Star Trek: Discovery

"What's Past Is Prologue"

2.5 stars

Air date: 1/28/2018
Written by Ted Sullivan
Directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"What's Past Is Prologue" is an apt title given all that has happened on this season of Discovery. It's ironic when considered in the meta-context of this season's twists and turns, which render entire characters as discarded prologues. The more I look at this season, the more I think the whole thing must be a prologue to a more normalized second season, because this level of crazy just can't be sustained. This episode is proof of that; after having spent 10 to 12 episodes setting up the pieces that lead here, we promptly close the book on a number of them, for good and ill.

This episode is simultaneously better and worse than I had expected. It makes a mockery of my concept of episodic star ratings, because serialized mysteries and deferred payoffs, while intriguing, are hard to grade from week to week with any sort of consistency. I enjoyed watching this episode probably as much as or more than any this season — and at the same time I was also more annoyed by it. Discovery has shown itself to be a compulsively watchable nuts-and-bolts plot-moving vehicle. And the writers surprise here with a visceral hour that burns through the rest of the Mirror Universe arc at an almost stunningly furious pace, leaving the last two episodes of the season to deal with other business. The writers should be commended for not prolonging this needlessly. It's an efficient job, and frequently exciting.

HOWEVER — with a capital everything — this episode plays out pretty much the worst-case scenario regarding "Captain" Lorca, reducing him to a brutal, evil, pointless supervillain that retroactively destroys what was once an intriguing and potentially complicated character. Since everything before his radically unveiled true self was merely an act, most of his interactions from the first half of the season represent an infuriatingly pointless web of lies. It's a waste of a fine actor in Jason Isaacs, who now leaves the series because the events of this episode render his character dead and disintegrated — barring some other insane twist that reveals the Prime Universe Lorca somehow survived the destruction of the Buran. (Would I accept such silliness just to get Isaacs back on the show in a version not built upon a fraud? Yes, I would.)

I could accept the narrative trickery that is MU Lorca if he had three-dimensional motivations and represented some sort of interesting perspective in his own universe — a complex antihero, perhaps. But nope; he's a broad xenophobic caricature, showing the writers taking the laziest bad-guy route possible. They even have him chalk up his random and unlikely universe-crossing and subsequently successful plan as "destiny," making him into a self-professed fate-chosen megalomaniac, which comes across as a scripted way of admitting the plot was so hopelessly contrived that it must be acknowledged as being guided from a higher plane. This is a really disappointing conclusion to the longest of this season's long cons.

The main question comes down to whether Burnham will side with MU Lorca or MU Georgiou. I guess this is a question of which one is worse. Georgiou is the head of an oppressive and brutal empire who fed Burnham a Kelpian in the previous episode. Lorca is the man who would kill Georgiou and take over as the head of an equally if not more oppressive and brutal empire, and has been lying to Burnham for the previous 10 episodes. You do the math, but I wouldn't blame you for concluding that neither is a good option. But Burnham chooses Georgiou, because there's something in their relationship that transcends universes and Burnham has guilt surrounding her dead mentor that she just can't let go. Georgiou as Michael's emotional Achilles heel has actually been well documented this season, and they pay that off here by not only having Michael side with Georgiou but having her ultimately bring Georgiou back to the Prime Universe in a last-minute snap decision that doesn't strictly make rational sense, but makes a certain amount of tortured emotional sense from Michael's standpoint (even if it might backfire in subsequent episodes). At the very least, it keeps Michelle Yeoh on the series for a while longer, which I can't complain about.

Before we get to that point, however, we have a number of extended action sequences, which are entertaining and effective ways of moving characters and plot pieces from A to B. The production pulls out a lot of stops to play out the action beats, and they're about as satisfying as such tropes can be. There's nothing wrong with Trek occasionally embracing its inner action movie, and that's a big part of what this outing accomplishes, mostly effectively. We have shootouts, standoffs, and hand-to-hand combat. None of it is groundbreaking, a lot of it fully embraces obvious cliches, but almost all of it follows the conventions of its ilk and operates at a higher level of technical skill than Trek often has in the past. And the pacing is dead-on.

But far and away the best part of "What's Past Is Prologue" is the stuff that happens back on the Discovery once word of Lorca's true nature gets back to the crew. Captain Saru has a speech to the crew that's nothing short of awesome. It's an inspiring moment that reclaims the ship in the name of Star Trek and serves as a flat-out rejection of The Lorca Way. Saru stands in a room full of recurring players and extras (some who actually get to have multiple spoken lines!), and it makes a night-and-day difference. Within a single scene you can feel the Discovery freed of Lorca might finally become a real Star Trek crew and not the amoral backdrop for a six-character play. So even if I will miss Isaacs, there's a definite upside to having Lorca out of the picture.

The technobabble plot solution is pretty standard Trekkian fare — except for the unnecessary upping of the ante that alleges the destruction of the mycelium network would cause "all life as we know it" in all universes to end if the Charon is allowed to continue using their power source that draws from it. (Did it really have to be all universes? Couldn't just the one have been sufficient?) There's a half-hearted implied allegory in here about climate change and the shortsightedness of human greed for power, which is more commentary than most Discovery outings have attempted — but this is another place where this series needs to put forth considerably more effort in the interests of its Star Trek namesake.

Still, the scene of Stamets piloting the ship back to the Prime Universe proves visually arresting and satisfying, and I thought the way they tied it back into his memories/visions of Culber was effective within the Venn diagram where effusive sci-fi/fantasy sentiments meet hardware and visual effects. It ends with us back in the Prime Universe — but nine months later than we left it, during which time the Klingons apparently won the war. (Dun-dun-dun!)

As an action-movie hour of Trek, this episode works well in the moment. But as a wrap-up to Lorca's mysterious character arc, it feels like an act of arson against much of the season. "What's Past Is Prologue" is like the ultimate cognitive dissonance exercise: Watching it is kind of riveting, but thinking about afterward it is pretty deflating. And that's unfortunate.

Some other quick thoughts:

  • How long will mirror-Georgiou remain on the show, and what will her role be? I hope they can figure out a way to keep Michelle Yeoh around long-term in a way that makes some sort of storytelling sense.
  • Mirror-Stamets turns out to have shifting loyalties between Lorca and Georgiou depending on what looks like the safer bet at the moment — and it doesn't work out too well for him. Like that one exchange between Sisko and Dukat went: "You saw which way the wind was blowing, and switched sides." "Seemed like a good idea at the time."
  • The USS Defiant turns out to be a complete red herring. This, alas, is in keeping with this series' tendency thus far to keep the world-building and larger Trekkian canvas connections to a minimum, and instead reuse the same core elements (six characters and the spore drive) over and over again.
  • When Stamets said they overshot the timeline when returning to the Prime Universe, there was a part of me hoping he was going to say by one or two centuries instead of only nine months.
  • Discovery being led by mirror-Lorca explains a lot of what has run counter to the general Trek feeling this season. But we still have plenty of canon continuity questions to tidy up, like the war with the Klingons that Starfleet is now losing, and the continued existence of the spore drive.
  • What's that green glowing speck that comes out of the spore drive and lands on Tilly's shoulder? As they say, stay tuned.
  • I'm wondering if we're going to find out the MU Discovery has been up to mischief in the Prime Universe. They didn't theorize the two ships traded places for nothing, did they? When the USS Discovery returned to the PU, did the ISS Discovery also go back to the MU?
  • Here's hoping the Klingon War storyline is more focused in these next two episodes than previously this season.
  • There were numerous Star Wars tropes on display here, including lots of phaser shootouts that felt like stormtrooper blaster exchanges, the use of the spore network as the Force, the attack on the Charon's power sphere like a Death Star run, and a shot of Burnham shooting the grate of a ventilation shaft before diving through it.
  • How much plot will be resolved this season, and how much will be teased out for season two? I sure hope they resolve as much as possible now and start with a clean(ish) slate next year.

Previous episode: Vaulting Ambition
Next episode: The War Without, The War Within

◄ Season Index

357 comments on this review

Todd
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 8:12pm (UTC -5)
RIP "Captain" Lorca. Will miss Jason Isaacs.
Chrome
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 8:40pm (UTC -5)
Well, this fills my Sci-Fi action movie quota for awhile. This felt like Star Wars meets The Matrix meets Star Trek 2009. But, say what you will about this episode, I don’t think anyone saw the twist with Klingon War coming. Looking forward to more action in the Prime Universe!

Sure, Isaacs is gone (his Mirror Character, at any rate) and that’s a shame, but Michelle Yeoh is still with us.
TBonz
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 8:43pm (UTC -5)
" I'm hoping it's not as simple as Lorca Is Actually Evil."

Yeah, well, about that. :/ I was so hoping this was wrong but after last week, there was no doubt.

Very disappointed. Instead of an interesting Prime U. troubled/PTSD Captain, we get a cartoon character villain. *snore*

I could not care less about the stupid Klingon war. And MU Georgiou in the Prime Universe. Yeah, she won't last long.

The only interesting thing left is that little green spore that burrowed into Tilly.
Burnham will, of course, get some pips.
warp10lizard
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 8:46pm (UTC -5)
Funny thing is, we still don’t know what happened to Prime Lorca...
Rahul
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 8:50pm (UTC -5)
I liked this episode a bit more than the prior 3 2nd half of Season 1 episodes mainly for the resolutions/conclusions and pacing but not for the final action/fight scene which was far-fetched and over-dramatized, nor for the technobabble.

I think some interesting philosophizing came about here, which was lacking in prior episodes -- some consistent with Trekkian ideals, some not. Lorca’s strong/capable will always rise (bring peace through strength/war — the “right way”) and his take on the Prime Universe (PU) Federation — good to get that out into the open as far as his motivation. Lorca no longer had to put on a facade and could be his real Mirror Universe (MU) self at last.

Some good scenes between Burnham and Georgiou that show their characters work together well when faced with a common enemy. And Saru, who had been relatively quiet of late, took charge and gave a Picard speech like in "All Good Things...".

Unfortunately a bit too much suspension of disbelief needed -- plenty of questionable technobabble here as far as destroying the energy orb that uses the spore network and then being able to ride some blast wave with a mixture of warp/spore drives to get back to the PU. Interesting that this sets up a new conundrum with Discovery 9 months into the future facing a PU dominated by Klingons...

We get that idiot Landry character again. It’s almost as if MU Landry is more reasonable than PU Landry was. PU Landry right off the bat came across as a major league asshole and it was surprising to understand that that Landry was not from the MU.

Also liked that Lorca said that the way he got to the PU was the same way Kirk and the landing party got there in “Mirror, Mirror” — transporting through an ion storm.

This episode told a decent story with good pacing, tying the pieces of Lorca’s grand plan, the spore network etc. together. The one piece that wasn’t touched on was Tyler/L’Rell/Voq, which was a weaker subplot of the prior 3 episodes.

I suppose by Trek standards it shouldn’t be surprising that Lorca’s team, once freed from the agonizer booths takes over Georgiou’s palace ship — hey, if Khan can do it in “Space Seed” why not here, as unbelievable as it seems.

As for the spore network and the Terran empire using it to power their ship, weapons etc. and thus causing the network to get contaminated, Stamets says this is supposed to take all life in all universes along with it if it dies?? This seemed a cheap way to make what Discovery’s trying to do all that more meaningful. Didn’t think this needed to be thrown in unless Stamets is proven wrong and the network can be destroyed (to fall in line with canon) without all life everywhere being destroyed. But I suppose that there's perhaps a lesson in short-sightedness by Georgiou’s MU ship in destroying the network for its own use and how the PU is better than that for considering longer-term well-being (Amazon rainforest allegory perhaps?!)

Burnham and Georgiou seem to have a bond wherever they go — here being played by Lorca brings them together. Understandable. But what is not understandable is how the 2 overwhelm all of Lorca’s men, including Landry, and kill Lorca. This is pretty ridiculous as far as stretching the boundary of what’s reasonably believable. Lorca's been my favorite character in DSC so it's disappointing to see him gone, unless of course they find PU Lorca...

For once in DSC, I actually noticed the musical score -- this is one reason why I love TOS so much. Definitely some cool visuals at the end as the ship rides the spore network and Stamets is trying to navigate it accompanied by the haunting soundtrack.

Good enough for 3 stars for me -- exciting episode albeit with flaws and some questionable action scenes but at least it "made sense" of most of the loose ends and subplots from prior episodes. Nothing overly profound here, although this was a better character episode for Saru, Stamets, MU Georgiou, and MU Lorca than the prior 3. The final battle scene in the throne room was poor and hard to take seriously (hard to believe Lorca could be in turn fooled so easily by Burnham/MU Georgiou giving themselves up), but the one in the hallway (initial confrontation) worked much better. Anyhow, if 2 more episodes are left and we're done with the MU, I'm happy.
Karl Zimmerman
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 8:52pm (UTC -5)
The good about the episode was basically the visual elements. The ship shots seemed better than in past episodes, and the fight choreography was excellent - action movie level. I liked the twist of Georgiou surviving, which was unexpected. I liked the ending scenes of Stamets navigating the network as well.

Unfortunately, the dialogue and plotting was action movie level dumb as well. This is Trek for people with double-digit IQs. Lorca's character had zero complexity - he was just a dumb MU heavy who had his character destroyed for nothing. This surpasses Dukat in terms of Trek character assassination. In addition, all of the characters had dialogue which was just too on the nose, with tons of exposition and/or technobabble as the plot needed.

The added stakes of the entire multiverse being destroyed made no sense - if all someone needed to do is construct a big ship powered by the mycelial network, it would have been destroyed billions of years in the past, given we're talking about an infinite number of universes. And the ending scene where the "battle lines" updated without any word from the federation was just eye-rollingly moronic - just a cheap way to get a "cliffhanger" for the viewers.

The worst by far however is given it appears that the Klingon War might have been lost by the Federation (unclear based upon the trailer, which seems to indicate only 20% of the Federation has been taken over) we might be heading for a reset/time travel episode. This potentially means that the entire season was for nothing, and they might just do a mulligan.
TBonz
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 8:52pm (UTC -5)
Anyone see the preview? Did the MU resistance cell get accidentally transported to the Prime Universe?
Shannon
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 8:55pm (UTC -5)
I loved this episode. It was action-packed, brought the MU story arc to a satisfying closure, and managed a few surprises at the end that leaves me wanting more. Michelle Yeoh is brilliant, and I love watching her interactions with PU Burnham. Great touch to have the senior members of the crew together working a solution to save the mycelial network, and thus the multi-universe, and Saru really stepped up as a leader in that scene, which was nice to see. There were also some nice, rising level of respect moments between Stamets and Tilly... IMO this is the series' first 4-star episode!
Mac
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 9:20pm (UTC -5)
I enjoyed this episode a lot. I thought all the acting was superb. The special effects were gorgeous as always. Saru made a fantastic speech. The episode ended in a way I didn't expect. Great ending to the MU arc. I give it 4 stars as well.
Ed
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 9:35pm (UTC -5)
What I liked
-----------------------
--Everything looked great. Brilliant fight scenes but needed Georgiou's flying death blade thrown into the mix.

--Bye-bye Lorca you f++k😁 Don't let the door hit your ass on the way down!

Seriously, the jerk both seduced his stepdaughter AND didn't even have the decency to share the information on the Klingon cloaking device with Starfleet after the people he was using to get home struggled, suffered and some died for it. All it would have taken was literally just pushing a button.

--Social commentary on short-sighted misuse of resources and Trump (make the Empire glorious again; LOL)

What I didn't like
-----------------------------
-Let Her Imperial Majesty die honorably in battle or win in her own universe! The PU isn't good for her nor she for it.

--MU Stamets deserved a more interesting fate of some kind. If Georgeiou had to lose the Empire, I wanted him to have it. If not, let him go out using science to kill of a few Lorca goons.

--Setup for too much Klingon War in the future. They should have gotten back at the right time, sent the cloaking device info to the fleet, won within a couple episodes and set themselves up for a new storyline.
Dom
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 9:56pm (UTC -5)
"But, say what you will about this episode, I don’t think anyone saw the twist with Klingon War coming."

Um, yeah, because we've known the outcome of the Klingon War for over 50 years. If Discovery is actually set in the Prime Universe, we know the Klingons don't actually conquer the Federation. So there's no suspense. If the next few episodes of Discovery hinge on me worrying about the outcome of the war, count me out.
AR
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 9:57pm (UTC -5)
2.5 stars. Not sure what to think honestly. First, RIP Lorca. It's a shame to lose Isaac, to lose an interestign character, that the things that made his character interesting all boiled down to "Mirror Universe evulz". Also, where does the show go from here? The pilot and ep2 were just a prologue for what I thought was the real show; with Lorca a fake, it looks like this whole season was just a prologue for whatever the hell is the actual "real show" that this will become when they beat back the Klingons, and I'm not sure anymore what that will be.
AR
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 10:03pm (UTC -5)
And yeah, agree with Dom: zero suspense. After the map reveal my thoughts were "oh, hm, that's bad, wonder how fast they'll hit the reset button". They really shouldn't have said that this was taking place in the Prime Universe, but who knows, maybe they'll make it pay off interestingly.

Also, I guess Saru is captain now? :D Since Lorca (the one who used his wide lattitude to recruit a mutineer) is gone, do they throw Michael back in prison, or does the whole 'saving the universe' thing earn her a pardon/recommission?
Joseph B
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 10:09pm (UTC -5)
This was a Four Stars “OMG!” ep!!

I was riveted for the entire run time and thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the production: The acting; the exciting movie-quality special effects; the “moralistic”, but action-packed plot; and the very nicely done score which augmented and enhanced the suspense and excitement.

In fact, this was “too good for television”!

Live Long and Prosper! 🖖
anthimos112
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 10:11pm (UTC -5)
@ AR

Stop trying to trek geek your way through the plot and just try and enjoy it episode to episode for what it is. Then look back on the show and as a whole. If people were to have spent half as much energy analyzing and critiquing each episode of the original series as trek "fans" spend on every series that has come since, the whole franchise would have died after some of the first seasons less interesting episodes. I for one am interested to see how they use the idea of exploring not just space like traditional trek but alternate universes and timelines.
Dom
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 10:20pm (UTC -5)
@anthimos112, I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm honestly just bored watching this show. I only watch because my girlfriend liked the first few episodes, but even she's been bored with the Mirror Universe plot thread. These episodes just don't have much of substance. Worse, looking back on the show as a whole, it just doesn't make sense. Lorca being from the MU? The Tyler/Voq plan? What does any of it matter? I honestly enjoy reading reviews of this show more than I do watching it. At least then I can think about what makes for good TV.
AR
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 10:28pm (UTC -5)
@anthimos112

I am, and I have. And I have questions about where we've been and where we're going. Feel free to disagree, and offer your own perspective. As for 'trek geeking', a show that can't handle even the slightest bit of week-to-week analysis ain't worth a damn in the first place. Also, while there are some aspects I may find a bit lackluster, I have no intentions of tuning out, so if most fans are like me, then DIS doesn't have to worry about ratings. Even my harshest rating for the season overall (so far) would put Discovery ahead of other first seasons of Star Trek.
Mertov
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 10:40pm (UTC -5)
I absolutely loved the scene where Discovery's crew brainstorms together and it ends with Saru's speech to the crew. If that is not Star Trek, I don't know what is, meaning, everyone from the crew adding their input leading to problem solving. How many times have we seen TOS, TNG, DS9 or Voyager crews do that? A lot. That was vintage Trek.

Everything that came after that scene was riveting. I am not even going to overthink the technobabble, I never watched Star Trek for 4 decades and evaluated an episode based on the plausibility of the technobabble, and I am not about to start now. It worked fine for me.

I also think the mirror universe Georgiou willing to self-sacrifice for helping Burnham return to Discovery showed that mirror universe characters could evolve too. I am very interested in seeing what comes next with Georgiou now. I am certainly glad to have Yeoh back in the mix, what a terrific actress. And by the way, I need that athletic reverse kick she did analyzed in slow motion (lol) right when she was held from behind, about to be stabbed.

I agree with Rahul above that Burnham and Georgiou overwhelming Lorca's crew was far-fetched. The only other complaint I have, and this will probably not sit well with everyone who thought special effects were great, there is too much bright lens flares, I mena I felt like I needed those eye drops that Lorca uses. Other than these aspects, I would rate this episode almost 4 stars.

I'll repeat, this was the most ambitious use of the mirror universe in any series, well done Discovery -- and this is coming from a guy who has never particularly been a fan of the mirror universe episodes in Trek.

Landry was such a jerk in both appearances (episodes 3 and 4, and this one) that she may still have a Prime universe version out there, because it felt like both versions we saw were from the mirror universe, LOL.

Last comment: Saru shined in this episode.
Shannon
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 10:42pm (UTC -5)
@Dom, @AR

I have been rather mystified by the intense negative critiques of this series. We finally have Star Trek back, and it just seems that all some people want to do is complain. Would you rather it not be here since it doesn't live up to your standards? Actually, here's a better question. What would you have the show be? I would love for everyone on this blog who rips this show to shreds week in and week out to answer that one please. What would you do? What plots would you create? What story arcs, if any, would you employ? Perhaps they can all camp out on a strange planet and get high off of pollen and imagine seeing rock people.
No, wait, that was done already. Oh, right, perhaps Stamets could fool around with an alien male scientist from a new race they just meet and get pregnant! Oh, no, sorry, already did that one... Yes I'm being facetious, of course, but I'm just getting tired of the hammering this show is getting... Here's a thought, write a script and post it here for all of us to enjoy... and critique!!!
Shannon
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 10:49pm (UTC -5)
@Mertov, @Joseph B, @Mac

Glad you are enjoying this series and giving it a fair shake.

@TBonz

Anyone see the preview? Did the MU resistance cell get accidentally transported to the Prime Universe?"

Yes, I saw that on After Trek. On first take it does seem to be that way, but Admiral what's her name (wow, I can't even remember her) beams in with Sarek just afterwards. I don't think it's the MU rebels, but you never know.
Gee
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 10:52pm (UTC -5)
@Rahul
Have you seen the TOS ep Trails and Tribulations? In it kirk belittles and mocks a federation agricultural chief for requesting more security to protect grains he suspects Klingons might poison. Kirk belittles and mocks him and accuses him of being a useless time waster. Kirk behaved like a bully. Not everyone in the UFP is perfect least not captains.

"PU Landry right off the bat came across as a major league asshole and it was surprising to understand that that Landry was not from the MU. "

PU Landry is an officer dedicated to the chain of command. Georgiou was someone with a very good reputation. How would you feel if you heard that a 1st officer physically assaulted her captain and caused the war? wouldnt you think they were scum?

I'd have prefered PU Landry not to have died and come to appreciate Burnham's good points and forgive Burnham eventually. Mutiny is not a good thing people. And for it to be realised (maybe by Cornwall) that Burnhams actions were due to emotional instabilty due to being raised by Vulcans. She needs therapy not prison?!
Mertov
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 10:53pm (UTC -5)
Shannon,
Just my two cents.. There are plenty of people who post here that like the show too (example, myself). I imagine if Jammer's page had comments section back in the first season of TNG or DS9 or Voyager, we would have seen the same pattern, some liking it, some not. As long as there is constructive done without a condescending tone, it's fine. And remember, sometimes we get a back-and-forth between two or three people that makes it sound too negative or positive too. I mean for the last episode's comment section (I think) some posters have posted over dozen messages, or more. For my part, I have three in the last episode, and two here. So when you see 259 messages (for example), it's actually a lot less than 259 commenters. Ok.. back to the episode..
I'll wait for Jammer's review..
JP
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 10:55pm (UTC -5)
Well, Discovery has officially lost the plot. Mindless action. Mindless slaughter of characters. And now mindlessly abusing the mechanics of time travel and the mirror universe to bring us back to the Klingon War. Oh no! How are we going to win the war now, with Burnham being a "boundless well of human compassion"? Guess war-obsessed mirror Lorca was right all along--too bad he's dead now! Luckily, we've replaced that filthy white male with the most ruthless, murderous woman in the mirror universe. She'll show us how winning wars is done!
anthimos112
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 10:55pm (UTC -5)
@AR

Oh i never once thought you would tune out. That isn't what people in the modern "complaint culture" do. You will watch 10 seasons of this and complain trhough 90% of it if you had to. That is WHY you watch it. And the show can handle the week to week analysis just fine it is the other trek fans that have to suffer through week after week of nitpicking nonsense that are the worse for wear. Trek fandom seems to have been split into two camps...those who want a new trek show to enjoy, and those who want a new trek show for them to enjoy not enjoying.
@Shannon
I agree with everything you just wrote.
Chrome
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 10:58pm (UTC -5)
@Dom

Are you saying the ending of this episode was spoiled by TOS? That’s quite a leap in logic to make. But more specifically, I was speaking of the time jump, which is probably the most intriguing way they could segue the story back to the war. I’m sorry if you don’t like the Klingon War arc, but if you had watched “Into the Forest I Go”, you’d know the conflict wasn’t resolved and would need some follow up to conclude this season properly.
J.B.
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 11:08pm (UTC -5)
My primary frustration at this point is that they've killed off the most interesting character (after making him a two-dimensional baddie). No one else left is particularly compelling, especially Burnham (and the show desperately wants us to adore her).

The show is very pretty, very flashy but it has no soul.
Karl Zimmerman
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 11:09pm (UTC -5)
I'm not sure I get the "just sit back and enjoy it and turn your brain off." First, I could do that with any type of media - I expect better than mindless entertainment (at least some of the time) from Trek. Secondly, while I recognize that Discovery has developed into a well-executed action series - I never liked "action Trek" much myself. I liked the intimate character-driven Trek like The Inner Light, Duet, Far Beyond The Stars, Visitor, Living Witness, etc. Thus even when the writing isn't as dumb as a bag full of rocks (like it was this week) it's just not the sort of Trek I enjoy at the moment.

I have hopes that the series will retool next season. They seem to be indicating they are moving to a more "ensemble" setup. I think a lot of the issues this season were budgetary - Fuller blew too much money in the first two episodes, constraining them to stories which used little to no location shooting and limited guest casts. But I really feel like they need to purge the writer's room and get some better talent in there, because what they have right now just isn't cutting it.
Dom
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 11:12pm (UTC -5)
@Shannon

"Would you rather it not be here since it doesn't live up to your standards?"

Yes. Great if other people enjoy this show, but to me it doesn't feel anything like Trek. My attitude is that I love Trek, so I want the best for it. I expect the highest quality because to me Trek represents quality. Remember, TOS and TNG had pretty high caliber fans, including NASA scientists and Stephen Hawking. Trek used to inspire engineers and writers. Does anyone really think Discovery is poised to inspire today's youth to dream of a better world?

As for what I'd do, I know you're being facetious because I and others have already discussed what we think would work ad nauseum. Trent had a great idea in another post. Tell a story about first contact. Show a morally ambiguous story of the Federation having to learn to deal with or accept an alien culture that violated its liberal principles (such as a caste system). I think you could do a lot with a serialized story set in one planet or system, really exploring a clash of cultures. If you need the occasional action or political intrigue, maybe have the Romulans also competing for this planet.

But I'd argue with the premise of your question because the important thing isn't WHAT I'd do but HOW. A lot of Trek has to do with tone and engagement with moral issues. Action can be entertaining, but the core of Trek is ethical dilemmas and problem solving. I don't think anyone really cares if an episode has crew members go to an alien planet and get high off pollen. What matters is what that story does for the characters and what ethical dilemma it addresses? Do they get high off pollen and learn something about the human condition? When the better episodes of TNG or TOS did those types of episodes, it wasn't just about characters getting high off pollen. "Yesterday's Enterprise" wasn't just an excuse to have a bunch of action scenes set in a parallel universe with cool outfits. It was about a set of characters facing an ethical quandary.
Dom
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 11:25pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome, you are aware that Discovery is a prequel to TOS, right? I believe it takes place 10 years before TOS. The ending of this episode ends with a map showing the Klingons having almost defeated the Federation. My point was the ending of the episode seems like it’s trying to build suspense based on that map and the state of the war. It seems like the episode is trying to get viewers worried that the Federation might lose. But we know from TOS that the Federation wins/isn’t conquered. So what’s the point? What is the hook that’s going to keep me interested? It seems like a poorly conceived way to build suspense in a prequel. Instead, build suspense by getting us to care about characters and then making us wonder about their fates.
Tim
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 11:28pm (UTC -5)
Seeing the chemistry between Michele Yeoh and Sonequa Martin-Green is another entry in the "What could have been" book about Discovery.

I've lamented elsewhere that they all the pieces for a truly "Trek" experience in the pilot episode. Yeoh nailed the "Starfleet Captain" role, in a way I haven't seen since Patrick Stewart. Burnham had a headstrong attitude that was equal parts Riker and Kira, with better acting chops than the former (no offense Frakes). Suru was an interesting character, a new race, one that felt like the Federation. The production values are absolutely amazing, it really feels like "Star Trek," much moreso than the JJ-verse movies.....

So, yeah, they had everything they needed to tell a mostly optimistic story about the future, exploration, and the human experience, but instead we get a war where the Federation is using slave labor (WTF?) to mine dilithim, we exploit sentient creatures to power our starship, there are scenes of rape, PTSD, murder, and if that wasn't enough we have to use this serialized story structure where there's never a satisfying ending to any episode. There's always a new twist and a new shock waiting in the last two minutes.

Other shows have done this format better. Game of Thrones is the obvious example, but Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, and The Wire also come to mind. This feels more like House of Cards, with all the plot twists, but at least with House of Cards you can sit down and watch the whole season. CBS is doling this out like traditional TV, without giving us the payoff that usually comes with an episode.
Tim
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 11:45pm (UTC -5)
@Karl, regarding "action Trek," I couldn't agree more. It's one of the reasons why the TNG movies are so meh to me. They took a cerebral television show and gave us three action movies and one ill conceived crossover story. It deserved so much better.

The first episode of Star Trek I ever saw was DS9's "Duet." Up late one night and it happened to be on the TV. I suppose I got lucky there; that episode is easily a Trek Top 10 and DS9 Top 5. It's certainly not fair to compare anything Discovery has produced to that masterpiece, but how can I not? First impressions stay with you forever....

If I was up late now, having never seen Star Trek, and tuned into a random episode of Discovery, well, I doubt it would command my full attention, as "Duet" did, and I doubt I'd be pulling out the TV Guide (remember those?) and looking for the next episode of this fascinating series I never knew existed.
Chrome
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 12:02am (UTC -5)
@Dom

Right, but even if you know the eventual outcome, that doesn’t mean the execution of events leading up to that outcome can’t be interesting. Was Batman Begins automatically a bad movie because you already knew Bruce Wayne was going become a masked crime fighter?
WTBA
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 12:05am (UTC -5)
Absolutely thrilling. Edge of your seat stuff. Also the first episode that nearly brought me to tears. Great stuff.

Seems like they are in for a rude awakening back in the PU. Not just the nine months, but Starfleet (Cornwall/Sarek and others from the preview clip) seem paranoid and pissed. Maybe they figured out about Lorca?

OF COURSE: It probably doesn't help that the ship still says ISS DISCOVERY on it... (gonna need to undone that paint job)
Peter G.
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 12:25am (UTC -5)
All of the relevant trends of this series continue on track, even increasing in magnitude. This includes the following, at the very least: Tight editing and good pacing, pithy one-liners to explain massive directions in the plot, characters shifting allegiance unexpectedly, random plot twists, absurd levels of technobabble, and the requirement that we be totally invested in the fate of Burnham for the plot to have its intended emotional significance. This last point is perhaps the most important, because as certain posters have noted already, if the success of the series plot rests on the shoulders of Burnham then they're really setting themselves up for failure. Both the actress and the character bible seem ill-equipped to carry the series and to capture our interest. It seems now, more so than ever, that Earth-shattering plot twists hinge on Burnham's decisions, and for that to matter to us we need to care about what she decides. So let me go into that now for a moment.

There was a critical point in the episode, when The Emperor was on her knees and Lorca was gloating about having won, that I realized (with dismay) that this was all going to come down to which side Burnham chose, and that I really had no interest in the success of either side. Even more than that, I had no interest in why Michael might choose one or the other; whatever random reason she cited for choosing (which in this case was the ever-noble reason of revenge against Lorca) would ultimately prove to be arbitrary and of no interest to me since both parties in question were vile and the PD would expressly forbid any real Starfleet officer from making the choice in the first place. But thankfully Burnham isn't a real Starfleet officer so I guess that means the PD doesn't apply to her; some unintended continuity there. That she should ultimately choose the person with the face of her former Captain is perhaps more troubling than the alternative would have been, because it really does show how irrational and emotional all of Burnham's decisions have been all season. If I'm supposed to see a heroic figure here then they are sadly misguided about what I'm likely to admire.

One positive note about the evil vs. evil machinations in the story was that Jason Isaacs seemed able to freely enjoy his performance much more than we've seen before. It's true that the character had to mask his true feelings, which of course requires the actor to play the part subdued, but nevertheless this put a wet blanket over most of the energy the actor can bring to bear in a part. At least he had one final chance to show some charisma, which mostly worked.

Since so much of the season's plot hinged on these few characters - and on Tyler, who wasn't in this episode - most of the ensemble has suffered from severe neglect as a result. The writers apparently heard the criticisms on this score and did a complete about-face, giving ample time to scenes involving group decisions and secondary characters who previously were seen and never heard. Ordinarily I would congratulate a series for finally getting the memo and reforming a flaw, but in this case it felt so forced and sudden that it struck me as being a blatant case of throwing meat to the dogs to silence them. I'll withdraw this suspicion later on if the series truly does transform into an ensemble piece with world-building.

The problem with world-building, though, is that it's not just about the people on the bridge having a name, but the universe itself having some kind of consistent rules that limit what the characters can do. And if they find a way to break those rules it had better be a means of exploring the characters rather than to cheat the plot along. The technobabble permitting the Discovery to do what it did here was so over-the-top that I fear even poor Voyager was outdone, and that is no mean boast. And I'd like to disagree with other posters who have summarily written off all Trek [tech] moments as being equally ridiculous and therefore not caring what comes out of people's mouths here. That kind of defeatist attitude doesn't square with the kinds of effort made in the 60's and then 80's to make as much sense out of the imaginary tech as possible. The Okudas, once again, played a part in that, and seem to have no counterparts here. The tech talk in this series has been off-the-wall in general, but even putting that aside, at least ideas like "spore drive" were entirely made up. But this episode had perhaps the worst technobabble moment in Trek since Threshhold when, in engineering, it was proposed that in order to carry out their plan, the Discovery could make use not only of "spore energy" (which is...wtf is that again?) but -- wait for it -- could also make use of the "potential" energy present to accomplish the task. Now, look. It's all very well to use made-up terms and have them take the place of a real plan; if that's the writing plan then fine, that's their choice. But "potential" energy is an actual scientific term and has no meaning when inserted into the discussion they were having. It's not an energy source, let's just put it that way! I can say with complete confidence after hearing that line that the scripts are not edited by or even referred to any kind of scientist or technical writer, because no one with even a solid high-school education would have let that line remain. Talk about not even putting in any effort. They should have just done what Trek scripts have habitually looked like in their raw form and spoken, aloud, "we can use the [tech] energy after aligning the [tech] [tech]." It would have at least been more honest that way.

Speaking of honest uses of fiction ideas, I guess I was right the other week when I said it looked like they were plagiarizing the Force. It's gone from looking like they're just lifting parts of it to them basically just saying that, yeah, it's the Star Wars Force. It doesn't take a genius to put two and two together when hearing that all life in all universes will end when the spore network dies to realize they're talking about a galaxy far, far away. It's not enough that entire franchises are rebooting entire plotlines and lifting scenes from their predecessors, but now we're lifting classic universe elements from other popular franchises too. But don't worry, Disney certainly won't sue, because the guys behind this show are close with the guys running Star Wars right now. They're all on the same side, you see.

I'd also like to give another shout-out to the sheer amount of deaths and executions in this episode, and to its montage tribute to the films Equilibrium and The Matrix. This is definitely what Trek is all about; killing and endless martial arts scenes. On a technical level I have no problem mentioning that some of the action was successfully directed. I thought the shootout in the corridor had some moments that really worked, I liked the gun turrets, and finally a deflector shield that ordinary phasers can take down quickly. However the hand combat scenes were far behind the times in sophistication, and since I brought it up earlier, Equilibrium's hand-combat scenes were infinitely better and, frankly, more realistic. Here I had no understanding of why anyone was even engaging in hand combat, as it seemed arbitrary as to who had ranged weapons and who didn't. I didn't know why Michael and the Emperor weren't just shot by someone. Either way the fight pacing was off and the fight choreography was quite poor considering what I know is possible even on a lowish budget.

Here's one point that I wonder whether it'll ever be wrapped up: Burnham made this fancy pact with !Voq to help him in exchange for his cooperation, and I assumed we'd see that pan out somehow. At the very least that ought to have meant removing Emperor Georgiou, their nemesis. But when it came down the the wire Burnham not only chose Georgiou over Lorca, but saved Georgiou on top of it when she was intent on getting herself killed. It even seemed like Michael was prepared to have Georgiou put back on the throne and was taken aback when she said that her neck had been bared already and she had no future left. Well then...what about the rebels? Screw them, I guess? That was just one big red herring since Michael did what she's best at and betrayed them in the attempt to prop up their tormentor again. Nice messages here.

