Star Trek: Discovery

"Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad"

3 stars

Air date: 10/29/2017
Written by Aron Eli Coleite & Jesse Alexander
Directed by David M. Barrett

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

At the center of the very Trekkian time-loop plot of "Magic That Can Make the Sanest Man Go Mad" is an intimate character story about pesky human emotions and what they mean to a character who was raised the Vulcan way. Michael Burnham has never been in love, and she has never admitted this fact to anyone — which is particularly notable in that she feels she needs to keep it a secret at all, as if it's something that brings her embarrassment or shame.

That's an intriguing personal wrinkle to a character with a Vulcan facade who struggles with inner emotional questions. (Indeed, I have often wondered in general how Vulcans process the feelings of "love" alongside their logical imperatives and their general — although not absolute — claim to eschew emotions. Clearly it falls somewhere on a range, but how does that work?) That these character beats play directly into the plot — where time is repeating Groundhog Day-style and our heroes must figure out a way to escape — is commendable.

If it sounds like this plot is a rehash of TNG's "Cause and Effect," that's only partly true. "Magic" has enough of its own identity — while borrowing the basic premise of "Cause and Effect" — that it can stand on its own two feet. And while "Magic" isn't the instant classic "Cause and Effect" was, it's a solid and compulsively watchable all-around outing, and might be the best, most focused episode of Discovery so far.

The time loop here isn't a random anomaly but rather is being played out deliberately by Harry Mudd, who is using a time manipulation device to repeat 30 minutes on a loop so he can (1) take revenge on Lorca for leaving him on the Klingon ship (which he has since escaped) and (2) enrich himself by learning about the Discovery's unique spore drive so he can capture the ship and sell it to the Klingons. (Rainn Wilson does a good job creating a menacing villain who employs some sadistic humor, but the character as written doesn't track with the more benign con man of TOS. Maybe he's just really mad at Lorca, and maybe his beloved Stella will tame him of his homicidal tendencies in the 10 years between now and "Mudd's Women" — but this does raise the question of why the writers felt the need to invoke previous continuity only to apparently contradict it.)

The other key piece here is Stamets, whose exposure to the spore drive has not only changed his personality into a guy who seems like he's always slightly high but has also allowed some part of his mind to exist outside of time the same way Mudd's device has, which means he remembers everything that has happened in all the previous time loops. So this is essentially Groundhog Half-Hour with two opposing Bill Murrays. (Actually, a better plot analogue might be Edge of Tomorrow, where our heroes must learn how to defeat the enemy using information from previous loops.) Stamets must figure out how to stop Mudd before Mudd figures out the secret to the spore drive and breaks everyone out of the time loop. Anthony Rapp is great here, playing Stamets with a borderline-unhinged urgency that feels like at any point it could fly off the rails.

This story also differs from "Cause and Effect" by having the characters immediately run down different avenues. Whereas "Cause and Effect" spent more time setting up the problem, "Magic" spends most of its time trying to work out the solution. Stamets knows what's going on, and must convince others. Burnham turns out to be the right target because of her mix of Vulcan logic and the personal secret she reveals to him which he can use as a shortcut to avoid having to spend time explaining himself to her.

Burnham's secret is really the heart of the story. Michael is something of a social outsider. Because of her rank on the Shenzhou, she didn't spend much time befriending that crew or having personal relationships, and we see here that things like parties and dating are almost alien to her. She doesn't have much appreciation for small talk. She doesn't know how to process the feelings she might be developing for Tyler, and that makes their small talk all the more awkward. (Best friend Tilly, on the outskirts of the dance floor, meanwhile makes unsubtle go-for-it gestures.)

There's a point in one of the loops where Michael uses their apparent mutual attraction as a way to recruit Ash into the effort to stop Mudd's plot; to do so she must make a relationship "move" she probably wouldn't otherwise be able to (and, indeed, in the previous time loop she fails spectacularly and needs a redo) even though a part of her wants to. It's a move that's also the logically appropriate tool to incite action. This is actually very well constructed if you look at what's happening at all levels of plot and character.

As with many stories that explore intricate timeline plots, there are some issues that creep into "Magic." For example: Why couldn't Stamets figure out a way to keep Mudd off the ship or capture him the moment he came aboard? How did Mudd so easily seize control of all the computer systems on Starfleet's top weapon? When Burnham reveals her identity to Mudd as an allegedly even better prize for the Klingons, how is she so certain he'll take her up on the offer to reset the timeline that she kills herself? (She stares at Mudd with a look of defiance that seems far too calculated for someone supposedly being painfully disintegrated. Sure, it might be a clever plan, but does that mean you can actually go through with killing yourself and it doesn't hurt and you're not afraid?)

These holes and a lack of breaking any new ground keep "Magic" from being a great installment. That being said, this episode has a terrific momentum that moves relentlessly forward (it's fun watching Stamets desperately and increasingly wearily try to explain things he's explained dozens of time already), and it also knows how to slow down for the character beats, like the nice scene where Stamets talks about relationships and gives Burnham a dance lesson.

On the whole this works as a reasonably well executed plot, as well as a character study for Burnham. And we have the entire crew working a common problem as a functional team. The pieces feel like they come together here, even if there are some jagged edges.

Some other brief thoughts:

  • I was hoping Discovery would have a mix of serialized and stand-alone elements, and this is the most purely stand-alone episode yet. Good to see they haven't abandoned these sort of isolated high-concept outings that are Trek's long-standing bread and butter.
  • There's some macabre humor to be mined in watching Mudd kill Lorca over and over in various ways ("It never gets old"), including beaming him into space while eating a burger.
  • I have no good explanation for the title of this episode. Take your pick of what the magic is and who is going mad: Time-travel/Mudd? Time-travel/Stamets? Love/Burnham? (Burnham isn't a man, so that's probably not it. Though I'm probably being too literal here.)
  • Letting Mudd go, even assuming his father-in-law keeps him on a tight leash, seems awfully magnanimous for Lorca (not to mention potentially dangerous, given Mudd's knowledge of the spore drive), especially considering how Lorca left him to rot in prison just a few weeks ago. I know there were technically no murders since the timeline was reset, but that doesn't really negate the criminal intent.
  • Short of Tyler being a reprogrammed sleeper agent who doesn't even know what he is (like Boomer in the first season of Battlestar Galactica), I see no way the Voq/Tyler conspiracy theory can possibly work. And yet we have other hints like the comment about him being so well-adjusted for someone who was tortured for seven months by the Klingons.
  • My CBS All Access (Android app edition) stream rating for Sunday night: 2.5 stars — Considerably better than last week's abomination, but I still had a dozen or so stutters lasting up to a full second, and a moment where the stream dropped out of HD and became low-quality for at least a full minute. (If I ever get a stream as good as a cable broadcast, I will give it four stars.)

Previous episode: Lethe
Next episode: Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

◄ Season Index

231 comments on this review

J-P
Sun, Oct 29, 2017, 8:05pm (UTC -6)
This is the end of DIS for me, it was so bad I switched channels after 15 minutes. Enjoy the clubbing and time-loop everyone!
Troy
Sun, Oct 29, 2017, 8:13pm (UTC -6)
Did Discovery just deliver a good episode? I think so.
Dobber
Sun, Oct 29, 2017, 8:35pm (UTC -6)
Omg. I actually enjoyed this episode...

Stamits... is a likeable character!

Wtf? There was a massive tonal shift here. I guess it did help that I got to see these assholes get killed over and over again haha. Sorry couldn't resist.

4 stars discovery. Keep it up
Chrome
Sun, Oct 29, 2017, 8:40pm (UTC -6)
Much more complex than I expected. So, the center of this piece is a love story, one between Burnham and Tyler, the other between Mudd and Stella. Though Mudd messing with the Discovery while killing each crew member brutally was the big action piece of the episode, I believe there was a larger message about handling a single moment of love with another.

This echoed TNG’s “Cause and Effect” noticeably, but it was smart to never tell the same story twice, giving us pieces of the loop and altered sequences as it progressed.

I was hoping Mudd got his just desserts by the end of the episode, and there’s certainly a few delicious moments for the Discovery crew, but it seems like he actually came off well at the end of this episode.

One of the better character episodes only with some of the acting dragging it down. I’m interested to see how others - both for and against the show - react to this one.
Michael is a boy's name
Sun, Oct 29, 2017, 8:58pm (UTC -6)
Wow...this guy came onboard and savagely murdered dozens of people, and they made his punishment be 'banishment into an uncomfortable relationship.' I guess it's like ol' Jean-Luc said that time: "We are not qualified to be your judges." How did this incident not find its way into Mudd's records for Kirk to discover, for one thing?
MIABN
Sun, Oct 29, 2017, 9:01pm (UTC -6)
I mean, seriously...how is he not considered a monumental ongoing security threat? He did this much damage once, what's to say he can't repeat this nonsense again? Is being married to a bitch supposed to neutralize this madman? I can't figure out what the hell they were smoking at that party, but it clearly damages your judgement.
Dobber
Sun, Oct 29, 2017, 9:08pm (UTC -6)
Yeah I didn't understand why they would let him go with knowledge of the spore drive
Karl Zimmerman
Sun, Oct 29, 2017, 9:12pm (UTC -6)
The best episode of Discovery yet, although still with some flaws.

It's amazing, seeing where the series started, how it's ended up in such a classically "Trek" place - a trend that continues with this episode. Standard A/B plot structure, with essentially everything (other than the burgeoning Burnham/Tyler relationship, and Stamets weirdness) wrapped up neatly at the end of the show.

The character moments in this episode were for the most part great. The writers continue to have a bad habit of having Burnham give out these long-winded monologues - often about her feelings - telling rather than showing. I'm glad that part of it was done via a "log" like narration, and I understand that we're supposed to believe her Vulcan upbringing means she isn't very expressive, but it's getting tiresome even as I otherwise begin to warm up to her as a character.

The plot was serviceable. The central concept was of course ripped off of TNG's Cause and Effect. This isn't bad in and of itself, as there are few unique ideas in writing, and it's all about the execution, but it's a bit of a bad sign that they are already mining Trek's backcatalogue not just for cameo characters but for story ideas as well. It's hard to fuck up plot continuity in a show based around repeating time loops, but they managed to confuse me a bit anyway with how Burnham seemed to get the ability to retain information into the next loop like Stamets. Not to mention how they managed to dance to a song which didn't play in any loop before or after.

This episode was also the first one which I felt began to display some sort of a wry sense of humor. Stella and her father were very TOS-like in their presentation!

The episode worked as a good, but not great, episode of Trek. I'd give it three stars, maybe 3.5 in Jammer's rating system.
Jeanne
Sun, Oct 29, 2017, 9:24pm (UTC -6)
Homicidal maniac nu-Mudd is a problem, and I don't like Tyler so Burnham/Tyler isn't that interesting to me, and jfc, TIME CRYSTALS. But on balance I liked this, especially starting from the moment Stamets and Burnham dance. Stamets is great throughout and I felt like Lorca was well deployed for once, and good moments from the ensemble. The party grew on me. I say high end of 3 stars-- too many weird plot contrivances for me-- but it feels like a Star Trek episode a lot more than have the last couple of weeks, and a pretty good one. The title is awful.
Ben Kennedy
Sun, Oct 29, 2017, 9:32pm (UTC -6)
I really wanted to like this episode... but TNG did it better. Not to be one of those nitpickers, but there were too many contrivances to look past. Just blow up the space while for crying out loud!
Karl Zimmerman
Sun, Oct 29, 2017, 9:36pm (UTC -6)
Jeanne,

They sound silly, but time crystals are a purportedly real thing which two independent researchers created last year. Look them up on Wikipedia.

The writers obviously thought they were being smart by referencing cutting-edge science to excuse the technobabble, which is why I find it ironic so many people are rolling their eyes about it.
Del_Duio
Sun, Oct 29, 2017, 9:40pm (UTC -6)
At first I was really mad that they were going to rip off "Cause and Effect" but by the end I gotta say this turned out to be really pretty good! Stammets is awesome and finally the crew are creating some decent chemistry.

Though I wish they could have handled this in a way that wasn't so blatantly a "Cause and Effect" rip.
Dobber
Sun, Oct 29, 2017, 9:41pm (UTC -6)
@Karl

I agree that that's what they're doing. I caught that reference to time crystals too.

My problem with the way they're going about it is that they're being way too superficial about it. Time crystals have nothing to do with manipulating time. Mycelial networks have nothing to do with travel. I wish they would be a bit more clever about it.
Robert
Sun, Oct 29, 2017, 9:59pm (UTC -6)
Wow, so this show can definitely work--that's a great sign.

I love that this has a completely different vibe from "Cause and Effect", and a completely different purpose. A Trek plot can be revisited many times so long as the opportunity is taken to explore the concept further.

This ep gave me a reason to warm up to Tyler, and if that trend continues the Tyler/Voq thing (if it happens) will retroactively sabotage his character in good episodes like this. I really hope he is not Voq.

Half a star off for the dark matter gobstoppers--pretty dumb and unnecessary. Seems it would have been more dramatic in both cases if the person had just been phasered. "It's the most painful thing in the universe! Seriously! It's so painful you don't even think to scream! Or curl up! Or wince! Or anything!" This blip momentarily pulled me out of an otherwise absorbing episode.
matthew martin
Sun, Oct 29, 2017, 10:01pm (UTC -6)
I've been losing interest over the past month. To me, every episode since the premiere night has been worse than the one before it.

But this was easily my favorite episode thus far. Other than the stupid rave, this felt like pure Trek. High concept, sci-fi gimmick, mixed with a human story under the surface.

Fantastic. Not perfect, a little clunky and maybe a bit rushed but really really great. 9/10 for me.
Robert Other
Sun, Oct 29, 2017, 10:43pm (UTC -6)
Sorry, I missed that there is already a resident Robert--the comment above @9:59 is not from prime universe Robert.
Jeanne
Sun, Oct 29, 2017, 11:01pm (UTC -6)
@karl: I had never heard of these crystals! I love them! Thank you for directing me toward them! I still think the episode is a three star affair-- Kefka Mudd is just too unpleasant and it's too implausible that he'd get off so lightly-- but I'm excited that Star Trek is refreshing its science chops for the first time in a really long while.
Snitch
Sun, Oct 29, 2017, 11:02pm (UTC -6)
It was the best Discovery episode yet.

Discovery's strength seems to be more realistic interpersonal relations between flawed characters. The captain is PTSD damaged and guilt ridden with a lot of inner rage, Burnham is a social outcast and emotionally stunted, her roommate is hyperactive, and the doctor likes the spore-weed these days.

The personal interactions on TNG and Voyager always struck me as somewhat fake. DS-9 is a lot better in that regard.

The episode worked thanks to the excellent character development and slick slicing of the temporal bits that they presented, it never got boring.

The only weak point for me was the ending, weird they let Mudd go, was it for continuity sake? Maybe it would be better to ditch all the old stuff, and rewrite Star Trek as needed. It worked well for BSG and it did not hurt the new ST movies.

3 1/2 Stars on the Jammer scale.
William
Sun, Oct 29, 2017, 11:31pm (UTC -6)
This episode is ok in isolation, but really terrible in context. Really, we're just going to say the Federation is winning the war in a throw away line? That is just bad storytelling. It really feels like the writers aren't sure what story they're telling anymore.

I feel as if this episode also botches the appeal of groundhog day stories, which is to seem the same events over and over, but slowly watch the characters catch on and begin to change things. Cause and Effect did this brilliantly. Here, we get random events that allegedly are the same day. Also, how big of a deus ex machina are we going to make that tardigrade thing? Now, it imbues people with time resetting powers too?
Brian
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 12:41am (UTC -6)
It's great to see the characters having more chemistry, and the plot was nice. But the writing still sucks. We still get speeches to the camera (this time in the form of a "personal log"), and the level of sarcasm in nearly ALL of the characters is just unbelievable. Real humans never use that much sarcasm. It's not funny and it doesn't make the show "lighter". It just makes it seem unrealistic, or like the writers are all teenagers.

I'm also realizing that I just don't like what they are doing with the overall tone of the show--the f-bombs, and this week...wait for it....beer pong. I can look past it and appreciate the show for it's other strengths, but I just don't like how the writers imagine the world. It's like they just copy pasted present-day people into the future. And present day 20-somethings in their first year of college away from their parents, at that.

I can't tell yet if the writers are just young and inexperienced, or if it's all intentional so they can show the characters growing and maturing into real officers. Because if they do that there could be a nice payoff for sticking with the show. But if not, I'll probably stop watching.

It's kind of starting to feel like MTV's The Real World in Space. Which, if you're 16 is extremely captivating but if you're 36, it feels like chaperoning a high school dance.

Skeech
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 2:58am (UTC -6)
This is the first episode of DIS that actually seemed like a Star Trek episode. Probably because it already was one as other people mentioned, TNG's 'Cause and Effect'.

On to my problems with this one.

Stamets acting all happy and trippy because the spore drive uses (ha ha!) mushrooms. A stupid joke.

They find the space whale and beam it into the cargo bay. I guess it can live perfectly fine when plopped down in an a room about 300 degrees celsius warmer than it's used to and it can still 'breathe', or whatever it does, in our atmosphere. And it won't crush under it's own weight or any number of other things wrong with that whole business. Not to mention that it has a spaceship inside it, which they somehow didn't detect, that Antman, I mean Mudd, is hiding in.

And let's see, who should Stamets tell all of this to, once he figures out what's going on? Captain Lorca of course, right? You know, that guy in charge of the ship? But no. It's Mike, cuz her name is first in the credits.

And since Stamets keeps reliving everything along with Mudd, and he knows where Mudd appears and where he is all the time, and later knows exactly how he is doing everything, why not just surprise him and shoot him and take his Predator armband thingy away from him, instead of trying to convince everyone else to do it over and over and over?

Stamets dances with Mike (groan) and tells her a story and gives her relationship advice about Ash, which she would immediately forget, but when the loop restarts, she somehow remembers it and asks Ash to dance and asks about Mudd and even repeats some of the advice Stamets told her. So unless Stamets runs to the party and convinces her he is telling the truth, and explains the entire situation to her and retells his story and regives the advice, all in about 30 seconds, then Mike is also outside of time. Either way, that's whole thing is lame as hell.

And with the multi-million dollar per episode budget, maybe they could hire someone to write some original futuristic sounding music instead of using music from our time constantly.

Mudd keeps transporting people and himself all over the place by waving his hands around. What's that all about?

Mudd's plan had finally all worked out perfectly until Mike shows up and says basically 'Hey I'm Mike Burnham, and the klingons will pay for me too' then kills herself. What if Mudd didn't care about her? Not the best plan ever. But of course he MUST capture Mike!! She's worth more than the ability to win a war and gain control of a super weapon, that will allow the Klingon's to take over the entire galaxy pretty much, isn't she? He should have laughed as she disintegrated and then beamed over the Klingons.

Mudd has control of all the critical systems on the ship, yet they can fake communications and have the computer lie, because they 'rewired the captain's chair'. LOL. That's what they said. Seriously. Forgetting how ridiculous that is, they say the captain's chair isn't critical, but wouldn't Captain Lorca's subspace communication system be considered a critical system? I would think so, but whatever.

And then of course there is the moronic ending. Mudd has just attempted to commit one of the worst crimes in history. Betraying Starfleet during wartime by stealing their most valuable ship and most important weapon and selling it to the enemy, thereby eventually making The Federation a subject of the Klingon Empire and probably causing the death and/or torture of millions if not billions of people.

But hey! No problem, all is forgiven. You just go run off and get married to the illegal arms dealer's daughter with all the knowledge of our secret spore drive, and promise not to tell! Ok? Ok. Bye!!

Stupid episode. 1 1/2 stars.
Skeech
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 3:05am (UTC -6)
A couple other things I forgot to mention.

It's pretty convenient that they just happened upon this whale with Mudd in it out in the middle of nowhere.

It's also pretty convenient that Stella and her dad were less than 1/2 hour away from the middle of nowhere.
speakgeekytome
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 5:49am (UTC -6)
Well, I'll agree with others that this was the best Disco has had to offer so far. That's not really saying much - like saying Star Wars ROTS is the best prequel. When the two that came before it were complete dreck, it only looks good by comparison.

But yes, overall, minor thumbs up. Surprising to anyone the best episode so far had a *complete* lack of nu-Klingons? I hated the nu take on Mudd. They turned a character that was a comic relief villain and turned him into a complete asshole. Seriously? I disliked him in the first episode he appeared in and they ruined him in this one. Why make him Harry Mudd? Why not just create a brand new character to be a dick? That's a major problem with this show - screw up everything that's come before it for the sake of name dropping. "Oh we have Klingons and Mudd." No. You don't.

The idea of Groundhog Disco was entertaining overall and despite my distaste for pretty much the entire cast, the writing and the series as a whole, it wasn't terrible. I'm not sure what it is about the show that makes it so bad. Could it get better? Looking back TNG S1 is completely unwatchable and it's a great series by the end, so I supposed it's possible. Even Enterprise ultimately redeemed itself (a bit). With Disco, however, each episode's garbage spills into the next. It's like an ongoing infection. The only way to purge the virus is to nuke the ship, crew and GOT-inspired 'plot' and start season 2 with fresh producers, writers, cast, costume designers, set designers and for the love of god, please give us real, non-crap Klingons!
Data344
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 5:53am (UTC -6)
Pretty fun episode, the concept has been done before as others have said, but it felt just different enough from 'Cause and Effect' that I didn't mind too much. This is the first episode where I really liked the characters as people, the stuff between Michael and Tyler was genuinely quite sweet (which will doubtlessly make things much more tragic if the theories about Tyler are true), and I'm liking Stamets more and more with each episode. I still kind of felt like Mudd could've easily been a completely new character, but I guess the stuff with Stella at the end was unique to him (it sure was weird being reminded that all this is in the same universe as 'I, Mudd'). He was definitely more sadistic here than he ever was in the original series, which makes it a shame that his comeuppance was pretty mild.

Overall, I'd give this a three stars. Not a great episode, but hopefully with the stronger characterisation it'll lay the groundwork for some in the future.
Del_Duio
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 5:56am (UTC -6)
@Skeetch:

I enjoyed the episode but your points are pretty spot on. I don't know why they keep using or references music from today either. It's not like Mozart or other classical music which has already endured hundreds of years. We're talking a Fugees remake of a Bee Gees song haha!

I agree with the ending being REALLY stupid on Starfleet's part. At first I thought the arms dealer was going to be a badass killer like the one Quark dealt with on DS9 but these people were really....meh. You're going to get married and be.. SUPER ANNOYED all the time! That's punishment enough for all these murders and crimes you've committed 60 times in a row! And don't tell who know you about our Spore drive ok? Haha what?

They should hire better writers for sure, they have the money obviously.
Steven
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 6:44am (UTC -6)
Excellent points Skeech. I wouldn't emphasize the point too much that Stamets didn't confront Mudd himself (he doesn't seem to be the soldier type, and silently plotting against Mudd behind his back also seems a good course of action).

But you still got to wonder how Mudd can move freely through the Bridge and corridors without having to fear that security personal just shoots him. Are there forcefields everywhere on the bridge (every 50 centimeters), so that no matter where he stands, there'll always be protective forcefields around him? We've never seen such a thing on Trek before though. Seems a bit much. More likely that he disabled everyone's phasers remotely, if such a thing is possible. But even so, when he is about to give the ships' position to the Klingons (and I mean when he REALLY did it, not in the last loop when the "chair was re-wired"), even without phasers, every officer on the bridge should start running towards Mudd to try to overpower him physically, before he gives their position away. They are soldiers, right? And they're just standing there...?

All these flaws (Skeech summed them up well) make the show really amateurish. Even in a decent episode like this one, they have to ruin things with countless logical flaws. Most of which could have been prevented with some tweaks. Especially embarassing are pure errors (such as Michael remembering something from the previous loop), the kind of which you wouldn't see in a TNG time loop episode. Because the show was just better. You'd think that this kind of stuff could be avoided, if the writers were capable.
Yanks
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 7:39am (UTC -6)
@ Chrome
Sun, Oct 29, 2017, 8:40pm (UTC -5)

This echoed TNG’s “Cause and Effect” noticeably, but it was smart to never tell the same story twice, giving us pieces of the loop and altered sequences as it progressed.
================================================

Exactly Chrome!! This is why IMO this is the first 4 star episode in DSC!!
Trent
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 8:03am (UTC -6)
Jesus Christ, Discovery. When everything is super-dramatic, nothing is dramatic. Stop throwing everything, plus the kitchen sink, at the audience!

This show doesn't ever slow down; it's a frenetic, desperate rush to keep the audience from savoring any moment. Nothing lingers or transcends the moment because every scene is an insecure dash to stimulate desensitized neurons.

What were the best moments in "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad"? A simple dance in a corridor, a simple shot of a space whale gracefully gliding through space, and a character's simple reflection (and later admittance) of being lonely. All this is smothered under a zany action/heist/temporal-loop plot which feels like it belongs in another season. We're at war with the Klingons, our captain just indirectly murdered an admiral (yet in this episode, Lorca is suddenly comically loveable!), half the crew is getting to know their roles, our engineer is high on mushrooms, our ship has a jump-drive that raises all kinds of ethical and scientific questions...and you're frickin' jumping to a plot that juggles space whales (no time for that!), Mudd and multiple time-line massacres? Nothing gels dramatically or flows sensibly in this show. Treat everything as a shapeless cocaine-high for ADD infected audiences, Discovery, and every moment becomes disposable.

