Star Trek: Discovery

"The Wolf Inside"

3 stars

Air date: 1/14/2018
Written by Lisa Randolph
Directed by TJ Scott

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

The issues of one's identity in the Mirror Universe, effectively established in last week's "Despite Yourself," heat up in the crucible that is "The Wolf Inside," which uses the MU through Burnham's perspective to ask the question of what it means to live a life of lies while here. Can you lose yourself in a brutal world where you have to pretend to be one of the brutes to survive? Will the brutality chip away at your humanity and your soul?

These questions are explored early through a voice-over narration that tells more than it shows. But what this monologue may lack in demonstrated on-screen action is made up for with sheer narrative economy. We know where Burnham stands and we're able to see the madness through her eyes, and it's a troubling place. If the MU provides reflections on our characters, no one is seeing more horrifying potentials than Michael. This is interesting, because self-reflection has been a key point for this character since the fallout from her role in those first two episodes that landed her prison. But now it rears its head under even more dire circumstances.

We're only two episodes into this new arc, and Discovery has managed to make the MU something it hasn't been since perhaps DS9's dark and brooding "Crossover" (after which the DS9 writers mostly retreated into the realm of comic-book adventure yarns) — which is a serious contemplation on what it means to exist for an extended period of time on the other side of the looking glass. (My mention of "Despite Yourself" indicating this take on the MU employing the comic-book approach now seems premature.) Burnham's monologue may be an indulgent and pretentious writer's device, but she's the most appropriate vessel for the message.

Well, maybe aside from one person — although that might be a matter of who that person actually is, or thinks he is. "The Wolf Inside" also provides the culmination to Tyler's own identity crisis and finally peels back the layers to reveal his wolf, to himself and everyone else. It's especially appropriate coming here and now; it's thematically consistent with the idea of shattered identities in the face of strange reflections. It arrives in a scene where Tyler comes face to face with the MU version of Voq and realizes that he is, in fact, the Voq from his own universe. This plays not as a revelation to the audience (because we already know this, even if the other characters — including Ash himself — don't) but as a slow-motion unfolding catastrophe of inevitability. In retrospect, the long-game structure strikes me as smarter than perhaps it initially seemed, because it tipped its hand but only gradually gave the game away completely — allowing the payoff moment to be about the character learning the truth about himself under bizarre circumstances even as the audience is expecting it.

The downside to this is the question of whether the destination was worth such a long con of a journey, and whether it makes any sense from the characters' practical standpoint. It appears now that Voq has been fully awakened, and the "Tyler" persona has been fully suppressed. (Although one never knows; might Tyler resurface?) If that's the case, the writers have burned away chances to take full advantage of the inner conflict of a character who suspects or knows he's a sleeper agent (cf. Boomer on BSG as an excellent mining of angst in this regard). Meanwhile, we're also left with a lot of logical questions surrounding why L'Rell and Voq would undertake this elaborate plan in the first place. What did they hope to gain with such an extreme infiltration plan, and why is Voq so willing to throw it away by outing himself in a rage?)

Don't get me wrong — I thought the reveal, with Tyler taking up combat against mirror-Voq and his subsequent confrontation with Burnham in her quarters, were both visceral and compelling scenes, intercut with the Frankenstein-monster flashback horror of his transformation. (In these shots, Tyler and Voq are shown side by side, suggesting both were real people, and Voq's identity and certain organs were transferred into the real Tyler's body.) But given the extreme nature of this plan, Voq and L'Rell right now seem like pretty dumb villains who took extraordinary steps (body swapping) only to botch the ordinary ones (not blowing the cover you literally dissected yourself to attain).

Although the logical questions are there, this does make for some solid dramatic fireworks and significant tension, as well as pulling the rug out emotionally from beneath Burnham as she learns this man she had started to fall for was actually (kinda sorta) her enemy the entire time.

In terms of plot mechanics, Tyler's revelation comes during a mission that Burnham must complete with dual objectives — make it look like she's carrying out her Terran Empire orders to destroy a rebel base (of Vulcans, Klingons, Andorians, and others) while also gathering data about the unique universe-and-time-crossing Defiant that might help the Discovery crew return to their own universe. One interesting moment comes when Burnham finds herself mind-melded with mirror-Sarek, which gives him glimpses into an alternate universe where a unified Federation flourishes in peaceful coexistence (give or take a Klingon war). There are a lot of pieces and alternate characters floating around here, and "The Wolf Inside" manages to smartly pick encounters that have interesting dramatic impact. This is further evidenced in the final scene where it's revealed the emperor of the evil Terran Empire is none other than Philippa Georgiou — which promises to further challenge Burnham's self-reflection and push her emotional buttons along with her need for redemption.

The scenes back aboard the Discovery — involving Tilly and Saru trying to treat the very-lost-in-Mushroom-Land Paul Stamets with a technobabble procedure — are along the lines of bread-and-butter Star Trek, and help ground the episode in the normal universe, apart from the A-plot's extreme role-playing and MU reflections. This works reasonably for the most part (including Stamets dying and coming back to life) but is nothing riveting — although I was intrigued by a scene where a comatose Stamets meets his doppelganger in the forest of the mycelium spore network. Like all other strands, this is to be continued.

"The Wolf Inside" is a strong effort. It continues to mine the MU in ways that have notable character impact, and it pays off the Voq/Tyler material in a very visceral way (although time will tell if fully unleashing Voq turns out to be a good idea). Meanwhile, the plotting feels both tighter and more nimble here than in many episodes in the first half of the season. Yes, there is the whole head-scratcher of how Discovery was able to beam Tyler out of space (or how Burnham was able to get word to them to do so) in order to deceive the MU Shenzhou crew — but keeping Voq/Tyler alive is definitely a better idea than killing him off here, so hopefully we're just getting started with what all this means.

Previous episode: Despite Yourself
Next episode: Vaulting Ambition

◄ Season Index

215 comments on this review

Rahul
Sun, Jan 14, 2018, 8:39pm (UTC -6)
The Mirror Universe plot is unfolding on a few fronts but as far as a character examination or development, I'm skeptical of this method of doing it. Enjoyed this episode about the same as "Despite Yourself" as I've accepted that we're in for a multi-episode arc in the MU. We've got some more interesting revelations here. But the whole story has its weaknesses for me so far.

I liked the start with Burnham thinking about her predicament in the MU how it "kills the person you really are." This portrayal of the MU definitely comes across as darker than any portrayal before it. Will be interesting to see how long the pretending can be kept up before a true MU person catches on -- and who is that main threat going to be? That's always going to be one of the undercurrents in MU episodes. Perhaps it's the Emperor herself.

So Burnham wants to learn from the resistance how to negotiate with the Klingons in the Prime Universe?? That seems dumb to me. I'd say Burnham and Tyler are extremely lucky they didn't get killed by the resistance coalition -- but maybe the coalition truly is reasonable in the MU (like Federation humans in the Prime Universe). What a concept. So why did Burnham and Tyler bring phasers down with them? That could have been costly. And even Tyler's outburst should have resulted in his death but this coalition truly seems to be bent on peace. And of course Mirror Sarek has to have a goatee like Mirror Spock from "Mirror, Mirror".

As far Tilly trying to care for Stamets -- some interesting sci-fi with the network of spores to be the cure. No idea where this is going with Stamets meeting his mirror self in the network. This a mysterious and bizarre subplot, which isn't particularly enthralling at the moment for me.

Tyler being Prime Voq is out in the open now -- L'Rell's idea to have him be a spy. Trek has had many ways of one person being invaded by another person or entity. Not the best way to give Tyler an inner conflict of trying to be himself with Voq physically in him basically -- but the L'Rell/spy idea may be commonplace for Klingons to try -- example is "The Trouble With Tribbles" some 10 years later. Makes me think a bit about a couple of episodes where Spock had to fight off the aliens inside him in "Operation—Annihilate!" or suppressing his emotions for his mother in "The Naked Time". Anyhow, not a new Trek idea -- but we get more gore in the flashbacks...was not a fan of that as part of Trek.

More intriguing is Lorca -- was he having doubts about Burnham's plans and actions in the MU? Almost as if he wants to stay in the MU. I ascribe to the theory that he is Mirror Lorca and wants the Prime U.S.S. Discovery to be of use in the MU...I also ascribe to the theory that Mirror Georgiou is a descendent of Empress Hoshi from ENT! Glad to see she's the Emperor and challenging Burnham at the end of the episode.

A high 2.5 stars for "The Wolf Inside" -- definitely intriguing but also has enough holes for me. Fleshing out DSC's MU -- it's darker, beaming people into space to kill them etc.. But again, the big problem with MU episodes is the focus on the superficial as opposed to anything profound.
John Harmon
Sun, Jan 14, 2018, 9:08pm (UTC -6)
L'rell and Voq are like Boris and Natasha. Their plans just never work out
Patrick D
Sun, Jan 14, 2018, 9:16pm (UTC -6)
I think I'm going to watch "The Measure of a Man" or "The Inner Light" on Blu ray and mournfully remember what Star Trek used to be...
SpaceHippy
Sun, Jan 14, 2018, 9:25pm (UTC -6)
All I have to say is - the Klingons have such advanced techniques that they can physically alter one of their own to look human and fool superficial scans and take on an entirely new identity - but they don't have anesthesia???
Karl Zimmerman
Sun, Jan 14, 2018, 9:46pm (UTC -6)
Yeah, I'm going with 2.5 stars. Worse than last week, but better than the series started out.

In terms of pluses, the show remains visually stunning, and entertaining on a surface level. I'm never bored watching Discovery these days, although it's seldom a deep experience, and never more than lightly touches on the "message Trek" of yore.

This episode, however, was both contrived and predictable.

The A plot was, I suppose, the one containing Burnham/Tyler on the Shenzhou. It was not entirely bad. We got to have an away mission on a planet's surface (did they even tell us the name of the planet this week?) I actually enjoyed Mirror Voq - that he wasn't just a random personality variation on prime Voq (which they did a lot on DS9) but instead had the same fundamental moral code but took it to a different conclusion. It was a shame that his discussion of Klingon ethics was stepped on by the flashbacks of Tyler/Prime Voq.

The way that the Voq/Tyler thing was finally dealt with was a rather disappointing end to one of the few remaining arcs from the first episode. Latif put in all he could as an actor here, but the writing wasn't that great, and the lack of chemistry onscreen between him and SMG (I get more sexual tension between SMG and Jason Issacs FFS) really blunted the impact.

