2:05am (UTC -6)
Damnit Brian, you were making good points until this:

"Gay scene--sorry, this is not a judgement, just a preference--I don't think gay belongs in Star Trek. It's just annoying. I know there are people out there who live that way and that's fine. But to force it into my living room because I'm a Star Trek fan is beyond annoying. Also, having a romantic couple being already established on the crew is a writing cop-out. The challenge to writing romance is the build-up. If they were truly trying to take a risk, they'd let the relationship evolve naturally during the course of the show. It feels like it was forced into the show by some committee--yea "real" progress."

Come on Brian...
J.B.
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 2:14am (UTC -6)
@John Harmon

Honestly, as a gay man, Brian mostly just made me giggle. OH NOES, THE GAYS ARE RUINING MY STAR TREK. Give me a break, haha. I hope Stamets and the doc get some hot make out scenes just to piss off the homophobes.
Brian
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 2:27am (UTC -6)
Honestly as a gay man, I would think you'd be offended by their portrayal. Consider the fact that the risky, challenging part of portraying a real relationship, the evolution of it within the context of a particular set of characters and society, was completely side-stepped. We have a gay couple just copy-pasted into the show, as if some executive said "just put a gay couple in there." It is the absolute laziest, cheapest way to do it possible. I'd be offended, so I'm very interested to hear why you aren't!
J.B.
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 3:13am (UTC -6)
@Brian

If the show was centered around Stamets and Culber's relationship, missing out on their courtship might be a problem, depending on how its handled. But it's not. It's about Michael's journey and everyone else is along for the ride. I just see their relationship as providing some humanity and color on a ship that so far, has felt pretty sterile and dark.

(In fact, I very much want the show to start focusing on character relationships outside of the sphere of Michael. How do Lorca and Saru get along, for instance? Or Tilly and virtually anyone else?)
WTBA
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 3:18am (UTC -6)
@Brian "We have a gay couple just copy-pasted into the show...It feels like it was forced into the show by some committee."

Every pre-existing couple in any media is copy-pasted/forced under this definition. Your "challenge to writing romance" argument might work if it wasn't couched in a larger bullshit argument.

The previous 100% of pre-existing couples on Star Trek were Straight. Why wasn't it a problem for them? Why aren't they forced by a committee?

If anything, the inclusion of a gay relationship in this manner is more normalizing and accepting. Why do the writers have to justify a gay relationship by bringing you along slowly?

This is the same bullshit argument against any diversity in casting/characters. Oh, Michael is a black woman, must be copy-pasted/forced. Phillipa was Asian, must be copy-pasted/forced. Lorca is a white man...no copy pasting there. Nothing forced about a white male captain.

"Honestly as a gay man, I would think you'd be offended by their portrayal."

Give me a fucking break...own your prejudice. You couldn't sound more ignorant if you tried.
Darren
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 3:29am (UTC -6)
@ Brian:

"Gay scene--sorry, this is not a judgement, just a preference--I don't think gay belongs in Star Trek. It's just annoying. I know there are people out there who live that way and that's fine. But to force it into my living room because I'm a Star Trek fan is beyond annoying."

But how is it forced? As you say, there *are* gay people, and in general, it's nice for shows and movies to be reflective of all those who watch them. While I'm personally not fond of retcons in order to reveal characters as being gay (because then it *does* start to feel forced), with brand new characters, why not?

Not to mention how Star Trek sort of pioneered showing diversity. Frankly, considering how much public opinion in the US, for instance, has shifted in favor of marriage equality and such, it's a little late for a Star Trek show to be including gay characters as it is.

"Consider the fact that the risky, challenging part of portraying a real relationship, the evolution of it within the context of a particular set of characters and society, was completely side-stepped. We have a gay couple just copy-pasted into the show, as if some executive said "just put a gay couple in there." It is the absolute laziest, cheapest way to do it possible."

It *is* interesting to see how a relationship comes together and evolves, but so too I would say, can it be to see how one is sustained and nurtured, most especially during such trying times as the Discovery crew is facing. And presumably, of course, in Discovery's time, a gay couple is no more attention-getting than a black comm officer, so the fact that it's apparently being played so low-key is quite correct.

---------

But for those of you who watch The Orville, here's a good question. While Discovery has a gay couple and therefore a same-sex couple, Orville only has a same-sex couple (Bortus and Klyden are from a species of virtually all males, so a gay / straight distinction there doesn't really make sense).

Which show did better in terms of having a same-sex couple on the show? In Discovery's favor is that it's an actual gay couple--human at that--while in Orville's favor it's that it's instead a same-sex couple that's more allegorical for a gay human couple. Some would say Discovery, because they went ahead, in a low-key manner, and scripted an actual gay couple. But then considering how being gay can't be discerned on sight (unlike ethnicity, for instance), and how there *is* still resistance to gay people on TV, some would say Orville, because by playing it allegorically, they managed to get a same-sex couple onscreen in a way that might avoid raising anyone's ire.

I guess you might summarize it as: Orville: Clever or cop-out? And Discovery: Better or miscalculated?
Tyrion
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 3:53am (UTC -6)
A an european I can't understand why some people are upset about the so called f-bombs. Star Trek featured people killing and torturing since the 1960s. No one complained and many people even let their kids watch the shows. Yet you are upset by a bit of cursing?
John Harmon
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 4:08am (UTC -6)
@J.B. The funniest part was it being "forced" into his living room. Like dude, you're choosing to watch the show. You chose to subscribe to the service and you chose to play it. Nobody forced it on you.
MadManMUC
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 4:59am (UTC -6)
lol @ people getting worked over the word 'fuck' in Star Trek. This really is the very *least* of this episode's problems.

It boggles the mind to understand how some of these people even managed to graduate from Starfleet Academy, let alone not get court-martialled. There's a reason even Archer was on the list of most-decorated Starfleet captains that Saru brought up:

• He would never, ever, ever have escaped his ship and killed his entire crew, ostensibly to prevent Klingon capture. He would have stayed aboard, fought side-by-side with his crew and, if worse came to absolute worse, would have self-destructed his ship with himself aboard. So would have Kirk. So would have Picard. And Sisko. And Janeway. But Lorca? Oh, no, no. He killed however many people were aboard his old ship, and gets rewarded for it with a new command. What. The. Fuck. I found this far more fucking shocking that hearing the word 'fuck'. Sadly, it wouldn't be the first shock I had this episode.

• Archer would never have ordered his crew to continue torturing a life form. Saru's orders were beyond shocking. He doesn't even deserve to be able to briefly cast a gaze on the uniform he's wearing. And all of this because he was secretly jealous of Burnham? He's absolutely unfit for Starfleet service. At least, the Starfleet I thought I knew and admired. Apparently, this Starfleet we've got now is only worth utter contempt. Ask Janeway about how to deal with Starfleet officers who behave like this.

• Similarly, Starfleet wanting to round up as many tardigrades as possible to make The Mushroom Drive™ available on all Starfleet vessels? Good god, this is shocking. Yes, let's use living creatures to make our starships go, against their will! That's the Starfleet way, apparently! Fuck me ...

• Archer, Kirk, Picard, Sisko and Janeway — even if they didn't like the guy — would have never, ever left a human (or, indeed, any Federation member race) civilian to languish as a prisoner aboard a Klingon vessel to be tortured, even during wartime. Even if said civilian had sold them out. That civilian would have been rescued, then brought to justice. Disgusting, and further evidence of this show's overall moral bankruptcy.

• And to top it all off, Archer & Co would have never have dignified or validated Saru's command decisions like fucking Burnham did by telling him he did well. No, no, he did not do fucking well. He was being a precious little princess who let his jealousy influence his command ability *and* he — as far as I'm concerned — committed a war crime by ordering the continued torture and slavery of the tardigrade. If this is Burnham's definition of 'doing well', human beings are in big fucking trouble in the 23rd century.

I can't believe how loathesome this show is. Dreadful. And just by virtue of the above points alone (never minding all of the canon violations, bad writing, etc) Discovery is absolutely unworthy of having the name Star Trek attached to it.

Star Trek is far, far better than this. What a fucking disgrace.
Latex Zebra
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 6:31am (UTC -6)
I remember people moaned about Data saying "Shit" in Star Trek: Generations.
Apparently people in the future don't swear.
Fuck that bullshit.
Chrome
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 7:20am (UTC -6)
While the gay couple scene was a little long for my tastes, Stamets showing fallout from using himself to navigate the spore drive was tagental to the story. The scene needed to be done to show that while he seemed okay even to people close to him, something was very and forebodingly wrong.
Hunter
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 7:36am (UTC -6)
Ships in Discovery sound like Star Wars ships aka racing cars in space. That seems to be another thing borrowed from the JJ style. It's less of a deep thrumming sound like the Enterprise D, more of a Futurama sounding 'wiwiwiwiwwi'
JohnTY
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 8:01am (UTC -6)
Better.

Saru's characterisation seemed off given what we've seen of him but most others were good.

Agree that there's no way a starfleet officer around the time of Kirk etc would leave a federation citizen in an enemy jail.

Anyway lots of little contrivances as usual but definitely better.

3/4 for me.
Pforts
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 8:55am (UTC -6)
One of the details I noticed in this episode was the return of the classic trek double punch! As Kira demonstrated in DS9, it's very effective against Klingons!
Michael is a boy's name
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 9:07am (UTC -6)
@Hank
"Yeah, sure, Lorca escaping so easily was a typical trope..."

I'm pretty sure Lorca's escape was part of the Klingons' plan, not merely due to his skillz. Also part of the plan was for his arrogance regarding his skillz to blind him to the fact that they let him go.
William
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 9:12am (UTC -6)
I definitely found this to be the best episode so far, although that is saying very little. It changed my opinion from "thank god I'm at the last episode of the 5-episode test" to "I guess I'll watch one more."

Tully, Stamets, and Dr....Whoever (who apparently is not the chief medical officer despite calling the time of death on the 2nd officer?) all had a lot of good character development. Saru had a lot of good work too, but his willing disregard for the guild navigator came completely out of left field. Why spend 4 episodes establishing a character as thoughtful and ethical if you are going to disregard that characterization when it matters? We also spent two of those episodes showing that Saru despises Lorca's amoral pragmatism, but I guess he shares it now?

And of course, there is Burnham. Has there been an episode yet where she hasn't disobeyed a direct order? Or an episode where another character hasn't been characterized as a fool/monster to show how smart and infallible she is? Is she ever going to to have a facial expression besides contempt? The scene with her and Saru in her quarters at the end made me want to throw up. They actually wrote a scene where someone comes to her quarters and begs for absolution. If studying for seven years under Georgiou taught Burnham to never follow the chain of command and treet everyone like garbage, than Saru lucked out.

Lorca's half of the episode was pretty pointless. Mudd was fun, but he has no place in this episode. Three people in the cell: one murdered his crew, another has been a sex slave for 7 months, and the third is charming snake-oil salesman. One of these people doesn't belong. This half of the story basically exists to shoehorn in Mudd, show how gross a person Lorca is, add in a new guy, and hammer home how non-Klingon the Klingons in this show are. I know when I hear Klingon, I think easilly over-powered in hand-to-hand combat aliens who fly around in two man fighters made of glass and silver filigree. God I want the entire design team for this show fired.

I stand by that this is the best episode yet, but that's because it shows hope, not promise.
Guest
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 9:32am (UTC -6)
@William

Saru's disregard for Ripper came from his fear of letting another captain die since he hasn't gotten over his grief from Georgiou. This was even foreshadowed in episode 3 when he said he planned to do a better job of protecting his captain than Michael did, this was the culmination of that sentiment. It's not heroic, but it's emotionally logical.
Karl Zimmerman
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 9:41am (UTC -6)
William -

There's a lot of subtext in the prison scene you seem to have missed out on. The basic point was, in my mind, to.

1. Humanize and round out Lorca. It's clear that he has a code of honor, and he feels guilt over killing his crew, or he would get his eyes fixed and not be in agony. The one unresolved question is why he decided to not just self-destruct the ship with himself on board, but we don't know what orders he was under from Starfleet.

2. Establish Ash Tyler as a character, and put suspicion as to his true identity. Even if you don't believe the Tyler=Voq augmented hypothesis going around the net, he very clearly lied, because he said he was a prisoner for seven months, when we know the female Klingon (L'Rell) was with Voq on the ancient Klingon ship up until three weeks ago.

3. Establish Mudd. For what reason, I cannot say, but he will be seen again this season, since earlier trailers have an interaction with Burnham.
Morn
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 9:42am (UTC -6)
Maybe the whole show so far is actually set in the mirror universe where everything went wrong (including the war with the Klingons), and "mirror Stamets" will actually turn out to be good Stamets? That theory would certainly explain why everyone behaves like such a jackass on this show, including Saru...
Dom
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 9:45am (UTC -6)
I agree with what seems to be the consensus: this was the best, most Trek-like episode of STD yet.

However, Michael really seems to be dragging the show down. I'm actually quite interested in the other characters - Stamets, Lorca, Saru, even Tilly - but Michael is just insufferable. On any other Trek show, if any other character behaved in such an insubordinate manner, the captain would ask to see her in the ready room and chew her out. It's one thing to disagree with the captain in private or in a staff meeting, but on the bridge! (to be fair, the medical officer also seemed about to refuse Saru's orders so Michael isn't the only character with this problem). Michael is slowly becoming the Wesley Crusher of Trek. The know-it-all, self-righteous who gets away with defying the captain and expects everyone to kowtow to his/her genius. And wasn't Michael supposed to be raised on Vulcan? What ever happened to that? I'm not ready to say they should jettison the character quite yet, but she's a problem, just like Wesley was in early TNG.

Part of the problem is also that the show abandons the Pillar-style focus on characters. Each episode in the Berman era of Trek tended to focus on one or two of the main characters and give them a chance to shine (we had the "Picard episode," "Data episode," etc). Discovery doesn't do that, so we get little bits of characters in each episode, making it all feel a bit unfocused. I suspect Michael wouldn't come across as half so problematic if we didn't get so much of her. I think this problem was best exemplified by Saru's arc in this episode. This should have been Saru's story, from his POV, about how he took command and had to make tough choices. Instead, the show focused on other characters questioning his judgement behind his back, and then Saru throws a petty tantrum so Michael can look like the bigger person. Shame because I was really liking Saru up to that point.
Del_Duio
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 10:14am (UTC -6)
It would be awesome if this whole thing was the mirror universe, and Starfleet wouldn't act like a bunch of unethical morons.

Let's capture more tardigrade slaves! A slave in every ship!

And good lord a poster above reminded me but Klingons fly around in glass ships now too? They just look SO stupid.

I like the idea that the new crew member is the albino Klingon spy though. That is a cool idea that we haven't really seen since the Michael Eddington days.
Peter G.
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 10:32am (UTC -6)
I guess I've chosen my pain, since I intend to continue trying to watch this show. I have to admit it's giving me flashbacks with when ENT was on the air and I had to struggle to stay with the show. The main difference between them seems to be that on ENT I was bored most of the time and found most of the characters tedious, whereas here I'm being actively aggravated.

My chief complaint about observing life on the SS Gestapory is the lack of moral fabric. I could believe what happens on that show if it was set in 2017 with advanced tech, but it's the not the Federation I ever knew. The fact, as another poster mentions, that Saru was set up to act like this in the previous episode doesn't change the fact that they took a character who disagreed with Burnham on ethical fundamentals but otherwise had his own unique POV (a throwback to the Bones/Spock disagreements) and turned him into yet another flawed, amoral example of how people in the future are no better than modern people are. Great, how uplifting. Even Saru's arguments with Burnham were never earned on a dramatic level, despite the fact that having a conflict on the ship is good for developing material. When Bones and Spock would quarrel with each other it was understood as being within the context of a friendship, and as two people who respected each other despite having different core beliefs. It was the essence of the Federation in microcosm. With Saru and Burnham their disputes didn't at all come from a place of respect but rather from animosity at the galling idea that someone would disagree with 'obvious' conclusions. Once again, how modern of them, to show future people as being intellectually intolerant. The one character who wasn't like that was Georgiu, who is being made out by this time to have been some kind of paragon, even though to whit she seemed to me like what I would ordinarily consider an average, run of the mill Starfleet officer in her temperament. It goes to show that what is baseline average in regular Trek will be treated here like the holy grail of wisdom. That's where the bar is now.

I don't want to dissect the awkward plotting and clunky dialogue in detail, but I will mention that the dialogue in the opening conversation between Tilly and Burnham was laden with anachronistic contemporary phrases. TNG went so far out of its way to differentiate how future people speak that it overstepped at times and scripted sterile, tepid dialogue. But Gestapory is doing the opposite and it showing from many different angles how much the crew *is not* different from modern people, including the swearing. Set and match.

Returning to my concern about the previous episode, we do indeed bear witness in this installment to the fact that the creature howling in agony whenever it's plugged in seems to be unrecognizable to anyone on the ship as torture, or even discomfort or mistreatment. Is the audience being treated to Ripper's inner monologue whenever we watch it scream? If not, what gives? We seem to have it confirmed that this is a ship of Nazis, where even the suggestion that the creature is suffering, no less sentient, is brushed aside with zero crew members raising a fuss about it. In TOS this would be enough to remove the Captain over. With Lorca we could understand why officers would be afraid to go up against him; but with Saru being the one in charge it just makes them all look like Gestapo. Worse, even Burnham only seems to base her argument on life-sign readings, and not on the fact that the creature spends most of its screen time screaming. And then Stamets even admits in the end (whether he meant this somewhat in jest or not) that he only saved the creature so his partner, who has a conscience, wouldn't leave him. Also, is anyone else sick of the sci-fi trope that the medical officer is the only one who will conscientiously refuse to harm an innocent creature? It's pretty sad when Federation ethics is only being taught in medical school. Even putting aside whether the creature was suffering, no one on the show even brought up the issue of whether the creature was *willing*. Enslaving any creature for menial labor would have been something I'd think the Federation ceased to do long ago, and especially not with a totally new species where no attempt to communicate was ever made. But, yeah, I guess if no one can even notice screaming then they'd probably not be too swift on the uptake to consider that Ripper might have wants.

I guess none of this should come as a surprise from a show produced by the guy who brought us Fringe, the Trek reboots, a Transformers TV show, and a reboot of The Mummy. I actually feel bad lumping Fringe in here with the others since I somewhat enjoyed it, but it too was fraught with inconsistent characterization and a plot that never knew where it was going, along with morally questionable choices.

In the main Gestapory is Trek amateur hour with lots of money thrown at it. The lack of having a real brain on the project shows. It's like having a bunch of eight year olds flying a space shuttle. It looks at first glance like a scientific mission until you observe the piloting and realize it's more like an expensive go-kart.
Chrome
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 10:40am (UTC -6)
Klingon spies sound totally TOS to me. TNG was my first Trek (aside from the movies), but I was so shocked when I saw "The Trouble With Tribbles" and found out some ordinary human-looking person (Darvis) could be a Klingon. Back in the TOS days, the communist spy tropes were strong, it basically felt like anyone could be a Klingon or *become* a Klingon.

"Michael is slowly becoming the Wesley Crusher of Trek. The know-it-all, self-righteous who gets away with defying the captain and expects everyone to kowtow to his/her genius."