It's been seven episodes now, and Discovery has yet to create a great, original, Trek script that rises above convention or deepens convention. Everything has been above average, slick, watchable-in-the-moment, but safe. You get the feeling that this show is ticking boxes.

As for Mudd, this guy murdered hundreds of Starfleet officers repeatedly. His punishment? Marriage to an annoying woman? How is he not still a massive threat?

On the positive side, Stamets continues to become an excellent character. Here's an engineer who's now literally spent 2 episodes high on mushrooms.
Skeech
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 8:06am (UTC -6)
There was one other thing I overlooked in my notes that bothered me. Yes, I take notes while watching the episodes. I'm an uber geek, sue me.

And that is the fact that Stamets broke down and told Mudd that he was the key to making the spore drive work. I know, he had been doing this for days, and was sick of seeing people die, but they weren't really dying after all. He just up and told Mudd what he wanted and was willing to give up Discovery and the crew and basically destroy the Federation, just so he wouldn't have to see Mudd non-permanently killing people.

No other chief engineer from any other show would have done that. Could you imagine Geordi or Trip or Scotty or Torres doing that? No way in hell.
Yanks
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 8:10am (UTC -6)
@Skeech
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 2:58am (UTC -5)

"Mudd's plan had finally all worked out perfectly until Mike shows up and says basically 'Hey I'm Mike Burnham, and the klingons will pay for me too' then kills herself. What if Mudd didn't care about her? Not the best plan ever. But of course he MUST capture Mike!! She's worth more than the ability to win a war and gain control of a super weapon, that will allow the Klingon's to take over the entire galaxy pretty much, isn't she? He should have laughed as she disintegrated and then beamed over the Klingons."

What would happen? eeesh, they'd come up with a different plan! He showed interest, then she took the black matter knox blox.
=====================================================
@Skeech
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 3:05am (UTC -5)
"A couple other things I forgot to mention."

Darn

"It's pretty convenient that they just happened upon this whale with Mudd in it out in the middle of nowhere."

Good lord, Mudd put himself there for them to find.

"It's also pretty convenient that Stella and her dad were less than 1/2 hour away from the middle of nowhere."

Searching for Mudd no doubt. Hot on the trail, etc...


Break....

No Disco in the 23rd century?!?!?! ..... come on now folks!!! :-) Couldn't it have been a theme for the party? ... different the next time?

www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUID0jSh2Ic&index=29&list=PL760E6085AE08509D

Yanks
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 8:15am (UTC -6)
@Skeech
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 8:06am (UTC -5)
"There was one other thing I overlooked in my notes that bothered me. Yes, I take notes while watching the episodes. I'm an uber geek, sue me.

And that is the fact that Stamets broke down and told Mudd that he was the key to making the spore drive work. I know, he had been doing this for days, and was sick of seeing people die, but they weren't really dying after all. He just up and told Mudd what he wanted and was willing to give up Discovery and the crew and basically destroy the Federation, just so he wouldn't have to see Mudd non-permanently killing people.

No other chief engineer from any other show would have done that. Could you imagine Geordi or Trip or Scotty or Torres doing that? No way in hell."

#1, he's not a Chief Engineer

#2, I've only seen this once, but wasn't that the beginnings of their plan? (not sure here)
BZ
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 9:15am (UTC -6)
So I'm not sure about a few details of the plot. Maybe I missed them or maybe they were never addressed. At one point Stamets and Burnham are holding hands during the time reset. It's pretty clear that during the next iteration she keeps the memories of the previous one. However, it's not clear whether this carries over to subsequent resets as well. On the one hand, it is implied in the final scene that Burnham does not remember dancing with or kissing Ash. On the other hand, she's suspiciously well aware of what's going on early on in subsequent iterations. Maybe she does remember and doesn't want Ash to know that for some reason, but why?

Another one is, where is Mudd subsequent to the reset? It seems like his location is not reset to inside the space whale since he's clearly there before they beam the whale aboard, so does he end up wherever he was when he hit the reset button? If so, how can Stamets know Mudd's approximate location based on how much time passed? We clearly see him reset the loop in different parts of the ship. Even if he's reset to the cargo bay, why would he take the exact same steps in the exact same order each time? Doesn't he want to do something different since his last attempt failed? Then again, maybe he needs to go to the same places each time to take control of the ship.

Finally, it would have been nice to see the final loop. How are all the bridge officers aware of Mudd's plan? How are they all briefed without tipping off Mudd?

And now to answer some questions upthread:
How do they beam the space whale to the cargo bay without hurting it? We know nothing about these creatures and their needs, while they know a lot. The creatures are on an endangered species list, and are kept in designated Starfleet locations, where they can be studied at length. There's a standing order for any ship encountering them to rescue them, so it's quite clear that information about taking care of the creature is widely available, so however they beamed it to the cargo bay is known to be safe.

Why does Stamets tell Burnham about the time loop instead of the captain? Remember, he's desperate to get *anyone* to listen. The doctor is walking around with him telling everyone he's emotionally disturbed. For all we know he tried to tell the captain already and wasn't believed, or was on the way to tell the captain when he encountered Burnham and Ash. And then once Burnham is the one to believe him first, it makes sense to find her in each loop.
Jonah
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 9:21am (UTC -6)
How does the space whale even "swim" around in space? Does it have engines?
Karl Zimmerman
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 9:30am (UTC -6)
I don't understand people critiquing this episode for killing the momentum of the season arc/not advancing the overarching plot. Don't you guys remember that DS9 interjected full on comedy episodes into the middle of the Dominion War? Some variance in terms of tone is much appreciated.
Steven
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 10:01am (UTC -6)
> "It's pretty convenient that they just happened upon this whale with Mudd in it out
> in the middle of nowhere."
>
> Good lord, Mudd put himself there for them to find.

I think his point was that Mudd knew where the Discovery would be.
Just like the Klingons in the prison episode knew where Lorca's shuttle would be, to catch it. But with the Discovery, it's even weirder that Mudd would be able to predict its position, given that the ship makes unpredictable jumps all the time.

Another question is why exactly Mudd thought that the spore drive was incomplete, and when Stamets revealed himself, it was like "Heureka! It's him!" As far as I remember, the drive also works without a "pilot"... just not over such big distances. But the Klingons were coming to fetch it, anyway. You know what would have been clever? If Mudd had been forced to use the drive, in order to avoid his pursuers and jump directly into Klingon territory, to give the ship to the Klingons. That would have given him a genuine incentive to make the drive work and use it.

It would also have spared us the meeting with the pursuing ship and Mudds reunification with Stella... which I really could've done without. This ending was directly copied from TNG's "The outrageous Okona", where Cpt. Okona also has a rich young girl who's into him that he's fleeing from. (If my memory serves right, but it usually does.)

About Stamets giving up himself... from a tactical perspective, that was a terrible decision. Giving up himself meant that ALL of the crew would be given to the Klingons and tortured/killed, so it didn't really help anyone or prevent them from being harmed further.

2.5 stars, the highest that Discovery will probably ever get on my scale.
Del_Duio
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 10:14am (UTC -6)
@Jonah:

"How does the space whale even "swim" around in space? Does it have engines"

This isn't an issue with me as plenty of other life forms have been shown to exist in Trek before-

Crystalline Entity
Tin Man
The baby leech thing that gloms into the ENT-D after they accidentally phaser it's mum to death.

Etc.
Del_Duio
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 10:15am (UTC -6)
*lifeforms existing in SPACE before that is.
Steven
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 10:22am (UTC -6)
My scores so far, now that we had roughly half a season.

Pilot
1x01 - 2 stars (sets a nice atmosphere, but the spacewalk is pretty dumb)
1x02 - 1.5 stars (Michael's actions are barely, erm, bareable)

Regular episodes
1x03 - 1.5 stars
1x04 - 1.5 stars
1x05 - 1.0 stars (extremely lame prison episode, reminds me of ENT season 2)
1x06 - 1.5 stars
1x07 - 2.5 stars (has the actual feel of a Trek episode, but too many errors in execution)
Skeech
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 10:24am (UTC -6)
@ Yanks

'"Mudd's plan had finally all worked out perfectly until Mike shows up and says basically 'Hey I'm Mike Burnham, and the klingons will pay for me too' then kills herself...."

What would happen? eeesh, they'd come up with a different plan! He showed interest, then she took the black matter knox blox.'

Not really sure what you are trying to say here. Mudd was all set to move Discovery back into the 'real' timeline when she did all of that, but then changed his mind. So Discovery would have had no chance to have a different plan if he had just reset the timeline. Mike would be dead, and his plan would have worked.

'"It's pretty convenient that they just happened upon this whale with Mudd in it out in the middle of nowhere."

Good lord, Mudd put himself there for them to find.'

Maybe, but how did he know where they were? He didn't, that's how. That was my point.

'"It's also pretty convenient that Stella and her dad were less than 1/2 hour away from the middle of nowhere."

Searching for Mudd no doubt. Hot on the trail, etc...'

Again, maybe, but how did Stella know where Mudd was? He's been held captive by the Klingons for 7 months and then hid inside a space whale. If she was searching for him, she did a damn good job.

'"No other chief engineer from any other show would have done that. Could you imagine Geordi or Trip or Scotty or Torres doing that? No way in hell."

#1, he's not a Chief Engineer

#2, I've only seen this once, but wasn't that the beginnings of their plan? (not sure here) '

#1. He's not chief engineer? I just assumed, but I guess that's true, now that I look it up, but if he isn't, who is? Here's a humorous thread about it.

www.trekbbs.com/threads/who-is-the-chief-engineer-on-discovery.290503/

(get ready for a correction on that link in the next post :D)

#2 No it wasn't the beginning. It was the one before the beginning. LOL. True story.

@ BZ

'How do they beam the space whale to the cargo bay without hurting it?'

Fine. I'll accept your explanation, but it's all still very silly.

'Why does Stamets tell Burnham about the time loop instead of the captain?'

That explanation by you I won't accept. He's had days to do this. Literally days. Yet telling Lorca is out of the question? When Lorca can immediately command anyone else on the ship to stop Mudd and actually handle the situation? And in the last loop Lorca clearly knows what is going on. So he told him that time. Or had Mike or someone else tell him. And if you didn't notice, that's actually the one that worked.
Skeech
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 10:25am (UTC -6)
Yeah my link worked that time! That is all.
Steven
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 10:38am (UTC -6)
Basically a time-loop episode like this one should be the easiest to get right, it is so conveniently self-contained (pun intended). That the writers still manage to make so many mistakes is kind of impressive. Not in a good way!
Trent
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 10:43am (UTC -6)
The more you think about this episode, the less sense it makes:

How did Mudd know where Discovery would be?

Why did Stamets reveal himself and the workings of the spore drive, to Mudd? He sold the entire ship out.

Why doesn't Discovery detect the ship inside the whale?

Why didn't Stamets work with the captain to not beam the whale aboard Discovery? Stamets plot to get rid of Mudd seems illogical and convoluted.

Why does Lorca, a mean bastard, let Mudd get off scott-free?

Why is Stella so easy/quick to rendezvous with?

Mudd has control of all the critical systems on the ship, yet our heroes can bypass this all by 'rewiring the captain's chair'?

Why did Michael eat the death ball, instead of throwing it at Mudd?

If this is not a reboot, why is this Mudd so much more sociopathic than old Mudd?
artymiss
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 10:48am (UTC -6)
Um. I've enjoyed every episode until this one but this one was disappointing, just a frenetic silly mess and that ending!!! Just letting Mudd go?! I mean, really?! I found the zany content/change in tone really jarring considering what had been going on in the previous episode, persumably this episode was meant as this season's comic relief but it failed for me. Well, nearly failed - Stamets continues to intrigue me.




Chrome
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 10:48am (UTC -6)
I agree that Burnham killing herself was a gambit, but the episode shows that they had figured out that Mudd's motives (wealth) rather than love.

Also, for the record, Stamets is no more the Chief Engineer than Dax was. The link posted above is just a thread with a bunch of people throwing out wild guesses.
Trent
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 10:51am (UTC -6)
Isn't Saru a "senser of death and danger"? Shouldn't seeing the whale have alerted him to danger?
Steven
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 10:54am (UTC -6)
"Why did Michael eat the death ball, instead of throwing it at Mudd?"

That's the point that I already tried to make: Even if we assume that phasers got remotely deactivated, there are other ways to stop an intruder - physical assault, throwing one of Lorca's death weapons, etc.

"If this is not a reboot, why is this Mudd so much more sociopathic than old Mudd?"

I was definitely wondering that, too. But it's probably the same as with the Klingons: Make him look brutal, because that's considered "edgy" on television today.
Chrome
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 10:57am (UTC -6)
@Del_Duio

Don't forget the original space whales, which were the ones who sent out the probe in STIV because they wanted to speak to Earth's whales. I think this is the first Trek where they've actually used the trope in dialogue, though.
artymiss
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 11:00am (UTC -6)
And why didn't Saru's gangly threat bit things activate when Mudd was around?!!!?
Skeech
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 11:16am (UTC -6)
@Chrome

'Also, for the record, Stamets is no more the Chief Engineer than Dax was. The link posted above is just a thread with a bunch of people throwing out wild guesses.'

Yes it was. That's why I said it was funny. Because they and I have no idea who the chief engineer is (thought it was Stamets at first). Or who the CMO is (thought it was Culber at first), as someone mentioned earlier. You'd think they would have the basic command structure down by now, but they can't even be bothered with that apparently.

I would also like to ask Jammer if he reads the previous comments before writing his review? I don't know if that would be a good or a bad thing. Probably bad for a reviewer anyway, but I wouldn't hold it against him.

ben
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 11:20am (UTC -6)
I really liked this episode. very few nitpicks.
Just a good episode.
Chrome
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 11:23am (UTC -6)
Maybe the Chief Engineer just hasn't been important in the story yet. LaForge was a main character before he became the Chief Enginner. Same with Worf, who was originally a helmsman.
Del_Duio
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 11:26am (UTC -6)
I assume throwing a death ball at Miss would bring up one of those magical traveling force fields he had on him throughout the episode.
Del_Duio
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 11:27am (UTC -6)
*MUDD, not Miss..

Damn auto correct
BZ
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 11:28am (UTC -6)
@Skeech,
TNG didn't have a proper chief engineer until season 2. Before that, we either didn't see one, or it was a one episode only appearance. Data may or may not have been the Science Officer in TNG. The same is true with Samantha Wildman, though even if she *was* the science officer, she only appeared in a handful of episodes. DS9 didn't feel the need to introduce a new Science officer after Jadzia's death.

The point is, there can be gaps in the senior staff for significant lengths of time on Star Trek.

And Stamets does use the engineering station on thee bridge, so he might be the chief engineer.
Skeech
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 1:05pm (UTC -6)
Those are really good points, about setting a chief engineer right away. But in those previous shows, they never really dealt with engineering quite so much as they do in DIS, as I recall. I could be wrong. But in DIS, the whole show has been based around the spore drive and many of the scenes are in engineering, where it only ever shows Stamets doing anything of importance.

As far as the doctor goes, there have been hardly any scenes in sick bay at all, but I would have thought that the main medical person they showed was to be the CMO, but it isn't.

Anyway, they haven't even mentioned half of the bridge crew's names yet. Who's that cybergirl for instance? That might be a good story, or the one with the implants in her face? Another good story maybe. But heck, let's just ignore all of them too. Bridge crew? Who cares? CMO? Who cares? Chief engineer? Who cares?

pfft.
Alexandrea
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 1:05pm (UTC -6)
Tonight, relive the excitement of "Cause and Effect," except the reason the ship keeps exploding is Harry Mudd takes over Discovery by riding inside a space whale, and to escape the loop Michael must learn to express her feelings to the attractive new security chief.

I kid, mostly. It's not in fact as dumb as that sounds, and "Magic..." carves out its own identify while it reuses the time loop trope. Moreover, this episodes gives us perhaps the first time we see our crew working as a unit. It's a shame we're missing some links on how we got there, since I'm unclear if Stamets mobilized the entire bridge crew in a single run through their limited time, or if they stole Mudd's device and created a loop of their own to achieve a level of teamwork this crew hasn't shown before.

It's also a shame that Tyler is a cypher, since he's inherently more of a plot point than a character. Stamets points out that he seems remarkably well adjusted after seven months of torture, and I must wonder if the writers thought they were inserting another line of clever foreshadowing, when the audience already knows he can't be what he seems. Without having any information on what's really inside his head, we can't have appreciation for any romance that might be bubbling. What does Michael like about him, for that matter? It feels forced.

I like Michael, and I'm glad that our show's lead is a Black woman with a complex history and emotional layers. I just wish the writers didn't keep having her deliver exposition on her own interior state in postcard philosophy form. We're shown and don't need to be told, and because the show remains so much from her point of view, we're suffering in our baseline understanding of the interior worlds of the other characters.

This surfaces in Stamets' tactics and motivations this episode. Why not just call Lorca at the beginning of the loop and insist they not pick up the space whale? Because the episode wanted to initiate a romance between Michael and Tyler, and so it funneled Stamets into seeing expediting their romance as necessary in order to get through to anyone.

Nevertheless, Anthony Rapp makes Stamets such fun to watch that I forgive the episode many of its flaws. Last time, he nearly saved the episode, and with his greater centrality to this outing's story, this time he succeeded. I do feel as if I watched an episode of Star Trek, just not an incredibly good one.
Steve
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 1:16pm (UTC -6)
Michael wanted to bring Ash Tyler back to life. That's wh6 she ate the dark matter ball. Throwing it at Mudd might have stopped him, but Ash would still be dead. She needed him to restart the time loop.
Trek fan
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 1:21pm (UTC -6)
Wow, good episode once again: When you drop Harry Mudd from TOS into the middle of "Cause and Effect" from TNG, you get a crazy good time. But this one also kept me guessing right up until the end, as it was never quite clear how they'd get out of it. There was a bit of a leap in logic on the bridge right at the end that didn't explain a lot, but the pacing had to remain strong to keep the show from getting bogged down in repetitive scenes of people explaining the time loop to each other. An entertaining and unpredictable ride here, this one manages to do the time loop thing in a fresh way without feeling recycled, like the many other time loop episodes from the post-TNG/pre-DIS shows that nobody remembers. This one is maybe 3 or 3 1/2 stars for me.
Del_Duio
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 1:38pm (UTC -6)
Hey DSC has indeed managed to do the impossible:

Nobody at all is complaining about the ship's design anymore. That's a miracle unto itself, considering the massive backlash it originally got.
Steve
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 2:11pm (UTC -6)
As someone who's been somewhat defending the show, I didn't think this episode was all that great. It was disappointing to see Stamets cave so easily. And as much people criticize the spore drive, actually there's nothing on this show as ridiculous as a rave party on a starship.

People liked this episode because it felt more like Star Trek, and it did. But were still waiting for an episode that feels like Star Trek and has strong storyline.
kapages
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 2:17pm (UTC -6)
Nice episode, overall. The script holes can be explained, by applying some fuzzy logic. Mudd didnt kill one last time the captain, because he had gotten it out of his system.
Mudd didn;'t play it safe when everybody acted differently (he should have reset, just to be sure), because, ok, he is not that smart.
In the last reset everybody on the bridge, including the computer was perfectly conspiring against Mudd, although all previous experience had been forgotten. It took at least 5 resets for the dance to happen just right...Ok, traditionally in ST everybody gets his act together against the odds when it really matters.
Mudd knowledge of spore drive...well, not even human arm dealers don't want the Klingons to win.
Nitpicks about the whale are irrelevant, when we dont know its physiology..
3 stars + half for "I have never been in love".
I imagined she had said "I was in love with my previous captain".

oh, well...

Daniel Williams
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 2:50pm (UTC -6)
So Harry Mudd is now a psychotic murdering nutcase (time travel reset be damned).

Fuck me Discovery what the actual hell is wrong with you?
Mertov
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 3:04pm (UTC -6)
Nice episode, I enjoyed it from the beginning to the end. I actually enjoyed some of the dialogues between crew members in the first 10 minutes, including the sarcasm of some, and even the way Lorca glanced at Saru to make him shut up :))

Like Yanks and Chrome have pointed out, I enjoyed the nuances and additions shown in each time-loop sequence. To me, it was never an issue while watching that Burnham may have seemed to be aware of events to come, because I considered only logical that in the second, third, fourth and following time-loop sequences, we would not get to re-see every event like we did in the first one (thankfully, because the episode would take forever otherwise) and move forward quicker. Thus, I am sure Stamets caught up with Burnham immediately (as we saw in a couple of time-loop sequences), and told her what was to happen. I know several TV shows and films who have repeated time-loop sequences don't show everything that they showed in the previous sequence to avoid redundancy. There was a show years ago, Daybreak I think, in which they went through one time-loop sequence in seconds (first one was whole episode), because we knew through deduction what took place in between the accelerated sequences. In this episode, to me, it was obvious that when Burnham was moving with a purpose in a new time-loop sequence, it was obviously because Stamets had already alerted her and she had the info necessary to proceed. I would further say that, in my opinion, the use of slightly "altered sequences as it progressed" (borrowing from Chrome) made this episode better than "Cause and Effect".

I also didn't have a problem with the ending that some seemed to have. To let Mudd go was acceptable, assuming that he did not get to cause any damage to the ship or anyone in Discovery in the last time loop (I'd need to watch it again to be sure). The science worked for me too, unlike "Cause and Effect" (Data struck by an epiphany when looking at Riker's pips?! Uh, ok...).

This episode was also helped by a great performance by Rainn Wilson as Mudd. I like this Mudd better than the one in TOS (though that one was fine too). Especially the sequence of him killing Lorca over and over again, you can tell he really gets off on it, kudos to Wilson for bringing the character alive.

The only major issue I had was how Burnham killed herself, banking on the fact that Mudd is greedy and would restart the time-loop with the knowledge that she was also valuable. That was way too risky, and yet the scene does not properly convey the importance of such decision. A second, but minor, issue was the dance scene between Stamets and Burnham. I think the purpose of the scene had no need for the dancing to be included, but that's just my personal taste.

I am loving Rapp as Stamets, Isaacs as Lorca, and Jones as Saru. Burnham is fine too, and I actually see no difference between the captain's-log-entry monologues in the other series and Burnham's monologues. I enjoyed the former and I now enjoy the latter. The interactions between Tyler and Burnham were very well done and acted. They added another layer to the episode.

I read a few criticism above about Stamets' decision to choose Burnham over Lorca in sharing his knowledge. I thought that was only logical, in fact, the way the relationship between Stamets and Lorca has been portrayed up to this point, I would think that the Captain would be the last person whom Stamets would choose to help him solve the problem. He obviously does not like the guy, plus Burnham has obviously gained his respect as a scientist more than anyone else. If anything at all, I would have considered it bad writing if Stamets did go to the Captain simply because he "is the captain" and not Burnham. That would have ignored the character developments of Lorca and Burnham and their interactions with Stamets.

I agree with Jeanne above, the title is terrible. I wonder how long they spent on coming up with it.

One final note, I really liked the far-out-party scene aboard Discovery. I will take something different anytime, over a rehashing of holosuite celebrations and 10-forward celebratory gatherings. Not that I did not like them either, but on a new show, I would like to see the crew unwind in a different type of party/celebration environment than the usual.

Anxious to see what Jammer has to say.
Mertov
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 3:11pm (UTC -6)
"I know several TV shows and films who have repeated time-loop sequences....."
should read:

".... several TV shows and films THAT have repeated...."

Ugh... I desperately need to get in the habit of proofreading (I may have a couple of other typos and/or errors, sorry. I will read twice or more before posting next time)
Andy G
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 4:00pm (UTC -6)
As many previous commenters have stated Cause and Effect is a classic, but "Magic" isn't bad. Cause and Effect had the use of an established cast and a relatively unique idea. That said, "Magic" had my attention and is probably the best show to date even if the idea isn't new. The use of Stamets as the temporal seer is well conceived and execution by Anthony Rapp was great, but by the end it felt like Burnham feels like the weak link. It felt as though she had previous knowledge of the loops and the ransom idea to Klingons doesn't make a lot of sense. I'm also not seeing much chemistry between her and Tyler who is still a blank slate.

As far Discovery is concerned, I see the potential but in my opinion this show needs a stronger lead. In 2017 Trek you can't have Stamets and Lorca (also Saru) to be the leads, but her character isn't appealing. There have been plenty of interesting women characters on Trek like Janeway (another discussion) or Kira but Burnham isn't it. I hope the producers see this as well and can recalibrate since it seems the talent is there for a solid crew.
Sarek is Sar-DREK
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 4:35pm (UTC -6)
Lorca is DORK-A and Saru is POO
Steve
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 4:41pm (UTC -6)
The CBS AA stream continued to be horrible tonight. I was watching on a PS4 with solid bandwidth and no problems on Netflix and I lost a whole chunk of dialogue between Burnham and Stamets. Also rewinding on the All Access app is very cumbersome. All Access is clearly not ready for the number of streamers tuning in on Sunday evenings and they need to fix this ASAP.