Closing remark about the ending: The moment they jumped 9 months into the future I knew the Klingons had won the war. Too many times of Lorca exclaiming that the Discovery was the key to the whole war effort made that clear enough. But perhaps Captain Killy had something to do with the rapidity of the the Federation's loss. No doubt she decided the Klingons were the closest to the Terrans for her taste and sided with them.

I'd like to be able to make some grand-sweeping statement like "the moral fiber of this show is completely degenerate" but I think that would be missing the point. It's not that the morals of the writers are mixed up, but simply that they don't exist. They're busting every move to keep the plot twists coming and I don't think there's much more to it than that. There's no consideration for what any broader message might be, and so any message one can draw from the show is going to be largely accidental rather than by design. One message I draw from it, for instance, is that action is awesome and that edgy violence is an end unto itself. That isn't a philosophical message being put out on purpose, I think, but it's deeply embedded in the show's fabric and in fact is the most relevant facet to the show. The Trek reboots pointed in this direction but DISC has gone all the way with it, and it's about the most anti-Trek message I can think of. It's almost like a Terran Empire's version of a Star Trek series, and sorry to those who like reading only positive reviews, but yes, it's an actual betrayal. It's not just some new show we should be thankful for, but it an insult to what I grew up thinking of as Federation values. It's some piece of irony that the story of the series is focused on a character whose chief characteristic is being a traitor.
Kinematic
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 12:55am (UTC -5)
I'd say this was the most emotionally moving episode yet. Seeing Lorca's character reduced from a dark, mysterious figure who rides the edge of Federation ethics to a cartoon villian was just sad. Isaacs's acting took a nosedive to match. Long, cringeworthy speeches with a shoehorned Trump reference. And he's going to make the Empire glorious again compared to what? He says the current Emperor is welcoming to aliens? She welcomes them at the dinner table I guess. So the genocidal Empire that kills aliens on sight needs to be even more violent and genocidal. Are they going to have daily Kelpian barbecues in every Terran kindergarten? Great characterization, very believable.

That aside it was a bog-standard action movie plot with nearly no surprises at all, from the strategic surrender to the bad guy to brilliant solution to the no-win scenario to the captured good guys elbowing guards in the stomach, grabbing their guns and starting a fight in the throne room. Why wasn't Georgiou restrained? Oh, and in case we thought the stakes weren't high enough, for some reason the decay of the mycelial network will actually kill off all life in every universe!

Saru's speech was a bright point, well-acted if not well-written and it looks like they've decided to give some lines to the bridge crew members so they don't just come off as living furniture.

And I can't get over what a trite, paint-by-numbers bad guy Lorca turned into. The one interesting thing they could have done for him would be to play up his lust for Michael, bringing the subtext from before into sharp relief, but that's a place they weren't bold enough to go. That was the one part of his character that could have disturbed in an interesting way, but all that happens is Michael saying "you have my mind only" and Lorca reacts with the same brusqueness he affords everything else.
The Tower
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 1:02am (UTC -5)
Action packed episode, but lots more suspension of disbelief required. Entertaining, but still not Trek to me.

My projections for plot direction:

The green spore that landed on Tilly is Culber. Now that Tyler/Voq has been lobotomized (maybe), I'll bet Tilly is the next one to deal with two voices in one head.

Meanwhile, Georgiou will end up in Discovery's captain's chair because... circumstances (and drama). This will most likely be "forced" by desperate measures during the war. My guess is, Discovery will be operating/trapped behind Klingon lines for a while until the writers figure out the best way to reset the timeline.

Tyler ends up going back to work as a tormented soul due to the Voq experience. There will be much "agonizing" over whether this is the right thing to do, but again, some contrived circumstance will force it.

Lastly, the spore drive is ultimately used to "put things right" before ultimately being lost with eventual destruction of THIS Discovery, and all knowledge of the technology, as well as that of the MU being covered up by Section 31. Think last scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

For the record, I hope I'm wrong. This would suck.
The Tower
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 1:09am (UTC -5)
Also, wouldn't the Charon have a proper bridge staffed with officers at weapons stations who would have opened fire on Discovery on sight? It was manuevering aggressively with torpedoes armed when it showed up on Charon's porch. You'd think someone would have opened fire.

To make it worse, the Discovery crew's plan didn't even account for what should have been devastating barrage from Charon's weapons.

Just silly.
John Harmon
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 2:12am (UTC -5)
A lot of what I feel about this episode has been said by others. I felt it was intensely entertaining in the moment, but afterwards when even the slightest bit of scrutiny was applied, it all fell apart.

Something that's been bugging me this whole season is...why do we just keep seeing the same characters over and over? The entire point of Star Trek is to explore new worlds. Instead this series focuses on maybe 4 characters and we get them over and over and even alternate universe versions of them.

I just don't get why they make this show feel so small. In the clips for next week's episode, it looks like we're getting characters who look exactly like some of the MU resistance from a few episodes ago. There's only ten people in this entire universe.

John Harmon
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 2:34am (UTC -5)
So I have a question. Are we supposed to relate to Burnham wanting to save mirror Georgiou? Was this meant to be seen as a heroic move for her?

Why would we care about this? Because she looks like Burnham's old Captain? We, as functioning adults, know they're not the same person. Mirror Georgiou is a horrific person. Remember when she made Burnham choose which sentient being they would eat for dinner? Why the hell would Burnham care about saving her?

Are we to believe she's mentally deficient and has no short-term memory? It just feels like another incredibly stupid and incredibly selfish move on her part. This character learns nothing. Ever.
Chillyn
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 2:35am (UTC -5)
This show fuckin rocks \m/ what an intense ride it's been so far.

To those complaining about acting...seriously. Don't get me wrong, trek has its moments of greatness, but it's never consistently had the best acting, lol, in any series. I think discovery has been one of the best in that regard. I'm fine with less comedy and light heartedness with stuff like klingons singing and getting drunk. I'm down with the overtones of dark and serious.

It's already miles better than enterprise. I seriously didn't give a shit about any of those characters. Especially archer. Golly Gee Wilakers,...photon torpedos!
Nolan
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 2:41am (UTC -5)
Okay, I gotta weigh in here... My opinions on Discovery are... mixed. It is NOT the show I wanted. There are far too many franchise inconsistencies here. (Changing the Klingon look from what they should be solely so there could be a manchurian agent storyline with a "surprise" twist to match TV of the day is SO lazy) Not caring about fitting technical advancement in relation to other series just to be 'futuristic' also rankles. (Maybe WW3 would've pushed back holo-communications tech somehow, maybe it really set us back technologically. Nope) My only hope for the solution of those inconsistancies is for it to be revealed that we are, in fact in an alternate Universe. The dang spore drive does that now.

That said, I will argue against cries of "too much action, not enough thinking." While yes, Discovery isn't AS cerebral as other Trek, it's not devoid of it, I don't think. It's used the MU to discuss; identity, how our environment shapes us, what it means to be faced by those with different ideologies than you (fight [Burnham/Lorca], or find common ground [Burnham/MU!Georgiou]) and you know, semi-shoe-horned in Climate Change asides. It also had a healthy dose of classic Trek problem solving, regardless of treknobabble.

It also had copious amounts of mindless action. As does EVERY TREK. There's a reason Kirk is known for ripping his shirt. The bugger gets into fights CONSTANTLY. Haha. I mean, he kicked Khan's ass the first time they met. He tried to beat the s#@% outta Spock when the guy was hopped up on space spores. As he and a roomful of Prime characters did so to MU Spock when they landed up in the Mirror universe. In the PILOT episode Pike fought with a random alien in a space castle before impaling him with a, um pike.

Point is, action, fighting et cetera have always been a part of Trek. What matters is how much it's backed up by characterization or issues of morality, ethics or plain ole introspection. DS9 the "war" show had a few episodes whose main draw was a space battle, but there was enough going on around it either in the background or in other episodes that it got away with them. Compare this to '09 which had hardly anything deep backing up that action romp. Discovery isn't near as that bad in how it skews the violence/cerebral balance as that movie.

So what's my point? Well I guess it's not to decry mindless action scenes in Trek. They've been there since the beginning (Kirk v Finney, real thinker of a fisticuff fight there). Rather look to see what the balance is while recognizing how the TV landscape has changed through each Trek incarnation to skew the balance more to one end of the spectrum than the other. (One of the reasons I think SF Debris song choice for his Discovery reviews is so very apt, it is a sign of the times)

As for this ep, I liked it for the most part. Excited for the potential for having an Alien as the main Captain. And Discovery's brig has the potential to be a wacky sit-com, A female Klingon, in love with a human looking Klingon with a human identity crisis, (Discovery's driving theme it seems) and a disgraced Mirror universe emperor, all living in the same space. What could go wrong!? "Come and knock on my door..."
Tim C
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 3:18am (UTC -5)
A solid three stars here I think. DSC is selling the action-adventure side of Star Trek better than any of its progenitors, and the furious storytelling pace always keeps me interested. This was a fine, exciting conclusion to the Mirror Universe arc. But man, am I disappointed to be back with the bloody Klingon war. It's way less interesting than this Mirror Universe storyline was, and without Lorca there as the devil on the shoulder of the Discovery crew I feel it's going to lose even more interest.

Speaking of which, BOO to losing Jason Isaacs. I was really hoping we were going to get some switcheroo shenanigans, and find the Prime Lorca somewhere along the way. Instead he appears to have just been deleted from the show, and although you never say never in sci-fi this seemed pretty definitive. And with that, we lose the strongest actor in the ensemble. I sincerely hope we get him back in the captain's chair. If they make Burnham captain I will scream. Not because I don't like her, but because it would be utterly ridiculous from a story perspective.
Kinematic
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 3:26am (UTC -5)
I just thought of something else. You know how they're saying this show is supposed to have a progressive message? That Klingons are stand-ins for Trump supporters?

I wrote a while back how the Klingons seem to parallel ISIS more than the western right wing. Their background is a homogenous, traditionalist culture that's politically disunited, and T'Kuvma wanted to unite them against a foreign influence he sees as encroaching on their culture. Their battle against the Federation closely parallels the struggle of Islamic extremists against the West.

In this episode, Lorca is a clear stand-in for the right wing or even for Trump himself. So what has Discovery's message been so far?

"Our liberal society is under attack from brutish foreigners who hate our way of life. Our ethics of peace and tolerance mean nothing to them and they wish to destroy us. The only person who can stand against them and save us is a right-wing revolutionary leader who isn't afraid to break any rule that holds him back from victory."

And sure enough, without Lorca leading the fight the Federation has been collapsing against the Klingons. Up until this episode, Lorca's methods have been consisently successful, regardless of any character's milquetoast criticism. Michael was even helped along in this episode by Lorca's advice from the last.

Is this what the writers of Discovery wanted to convey?
wolfstar
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 3:58am (UTC -5)
Lorca is alt-right now (out of nowhere)? Gimme a break...

What a hot mess. Sound and fury signifying nothing. The good thing is that they're clearly making prep for S2 by giving what have until now been the extras (Airiam, Kalya, Owosekun, Bryce, Rhys) lines and increased screen time. This is what happens when your main cast has only been designed to last the season, because the show was originally conceived as a single-season arc - you have to have a backup cast waiting in the wings. Captain Saru was good and his speech was good. There's a chance that season 2 could be more like Star Trek, instead of the quite literal Game of Thrones that season 1 ultimately revealed itself as.

So it goes without saying that Lorca's character arc is totally unsatisfying. As I've kept saying: the reveal is the endgame. They were never interested in him as a person, his relationships with the other crew members or what he meant in terms of being a war captain - as soon as we get the reveal, he turns Actually Evil and is dispatched within the space of an episode. The reveal is the endgame.

At least they kept Mirror Georgiou's characterization consistent, but I hate that Michael sided with her and even saved her and that we're supposed to see Mirror Georgiou as somehow noble and the lesser of two evils. Michael has a bad case of Stockholm syndrome given that Mirror Georgiou again tried to kill her this week. Burnham's characterization is absolutely all over the place, even more in this episode than usual.

The spore nonsense, with the collapse of the mycelium network suddenly elevated from the mere inconvenience of "no longer being able to jump" to the hackneyed overly-high-stakes calamity of "All Life In The Universe Will Be Destroyed", was totally arbitrary. How convenient that the reactor and containment field were right below the throne room. The navigation sequence (in which Stamets guides us back to the prime universe assisted by The Power Of Love) was more like something out of Andromeda.

Other thoughts:
- Last week I really got the impression that the Stametses woke up switched. Apparently not?
- I thought the Klingon War was over...?
- Early on in S1, around the time they made the switch from the tardigrade to Stamets, I got the impression that anyone could fly the spore drive as we all share part of our DNA with mushrooms etc etc. (I know...) But now the show is acting like Stamets is the only one who can fly the spore drive.
wolfstar
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 4:22am (UTC -5)
Shannon and anthimos112... please stop berating people for criticising the show, even mildly, when it's all part of a healthy and intelligent discussion. If you love Discovery, that's great - the best way to convince others and share your enthusiasm for the show is to tell us (passionately and sincerely) why you think it's great and what you like about each week's episode (maybe that will help more people see the good in it), instead of just berating anyone who has the temerity to say otherwise. I was heavily critical of the past two episodes but I gave The Wolf Inside 4 stars and Into The Forest I Go 3.5. This site is for all opinions, positive and negative. And we're critical because we love Star Trek. Trying to shut down substantive criticism is really facile.

I agree with a lot of the comments on this thread, especially Tim's about how good the original Shenzhou setup was, as well as Peter G (as usual), Kinematic and Trent. Like Nolan I'm also excited for the potential of having an alien as the main captain. And I agree with Karl on the facileness of the "just sit back and enjoy it and turn your brain off" argument. That's saying no culture should ever be criticised, even intelligently and constructively. There's no point in culture if we're not supposed to have thoughts and individual responses to it. Without that, it's just content.
Thomas
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 4:32am (UTC -5)
So given that there are an infinite number of universes with every possibility accounted for, wouldn't that mean that there is a universe where the Charon doesn't get destroyed and the Discovery doesn't heal the mycelial network? How does that work?
Andy
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 4:58am (UTC -5)
So with MU Lorca dead and MU Georgiou in the wrong universe, who is the Emperor of the Terran Universe now? Landry? Dear God.
Ed
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 5:34am (UTC -5)
It's nice that we'll continue having Michell Yeoh with us, but I'd expect this character to have a Plan B.

Something like this: She taps some commands into a computer and she and Burnham beam into a large, luxurious escape shuttle.

"Discovery, I'm sending you Michael Burnham. The Charon's defenses are disabled. Please give me a moment to get out of here, then destroy it and go home. [Beams Michael to Discovery] Risa Imperial Compound, prepare to receive your Emperor. [Takes off at maximum warp]
Kinematic
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 5:44am (UTC -5)
@Andy

Landry got vaporized when the Charon's evil spore globe blew up. Maybe Detmer will take over with the Shenzhou as the new Imperial flagship?
Tanner
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 6:03am (UTC -5)
I was waiting for the Defiant to be found. Disappointing.
Jarcher
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 6:26am (UTC -5)
It was a thoroughly entertaining episode but as others have said - it's unbelievable when you give it a moment's reflection.

I hope that we get to see PU Lorca, as Jason Isaacs is a great actor and liked him as the captain - flaws and all. The change to 'evil bad guy' was too quick and jarring and seemed unrealistic to me. If he'd had some not so dark motive, I could have accepted that. Saru however was great as a starfleet captain, and I hope he is given the opportunity to stay in that role for some time.

I really liked the USS Discovery shots in this episode, along with the amazing score.
fortyseven
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 6:32am (UTC -5)
@Peter G.

I would like to applaud your review, especially the final paragraph. You have summarised my personal feelings about this show with great precision.

The Star Trek of old is clearly dead. In fact, there appears to be a real antipathy towards the tradition of Trek that permeates Discovery. However, I don’t believe this is simply due to the fact that the writers are visionless hacks who are unmotivated by consistency, principle and moral philosophy as a drive for their stories. I believe that the industry in general now views the old Star Trek as cumbersome and hopelessly nerdy. For them the canon is merely a cage to creativity.

I saw a rather devastating interview of the great Ron Moore a few weeks ago in one of the supplements made for the final season of TNG remastered. In it he stated that he was no longer a fan of old Star Trek and that it was too removed from reality in relation to general human behaviour. He railed against a perceived totalitarianism that was inflicted on the writer’s room with all good ideas barred by what had come before. He seemed to think that creativity needs to be allowed to flow freely without constraints to reach its full potential. He seemed to have forgotten all the incredible contributions he himself had made to Star Trek’s rulebook.

However, in my view, Discovery and in some ways the movie reboot highlights the flaws of this approach. The writers get lazy and the world which they are trying to tell their stories in implodes under the weight of the inconsistency and lawlessness that result when a great number of people contribute unrestrained to one creative endeavour.

I suppose the old Star Trek always had strong nay-sayers in the form of Roddenberry and later Rick Berman who kept the shows on a strict course. Sure, for a writer this must have been extremely frustrating at times but in my view it maintained the (relatively) consistent world that we all came to love. Even if that meant some great story ideas and plot-twists came to nothing more than a crumpled up piece of paper on the writer’s room floor.

Some gems might have been lost but interest in Star Trek survived for over 50 years. I can’t see how the current course will maintain that momentum.
Gul Densho-Ar
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 6:36am (UTC -5)
Sigh... more stuff suffering from newer Star Wars syndrom... fancy laser gun lightshow, boss battles, and underneath there's just a load of bullshit. Somewhat entertaining at times, but not good.

2.0
Trent
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 6:48am (UTC -5)
Discovery basically offers Saturday Morning Cartoon level writing. It plays like a Marvel Comic Book movie, content to distract with infodumps, quips, twists and constant violence. People obviously are finding this all "epic" and "amazing", but IMO it's all very dull.

This latest episode had 3 very silly plot arcs: Firstly, Lorca stages a "galactic revolution" on a giant ship and somehow defeats everyone. Secondly, Michael nonsensically stages a "counter revolution" on a giant ship and somehow defeats a small army with silly fisticuffs and Mexican standoffs. Thirdly, the crew of Discovery infodump technobabble about "saving the universe from annihilation" by "doing a Death Star trench run on a giant glowing ball". This is an entire Mirror Universe arc resolved by kung-fu on a tiny soundstage.

Rahul
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 6:53am (UTC -5)
@Gee

Firstly, I believe you are referring to the TOS episode “The Trouble With Tribbles”. And I’m quite familiar with that classic.

Maybe what you fail to realize is that that episode was a comedy. Kirk fully believed in protecting the grain but he just wanted to do it his way and he felt the Federation agricultural rep was pissing him off.

As far as PU Landry being an asshole, she absolutely was — perhaps the worst character in DSC. Don’t you remember her idiocy in dealing with the tardigrade? And what about how she treated the prisoners regardless of their crimes? Is that the Federation we know from prior Treks? No it isn’t. That kind of conduct was reprehensible and made me think she must have been MU. She may think Burnham is scum, but she has to act as a professional and uphold the high standards of PU Star Fleet, which she didn’t. I’m glad PU Landry is dead. Good riddance.
Trent
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 7:04am (UTC -5)
Jarcher said: "I hope that we get to see PU Lorca, as Jason Isaacs is a great actor and liked him as the captain - flaws and all."

Is PU Lorca dead? I'd have loved if MU Lorca died - he's an unnecessary distraction and I don't see how anything good will ever be written with him in it - but by falling into the spore-globe, it seems as though he's destined to return.

Lorca's removal from the PU instigating Klingon victory is politically disturbing. You're basically saying that the only way to counter extremism (as well as several Trump references, the production designers specifically state that the Klingon ships and beacons feature "Islamic Ornamentation", and Voq's played by a man of Pakistani ancestry) is extremism (assuming Evil Phillipa defeats the Klingons).
Del_Duio
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 7:10am (UTC -5)
Oh man when he said "It's our Alpha Quadrant, but...." I was hoping he was going to say they jumped past to DS9 / VOY's time. 9 months, argh!

Not a 'bad' episode but the 2 bad things that stood out to me was 1) the shoot out scene with the red force field that they somehow made super boring and 2) the cameraman appears to be on crack for half the scenes. Go back and watch this and take a look for yourself, the poor bastard can't hold still for 2 seconds lol.
Del_Duio
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 7:11am (UTC -5)
OH and now we get Capt. Saru full time, awesome!
Gee
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 7:17am (UTC -5)
@Rahul
But throwing the dummy out with the pram is behaviour befitting a starfleet captain? Treating a federation official with no respect is acceptable, but expressing distaste at CRIMINALS is not? The official had done nothing wrong and turned out to be right about Klingons poisoning the grain. Landry acted foolhardy/impulsively when Lorca pushed those buttons but it shows her heart was in the right place; she wanted to help so bad she wasn't thinking straight. Why don't you try being chief security during wartime for 8months before deciding Laudry was irredeemable? There are moments in Enterprise, DS9 and Voyager where it is made clear that everyone has their breaking point e.g. Miles OBrain when he was jailed in alien mind prison for what felt like 20yrs to him.
Del_Duio
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 7:25am (UTC -5)
"My primary frustration at this point is that they've killed off the most interesting character (after making him a two-dimensional baddie). "

They pulled a Dukat!
anthimos112
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 7:38am (UTC -5)
@wolfstar

You ask me to stop "berating people" for attacking the show they make an informed choice to watch every week yet go on to defend this comment section as a forum where people can have dissenting opinions. Do you not see the hypocrisy in that posistion? I have no problem with critcism, what i have a problem with is CONTINUED whining. Week after week after week. Nitpicking for the sake of nitpicking. Any reasonable person can agree that the show is not perfect and still come from a place of positivity, a place of "here is where i hope the show is headed" or "I would like to see this". Instead most of these reviews are simply bashing and listing of faults show after show. A reasonable person would also stop watching a show that brought them such displeasure. Unfortunately a big part of Trek fandom is made up of unreasonable, perfectionist complainers who enjoy the critique of a Trek show more than they do ENJOYING a Trek show. They feed of off the nitpicking and complaining. I have seen it for 30 years. Some Trek fans just want to whine, plain and simple. They are free to do so. I am also free point it out.
Booming
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 7:41am (UTC -5)
People always write that DIS isnt trek. TOS was really sexist! Some might say oh it was the 60s but that point is moot because of the episode "the menagerie" which was produced two years earlier and guess what no mini skirts and women actually had a personality. All removed.
I'm rewatching TNG. A few things I noticed.
In TNG the only woman who wasn't super feminine was Tasha yar. Troy and Crusher are only there to say:" Let us approach this from an emotional standpoint. We must feel!" Plus Troy always wears outfits that show here breasts. And the plots very often make no sense if they would get as much scrutiny.
- A few tit bits during the last episodes I'm pulling out of my head. An admiral wanted to take away Datas daughter Lal and they didn't care what Data or Picard thought about it. It only didn't happen because Lal basically died of confusion due to the threat of her being forced to relocate(The offspring)- Or some alien race that abducts Picard and a few others while his duplicate runs around the enterprise. These aliens study us to learn about basic stuff like authority but they can create an almost perfect replica for Picard or transport for several light years or more plus they can also stun people at that distance.(Allegiance)-
I hope you guys are happy because of your negativity and endless nitpicking you have severely lessened my enjoyment of Star Trek. I must also point out the irony that the people who complain with endless negativity that a show is too dark and negative.
Del_Duio
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 8:02am (UTC -5)
I think PU Landry WAS the real PU Landry and she was just an asshole. And as an evil asshole that totally explains why Lorca got along so well with her, doesn't it?
Trent
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 8:18am (UTC -5)
Booming said: "Imust also point out the irony that the people who complain with endless negativity that a show is too dark and negative."

Is it more ironic than endlessly positive people defending darkness, flaws and negativity by appealing to the fact that "things could be worse"?

A good writer who is a serious student of Trek and Science Fiction and screen-writing would not write Discovery. The issue people have is that lessons have not been learned by over half a century of Trek writing. After Ent and JJ Trek and the TNG movies, it's frustrating to watch the same mistakes play out. Demanding artists do better is not negativity, it's the height of optimism. Cynicism is passive acceptance.

Imagine what season 3 of TNG would have been like if everyone fawned over season 1.
manolo
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 8:22am (UTC -5)
Since the beginning I suspected a midiclorians = shrooms crap in this show, now they confirmed it. Why didn't they and Disney give all that money to Mel Brooks? I'll better enjoy and believe that liquid Schwartz can do all what shrooms do in STD. And he'd give better stories than the two franchises combined.
There are so many stupidity in several plots for me to expose here. I keep watching just to compare and then enjoy the few shows that invested in real, intelligent writers and consultants.
Dom
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 8:25am (UTC -5)
@anthimos112, I’d love to have more constructive feedback, but for me the show is so far off course I don’t even know where to start. This isn’t like Season 1 of Voyager or Enterprise where I could see some potential but thought the writers needed to take more risks or more character development, etc. Discovery would need to completely reboot the writers room and change much about the current approach to the show. It’s not impossible. Michael Pillar completely changed TNG at the beginning of Season 3.

That said, I do like some of the characters, like Tilly and Stammets and Saru. The actors playing them are great. I also applaud serialization in general, if not how it’s done here.

And for those of you saying critics are complaining just to complain... well, I think you missed the lesson of IDIC, that we should respect different opinions. I also don’t think we should go around saying Discovery is Trek for stupid people. Some people like Discovery and that’s fine. I wish I did, but I absolutely don’t see what they’re seeing. There ARE ways to take old franchises and do something new with them in a way that’s intellectually engaging and fun and respects the history of the franchise. In 2017 alone, we had Blade Runner 2049, War for Planet of the Apes, Logan, and Last Jedi. All great films that pushed the boundaries of their franchises yet felt true to them. Aside from TLJ, few people complained. It is possible and I expect only the best from Trek.
Shannon
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 8:27am (UTC -5)
@anthimos112

Thanks for your post, that is exactly the point I've been trying to make. I will repeat for the hundredth time, I have NO problem with constructive criticism, and engaging in a thoughtful debate as @wolfstar stated. But there are those on this blog that seem to endlessly whine about this series, constantly saying it's not Star Trek, ripping the writers with NOT constructive criticism, as Jammer does, but with vitriolic, negative bashing. So I agree, if you hate the series that much that it gives you no pleasure, then why are you still watching? That's like going to a restaurant 12 times and each time you hate it, the food is awful, the service is bad. Why would you keep going back?

@Booming

Great points regarding TNG! Thankfully that series didn't get the trashing that DIS is getting, or we never would have made it past Season 3. And as I've pointed out in previous posts, the first 2 seasons had some real stinkers in there. I enjoyed the show anyway, even though shows like Code of Honor, Justice, and When the Bough Breaks had me shaking my head... But Star Trek is like sex, even when it's bad, it's still pretty good! :)

@fortyseven

Good analysis on Old Trek vs. New Trek. That's why Moore left the franchise, he felt that Berman and Bragga kept way too much creative control and didn't allow the writers any freedom. What was the result? Moore went off and created the stellar Battlestar Galactica, which I've watched 5 times over now, and Enterprise withered away on the vine (it got better in seasons 3 and 4, but too little too late, they lost most of the 12 million viewers that tuned in for the pilot). I agree with Moore, Gene was a visionary, but his vision was that of a nearly perfect human race where everything is black and white (much of early TNG was like this). Well, like is not black and white, whether it's 2018 or 300 years from now. With that in mind, and having enjoyed BSG so much, I'm much more willing to give the producers more creative license with these stories. Is it perfect? No, nothing ever is. But it's still Star Trek, and I'm looking forward to how they go back and somehow resolve the war... The MU arc was great, and we finally understand now why Lorca was so anti-Trek. I thought Burnham's decision to save Phillipa was an interesting choice, as if her logic and emotions became very conflicted in that moment. Love that Michelle Yeoh is back, and I get the feeling she is going to provide the Federation a bit of a kick in the pants. Having high-minded ideals is great, but if you're facing annihilation, what good does it for you? Archer tackled that same question when facing the Xindi, which is why Damage was such a terrific episode. Sometimes bad things need to be done, and that's where all the gray comes in.
Dom
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 8:31am (UTC -5)
@Trent, excellent point. Also, people forget that much of what we’re seeing in Discovery isn’t just the artistic brainchild of the writers, but a corporate product. CBS is trying to sell CBS All Access. One of the reasons the show is so reliant on so many PLOT TWISTS!!! Is because they want viewers to stick with the service and not cancel. I’d probably be less inclined to criticize the show if it didn’t come across as such a corporate product or if I truly believed that this was the story the writers really wanted to tell.
LJ
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 8:38am (UTC -5)
All the fair criticisms aside, I just think that those here who seem to hate the show so far will really never get to a point where they like it.

R.I.P. Jason Isaacs. I too am sad that they went with the easy "He's a bad guy!" path. But at least that meant we got captain Saru, which in my opinion, is an awesome captain. And hey, there's always the "We still have PU Lorca" path, as it seems PU Lorca wasn't killed after all (Realistically speaking, though, Jason Isaacs' salary must be too high to have him around for more than one single season, so I don't think we'll be seeing him again).

Again we got the whole crew working together as one to solve a problem. We had seen this before in "Into the Forest I Go" and it's nice to see it here.

I agree that having the fungi network's destruction to suddenly go from "We won't be able to go back home" to "All life everywhere will be destroyed" was silly. I've no problems with the fictional concept of the mycelial network, but they need to keep it constant, within a set of limits, instead of just adding new elements to it as the plot requires.

For a couple of people who are saying that the Klingons won the war because Lorca wasn't there to fight it, it's quite obvious that this wasn't the reason. The Federation lost the war because they couldn't figure out the secret to beating the Klingon's cloak tech in time and Discovery went to the MU before providing them with the solution.


Also, why the heck did Burnham bring Georgiou back with her? Don't get me bad, I'm glad we'll be having more of the awesome Michelle Yeoh in the show, but it doesn't make any sense. It seems she couldn't allow this version of Georgiou to die too, after both versions of Burnham betrayed her and led to her eventual death. But that would mean Burnham went from "too logical" to "too emotional", since she must be aware this isn't "her" Georgiou, but a really bad version of Georgiou. We'll see how that ends...

Anyway, all and all, I liked this MU arc.

Now I want to see how they'll go forward with this, since they're apparently in an alternate timeline (one in which the Klingons won the war). How do I know it's an alternate timeline? Well, because the Klingons never won the war in "our" timeline.
LJ
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 8:48am (UTC -5)
@anthimos112

"You ask me to stop "berating people" for attacking the show they make an informed choice to watch every week yet go on to defend this comment section as a forum where people can have dissenting opinions. Do you not see the hypocrisy in that posistion? I have no problem with critcism, what i have a problem with is CONTINUED whining. Week after week after week. Nitpicking for the sake of nitpicking. Any reasonable person can agree that the show is not perfect and still come from a place of positivity, a place of "here is where i hope the show is headed" or "I would like to see this". Instead most of these reviews are simply bashing and listing of faults show after show. A reasonable person would also stop watching a show that brought them such displeasure. Unfortunately a big part of Trek fandom is made up of unreasonable, perfectionist complainers who enjoy the critique of a Trek show more than they do ENJOYING a Trek show. They feed of off the nitpicking and complaining. I have seen it for 30 years. Some Trek fans just want to whine, plain and simple. They are free to do so. I am also free point it out."

THIS. This a million times. It's rather sad and tiresome to come back to this section week after week already knowing what kind of whining I'll find here. It's not constructive criticism, it's a bunch of cry-babies screaming "THIS ISN'T MY TREK! GIVE ME BACK MY TREK!!".
Trent
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 8:52am (UTC -5)
I think the show's next big twist will be that the Mirror Discovery is in the PU, and perhaps helping the Klingons. We may thus get a Discovery vs Discovery showdown.
BZ
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 8:59am (UTC -5)
It is a well-known fact that despite Gene Roddenberry's legendary vision for a future utopia, he was hellbent on sticking in titillating women for our heroes to ogle / hook up with in every episode he could, to the point that the studio / others working on the show had to step in and veto his ideas.

In addition, TOS was essentially an anthology show with the same main cast, but little to no continuity. Oh, sure, there was a handful of follow ups and recurring characters/races, but it wasn't really until the TOS movies that a coherent narrative began to develop and the Trek universe as we know it began to take shape. It's one reason why prequels can work in this universe, and that a well-written reboot of the TOS time-frame is not as unpalatable as it might have been.
Just saying
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 9:21am (UTC -5)
honestly, for all the high octane drama drama Discovery is putting out, a lot of these comments are way more melodramatic than the actual show.
Peter G.
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 9:25am (UTC -5)
@ anthimos112, Shannon, LJ:

"Unfortunately a big part of Trek fandom is made up of unreasonable, perfectionist complainers who enjoy the critique of a Trek show more than they do ENJOYING a Trek show. "

"But there are those on this blog that seem to endlessly whine about this series"

"It's not constructive criticism, it's a bunch of cry-babies screaming "THIS ISN'T MY TREK! GIVE ME BACK MY TREK!!"."

It find it startling that you don't understand wolfstar's comment when he suggests that we each give our reviews and leave each other alone. Your reaction shows that you take negative reviews of the series personally, while failing to see that those who offer negative or mixed reviews aren't aiming them at those making positive reviews. In other words, the frustrated fans are critiquing the show, while you seem intent on critiquing *those fans.* What this site should be, above all, is a place where any view can be offered so long as the discourse is congenial and friendly. But many of your posts have involved flaming the other posters here, and that, I think, is what wolfstar was addressing. There is never a good reason to flame visitors to the site who are expressing views about a TV show in a friendly way. Your opinion of their views is irrelevant; you don't get to determine who is or isn't being a "crybaby" when they post a negative review.


Karl Zimmerman
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 9:28am (UTC -5)
Again, despite finding the show flawed to date, I was really hopeful that they could surprise me to some extent last night. I'm not talking about another braindead twist, but maybe finding out Lorca was an antihero instead of a mustache-twirler. Or providing some sort of nuanced point of view from a MU character - not that we'd agree, but something a bit smarter than "will to power." Maybe we find out the spore network is sentient and malevolent, and has been manipulating Stamets the whole time?

Instead, as people said, they basically turned Discovery into a MCU movie. I won't sit back and say "not Trek" as other do - Trek can be anything the showrunners want it to be, and it's canon by virtue of CBS doing it and having the rights. But it's just so poorly executed from a script perspective I'm having a hard time justifying paying for it any longer when there's lots of better quality stuff I can through my Netflix/Amazon Prime subscriptions. Hell, I had to purchase the last season of The Expanse to watch it, and I thought I got a lot more of my money's worth out of that.

The one thing I'll disagree with is the idea that this is "Game of Thrones in space" Game of Thrones was, up until the last two seasons, a much smarter show than Discovery has been to date. It's also structurally very different - with multiple POV characters, loads of on-scene shooting and guest characters, and entire seasons largely given to character development. While I am convinced a lot of the issues that Discovery has are due to running over-budget early on and having to do things on the cheap, it is still almost diametrically opposed to GoT when it comes to the issues of plotting and character focus. As was noted, we have the same guest characters (Georgiou, Voq, Sarek, Cornwell) who keep popping up again and again for no particularly good reason, leading this show to seem the most claustrophobic and "stagey" of any Trek since TOS season 3.
Chrome
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 9:43am (UTC -5)
I'm okay with Lorca being a total bad guy. Not only is it consistent with what we know about MU characters from "Mirror, Mirror" and "In a Mirror, Darkly" but I suspect it will make the first half of this season more interesting on rewatch. Still, there's so many pieces missing from his story, and it was a little convenient how Stamets very neatly connected the dots in a manner of seconds. I'd like to see a little more of Lorca's story fleshed out in the following episodes.

That said, I don't think his Moral Event Horizon was as bad as say Dukat's, mainly because we had to suffer through !EvilDukat for a season and a half.
Dom
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 9:48am (UTC -5)
To follow up on @Peter G.'s point, it's also absolutely inappropriate for fans to attack the writers personally if they don't like the show, as some fans attacked Rian Johnson for The Last Jedi. It's just a show/movie, nobody has killed your childhood, etc. Thankfully so far we haven't seen much of that here.

If we hated Star Trek, we wouldn't comment here. The worst thing for the franchise would be for people to just not care. I want Star Trek to be great. I'm not willing to give up and accept anything with the label of Star Trek because I do care. If CBS or Paramount isn't doing right by the franchise, we're not doing Trek any favors by not speaking out. Imagine if fans hadn't written in to protest the cancellation of TOS in the 60s. Or if fans - and the writers and actors - hadn't complained about the first two seasons of TNG. If fans had just acquiesced to any old nonsense, TNG might never have felt compelled to bring in Michael Pillar and shake up the writers room. The only way to improve is to recognize one's flaws and build upon them.
Trent
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 9:51am (UTC -5)
Peter G said: "It's gone from looking like they're just lifting parts of it to them basically just saying that, yeah, it's the Star Wars Force."