Except the whole, you know, getting put in prison thing. Wesley would just warp out of prison and then we'd see him having a root beer float with The Traveler.
BZ
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 10:58am (UTC -6)
@Chrome,
We had Troy, Picard and Data posing as Romulans in various episodes of TNG. We had two instances of Cardassians posing as Bajorans (Dukat in DS9 and Seska in VOY). That's not even including the changelings on DS9 impersonating any number of people, including a high-ranking Klingon official. No, both the good guys and bad guys infiltrating the enemy have been TNG+ staples.
Chrome
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 11:08am (UTC -6)
@BZ

You make it sound like it was commonplace for the good guys to infiltrate, but it was really extremely rare that we saw it, and it made almost no sense when we did see it (especially in the DS9 example). But I don't disagree, as I was also thinking the Romulans *were* the Klingons of TNG. I.e., they were the Cold War foes with spies all about. We were also treated to some McCarthyism-type episodes with TNG's "The Drumhead" where having even a trace of Romulan blood made you a traitor.

It would be interesting to see if DSC went the spy route, though I always have this feeling Lorca is somehow one step ahead of everyone else.
Dom
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 11:40am (UTC -6)
@Chrome, "Except the whole, you know, getting put in prison thing. Wesley would just warp out of prison and then we'd see him having a root beer float with The Traveler."

Fair enough. I did appreciate that Michael suffered some consequences for her mutiny. But that got resolved pretty quickly and within a few minutes she's back to insubordination. Also, Wesley never committed mutiny. He was annoying, but he never physically assaulted Captain Picard and tried to take over the ship.
BZ
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 11:43am (UTC -6)
Yeah, the Romulans and the Klingons sort of swapped roles between TOS and TNG. The Romulans of TOS even had some of the honorable warrior vibe. I think this swap happened because the Klingon culture, government, and motivation were explored in TNG and DS9, including having Klingons as high-ranking members of the crew. The Romulans, though, never got this treatment and so could fit the template of "vaguely motivated bad guys". We only got a few glimpses into Romulus via "Unification" and "Nemesis" (the movie).
Chibbi
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 11:53am (UTC -6)
Did anyone see the Stamets mirror scene??
There are more questions then answers in this episode!
bhbor
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 11:56am (UTC -6)
This whole mycelium spore drive thing is still bothering me. First, it doesn't make any sense. Why would a mycelial network exist within the fabric of subspace? I KNOW we are supposed to suspend disbelief but this is baffling...

Mycelial networks on our planet serve as primary decomposers for dead plant and/or animal materials. The network is quite fascinating, it resembles a neural network and responds to stimuli in a similar way. One mycelial colony is considered a single organism so the ramifications for basing drive technology off of a colony that has permeated the entire universe would be immense. Thing is, I keep asking myself: what the hell does THIS mycelium eat.. and why does it span the entire universe? The writers are about as well read as I am on the subject, that is to say a layman who has some popularized fungi books lying around the house.

The biggest in-your-face tip that struck me is that Lt. Paul Stamets is named (presumably) after the mycologist Paul Stamets who wrote the popular, "Mycelium Running" which is an excellent and approachable book about the natural wonders of fungi in nature, in the laboratory and how mycelium can be applied in the field to help mankind overcome some of its ecological problems. Its a cool reference to a star mycologist but I think there is a little something more going on here..

In "Mycelium Running" Paul Stamets discusses psychedelic mushrooms at length and how they have influenced our culture, science, physiology and ART. Frank Herbert, the writer of Dune, who Stamets mentions in the book, was apparently influenced by psychedelic mushrooms in the writing of his novel. The idea is that the drug spice, which made charting intergalactic space travel possible was required in order for the pilots to perceive the interconnectedness of the universe and navigate the cosmos- in all, spice is kind of like a metaphor for the psychedelic experience but applied in a practical, sci-fiy way. The blue eyes of the Fremen notwithstanding...

It seems to me that STD is pulling the same trick but with a lot less cleverness than Herbert and his Dune series. Anyway, I do appreciate how mycelium is depicted in this show and I'm waiting for it to make sense in a quasi-sciency way. Personally I anticipate a lot of psychedelic references with Lt. Stamets (we already had one at the end of this episode) and with other characters to come..
bhbor
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 12:02pm (UTC -6)
^^^also, it bugs the crap out of me that Lt. Paul Stamets ISN'T ASKING ANY OF THESE QUESTIONS, gah!
Yanks
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 1:47pm (UTC -6)
Well, and interesting episode. As many have stated, the most "episodic" episode to date.

I'm not sure why we needed Mudd in this episode, I'm also not sure why they needed to change the character's personality. But it didn't hurt anything introducing him here I guess. It might have made more sense to rescue him and see where that might have led.

Maybe Mudd was working WITH the Klingons?

I had to look up glowing HawgWyld. :-) It fits Michael very well. I love the character and actor, I hope we get to see her heart in future episodes. We started to see some personality/interaction in this episode with Suru and Sylvia.

MadManMUC, you make some very valid points. I was more than a little shocked when Captain Lorca revealed what he did to his crew. That kind of threw me for a loop as I tried to conceive a situation that could have justified his actions. I really hope we haven't heard the last of this.

To the "fuck" language... I chocked it up to the source, our "special needs" crew member had a tourette moment. But as to more of the same needed in our trek... my parents always told me if you swear you've either lost control or are ignorant. Neither of which are characteristics of Star Fleet officers. I don't like this any more that the potty mouth jokes in Orville in their pilot. Not needed nor desired.

Suru... I enjoy him, but some questions have risen in my mind... he said "they" selected him as first officer because they liked his performance at the Binary Stars battle, but I'm trying to recall what he did and when he was right that would have justified this (other than saving Michael). His coming out party with Michael was OK I thought. I don't think he has/had a personal vendetta against Michael, he was just jealous. I think that's natural. Her gesture of offering him the telescope was touching and telling I thought. Maybe the biggest thing we have learned about Suru is that he lacks self confidence. He did have the computer drum up leadership traits of the most decorated Star Fleet Captains etc...

I understood Suru's order to hook the tardigrade up. This is war and tough choices have to be made. Sometimes you can't "find another way" (ITPM). The possibility of sentience was brought up and he stated he would accept the consequences if someday they were determined to be sentient. But at this point, they weren't (technically). When Michael mentioned that 52% of our DNA (incert treknobabble of choice) was a match leading to a possibility of humans assuming the pilot role I figured they would go there. Glad to see Stamet do the right thing and it will be interesting to see how this progresses. I have visions of Michael becoming our pilot. (I hope not)

For Michael.... mutiny yes, but just how can she be held responsible for starting this war? Star Fleet was loured into a trap. All she did was explore and defend herself. You'd think that Star Fleet would ENSURE the truth got out here.

I'm hoping we find our more about Lorca's eyes and what's behind his disdain for doctors. I would also like to know how he and the ADM are friends.

I agree the escape was choppy on the Klingon ship... my thought watching it was they must be saving $$$$ not sowing the shuttle bay, more of the Klingon prison ship etc. It seems to me that the two Klingons wre pretty easily taken in hand to hand combat. Not sure what they were going for with the Klingon shuttle/whatever. They made me think of Spock's ship in ST09. Those Klingons are worse shooters than the Stormtroopers in Star Wars.

I'll give this one a 2.5.

BZ
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 2:06pm (UTC -6)
I don't get the cursing issue. People are complaining that there is no wonder in this show. Then when, in a moment of unbridled wonder Tilly blurts out an expletive, and Stamets decides to make her feel better by concurring, they complain.
karatasiospa
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 2:28pm (UTC -6)
@Peter G.

very well said!
E2
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 2:56pm (UTC -6)
Yanks-

I have an explanation for the escape from the Klingon ship being too easy, and the chasing raiders not being able to hit them:

The let him go. L'rell wanted Lorca to escape, and to take Tyler with him.

Black Ajah
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 3:10pm (UTC -6)
@Chrome

The gay scene was too long for your "taste"? Noted. I'll tell the writers that all gay scenes must be limited to UNDER the length of time it takes to brush one's teeth. Sorry a guy lovingly putting his hand on his lover's shoulder makes you uncomfortable. Maybe you are gay, and suppressed? Star Trek should, can, and will do better to accommodate your bigoted tastes.

@Brian

Most misguided, intolerable, and damaging thing I've read today:

"Gay scene--sorry, this is not a judgement, just a preference--I don't think gay belongs in Star Trek. It's just annoying. I know there are people out there who live that way and that's fine. But to force it into my living room because I'm a Star Trek fan is beyond annoying. Also, having a romantic couple being already established on the crew is a writing cop-out. The challenge to writing romance is the build-up. If they were truly trying to take a risk, they'd let the relationship evolve naturally during the course of the show. It feels like it was forced into the show by some committee--yea "real" progress."

Sorry, Bri, that IS a judgement, and a piss poor one, at that. Your close-minded, disgusting, and repulsive complaining is unacceptable on a Star Trek forum. How dare your prejudices find there way on to my computer screen in my living room??? It's utterly ANNOYING, and saying it's "just a preference" is the only cop-out here worth mentioning.

Plenty of tv out there without those annoying gays; please unsubscribe and don't post here again.

Rahul
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 3:21pm (UTC -6)
@Black Ajah

maybe it's you who should unsubscribe and not post here again
Noxex
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 3:36pm (UTC -6)
"Gay scene--sorry, this is not a judgement, just a preference--I don't think gay belongs in Star Trek. It's just annoying. I know there are people out there who live that way and that's fine. But to force it into my living room because I'm a Star Trek fan is beyond annoying. Also, having a romantic couple being already established on the crew is a writing cop-out. The challenge to writing romance is the build-up. If they were truly trying to take a risk, they'd let the relationship evolve naturally during the course of the show. It feels like it was forced into the show by some committee--yea "real" progress."

So yeah, this person doesn't understand Star Trek... AT ALL. This sounds like a letter written to NBC back in the day:

"Interracial kissing scene-sorry, this is not a judgement, just a preference--I don't think black people kissing white people belongs in Star Trek. It's just annoying. I know there are people out there who live that way and that's fine. But to force it into my living room because I'm a Star Trek fan is beyond annoying."

Sorry Star Trek has always been at its heart liberal and progressive. Oh its failed really bad at both, but generally that's what they're aiming at.
HawgWyld
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 3:45pm (UTC -6)
@Black Ajah

First off, it was clear from the hype surrounding "Discovery" was going to feature a gay couple. Anyone complaining about it at this point wasn't paying attention. If someone is bothered about that aspect of the show, they are free to simply not subscribe to CBS All Access. Frankly, I don't care whether the series features a gay couple or not, but that's strictly a personal view with which others are free to agree or not.

Meanwhile, this is an open forum. Suggesting someone should unsubscribe and not post because you don't agree with their views is, in itself, offensive. Shouldn't people be able to discuss all of the issues surrounding the program?
Black Ajah
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 3:46pm (UTC -6)
@Rahul

You got me good, snowflake!

So you defend the homophobe and not the one calling the homophobe out. Obvious where your allegiances lie...with the DARK SIDE!!!!!!!!!

Now why don't YOU unsubscribe and not post again? No why don't you?! No..YOU!!!

God maybe you're actually right, Rahul, having to deal with people like you is really exhausting,
Black Ajah
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 3:48pm (UTC -6)
@ HawgWyld

Agreed. You;'re right; I'll try to temper my frustrations with these supposedly progressive and open-minded Star Trek "fans".

But please don't tell me that 2 gays brushing their teeth and talking is an ISSUE. We all know it's not.
Chrome
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 3:53pm (UTC -6)
@Black Ajah

"The gay scene was too long for your "taste"?

Please read my entire post, as I was actually defending the need for the scene. My criticism was on the length, but that's a criticism I'd lodge against some scenes with Riker and Troi in TNG too.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 3:56pm (UTC -6)
So this is the Mudd episode, eh?

I've got only one question here: Was there any reason what-so-ever to use Mudd, specifically, here?

Because if there is, then this is the first time Discovery is actually trying to live up to its premise as a prequel (no, the Sarek bit in the pilot doesn't count).

HawgWyld
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 3:59pm (UTC -6)
@Black Ajah:

Good to hear. Civil discourse is fast becoming a lost art.
Black Ajah
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 4:01pm (UTC -6)
@Chrome

Infinite diversity in infinite combinations.

I guess that covers homophobes and jerks, too. And therefore I'll try to be more tolerant.

Thank you for clarifying and sorry if I got impatient; the wording of your comment rubbed me the wrong way, and I appreciate you taking the time to explain :)
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 4:03pm (UTC -6)
@Black Ajah

Stop being such a jerk. And if you want anybody here to take you seriously as a human being, I strongly suggest you stop using the pejorative "snowflake" in your comments. Only rude inconsiderate people use that word.



OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 4:04pm (UTC -6)
And now I see he apologized already.

So I take everything I've said in my previous post back.

(Things happen so fast around here these days...)
Black Ajah
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 4:19pm (UTC -6)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi

LOL - no worries, I was out of line. I know I can handle this type of situation better (you know, having to defend gays on a forum devoted to the love of a show about how we transcended all of that nonsense and became a better species?). It's truly aggravating, to come here and have to witness such blatant awfulness spouted from fellow Trekkies. Yeah, I think gay bashing in any way should be banned. There comes a point when gay bashing cannot be chalked up to "offering an opposing viewpoint". And in turn others think i should be banned, for standing up for gays. That's fine, but what's gonna happen when the Doctor and Stamets kiss, or have sex, or have a 10-minute scene together in their quarters? I dread the comments on this site I value so much, that I am trying to preemptively put a cease to that now.

I do not tend to use the word "snowflake"; it was only used toward someone who couldn't come up with any conjecture other than to throw at me precisely what I had thrown at someone else (like Trump fans who use the word tend to do; a "I know you are but what am I, or a false equivalent pivot). And then I use the word jerk and then you throw it back at me. See what this close-mindedness from @Brian got us?? No one can think clearly, or originally any more!
Data344
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 4:21pm (UTC -6)
Honestly, Mudd didn't remind me at all of how he was in TOS, you could literally have changed his name and I wouldn't have even thought of him. It feels like they took some random sleazy prisoner character and gave him the name solely because it's one most people will recognise (much like how Khan in Into Darkness felt like he could've easily been an original villain, or how Sarek felt completely shoe-horned in earlier in this series.)

Other than that, probably my favourite episode of Discovery so far (though I don't think we've gotten anything approaching a great episode yet), I feel like the characters (especially Lorca) have all had a little depth added, even if a lot of the dialogue is still very clunky. I like how they've handled the gay relationship as well so far, considering that the franchise has historically been inclusive, I have no idea what the fuss is about with some fans. I do hope we can get away from the Klingons someday though, they were once one of my favourite races in the canon, now I can't stand them thanks to the almost universally hated new designs and one-note personalities.
WTBA
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 5:00pm (UTC -6)
@Omicron "So this is the Mudd episode, eh?"

Not sure if you meant THE episode as in the ONE episode. It certainly seems like Mudd was set up to come back. I have heard as few as 2 eps total and possibly many more. How will he escape though? Time will tell, I guess.
wolfstar
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 5:35pm (UTC -6)
3 stars. It's working better as drama, and this episode was helped a lot by the fact it was more of an ensemble piece; Saru and Lorca are carrying it. I liked Saru's arc of confidence in his own decision-making by the end, no longer tempted to compare himself. The science is still horrible though, of course, and the creature rehydrating (without water) and teleporting off into the sunset was ridiculously cheesy - reminded me of "Poochie has to return to his home planet" on The Simpsons.

L'Rell is obviously gonna come back as, like Two-Face from Batman. I'm also not on board with the swearing (or the more graphic violence, which seems mainly inserted for edginess as opposed to necessary) - Star Trek has always been a show for all ages, one you show your kids. I grew up watching TNG as a kid and I wouldn't watch Discovery with a kid under 10, not so much because of an unwelcome yet isolated swear word they probably already know but more because of the bloody violence and tone. DS9 had episodes that were rated 15-certificate in the UK (To The Death, Empok Nor, Strange Bedfellows), but Discovery takes it too far, just for shallow edginess points. I'd even be happier with a pre-teen kid watching Stranger Things than Discovery because the whole idea with that show was for it to be scary without being gory (plus the child and adult characters in it are great role models who show positive attributes like teamwork, supporting each other and sticking up for the underdog). I also don't like the continued isis-ification of the Klingons, the fact they rape, torture and publicly execute people (as well as the fact their phasers/disruptors just make people go poof).

Conclusion after 5 episodes: it's OK as a sci-fi show. I'm not really perceiving it as Trek but it's an OK sci-fi show. I prefer it to Enterprise, but not to TOS-TNG-DS9-VOY.
MadManMUC
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 5:49pm (UTC -6)
@wolfstar:

Klingon disruptors making people go 'poof', I can somehow live with (Starfleet phasers in TOS vapourised stuff/made stuff disappear from time to time). And, in any case, it somehow seems more merciful compared to how their disruptors were by the time Commander Kruge was sitting in The Big Chair on his Bird of Prey in STIII:TSFS:

https://i.imgur.com/I4ZdEu3.png
wolfstar
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 5:56pm (UTC -6)
As a gay guy I think we should try and understand where commenters like Brian are coming from, rather than just writing off their opinions by screaming "homophobe!". Romance and sexuality generally have always been somewhat awkwardly handled in Star Trek - as Chrome intimated in relation to Riker and Troi above. While Trek did a better job of this in later series (Worf/Jadzia, Kira/Bareil, Paris/Torres), it's nevertheless often said that sex/relationships and comedy are the two things Trek doesn't do well. When it comes to gay relationships on Star Trek, people are always going to be disconcerted to a certain degree with things they're not used to seeing. It's even disconcerting for me as a gay guy, seeing a gay scene on Star Trek, because it's just not what I expect. I have gay friends in their 40s who've actually said to me that they still find it shocking at first when they go into a gay bar and see guys kissing. Because it's not what they grew up thinking the world was like. If it's not what you grow up seeing, it's always gonna take you aback a little, especially if you don't know any gay people, don't see gay couples in public where you live, and don't see them on TV. And the scene was very much there just to say "Look! Gays!" - the dialog was inconsequential. On paper I think the idea of having a gay couple as regular/supporting characters is excellent and overdue, but in practice - like a lot of other things on the show - it's revealing itself as kind of being there for edginess reasons, the same way the f-word was there just for edginess reasons, the bloody violence is there just for edginess reasons, etc. That doesn't mean it's bad - any representation is better than no representation. But it doesn't feel organic or much more than tokenistic at this stage, I hope it develops; it doesn't help that Stamets is still unlikeable and the doctor is poorly defined.
vofeeto
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 6:03pm (UTC -6)
One thing that separates Discovery from prior iterations of Star Trek is that the ability to watch Discovery is conditioned upon paying $5.99 (btw is the $9.99 worth it for anyone who pays for it? Curious) per month for the privilege.

In the old days of NBC, then syndication, then UPN, Star Trek was, for most, part of basic cable. Outrage over cursing or depictions of two men together, or interspecies romance, or a black man kissing a white woman, could always be stemmed by the offended person's simply changing the channel,, if averting his or her eyes was not enough. If the person chose to not watch, he or she would not suffer any consequences: he or she would not have to pay the cable company any more or any less by eliminating Trek from his or own TV schedule. Life went on, for the upset fan and the network.