This week felt the most like a Star Trek episode but I actually liked it the least of the run so far. Mudd attempted treason against the Federation and murdered dozens of crew members through the time loop and has access to advanced technology and yet he’s handed over to his wife in a goofy resolution straight out of TOS. This really didn’t work for me. Also, do Kirk and Spock not have these records of Mudd’s actions from ten years before?

Still, the show is tremendously fun and has tons of energy so I’m still really excited about it. Just fix All Access!
Skywalker
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 5:18pm (UTC -6)
Did anyone wonder why they didn't just *stop* the beaming of the space-dwelling alien onto the ship? Stamets could have turned off main power, called the bridge, raised the shields, deactivated the transporter system, anything — no explanation is given for why this isn't possible so it stands out to me.

Also, they talk about this space-dwelling alien like it's quite common, but the TNG crew were filled with such wonder and awe at the sight of one in Galaxy's Child like it was a truly unique phenomenon. That kind of bothers me too.

And Mudd's knowledge of critical Starfleet systems, and how to hijack them, along with the spore-drive intel makes it unbelievable he would be set free. It seems really sloppy, amidst an otherwise enjoyable episode.
Gul Densho-Ar
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 5:51pm (UTC -6)
I gave up trying to make sense of things in Discovery weeks ago, and after today's episode I'm glad I did. The writers just don't give a shit. If you ignore that, an ok episode, probably DSC's best so far - 2.5 stars.
Skywalker
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 6:03pm (UTC -6)
And one more observation: I’m strongly reminded of Guardians of the Galaxy in this episode, and I’m not sure that’s a good thing. The little purple death balls and the wristband of abilities in particular have its style. The blasée technobabble also has the feeling of it. I love Guardians of the Galaxy, mostly because it’s a carefree space romp, but I have often loved Star Trek for its dedication to a hyporthically grounded reality. Did anyone else feel this way?
Doctor WHO
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 6:06pm (UTC -6)
Gonna state the obvious, upcoming, plot twist:

Tyler is the albino Klingon character, who was told he would have to sacrifice "everything".

He did - they modified him to become Human, and their plot to overpower the federation is to damage/steal/destroy the Discovery.

:)
Where is Neelix?
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 6:08pm (UTC -6)
Did the Klingon Orcs go back to Middle Earth yet?

Or did Captain Picard convince his friend Magneto to use his Gandalf power against them?

Hmmm
Andy G
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 7:49pm (UTC -6)
As a few people have mentioned that Tyler might be a Klingon, I truly hope not. A medical scan from the time of Enterprise would reveal his identity. It's a plot hole way too big for my taste.
Jarvis9
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 8:31pm (UTC -6)
Well, after this episode I guess you could say that Harcourt's...

(Puts on sunglasses)

...name is Mudd.

YEEEEAAAHHHH!!
Jack
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 8:43pm (UTC -6)
Doctor WHO
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 6:06pm (UTC -5)
"Gonna state the obvious, upcoming, plot twist:"

God, I hate those kind of comments. Do you lumber into crowds at movie theaters and say, "Gonna spoil this one for you guys." It's no better to say, "Hey guys, guys! I figured it out! Lemme ruin this fun for you! Remember that I KNEW. Mark it DOWN. I DON'T CARE IF YOU ENJOY THE SHOW--I KNEW THE ANSWER!!!11"

A PLOT TWIST IS NO FUN IF YOU
Shannon
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 9:08pm (UTC -6)
I'll admit, I was concerned whether or not they could pull off a recurring time loop episode (Cause and Effect was one of my favorite TNG episodes), and I'm happy to say they exceeded my expectations. The plot works on many levels. Mudd is after wealth, pure and simple, and the time loop technology is a means to an end for him. Getting to kill Lorca over and over is just a side benefit of the technology in his mind. Fun story, which you need in the middle of a serious arc like the war, and it was well acted. We get more flushing out of Burnham, Ash, and Stamets. Even a bit of Lilly as well... I liked it, would give it 3.5 stars.
11001001
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 9:24pm (UTC -6)
I don't think I can really remain silent any longer. To echo what the sensible people here have already said: this episode was *awful*. Like, quite possibly one of the most moronic Trek scripts ever to go into production. I don't know if there was a single scene that wasn't completely asinine or nonsensical. Skeech has already made most of the really good points explaining why. I just had some further thoughts:

- This has already been mentioned, but bears repeating, since it sinks the entire episode. I don't know how anyone could come away liking the episode or could even have retained their suspension of disbelief while watching it, after the time loop iteration where Burnham magically remembers things she's been taught in a previous loop, including how to slow dance. Such a glaring error on the part of the writers is unforgivable, especially on "Star Trek."

- so 60*30 min = 1.25 days is somehow enough time for a random civilian to figure out how to override all of the security protocols of a state-of-the-art Federation starship and gain nearly total personal control of its computer? This is patently absurd, especially considering that Mudd would necessarily spend most of his 30 min per iteration either running around shooting at people, or avoiding detection. Besides, it's strongly implied that he has control of the starship figured out within the first few iterations of the loop. That makes no sense...what advantage does he have the first time around that would enable him to even gain access? Only his magic bug-man suit and a chemical concoction that is capable of blowing up the ship. The only attempt at an explanation that is given is his throw-away line before blowing himself up that he "now has enough information" to take over the ship the next time around. But even if he was carrying a data recorder with him while running around, when would he get the time to study what's on it? And *how* would said recorder gain access to information about critical ship systems the first time around, with *no special information* about how to bypass security? The whole premise of this episode is deeply flawed because of this chicken and egg problem.

- Before you protest that maybe the first appearance of bug-man wasn't the first time Mudd had attempted something, we *know* that it has to be the first iteration, because that time around, Stamets isn't freaking out about Mudd when he collides with Burnham in the corridor. He's just acting (very poorly) like he's stoned out of his mind. That also means that the episode at first makes you think you're seeing all the iterations in order, and only later reveals, via a "Lorca ignominious death" montage, that we actually have skipped ahead by 50 or so of them. Sloppy. Confusing. Very poorly done. The iterations themselves are highly inconsistent. Sometimes there is only time for one conversation and it's imperative that you not interrupt Stamets! Sometimes there is time for an entire slow-dancing lesson. Sometimes there is time to warn the captain and re-wire his chair. Bloody hell.

- Again, others have pointed this out, but it's never firmly established just what exactly makes Mudd so invincible, which leads to a great many preposterous scenes of him pontificating on the bridge or in the ready room while other people just stand there. On a ship of trained soldiers, nobody can rush him in time to prevent him from triggering another loop, or get close enough that a forcefield can't be established between him and the attacker? Even "random communications officer" stops short of attacking him just because of the appearance of a small purple sphere in his hand. That's *before* he explains that it is dark matter bomb! Then he says he'll incinerate them one by one if they try to make a move, but it's never explained how he could possibly have the time to do that if he were rushed by the crew. *Perhaps* he could beam them all into space with a wave of his hand, but I think that's a stretch, given the necessary reaction time required. And nothing's stopping someone from taking a phaser to the transporter or the forcefield emitters on the bridge, especially after he was given what he wanted and very clearly decided not to initiate any more loops. Everything about this episode ranges from highly implausible to absurd. Mudd never being overrun in any of the 60+ attempts is merely one example.

- This one bears repeating too: Starfleet let a man go when he was guilty of high treason against the Federation. It's very rare that I think to myself "what the hell did I just watch" when watching Star Trek, but the final scene in the transporter room had me in utter disbelief. In a show that has taken itself so deathly seriously, how can you suddenly shoehorn in this level of TOS camp and silliness? I don't even hold that against TOS: the shift in tone was incredibly jarring. I can't take anything about this show seriously. I'm supposed to believe that someone who is as ruthless, resourceful, and sociopathic as new-Mudd, is powerless to get himself out of a marriage with Stella just because her father is a rich arms dealer? As Skeech pointed out, it's highly implausible that the Father and daughter were able to even track him down in the first place.

This episode may, in some ways, have more of a "Trek veneer" than previous outings of STD, but it's undoubtedly the worst episode yet. And that's saying a lot given their track record so far.
Ruth
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 9:31pm (UTC -6)
I liked this one a lot, more than any other so far.

I don’t get the complaints about the party. That’s how young people party (why do I sound so old saying that, I’m not even 30 yet). The fancy parties for dignitaries are fine but that’s not the kind of party these lot would throw for each other so it seems normal to me. Even the drinking is normal, aren’t they still on real alcohol and not synthohol in these times too? Music choice is weird but what can you do between licensing and having no idea what music will be like in 200-300 years.

My two main problems - Burnham was taking a SERIOUS risk betting that Mudd would go for two birds in the bush over one in the hand like that. I’m fine with it working but it was extremely risky and the scene didn’t seem to reflect it at all. The other is how truly horrible Mudd was but how much they kinda wave it all away. If he was just vapourising people it wouldn’t be that bad. I can forgive him being cruel to Lorca and Tyler because they were cruel to him, but not the rest of the crew. “Now you have to marry the woman who you led on and whose dowry you stole” is one thing for ship stealing but another for torture!

I liked the whale. I liked how it was in a kind of middle space of being a shock and rare but not so rare no one had seen one. They said something like 58 encounters and laws about them. Often on Star Trek it’s that everyone has seen 1000s or no one has ever seen one. It’s nice to see some kind of endangered species that’s more like what we’re used to on earth. I’m also assuming that the whale is fine on the ship because it flies into denser space to feed. Certainly they didn’t mention it, and surely it’s not law to transport them if it’s bad for them. I liked too that we saw different versions of that scene on the bridge - I was expecting Lorca and Saru to not care so I’m glad they did (if only to avoid charges)

I’m laughing if we get Klingon - federation peace on the back of Burnham and Tyler’s relationship if he is Voq. That’s my copyrighted prediction, cbs have to pay me if they use it. Wouldn’t that be hilarious though?
11001001
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 9:32pm (UTC -6)
Don't even get me started about this "Ash is a Klingon" theory that some people mentioned above. If the showrunners actually reveal that as a plot point, then it will be clear that they just don't give a damn about the quality of this show. A Klingon operative who is sensitive enough, and understands humanity well enough, to understand Sarek's guilt over not supporting Burnham with her science academy admission, and then explain that guilt to Burnham? Does that sound like Voq to you? Maybe the old Klingons could (I think Worf could), but not ones who are as alien in physiology and culture as the Discovery Klingons. A Klingon operative who has the wisdom and patience to say things like "I try to judge someone in the here and now", the way Ash did when he was first introduced to Burnham as a mutineer? Does *that* seem anything like Voq to you? Could Voq make a poignant speech at a party about remembering the sacrifice of 10,000+ fallen Starfleet officers?

If the writers reveal that Ash Tyler is Voq, that will fly in the face of literally everything we've seen of Tyler on-screen up to now. It would be utter bullshit.
Ruth
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 9:36pm (UTC -6)
I didn’t get from it that Burnham remembered anything by the way. I’ve had serious trouble with the editing on this show before (I didn’t know we saw L’rell on the prison ship, or understand how Lorca wasn’t on Discovery still in that episode - huge stuff like that). We’ve seen that Stamets and Burnham get along well, that he was able to use the secret effectively to get her on side, that she’s a quick learner and basically game even when Stamets is saying she’s going to save everyone by kissing Tyler. So of course he could get her on the scheme faster each time.
Jason
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 9:46pm (UTC -6)
I kind of love how party music is the last straw for some Trek fans. I've read a bunch of, "we'll have evolved beyond rap/disco by..." today.

The only troubling thing for me was the shift to comedy at the end. Yes, TOS Mudd was darker than most of us recall, but stone-cold killer Mudd (including killing in the apparently the most agonizing, sadistic way possible) doesn't quite fit with the "let's send him off to Stella, ha ha" ending.

Yeah, yeah, continuity. But it doesn't work (especially with Rainn Wilson's performance -- there's no likable roguishness here).

Some at Trekmovie pointed out that he didn't kill anyone in the final loop, and so he couldn't have been charged with murder. But meh. Or, he knew it was going to be reset again so it wasn't really murder -- but also meh.

That said, I liked the character stuff. Ash Tyer is the first character with a believable (or any) personality (Tilly is fun, but she's still a little character-y) -- and they haven't snuck in a CW-esque reveal of any rumored plot twist yet. Stamets -- also fun.

I'm already tired of the Klingon stuff. I'm hoping we see even less from their perspective.

And, plenty are noting that Saru's threat ganglia put the writers into Troi corner. I like the idea that they respond to more abstract, intuitive, "can't put my finger on what's bothering me about this" things (assuming that he guessed/feared that Burnham wasn't actually on that shuttle).

Finished Stranger Things/Mindhunter this weekend. Wish Discovery had gone more in that direction (it still feels like traditional network TV).












Shannon
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 11:03pm (UTC -6)
@11001001 The "sensible people"? So anyone who agrees with you is sensible and those who disagree with you are idiots, is that how your small mind works? If you don't like the show, then STOP WATCHING IT! I have no problem with constructive criticism, but you "critics" who are acting as though you have 5 academy awards for writing sitting on your shelf really need to get a grip. Stop looking for a blend of TOS, TNG, and DS9. I like that they have modernized the show, and young officers and crewman having a party is great. Do you think 250 years from now young people will be mind-numb robots strumming their violins alone in their quarters? I like this take on Trek, and the stories are getting better, as is the acting... Please feel free to post again when you've won your 6th academy award!
Dick
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 11:42pm (UTC -6)
I kind of liked this one until the end, when Mudd let his guard down for no reason and allowed himself to be disarmed. It made him look incredibly stupid after outwitting the Discovery crew at every turn for the previous 35 minutes. Ideally, Stella and her father should have gotten the jump on Mudd *first* and then explained the ruse.

The twist ending with Stella and her father felt very TOS-like, but it was tonally inconsistent with Mudd's murder spree and the generally grim atmosphere established in DIS thus far. Even so, it was nice to see something a little more lighthearted and enjoy an episode without long scenes of subtitled dialogue from the monster-movie "Klingons".

Random Thoughts:
-The party scenes were very 21st century and will age poorly (like the bar scene in Star Trek '09 or space hippies in TOS).

-I know that Lorca is an exotic weapons enthusiast, but it's disturbing that he has those dark matter death balls just lying around in his collection.

-No way that Tyler is a Klingon. He could be a brainwashed Qo'noSian Candidate though.
Mike
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 11:56pm (UTC -6)
Wow. Discovery just showed its heart.

I'd show this episode to anyone. Everyone did right by each other in the end, just one time. That's all it takes.

And I KNOW Mudd will never break his word.
They gave him everything he wanted.
His Moment of Heaven.
Mike
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 11:57pm (UTC -6)
PS If no one mentioned it:

Stamets is still tripping balls.
Jammer
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 12:14am (UTC -6)
Review now posted.
Cosmic
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 2:39am (UTC -6)
Man, that was a fun episode.... and I'm surprised to say that considering it's from two former writers who worked on Heroes (sigh). Kudos to those two for doing much better work here than with what they did on "Butcher's Knife".

Stamets has come a long way in a short time. I felt like I hated the character when he was introduced back in "Context". Now? He's probably my favorite character. Crazy.

I cannot believe that Tyler is Voq at this point... he's TOO good. The little "hints" they are dropping about him are misdirections... I mean, they have to be, right? Maybe he is a brain wiped sleeper agent, but there is no way that he is simply Voq "posing" as a human.

I agree with Jammer that Mudd is played well in this episode - but why did he have to be Mudd? His behavior in this particular episode doesn't exactly mesh with what we see from him in TOS. They at least somewhat justified Sarek's inclusion after last week's episode, but Mudd didn't need to be Mudd in this series. That said - It's not totally outside the realm of plausibility that this crazy guy goes on to be the tamer TOS Mudd.... I'm sure people can reason it out with their own "head canon" or whatever.

3 stars sounds right for this one. Best episode yet.
Wouter Verhelst
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 3:01am (UTC -6)
I think Mudd came off pretty well, but not through the intent of the crew.

Remember, they said there was a bounty on his head. They also knew he took off with the dowry. When Stella and her dad arrived, and we saw the look on Mudd's face, we had every reason to believe a tirade by the dad and an imprisonment or something, and I think that's what everyone in that room -- crew as well as Mudd -- expected. The setup is that Mudd is being delivered into his worst enemies.

Instead, the first word said when Stella and her father materialize is a joyous 'Harcourt!' It is in that moment that he gets off lucky; by then it is too late for the crew to change tactics.

I think it's quite brilliant, although the execution could have been slightly better (I don't think 'Stella' played her part all that well)
ben
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 3:14am (UTC -6)
I find it funny that some people say that Stamets caved at the end when he admitted that he was the key even though nobody really died. That shows a peculiar lack of empathy. Ok apart from the fact that this was probably part of their plan.
First, when you see people you are close with get killed your brain will react as if it is true. Your brain doesn't say: "Be cool, just time travel stuff." the emotions the brain produces are probably more like: OHHHHHH MYYYY GOOOOOD!!! waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh!!!
Second, he didn't know if that loop he was in wouldn't be the last and everything that happened could have been final. So every loop he had to live with the fear that the people who died were actually dead.
Seeing people you care about die over and over sometimes horribly must take a toll on you.
Especially when you are high as hell!
wolfstar
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 3:19am (UTC -6)
Shannon, can we quit with the "If you don't like the show, then STOP WATCHING IT!" business? Everyone has a right to be here and to comment.
Mark VI
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 5:01am (UTC -6)
One problem with the space whale...

How can a space creature living in an environment without air and air pressure survive after beaming aboard? The poor thing would implode in an instant!
MadManMUC
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 5:04am (UTC -6)
Good god, Discovery is such a rancid turd.

Well, the pros with this episode:
It finally _sort of_ felt like Star Trek.

On the other hand, so did DS9's 'Move Along Home'; and that particular DS9 episode sucked balls that hadn't been washed in a month.

I'm not going to re-iterate all of the individual things that people found wrong with this episode, I agree with them anyway. But, to add my thing:

• Starfleet officers a hundred years after ENT and ten years before TOS seem to be unforgivably and irredeemably stupid and incompetent;

• I'm getting really, really tired of the 20th and 21st centuries being injected into this stupid show. In two hundred years, I highly doubt we'll be saying 'cool' or 'groovy' (ironically, 'fuck' will survive the ages), or listening to Wyclef Fucking Jean, or playing fucking beer pong. The only thing this sort of bullshit from the writers accomplishes is ejecting us out of the narrative. If they want us to feel immersed in the 23rd century whilst watching their sparkly turd, then they need to stop this sort of shit. Fucking hell.

I could go on, but like I mentioned in a comment on last week's episode, it's not like Kurzman & Co give a fuck what real Trekkies think.
MadManMUC
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 5:08am (UTC -6)
@Mark VI

'How can a space creature living in an environment without air and air pressure survive after beaming aboard? The poor thing would implode in an instant!'

The writing team's policy seems to be, 'Never let actual, real scientific considerations get in the way of making the shittiest Star Trek ever made.'

Seriously, I highly doubt they have any science consultants on staff. If they had, then we wouldn't get the central gimmick we've got now with the stupid Mushroom Motor.

From Forbes:

'New "Star Trek" Series Makes Massive Science Blunder'

https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevensalzberg/2017/10/30/new-star-trek-series-makes-massive-science-blunder/#4d75caad1b37
ben
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 5:35am (UTC -6)
@MadManMUC
I know many men are facinated by their own genitals but could you dial it down a little. I don't want to feel disgust while reading the comments.

Konstantinos
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 5:36am (UTC -6)
@MadManMUC

So Klingons, Vulcans, the Borg assimilation techniques, warpdrive technology, numerous planets that happen to be exact replicas of events that happened during War of Korea and WWII and the Eugenic wars are all part of reality? There have been numerous space living creatures on scifi from Mogo the Green Lantern planet to the spores Voyager found (said spores were even sexually attracted to the ship).

The mushroom tech is as much plausible as magic teleportation devise contrived to shorten expedition procedures and special effects. The space whale is more plausible than freaking space dinosaurs reaching the delta quadrant.
Konstantinos
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 5:42am (UTC -6)
As for the music, I know many people on their 20s and 30s that are obsessed with swing, rockabilly, Elvis and stuff made many decades before they were even born. It is practically the same thing ,people will always listen to classical music or the beatles or even disco and so on.
JohnTY
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 7:26am (UTC -6)
This one was certainly Trekkier than most previous episodes - high concept Sci Fi, reset buttons and clunky attempts at romance.

Watchable and fun at times, smug and cringe-worthy for the remainder.

The many deaths of Lorca would have to be the highlight.

2.5/4
Yanks
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 8:04am (UTC -6)
As to the CBS All Access streaming...

I haven't had an issue.

Not one.

I have a 24 meg download pipe to the house.

The only 2 episodes I watched when they were released was this one and 'Choose you Pain' though.

As to the "major science blunder"? .... I don't think it's a big deal. Transporters, replicators, warp drive, anti-matter chamber are all fairy tales that have been accepted for 50 years... why the big issue with 'Discovery'?

Stamets is morphing into a nice character. He started out as this whiny gay guy, but now the spores seem to have made him evolve into a real character.

Nice review Jammer.
Lars Tarkas
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 8:27am (UTC -6)
It's an OK episode, and does the time loop thing fairly well. It's rather contrived to think the Madd his himself in a space whale, assuming Discovery would take it aboard. Taking it aboard makes no sense - this is a creature whose natural environment is a vacuum and zero gravity. Placing it under gravity and atmosphere is a bad idea. And how is there room inside this creature for a ship?

But the biggest issue is psuedo-Mudd. He's nothing like Harcourt Fenton Mudd. Mudd's a two-bit con man, not some criminal genius. Mudd's the charming life of the party, buying drinks for everyone - until he sticks you with the bill. Mudd is, as Kirk put it, an irritant. Maybe Mudd has a cousin with the same name - he'd be an OK villain, but he isn't our Mudd.
Konstantinos
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 8:42am (UTC -6)
Captain Kirk is laughing at his magical vortex thing where he accidentaly fell through intead of dying. along with Janeway and Paris's lizard babies and energy morphed Kess .

Keep on tilting at windmills.
Lobster Johnson
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 9:43am (UTC -6)
@MadManMUC

man that guy who have a heart attack if he actually watched the majority of Star Trek episodes, hell the FIRST episode of TOS is about gaining magic powers from a supposed barrier that surrounds the galaxy.
Sven
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 9:52am (UTC -6)
Weird how so many who hate DIS it and have left it 'for the garbage that it is', keep popping up to repeat their words the next week in various incarnations...
BZ
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 10:27am (UTC -6)
Trek is full of episodes that introduce game-changing technology which, at best, gets a contrived reason not to use and, at worst, is simply never mentioned again. While Voyager is particularly guilty of this, TOS isn't far behind. And the other series do it too. And people either don't remember it or exclude it from their "head canon".

The slingshot effect time travel is probably the most blatant non-use of a technology as potentially game-changing as the spore drive (by the way, explain to me how that works with real world physics). Unlike most of the tech that is introduced in a single episode and forgotten, the TOS crew uses it three times, twice deliberately, with a specific target time period in mind. it is even mentioned again in TNG. But nobody ever uses it again. In fact, routine time travel is explicitly mentioned as only being possible in the far future (as in 29th century)
Del_Duio
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 11:25am (UTC -6)
This just in, breaking news about a future episode


*SPOILERS* obviously:

Episode 8, "The non-outer glow of lens flares and etc"

The Discovery is flying along and finds a probe- a probe that looks like a giant iphone 7s- and Burnham is struck by a strange beam and sent into a coma. While in the coma, she relives her life on Vulcan where this time she's accepted to the Vulcan science academy. One day on the way to the fishbowl pits at school she stumbles upon a magic kazoo, which she then practices on while in-between finals. Everything was cool.

Then one day, suddenly, the Romulan criminal Nero drills into the crust from space- Nearly hitting Burnham's kazoo!! Once the hole is drilled, Nero detonates the red matter and just as the planet is about to totally implode into itself she wakes up. Saru beams the probe (which has now stopped working) into the cargo bay while Burnham jogs to the scene in a form-fitting DISCO shirt. The probe is not-so-cautiously opened by the former chief of security, brought back from the dead by Lorca's tribble's magical blood, only to be electrocuted when its door opens. Burnham peers inside and finds a small box.

Inside the box? A Chemical Brothers mixed tape and a dusty kazoo, stamped with the initials "M.B." The final scene has her looking out the window, playing a soft Vulcan lullaby on her kazoo while a stoned Stammets looks on. He utters, "Fuck! Can you wail on that thing or what?!"