On the topic of Star Wars: Yes, Stamets talks about the Force (that binds everywhere!), but the Star Wars cribs don't stop there: Lorca and Michael believe in and discuss different forms of Destiny, we have people sneaking around disabling field generators, Emperors who want to rule the galaxy, and a small ship that needs to fire a torpedo to destroy a super ship which will destroy the universe.
JP
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 9:55am (UTC -5)
With the introduction of the USS Defiant, I felt confident that the USS Discovery would not be returning to its own universe, but to the REAL prime universe--the Trek universe we know. Suddenly, the crew of the Discovery would be faced with a radically different universe where there is no war with the Klingons, and where the Klingons look just like humans. Ash/Voq would no longer be a freak experiment in Klingon espionage, but instead, would match the new standard of Klingon appearance. Whereas Sarek in the Terran Empire universe saw Burnham as a "boundless well of human compassion", in the REAL prime universe, Sarek would see her as an illogical, unhinged barbarian, itching for war with the Klingons. The crew, which had grown comfortable with the idea of waging a defensive war against the Klingons, would now find themselves discomforted in a situation where war is neither imminent nor necessary, perceiving a Klingon threat where there is none.

This would be reminiscent of the theme in the TOS episode "Errand of Mercy." To Kirk, the Organians were primitive, helpless innocents, peaceful to a fault, lacking the will to even defend themselves when faced with an occupying Klingon force. Kirk perceives the Klingon threat as imminent and self-evident, unable to comprehend the Organians' insistence that there is no danger. For a time, we share Kirk's disgust for the Organians, and cheer on his efforts to commit acts of terrorism and violence on their behalf. After all, Kirk's preemptive violence would avert far greater violence under Klingon occupation. As we soon discover, the Organians were correct--they were never in danger, and Kirk's efforts were completely unnecessary. The Organians were, in fact, far more advanced than human beings, and exemplified a standard of morality, idealism and non-violence that put Federation ideals to shame. With this revelation, Kirk realizes that the "Organians are as far above us on the evolutionary scale as we are above the amoeba."

I saw this mirror universe arc as an opportunity to to explain why Federation ideals as we knew them are completely absent from the Discovery "prime" universe. Only when faced with the abject barbarism of the Terran Empire universe does the crew of the Discovery feel civilized, and do their ideals and methods feel righteous. But in the REAL prime universe, the Discovery crew would realize their own barbarism, and how their stated ideals are paper-thin and farcical. I still hold out hope that the series will move in this direction, but with each episode, the possibility seems increasingly remote.
BZ
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 10:06am (UTC -5)
RE: Destiny, we were talking about how unlikely Lorca's plan was to succeed. Here the show acknowledges it. I read it as Lorca accidentally ending up in the PU with no plan, and then everything coming together to allow Lorca to present himself as the sole survivor from the Buran, getting command of Discovery with its spore drive, getting Michael, etc. As a result, he understandably believes he was destined to come back and take over the Empire.

In fact the entire existence of the MU with mirror counterparts of all of our characters in similar relationships with each other throughout multiple Trek series smacks of destiny. I don't see it as an implausible conclusion at all.
Chrome
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 10:23am (UTC -5)
@BZ

Good point, I was thinking that too. It takes an amazing concatenation of events for the Mirror Universe to line up so well with the Prime Universe. How the two can be so different and yet similar is food for thought.
Mertov
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 11:10am (UTC -5)
I don't like when the discussion veers to another show, but I'll fall into that trap just for one post myself and say something about the GoT mentions that keep coming up in comments of episodes. Full disclosure: I didn't like GoT. And I feel like I gave it a fair shake, I watched two seasons of it, and tried to like it. But the pandering to very basic impulses with the every-episode quota of 2 to 3 minutes of porn that added nothing to the narrative and the episodic bloodfest in scenes where a simple killing had to turn into gore festival just to appease the base appeal for violence was mindless (I used "mindless" this one time, like I could have just as well say "appeals to the lowest common denominator" also used before for this show - and won't do it again - only because some other posters used it for Discovery in the past, I am not a fan of calling shows enjoyed by others denigrating names because it implies people enjoying them fit into that category too). Also, with GoT, I found myself watching 57 minutes of endless and pointless snail-pace dialogues in GoT only to have some shocking thing added in in the last 2 minutes to bait the next episode. GoT isn't for me, I am glad so many others are enjoying it, and I realize I am in the minority.

So, having said that, I don't feel that way with Discovery. It obviously has its flaws, for example, it even has the same "last-second even thrown in to bait the next episode" factor that I don't enjoy. Nevertheless, I find myself invested in what is happening during the hour too, and enjoying it. The violence is nothing at the level of GoT (for which it is an integral part of the show), I got the feeling that some of my friends were watching GoT just for the porn and violence, few even explicitly said so, saying it was awesome to see that on the screen and that it was for "adults." I don't watch any episode of Discovery because I feel forced (which was my feeling by the time I got to the second season of GoT, watching it just to finish the season).

Lastly, we long-time Trekkies sometimes get elitist in my opinion. We expect the same standards as the previous show, and by that I don't mean quality ("quality" is subjective), I mean what we have come to expect in terms of narrative and story-telling. We have to remember that Discovery is not here to solely cater to our needs. It also has to attract new fans who may never have watched Trek before. It is a show, after all, that has not been on the air for over a decade prior to Discovery. So, I totally understand the showrunners' newer approach to story telling. I am fine with it, I enjoy this Trek too.
Genga
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 11:20am (UTC -5)
Agree with lots of the above but my absolute faveorite part of this episode was the discovery really working like a functioning unit, the minor characters lines really helped with this. And with Saru as captain it felt very Trekkian. Anyway enjoyable episode looking to see how the season finishes, hopefully not a time reset...
Ed
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 11:22am (UTC -5)
MU Georgiou on Prime Discovery.

Though I really, really wish she'd escaped the ship and headed for some other safe zone (an Emperor must have a few and should have a backup plan) the thought of having her on a Federation ship has some fun potential, especially awkward moments with Saru.

Will she order him to give her a bath? Ask for another Kelpian because he's too thin? Will the truth about Burnham's Kelpian dinner come out and how will Saru handle it? Tilly might be pretty intimidated by her and lose her hard earned self-confidence of the past few episodes.
Dale
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 12:00pm (UTC -5)
@BZ

Gene Roddenberry knew what he was doing. If I envisage a utopia of the future, it's going to involve titillating women one way or the other.
artymiss
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 12:01pm (UTC -5)
Anyone got any theories as to what that green dot of light that submerged itself into Tilly's shoulder might be?
LJ
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 12:53pm (UTC -5)
@JustSaying

honestly, for all the high octane drama drama Discovery is putting out, a lot of these comments are way more melodramatic than the actual show.

@Peter G.

I would totally agree with you IF the commentators of this site were "just expressing their views in a friendly way". Many however, are not. I don't think DSC is perfect. Far from it. I have a list of criticisms about the show and some of its writing choices I profoundly disagree with it. And I can (and do) express all of my criticism without conveying the feeling I simply hate others for liking this show, which honestly is the feeling I get when reading some of the comments here. And frankly it spoils my day to come here expecting to read good, different povs from mine and end up reading a lot of complaining and whining.

@Genga

"Agree with lots of the above but my absolute favourite part of this episode was the discovery really working like a functioning unit, the minor characters lines really helped with this. And with Saru as captain it felt very Trekkian. Anyway enjoyable episode looking to see how the season finishes, hopefully not a time reset..."

I loved Captain Saru too and I loved the crew working as one, as I mentioned above. And yes, I'm praying that the solution for all this won't be just a time reset. I've had enough of those in Voyager, thank you very much.

@artymiss

"Anyone got any theories as to what that green dot of light that submerged itself into Tilly's shoulder might be?"

I didn't see this scene as having any significance, but after someone here pointed out it might be Culber, I've been thinking about it and I have this theory it might be Culber too.


Peter G.
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 1:10pm (UTC -5)
@ LJ,

"And I can (and do) express all of my criticism without conveying the feeling I simply hate others for liking this show, which honestly is the feeling I get when reading some of the comments here"

If you perceive this then I sympathize with your position. For my own part I observe very little negativity being expressed towards those who like the show; at least, intended negativity. For instance some posters are mentioning things like "the show is intended for people of double-digit IQ", which certainly could sound like an insult to people who like it. However I take comments like that to be a criticism of the intention of the producers, rather than a criticism of those who actually like it. Someone with refined taste can certainly enjoy McDonald's, for instance, even though it would be idle to suggest that McDonald's is designed to appeal people with a refined palette. It is certainly possible to aim for the cheap seats while still appealing to some intelligent people as well.

I'm not sure if this is the sort of comment that has irked you, but overall I really feel like the criticisms levied here have been civil and directed towards the show-runners rather than the fans.
Dobber
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 1:37pm (UTC -5)
Very much enjoyed this episode! I think this series may be headed in the right direction finally
alongtimetrekkie
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 2:01pm (UTC -5)
I got to the end of a very stressful day, went to bed, opened up the laptop, and hoped a smart, subtle show would calm me down. What do I get? Any other formulaic war action film, except with scifi backgrounds. Guns, guns, guns. And a problem with spores which might destroy the entire multiverse. Uh-huh.

24 minutes exactly, and I shut it off, just as stressed as before. I went to sleep, because sleep was preferable to Discovery's world of violent extremism.

Maybe the episode god better, but we each have our threshold where we stop watching and just say, it sucks. 24 minutes was that threshold. It sucks.
Lynos
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 2:11pm (UTC -5)
Finally, a somewhat cartoony episode as befits the Mirror Universe. the bad guys were Really Bad and Evil. Very well paced. But I find it pretty funny that Lorca was working on his plan for what must have been months and months only to be defeated in a matter of mere hours, it seems.

I have a problem with action scenes that start with someone kicking someone's leg or pushing their arm in order to get the advantage. It's such a cliche. Here it happened not once but twice. You would think the Bad Guys would have better reflexes. And the way the Empress beat the S**t out of Lorca. Man, she must be working out a lot. but I would really give Discovery a pass on that, considering the only other show that had copious amount of action scenes was TOS and those were much worse.

I'm not sure what the name of the Discovery's security officer/Lorca's henchwoman is, but there was not much difference between her Mirror Universe and her Prime Universe personality.

I liked Burnham's line, "we would have helped you if you asked. That's Starfleet. That's me." Too bad there's so little of these Trekkian sentiments on the show.

Lynos
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 2:20pm (UTC -5)
Oh, and I forgot to mention the best cartoony element of them all:

"If we don't shoot this thing, all life on all universes will cease to exist!!!!!!"

By the way, where's Mirror Universe Discovery? I lost track.
Trent
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 2:41pm (UTC -5)
Lynos said: "I have a problem with action scenes that start with someone kicking someone's leg or pushing their arm in order to get the advantage. "

The cliches are everywhere. We even get the "hero refuses to shoot the bad guy, thus cementing her nobility, but the bad guy is promptly killed by another guy anyway" cliche. We're given this cliche because it is an easy way for writers to resolve problems.

And this infects every aspect of Discovery. This is a series which spent 14 episodes watching Lorca get to the MU so that he may become Emperor, only to hastily resolve this story in 5 seconds by having Lorca nonsensically commandeer a ship, and then lose the ship to 2 heroes. He then falls in a pit. He falls in a pit, in a plot in which a force field protecting a critical piece of machinery is disabled, thereby allowing a photon torpedo to destroy a universe-destroying superweapon. It's Star Wars with even less of an attention span.
Red
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 3:17pm (UTC -5)
@Trent

See ya next week
Trent
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 3:21pm (UTC -5)
Did anyone notice...

https://i.imgur.com/oWUKfae.jpg

...Michael holding her phaser the wrong way around during the end of the climactic battle?

Red said: "See ya next week"

I've seen every episode of ST: Enterprise too. And Spock's Brain.
Peter G.
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 3:27pm (UTC -5)
@ Trent,

"He falls in a pit, in a plot in which a force field protecting a critical piece of machinery is disabled, thereby allowing a photon torpedo to destroy a universe-destroying superweapon. It's Star Wars with even less of an attention span."

Oh man, now that I'm thinking in these terms we can go further down this rabbit hole. How about the fact that Lorca had been trying to (literally) seduce Michael into joining him, and would have succeeded except that Michael teams up with the person who she now accepts as her parental figure, despite being evil? And of course it's the parental figure that kills Lorca, sending him down the Death Star...I mean Charon pit into the energy field. We even get a death scream as he hits the mycelial generator. And lest I forget, Stamets had mentioned earlier in the episode that the abusive use of the spore energy effectively gave the Charon the power to destroy planets, which is also named after the ferryman of the dead; Death Star indeed.

There's even the fact that Michael had to disable the deflector shield so that the Discovery could make its run at the power core of the Charon, which it barely escaped with the flames licking its aft, invoking the image of the Falcon barely escaping the explosions coming from the Death Star II.

I didn't even catch on to all of this when watching the episode, other than the Force aspect of it. But now that I think about it...ouch. It's really all hanging right out there. The odds of all of this being a simple coincidence are astronomical.
Ed
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 3:32pm (UTC -5)
Too bad the MU Discovery, commanded by a notably bloodthirsty captain, didn't do much damage to the Klingons. I'd been hoping they were a science ship working on experimental military technology, too, with their own mad scientist.

I wanted to see Captain "Killy" Tilly flying around loose in a ship with transwarp drive and an Omega Molecule cannon or something.

She'd have gotten herself, ship and crew blown up eventually, but it would've been a fun ride.
Trent
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 4:18pm (UTC -5)
Ed said: "I wanted to see Captain "Killy" Tilly flying around loose in a ship with transwarp drive and an Omega Molecule cannon or something. "

Isn't the MU Discovery in the Prime Universe now? The way I read the show, there are now two Discovery's in the Prime Universe, one commanded by the real Mirror Tilly (and presumably working for the Klingons).
LJ
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 4:39pm (UTC -5)
"Isn't the MU Discovery in the Prime Universe now? The way I read the show, there are now two Discovery's in the Prime Universe, one commanded by the real Mirror Tilly (and presumably working for the Klingons)."

Yep, that's the way I read it.

Also, for those who saw the (apparently intended) connection with Star Wars concepts, I suppose these connections have been around since the first MU episode, with the Empire and the rebels who fight against it and the extremely huge ships and fancy uniforms.
LJ
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 4:43pm (UTC -5)
"Did anyone notice...

https://i.imgur.com/oWUKfae.jpg

...Michael holding her phaser the wrong way around during the end of the climactic battle?"

Whoa, big mistake there. :p
Jason
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 4:44pm (UTC -5)
What if the green spore that landed on Tilly was MU Lorca? Think about it, he falls into the giant sphere powered by spore energy, which absorbs his soul/katra/lifeforce. Then the sphere is destroyed, releasing his soul/katra/lifeforce which goes into Tilly. Of course, it could be Culber but MU Lorca is far more devious and I'd expect this from him.
Filip
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 4:47pm (UTC -5)
This is what I wrote in my review of 'Despite Yourself':

“As for Lorca originally being from the MU, quite possible. And quite lame. The showrunners prided themselves in Discovery not being your "traditional" Trek, and having a grittier and morally dubious tone, and by making the driving force behind that different take originate from the MU would erase all that effort and make the whole development utterly pointless.“

Not only did that happen, but the writers made sure to end it in the most colossally insignificant way possible just to get a few gratuitous action scenes. When the entire plot development hinges on one character defeating a room full of armed soldiers, something seen countless times in B-grade action movies, you can't really feel any suspense or appreciation for the events on screen when it becomes obvious the writers are willing to go down that road to get to the finale they had in mind. Not only that, but they do it in the finale AGAIN.
Basically, the driving force behind the “new approach“ that was hinting at exploring the issues of a damaged man on the front lines was turned into a comic-book villain who wanted to rule the world, with the finale being sending that man into a giant reactor that was about to, wait for it, DESTROY THE WORLD. Literally. Now if you didn't know which series I was talking about, would it cross your mind in a million years I was talking about a plot of something actually branded Star Trek? Not only is this not good Trek, it is not good sci-fi. It is trivial to a point where it borders parody. When talking about gritty and action packed shows, The Expanse is infinitely better than what we've been offered by this show, and they got it right right out of the gate. I see where they were going with Saru's speech at the end, but in the light of everything that came before it immediately fell flat. Saru is one of the rare things I appreciate about this show, but no level of line delivery could've pulled that scene out of the muck the entire episode was.

The pacing was, to say the least, weird again. Things just kept piling up on top of each other already within the first ten minutes of the show as if it had been made for someone with ADHD. What is the point in introducing new ideas and plot elements if you are not willing to develop them further into a sensible narrative?
The scene where Michael meets Georgiou alone in her room would've been so much better if they had just put both pins, MU Michael's and PU Georgiou’s, on the table right next to each other and sat in silence. The subtlety of that would be so much more powerful than all of the exposition this show has been waving around so much that now I realize writers have no idea how to do their jobs. It is a pity because “Wolf Inside“ showed some potential, but now I see the show reverted back to what it was from the start.
Lynos
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 4:47pm (UTC -5)
@Trent

"Isn't the MU Discovery in the Prime Universe now? "

I posed the same question. If I followed the plot correctly (and don't be so sure), there should be another Mirror Universe Discovery somewhere out there.

Also, what was the point of the whole Defiant storyline? It went absolutey nowhere (at least so far). I remember Brian Fooler hinting that Disocvery will have a connection to an incident from the TOS days. Obviously he meant this, but it was brought up... and then dropped, switching to Lorca and Co. planning to Take Over The World. And since Discovery no longer need to escape the Mirror Universe... it seems that angle is done. Except... Klingons winning the war against the Federation 10 years before Kirk? This does not fit TOS Universe. So if they are still in MU, perhaps we have not heard the last of the Defiant.

Just speculating here. Trying to make sense of the plotting of this show.

wolfstar
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 4:48pm (UTC -5)
Zack Handlen's review this week is spot on. https://www.avclub.com/star-trek-discovery-is-exciting-but-not-much-else-1822501041
Lynos
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 4:50pm (UTC -5)
I do wish these comments were editable....

I meant Brian Fuller, of course. Freuidian slip? Nah, I respect the man.
Owen Oomox
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 4:59pm (UTC -5)
I am really enjoying this show. The first couple of episodes I found confusing and messy, but these last few were thrilling and resolved many complaints I had with earlier episodes. I'm happy I decided to continue watching and am excited to see what the crew has to face next!

I've read all of Jammers reviews and enjoyed many contributions of commenters, but this is the first time I wanted to leave a comment myself. Star Trek produced some truly terrible television over the decades and I've been around long enough to watch almost all those terrible episodes when they aired originally (except for TOS, I'm not that old). I found the comments on these terrible episodes always to be in good spirit and often a delight to read. The comments on Discovery episodes are, in my humble opinion, not.

It really feels like I stepped into a Mirror Universe version of Jammers review commenting section.
Filip
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 5:03pm (UTC -5)
@John Harmon

"So I have a question. Are we supposed to relate to Burnham wanting to save mirror Georgiou? Was this meant to be seen as a heroic move for her?

[...] Remember when she made Burnham choose which sentient being they would eat for dinner? Why the hell would Burnham care about saving her?"

Thanks for wonderfully making this point so I don't have to. If I can just add that an episode or two ago she killed a dozen people in cold blood. What logical motivation Michael has in saving her is absolutely beyond me. She is not the captain of the USS Shenzhou. She is an emperor of a ruthless and fascist organization that reflects those same qualities.
Frank
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 5:14pm (UTC -5)
@LJ Also, I'm fairly certain the MU shenzhou had USS on it during a CGI fly-by a couple episodes back.

To have merely an "exciting" show on the air does the legacy of Star Trek so much disservice and it's IMO just a sad continuation of everything JJ Abrams brought to this franchise-- "excitement but not much else."

Come on. Keep the popcorn entertainment to The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones. Can we have at least a SHRED of legit allegory? And no, Klingons representing white middle America--then not even exploring it within the context of the war dynamic & character relationships--does not count.
Chrome
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 5:20pm (UTC -5)
"What logical motivation Michael has in saving (Georgiou) is absolutely beyond me."

I doubt logic has anything to do with it. Burnham feels guilty for letting Captain Georgiou die, as was addressed last episode. Even if it's her MU counterpart, I'm sure Burnham still has feelings for MU Georgiou, especially after she was willing to give her life to help buy Burnham a few minutes to escape.
Filip
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 5:35pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome

Yes, but her feelings for MU Gergiou are completely misplaced, and someone presented to us as highly logical for a human should know better than this, which is another example of little characterization we got gone out the window for plot's convenience.

Also, MU Georgiou's willingness to give her life to help Burnham escape is trampling on all pre-DS9 characterization of MU humans established so far, especially by Discovery.

All of it is just too much of a mess to keep my disbelief where it should be.
Chrome
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 5:57pm (UTC -5)
@Filip

Burnham's been presented as a logical person with human flaws since the premiere. To answer your second point, like I said, MU Georgiou has a fondness for Burnham and we saw similar alliances in "Mirror, Mirror". Besides, what may have looked like a touching gesture to Burnham may have just been Georgiou wanting to kill a few last traitors before she got sacked.
Ed
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 6:09pm (UTC -5)
@Trent

I don't think the Terrans would work for Klingons. Their big thing is human supremacy. They probably wouldn't follow Federation orders either though. That's why they would be fun to watch. Kind of an unpredictable element thrown into the mix fighting Klingons in their own way, maybe encouraging others to join them.
wolfstar
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 6:09pm (UTC -5)
Burnham saved Mirror Georgiou not for any character reasons but because it's required by next week's plot.
Panagiotis Karatasios
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 6:10pm (UTC -5)
This show has become ridiculous
Ed
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 6:19pm (UTC -5)
@Filip

I think MU Georgiou is capable of a sort of love for a very limited number of people, or at least what she thinks of as love. If she's losing the battle anyway, she'd like to at least go out saving a version of Michael who didn't betray her. Neither of their responses to the other are rational but they make a certain amount of sense emotionally.
Harry Kim
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 6:53pm (UTC -5)
"but her feelings for MU Gergiou are completely misplaced, and someone presented to us as highly logical for a human should know better than this, which is another example of little characterization we got gone out the window for plot's convenience. "

This didn't feel out of character to me -Burnham grew up believing in logic. When Burnham followed logic and Vulcan principles to try and stop a war and save her Captain's life in the process, it didn't work out. Since then she has discovered that she was actually good enough for the Vulcan science grp and that Sarek let her down. She also acquired a roommate/friend and bf. I'm thinking that all these events served to lessen her devotion to logic and she has started following her heart more; and in that moment she just couldn't let the women with her Captain's face die.. it's not like they didn't share some nice moments together ... besides it makes for another new twist! !fun!fun!fun
What a shame
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 6:57pm (UTC -5)
They killed of their best character and best actor in this silly way.... I kept rooting till the end that he'll give us some hint that he's on our side, that hes a good guy... Then again, Id rather watch a tv show with this villanous Lorca then annoying Burnham and spineless Saru. This is it for me
WTBA
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 7:40pm (UTC -5)
On Burnham saving MGeorgiou: It was clearly an emotional, impulsive decision. She didn't want to watch her die "again."

For those who decry this move because MG is a terrible person, are you the same ones that decried Lorca leaving Mudd in the Klingon prison?

Is Mudd worth saving despite his questionable ethics simply because he is a Fed citizen but MG is not because she is a Terran?

Mudd was not left to certain death (esp. considering he got free soon after), but MG was as good as dead.

Isn't the whole point of Burnham's "I'm not going to kill you" to Lorca about the Federation being more ethical than that?

Isn't the ethics of the situation independent of consequences after? MG might be jailed or kept under lockdown in the PU, but it doesn't really matter to the decision to save her.

In the moment, was Burnham supposed to let her die?
Yanks
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 8:28pm (UTC -5)
@warp10lizard
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 8:46pm (UTC -6)
"Funny thing is, we still don’t know what happened to Prime Lorca..."

My guess is he did go down with his ship.

@LJ
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 4:43pm (UTC -6)
"Did anyone notice...

https://i.imgur.com/oWUKfae.jpg

...Michael holding her phaser the wrong way around during the end of the climactic battle?"

Whoa, big mistake there. :p"

HAHA.... damn. I knew something was wrong but didn't know what it was. :-)

For those that hate the spore stuff. The way I just it is that their new technobabble is true to itself. I'm fine with it.

The female fighting in this one rose to the level of the Kira two-handed punch capable of defeating any foe... we've all see this before... I will say the fight choreographing is amazing.

Exciting, face paced episode.

Suru's speech was awesome and Doug Jones never disappoints.

Tilly is awesome once again.

The robot face gal got some lines!! Maybe we'll get to know her now.

Lorca was an AWESOME character and Issacs will be missed on the show. I guess there is still hope that the PU version is still out there somewhere, but after watching After Trek, I think he's done.

I love that Michael chose not to kill Lorca. Her line speaking of Star Fleet and "me" is probably her finest of the series thus far. It the first time a sensed real raw emotion from her.

I don't mind that we are 9 months in the future. My biggest fear is how they are going to use Sarak. Was that MU Sarak that beamed in with the ADM? I thought I remember seeing a goatee.

These next two episodes should prove interesting. Possibly a major reset coming?

Kind of hard to knock this one. 4 stars for me.
ben sisko
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 8:54pm (UTC -5)
Guys, Sarek didn’t have a goatee in the trailer. The only MU character brought over was Georgiou.
Shannon
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 9:08pm (UTC -5)
@Panagiotis Karatasios

"This show has become ridiculous"

THEN STOP WATCHING IT! You are precisely what I, and others, have been talking about. If you hate it that much, then stop watching it. If you have something constructive to say, then we're all ears... I'll go back to my earlier analogy. If you kept going back to the same restaurant, say 12 times (number of episodes through last week), and you hated the food, decor, and service every time, would you go back for a 13th time??? It's this constant vitriolic whining that is getting ridiculous.
Shannon
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 9:24pm (UTC -5)
@PeterG

"It find it startling that you don't understand wolfstar's comment when he suggests that we each give our reviews and leave each other alone. Your reaction shows that you take negative reviews of the series personally, while failing to see that those who offer negative or mixed reviews aren't aiming them at those making positive reviews."

I read a lot of your posts, PeterG, and I get that you fancy yourself a wise philosopher with the volumes of material you write, and that is your right to do. But you are totally missing the point, so I will repeat it for you. I have NO problem with constructive criticism, and there are many who, like Jammer, point out what they see as flaws in a civil, thoughtful manner. I'm not talking about those posters. I'm talking about the folks who just seem flat out angry and enraged, as if someone stole their favorite bike right in front of them and they were helpless to do anything about it. As for "taking it personally", you have no clue what my motives are, which is why I'm laying it out there and trying to explain it to you. "This show has become ridiculous" and other similar comments are NOT critiques, they are flat out whining. So I stick with my original point, if you hate it that much, then stop watching it. Revisiting my analogy now, if you keep going back to a restaurant that you've visited 12 times but had a horrible experience each time, you're most likely going to keep hating it and being disappointed.
Pon Farr
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 9:29pm (UTC -5)
Shannon, you've clearly got a naughty list of commenters that you don't like. Skip their posts and stop trying to keep them from talking. If you can't handle anyone with a negative opinion then go find a forum that doesn't have any. Good luck with that.
Drea
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 9:36pm (UTC -5)
How disappointing. I'd hoped perhaps that MU Lorca might have noble motives within his own universe, but no, it turns out that the Empire just isn't quite racist enough for him. All the moral ambiguity established in the first 9 episodes was just a moustache-twirling villain not fully able to hide his eeeeeevil.

DS9 could get away with one comic-book Mirror Universe romp per season of 26 episodes--and even those wore thin. Discovery just blew 4 of its first 15 episodes on the Mirror Universe, and for what? Some gorgeous pyrotechnics and a marked decrease in what little depth the show had. I remember Jammer's reviews of Andromeda's ridiculous excesses. Well, now on Discovery we risk "all life in all universes!"

To prevent this, an assault team must lower the shields so that one ship can make a well-placed shot to make the whole thing go boom, and we are now officially watching bad Star Wars.

My partner and I kept pausing the show just so we could sigh. I see someone above express excitement that "the robot faced girl" got some lines, which for me drives home just how little we know the characters on this show.

I've found the show problematic throughout, but it also kept giving me cause to hope it could grow. This Mirror Universe arc dashed most of that.
Shannon
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 9:55pm (UTC -5)
@Pon Farr

Clearly you don't know how to read, because you're totally missing the point. There's a difference between critiquing a show and just whining about week-in and week-out with piss and vinegar in your posts... They can keep making negative opinions all they want, and I and others will feel free to respond. If you can't handle that, then that's your issue.
Henson
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 10:17pm (UTC -5)
@Shannon

We get it. You don't like their complaining, and they don't like your complaining about their complaining. And then you don't like their complaining about your complaining about their complaining. This is an endless battle over nothing. Let it go. Back to Star Trek.

Speaking of which...

I have to wonder, with only two episodes left, how is Burnham's arc likely to end up? And, since she is the main character of this season, what is her arc over this story? I'm just not sure what she's learned and how she's grown, maybe someone can help me out?
Shannon
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 10:49pm (UTC -5)
@Henson

You're absolutely right, it's not worth the endless back and forth. They hate the show, and want to use this forum to express those feelings. Not much I can do about it, and pointing it out has proven pointless... You must be Vulcan, very logical, thanks.

That's a great question regarding Burnham. A few episodes ago she was theorizing that understanding how Klingons can work side-by-side with other species in the MU to fight Terrans might help Starfleet in her own universe to negotiate a peace. Seems like that was left out there as a clue as to her fate in the upcoming episodes. As for saving MU Phillipa, I think that was her emotions overcoming her logic, not wanting to see her die again, despite what she really is, which is treacherous. As for Phillipa's place in the PU, I can see her making a case, with Sarek's backing (we caught a glimpse of that in the preview), that Starfleet might have to pull an Archer and "bend the rules" to win the war. Having high ideals and moral character is certainly noble, but not when you are facing anhiliation... Plus, I like having Michelle Yeoh back, she's great!
Brian
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 11:56pm (UTC -5)
On the subject of criticizing other reviewers--
I will freely admit it--I disliked almost every episode in the series so far except "Magic to make the Sanest..." and my reviews reflect that. I will also admit that I have been extremely critical of the show, perhaps overly critical. But to come on here and denigrate my thoughts and feelings (and those of many others), essentially, calling us whiners who won't want the show to succeed, you reveal yourself to be fundamentally mistaken. You see, the most vocal critics are the biggest Trek fans. We want Star Trek to succeed. I want Star Trek to succeed. As many have already succinctly pointed out, there was much valid criticism levied against TNG season 1, and it changed. It not only got better, it turned into one of the best runs of story-telling in the history of television. So, to you self-titled defenders of STD, I call you out. I say, your emotions are driving you. Yes you want this show to succeed. I know that. So why not welcome criticism? Why not let it make the show better? That's why we are all here isn't it? The fanboys and the critics all with their foot in the ring. We're all watching the same show are we not. I don't need to defend my views or my criticisms of the show. I come here each week and post my honest thoughts about the show. I would hope you continue to do the same. Please refrain from writing reviews on other posters. No matter how vitriolic a review sounds, I guarantee I can find you one that sounds like it was a pay-for-positive. In fact, sometimes in the swirling emotions of a new season of Trek, people can get so lost in hope and nostalgia that the critical review is drowned out and buried beneath three hundred pages of speculation on the next big plot twist. We get dragged along by the current until someone swims to shore, gets out and looks at what is actually going on. And what's actually going on is this:

STD has fallen flat for multiple, valid reasons as have been extensively documented here on Jammers. As it stands the story line is strung out and only supported by periodic plot twists and reveals. The scripting is poor by any definition. The writers have struggled to produce interesting characters or stories. And because of that, the larger story arc just fails to have any emotional impact. I think tonight as I was watching, there was a moment where, according to the show, the life of every sentient being in the universe hung on a wire. I did not care, because the show never gave me a reason to. That's STDs major failing--shooting for big, huge, far-out ideas but lacking the story-telling chops, or patience to take us there. They are trying on daddies shoes but it's obvious, they don't fit. And so from my perspective, as a lay person not involved in TV production, the only assumption I can make is that the writers and producers are just flat out inexperienced young people who aren't as good at writing television as other people I've observed write and produce good television. If that hypothesis proves to be wrong, I'll be the first one to celebrate and admit I was wrong.



Hank
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 11:59pm (UTC -5)
Well, the episode name says it all, really: Everything prior to this was just prologue... We finally get an episode that at least feels trek, with all the talk, adressing crewmembers by name, calm and rational, discussion, technobabble, all the good stuff ... I just wish they'd done that right after the first fifteen minutes of episode 1. We basically watched 13 episodes of Lorca Plot - an extremely extended one-off episode of the evil MU-guy taking over the ship. So yes, I liked this episode - I have also already forgotten most of it, I was most excited for the ending and the crew interactions. I think I don't have to get nitpicky, that has been done already I think. When Lorca smiled at Burnham, I thought he would just shoot her - because he is actually evil and is not foiled by such an obvious plot. Turns out, he was really "in love" or whatever ... oh well. Then we could have gone to Cpt. Saru, who finds a way back, and has Star Trekkie adventures in the Prime Universe. That scene where they all discuss their fate was great. Voyager did the same - in Episode 2 I think... So hopefully the prologue is over now, and we can finally go to real Trek. :)

One thing annoyed me to all hell, though: Lorcas Make America Great Again speech. If they are going to be that blunt about their feeling that Trump is literally worse than Hitler (after all, Lorca is the EVIL guy to the Empire that bombs planets and eats Kelpians ... and tortures people for over onehundred days straight ... and genocide is in there somewhere for sure), then they at least should have the balls to get the quote right. Make the Empire Great Again. There. MEGA. Makes are far nicer slogan anyways. But besides dating this episode badly, it does literally nothing except transport the klingon motives onto Lorca... which further degrades his character...

Also, lets not forget, that in this analogy, Hillary is the scheming, murdering, nuke dropping, torturing evil empress... I don't think they were going for that, though. This basically has no political message or thought whatsoever. Just regurgitating a cliche - regardless on which side the viewers are, if they even have a side - with no actual meaning behind it. An empty statement.

And @Shannon: Yes, indeed, that is the logical thing. A forum is not only a place for constructive criticism - we are not the showrunners after all - so no need to get passive-aggressive about it. It is also a place to express your feelings towards the show. Or will you complain with equal fury and rigour when someone posts "Great show, wow, they totally nailed it! This show is going to the stars!"? And if you don't that THEN STOP COMMENTING HERE (see what I did there?).
Consider the Following
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 12:02am (UTC -5)
@Brian

at a certain point verbose complaints over minute details simply become boring and people are expressing that. there's also the misconception that long winded complaining is constructive beyond simply nerd ranting - which it rarely is. there isn't much here that rises above a Cinemasins video.
Hank
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 12:09am (UTC -5)
@Consider the Following:Nerd-ranting, really? Star Trek IS the original nerd culture. If nerd ranting is not allowed with Star Trek, where is it?
Consider the Following
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 12:24am (UTC -5)
@Hank

I think it's fair to many people on the internet have delusions of grandeur when it comes to their internet comments.
Hank
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 12:40am (UTC -5)
@Consider the Following: Yes, you are stating the obvious. Many people think they have figured something out that no-one else has. But that was not the point. I consider it a bad idea to look down on nerds on a site devoted to the biggest nerd thing in history, and at the same time insulting about 90% of posters here.
artymiss
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 2:29am (UTC -5)
@Jason
"What if the green spore that fell on Tilly was MU Lorca?"

Yep, that is my theory too. We saw his body fragment as he fell into the burning globe thingy so bits of him are potentially swimming around the mycelium (however it's spelt) spore network. I would be astonished if Jason Isaacs/Lorca isn't in season 2. This would be a way of bringing MU Lorca back. Either that or my bet is we will finally see PU Lorca.

I thought there was only one episode left of this season? Netflix UK is only showing one remaining but a number of posters here have mentioned there are two to go???
Lynos
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 3:00am (UTC -5)
According to IMDB at least, there are two episodes left.