Oh, and of course the emperor had to be the most obvious person (by logic of both the cheesy Mirror Universe and the drama needs of the show) just because.

In contrast to the A plot, which was mixed, the B plot (trying to heal Stamets) was dumb from front to back. Tilly - an ensign - was inexplicably given control over the project by Saru. Even if Tilly did work in the spore drive with Stamets, she was not the only employee - she just happened to be the one who bunked with Burnham at the start of the show. I am sure there is someone who is not part of the main cast who has more experience with the drive than Tilly. Not only is her role not believable, but the dialogue contains a lot of awful technobabble, and the scenes are all her and Saru sitting around in rooms together - sometimes with an unconscious Stamets, and sometimes without. Again this show is showing "empty Discovery" syndrome. With Stamets unconscious, and Lorca, Burnham, and Tyler off the ship, the show will not allow a secondary crew member to step up (Mirror Detmer gets more exposure than Prime Detmer ever did!).
Todd
Sun, Jan 14, 2018, 9:58pm (UTC -6)
I liked this episode and this storyline I think more than most of the commenters here.

One quibble I have...how did they go from Sarek being one of the leaders of the anti Imperial resistance to his son being the first officer on the ISS Enterprise a few years later?
John Harmon
Sun, Jan 14, 2018, 10:13pm (UTC -6)
@Karl Zimmerman it's worse than that. Tilly isn't even an Ensign. She's still a cadet.
Chrome
Sun, Jan 14, 2018, 10:22pm (UTC -6)
All in all, I liked it. Burnham showed genuine compassion and stuck her neck out for even the people of the MU. The best scene was Burnham discussing what brought the rebels together with the Red Wolf. It’s interesting to see how different Klingons are in the MU (closer to TNG Klingons, if Mirror-Voq is any indication).

I also enjoyed the solution of hiding the Terran Empire’s data on Tyler and thought his rescue, or should I say incarceration, by the Discovery crew was handled cleverly. I’m glad also that Tyler’s hidden identity didn’t overstay its welcome past this episode. There was a nice moment of satisfaction seeing him realize Burnham was his opponent, and he’d been planning to get his vengeance on her for T’Kuvma’s death.

The Stamets/Tilly material could’ve been handled better, but honestly I wasn’t expecting much to come of it. Finally, I’d figured the emperor was Georgiou last week. One of the most common ploys in fiction is giving a character a hidden identity so it can be revealed the person is a good guy the audience knows. It could’ve been Stamets, but that wouldn’t nearly have the same impact.
Ed
Sun, Jan 14, 2018, 10:22pm (UTC -6)
@Todd

Spock turned in his family to the Secret Police years ago. Sarek faked his own death and escaped. The Empire doesn't know that he's the "Prophet" of the Rebels.
Ed
Sun, Jan 14, 2018, 10:30pm (UTC -6)
@SpaceHippy

Is he a Klingon or a filthy Andorian?! A true Klingon does not need anaesthesia! Maybe a cup or two of blood wine. :)
Tim C
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 3:52am (UTC -6)
As far as how the different shows have handled the Mirror Universe, DSC has so far done it the best. Partly it's because the serialised nature of DSC allows them to really go deep on the psychological aspects of this undercover mission, and partly it's because the show's already darker tone really helps to sell the scariness and tension of such an extreme kill-or-be-killed environment. ENT just went for pure fan service after DS9 thoroughly drove the concept into the ground (my, how hard a fall it was from "Crossover" to "The Emperor's New Cloak"!), and TOS just had fun with a bizarre sci-fi concept - although Kirk's final speech to Spock is one of the original templates for the classic Captain's Preach that DSC still sadly hasn't really given us.

Despite some logic gaps (would a Cadet really be allowed to monkey with someone's brain like that without at least *some* medical supervision??) it kept up the pace and left me eager to see how this plays out. I'm so pleased to have Star Trek back! And a Star Trek that is trying something new, to boot. After such an ignominious end to the TV franchise with ENT's slow death it's nice that the new powers that be didn't go The Orville/ENT/VOY route of just serving up reheated TNG leftovers.
Andy
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 4:08am (UTC -6)
I'm glad they finally showed Tyler's real identity. That subplot was starting to get tiresome. The MU plot is convoluted enough without having Prime Klingons disguised as humans to add another layer of confusion.

Wish Lt. Commander Airiam would get more screen time. She's the highest ranking officer after Saru but we never see her in any role. Detmer is just a Lieutenant.
artymiss
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 4:43am (UTC -6)
Very enjoyable. Great to finally see some Andorians as well.

That look of warped amusement on Lorca's face at the end. He so IS the MU Lorca!
Aidan
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 4:51am (UTC -6)
Tim C - I'm at a loss to see how Discovery is trying something new while ENT was "just reheating TNG leftovers". I'm watching ENT side by side with DSC right now and I can say that ENT had a much bolder vision with better characters.
Tim C
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 5:50am (UTC -6)
@Aidan

Man, just go over Jammer's reviews from ENT's first two seasons and remind yourself. It did an okay job of treading water in its first season before absolutely cratering in the second. Berman and Braga had a very good crack at pulling out of the nose dive in season three, and Coto finally showed us what the show should have been all along in season four, but by that point the damage had been done.

To my mind, DSC is doing a bang-up job of showing what a long-form, modern Trek can be. It's not perfect, but it does feel fresh in a way that later-entry Berman-era Trek utterly lacked. I wish the the fans complaining about DSC today would cast their minds back to just how angry we all were with the franchise's refusal to take any storytelling risks after DS9 ended.
Kinematic
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 6:31am (UTC -6)
The hero-worship of Michael is laid on -thick- here. And as the adulation goes up, SMG's acting skills take a nose-dive.

The opening monologue about "burying your decency" is cringeworthy, and then we get Sarek describing her as a "boundless well of human compassion." And then the horrible clunky line about how "he cannot understand your need for aggressive emotional expression." There was some more awful line delivery in the second half, particularly in the conversation with Ash following the away mission, and I'm starting to notice that in every tense scene, SMG just holds the same expression. A tight-lipped, wide-eyed stare with her face pointed about 30 degrees above horizontal.

The two series mainstays are that facial expression and plot twists you see coming a mile away. The only surprising thing about Tyler's reveal is how much twisted logic is required for it to work. How can a Klingon be "reduced to human" and trick Federation medical scans? How can he be taught enough human culture within - three weeks was it? - to speak perfect English and convince Lorca he's an American from near Seattle?

Come to think of it, how did Burnham signal to Discovery when to beam Ash aboard and how could it happen without the Shenzhou crew noticing? Are they paranoids with a super-firewall or not?

And then the Emperor turns out to be who everyone guessed.

On the plus side, following the break the show's pacing has been less "modern" (tailored for ADD children), but this is a big step down from the last episode, which was a serviceable adventure story if not very deep.

Tilly's portrayal has also fallen a few notches, she had some grating lines here. "Mushrooms are the only organism that can link life and death!" That's DISCO-certified science.
Natalia
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 8:41am (UTC -6)
Again, an awful episode... I can hardly call it Star Trek...

Lots of technobabble mixed with that nonsensical spore drive... I could believe in all the technobabble from TNG because it sounded plausible... but this nonsense is just laughable. I still can’t accept a spore drive or a network of fungi in space... this is utterly crap. Even worse is Tilly trying to save Stamets without any kind of medical supervision... and how was she supposed to know all that kind of stuff about the spore drive being so low ranked/inexperienced as she is? Completely implausible...

Then the Ash/Voq part... c’mon... the guy almost gets Michael killed and then she just walks away with him as if nothing happened at all... then he explains that he is a Klingon “reduced” to a human... whaaaaat? Really? Wow, it must be really easy to transform a Klingon into a human, to change all the internal organs, give him a perfect English and knowledge of a human... really (un)believable!!

Again... I almost couldn’t finish this episode... stopped it 3 times and almost gave up... STD is a really bad sci-fi disguised as Star Trek...
Neliz
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 9:56am (UTC -6)
I really enjoyed this episode. Not normally commmentint but I feel some positivity is needed on this board.

I’m in with DISCO and really enjoying the show. This episode lived up to expectations, as it does a good job at juggling storylines from before the break and storylines from since the MU.
Whatever earlier expectations seemed to come true (Georgiou being the empress), I myself did not see it coming when Voq was revealed as the rebellion leader.
I particularly enjoyed Michael in her speech to Lorca expressing Starfleet thought. She convinced me there in her ideals, despite her execution sometimes. I like how the show shows this ambivalence in ideal and practice.

Looking forward to next week.

On the Jammer scale I rate this episode 3.5 stars
Peter G.
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 10:10am (UTC -6)
This episode has the largest swings between being almost good and being almost bad. We go from scenes with legitimate potential - such as seeing Andorians and Tellarites together with Vulcans and Klingons, which even aside from the scripting is just very nice to see in any context - and then proceed to gibberish scenes with spores and Stamets involving the only actor they want to have to pay doing everything herself. Others have already commented on how ludicrous it is that the CMO isn't there, or the engineering staff either. Can you image someone doing an operation on the ship's 'engines' without Geordi standing right there watching? How about a lawyer to advocate for Stamets' rights as she attempts an untested and potentially risky procedure on him? Who exactly has power of attorney over him while he's in that state? If it was Culber then who does the PoA go to next? You see, this show doesn't have senior staff meetings where ideas are debated, instead they have 'action points' where 'the hero' daringly goes ahead with a Risky Plan because she's The One Who Knows What To Do (TM).

It's sad to have to endure these swings, because it becomes difficult to take the main arc of the rebel alliance seriously when it follows scenes that are just silly. When Tilly intriduced the spores (the masters of life and death!) to cure Stamets I sat back and said to myself, "Ok, we've gone all the way now, we may as well set this in Rivendell and call the treatment "magic elf powder".