Flash forward to 2017. Anyone is free to pay $5.99 without forfeiting the right to complain about something that offends or dissatisfies him or he. The argument "if you don't like it, why are you paying for it" isn't unfair, but I think at some point, continuing to voluntarily pay for a stand-alone service that you really really don't like may not be the most productive use of one's time.

Then again, there are people who receive emotional satisfaction from being haters (hence the term, "hate-watch"). Their opinions are not "wrong," per se, but simply biased, like everyone else's.

I think hate-watching can be unhealthy (some people who did not like Colin Kaepernick's kneeling for the national anthem turned in at least in large part to boo him; to them, entertainment value was derived from rage, although at some point too much rage is not a good thing) and perhaps a waste of time given there are so many hours in the day, but I am sure others disagree with this view. That's that

Fast forward
JohnTY
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 7:02pm (UTC -6)
@wolfstar Well said.

Although I don't mind Stamets as a character. He's the geek scientist whose experiment has been commandeered by warmongers - kind of reminds me of Merritt Butrick's character in STII/III.
Yanks
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 7:17pm (UTC -6)
E2,

That's a possibility, but I don't think so. We'll see.

I just watched it again. I failed to mention that I the Saru killed it in the Captain's chair.

Also, the mirror scene at the end... What do you all think the remaining reflection for lack of a better way to put it means? Are we in a mirror universe?
Steven
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 7:34pm (UTC -6)
"In the main Gestapory is Trek amateur hour with lots of money thrown at it. The lack of having a real brain on the project shows. It's like having a bunch of eight year olds flying a space shuttle. It looks at first glance like a scientific mission until you observe the piloting and realize it's more like an expensive go-kart."

That's why it's so weird to me that a certain bunch of Trek fans (and I mean intelligent fans, not dummies) still say they like the new show. I see the show as pretty amateurish too, and if we're going to use the same rating scale as for the other Trek shows (0-4 stars), I can't go higher than 1.5 here.

To another topic, one thing I noticed in this episode is that the whole thing with the spore drive will never fit with the rest of the ST universe. So, they've established now that a human, injected with some Tardigrade DNA, can be a substitute "navigator". Then why doesn't Picard, or Janeway, do that as a "last resort", whenever their ship is caught in an anomaly, the warp drive is offline and they somehow need to get out? What could be the downside? I see only three ways to explain this tech away:

1. The tech is never given to other Starfleet ships and generally stays classified/gets buried. Seems unlikely, because there are already plans in place to install the tech on as many ships as possible, as the Admiral said.

2. The moral price is too high: If it turns out that the jumps are somehow hurting sentient lifeforms (who live in that area of subspace), the tech can be forbidden. However, there is one problem with this explanation: Let's say this is revealed by the end of season 1, then in retrospect it'll be clear that the Discovery crew is a bunch of mass murderers. Would do the series too much harm, I think. The re-watch value would be really know, if you already know they are committing mass murder with every jump during season 1.

3. Finally, the spore network could be something like a neural network, an advanced intelligence, capable of allowing or disallowing the use of their realm - like the Prophets on DS9. They could say at some point "Humanoid species will no longer be granted access to our network!" and at this point the spore drive simply becomes unusable. However, this is also highly problematic for a couple of reasons. Assuming such an intelligence that permeates the whole universe is a weird concept to begin with. As problematic is the question why humans would be the first to attempt to use the network; surely there were advanced civilizations millions of years ago, which have been mentioned on Trek, who would have tried out the spore drive at some point. And then the "super-intelligence" decides to shut it down for all eternity, because humanoids can't be trusted... or something like that. On the other hand, if only us humans are explicitly forbidden from using the network, Starfleet could simply use other species as navigators.

None of these explanations would be in any way elegant and they're all somewhat problematic. I think the door to explain this tech away *in an elegant fashion* has already been shut.
Jack Strawb
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 7:48pm (UTC -6)
A truly inane episode. Just the absurdities i noticed and typed up while the episode was in progress.

"We've captured the captain we believe to be the most critical piece of this existential war we're engaged in.... let's randomly torture his cellmates!!" (Because the fool showrunner thought "choose your pain" was a cooler game than having an actual, coherent plot.)

--Oh, and there they are, stuck in Klingon space, and this critical starship doesn't have a backup warp drive because tension!!

--So despite running a war-changing secret weapon, Captain Lorca has no security guard, at all?

--And they were somewhere in Fed space they could be captured? Near wherever it was this meeting was held? (Even though, if you have holograms that cross hundreds of light years, why does your most important captain have to ever get in a shuttle, especially in wartime?) The showrunners literally don't care about space, how big it is, what is involved in getting from one place to the next... Things are randomly placed wherever they need to be to propel the random action.

--Is it a shuttle with warp drive? Ten years before TOS? And if it doesn't have warp drive surely it's deep in Federation space since Lorca is meeting in person with Federation officials, but Klingons just happen to be able to find them despite not only being deep in Fed space, but because they were able to crack Fed codes and find out who and what Lorca is and where he'd be because plot. Jaysus.

You realize none of this makes any sense, right?

--The "Klingons" are simply repulsive monsters with gigantic football shaped heads, and once we get to the prison cell Lorca flinches like a little girl as they beat another prisoner, because that's what battle hardened war lovers do, right?

-- The dialogue between Mudd and Lorca is largely nonsensical, and in the worst possible way. “Starfleet didn’t start this war,” says Lorca, who last week told Burnham “you started a war. Don’t you want to help me stop it?” So does this singularly essential captain even know who started the war? When the writers don't even care enough to keep track of who started the war that is the centerpiece of the show, how can you expect the show to succeed?

-- And now instead of being a source of good, productive, generous order, Starfleet is just a bunch of arrogant bullies?

-- And Mudd was once upon a time an honest businessman? Alex Kurtzman: “If something's canon, we will hold it down and feck it to death.”

--Worst exposition dump ever wrt the tardigrade. Let's have our characters stand stock still and read the badly, hastily written scene off of cue cards. Painful stuff.

-- Discovery as a show depends, really, on a stupid populace unable to discern coherence from idiocy. -- Btw, I can come up with a superior alternative to spore drive in five minutes. A creature more in tune with quantum foam and the properties specific its various locations in the galaxy (since foam is known to exist everywhere). Quantum coherence causes the physical need of particles to reconnect with certain arrangements of the foam, which in turn allows the ship to travel to its matching location. Then you don't need the joke that spores have rightly become. And you actually get to teach some physics instead of some nonsense.

-- No, seriously, this happened... as they escape, Lorca leaves the lieutenant behind in the corridor because the guy is literally too weak to walk even with assistance. Less than a minute later, he’s nonetheless recovered enough to beat almost to death an adult Klingon in battle garb.

-- Oh, and Discovery is in Klingon space so without the tardigrade they can’t find their way out because, magically, space is no longer three dimensional and navigation has magically ceased to otherwise exist. Discovery can no longer simply point in the direction of federation space, and "engage." Fookin fookety fook, this is awful.

-- Yeah, and now Saru likes Burnham, even though as he says she once again disobeys a direct order, and suddenly he no longer thinks she's dangerous because, who the feck knows.

-- No, the ship spinning is effing ludicrous. It’s beyond ludicrous. The ship does a barrel roll. Think about it. A barrel roll. There is no possible physics requiring a barrel roll, and plenty of physics insisting that’s a truly bad, bad idea. Just stop.  

--It appears the Starfleet lieutenant was raped for seven months while being held on the "klingon" ship. This passed without comment.

- A "Klingon" prison ship just warped into federation space without anybody noticing, apparently.

--The massive "klingon" ship has a crew complement of 30 or 40? As we know, Klingons don't take prisoners, but this is a dedicated prison ship, somehow? Two starship officers, one dedicated to war and killing, idly watch as Mudd steals their food?

--Discovery has 134 crew members, but can run 300 science experiments at once?

The problems range from small to overwhelming, and the overall problems are these: This a series that actively disregards its predecessor material, that doesn't care at all about space--the very medium in which it purports to occur, and doesn't even know who started its war, when that war is central both to the plot and to its main character.

This is the worst plotted, worst thought out tv series i've ever seen (not Trek, but all of tv), and i don't think there's a close second. This is horrendous on every level of scripting. It's an abomination that can't get canceled soon enough.
Steven
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 7:52pm (UTC -6)
Afterthought: I think the only thing that could work would be to classify the whole thing, never use it on another starship and swear the crew to lifelong secrecy. (Solution 1 from my previous post.) But there are currently no indications for this. First of all, the technical description of the technology is surely already in Starfleet headquarters, because they can't risk leaving these military secrets to just one ship which can be destroyed at any time (meaning a possible loss of the technology). So the blueprints are likely already in Starfleet's hands.

Now, what can possibly lead to burying this tech forever? If Starfleet has the blueprints, then the decision is already out of the hands of the Discovery's crew.

I see no satisfying way to resolve this and I think whatever explanations they'll come up with will probably be less-than-believable.
Trent
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 7:58pm (UTC -6)
Stamets and the Doctor saved this episode for me. Stamets, up to this point an abrasive character (with good reason), has revealed himself fully; a scientist, a man with a conscience and "soul", and one who is opposed to militarism.

I also like the Doctor; he has a quiet dignity about him. I've liked the actor since his days in MY SO CALLED LIFE, too, where he played one of the first young gay men on mainstream TV.

Now you can argue that this duo's "gay scene" at the end of the episode was cheap sensationalism, and that the writing was poor, but the actual warmth of the actors I felt was very good, and I thought the subtext of their relationship was very interesting (they're both obviously very moral characters, both obsessed with love and life, the doc in saving lives, the engineer in charting webs of life which run throughout the fabric of the universe itself).

What I hated was the F-bomb, which was obvious edginess for the sake of edginess. It's Discovery pandering to trends and market demographics. Indeed, that's the problem with the whole series; a trendy, crowdpleasing war plot - filled with the usual modern tropes - for the masses, with little injections of "Trek nerdiness and moralising" for the core fanbase.

Also, has anyone tried "binge watching" the past episodes? IMO, the entire serialized format just seems so disposable. I tried rewatching last week's episode, and turned it off after 10 minutes. Like a soap-opera, the raisen-detre of each episode is simply in the consumption of plot. And once you know the direction of each episode's plot, there is little that is interesting about each episode.

The shape of each episode is also less beautiful than an old-school Trek episode. Old school Trek episodes utilize clean 3 or 5 act structures, but Discovery's writing seems more loose and haphazard, in such a way that watching individual episodes as standalone entities becomes very unsatisfying.

Incidentally, I've been watching TOS. Watching Kirk and the gang made me realize that Discovery's entire first season would have been typically handled in a single Kirk episode. All the talk that modern TV is "faster paced" is a kind of lie. Average shot length and narrative brevity aren't the same thing.
Thomas
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 8:02pm (UTC -6)
Steven - We still don't know the consequences of using humans with the drive. Let's wait until we see what happens to Stamets (likely next week). If he turns into a mass murderer and attempts to destroy the ship, that might be enough for them to ban the tech.
Trent
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 8:03pm (UTC -6)
Stephen said: "Finally, the spore network could be something like a neural network, an advanced intelligence, capable of allowing or disallowing the use of their realm - like the Prophets on DS9."

Speaking of super intelligences, could Discovery be working its way toward introducing the Organians?
JPaul
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 8:07pm (UTC -6)
There was a hint at the end that something is not right with Stamets after the jump so I expect it to be the focus of at least one episode. I think he'll go insane or wind up being coopted by some outside force due to the jump experience.

After 5 episodes I am no longer sure why they called this "Discovery" when "Horror" would be a much more appropriate title. Zach Snyder gets a lot of flak for turning the DC hero universe into a dark murderverse, but what he's done is nothing compared to what's going on here. I can't imagine what Roddenberry would think if he were alive to see what his creation has been turned into.
Startrekwatcher
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 8:16pm (UTC -6)
I think I’m done with DIS. It just isn’t a very good Star Trek series and not even entertaining as mindless entertainment

It’s shallow and slick looking but not much there. The writers clearly don’t care and aren’t forced by the studio to do better. The show is just a concoction of half baked concepts with the visual there FX to compensate. The show looks nothing like it takes place a decade before TOS. The writers just shoehorn anything TOS in thinking fans will be so tickled they’ll overlook its deficiencies. The show is poorly plotted. There’s no urgency to the narrative. The players are treated to random characterization. Frankly the whole endeavor lacks soul— it’s an empty shell. The basic skills of good writing craftsmanship clearly elude these writers.

What I would have preferred after deliberation is something akin to the x files, Roseanne and Will and grace revivals. Basically forgetting the last few bad parts of the series and picking back up essentially with the series in its heyday like no time has passed and the characters were doing what they were in those glory days. CBS should have justvrevived TNG, the ENT D, and transport us bavk to the height of modern Trek popularity and bring back the TnG writers like Melinda snodgrass, Brannon Braga, joe menosky, Jeri Taylor, Ron Moore, Rene echrvarria and solicit fan scripts
Shannon
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 8:17pm (UTC -6)
Another solid outing for Discovery. This week we saw continued character development of not just Burnham, but other supporting cast members, most notably Lorca, Saru, and Stamets. Even Lilly got in there a little bit. I loved the moral dilemma they faced, and the diverse ways everyone approached it. Burnham is sympathizing with this sentient creature that's in agony, and she manages to convince Stamets with the help of the doctor. Saru is struggling with suddenly being thrust into command, and takes a very pragmatic, almost academic approach to the issue without considering the ethical ramifications. He sees the world as black and white, and it was a nice touch to see him consulting the computer to learn about successful command styles. Lorca's imprisonment on the Klingon ship was quite tense, and nice tip of the hat to TOS with the casting of Mudd. Never liked him much in the original series, but here we get to see what a truly backstabbing worm he really is. Loved it! I also liked how Saru came around to understanding Burnham's position, and orders her to save the creature, which Lilly and she are able to do by freeing it... This episode had a lot of great "Trek" in it, but told in a more modern way... 3.5 stars from me!
Steven
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 8:31pm (UTC -6)
"Steven - We still don't know the consequences of using humans with the drive. Let's wait until we see what happens to Stamets (likely next week). If he turns into a mass murderer and attempts to destroy the ship, that might be enough for them to ban the tech."

I already accounted for that possibility when I wrote the tech would still be used in emergencies - when the sacrifice of a single crewmember is preferrable to the destruction of the whole ship. There are so many TNG and Voyager episodes where they are caught in some anomaly or nebula and lose their warp drive, and the destruction of the ship is imminent. In such a situation, they would surely use the spore drive. Hell, Janeway would probably sacrifice herself as the pilot, in order to get her crew home from the Delta quadrant, or at least cut a significant portion off their journey.

The only good explanation is that the tech gets classified and buried forever. I would actually have enjoyed seeing Discovery being a "Section 31" ship that DOESN'T take any commands from Starfleet and is a completely seperate entity. That might have worked. But now, Starfleet is already crying out for installation of the tech on as many ships as possible. How are they going to solve this believably? I have no idea.
Garak
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 8:35pm (UTC -6)
One poster above called this the worst scripted show in the history of television. While I'm not sure I'd yet go that far-I've seen some horrible shows-I can certainly sympathize with that view.

I'm embarrassed.

As someone who desperately wanted a return of television Trek, I'm so very disappointed. I won't even attempt to criticize the latest episode. You do that when you care. You do that when you hope that things will get better.

Five episodes in, DSC has so completely missed the mark that I've lost faith in any chance that it can turn around.

If this is what Star Trek has become, I want absolutely no part of it.

Hopefully, my favorite television franchise will find its singular voice again in some later iteration.
Steven
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 8:35pm (UTC -6)
Speaking of Voyager, the Warp 10 discovered by Tom Paris had the exact same problem as the new spore drive: It got simply explained away by "yeah, would be the coolest tech ever, but it mutates the pilot... so we're never going to mention it again!"

For good reason, "Threshold" is considered by many as one of the worst Voyager episodes because it introduces this wonder tech and then never mentions it again. Did we need a repeat of this on "Discovery"? Not really.
Hunter
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 8:39pm (UTC -6)
The story about Lorca abandoning his ship and killing his entire crew just made me laugh out loud. For those that are familiar with TNG Recut Picard, Lorca basically IS that person. LOL. Is this real life?
Steven
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 8:54pm (UTC -6)
"The story about Lorca abandoning his ship and killing his entire crew just made me laugh out loud. For those that are familiar with TNG Recut Picard, Lorca basically IS that person. LOL. Is this real life?"

I know people who were mildly optimistic about the show at first, then slowly started to realize they don't enjoy it and found themselves spending 75% of their time with getting aggravated about the nonsense that we're shown each week, and now by the fifth episode they only see this show as satire, because that's the only way to enjoy it light-heartedly. I'm not that cynical yet, and I think when I reach that point, watching the show will become kind of pointless.

The characters are kind of ridiculous, yes. That Klingon commander has nothing better to do than, erm, keeping a human sex slave for herself for 7 months? Are humans so appealing to Klingons? Shouldn't Klingons, you know, try to follow their ideology of staying pure? So how does that work - fighting the good fight during daytime, and then jumping in bed with the enemy in nighttime? The Klingons come across as little more than gorillas (think King Kong), who find a "liking" to a "tender white woman".

Congrats for re-introducing all the old tropes of the "primitive savage" etc. to this show. No, this isn't Star Trek.
Trek fan
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 9:24pm (UTC -6)
I give this one 2 1/2 stars. While I appreciated the character development for Burnham and Sara and Lorca, "Choose Your Pain" (as evidenced by the title reference) is a superficial outing that devolves into the kind of gun-and-run hostage filler we saw on "Enterprise" week after week. The part that worked best for me was the gradual reconciliation of Saru and Burnham; everything else was hit-or-miss.

So the good and bad: I enjoyed seeing Harry Mudd -- who was reference briefly in "Into Darkness" -- reimagined and some emerging chemistry among the leads. I'm sorry Ripper departed, as I thought he/she/it was going to become a regular crew member and learn how to communicate with Burnham somehow, but I hope the creature returns to the crew at some point. The tardigrade was a wholly alien and yet familiar form of life that I'm sorry the series seems to have passed up on exploring more deeply. I thought the F-bombs made sense for Tilly's character, who seems to have Tourette's syndrome, but I hope they don't become a regular fixture of the show. Finally, I thought the final scene between Stamets and the doctor felt a bit awkward and forced, as it wasn't clear from the final "shocker" tease in the mirror whether Stamets was being himself with his boyfriend in the dialogue -- perhaps not the best way to introduce a new relationship on the series, as we don't have an established sense of these two guys yet for the final shot to mean anything.

Finally, I think the newness factor of the Klingons is starting to wear off for me, as they are starting to look more like typical Star Trek thugs in masks firing guns and throwing punches. Considering how well the Klingons have already been mapped on Trek for 50 years, I don't see many places for our interactions with them to go on "Discovery." I'm glad the show is easing up on the subtitles in this one, as it really makes it hard to enjoy the performances, but the torture-and-escape sequences here just barely rise above routine due to some interesting takes (including the presence of Mudd) on the material. The whole Lorca kidnapping subplot is watchable, but this episode feels more like a filler between more significant shows than a memorable adventure in its own right. Other than getting rid of Ripper and healing some of the Saru-Burnham rift, there's not much to speak of, as the plot settles for a familiar two-tiered structure with someone stranded and the rest of the crew attempting a rescue -- this is stuff we saw frequently on TOS fifty years ago, not to mention all of the subsequent Trek series! Stamets using the spore drive on himself was interesting, but I fear it's going to be a fairly shallow tease that's resolved by the end of next week's episode rather than developing into anything significant. And I didn't like the idea of Lorca killing his own crew to save them from Klingons; that doesn't sound like the kind of thing one would do in Starfleet and simply get passed along to another command. Hmm.