*END SPOILERS*


I mean, it's easy right? Just take any classic existing episode and tweak it a bit. You can't go wrong! Imagine what I could write if I actually TRIED, right? Hey Disco team, hire me!
Pandapirate
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 11:42am (UTC -6)
Sounds to me like a Hugo Award winning idea
Chrome
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 12:14pm (UTC -6)
Wow, I'm not sure what you do for your day job, Del_Duio, but don't consider a career change anytime soon.
Del_Duio
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 1:14pm (UTC -6)
The secret twist is I'm actually a real writer for Discovery! Dunnn dunnn dunnn!
ben
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 1:30pm (UTC -6)
@ Del_Duio
And I totally believe you! Dunnn dunnn dunnn!
Shannon
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 1:31pm (UTC -6)
@wolfstar

There's a difference between criticizing a show's plot/direction and acting like a spoiled brat who isn't getting his way. If you are THAT upset with the show, then stop watching it.

@Sven

Thank you for making my point! Perhaps you can educate @wolfstar. You are absolutely right, every week we keep reading the same posts about how bad the show is and how they are never watching it again. It's like they are stuck in their own weekly time loop!!!
Dick
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 2:33pm (UTC -6)
@Konstantinos

I don't doubt that some people in the 23rd century will be listening to 20th century music, but should we really expect a futuristic dance party to look and sound exactly like a 1990s college soirée? Until Star Trek '09, Trek was always judicious with the use of 20th century music ("The Way to Eden" notwithstanding). Maybe late 20th century hip-hop saw a sudden, short-lived revival in the mid 23rd century? Whatever the case, it's a departure from the timelessness we used to expect from Star Trek.

@BZ

I suspect that we will get a satisfactory explanation for the abandonment of the spore drive at some point. Perhaps Stamets will start to experience negative side effects the more he uses the drive?

I think we got a reasonable explanation for the abandonment of the slingshot effect with the Introduction of the Department of Temporal Investigations in DS9 and the Temporal Prime Directive in VOY. Starfleet must have instituted strict policies against laissez-faire time travel sometime prior to the beginning of TNG.
BZ
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 3:01pm (UTC -6)
@Dick
RE: music: the fact is, futuristic music is almost never heard on Trek, which seems reasonable since we don't know what it would be like (other franchises choose to speculate. See "The Fifth Element" for example). But that paints the writers into a corner. If we're going to have a party, what music would they listen to? You can't really predict which music gets remembers for all time and which is quickly forgotten. That they have parties at all seems perfectly normal to me. I mean you could say that we "evolved" beyond such things, but it's a judgement call whether such parties are something we need to evolve out of.

RE: time travel: they have time ships in the 29th century. The temporal prime directive does not prevent them from using them, just interfering with the timeline. But there is no reason missions like the one in "Assignment: Earth" couldn't continue under the temporal prime directive. "Our mission – historical research. We are monitoring Earth communications to find out how our planet survived desperate problems in the year 1968".
ben
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 3:07pm (UTC -6)
@ Shannon
Maybe they are the star trek part of the fifty shades of grey community or the fifty shades of grey part of the star trek community. hmmm Either way when it come to the suffering part we sadly participate if we want to or not.
I actually find it funny most of the time. I always imagine aliens teaching their children that this kind of strange fixation on the admittedly less important (it is just a show after all) was what brought us down .
:)
Just get in your Risa mindset...
Gul Densho-Ar
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 3:31pm (UTC -6)
@Del_Duio

You're not fooling anyone, that was far too logical and coherent for DSC
Yair
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 3:41pm (UTC -6)
Given the current semi-flamewars, perhaps I should start with a disclaimer: I'm trying to give DIS a chance. I didn't like the previous episodes that I watched, but I know most Trek shows are poor for the first season and I can often watch this show with others so I'm giving it a shot. Now for this episode.

The good news is that DIS keeps improving on the crew interactions department. Finally they actually work as a team a bit (even though most of the crew are sent to the background), and this is the least annoying they has been since the beginning. Stamets is especially nice. Taylor-Michael is cute. The episode is fun.

The bad news is that:

* This is a character piece for Michael - but she's still annoying. Tyler is a cipher intentionally.

* The plot doesn't make any sense. Jammer for once hasn't touched the worst issues. There are so many, I'll mention just a few:

** Mudd must be beginning every iteration from inside the whale. Anything else, and there's a decent risk of starting the next iteration where some crewmember is walking or inside a wall (the Discovery isn't static!). But if he does start there, it's just too easy to stop him.

** The middle doesn't quite work, because we don't see it from the POV of the character trying to stop it. So we skip a lot and eventually Michael knows too much. This is a character piece so they try to grow the character, but the timeloop logic forces reset.

** The entire scheme to stop Mudd relies on him being unable to rewind time after 30 minutes. There's no way they could have known that (the 'always available' time travel reset devices are far more common in fiction). The dialogue here is really clunky - Mudd counting down time for the viewer? Also, Mudd should have kept computer control to the end, and been able to disappear the crew after being 'foiled'. And of course just turning him to Stella is stupid.

DIS has nice moments but the writers still haven't managed to make a coherent episode.

Misc notes:
** Saru talks about 'endangered species law' and possible court martial. Since when does anything happening on Discovery meet with any consequences?? Starfleet won't dare touch the ship that's supposedly single-handedly is winning the war (though we never see the Discovery doing all that much - and what happened to the 'give a spore engine to every ship' idea?).

** The gag on the bridge where Mudd doesn't mention the name of the communications officer.

** This episode doesn't really tell us much about Tyler. He could easily be a Klingon, and still have motive to stop Mudd, especially if he's Voq - why give his sworn enemies (the Klingon Houses which abandoned him) a great win? Much better to steal the ship yourself later and use it to take over the Empire somehow.
ben
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 3:47pm (UTC -6)
@Yair
There is this critique that they could easily stop Mudd but you do have to keep in mind that they have done that maybe hundreds of times maybe far more where for example Stamets tried different things. Mudd says at one point that he has already killed Lorca more than fifty times. So to get control god knows how many tries he needed.
BZ
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 3:56pm (UTC -6)
@Yair,
See, my impression is that Mudd does *not* begin each time loop inside the whale. I'm pretty sure we see Mudd before the whale is brought aboard during various timelines. And we find out that the power source for the time reset comes from Mudd's ship inside the whale, which makes it imperative (for Mudd) that the whale is onboard during the reset. My guess is that he starts wherever he was before the reset, though that leaves other problems I already mentioned.
Peter G.
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 4:02pm (UTC -6)
I'll try to focus my comments on the two aspects of this episode that illustrate the kind of series this is, more so than individual nitpicks about the story. Overall I did feel the story was a mess and favored style over substance, *however* they did make inroads with some of the characters and the energy and pacing of the episode were very good. I'll just mentioned that Anthony Rapp is awesome, but other than that I'll leave these things aside and go for my two points.

1) The science of Trek. Trek used to be about science. No, it wasn't a science documentary show. No, it didn't always stick to things that entirely made sense. And no, it did allow itself to use fantastical premises some of the time. But somehow it still retained the general air of being about discovery, wonder, learning about the universe (including advanced godlike beings), and curiosity maybe above all. Many, many people grew up wanting to be astronauts, scientists, engineers, physicists, purely because Trek taught them that learning can be exciting. You can't write that off as "Eh, Trek was never really about science." That is bullshit (pardon my French). It was, even though it wasn't hard sci-fi most of the time. You can't dismiss how many people (including NASA people) dedicated their lives to science because Trek inspired them. I almost did, myself. Anyhow, when this episode whose name I'll never repeat began and they observed a space creature, and despite my misgivings about the series I was instantly interested. All they needed to do was show me a new life form in nature and they had my attention; I was even excited a little. It was the same feeling I had in the pilot when we were shown the binary star system and Michael careening out to explore. Of course I should have known better than to allow my hopes to flare because needless to say the creature was a McGuffin excuse to get the Mudd story rolling along. It's just sad when a new and interesting-looking life form - and even the chance to learn about Starfleet's preservation policies - is so irrelevant to the plot that we don't even get to hear what became of it when Mudd left the ship. We solved the action story, so who cares about the life form and whether it will survive, right? TNG would invariably have ended a rough episode with an uplifting coda showing how even the smaller side of the story turned out ok.

But it wasn't enough that the plot couldn't have cared less about the creature, but in a way a far more egregious attack against curiosity was made in passing but it had a big effect on me. Captain Lorca made it very clear he had zero interest in the creature. Ok, we get it, all he cares about is killing Klingons. That's a seriously flawed attitude, but ok, maybe the show can be about how war can incite flawed people to rise to glory. But then we'd need that flaw to be framed as such, not shown in such a way that Lorca looks like this cool badass. That is Game of Thrones, not Trek. But ok, so Lorca dismissed the creature ("I don't give a damn" he says). The worst part came next: Lorca haphazardly called it a fish, and when Saru began to correct him Lorca's look shut him right up. The moment was no doubt intended to induce a chuckle, but for that cheap laugh the writers have officially revealed their views on science and curiosity: if you care whether a space creature is a fish or not, you're a complete dork and will be mocked by the Captain for it, and the audience will get a laugh out of you looking foolish. Note that this wasn't a Data moment where Saru was offering irrelevant detail, like in TNG S1-2. The Captain was deliberately being insulting about an endangered life form and ridiculed Saru for caring about making sure it was understood what the creature was. This is a reprehensible thing for a TV show to do. It basically teaches the audience that nerdy stuff like classifying space whales isn't what real men care about. It's basically bullying, and giving off that this kind of bullying is ok. I find it disgusting, and yes, I really do think people (especially children) will get that takeaway from this kind of exchange. Instead of wanting to be a science officer, a kid will come out understanding that being a science officer is totally dorky. This is very irresponsible show design. You're not helping humanity by giving this kind of lesson, you're hurting it. But that doesn't matter when your interest is in dollars rather than the future.

And now my next point:

2) The humanity of Trek. TOS and TNG took some pains to always frame a 'villain' in terms of what their failings represented in us as contemporary humanity. An anachronistic figure like a Harry Mudd or a Khan served to show a side-by-side juxtapose between humanity now (or in the near-future) with humanity in the evolved future of the Federation. In Mudd's Women and even in I, Mudd, the fact that Mudd was portrayed in a humorous light wasn't just a question of having a comedic episode. The entire idea of someone in a post-scarcity world scrounging around for riches was meant to be intrinsically ironic, ridiculous even. Such a man is, by definition, a clown, much like Cyrano Jones in Tribbles. TNG and DS9 riffed on the idea of outdated values as being comedic through the Ferengi and even Nausicaans, both of whom were used as comic relief to show a more primitive outlook on life. Mudd was in the company of these, even though as a character he was much more watchable than your average Ferengi. By turning him into a murderous torturer they did more than just make it more edgy: they inadvertently (I'm sure) also undermined any sense of his values as being shown to be ridiculous. The reason TOS Mudd is treated with kid gloves is because in a way we should feel sorry for such a man; he's more lost than anything. But nu-Mudd isn't someone we can feel sorry for, because his depravity isn't merely a by-product of someone who didn't evolve quite on pace with the rest of humanity. On the contrary, his views, as shown in the prison episode, were shown to have credibility. What should be ridiculous is instead treated as a legitimate world view, and that destroys what should be Trek's statement about optimism for the future. And the worst part is that Mudd isn't entirely wrong, because the Federation as they've been shown so far seem to be very underwhelming in terms of moral superiority. And this, I think, reflects the moral compass of the production team. I honestly feel that they understand Trek about as well as JJ Abrams does Star Wars. They know the gadgets, they know the references, but the heart of it entirely eludes them. Worse - they appear to hold values that are utterly antagonistic to Trek. And let's not mince words about showing Mudd torturing people: these scenes were supposed to be fun to watch. Is it proper to make a comedic spectacle over the Captain being spaced? In Babylon 5 there was once a serious discussion about what spacing might be like, and although that show could be funny at times it didn't joke about that. No, this was sadism intended as entertainment. Hell, even Game of Thrones didn't quite intend anyone to *enjoy* Theon being tortured, even though the show did dwell in that zone quite thoroughly. But observing a madman like Mudd being a comedic center of an episode about torture...that's sick stuff. I think the writer of this one needs to see a doctor. There's only so disconnected you can get before it stops being slick writing and starts to get pathological.

I sort of get what they maybe thought they intended. Maybe they failed to make it clear enough that Mudd only killed people because he knew it wouldn't stick, and intended - on the final pass - to not hurt anyone. That would have kind of made things better, although still troubling. In fact, it could have redeemed him quite a bit if, in his final go-around, he did end up killing someone and reset it himself because he didn't want it to end that way. THEN I could see them letting him go, sort of. But as it was he was guilty of so many crimes that letting him go wasn't merely illogical, but was a sort of demented message that as long as you're charming and amusing the things you do don't really matter. It seems to be the same message they're making about the Captain, at least so far.

Despite my ravings about the betrayal of everything Trek, I do have to commend the episode for its strengths, especially in the treatment of some of the characters, and in the technical merits of the energy level and pace. It's also quite fine for me that a high-concept plot involving tech didn't delve too much into the tech itself. It was enough to have a puzzle for Stamets to solve. That's a good formula, although I was still sad not to hear any more about what a 4-D life form is or how the Federation knows of their existence. But who am I kidding, I'm not going to get that kind of thing on this show.
Yair
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 4:22pm (UTC -6)
@BZ,

Starting the place he was creates many other problems for Mudd. The Discovery isn't static, and he can't possibly memorize where every crewmember was 30 minutes ago. If he isn't careful or the distances aren't right, he ends up materializing into space, an existing body, a table or even a wall. That's quite risky, I don't see him so causally starting new loops unless the risk didn't exist because he was starting at a known safe point - and I don't see any other candidates other than the starting point. Beside, didn't he once start a loop on the bridge? (I might be misremembering).

@bn,

IMHO, Pretty much the only way Mudd has a chance to survive in a successive iteration is if he's taking over the computers immediately before Stamets. Anything else, and Stamets should have more than enough time to hack the computers himself**, at which point Stamets can initiate a jump or just scramble the computer. Either way, Mudd gets nothing unless he gets god-mode right away before Stamets - and Stamets should win *one* of these races eventually.

But if that happens there's probably no party scene and no time to plan...

** I rate Stamets chances of hacking as high because he can just ask for the codes once the crew is convinced this is an emergency, which Mudd will accomplish soon enough even when Stamets doesn't manage to do it first.
Yair
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 4:23pm (UTC -6)
"start a loop" - I meant 'initiate a loop'.
Chrome
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 4:32pm (UTC -6)
@Yair

Remember in the final loop when Mudd mentioned that you can't beat him because he'll figure out how he was outwitted and he'll win on the next loop? I imagine that Stamets tried quite a few times to stop Mudd (we saw him kill Mudd once) but it was all in vain because of the time loop, which appears to go off at 30 minutes unless Mudd says otherwise. The ending also mentioned that Stamets had concluded that Mudd would always win, so they needed to make a deal with him in order to save the crew's lives (and buy time).
Steven
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 4:48pm (UTC -6)
Good points, Peter G.

"And this, I think, reflects the moral compass of the production team. I honestly feel that they understand Trek about as well as JJ Abrams does Star Wars. They know the gadgets, they know the references, but the heart of it entirely eludes them. Worse - they appear to hold values that are utterly antagonistic to Trek. And let's not mince words about showing Mudd torturing people: these scenes were supposed to be fun to watch. Is it proper to make a comedic spectacle over the Captain being spaced?"

When someone is shown to us as a sadist, that used to have a narrative justification. But on DIS, pretty much every "bad guy" is exaggerated like this. The Klingons are torturers, assumedly in a pathological way, because keeping Mudd and Ash in the prison for months seems tactically pointless, when they could just be executed. Obviously, the Klingons like to gloat and humiliate their enemies. Captain Lorca also likes his collection of pain-inflicting weapons, just don't ask me WHY. What's the narrative point? It's almost like these character cards were written by 11-year olds, who try to make them "as badass as possible", with no regard for the moral implications.

New Mudd is the kind of character that you usually meet in video games these days. In pretty much every ego shooter, there are these sadistic characters whose cruelty we watch as a form of entertainment. The writers of the show use this common device simply because it's an established and cheap form of entertainment.

But yeah, the show is missing a soul. There's nothing behind it.

"... although I was still sad not to hear any more about what a 4-D life form is or how the Federation knows of their existence. But who am I kidding, I'm not going to get that kind of thing on this show."

I think that's just another example of how anti-intellectual this show is. I doubt that they have any concept behind what a 4-D lifeform is supposed to be. No intelligent person would include "four-dimensional beings" into an episode script, because that is actually what WE are: We move through three dimmensions, plus time, so by definition we all are four-dimensional beings.
Yair
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 4:50pm (UTC -6)
@Chrome,

Basically, I just don't buy that there's nothing to do against Mudd or his time machine. We've established Mudd doesn't start invincible and that this invincibility can be stripped (though the show cheats here at the end) and that the machine has a power source. There has to be some timeframe before he starts giving orders, otherwise Stamets wouldn't have had time to talk with Lorca and get him to fake surrender not to mention the rest of the plan. So I think there were plenty of possible plans here, and I actually can't see Mudd surviving that long so long as Stamets isn't dumbed down by plot.

Here's an example of an alternative plan:

* Stamets talks with Lorca, gets the captain's codes. (He has to be able to do that, because the final plan also required Lorca's cooperation).
* Immediately, Stamets either commits suicide or the ship self-destructs. This isn't even necessary if we're at the stage Mudd doesn't know about Stamets.
* Mudd has no choice but to restart here.
* Next time, Stamets hacks the ship first (we've establish he has time here, otherwise the final plan wouldn't have worked either), and ensures Mudd can't really do too much. Then jump far far away from the power source.
* Sure, if Mudd catches the previous step he restarts, but what are the odds of him doing this every time? And if somehow Mudd hacks the ship first, Stamets can commit suicide forcing a restart.
Chrome
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 5:17pm (UTC -6)
@Yair

Yeah, I mean those are all fair points. I think the conceit that the audience is supposed to make is that Mudd actually came prepared with tools to hack the Discovery and that Stamets is handicapped by no one believing him.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 6:02pm (UTC -6)
I heard the code words "time loop", and I thought to myself: Hey! I'm actually curious to see this one. I'm a real sucker for crazy time related stuff.

Then I've read some of the reviews here, and especially Peter G's in-depth analysis of how everything in this episode betrays the good old Trek ideals, and all my interest evaporated.

I knew that DSC wasn't big on the Trek ideals front, but I had no idea the situation was this terrible. Mocking curiousity? Anti-science humor? Sadistic torture as a source of comedy?

What kind of twisted madness is this series? And what kind of twisted people are these show runners, who have the nerves to stamp the words "Star Trek" on a show that betrays everything Trek ever stood for?

Unbelievable. Completely unbelievable.

And you know what's even crazier? The fact that so many DSC fans just can't fathom why this might bother someone. Cue in responses that completely miss the point in 5... 4... 3... 2... 1...
Lobster Johnson
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 9:28pm (UTC -6)
@Peter G.

"All they needed to do was show me a new life form in nature and they had my attention; I was even excited a little"

We just had a 3 episode arc about a new life form that was explored in detail, it feels disingenuous to act like the show doesn't explore new life just because it didn't in this episode.

I also have trouble buying the anti-intellectual, anti-science mindset when the majority of the characters are scientists and the show dotes over them. Lorca is a counterpoint to most of the crew, they've gone out of their way to show he's a soldier not an explorer so his attitude fits his character. Is it really a big deal that 1 character on the crew has a different view point for contrast? Tilly's the polar opposite of Lorca and I like comparing Burnham's interactions with both.

I mean the last "anti-intellectual" character, Landry, was KILLED her ignorance.

You're very articulate and I enjoyed reading your thoughts, but I have to politely disagree with a lot of it. I mean, this was a very humanistic episode - the major theme running through it was forming connections with people. Trust.

That's a very Star Trek sentiment.
Steven
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 10:58pm (UTC -6)
"We just had a 3 episode arc about a new life form that was explored in detail, it feels disingenuous to act like the show doesn't explore new life just because it didn't in this episode."

I must have been watching the show in a mirror universe, because to me the tardigrade is the best example of how this show doesn't (!) take alien lifeforms seriously. I roughly remember it like this:

"We've hooked it up to a neural scanner! Here's the brain patterns!"
[10 minutes later]
"We need results fast. Let's put it to sleep, then I lower the forcefield and cut off its fingernail, as a sample to weaponize."
"Okay."
[Female officer does as she says, gets attacked and dies]

Here's what a real scientific thinker would have inserted:

"Wait a moment; it killed a lot of Klingons and you just want to approach it? Shouldn't we try to anticipate its behavior (most likely violent)? I'm sure that in 10 minutes, in a streak of brilliance, I will recognize that it is only "defending itself", but by that time you will be already dead. Also, why did we hook it up to a brain scanner if we don't even take a look at the monitor to see whether it has been sedated? [Yes, they actually didn't even look at the brain scan monitor.] Oh, and you want to bring a phaser, which has been PROVEN to ineffective. That is surely a good measure to defend yourself."

You call the original version "explored in detail"?

Some time later, while the tardigrade is looking like it's suffering, Michael suddenly comes to the conclusion: "It's self-aware!" What her conclusion is based on, we are never told. Normally, at this point, in any Trek episode, people would try to communicate with the lifeform to prove the theory that it's self-aware through whatever he's saying. But no, we never got any communication established.

And that is pretty much all that we ever learned about the tardigrade. Jumps in captivity are for some reason stressful, while jumps in freedom are not, so the creature is released.

Your "3-episode-exploration" is much less than any single episode of any other other Trek show, if it puts the exploration of a new life form in its center, tells us about that lifeform.

"I also have trouble buying the anti-intellectual, anti-science mindset when the majority of the characters are scientists and the show dotes over them."

You're right in that regard. But the writers show their disrespect for science by putting really bad science in the show.
Skeech
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 11:32pm (UTC -6)
BTW, they already have (at least implicity) explained away why the spore drive doesn't exist in any later shows, or at least isn't used by the Federation. There are two reasons.

First, to run the drive you have to use a Tardigrade, which means imprisoning and torturing a sentient life form (which they claimed it to be, but never showed or proved it was) to do it. Though so far Stamets isn't being tortured, and actually seems to like it. Anway...obviously the Federation isn't going to continue to use a drive that works that way. They stopped doing that in DIS already, or else all the ships would have a spore drive.

Second, you can also run the drive the way they are now, by using Stamets, but as they said last episode, Stamets engaged in 'eugenic manipulation' in order to be able to use it, and that is illegal in the Federation. So that's not going to be used again either.

So once Stamets dies, no more spore drive for the Federation.

Of course, Mudd knowing how it works would suggest that he would have sold the idea to someone and they would be using it. But then again, he didn't find out about the Tardigrades as far as I can tell and all he knew was that Stamets ran it somehow.

Side note: Anthony Rapp (Stamets) said recently that he had allegedly been sexually assaulted when he was 14 by Kevin Spacey. Just throwing that out there in case people hadn't heard about it.
Jammer
Wed, Nov 1, 2017, 1:11am (UTC -6)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi

Here's the funny thing about criticism. It can be wielded as a weapon when you pick what you choose out of a work and make your arguments. That's a big part of how it works. You say you were curious about this episode until you read comments like Peter G.'s. And now you apparently are re-confirmed of Discovery's awfulness based on having read about it from the naysayers.

Now, let me say that Peter G. makes some very thoughtful points and clearly cares about the moral themes of Trek. His arguments have a certain validity, *if you choose to read the scene that way*. But here's the thing: His commentary takes one point -- Lorca's offhanded remark -- and completely reads it as a blanket anti-intellectual philosophy that the series holds when, in reality, it was a throwaway moment that isn't likely to be read that way by the vast majority of the audience. I could just as easily say this series shows Trek standing for its core values in caring about science because the crew takes the efforts to rescue the space creature in the first place. I could follow that avenue and build an argument. I won't do that, because that too was a throwaway moment in what is a nuts-and-bolts time-loop plot.

I guess what I'm saying is, if you look close enough and find what you want to see, you can destroy anything with cherry-picked criticism. I'm not saying Peter G. is wrong to have the feelings he has. Not at all. But for you to buy into them wholesale without having even seen the episode comes across as piling on -- adding a voice to the anti-Discovery crowd without having experienced the shows themselves.

(Which is totally fine and totally something you can do if you want, by the way! I won't stop you!)

As someone who is not sold on Discovery (the jury is out and will be for a while, I think) but thinks it has shown some good moments and deserves a chance and who thinks the detractors are vastly overstating the awfulness based on what's actually on the screen, let me say that I think that Peter G.'s take is not necessarily representative of what is shown on the screen on balance. And just as Peter G. argues the philosophy of Discovery through on one offhanded moment, you are apparently content to do the same based on cherry-picking his and other negative reviews.

Hey, I'm not here to convince you Discovery is good. You clearly don't want to be convinced of that. (And nor would I even make the argument that it is good at this stage.) But you ask "What kind of twisted madness is this series?" And I ask, isn't that language a little over-the-top for someone who hasn't seen the show and is relying on incomplete second-hand information?
Steven
Wed, Nov 1, 2017, 1:24am (UTC -6)
Skeech, that explanation is about as convincing as the reason why Warp 10 was never used again on Voygager: Simply because it mutates human DNA. It wasn't a convincing explanation back then, and it's no more convincing now. There's a reason why "Threshold" is considered one of the worst Trek episodes of all time.