The big pluses in the episode were the fact of Burnham trying to make contact with the Alliance, and trying to learn about their allied principles. The talking scenes there were the highlight of the episode. However the inescapable problem in the series is the scripting. It's beyond bad; it's hardly believable that anyone is lazy enough to accept scripts like this. If I saw lines like this from even an undergrad writing student I'd suggest they try to find a different line of work. The opening monologue was cringe-worthy, and the latest in a series of expositions that are supposed to get us to...know Burnham better? Feel some 'drama'? All they sound is like pretentious chatter. They come off similarly to that guy everyone knows who's totally incompetent and knows nothing and is always the first to volunteer to take charge of things and offer 'information'. The moment he opens his mouth you know you'll have no choice but to endure his chatter and there's nothing you can do about it. He'll probably be given the job, too, because no one has the guts to say out loud that he needs to just stop talking. Other parts of the dialogue were equally rank, including, unfortunately, some of the lines in the rebel camp, which caused what should have been an exciting scene to shrivel at times and fail to deliver on hearing something interesting. As an example, when Burnham asks the awkward question to Voq of how he does what he does (great question, genius) his answer is even less impressive, which just ends up being a plot contrivance to activate Tyler's inner persona instead of having importance in its own right. Sarek's commentary about Burnham is equally cringe-worthy, and the lack of his addressing - even privately to Burnham - the fact of the parallel universe made him look like a complete fool. He should have known immediately what her predicament was and took steps to take it upon himself to establish a rapport with her for mutual advantage. All he did instead was mutter obscure comments about her intentions; not very logical. And Sarek should be a bright enough fellow to deduce immediately "Ah, a parallel universe, of course, very simple". Instead the actor once again portrays Sarek emotively, presumably because he isn't aware that he can communicate ideas and understanding without needing to do things like 'look shocked'. I used to like that actor quite a lot but I think he's in over his head on this show. With scripting like this you need people who can rise over and above the material, like Patriack Stewart, not who can barely tread water with it.

Speaking of treading water, it appears by this point that SMG is capable of only two modes of expression: struggling to look like she's being attentive, and struggling to look pained. So far I haven't seen a third thing she can do and boy is her performance monotonous. Worse than that, the two notes she does aren't good ones; they seem completely artificial and flat. Any scene with her will sound the same way and end the same way every single time. I don't even need to see her perform it, I already know what it will be like. She's got to be the worst actor on this show by a longshot. She can't hold her own against Lorca or Stamets, and even Tyler acts circles around her despite having impossible material to work with.

One last point: after all this time with the Ash/Voq story, and the reveal of Voq being told this way turns out to be completely laughable. Voq's secret identity finally rears its tedious head, and what's his first action? To attack an alliance leader in front of his guards out of indignant rage that he isn't Klingon enough. His second action is almost as ridiculous, which is to attack the Captain on a ship where once she's dead he'll be killed right after so that the XO can become Captain. So what we're meant to learn about this fabulous lead Voq is that he's basically a neanderthal pigeon-brain without even the common sense of a child. He thinks he's being so cool doing these things, but - ha! - he just looks so stupid. No wonder that other Klingon took his ship away from him, the guy is plain clueless. Why are we following an arc again for a loser like this?

What a seesaw. I wish they could just get a better writer.
wolfstar
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 12:02pm (UTC -6)
Straight-up 4 stars this week, after all my negativity last week, haha. Best episode Discovery has done so far, even better than Into The Forest I Go; I have no substantive nitpicks. It's easier to do a great episode like Into The Forest when it's heavily plot-driven and is about tying up storylines (with lots of action). This one was just a regular arc episode - but it hit it out of the park with a strong character core and excellent direction. The credit goes to writer Lisa Randolph (her first Discovery outing; according to her IMDB, she started as an assistant on Homicide: Life On The Street and Oz before becoming a script coordinator for shows like The Shield and Dollhouse - her experience shows) and director TJ Scott (also his first Discovery gig), with the cast uniformly rising to the occasion. After how badly the dialog and plot were written last week I was despairing, but this week I'm seriously impressed. It really shows that the quality of the series is incredibly dependent on who's writing individual episodes - there is a lot of slack in the writer's room but some great writers too, who need to be given more episodes. This episode actually realized my best hopes for the MU storyline - I really hope next week's episode (which looks amazing) and the following ones keep delivering on it. This has the potential to go down as a classic arc as long as the writing doesn't fall back to the quality of episode 8 or 10. (Episode 8 in particular really hamstrung the end of the Klingon arc, I don't want the same to happen with this arc.)

The Georgiou reveal was well-handled and put at exactly the right place - the perfect mix of campy and portentious. The Voq reveal was also well-handled (Burnham told Discovery that he was Voq before she beamed him there, right?). This episode delivered easily the series's best character work so far - especially for Burnham (who has often not worked as a character) but also for Saru (both Sarus) and for Tilly (used meaningfully and substantively in her subplot). I'm intrigued as to how much Mirror Saru saw and heard given his timely intervention when Tyler attacked Burnham. Mirror Sarek and Voq (the Firewolf) worked well, and the presence of Andorians and Tellarites as an Enterprise callback was also welcome and realized effectively and understatedly.

Bonus half-stars for Tyler's chest hair and L'Rell's boobs, leading to a final score of 5 out of 4 overall.
Galadriel
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 12:06pm (UTC -6)
I am underwhelmed.

Stamets’s Mushroom Trips continue to annoy, Tilly was for the first time painful to watch (I want more of Killy!) and all scenes on the ISS Shenzhou felt like swimming in syrup. This does include the big Tyler/Voq scene which came as no surprise at all, but repeated everything that was already known or guessed in boring detail. I will not even go into the sluggish inner monologue at the beginning that talked about things that should have been shown. Or the communication with Captain !Maddox which was interspersed with infodumps by Burnham.

I did like scenes with !Saru, and found them almost heartbreaking. Tyler’s execution scene was somehow clever, yet it failed my hope that I would have never to deal with this mumbling dumbass again.

Saving grace was the scene on Harlak. Here, finally, we found some relatable, intelligent people talking about interesting things, and !Sarek was put to good use. If I had been Burnham, I’d have asked him to mind-meld with Tyler to find out what is wrong with him, but then the situation was already complicated enough. I can only hope the rebels did make it in time (BTW, who played !Voq? End credits don’t tell)

Speaking of time. The premise “Ship ordered to destroy a planet but Captain not willing” was much better handled in the “Mirror, Mirror” episode, where the crew repeatedly challenged Kirk’s decision to wait, but !Detmer seems to be perfectly fine ignoring Terran General Order Four (shouldn’t it have been 24? Hey, continuity!☺) while the captain sorts out private matters with her lover.

The scenes on the Discovery leave a mixed impression. While I enjoyed Saru (and, to a much lesser extent, Tilly), they both behaved foolishly. More and more it becomes clear that (a) Discovery is an almost empty ship and (b) the writers do not understand the concept of scientific specialization. Tilly is a engineering cadet, so surely she can also do medical scans and devise therapies, heck, this is all science and since the writers apparenty understand none of it, they assume that someone who does will automatically understand all of that sciency stuff.
Ed
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 12:10pm (UTC -6)
@Peter G

Voq's mental conditioning obviously went wrong. The show has been very consistent about this. L'Rell is clearly aware of it. He's been Identifying way too much with the Ash persona and generally going insane.

An already disturbed person meeting an exact MU duplicate of themselves might do anything. Add to this the fact that as you mention, Prime Universe Voq is kind of a loser to begin with. But who else would be desperate enough to accept this assignment?
Peter G.
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 12:27pm (UTC -6)
@ wolfstar,

"The credit goes to writer Lisa Randolph"

So that's the perpetrator behind "She's an unspeakably deep well of human compassion" and other such gems.

"the presence of Andorians and Tellarites as an Enterprise callback was also welcome and realized effectively and understatedly."

You mean a TOS callback, right? ;)

@ Ed,

"Voq's mental conditioning obviously went wrong. The show has been very consistent about this. L'Rell is clearly aware of it."

Yes, but once he attacks Voq the directing and writing make it clear that the struggle is over and he's Voq now. He tells Burnham point blank that he can no longer feel any trace of Tyler and is entirely Voq. They make a point to show his face go blank as he transforms finally into Voq before attacking Burnham. So maybe there's a case that he was still unhinged on the planet, but in Burnham's quarters, no, that's just us seeing what a simpleton Voq is. Even when he's arrested he seems to think he's accomplished something. What a fool.

PS, I should comment on something I neglected in my initial review, which is - why is there a need for this show to include material that belongs in films like Event Horizon or Seven? It's one thing to have adult themes and morally grey characters, but straight-up slasher gore and disgusting images? This not only has no place on Trek, but it makes it impossible for families to show this to their children. Just how stupid are the producers to think that making a Trek series rated R is a good thing? I suppose we could argue the same about Tarantino's proposal to write a Trek film, but at least parents would know in advance to leave the kiddies out of it.
Ed
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 12:56pm (UTC -6)
@Peter G

I agree about him trying to kill her back on the ship. He seemed too in control by that point now that I think about it, though I stand by my original opinion about his behavior in the Rebel camp.

I also meant to say in my other post that I agree with you about Sarek. It would have been interesting to see what he and the Rebels thought about the multiple universe situation and it's also ridiculous that he wouldn't know after a mind meld. Also doesn't make sense that he'd hide it if he did.
Gul Densho-Ar
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 1:17pm (UTC -6)
Best episode so far for me. 3.5. Even better than the last one which I give 3.0. I actually started liking DSC once they got the MU. Or should I say, from the point Riker stepped in and saved the show.

I used to hate the series, my highlights of episode 1-9 were two episodes I give 2.0, the rest below that. Never thought I'd be actually enjoying this now.
Dobber
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 2:37pm (UTC -6)
Apparently Burnham is decent and compassionate? Are we sure those words means the same thing in the mirror universe? And here I was thinking she was a massive narcissist. Good thing they wrote some dialogue to explain it to me rather than characterization, otherwise I would have the completely wrong impression...

How can the Discovery be in transporter range of the Shinzou without being detected either by the Shinzou or the Emperors ship?
Dobber
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 2:49pm (UTC -6)
Suddenly they all care about starfleet principles. Are these the same people we’ve been watching all along?
Gul Densho-Ar
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 3:18pm (UTC -6)
@Dobber

"Suddenly they all care about starfleet principles. Are these the same people we’ve been watching all along?"

Valid point, but I had similar concerns watching VOY, ENT, and even DS9 when Sisko fired those WMD's.
Dobber
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 3:27pm (UTC -6)
@Gul Densho-Ar
When Sisko did that, the whole point was that he was betraying his principles. It wasn’t the default behavior of the shows characters. The inadequacies of VOY and ENT don’t excuse DIS. In fact, if we are supposed to believe that Michael is as she’s described then her character has been mishandle just as incompetently as Captain Archers was imo (Archer was a buffoon who should’ve never been in command of anything, in universe he was probably just riding the coattails of his father).
Kinematic
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 4:04pm (UTC -6)
I just realized something.