The small green spore: I only saw it as a visual flourish. It's interesting that people here are attributing some kind of significance to it. I was like, "oh, that's some great visual poetry for a TV show!" Honestly, I think Lorca entering Tilly as a spore is a little ridiculous, but after the last episode, I wouldn't put anything past this show. That's why I keep watching!
wolfstar
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 4:02am (UTC -5)
Regardless of people's opinions, positive or negative, I think we need to have a rule on these comment threads that no-one tells anyone else to "stop watching" (let alone in all caps). I was told to "stop watching" by someone in The Orville comments despite the fact I positively reviewed about half the episodes, just because my reviewers for the other episodes that I didn't like were too critical for that person's taste. Now Shannon is telling someone on this thread to "STOP WATCHING!" simply because they commented that the show had "become ridiculous" - which isn't hyperbole but an understandable response to a plot twist that can be seen as shaking the entire foundation out from under the show (taking the ship's captain played by the show's best actor and arbitrarily turning him into a one-note racist then vaporizing him, none of it for any real reason or to any good effect). As Zack Handlen commented, the long-planned "twist" plays exactly like a last-minute write-out of the kind that writers are forced to do when actors suddenly become unavailable. "Quick, how do we write Lorca out of the show immediately?" "Say he's from the mirror universe, make him a racist then kill him." "But won't viewers be pissed off? He's been the ship's captain since the start, and one of the most interesting characters." "Nah"

If the twist your season is built around plays like a last-minute scripting decision forced by external circumstances, there's a problem. I'd have loved an anti-hero Lorca as a Terran rebel, in the footsteps of Smiley or Mirror Spock, I'd have loved him to have learned something from his time in the prime universe; we could have had a serious political look at the MU. So it's less the reveal that I have an issue with but the fact that (unfortunately as I predicted) they didn't do anything with it, because they had no further interest in Lorca as a character beyond it. And while Burnham has generally been inconsistently written, having her save Mirror Georgiou solely because she's required by next week's plot is tantamount to character assassination by plot mechanics. More than any other character, Burnham's behavior is mainly dictated by what the plot requires, which handicaps her as a central character - we need someone to root for and empathize with, yet her actions are constantly arbitrary and predetermined by plot requirements. This writing approach makes it hard for viewers to relate to characters and hard for actors to play them - how are they supposed to know what their character's motivation is if the writers don't?
djkazaz
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 4:22am (UTC -5)
So, I thought it was awesome, though not great.

I mean it was a damn good conclusion to this story arc (even though lots of people guessed that Lorca was from the MU - not like there weren't hints all along).
It's been a while since I watched a Trek episode and felt it was awesome.

On the other hand there's still several weaknesses like what's happening with Voq/Tyler, what about the nice dead doctor and can we please have some more character development for Michael?

An another note, how do we know for sure that our Lorca is dead? I mean MU Lorca somehow crossed over but we have no clue what happened to 'nice' Lorca, right?
Nolan
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 4:23am (UTC -5)
@ anthimos112, Shannon, LJ, et al;

It seems you are possibly unfamiliar with "hate-watching" and "hatedoms". Basically the act of watching or consuming a piece of media with the express purpose of ragging on it. It's been a few semesters since I took my Audience and Reception course, so you'll have to forgive me for being a bit sketchy on the details.

But hate-watching is an outgrowth of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 formula, i.e, watching something to make fun of it. A notable recent example of this would be The Room, which I'm sure you've heard of. Its entire fanbase grew solely out of people sharing and making fun of this awful movie. There is a camaraderie found in picking apart and hating on articles of entertainment and having your opinion on that article agreed upon by a group.

Just as there is when you love a show and share it and possibly enter into its fandom.

Now, there is not just one reason for a hatedom to develop, that of making fun of legitimately bad film/shows that "deserve" it, but also from fans of a media franchise who feel so attached to it, who feel a deep connection to this article of pop culture that they feel they must hold it up to a certain standard, based on their personal experiences with it and whether or not any additions reach them on that personal level. And they continue to watch out of optimisim and hope that the show will manage in some way to live up to those standards they hold it against.

I believe this is the type of hatedom you are most likely enountering here. Those who hold Star Trek up as an ideal, and don't feel that ideal is being met. Who don't feel as connected to this new addition as in days gone by. And that frusterates them. So instead they forge that connection with other like-minded fans, and in that way they enjoy the show. Not for the show itself, but for the connection it gives them to other fans.

There is no "right way" to watch and enjoy a show, and perhaps those who don't like it should try and refrain from making complaints that insinuate insults towards fans that do. But to grow angry at them for finding whatever enjoyment out of the show they can, for not seeing the hope behind their critical comments is to ignore and potentially attack THEIR personal journey, just as you surely must've felt wading through countless nitpicks.

As I said in my comment above, one of the things I think this episode presented was a look at how those of different ideologies interact and relate to each other. So are you, like Burnham and Lorca, going to argue and fight with those who constantly critique the show because you don't see eye to eye, or are you going to do what Georgiou and Burnham did and find some common ground and work together to get through the rest of the season? ;-)

Are we team Star Trek, or aren't we? Because that's the key, we all love and feel a connection to Trek, regardless of the different personal ways we're drawn to it. And that its touched so many in a myriad of different ways is why it's great. And I think we can all agree on that.
djkazaz
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 4:50am (UTC -5)
So, I thought about it some more and I have to emphasize my point - this was awesome but not good. In fact, it was pretty bad if you stop following the breakneck action, sit back and think.

The Empress (no I refuse to call her emperor!) suddenly decides to make a heroic last stand and sacrifice herself for Michael. Right. A woman who rose to the top on assasination and betrayal, suddenly becomes selfless. OK.

And Michael is swayed by her 'heroic' act and decides to save her? Isn't this the same woman who was eating a PERSON last night? I mean how much more iredeemable can you get!

And back to the question of Lorca, there had better be a PU version of him coming up soon, or the whole series will have been an exercise in pointlesseness.
MadManMUC
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 5:33am (UTC -5)
Can someone tell me what this series is actually about? Because I think I've missed what the over-arching story is.

Oh. What's that you say? The showrunners and writers are no-talent imbeciles who wouldn't know real Trek if it came up and kicked the in the balls? Sounds about right.

This show is just fucking awful, and it becomes more and more so with every passing week; and that's saying something. It's a brainless, violent gorefest that has absolutely nothing substantial to say, hasn't got a single likable or relatable character to be found, and relies on cheap 'twists' that are so obvious as to be comedic.

If CBS insists on running a serialised bleak, violent, gruesome Trek series, at least hire a creative team that have the talent to pull it off. Ronald D Moore and Ira Steven Behr come to mind as being capable of handling the task, as they already have maps for these territories. They even know what makes a Trek series, well, Trek.

I'll watch to the end of the season just because, but I highly, highly doubt I'll be watching the subsequent ones.

And lastly, to Shannon ... if you don't like people complaining, well that's just too fucking bad for you. As another commenter pointed out more patiently than deserved, people who complain about this series are just about the hardest core Trek fans you'll find, and _want_ any new Trek to succeed. They complain because they care. Fucking hell.
Pandapirate
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 5:47am (UTC -5)
With only 2 episodes left and year long break before season 2 premieres, the scenes with acting Captain Saru interacting with the Discovery crew have me curious.

Will TPTB settle the show into a more Trek feel and pander to the frustrated pre- JJ Abrams movies fans? -feel free to move the frustrated fan time line- Possibly treating the first season as an extended prologue to the actual show. Going forward with new Trek by returning to where it is safe.

Or will they continue with the soap opera twists, flashy fight scenes, minimal- take your pick characterizations, motivations, world building, etc (add your complaint here)? Do TPTB feel confident that many DISC fans tolerate a neutering of the show? Or are they confident that the new fans will stay as long as the plots are wild and frustrated fans will still keep watching ? So WIN! WIN! for CBS






OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 5:47am (UTC -5)
@Anthimos112

"Trek fandom seems to have been split into two camps...those who want a new trek show to enjoy, and those who want a new trek show for them to enjoy not enjoying."

There's also a third group, who don't want to watch a thing they know they won't enjoy. People who don't like where Trek has been going in the past 10-15 years, and simply stopped tuning in.

There are many such Trekkies, in fact. But you won't hear from there here, because they are brutally silenced with personal attacks. "If you don't watch the actual show every week, you can't say anything" is the mantra. And of-course, once a guy breaks and pays this price you demand, you make fun of him being "in the camp of those who enjoy hate-watching".

Talk about Kobyashi-Maru.

The only sane way out for such people is to simply bow out. And make no mistake: There are many *many* such Trekkies. The fact that the DIS fan community have bullied them (us) into silence, does not mean that they (we) do not exist.

Now, back to your regular programming.

*leaves before the stoning begins*


Owen Oomox
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 5:52am (UTC -5)
@Nolan: I fully agree with you. I think what you describe can be found in the comment section of an episode like Spock's Brain. You need to look very hard to find terms like 'frustrating', 'annoyed me to hell', 'brainless' or 'fucking awful'.
Yanks
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 5:55am (UTC -5)
@djkazaz
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 4:50am (UTC -6)

"The Empress (no I refuse to call her emperor!) suddenly decides to make a heroic last stand and sacrifice herself for Michael. Right. A woman who rose to the top on assasination and betrayal, suddenly becomes selfless. OK."

Selfless? Did you listen to what she said? She was a conquered Emperor... she was a good as dead anyway.

"And Michael is swayed by her 'heroic' act and decides to save her? Isn't this the same woman who was eating a PERSON last night? I mean how much more iredeemable can you get! "

She wasn't "swayed" .... she was trying to make amends for losing the PU Captain Georgiou.

"And back to the question of Lorca, there had better be a PU version of him coming up soon, or the whole series will have been an exercise in pointlesseness."

I'll agree and hope we do get a Lorca back, but I fail to see why you think this show so far has been pointless.

@MadManMUC
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 5:33am (UTC -6)

"Can someone tell me what this series is actually about? Because I think I've missed what the over-arching story is."

I'd start with Michael's journey.
Luc de Forte
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 6:38am (UTC -5)
When Stamets said at the end they had jumped to the wrong time and Saru (I think) asked how much off they were I hoped for a split of a second the answer would be: 150 years in the future. Just imagine that, we could have guest appearances of any of the TNG, DS9 and Voyager crew. And a universe which actually felt alive as opposed to this one. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy watching the show, I just generally hate prequels as they take away the element of surprise from the show.
Ncc-1701
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 7:06am (UTC -5)
@MadManMUC

Lol look "Mr. I don't watch the show" has something to complain about, what valuable insight.
Darren
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 7:12am (UTC -5)
wolfstar: "Regardless of people's opinions, positive or negative, I think we need to have a rule on these comment threads that no-one tells anyone else to "stop watching" (let alone in all caps)."

OmicronThetaDeltaPhi: "'If you don't watch the actual show every week, you can't say anything' is the mantra."

I agree. (Well, not with having an actual codified rule, but with everyone striving not to tell others to stop watching.) And, I think that should be extended to not telling anyone they *have* to watch either.

You know, presuming people don't change their screen names, you know who authored a post before you even start reading. If you know you generally don't like a certain poster's content, then simply skip over it. Right? Or, if a particular post isn't going in a direction you appreciate, then just skip it. (Like not eating a chocolate candy ... if you know or else find out upon biting into it that you don't like the flavor / filling.)
Filip
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 7:15am (UTC -5)
@Chrome (and others)

When you base that whole motivation on a 40 minute episode that also had other elements to deal with it, it just doesn't take off. Yes, you can rationalize it after watching it, but the show doesn't do it for you. At least not for me. Especially when you take into consideration that out of those 40 minutes a great deal was spent on just running around the ship and shooting things up. "Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum" suffers from the same issue in offering background to Saru's sudden shift in behaviour in exactly the same way - the built up presented before the culmination just doesn't do enough to believably make it work.
Lobster Johnson
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 7:36am (UTC -5)
Anyone find it ironic the comments here decrying Discovery's cynicism are far more cynical than the actual show? Certainly no Coalitions of Hope here. Doubt this place would help someone get back to their universe if they had asked. Lorca is a better reflection of humanity than he's credited for.
Lynos
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 8:48am (UTC -5)
Regarding the whereabouts of PU Lorca:

Wasn't he supposed to have been killed on the Borian along with his crew, then? Or maybe the two Lorcas switched places and PU Lorca is now dead over the the MU?

The whole thing is a head-scratcher. It wasn't really explained how Evil Lorca got to the position of captaining Discovery after he switched universes. If there were two Lorcas in starfleet it wouldn't have been possible, obviously. Did he just beam into Discovery, switched places with the original captain, and that was that?

In any case, I would not be surprised if he showed up again. It seems like everybody who dies on this show comes back at one point or another.
Chrome
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 9:14am (UTC -5)
"When you base that whole motivation on a 40 minute episode that also had other elements to deal with it, it just doesn't take off."

DSC is serialized, meaning that there are elements from earlier episodes that shed light on character motivations. I mentioned in the previous episode, "Vaulting Ambition", that Burnham and Georgiou's relationship was heavily explored. I mean, at least half of that show was dedicated to how important the two are to each other. I'm not sure how you come to the conclusion that Burnham's sentiment "came out of nowhere", when the prior episode in addition to this one builds up to Burnham wanting to save her.

Also, as others have mentioned brought up this episode, Burnham is Starfleet. Starfleet doesn't just leave people to die if they have a choice. This was also addressed in this episode.
Panagiotis Karatasios
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 9:38am (UTC -5)
Star trek (?) discovery is cbs attempt to eliminate TOS well i prefer to see TOS than this sh* t
Dom
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 9:53am (UTC -5)
@Chrome, before Discovery, I would have also thought Starfleet officers wouldn’t attempt mutiny in order to launch a preemptive attack against the Klingons, wouldn’t condone abuse of prisoners, etc. Lorca destroyed his ship and killed his crew and nobody in Starfleet command seemed suspicious. Sure, rogue Starfleet officers have committed crimes, but the show always made sure to condemn those actions. I don’t think anybody really thinks this version of Starfleet would hesistate leaving someone behind, especially someone like the Emperor.

That’s the fundamental problem with the use of the MU in Discovery. The MU worked in TOS because it served as a contrast to the light and optimistic nature of Starfleet at the time. It was a classic dichotomy of light vs. dark. In Discovery, the Prime Universe is already morally ambiguous. There are interesting things you can do with a show if you embrace moral ambiguity (see BSG). But it means the contrast with the MU isn’t as stark or interesting. First, it’s just harder to tell the difference. It’s telling that Rekah Sharma’s character in the MU was more reasonable than her PU counterpart. I thought we were going to learn that the version trapped in the MU was actually the PU version.

Second, in order to try to make the contrast between the PU and MU starker, the writers made the MU a joke. Granted, the MU has always had elements of comic-book level satire and has never really been subtle, but in Discovery MU Terran officers eat sentient aliens and come close to destroying all life in the universe. MWAA HAHAHAHA!!!
Dom
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 10:01am (UTC -5)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi, don’t worry, you’re not missing much. I doubt I’ll keep watching after the end of Season 1, unless they shake up the writer’s room.
Lobster Johnson
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 10:12am (UTC -5)
@Dom

"I would have also thought Starfleet officers wouldn’t attempt mutiny in order to launch a preemptive attack against the Klingons, wouldn’t condone abuse of prisoners, etc. Lorca destroyed his ship and killed his crew and nobody in Starfleet command seemed suspicious. Sure, rogue Starfleet officers have committed crimes, but the show always made sure to condemn those actions. I don’t think anybody really thinks this version of Starfleet would hesistate leaving someone behind, especially someone like the Emperor."

lol this just an exercise in purposeful bad faith readings of the show, Lorca was running essentially a black ops ship and freely doing as he pleased - shockingly a guy from the MU did bad things.

Starfleet wasn't condoning his actions - I mean you'd have to PURPOSEFULLY ignore scenes with Cornwell and the Vulcan admiral to think that. What a joke. Saru gives a whole speech about how Lorca tried to twist the crew.
Peter G.
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 10:44am (UTC -5)
@ Lobster Johnson,

What you say is what the last episode is trying to spin as having been what happened, but it's not what actually happened. When Burnham first came on the ship there was a weird vibe in the air, with black alerts, and hushed whispers about secret experiments. Saru was there, but almost seemed to be participating despite his objections. After a couple of episodes, though, the tense atmosphere was dropped, Lorca began making friends around the ship, and people stopped questioning him. Even during the incident with the tardigrade my chief complaint wasn't that he was mistreating it, but that the crew had no objection and there was no Data to take its side and stand between him and it. In short, they were either entirely complicit, or else simply didn't exist because the writers didn't care to flesh out there being an actual crew of people aboard. Even Saru did an about face in short order and began proudly serving under Lorca.

So any talk of "he made us do bad things" was never demonstrated in the show, nor was their participation being begrudging. There was never an air of mutiny aboard, nor was there regular discontent. It was the Lorca/Burnham show and that's what we were shown. Yes, after the fact it's easy to say that "he lied to us!" but it's not like they weren't totally happy about his comportment. Until the 'wrong jump' into the MU they were positively thrilled that he was winning the war for the Federation. So this betrayal, or "he twisted the crew" motif falls flat to me, because the situation was never particularly abusive in the first place - at least not from the crew's perspective. *I* thought it was, but only because I got to see private scenes with Lorca, being a TV viewer and not a crew member.
Lobster Johnson
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 10:58am (UTC -5)
@Peter G

Baffling, Stamets calls Lorca a warmonger and is openly begrudging to everything he has to do - he has a whole speech about how his research has been co-opted for war. Saru is loyal to his duty as a 1st officer but openly admits Lorca has toxic influences when he tells Michael her manipulative attitude fits right in.

Culber openly rejects using the tarigrade when it becomes clear its health is being infirmed and Stamets helps him. Saru was driven by the fanaticism of avoiding repeating the trauma from losing Georgiou and repents at the end of the episode.

Lorca is charismatic, that's how he retains people and he takes advantage of desperate circumstances to shirk typical moral conventions.

The bad faith is baffling. Outright ignoring basic events of the series.
Ed
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 11:07am (UTC -5)
@Peter G

But at the hearing, they'll all say he corrupted or threatened them. :)
JP
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 11:10am (UTC -5)
What continues to irk me is that the mirror universe arc began so promisingly by placing Discovery at the scene of a battle near Organia ("Despite Yourself"). This is also why I brought up "Errand of Mercy" in an earlier post. In that episode, when a giant battle was about to play out between the Klingon and the Federation fleets at Organia, the Organians put a complete stop to it. Why didn't they stop the battle this time? Perhaps the Organians will play a deux ex machina role later on in the show, but what's taking them so long? With each successive episode, I get the sense that the Discovery arriving at Organia was just arbitrary. Either that, or someone on the writing staff had a great idea about how to salvage the show with the Organians, but was ruled out in committee.

I continue to ask myself what the point of the mirror universe was. There was nothing Burnham learned in the Mirror Universe about how to forge peace with the Klingons, and instead, she's just traded one crazy MU warmonger for an even crazier MU warmonger. And now they're all thrust into a situation where there's no choice but to fight. Based on the promo for the next episode, the Emperor is presumably going to help them win the war against the Klingons--and she's certainly not going to be helping forge peace with the Klingons. This means the Discovery will either triumph militarily or lose militarily against the Klingons. If they triumph, not only would it be wildly unrealistic and non-canon, it would also be a justification of the ruthlessness, violence and the xenophobia of the mirror universe--and Star Trek is utterly dead if that happens. If they lose, they'll need to use time travel or a jump to another mirror universe to escape the situation. So what's the point of the show putting us here, 9 months in the future? It's a no-win scenario.
Chrome
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 11:20am (UTC -5)
I'm with Peter insofar as it's hard to deny that this show is more pro-war than previous Treks, and I don't know, perhaps that's part of the package when telling a story about that Klingon War. In the preview for the next episode, it's shown that Starflee'ts typical ways still aren't working and that with Lorca gone they'll need to turn to Georgiou, the former emperor brutal thugs, of all people to help win the war. Definitely not the typical Trek values story.

Still, I think one nice moment in this episode was when Lorca gave yet another big speech praising the Discovery crew after his identity is revealed. Saru unequivocally replies, "We're not interested in your sentiments, Lorca" cementing the concept that true Starfleet officers are not so keen with Lorca's methods.
BZ
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 11:23am (UTC -5)
@Lobster Johnson,
I think it's valid to say that all of this was in early episodes. Stamets has come around. The others seem to have as well.
Filip
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 11:47am (UTC -5)
@Chrome

And its serialization blatalntly put forward the ruthlessness and atrocities commited by the empire and the empress herself just an episode prior to this. You can't take certain elements of its serialistic approach and ignore the others to explain the decisions characters make on the show. There is obviously an issue of Michael betraying her captain, but this person she saved is NOT the captain. Apart from physcial appearance, they have nothing in common. The fact that the entire setting of the mirror universe was used to explore the aforementioned issue is a blunder in itself, leading to problems in rationalizing what was presented this Monday (or Sunday for American viewers).

As for Starfleet not leaving anyone behind, why didn't she save Lorca then? It was obvious Georgiou was about to kill him. Or better yet, why didn't they take that crewman back in “Mirror, Mirror“ who flat out begged them to take her to the PU? Burnham's sentiment didn't come out of nowhere, but like I already said, everything that came before it just doesn't take off nearly enough to justify what happened.
Dom
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 12:01pm (UTC -5)
@ Lobster Johnson, what Peter said. Cornwell grows suspicious very late, and only after she thinks Lorca is losing it mentally because of PTSD. She doesn't try to relieve him because he's made ethically questionable choices. As for the rest of the crew, remember one of the first scenes on board Discovery was Rekah Sharma conspiring to let someone beat up an unarmed prisoner. Yes, Stammets and Saru seemed reluctant to go along with Lorca's more aggressive plans, which made the compelling characters. But it still came across more as a Captain Jellico situation, i.e. protesting aggressive orders from an otherwise normal Starfleet officer. Even Burnham, who already tried to commit mutiny, never even contemplates mutiny against Lorca! Lorca had willing accomplices. Again, look at the Rekah Sharma character. She seems to go above and beyond in torturing the tardigrade, and she wasn't from the MU. When Lorca got results, the crew seemed fine with it. Maybe it's just that the show didn't do enough to show the general unease amongst the crew members to sell us on the fact that it was the captain, not the ship, that was suspicious.
Dom
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 12:06pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome, "this show is more pro-war than previous Treks, and I don't know, perhaps that's part of the package when telling a story about that Klingon War."

So a story about war has to be pro-war? I suppose you've never heard of "All Quiet on the Western Front"? Or heck just about any war Vietnam War movie. DS9 also managed to depict a war but never felt like it was endorsing or glorifying violence. In DS9, when characters stooped to the moral low ground to win the war, it was treated as a big deal. On Discovery, it's just another day in the office.
Gee
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 12:08pm (UTC -5)
@Chome
"Starfleet doesn't just leave people to die if they have a choice. This was also addressed in this episode."

Sometimes they do e.g. TNG homeward. Picard and crew were tricked into saving the Bralarans
Chrome
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 12:10pm (UTC -5)
"There is obviously an issue of Michael betraying her captain, but this person she saved is NOT the captain. Apart from physcial (sic) appearance, they have nothing in common."

Burnham's having trouble shaking the fact that MU Georgiou isn't her Georgiou. This was established in "Vaulting Ambition". I'm not sure how I'm "picking some and ignoring other parts of the serialistic(is this a word?) approach", I'm just bringing up scenes relevant to the discussion.
Chrome
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 12:17pm (UTC -5)
@Gee

I haven't seen Homeward in awhile, but I'm pretty sure that the Prime Directive was involved in that decision.
Ubik
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 12:18pm (UTC -5)
@Dom

"So a story about war has to be pro-war? I suppose you've never heard of "All Quiet on the Western Front"? Or heck just about any war Vietnam War movie. DS9 also managed to depict a war but never felt like it was endorsing or glorifying violence. In DS9, when characters stooped to the moral low ground to win the war, it was treated as a big deal. On Discovery, it's just another day in the office."

That's because Discovery is much more realistic. On Deep Space Nine, in the midst of a war that has been ongoing for years, the crew only has to stretch their morals, like, once? Three times? Yeah, right. Talk to anyone who fought in any real-world war, and they'll tell you their morals went out the window literally for years. (This became clearest to me in my discussions with my grandfather about his WW2 years in Europe.) During a real global war, when the safety and security of the planet are in the balance, morals became irrelevant. Soldiers might have been haunted by their actions in the years afterwards, possibly, but on a day-by-day basis, on a front, during endless battles, with Nazis shooting at your head, or at your plane, or at your submarine, these soldiers wouldn't spend half a minute thinking about the morality of the situation. In that respect, all the moral hand-wringing in, say, In the Pale Moonlight is far more "television-logic" and far less realistic than the "get'r done" attitude on Discovery. Personally, I find the much more realistic LACK of moral hand-wringing on Discovery entirely refreshing (speaking as someone who still loves Deep Space Nine, mind you, for all its lack of believability in that respect.)
What a shame
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 12:19pm (UTC -5)
I didnt even care about PU Georgiou... They shared two fucking scenes in the pilot, one in the desert and one on the bridge. And Im supposed to cheer for her against our captain Lorca? And guess what, its not even Pilot Georgiou, its her fucking duplicate from the oher side. I DONT CARE ABOUT THESE PEOPLE. You killed off the only character worth watching, just like you killed Star Trek. You made him into something he wasnt supposed to be and then you killed him.
Dom
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 12:24pm (UTC -5)
@Ubik, I'm enough of a student of history to know how real wars work. If I want to learn about what war's really like, I'll watch a documentary or read a history book or watch a historical drama (like Band of Brothers). That's not why I watch a show like Star Trek. Star Trek is supposed to focus on moral and ethical issues. DS9 wasn't trying to depict a realistic war, it was trying to get viewers to question if and when the ends really do justify the means. The moral hand-wringing is a core feature of Trek, not a bug.
Shannon
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 12:31pm (UTC -5)
@MadManMUC

Thanks for putting your low IQ on display with your f-bomb laden post. Gave me a good laugh.
Lobster Johnson
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 12:35pm (UTC -5)
@Shannon

Right? The guy's a joke.
Nolan
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 12:48pm (UTC -5)
@Shannon

Yes, it was sooo gratifiying to see my whole paragraphs long, thought out and perhaps even eloquint spiel about frusterated Trek fans, finding common ground and working together to be so succinctly encapsulated, eviserated and deflated in a rapid-fire string of vulgarity-laden sentances.

Thanksss... -_-
Brian
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 1:04pm (UTC -5)
The climax of this episode was supposed to be as we realized the fate of all sentient beings was uncertain, that everything might cease to exist. Except the way it actually played out, was it seemed like a cursory plot twist thrown in to make it sound epic, but lacking any emotional or intellectual impact. This was supposed to be the pinnacle moment of the episode, and it fell...completely...flat. And that, in a nut shell is what's wrong with STD. Lazy writing that reaches only for the most obvious, only the most cliche at all times.

If Star Trek TNG was a robber needing money and you it's victim, he would approach you calmly on the street, explain that he needed money for drugs, he didn't like robbing people but he really had to, and he needs $40 that's all, if you just give it to him he'll go on his way. You hand him the $40. TNG was successful.

Star Trek Discovery is an insane person who rolls up to you on the street in a tank, demands you transfer your entire net worth into his account, or else he will fire the tanks main cannon at your head. You ask, "Are you joking?" and run away. Since the tank cannon is his only weapon, your swiftness on foot saves you. You keep all your money and STD fails.
Dude wut
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 1:10pm (UTC -5)
"If Star Trek TNG was a robber needing money and you it's victim, he would approach you calmly on the street, explain that he needed money for drugs, he didn't like robbing people but he really had to, and he needs $40 that's all, if you just give it to him he'll go on his way. You hand him the $40. TNG was successful. "

what a bizarre analogy
Filip
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 1:17pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome
“Burnham's having trouble shaking the fact that MU Georgiou isn't her Georgiou. This was established in "Vaulting Ambition". I'm not sure how I'm "picking some and ignoring other parts of the serialistic(is this a word?) approach", I'm just bringing up scenes relevant to the discussion.”

That much is obvious since the writers made sure the exposition pretty much literally delivered it and later didn’t bother to develop the idea not nearly enough to justify what has been done. I am continually returning to my original point since it seems you don’t see what I am getting at with this. If you think this is good story telling, I don’t. It is too obvious in its service to creating new plot ideas, rather than coming out of genuine characterization. You are doing it by not bringing up all of the scenes relevant to the discussion, but rather those that advance your point of view. In a *serialized* (really?) approach you cannot pick certain elements and discard the others, in this example all those clearly establishing MU Georgiou as a completely different persona. When you take them all into account, and with the absence of significant plot development and characterization apart from all the exposition we’ve been getting, Michael’s choice comes across as profoundly juvenile.
Dom
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 1:37pm (UTC -5)
@Ubik, also I really don't think Discovery's depiction of war is in any way realistic. It's more grim dark, but that's not all there is for realism. In one episode, we learned that the Federation left a critical mining colony nearly defenseless to a Klingon raid. In this past episode, two people were able to overpower an entire ship. It's still glorified superhero antics, just without the moral depth of previous Treks.
Markus
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 1:38pm (UTC -5)
I cannot express how bored I am about this superficially shiny series... Even the worst TNG or even ENT-episode is way more entertaining than this pseudo-cool garbage imitating the latest trend in streaming-shows.
Chrome
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 1:40pm (UTC -5)
@Filip

No, I get it, the MU folks are bad guys and we've seen them do horrible things, even Georgiou. And *yet* despite all that Burnham had a characteristic moment of weakness which overrode a rational decision to leave Georgiou behind. You may not agree with the setup for the decision, but that doesn't mean the setup wasn't there.

And to be fair, I don't think we, the audience, are supposed to think it was a great idea. Even Georgiou was unhappy about it. Yet it's still an understandable decision given the circumstances.
Red
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 1:46pm (UTC -5)
@Markus

see ya next week
Plain Simple
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 1:50pm (UTC -5)
Here we go, the good, the bad, and the Discovery.

The good:

-More Michelle Yeoh! I prefer her in the quieter scenes last week, but of course she is wonderful in action scenes as well. And it looks like we're hanging on to her a bit longer.

-The group scene on the Discovery with Saru's motivational speech. Finally we see more than two people at a time discussing a problem. It also feels like they're setting up larger roles for the other bridge crew characters.

-No Voq/Tyler nonsense. Hurrah!

-The action scenes were very well done.


The bad:

-The action scenes felt very un-Star Trek. Despite being executed well, for me personally this is not what I watch Star Trek for. But hey, at least it was well done.

-The mycellium network is the Force. People have pointed out similarities before and it just becomes more obvious with every single thing we learn about it. Now suddenly all life in the multiverse will end if the mushroom dies. Why? Two weeks ago we had the discussion on here about the believability of the magic mushroom trip drive and it just becomes less believable every week. So now there is not only a multiverse spanning super mushroom whose spores we can use to hitch a ride on to parallel universes or to convert to super space palace power, but killing the mushroom will kill all life in those supposedly infinitely many universes. If the multiverse works on the principle that everything that has a chance of occurring (no matter how small) does actually occur in some universe(s) or other, wouldn't there necessarily also be universes where life wouldn't die without the super magic mushroom? Or is the show now claiming that this mushroom is a necessary prerequisite for the existence of life in every single universe?

-Murca is a wasted character. Before this week he was mostly a walking mystery, but at least a mystery with potential. But it turns out the people who were worried about the Murca reveal last week were proven right: his character wasturned into a mustache twirling villain bent on Super Evil Conquest^tm. Too bad. So now he's either dead and gone or he's absorbed into the Force or whatever and will return as a Force ghost.

-While on the one hand I'm looking forward to more Yeoh, I'm also done with the mirror universe. I'm glad they left it, but a bit worried about the direction they'll take with MU Georgiou.

-The end of the Saru speech scene was quite underwhelming. He says "you all have your orders", but they hadn't actually come up with any kind of plan, had they? So their orders were just to not give up hoping for a plan to materialise?


The Discovery:

-So what does this all mean for the ongoing story? I hope we're done with the MU, at least for now, but with MU Georgiou and also those plans of the Defiant (and foreknowledge of the accident that is to befall that ship in about a decade's time) still around, I doubt that this has been the last appearance of the MU on DSC.

-Assuming we can trust what was said at the end of the episode, we are back in the same universe where we started, only 9 months into the future where the Klingons have won, presumably because the Discovery didn't deliver the cloaking tech decoder to the Federation in time. Okay. The Klingon war was not the most interesting part of the first half of the season, but perhaps with all the Voq/Tyler/Murca mysteries out of the way, the final few episodes of the season can do something interesting to finish out this arc. Perhaps we will get finally that promised deep look at all the variety that Klingon culture has to offer. That could be interesting, if handled well.
Plain Simple
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 1:56pm (UTC -5)
Oh, one more thing (it might have been mentioned above, but I haven't read all the other comments yet): I really disliked that Saru implicitly trusted Burnham when she accused Murca of being eeeevil. Saru was willing to blow up the Charon with Murca and everyone else on board just on the word of mutineer Burnham whom he intensely disliked earlier in the season, whom he tried to kill not that long ago, and whom he now, out of the blue, calls "friend"? That feels lilke very undeserved semblance of character progression. Where does this sudden friendship come from? We haven't seen them spend a lot of time together in this series (apart from the time when Saru tried to kill Burnham), have we?
Plain Simple
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 1:58pm (UTC -5)
I'll throw one more mostly-good thing into the mix: some message, be it quite bonk-bonk-on-the-head, regarding the use of scarce resources.
Plain Simple
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 2:05pm (UTC -5)
By the way (and apologies for the multiple postings; I keep thinking of more things to say, which is a good thing, I suppose), what was up with Murca's "fate brought me here" spiel? Are we supposed to take any story implications from that, or is that the writer's way of saying "yes, we know that Murca didn't have a plan and it took all the pieces to fall just right for him to have the opportunity to return to the MU, so don't think about it anymore, because neither will we, since we want to spend our last episode with Murca fighting, not figuring out his plans and motivations"?
SC
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 2:35pm (UTC -5)
So Isaac's character is dead? We shouldn't be surprised as he is a movie actor and it was unlikely he'd stick around for seven seasons or so. He might make a guest apperance later as the other Lorca. But I bet he's basically done.

Hurrah. Means I don't have to watch it any more, as his star presence was the only real reason to tune in. Discovery has great visuals but it's damn right mediocre as a series. The storylines are boring.
KT
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 2:56pm (UTC -5)
@plain simple
"prerequisite for the existence of life in every single universe"

That's exactly what they have been getting at since ep3 where Stamets says 'spores are the progenitors to life and energy'. A few episodes ago Tilly says the mushroom network is the thread that connects life and death or something, which foreshadows mushroom-Culber and fact that if network dies, the multiverse dies.
KT
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 3:10pm (UTC -5)
@plain simple
"... not figuring out Murca plans and motivations"

Hello Plain, most of the points you mentioned were answer in previous episodes. Please rewatch them all chronologically and then you will have your answers, that is if you stop drooling over Isaacs and pay attention to the dialogue by other cast members E.g. as mentioned by Burnham in the first MU ep; Terrans are power-hungry, treacherous and xenophobic. We also find out Lorca has grand delusions and believes destiny is on his side. What more motivations do you need?
Yair
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 4:26pm (UTC -5)
Better than last time. The short exposition is for once well integrated into the episode (maybe Isaacs is just better at it) . Decent action shots, and an idea or two actually show up. My general problem with DIS - that it prefers action too much over thinking, remains. I'll try to raise a few points others didn't raise:

* Tying MU Stamets' work with Climate Change was a nice touch. Much better than I expected. The problem is that DIS uses this for a few cute lines and then throws it away.

First, I'd have expected MU Stamets to raise that plot point before execution ("I'm the only guy who can make the unlimited powersource work and save your life").

Second, if MU Georgiou did go for 'risk destroying all the universes for power', it should say something about her character (maybe they'll return to that).

Third, this all seems a bit too much for the Terrans. One of the reasons we mostly ignore climate change is that powerful people have a good chance to survive and prosper regardless. Here, the cost-benefit is just horrible (make one ship more powerful vs unavoidable total destruction), I doubt even the Terran Empire would go for it.

* There must be some parallel universe where Discovery didn't stop the pollution. But if so, the entire network and all life would die...

* Lorca is wasted here. After all that set-up he could have done so much more. It's also difficult to reconcile his attitude with some of his previous actions (e.g. how did he know how to get back to the MU?).

That said, Lorca's MEGA speech makes much more sense if we understand he has to sell his coup. The charges are nonsense - this Empress eats aliens. The promises are probably empty. But this is how one justifies coups in the Terran Empire within their value system.

Regardless of actual motive, say the Emperor is weak and therefore should be replaced. Insinuate treason to weaken loyalty. After coup, everyone agrees (s)he was weak - after all the coup was successful... ('Treason never prospers' etc.)

* Spores can do anything. Travel instantly via space. Time Travel. Explosives (Statmets mentioned their possible use in warheads)... This is beyond the Force, which doesn't allow for interstellar travel. I won't be satisfied though until they show whether spores can make coffee.

* I don't agree the invisible crew is utilized well here - yes, they actually get a few shots and say a sentence or two, but their only 'contribution' is to highlight Tilly and Stamets finding a solution.

If anything, this DIS episode is worse in this regard because is butters up Burnham so much. This (she) is just insufferable. Burnham's 'arch' is mostly other people believing in her, with very little real change in character.

I did like Captain Saru though.

* Just how did the Discovery get a battle lines map? After all, they're behind enemy lines and Federation communication didn't work.
Yair
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 4:29pm (UTC -5)
"This is beyond the Force, which doesn't allow for interstellar travel"

I meant one can't physically travel between stars just using the Force (quite possible I'm unaware of some Star Wars EU stuff though).
Skiflicker
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 4:58pm (UTC -5)
This will be long.

@Plain Simple

'...what was up with Murca's "fate brought me here" spiel? ...is that the writer's way of saying "yes, we know that Murca didn't have a plan and it took all the pieces to fall just right for him to have the opportunity to return to the MU, so don't think about it anymore, because neither will we, since we want to spend our last episode with Murca fighting, not figuring out his plans and motivations"?