During wartime, everything is different anyway. They would've used the spore drive during the Dominion War endlessly, because even if it kills the pilot, there are always some people willing to sacrifice themselves like that if it brings their side a good tactical advantage. (For example, if it allows the ship to escape; better to just kill one person, than allow the whole ship to be destroyed.)

Besides, Janeway would've used it right after the Voyager pilot episode, to sacrifice herself, but bring the Crew home.
Skeech
Wed, Nov 1, 2017, 1:44am (UTC -6)
@Steven

'Skeech, that explanation is about as convincing as the reason why Warp 10 was never used again on Voygager'

There is no real logical reason Warp 10 wasn't used again, but I don't see how the Federation would justify breaking two of their most fundamental tenets, just to use the spore drive. You can't imprison and torture sentient beings for your own benefit, and eugenics is illegal. Those are the only two ways that the spore drive can work.

And they are overlooking the fact that Stamets is a product of eugenics, because it is wartime, but that doesn't mean that they will ignore the laws after that and start making all sorts of tardigrade/human hybrids.

You may as well just say that they should have used eugenics and made more augments to win the Dominion war or for any other situation they needed super people. Or why not use those beings from Voyager's 'Equinox' to enhance all of their ships? The Federation doesn't do those things.

You're probably right about Janeway, but she's the worst captain ever and disregards Federation laws and policies whenever she feels like it anyway.
Skeech
Wed, Nov 1, 2017, 1:49am (UTC -6)
Also, I'm not saying that is the real reason they never use it afterwards, because I don't know how they will explain that, if they ever do.

It's only a theory of at least one way to logically explain it based on what we know so far. That's all.
Yair
Wed, Nov 1, 2017, 2:15am (UTC -6)
@Skeech,

Hmm.. Is eugenics prohibited for all members of the Federation or is it banned just for humans? We know from ST:ENT that certain other species did use eugenics safely (at least avoiding their version of WW3 in the process). The Federation didn't exist at the time, but I don't see humans insisting on banning it for species where it "works". Either way, there must be plenty of non-humans and non-Federation members which could have technically been used as navigators.
ben
Wed, Nov 1, 2017, 2:21am (UTC -6)
@ Jammer
Thanks. I must admit that I enjoyed it less and less reading the comments. What is so strange about the neg crowd is that they critizise Dis for being too negative or anti-trek while themeselves being very negative almost toxic.
(And I don't mean the people who just have issues with Dis and stating them in a normal manner.)
Konstantinos
Wed, Nov 1, 2017, 2:50am (UTC -6)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi

Since you watched (and enjoyed) the latest ''Orville'' episode, just sit and think what you did here. The same thing that the people of earth 2 did, quickly condemn something with just a limited knowledge about the actual facts and based on a prefabricated set of opinions.

The irony is strong with this one.
Kira Nerys
Wed, Nov 1, 2017, 4:03am (UTC -6)
In spite of all its inconsistencies, this was the first DSC episode I actually enjoyed.

Tyler is cute, and the moments between him and Michael were quite sweet, though she is still not much of a leading character...it's like all she ever does is go around the ship looking all wide-eyed.

What's up with that music, btw? Seems like "disco" is really the running theme of the entire show! The whole thing felt a bit too much like a present-day college party - they should have asked Jadzia Dax for tips on how to throw a good party!
Dom
Wed, Nov 1, 2017, 7:56am (UTC -6)
This was a potentially good episode undermined by Discovery's status as a prequel. We already know Harry Mudd the character from TOS. The evil sociopath we saw in this episode bears no resemblance to that character. Also, we've never seen the sort of time loop tech Mudd wears in later shows. Yet again it seems like the writers really wanted to do a reboot rather than adhere to continuity.
Dom
Wed, Nov 1, 2017, 8:55am (UTC -6)
@Peter G., that's an excellent review. You put into words much of what I've felt about this show and nu-Trek generally. No less a scientist than Stephen Hawking guest starred on TNG. It's hard to imagine scientists today taking Discovery seriously. Even the party scene at the beginning seemed to signal "hey, we're cool because we party like a bunch of 21st century teenagers." Apparently, the way the crew relaxed in TOS and TNG, listening to classical music and playing chess and reenacting historical events in the holodeck, were all too nerdy for Discovery.
Crimas1
Wed, Nov 1, 2017, 8:58am (UTC -6)
@Jammer

I, too, think that many have vastly overstated the show's awfulness based on what is actually on the screen. It is the height of what someone once called "arrogant presumption" to condemn, ipse did It, an episode one admits one has never watched as "awful," based solely on another's old characterization as awful. The comments by detractors like tbia about the show being anti-intellectual perhaps reveal more than they should.

On the other hand, I am also tired of people saying "if you don't like the show, stop watching it! People who pay to watch the show (some bought All-Access for a whole year) are entitled to complain they are not getting their money's worth.

At the same time the complaints should be based on reason, not name-vallong. In some of the comments above, the DID writers have been called not only anti-intellectual but moral degenerates. These assertions are drawing too much from way too little, and are revealing some of the haters to not o my disagree, but to be disagreeable in the process. It is a human tendency to exhibit frustration when you feel that a flaw that is obvious TO YOU is regarded differently (or not as a flaw at all) by others, and to lash out at others (pre-emptively, now, it seems) for "misunderstanding" you. I would hope there is some "misunderstanding" between people with different critical opinions at times; we all bring different and in many cases undisclosed biases l, prejudices and assumptions to bear when evaluating an episode. This doesn't make some of us right and some of us wrong, it makes us human, and people are not going to embrace what logic there is in an argument when it is surrounded by an "as long ad you know that at the end of the day that no matter what you say I know better than you" sentiment. No one us here is more "expert" than anyone else, not that a legitimate test measuring Trek expertise could be manufactured in a matter of minutes in any event. Want to convince people your argument has merit? Treat them as people.
BZ
Wed, Nov 1, 2017, 9:09am (UTC -6)
@Dom,
I said this before, but it's worth expanding on. Classical music and chess are not for everyone. People wanting to let loose is natural. And who's to say what's "classical" by the 23rd century? Remember that Shakespeare was considered low-brow pop culture in his time. Besides, most of the "evolved" activities were introduced in TNG. Scotty was quite put off when he heard about synthehol on TNG.

We even get a partial explanation as to why we haven't seen such parties before in Trek when Michael says that as first officer on Shenzhou she could not participate in that kind of fraternization. We're mostly following lower-ranked crew on this show.
Brandon
Wed, Nov 1, 2017, 2:35pm (UTC -6)
When Jammer's best-reviewed episode is the one where all the characters keep dying horribly over and over, the show can't be all that good.
Dom
Wed, Nov 1, 2017, 2:48pm (UTC -6)
@BZ, sure I'm not one to be a culture snob. It's not that there's anything inherently superior about classical music or chess, but rather that Trek used to be a show that spoke strongly to people - "nerds" if you will - who preferred chess or classical music to parties and alcohol. The characters on the old shows weren't puritans and would drink, but they were also intellectuals and professionals. Discovery seems more rooted in a 21st century yuppie's version of what's "cool", whereas the older Trek shows felt more timeless.
Peter G.
Wed, Nov 1, 2017, 3:04pm (UTC -6)
@ Jammer,

You are right that my post was predominantly negative, and that I expounded in some detail on something that in the actual playback of the show lasted a scant few seconds (despite being repeated at least once in a subsequent loop). I think I prefaced the comment a bit within that context but inevitably if I spend as much effort as I did it ends up looking like I'm talking about a significant part of the episode regardless of my preface. What I was trying to get across is how hard that moment hit me, because it made quite an impression that I couldn't shake for the rest of the episode. It was minor within the plot, but as an isolated moment my concern was that it was sending a particular message that, due to its brevity, wouldn't afford the viewer the time to process it and realize what had happened. If a whole episode is devoted to mocking scientific accuracy then that would pretty well cause a furor, but if it's quick and then let's move on, well that could pass under the intellectual radar. I guess that's why I wanted to go into it as I did.

@ Lobster Johnson,

"I also have trouble buying the anti-intellectual, anti-science mindset when the majority of the characters are scientists and the show dotes over them. Lorca is a counterpoint to most of the crew, they've gone out of their way to show he's a soldier not an explorer so his attitude fits his character. Is it really a big deal that 1 character on the crew has a different view point for contrast? Tilly's the polar opposite of Lorca and I like comparing Burnham's interactions with both."

Yes, there is a lot of "for science!" trumpeted in the show, including in having Michael and Tilly be science officers. Then again, it's a science vessel, so I would expect most of its crew to be science personnel by default. That by itself isn't enough to convince me that they're being doted over *because* they are scientists. Look at Scotty from the reboot films for instance: I think it's pretty clear that his characterization was defined by his zany and often silly energy, rather than his engineering acumen. Yes, they had him do feats of engineering marvel - but I felt somehow that no one would ever think they wanted to be an engineer from watching him. Maybe a comedian or a ham, but it didn't feel like an engineer working a problem, more like a zany guy pressing a lot of buttons. So how is that different from what Geordi and Data do? It's so hard to say, but I know it's different. In DISCO I feel like the 'science' is more a vehicle to show that Michael is always right, more so than *her* being the vehicle for us to see some scientific-type approach to a problem. It's pretty clear to me that it's all about her, so no, I don't think the doting on her in some way qualifies as the show doting on science as a practice. I'm fairly confident, at least for now, that the show doesn't have much respect for science itself but rather encourages respect for *winning*, for science being a means to an end, that end being to defeat the opposition or have Michael prove herself or whatever. There are some 'science' tropes, such as for instance the "I f***ing love science" trope (which exists as a FB page of its own) where people haughtily post things that are frequently little more 'scientific' than announcing via FB that you're real smart and that people who don't f***ing love science are dinosaurs. That's sort of the vibe I get off Michael, basically that 'science' for the show boils down to that she's smarter than everyone else and is always right. TNG did quite a lot of science-puzzle shows, and in each one the characters are mostly wrong for the entirety of the episode until someone - or a group - comes around to the solution, which is typically thematic to the episode. In DISCO there isn't any 'getting it wrong until they get it right', Michael is just right. That's not science, it's the Trek equivalent of superpowers.

Anyhow the show has a lot of room to evolve. Maybe the fact of it being a science ship run by a warmonger will congeal into a story line that leads towards the Trek we know. The show runners claim as much, it's just I don't trust them. We'll see.
Ruth
Wed, Nov 1, 2017, 3:26pm (UTC -6)
Peter G, I totally understand your reading of this episode but I don’t think it was necessarily meant to be read like that. What I saw in the scene where we get Mudd’s murder montage is how deranged and evil he is (or perhaps has become due to the torture that Lorca personally condemned him too - it’s not like he doesn’t have a reason to want to hurt Lorca). We saw that Stamets, who can be a prick but is basically a good guy, couldn’t bear this same killing that Mudd was delighting in. People in this thread are even (coldly!!) saying he was TOO affected by it. So I don’t think we saw at all that the SHOW thought it was funny, just that Mudd did.

Likewise with Lorca being rude about the whale. We saw before he’s heartless and doesn’t care about hurting animals at all. And the show has plainly made him wrong for that. I don’t think it’s anti science either. All the good characters are shown to be intellectually curious scientists, apart from Lorca who just nearly lost his ship (and is a horrible person, but an interesting character well played), the soldier woman who literally got ripped to shreds for her anti science anti animal rights beliefs, and Tyler who is actually not yet shown to be anti science in any way, simply not shown to be a scientist.

So I don’t think it’s fair to say the show is promoting these views when only bad characters do them.

I agree that it’s a problem with the show that it’s addicted to torture. But I don’t think the show likes torture or thinks it’s funny (though not taking it seriously enough is another kind of wrong representation, but not as bad) or that the show is anti science.
Hank
Wed, Nov 1, 2017, 3:42pm (UTC -6)
So, now Discovery desperately tries to be episodic Star Trek. First they set out to create a completely different tone, and suddenly comic relief everywhere! Zany Space guys! Parties! TOS-Era style moustache-twirling villany! But, and this is a big but: Too little too late. The show seems to want to make us forget the first four or five episodes now. Why even show them? I would have really like this episode would it not have been for the ones that came before. And sequelitis strikes again: Mudd appears in TOS, so he has to get off scott free, hence the nonsensical ending/no earnest effort to just kill him/etc.

I get it, tone shift is appreciated sometimes (DS9 and Voyager had their comedic episodes, too), but this one was just jarring for me. It just didn't fit. We still have the grimdark visuals, the whole ship is dark grays and dimly lit, but suddenly everyone is having fun? Also, isn't there a war going on? This isn't like DS9, a station that can not move and as such has quiet times between battles, this is apparently the starship winning the war (offscreen).

This could have been an Orville episode, now that I think about it. Insert two or three dick jokes, and voilla. It seems like the writers don't want to tell the story they set out to tell: War, revenge, guilt - those were the themes. But they are not telling a war story. And apparently nobody cares about Micheals mutiny anymore. Oh, and the only thing that she never told anybody was that she was never in love? Oh please ... "I am Mary Sue, and I am afflicted by a most dangerous and vile disease: I cant fall in love!" *prince appears* "Oh, I have fallen in love! My most precious secret ceased to exist!" ... I am clapping really slow right now.

So, standalone the Episode was decent*. As for fitting into the rest of the series: Not for me. Don't know how to rate this even.

*As in: Lets ignore all the completely insane contrievances and sequel induced predictable ending, lets view it as a standalone Space Comedy.
Steven
Wed, Nov 1, 2017, 4:00pm (UTC -6)
"Peter G, I totally understand your reading of this episode but I don’t think it was necessarily meant to be read like that."

You assume that Peter G was trying to sum up and judge the episode in his text, which he failed to do properly. I think that's where you're wrong in the first place.

It's evident to me that Peter G never meant to write a representative review of the episode, the likes that Jammer writes. He instead focused on very particular impressions that lead to certain conclusions about the series as a whole, which he elaborated on. That was very picky, and some people here mistook it as a "negative review for this one episode", which it wasn't.
Steven
Wed, Nov 1, 2017, 4:29pm (UTC -6)
"That's sort of the vibe I get off Michael, basically that 'science' for the show boils down to that she's smarter than everyone else and is always right. TNG did quite a lot of science-puzzle shows, and in each one the characters are mostly wrong for the entirety of the episode until someone - or a group - comes around to the solution, which is typically thematic to the episode. In DISCO there isn't any 'getting it wrong until they get it right', Michael is just right. That's not science, it's the Trek equivalent of superpowers."

Thank you for putting it in such good words, that is just the point I am trying to make whenever I say the show is anti-science or anti-intellectual. It's true that they are not directly saying that science is stupid or intellectuals are dorks, and if Lorca says this, it should be treated as a single voice and I wouldn't see it as the voice of the entire series.

This is fine and well. But there is an *indirect* disrespect for science and intellectuals so far on the show, because they give almost no screen time to solving scientific or intellectual puzzles. Nobody has to figure anything out, which is what most Star Trek episodes used to be constructed around. Michael gets the solution instantly right, with no explanation given how she reached her conclusion, and boom, there is your Hail Mary. I don't take the writers' claim that they love science at face value, because they need to show it through their scripts to convince me.

On the "intellectual" topic, for some reason I feel a bit intellectually insulted in every episode so far, because there are always a couple of mind-bogglingly stupid logic flaws, that make the viewing experience much less pleasant than it could be. It's like they don't take the audience and their intellect seriously and don't make the effort to polish their scripts. Which is something that was *different* on Star Trek before. Even Voyager episodes, which often had silly stories, were a bit more consistent in themselves and at least tried to be clever within their own logic, and tried not to give us logical flaws every 5 minutes.

The first Trek movie whose watching experience was ruined for me because they brought huge logical flaws every few minutes (you had just recovered from one, and then came the next) was "Nemesis". That is what I call the Nemesis experience. For some reason, Discovery gives me a very similar vibe. Everything revolves around the visuals and action, while nobody stops for even a moment to think about the contrivances that are called a plot.
Clas1
Wed, Nov 1, 2017, 4:31pm (UTC -6)
Funny how in this debate over classical and rap music that it appears to have gone unnoticed that....
There was classical music in this episode at about 30:15 and then at about 33:05.
The music was from Wagner's Lohengrin; it is from "Prelude to Act 3" of that opera.

It was terrifically well-used, I think (using rap or classical or any other music isn't "good" or "bad" ; it is HOW it is used that counts). Reminded me of VOY's use of Mahler's Symphony No.1 in "Counterpoint"

If you're hell-bent (with or without good reason) on complaining about what ISN'T on the screen and what you think should be there, instead of judging what's in front of you, though, you're going to miss little moments like this-or others that you might enjoy, if you are the type of person who gets more enjoyment out of enjoying things than out of criticizing them ad naseum.
Pandapirate
Wed, Nov 1, 2017, 4:45pm (UTC -6)
So we have a science vessel that can run 300 different experiments at once commandeered by the military (or maybe a section 31 type organization) that is a major factor in winning a war. A potential spy in the captain or the security officer. Two characters free to roam this ship of secrets and retain the knowledge of what they see despite 50+ times the reset button was hit.

And the only secret revealed to the audience is a CW-level love plot. The show's strength was suppose to be it's serialized shorten season and it's willingness to look at the darker side of the Star Trek universe. The writers had a unique opportunity to put some serious meat on the overall story for fans to chew on, but instead wasted the screen time showing us a snuff film.

The show is not awful, just VOY/ENT level disappointing
ben
Wed, Nov 1, 2017, 5:19pm (UTC -6)
@ steven and pandapirate

Steven I find it very disrespectful that you come here again and again writing basically how stupid anybody is who liked this episode or the show overall!
And Pandapirate a snuff film? Are you fucking kidding me! Do you actually know what the words mean that you are using!!!
You win fucking haters!!!
I'm out!
Startrekwatcher
Wed, Nov 1, 2017, 5:26pm (UTC -6)
I cancelled my subscription and didn’t eatchbthis episode but from the first five I havevto afree wiyhbthose critics who say the show is awful. It reeks of the same superficial sleek edgy modern BS that has practically ruined television and films

The actors are not very good. The characters are a mess. The main focus is on the visual aspects and production design. The plots and good storytelling come last. The writers are determined to fanwank by throwing every namedrop they can whether it belongs or not.—Mudd, Sarek etc. you want to see how to tell a Trek prequel story that organically incorporates sensibly TOS elements into a story where they enhance-not just exist in a vacuum—watch the Vulcan trilogy from season four of ENT

The producers are hung up on gaming the arc to play out some stupid Abrams “mystery philosophy” Everything is in service of that OMG plot twist rather than telling a well developed storyline.l—which leads to poor plotting. There’s no urgency to the narrative. The scenes aren’t compelling. The whole production comes across as shallow as a hologram

These writers chose to yet again do a prequel ten years before TOS and the show looks nothing like tThe Cage. The characters are insufferable. The science comes across as magical mumbo jumbo. At least Berman era Trek sold things with more conviction and sounded more plausible that you bought it

It’s just sound and fury. People talk crap about the freshman seasons of Berman era Trek. True they weren’t great but they at least had likeable and involving characters and felt real and human. Those shoes even in their worst episodes they’re to slow down and let the audience take in what was unfolding. DIS is just a blur—a multi-million dollar blur and clearly and unfortunately IS the progeny of those awful Abrams’ Trek film reboots in terms of storytelling and style
warp10lizard
Wed, Nov 1, 2017, 5:34pm (UTC -6)
How does one eatchbthis an episode, anyway? It sounds painful!
Steven
Wed, Nov 1, 2017, 6:10pm (UTC -6)
"Steven I find it very disrespectful that you come here again and again writing basically how stupid anybody is who liked this episode or the show overall!"

Well it recently came up as a point in the discussion that some people see the show as anti-science or anti-intellectual, so I posted my view on it. That was a constructive thing to do, as in to clarify my position.

Having done that, I see no point in doing it again, and I'll move on. So don't worry, I am not coming here particularly to insult people. I have every right to write that I don't feel taken seriously by the authors because they don't make the effort to polish their scripts and THEY treat the audience as dummies.

If your conclusion from that is that I wanted to insult the audience and insinuate that they are stupid, well it wasn't meant like this. It's hard to speculate on the general audience, maybe they're just coming from a different angle and for some reason they're not bothered by the same things that I am, maybe the do spot the same mistakes but don't mind them, or they don't spot them... I don't know. I never directly insulted the audience, and if that is what you read between the lines from my posts, well that isn't what I said.
Pandapirate
Wed, Nov 1, 2017, 7:07pm (UTC -6)
Every time on my screen that I see potential getting its wings a lazy writer rings a bell.

This episode has the production value, solid actors, an interesting premise, and the chance for some great character work. It could have left all the cynics claiming that this was just a copy of a TNG episode dumbstruck by the richness of its story telling. Exposing secrets, while leaving the viewer wanting to learn more. The ripples of this episode should have been felt in the remainer of the season. Compelling story telling that gives this viewer a reason to be excited about this show.

sigh

The show has its moments. Many of its characters have grown on me. Do not be confused by my criticisms. Wanting more from the show's writing staff is no hating than wanting more from my favorite sports teams. I just want this show to win big and not settle for at least it showed up.


P.S.

The marketers should have called this a reimagining (more extreme than a reboot) so canon wouldn't have been an issue. Saying that this is in canon divided the fan base and ultimately limits the stories that can be told.

sigh


Discovery Forever
Wed, Nov 1, 2017, 8:08pm (UTC -6)
The "I'm done" crowd is still here. Rock on Discovery!
Discovery Forever
Wed, Nov 1, 2017, 8:17pm (UTC -6)
@Dom: "The characters on the old shows weren't puritans and would drink, but they were also intellectuals and professionals."

*cough* Captain Proton *cough*
Rahul
Wed, Nov 1, 2017, 9:35pm (UTC -6)
Definitely a very watchable and perhaps most enjoyable episode which benefited from using the same concept of the time loop from TNG's "Cause and Effect" -- you very quickly become more invested in this episode than any other. The main DSC characters who were largely unlikeable at the start of the series are really starting to be easier to appreciate. But the episode still requires more than enough suspension of disbelief and the ending with Mudd getting off the hook continues to make me think DSC doesn't have that strong moral compass.

I liked that the episode started with a Burnham monologue explaining her personal situation of lack of friendship, then it got to lack of love (which she admits to Stamets), and then getting "better" at it through the time loops. So that was a clever way for the writers to "help her out".

I think being the "spore drive guy" is the best thing that happened to Stamets' character and he was great in this episode. He's much more mellow, yet still driven to get the job done while also helping Burnham with her emotions. That Tyler and Burnham now have a "thing" is good for the effect it is having on Burnham, making her much more interesting and human.

So finally Stamets/Burnham/Tyler break the time loop by preventing Mudd from taking over the computer and all of a sudden turn the tables on Mudd. The episode does require a lot of handwaving to believe Mudd is capable of taking control of the computer's systems never mind escaping from the Klingon prison ship and finding these time crystals. However, I can get around to believing that Stamets has a consciousness that transcends time.

The ending with sending Mudd back with Stella and her dad was ridiculous. So here's a very dangerous criminal being let off scot free. Also bugs me that this goes contrary to canon since Kirk & co. just believe him to be a small-time con man upon their first encounter. Maybe Mudd doctors Star Fleet's records. Problem is the Harry Mudd character being capable of so much trouble doesn't work for me. DSC should have come up with their own "lone recurring criminal guy" and left the Harry Mudd TOS character alone.

2.5 stars for "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad" -- interesting title though not sure what it means. Another "standalone" episode which generally worked. A good recipe for DSC will be to take classic Trek episodes and tweak it. Really seems like the writers are trying to keep the older Trek crowd happy with TOS reference dropping as well as come up with a Trek show for the audience of 2017.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 12:32am (UTC -6)
@Jammer
"I guess what I'm saying is, if you look close enough and find what you want to see, you can destroy anything with cherry-picked criticism. I'm not saying Peter G. is wrong to have the feelings he has. Not at all. But for you to buy into them wholesale without having even seen the episode comes across as piling on -- adding a voice to the anti-Discovery crowd without having experienced the shows themselves."

That's a gross oversimplification.

I am (provisionally) accepting Peter G's analysis because it made sense to me. And he *did* see the show.

And it's not just him. I've read literally hundreds of posts since the series began, both by the fans and by the detractors (yes, I find the discussions here to be much more interesting than the series itself, besides... it's free). Really, Jammer, you know perfectly well that I'm not basing my view on some mob mentality, so why even go there?

Also, as a side note:

This "you gotta see the show in order to have an informed opinion" thing is getting old really fast.

Let's say you're right for a moment. Let's say that I'm so biased, that even after speaking to dozens of people (both pro and con) and reading dozens of reviews and asking dozens of questions, I still "don't get it".

How would actually watching the show make a difference? Why do you think that my subjective reaction to the stuff I see onscreen would be any less biased?

I'm sorry, but this line of argument is just silly.