Michael Burnham.

Ash Tyler.

Burnham.

Ash.

Burn'em to ash.

An intentional pun?
Filip
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 4:14pm (UTC -6)
I didn't think I would ever write this after all the horrid episodes from the first half of S1, but... I actually kinda liked this one. Still not very hopeful about the future of the show thought. Let me explain.

First, the good stuff. (Wow, this is the first as well I think)

I thought Michael's soliloquy at the beginning pretty decent and a good use of the MU setting to explore the issues of identity and choices we make. I really do hope they develop it further because it is a fair nod to the ethos of the previous shows that this one desperately needs. I am also glad that the entire deal with Voq is finally out in the open and can now be further developed. I remember saying that if it turned out Tyler was actually Voq I would quit watching the show, but I have to admit here that it wasn't half bad in the execution by being a play on, again, question of identity. It wasn't the best either as there was an opportunity to dwell more on the subject, but seeing how I was actually pleased with the revelation it was too late in the show for that anyway. The characterization of MU Voq wasn't bad either, and he seemed more of a character that his real counterpart ever was. Like @Karl Zimmerman said in a comment above me, he wasn't an over the top twisted version only the MU could provide, but rather a similar version to the "original" albeit with significantly different realizations of the ideas they both share. The final resolution with Tyler/Voq and Saru's take on it was a great wrap up to Michael's opening soliloquy that rounded the episode in a satisfying manner on that front.

The problems.
Given that the MU here is used as an actually plot element in terms of developing characters and overall plot of the show is risky business given that all previous appearances of the MU were containted to single to two-parter episodes and the characters venturing into it from the original universe were already very well established personas. MU's over the top character worked in previous incarnations because by the following week's episode it would remain exactly that and wouldn't spill all over the show which is what could happen right here which is courting disaster, both for the character development and the show in general (which, despite all the positives stated in this review, I still regard as disastrous). Even though the problem of the show's time frame is not as painfully obvious as it was in some of its previous episodes (all of them), it still shows, namely in the scenes with the rebels that felt rushed. I get what Michael was trying do to (or to put it this way, what the writers were trying to do through Michael), but all her questions were piling on top of eacher other in a very rushed and inorganic manner. Fortunately, it didn't botch the scene completely, but what it did was show us a great missed opportunity. The same goes for the revelation of Tyler's underlying persona. Since the writers managed to maneuver an idiotic situation into a compelling narrative, it is a shame to see it resolved in such a hurried manner.

That being said, I am eager to see the next week's episode, but the burning question remains - in which direction is the show going to continue once we return to the prime universe? Because, by what we've seen so far of it, the MU seems like a much better place to be.

P.S. Enough with the spores already. sheesh.
Todd
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 4:30pm (UTC -6)
@Peter G Good point about Sarek's mind meld...in Mirror, Mirror, Spock mind melded with McCoy and immediately knew everything about the Federation and where this landing party was from. That was why he helped Kirk get back to the USS Enterprise.

I assume Sarek would know, but unlike Spock he's not a trained scientist...so his reaction might be more parallel what?

Imagine for a moment if someone you loved, a child, your spouse REALLY came here from an alternate reality and tried to tell you. How would you handle that? Might be a bit confusing.
Theta Sigma
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 4:41pm (UTC -6)
As flawed as this show is, I have to admit, it's actually made me interested in the Mirror Universe for the first time since the original series. They've managed to make it a genuinely scary place in a way it hasn't been in most other visits. It seems we'll be there for at least another episode (though I'm currently thinking it'll be until the end of the season), and I'm looking forward to seeing what else they can do with it.

The last three episodes have been a massive step up from what came before in my opinion, having much better pacing and managing to excite me where the episodes prior tended to either be a bit naff or boring. It's not my ideal Star Trek show by any means, but this isn't bad television if they have to go in the direction they're going.

As for the Voq plot, I'm quite optimistic, mostly because it now means we'll have a Klingon character who won't have to wear that awful make-up. I really hope Voq gets a little more fleshed out in his true personality now as well, it feels like we barely got to know him before they put him through this massive change (which is why the whole thing feels like it should've been an s2 plot to me.)
Gul Densho-Ar
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 4:51pm (UTC -6)
@Dobber

Point taken. I'll be the last to defend Archer, he is an incompetent idiot who in season 3 resorts to torture whenever he's not given the information he wants immediately. Which makes him a fitting representative of the Dubya era, actually.

It's just that I am currently on a VOY marathon parallel to watching DSC, and Janeway's transformations from caring mother to psychopath murderer and back are confusing to say the least.

Maybe having watched these series has made me indifferent to some extent. But just as VOY's outrageous violation of logic and common sense has taught me to take it for whatever it is, I guess I've learned to accept the ridiculous nonsense of DSC.

On any reasonable grounds it is indefensible (to be honest, sadly like a lot of Trek), but I'll try to enjoy it for what it is. It's never going to be anywhere near TNG or DS9, that's sure.
LJ
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 6:32pm (UTC -6)
I kinda liked this episode, although I've got to agree with most people here that most of its "reveals" were not reveals at all, just confirmations of fan-theories that had been going on forever. I saw the Tyler/Voq thing from a mile away and I correctly guessed the "faceless emperor" would be Georgiou. But on the plus side, I appreciated how they handled the Tyler/Voq's reveal. It wasn't a surprise or a shocking moment by any means, but imo it was handled well. As for emperor Georgiou, I can only say I'm happy that we'll get more Michelle Yeoh on screen!

Gotta agree the B-plot could have been better, but I didn't find it that bad either. Just run-of-the-mill technobabble. And while I'm at the subject, Tilly's line about "fungi being the only organism with the biological aptitude to link death with life", as ridiculous as it may seem, it actually is real science and it's a concept taken from real-life American mycologist Paul Stamets' book "Mycelium Running". Paul Stamets, the real-life mycologist, was the one who inspired the creation of DSC's Paul Stamets. Actually, the whole "spore drive" concept is based on this mycologist's work, so for those tho are saying it's too fake-science a concept, compared to old-school Trek technobabble, well, it's not.

I liked the idea of Stamets finally meeting his mirror version and I'm eager to see where they'll take that to. Apparently, mirror Stamets, who also seems to be lost in the mycelial plane, was "observing" prime Stamets since he first used the spore drive, having become aware of his existence, hence the creepy mirror scene at the end of that episode where he first used the spore drive (in the 5th episode?); it wasn't a reflection, it was mirror Stamets. It also explains his constant mood swings, recognising Tilly as a captain, etc, because all this time the portal in his brain has been open, in constant contact with mirror Stamets and switching consciousnesses with him.
Troy G
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 6:32pm (UTC -6)
****

Tense, nail-biting, suspenseful, gripping...perhaps some of you believe Trek shouldn't be any of those things, but this is what we got.

When Tyler was about to lose it in the presence of Mirror-Voq, I was silently screaming, "Oh, God, don't blow this, Tyler!".

I've only seen the episode once, but my only quibble is the "execution" of Tyler. How far away are the two ships? How did Burnham get the message to Discovery that Tyler would be beamed into space and to be ready to beam him back? Perhaps somebody can help me with this.

For anyone who cares, I don't readily compare Discovery to previous Trek series. I compare it to the recent JJ Abrams Trek films. I find DSC to be more satisfying.
Dobber
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 7:37pm (UTC -6)
@Gul Densho-Ar
“It's just that I am currently on a VOY marathon parallel to watching DSC, and Janeway's transformations from caring mother to psychopath murderer and back are confusing to say the least.”

I actually find the psychology of Janeway pretty interesting to think about! But that’s a whole other conversation.

@LG
“for those tho are saying it's too fake-science a concept, compared to old-school Trek technobabble, well, it's not. “

It is. Mycology is not even remotely related to cosmology. The “science” in the show is based on nothing but a random association with an irrelevant field. This is like saying that the Force is real science because hammers can force nails into wood. I saw the real Paul Stamits on After Trek... let’s just say he didn’t do the cause of justifying this any favors.

@Troy G
“I've only seen the episode once, but my only quibble is the "execution" of Tyler. How far away are the two ships? How did Burnham get the message to Discovery that Tyler would be beamed into space and to be ready to beam him back? Perhaps somebody can help me with this.”

It’s a plot hole, there is no explanation. If the Discovery was nearby then it doesn’t make sense, if it wasn’t nearby then that also doesn’t make sense. Convenient for keeping Tyler alive though.
Josh
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 7:48pm (UTC -6)
Yay. Michelle Yeoh's back! She was the best thing about the pilot and a great shame she wasn't a regular. So it's great to have her back, even in a delightfully campy autarch role rather than the excellent captain role she was in, which was far and away the most endearing character.

These two episodes are the first ones I actually wanted to watch again. Curiously enough, it is by moving into this grim universe, that the Trek optimism can actually return because of the theme of maintaining their Federation soul amidst the darkness. This is the most Trek like use of the mirror universe since the original episode because that theme is being revisited, but only more deeply.

Maybe we'll look back on this show and think that it took a half season to find its footing. For a Trek show that is actually pretty good going. But unlike the first half season, which was lame, so far this half season, they have my attention.

But that Klingonese sucks. I don't know what they're doing, given I'm sure it's the Okrand language soon to be coming to Duolingo, but it sounds weird in this show and Tyler sounds and looks silly saying it.
Chrome
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 8:35pm (UTC -6)
“It’s a plot hole, there is no explanation. If the Discovery was nearby then it doesn’t make sense, if it wasn’t nearby then that also doesn’t make sense. Convenient for keeping Tyler alive though.”

Nah, Burnham could’ve beamed Tyler near the dark side of a nearby moon or Nebula where the Discovery was waiting. The plan just didn’t happen on screen so Tyler’s fate wouldn’t be obvious.
Karl Zimmerman
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 9:05pm (UTC -6)
I really think the previous episode did a better job showcasing how brutal the Mirror Universe/Terran Empire was than this episode. There were only a few really bad things shown: spacing of prisoners, Saru as a slave, and the bombing of the planet. All of these are analogous to things that many normal empires (not even ultra-evil ones like the Nazis) did in human history. Hell, the rebel base was a military installation, so it's not even like they added the pathos of having millions of civilian casualties. Mostly this episode told, rather than showed, us the nastiness of the Mirror Universe in the form of Burnham's overwrought, overwritten opening monologue (please, FFS get some better talent in the writing room!).
Paul B.
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 9:56pm (UTC -6)
Fairly workmanlike episode that mostly just tied together loose ends. 2.5/4. Nothing terrible, but nothing stunning.