It's exactly that. They said last week that he had this elaborate plan and even 'showed' how it all came about, and this week just said, nevermind, it was all coincidence or 'fate'.

Now onto my thoughts of this crapfest.

How did Lorca free everyone? It went from last episode with him escaping the agony booth, to him setting all his crewmates free. How did that happen? No explanation. He's on the Emperor's ship with presumably hundreds if not thousands of loyal people/guards/soldiers, so how did that happen? And where did he get all the guns from? He gave them all guns.

Let's assume he impossibly did all that, how would these 30-50 people or whatever it was, ever be able to take over one small section of the ship, much less the entire ship? Again with hundreds or thousands of people against them?

And Landry wasn't from the MU? Wut? That woman was the most horrible person that ever existed in Starfleet, if the one we saw earlier was the PU one. (That's the security chief that killed herself with the tardigrade, btw).

Mike escaped from the Emperor's throne room, with literally about 100 guards by shooting like 2 people and jumping down a hatch? Whatever. And of course none of the thousand soldiers on the ship can find either her or Lorca. Right.

Like @Panagiotis Karatasios said earlier, this episode is ridiculous.

Mike can reroute her visual signal to be broadcast from somewhere else on the ship to hide her location. OK. Like she would know how to do that, and she did it with some strip of lights(?) that she got from somewhere.

And then Georgiou says she has a bracelet that makes her life signs undetecable, thats why no one can find her, she says. So how were they unable to find Mike or Lorca? Why didn't they detect their life signs?

Mike makes the stupidest bargain in history. She tells Lorca that he can have her, (but only her mind! whatever that means), if he lets the crew of Discovery go. As if he cares. She is his prisoner and can do anything he wants to with her. She has nothing to bargain. I was facepalming at that scene. What was the point? Why didn't he just laugh in her face?

I don't see why anyone thought the fight scenes were well done. I was cringing at them the entire time. Just terrible.

And why would Mike help Georgiou at all? She's the emperor of a brutal horrible empire, and has seen her kill multiple people, and because she looks like her former captain, she wants to help her? I don't buy it.

Speaking of that, it seemed like the MU Stamets, and MU Georgiou turned out to be good guys. Wut?

All the spore drive stuff was asinine. For instance, once it was activated on DIS, why did they have to fly though a bunch of tendrils or whatever they were? It only took them 1/10 of a second to jump before. Now it took them 2 minutes flying though fungus or something. Makes no sense.

And when they got back to the PU, they say they have no contact with Starfleet at all. Yet they show a 'war map' detailing all the advancements and victories of the klingons in the past 9 months. Really? Where did they get that from? So stupid.

Also, why didn't the palace ship just blow Discovery up when they first showed up?

OMG, there is more idiocy, but it's too awful to watch again to see what I missed.

I assume Lorca will be back since he fell into the mycelial network (or something). And that spore that went into Tilly means something too, though I sort of don't care at this point.

I do want to say one thing about 'hatewatching'. I don't think anyone is doing that with this show. That's done with something that you know is terrible, and you watch it to make fun of it, or criticize it. I don't think many people, or anyone for that matter, are doing that to this show. I think 99.9% of the people expected it to be good, or at least watchable. It only turns out later that some of them hate it. And I don't hate it myself. Just this episode. It was horrendous.

By far the worst episode of DIS, and one of the bottom 10% worst ST episodes ever.

1/2 star. ugh.
Plain Simple
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 5:05pm (UTC -5)
@Plain Simple: "The action scenes were very well done."

A clarification on my own post. I mostly meant well executed by the actors; I found the direction in those scenes quite confusing at times and didn't always manage to keep track of what exactly was going on.

@KT: "That's exactly what they have been getting at since ep3 where Stamets says 'spores are the progenitors to life and energy'."

Being a progenitor of life (which is a silly enough concept in its own right) does not mean being necessary for sustaining life. One's parents are one's progenitors, but that doesn't mean children die when their parents die.

@KT: "Hello Plain, most of the points you mentioned were answer in previous episodes. Please rewatch them all chronologically and then you will have your answers, that is if you stop drooling over Isaacs and pay attention to the dialogue by other cast members E.g. as mentioned by Burnham in the first MU ep; Terrans are power-hungry, treacherous and xenophobic. We also find out Lorca has grand delusions and believes destiny is on his side. What more motivations do you need?"

Which points do you mean? The details of Murca's excursion into the PU? Because that is what I was talking about. Perhaps "motivations" was the wrong word to use (but not so wrong as "drooling"). What I meant was his plans, actions, scheming, whatever you want to call it, once he arrived in the PU. That is what Murca was referring to when he talked about it being his fate to get back to the MU, isn't it? So does the show want us to believe there was really something else going on which was making sure that everything went Murca's way in the PU, or did the show use Murca's fate monologue as a way of saying "yes, we know none of this stands up to scrutiny, just accept it was all just a whole lot of accidental luck for Murca"?
Skiflicker
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 5:08pm (UTC -5)
I did want to add a few things :D

Everyone seems to be making a big deal out of someone eating a Kelpian, but remember they were herd animals here in our universe too, and were eaten. They must taste pretty good.

And the only thing keeping this episode from being zero stars from me was that the minor characters (nonexistant characters) actually got to speak in this one. I liked that.

And Oyin Oladejo is super hot.
Plain Simple
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 5:12pm (UTC -5)
@Skiflicker: "I assume Lorca will be back since he fell into the mycelial network (or something). And that spore that went into Tilly means something too, though I sort of don't care at this point."

Now that you mention both those things in the same sentence... I hope Tilly is not going to be possessed by spore!Murca or something...
Skiflicker
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 5:18pm (UTC -5)
Someone else did mention that earlier, that the spore may be Lorca, and god I hope not.

If if has to be a person, at least be Culber. Or better yet, give Tilly some sort of spore powers. But not Lorca.
Ed
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 5:27pm (UTC -5)
@Plain Simple

Ha! He will grow out of her like in that old horror movie the Manitou.

Actually, please don't do anything terrible to Tilly, show!
Skiflicker
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 6:06pm (UTC -5)
It'll be something like this.

https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/familyguy/images/a/ae/GoCarts.png/revision/latest?cb=20141229003025
Mertov
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 6:27pm (UTC -5)
As I await for Jammer's review (because it's by far the best parts of each episode's page on this site), I come back from time to time to read the comments, and on rare occasions, there will be a very short one that will just make me laugh really hard, such as:
----------
"Can someone tell me what this series is actually about? Because I think I've missed what the over-arching story is."

I'd start with Michael's journey.
----------
:))))))))))
Thank you Yanks, that's great..
Skiflicker
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 6:59pm (UTC -5)
Holy cow. It's almost at 200 comments already. That may be a record in such a short time. And I bet it will be a record until at least next week. Insane.

Of course it's because this is a Star Trek show. Even the Star Wars movies didn't get this much feedback. That's sort of telling I guess.

Personally I like Star Wars better, but I do love Trek. Star Wars is deeper, philosopically, and politically I think. At least until the new ones. The they're just entertainment. :D Not bad, but not good either.

And so far that's how I feel about DIS. Not bad, but not good either.

Todd
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 7:41pm (UTC -5)
So...from the point of view of the mirror Starfleet and the mirror universe, the emperor was killed, along with her flagship and the entire power structure of the Empire (that we could see). In the real world, such an event would lead to a massive civil war as pretenders tried to become the new emperor or carve up the Empire into bite sized pieces, which would then be conquered by others. Amazing that the Empire is able to quickly regroup and in ten years has it together enough to be sending the Enterprise on missions of conquest and genocide. But, maybe when the ISS Charon blew up, so did the anti alien xenophobia?
Lobster Johnson
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 8:21pm (UTC -5)
@Skiflicker

i've noticed a significant uptick in commenting since Chapter 2 began in a few discussion sites compared to Chapter 1
BZ
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 8:48pm (UTC -5)
@Todd,
Maybe the rebels we saw cease control of the empire (and turn out to be just as evil once in power)
BZ
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 8:49pm (UTC -5)
crap, I meant seize of course
Trent
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 9:45pm (UTC -5)
Skiflicker said: "How did Lorca free everyone? It went from last episode with him escaping the agony booth, to him setting all his crewmates free. He's on the Emperor's ship with presumably hundreds if not thousands of loyal people/guards/soldiers, so how did that happen? And where did he get all the guns from? He gave them all guns."

Almost every episode has ridiculous jumps or logic holes like this. Nobody stops one man from releasing others, giving them guns, and then walking over to the science department to pick up Stamet's conveniently invented gas bomb.

"Mike escaped from the Emperor's throne room, with literally about 100 guards by shooting like 2 people and jumping down a hatch?"

It's silly. And unbelievable. And why does nobody immediately follow her? Jump in the hole after her!

"And of course none of the thousand soldiers on the ship can find either her or Lorca."

Georgiou implies that the ship has internal bioscanners (which her bracelet blocks), so why can't these same scanners track Lorca and Michael?

"Mike makes the stupidest bargain in history. She tells Lorca that he can have her, if he lets the crew of Discovery go. As if he cares. She is his prisoner and can do anything he wants to with her. She has nothing to bargain. What was the point? Why didn't he just laugh in her face?"

The no-nonsense Lorca we know should have shut that scene down immediately. And shot the Discovery the moment it appeared. Why negotiate? Every moment in the episode is simply contrived to get Michael and Phillipa in that room and doing fisticuffs.

Trent
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 10:14pm (UTC -5)
Was reading a book by the philosopher Zizek. At one point he seems to talk about shows like Discovery. Shows where the text - a violent, action oriented, exploitative drug - is the message, and the subtext (a liberal show about xenophobia) only exists to sanctimoniously sanction, and make permissible the consumption of, the base, coarse, actuality of the art. When Gene Coon was pushing his politics, utopianism, and even corny Christianity, you believed it. But now Trek utopianism becomes totems to briefly roll out and so legitimize what the writers and audiences are really interested in.
Ed
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 10:50pm (UTC -5)
@Trent

Possibly, but it begs the question as to why some audiences want an underlying progressive value system in these stories and others don't or don't care either way.

Another point is that while living in a utopia would be great as long as it wasn't a dehumanizing Brave New World or "The Apple" scenario, watching it in would be boring. Utopia is interesting in story form when it breaks down or is threatened.

Stories are about conflict. I seek a peaceful, happy life but realize this wouldn't make good drama. We want our family reunion to go well, but one that doesn't makes a better movie.
John Harmon
Wed, Jan 31, 2018, 1:50am (UTC -5)
"Star Wars is deeper, philosopically, and politically I think"

Surely you meant to say "Star Trek" here right? Because otherwise that sentence makes no sense.
Plain Simple
Wed, Jan 31, 2018, 2:42am (UTC -5)
@Skiflicker: "Someone else did mention that earlier, that the spore may be Lorca, and god I hope not."

Yeah, I'm up on reading the older posts in this thread now and noticed that as well. I guess Culber and Murca (or possibly MU Stamets) are the obvious dead characters associated with the spores.

When that green spore landed on Tilly at first I just thought it was an oddly drawn out end to the special effects scene, but knowing this show's interest in twists it's reasonable to suspect there's more to it.
JohnTY
Wed, Jan 31, 2018, 5:12am (UTC -5)
Woahhhh that just went to s*** in a hurry.

I actually thought this show was sort of, maybe, improving..

So we can time travel with the magic spores now. Great. Just go back to before the war and kill T'Kuvma and Lorca. Easy.

There should be a poll about what the dumbest thing was in this episode.

- Magic spore techno-babble
- Lorca character assassination (literally!)
- Impossibly silly action scenes (more knife fights in space please!)
- Grand canyon sized plot holes
- Michael's unfathomable decision making processes
Yanks
Wed, Jan 31, 2018, 5:38am (UTC -5)
@Plain Simple
Wed, Jan 31, 2018, 2:42am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: What's Past Is Prologue

"Yeah, I'm up on reading the older posts in this thread now and noticed that as well. I guess Culber and Murca (or possibly MU Stamets) are the obvious dead characters associated with the spores.

When that green spore landed on Tilly at first I just thought it was an oddly drawn out end to the special effects scene, but knowing this show's interest in twists it's reasonable to suspect there's more to it."

During After Trek the writer that was there said we'll have to wait until Season 2 to find out.

I'm all for more Lorca (PU) but not some spore thingy.

MU Stamets did say this though... "The ion storm must have - swapped your transporter signatures."

This might indicate PU Lorca is in the MU somewhere.

@JohnTY
Wed, Jan 31, 2018, 5:12am (UTC -6)

"I actually thought this show was sort of, maybe, improving."

It is.

"So we can time travel with the magic spores now. Great. Just go back to before the war and kill T'Kuvma and Lorca. Easy. "

Yeah, just like every other Star Trek time travel event. This is no worse than Spock using a Klingon computer to compute time travel using the Sun and then firing the thrusters manually while at warp heading right at said Sun.

They even spun in some TOS when Lorca explained how he got to the PU... nothing pleases the haters.

Harry Kim
Wed, Jan 31, 2018, 5:59am (UTC -5)
@Yanks
"MU Stamets did say this though... 'The ion storm must have - swapped your transporter signatures.'

This might indicate PU Lorca is in the MU somewhere."

The MU Buran, was destroyed by Emperor's ppl as MU Lorca was beaming back from the planet, Lorca said so. So either PU Lorca died on the MU Buran or he had already gone down with his ship by the time MU Lorca beamed in to PU? In which case he would have been beamed into empty space, and should have died?
Plain Simple
Wed, Jan 31, 2018, 7:00am (UTC -5)
I noticed that, in response to some people's confusion or complaints about certain plot elements/holes in the DSC story, others have brought up similar plot concerns in, for example, TNG. While you might be able, on a case by case basis, to point out a similar plot contrivance in TNG for each plot contrivance in DSC, I think there are some significant issues that makes such contrivances more damaging for DSC than they were for TNG.

First, DSC is very heavily serialized. When a plot point in TNG feels contrived, empty, unbelievable, whatever the case might be, that damages the episode, in DSC it damages the whole season (or series) long story arc.

Second, many people feel that the characters in DSC act in service of the plot, instead of the plot growing organically from the characters, to such an extreme that there is no sense of identity for most of the DSC characters when the plot is stripped away (which is ironic given the seeming importance the MU arc put on the notion of identity). TNG was much more a character driven show, especially in the middle/later years (which, not coincidentally, I think, are usually hailed as the best ones of the series). So even when a TNG plot would make no sense, it could still be fun or interesting to see Picard & co work their way through it. DSC is not there yet. Hopefully it will at some point.

Thirdly, the times, they are a-changing. Many modern shows have shown what can be done with a TV show's plot in a serialized setting. If the 'golden age of TV' is the sandbox DSC wants to play in, then those shows are the competitors it will be compared against in terms of plot and characters, not TNG.

Fourthly, and I don't know how true this is for others on this site, but over the years of watching TV I have grown as a viewer as well. I've come to reflect more on the entertainment I watch. If I were watching TNG for the first time now, stripped of the glow of nostalgia, I might also be more troubled by some of its plot holes than I was when I first watched it two decades ago.
djkazaz
Wed, Jan 31, 2018, 7:00am (UTC -5)
@Yanks

I understand the rationalizations the show makes for the events in the plot - why Georgiou decided to save Michael and why Michael saved Georgiou etc. But ultimately I find the arationalizations hollow. I mean I get it, but it doesn't work for me. I felt like I was watching Revenge of the Sith, where Anakin is a nice guy with insecurities who suddenly decides to murder children. It just fails to convince.
The pacing is very good and the visual very attractive so you get carried away, but ultimately, these motivations are just spurious.
Maybe they should have made MU Georgiou a bit more sympathetic, a bit less awful...

As for my "pointless'' remark - if you spend 10 episodes building my interest about a character, only to waste him in a few minutes as a 2-dimensional baddie, then the whole show feels pretty pointless.
JohnTY
Wed, Jan 31, 2018, 7:12am (UTC -5)
Excellently put @plain simple and @djkazaz.
Yanks
Wed, Jan 31, 2018, 8:18am (UTC -5)
@ Skiflicker
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 4:58pm (UTC -6)

“Now onto my thoughts of this crapfest.“

“Thoughts”?? …. Hmmm….

This is as bad as OmicronThetaDeltaPhi posting sorrows..... again....

“How did Lorca free everyone? It went from last episode with him escaping the agony booth, to him setting all his crewmates free. How did that happen? No explanation. He's on the Emperor's ship with presumably hundreds if not thousands of loyal people/guards/soldiers, so how did that happen? And where did he get all the guns from? He gave them all guns. “

He had a plan to overthrow her before MU Stamets betrayed him… what, did you think that he just forgot everything, or MU Lorca isn’t smart enough to have a coherent plan?

“Let's assume he impossibly did all that, how would these 30-50 people or whatever it was, ever be able to take over one small section of the ship, much less the entire ship? Again with hundreds or thousands of people against them?”

MU Stamets had already developed the BIO weapon (indicated in the episode)… obviously part of his original plan… it’s not hard to see if you actually put some thought into it.

“And Landry wasn't from the MU? Wut? That woman was the most horrible person that ever existed in Starfleet, if the one we saw earlier was the PU one. (That's the security chief that killed herself with the tardigrade, btw). “

Not at all. A gung-ho Star Fleet security officer who was obviously wooo’d (and probably recruited) by MU Lorca. As it appears that many women have been. Including a Star Fleet ADM in the PU. MU Lorca gets around.

“Mike escaped from the Emperor's throne room, with literally about 100 guards by shooting like 2 people and jumping down a hatch? Whatever. And of course none of the thousand soldiers on the ship can find either her or Lorca. Right. “

Michael has proven the ability to adapt to any given situation so it’s not that hard to believe. How many other times in Trek history do our heroes defy all odds and escape/win? Guess that’s not allowed here.

“Mike can reroute her visual signal to be broadcast from somewhere else on the ship to hide her location. OK. Like she would know how to do that, and she did it with some strip of lights(?) that she got from somewhere.”

She’s a smart and talented cookie. Seen many times in previous episodes.

“And then Georgiou says she has a bracelet that makes her life signs undetecable, thats why no one can find her, she says. So how were they unable to find Mike or Lorca? Why didn't they detect their life signs? “

If you watched the episode, Michael disabled the sensors. It’s obvious Lorca did the same…again, all part of his original plan.

“Mike makes the stupidest bargain in history. She tells Lorca that he can have her, (but only her mind! whatever that means), if he lets the crew of Discovery go. As if he cares. She is his prisoner and can do anything he wants to with her. She has nothing to bargain. I was facepalming at that scene. What was the point? Why didn't he just laugh in her face?”

Because he is/was infatuated with her. He even went so far as to say that PU Michael had a better mind that the Michael he fell in love with. He wanted to have his queen and obviously grew to respect his PU crew.

“I don't see why anyone thought the fight scenes were well done. I was cringing at them the entire time. Just terrible. “

I’ll give you that aside from the slow-mo roundhouse kick by Gerorgiou, you know the one with her hair all about. That was cool has hell.

“And why would Mike help Georgiou at all? She's the emperor of a brutal horrible empire, and has seen her kill multiple people, and because she looks like her former captain, she wants to help her? I don't buy it.”

Really, someone as “thoughtful” as you can’t come up with a reason why Michael might want to save her? Michael isn’t allowed to have a last minute emotional gut reaction to this circumstance? … really?

“Speaking of that, it seemed like the MU Stamets, and MU Georgiou turned out to be good guys. Wut?”

Stamets was the abused MU scientist. Georgiou isn’t a “good guy” at all. Not sure how you can see that.

“All the spore drive stuff was asinine. For instance, once it was activated on DIS, why did they have to fly though a bunch of tendrils or whatever they were? It only took them 1/10 of a second to jump before. Now it took them 2 minutes flying though fungus or something. Makes no sense. “

The mycelial network needed to regenerate itself, that was part of the plan because MU Stamets abused by creating the power thing for the Empress’ ship, it so it was dying.

“And when they got back to the PU, they say they have no contact with Starfleet at all. Yet they show a 'war map' detailing all the advancements and victories of the klingons in the past 9 months. Really? Where did they get that from? So stupid. “

Obviously they have google maps. … or just the audio hails weren’t being answered, you know so someone could sneak up on them and board them… you know like we saw in the previews of the next episode. It’s obvious that their computer network linked up…. Because we ended up seeing the status of the war.

“Also, why didn't the palace ship just blow Discovery up when they first showed up? “

They masked themselves to pose as the MU Discovery. They were quite detailed in their planning, I’m surprised someone as astute as yourself missed it. That and the palace ship didn’t show up until Michael didn’t destroy the rebel base quickly enough.

“I assume Lorca will be back since he fell into the mycelial network (or something). And that spore that went into Tilly means something too, though I sort of don't care at this point. “

I hope not, I love the Tilly character and don’t need a “talking head Lorca” tormenting her or something like that.

“I do want to say one thing about 'hatewatching'. I don't think anyone is doing that with this show. That's done with something that you know is terrible, and you watch it to make fun of it, or criticize it. I don't think many people, or anyone for that matter, are doing that to this show. I think 99.9% of the people expected it to be good, or at least watchable. It only turns out later that some of them hate it. And I don't hate it myself. Just this episode. It was horrendous.”

Whew, I guess that makes this “thoughtful” rant palatable.

Now Discovery has it's issues, and I have been critical at times, but man...

@ Harry Kim
Wed, Jan 31, 2018, 5:59am (UTC -6)
@Yanks

"The MU Buran, was destroyed by Emperor's ppl as MU Lorca was beaming back from the planet, Lorca said so. So either PU Lorca died on the MU Buran or he had already gone down with his ship by the time MU Lorca beamed in to PU? In which case he would have been beamed into empty space, and should have died?"

Well, the word "destroyed" wasn't uttered. That's why I said "might indicate", although I'll agree it doesn't look very promising. :-) I just really like Issacs... and hope we see him again.
Yanks
Wed, Jan 31, 2018, 8:55am (UTC -5)
@plain simple, djkazaz, .... everyone? :-)

You all bring up some valid points.

I personally think where Discovery fails is, it's trying to be a meaningful serial series that requires us to feel for the characters which until this series started we knew nothing of. They have shoehorned some back-story in as they went, which is why I think the show is better now. Pilot aside, I liked that one.

TNG got "good" after season 3 because we knew the characters, had they come right out of the gate with "interpersonal" stories like that I think I'd have some of the same issues I have with Discovery.

I too have "grown" watching TV series in the era of the internet. I watch things differently. Sometimes just so I can come to places like this and chat. Sometimes I don't like that I've grown.... sometimes it's hard to just "escape" and enjoy what I'm watching regardless.

I'm fairly certain, that TNG seasons 1&2 and over half of TOS would have gotten blistered online had online existed like it does now.

The biggest issue/question I have with the entire series is, why did Michael knowingly change her phasor to kill after she confronted had Captain Georgiou and argued that making TKuvma a marter was the worst thing they could do?
juss100
Wed, Jan 31, 2018, 9:27am (UTC -5)
I was never invested enough in this show intellectually enough to comment on it but I’ve been reading people’s comments and thoughts since the first episodes with a lot of interest. What I am invested in, however, is freedom of speech and opinion, and I’ve noticed a worrying trend from people that somewhat mirrors the experiences I had talking about TV on internet forums around ten years ago and that’s subtle, nuanced attempts to silence people who don’t like it, but wish to discuss their disapproval or disappointment. I don’t think that this is generally done maliciously but nevertheless it’s deeply problematic. It’s happened with The Last Jedi too.

People have their own approaches to how they all watch and enjoy TV and whilst I’m sure you could generalize into types, I think it’s fair to say that we all bring something unique to our own viewing experiences both intellectually and emotionally. Some fall down more on the intellectual side and want to analyze everything to death, whether that’s ideology, script, direction or inconsistencies in the material (or a combination) others fall down much more on the emotional other side and get really caught up in the characters and the plot twists and the howzat moments and so on and these people, when they love something want to share with others how much they bloody loved it.

I’ve noticed, however, that those people who tend towards emotive responses are often seeking some kind of affirmation bias. When they read reviews of things they say “great review” of they agree with it and tend towards anger when they don’t, and that anger gets more pronounced if the review or comment affirmatively undercuts their core emotional values. It makes sense, if you watch a show and loved it because you related to a certain character or situation, or if the plot twists really hooked you then it hurts your pride when someone says it was bad, whether they give reasons for it or not. So they tend to say stuff like “if you don’t enjoy the show just don’t talk about it” “let the people who like the show enjoy themselves” and then it gets even worse when it comes to “you’re deliberately watching it just to hate on it” and it almost becomes this paranoia that people are watching a TV show with the sole enjoyment of ruining their fun, which is an argument that becomes more ridiculous the more you consider it – we all know that internet trolls exist, a sad lonely section of the population who create arguments to stir up flamewars, but when a good 30-40% of people in the discussion are coming out with similar negative comments then it’s probably not the work of a trolling mentality. You have to start thinking that there’s something about the show (or movie, if it’s Star Wars!) that just isn’t resonating with people – and to my mind, that’s part of the point of discussion.

I think it’s fundamentally important not to shut down discussions because someone says “I like this, you don’t and you’re just trying to sh*t on my good time” because all art is a political act and should be discussed as such. The question of whether Discovery is “Star Trek” for instance is a salient one because the concept of what “Star Trek” is is political in so many ways. Does it represent utopianism, does it represent thinking about the Prime Directive, or just thinking about situations, or just telling complex and interesting stories. Or is it just a show set in space that reinvents itself. I have my opinions about this and I wouldn’t expect to be shut down in a conversation if I said Discovery is fundamentally not a Star Trek show because to my mind Star Trek *is* about discussing the political and social ramifications of setting up a powerful federation that explores the universe and ultimately meets alien species. How do we deal with that contact and what situations does it cause. To my mind Discovery is not interested in examining those kinds of questions, it’s interested in Star Trek in a canonical way, it wants to be a “new” Star Trek” like Abrams Trek did and I think that in itself is a very political act, because it’s essentially erasing the old notions of what Star Trek meant and it’s essentially saying “we’re not gonna talk about those questions or situations anymore, we’re going to replace your idea of Star trek with generic action plot-twist style TV”. Producers sell this as a “daring new vision” for the franchise but it’s actually not, it’s a way of fitting the franchise in with a Hollywood that has been selling similar ideas to this show since the 80s (In fact, Wrath of Khan or voyage Home themselves nearly slipped Star Trek backwards themselves, though thankfully WoK retains some intelligence and interesting themes. Not so much, Voyage Home..) it’s less about whether other Trek shows have had a bad season or not – imo Season 1 of DS9 is utterly dull, though I quite liked TNG season 1 – it’s more about asking what the fundamental approach of the show is. It’s not so much about “am I a whinging aging trekker who isn’t getting what he wants” it’s more about asking why this show is made, who is the audience and is it any good. (NB people on both sides predicate every argument with “I’ve watched Trek for years and I think it’s good, or bad, so there!”) I don’t think it’s a good show and I stopped watching at the break. I don’t expect to have my opinion silenced, however, by people who want to enjoy a Discovery group hug because I’ve watched a x amount of a show that I have thoughts on and an opinion about. No, if you love the show you may not always enjoy reading the opposing viewpoint, but isn’t that life? Wouldn’t you rather live in a world that allows for healthy debate and analysis of the art we consume? (Ok, I’ve already argued that some people wouldn’t. Oops!)
Del_Duio
Wed, Jan 31, 2018, 10:07am (UTC -5)
@Yanks:

"This is as bad as OmicronThetaDeltaPhi posting sorrows..... again.... "

Eddington sabotaged his anti-posting cloaking device! They'll have to turn around now!
Dom
Wed, Jan 31, 2018, 10:43am (UTC -5)
@juss100, wonderfully put. And kudos to Jammer for allowing such a free-flowing and sometimes heated discussion on his site. If Jammer asks someone to stop commenting, fine, it's his website, he sets the rules.
Thomas
Wed, Jan 31, 2018, 10:47am (UTC -5)
@Yanks

"I personally think where Discovery fails is, it's trying to be a meaningful serial series that requires us to feel for the characters which until this series started we knew nothing of. They have shoehorned some back-story in as they went, which is why I think the show is better now. Pilot aside, I liked that one.

TNG got "good" after season 3 because we knew the characters, had they come right out of the gate with "interpersonal" stories like that I think I'd have some of the same issues I have with Discovery. "

As some posters have pointed out, we are able to test this in real time by comparison with The Orville - a show which is running in more of less parallel with Discovery, and one which does evoke feelings for its characters despite it being season 1 and us not knowing much about them.
Peter G.
Wed, Jan 31, 2018, 11:45am (UTC -5)
Well reasoned post, juss100.
Trent
Wed, Jan 31, 2018, 12:09pm (UTC -5)
Plain Simple said: "When a plot point in TNG feels contrived, empty, unbelievable, whatever the case might be, that damages the episode, in DSC it damages the whole season (or series) long story arc."

TNG and TOS can also get away with a lot because they're very abstract, Brechtian and unfold like fables, morality plays or like filmed theater. They eschew realism and naturalism. DS9 made the slow move toward "realistic Trek", where everything is literally happening in quotidian reality. Stanley Kubrick often said that realism stifles meaning and kills metaphor. Science itself shows this (the brain understands things and language via conceptual metaphor, and the more literal the things it processes are - environments, art, objects, games etc - the more certain parts atrophy).

Because it's less abstract, Discovery can get away with less silliness (notice how incongruous its space whale felt). Meanwhile Kirk can encounter Abe Lincoln in space, or Picard negotiate with an oil monster, and you go "yeah, that's gels with this cardboard universe".

Yanks
Wed, Jan 31, 2018, 12:37pm (UTC -5)
@ Thomas
Wed, Jan 31, 2018, 10:47am (UTC -6)

"As some posters have pointed out, we are able to test this in real time by comparison with The Orville - a show which is running in more of less parallel with Discovery, and one which does evoke feelings for its characters despite it being season 1 and us not knowing much about them."

Well, that's if you feel anything for any of them... I don't. Everything they put someone through is self imposed pain/stupidity. The only one I might feel something for is the security LT.

Welcome aboard juss100!!

I enjoy reading opposing viewpoints. One of the reasons I come here. I've broadened my trek knowledge and tolerance since I found this site, but when it's just plain bashing, I usually say something.
Mads Leonard Holvik
Wed, Jan 31, 2018, 2:09pm (UTC -5)
I have always come back to episodes of TNG, DS9 and Voyager. Because of the interesting moral, ethical and philosophical questions raised. I can not see me coming back to any episode of this new series. Some of them are not bad, it's just that they do not offer a lot below the level of action and suspense.
Lobster Johnson
Wed, Jan 31, 2018, 2:18pm (UTC -5)
@Thomas

"TNG got "good" after season 3 because we knew the characters"

TNG got good in season 3 because they ditched most of the writing staff, hired a new showrunner and banished Gene Roddenberry's insane lawyer. The first 2 seasons of TNG are among some of the worst run productions ever to grace television - without even a SLIGHT exaggeration. Seriously,

Watch the documentary Chaos on the Bridge, the fact the show survived and actually became a good show let alone GREAT is nothing short of a legitimate miracle.
Dom
Wed, Jan 31, 2018, 2:49pm (UTC -5)
@Trent, that gets back to the point I made above about the depiction of war in DS9. DS9 wasn't going for a fully realistic depiction of war and human nature, it was telling stories. Sometimes, using archetypal characters can better serve the story than more "realistic" characters. For example, "Pale Moonlight" relies on the fact that Starfleet - even Sisko - is more morally righteous than most militaries in the real world. Seeing Sisko deviate from his ideals is powerful because it's a contrast to how Starfleet officers should behave. The episode raises profound ethical questions that wouldn't be possible in a show like 24, where violence and Jack Bauer moral ambiguity are normalized.

By contrast, in going for more realistic and flawed characters, Discovery loses that power to contrast. MU Lorca didn't appear any more or less evil than PU Landry, for example. Seeing the crew of the Discovery go against Starfleet principles in order to achieve a mission feels underwhelming when their respect for Starfleet principles isn't as strong in the first place.
Ed
Wed, Jan 31, 2018, 6:22pm (UTC -5)
I think Starfleet actually tends to go a little crazy in the rare event of all-out war, maybe because they are so conditioned for either peace or localized defensive or police actions.

In the Dominion War, we have Sisko committing major crimes that would be the stuff of wild conspiracy theories in our world. Then people on a higher level attempt unnecessary martial law and even genocide.

In TNG, the Cardassian War has produced a captain who, with the consent of his crew uses their ship to continue fighting after the war is over.

These are pretty extreme examples when you think about it and imagine an equivalent action by a contemporary world power with any level of respectability.

Discovery characters don't go this far yet, but we will have to see where they're going with letting MU Georgiou "help" in the next episode. Maybe she ends up in Section 31.

Peter G.
Wed, Jan 31, 2018, 8:13pm (UTC -5)
@ Ed,

Overall I don't think there's much basis to claim that "the Federation" goes crazy during wartime. We've seen no evidence of that other than, arguably, a few examples (out of billions/trillions of Federation citizens) who are unsettled by the affair.

"In the Dominion War, we have Sisko committing major crimes that would be the stuff of wild conspiracy theories in our world. Then people on a higher level attempt unnecessary martial law and even genocide."

Compared to what happens during real wars in our time what Sisko did, even at its worst, is pew-pew hazy stuff and barely registers as being major. Most major powers wouldn't even consider those actions to be questionable in wartime, but just obvious strategies if they could get away with it. Now, Starfleet is supposed to be much (MUCH) better than that, so Sisko's actions are meant to be seen in the shadow cast by Picard's unimpeachable morals. But comparing Sisko to any government from today is an untenable comparison; a normal day at work in any intelligence agency consists of vastly worse things than what Sisko does only when his entire civilization is on the brink.

"In TNG, the Cardassian War has produced a captain who, with the consent of his crew uses their ship to continue fighting after the war is over. "

I don't believe that was in evidence at all. Captain Maxwell was witnessing the Cardassians flagrantly ignoring the treaty and arming themselves up for another conflict. He knew first-hand, like O'Brien did, what they do during wartime, and he didn't want to let them get away with it. The conflict in The Wounded wasn't about an unhinged captain doing crazy things. It was about a man who acted as if the Federation was at war because he knew that's what the Cardassians were doing. He wasn't willing to pretend it was peacetime when hostilities were underfoot. Basically, he's your classic 'hero' character who knows what to do and who the bad guys are, and won't let them get away with it. Because the Cardassians are so wily and deceptive things get out of control and Maxwell ends up killing a ship full of Cardassians, and that was wrong. Picard's point is that Starfleet officers don't have the luxury of being heroes, they have to be diplomats first. From Picard's perspective, that's the 'right thing' rather than doing what we see as typically heroic in films and TV. Picard's way of being right is very hard to live because it requires inaction even when bad things are being done by bad guys, until war is officially declared. So the episode, to me, is largely about a new definition of heroism, where the enlightened hero knows when to *not act*, even though bad things are happening. Maxwell may be more of a wartime Captain but I do not believe it's accurate to say that he's just fighting a war that's already over because he's gone nuts.

The reason I'm refuting these examples is because I'm very dubious of any attempt to show that previous Trek series (perhaps excepting Voyager!) have portrayed Starfleet as having morally grey officers that don't know how to handle wartime without going over the edge. Lorca, his first security chief, and Burnham, are IMO categorically of a different breed of character than anything we've had in Trek before - again, with the exception of Janeway on a 'bad day.'
Ed
Wed, Jan 31, 2018, 9:06pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G

You're right that these are a very small percentage of people in Starfleet and we don't really see comparatively much of the Federation outside Starfleet due to the subject matter of the show.

And I'm not even saying it's all necessarily wrong when so much is at stake with high tech weapons that could depopulate whole planets and threats like infiltrating shape shifters. Hell, I'm even looking forward to seeing MU Georgiou's plans for next week even though I'm a little freaked out, too.

Sisko and Garak's conspiracy was brilliant, but extremely risky since they could have easily caused a war with the Romulans and it was murdering one guy for not going along with their plan and another just to shut him up. I know intelligence agencies have people killed.

Yes Maxwell was right about what the Cardassians were up to, but when has the crew of a warship belonging to a serious modern nation gone out and fought their own war?

But I realize now that I think about it more that there's a frontier element to the Star Trek universe that isn't there in our world anymore. Maybe it's more like the 18th and 19th Centuries in some ways. People have to make their own spur of the moment judgements a lot.
Peter G.
Wed, Jan 31, 2018, 9:17pm (UTC -5)
@ Ed,

"Maybe it's more like the 18th and 19th Centuries in some ways. People have to make their own spur of the moment judgements a lot."

I agree with this a lot, and I think it's often overlooked. TOS made is pretty clear that starship captains have immense power at their disposal, and also enormous discretion when dealing with events far from the Federation. I like your analogy, and it's easy to forget that a lot of what happens to ship can be weeks away from Federation communication. I just watched The Icarus Factor and they said it would take Riker's new ship *months* to get to their destination, with no idea of whether there would even be anything when they got there.