"Hey, I'm not here to convince you Discovery is good. You clearly don't want to be convinced of that. (And nor would I even make the argument that it is good at this stage)"

My main beef with DSC, actually, has nothing with whether it is "good" or "bad". For all I care, it could be the most well-written series in the history of television.

What matters to me is whether DSC is good (or even passable) Star Trek. And at this point, I see absolutely no reason to believe that it is.

@Konstantinos
"Since you watched (and enjoyed) the latest ''Orville'' episode, just sit and think what you did here. The same thing that the people of earth 2 did, quickly condemn something with just a limited knowledge about the actual facts and based on a prefabricated set of opinions."

Funny thing though: The people of earth 2, usually, delivered their verdict AFTER WATCHING THE ACTUAL VID.

Didn't really make their opinions any more informed, did it? This is what happens when people make decisions with their guts rather than their brains.

See, the big divide isn't between those who've seen DSC and those who haven't. The big divide is between those who are willing to think and update their beliefs when they're having this discussion, and those who... well, don't.

So if you think that my statements about this episode of DSC were unfair, you could try to write a rebuttal. Show me the errors of my ways. Tell me the facts I'm missing. Don't just point at me and say "you didn't see the show, so you're pov is worthless". Do something constructive.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 12:41am (UTC -6)
Oh, and I'm still waiting for the guy calling himself "Discovery Forever" to actually write something about the show itself.

We're already 7 episodes on, and he hasn't written a single word about the actual series. Nothing besides snide remarks against those who quit the show, and posts of empty praise (like "it's awesome!")

Makes me wonder...
Discovery Never
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 1:20am (UTC -6)
Kurtzmann is more desperate than I thought if he has to roam the Trek fan sites like this one posting under a name like "Discovery Forever" about how awesome the show is. We already knew from his production work that he doesn't think much of the average Trek fan's intelligence, but surely he doesn't think we're THAT gullible.
Skout
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 2:21am (UTC -6)
How can someone have an opinion about a show they've never seen? Ah, yes, by reading and gathering other people's subjective opinions and accepting them as objective truth. Because that is how a Star Trek fan, aka a person interested in science and it's methods, should judge something isn't it?

It's like listening to people give opinions about a painting. The Mona Lisa for instance. Some people think the eyes are too small and she's ugly and the brush strokes are too harsh, and that it's an awful painting. Some people think she is beautiful and perfectly proportioned with a knowing smile on her face and shows impeccable technique, and think it's a masterpiece. Some people fall in between. You can sit and read other people's opinions about it and their descriptions of it, expert art critics and amateurs alike, until the end of time, and never know what it truly looks like or what your own opinion of it would be. You have to see it for yourself to judge. You can't reasonably say that you know what it really looks like or that you like it or dislike it based on what others say. That makes no sense.

If someone wants to say they know they won't like DIS, and won't watch it, because it isn't 'sciency' enough, or 'star trekky' enough, or 'moral' enough, or whatever else, based solely on what other people define those things to mean and how well other people think they are portrayed or not portrayed on DIS, that is there business. I don't agree with that logic, or more precisely that lack of logic, but to each their own.

It's no different than saying you refuse to ever see the Mona Lisa because based on all of your painstaking research on other people's opinions, you have come to the conclusion that the painting isn't 'fancy' enough, and you only like 'fancy' paintings, or some other such nonsense.
Konstantinos
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 4:11am (UTC -6)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi

I have made my assessment of the show many times and I fear I will become annoying. I also know I will never convince you to watch the show. Still here are some completely random thoughts.

In a nutshell I what enjoy most is how the characters interact, learning from each other. This is especially true concerning Tilly and Burnham. They start from different paths and life and duty bring them closer to each other especially on episode 6. I also hugely appreciate the effort Burnham does to surpass her Vulcan upbringing and slowly unlock her human instincts. She is a person that has never even fallen in love and tries to "discover" what it means to care for another person besides herself even if that makes her feel shame or awkwardness (admittedly she was close to Gheorgiou but that was a relationship based on hierarchy rather than equality). I also enjoyed Saru making a harsh decision on saving the captain while punishing the Tradigrave. Again his upbringing as a Kelpian came in full contrast with engaging in a dangerous mission but he made a choice because of what happened to Gheorgiou. It is called progress through struggle and even failure, the basic human motivation through the ages ( I think Tuvok said something similar on Voyager).

I also enjoy the fact that Lorca had to choose between losing his status and caring for a fellow officer while in danger. He is a man with a mission he is sure he can deliver and he will even betray his beloved one to do so. It speaks volumes about him. Again ''The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one or the few". Classic Trek stuff.

Same goes for Stamets who sacrifices his sanity to save an alien life form from a dangerous situation. Sometimes there are no easy solutions and getaways. As the doctor in "The Cage" once told "A man either lives life as it happens to him, meets it head-on and licks it, or he... turns his back on it and starts to wither away".


This is also why I think that this weeks episode was a winner. All the characters had to interact with each other under a tight time frame in order to solve a very hard equation. They also had to break Mudd's plan without being trapped in a universe where their losses would be permanent. This was again as ST as it gets and with a very good execution to boot.
Riker's Beard
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 4:36am (UTC -6)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi

"This "you gotta see the show in order to have an informed opinion" thing is getting old really fast."

You say that, but going off of what I've seen from your Orville comments, I think you'd be saying the same thing to someone who is doing what you're doing on all the Orville threads - forming an opinion solely through other people's posts regarding that show.

"It's a blatant Star Trek rip-off filled with crass Seth MacFarlane humor and subpar writing? What madness is this?! Gene is rolling in his grave!" I would see this person on all of the Orville threads, as they piggyback and cherry pick, and think to myself "Wow, maybe this person should watch it and see for themselves and form their own opinion, because I think the Orville is better than that."

That is what some people are saying to you here, but you are replying with things like this - "(yes, I find the discussions here to be much more interesting than the series itself, besides... it's free)." But, you can get All Access for free for a month. I did, it's not hard. Sign up for a 7 day trial, then try to cancel it and they instantly give you a month for free.

It's not a "thing that's getting old", it's a standard expectation that is there when constructively discussing a television show that is actively airing. It's much more interesting to read and reply to comments from people who have seen the episodes and dislike them based on their actual thoughts/feelings regarding it.

So far you're offering pieced together criticisms that are mainly taken from other people's opinions. It's just not that conducive to an actual conversation about the pro's/con's of a television show and it's episodes. You're asking others to "show (you) the error of your ways" and "tell you the facts"... that's not really their responsibility. How about doing some legwork yourself and actually watch the episode that people are here to discuss? Do something constructive.
Eric
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 9:05am (UTC -6)
I just don't buy that having control of the ship means you unlock "god mode", where force-fields erect around you whenever someone tries to shoot you, and you can just beam people away with a wave of your hand. If it worked like that, why would boarding parties ever succeed?

I don't buy that if it does work like that, that there's no easy manual override around, on the bridge, just a button you can press to turn that off.

I can't believe that Mudd could even hack the ship like that to begin with, no matter how many tries he had.

There's just too many things that this episode is selling that I just can't buy!
BZ
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 9:18am (UTC -6)
@Eric,
I'd imagine he puts up the force field around himself wherever he's likely to encounter trouble. I mean you can write a script tracking your power signature and setting up a force field around you as you move. Same for transport, it's probably on standby waiting for a pre-programmed gesture to mean "energize". It's probably extremely power-draining to do this stuff on a regular basis and by multiple people, but Mudd doesn't really care about that in his 30 minute loop.
Shannon
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 1:28pm (UTC -6)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi

Why do you feel justified criticizing an episode that you have NOT watched? You claim that Peter G. made convincing arguments to that effect, but the point Jammer was trying to make is that they are HIS arguments based on HIS perspective. I was skeptical about this episode based solely on the previews, but after watching it I found that it exceeded my expectations and I enjoyed the show.

So by your logic, you can have an informed opinion about a show without ever having watched it by simply reading what OTHERS have to say about it? Sorry, but Jammer was spot on in his post to you, and it's your reasoning that is silly.
MisterWooster
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 1:47pm (UTC -6)
I've been cruising these comment threads for a few weeks now, silently.

I didn't have a fully crystallized way to put my thoughts down in a way that didn't come across as dismissive or confrontational.

I've apparently been enjoying Discovery much more than, it seems, most of the commenters here. I think, despite its flaws (which it definitely has), AND despite the immense amount of behind-the-scenes chaos that _absolutely_ impacted the first 2-3 episodes (and thereby the rest of the show), that Discovery is walking a hugely difficult tightrope - of network expectations, fan expectations, Trek legacy, AND the fact that TV has evolved SO MUCH in the twenty years since its TV heyday - and it's walking that tightrope with an overall high rate of success.

What I lacked before today was this: syfy.com/syfywire/how-star-trek-discovery-is-challenging-my-understanding-of-my-own-fandom

The link above is a SyFy Network blogger, who is wrestling with her own ingrained expectations of what Star Trek "has to be," and how - or whether - Discovery fits into them. AND, most importantly, how that reckoning has affected, and will continue to affect, week-to-week, her enjoyment of the show.

It comes around to an argument that the main point of friction is an uncertainty - uncertainty about what to expect from the very fabric of the show, and the continuity of characters and settings, from one episode to the next.

And this expectation is being both explicitly and implicitly cited by commenters here as reasons why Discovery is "terrible".

"We don't have a clear crew manifest yet - we don't even know who the Chief Medical Officer is."

"Lorca isn't an appropriate captain - he's anti-science/untrustworthy/probably crazy."

"The writers made a character say something that doesn't fit within the purest of Trek 'ideals', therefore they - the writers - must not believe those ideals are important and how dare they presume to write Star Trek."

What we have in DISCO is a Trek that doesn't adhere to the "8ish or so Senior Officers Going on Adventures" template, and the reason behind that is: That Template No Longer Works In 2017TM.

We're seeing it tried, right now, in parallel, with The Orville. The Orville is, unabashedly and transparently, TNG2017 + Seth Macfarlane Penis JokesTM. And what ORV demonstrates, above all else, is that the straight Trek 8OfficersOnAdventures template is two decades out of date. The only thing making ORV watchable and enjoyable, insanely enough, is the slightly jagged edge that Macfarlane's crass humor brings to the table. It's like someone took unproduced TNG scripts and is MST3King them for $2-3 million bucks a pop. MSTNG3K. ORV shows, with unfailing consistency, that the rigid, moralist, 90s-pastel-shaded planet-of-the-week stories are simply not capable of sustaining themselves in the TV/entertainment climate of the 21st century.

The fact that a solid plurality of people, here, on a supposed STAR TREK fan review site, are more comfortable with ORV's brand of mediocre-if-well-meaning, off-the-shelf stories than with Discovery's admittedly more challenging view of Trek's core values, is LOONEY TUNES to me.

Star Trek, from the beginning, was about pushing at boundaries. TOS put social issues in the faces of people wholly unaccustomed to seeing them. Other series kept this up, and adapted where they had to as Trek itself became an elder statesman and society grew alongside.

But now, after more than 50 years, the thing that most needs pushing at - if it is to maintain ANY relevance at all - is Trek itself. Latter series (VOY, ENT) struggled to do new things under a template that had been churning out episodes weekly for almost 20 years.

DISCO is acknowledging that and stepping, one might even say BOLDLY GOING, into the logical future. As the post I linked mentioned, the creators and writers know that to actually, effectively, examine the real "ideals" of Trek, on television, in 2017, they need to push at them, challenge them, look at them from an angle (a damaged heroine serving under an imperfect captain) that has never been explored before.

And the sheer volume of resistance to that idea that I see here, again, on supposed FAN sites, is staggering. And so, so disheartening.

There seems to be an instant equating of "writing I don't like" with "bad writing." (Discovery is not badly written - it is opaque, and not always super-tight, but on balance it is a very well written and executed show.) These are not the same thing. And again, on a site supposedly filled with people inspired by the ideas of curiosity and openmindedness that Trek teaches, it's sad.

And that's not even engaging with the HUGE bulk of comments - here and elsewhere, including on the post linked above - that show an even more fundamental closed-mindedness that gets as ticky-tacky as "Pff, spore drive? That's stupid, I won't watch" or "Holodecks don't exist yet". I realize that the nitpicky nerd is essentially a subculture that Trek FULLY created in the first place, but for a group that is so proud of its supposed intelligence and tolerance, we Trek nerds seem to get AWFULLY defensive when a new idea we don't like gets injected into our make-believe stories. (In before the "but Trek was always faithful to science" rebuttals - Trektechnology is sci-fi magic and anyone who tries to draw threads to real science as an ACTUAL reason judging the quality of fiction is only trying to justify their own love of make-believes stories to themselves for some reason.)

DISCO is trying, and succeeding (mostly) to drag Trek - and its longtime fans - into the 21st century. But if, as many here seem to be, you are fundamentally unable to allow your own expectations to be flexible enough to see that, go watch The Outrageous Okona or Silicon Avatar again, for the 75th time. The Trek you supposedly love hasn't gone anywhere. It'll always be there - in the past. But over here, where Trek is going, and has to go to continue to evolve and be relevant, we're going to be watching, and enjoying, (and debating!) Discovery.
Peter G.
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 2:49pm (UTC -6)
Friends, why are we fighting about this? Let Omicron have his opinion, it doesn't hurt anyone. If you think it's uninformed then so be it, feel free not to engage in what you see as uninformed opinions. I like a good debate but flaming people for having a poor basis for their position isn't really helpful. I could turn around and suggest that even someone who's seen the episode might nevertheless have missed all kinds of stuff and have an 'uninformed' opinion. What we might call uninformed is a relative matter, isn't it? Granted, it's a bit on the extreme side for that to include not even having seen the show, BUT that's just one point on a scale and I'm not prepared to judge how much or little someone's opinion is based on reality. I leave my comments to statements made about the show, not to whether whoever posted them was qualified to make such statements.

@ MisterWooster (and may I say you may have had more credibility posting as Jeeves),

"DISCO is trying, and succeeding (mostly) to drag Trek - and its longtime fans - into the 21st century."

Yes, that is my problem. It most definitely is doing this, and I feel that it should be dragging them into the 23rd century. Oh, sure, TNG may have been mired with certain dated elements circa 1987, but those should properly be called failings in the show rather than features, because I certainly believe the show intended to adopt a tone and content for the 24th century. It never felt to me like it was trying to drag us into the late 1980's -
despite some of the costuming and hair in the pilot! So I think this is the source of a lot of disagreement here. Some people want a contemporary-styled show that happens to be set on a 23rd century starship. I want a show with its own unique style that can suggest to us an era we don't know yet. This didn't have to be a carbon copy of TOS, and it would have been fine if they'd shown us a slightly alternate version of that era, so long as it was still a new vision of the future. The party scene here, along with much of the colloquial scripting, reads to me as completely contemporary but set in the future; basically an intentional anachronism. I don't flatter myself to think that people in the future should be like me. I want to see people I should be like.

Ubik (was Jason, but too many Jasons)
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 3:07pm (UTC -6)
@MisterWooster

Thanks you. You took the words, and thoughts, and frustrations, right out of my mouth. I was building up over the last few days the sufficient energy, focus, and intellectual rigour to post exactly what you just posted - so, again, thank you for doing it. In case being on these sites occasionally makes you feel like you're on crazy pills, no that someone here thinks you're right. :)

As for this episode, it was great. The character work is fantastic; the relationships are really something to savour on this show. Not even Deep Space Nine made its characters so unique and fascinating so quickly out of the gate. As for how the time shenanigans work? Don't care. Didn't care in the first Back to the Future or Terminator 2 either, where the time mechanics are entirely beside the point, not to mention illogical and self-contradictory. And here's the thing: the success of Back to the Future or Terminator 2 as works of art, as films of genius, is absolutely and totally unrelated to how tightly their time plot is written, or how many "plot holes" they avoided. Completely irrelevant. Just as it is in this episode.

I'm not saying this episode is anywhere near the quality of Back to the Future or Terminator 2. I'm just saying it makes as little sense there as it does here to judge the quality of the work on how well the plot avoids illogic. Logic, in either case, was never the goal or the point.
Chrome
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 3:33pm (UTC -6)
@MisterWooster

Have you per chance heard the commentary by Braga and Moore for the "First Contact" DVD released in 2005? It's interesting as it relates to your comment. I'll just post a summary of it from that comments section:

"They both agree that what killed Trek and Enterprise was pretty much familiarity, which led to franchise fatigue. It became intimidating to continue writing new stories, without running into the pitfalls of contradiction, due to the sheer complexities of the Trek universe, as well as fan expectations. The franchise would need 'an electrical jolt' in order to start fresh."

So, I think what they're saying happened in the Enterprise era is that Trek itself became very complex with all these versions and their different stories. Write something new and original, and you'd get massive backlash from fans for it being un-Trek or messing with continuity. I think that forced them to do more reliable paint-by-the-numbers shows (Space Nazis!), which were either boring or derivative of earlier Trek.

I think those expectations that Moore and Braga spoke of in 2005 still exist, as you can still hear the fan holdovers gasping every week when the new show fails to live up to them. Being a big fan of Trek from my early days, I can certainly appreciate the sentiment of longing for those old classics we still watch. Yet part of me concedes that Braga and Moore were onto something about series fatigue, so it's nice to see Discovery at least attempt to be the jolt of energy, with new stories, daring to challenge us and the old ideas from Trek.
Peter G.
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 3:47pm (UTC -6)
I have to say I fundamentally disagree about series fatigue. The style of Trek was never the problem. I can watch TNG still and be dazzled by the stories, and it's not just because I grew up with them. The problem was that First Contact set the bar of success as being an action flick, while Insurrection and Nemesis were weak scripts. On top of that, Enterprise was weak generally. It was the lack of quality script management that caused the franchise to flounder. If you've ever read about how tough the DS9 writing staff had it you'd see that managing a writing team for Trek is no mean feat. Moore would know, since he was in on that, and the difficulty isn't in whether it can be done, but in whether you can get the right staff and manage them properly. The management is key because if they're not reigned in by an Ira Behr or someone of equal integrity and vision then it will fall apart. Even Voyager was highly problematic from a production standpoint as the cast, producers, and writers were not at all on the same page. How can every man for himself ever compete with the comraderie we saw on TNG? You can't fake that, and what happens off-screen bleeds into the show. The problem always begins with management, and that's what Trek has been lacking for 20 years.

Get a great writing team together, under one vision without compromising to the box office, and you *generate* your fan base on the merits of your show. Chasing after the ratings by going with what seems to be working now on other networks - that can achieve the ratings goal, but other areas will suffer as a result.

I think if a show like TNG came out with a cut-paste design, the same calibre of actors, and the same type of writers, it would do fine in the ratings. But producers today are too risk-averse to do something not in vogue. They're going to do what's working for everyone else and won't take a chance, and that means, ironically, a rinse-repeat of what other shows are doing, just not Trek shows.
Jammer
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 4:16pm (UTC -6)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi: {{ This "you gotta see the show in order to have an informed opinion" thing is getting old really fast. }}

I'm sorry, but this is a simply laughable statement. If you have not watched the show, yet continue to comment on every episode post why it is bad or wrong, those posts simply hold no credibility and fall into the realm of the haters. You are using pure hearsay for your judgment.
Ubik
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 4:20pm (UTC -6)
@Peter G.

Hey, see what you just did there? Because Discovery is risky, by not being like previous Trek, it's actually risk-averse, and if only it had been more risk-averse by being like TNG, it would have been riskier. Hah! Clever man. Also, up is down, and black is white. :)

Mertov
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 4:21pm (UTC -6)
--- Peter G:

"Friends, why are we fighting about this? Let Omicron have his opinion, it doesn't hurt anyone."

I disagree. Vocabulary used matters and can be hurtful.

I mean it in a general sense, not necessarily pointing to Omicron.

When individuals use a confrontational tone (may or may not include x-rated language too), and put posts that designate people to whom Discovery appeals as the "lowest common denominator," or portray them as "dumbed down," or imply that only "sensible people" can see how bad DSC is, or comment on a show they haven't seen and when questioned about that practice, respond that they are being "silly" for questioning it, then, the problem is not necessarily those who react to such posts. I don't know (or remember, nor do I care to go back and search to find out who did, because that is besides the point) if Omicron did all those things - I believe the last one, yes - because I am commenting on a particular line of thought rather than individuals, but people who are consequently reacting to those types of antagonistic posts are not the ones causing the "fighting."

You say "I like a good debate but flaming people for having a poor basis for their position isn't really helpful." Can I assume that you feel the same about people (whoever they are) who engage in what I said above?

If the criticism is about the show itself, and does not use a one that comes across as they are at some elite level that others don't understand, that is fine. But if the post has insults or cut-downs on those who enjoy the show, and is written in an antagonistic tone (they are easy to recognize), then it has no business being here. Jammer's comments section is one of the few places where the idea exchanges don't disintegrate to a disastrous level, and it would be nice if it stayed that way, although I can't be sure of that, lately.

I usually stick to the episode itself, and that is why I love reading Jammer's reviews, and there are some posters who also do that, whom I enjoy reading. So, this will probably be one of my rare posts where I veered into discussion outside the episode. I am hoping it will be my last.

Mister Wooster:

That is a great post. The formula can only last for so long, and a show needs to also recruit new fans to remain alive and thrive. There was definitely the franchise fatigue (that Chrome mentions in his response to you also). It's fine to change direction and tweak the formula. I actually follow on the internet a group of Trekkies from around the world and a few of them added their friends who have never watched Star Trek before just to see what they would say about DSC. We asked them to watch each episode and comment (I swear, none out of the 5 knew what a Romulan was for example). 5 out of 5 are now fans of it, and 1 already asked us how to procees if he wanted to watch overtime the rest of the series/movies and catch up with the rest of us. Needless to say, we told her it would take a long time but to go for it :))

I can't say the same for how the 20 or so old-timer Trekkies feel about DSC though (although most of us like it enough to keep watching).
Trent
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 4:23pm (UTC -6)
MisterWooster said: "What we have in DISCO is a Trek that doesn't adhere to the "8ish or so Senior Officers Going on Adventures" template, and the reason behind that is: That Template No Longer Works In 2017TM."

The template works fine. As someone who reads mountains of new science fiction novels a year, I can assure you that deep, unique, philosophically, scientifically and politically interesting scifi "adventure" and "first contact" tales are everywhere (everyone go read Peter Watts' "Blindsight" and Octavia Butler's "Lilith's Brood"). The problem is, television writers live in bubbles and are primarily influenced by film and TV, and not literature, and certainly not science fiction literature. So they have no tales to tell.

The pulp scifi magazines and anthologies that influenced early TV SF writers no longer influence modern TV writers. Indeed, your modern tv SF fan rarely even reads SF literature. Nor are they enamoured by the old, nautical tales that birthed TOS. Nor are they interested in the politics and logistics surrounding 17th-18th-19th century mapping, exploration and colonialism.

And so Discovery is the kind of show a writer with a narrow range of interests and input, for an audience with a narrow range of interests, will produce.

MisterWooster said: "off-the-shelf stories than with Discovery's admittedly more challenging view of Trek's core values"

People aren't ticked off because Discovery is different or "challenging core values", they're ticked off because Discovery's aesthetic, tone, style, message and writers are conventional. Like almost everything on TV, this is a series in which people at war do bad things for the greater good and wrestle with how bad is bad, how good is good and where to draw moral lines. It's House of Cards, Game of Thrones, 24, The Americans, Homeland etc, with CGI and a more overtly liberal denouement. In contrast, TOS and TNG were aesthetically and philosophically like nothing else on TV. They were (and still are) genuinely radical. People don't necessarily want TOS and TNG back, but they want that meaningful difference.

MisterWooster said: "There seems to be an instant equating of "writing I don't like" with "bad writing."

In the space of 2 episodes, we've had Lorca abducted by Klingons and Lorca intercepted by Mudd. Space is so small - witness how fast Stella rendevous with Discovery - that everyone's covert ship is running into each other, yet so big that the Federation's leaves the Shenzhou and a functioning Klingon flagship in a graveyard for seven months. If you're going for realism rather than the allegorical, abstract, expressionistic tone of early Trek, you can't be so goofy.

MisterWooster said: "DISCO is trying, and succeeding (mostly) to drag Trek - and its longtime fans - into the 21st century."

It's not only "longtime fans" who are skeptical of Discovery. I'm young (grew up on Voyager and Ent) and started watching TOS for the first time recently and quite quickly categorised it as my fave Trek. DISCO, in comparison, seems to be doing what JJ-Trek did. The only difference is that Discovery's attempting to be political. It's glitz and violence are only in the noble service of getting us to Old Skool Trek Utopianism. Of course the skeptics think otherwise: the series' "progressive" politics are being used to justify its reliance upon psychopathy to drum up drama. It's a bit like the countless modern shows which pretend to offer "serious, topical, well-meaning stories about the exploitation of women" to justify rape narratives and female nudity. Indeed, almost every historical/fantasy drama on TV rolls out a pert sex slave (as short-hand to "prove how evil" a character is), whilst its writers hilariously and simultaneously defend the titilative act by citing "realism" and their "serious intentions". This exemplifies what philosopher Robert Pfaller calls "interpassivity", performing our indictments for us whilst allowing us to engage in base consumption with impunity.