I do like thinking about the fact that, of all people in the universes, however, Ash Tyler is probably the only person who does not have a mirror version anywhere. Voq does, of course, but not Tyler.
Shannon
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 10:03pm (UTC -6)
First off, all the haters on this blog seriously need to go find another show to watch. You just don't like it, you feel it's not really Star Trek. Fine, you are entitled to your opinion. But there are many more of us that are loving the direction the producers are taking this show... This episode was terrific, 4 stars all the way. Lisa Randolph wrote a very human script that explores how our characters are dealing with the beyond strenuous, dangerous situation in which they find themselves. One wrong move and death would be assured, so watching these characters navigating this proverbial mind field was very entertaining. And I love how they brought back Michelle Yeoh as the savage emperor. Looking forward to next week. As for Tyler/Voq, now that we know the secret (something we all suspected), I'm very curious where they take the character. Which personality will prevail, and why... Still not a fan of the Klingon look, but love what they did with the Andorians. Looks great!
Peter G.
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 10:52pm (UTC -6)
@ Shannon,

I do not believe by any means there are "more of you" than of people who object to various things in the show. My observation here is that it seems split roughly 50/50, and elsewhere I really can't say.

"Lisa Randolph wrote a very human script that explores how our characters are dealing with the beyond strenuous, dangerous situation in which they find themselves"

Really? Which characters are being explored through the scripting in this situation? Burnham, yes, and Lorca I suppose, since he's being tortured. Saru seems fine, Tilly seems better than fine (i.e. in better form than normal), Stamets isn't really a character right now, Culber is "dead"...so who's left? It appears to me that the exploration of 'characters' is really just more Burnham material. And to be frank I'm not even sure how they're exploring it, i.e., how she's changing. She *says* she's changing, but I have no idea what that means since I don't see any change. Even the one real change they could have gone for - an execution - turns out to be a cheat and it's the same old Burnham.

A couple of other points:

"One wrong move and death would be assured, so watching these characters navigating this proverbial mind field was very entertaining."

Yes, the twists in the story seem to be attractive to many viewers.

"And I love how they brought back Michelle Yeoh as the savage emperor. Looking forward to next week."

An example of one of these plot twists.

"As for Tyler/Voq, now that we know the secret (something we all suspected), I'm very curious where they take the character."

And yet another page-turner plot twist. From the sound of it, what you like about this show is that it's LOST in space. That's exactly what many people didn't want, which is a cut/paste of another series with its same design bible and manner of storytelling and just superimposed in a Trek setting. You know, exactly the same thing they did with Star Trek: Beyond, where the studio demanded a generic action film with Trek characters inserted. That's what many people feel we have here. Not saying you shouldn't enjoy it, but don't act all indignant when people would rather watch real Trek than LOST or Fringe. Those are what they are, and I even somewhat liked both, but Trek should never use that template.


Paulus Marius
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 1:45am (UTC -6)
@Troy G:
"For anyone who cares, I don't readily compare Discovery to previous Trek series. I compare it to the recent JJ Abrams Trek films. I find DSC to be more satisfying."

Yes, agreed, +1000000

Got a real charge out of this episode. Very satisfying.

Also, the music was outstanding.


Ben
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 6:03am (UTC -6)
I'm enjoying Discovery and am looking forward to seeing the Stamets story progress.

My prediction is that in the last episode of the season, they'll end up destroying the mycelial network in the process of returning to the prime universe and attempting to save Stamets. That will help explain the lack of Spore drive in later series. It will invoke moral choices and sacrifice. It will keep the prime and mirror universes separate.
Hank
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 8:28am (UTC -6)
Here we go again. Ok, in the Mirror Universe, you advance by murdering your superiors ... Burnham violates a direct order (to nuke the planet from Orbit) and beams down to the planet ... why does her first Officer not try to kill her then? After all, thats the only way she can advance? Why not execute an order and your superiour officer by accident, while you're at it? But ok, minor quibble.

She and Ash beam to an open position - without prior scanning - and immediatly get attacked, and surprisingly are not blown to pieces, but only because the Rebels shoot as bad as the Imperial Stormtroopers...

Burnham assumes that ... making peace with the Mirror Klingons ... will give her the secret to make piece ... with the Prime Klingons ... because of reasons. How does she get to that conclusion?

The Rebels take her to her base, show her their cloaking technology, and don't even blindfold her ... just because. After all, what could go wrong?

Burnham has to ask why Klingons work together with other races ... in a universe, where humans are about as destructive and powerfull as the Borg... The answer she recieves is the most obvious thing ever uttered by anybody anywhere: A common emeny forges people together ... Just wow.

Mirror Voq, who has been fighting the Empire for all his life, does not assume that Sarek is just plain wrong in his assessment of Burnham, and that the Empire uses a new trick to destroy the rebels, and decides to trust her, despite her underling attacking him. No, he agrees to the plan to flee the base, with an Empire ship still looming above the planet, that apparently can't detect the fleeing ships because ... well, cloaking technology apparently? I just have to guess, because nobody spelled it out for me so, if I am wrong please enlighten me.

Meanwhile, Saru mourns Culbers death - he hasn't shared a single line with him. He has never shown any affection prior. Tilly is allowed to try a medical procedure - without a doctor present ... Stamets apparently dies - and is left in the mycelium chamber, until he revives. At least that is how it seemed to me, maybe I am missing something that he was just unconcious, but even then - why leave him there? Shouldn't he be in the Med Bay? Or the morgue?

Star Fleet does not know about fingerprints or DNA - which is why they suspect that Stamets is the murderer. I guess I just have to assume that Tyler destroyed all the evidence in the five minutes he had before he went on the mission, and that nobody found it odd that there was no trace of any kind of evidence pointing to the murderer besides Stamets holding a dead body - even though they suspect that Stamets acted more or less unconciously, not in a state to fiddle with evidence.

Meanwhile, my prediction became true and Voq reveals his true identity to Burnham - I just thought it would happen sometime later. Then, the writers write themselves into a corner (Voq and Burnham alone, Burnham with a phaser in hand, and Voq with the intention to kill her, and no reasonable path to resolve the situation peacefully, as Voq just made it clear that Tyler is gone). But by sheer contrievence neither Voq nor Burnham notice Mirror Saru (who is the only one in the mirror universe named differently for no reason) entering the room and disabling Voq - with guards and Mirror ... uh, whats her name... Mirror Redhead Girl who apparently has some kind of function on the bridge that I can't remember because nobody ever talks to her - waiting right at her door, who don't seem to see Burnhams obvious weakness and fear (cowering at the wall) as a point to try to wrestle command from her, but instead help her like loyal underlings? In a universe so brutal that only sexual favours or violence let you advance in life, and every moment death looms around the corner?

Burnham executes Voq - and for a second, as they didn't show him in space, I had the fear that they would pull the trick of "If we don't show him dead, he isn't", and had him transported somwhere on the ship (because nobody ever checks transporter logs and Burnham can change the coordinates in the blink of an eye), only to give me slight hope when he is in space, gasping, and then, destroying all hope by having him beamed abord the Discovery ... A ship that is apparently invisible or has the galaxy spanning super ultra mega Transporter (tm) from the Abrams Movies, because nobody noticed that the guy who they beamed about 3km from their ship suddenly vanished, and that ship that is just floating there, beaming random people aboard who drift in space .... Only to THEN be able to scan some kind of energy signature from the ship of the empress, which ALSO has some kind of cloaking device because they can not immediatly tell which ship is is, even though the empress has NO reason to hide her presence there whatsoever...

And Georgiou is the Evil Empress - of course. Not complaining (why bother), just saying ... that was predictable...

So, just tell me, am I missing something, or am I just crazy? But to me, this seems utterly crude, ugly and shallow. Every moment that has any kind of depth to it is immediatly ruined by some contrived plot twist that accomplishes nothing. Tyler/Voq is now utterly meaningless, as Tyler has completely disappeared - possibly to just reappear at a later point because he his not dead yet, or Voq realizing the error of his ways, or some other cliché, or him just dying because of another gross miscalculation by himself. So much for the deep character developement and personal drama that a split personality produces... Why should I care for Voq, when he is so driven by instinct that he attacks his mirror counterpart despite no chance of success, and without any reason, really? He set out on this elaborate, cunning plan to steal the secrets of the Federation, on which the entire existence of the Klingon Empire hinges, involving so many unpredictable variables that it needs a genious to navigate that course of action, only to reveal his intentions at the first opportunity? That is the guy, who by sheer willpower and cunning fought his way up the ranks of a klingon society that hates him because he is of no house? Against impossible odds, he succeded, became torchbearer, yet he is unable to contain his rage even for a second?

Sarek (who just looks ridiculous, contrasting the over the top seriousness with which the mirror universe is handled with the over the top sixties aesthetics of the original series - even though he isn't even an evil counterpart, but the exact same character as Prime Sarek) is not the least bit suspicious that this evil enemy of his shows him memories of him and her, and how he is her father - except that from his point of view that is utterly impossible. He just assumes that her intentions are pure - for no logical reason at all. From his point of view, the logical thing to assume is that Burnham is a spy with false memories, sent by the Empire - why would he expect anything else? Even when from his point of view a brainwashed sleeper assassin (Tyler) attacks his leader, he just ... does not assume that this was a botched assassination attempt by the Empire, but that ... yeah, well, something happend, but whatever, he has seen some completely illogical memories from a person he has never met in person his entire life so ... who cares I guess?

Oh, and just to spite the viewers, every race is recognizable from previous series - except for the Klingons. The Andorians are not suddenly eight feet tall and have three heads, no, they look reasonably like Andorians. Just to rub it in that the Klingons, the most iconic race, was changed for no reason at all, or just because of spite and contempt.

And to spite us even more, in the background of the camp, there are tall buildings, apparently abandoned, looming faintly in the distant sky, evoking tales of the rise and fall of a civilization - the planet clearly has a history to it - except that we will never learn of it, but who cares, I guess. Who cares where explorers go and what they find on strange new planets. Thats just an outmoded concept. Instead lets show some gratitious violence when Voq is changed to Tyler (which is partly recycled footage anyways), we clearly don't have enough violence in our lives.