Overall, a pleasant and watchable
Steven
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 9:57pm (UTC -6)
Final thought on the spore drive: I just read a possible solution elsewhere, to explain the disappearance of the tech by the end of the series.

And it's pretty much the only explanation that works (see my previous posts for less-than-stellar suggestions how to explain the tech away). Here it goes: The spore network gets infected somehow and then seizes to exist.

Admittedly, such an infection would take some time to spread, but maybe the Klingons distribute it actively as a counter-measure against the drive. Everywhere in their territory. Which would basically make the spore network useless as a weapon against the Klingons. And maybe the spores only cover Federation and Klingon space anyway, and not the whole universe. Maybe the Tardigrade animals, who are said to be "600 million years of evolution apart from humans" (in the episode) started spreading from earth a long time ago, while the network itself was growing. And by today, it covers basically parts of Federation and Klingon space.

Those would actually be workable explanations, but the writers will probably screw it up somehow. I don't have a huge trust in them.
Jack
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 10:40pm (UTC -6)
"I'm also not sure why they needed to change the character's personality."

Did they? We're not seeing the over-the-top Roger C. Carmel smarm, I suppose, but the TOS Mudd was plenty dark. Even darker, I'd say.

And on to the gay thing -- apply the argument "I shouldn't have to see _________ in my living room" to any other kind of human being, and see how ridiculous it sounds.

Peremensoe
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 10:57pm (UTC -6)
Peter G.: "Returning to my concern about the previous episode, we do indeed bear witness in this installment to the fact that the creature howling in agony whenever it's plugged in seems to be unrecognizable to anyone on the ship as torture, or even discomfort or mistreatment. Is the audience being treated to Ripper's inner monologue whenever we watch it scream? If not, what gives? We seem to have it confirmed that this is a ship of Nazis, where even the suggestion that the creature is suffering, no less sentient, is brushed aside with zero crew members raising a fuss about it."

Huh? This issue is literally the primary theme of this couplet of the last two episodes, and the referent of both titles. "Choose your pain" was a phrase used by the Klingon thugs, but the thematically-relevant painful choices are those of Discovery crew, namely Burnham, Saru, and Stamets, each of whom has a struggle along character and story rails established in previous episodes. The crew initially has no reason to think of the tardigrade as more than an animal (and this is an era when some humans are still eating animals), and most of them don't see its experience in the chamber. But the abuse is explicitly recognized, and rejected in the end.
Peremensoe
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 11:20pm (UTC -6)
Yanks: "Also, the mirror scene at the end... What do you all think the remaining reflection for lack of a better way to put it means? Are we in a mirror universe?"

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

By the way, I really liked how this moment was preceded by a very mundane domestic scene. It kind of lulled us with the idea that this was just a little character moment for Stamets and Culber, before going spooky.
MidshipmanNorris
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 11:21pm (UTC -6)
I forget who I'm quoting, just finished skimming the thread.

"• Archer, Kirk, Picard, Sisko and Janeway — even if they didn't like the guy — would have never, ever left a human (or, indeed, any Federation member race) civilian to languish as a prisoner aboard a Klingon vessel to be tortured, even during wartime. Even if said civilian had sold them out. That civilian would have been rescued, then brought to justice. Disgusting, and further evidence of this show's overall moral bankruptcy."

Interesting bit of Star Trek Trivia: In the Starfleet Academy Bridge Simulator game for the SNES, one of your first missions involves pursuing and capturing Harry Mudd as he flees a ship intent on blowing him the $$$$ up, and when the ship demands his return so he can be executed, you fail the mission if you agree to it.

The reason given for this is that there is a Starfleet Regulation which states that Officers are to act in any and all ways to protect the lives of Federations Citizens. Mudd is one, whether Lorca likes him or not. This is a clear violation of the regulation in question.

Also, commenting on Culber+Stamets, I'm straight, liberal, and a rock musician who has worked with homosexual band members before, so I like to think that such a development would not be a problem for me. I believe in 'live and let live,' and didn't mind the scene at all...at first.

As it went on, and became more intimate, with Culber brushing Stamet's hair, I found myself growing uncomfortable with it, and I can't explain why. "Why shouldn't there be a gay couple on Trek?" I asked myself. "Why does this make you uncomfortable?" I don't really know why. I'm guessing it just flopped me out of my comfort zone a little too hard for my taste. I guess I still have a long way to go toward being an accepting human being. :(

There is either more to Lorca's story of blowing his crew the $$$$ up that somehow justifies the action (why wasn't he on the ship too? Did someone stuff him in an escape pod and push the button as he screamed 'NOOOOOO'? Why would he willingly leave the ship?), or we are meant to think that Lorca is just a jerk.

No preview for the next ep at the end of this one. Weird.
Peremensoe
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 11:42pm (UTC -6)
vofeeto: "(btw is the $9.99 worth it for anyone who pays for it? Curious)"

Absolutely. The time not spent watching commercials, and mood-impact not incurred, is easily worth four bucks. (See www.jammersblog.com/2017/09/26/should-you-pay-for-cbs-all-access/ for the discussion of the access model.)
Brian
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 11:43pm (UTC -6)
So, I am actually sorry for causing a scene on here with my gay comments. Thank you, Wolfstar for attempting to understand what I was trying to say. I suppose I could have said it better though. What I'd like to get across is that I didn't like the gay scene for the same reason I didn't like the f-bombs. As wolfstar noted, it felt forced and made it feel less like Trek.

Try this--it's my same paragraph except about f-bombs instead of homosexuality:

"F-Bombs--sorry, this is not a judgement, just a preference--I don't think swearing belongs in Star Trek. It's just annoying. I know there are people out there who swear and that's fine. But to force it into my living room because I'm a Star Trek fan is beyond annoying. Having people drop an f-bomb out of nowhere is a writing cop-out. If they were truly trying to make the characters seem like "real people" they'd write them that way, not rely on swearing to make the point. And it wasn't even realistic swearing--officers in military vessels swear, oh yes they do, but that scene was awkward and the f-bombs seemed incredibly contrived. Kind of like, copy-pasted."

If I had written THAT paragraph, I bet not a single person would have jumped on me for being a judgemental asshole. But somehow if it's a gay scene I don't want in Star Trek it automatically means I'm a homophobe. What a bunch of BS. I am the last person in the world who would judge anyone for anything.

Oh, and Uhura WAS copy-pasted into TOS. She was literally the token black woman in a mini-skirt. Not a single thing about her was linked to her country of origin, culture, history, at all. Ah, but if anyone objects to copy-pasting stuff in from a committee, they must be a homophobe or a racist. The self-righteousness is strong with this board.


Peremensoe
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 12:05am (UTC -6)
"But somehow if it's a gay scene I don't want in Star Trek it automatically means I'm a homophobe."

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

Same-sex couples are a normal part of civilized society, and it is strange and repressive if they are *not* represented in popular stories. As wolfstar said, "If it's not what you grow up seeing, it's always gonna take you aback a little, especially if you don't know any gay people, don't see gay couples in public where you live, and don't see them on TV." That's why we need to see them on TV.
E2
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 12:11am (UTC -6)
@Brian

"Oh, and Uhura WAS copy-pasted into TOS. She was literally the token black woman in a mini-skirt. Not a single thing about her was linked to her country of origin, culture, history, at all. Ah, but if anyone objects to copy-pasting stuff in from a committee, they must be a homophobe or a racist. The self-righteousness is strong with this board. "

Except for the speaking Swahili...

From Memory Alpha:

A mysterious crewman encountered by Uhura, who was (unknown to her) the M-113 creature in Human form, spoke to her in Swahili. He stated "Ninakudhania mwanamke mzuri," which meant "I think of you, beautiful lady." (TOS: "The Man Trap")

In 2267, Uhura had her memory erased by the Nomad space probe, forcing Uhura to be reeducated. While working with Nurse Chapel, Uhura had difficulty sounding out the words in her first grade reader, and began speaking in Swahili out of frustration, saying "Sikumbuka" ("I don't remember"). Chapel then encouraged her, by telling her to speak it in English, not Swahili, and proceeded to sound out the sentence for her. (TOS: "The Changeling")

When the USS Enterprise encountered a Melkotian buoy in 2268, it spoke to the crew in their native languages, which included Swahili, as heard by Uhura. (TOS: "Spectre of the Gun")
Jammer
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 12:14am (UTC -6)
Review now posted.
Tyrion
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 1:45am (UTC -6)
This was by far the worst episode. Characters in Star Trek don't leave people behind in klingon prisons! Characters in Star Trek knockout or stun enemies. The don't snap their necks!!!
Jim Oz
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 5:12am (UTC -6)
This is not Star Trek. After watching for 25 years with my children I will no longer watch ST. Swearing? Openly gay characters. Pathetic. I'm getting a divorce after 25 years-I'm gutted.
Konstantinos
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 5:19am (UTC -6)
I am reading this column along with the Voyager reviews because I am currently watching both series. Every argument made here is the exact opposite argument against Voyager.

Voyager: I don't like this because the shuttle is too clean
Discovery: I don't like this because the shuttle is too gritty


Voyager: I don't like it because they resolve everything too quickly and conveniently in 45 minutes
Discovery: I don't like this because they don't resolve everything quickly in 45 minutes

I could go on but you can see the big picture. I guess it's cool when a ST show takes any direction to go and point at the opposite one.
Brian
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 5:29am (UTC -6)
@Brian
"But somehow if it's a gay scene I don't want in Star Trek it automatically means I'm a homophobe."

Not automatically.

In many cases like this I would actually agree with you. I intensely dislike gratitious sex/snogging/whatever scenes regardless of whether they're gay or hetero.

But out of curiousity (I don't pay for CAA and see Discovery) I decided to look for a clip of the said "controversial" scene, and I'm not sure what's so bothering you there. It was just two people standing in a room speaking with one another, with perhaps two seconds of actual physical contact.

So what's the problem?

And comparing what you've said here to an objection over token minorities in TOS doesn't work. Let's take your original complaint:

"Gay scene--sorry, this is not a judgement, just a preference--I don't think gay belongs in Star Trek. It's just annoying. I know there are people out there who live that way and that's fine. But to force it into my living room because I'm a Star Trek fan is beyond annoying."

Now replace all the gay references with black/asian/whatever. Would you call such a person anything but a racist?

I'll be honest with you: That scene was awkward to me too, in a way that I certainly wouldn't feel if that was a hetero couple. But that's my problem. And if there's any TV show that has a right to force me to confront this problem, it's Star Trek. That's pretty much the definition of what Trek is all about.

And they've done it 100% correctly here. No big speeches. No big deal. Just two mates talking while brushing their teeth. (it's just a shame that it had to happen in *this* series. I watched a few bits of this episode here and there while searching for the scene we're talking about, and none of it seemed even remotely compelling to me)

@MidshipmanNorris
"As it went on, and became more intimate, with Culber brushing Stamet's hair, I found myself growing uncomfortable with it, and I can't explain why. 'Why shouldn't there be a gay couple on Trek?' I asked myself. "Why does this make you uncomfortable?" I don't really know why. I'm guessing it just flopped me out of my comfort zone a little too hard for my taste. I guess I still have a long way to go toward being an accepting human being. :("

Ha. Tell me about it.

But really, I think you're being too hard on yourself.

I don't think that feeling comfortable with everyone and everything is a requirement for being "an accepting human being". We're not machines and feeling awkward is a natural part of life.

As long as you aren't using this awkwardness as an excuse for actual prejudice, you're fine. :-)


Konstantinos
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 5:38am (UTC -6)
@Brian

Don't bother, they will just hammer every star trek show and then add some more "favorable' reviews to make it look better. Even some 3 1/2 stars reviews here look more like maximum 2 stars if taken into context. It doesn't matter if it is a small detail like somebody saying one word in like 300 pages of dialogue or a 2 minutes scene of two people brushing their teeth, it will always, always be on the wrong direction.

Then after a few years will pass the next show will be on air and people will start hammering again saying it is not so brilliant as the old ones we grew up with...
Yanks
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 6:11am (UTC -6)
Konstantinos,

So true...
Yanks
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 6:50am (UTC -6)
@ Peremensoe
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 11:20pm (UTC -5)

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

Thanks. I don't know that I subscribe to the Multi-Verse thing in trek. We only got that in one episode (TNG: Parallels) right? I'm a one and only one timeline guy. the "Kelvin timeline" thing is just crap. But I guess quantumly (if that's a word :-)), you can be in two places at the same time, right?

@MidshipmanNorris
"As it went on, and became more intimate, with Culber brushing Stamet's hair, I found myself growing uncomfortable with it, and I can't explain why. 'Why shouldn't there be a gay couple on Trek?' I asked myself. "Why does this make you uncomfortable?" I don't really know why. I'm guessing it just flopped me out of my comfort zone a little too hard for my taste. I guess I still have a long way to go toward being an accepting human being. :("

Same deal for me. If it goes "further" I'm probably gone.
Latex Zebra
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 6:57am (UTC -6)
Maybe I'm just overly optimistic because I like the show but I do feel this is going somewhere.

There are certain things I am hoping.

Lorca's capture was a planned. Otherwise yes it was dumb. The whole eye thingy was telegraphed and that is because I think the thing he used on his eyes was actually to assist him when they tortured him.
Not sure the exact reason for letting him be captured but maybe find out what the Klingons know or feed false information.

That new crewmember... Klingon spy calling it now.

Mirror Stametts - Mirror Universe. Heard rumors that Lorca is a mirror Lorca.. .Don't see it myself but spore travel opening up the Mirror Universe makes sense in the scheme of things.

As for other stuff.

The Swearing - Yeah, needless but hardly he end of the world. My wife thought it was hilarious. First F Bomb on Star Trek.

Gay Couple - Oh no! Two men in love. Thought it was great.

Overall, still enjoying this and, as Jammer said in his review of the last 8 odd episodes of DS9... You have to review each as a separate part of a bigger untold story.
If at the end of the series it is a mess and characters have been inconsistent and huge plot holes are still there then fine.
I think a lot of this is the smoke and mirrors of serialised TV.
Jason R.
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 7:32am (UTC -6)
Thinking back through the mists of time, oh say two episodes ago, I could have sworn that the tardigrade was an indestructible killing machine capable of smashing through hull plates, shrugging off phaser fire and murdering the entire crew of a starship. I get it: the creature was only aggressive when threatened; but in light of the fate of the Glenn, was it not clear that this creature was pretty zealous about protecting itself?

So point a phaser in its general direction and it will go Resident Evil on you and wipe out your starship to the last man in a blood soaked rampage. But torture it by sticking needles in it and it's just a saaad cute widdle puppy who needs Saint Michael's help to be free!

What's funny is that I don't even think the writers remember anything about what happened two episodes ago. They can't even make the show consistent episode to episode so it's foolhardy to expect them to honour canon established in a previous show on the air a decade ago. This is television Memento style; each episode is tabula rasa.

Ohhh look!! Harry Mudd! He was in the original series! Because it's STAR TREK! And they mentioned Pike and Archer in passing! I'm having a fangasm. Maybe they should have Picard show up as a guest star. That would be cool!!

Sadly my cable subscription ends in a few days, as I'm cord cutting and moving over to Netflix. So this was likely my last episode. I'll just have to enjoy this show vicariously through this message board. I guess I've chosen my pain.

MadManMUC
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 7:55am (UTC -6)
@ Jasor R

'Ohhh look!! Harry Mudd! He was in the original series! Because it's STAR TREK! And they mentioned Pike and Archer in passing! I'm having a fangasm. Maybe they should have Picard show up as a guest star. That would be cool!!'

Exactly.

This is minutae, hardly honouring canon. They can name-drop all they want, it wouldn't mean shit, in the grand scheme of things. In fact, this Harry Mudd could just easily be JJ-Trek/Kelvinverse. So could Capts April, Archer, Decker and Pike. In fact there already was a Kelvinverse Pike, so the rest isn't a stretch.

Name-dropping != honouring Trek, its philosophy, its canon, or what it stands for. It just means you're trying to half-heartedly make the fans kind of happy.
MadManMUC
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 7:59am (UTC -6)
Actually, I'm not at all convinced Kurzman isn't slyly setting us up to take this into the JJ-Trek universe by the end of it all, where he knows he really has no obligation to canon — or, indeed, actual, real, long-time Trek fans — at all. So that he can basically shit all over Roddenberry's creation, and do whatever he thinks Trek is (which isn't pretty at all).
Jason
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 8:24am (UTC -6)
Jammer,

Just a note about one thing in your review: you accuse Saru's characterization of being inconsistent because of his ignoring appeals to sympathy for the tardigrade and being all hard-ass in his attempt to rescue Lorca.

But I thought his motivation was clear, and also extremely consistent: he doesn't want to abandon his Captain the way that Michael abandoned hers. All he is thinking about is diffentiating himself from her, saving his Captain, saving his Captain, being more loyal to his Captain than Michael was to hers - this motivation overtakes him, blinds him, and in the process, he loses (which he even admits!) his own moral compass. In the end, he acknowledges that he feels envious of Michael, who is able to adapt to various contexts (she understands that context is for kings), and Saru wishes he were able to do that so effectively.

So, yeah, I think you're misreading the characterization of Saru. They didn't spell that all out, mind you, but I am certain that's what the writers had in mind.
E2
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 8:27am (UTC -6)
@Jason R.

I think the tardigrade stuff was consistent, internally at least. One of the details to note is that the tardigrade did not kill the crew of the Glen.

They (Staments) mentions in the episode in that the 'helical scoring' on the Glen's hull looks like a spore drive catastrophe, and the crew members all appear to be twisted and distorted, (like something out of John Carpenter's "The Thing") from the same event. The Klingons, however, are not twisted up like that but shredded (as security chief Landry is later.)

The engineering section had been reinforced to help contain something (the tardigrade) so the Glen's crew had become afraid of it. They did a long jump that went wrong, badly damaging the ship and killing the crew. With no one there to beam it out of the glass chamber, (and presumably extra-distressed from a long jump) the tardigrade broke itself out.

The Klingons arrived later, looking for tech to scavenge, encountered the tardigrade, and I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that they shot first. We know what happens next, as we saw the same thing with Landry.

In between, Staments comments that the Glen's disaster was not a drive malfuction, but due to hitting a "Hawking radiation firewall." It may be possible that the tardigrade steered them into it deliberately! But we don't have any actual evidence for that yet...

This sort of thing is perhaps one of the biggest drawbacks to serialized story telling; you miss part of one 'wedding' episode and spend the next month wondering where half of the characters named Stark went...
Jason R.
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 8:58am (UTC -6)
I stand corrected E2. I still don't think the writers remember what the Tardigrade is capable of (and since it's gone, I guess it hardly matters)

Incidentally, I think I recognize this kind of storytelling from back when the show Heroes was on the air. I think Jammer sort of alludes to this in his review. The narrative sputters around, erratic and half cocked. It isn't so much a smooth arc but a plane trying to get off the ground and faltering, going up only to crash down and go up again.