Discovery does something similar. Its Section 31s, its psycho captains, its wars, its massacres, its swearing, its edgy mutineers aren't titilative tactics, its writers believe, but "serious" and "utopian". But ask yourself what you think the writers actually enjoy writing. And ask yourself what they think modern audiences expect of drama.
Geekgarious
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 4:28pm (UTC -6)
@Peter G. Why exactly did Michael pillar and Jerry Taylor leave? I have heard that pillar was fired for attempting to do arc-based storytelling on VOY after being told to stick to an episodic approach. I have also heard that Taylor‘s novels (Mosaic and Pathways) were deemed non-canon once she left which was one reason why characters like Janeway were written so eradically. Taylor and Bragga had completely different visions of who these people should be. It’s a real shame that Piller’s last script was insurrection.
Mertov
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 4:35pm (UTC -6)
Ugh.. around three typos in my last post.
There is a "he" that should be a "she" toward the end (the new fan who decided to watch the rest of the series). The "s" is missing.
And I mistyped "procees: instead of "proceed".
Steven
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 4:38pm (UTC -6)
The series fatigue argument is also unconvincing to me. In "The Force Awakens", the writers took the safe route of doing a - rather uncreative - copy and paste job and sticking too close to the original. But surely, you can't argue that the Star Wars universe had "series fatigue" already and that it would have been impossible to create a new, original movie, that set itself better apart from the original ones.

That is what I also see happening on Discovery. DIS uses the established methods from contemporary shows (2017) plus the established methods from the old Trek shows, mixes them somehow and then the Media hypes the result as a creative new approach on Trek.

I will only subscribe to that positive interpretation when I've discovered a coherent, convincing artistic and narrative direction of the new show. So far, I haven't, and Peter G is right in saying that TNG was much bolder - in setting itself apart from everything else - than Discovery is with its rehashing of things that you've already seen in 10 other TV series, just better (Discovery being a shallow copy of the originals). Who wants to see a worse version of Battlestar Galactica or House of Cards?

It's still possible for DIS to get its act straight, so this is all that I want to comment on this atm.
Trent
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 4:39pm (UTC -6)
Mertov said: "The formula can only last for so long."

Sure, but countering formula with another formula is not originality. Nor is countering cliches with countercliches.

DS9 and much of Enterprise already broke away from TOS and TNG's "planet of the week" format with long, "shades of grey" war arcs.

And let's not forget that Discovery's tactic thus far has been to simply employ reversals. If past Trek had noble captains, Discovery's captain will be a brute. If past Trek used classical music, Discovery will use contemporary pop etc etc.

Actual original writing would have avoided the above tropes and gone off in entirely new directions.

Del_Duio
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 4:45pm (UTC -6)
@Ubik:

"Not even Deep Space Nine made its characters so unique and fascinating so quickly out of the gate"

What!? Sisko is a single father who's lost his wife in a horrible way, who takes over a space station and is basically a new Bajoran god. It's hard to get more unique or fascinating than that- and that was in the pilot.
Trent
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 5:01pm (UTC -6)
Greekarious wrote: "Why exactly did Michael pillar and Jerry Taylor leave? It’s a real shame that Piller’s last script was insurrection."

Taylor pretty much stayed with Voyager till the end. I don't know why Piller left, but I've always viewed him as being one of the few showrunners who kept the franchise from going full stupid. DS9, which he co-created, was at its most interesting and mature when it was a Israel/Palestine/Nazi/Jew allegory. Then Piller left and the Dominion were brought in to sex it up. Piller also became showrunner on TNG's season 3, the precise moment when the show got its act together. And with Voyager he helped cook up a great premise, crew and fought for serialization (Berman wanted the opposite). On TNG he also instituted a policy where every single unsolicited spec script sent in was read (this was how he discovered Ron Moore), something you can't imagine the franchise doing today.

I even think Piller's "Insurrection" is a great script. Ditch the studio mandated "action hero" climax, and stick to his original villains, and you have a neat SF tale.
Geekgarious
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 5:08pm (UTC -6)
Taylor left after VOY season four. Jammer mentions it in his fourth season recap.
Ubik
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 5:40pm (UTC -6)
@Del_Duio

Oh, hey, I'm a massive Deep Space Nine fan, don't get me wrong. I just meant that, by episode 6 or 7, even that series hadn't already created at so many really compelling characters. Kira was the best out of the gate, Odo and Quark had great potential, Sisko's story was awesome at least on paper, but there is something about the quirkiness and uniqueness of these Discovery characters and the confidence with which they are already written and acted that I think is rare in Star Trek this early on. I'm not trying to put one down in order to bring the other up. This show has a long way to go before it can compete with Deep Space Nine, as a whole. It's just that Lorca, Saru, and after this most recent episode, Stamets, are such FASCINATING characters to me. I'm just reveling in the wonderful character work.
Startrekwatcher
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 7:11pm (UTC -6)
Piller left Voyager after season two because he wanted to stretch his wings—At thatvtime he was working on Legends. He was only going to stay with DS9 up til around season three then hand it over to Ira and leave Voyager after season two—feeling that he had set the show up for success. Jeri Taylor took over in season three-she May be a decent writer but she was horrible at leading the writers—I mean look at TNG season 7 and Voy Season three. He mentioned in an online Q and A that he was a lame duck and Jeri Taylor pretty much discarded his vision for Voyager and didva heavy rewrite on Basics Part Two. In his script Seska and Chakotay’s child was actually Chakotays not Culluh’s and would have died

But I agree Piller was the key to the heyday of 90s Trek. I’ve read interviews by writers on staff. They spoke of how they would all work on a storybtogether and break it as a team and according to Brannon Braga many times Piller would be the one to figure out how to end the episodes when others had no idea. He also accepted spec scripts which if srgue helped TNG. A lot of season four and five came from
Outsiders. He also wrote what I feel is the best two hours of television with The Best of Both Worlds. He also oversaw DS9 season two which was one of that show’s top three years

Piller also did a lot of uncredited rewrites like on The Bonding which I know many didn’t care for but I thought highly of. He also discouraged dream endings and massaged episodes like Remember Me and Fiture Imperfect which initially wore “ it happened all in my head” stories. I remember Piller on a Trek QVC special
Revealing he was told he had no writing skills

Startrekwatcher
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 7:17pm (UTC -6)
Not if srgue But I’d argue and not wore but were

I can’t imagine DIS or ORV writers giving that kind of love to their scripts. You can just go back and watch Caretaker, TNG 3-5, DS9 season two and see how well plotted and how careful every scene was

Trek fans very lucky to have had Piller running things and crafting the cohesive 24th century Trek with TNG DS9 and Voy
Startrekwatcher
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 8:30pm (UTC -6)
I also vehemently disagree with folks who say that TNG’s format wouldn’t work now.

It had a modest ensemble of interesting characters placed in entertaining weekly adventures. The show told all sorts of story types. I mean if a crappy procedural like NCIS can be the number one broadcast show then a show like TNG that was far from formulaic or a procedural could thrive. TNG told a lot of different type stories ranging from political intrigue to simple character stories to mysteries to high concept to action adventure. It didn’t worship st the Altar of TOS the way the last two series and reboot films have.

TNG wasn’t interested in playing or toying with its audience by keeping cards close to the vest or be ambiguous about characters like Lorca or Voq/Ash
It had a gravitas and conviction and stayed away from lowbrow humor—unlike TNG wannabe Orville does

DIS reeks of the kind of shallow storytelling obsessed over structure and cons and preferring to rreatbthe characters like test subjects in the writers’ contrived laboratory rather than opting for the kind of careful thoughtful storytelling TNG possessed
Thomas
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 9:20pm (UTC -6)
It is interesting to think about what would have happened if the DIS concept had been tried instead of VOY back in the 90s. The concept of an experimental science vessel with somewhat renegade captain at odds with Starfleet values could have led to a lot of potentially interesting standalone episodes.

At the same time, I would imagine if the VOY was done today it could have had much better results. The demand for continuity, character development and drama that many of us were craving at the time would have greatly improved the show. Imagine a whole season of Year of Hell, for example. Characters could have died and new ones recruited, making the show far more unpredictable.
Trek fan
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 10:37pm (UTC -6)
I just want to add one thing: Star Trek Discovery feels to me like the first Trek series since DS9 that's genuinely committed to trying something new. Voyager and Enterprise tried to be fresh in their initial concepts, and had their moments, but they were largely rehashes of stuff we'd seen before. But a lot of Trek fans now seem to fault Discovery for departing from prior shows too much to do its own thing. My response? If all you want from Star Trek is familiarity and repetition, there are HUNDREDS of old episodes on Netflixa and in TV reruns for you to enjoy. For the rest of us, who expect Trek to be on the leading edge of the Zeitgeist and speak to where we are today, this show is the most promising Trek series I've seen since DS9 and TOS. There's a lot of good stuff happening here and I think it could really gel if people give it a chance. So far, there's been more than enough good stuff to keep me watching, more so than the tired "Orville" that can't quite seem to be its own show. Say what you will about "Discovery," but it's managing to present classic Trekkian elements in a fresh and daring way, giving me a sense of anticipation for what comes next that I haven't had since TOS and DS9. (I don't really count TNG, which for all its charms and eventual distinctiveness has always been essentially the same concept of TOS advanced by two decades in its sensibilities and concepts. And even as a kid, i felt bored by most TNG episodes, as the classic stories there are pretty rare among its 7 languid, self-righteous, and often self-indulgent seasons.)
MidshipmanNorris
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 11:42pm (UTC -6)
[quote]MisterWooster
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 1:47pm (UTC -5)
I've been cruising these comment threads for a few weeks now, silently...[/QUOTE]

Well I'm not going to repost the whole thing but I read through it and the blog post you linked.

I have felt this way, about the fan communities of all things nerdy, since about 2004 or so, and I'd add to it, that it has become a contest of who remembers the most trivia knowledge, and the idea that these are stories we are supposed to relate to and allow to inform our daily lives, help promote introspection and self-examination, has been cast to the side. It's about the neat sweatshop produced collectibles that you bought off Amazon, rather than the way a character's death made you feel. It's about the number of lines you have memorized, rather than about how those lines made you feel when you first heard them.

People are growing increasingly agitated, paranoid, and vicious in this world, and are becoming far less inclined to be honest or vulnerable in any way. It's like we're all suffering from the effects of Bendai Syndrome :D Hee hee.

This is the world in which DISCO finds us. We are at the end of a particularly frayed and precarious rope, and the thematic central element, Lewis Carol's "Alice In Wonderland" beckons to us.

"If you can't take a little bloody nose, maybe you ought to go back home and crawl under your bed. It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it's not for the timid."

One wonders how far through the looking glass we've already progressed, and what lies ahead. These are strange times, and we have a strange trek.
Startrekwatcher
Fri, Nov 3, 2017, 12:37am (UTC -6)
@Trek fan

Oh DIS definitely speaks to where we are as a society. Oh boy does it!! Our culture is stagnant, Unable to stay focused and lack: any spark of originality. It is also just as vacuously DIS

There’s no patience anymore. Everything has to be all about the superficial the way DIS is more hung up on the visual FX(and on another note oh how I miss ship models like we used to have)and namedropping than interested in measured well developed writing. It’s all about gimmicks—like the whole Voq/Ash thread. The writers are so fixated on fooling audience and keeping things all about the water cooler moments and theories than about just getting back to the solid basics and fundamentals of good writing. Did DS9 have to play games with it’s audience by making the Final Chapter be about who the mysterious Bajoran is working with Winn and shocking us with the revelation” it was Dukat boo-ya”. No they told us up front which made it better drama overall. And DiS arc handling has been awful. They just throw together randomly these various pieces—the tardigrade, the sport drive etc etc— and don’t gel well. It reminds me of the same horrible writing style that plagued HEROES

And I don’t know what DIS is doing that is so fresh or different?!?!? DS9 did a major war between the Federation and Dominion and did it better. DS9 had interesting players with compelling motives. The war had scope. The writers made the Dominion war real and had fascinating dynamics both macro and micro
And for last 16 years all the facets of War—torture, morality etc— has been examined as nauseum. There’s nothing new left to support
Startrekwatcher
Fri, Nov 3, 2017, 12:39am (UTC -6)
Not vacuously but vacuous as
Not support but examine
Steven
Fri, Nov 3, 2017, 3:10pm (UTC -6)
"I just want to add one thing: Star Trek Discovery feels to me like the first Trek series since DS9 that's genuinely committed to trying something new. Voyager and Enterprise tried to be fresh in their initial concepts, and had their moments, but they were largely rehashes of stuff we'd seen before. But a lot of Trek fans now seem to fault Discovery for departing from prior shows too much to do its own thing. My response? If all you want from Star Trek is familiarity and repetition, there are HUNDREDS of old episodes on Netflixa and in TV reruns for you to enjoy."

That's the two camps that we have right now:

1. One camp says: DIS is boring for being too much like any other contemporary TV show. It has lost Star Trek's originality and no guts any more.

2. The other says: I was bored by VOY and ENT, finally we got a new series that has the guts to refresh the Trek formula.

Both are right to *some* lesser degree. The question is which one you think is the more relevant description of what's going. To me, it's clearly number (1) and there are lots of examples to strengthen that argument (which have been brought up during the discussion).

I think the people who defend position number (2) need to explain to us what the new "vision", the new coherent narrative or style is supposed to be. Because if they can't do that, then we have a strong indication that the new series is without artistic direction and a product of mere "copy and paste". At this point, I don't have the evidence to completely rule out that the writers KNOW what they're doing, so I don't want to lean too much out of the window. But I can say that I haven't recognized a coherent narrative *so far*.

The right time to judge will probably be the end of season 1.
karatasiospa
Fri, Nov 3, 2017, 7:18pm (UTC -6)
I"m tired to be labeled as a naysayer or a hater just because i don't like Discovery or jj's movies. You like them ? Fine have fan and leave me alone in my grief fror a dream that has died
Shannon
Fri, Nov 3, 2017, 8:03pm (UTC -6)
@Mertov

One of the best posts I've ever read on here, as you addressed Omicron and PeterG in a very thoughtful and civil manner. Thank you!
Jammer
Fri, Nov 3, 2017, 8:44pm (UTC -6)
@karatasiospa: "I"m tired to be labeled as a naysayer or a hater just because i don't like Discovery or jj's movies."

To clarify, I don't consider someone a hater or naysayer if they don't like the show and they are critical of it. Totally not my intention and that applies to most of the people with negative opinions here. I was more talking about the behavior of carping endlessly about the show when one hasn't even seen it.
Steven
Fri, Nov 3, 2017, 10:12pm (UTC -6)
Oh my god, I just read what Trent wrote two days ago. Here's a quote:

>> MisterWooster said: "What we have in DISCO is a Trek that doesn't adhere to
>> the "8ish or so Senior Officers Going on Adventures" template, and the reason
>> behind that is: That Template No Longer Works In 2017TM.

> The template works fine. As someone who reads mountains of new science
> fiction novels a year, I can assure you that deep, unique, philosophically,
> scientifically and politically interesting scifi "adventure" and "first contact" tales
> are everywhere (everyone go read Peter Watts' "Blindsight" and Octavia Butler's
> "Lilith's Brood"). The problem is, television writers live in bubbles and are
> primarily influenced by film and TV, and not literature, and certainly not science
> fiction literature. So they have no tales to tell."

Now THAT is a plausible explanation to me. I have heard a couple of good explanations now for why Voyager, or Enterprise, failed to meet the expectations. None of them are suggesting that the new course that Discovery takes is the necessary cure to an outdated formula. True, Star Trek was (and is) in crisis, but I believe that the course that Discovery has taken hasn't been of much help in solving this crisis; if anything, it has obscured the issue.

Quick summary of some convincing points I've heard:

- "TV writers live in a bubble and don't take inspiration from good literature any more" is a very good explanation. The remix of TV shows that Discovery writers pull off in such a fancy way is not a solution.

- Another very good point was that TNG had a coherent vision from the start, it wanted to be different from contemporay TV and do its own thing; in that regard, it followed in the footsteps of TOS. Where's the vision/boldness in Discovery? And no, it's not bold to do a mixer of existing TV shows. (As I said previously, let's wait till the end of season 1 to do a judgment on what "vision" or narrative the new show has. All I can say is that currently I'm not seeing it.)

- TNG also had a superb production team. The reason why Voyager wasn't as great as TNG or DS9 has largely to do with conflicting ideas of what the series was supposed to be or where it wanted to go. In the first two seasons, there were a couple of good concepts and conflicts between the characters that the writers should have expanded upon. At the core of TOS, there are three characters with conflicting attitudes and ideas (Kirk, Spock, Bones); something similar would've been needed for Voyager. Chakotay and his Maquis crew were too easily implemented into Voyager's crew after season 2 and there was little internal conflict left among the crew. I could go on with this; but I think my point is clear that the "8ish main officers going on adventures" template as such is not the problem.

Let's wait and see.
Steven
Fri, Nov 3, 2017, 10:43pm (UTC -6)
To give us conflicting characters may actually be one thing that Discovery got right; they certainly did a better job than on ENT, where everybody was too content and nice to each other. The DIS characters have potential for future conflicts, especially between military and science officers. Kind of "New Battlestar Galactica meets Star Trek".

Unfortunately, the characters still don't intrigue me, so I'm not particularly looking forward to seeing future conflicts between them and I'd rather focus on the exploration and science fiction aspects. But yeah, the character work hasn't been a complete miss; what I don't like though is how inconsistent the characters still are and where their moral compass is, AND how similar they are to 21st century people.
Mal
Sat, Nov 4, 2017, 3:41am (UTC -6)
@Peter G., well said ("I think, reflects the moral compass of the production team.”). Very well said.

@Steven, "the show is missing a soul.” Actually, the production team sold their souls. For a couple strips of latinum a month.

@Jammer ("I could just as easily say this series shows Trek standing for its core values in caring about science because the crew takes the efforts to rescue the space creature in the first place.”)

With all due respect, @Jammer, you can’t bureaucratize morality.

It is implied in “Magic" that if Starfleet didn’t have a rule threatening a courts martial of a captain if such an animal was not rescued, the Discovery would not have rescued this fish. That’s incredible.

Even in our own day and age, most decent people don't need a sledgehammer-like threat of a courts martial to do the right thing.

It says something that this Starfleet has to have such a draconian law on the books to enforce basic decency. And it says something far worse that the law had to be explicitly invoked for the Discovery to do the right thing here. How far we’ve fallen - and I’m not even saying from the moral high of Picard - but this is a fall even from the moral low of Archer.

As one of Londo’s wives on Babylon 5 once said of him, and which I think applies to Star Trek now: “You have [changed]. You’ve devolved.”

This isn’t Trek told from the point of view of nBSG’s Tom Zarek. This is Trek from the point of view of Admiral Cain.

@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi, "Show me the errors of my ways.” As many have already said, your error is not actually watching the show!

@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi, "How would actually watching the show make a difference?”

It’s incredible that I actually have to write this (and @Skout has also tried above), but here goes. The difference that watching the show will make is that then your opinion of the show will be based on the show. Right now, you are confusing your opinion of other peoples’ opinions of the show, for having an opinion of the show.

It was an enjoyable hour.

Loved the Romeo and Juliet call-back with Michael swallowing poison after Ash died. Classic.

And I’m glad that Harry Mudd got a chance to take his anger out at Lorca at being left to the Klingons, but in a way that has no actual effects on Lorca himself (@Pandapirate, I don’t think you know what the horrible words you use actually mean). That release, combined with the love of a good woman, should go a long way to re-making Mudd into the man we will see in 10 years.

But to be blunt (Emily Blunt!), the Edge of Tomorrow is better.

Love,
Mal
P.S., st-hypertext is still the best place for Trek discussions on the web!
James Alexander
Sat, Nov 4, 2017, 7:13am (UTC -6)
I thought it was hilarious when Lorca kept being killed, although that might be my warped sense of humor.
he's so serious all the time and it was a perfect idea making him the butt of the joke.

Ubik
Sat, Nov 4, 2017, 8:48am (UTC -6)
@Steven

"I think the people who defend position number (2) need to explain to us what the new "vision", the new coherent narrative or style is supposed to be. Because if they can't do that, then we have a strong indication that the new series is without artistic direction and a product of mere "copy and paste"."

I think there is an unintentional straw man argument going on here on your part. I don't think anyone here has argued that this show is offering something new IN TELEVISION. It's just something new for Star Trek. At its time, TNG was obviously more different from other television shows at the time than Disc is to other television shows now. DS9 was also more different than its contemporary television shows (with the exception of Babylon 5, its inferior competitor) than Disc is to other contemporary television shows now. So, no, I don't think anybody here can offer you evidence that Discovery is pushing the envelope of television itself, the way that TNG and DS9 did in their times. It's just pushing the envelope for Star Trek, and doing it well.

But anyway, I don't think that's a fair comparison. Battlestar Galactica has happened. Game of Thrones has happened. Discovery has far more competition, even within the science fiction and fantasy genres, than either of its big brothers ever did. But fair or not, you are right if one of your beefs is that Discovery is not as original in its time, as compared to other shows, than TNG or DS9 was.

But "copy and paste"? You say that like it's easy. You think it's easy to do what other people have done before, and to do it well? Force Awakens, being a very good copy of what others had done before, was a very good movie. Blade Runner 2, doing very well what another movie had done equally well before, is also a good example. Most copy-and-paste attempts are awful (see Voyager and Enterprise, and almost every movie sequel made before about the year 2000.) If Discovery is the Star Trek franchise's attempt to do their own quirky twist on Battlestar Galactica, I say they've had a very promising start.

So, is Discovery doing something of what Battlestar Galactica already did? Sure, absolutely, but with a tone and texture all its own, with its own character, its own unique feel. And that's what I think Discovery has done especially well so far - it doesn't FEEL like Battlestar; it's lighter, less self-serious, quirkier, even a bit stranger. Unlike you, I am really enjoying the setting, the characters, and the tone of Discovery so far - I enjoy spending time with these people, I am excited to spend time with them next episode, and I like the world they inhabit. I have affection for Saru and Michael and Stamets. I feel like I know them already, but am excited to learn more. Lorca, for his part, scares me and fascinates me. Is all this original in television history? No, of course not. And it's obviously not as strong out the gate as Battlestar was, but Battlestar was an immediate masterpiece, so again, I think that's an unfair comparison.

What Discovery is doing so far is making a show that, yes, fits into modern sensibilities, and is doing it with confidence, a fair amount of chutzpah, and some very competent character work. I haven't enjoyed a Star Trek show this much since DS9 went off the air, and like Jammer, I believe the criticisms of the show on this site have been vastly overstated.
Paul M.
Sat, Nov 4, 2017, 10:44am (UTC -6)
@mal: "It is implied in “Magic" that if Starfleet didn’t have a rule threatening a courts martial of a captain if such an animal was not rescued, the Discovery would not have rescued this fish. That’s incredible. Even in our own day and age, most decent people don't need a sledgehammer-like threat of a courts martial to do the right thing. It says something that this Starfleet has to have such a draconian law on the books to enforce basic decency. And it says something far worse that the law had to be explicitly invoked for the Discovery to do the right thing here. How far we’ve fallen - and I’m not even saying from the moral high of Picard - but this is a fall even from the moral low of Archer."

This right here is the perfect example of arguing in extreme bad faith (even with outright fabrications) that haters (yes, haters) of Discovery engage in every day on this site. Anyone who watched this episode with a modicum of good faith couldn't and wouldn't have interpreted it the way the above poster did.

In fact the scene goes this way: Saru informs the captain that gormaganders life readings are "highly unstable". Michael and Taylor, warned by Stamets about the time loop, immediately try to dissuade Lorca from helping the "space whale" at which point Saru interjects and advises the captain on the provisions of the Endangered Species Act and the possibility of court martial if the ship doesn't follow regulations. This entire time Lorca doesn't utter a single word and in fact has no opportunity to do so as this entire conversation between his officers takes a couple of seconds. To construe this as Lorca backing off from screwing over an endangered species only when threatened with court martial is intellectual dishonesty of the highest order. But than again, I've come to expect that from certain posters.
Evan
Sat, Nov 4, 2017, 10:52am (UTC -6)
@Ubik - I'm sorry, but anyone who calls Babylon 5 an "inferior competitor" to DS9 has just discredited their entire argument.
Riker's Beard
Sat, Nov 4, 2017, 1:15pm (UTC -6)
"I'm sorry, but anyone who calls Babylon 5 an "inferior competitor" to DS9 has just discredited their entire argument."

I'm sorry Evan, but Ubik's *opinion* about B5 doesn't instantly discredit what he is trying to say about Discovery. Are you that insecure with your opinion? Lots of people prefer DS9 over B5 and also vice versa.

Imagine if you wrote a long, thoughtful post and somebody quickly discounted it based on a simple opinion that you shared? Yeah, it would be kind of immature of them.
Ubik
Sat, Nov 4, 2017, 1:24pm (UTC -6)
@Riker's Beard

Thank you!
Geekgarious
Sat, Nov 4, 2017, 3:10pm (UTC -6)
Stating that B5 was an inferior competitor to DS9 as support for an argument is pretty damn dubious. It would be like writing a thesis and then stating that ENT and Nemesis were groundbreaking as a supporting statement. It would call the whole piece into question. I actually wrote a comparison between DS9 and B5 for a sci-fi class once. Reading these comments always reminds me of those days.