Seriously, I just don't understand it. There was a moment, when Tyler changed to Voq, where I began to have genuine empathy for the character. Finally, his big plan, the purpose that gives his life meaning, is about to unfold - for a moment I suppressed the memory of his utter incompetence the scene before, and felt his sacrifice, his struggle to do the right thing - and I felt a grim satisfaction that Burnham, whose every action results in her success, one way or the other, was about to be foiled, only for Voq to squander his plan the moment he was able to execute it. Because that was the plan all along, right? For him to infiltrate Discovery, regain his true self, and stay undercover, to be able to escape, to return as a hero triumphant? Or was his plan to infiltrate, stay undercover, and then - tada, like a devil in the box, reveal himself with a loud bang that gets shut down immediatly, because even a child can close the lid on the box of the devil? All this sacrifice, pain, blood and sweat for this? Not being bested by his enemies, or making an error in judgement, adding tragedy to his tortorous fate, but being foiled by his utter incompetence and for no good reason?

Sorry for the long text, but there is so much to say, once I start I just can't stop. I just can't wrap my head around how you can make so many basic mistakes in a story. How you can squander such a rich playground?
Fireworks in March
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 8:34am (UTC -6)
The show's writing is pathetic. The scene with Mirror Voq talking about the rebellion was something out of a Saturday morning cartoon show aimed at entertaining little boys. How completely undramatic. Tell, not show, huh? Just like the entire war with the Klingons thus far, actually. Tell, not show. And we've hardly gotten to know these characters and suddenly we're in a Mirror Universe listening to monologues about how much of a struggle it is to live like a barbarian? I mean, Michael, you just mutinied for no reason. You actually have a few shades in common with the Empire! Klingons respect those who fire first... HA!

I've seen a lot of commentary about "give the show a chance, it's only Season 1." Consider this for a moment-- this is the golden age of TV where there has been PLENTY of well-written content over the past 10-odd years to inspire the direction of this plot. Also, Star Trek has been around for FIFTY years. By now, you'd think a capable writing team could be assembled to knock it out of the park from Day 1, not by Season 4. The PR quotes about Fuller wanting a more complex/allegorical story--and the fact that we collectively received THIS show--says it all. Society accepts watered-down, lowest-common-denominator entertainment with no meat on the bone. How sad, that THAT is the new standard for a franchise that is supposed to ask questions and seek deeper meaning out of the human condition.
Troy
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 9:28am (UTC -6)
@Hank- We know why the Klingons were given a makeover. It was to hide Shazad Latif so the viewer wouldn't know that Ash Tyler was Voq. So basically, the aesthetic established for 40 odd years is destroyed so the audience is tricked (even though most of us weren't) into being 'shocked' by what turns out to be an utterly pointless plot twist.
Hank
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 9:34am (UTC -6)
@Troy: Huh, funnily enough, that reason is just cynical and stupid enough to actually ring true ...
Karl Zimmerman
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 9:56am (UTC -6)
I'm not one of the "total haters" of the show. I don't understand people who rate the show consistently good to great either however, because it has notable, glaring flaws. It's just not the worst of the worst. I'm never bored with the show, like I was with a lot of Voyager and Enterprise episodes.

The main problems with the show all revolve around a crappy writer's room.

The dialogue in the show is consistently mediocre to horrible. There is too much emphasis on long-form exposition to get the story moving. A little technobabble is okay, but nothing in the show is written in a natural conversational manner. For example, DS9 actually had characters talking over one another when they are in an argument - something we've never seen on Discovery. Certainly nothing has been witty or snappy to date.

The characterization on the show had some brief flashes of goodness in the middle of the first half of the season (the toothbrush scene with Stamets and Culber - Tilly jogging around Discovery with Burnham) but the show has retreated into treating the characters as if they are plot devices rather than people. Name me five things about each of the main characters - their personalities and backstory - which are not related to the main plot. It's difficult to impossible, because we never get to see them in any manner other than is needed to move along the goals the showrunners have for the season.

The individual episodes have no easily discernible themes, unlike a large proportion of the historic Trek body of work. At times they'll lightly touch on an issue (like the question of whether being in the Mirror Universe is inherently corrupting to the moral core of Burnham) but they retreat before going into full "message Trek."

The plotting of each of the individual episodes is okay now. The show has (wisely) settled into the A/B plot structure. Sure, there are dumb plot holes in almost every episode, but this is par for the course for Trek. And if they got the dialogue and the characterization right, a lot more of us would ignore the plot holes.

Everything else in the show has settled into okay to great. I have no issue with anything related to visuals since the show stopped being so freaking "busy" all the time. The acting is on the whole better than previous Treks. The direction has been good to great. My only complaint not directly dealing with writing is casting/extra related - how empty the Discovery is. But mostly, the problem with the series is the writing is fanfic level.

The odd thing is, many of the great Trek writers are still alive. Many are still in their 50s, and could easily be brought on to at least write an episode or two. Yet all they picked up was Joe Menosky, he of the crazy high-concept plots that went nowehere?!? It just makes no sense to have these B-list writers without a lot of genre experience penning the episodes when the greats who know how to belt out a good Star Trek story are still out there.
philadlj
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 10:27am (UTC -6)
It's high time Tilly got a receive a field commission of ensign.
Peter G.
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 10:28am (UTC -6)
@ philadlj,

"It's high time Tilly got a receive a field commission of ensign."

Tell that to Harry Kim.
LJ
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 10:34am (UTC -6)
"Mostly this episode told, rather than showed, us the nastiness of the Mirror Universe in the form of Burnham's overwrought, overwritten opening monologue." I wholly agree with that. They need to get rid of these monologues. They are okay when used sparsely, not when they're used at *every* episode.

mouse
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 10:36am (UTC -6)
One thing I'm hoping for (but suspecting won't come about after this episode) with Tyler/Voq is that, going back to the BSG analogy for the character, they sort of meet Boomer and Athena in the middle, if you see what I mean. After last week, I'd thought that we were ultimately going to see Tyler trying to fight against his Voq persona more. I figured that was part of the point of the conversation between him and Burham regarding always defending each other. And I genuinely like the idea of the character being faced with two entirely different but equally strong emotions about Michael.

To me, this episode seems to take the character more in a Boomer direction (ultimately siding with the Cylons or Klingons in this case). And I'm down for that too. But I still wouldn't be surprised if his mental battles between personalities are not over just yet. I certainly hope they aren't. For all that I am enjoying the show, warts and all, it would be a shame to reduce that character conflict so quickly. I haven't been so keen on comparing the show directly to previous Trek entries. However such a quick reduction of internal conflict definitely makes me think of VOY and how the two separate crews thing went away after the pilot.
LJ
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 11:15am (UTC -6)
@Hank

"Why does her first Officer not try to kill her then?"

Because her XO isn't interested in killing her, simple. Not everyone in the MU is constantly awaiting for an opportunity to murder their superior officers, so that they can take their places.

"She and Ash beam to an open position - without prior scanning - and immediatly get attacked, and surprisingly are not blown to pieces, but only because the Rebels shoot as bad as the Imperial Stormtroopers..."

It's very clear the rebels didn't want to kill them, just to let them with nowhere to run, pinning them down to a point.

"The Rebels take her to her base, show her their cloaking technology, and don't even blindfold her ... just because. After all, what could go wrong?"

There is no need for the rebels to blindfold her if again, it's clear they know that the Terrans are aware of their base's location, otherwise Burnham and Tyler wouldn't beam down to that planet to begin with.

"Burnham has to ask why Klingons work together with other races ... in a universe, where humans are about as destructive and powerfull as the Borg... The answer she recieves is the most obvious thing ever uttered by anybody anywhere: A common emeny forges people together ... Just wow."

Gotta agree that Burnham's question was silly, especially coming from a Starfleet Officer, from the Federation, i.e., that interstellar organisation where many different aliens work together towards a common goal. But maybe she only wanted to know that because she believes it's impossible for a Klingon to actually integrate into a multi-species alliance?

"Mirror Voq, who has been fighting the Empire for all his life, does not assume that Sarek is just plain wrong in his assessment of Burnham, and that the Empire uses a new trick to destroy the rebels, and decides to trust her, despite her underling attacking him."

I suppose that Mirror Voq knows that a Vulcan mindmeld is really poweful and truly enables said Vulcan to see if the person has malign intentions or not, and it's made clear by the dialogue that he holds great respect for Mirror Sarek and thinks he is a prophet of sorts.

"No, he agrees to the plan to flee the base, with an Empire ship still looming above the planet, that apparently can't detect the fleeing ships because..."

The rebels simply state they're going to evacuate the camp. As far as I remeber, at no moment it's mentioned they're going to use ships to flee the planet.

"Meanwhile, Saru mourns Culbers death - he hasn't shared a single line with him. He has never shown any affection prior. Tilly is allowed to try a medical procedure - without a doctor present ... Stamets apparently dies - and is left in the mycelium chamber, until he revives. At least that is how it seemed to me, maybe I am missing something that he was just unconcious, but even then - why leave him there? Shouldn't he be in the Med Bay? Or the morgue?"

Saru also hasn't shared a line or in some cases just a single line with other characters and I agree this is a serious defficiency in the writing of the show. After all, Saru is the XO. But then again, he might have had conversations with these other characters that we didn't see on-screen, simply because the show is Burnham-centred (she is the protagonist, after all), so they're only gonna show the characters' interactions with Burnham.
I wholly agree that letting Tilly, a *cadet* to perform a medical procedure without any medical officers present was beyond silly. And this is coming from someone who loves the character of Tilly and her portrayal by Mary Wise.
As for the medical officers letting Stamets remain inside the chamber even after he "dies", I guess that whole scene happened just seconds after his "death", while the medical officers went to the sickbay to get a stratcher or sth, and the scene was cut in two parts.

"Star Fleet does not know about fingerprints or DNA - which is why they suspect that Stamets is the murderer. I guess I just have to assume that Tyler destroyed all the evidence in the five minutes he had before he went on the mission, and that nobody found it odd that there was no trace of any kind of evidence pointing to the murderer besides Stamets holding a dead body - even though they suspect that Stamets acted more or less unconciously, not in a state to fiddle with evidence."