I suspect this show will go through many failed arcs. Threads will be introduced and then promptly forgotten. It wouldn't shock me if even the spore drive gets jettisoned at some point. It will happen abruptly, unceremoniously and it will be as if it never happened.

It's ADD storytelling.
William
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 9:21am (UTC -6)
I have entered my thoughts on this episode above. Way above at this point, but STD has inspired me to re-watch TNG, DS9 and TOS episodes, and it makes me want to comment again. I think the question we are all dancing around when reviewing these episodes, is how to reconcile this series with the Trek that has come before. So, maybe we should actually do that?

Ask yourself this question: What would Discovery do?

If a brilliant scientist could create a technology that could benefit Starfleet going forward, but its development might require risks to a life-form of questionable sentience, what would Discovery do? (Measure of a Man)

If the war could be won be converting an innocent into a WMD, what would Discovery do? (I, Borg)

If personal freedom was a barrier to the advancement of the war, what would Discovery do? (the Drumhead)

If destroying targets that might be of military value would help the war effort, but you could not confirm that those targets were legitimate, what would the Discovery do? (The Wounded)

We are all bending over backwards to find the good bits of continuity and character development in this series, but don't seem to want to address the main issue: is this version of Star Trek morally devolved from a version that began airing 30 years ago? Discovery's storytelling is certainly more in line with modern television, but its moral bankruptcy is apparent when held against the standards of the past. Attempts at cloaking those dark choices behind "progressive" casting and representation choices doesn't change the underlying fact that our heroes are less heroic, and we feel the need to describe our enemies as vile to the point of cannibalism.

Konstantinos
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 9:23am (UTC -6)
@Jammer

This must be the most amazing "hate" page I have ever found. I have been reading it for three days and the way that you manage to bash stuff with discretion is really something I respect. Not doing the obvious troll that hates everything but the more sublime one. "This episode is well executed but completely misses the point", "Some good ideas that are butchered by incompetent execution" etc. The backhanded praise used as an insult. I see that you have been doing this with Voyager for every single episode. You start with three positive lines (and some times giving three out of four stars as well) and then you start punching. You also repeat some parts ad nauseaum despite the fact that it is clear that the show has a format that limits its variables.

Same goes here and on the Orville reviews. You give some ground saying that sometimes they work and then mercilessly hammer them to the ground like a chess pro. They go "right" you say they should have gone "left" and the opposite

The fact that you have been on this for so many years, sacrificing endless hours of discomfort just to bash stuff gives you the right to go on. It even makes it more interesting (I personally will never watch a series I don't like for more than a couple of episodes let alone a couple of hundreds)..
MadManMUC
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 9:41am (UTC -6)
@ William:

'is this version of Star Trek morally devolved from a version that began airing 30 years ago?'

It absolutely is ... although, to be fair, we started seeing the hints of it in DS9 (Dominion War), but it started taking off with ENT. Film and television entertainment, in general, started going morally downhill from there. STD — rather than wanting to buck the 15-year-old entertainment trend — is only happy to come along for that particular ride, so that it doesn't need to do anything silly like, you know, live up to Roddenberry's vision or anything like that.

'Attempts at cloaking those dark choices behind "progressive" casting and representation choices doesn't change the underlying fact that our heroes are less heroic, and we feel the need to describe our enemies as vile to the point of cannibalism.'

Spot. On.
Konstantinos
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 9:48am (UTC -6)
@MadManMUC

A simple question then. If you think that ST lost its moral ground with DS9 all these years ago why are you still following it? Just curious.
MadManMUC
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 9:55am (UTC -6)
@Konstantinos

I didn't. I stopped watching DS9 during its original run, for precisely the reason outlined, and picked ST back up with Voyager. When ENT started going down the road STD is on now, I also stopped watching it (also because it simply wasn't good at all).
Chrome
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 9:59am (UTC -6)
"This sort of thing is perhaps one of the biggest drawbacks to serialized story telling; you miss part of one 'wedding' episode and spend the next month wondering where half of the characters named Stark went..."

True, but then again you're now free to go back and watch any episode at anytime and jump to the parts you want to see. This type of writing might make for a better rewatch, which is often the case with Trek.

I wonder if there are some bloggers out there keeping track of all the little details? It seems like you get a richer experience if you takes notes of all the little nuggets of info that may not be relevant to the episode they appear in.
Thomas
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 10:12am (UTC -6)
Konstantinos - Surely you must be aware that picking apart things and analyzing them is a great source of pleasure for many. For the long serving Trek fan, applying their knowledge of a vast body of Trek lore to something new and unfamiliar from the franchise can be immensely satisfying. You don't have to love what you're watching to enjoy that process in itself.
HawgWyld
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 10:20am (UTC -6)
@William

"Discovery's storytelling is certainly more in line with modern television, but its moral bankruptcy is apparent when held against the standards of the past. Attempts at cloaking those dark choices behind "progressive" casting and representation choices doesn't change the underlying fact that our heroes are less heroic, and we feel the need to describe our enemies as vile to the point of cannibalism."

Bingo! And that sums up the main problems I have with this series. One of the things that makes Star Trek great is that we are presented with a society where a lot of "modern" problems have been effectively addressed and citizens of the Federation are essentially living in paradise. The Federation was presented as an ideal which appealed mightily to the escapist in all of us.

Discovery presents a world that's full of the same self-centered jerks that are making a mess of things here in the good old 21st century. Yuck. Who the hell wants that? It's hard to root for any of these amoral drama queens and, in fact, one of my favorite moments of the whole series came when that self involved engineer broke his nose on a console.
Latex Zebra
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 10:21am (UTC -6)
Sylvia Tilly you are fined one credit for the violation of the Verbal Morality Statute!
Chrome
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 10:29am (UTC -6)
@Latex Zebra

But, but - there's no money in the 23rd century! Aren't monetary fines kind of pointless? They should take away her holodeck privileges or make her clean the tartigrade droppings.
Del_Duio
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 10:34am (UTC -6)
^^ By all means, feel free to create your own Trek review page if you like. ^^
Del_Duio
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 10:35am (UTC -6)
Sorry that was directed at Konstantinos, not you Chrome!
Latex Zebra
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 10:46am (UTC -6)
@Chrome - Damn you and you're Vulcanesque critique of my humour. ;o)

But yeah, she can paint the hull like the start of Red Dwarf.

Latex Zebra
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 11:00am (UTC -6)
I wonder if Elliot is watching this.

He'll fucking hate it.
Konstantinos
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 11:04am (UTC -6)
@Thomas,

I get that and I respect it as well. But after a specific point you have to like the thing you spend your time and money on. This site regularly bashes shows and not just star trek for not being what they are. It backhand bashed Orville for example last week for not having top quality while its purpose is clearly to entertain and nothing more.

I mean I know every show has its weak points and its strong ones. I don't see the point of going over them 100 times for every single episode of its run.

@ManMadMUC. Thanks for your reply. Sounds sincere to me.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 11:09am (UTC -6)
@MadManMuc
"Actually, I'm not at all convinced Kurzman isn't slyly setting us up to take this into the JJ-Trek universe by the end of it all"

He legally can't do that.

CBS do not have the rights for the JJ-Trek universe (these are owned by Paramount).

As for:
"...So that he can basically shit all over Roddenberry's creation, and do whatever he thinks Trek is (which isn't pretty at all)."

Isn't this basically what we've got from episode one?

Like it or hate it, one cannot say in good faith that Discovery is making any attempt to fit into the established canon. Nor can one say in good faith that Discovery isn't an unprecedent departure from the tone and philosophy of all previous Trek shows.

TPTB can pertend all they want that this isn't true, but nobody is really buying it anymore. The majority of fans how enjoy DSC also acknowledge this. You can see this in the positive reviews by various commenters here. Take a look at a typical 3 star review of DSC (including Jammer's) and you'll see the way the fans are treating this series. They fully understand what this show is and isn't, accept it, and review it accordingly.

In short: you don't have any reason to fear that Kurzman is going to do what said he'll do. He'd already done it and it's old news by now.

@MadManMuc
"It absolutely is ... although, to be fair, we started seeing the hints of it in DS9 (Dominion War), but it started taking off with ENT"

To be fair, ENT at least had the excuse of being set in an era when this moral "devolution" made sense. After all, the 22nd century *should* be less enlightened than the 23rd/24th. It was quite interesting to see this intermediate step in our moral evolution, and I thought it was done quite well.

Of-course this doesn't necessarily make the dark turn that ENT took *enjoyable* (that's a matter of personal taste). But it doesn't undermine the Trek ethos anymore than a WW3 series (set in the 2050's) would undermine it.

@Konstantinos
"This must be the most amazing "hate" page I have ever found. I have been reading it for three days and the way that you manage to bash stuff with discretion is really something I respect..."

Since when does giving a show a good rating and that pointing out the flaws is "bashing"?

There's a huge difference between "hate" and being able to speak intelligently and criticially about a show you love. The nice thing about Jammersreviews.com is that the people here (usually) aren't blindly following the herd. You have no idea how refreshing it is to see actual fans of a show speaking thoughtfully about it and talking intelligently about the pros and cons of each episode and each series.

It is also quite rare.

In most other fan forums, people mumble either "it's great!" or "it's awful" depending on their "camp". So they have "fans" vs "haters", and "Team Orville vs Team Discovery" and other stupid nonsense like this.

We don't have this here (mostly), which I think is wonderful.

Also, those people who *do* write negative reviews aren't being subtle about it at all. When somebody really doesn't like a show, you can tell it from his very first sentence... and there's nothing really wrong with that, either.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 11:17am (UTC -6)
@Latex Zebra
"@Chrome - Damn you and you're Vulcanesque critique of my humour. ;o)"

I'll out-Vulcan the Vulcan and remind you that the Trekverse probably *did* have money in the mid 23rd century. There are quite a few references in canon in favor of this fact (including Kirk reminding Spock how much Starfleet had invested in him) and none against it.

The earliest reference of "no money" is - as far as I know - from ST4 (2286).

(way to kill a joke, I know)




MadManMUC
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 11:36am (UTC -6)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi

‘He legally can't do that.

CBS do not have the rights for the JJ-Trek universe (these are owned by Paramount).’

Well, at least there’s that much gained, if nothing else.

@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi

‘you don't have any reason to fear that Kurzman is going to do what said he'll do. He'd already done it and it's old news by now.’

I know. I guess maybe the shock of it all hasn’t worn off yet.

@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi

‘To be fair, ENT at least had the excuse of being set in an era when this moral "devolution" made sense.’

This is absolutely true, fair point. In fact, it was one of the central plot devices, so entirely intentional. I guess it just appeal to me, is all.

@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi

‘Also, those people who *do* write negative reviews aren't being subtle about it at all.’

But certainly articulate. From what I’m seeing, at the negative reviews are thought-out, as opposed to a blanket ‘This shows sucks.’ statement.

MadManMUC
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 11:37am (UTC -6)
Also, on the subject of money, I seem to remember Kirk in TOS once telling Scotty he'd 'earned his week's pay', as a compliment. Whether it was literal of figurative that Scotty gets paid a salary, we don't really know (although, I suppose we can assume he did).
The Tower
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 11:39am (UTC -6)
This is what you get when Star Trek tries to be BSG (reboot), but with poor writing and little thought given to "the big picture".

It's a shame, too, because there's definitely acting talent in this cast. It's just saddled with awful scripting and hole-riddled plots.

Thing I hate most is the production design. The Klingons have been discussed here, ad nauseum, so I won't get into that. It appears Fuller and Co. were so bent on putting their own stamp on Trek, they not only threw out the philosophies that make Trek what it is, but also anything that looks like it. I get that real-world tech today is more advanced than even 10 years ago, but these guys didn't even make an effort to have this look fit. The Abrams movies did a far better job of giving an updated retro look...One that's in the spirit of the original. Even ENT looked more period-correct.

As for the so-called "gay" scene at the end, it might have been something we've not seen on Trek before, and while it did seem a bit forced in its inclusion, the execution was just fine. In contrast, the Troi/Riker scenes in ST: Insurrection were completely forced, foolishly executed, and painful to watch, and probably the most offensive scenes ever shown in Trek, mostly because of their stupidity.

As for Discovery on the whole, well, perhaps Ron Moore or Ira Behr are available.
Chrome
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 11:40am (UTC -6)
I've heard this site been called many things, but never a "hate" page. If anything, he gave this episode mixed reviews while siding on the side of positive. The same could be said of many of his Voyager reviews, I guess?

Though it should be said you can critique something and still like it. I critiqued the heck out of DS9's "Apocalypse Rising", but I still thoroughly enjoy the episode. After multiple viewings, I just felt like it could've been more. No big deal.
Konstantinos
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 11:43am (UTC -6)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi

I take your word for it, since I have just read some reviews. I understand what you are saying, I just think that sonetimes we have to enjoy something for what it is (even if it is mindless fun) than poke it for not being something else. I like Orville and Discovery (and Voyager) for being different. I can see their flaws but if I start nitpicking them I feel it will affect my love for the show and on the long term for sci-fi in general.

Btw a good place to look for a definition of Saru's psychology and his relationship with Burnham is the "desperate hours" novel by David Mack. In fact I was surprised to see elements from it getting into the show.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 12:19pm (UTC -6)
@Konstantinos

Complaining that Trekkies nitpick their Trek is like complaining that water is wet.

That's what Trekkies do. It's the nature of the beast.

Peremensoe
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 12:29pm (UTC -6)
William... what *did* Discovery do? The tardigrade was freed, and a crewman took its place in the drive system (at the possible cost of himself, maybe the whole ship, perhaps the war effort). It's not "devolved" to acknowledge that moral challenges can be complicated, that principles can conflict, that things are not always what they first seem, that people do not always know the right thing at once.

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

Escapism is the opposite of moral courage. Star Trek was at its least important when the Federation, and the audience, were most comfortably assured.
BZ
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 12:29pm (UTC -6)
"If a brilliant scientist could create a technology that could benefit Starfleet going forward, but its development might require risks to a life-form of questionable sentience, what would Discovery do? (Measure of a Man)"
In other words, even in the 24th century there is a question about such a situation that requires a court ruling, and that ruling is very narrow in scope.

"If the war could be won be converting an innocent into a WMD, what would Discovery do? (I, Borg)"
They have their cake and eat it too? By the way, in that episode, Starfleet is fine infecting Hugh. What saves him is emotional connection with the crew. Of course VOY later provides an unambiguous condemnation of this (Child's Play), but that just proves that opinions on such things may evolve even between TNG and VOY let alone in 100 years' time.

"If personal freedom was a barrier to the advancement of the war, what would Discovery do? (the Drumhead)"
I'm not sure what analogy between DSC and that episode you are referring to. In any event, whose personal freedom are you referring to? If ripper's then see above.

"If destroying targets that might be of military value would help the war effort, but you could not confirm that those targets were legitimate, what would the Discovery do? (The Wounded)"
Again, I'm not sure what analogy between DSC and that episode you are referring to, but the fact that a Starfleet captain in the 24th century could still justify such action allows that it was acceptable 100 years before.
wolfstar
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 1:04pm (UTC -6)
@Jim Oz

"This is not Star Trek. After watching for 25 years with my children I will no longer watch ST. Swearing? Openly gay characters. Pathetic. I'm getting a divorce after 25 years-I'm gutted."

My parents brought me up on Star Trek. TNG and TOS, then as a teen I graduated onto DS9 (which my dad wasn't into). Trek definitely played a big role in forming my values and worldview - Sisko and Kira are kinda my role models. I love that Trek characters act ethically, show solidarity with each other and are passionate about defending their values. I'm glad there wasn't unnecessary swearing, and think Trek should be a family show. But if there had been a gay scene in 90s Trek while I was growing up, even one as subtle as the one in Discovery... it would have made me feel less alone in the world. It would have helped me a lot. It would have made me feel like a future was possible for me.
Peremensoe
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 1:07pm (UTC -6)
Yanks: "I don't know that I subscribe to the Multi-Verse thing in trek. We only got that in one episode (TNG: Parallels) right?"

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

Accepting the Trek multiverse has a lot of advantages in interpretations of other episodes. It gives a logic and a 'place' for the MU (or the complex of related MUs), the reverse/antimatter universes, all manner of "fluidic" and "trans-dimensional" and "non-corporeal" spaces, the Nexus, the Continuum, and wherever the Traveler comes from. It gets you out of just about any time-travel 'paradox,' if you need it, as well as any continuity 'problem' between series.
Peter G.
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 1:11pm (UTC -6)
@ Peremensoe,

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

Not really. They already knew Ripper was being hurt when Saru commanded them into Klingon space and they made the jump anyhow. That was already over the line in terms of the devolution of Starfleet principles. Later on when Stamets inserted himself into the machine it wasn't even a question of whether to exploit the creature versus using himself; using the creature was already out of the question. Ripper had gone into hibernation and was out of the picture already, and they had zero knowledge of how to revive it or get it back into working condition. Saru's command to "just wake it up, do whatever you have to" was amongst the dumbest moments in Trek, where it wasn't even brought up how they could possibly do that or what state it would have to be in to function as navigator. Would you take a pilot who was in a coma, smack him on the head to wake him up and immediately give him navigational control of a starship? What we see here isn't merely cruel but stupid as well. And Saru was a science officer previously! I guess that got retconned away already.

Back to my point, when Stamets inserts himself it's not even clear that it's because he doesn't want to revive Ripper - we don't even know if he can. Using himself is actually the best chance for the ship anyhow. The plot itself took away the moral choice once they were in Klingon space since Ripper was out of commission. They had already transgressed. It's true that freeing Ripper at the end was a moral choice, but even then it's not clear whether this was to cease the enslavement or because it was the only way to prevent it dying. Either way it's a step in the right direction, but it's a far cry from refusing to use it anymore as a navigator. The fact that the story had Ripper cease to be able to do the job anymore undermined the ability for the crew to choose to stop using it of their own volition. That choice was never made, so all we have is that they used it until it nearly died, then they got rid of it.
Chrome
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 1:39pm (UTC -6)
'Saru's command to "just wake it up, do whatever you have to" was amongst the dumbest moments in Trek, where it wasn't even brought up how they could possibly do that or what state it would have to be in to function as navigator.'

One of the science officers, I believe, suggested that the tartigrade could be awakened by hydration, and it was Saru's expectation that they'd do just that. They've been using the creature for weeks now and likely have a better understanding of its biology. Anyway, I think because Stamets realized the risks to the creature were too great, he stepped in and used the stop-gap solution he and Burnham figured out instead.
Peter G.
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 2:04pm (UTC -6)
@ Chrome,

"One of the science officers, I believe, suggested that the tartigrade could be awakened by hydration, and it was Saru's expectation that they'd do just that. They've been using the creature for weeks now and likely have a better understanding of its biology. Anyway, I think because Stamets realized the risks to the creature were too great, he stepped in and used the stop-gap solution he and Burnham figured out instead."