In Maxwell's case, the goings on were happening behind border lines and away from where any other Federation ship could detect them, so he decided to use his discretion to expose it rather than let them hide behind a treaty. I sympathize with him even though Picard is ultimately right. And it's a hard sell to make the decision easily, because in Kirk's time I bet the scales would have weighed more on Maxwell's side in the balance.
Jammer
Wed, Jan 31, 2018, 9:26pm (UTC -5)
Review now posted.
Peter G.
Wed, Jan 31, 2018, 11:21pm (UTC -5)
Oh, good catch, Jammer, on shooting the ventilator plating being an Ep IV reference.
Mertov
Wed, Jan 31, 2018, 11:32pm (UTC -5)
Spot-on review Jammer, down to the smallest details. Thanks again!
JohnTY
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 1:35am (UTC -5)
Up there with some of your more generous reviews Jammer. Maybe all the negative comments here lowered your expectations? Not sure how you could conceivably give this more than 1.5 stars but each to their own I guess.
Markus
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 2:56am (UTC -5)
@Red:

Sure I'll be back next week - because the label says "Star Trek" and as they say: "hope dies last". I am such a big fan of the franchise (prior to 2009... and partly prior to 2001) that I can endure lots of disappointment. But it feels more like a duty than real excitement or being intrigued. I could appreciate it more if it were just compelling on its own terms - good writing, consistent characters, NEW stories (not rehashing old concepts for the sake of fan service; this trip into the mirror universe might be an exception, if it were not so boringly predictable (Georgiou as emperor, Lorca as Mirror Lorca). But the whole show just feels dumb, and the new concepts are silly (spore network as the élan vital of all universes?).

Then again, it seems many non-Trek-fans enjoy this series. If they get motivated to watch and appreciate (more) the old stuff - I am fine with that.
SC
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 3:39am (UTC -5)
Jammer's reviews really are brilliant. Such an accomplished writer.
Plain Simple
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 3:49am (UTC -5)
@juss100

Well said. Your comments about the importance of diverse opinions having a place in these discussions mirror some of the things that I've been thinking about reading through some of these threads, but couldn't quite put into the right words.

Given that this week's episode wants us to make the connections to Trump, and by extension the heavily polarized political and media landscape, seeing some comments lash out against perceived intrusions into their 'echo chamber' can almost seen as fitting in well with the theme (however heavy-handedly pasted on top of the story) of this episode.

@Trent: "TNG and TOS can also get away with a lot because they're very abstract, Brechtian and unfold like fables, morality plays or like filmed theater. They eschew realism and naturalism."

Good points. It's the Hobbit in 48 fps all over again. (Yes, that's taking your point too literal, but it could be seen as a visual equivalent of the storytelling point you were making.)

@Jammer: "Review now posted."

Nice review! You make some good points. I'm not sure though I agree that Saru's speech was "nothing short of awesome". It started out great and I was enjoying Saru getting the crew together and have 'the team' tackle the problem at hand, but the ending was too abrupt for my tastes. He did the motivational speech and then he just left them, without giving them actual, hands-in, guidance of how to proceed. I felt it left him looking less like a leader and more like a motivational speaker when all was said and done.

I'm also not sure that seeing PU Lorca is the only way to get Isaacs back on the show. First of all there is always 'the flashback', if needed, but more than that, I felt that by pushing Murca into the spore core, they left themselves with more than enough Force magic outs to bring him back if they want to.
djkazaz
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 4:41am (UTC -5)
@Yanks

I would actually agree with every one of the points you make in 'where discovery fails'. Same for your comments on TNG as well as on how the more sophisticated we get, the less we can enjoy an hour of simple TV ;-)
Panagiotis Karatasios
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 5:34am (UTC -5)
Shanon
I have the right ro express my opinion if you don' t like it then don' read it but you will not decide what i will do
Yanks
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 7:05am (UTC -5)
@ Jammer,

"except for the unnecessary upping of the ante that alleges the destruction of the mycelium network would cause "all life as we know it" in all universes to end if the Charon is allowed to continue using their power source that draws from it. (Did it really have to be all universes? Couldn't just the one have been sufficient?) "

I agree. I'm not sure if this is based on scientific theory or the writers were just upping the stakes. I wouldn't be surprise if all the "multi-verses" are supposed to be linked in some way.

"When Stamets said they overshot the timeline when returning to the Prime Universe, there was a part of me hoping he was going to say by one or two centuries instead of only nine months."

You are not alone. I'm sure a poll would have resulted in over 90% of viewers hoping for the same thing. The quicker they get this Klingon thing behind us the better.

Oh, and the Star Wars similarity was OVER THE TOP.... goodness gracious, that had to be intentional which kind of upsets me.

I wasn't aware the ISS Discovery entered the PU... I guess I missed a big one.

I watched this again last night, and I think there is LOTS of room to introduce PU Lorca back into the series. The ISS Charon only took two torpedoes that we saw. If the "transporter accident" was really supposed to mirror (for the lack of a better term) what we know to happen in TOS: 'Mirror, mirror', then wouldn't the PU and MU Lorca's have changed universes simultaneously?

While my initial reaction to getting Lorca "back" is YES!!!..., I'm not sure he would really be back. How well can Issacs plays a real Star Trek Captain? ... or do we just love him as the bad guy?

Great review as always!

@djkazaz
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 4:41am (UTC -6)

Thanks. "fails" is probably too harsh a term. "Lacking" or "straining" may be better? I like the show, but man they are trying to do so much at times I just feel (and it is a feeling) that there is 10 pounds of crap in a 5 pound bag.

Peter G,

"... Lorca, his first security chief, and Burnham, are IMO categorically of a different breed of character than anything we've had in Trek before - again, with the exception of Janeway on a 'bad day.'"

Easy on Janeway... :-)

Lorca for sure, but I think PU Landry was seduced by MU Lorca and reacted emotionally when Burnam came on the scene and "stole his attention". We don't know of her attitude/conduct prior to MU Lorca. I also wouldn't put Michael in his category either. Yes, she's don't some screwed up things early, but everything after the Battle of the Binary Stars from her has been on the up and up (conduct/character wise).
Joseph B
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 7:39am (UTC -5)
@Jammer:
Nice review!

I enjoyed this episode much more than you did, but I can certainly appreciate the concerns you outlined. (And I was also hoping that they had overshot by 150 years!)

From my perspective, this was a 4 Star (OMG!) episode based on the fact that
* I was highly entertained, and
* It felt like “Star Trek” to me (albeit with tproduction values not seen in any prior Trek TV series.)

I was very skeptical that CBS could pull off a modern serialized Star Trek series, but I’m fully on board now. I’ve even gotten use to the viewing it on CBS All-Access — which has provided a consistently quality viewing experience since the series came back from hiatus.

Live Long and Prosper! 🖖

philadlj
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 9:32am (UTC -5)
"this episode plays out pretty much the worst-case scenario regarding "Captain" Lorca"

"destroys what was once an intriguing and potentially complicated character"

"it feels like an act of arson against much of the season"

"thinking about afterward is pretty deflating"

See, I feel entirely differently about the Lorca heel turn. I believe the deflating "worst-case scenario" is EXACTLY what Discovery had been trying to pull all along. Burnham, Saru, and the rest of the crew had likely formed the idea in their mind that Lorca was this "intriguing and potentially complicated character"...BUT HE WASN'T. That was precisely the illusion he tried to cultivate, and it worked on everyone, including much of the audience, and me!

This wasn't an "act of arson", like someone throwing a match into a dry forest. I like to think of it more of a naturally-occuring forest fire, such as those caused by lightning. Such fires are crucial to the species that live within them to spur regrowth and reproduciton. In the case of Disco, Lorca had to go so that the rest of the crew could step out of his shadow and shine. And that's exactly what happened; I agree the most enjoyable scenes were those of Saru leading and working with his crew to get home.

Yes, it sucks that Lorca was just a boring, evil MU bastard. But we have to take responsibility for the grayer conclusions we drew from his behavior, just as the crew of Discovery will have to do. This disappointment works on many levels - the writers, our affection for the actor and his talents, and the fictional crew who had let themselves be led by a wolf in "somewha-less wolfish" clothing.

I think I actually would have been MORE disappointed if Lorca had turned out to be some kind of revolutionary antihero who fights against the Terran Empire. For one thing, we already know his rebellion won't last, as ten years later when the Enterprise shows up in the MU the empire is still very much in power. But mostly it just doesn't matter how Lorca met his end; now, an evil bastard through the Charon's moon door, or later, when he and his band of rebels is wiped out.

Because we never actually knew Lorca; only MU Lorca. And for Discovery to live, he had to die.

Here's hoping Prime Lorca shows up at some point.

Ubik
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 10:02am (UTC -5)
I really like the idea that Lorca had been lying to his crew the whole time. This is not arson, but the foundational purpose of the entire character and arc. If we step back, and think about all those scenes between Lorca and his crew, scenes with Stamets, scenes with Michael, the whole thing becomes sort of...haunting. He is not a 2-dimensional mustache-twirling bad guy at all, any more than Shakespeare's Iago is. Look at what he was able to accomplish, not just in logistics, which are based largely on intellect, strategy, and luck, but in terms of interpersonal persuasion - the man was able to ACT, to look people straight in the eye and give inspirational speeches, talk of exploration and context being for kings and how much he needs a person like Michael....and ALL of it was bullshit. This is a deeply charismatic, utterly amoral, extremely proficient ACTOR (I mean Lorca, not Isaacs) - something like, as I said, Iago, or maybe Richard III. His PERFORMANCE as the "real" lorca is what makes MU Lorca so complex, that he was able to walk among that crew, forge those bonds, say those things, and not mean any of it. Imagine having to be Michael, or Stamets, and have to think back on every moment they spent with Lorca over the last year, have to rethink everything, have to realize he could have pulled out a knife and stabbed any one of them at any moment without batting an eyelash, and they trusted him. And they even grew to like and admire him. Terrifying. Haunting.

It also brings up the question of how complicit the rest of the crew is. How could all of Starfleet have fallen for this guy's long con? How could Saru and Michael have been okay with his, for example, leaving Mudd to die? Or allowing Ash to have free reign of the ship? (We now realize he did that because, frankly, he didn't give a shit.) Or allow Stamets to keep risking his own life? His crew went along with all these highly questionable decisions, and we now know his motivations were entirely personal and selfish. Now people like Michael, Saru, and Stamets will need to look at themselves in the mirror very carefully, and wonder why they were willing to look away from so much sketchy behaviour from their charismatic, no-sensense warrior of a captain. This reveal could do some real damage to crew's ability to trust THEMSELVES, let alone trust any new Captain.

Furthermore, it establishes a very interesting thematic question for Michael - she started by betraying a Captain she shouldn't have, and then found herself NOT betraying a Captain that she should have. This parallelism is entirely deliberate on the show's part, and it makes any simple "lesson" or takeaway for Michael very difficult. Is the lesson always trust your Captain, always have faith in the chain of command? That appears to have been the lesson to be learned from her mutiny, and yet now we find how easily the chain of command can be infiltrated, and corrupted, and Michael probably thinks she should have turned on THIS Captain even earlier. So what's the right answer? How is one supposed to respond to authority, and balance it out with one's own ideas of what is best to do?

No thematic content to this series? Nonsense.

By the way, I also think a lot of posters here are missing the intention of the series. Jammer actually DOES point out the "craziness" quotient in all this, to his credit, and admits to having enjoyed it, but then he second-guesses himself. Have we all forgotten the reference early in the season to the rabbit hole? This whole season is meant to be taken as a wild ride through Wonderland, and on that score, I think it works wonderfully. There are, of course, some flaws, and other questions that will need to be resolved in order not to BECOME flaws, but the sensibility of the show is different, I think, than what people think it is, or ought to be. Approached as an exercise in escalating batshit craziness, where it becomes clearer and clearer that nothing and nobody that we think we know is what we think it is, realizing that we are no longer in Asimov's Star Trek world of calm logic and ethical debate, but rather Philip K. Dick's world of funhouse mirrors and characters turning inside out, only then do we come to see the show much more accurately for what it is. And that's when we come to appreciate it more.
Del_Duio
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 10:19am (UTC -5)
@Ubik:

Those are good points but I think you're giving DSC's writers way way too much credit. I don't think they meant this show to come across as deep as you suggest.
Dom
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 10:27am (UTC -5)
@Ubik, " Asimov's Star Trek world of calm logic and ethical debate, but rather Philip K. Dick's world of funhouse mirrors "

The issue is that for a lot of us the logic and ethical debates are intrinsic to Trek. I have enjoyed some shows that are more of a funhouse roller coaster, like Farscape, but that's not Trek. Why make a Trek show like that instead of a Farscape reboot or new sci-fi show? It's not that a crazy sci-fi adventure can't be fun, but Trek isn't really the best platform for that story (also why I'm not a big fan of episodes like TOS' "Shore Leave"). I think the difference between critics of Discovery and fans is that to the critics the Star Trek brand stands for a certain quality and style.

As for the themes. Um... I guess you could take that out of the series, but the way Discovery goes about it is really so ham-fisted and lacking in subtlety that it makes any exploration of themes uninteresting. All previous Treks had episodes in which characters had to decide between obedience and justice. When done well, the characters had to grapple with really tough issues underlying that choice. Riker in "Pegasus" had to decide if he would betray a former captain to obey his current one (Picard). If he was going to protect Starfleet secrets or reveal them to the Romulans in the interests of peace. That feels real and compelling. The right answer isn't obvious and isn't easy.

Burnham swings from violently assaulting one captain to acceding to torture of a sentient life form under a MU captain. Her first choice was so nonsensically wrong, and the second was more about her being duped than struggling with a clear ethical dilemma. The right answer for her should have been easy. Don't disobey a captain to start a fight you can't win; do resist a captain who acts like a mustache-twirling villain. There's no subtlety. The ethical dilemma might have worked better had Lorca not been from the MU and instead just been a morally ambiguous captain. If the revelation had been that Lorca's methods were winning the war, but at a terrible cost to civilians, then that could have allowed Burnham to grapple with a harder choice.
Steven
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 10:55am (UTC -5)
[Quote Peter G:] I'd like to be able to make some grand-sweeping statement like "the moral fiber of this show is completely degenerate" but I think that would be missing the point. It's not that the morals of the writers are mixed up, but simply that they don't exist. They're busting every move to keep the plot twists coming and I don't think there's much more to it than that. There's no consideration for what any broader message might be, and so any message one can draw from the show is going to be largely accidental rather than by design.
...
It's almost like a Terran Empire's version of a Star Trek series, and sorry to those who like reading only positive reviews, but yes, it's an actual betrayal. It's not just some new show we should be thankful for, but it an insult to what I grew up thinking of as Federation values. It's some piece of irony that the story of the series is focused on a character whose chief characteristic is being a traitor.
[/Quote]

To me, that's still the core of what is wrong with DIS. And I noticed something recently: I enjoyed the Mirror Universe episodes more than anything else, ever since the first 30 minutes of the pilot episode. You know, when Michael betrayed her Captain for arbitrary and incompehensible reasons - she's really the first main character of a Trek series that I can't connect to. Now, arriving in the Mirror Universe, the show suddenly became bearable. I think that's because everyone in the MU is so blatantly evil and psychopathic that our "heroes" suddenly become sympathetic - purely by contrast. It's really a sad state that we need the comical simplification and black-white painting of the MU to make the PU crew tolerable.

I haven't posted here since episode 6 or 7, but I've promised to come back and give my verdict on season 1. - So, I think I can do that now: This series is still a failure in my eyes. I mostly share the opinion of Peter G here - no coherent message, no vision, no moral commentary like we're used from Star Trek; instead it's all about action, visuals and paper-thin plots and I don't see the "Trek" in this series any more. There are some technical improvements, granted; the pacing and directing got a lot better recently, but that doesn't change the course of the series which to my taste is all-wrong. In terms of characterization, I have to acknowledge some improvement (from unbearably insonsistent to more or less coherent characters; especially after the reasons of Lorca's erratic behavior have been revealed). Still, I don't expect to pick up this series after the end of season 1.
Peter G.
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 11:01am (UTC -5)
@ Ubik,

In your explanation of the series you're using fanfic retrospective to create the existence of events that are implied to have happened but were never actually depicted on screen.

"This is a deeply charismatic, utterly amoral, extremely proficient ACTOR (I mean Lorca, not Isaacs) - something like, as I said, Iago, or maybe Richard III. His PERFORMANCE as the "real" lorca is what makes MU Lorca so complex, that he was able to walk among that crew, forge those bonds, say those things, and not mean any of it. "

The analogy to Shakespeare's Richard III demonstrates how the show failed, not how it succeeded. In the play Richard gives periodic monologues where he outlines to the audience exactly what his plan it so that they can see how he goes about executing it. This allows us to understand what he says to other characters as deceptions and to interpret them in that light. But in Discovery they wanted the opposite - for us to have no idea he was lying, obviously. And the result is that *while watching* we assumed he was (for the most part) speaking his mind, and only at the end can we reflect back and say "I see NOW that he was lying there, there, and there." So we never got to actually enjoy his 'acting' performance at all, and therefore it's only as a reflective review that one can perhaps suggest that his acting was amazing. It wasn't part of the content we were shown, since we weren't meant to know it, and so it didn't add to our enjoyment of those episodes. Maybe if you do a second watch-through you'll watch the whole thing interpreting things through that lens, but a show shouldn't be giving you its full value only if you rewatch it.

The reason Jammer (and others) has suggested that Lorca's character was undermined is that in any show it takes time for us to get to know someone and see not only how they develop, but who they are in the first place. In TNG it took us a solid 2-3 seasons to get to know Picard, and for the writers to even figure out who he really was. By the time BoBW came out we were ready for it because the character had been established. This is not only an investment in time, by the show, but an investment by us, to accept getting to know new people. I cannot understate how important that is - to have the audience accept getting to know new people, to learn about them, and to *want to know more*. Abusing our trust by showing us lies makes us care less about the characters, not more. It may sound cool in the marketing room, but on a human level being deceived about a main character on Trek is just a deflation of the time we put into trying to learn who he was. Turns out it was all a lie; fine. But I'm definitely not going to applaud having invested any of myself trying to figure out what kind of guy he is only to find out I never had any data in the first place.

So that's why it's a character assassination: all the time we took in S1 to get to know him was a waste, because we learned nothing at all. They could have literally shown any character at all, played in any way, and then had !Lorca appear and be the villain he was, and it would have been no different. The lies could have been different lies, the fake attitude a different fake attitude, and the 'real' Lorca emerges in the end, casting off the acting performance, whatever it was. So truthfully we're supposed to care about a villain who realistically only ever had an episode and change of 'development'; the other guy never existed. It's kind of like early Voq, in a way, where we were apparently supposed to be concerned about his fate when his ship was taken away from him but I didn't because I knew nothing about him and didn't care.
Ed
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 11:02am (UTC -5)
I don't think these revelations made Lorca a simplistic character. He is obviously a complex and intelligent person but one devoted becoming Emperor in the MU as is normal for their culture.

He's a person with great skill in motivating/manipulating people in both universes. He had a very smart, patient plan becoming MU Georgiou's second in command (and lover?) with the eventual goal of seducing Michael and using her against Georgiou and exploited his unexpected exile in the PU to his advantage very well.

He must have also been a talented and accomplished military officer for years to have the trust and support of so many lower level people. I don't think he was a dumb bigot obsessed with the "alien scum"(yes, I'm sure he sees himself as superior to aliens as they all do) and the Empire under Georgiou was likely to have been as glorious as it needed to be already.

He was motivating the troops and justifying his rebellion by playing the nationalist and populist. Make your own judgement about how this applies or not to today's politics. If he came across as simplistic in this episode, it was because it was an action-oriented one and his goal was "kill the Emperor" which is a pretty direct no matter who you are.
Dom
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 11:15am (UTC -5)
@Ed, Peter's point was that we don't SEE any of that. We see Lorca as a Starfleet captain. We don't see Lorca PRETENDING to be a Starfleet captain. There's a difference in that we don't actually see the character traits you mention, we have to infer them and fill in the blanks retrospectively.
Peter G.
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 11:16am (UTC -5)
@ Ed,

"I don't think these revelations made Lorca a simplistic character. He is obviously a complex and intelligent person but one devoted becoming Emperor in the MU as is normal for their culture. "

I guess we'll never know - unless they bring him back. We learned a smattering of things about him in the finale, and that one episode is what we've got to work with to figure out what he's like. Is he really a racist xenophone, or was that just to rally the racist, xenophobic troops? No clue. Is he fighting for some noble purpose or for a better empire, or is he just the next guy on the assassination totem pole? No idea. Does he actually care about anyone, or is it just about his own grandiosity and having capable people serving him? No idea. Is he clever? Yes, I guess, although since this 'plan' of his was only shown as it was occurring (and barely made sense as we saw it) it's hard for me to be impressed with it and to judge him based strictly on that.

As for what he pulled on in the PU, I can't say I give him much credit for it, because he didn't do much to conceal himself as a Nazi right from his first episode. My issue isn't that he pulled it off, but rather how awful the crew were to go along with it (as I've mentioned before), and how incompetent or oblivious Starfleet was to let him do what he did. I never had a problem with *him* being suspect in character; I had a problem with the fact that no one else had a problem with it. The extent of Saru's complaint was grumbling about how it was a crappy post for him, and how Michael, the traitor, would fit right in there. So it's not like the atmosphere there was some kind of secret!

So is !Lorca simplistic? We have no idea! We don't really know who he is and had no time to learn. That's my point. So why should we care whether Burnham picks him in the end or not? Is there even the slightest reason (in-universe) we would want him to succeed or thrive?
Kinematic
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 11:27am (UTC -5)
Philip K. Dick? Comparing PKD's storytelling to Discovery is like comparing an M.C. Escher drawing to a teenager's scrawled imitation. The foundation of PKD's work was the distinctiveness of his characters and ideas, which he then threw into funhouse plots to make readers look at their own reality from a new perspective. Nothing in Discovery so far has been worth the effort.

Mirror Lorca may be a bold statement about the seductive power of evil, or he may just be a sloppily developed character whose potential was wasted in the service of a hamfisted narrative. You could say the same for Ash or the tardigrade or any number of other concepts. The fact it's called Star Trek may convince people that "This bad plot was actually designed to subvert viewers' expectations! Genius!", but the more times you apply that excuse the thinner it becomes. In Discovery, the Star Trek name doesn't raise cheap storytelling to the level of high art, rather Star Trek is being dragged down to a low place that other contemporary media are happy to occupy.
Ubik
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 11:27am (UTC -5)
@Peter G

What can I say, other than that I completely disagree with you. Any characterization that requires retroactive re-framing and re-thinking or even, God forbid, a rewatch in order to be understood or appreciated is failed characterization? What do you base such a claim on? Is Keyser Soze a failed character because he only makes sense in retrospect? Or Edward Norton's character in Primal Fear? Sixth Sense only really makes sense if you rewatch it. For that matter, perhaps a better parallel (since I don't actually think Usual Suspects is that great a movie) would be the narrator in Agatha Christie's The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. That novel's ostensible narrative hides another, more authentic narrative beneath it, and only once the novel is finished can we even begin to get a handle on the narrator we've just been following for 300 pages. Suddenly every page reads differently, just as, throughout Season 1 of Discovery, now every scene will read differently.

So no, I simply don't see why re-examining all Lorca scenes now, after the reveal, in order to recover his heretofore hidden characterization should be an off-limits exercise. It's clearly what the writers (and Isaacs) intend for us to do. Are you arguing for your right, as a viewer, to refuse to do the work the artists intend for you to do in order for that work to be appreciated? You, of course, have that right, but it really just means that your sensibilities are out-of-synch with those of the artist's. Either way, it seems clear to me that, like in Christie's novel, the true and authentic characterization of the man can only even begin to be examined now, in retrospect, after the novel (or series of episodes, in this case), is over. That is when we come to appreciate Lorca as the complex character he is. It isn't like he was one character, and then suddenly he was another; he's the same man. He's always been the same man. The man who gave Michael that speech about context, or Stamets the speech about exploring the universe, that WAS him. Now we can appreciate the levels this man was playing on. And the fact that we can only do that now, after it's all done, is, to my mind, very exciting.

@Dom

As for the Asimovian logic and ethical debates being an integral part of most previous Star Treks, all I can say is, yes, it was an integral part of those previous Star Treks. But it's not of this one. And I have no problem at all with a franchise deciding to move from an Asimovian influence to a more Dickian (and Carroll-ian) influence in order to spice things up, and try new things (especially after the failures of Voyager and Enterprise, both of which were trying to repeat old formulas and philosophies.) Caves of Steel and The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch are both classics, and I am absolutely open to Star Trek trying, essentially, just about anything, with any philosophy or storytelling approach it damn well pleases (that unpredictability is what makes it art, rather than mere product), and as long as they do it well, I am satisfied. So far, I think Discovery is doing a Philip K. Dick's version of Star Trek exceptionally well for a first season.
Dom
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 11:35am (UTC -5)
@Ubik, but then why call it Star Trek? How does setting this show in the Star Trek universe enhance the story? What do people like about Trek if not for that Asimovian style of sci-fi? Aside from the marketing and the fact CBS knows more people will watch a "Star Trek" show than a new sci-fi show, why not make this an entirely new show?

I don't ask this facetiously. I just really don't get it. For me, a franchise should have a clear set of values and stylistic tendencies. The label "Star Trek" should indicate something about the type of story you're getting. But I'm genuinely curious as to what "Star Trek" means to you if not that style of logic and ethical debates?
Ubik
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 11:35am (UTC -5)
@Kinematic

Oh, and by the way, by referencing Dick in all this, I am simply pointing out likely lines of influence. I am not claiming that the Discovery writers are as good as Philip K. Dick, just as The Wrath of Khan is nowhere near as good as Moby Dick. But that (understandable) difference in quality is no reason to scoff at the notion that this Star Trek probably has a Philip K. Dick influence behind it. And I think it's important to acknowledge that and understand it, or viewers will be approaching this show with the wrong expectations. Criticizing Discovery for being insufficiently like Isaac Asimov would be like criticizing a David Lynch film for lack of internal logic. TNG may have gotten its underlying storytelling approach from Asimov, but clearly Discovery has not.
Chrome
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 11:36am (UTC -5)
Though I'm sympathetic to people wanting to see more nuanced Lorca, (hey, he's a fun character and we've almost grown sympathetic to his position), I also find that there's something retroactively intriguing about Lorca being a total villain capable of putting up the good guy farce for such a long time.

I think enjoyment of this episode hinged greatly on how much you liked the Georgiou/Burnham dynamic. Burnham's ultimately deciding in favor of Georgiou meant that there needed to be something fundamentally wrong with Lorca's plan. If Burnham sided with Georgiou after learning Lorca was some sort of anti-hero, we'd think Burnham chose the wrong side. I'm not sure the writer's expertly pulled this off, but I can see why they'd go this route.
Ed
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 11:39am (UTC -5)
@Dom & Peter G

I see what you mean. Your analysis may even be more logical than mine but with both the story itself and the actor portraying him, he comes across to me as a man with depth even if it's amoral depth. With another actor I might agree with you.

Some of my interpretation is based on inferences, but to manipulate the Emperor, both Michaels, Cornwell, the Discovery crew, his followers and so on, he has to be psychologically sophisticated in my opinion and he comes across this way when dealing with people.

During his time on Discovery, he learned how to appeal to the crew quickly. At first he did seem like some fascist, but then he started appealing to what everyone wanted or needed. That he was up to something bad (and not just bad for the greater good) was clear to me as a viewer but he looks less suspicious putting yourself in the place of an individual character who is worried about the war and supposed to obey their captain.

Then the mean captain starts doing and saying things that makes the crew member think "hey, maybe he's all right" which is what they would want badly to be true. He starts being encouraging and giving inspirational talks.



BZ
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 11:43am (UTC -5)
I disagree that requiring a rewatch to get everything out of a series is a bad thing. When I was a college student, we learned how to listen to a classical music piece. You need to do it three times. Basically, you go into it the first time not knowing where it will go. You are utterly surprised by every thematic change, modulation, etc. The second time you know what's coming, and concentrate on how everything is prepared for and foreshadowed in retrospect. The third time is similar to the first in that you concentrate on a piece in order as it is presented to you, but appreciate it more by keeping your knowledge of where it ends up in the background.

I think this approach can be adopted to any good work. In a good piece all three run-thrus are rewarding, but the third is the most rewarding. This means, basically, that you can rewatch something as many times as you want without losing interest, because all subsequent rewatchings are essentially repetitions of #3.

Of course now that I posted this, I need to follow my own advice and rewatch everything to see how it holds up.
Chrome
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 11:45am (UTC -5)
Just to follow up with my last comment, but to put it in D&D terms, Georgiou is lawful evil and Lorca is chaotic evil. While they're both bad people, Georgiou is shown to have a sense of order and honor, while Lorca is shown to be a treacherous, opportunistic snake.
Dom
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 11:46am (UTC -5)
@Ubik, sure, people shouldn't have completely unrealistic expectations when approaching a work. When I watched Amazon's "Philip K. Dick Electric Dreams" anthology show, I expected PKD-style stories. Most people going to see a Lynch film should expect something weird. But the show is called "Star Trek" after all. It's not crazy to expect it to look and feel and smell and sound like "Star Trek." Again, this is the part I don't get. What does "Star Trek" mean to Discovery fans? What should we expect from Star Trek as a brand? Why not just have called this show "Sci-Fi Wonderland" or something totally different?
Ubik
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 11:51am (UTC -5)
@Dom

A very good question. It seems to me, actually, the archetypal question of a customer. This suggests, to me, that you think of yourself as a customer of Star Trek, and you think of Star Trek as a product, like a meal at your favorite restaurant. This is by no means a criticism, just an observation. To answer your question, I don't think of myself as a customer at all, but as an audience for a work of art - art, not product. Star Trek has, too often, satisfied itself with being only a product (basically, supplying to the customer precisely what the company thinks the customer wants), and I am on cloud nine about the fact that Star Trek has, for the first time since the end of Deep Space Nine, decided to aim for ART again. We should all be grateful, and I am a little saddened that we aren't.

As a viewer, what does Star Trek mean to me? Great storytelling, of absolutely any type. I want art. I want risk. I want surprise. I want depth. I don't always get those things (and I haven't gotten them all season with Discovery, either), but dammit they're trying, and they are often succeeding. The first questions I ask, when I approach any new work of art (which Discovery is) are: what IS this thing? What is it trying to be? How does it work? I bring as little as possible to the table in terms of expectations. I want to give the thing a chance to DO, to be itself, to present its argument, to explore its possibilities. Why should I have any expectations at all? Why should I limit it, reject it, try to control it? I give the thing a chance to be and do whatever it wants, and then I judge it based on how well it succeeds at ITS OWN GOALS. I want to be surprised, moved, changed. If a new work of art can be a totally different thing, and yet still work, that, to me, is fantastic.

And your other question, why call it Star Trek? Well, from the point of view of the producers, it's to get butts in the seats, and I don't blame them for that. Artists gotta eat. But from the point of view of the artist, think of it as variations on a theme. Within a single fictional universe, an artist can create comedy, tragedy, romance, linear adventure, disordered chaos, fantasy, science fiction, realism, dream-logic - anything it wants. That, to me, is what art is about. Discovery is damned different from anything the franchise has done before, granted, but you know what? It's exciting, and unpredictable, and crazy, and risky, and probably in over its own head, and I love it for all that. It brings something new to the fictional universe, and to my mind, the more variety in styles and storytelling approaches a fictional universe has, the more spontaneous and malleable and unpredictable it is, the better.
Ubik
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 11:54am (UTC -5)
@BZ

A great post! Just wanted to point that out.
Trent
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 11:57am (UTC -5)
Ubik said: "Suddenly every page reads differently, just as, throughout Season 1 of Discovery, now every scene will read differently."

The Lorca revelation doesn't reconfigure past episodes, though. Quite early on, everyone's had him pegged as either Section 31, an "anti-Federation values" psycho, a Mirror Character or otherwise believed that the entire first half of the season was taking place in the Mirror Universe. Lorca always was, one variant of a giant, violent, unlikeable jerk. Nothing's radically changed. He's not suddenly now a richer character. If anything, how he's just a jerk with poor regime-change planning skills.

And whilst I agree that early Trek was Asimovian, IMO everything Discovery has done is radically different from Philip K. Dick. For Dick, quotidian reality is a shared fiction, everyone is paradoxically a desire-machine in someone else's fantasy, and there is no ground zero reality but instead something more schizophrenic. A core theme of Dick is also that humans are machines who do not know it (as opposed to the common reading, that his machines are machines who are not sure if they are human). In Discovery, though, things and identities are much more concrete; the universes have clear demarcations and no character has a doubt as to where he is from. And the characters aren't suffering psychoses in the Dickian sense - battered by reality bleeds or else part of "normality's" shared psychoses - but are just cartoonishly garden variety psychos (as TOS established the Mirror Universe).

Dickian SF on screen is closer to Cronenberg's Existenz.
Brian
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 12:04pm (UTC -5)
Joseph B said:
"@Jammer:
Nice review!
I enjoyed this episode much more than you did, but I can certainly appreciate the concerns you outlined. (And I was also hoping that they had overshot by 150 years!)
From my perspective, this was a 4 Star (OMG!) episode based on the fact that
* I was highly entertained, and
* It felt like “Star Trek” to me (albeit with tproduction values not seen in any prior Trek TV series.)
I was very skeptical that CBS could pull off a modern serialized Star Trek series, but I’m fully on board now. I’ve even gotten use to the viewing it on CBS All-Access — which has provided a consistently quality viewing experience since the series came back from hiatus.
Live Long and Prosper!"

This sounds like a pay-for-positive to me. Anybody else?
Plain Simple
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 12:19pm (UTC -5)
@Yanks: "I agree. I'm not sure if this is based on scientific theory or the writers were just upping the stakes. I wouldn't be surprise if all the "multi-verses" are supposed to be linked in some way."

I know some people have defended the idea that the spore drive is in any way scientific, but I just don't see it. As far as I can tell the only basis in scientific fact (or even wild scientific hypothesizing) this concept has is that "big mushrooms do exist". Beyond that (instantaneous travel, being a necessity to sustain all life in the whatever verse, etc.) I don't think there is any basis in science, no matter how tenuous. So no, I don't think this upping of the ante has a scientific basis, I think we left terra firma long ago with the spore drive, both literally and figuratively. As Jammer and others also have remarked 《start paraphrasing》the spores are the Force 《stop paraphrasing》. And the Force is magic.
BZ
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 12:30pm (UTC -5)
@Trent (and others with similar points),
"The Lorca revelation doesn't reconfigure past episodes"

Sure it does. Up until this point we were just speculating. Was it just Lorca? What about the rest of the crew? What are their actual goals?

Now that we know (or think we know?) it's just Lorca, he's just evil with a knack for convincing everyone to join him, and his plan was to return to the MU using Discovery's spore drive and mirror Michael's clout, are there any inconsistencies with this in earlier episodes? Does Lorca do anything that doesn't fit this reading of his character? That everything he does is either acting the part to avoid suspicion or actively furthering his plan? Maybe. For example, why would he put himself between the Klingons and another Starfleet ship when no one would have bllamed him for running when the odds turned against him? What about other characters? Are they consistent with just being "charmed" by Lorca and not "evil" themselves? Maybe the security chief, but she dies way to quickly to be sure. But as I said, it's almost necessary to rewatch from episode 3 on to see if everything fits.
Steven
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 12:30pm (UTC -5)
You guys have indulged in this fun exercise of comparing the moral make-ups of the Star Trek captains, especially as Discovery is lacking in this department.

So I can't resist; here is my list:

1. Picard
2. Sisko
3. Kirk
4. Janeway
5. Archer

Incidentally, I am very much guided by the moral angle because IMO this list shows whose morality is superior to whose, and my sympathies for the captains go by exactly the same order. I'm just too much of an idealist to enjoy something like "Discovery", I guess. Although I did enjoy the reboot of BSG, which is in many ways the antithesis of Trek. However, BSG was "real politics" done right, in an artistic way, far superior to what Discovery has to offer.

The difference between Picard and Sisko has been detailed by you guys. Picard's morality is preferable in theory - if the circumstances allow it. He would've struggled against the Dominion though. Kirk is on place 3 of my sympathy list because his morality is less clearly defined than Picard's or Sisko's. Kirk generally has his heart in the right place and is the "original template" for a Starfleet captain, but imo he is surpassed by Picard and Sisko. Janeway is most similar to Sisko, in my books, because she has to make many decisions under extreme circumstances - but in the end, she is too erratic to be considered on-par, although Mulgrew understood to sell the character surprisingly well, using her charisma.

On Archer, I had to laugh a bit when reading Peter G's description of "George W. Bush in space"... although that's just the issue I'm having with him, too. Scott Bakula comes across as too "American" for my taste. Admittedly, his diplomatic side works rather well in seasons 4 and I might have ranked him higher if more of "Enterprise" had been about the actual formation of the Federation, as opposed to the boring stuff that we got served in the first three seasons. I refuse to even rank Lorca after his recent outing as a comic-book villain.
Peter G.
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 12:33pm (UTC -5)
@ Yanks & Plain Simple,

Just to clarify (not that I'm the world's authority), there is no basis whatsoever for (a) suspecting there to be a fungus/spore based network in space - not even a fringe theory. However it's certainly not out of the realm of science fiction to suppose that life is sustained by some previously totally-unknown connective tissue, whatever that might be. But no theory as of now suggests or points towards that, with the exception of Eastern/Yoga type hybrids such as Deepak Chopra famously expounds, which is sometimes referred to as 'quantum mysticism'. Basically it takes buzzwords from quantum and twists them into meaning unscientific things. Not that I can say he's wrong, but he's wrong to say that science as we know it suggests these things.