Well, to be fair they *do* find Stamets craddling Culber's body, so that's why they think he's the one who killed him. And even if they were going to get fingerprints, they would find both Tyler's and Stamets' fingerprints on Culber's neck. And it's also shown that part of the ship is without power, so it can be inferred that Tyler cleaned all the evidence and sabotaged that part of the ship before leaving for the Mirror Shenzou.

"But by sheer contrievence neither Voq nor Burnham notice Mirror Saru (who is the only one in the mirror universe named differently for no reason) entering the room and disabling Voq - with guards."

It's shown early, twice, in the episode that Mirror Saru (who btw, doesn't have a different name in the MU, but rather doesn't have any name at all, 'cause he's a slave there) has free access to Burnham's quarters, being her personal servant. That's why no one notices when he enters the room and disables Voq. As for the guards, it's been established in other Trek episodes that at least one guard always stays outside the captain's quarters in the MU.

"and Mirror ... uh, whats her name... Mirror Redhead Girl who apparently has some kind of function on the bridge that I can't remember because nobody ever talks to her - waiting right at her door, who don't seem to see Burnhams obvious weakness and fear (cowering at the wall) as a point to try to wrestle command from her, but instead help her like loyal underlings? In a universe so brutal that only sexual favours or violence let you advance in life, and every moment death looms around the corner?"

Mirror Detmer (that's her name) doesn't take that opportunity to kill Burnham because, as I said above, she's simply not interested in that. As I said in another comment, I completely agree that initial monologue was badly written and contrived.

"Burnham executes Voq - and for a second, as they didn't show him in space..."

Agree, they don't explain where Discovery was at that point and it would have made much more sense if Burnham had just programmed the transporter to beam Tyler back into the Shenzou, preferably into her quarters, a few seconds later. The way they actually did it was bad.

"Oh, and just to spite the viewers, every race is recognizable from previous series - except for the Klingons. The Andorians are not suddenly eight feet tall and have three heads, no, they look reasonably like Andorians. Just to rub it in that the Klingons, the most iconic race, was changed for no reason at all, or just because of spite and contempt."

I still don't know why they've changed the Klingon's design. Maybe to service this Tyler/Voq story, as someone pointed out above. But still, it was a bad decision to be made, imo. I would like the change more if they had kept the Klingon's hair, at least.

"And to spite us even more, in the background of the camp, there are tall buildings, apparently abandoned..."

Remember, this is the MU, so exploration of strange new planets isn't a part of the Empire's agenda. The rebels only use this planet to hide, because again, this is the MU and they're interested in survival, not in exploration.
Trent
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 11:30am (UTC -6)
There seem to be no transporter records, sensor logs, security personnel or CCTV footage on board the Discovery. Stamets should not be a suspect and Voq should have been caught on footage murdering the Doc and visiting the brig. Similarly, Voq should not have been able to be beamed within the vicinity of the Discovery without the Discovery being detected, Voq's location being altered or Voq's beaming onto the Discovery being detected. That Tilly is given carte blanche to operate on Stamets without a doctor present, also makes no sense.

The idea of requesting assistance from a Federation of bad guys (who are good in the Mirror Universe) is a genius angle, but something that requires much more groundwork and contemplation and Prime Universe world building, leading up to it.
LJ
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 11:33am (UTC -6)
@Dobber

"It is. Mycology is not even remotely related to cosmology. The “science” in the show is based on nothing but a random association with an irrelevant field."

The show simply mixes two scientific concepts into one, i.e., quantum theory with the real Paul Stamets' work.
Stamets says that fungi are organisms capable of creating huge networks of mycelium (the largest network on Earth, which also happens to be possibly the biggest organism on Earth, measures 2.4 miles (3.8 km) across in the Blue Mountains in Oregon.)
Brian Fuller (who apparently penned this concept before leaving the show) just got this idea of fungi being capable of creating huge networks and expanded it into sci-fi territory. So again, it's the old Trek thing of getting real science and expanding it into sci-fi territory (see the transporter, warp drive, et al).
I gotta agree that Stamets' appearance on After Trek was bad, though. He clearly is bad at explaining his theory to TV audiences.
LJ
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 11:37am (UTC -6)
@Trent

"There seem to be no transporter records, sensor logs, security personnel or CCTV footage on board the Discovery."

There doesn't seem to be any of these things in any Starfleet ship, tbh. How many times someone was murdered in every Trek series and nobody saw it because CCTV doesn't appear to exist in Star Trek? It strains credibility but I've gotten used to this, since it isn't the first time a situation like that happens.
LJ
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 11:46am (UTC -6)
Also regarding my last comment, Tyler *was* the security chief on board the Discovery, which makes it even easier for him to erase his traces.
Ed
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 12:00pm (UTC -6)
@LJ

LOL. All those murders or acts of sabotage in Engineering, the hallways, etc. in all those shows and never a camera. :)

The only way I can make any sense of it is that it's an over-reaction to something awful in the past.

Some totalitarian government used video surveillance in such a horrible, over the top manner that when progressive civilization finally reasserted itself, even reasonable uses of it became taboo. Kind of like their ultra-conservative bioethics is a reaction to the Eugenics Wars.

In the case of this episode, though, it was in Sickbay. I could see where there might be some legitimate privacy concerns about filming the area where people get examined.


Hank
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 12:11pm (UTC -6)
@mouse: They could have asked the question: Would it be morally good and justified to try to keep the Tyler persona? After all, he is in a sense just as real as Voq is - because at what point does a fake personality become real? In some sense, that would be a callback to Tuvix: Do they have the right to reverse the procedure? What would it mean if the repatriated him after he served his sentence, when in all likelyhood, he would be killed? I mean, right now, they could still go that way - I just don't have high hopes, to be honest.

@LJ: Quite a few good points, thanks for the long reply.

Regarding point one: Agreed, and its minor, there war just certain expectation built up, with their description of the mirror universe ... And they never give Mirror Detmer (thanks for the Name) any kind character: Is she loyal, is she ambitious, is she jealous? Yes, she applauds Burnham for killing ... here we go again the the names, but I am certain you know the scene I am talking about - but is that a sign of loyalty, or a display of faked loyalty? I just don't know, and maybe I am really dense, but I never got any specific vibes from her, in either direction.

Regarding points two and three: Yeah, ok, point taken, that kind of makes sense. With the caveat, that the rebels have a cloaking field. By interacting with Burnham and Tyler, they give away their position. Sure, the Empire may have intel that suggests that the rebel base is there on the planet - but if you are behind a cloaking field, why would you give away your exact position, when it is not clear if the Empire really knows that you are there, or just acting on suspicion. Same goes for the lowering of the cloaking field: That makes you targetable from orbit. Why even stay there in the first place if an Empire ship is approaching, why not flee at first sight, if not for the reason that you count on your cloaking field protecting you. But this gets rather nitpicky.

Regarding point four: Agreed, but if that was her reasoning, that would make her really badly prejudiced in addition to stupid ...

Regarding point five: This is not about Voq trusting Sarek to an unreasonable degree, but both of them assuming that what they see is truly the real Burnham. It took Spock and Tuvok considerable force to extract information against the will of the other person, and it is not really clear if a mindmeld can detect a burried personality, as far as I am aware.

Regarding six: Yes, but how else would they flee? Just fleeing their camp is not enough, as star ships have life sign scanners. Which brings us back to point 1-3, their only defense is the cloaking device, which they deactivate.

Regarding seven: Yes, agreed, but the sloppy writing/editing really hurt that scene. As you said, we are never shown him interacting with anybody, so it doesn't matter if he does it off screen - we have to assume things that we shouldn't have to assume - same goes for the distance in time between the two scenes. To me it seemed like there was quite some time between so two, with Tilly solemnly mourning his death/coma some time after the doctors left, reminiscent of a funeral scene. The reason is of course clear, they needed him to still be in the chamber so that he can revive, but there is really no reason why he should be in the chamber for that amount of time... If they just had put the doctors on screen, that would have been completely different.

Regarding eight: I guess the problem here is that that is never discussed on screen. Do they have that conversation? Did they find anything? It just looks like they acted on their first unreflected instinct, which makes them seem stupid.

Regarding nine: Agreed, but the door makes a noise when its opened, I think, and he will not just walz in there whenever he so pleases but ring the doorbell, and he has hooves - he must make noises when he walks. And Burnham was looking right in his direction. The guards are less of a problem, but Detmer is: She is immediatly there - why? Did she also stand in front of the door? I know, its just a little thing.

Regarding ten, eleven and twelve: Completely agree.

Regarding the last point: Yes, my point was more that the set design gives us a glimpse of what I at least want to see: Exploration. Of course it doesn't fit in the story - which is my main complaint. Granted, not everything has to be about exploration. But so far, almost nothing has been. I mean, even the terrible later borg episodes of Voyager had exploration at their core, even if it was just a tiny bit under a lot of nonsense and action. In Discovery, we never actually explore something, we get exposition of what will come, and then we never get anything more than that (with a few possible exceptions like the harmonic planet and the first fifteen minutes of the pilot episode). The spore drive really doesn't count, as it again always seems like we get told beforehand what the sporedrive will do, without us seeing people actually studying it, but maybe my impression is wrong, and they do show it, but I actually see it differently because the writing is so abysmal.
Todd
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 12:12pm (UTC -6)
@LJ...they changed the Klingons appearance to make the Ash Tyler/Voq switch work. With previous Klingon iterations, such a move wouldn't have worked at all (e.g., Worf without makeup still looked like Worf, etc.). The makeup was changed to make this subplot possible.
manolo
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 12:23pm (UTC -6)
Now Andorians look like blue Klingons with brain worms, Klingons look like Gorns, and Vulcans are plain idiots who all wear goatees, cheesus...
Hank
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 12:24pm (UTC -6)
Post Scriptum: Regarding the lack of CCTV: Most murders in Star Trek take place in private quarters or remote Jeffreys-Tubes ... which makes it at least plausible that there is no surveilance. And I distinctly recall instances where after a crime has happened, people discovered that the records have been tempered with, which ultimately led to a suspect.

And even if there is no video camera for privacy reasons, Stamets was hooked to a medical appartus - which would surely have noticed when he left the bed and if that coincides with the time of death of Culber.