The creature was being subjected to brain damage from the jumps, and upon being sufficiently drained or whatever it withdrew into an effective coma. The fact that it became dehydrated in the process is a lot different from just saying that it was thirsty so let's give it a drink and it'll be better. In a way it's giving the show some credit to suggest that the hydration idea was a Hail Mary and really had no basis in fact since they were desperate. We already knew it was damage done to Ripper that was the issue, not dehydration. But if you want to suggest that this was a legitimate way to revive Ripper then we enter the Dr. Who zone in full force where [insert magic technobabble] can solve any problem. The unknown alien life form that we don't understand is paralyzed with damage? Easy fix, give it the magic elixir. On this kind of reading of the episode you'd be right, that they could have revived Ripper at will and chose not to do so. But I never got that impression because they never took the time to have any sort of conversation about what reviving it would mean. See other shows re: "Sir, we can give him the adrenaline but he may die if we do" for context of how to handle the pros/cons of attempting revival, to say nothing of the fact that this would be applying an experimental treatment to a potentially unwilling life form. It was just "Revive it, the plot doesn't have time to deal with how." The actual state of Ripper's physiology was irrelevant to the episode, as was the idea of actually giving us a chance to learn about the creature (since you suggest they had studied it and learned). I guess Discovery is about discovering ways to move the plot along, rather than discovering things about a new and interesting being.

Putting aside the issue of how the issue of how to revive Ripper was hand-waved away, that still leaves the matter of whether you'd put your crew's life in the hands of a creature yanked out of a coma and probably on death's door. That's really better than using warp drive and making a run for it? What happened to the good old Trek tropes of hiding in nebulae and making a mad dash for Federation space? The fact of the matter is that Saru didn't even bother to notify Starfleet command that he was taking their precious tech into Klingon space under risky circumstances so that they could at least muster a fleet to try to rendez-vous in case the jump drive failed enroute. If the jump drive is really the lynch-pin to the war effort you'd think that safeguarding it would be of *such high priority* that at least this precaution would be taken. But no, Saru's 'character building' moment (aka character assassination) consisted of him potentially deep-sixing the whole war effort because he was jealous of his previous CO. Yeah, this guy should really be wearing command stripes alright.
BZ
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 2:36pm (UTC -6)
"Revive it, the plot doesn't have time to deal with how."
This is exactly what the (acting) captain would say. It doesn't matter that he's a former science officer. It's not his job to do science.

"What happened to the good old Trek tropes of hiding in nebulae and making a mad dash for Federation space?"
We don't know how deep in Klingon space they are. It may be that warp would not do them any good.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 2:44pm (UTC -6)
Wolfstar, I support you all the way.

I too wish that 1990's Trek would have given us a gay character. I mean, they've pretty much included everyone else, so this omission was kind-of-a statement in itself.

The one thing that Discovery did right, and the fans bash it for it. Go figure...



HawgWyld
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 3:30pm (UTC -6)
@Peremensoe -- stating that escapism is the opposite of moral courage may be true, but how is that relevant in the least to Discovery? These cats are some of the most morally bankrupt, amoral people we've seen in positions of authority in Starfleet. Again, these folks behave like the jerks that are messing up the 21st century. Who wants that?
Chrome
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 4:12pm (UTC -6)
@Peter G.

I never said hydrating the tartigrade was a great solution; there would obviously be repercussions and it was potentially dangerous. It was also a morally ambiguous solution that Saru decided was better making than letting his Captain die. But the episode did nevertheless present hydration as a "workable" option.
Del_Duio
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 4:52pm (UTC -6)
If nothing else, DSC makes VOY look like TNG.
Geekgarious
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 5:22pm (UTC -6)
Harry Mudd's appearance here reminds me of the sloppy shoehorning of the aliens from the cantina into Rogue One. These silly attempts at fan service have gone a long way toward gutting the modern incarnations of both franchises. The powers that be should have learned this from episodes like "Unification", though clearly very few smart choices were made with the creation of this series.

I should just cancel my sub, get over Trek and Star Wars, and just watch The Expanse or The Leftovers. There hasn't been any truly great Trek on screen in many years now...why do I keep holding out for something good?
Worf's Purple Space Bazooka
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 5:46pm (UTC -6)
This is a fine space adventure show. It just isn't Star Trek. :/
NCC-1701-Z
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 6:02pm (UTC -6)
*checks on Star Trek Discovery*
*finds out that they're now dropping f-bombs gratuitously for no discernible purpose other than to sound "hip" or "grown-up" or something like that*
*feels very glad that I quit watching after ep 2*
*watches Star Wars Rebels instead*
Brian1
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 8:33pm (UTC -6)
This is the Brian who has been commenting on various threads recently. I just wanted to make sure that people did not think I was the one making the homophobic remarks made above by this new Brian. So that there is no confusion in the future I'm going to start referring to myself as "Brian1". And yeah, what others said, get over your homophobia.
Peremensoe
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 9:50pm (UTC -6)
"@Peremensoe -- stating that escapism is the opposite of moral courage may be true, but how is that relevant in the least to Discovery? These cats are some of the most morally bankrupt, amoral people we've seen in positions of authority in Starfleet. Again, these folks behave like the jerks that are messing up the 21st century. Who wants that? "

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

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

Besides all that, I think you're just wrong about the Discovery characters. Lorca may be an impenetrable thicket as yet, and Burnham is a troubled soul, but even so I think most of the named crew we've seen are people who want to do the right thing, as best they can discern it and are able.
Sooty
Wed, Oct 18, 2017, 5:15am (UTC -6)
Really starting to enjoy this series its just warming up nicely. The characters are growing nicely and the arc is hotting up. The F-Bomb just took me right out of the episode for a moment and was completely unnecessary.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, Oct 18, 2017, 5:18am (UTC -6)
@Geekgarious

"I should just cancel my sub, get over Trek and Star Wars, and just watch The Expanse or The Leftovers. There hasn't been any truly great Trek on screen in many years now...why do I keep holding out for something good?"

Have you tried "the Orville"?

It's not everybody's cup of tea, but it *is* surprisingly good. And it scratches that irksome Trek itch like nothing else that was produced the past 12 years.

Worth a look... and it's free :-)
vofeeto
Wed, Oct 18, 2017, 6:27am (UTC -6)
@Peremensoe

Thanks for the tip suggesting paying the $9.99 a month is worth it. With the the $5.99 a month option, I get about 2 minutes' worth of commercials per break (as an aside: this leads me to think the actual episode air time, strangely enough, is closer to 45 minutes or show than ENT's 42 or so. Sigh... The Man Trap has about 53 minutes of actual airtime. We had lost something more than minutes by padding TV episodes with commercials).
Del_Duio
Wed, Oct 18, 2017, 8:14am (UTC -6)
Yeah I agree, if you're going in you've go to go all in. $9.99 vs. $5.99 is nothing in the long run. Skipping annoying commercials every 8 minutes is worth $4 a month to me.
William
Wed, Oct 18, 2017, 9:49am (UTC -6)
@BZ

The points of my direct comparisons to those TNG episodes was meant as a comparison of the characters on the show, and the choices they make. I cannot imagine a command level officer on the Discovery standing up for personal liberty (the Drumhead) or risking military advantage by following protocol (the Wounded).

As far as the "Measure of a Man" comparison, are you really comparing people standing up for the rights of a minority on the verge of oppression through proper legal channels to less than a handful of people violating the chain of command to prevent abuse, if not slavery? One proposes that society has means to overcome current inequities, the other supposes that society is inherently bent on immoral action and must be subverted, as there is no means within the system to correct the system.

The "I, Borg" comparison is similarly contextual. Upon analysis, the crew of the Enterprise were unwilling to convert a sentient into a weapon of mass destruction. The fact that Hugh had a beneficial effect for the Federation later as a result of undermining the "political" structure of the Borg doesn't make that choice irrelevant. That equivocation would be similar to saying that not launching a pre-emptive strike against the USSR is an irrelevant choice, since the impact of Western popular culture eventually contributed to undermining the power of the Communist Party anyway. It would still be the right choice, even if the Borg or the USSR survived contact unscathed.

"What Would Discovery Do?" is meant as a highlight of the amorality this show purports. Maybe the story arc will produce a show that looks better in hindsight, but abandoning the moral fabric of Star Trek in a canonical Trek series demands heightened scrutiny from franchise fans. Justify your choices, Discovery. Michael Burnham, contrived kidnappings, forced cameos, and guild navigators aren't doing that yet.
Yanks
Wed, Oct 18, 2017, 10:37am (UTC -6)
Is anyone watching "After Trek" on the CBS All Access after the showing on Sunday night?
BZ
Wed, Oct 18, 2017, 11:36am (UTC -6)
@William,
In "Measure of a Man", Data, who has been treated as a sentient being his entire life, went to Starfleet Academy, and serves as a high ranking officer on Federation's flagship, is deemed Starfleet property and is about to be taken away and disassembled, against his very clear refusal, by a scientist who is in no way portrayed as evil or immoral. It is only Enterprise's crew's attachment to him that gets him his trial, and, as I said before, the final decision is very narrow and allows for future decisions the other way in similar cases.

Ripper, meanwhile, is a newly discovered lifeform who may or may not be sentient. It never articulates its objections to the way it's treated in any way that our characters can understand. We might get the feeling that it's in pain, but it's not confirmed until this episode.

On the other hand, Ripper is not an artificial lifeform created by federation citizens, but is captured. In large part the case against Data revolves around the idea that he's not even alive. There's no doubt that Ripper is alive. The question is really one of enslaving a sentient being (if it's sentient) or torturing a lifeform (if it's deliberately being hurt). Neither of these is unambiguously happening. It's reasonable to make parallels to using domesticated animals for transportation (horses) or heavy labor (oxen). Heck, humans still eat meat in the TOS era, so they kill non-sentient lifeforms routinely.
Chrome
Wed, Oct 18, 2017, 11:42am (UTC -6)
Thanks Peremensoe, for your thoughtful comment. You really nailed the Trek morality topic there, I'm tempted to frame that and put it up on my wall.

I think a great example that illustrates how a immoral character can tell a morality tale is none other than "A Christmas Carol". There, Scrooge is both the antagonist AND the protagonist because he's fighting his own demons in order to understand why he came to be what he is. If Scrooge started the story out as just some normal and decent guy with an attitude you'd expect around Christmas, there would be no conflict, and thus no story. That a selfish character like Scrooge can make such a dramatic change in conscience is exactly what makes the story so involving. So yes, flawed characters can tell very moving moral stories.

@Yanks

I tried watching it, but I ran out of time because of family stuff. I'm not all that invested in the "All-Access" fluff, but I'd be interested to know if anything important comes of it, too.
Lod
Wed, Oct 18, 2017, 1:30pm (UTC -6)
Imo, Saru didn't stop being himself or behaving the way he normally does because of bad writing, but rather because he doesn't want to lose yet another captain after Georgiou and so sees rescuing Lorca his main priority and the well-being of the Tardigrade as less important.
You can understand watching the episode that he's really anxious and nervous about filling the captain position while Lorca is gone, that he wants to do his best and, in his point of view, "doing his best" means accomplishing his goal by following the admiral's orders to the letter, no matter what, those orders being "Rescue Lorca before he spills out our secrets!".
He wants to impress the admiral, to show her he can be a good captain and at the same time he doesn't want to lose another captain. That's why he doesn't behave "like himself".
Lod
Wed, Oct 18, 2017, 1:32pm (UTC -6)
By the way, that ending with the creepy reflection of Stamets in his mirror was scary af, imo. I wonder if that has some connection with the Mirror Universe?
WTBA
Wed, Oct 18, 2017, 6:40pm (UTC -6)
@Yanks I watched the first and most recent After Treks. It is really shoddy. The interviews add nothing and it feels so forced and superficial. The host is so annoying. (Who is this guy anyway?) I am not a Walking Dead viewer, so I don't know if Talking Dead (which is what AT obviously is trying to be) is actually any good. Who asked for aftershows in the first place?
Geekgarious
Wed, Oct 18, 2017, 7:07pm (UTC -6)
After Trek is pretty terrible, but is a good representation of how laughably out of touch the suits running this are with the Fanbase.

@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi, just watched the first episode of The Orville. Feels more like classic Trek than Discovery, but seems totally unsure of itself in terms of tone. Seems like it could be good background viewing.
Brian1
Wed, Oct 18, 2017, 8:05pm (UTC -6)
Well I still think that the characters are generally unlikeable. I think this show doesn't feel like Star Trek to me not just because of the much lauded "darkness"; but because of the lack of charm and romantacism... Star Trek has always been a little Shakespearean, and felt elevated from every day life. Battlestar Gallactica had a lot of darkness, but it still had the Star Trek like romantacism that came in when needed to keep the show feeling like an epic tale. This show lacks that. And I am all for suspending disbelief when appropriate but I really don't like how so much of this show revolves around something so unplausible as this spore drive. It just makes me not get as invested in the show.
Ruth
Wed, Oct 18, 2017, 8:27pm (UTC -6)
Lod - for me that’s part of the problem, Saru wasn’t following the admirals orders at all! They were also concerned about overusing the tardigrade though only for ulilty’s sake and not because it’s obviously wrong.

People saying it’s not clear the tardigrade was suffering by the way, what have you been watching? It screams and thrashes, it sustains brain damage, it becomes weak and sickly. That’s very blatant. There have been some like in Voyager with some holographic life form that wasn’t obviously alive in the first place let alone being injured by voyagers experiments, this wasn’t like that at all. This is an animal shrieking and becoming ill and collapsing. And in that voyager episode, as SOON as they realised they’re hurting it they both stopped and tried to make amends, even after they thought one had killed some of the crew

God I want them to let Janeway loose on these monsters.

I don’t really care about Saru’s sad feelings, he’s a dickhead. I really liked him before. Tell me where they teach them in the academy, or just where anyone’s mother teaches anyone you can do a biiit of torture if you’re having a rough day because you’re feeling jealous of a hated scapegoat you have complete power over. What a knob! The first cool looking alien character and they do this to him. He never admitted fault or apologised to anyone and Burnham acts like it’s okay and their captain would have been alright with it???? What a joke!

No one else has mentioned, I think Burnhams nightmare at the beginning was also about the reflection. At first it seems like just empathy for the being on the other side of the glass - but with Stamets reflection it seems much more literal. I wonder if residual mind meld stuff has given her low grade psychic powers? Of course it could be coincidence inside the story, but I think we were meant to see it.

Lorca didn’t disappoint me by leaving a prisoner behind because I already knew he was evil. And what’s with his little story about the one ship without a self destruct for those circumstances where every other captain self destructs? I hate him

The new guy is plainly a liar. I didn’t get at first that that was L’rell but knowing that he is so clearly hiding something. I don’t know about this theory that he’s Voq. I rewatched those scenes and I can’t see it. He was really going at L’rell as well and I doubt it or her accusation was for acting because Lorca wasn’t there. But then he was there again magically. The editing leaves something to be desired. But we know L’rell hasn’t been raping him for seven months because we know what she’s been doing. I don’t get it at all. Whatever he is, I do think he knew about discovery. I never hope for too much with subtle readings of Star Trek but it seems like his delivery of that line about ‘no starfleet ship could get out here’ was very pointed and intense and not the kind of laughing sarcasm you’d expect from someone actually responding to what Lorca said as if they really thought no ship had those capabilities.

(I thought it was lazy him saying ghost ship and L’rell saying it - I’m glad it was on purpose)

I do also love the ridiculous scene where baby Burnham Tilly and Stamets deliver their little presentation on the spore drive. How can there be time for that nonsense and not time for other scenes - I didn’t get that Lorca wasn’t holding that meeting on the discovery for example! Shocking editing, you never had this problem on old Trek

I’m still going to watch but I’m baffled by what they did with Saru. One measly line about “i know what the admirals said and I think this is the kind of situation where we have to do this” or especially also “if they find out about spore drive they will definitely be cruel to the tardigrades so harming one to stop that is okay” - ANYTHING and not just him going against starfleet to do something cruel when all he ever did before is so what starfleet said to the letter and despise cruelty
Rahul
Wed, Oct 18, 2017, 9:11pm (UTC -6)
Some more random thoughts after a 2nd viewing of this episode:

Helps get better clarity on the many things going on here given less familiarity with the characters etc. Still think the writing is messy as are most of the characters.

Most of the characters are unlikeable -- Saru's the only one who truly works for me. Lorca's just a warmongering a-hole and his character isn't seen to be anything else whereas Burnham's got a bit messier with her disregard for Saru's initial orders re. the tardigrade. If we're to believe she's got a strong moral compass, I'd need more proof.

That's what's really lacking from DSC -- an overall strong moral compass. StarFleet is looking all over for tardigrades and wants to install the spore drive in all its ships. So there's plenty to dislike about DSC, and why it doesn't feel like Star Trek. Little regard for other sentient lives, unlikeable characters, etc.

Wonder what's up with Stamets and the mirror -- I don't think I fully grasped that in my 1st viewing...

Some random notes:

Nice to see Matt Decker's name on the list of great StarFleet captains. Wonder if he was already a Commodore and running the Constellation -- some 10 years later he'd run into the Doomsday Machine...

Still think the f-bombs from Tilly and Stamets don't belong in Trek and here they're just used stupidly -- poor writing. If anybody should be dropping them, it should be Lorca.

The gay couple relationship is building and is heading for a kiss in a future episode. If it's going to happen, let it not just be some gratuitous thing like the f-bombs dropped here. If it is going to happen, let it be because somehow the episode demands it.

Initial rating of 2 stars stands. For an interest level, DSC ranks above ENT, which was quite boring, but below the other 4 Trek series so far.
Chrome
Wed, Oct 18, 2017, 9:15pm (UTC -6)
Discovery's producer confirms Spock will not appear on the series, talks about canon, following seasons:

https://www.polygon.com/platform/amp/tv/2017/10/18/16500810/star-trek-discovery-continuity-original-series
Cosmic
Wed, Oct 18, 2017, 11:39pm (UTC -6)
I mostly enjoyed this episode, despite it's glaring faults and potential "plotholes". It was certainly better than what we got in "The Butcher's Knife".

Couple Things:

- The characters are getting better every episode. While I initially wasn't crazy about Stamets and Tilly, they have really grown on me with each passing episode. Michael and Saru make good progress at the end of the episode when she gives him Georgiu's telescope. The series is continuing to improve in this regard.

- Harry Mudd. Better than I expected him to be, with nice little touches to various details regarding the character. But much like Sarek, it begs the question - Why re-purpose this TOS character and needlessly insert him into Discovery? He could be a totally new character and still be effective.

- Plotholes galore? Maybe Ash Tyler really is Voq... it's the only way L'Rell's presence makes any damn sense in this episode. I've seen theories that maybe the Starfleet guy who got stomped out by the Klingon was the real Ash Tyler. Will Lorca's Tribble give Ash away? This is all potentially cool/interesting if they follow through with this theory. Otherwise, it's terrible/sloppy writing on their part. I keep getting the sense that this show has a "Too many cooks in the kitchen" issue going on with it's writing team.

- F-Bomb in a Star Trek show? It didn't need to be there, but of course it's causing a lot of needless outrage from the fans. Silly stuff all around.

- I like the twist ending. Is the implication that Stamets (or his mind) has crossed into something that is beyond him? Is the mirror universe involved in some way (hence the mirror)?? Intriguing.

- Klingons speaking English! Yes! Can we just keep it this way? I didn't like the "redesigns" for the Klingon ships, but the new Klingon disruptors (complete with bayonets) were a neat addition.

Some good moments, some frustrating moments... guess we'll see how (or if) all of these pieces play out in a way that makes sense. 2.5 from me.
WTBA
Thu, Oct 19, 2017, 4:02am (UTC -6)
Having read up more on the Ash = Voq stuff, it is pretty damning (some of the real-world evidence). But, what about how it would work in universe?