All of these arguments about format and contemporary programming miss the show's fundamental problem as far as I'm concerned. The writers either can't or won't give us something new. That Anthology series that Fuller wanted sure would have been nice. With this episode, we got a minor TOS character inserted into a decent timetravel story as a villain. It may have been the best episode of Discovery so far, but it's still not truly satisfying. I keep coming back to Peter G.'s post from a year or so ago where he questions whether the suits are just preventing anything interesting from being done with this universe. After hearing about what Pegg was told to do with Beyond's script and then watching this, it sure looks that way.
Ubik
Sat, Nov 4, 2017, 3:44pm (UTC -6)
@Geekgarious

You believe that Babylon 5's superiority to DS9 is as obvious and incontrovertible as Nemesis and Enterprise's inferiority? No way. In fact, John Clute, literally one of the 2 or 3 most admired sf critics in the history of science fiction, in the multiple-award winning Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, argues that DS9 is better than Babylon 5. That doesn't mean it's a decided fact, and that isn't the reason I also believe DS9 to be superior, but it does suggest that the jury is still and will forever be out, and that suggesting DS9 to be superior to Babylon 5 is in no way a controversial claim.
Riker's Beard
Sat, Nov 4, 2017, 3:49pm (UTC -6)
@Geekgarious

"Stating that B5 was an inferior competitor to DS9 as support for an argument is pretty damn dubious. It would be like writing a thesis and then stating that ENT and Nemesis were groundbreaking as a supporting statement."

So because *you* don't agree with his statement, that then makes his whole argument invalid? Sorry, but this kind of behavior comes off as petty and childish. Disagree with his point, but don't use that disagreement as a reason to ignore what he is trying to say in the first place.

And yes, you could totally state that Nemesis and Enterprise were groundbreaking in their own ways and find examples to support that statement. There's no reason to be so close-minded when it comes to people's viewpoints.
Steven
Sat, Nov 4, 2017, 4:48pm (UTC -6)
@Ubik

I see where you're coming from in your reaction to my post. But you ignored what was meant as the keywords of my text - "vision, coherent narrative or style".

My arguments are not, as you say, logical loops (strawman arguments), but they are based on my observation that Discovery doesn't have its own cohesive style but feels like an awkward copy and paste job - at least to me.

I am fully aware that you don't have to share that opinion, and that you might interpret what you see as a good form of entertainment - maybe even having its own distinctive feel - instead of seeing it as something that is lacking. As to "The Force Awakens", it was acceptable entertainment for two hours, but personally, I don't mind whether this movie exists or not. It felt empty to me and I will probably not watch it again. Literally like a copy that makes you wonder: Why not watch the original instead? That's just my feeling towards it.
Steven
Sat, Nov 4, 2017, 5:12pm (UTC -6)
@Ubik

I have a hunch that the basis for our disagreement is that we use the terms "vision, coherent narrative or style" somewhat differently. Although I tried to be explicit, these terms are still not self-explanatory and need to be put into context and into a larger artistic/cinematic theory. I won't do that right now because it would be a bit exhausting to dig so deep, but I believe this is where our misunderstanding lies.

So okay, I retract my arguments and criticisms for now, because I can't properly explain them.
Geekgarious
Sat, Nov 4, 2017, 5:30pm (UTC -6)
@Riker's Beard - "So because *you* don't agree with his statement, that then makes his whole argument invalid? Sorry, but this kind of behavior comes off as petty and childish."

Shoehorning the statement that B5 was the inferior competitor into an analysis of time and broadcast as though it were fact comes off as petty and thus weakens the entire argument.
Riker's Beard
Sat, Nov 4, 2017, 5:58pm (UTC -6)
@Geekgarious

"Shoehorning the statement that B5 was the inferior competitor into an analysis of time and broadcast as though it were fact comes off as petty and thus weakens the entire argument."

"As though it were fact" - maybe in your mind, but that really doesn't appear to be Ubik's intent. How does it weaken his entire argument when it was just a simple aside that *you* can't seem to move past? How is it petty to mention his opinion that B5 was similar and ultimately inferior to DS9?
Geekgarious
Sat, Nov 4, 2017, 6:24pm (UTC -6)
It has nothing to do with analyzing the “climate” of the time of broadcast, which seemed to be the intent of his post. It would be like writing an analytical piece about the history of rock and roll, then claiming that one band was objectively superior to another. I can understand why Evan took offense to it. I think B5 had higher highs, but lower lows (season one and parts of season five) while DS9 was more consistent but didn’t give us anything as epic bordering on operatic as the Londo/JiKar (SP?) relationship..
Riker's Beard
Sat, Nov 4, 2017, 7:08pm (UTC -6)
@Geekgarious
"It has nothing to do with analyzing the “climate” of the time of broadcast, which seemed to be the intent of his post. It would be like writing an analytical piece about the history of rock and roll, then claiming that one band was objectively superior to another. I can understand why Evan took offense to it."

He's not writing a paper, he's sharing his opinion. And yes, it did fit in with what he was saying! He was comparing DS9 to the other shows that were on at that time - which was Babylon 5! Weird! Besides, if he had said something like "DS9 was also more different than its contemporary television shows (with the exception of Babylon 5, its *superior* competitor)", this wouldn't even be a discussion.

I take offense at you two wanting to *outright dismiss* his entire post and castrate him over an off-hand remark about B5. It reeks of a very "Well, my opinion is better than your opinion, so your argument is invalid" attitude that Ubik is not expressing at all in his original post. It's a shame I have to defend him at all, but you guys can't seem to take off your fan hats and act like reasonable human beings towards a person who disagrees with you.
Evan
Sat, Nov 4, 2017, 9:41pm (UTC -6)
@Riker's Beard
You're right, it was silly of me to say that it invalidates his entire post. It was just my way of saying that I disagree with his comment, and believe that B5 is the superior show - by far. The only area where DS9 exceeds it is in production values - which, incidentally, is also the only thing that Discovery does well.
Mal
Sun, Nov 5, 2017, 12:03am (UTC -6)
@Ubik, you make a good point: Discovery is like a lot of shows in the last 10 years. What Discovery is doing might be new for the Trek verse, but by no means is it new to TV.

In that way, Discovery cannot be called ground-breaking, at least not how TOS or DS9 can - both Trek shows that were very different from anything else on TV at the time. DS9 in particular, because back in 1993, almost no one was doing serialised story-telling.

Almost no one. Almost.

And that’s where @Ubik lost @Evan. Because Babylon 5 was doing serialised story telling before DS9. (Let’s leave aside that serialised stories were a long-time mainstay of soap operas and also many foreign-language television shows.)

I do think @Evan was probably being a little tongue-in-cheek. Obviously one little word (“inferior”) does not negate @Ubik’s entire point. Especially since it is largely a valid point. Plus, B5 fans have a sense of humour. B5 fans are more than used to people looking down on the show, because of the acting, because of the dialogue, because of the production value. Because of Londo’s hair :-)

And DS9 had more in its favour than mere production values (@Evan). Some of the individual DS9 characters far surpassed their B5 counterparts, particularly Kira (vs. Ivanova) and Garak (vs. Bester). The Dominion was far better developed than the Shadow-alliance. 31 blew 13 out of the water. Weyoun was so far superior to Mr. Morden that it boggles the mind. Eddington’s betrayal surpassed psy-adjusted Garibaldi.

But.

But for all its “inferior” qualities, B5 had something - some thing hard to describe - that DS9 could not reach down into the depths of. Londo and G’Kar. Michael and Steven. John and Delenn (and Lenier). The soul of B5 was a very deep well that explored more than space and war and politics. It spoke to fear, and hate, and suspicion, and loyalty, and loneliness (the crushing loneliness of emperor Londo), and despair (think of G’kar’s speech when Narn falls), and defeat, and addiction, and nationalism, and privacy, and sacrifice, and beauty (in the dark), and hope. It spoke to the many and more facets of humanity we wish that the sheer abundance of Roddenberry’s dream might subsume, but which (like Quark), we suspect will never completely be erased.

I get immense joy from both DS9 and B5. Like many of you, I too have seen both shows all the way through, multiple times. But when you get to Severed Dreams in Season 3, it is a point of no return. You’re going to end up watching the rest of the show, even though you know that the first half of season 5 is best skipped; even though you know most of the spin-off movies are not worth your time; even though you know that starting Crusade will only lead to frustration at its early cancellation. There is something so compelling about the arc of B5. It grips you like a vice. And if you submit yourself to it, it won’t let you go, probably for the rest of your life.

N.B., @Paul M., if you re-watch “Magic”, you’ll notice that you are not describing the first loop.
caltran
Sun, Nov 5, 2017, 10:18am (UTC -6)
Man people really do have a sanitized view of Mudd.

The guy was a human trafficker and was also fine with leaving the entire crew of Enterprise on a planet.
Brian
Sun, Nov 5, 2017, 11:43am (UTC -6)
We can only hope the DIS writers go back and draw some inspiration from B5. Could you imagine, bringing back the spirit of B5 and applying it to the ST universe?
The shadows were the most compelling enemy (if you could call them that) in the history of television. Londo was one of the most tragic characters I've ever witnessed. Every single person that I have had watch B5 eventually becomes so engrossed in the arc they can do nothing else except finish the show with their jaw on the floor. Getting to the end of season 4 feels like falling off a cliff and I've never felt the same way with another television show, ever.

I find it funny B5 would even pop up in a discussion here. You can't even compare it to DS9, it's totally different. Not better, not worse. Just fundamentally different and special. So any argument founded on a comparison of the two is automatically suspect.


Riker's Beard
Sun, Nov 5, 2017, 1:36pm (UTC -6)
"I find it funny B5 would even pop up in a discussion here. You can't even compare it to DS9, it's totally different. Not better, not worse. Just fundamentally different and special. So any argument founded on a comparison of the two is automatically suspect."

Sigh. Brian, did you actually read the whole discussion going on here or did you just skim it? His argument wasn't founded on that comparison, he was talking in general terms about multiple different TV shows. Unfortunately, B5 fanboys decided to make a mountain out of a molehill.

I guess Jammer should put up a disclaimer: "Don't talk mess about the great Babylon 5 or your original point will be automatically discarded and ignored." Shame on Ubik for even daring to briefly say that he prefers DS9 over B5 on a Star Trek-focused website.... just ridiculous.

And this is coming from someone who really likes B5. Even though it had cringe-worthy elements to it, the show was suitably epic and worthwhile - mainly during the third and fourth seasons. That said, your love for a freakin' Sci-Fi show doesn't override being a reasonable person when having open conversations with others. Seriously.

Now that this DS9 vs B5 rabble is hopefully out of people's systems, maybe the conversation can civilly return to this episode and Discovery in general.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Nov 5, 2017, 5:07pm (UTC -6)
@Mertov
"Vocabulary used matters and can be hurtful.

When individuals use a confrontational tone (may or may not include x-rated language too)
.
.
.
but people who are consequently reacting to those types of antagonistic posts are not the ones causing the fighting."

I completely agree.

Which is why I've never ever attacked the fanbase in my posts. The problem is, people sometimes have a hard time telling the difference between criticism of the show and an attack on its fanbase.

And when people do *that*, then yes... they *are* the ones causing the fighting.

And the same goes for all those people who are attacking me for having an opinion "because you haven't seen the show". As long as a person can intelligently discuss the topics at hand and is raising good points, how the heck is this line of attack relevant?

It is these people who are being hurtful. It is these people who are being confrontational. And as of this minute, I'm going to completely ignore any further attacks along these lines.

@Jammer
"I'm sorry, but this is a simply laughable statement. If you have not watched the show, yet continue to comment on every episode post why it is bad or wrong, those posts simply hold no credibility and fall into the realm of the haters."

But that's not what I've posted.

What I've posted was a statement that this is the first episode that actually perked my interest (due to the time loop) and that after reading what others have said about it my interest evaporated.

Ironic isn't it? It was hear-say that got me interested in this episode in the first place, so it's only natural that hear-say would turn me off it :)

Oh, and I also ended my post with the a prediction that people will completely miss my point. Guess I was right about that, heh?

BTW Jammer, allow me to quote something you've said in one of the Orville threads:

"So let's make it about the shows, and not each other."

I agree completely with this sentiment. Let's do that, shall we?
Riker's Beard
Sun, Nov 5, 2017, 5:46pm (UTC -6)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
"BTW Jammer, allow me to quote something you've said in one of the Orville threads:

"So let's make it about the shows, and not each other."

I agree completely with this sentiment. Let's do that, shall we?"

Yet you literally just wrote a post where you condemned all of the people who rightly took issue with what you were basing your opinion on....

"It is these people who are being hurtful. It is these people who are being confrontational."

But who is saying things like this: "Oh, and I also ended my post with the a prediction that people will completely miss my point. Guess I was right about that, heh?" What is with this antagonistic arrogance? Is it really necessary? You seem to be missing/ignoring what we were trying to say to you and you're not being very self-aware with your own actions on this website.

"As long as a person can intelligently discuss the topics at hand and is raising good points, how the heck is this line of attack relevant?"

When a person's behavior ultimately detracts and distracts from the conversation at hand, then yes, it is relevant. You're regurgitating what *another person* is saying about the show. You haven't seen the episode. I think we are all far more interested in hearing what you actually have to say about this episode/the show, but you're refusing to do the actual legwork.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Nov 5, 2017, 8:45pm (UTC -6)
"You're regurgitating what *another person* is saying about the show ... I think we are all far more interested in hearing what you actually have to say about this episode/the show, but you're refusing to do the actual legwork."

I've said exactly what I wanted to say about this episode, which includes - in part - the effect of what another person said on my own thoughts.

I hope that clarifies this misunderstanding.

As for the rest of your post: It is irelevant to me. I've already stated that I'm not interested in continuing this "debate" which is currently just ruining the discussion for everyone.

Now, can we please go back to discussing the show? After all, that's the reason we're all here, right?
Riker's Beard
Sun, Nov 5, 2017, 10:19pm (UTC -6)
"As for the rest of your post: It is irelevant to me. I've already stated that I'm not interested in continuing this "debate" which is currently just ruining the discussion for everyone."

So, your fellow poster's (including Jammer's) thoughts and opinions are irrelevant to you? Well, good to know.

It's not much of a debate. I would take issue with anybody who continually hate-posts on a discussion board for a show that they're not actually watching. Not that you care.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Nov 7, 2017, 7:27am (UTC -6)
@Wolf
"We're seeing it tried, right now, in parallel, with The Orville. The Orville is, unabashedly and transparently, TNG2017 + Seth Macfarlane Penis JokesTM. And what ORV demonstrates, above all else, is that the straight Trek 8OfficersOnAdventures template is two decades out of date."

How, exactly, does the Orville "demostrate" that?

It does very well in the ratings and already has a quite enthusiastic fanbase.

If anything, the Orville demonstrates how silly this "we gotta do everything the 2017 way, even if it stinks, in order to be competitive" argument really is.

And the Orville isn't even that great. It succeeds *because* it's premise has a large audience, and it is competently delivering the goods.
Ubik
Wed, Nov 8, 2017, 3:02pm (UTC -6)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi

To answer your question, I think Orville "demonstrates" how out-of-date that narrative and structural approach to television is by working, as far as it does, specifically as a form of kitsch. It stands out, deliberately. It is meant, by design, to harken back to an era 20 years lost. That is the difference between The Orville and Enterprise, the latter of which was legitimately trying to write a new tv show, and failed to understand how dusty and stodgy its storytelling attitudes had become. The Orville works better than Voyager or Enterprise merely on the basis of being in on the joke. This isn't a dig against The Orville - I am enjoying it. But a large part of that enjoyment is relishing how old-fashioned the show is; indeed, that old-fashionedness is a large part of what it's trying to sell. I suppose a parallel example might be Stranger Things - it mainly works precisely because it harkens back to an earlier time, and alludes to that time, and requires knowledge of that time on the viewer's part. The nostalgia, just as with The Orville, is a necessary part of its aesthetic appeal.

In fact, The Orville episodes that work the LEAST are the ones that forget they are writing a deliberate reference to an earlier time. Whenever it starts to play it too straight, it becomes cliched and maudlin. The cracks show. The out-of-datedness becomes an obstacle, rather than a selling point. If you catch my drift.
Nic
Thu, Nov 9, 2017, 7:54am (UTC -6)
Okay, so this one wasn't bad, certainly better than the last three. But it has its share of problems.

Aping TNG's "Cause and Effect" turns out to be an asset and a liability. It's nice that they try to squeeze in a few character bits in the midst of all the time/mind-games, but they feel shoehorned in and irrelevant in the context of the crisis. Burnham and Tyler's "romance" (if we can call it that) is too rushed to make any kind of emotional impact.

What hurts the story the most is the ending. The Mudd we see in "Choose Your Pain" and this episode is a sadistic bastard who enjoys killing people and cares only about making money. But at the end it seems we're supposed to believe that this is the same Mudd from the original series who just needs a beautiful wife to keep him in check.

Still, I found this one more enjoyable. It was just as silly, but the writers at least seem to have embraced the silliness.
Nic
Thu, Nov 9, 2017, 8:29am (UTC -6)
By the way, I have no objection to bringing Star Trek into the 21st century. I'm not looking for a nostalgic throwback, and I am strongly in favour of serialization if done right. I think the main reason why Discovery is failing (so far) is that it's trying to have the best of both worlds. It's trying to get Trekkies' attention by name-dropping Mudd and Sarek, but it's completely changing established canon in the process; at the same time, it's trying to please today's Game of Thrones/Breaking Bad audience, and I don't think it's succeeding on that plane either (though I couldn't say for sure; I didn't like either of those shows). Honestly, all I'm looking for is good writing. Is that too much to ask?

Non-sequitur: if anyone here hasn't seen Rectify yet, I highly recommend it. It's a well-written, slow-paced character study with surprising moments of homor despite its fairly dark subject matter. It's probably my favourite TV series of the 2010s (so far).
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Thu, Nov 9, 2017, 8:35am (UTC -6)
@Riker's Beard

"You say that, but going off of what I've seen from your Orville comments, I think you'd be saying the same thing to someone who is doing what you're doing on all the Orville threads - forming an opinion solely through other people's posts regarding that show.

'It's a blatant Star Trek rip-off filled with crass Seth MacFarlane humor and subpar writing? What madness is this?! Gene is rolling in his grave!' "

Well, if someone would say that, I would tell him that he is wrong. And since I really like the Orville, I'll be more than happy to talk at length about the show and about *why* he is wrong.

This is true regardless of whether said fellow has actually seen the show or not.

In fact, if the guy hasn't actually watched the show, I would be thrilled to have this opportunity to spread the word about the Orville and clear some misconceptions. Who knows? Maybe after telling him that Seth's humor is really toned down on that show, he'll actually give it chance. Maybe after giving him a synopsis of episodes like "About a Girl" or "Krill", he'll have second thoughts about his claims of "subpar writing".

And maybe not. Perhaps *he* will convince *me* that the Orville really is a terrible match for him. Or perhaps he will make it clear that he isn't interested in any actual discussion, and that will be the end of it.

Either way, I find that actually talking about a show that I like is infinitely more interesting than all this meta-quibbling of "poster X didn't do Y so he's a bad bad boy". And when a situation as you described happens, it is a great opportunity to start talking :)

@Ubik
"To answer your question, I think Orville "demonstrates" how out-of-date that narrative and structural approach to television is by working, as far as it does, specifically as a form of kitsch. It stands out, deliberately. It is meant, by design, to harken back to an era 20 years lost."

The Orville is an oddball in the current TV landscape, there's no doubt about it. But there's also no doubt that it *does* work.

And no, it isn't some kind of nostalgic parody. The things the show borrow from 1990's TV design are played completely straight. And people love it not because of some "kitsch nostalgia" but because they really appreciate these design elements.

It's nice to have a series that tells a self-contained story in every episode. It's great to have visuals that look *real* rather than stuff that came out from some CGI machine. It's nice to have a story that proceeds in a sensible pace, which can actually be followed by a human brain in real time.

It makes much more sense in-universe, to have the interior of a starship colorful and well-lit. The Orville feels like a real ship that humans might want to live in someday, rather than a futuristic prop meant to impress us.

Then there's the bit about optimistic sci fi. I like TV shows that show a hopeful future. The fact the in actual reality the world has gone to the dogs means that we need more hope, not less.

And yes, you're right that this kind of design really stands out today. Yes, the current trend is to do things differently, but how is this relevant? The only point where "trends" might be relevant, is the question of how well the show will be recieved.

The usual excuse for following the current trends is that doing things differently "doesn't sell", and the ratings of the Orville proves this to be completely false.

Now, I'm not saying that every TV show on earth must adhere to these design choices. On the contrary: I'm saying that TV shows should do their own thing, rather than worry about some "trend". If you wanna do dark and gritty, by all means do it. But don't do it just because "that's how things are done today in the biz".
Nievesg
Fri, Nov 10, 2017, 1:36am (UTC -6)
I found the dance bit boring. But I loved watching Stamets doing some useful with his extradimensional powers, and recovering his old clever self when he realized he was the only one who could remember. He's finally efficient and less groggy again, and he learns how to make the crew trust him and cooperate (great, as he used to be socially awkward like Burnham). Good Stamets episode, and Michael/Tyler/Lorca/Tilly were well used. Light episode, but good plot and funny (my kids loved it!). 4 stars.
Nievesg
Fri, Nov 10, 2017, 3:56am (UTC -6)
And now a mafia boss owes one to the Starfleet! That's better than the opposite, LOL XDD
borusa
Sun, Nov 12, 2017, 9:21am (UTC -6)
Time loop stories are not my favourites-the Lost in Space Movie suffered for it but this episode was good for developing the characters in a teen prom movie kind of way-are they all supposed to be seventeen?

So Harry Mudd was a homicidal galactic menace ten years before Mudd's Women?

I don't recall high treason on the list of charges the Enterprise's computer reads out and why didn't Stella yell
'Harcourt Fenton Mudd!' at him as soon as she materialised?

Burnham's personal log read over at the end of the episode reminds me of something Stan would not have said on South Park-no we did not learn anything new today.
Random Communications Officer Guy
Tue, Nov 14, 2017, 6:00pm (UTC -6)
I'm very late to the party, but I recently discovered this website after enduring "Magic" and wondering what other people thought of it. I didn't like it for the reasons stated above, first by Skeech and then others. I wasn't sure if I was alone. While I usually avoid online discussion boards because they lower an already abysmal view of online-humanity, these were very thoughtful critiques and very insightful adulation as well. For the most part I applaud how well people treat each other (at least relative to most other sites). You should all be commended--except potty-mouth ManManMUC. Just kidding. And the original review is very thoughtful too. Well done.
wolfstar
Wed, Nov 15, 2017, 2:04pm (UTC -6)
I didn't get around to reviewing episodes 7 and 8... this one for me was a 2.5 - it was the closest to a classic standalone Trek story we'd had so far and showed the most creative flair of any episode up to that point, but there were too many issues with the execution. Putting the question of Mudd's different portrayal in TOS and DIS to one side, what anchors this ep is Rainn Wilson's fantastic guest performance. What didn't work for me was the awkward mismatch of forcing the Burnham/Tyler love story into the Mudd time-loop story in a way that made very little sense. (As Trent writes: "Why didn't Stamets work with the captain to not beam the whale aboard Discovery? Stamets's plot to get rid of Mudd seems illogical and convoluted.")

Rather than Cause And Effect, I thought this episode's closest relative in terms of plot and tone was Relativity, except it was better. (My opinion of Cause And Effect is a little lower than most people's... it's one of the better Braga tech plot episodes but there's nothing to interest me on a character level.) Relativity started as a straight time-travel mystery and by the final third turned into a knowing, self-parodying romp as it embraced and acknowledged its own absurdity, which was a great writing decision. This episode doesn't go that far but also doesn't play it totally straight like Cause And Effect. It's a watchable, snappy action hour that could have worked a lot better with strong writing.

The space creature is silly - space is a zero-gravity vacuum with a temperature close to absolute zero, nothing can live in it. (Seeds, tardigrades, bacteria etc can lie dormant, but that's different - they're in a form of self-induced stasis.) There's no medium through which the gormagander can propel itself. (As Jonah observes: "How does the space whale even 'swim' around in space? Does it have engines?") Other than that nitpick, I thought the first third of the ep was enjoyable, solid and Trek-like, but after that it turned into too much of a mess in terms of editing and execution - see the other critical comments above, especially Skeech's. The tonally mismatched glib ending undermined the episode further, it was a real WTF moment considering what had come before - I understand the kind of TOS moment they were trying to go for, but it jarred tremendously with Mudd's excessive violence during the preceding hour (another bone I had with the ep) and made no sense.

In conclusion: Wilson is great in the role, and "Harry Mudd with a time turner" is absolutely an idea that could have been 3, 3.5, even 4* with better writing and execution - this just didn't quite get there.

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