To address the second bit, about whether there's any scientific ground to suggest that all universes in the multiverse are inextricably connected to one vital connective tissue - well let me just put it this way. When Hawking has, in certain popular science books, expounded on the idea of the multiverse, or of baby universes, he's often heckled by others in his field as being a fringe theorist or even a nut, delving more into science fiction than science theory. This may be an exaggeration to an extent, but at present there is *zero* evidence of a multiverse, let alone what properties such a structure might have. And when I say evidence, I mean observed evidence, because certainly there are plenty of imagined ideas to go around about quantum gravity and what lies beyond black holes or beyond spacetime as we know it. And abstractions is all, at present they, are; mathematically models, not scientific theories in the proper sense, and certainly not containing actual data about how these hypothetical alternate universes function in tandem.
Jammer
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 12:51pm (UTC -5)
It's not the reveal of Lorca as a season-long liar that bugs me *per se*. It's the reveal of him as a liar so they could give us a character with so little depth or nuance just to then kill him off. It all feels so pointless.

Now, if the Discovery crew does some serious soul searching over how they were fooled and betrayed, that would help ease the annoyance some. But based on the show's track record, I suspect it will be hastily on to the next thing with little reflection on the events that have happened.
Chrome
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 12:52pm (UTC -5)
@BZ

Excellent post, it's amazing how much more you can get out of a show on with an encore viewing. It wasn't until I started rewatching TNG after the original run that I was able to pick up that nearly every single teaser had a valuable message that would play out the rest of the episode to some degree. I also appreciated Garak shows and Ferengi shows from DS9 a lot more after I could see where the showrunners were going with the characters in the long run.
Mertov
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 12:53pm (UTC -5)
Dom, your question to Ubik is a good one, and I would have probably answered it more or less like Ubik. Depending on the angle, Star Trek can be called so simply because CBS has the rights to it and decides to name it that, to great story-telling in a sci-fi environment, to philosophical pondering, top scenes involving technobabble and crew working together, to the existence of species already see before, conflicts created by political catch-22 situations and still sticking to personal principles, to.... I don't know what else. Each person has his/her set of expectations.

My expectations have mostly been met so far. Few are not, for example I agree with Jammer and a few others that Lorca's scope was reduced in this episode, but I don't agree that it makes his character from previous episodes pointless. Personally, I began seeing something wrong with him already in episodes 3-5, and began having a more than legitimate suspicion that he was from the Mirror Universe somewhere after the first chapter ended (by then, there were a ton of clues).

He represented that complexity well, kudos to Isaacs for his acting too. I was, however, only able to get that suspicion because showrunners made it clear since the beginning that Mirror Universe would be involved, which, in retrospect, was a mistake in my opinion. If nobody knew Mirror Universe was coming, Lorca's odd behavior and the several clues over the first 9 episodes would have been interpreted simply as "he has a hidden agenda" instead of immediately guessing the strong possibility that he was a MU character.

Great input and idea exchanges by Peter, Ubik, Dom, Ed, Chrome, and others above. I feel enriched reading those comments.
Dom
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 1:05pm (UTC -5)
@Ubik, I appreciate the answer, thanks. I get your analogy, but I wouldn't say I view myself as a customer akin to a customer at a restaurant so much as a customer of art. I think for all of us there are some types of art that speak to us and some that don't. Most artists do have a style or a set of themes they explore. For me, the experience of watching Discovery is like going to an art gallery promising featuring Monet paintings and seeing a bunch of Picassos. It's not that there's no intrinsic worth to a Picasso painting, and there might be times when I'm in the mood for a Picasso, but you shouldn't try to pass it off as a Monet. They're different artists with different visions and styles.

TV shows and modern franchises are obviously different in that they're controlled by a corporation, not a sole artist. Still, I do think companies need to understand what the franchise is about and find a way to focus on that. I get that not everyone agrees, but I worry that making Star Trek anything and everything risks diluting the franchise of the values that made it special in the first place. Many of us fell in love with Star Trek because of its utopian vision and engaging ethical dilemmas. I think what critics of Discovery are worried about is that the corporation behind it, CBS, is treating Discovery like a product. Rather than trying to understand what makes Star Trek unique, they're more focused on how can we make it appealing to a 21st century audience.

I guess part of the reason I feel this way is because I'm looking at it more in the context of what's currently on TV (Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, etc) than comparing it to past Treks. We have plenty of other dark, serialized shows on TV that rely heavily on plot twists. To me, Discovery doesn't feel fresh and exciting; rather, it feels so similar to the rest of the 2010s TV landscape. It looks and feels a lot like The Expanse or Dark Matter. And to my mind Discovery isn't beating those shows at their own game. I believe a utopian, episodic Trek show - or anthology - would actually feel fresh and different in the current TV landscape. That doesn't mean you repeat the same stories as TNG or DS9, but there is plenty of room to innovate and engage with similar themes in a different way. Then again, maybe I'm alone in being sick of grimdark serialized action-oriented TV shows.
Dom
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 1:10pm (UTC -5)
I do get the approach though that treats Trek as just a big canvas on which to tell stories. Truth be told, that was probably more my approach when I was younger. I think I've just become a bit more wary during the past decade given the way corporations use and misuse franchises by deviating so far from the original spirit and values.
Peter G.
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 1:17pm (UTC -5)
@ Dom,

Just to play devil's advocate for a moment, the better analogy to an art gallery might be that you hear there's a Picasso exhibit and go expecting to see some weird crap, but it turns out the exhibit is of his naturalistic, or 'blue phase' material with no cubism at all. But he's famous for cubism, right? It turns out he made lots of stuff besides, even (gasp) some nice paintings.

At this point, though, the analogy breaks down, because "Star Trek" isn't a single artist who goes through phases and wants to explore art through different settings and styles. And that's the point where I'm concerned; viewing a radical shift in style as being an 'artistic change' seems to me valid if it's a single artist expressing different things, but when it's a conglomerate or corporation then it hardly seems fitting to suggest that "they" are "changing" their artistic vision. They simple aren't the same artist as before and never had that vision or the understanding of it. They have purchased a franchise name but are selling other product under the same label. That's not artistic variation, it's corporate marketing. There's nothing 'artistic' about having nothing in common with the guy who used to run the franchise, buying it from him, and selling your usual product with the name the other guy developed. It's not like Kurtzman invented some new style for Disco or has some novel artistic direction to explore. It's just a new paint job for a standard model that's been out for years.

Now, none of this has anything to do with whether that standard model is any good. You can look at the oeuvre of Kurtzman/Abrams and say you love it, hate it, whatever, and that's fine. But I don't think it's reasonable to say this is a 'new direction' for the exploration of Star Trek's values. It's not even plausibly that. And to be honest I'm not even sure it's supposed to be. The only part that gets me is that if *feels bad* to have Fringe 2.0 being called Star Trek, but inherently there's nothing wrong with airing Fringe 2.0 in and of itself. Just call it something else.
Dom
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 1:55pm (UTC -5)
@Peter, fair enough about the analogy. I don't know Picasso's oeuvre all that well, but there are definitely artists who have gone through phases. A lot of fans of Spielberg's earlier work, which was more light-hearted in tone, just hate his more recent work, which tends to be darker and more historical drama.

I think you also said explicitly what I was hinting at implicitly. I don't view corporations as artists. I worry when profits and marketing play too big a role in making TV and movies. And, without being in the writer's room, I do worry about how much independence the Discovery writers have to really tell the stories they want to tell. How much of the writing is dictated by what they think they need to do to keep viewers versus what the story requires? When you have an artistic visionary like Roddenberry at the head or star writers who have clout, I'm reassured that there is at least some buffer between the artistic and the commercial. I don't think this is crazy. Bryan Fuller left in part because his vision was very different from what CBS wanted.
Omar
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 2:41pm (UTC -5)
What STD did to Captain Lorca is consistent with SJW agenda of the series: white people are bad. You certainly can't trust a white man.

It's a shame that STD is using Star Trek to promote a divisive political agenda.
Ubik
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 3:16pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G

CBS may not be a single artist who is changing its artistic vision, but the actual writers of the show are. They are individuals who grew up watching the same Star Trek as us, and have chosen to attempt new artistic expressions/ styles/themes/approaches in an already existing framework. This sort of thing has been going on since the beginning of Western storytelling itself; Homer, in The Iliad, tells a story in an existing fictional universe, and then, a few centuries later, Aeschylus gets his hands on that fictional universe and, in his trilogy, tells a slightly new story in that same fictional universe, but in doing so, not only changes the very genre that Homer originally wrote in, but also openly criticizes the very philosophies and approaches inherent in the original vision. This altering of storytelling approaches, tropes, and even underlying philosophies in already existing fictional universes by subsequent writers has been going on literally since drama was invented, and was done gleefully by those same very people who invented drama. So, I would say the Discovery writers themselves (not to be confused with CBS the corporation) are in good company.

All of which to say, there is absolutely nothing new about new writers entering established fictional universes and changing, to the very marrow, how stories within that universe are told, and what sorts of stories those can be. If it was good enough for the inventors of drama itself, how can we say this ought not to be done?
Peter G.
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 3:39pm (UTC -5)
@ Ubik,

This isn't TOS and TNG, where the writers are just submitting scripts that may or may not get aired. I'm not in on the production meetings obviously but I imagine that they're commissioning scripts from selected writers and telling them exactly what has to be in the plot, which points, which details, etc. This is supposedly a tightly-run serialized series, where "it's all planned", right? If we're to believe that then the individual writers have very little leeway in the content they have to include. Basically the freedom they have will live in the particulars of the dialogue, how the story is presented, etc. The artistry will reside in the script crafting, but not in the imagining up what to put into the story. If we're to believe what we're told about them being excruciatingly aware of canon and details then most of the content is pre-determined for any writer, so no, this isn't some artistic exploration of a new canvas for them at all. It's more like an IKEA set where they have a diagram of how the finished product should look and they have to construct it correctly. That's a bit of an exaggeration, but the point is that the show could only work under these kinds of conditions. The sort of artistic freedom you're talking about can't exist in a tightly-focused serialized show. Even in DS9, where there were only occasional arcs, Behr said how hard it was to coordinate one script with another and to make sure continuity was kept and that one writer didn't write something simultaneous to another writer, for scripts that would air at different times, that would either contradict or fail to include something that had to be included. And that was for a show that was largely *not* serialized for the most part, and he said it was that hard to manage. They are definitely not giving any writers a free hand in a show like this.

The one area where the writers should have been able to exercise their skills was in the dialogue writing, and since that's the one category where the writing should have been able to shine I have to say it's been very disappointing. None of the writing has been standout to any extent, although sometimes a performance (such as from Saru) can certainly sell the material well. And more often than not I've actually been cringing at the lines being spoken. So of all people involved in this show, I would *not* be looking towards the writers as being the artists to congratulate. That's about the last group I recommend out of the lot. The people coming out looking the best among everyone involved are the actors, because for the most part they're acquitting themselves very well, often with substandard lines written for them. How can anyone say "context is for kings" with a straight face, after all? But Isaacs is just that good. I'd also give some credit to a few of the directors, especially lately.

But oh man, to the writers? Absolutely not.
Dom
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 3:40pm (UTC -5)
@Ubik, sure, but 3,000 years later we have a plethora of fictional universes to choose from. Fictional universes have much clearer identities now. Part of my concern is that the modern trend to set stories inside existing fictional universes is stifling the creation of new, possibly better fictional universes. When Lucas wanted to make a sci-fi movie in the 1970s, he tried to get the rights to Flash Gordon, but failed. Instead, he made Star Wars, was allowed to do his own thing, and the rest is history. Gene Roddenberry could probably have tried to license a sci-fi franchise like Lost in Space to tell his story, but he created Star Trek because he had a unique vision he wanted to convey. JMS wanted to tell a serialized sci-fi space opera, so he made Babylon 5, because the Trek formula didn't work for his story.

Part of my worry I have is if corporations feel that they can make more money by selling second-tier stories in an existing fictional universe rather than really investing in the most talented writers and letting them tell their own stories in their own fictional universe, we'll have lost something. We won't ever get the next Star Wars or next Star Trek. Creating the space for new fictional universes to flourish ultimately means we potentially get the next really neat franchise. If we just try to cram everything into existing franchises, we'll have disjointed stories that don't seem to really fit, the way that the continuity in Discovery just doesn't line up with the rest of Trek.

Of course there's room for innovation in franchises. Despite some flaws, I think Last Jedi shows how Star Wars can change yet still feel like Star Wars. Same for Blade Runner 2049. That feels like a BR story, but it also feels like a Denny Villeneuve story. It's a fine line and it's subjective, but Discovery feels nothing like Trek. Looking back on it, Discovery would actually have made more sense as a Farscape reboot. Aside from the absence of muppets, it's actually got the Farscape vibe in terms of characters and storytelling.
Bob
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 4:06pm (UTC -5)
Have to agree with others about Lorca. I thought he was fascinating, and then they just made him some moustache twirling comic book villain in the final episode.

The other thing that has always bugged me is how on earth does the MU Terran Empire even function? It's literally chaos. People are killing each other while on active duty, it's completely self defeating. Even the Klingons only resort to this for honour reasons. There is no way the Terran Empire would actually be a functional empire with the culture it has.
HawgWyld
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 4:46pm (UTC -5)
"Watching it is kind of riveting, but thinking about afterward it is pretty deflating."

That rather sums up the entire series so far...
Yanks
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 4:47pm (UTC -5)
Peter G, everyone... :-)

My take on the "science of Discovery" is this.

I really don't care if it's real, based on something real, or theory or not. I too am no expert. I've seen all the shows, have some schooling. It honestly seems to me that everytime their "theory" ends up not being supported by "the math", they just make something else up. The Big Bang, String theory etc. Now I'm OK with that because they think on levels I just can't. The point is I just have to accept it and try to make sense of it.

No that different than the "science" of sci-fi.

As long as it's true to itself I can handle it and as far as I can tell, they made a consistent science fiction of this mycelial network stuff. Is it nuts? probably, but they are true to themselves. They sold and have stayed true to their science within the concept of the show.

The same with the science of the Stargates in SG-1, or all the other technology they found in SGA. It was true to the show. Good lord, they were worse than ST transporters.

And honestly, it's not more far-fetched that mass traveling exponentially faster than the speed of light on a whim, replicating everything out of thin air or transporting living beings through transporters, etc.

I don't see using the "science" of Discovery to knock the show. If you do that and accept all the rest, I think that is hypocritical.
Yanks
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 4:53pm (UTC -5)
@ Bob
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 4:06pm (UTC -6)
"Have to agree with others about Lorca. I thought he was fascinating, and then they just made him some moustache twirling comic book villain in the final episode."

So many folks have expressed this so let me ask... just what did you expect? I mean really, what was Lorca supposed to be all about?

Personally, I found how Lorca turned out to be expected. (once we knew he was from the MU) I also thought Issacs did a fine job not making Lorca seem cartoonish.
Ed
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 6:16pm (UTC -5)
@Yanks

I agree. He always struck me as a bad guy. Maybe Section 31, maybe a future corrupt admiral. He was a cool character but did too many bad thing and was too fundamentally dishonest and manipulative to be a Kirk-like plays by his own rules hero. He made sense when revealed as an MU aspiring Emperor.

His treatment of Stamets was horrible. He clearly had a weird obsession with Michael. I don't think he was cartoonish either. He was like a villain in a good thriller. Gangster, corrupt cop, etc. Yes, he had an appealing side and that's why I thought it was good characterization. He could get people to like him and make them do anything.
Cynic
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 6:19pm (UTC -5)
It occurs to me that the setup for the next installment in some ways mirrors (no pun intended), Star Trek Into Darkness. Starfleet is too goody-goody to fight the ruthless Klingons effectively, so they must rely on someone from outside their timeline to show them the way. In STID, that's time-crossing (and timeline-branched) KHAAAAN!, inexplicably repurposed (and resurfaced) as a weapons contractor by the morally bankrupt admiral. In DSC that's dimension-crossing Georgiou, who apparently will offer her mad tactics (and recipes?) for dealing with Klingons to a potentially corruptible Admiral Cornwell. It could be that Cornwell, who undoubtedly has an axe to grind with the Klingons and brought Sarek with her so he can use logic to justify almost anything, will go along with one of Georgiou's ideas, and it will turn into a major fiasco and war crime, cueing the sort of "This isn't who we are" bromide that ended STID.

As to the Green Spore, there are a lot of possibilities (most mentioned above) that seem very human-centric (Lorca, MU Lorca, MU Stamets, Culber, or the "life essence" of any of these). But it appears to me that the "network" is at least a semi-sentient organism that likely has had enough of humanoid interference. So how about this: Green Spore as its representative eventually takes over Tilly to communicate that sentiment to the DSC crew (Locutus of Spore?). Failing that, Green Spore Tilly sabotages Discovery's drive in such a way that PU's connection to the network is severed forever, resolving (more or less) the apparent continuity glitch with future/past series that the "spore drive" has always represented.
Ed
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 6:53pm (UTC -5)
@Cynic

I like the idea of some sort of "refusal" on the part of the network to be used for such purposes anymore.

I also want one of the last uses of it to be MU Georgiou going back home with a plan to get her position back. Either the Terran Empire is desperate for leadership because of about a million competing, incompetent rulers or there is an established new Emperor, she figures out who it is and assassinates them, making a great impression on the population who assumed she was dead.

Her two reforms are (1) no more eating Kelpians because Saru won her respect (2) from now on anyone ranking above captain must be challenged to a duel (the challenged gets their choice of weapons) rather than assassinated.
Jorbol
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 6:55pm (UTC -5)
Lorca was basically only interesting character on STD. This is still the most worse Star Trek series to come out during the past year.
Hank
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 9:35pm (UTC -5)
@Cynic and Ed: Oh no, please, no, don't make the spore network sentient ... That would basically create god: Needed to sustain all life, permeating the whole multiverse, unlimited power - and now it can talk? No, just no. And before any comparison to Q pops up: Q is a metaphor, above all else, a plot device, not a science gadget. Q only worked because he was used sporadic, and had to be reasoned with to get something from him. The spore network can be manipulated by technology. Also, in the end, it would turn out that Micheal was created by the mushrooms to bring balance to the force. Would at least explain her mary sue status.

What this show desperately needs is a reduction of scope, not an increase. We went from starting a war between the two most powerfull entities in the alpha quadrant to risking all life in the multiverse. This show really needs to calm down, take a step back, show us some character work, and abandon its most ridiculous ideas. The best thing to happen would be: Spore Drive doesn't work anymore, network is gone. Didn't kill everyone, because Depac Choopra is not a scientist, and Discovery is superseeded by the Constitution Class as the most modern ship in the Star Fleet arsenal. Thus, under Captain Saru (Mirror Yeoh dies because of terminal visual overload (too bright a future)), the crew must come together after the traumatic Lorca experience and find a way to continue on, being tasked with small missions. Then you can explore the Burnham character, and everybody else, and still tell a dramatic war story in the background. You can't do that if you are constantly piling one suspension-of-disbelief defying mega-plot twist onto another.

And now a specific response to somebody else:

“And when they got back to the PU, they say they have no contact with Starfleet at all. Yet they show a 'war map' detailing all the advancements and victories of the klingons in the past 9 months. Really? Where did they get that from? So stupid. “

"Obviously they have google maps. … or just the audio hails weren’t being answered, you know so someone could sneak up on them and board them… you know like we saw in the previews of the next episode. It’s obvious that their computer network linked up…. Because we ended up seeing the status of the war."

No, they said they didn't even get an automatic response, they got nothing. No connection to the internet. Thats what that scene implied and what gave it gravitas. If they can connect to something that tells them exactly how the war is going right now in real time, they can also contact starfleet. This is just lazy writing. Just say: "We can't get a response from Star Fleet. Nobody is answering any calls. No automatic singals either ... Wait Captain, I got connection to a satellite orbiting Eta Eridiani. We got a connection to our network, updating computer." And then, boom, federation "Lost the war!!!! (well, 20%, so no big deal, especially if that is regarding to territory and not planets). Something like that. We have to assume that the reason why they can't pick up communications is because the Klingons are jamming them (if that is even possible - there is literally no other reason), and that includes all data transfer, als all data transfer has to be wireless.

Ed
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 10:27pm (UTC -5)
@Hank

Maybe you're right. In fairness, I wanted it to be sentient precisely so that it could ban us heathens from ever using it again for any practical purpose thus making it irrelevant for the rest of Star Trek history.

On your comments on communication with Starfleet I hadn't thought of that but you have a good point. Why can't they contact what's left of it?

True, losing a third of the fleet is horrible; much more so in my opinion than losing 20% of space or planets (whichever it is) in the long run because with so few ships, the ability to defend remaining territory decreases on such a huge scale.
The remaining 80% will fall fast at this rate.

But even if only 10% was left, those people could still communicate. The same plot point could be more rationally illustrated by simply getting a message explaining the situation.
Hank
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 10:39pm (UTC -5)
Yes, that is what is so frustrating with this series. Just a simple sentence, here and there, and the plotholes just disappear. Another example is Burnham rerouting the video feed. Just show us, for three seconds, how she types something into a console or sticks something somwhere. All she does is ripping some glowing cables out of a wall ... yeah, well, of course people don't believe that she hacked anything, because there was neither time (the conversation starts immediatly after) and she didn't actually do anything conducive to her aim ...

If have seen Porn films with less plot holes than Discovery - and there, the holes are the plot!
Paulus Marius
Fri, Feb 2, 2018, 1:51am (UTC -5)
Bang-on review, Jammer. You nailed it. Thank you. I needed that.
Steven Wieler
Fri, Feb 2, 2018, 6:13am (UTC -5)
> What STD did to Captain Lorca is consistent with SJW agenda of the series: white
> people are bad. You certainly can't trust a white man.

> It's a shame that STD is using Star Trek to promote a divisive political agenda.

On the other hand, there is also the message "you can't trust a Pakistani/Muslim", because look at who the sleeper agent is. And the black doctor has just been killed off (black people are unimportant, I guess?), so the "good" crew of the Discovery is pretty white now. Anti-white people? That's a conspiracy theory that is just in your mind, no offense. You can't cherry-pick one single character and claim that it proves an anti-white agenda. That's just lazy thinking.

White people can be pissed, middle Eastern people can be pissed and black people can be pissed by the portrayal of certain characters on the show. Hey, gay people can also feel insulted because how romantical was it to show Stamets and his lover brushing their teeth together? It was a silly/forced romance. So, basically, every political group can be angry about this series if they cherry-pick what they don't like.

In the end, it's just a poorly made series and the insult to certain groups is non-intentional. It's just a by-product of sloppy writing and character work.
Ed
Fri, Feb 2, 2018, 6:31am (UTC -5)
I thought Stamets and Culber brushing their teeth and talking about their day was a nice domestic scene showing how their relationship is a haven from the crazy world of mushrooms, Klingons and Lorca outside.


Rob Sherrard
Fri, Feb 2, 2018, 7:39am (UTC -5)
If I remember right, didnt TNG try to avoid any references to TOS in the early seasons, to make it's own mark and avoid being seen to ride on the success of the original crew (besides McCoy in Encounter at Farpoint and the The Naked Now)?

Maybe in the next season the writers will be more secure in the series' uniqueness that they'll begin to connect more with the wider Trek universe...?
Leroy
Fri, Feb 2, 2018, 9:43am (UTC -5)
@Omar

>What STD did to Captain Lorca is consistent with SJW agenda of the series: white >people are bad. You certainly can't trust a white man.

>It's a shame that STD is using Star Trek to promote a divisive political agenda.

Well, all the klingons are black and aggressive as hell, so I call this show racist.
Chrome
Fri, Feb 2, 2018, 10:55am (UTC -5)
Pasty white Irishman Chancellor Gowron would like to have a word with some of you.

"didnt TNG try to avoid any references to TOS in the early seasons"

Is there a source for this? TNG was airing alongside the TOS movies, so there might have been licensing issues.
Ed
Fri, Feb 2, 2018, 11:04am (UTC -5)
MU Georgiou likes to eat aliens.
Saru is off limits.
She will apparently be involved in a battle with the Klingons.
Klingons often threaten to eat their enemies' hearts.

Thus, I can't help imagining a Hannibal Lecterish scene with her in the ship's galley, a dead Klingon on the floor and classical music playing in the background as she prepares his heart in an elaborate gourmet style.
Masaka
Fri, Feb 2, 2018, 2:29pm (UTC -5)
Still very hard to enjoy this series and accept it as being part of Star Trek. Imagine a bunch of Bulgarian guys who never watched a game of baseball putting on Red Sox uniforms and running around on the field. They might look like baseball players at first glance but they are not. ST Discovery is like that.
HK
Fri, Feb 2, 2018, 2:43pm (UTC -5)
@Dom
"in Discovery MU Terran officers eat sentient aliens and come close to destroying all life in the universe"

Many might think this is not unlike Americans, who at a time enslaved sentient humans and are now recklessly contributing to global warming.

Many that's the allegory the writers were going for?
Dom
Fri, Feb 2, 2018, 3:03pm (UTC -5)
@HK, I think you give the writers way too much credit. You have to stretch quite a bit to make that allegory. There are many types of evil in the world. I didn't see anything in the MU that made me think of America versus say Nazi Germany or North Korea or so many other regimes that oppress people and cause massive amounts of harm to the world. More importantly, the episode doesn't do anything to develop those themes. Throwing a bunch of villains on the screen doesn't really shed any light into the nature of evil or societal ills. If the MU was supposed to be 21st century America, what did it say about 21st century America? What was the moral lesson or the point of ethical debate? Not to eat people?
Jorbel
Fri, Feb 2, 2018, 4:09pm (UTC -5)
@HK "Many might think this is not unlike Americans, who at a time enslaved sentient humans and are now recklessly contributing to global warming."

Anyone who thinks that is not very well informed or simply not very bright. Slavery existed in virtually all human societies throughout history and continues today in the Middle East and Africa. It's not exclusive to the U.S. where it ended 150 years ago. Global warming? Please. That's a political ideology not science.
Trent
Fri, Feb 2, 2018, 5:05pm (UTC -5)
Dom said: "I didn't see anything in the MU that made me think of America"

IMO it seems obvious that the Prime Universe is where the "American allegory is". ie - the Federation is a multicultural, democratic body at odds with Klingons whom the producers have likened to the far right and Trump. The production designers have also said that the Klingon ships and beacons feature "Islamic designs" (and Voq, a terrorist sleeper cell, is played by a Pakistani actor).

In other words, the Prime Universe is another tale of American liberals trying to figure out how to deal with hyper-conservatives and reactionaries. Maybe they'll require Mirror Tactics (ie the Empress) to beat their enemies, or maybe they'll reject the Empress and use "progressive Trek values" instead. Either way, the allegory ends up legitimizing contemporary first world America and democratic capitalism - the cause of these essentially class and socioeconomic based problems (and Klingons) - as the solution.

We saw this with the latest Star Trek movie, in which good, liberal Federation officers had to kill a black, xenophobic terrorist who essentially hated aliens. It's the old "violence is bad", but "they hate us because of our freedoms and so its okay for us to kill them" message. This obfuscates all kinds of things, and historical facts, but it's about as left wing that Trek can now go.

"Global warming? Please. That's a political ideology not science."

No. Man made global warming is a product of a political ideology (our economic system is a debt ponzi which collapses without constant growth and so collapses without a roughly 2.9 percent increase in energy (and so CO2 and so heat) per annum) which can only survive if it denies science.
LOL WUT
Fri, Feb 2, 2018, 7:16pm (UTC -5)
lol climate change deniers, what's next in this comment section - flat earthers?
Nic
Fri, Feb 2, 2018, 8:10pm (UTC -5)
Wow, that was terrible. It was like a mash-up of DS9’s « The Emperor’s New Cloak », Voyager’s « Fury » and TOS’ « The Alternative Factor ».

I honestly can’t believe that Jason Isaacs (and to a lesser degree Michelle Yeoh) accepted this role. What a waste of acting talent. I’ve seen Saturday-Morning cartoons with smarter writing and more interesting characters.

I won’t go through each moment on the Charon where I was unable to suspend my disbelief (there were too many of them). The scenes on the Discovery fared slightly better, but I thought Saru’s speech was a pile of cliches.

And why is it that I can’t get into the tech dialogue on this show? TNG had a lot of technobabble, but for some reason I bought it then, and I don’t now. Have I changed, or is it the show that’s not selling it as well?

So, yes, overall I'm not enjoying this show. It's not entertainingly bad like "Sub Rosa" or The Room. It's frustratingly bad, because I keep seeing all this dramatic potential be squandered week after week. But I haven't stopped watching (yet), perhaps because of some faint hope that it will get better like TNG did. Who knows?
Miss Alexandra
Fri, Feb 2, 2018, 8:54pm (UTC -5)
I do not always agree with you, Jammer, but I endorse every single word you wrote about this episode. I have been a huge fan of Discovery, Isaacs was a big part of that, and turning a wonderfully complex character into an eeeeevil cartoon absolutely enraged me. Of all the things they could have done with Lorca, they made the worst possible choice. I agree the action sequences were great (they finally made use of having a martial arts star to work with!). The other thread of this episode, contrasting how the crew behaves under Lorca's effective but repressive rule with an atmosphere that is so very Starfleet, and completing Saru's journey to self confidence, was masterful, but the price was too high. My excitement for the next episode dropped about 50% from where it's been.
Jorbel
Fri, Feb 2, 2018, 10:37pm (UTC -5)
@LOL WUT - "climate change deniers"...oh, that popular phrase used by those who wish to shut down any debate or reasonable discussion. The last thing climate cultists want is reasonable debate with facts. The fact is, the Earth's climate has ALWAYS been changing. Always has, always will. It has nothing to do with human activity. You can recycle all you want and live in a cave but that won't affect anything the Sun does or the natural, random climatic changes that occur on Earth.
LOL WUT
Sat, Feb 3, 2018, 12:03am (UTC -5)
@Jorbel

Truly laughable, especially for a supposed Star Trek fan.
Jorbel
Sat, Feb 3, 2018, 12:17am (UTC -5)
Its laughable that you think your actions here on Earth will affect the behavior of the Sun.
LOL WUT
Sat, Feb 3, 2018, 12:46am (UTC -5)
What's up with Discovery showing spherical planets, we all know they should be flat. Bad science.
Ubik
Sat, Feb 3, 2018, 7:18am (UTC -5)
I can't believe I'm allowing myself to be pulled into this...

but

@Jorel

Um...climate change has absolutely nothing to do with the behaviour of the sun. No one in the history of climate change science has ever claimed, for an instant, that climate change has the remotest connection to anything having to do with the sun. It has to do with the amount of carbon dioxide we spew into the atmosphere, which we DO have control over.
Trent
Sat, Feb 3, 2018, 9:13am (UTC -5)
Nic said: "but I thought Saru’s speech was a pile of cliches."

One line I liked by Saru was - I'm paraphrasing here - "this ship was taken from us, but it is ours now, and this is our maiden voyage!"

It seems to suggest that the Star Treking really begins in Season 2. Perhaps, Season 1 has been the writers fumbling to get out of the holes (Klingon War, Mirror Universe, Evil Lorca, Criminal Michael) Brian Fuller locked the series into.
Skiflicker
Sat, Feb 3, 2018, 9:23am (UTC -5)
I also don't want to be pulled into this, but I have no choice but to state some facts.

The earth has been warming and cooling since it existed.

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/7c/4a/08/7c4a087afbd3e623f092d7b291446662.png

The past 400,000 years and even before that it's been a cycle.

And the sun is absolutely affecting our temperature. It's the greatest influence because it's, you know, super hot, and next to us.

http://c3headlines.typepad.com/.a/6a010536b58035970c016760922c24970b-pi

Every single person on earth could disappear tommorow, and the earth will still warm up and become more jungle than anything, then cool down again and nearly become a ball of ice, and so on, as it's done for millions of years.

Are humans affecting any of this? Probably not, but it's possible. But we will be a jungle planet in a few thousands of years, no matter what. And an ice planet 50,000 years after that, give or take.

Maybe it's the mycelial network doing all this. Maybe it's trying to kill us.

And also I think that in the last episode, they made it fairly clear that the mycelial network is sentient. And that's a terrible decision.

Anyway, I hope that's the end of the climate stuff. Not because I'm so awesome, and proved my point (because I didn't), but because it has nothing to do with DIS.

Ed
Sat, Feb 3, 2018, 10:41am (UTC -5)
@Skiflicker

What if it was sentient in a very non-human way like a Lovecraftian deity? I agree it would be silly to make it like a person.

I would hate to have it give a sermon about how it had such high hopes for us, but we disappointed it with our wars and so on.

"What a disappointment you are, puny humans. I had waited so long to teach you my secrets only to find that you are violent and greedy, not worthy of my fungal wisdom .... blah, blah, blah...you are so stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid!"

But I might like it OK if it was just trying to live its own totally alien, incomprehensible life and was bothered like we were bugs crawling around on it.

[See, I'm avoiding the climate change issue :) ]
Lobster Johnson
Sat, Feb 3, 2018, 12:18pm (UTC -5)
So when do we get to debate over whether Galileo was wrong since we are revisting well established scientific facts.
Robert T.
Sat, Feb 3, 2018, 1:01pm (UTC -5)
@ Ubik - The Sun certainly is a key factor on the Earth's factor. Obviously life here would not be possible without it. This is basic science 101. The sun gives off radiation and heat energy affecting the oceans and the land. The sun is constantly having storms and the output of energy from varies which in turns affects our climate. It doesn't matter what we do here. I'm all in favor of keeping the Earth clean. I don't like pollution and we should certainly avoid that as much as we can. But we cannot control the overall climate.

Carbon dioxide is a natural element of the Earth. CO2 is not pollutant. As others have pointed out none of the predictions of the impending doom by climate change alarmists have not panned out. It is largely social justice cause, not really a scientific case.
Skiflicker
Sat, Feb 3, 2018, 1:12pm (UTC -5)
The human influence on the global temperature is far from an established fact.

And it sure seemed like the mycelial network was sentient. It tapped into Stamets brain to create Culber and argued to protect itself, to continue it's own existence. I don't know of any non-sentient things that would do that.

It's literally trying to save it's own life. And it tells Stamets how to escape the network. It must be sentient. If it isn't, it's a good scam.
Ric
Sat, Feb 3, 2018, 2:08pm (UTC -5)
Just another good quality but non-Trek episode in a non-Trek show.

Also, I laughed at Jammer's sentence "But nope; he's a broad xenophobic caricature, showing the writers taking the laziest bad-guy route possible". Because, you know, there's a shortage of broad xenophobic figures to talk about in our days.
Gee
Sat, Feb 3, 2018, 2:26pm (UTC -5)
Good review by Jammer as always, but I have to disagree with Jammer's dissapoint that Murca "is a broad xenophobic caricature, showing the writers taking the laziest bad-guy route possible."

Had Murca not been like any other Terran I would have been annoyed at the break from cannon.

"They even have him chalk up his random and unlikely universe-crossing and subsequently successful plan as "destiny," making him into a self-professed fate-chosen megalomaniac, which comes across as a scripted way of admitting the plot was so hopelessly contrived that it must be acknowledged as being guided from a higher plane."

This was refreshingly honest of the writers, I like it. I reminds me of VOY's Relativity in that way, where the writers admit their ineptness lead them to use Time as a plot device all too often, giving everyone a headache.

And sometimes, for a time, things do just work out in your favour through sheer luck.
KT
Sat, Feb 3, 2018, 2:37pm (UTC -5)
@Dom
"Granted, the MU has always had elements of comic-book level satire and has never really been subtle, but in Discovery MU Terran officers eat sentient aliens and come close to destroying all life in the universe."

I think we (the real people of Earth) could easily become more like Terrans than Federations/Starfleet given the right circumstances. e.g. I am sure many people voted for Trump and Brexit for very Terrain like reasons. MU Lorca's speech was scarily reminiscent of some things someone I know said about the strong/capable being 'better'.
Ed
Sat, Feb 3, 2018, 3:07pm (UTC -5)
@Gee

I think Lorca was lucky but also very skilled at exploiting the luck that came his way. And of course a man like that would think it was all him or that he was chosen by a higher power.

@KT

Yes, as fun as the exaggerated MU characters can be some of it was uncomfortably familiar.
Kuebel
Sat, Feb 3, 2018, 4:52pm (UTC -5)
The !Lorca was no MU barbarian, at least not in all the episodes leading to this one. He was morally grey (or at least more grey than others) but still a good (enough) Starfleet captain.
Spock said that he detected !Kirk at once because he behaved like a barbarian. Can a barbarian play the part of a good person? I don't think so - and that's why I was disappointed when we found out there is nothing behind !Lorca, just a pretty simple lust for power.