If Ash is Voq, it sure seems like he was mindwiped and given this Tyler persona (presumably based on an actual either former prisoner or just death at the BotBS). That anger when he was punching her was very visceral. If he isn't aware he is formerly Voq, then In this case, giving up everything for Voq was giving up everything Voq. How then will he be useful as the mindwiped former Voq? Maybe they (LRell and co.) will retrieve him later? Maybe he will be activated (or is subtly programmed) somehow?
Brian
Thu, Oct 19, 2017, 4:53am (UTC -6)
Just saw this above posted by Morn, pretty hilarious and spot on:
"Maybe the whole show so far is actually set in the mirror universe where everything went wrong (including the war with the Klingons), and "mirror Stamets" will actually turn out to be good Stamets? That theory would certainly explain why everyone behaves like such a jackass on this show, including Saru..."
Yanks
Thu, Oct 19, 2017, 6:32am (UTC -6)
Chrome & WTBA,

Agree about the host... it's interesting hearing some of the actors, but the only real benefit I get from watching is the previews for the next episode. the host IS annoying.

Break...

Are Ash Tyler and Voq are played by the same actor? Has Vog made the extreme sacrifice and been surgically altered? Augment virus? IMDB lists Javid Iqbal as the actor that plays Voq, but when I google him an article come up that says this actor might not exist?

It will be interesting to see how that tribble Lorca has sitting on his desk reacts when Ash enters his cabin. :-)

I smell a spy... :-)
Del_Duio
Thu, Oct 19, 2017, 9:08am (UTC -6)
No they're not the same actors, I heckled that out the other day on IMDb to check for myself.
Del_Duio
Thu, Oct 19, 2017, 9:10am (UTC -6)
Oh sorry I didn't fully read your post!

I guess it COULD be a red herring, like STID's Khan but that seems like to much effort and thought on CBS's part.
Jammer
Thu, Oct 19, 2017, 9:48am (UTC -6)
The danger with the more elaborate of these Ash/Voq theories and/or alternate/mirror universes is that you may be setting yourself up for an Occam's Razor disappointment.

I'm reminded of the end of "The Matrix Reloaded" when Neo suddenly realized he had the power to destroy machines with his mind in the real world. That seemed to suggest a theory that everything outside the Matrix -- Zion, everything -- was actually another Matrix, and the Matrix was a Matrix-within-a-Matrix, all for the purposes of the machines carrying out the cyclical conflict between Smith and The One.

But when "The Matrix Revolutions" revealed that, nope, Neo can just destroy machines in the real world because he's magical and special, it was a distinct letdown.

Maybe we're heading for something like that here, or maybe not. There definitely seems to be *something* going on here. I'm just not sure what, or if it can live up to the crazy theories.
Peter G.
Thu, Oct 19, 2017, 10:50am (UTC -6)
@ Jammer,

I think the problem with Matrix: Revolutions isn't that their answer was too simplistic, but was rather too elusive. The story didn't have the wherewithal to make us understand how Neo could do that, and so we were left with the impression that it must just be because he's Jesus or whatever. As a bit of a sidetrack, I think the reason Neo was able to do that is because he became mentally linked with The Source while talking to The Architect in Reloaded, which would have been necessary for him to communicate with it assuming he walked through the door to The Source. In the previous incarnations he had always done so, but this time the Oracle rigged it so he wanted to go back to save Trinity. But the neural link would still be there, and then we get weird results. Anyhow the problem here was really that there was *too much* detailing and the films couldn't get into it all. The Wachowskis, it seems to me, had such a dense world they'd created that streamlining it into tight films was a difficult task.

In the case of Discovery I tend to think your concern is entirely accurate, though. Kurtzman material has a tendency to underthink, rather than overthink, solutions to problems. They tend to be pat, tidy, and not overly logical. That said I'm somehow finding myself holding out a little hope that there really is an interesting explanation for all this.

I do like Ruth's idea that the initial scene also somehow has a mirror universe connotation.

I had an idea of my own, which is that the mirror Stamets invented the spore drive before ours did and found a way to use Human navigators already. This would have maybe been him making a foray into our universe in a kind of astral projection way. Maybe the trigger was prime-Stamets hooking into the spore network and alerting the other Stamets to his presence. Looking back to Fringe, they went quite far in establishing back-and-forth relations between the real world and the alternate universe. Why not go there again? It's like a reboot, only in other series, how can you beat that?
Del_Duio
Thu, Oct 19, 2017, 10:54am (UTC -6)
It'd be interesting if we have been watching the evil mirror universe side of things this whole time, and at the very end the real team of Starfleet good guys appears and that's the squad we'll follow from S2 on.

I mean let's take the first episode (non-two parter, which was likely added on later) is it special? I mean, is it *Bryan Fuller& special? Everyone and their mom said how great this guy was and oh man we were going to be in for some good shit however nothing so far seems to point towards these new / great ideas. I know he quit a while ago but he had already written a few of these hadn't he?

Maybe it was his idea that we see things from the MU from the get-go, and then let us in on it way later. Think a large-scale version of that O'Brien episode where we've been watching the clone the whole time. That's what I mean.
Jammer
Thu, Oct 19, 2017, 11:12am (UTC -6)
There are interesting possibilities here. And there's this Akiva Goldsman quote: "We are wildly aware of everything that appears to be a deviation from canon and we will close out all of those issues before they arrive at the 10-year period and hit The Original Series."

Now, there's no reason for me to believe he is lying and that there's not a plan for all this (otherwise, why do the prequel at all?), although the fact that they will clear this up within "the 10-year period before TOS" gives them wide-open license to clear it up this season ... or not for years or even until the end of the series. (The latter would probably drive us all insane.)

Regarding Stamets in the mirror, you could read that as a literal reference to an alternate/mirror universe, but you could also read it as a more subjective POV reflecting (as it were) the character's mental state -- that he steps away from the mirror while simply feeling as if he can exist in multiple places at once because he has been changed by this experience. This is ambiguous enough that they could go many directions with it, including less extreme directions than things like the mirror universe.
Akkal
Thu, Oct 19, 2017, 11:16am (UTC -6)
To the comments about swearing: What's the big deal? It's a perfectly natural part of any person's vocabulary, throughout the world. Personally, I hate the fact that swearing is censored by a "beep" on most american TV shows. It's ridiculous.
Del_Duio
Thu, Oct 19, 2017, 2:14pm (UTC -6)
Akkal:

Because it doesn't belong in Trek. Having sex is a perfectly natural part of human behavior but I don't want my kids to see it on Sesame Street.

"OH BIRRRRD!!"

Hahaha
agingfangirl
Thu, Oct 19, 2017, 2:34pm (UTC -6)
I am enjoying the hell out of this show. It looks great, it is damn exciting, the characters are interesting, there is some high quality acting and I have NO IDEA where it is going. Is it trying to keep you off balance? Damn right it is!

It is hard to evaluate on an episode by episode basis. Discovery is going to succeed or fail based on the entirety of the story, which I fervently hope does not disappoint me.

Some random observations:
--We don't know if anything Mudd or Lorca said about his past is the truth. I am sure it's even more complicated than we think.
--Yes, Saru going along with torturing the tardigrade is against character, and he knows he lost something by doing it. That was part of the point
--This show is all about ethics, good and evil, gray areas, how we treat the "other" and when the end justifies the means. There is nothing more quintessentially Star Trek than that.
--Lorca is a great character and Jason Isaacs is not just nailing it, he is smashing it through the back wall. Ditto Saru and Doug Jones.
--I thought the cussing was fucking cool. I laughed out loud.
--L'Rell sexually abusing a captive? Maybe I am sick but I thought that was dark in an interesting way.
--The mirror shot at the end was awesome.

Discovery is exceeding my expectations, although I hate the Klingon redesign. But then DS9 is my favorite, which shows you where my sensibilities are. I just hope that where it goes makes me want to cry with joy rather than smash things.
Steven
Fri, Oct 20, 2017, 1:16am (UTC -6)
"To the comments about swearing: What's the big deal? It's a perfectly natural part of any person's vocabulary, throughout the world. Personally, I hate the fact that swearing is censored by a "beep" on most american TV shows. It's ridiculous."

The point is that some viewers felt, as they have voiced, that it DIDN'T come across natural at all. You say it's a natural thing, but the swearing in Discovery feels so forced, like other parts of the bad dialogue, too. The same with the violence: Every time that I see excessive violence in Discovery, I wonder whether it has some narrative or artistic reason behind it, and I usually get the impression that it doesn't. They're just being violent or vulgar because they can; purely for the sake of novelty.

Another problem is if the swearing sounds exactly the same as people do it today. It takes you out of the immersion and you can't believe it's a 23rd century show any more.

Personally I don't care for censoring swear words, either. But if you do use them, pick the fitting phrases and make them sound natural, not like a forced phrase.
Steven
Fri, Oct 20, 2017, 1:41am (UTC -6)
@Peter G

"In the case of Discovery I tend to think your concern is entirely accurate, though. Kurtzman material has a tendency to underthink, rather than overthink, solutions to problems. They tend to be pat, tidy, and not overly logical. That said I'm somehow finding myself holding out a little hope that there really is an interesting explanation for all this."

That's the thing. I feel that my efforts to think deeply about this show are wasted. On the contrary, the Wachowskis' "Cloud Atlas" had me thinking for days. I need to have trust that the author HAS put coherent logic behind his work, and I feel kind of intellectually insulted by each Discovery episode because they are so underthought.

That may even be the main issue why the more intellectual part of the fandom is not getting warm with this series. Kurtzman is the wrong man for Star Trek.

Actually, Cloud Atlas is an interesting comparison, because that movie was extremely vague in many ways. But that can't be confused with being incoherent or illogical, as Discovery is. You could always feel that the authors put thought behind the scenes, that there was a coherent world behind it. As it USED to be the case for Star Trek, too.
Teo
Fri, Oct 20, 2017, 7:07am (UTC -6)
I'm really surprised no one mentioned the unforgivably bad exposition in this episode. There two long-ish sequences in particular when I just couldn't believe what I was hearing. Just straight, HORRIBLE exposition dictated to viewers with no attempt to legitimize it at all.
Del_Duio
Fri, Oct 20, 2017, 8:45am (UTC -6)
^^ "It's like an all access pass!" ^^

Ahaha they really said that.
Yanks
Fri, Oct 20, 2017, 11:28am (UTC -6)
I loved it!!! .... lol!!

And more about our possible rat....

www.theverge.com/tldr/2017/10/20/16504260/star-trek-discovery-voq-ash-tyler-shazad-latif-javid-iqbal-fake-actor-tribbles

Del_Duio
Fri, Oct 20, 2017, 11:36am (UTC -6)
It makes sense. That Klingon chick liked Voq before and now for seven months they were having a roll in the hay only with him looking like a human.
gingerbreadmen
Fri, Oct 20, 2017, 12:38pm (UTC -6)
Klingons don't torture defenseless people. Klingons don't eat their victims. Klingons don't take sex slaves. Where is the honour in anything these Klingons are doing? Why didn't the writers just make up a new name and call them something else? These are clearly not Klingons.
Jammer
Fri, Oct 20, 2017, 12:41pm (UTC -6)
I hereby coin the phrase "volcanic ash" to refer to the Voq/Ash theorizing and the plot eruption that awaits, if true.

I can do that, right? :)
Del_Duio
Fri, Oct 20, 2017, 12:51pm (UTC -6)
It's your site, you c an do whatever you want!
Michael is a boy's name
Fri, Oct 20, 2017, 12:55pm (UTC -6)
I would just like to point out that the 'mirror' in 'mirror universe' is a metaphor. As in, actual mirrors (the objects) shouldn't have anything to do with the alternate quantum reality nicknamed 'the mirror universe.' The alternate Stammets inside the mirror makes for nice imagery, but how in the world does it make any actual sense in-universe?
Ruth
Fri, Oct 20, 2017, 12:57pm (UTC -6)
Peter G - I didn’t necessarily mean mirror universe, I actually don’t know much about it (not watched DS9 or ENT and only watched TOS as a small child) I just meant that more generally it’s the theme of a mirror and also the kind of lag between Burnhams is like how the Stamets in the mirror was still finishing brushing his teeth when the other had already left the bathroom.

Teo - lots of people mentioned it, I know I did! I can’t believe all the confusing scene changes and then these long exposition scenes. How can they not have time to explain what needs explaining but they have time to show what doesn’t? The one where the three of them were talking about the spore drive/the tardigrade was particularly annoying because there wasn’t even a contrived reason for them to do it. They weren’t explaining it to anyone.

gingerbreadmen - I’m willing to accept some differences to the Klingons we knew if this goes into changes within their culture, which I think it already has a little bit. It’s obvious that these events will cause massive changes for the Klingons, I just hope we get to see it in some detail. Or I would agree that it should be something new.

And to be fair we’ve only had one person claim to be a sex slave to Klingons and he’s probably lying about it because she could only have known him for about a month but he claims seven months. Of course, it could be that he lied about the time for unrelated reasons and she actually has been raping him for a month but I hope not.
Peter G.
Fri, Oct 20, 2017, 1:25pm (UTC -6)
For what it's worth, the Klingons of TOS era don't seem to universally subscribe to the 'old ways' and honor. Kor did seem to embody a lot of what we come to know about the Klingons in TNG (glory, glee in battle, seeking challenge) but Koloth definitely doesn't as far as we can tell, and Kang is probably a wash (is willing to use trickery but also has some kind of sense of principles). I don't think that in this era it's so clear-cut what they would or wouldn't do. It probably depends on lot on who's the one doing it. This is only the second time we've seen religious-type Klingons, the first of which was on Borath, and those weren't warriors. So I don't feel confident to suggest that cannibalism or taking sex slaves is off-canon for them. Maybe it would be for Worf's family, but probably isn't for the House of Duras or warriors more focused on their own glory than any sense of honor. Don't forget that TOS Klingons are the USSR, which means a lot of warlike but also deceptive and corrupt traits may fit them.
Steven
Fri, Oct 20, 2017, 1:29pm (UTC -6)
"Klingons don't torture defenseless people. Klingons don't eat their victims. Klingons don't take sex slaves. Where is the honour in anything these Klingons are doing? Why didn't the writers just make up a new name and call them something else? These are clearly not Klingons."

Similarly as with the swearing or the explicit violence on the show, these characteristics of the "new" Klingons strike me as a simple-minded attempt to make the new show "edgy". But as a byproduct they produce a characterization of the Klingons that is totally off and even contradictory in itself.

To be fair, let's assume that "honour" as a concept is more pronounced in the TNG era's Klingons than in those of the TOS or DIS era. That is entirely possible; the teachings of Kahless may have found a revival in the 24th century. Still, the Klingons of DIS should have a minimum of pride (as a milder, more toned down form of "honour"), AND they particularly seem to believe in their superiority (no surprise there) and cultural purity.

Why would these Klingons be interested in human sex slaves? Of course they wouldn't. It is an embarassment for that Klingon woman to desire a human. The Klingons almost fulfill the trope of the "primitive people" that you can read in 16th century reports of the Spanish and Portuguese about the Africans and the people of the New World. Especially their tendency towards rape and cannibalism was portrayed in the media of the 16th century to justify treating the natives as "savages", as sub-humans, as an enemy that deserved our contempt.

Discovery is doing just the same: It creates an enemy that we love to hate. This is not progress or a more nuanced characterization; on the contrary, it is a plump fallback to tropes that don't belong into 21st century television. Unfortunately, the makers of this TV show don't seem to know much about history.

Here's the thing: If you use these kind of archaic tropes, then at least put a limit on them. The show could've made it explicit that ONLY the female commander had a human sex slave, while the practice is generally not regarded favorably by the majority of Klingons.

But instead, we get a very confused and essentially plump impression of Klingon culture. Another thing is the carrying of dead corpses on the hull of the ship, by the way: Completely wrong! We can often hear on TNG or VOY that dead bodies are an "empty shell", once the soul has left to Stovokor; they can basically be thrown away. And now Discovery comes and tells us the exact opposite: That dead bodies are to be conserved, to be carried on the hull of your ship for centuries. This stinks. This is a dumbed down, incompatible version of the Klingons. Things like these aggravate me about the show. I am with Peter G: Where ENT was often simply boring, DIS is actively aggravating.

I'll probably binge watch the rest of the season because it's a bit exhausting to start ranting after each single episode.
Chrome
Fri, Oct 20, 2017, 1:52pm (UTC -6)
"Discovery is doing just the same: It creates an enemy that we love to hate. This is not progress or a more nuanced characterization; on the contrary, it is a plump fallback to tropes that don't belong into 21st century television. Unfortunately, the makers of this TV show don't seem to know much about history."

I disagree, if anything, DIS is adding another layer to Klingon history. Regardless of what century we're in, the show is trying to depict proto-empire Klingons. If they try to make the Klingons too much like their TNG counterparts, they'd really just be disrespecting all the work that Kirk and the Enterprise, let alone the Enterprise-C, put into fighting and eventually making peace with the Klingons.

That said, since we've seen so little about how Klingon society works in DIS thus far, it's too soon to jump to any conclusions. Since Goldsman has said DIS plans to tie up ends to make sure DIS fits canonically, there's likely a planned story arc for how the Klingons change to become the familiar adversaries of later Treks.
Steven
Fri, Oct 20, 2017, 1:53pm (UTC -6)
"Don't forget that TOS Klingons are the USSR, which means a lot of warlike but also deceptive and corrupt traits may fit them."

Good point. But there are different ways to rape someone: I could imagine the Klingons of this era to use rape as a method of terror, of breaking the enemy's spirits, and of degradation. However, the kind of relationship that is hinted with the Klingon female fits neither of those patterns. It is rather pointless to keep raping someone for half a year, who is already under your control.

And honestly, the whole thing is more embarassing for that woman, I think, than for the prisoner. When they meet in the corridor, one of her parting words are: "We've been through so much together." Wow, she's totally needy. The prisoner is basically Kirk who can make any woman fall for him. This portrayal is far removed from rape being a systematic method of terror, or similar. If it does ANYTHING right, it manages to highlight the corruption, the contradiction between idealogy and realization.
Steven
Fri, Oct 20, 2017, 1:59pm (UTC -6)
"That said, since we've seen so little about how Klingon society works in DIS thus far, it's too soon to jump to any conclusions."

Fair enough. That is another reason for me to stop reviewing for the time being. What I've written is entirely consistent with the material that we've seen so far - but it's not 100% proven, because the material is simply too thin, as you point out. I may be judging a bit too early.
Daniel Williams
Fri, Oct 20, 2017, 7:02pm (UTC -6)
I think what grated me more than anything in this episode was calling that monstrosity of a ship a D7.

The D7 is one of the most iconic ships in Star trek and they jusy go and butcher like everything else Klingon related.
anthony is such a wiener
Fri, Oct 20, 2017, 7:05pm (UTC -6)
As time goes on Hollywood sucks more and more. So hopefully with all these revelations of the systemic predatory behavior of the people who run the old, tired and worn-out entertainment, music and media industry things will start to change for the better. We need all the old hags and bags that continually churn out useless drivel and garbage year after year to finally be outed as the sexual predators (rapists & pedophiles) that they are and the whole industry needs to collapse. This will cause a much needed turnover of personnel all across the industry that hopefully will bring in new people with fresh ideas that could potentially bring about a new golden era of entertainment and media.
The entire industry is infested with fat bloated pigs that are completely out of touch with reality and the public's taste in general.
That is why new shows and movies like (STD) will never be "great" and only "average" or "mediocre" at best. Hollywood, Nashville, and the MSM are completely out of anything fresh and will continue on this path of self-destruction unless they have a modern-day reformation.

#HollywoodHasJumpedTheShark
#OutPedoHollywood
#HollywoodReformation
Startrekwatcher
Fri, Oct 20, 2017, 7:35pm (UTC -6)
Agreed. Hollywood has jumped the shark—so spot on

I don’t buy into the notion we are in a golden age for tv. Contrary to the notion that serialization is something that emerged in the last 15 years, arc storytelling existed long before and done better. Sure programs nowadays can have swearing and nudity and can make characters insufferable lab rats in some contrived character study. But that doesn’t make them good or entertaining. Yes shoes nowadays kill off main characters unabashedly as some sort of extreme reaction to older shoes bring more conservative but all this has done has lead to pretty gratuitous offing’s that lacked any dramatic weights and serve as nothing more than water cooler chatter the next day

And casts nowadays are massive and ridiculously so. I’d rather follow a modest ensemble than some unwieldy roster such as featured on Game of Thrones or Lost. Who wants to keep track of all those characters and spend a brief scene here or there every week moving their story forward as the episode rapidly jumps from scene to scene to scene.

And another criticism I have about tv and films nowadays is the fact that fanboys who know nothing about good writing resurrect and recycle nostalgic properties and write them like they were glorified pieces of fan fiction. Nobody can come up with shit these days. It’s all garbage overloaded with glossy visual FX

And the folks working on DIS are hacks. Just watch Aaron Harberts and Gretchen J Berg discussing the show on after Trek or read interviews of Akiva Goldsman. Even Gene Roddenberry knew not to recycle TOS when he created TNG and even insisted folks don’t use TOS races or characters. Now Abrams reboots TOS in the films and just recycles better Trek poorly and DIS had to go back to TOS era and throw in Mudd, Sarek, Spock having a half sister, Klingons, Amanda. Tng, Ds9 and even Voyager showed you didn’t have to regurgitate TOS
Chrome
Fri, Oct 20, 2017, 7:55pm (UTC -6)
Guys, I don’t mind you bashing this show, but you can talk more Star Trek and less Hollywood? We get it, modern writers are all soulless monsters. Yet, I’m having trouble even remotely tying in what your saying to this episode.
A. C.
Fri, Oct 20, 2017, 10:02pm (UTC -6)
Looking for the David E. Sluss takes on STAR TREK: DISCOVERY and THE ORVILLE.

Anyone know if his Site will go live again with his takes on them?


And 51 years after TOS we are getting the public chance

https://dpo.tothestarsacademy.com/

…now that Musk/Bezos/Branson have laid a ground work in the zeitgeist that has so wildly taken root!

APPLE II FOREVER!
Eric
Sat, Oct 21, 2017, 12:41am (UTC -6)
I'm confused about Stamets; I thought he was in a relationship with the guy that died on the sister ship? How did he get over him so quickly and start dating another guy, even living with him?
Darren
Sat, Oct 21, 2017, 4:04am (UTC -6)
@ Eric:

"I'm confused about Stamets; I thought he was in a relationship with the guy that died on the sister ship? How did he get over him so quickly and start dating another guy, even living with him?"

I kind of thought at the time too that he was involved with Strahl (?), the guy on the Glenn. However, as they both used the term "friend" at some point (as did Lorca, I believe), presumably, they were only friends.

But might they have been romantically involved at some point in the past? There did seem to be something in their interaction that suggested romantic affection; but, perhaps like Ed and Kelly on The Orville, they remained friends even once that was all over.

(Or, since we all knew Stamets was gay from the beginning, we're just seeing something that isn't / wasn't there between him and Strahl ...)
Skuffles
Sat, Oct 21, 2017, 1:01pm (UTC -6)
First of all a possible spoiler so skip this part if you want.






------------------Spoiler-----------------

Johnathan Frakes said there will be a mirror universe episode of DIS. Also that he directed an episode. Not sure if it's the mirror universe episode or not, but that would explain the mirroring stuff and the beginning and end of the show. The last scene especially seems to hint at it.

---------------End of Spoiler-----------








Anyway....

I came a little late to this episode, so most of the stuff I wanted to talk about was already discussed by everyone else. So forgive me when I start repeating stuff.

My first real gripe with this episode was, how did the Klingons know where Lorca was, in order to kidnap him, and that he'd be on a shuttle with no protection other than one other guy? They pop out of warp right on top of him. Unless that's going to be answered in some future episode, that was pretty lame.

Then Mudd goes on and on about how Starfleet are bad guys, which we heard from the Klingons in earlier episodes. So noone in the galaxy likes Starfleet I guess, and judging from the characters so far on the show I can see why. They are all smug, self indulgent, annoying assholes. Even Saru comes across that way in this episode, after being a decent person before. Yes, he is out to save his captain, but still.

And I also don't like what others have called the 'edginess' of this show. Star Trek has done other adult themed shows in the past (Troi being raped, a few different times actually, for example), but that wasn't done solely for shock value, like them saying 'fucking' and having people's heads stomped on, as was done in this episode.

L'Rell has what to me sounds like a middle eastern accent (I may be wrong though), which I guess is to make her seem more 'evil' since muslims are the 'enemy' of the western world now. I think that's pretty low. Why not make her have an English accent or a Japanese accent or whatever?

Something very fishy is going on with L'Rell and that Ash guy, since she's only been on the ship for 3 weeks. I hope it turns out to be something cool, like Ash is a spy, and not just the writer's total brain fart. But yes, Lorca having a Klingon detector on his desk probably isn't a coincidence.

And as I mentioned in a comment on an earlier episode, why didn't the ripper just leave Discovery? That really really annoys me. It can teleport wherever it wants to in the galaxy supposedly, as long as it has access to spores, which it does, but it can't leave. Why not? Seriously. Someone come up with a reason it couldn't leave either Discovery or Glenn. And it rehydrates itself in outer space at the end with the water it got from where exactly?

At some point in the episode they start saying that the ripper is probably sentient. Really? When did that come about? Why do they think so? Is it or isn't it? No explanation of any of that is given. They just say it as if it's a given.

And I have to complain about, as many others have, that horrible exposition about how the spore drive works, among three people who know perfectly well how it works. That was annoying. Maybe that could fly in an episodic show, where something happened 10 episodes ago that you may not have seen, but the whole rest of the episode presumes that you had seen all the previous ones anyway so what was the point of that nonsense?

Now this part really annoys me. I mean really. Here goes.

The tardigrade (ripper) shares some DNA with the mushrooms/spores so it can use them to travel throughout the galaxy. Fine. But humans also share DNA with the spores, and also the tardigrades, so that means that both the ripper and the spores originated on earth, or they came to earth and we evolved from them. Either way, the fact that they have somehow spread over the entire galaxy and been able to travel over the entire galaxy for a billion years means that we should be able to as well, or at least the spores should have been found on earth or that earth tardigrades should be able to travel around the galaxy as well. Or something! Something! I really don't like this whole spore drive thingy.

And I may as well weigh in on the 'gay' thing, since it seems to be such a hot topic. :P

I could care less if someone on a show is gay or in a gay relationship. I just hated the way they presented it here. In the first 4 episodes, it was sort of hinted at a little in various ways, and then in this episode, at the end, it seemed like they went 'Hah! See! They really ARE gay! Did you figure it out?! And if you didn't, then what a surprise!'. That to me was sort of insulting.

Just as an example, take the gay couple in 'Modern Family'. It never occured to me that their relationship was anything but normal, because they never showed it to be anything else. Nothing but a normal couple doing normal couple things. But in Discovery, they made it a big reveal, 'They ARE gay! Gotcha!' , and that is what was super lame.

I could go on, but this is too long already.

I still haven't given any episode above 2 1/2 stars yet, and that's what this one gets too.

2 1/2 stars.


Steven
Sat, Oct 21, 2017, 4:25pm (UTC -6)
"And as I mentioned in a comment on an earlier episode, why didn't the ripper just leave Discovery? That really really annoys me. It can teleport wherever it wants to in the galaxy supposedly, as long as it has access to spores, which it does, but it can't leave. Why not? Seriously. Someone come up with a reason it couldn't leave either Discovery or Glenn. And it rehydrates itself in outer space at the end with the water it got from where exactly?"

Another thing that was very fishy was the whole interfacing of the tardigrades' brain with the computer. It was said that the star constellations were mapped in his brain; okay, but how comes that you have a computer that can read his brain?

The visualization of the star charts from his brain was cringeworthy.

The ejection of the tardigrade into space was also nothing but a cool visualization of "giving him freedom", without any explanation of why that act would actually set him free and why he couldn't leave before.

These are examples for visualizations that are pure eye-candy but don't really make sense; the scientific explanation is missing.
Darren
Sat, Oct 21, 2017, 10:11pm (UTC -6)
Speaking of such things, here's something else I don't recall anyone mentioning (my apologies if someone has): Why did Landry figure she had to chop off one of Ripper's claws? For one, doesn't their technology allow for identifying material simply by scanning? But if not, wouldn't a small slice of a claw have been sufficient, akin to a nail trimming from a person or animal, and therefore not the least bit harmful to Ripper?

And for that matter, once Ripper's navigational role was uncovered, why was the weaponization of her/his claws and hide and such just dropped? Given Lorca's focus in particular on doing anything possible to gain an advantage in the war, that seems very much to be a thread that was simply dropped for no sound reason.
Alex
Sun, Oct 22, 2017, 7:40am (UTC -6)
I just want to see Star Trek be progressive enough to have 3 year olds having sex changes. And where is the episode with the transvestite deciding which bathroom to use? Who cares about good science fiction stories as long as Star Trek is woke!
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Oct 22, 2017, 8:52am (UTC -6)
@Alex
"I just want to see Star Trek be progressive enough to have 3 year olds having sex changes."

To late. The Orville already did that.
(I know Alex was sarcastic but I just couldn't resist)
Chrome
Sun, Oct 22, 2017, 11:02am (UTC -6)
The bathroom thing would be a 21st century issue, you’d expect them to have it figured out by the 23rd century. Though, I’d imagine Trills still forget which door they should use.

Or maybe every with forcefields and holographics being what they are, every bathroom can be unisex and it’s a non-issue.
CPUFP
Sun, Oct 22, 2017, 12:18pm (UTC -6)
Thanks to Hank for pointing this out: The Klingons in this show would really fit in nicely in the first season of Lexx. They aesthetic of their ships (both exterior and interior) and their obession with torture and death - even adding their fallen soldiers' caskets to their ships - make them seem more like a branch of The Divine Order than the Klingons we have come to know.
Mal
Sun, Oct 22, 2017, 10:55pm (UTC -6)
Mal's review after Jammers...

Star Trek Discovery season 1 episode 5
"Chose your Pain"

3 stars (out of 4)

"All this shit started when Starfleet decided to boldly go where no one fucking wanted you to."
- Harry Mudd (may not be an exact quote)

I saw this episode immediately after a massage while on vacation, so I'll admit I was in a good mood.  As a stand alone hour of trek it was pretty good.  Not great.  Ok.

But I love @Skuffle's point ("Mudd goes on and on about how Starfleet are bad guys, which we heard from the Klingons in earlier episodes. So no one in the galaxy likes Starfleet I guess, and judging from the characters so far on the show I can see why.")

I don't like this show.  And I have never - in three dozen years watching Trek - ever said that.  Even when ST V went in search of God at the center of the galaxy (who signed off on that?!), I didn't say it.  Even when VOY was derivative and unoriginal, I didn't say it.  Even when ENT was boring, I didn't say it.  Even when Abrams OD'ed on the blue flares, I didn't say it.  Beacause I still loved Trek.  At the end of the latest Abrams movie - Beyond - I had a big old grin on my face.   But I'm saying it now. 

I don't like this show.

@Startrekwatcher hit the nail on its head: these folks are morally bankrupt.  And they know it.

I don't know how many of you understand what its like to work for a large bureaucratic organization, but there is only one reason you summon someone away from their day to day work for a face-2-face meeting (@Jack Strawb and others).  And that's cause you don't want a record of what was discussed.

Starfleet wants to hunt and trap and press into service as many Rippers as they can?  Yeah, we're going to need you to travel for a F-2-F.  Kthnxbye .

The morality on many shows is bankrupt. I remember being sick to my stomach every Sunday watching Don Draper decend further into depravity (Mad Men aired around the same time every week that the new STD drops). Or take the dispicable Underwoods on House of Cards. Both are amazingly scripted shows, compelling characters. Addictive story lines. None of which is true for Discovery. Discovery is just bad.

Take that god-aweful scene at the top where Sonequa Martin-Green says she is "out of sorts." Can a line delivery bomb any harder? @Brian and others ("Burnham is dragging the show down..."). Did anyone really think they could build a show around this actor?

Only Saru continues to impress. Sorry @Jammer, gotta go with @Jason on this one: Saru was super effective at carrying out his primary concern: protecting his captain. Way to step up when you're called upon to lead.

Which brings me back to Mudd. He's right, these folks are terrible. When I want to watch terrible people, I have a lot of far superior options: for incest, there is Game of Thrones; for throwing your people under the bus, House of Cards - and that's not even taking into accout old shows like the Wire which are always eminently rewatchable.

And speaking of the Wire, there is one of the most poetic scenes of dialogue from the Wire when the detectives (McNulty and The Bunk) analyze an entire crime scene using only the word "fuck." Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. And on like that for minutes. It is amazing.

Or you want scifi fucks, go watch The Expanse, where Christian, a beautiful middle-aged woman wearing a sari tells her political rivals to grow a pair of fucking balls. She's a powerful leader, and her fucks have meaning. Compare that to a kid on STD blurting out a bad word: oops.

In short, for bad people I have tons of TV to chose from, all better than STD.

Star Trek used to do just one thing better than the rest. Not CGI. Not violence. Not token minorities. Not torture. It showed what we might be. If we really tried. But that's hard. It means foregoing cheap tricks that please your corporate bosses. It takes courage.

Come on Star Trek, grow a pair of balls.
Yanks
Mon, Oct 23, 2017, 11:45am (UTC -6)
@ gingerbreadmen
Fri, Oct 20, 2017, 12:38pm (UTC -5)

"Klingons don't torture defenseless people."

They are at war with the federation... I don't think you have any canon to fall back on here.

"Klingons don't eat their victims."

Same holds true here. This was a matter of survival here.... I don't think you can knock the DSC Klingons for surviving.

"Klingons don't take sex slaves"

I think we are going to find out that she didn't "take" him... so this complaint will be rendered moot.

"Where is the honour in anything these Klingons are doing? Why didn't the writers just make up a new name and call them something else? These are clearly not Klingons."

They clearly are... Kahless and all. Klingons are ripe with stupidity and evilness throughout their canon history. In TOS they ordered the death of 400 folks and hour until (I can't remember exactly). They have lied/cheated with the best of them. "Honor" is a relative thing I'm afraid, and probably mostly heard about in song.
Skuffles
Mon, Oct 23, 2017, 4:04pm (UTC -6)
@Yanks

'"Klingons don't eat their victims."

Same holds true here. This was a matter of survival here.... I don't think you can knock the DSC Klingons for surviving.'

(I'm going to copy/paste some of what I wrote on the previous episodes comments.)

I don't think that's the case. Unless they were starving after about 2 days, or else preserved her body to eat later, which I would assume they didn't, not thinking they would be stranded there for 6 months. 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.

But the Klingons have always eaten at least the hearts of others, so that's nothing all that new.
kapages
Mon, Oct 23, 2017, 4:19pm (UTC -6)
Its funny. The Star Trek fans, grew old and got so conservative...
It's a good thing that Star Trek will not die with them....
Just like it didn't die with TOS-loving dinosaurs...






Steven
Tue, Oct 24, 2017, 1:06am (UTC -6)
@kapages

And the troll award goes to you.

Really, what's the point of your post other than evoking a reaction (= trolling). If you bothered to explain what's supposedly "progressive" about this show and why that is "a good thing", your post could actually lead somewhere.
Jarvis9
Wed, Oct 25, 2017, 7:00pm (UTC -6)
Well, the ending of this episode certainly gave me a lot to reflect on.
CPUFP
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 7:56am (UTC -6)
As some commenters have pointed out, the behavior of the Klingons on this show really isn't in conflict with what we know about them from established canon.

The Klingon warriors the TOS crew encountered were always shown as ruthless, lying cowards whose approach to maintaining the Empire was basically "the ends justify the means". The Klingons' use of slave laborers is well documented in TOS and the movies, so it's not really a stretch to imagine them keeping sex slaves and using torture.

Klingons only started talking about honor during "The Undiscovered Country" and TNG, and that was around a time when the Empire was in decline and parts of its elite alluded to old traditions in an attempt to regain some of their culture's lost strength.

The Klingons' constant talk about honor, war and their glorious past during TNG, DS9 and VOY could also be interpreted as them simply compensating for a fear of loss of identity, since that was exactly the time when the Klingon Empire went from a period of aggressive expansion to a new era of peaceful cooperation with the Federation. Don't forget that much of what we today view as "how Klingons are" is shaped by the portrayal of Worf, who, being the only Klingon in Starfleet, was more concerned about upholding their cultural tradition than any of his contemporaries in the Empire. And during the TNG arc about Worf's father, we got to see that the Empire's government was still run by corrupt cowards.

Moreover, during ENT (there was this one episode with the Klingon lawyer, I don't remember the title), there were a few hints at groups in Klingon society that had different goals for their world's development, but were pushed to the side.

All in all, when you look at the canon in its entirety, Klingon society and politics are presented as much more diverse and much less focused on the moral conduct of honorable warriors than one might think at first glance, and the T'Kuvma Klingons shown in Discovery are just one specific faction within this society.
Nic
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 8:10am (UTC -6)
I’m surprised you didn’t bring out the old “Fun with DNA” trademark, as it would have been perfectly appropriate. Stamets injects himself with bug DNA to gain its abilities, which is just about as preposterous as the fact that there’s a network of Magic Mushrooms ™ that spans the entire universe and can be used for space travel. At least the series is consistently implausible!

The crew’s sentiment and eventual release of the “tardigrade” is certainly consistent with the spirit of Star Trek, but it took too long to get there. There’s no gray area here; the Starfleet I know would certainly have laws against the exploitation of sentient lifeforms. Imagine a version of “The Measure of a Man” where Picard takes Maxwell’s side, or is on the fence! Would that still be Star Trek?

2 stars.
Mr Buu
Sun, Oct 29, 2017, 7:19am (UTC -6)
This show is garbage anyone who likes it is a mental case. This isn't Star Trek, this isn't even Enterprise (Xindi Arc, Season 4; best). No I'm not a homophobe; I'm gay. Stupid looking Klingons with 4 nostrils and bald heads stupid looking starships and shuttles. And Stamets is just a weird looking guy with crossed eyes, I quit after the end of this episode when his reflection?/doppelganger? had a stupid look on his face. Can someone explain how a reflection has an existence in spacetime? Are you telling me that there is a world inside the mirror a reflection, who in the world does that make any sort of sense in a sort of fake sci-fi science it doesn't even. To me this is Snowflake SJW Millenial garbage.

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