Oh and I feel compelled to add to the climate discussion the following XKCD comic:
https://xkcd.com/1732/ (Earth Temperature Timeline for the last 20.000 years)
Ed
Sat, Feb 3, 2018, 5:44pm (UTC -5)
@Kuebel

History is filled with charming, sophisticated people who were also cruel and driven by power lust.
Dom
Sat, Feb 3, 2018, 6:28pm (UTC -5)
@KT, sure, some Americans are racist, bigoted, etc. We know from history ordinary people can do horrible things under the right circumstances. The show doesn't really do anything with that. I was excited about Discovery because the writers kept talking about how Trek could be a powerful political allegory for our troubled times, but it really hasn't engaged in any meaningful way. Having a mustache-twirling villain spout racist nonsense isn't particularly insightful or interesting because it tells us nothing we don't already know about evil.

To see how this type of social commentary CAN be done, look to DS9 (again). There are many examples, but Dukat is probably the best. In the first 6 seasons, he's a well rounded character and we only learn the true depths of his evil as we learn more about him. He's a chilling villain because he's also often so charming. Watching Dukat, the viewer realizes that somebody who appears to be sympathetic can in fact be truly malevolent. "Waltz" ends up being a brilliant analysis of what it means to be a self-deluded narcissist, which is entirely relevant in this day and age. Dukat did persuade himself that he wanted to be loved by the Bajorans, and persuaded himself that he was doing right by them, but his need for love came from a selfish place rather than a selfless place, like Sisko's. DS9 speaks to our current social and political strife, even though the show aired 25 years ago, in a way I just don't think Discovery has.
Trent
Sat, Feb 3, 2018, 7:12pm (UTC -5)
The fact that Lorca commanded the Buran was a big hint that he was from the MU. In real life, the Buran was the USSR’s mirrored replica of the US Space Shuttle.
Trent
Sat, Feb 3, 2018, 8:06pm (UTC -5)
Skiflicker said: "The earth has been warming and cooling since it existed.
https://i.pinimg.com/originals/7c/4a/08/7c4a087afbd3e623f092d7b291446662.png"

This is a common link posted by uber right wingers on social media. The science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson, who spent about a year at Antarctica with climate scientists, has 2 recent good utopian, science fiction books debunking stuff like this (Green Earth and NY2140). They may appeal to Trekkies.

Anyway, this graph is from a 1999 paper, and does the opposite of what those who cite it says. It shows that for the last million or so years until 1850, atmospheric carbon dioxide cycled between 180-280 ppm, or 0.018-0.028% of the atmosphere. Currently this value is above 400 ppm, and steadily climbing. I'm not sure how one might interpret this paper as debunking climate change, especially given more modern ice records vs. actual atmospheric measurements.

More importantly, the rate of contemporary CO2 release is unprecedented, even exceeding that of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. And we know that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and that we have been injecting CO2 into the atmosphere via the burning of fossil fuels.

But the real kicker is this: there are now countless law suits being issued against Big Oil based on the Big Tobacco Law suits of the 1990s. These suits are being issued by states and shareholders based on scientific studies done by Big Oil itself in the 1960s-80s, studies which show that these companies knew of, anticipated, prepared their rigs and boats for, man-made climate change as a result of the burning of their product. They also actively suppressed this information, lied to shareholders and customers and spent billions on campaigns of disinformation. So companies like Exxon and BP knew since the 70s that fossil burning (we burn in a single year the amount of carbon which takes about six million years to accrue) jacks up global heat. But apparently even their science is not trusted by climate deniers.

Skiflicker said: "And the sun is absolutely affecting our temperature. It's the greatest influence because it's, you know, super hot, and next to us. http://c3headlines.typepad.com/.a/6a010536b58035970c016760922c24970b-pi"

Again, this is a common picture spread on social media by denialists, and is dealt with here:

https://www.skepticalscience.com/solar-activity-sunspots-global-warming-advanced.htm

Basically, we're always measuring solar output. We intimately know how the formation of sunspots affects those output levels. Solar output has actually reduced in recent years, while the planet continues to warm.

We gather all sorts of other measurements (albedo, volcanic activity, interplanetary readings etc). Scientists have already considered hundreds of possibilities to explain the warming data, but none fit better than the rapid rise of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. The bottom line is, the climate is currently warming at a rate 20 times faster than the fastest rate in recorded history. And these rates map almost precisely with global GDP and aggregate energy consumption. More work, more heat.
Dave in MN
Sat, Feb 3, 2018, 9:17pm (UTC -5)
While I am glad that some can derive pleasure from Discovery; the overwrought episode titles, Jammer's recaps/reviews and the tortured/disbelieving responses posted here have convinced me of one thing:

It was a great idea for me to give up on STD before it tarnished the rest of Trek by its awfulness.

Anyways, carry on.
Dave in MN
Sat, Feb 3, 2018, 9:22pm (UTC -5)
Re climate "change"

Science is not a consensus. Science is not decided by a vote.

Any testable and repeatable data which refutes a Theory immediately invalidates it.

Remember String Theory?

Despite the fact that any theoreticians (a majority in the 80's) felt String Theory was the best explanation for quantum interactions, the data proved otherwise. If we had left it to a democratic vote of those very theoreticians, we'd still be wasting time running down a String Theory dead end thirty years later.
Robert T
Sat, Feb 3, 2018, 11:46pm (UTC -5)
120,000 years ago, the world was 2C warmer and sea level 6 meters higher.

We didn't do it.

Neither did CO2.

Science starts with data, notices correlations, looks for causality, develops a hypothesis, deduces necessary consequences from it, looks for those, tests it, submits it for replication and verification and submits it as provisional.

That is not the case with AGW. It's entirely circumstantial and correlative. Even a cursory look at the data will show that temp began its rise shortly before 1850 with no CO2 rise. Indeed, CO2 didn't begin rising much at all until 1880 when human production took off. Temp then declined until 1910 and rose again from 1915 to 1940. Then declined again to 1965, producing those magazine covers warning of the Oncoming Ice Age!

How does one explain the coming and going of the Ice Ages which occurred long before any kind industrialization? The Earth did that all by itself.

Scientifically it is sheer absurdity to think we can control the climate by turning an imaginary CO2 adjustment knob. Many confuse environmental protection with climate protection. It's impossible to control the climate, but we can protect the environment. On the debate concerning alternative energies, which is sensible, it is often driven by the irrational climate debate. One has nothing to do with the other.



Hank
Sun, Feb 4, 2018, 2:16am (UTC -5)
To all those climate change deniers: Can you please go back to some other place? This Forum is for discussing Trek Topics - and since Climate Change was not in this episode, it is inappropriate to discuss it here.

Also, all your arguments have already been refuted and you repeating them only shows your own ineptness at handling the topic. Dunning Kruger strikes again.
Nolan
Sun, Feb 4, 2018, 5:27am (UTC -5)
Sigh... I did have a thohght about how the use of a 'time warp' in "The Cage" could, along with the spore drive indicate that in this era Starfleet were experimenting with new propulsion methods, but I see that climate wars opened a new front here.

Remember, data can be manipulated and thrown on graphs to represent anything, question the extent and longevity of the trends being represented is the data based on recorded climate patterns which only go as far back as we thought to start recording them, or analysis of the various rock strata dating back to prehistory?

Remember also; the truth of a debate lies in following the money, of who benefits finacially most or is at risk of losing more if wrong. If a scientist is wrong, they write a paper about how the data didn't match the hypothesis and move on to a new one. They get grant money either way.

Consider Mercury, despite being closer to the Sun, is 20°F cooler than Venus, which is twice as far from the Sun, but has an atmosphere thick with greenhouse gases, of which CO2 belongs to. One could almost say that Venus has some pretty extreme weather, considering it's hot enough to melt iron.

Consider also that even if Climate Change isn't happening, the benefits of green technology built to combat it would in terms of air quality, renewable resources and power distribution across the class divides, be worth the hassle of changing the technology that shapes our lives anyway. Are you saying you WANT to live in smog choked cities? No, no one is, that'd be insane. But the only way to avoid that is with green tech.

So why argue? It all just boils down to who you'd rather give your money to. And those guys taking your money, they don't care that you think you're right, or that you won an internet argument. They only care about getting the only green that matters to them. Yours.
Trent
Sun, Feb 4, 2018, 8:46am (UTC -5)
"How does one explain the coming and going of the Ice Ages which occurred long before any kind industrialization? The Earth did that all by itself."

Again, this is a common myth. Things like Ice Ages are caused by Milankovitch cycles, which takes place over hundred thousand year time frames (and cannot cause the rapid fluctuations we are witnessing). That we are in a cooling phase of these orbital cycles (and so we'd currently be even hotter if not for them) is already factored in by climate scientists.
Ubik
Sun, Feb 4, 2018, 9:20am (UTC -5)
So...Discovery haters are also largely climate change deniers? Aaaah, it all starts to makes sense......

:)
Dave in MN
Sun, Feb 4, 2018, 9:56am (UTC -5)
#1. Can anyone explain why the Ice Ages began after 200 million years with no Ice Ages occurring?

#2. Can anyone explain why the Earth warmed back up between the Ice Ages?

#3. Even though we only have about 140 years of reliable solar data, the sun has shown it self to be quite variable and unpredictable. Why shouldn't this huge undefined variable be considered before a conclusion is drawn?

To me, if you cannot explain the causal factors of previous events AND you willfully ignore the lack of data concerning the main source of energy in your Theory, then all you have is a philosophically-based hypothesis.

That's not called being a science "denier" ... if anything, we are the ones trying to save the Scientific Method from PC groupthink.
Dave in MN
Sun, Feb 4, 2018, 10:00am (UTC -5)
And re #1 ... I pose that question because we've always had a Malankovitch cycle, but Earth went through hundreds of millions of years without Ice Ages.

Correlation does NOT seem to equal causation in this case.
Jorbel
Sun, Feb 4, 2018, 10:27am (UTC -5)
"arguments have already been refuted ..."

By whom and by what standards? Just because you say so? When a climate change cultist says this it just means that person only wants to stick his head in the sand and ignore the facts. He is indoctrinated.
Trent
Sun, Feb 4, 2018, 10:48am (UTC -5)
Dave in MN said: "#1. Can anyone explain why the Ice Ages began after 200 million years with no Ice Ages occurring? #2. Can anyone explain why the Earth warmed back up between the Ice Ages? #3. Even though we only have about 140 years of reliable solar data, the sun has shown it self to be quite variable and unpredictable."

All your points have been addressed above and/or routinely by climate scientists. The earth warmed after the last ice age thanks to orbital changes (affecting the angle and amount of sunlight hitting key areas) and the rise of sequested CO2, and solar flares and angles have nothing to do with current temperature trends. Nor do past Ice Age and temperature trends correlate with current temperature rates.

Assuming you meant "billon" instead of "million", the first Ice Ages occured when cyanobacteria developed photosynthesis and started pumping oxygen into the air. Our atmosphere thinned out and the first cooling began (killing off most life dependent on the previous, methane rich atmophere). So even in the past, the activity of the dominant species on the planet had the power to radically alter the entire planet's atmosphere.

Dave in MN
Sun, Feb 4, 2018, 11:09am (UTC -5)
I was accurate in saying that, before the Pleistocene, we did not have a half-million year Ice Age for 100s of millions of years. (Even the Chixclub impact did not result in such a long cold period).

Anyways .....

Let's make this easy:

The Malonkovitch Cycle started producing Ice Ages after not doing so during the dinosaur epoch because _______.

Solar output is irrelevant to a conclusion about climatology because ________.

I look forward to you filling in the blanks.
Dave in MN
Sun, Feb 4, 2018, 11:20am (UTC -5)
Also, are you also asserting that magnetic pole flipping has no climatological efgect?
LOL WUT
Sun, Feb 4, 2018, 11:55am (UTC -5)
This place is turning into r/The_Donald
Plain Simple
Sun, Feb 4, 2018, 1:17pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G.: "Just to clarify (not that I'm the world's authority), there is no basis whatsoever for (a) suspecting there to be a fungus/spore based network in space - not even a fringe theory. However it's certainly not out of the realm of science fiction to suppose that life is sustained by some previously totally-unknown connective tissue, whatever that might be. But no theory as of now suggests or points towards that, with the exception of Eastern/Yoga type hybrids such as Deepak Chopra famously expounds, which is sometimes referred to as 'quantum mysticism'. Basically it takes buzzwords from quantum and twists them into meaning unscientific things. Not that I can say he's wrong, but he's wrong to say that science as we know it suggests these things."

Agreed on all accounts. As I wrote, the only part of the spore drive that I can see has any basis in science is "big mushrooms exist". Not in space of course, on earth. And while I'm willing to belief that there are fungus species that can survive in space (I don't know if that's true, but that seems to me ---a complete lay person where it comes to fungi biology--- a reasonable thing to posit in a scifi context), it is a completely different issue to say the fungus *thrives* in space (where does it get its nutrients from?), and it's another million steps down the unbelievability ladder to say that it actually is neccessary to sustain all other life *and* it can make you whoosh through the multiverse at ludicrous speed.

And bringing up Deepak Chopra in relation to science is like bringing up a pile of fecies in a discussion about food. (That's not a criticism of what you wrote about him, Peter G., as you clearly pointed out his ideas have no scientific merit.) Both might start out with the same ingredients (observed reality and ---in a very charitable interpretation of Chopra--- a sincere desire to understand it; or, in the food analogy, raw ingredients and a good bit of hunger), but the end results couldn't be more different and you wouldn't want to mistakenly pick the wrong one to still your curiosity (or hunger).


@Dom: "Looking back on it, Discovery would actually have made more sense as a Farscape reboot. Aside from the absence of muppets, it's actually got the Farscape vibe in terms of characters and storytelling."

You think so? Perhaps I'm biased because I have 4 years plus a miniseries of Farscape to look back on and only (almost) 1 season of Discovery, but I cared more about most of the puppet characters (sorry Rygel, I know you're nobody's puppet) on Farscape, than I do about the characters on Discovery. I am not sure why that is. It has been said that in the olden times Star Trek writers often complained about the stifling restrictions on what dialogue characters were allowed to say. They felt the supposed 24rd century dialogue felt artificial. If this is something that the DSC writers have let go off, then perhaps it has made the dialogue too mundane and it doesn't allow any of the characters to stand out in that regard. I'm not sure.

By the way, I must say I'm really enjoying reading the discussion about storytelling that Peter G., Dom, and Ubik are having. Thanks!


@Yanks: "I really don't care if it's real, based on something real, or theory or not. I too am no expert. I've seen all the shows, have some schooling. It honestly seems to me that everytime their "theory" ends up not being supported by "the math", they just make something else up. The Big Bang, String theory etc. Now I'm OK with that because they think on levels I just can't. The point is I just have to accept it and try to make sense of it."

I am not sure I understand your post completely here. By "they", do you mean the DSC/Star Trek writers or scientists? In case you mean the latter, I would strongly advise you to look a bit deeper into the workings of science. It is truly fascinating (in my opinion anyway) and something that many people have fundamental misconceptions about. Scientists don't just "make things up" and then require you to "just have to accept it". Ideas in science have to withstand intense, continuous, never-ending logical scrutiny and comparisons with observations in order to be tentatively accepted as "the best explanation we have so far". The big bang theory has withstood a lot of scrutiny and is still standing as far as I am aware. String `theory' is really a misnomer and should be called the string `hypothesis' since (to the best of my knowledge) it is sorely lacking in the empirical testing department due to the enormous amounts of energy that would be required to set up tests that would allow to distinguish the predictions made by the string hypothesis with those made by competing hypotheses.


@Yanks: "I don't see using the "science" of Discovery to knock the show. If you do that and accept all the rest, I think that is hypocritical."

How is it hypocritical to take a close look at the science in a science fiction show? Especially a science fiction show like Star Trek which has always prided itself on its close relationship to real world science and scientists?


@Yanks: "So many folks have expressed this so let me ask... just what did you expect? I mean really, what was Lorca supposed to be all about?"

I did not expect anything. I'd like to take the series as it presents itself to me, coloured as little as possible by my expectations (although it being Star Trek doesn't make that easy). As for Murca, it is not about what I expected, but the fact that, after his MU reveal, he was just an eeeevil action movie villain. What is his motivation? He just wants to be emperor because he's a super-uber-xenophobe compared to the usual uber-xenophobes that run the Terran Empire. And how does he go about doing this? Piew piew, shoot everyone. Piew piew. Let me put it another way. Would anything substantially have changed in this episode if it hadn't been Murca running the coup but some one-off character who we hadn't seen before?


@Hank: "Spore Drive doesn't work anymore, network is gone. Didn't kill everyone, because Depac Choopra is not a scientist"

Haha. Thanks for the laugh!


@Ed: "I thought Stamets and Culber brushing their teeth and talking about their day was a nice domestic scene showing how their relationship is a haven from the crazy world of mushrooms, Klingons and Lorca outside."

Agreed. I think if we had had more quite scenes like that between other characters, I would've grown more attached to them. Culber was actually one of the characters I did grow a liking to, in part because of scenes like that one.


@Rob Sherrard: "Maybe in the next season the writers will be more secure in the series' uniqueness that they'll begin to connect more with the wider Trek universe...?"

Even more so than bringing in Sarek and the Mirror Universe and references to Spock, Archer, and the Defiant?


@Chrome: "Is there a source for this? TNG was airing alongside the TOS movies, so there might have been licensing issues."

I have heard/read about that as well. I'm pretty sure there are some references to it in the "50 Year Mission" book(s). I think it was also mentioned on the Mission Log podcast. If you go and listen to their early TNG episodes, it might come up. All secondary sources of course, although the 50 Year Mission is basically a collection of first hand sources edited together to make a good narrative.


@Dave in MN: "Despite the fact that any theoreticians (a majority in the 80's) felt String Theory was the best explanation for quantum interactions, the data proved otherwise."

Hmm... since I mentioned the string hypothesis above, I suppose I do have to ask what data this is that proved otherwise. As far as I am aware the predictions the string hypothesis makes that *are* currently testable, work out fine. It's just that those predictions do not set the string hypothesis apart from other hypotheses. So it's neither 'confirmed' or refuted by current data. It's just a hypothesis waiting for something testable to come out of it that will allow it to be falsified (or strenghtened).

And since we are on the topic of falsification, I have a question for all the climate change deniers. Is there any evidence you can think of that could potentially change your mind on the topic if it were to be found, or will you dismiss anything that contradicts your ideas as "part of the conspiracy" which you apparently believe to exist among the vast majority, if not all, climate scientists worldwide? I'm genuinely curious.

If this conspiracy did exist, it would be massive. Not only would it have to include pretty much all current climate scientists worldwide, but also everyone who in the past ever worked in climate science. Are they all being paid massive amounts of money to keep quiet in perpetuity? Who is paying them this money? Is that really more likely than that they might be right?





Dom
Sun, Feb 4, 2018, 2:39pm (UTC -5)
@Plain Simple, I was referring to Farscape less because of the characters and more because of the zaniness factor. Farscape really does at times feel like a trip down Alice's rabbit hole. The crew are thrown into a bunch of bizarre situations and things change rapidly. Discovery seems like it has that vibe, going from the Klingon war to the MU, etc. But I totally agree, Farscape absolutely has much more endearing, well developed characters. The core cast started to feel like a (dysfunctional) family by the end of Season 1. It also had episodes focused on individual character so you felt like you learned something about them over time.
KT
Sun, Feb 4, 2018, 2:46pm (UTC -5)
@plain simple
"However it's certainly not out of the realm of science fiction to suppose that life is sustained by some previously totally-unknown connective tissue, whatever that might be."

I disagree. Spore drive is clearly science fantasy realm. All multiverse hypotheses stipulate that, if anything, only gravitons can cross universes. The writers could have invented a "graviton field drive" or something instead, and stayed well within science fiction realm. And mushroom-culber? Complete mystic fantasy drivel which shouldnt be on a sci-fi show.

I can believe that when transporting through a ion storm a temporary graviton wave is created sending the dematerialised person to another universe, but that the same connective tissue which connects all points in space-time also connects 'life to death'? Wtf?! Drivel!!!
Chrome
Sun, Feb 4, 2018, 3:05pm (UTC -5)
“I'm pretty sure there are some references to it in the "50 Year Mission" book(s). I think it was also mentioned on the Mission Log podcast.”

That book cuts both ways though since it’s basically a bunch of quotes from creators and cast. I mean there’s a line in there from Robert Justman, the Supervising Producer of TOS and TNG calling TNG “the same as the original Star Trek show, only done much better.”
Gee
Sun, Feb 4, 2018, 3:46pm (UTC -5)
@KT
"but that the same connective tissue which connects all points in space-time also connects 'life to death'? Wtf?!"

I totally agree. However if they use it to explain the Traveller and Wesley Crusher I'd be okay with it...
Col. Green
Sun, Feb 4, 2018, 3:59pm (UTC -5)
Simply stated, it’s politically incorrect not to believe in “global warming”. Or to put it another way, it’s now considered heresy not to bow at the altar of “global warming”. Of course, one way to openly prove your “faith” in saving the earth is to drive an electric car. Forget about how that humongous lithium-ion battery was developed, what its useful lifespan is and what will happen to it once it’s finally depleted. What matters most is imagery & symbolism…form over substance.
wolfstar
Sun, Feb 4, 2018, 4:33pm (UTC -5)
Before we head into next week, I just want to say what a fantastic thread this has been (at least until it partly derailed into a very American climate change debate) - lots of really great comments. (Including an excellent post by juss100, which I didn't mention specificially before.) Two episodes left - here we go...

I'm just hoping that Saru's character arc (and the Georgiou-Burnham-Saru triangle that the series opened with) won't be closed by Mirror Georgiou somehow killing him, making his death Michael's fault by proxy for bringing her back. I'm half-joking - but the emphasis on Saru as a prey species, him having to live with his fear, and his portrayal as consistently noble and kind throughout gives me some cause for concern that he won't last the season... does Doug Jones really want to commit to another year in that level of makeup?
Lobster Johnson
Sun, Feb 4, 2018, 5:55pm (UTC -5)
@Wolfstar

On Shape of Water Jones had to go over 10 hrs a day without pooping, Saru is probably a vacation by comparison.
Plain Simple
Mon, Feb 5, 2018, 6:52am (UTC -5)
@KT: "I disagree. Spore drive is clearly science fantasy realm."

Thank you for pointing that out. I see I wrote "agree on all accounts" to the text I quoted from Peter G.'s post, but I realize now I quoted too much text. The sentence you mention ("However it's certainly not out of the realm of science fiction to suppose that life is sustained by some previously totally-unknown connective tissue, whatever that might be.") is indeed one I do not fully agree with. Sure, one can say it's not outside the realm of science fiction, but then surely quite deep into the fiction part, not the science part.

@Chrome: "That book cuts both ways though since it’s basically a bunch of quotes from creators and cast. I mean there’s a line in there from Robert Justman, the Supervising Producer of TOS and TNG calling TNG “the same as the original Star Trek show, only done much better.”"

That is different from whether or not the early TNG team wanted to create explicit links/references to TOS.

@Col. Green: "What matters most is imagery & symbolism…form over substance."

I think there are two different issues at play here. One the one hand there are the scientific questions such as "is climate change happening?", "to what degree are human actions causing it?", and "what will the consequences be?" Unless you are somehow convinced that there is a massive worldwide decades long conspiracy between climate scientists and others related to the field, I cannot see how we can reasonably settle on any other (tentative, as always in science) conclusion that the answers are "yes", "to a very large degree", and "mostly bad". Of course these are complex issues, so none of these very short answers capture the whole picture, but those are the core messages.

On the other hand there is the political question "what, if anything, should we do about it?". Your concern seems to fall into this category.

@Wolfstar: "Before we head into next week, I just want to say what a fantastic thread this has been (at least until it partly derailed into a very American climate change debate) - lots of really great comments. (Including an excellent post by juss100, which I didn't mention specificially before.) Two episodes left - here we go..."

Indeed. Many great discussions which I very much enjoyed reading.
Tim
Mon, Feb 5, 2018, 3:46pm (UTC -5)
@ Steven

"The difference between Picard and Sisko has been detailed by you guys. Picard's morality is preferable in theory - if the circumstances allow it. He would've struggled against the Dominion though."

I disagree with this. Picard -- TV show Picard that is, not Action Movie Picard™ -- would have avoided the entire Dominion War in the first place. Something's always sat wrong with me about the way DS9 went about the build-up to the war, beginning with "The Jem Hadar," where Starfleet sends a Galaxy Class Starship to her demise based on scant intelligence, to rescue one man, violating the territory of a newly discovered civilization in the process. Then we continue to violate their territory in "The Search," with another battleship, and countless more times throughout DS9's run, interfering with their internal affairs, destroying their ships, etc. We even sit on our hands when the Cardassians and Romulans try to commit genocide, without so much as a, "Hey, these guys are coming to wipe you out" telephone call.

None of that really felt like Starfleet to me. It's not a huge leap to put yourself in the shoes of the Founders and see how Sisko & Co's actions reinforced their existing paranoia about "The Solids" and set the stage for war. The Founders are not Nice People™, but neither were the Romulans, or any of the hostile species in TNG.

Picard would have taken the time to learn a few things about the Dominion and its culture before he risked provoking them further. It would have been the TNG trope of Boring Meetings™, with the brain trust, trying to figure things out. It would not be nearly as visceral as the Odyseey charging in where angels fear to tread, but would be far more realistic in a first contact scenario. Picard would never have risked his ship and crew to save one officer; he probably would have sacrificed Sisko, at least in the short term, or at least come up with a more covert rescue plan. And there's no way in hell Picard doesn't at warn the Founders about the impeding genocide attempt. He'd probably intervene himself to stop the attempt and use it as an opening to try and establish a dialogue with The Dominion.

If war did come despite all his efforts to avoid it, well, I refer you to "The Defector," where he threatens mutually assured destruction in the same voice he uses to order tea from the replicator.
Peter G.
Mon, Feb 5, 2018, 10:06pm (UTC -5)
@ Tim,

I think it's made crystal clear in this series, beyond any possibility of doubt, that each Alpha Quadrant race had exactly two choices: join the Dominion as their servants, or die. Diplomacy - in the long term - was simply not viable. Any diplomatic delay would simply have bought the Dominion time to build up enough forces within their own space that any resistance to their eventual assault would have been futile. Their fleets dwarfed those of the Alpha races, and the only problem for them was a logistical one, especially bottlenecked by vast distances and the wormhole. I find it hard to believe anyone watching the series could seriously believe that the Dominion would have respected a non-aggression treaty in the long term and tolerated peaceful rivals.

For the one thing, even if the Federation had tried to broker a deal, what do you think the result would have been? Go watch The Search again, and think of it seriously as a legitimate investigation into whether peace with the Federation was possible. And look at the actions of the DS9 crew seriously in so doing, going along with the assumption that the episode (part 2) was well-written. Do you seriously think the Federation would tolerate abiding by a non-aggression treaty while the Dominion wholesale conquered the Romulans, for example? Sure you don't think the Klingons would ever have submitted to them, right? What would the Federation have done while the Dominion was plowing into their territory, ignored their alliance with the Klingons? Or allowed the Dominion to annex Cardassia or some other power? The episode rightly showed us that the Founders saw in the Federation an implacable sense of morality and would not let other races fall to buy them their peace. It also showed that they're not so stupid as to accept a false peace at the cost of the safety of the entire quadrant. The only treaty that would have protected the AQ would have been one where the Dominion was barred from ever entering the wormhole, and therefore if such a treaty had been made (which was the Founders' initial offer) we can surely conclude that this would have only caused them to pause until their fleets were sufficiently powerful to charge in against all powers simultaneously. Alternatively, what could happen is exactly what did happen, which is that not every race would play ball, and someone like the Cardassians would decide to ally with the Dominion and invite them in. What's the Federation supposed to do, tell the Cardassians they're not allowed? Who are they to say dictate that? They'd go to war with another AQ race to prevent them making a sovereign treaty, which is entirely their right?

Long story short, things played out in the only way they could have. And I agree that Picard would have done more than Sisko to pursue diplomacy, and that it would have been another Neville Chamberlain situation times a million. PIcard has his strengths, but being a wartime captain probably isn't one of them. He would have been unsuitable in Chain of Command, just as he would have been here. That's not a strike against him, he's certainly the Federation's 'better half.'
Tim
Tue, Feb 6, 2018, 12:03pm (UTC -5)
"I think it's made crystal clear in this series, beyond any possibility of doubt, that each Alpha Quadrant race had exactly two choices: join the Dominion as their servants, or die."

I think that's the message the writers wanted to send, but it's rather immaterial to my criticisms of the way DS9 went about the years before the war. The Federation is not supposed to be the aggressor State, but that's exactly what they are, in countless episodes. The Dominion tells us to stay the fuck out of their territory, a request that was mostly honored in EVERY previous incarnation of Trek vis-à-vis the Klingons, Romulans, and even minor races-of-the-week that we never saw again, where it was always portrayed as a Big Deal™ to violate someone's territory, but Sisko and Co. go on adventures through Dominion space all the time, and it's barely remarked upon.

This gets to another criticism I've long had for DS9: Their portrayal of geopolitics is childish. Again, it's like someone learned about history by watching History Channel productions. Take "The Way of the Warrior" where Sisko & Co decide to take it upon themselves to warn the Cardassians of the impeding Klingon attack, because reasons. The Federation Council -- the folks actually elected/appointed/however-it-works to make decisions for the Federation -- decided NOT to warn them, but Sisko & Co decide they know better, and insert the Federation into a war.

Recall this exchange from TNG's "Redemption":

Riker: The Bortas is Gowron's ship. If he's the legitimate leader of the Empire, shouldn't we help him?
Picard: If we go to the aid of the Bortas, we'll be dragging the Federation into a Klingon civil war.

This is why it burns my goat when people say DS9 was the better of the two series, because story arc, and politics, and war. Nonsense. TNG had a far more realistic portrayal of geopolitics. Picard only made unilateral decisions when he was out of contact with the Federation. Otherwise, he was in his Ready Room, more times than I can count, getting his marching orders from Starfleet Command. When he decided to intervene in the Klingon Civil War he had to sell his plan to his superiors. In the real world, Sisko would have been brought up on charges for his decisions in "The Way of the Warrior," and a bunch of other episodes to boot.

Getting back to the Dominion War, you certainly could have written it in a way where The Dominion was an intractable enemy, where all attempts at diplomacy are rebuffed, without the Federation giving them a casus belli on a weekly basis. That's not how it was written though. Just stop and think about the disparity between "The Die is Cast," where we're silently hoping for a successful genocide, and "The Way of the Warrior," where we intervene in a conflict that wasn't ours to intervene in.

Regarding "Chain of Command," we're just going to have to disagree there. Picard would have handled the mission just fine. I refer you to "The Defector." "Chain of Command" was an excellent episode, one of my favorites, but don't use it as evidence that Picard would have been unsuitable for the mission if the writers hadn't found a way to get him off the Enterprise.
Chrome
Tue, Feb 6, 2018, 1:18pm (UTC -5)
@Plain Simple

"That is different from whether or not the early TNG team wanted to create explicit links/references to TOS."

It's only a matter of degree. If people are claiming TNG didn't ride on TOS's coattails in order to be successful, I'm going to assume those people have selective memory of the TOS-film/TNG era. Literally, characters, sets, dialogue and props were interchanged between the two.
Jay
Wed, Feb 7, 2018, 10:47am (UTC -5)
I still can't get into this show, and my mind still doesn't want to grasp that it's Star Trek at all. I can't look at technology that makes TNG era look primitive and keep straight that this is actually a prequel not only to TNG but to TOS. My brain still won't look at these monsters and think "these are Klingons". I admit that the Star Trek I wanted is one set in the post-TNG/DS9/VOY era. But I could tolerate this disconnect between technology and setting if they had kept the look of the Klingons as it was in the TNG era so there would at least be that tether to familiar Star Trek. I normally judge Trek shows on a Trek curve (I liked ENT better than it had a right to be liked because it was clearly Star Trek visually), but since this show doesn't feel much like Star Trek at all, I judge it independently, adn it doesn;t fare very well for it.
Ed
Sun, Feb 11, 2018, 12:44am (UTC -5)
@Jay

Except for the experimental and ultimately doomed to fail spore drive I don't see the technology as all that futuristic by TOS standards.

The holograms are simple ghostly images, not hard light holodeck stuff. Maybe it was a fad they did away with. It doesn't seem beyond their level of technology, just visually too busy and probably uses up too much of the computers to be worth it.

The way they've handled the new Klingon look is a problem though. If only they'd shown a variety of established Klingon types too if they wanted to show a new breed.

All the major house aristocrats and their retainers looking like this is too much, but the look is just one of many we've seen. There are more than two types of Klingons.

What about the crests made of a weird row of bumps from TMP? That was never seen before or since. There has to be tremendous Klingon genetic variety. Crests over the years have been radically different. Facial features could be too.

When we saw the leaders of the 24 Houses, they should have been made up of all the Klingon types ever seen on any show or movie including Discovery.
Mitch
Sun, Feb 11, 2018, 7:25pm (UTC -5)
@ Jay - I completely agree with you. The visual aspects of Discovery simply don't fit in, and not just the underlining technology, even the way ships move through space. In Star Trek there is a sense of science-fiction realism when ships move slowly at impulse with blinking navigation lights, the current show is more like science-FANTASY (ships move more like Star Wars, and the spinning saucer section borders on cartoon level of visuals!). Of course that is only the tip of the ice berg with what's wrong with Discovery, I just don't consider it cannon at this point (anymore than the last three Trek films). At best it's an alternative reality Trek.

@ Ed - I don't buy that and here's the thing. EVERY incarnation of Star Trek following TOS has acknowledged the TOS universe, unmodified, as it aired in the 60's. TNG episode "Relics" showed the original bridge of the NCC-1701, just as it appeared in 1966-69. DS9 "Trials and Tribble-ations" showed the crew actually interacting on scenes of the original "Trouble of Tribbles" episode, further cementing THAT as reality. Then ENT had "In a Mirror, Darkly", which showed the bridge of the Defiant and the uniforms of the crew, just as it did in the 1960's TOS episode. Even VOY and TAS acknowledged the TOS era of technology, costumes and history in their episodes.

STD (and the new JJ-era movies) are the first to throw all that history in the trash bin, and ignore the past.

There are just some things so bad, I have no choice but to ignore them as official cannon. Just like everything beyond Aliens, or everything beyond Terminator 2, or everything beyond Nemesis (mind you, Nemesis is pushing it, but at least it was visually recognizable as was the technology).
KT
Sat, Feb 17, 2018, 8:20am (UTC -5)
@Tim
"The Dominion tells us to stay the fuck out of their territory, a request that was mostly honored in EVERY previous incarnation of Trek vis-à-vis the Klingons, Romulans, and even minor races-of-the-week that we never saw again, where it was always portrayed as a Big Deal™ to violate someone's territory"

In TOS' the Enterprise Incident starfleet send it's flagship on an elaborate ruse into enemy space to steal Romulan tech -a blatant treaty violation!

Picard is often show as keeping the Romulans at bay only due to show of force. This method won't be as easy to employ on a much more powerful race like the Dominion. Especially if the AQ is divided, and Starfleet command were very away of this hence the sitting back in the ''the die is cast'.

Seems to me SF have always struggled with upholding their values when faced with enemy threat. And so they should ...
Mertov
Wed, Apr 18, 2018, 12:44am (UTC -5)
"I still can't get into this show, and my mind still doesn't want to grasp that it's Star Trek at all. I can't look at technology that makes TNG era look primitive and keep straight that this is actually a prequel not only to TNG but to TOS."
[...]
"I normally judge Trek shows on a Trek curve (I liked ENT better than it had a right to be liked because it was clearly Star Trek visually)"
------------

Really? So, Archer's bridge looked 110+ years more primitive to you than Kirk's bridge did?
SlackerInc
Wed, Apr 18, 2018, 5:57am (UTC -5)
Ha, I knew they were doing a Trumpian thing with the Terran Empire. “Make the Empire glorious again”—I chortled. The writers are flat-out trolling the alt-right (think about it: now what actual straight, white, male, human characters are there on the show, now that the only one I can think of turned out to be evil and was killed?

So I enjoyed that. But too much of the rest of it comes across like it is written and directed to appeal to nine-year-olds. For them, it’s probably fantastic, and I probably would have loved it at that age myself. But for this fortysomething living in an era of premium TV, that kind of cheeseball schlock just doesn’t cut it for me, and it seems a weird choice for Star Trek. (That they do seem to be trying to emulate Star Wars makes it make more sense.)
Maq
Mon, Apr 23, 2018, 1:47pm (UTC -5)
The characterisation in Discovery is great. It is though a pity that we haven't learnt to know some of the in-between charters like Detmer and Airam better. I hope it will be. Saru is the best alien characterisation so far. Phlox was interesting and well acted, Weyoun was also interesting. Saru though is so complex, he has a lot of strange faults but mostly when it gets important he is is extremely clear and well spoken. The way both fill in his role as second as jumping in as captain when needed is fascinating.

I also like the female roles like Dettmers. Torres in Voyager was a female and strong member of the crew. Dettmer comes over as i a strong crew member who is female.

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