And regarding the Spore Drive: No, it just isn't the same to take a hypothetical concept like hyperspace or subspace, which is in its nature on a universal scale, or to take fungi that span a few kilometers and blow them up to infinity. It is just too specific. Nobody knows what subspace looks like, but everybody imagines it like our space, just "below" it. Everybody knows what a fungus is, and it is very hard to imagine a living organism stretching all of every possible reality - while being connected to every single one by virtue of being one singe enormous organism. That just de-suspends my disbelief.
manolo
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 12:31pm (UTC -6)
I also forgot to mention how easy it was to find out Tyler's identity, as he doesn't have mirror counterpart. Or let Sarek mind meld him to know why he attacked the albino Gorn, well..., 'Klingon'.
Hank
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 12:36pm (UTC -6)
Forgot something again: I thought the destruction of the medbay was due to Stamets exhibiting some kind of magical power and thrashing the place after he discovered that Culber was dead - after all, if Voq caused that kind of havoc, there is no way that nobody noticed that - that would only be possible if Discovery really only has 20 crewmembers, and every single one was in the bathroom chatting. After all, every mysterious occurence on board previous vessels was detected because of some kind of "energy fluctuation" or "loss of structural integrity", except if it was so alien that it didn't show up on the scanners in the first place.
Plain Simple
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 12:37pm (UTC -6)
Since this is my first comment on the DSC threads here since the show started, I'll first give some thoughts on this particular episode, before giving some more general thoughts on the show so far. (Long post alert!)

This episode had some things I liked and quite a few things I didn't particularly care for. The best thing for me were the scenes between Tilly and Saru. No, not the beyond stupid fungus nonsense technobabble, but the bit where we saw something that we hardly ever see on this show (I think the pilot episodes on the Shenzhou had some scenes like this as well, but I cannot remember many more after that; perhaps some in "Magic to Make the Sanest Man go Mad"?): two professionals using their expertise to work together and solve a problem while interacting in a friendly, respectful, unforced-by-plot manner. Now, it was a brief blink-and-you-miss it moment, but it was in there at some point and I appreciated it.

Other nice parts: good acting from Isaacs at the end in the conversation between Lorca and Michael; interesting use of mirror Sarek (I sure hope they'll follow up on this: he now knows about the prime universe); fun to see Andorians and Tellarites; Michelle Yeoh is back (I was sad to see her go in the opening episodes; her portrayal of Georgiou was a highlight of those episodes for me).

Unfortunately there were also a number of things I didn't particularly care for, starting right at the beginning with the interminably long uninspired opening monologue. The intention is good: the mirror universe is changing Burnham. Interesting premise! But please show it through acting, not by blandly reciting a boink-boink-on-the-head expository speech.

The scene between Tyler/Voq (T'Voq? Vyler? Toq? Vyloq? Tuvix?) and Burnham was also long and uninteresting and left me not caring about any of it (and actually hoping on some level that Burnham would execute Voq; mirror Voq seems much more interesting than prime Voq). Most people (at least those taking the time to go and discuss the show on internet message boards) seemed to have guessed/suspected that Tyler was Voq around the first or second episode that had Tyler in it, and even those who didn't, surely must have realized it last week. So why still draw out the 'reveal' to such lengths? Instead do something interesting with it... which they didn't. It was only used as a plot point to get the data to the Discovery. (And I wasn't at all clear on that plot point... why could Tilly and Saru get their hologram onto the Shenzhou, but they couldn't get the data off? And how come the Discovery was so close by that they could beam Tyler aboard? I'm willing to entertain the notion that Burnham found some time between Tyler being arrested and 'executed' to slipp off and send a message to the Discovery, but shouldn't the Shenzhou have ... uhmm... discovered the Discovery coming into close enough range for a beam out? Could they hide the ship somewhere? A line to this effect would've been nice, but it would've spoiled the surprise rescue of Voq, I suppose.)

Oh, and more Klingon gore and boobs in flashbacks... Why? What's the point? These things are completely out of place and don't seem to serve any narrative purpose. We've already been told and shown over and over and over again that Tyler was tortured/operated on and that he's been raped by (from Tyler's pov) or has been sleeping with (from Voq's pov) L'rell. Why show it again? There is definitely a place for gore and sex in some stories, but this isn't it. It's all done so hamfisted.

And how about Stamets? Did anybody think he died? Was there any suspense there? This show only kills minorities, not white males... Not yet anyway. His arc is moving too slowly and as result I don't particularly care much about it. Half the time I forget it's still part of the story. Perhaps if something interesting were to happen with his arc; something more than just magic mushroom trips. I'm guessing he was meeting mirror Stamets at the end who has also entered the Mushroom Kingdom from the mirror universe side? (I'm guessing that's what all his warnings were about last time: Don't enter the palace! Our princess is in another castle.) And it actually was mirror Stamets which we saw way back when in Stamets' mirror?

So, Tilly believes in an afterlive (Tilly to Stamets' seemingly lifeless body, paraphrased: "wherever you are, I hope you are with him"). Is that foreshadowing of Culber showing up in the Mushroom Kingdom as well or is it otherwise going to be some important plot point, or is this just unimaginative shorthand writing for "Tilly is grieving" and we don't know how to convey that without platitudes?

This episode (and in that aspect it is a good reflection of the whole series) is an odd beast. There is potential, there are some parts I like, and sometimes (like Frakes' episode last week) it's edited in a way that keeps the pace up and keeps me entertained during the episode. But I mostly come out feeling nothing for the characters and caring very little about the plot and its 'shocking revalations'. Who didn't see coming that Georgiou would be emperor? I'm happy to see her, because I liked her in the opening episodes, but it's not this big revelation that the episode apparently wants us to think it is. By the way, I keep seeing comments here about people wanting mirror Georgiou to be a descendant of Empress Hoshi... seriously? Why? Because they're both Asian? Michelle Yeoh is Malaysian from Chinese descent and Linda Park is Korean. That's about as nonsensical as saying "Shatner is from Québec and Bakula is from Missouri, so I think Kirk is a descendant from Archer." Not to mention that in-universe it seems very unlikely that one dynasty stays in power for so long in a society where it seems anyone in a position of authority gets killed by one of their underlings about every other week.

So, what about the series as a whole then? I can approach it in two ways: as a Star Trek show or as its own entity. The show doesn't seem to know what it wants to be and so I cannot make up my mind as a viewer either.

Let's first talk about the show "as a Star Trek show". The main question that raises for me is "why did they set it in the time period they chose?" I can think of four ways so far in which they have used this particular setting in time:

(1) The Klingon war. I guess that's supposed to be the biggie, the main reason why we have DSC take place 10 years before TOS? The only problem with that for me is that the Klingons don't feel like Klingons. Besides some generic "grrr! warrior's honor!" characterization, these Klingons don't seem like any Klingons we've met before, either in culture, behavior, or (obviously) appearance. (I won't complain too much about their appearance, as that's been done to death by others, but they honestly remind me more of the Turok-Han from Buffy the Vampire Slayer than of either TOS or Motion Picture style Klingons). Speaking of culture... weren't we promised a deeper look into Klingon culture? Perhaps that's still coming, because so far we haven't really seen anything of Klingon culture, except that they are apparently all willing to follow whomever yells loudest.

(As an aside: according to the first episode of "After Trek" apparently T'Kuvma bringing back the teachings of Kahless is what changed the Klingons' mind about the death bodies being empty shells... which doesn't explain why that belief was still present in TNG era Klingons. And speaking of After Trek... I've only seen one or two episodes. Has it improved? I found it a really quite annoying show.)

And apparently Klingons are organised into 24 houses that are all interchangeable unless the story requires us to turn one house into a monoculture (the house that L'Rell came from consisted of deceivers or something). But I digress... whether or not I like how they are portraying the Klingons, it seems to me they have done nothing that could not have been done with a newly invented race set in a different time period.

(2) Harry Mudd. Again, was there any reason to use Mudd in the episodes in which we've seen him? He seemed rather out of character compared to the TOS Mudd and besides the Stella stuff at the end of "Magic ..." I can't think of anything that required that character to be Mudd. He could've been any newly invented character.

(3) The mirror universe. I suppose they needed a pre-DS9 mirror universe, to have a Terran Empire to play with. Unless the MU arc is going to become an integral part of the rest of the series, it seems to be a big commitment to set the whole show in this time period just for the sake of a few MU stories. And they could've always done some timey wimey stuff along the same lines as what made the Defiant show up in the ENT-time MU if they needed post-Nemesis PU characters to end up in pre-TOS MU.

(4) Sarek. This one is similar to Mudd, although I can see a bit more justification here. "Lethe" would have lacked most of its emotional resonance if Sarek had been any random Vulcan instead of Spock's dad, but in all his other appearances so far he could've been "random Vulcan" without changing anything in the plot or characterization. This could change of course if Sarek remains a major supporting character and more is done with him later in the series.

The question then is, do these four points (so far) weigh heavy enough to set the show in this time period and load up on the seemingly inevitable continuity issues that follow from this choice: how come no one has ever heard of the spore drive in later Trek series? how come Starfleet (or at least Kirk) wasn't aware of the MU, despite the fact that Discovery has visited it (and presumably will make its way back to the PU) and the ISS Discovery is roaming the PU? what's up with the Klingons (besides being more in line with the whole Abrams-like visual style of the show)? what's up with the holograms (which seem to be there just to look cool)?

Of course the writers can explain away any and all these continuity issues if they wanted to. Perhaps they will, perhaps they won't, but the question remains if setting the show in this time period was worth inviting in all these issues. Here's my solution (partly tongue-in-cheek, although I wouldn't mind if it actually happened to turn out somewhat like this): at the end of the current MU arc, the Discovery will use the Magic Mushroom Trip Drive (which they name in honour of Charles Tucker III) to get back to their own universe, but something goes wrong and they end up in ... the prime universe. And we discover that what we thought was the PU all this time was actually the Kelvin verse. And then we get normal Klingons in season 2. ;-) (Although it wouldn't explain why the MU Klingons are also of the weird kind.)

Okay, enough continuity nerding. What about DSC as a show in itself? Forget it's Trek, what do we think of it as its own thing? For my part so far the answer to that question is: it's entertaining, and I do appreciate the attempt to do something different (although it's mostly different from a Trek pov, not necessarily from a general TV series pov), but it's nowhere near the level of some other modern shows that I've enjoyed in recent years. The characters just don't become real for me. The emotional connection is missing. As someone earlier in this thread (or possibly in last week's thread) already pointed out: there is almost no character interaction that feels like genuine interaction between people instead of a driver of plot. That's why, at the top of this very long post, I said how much I liked certain aspects of the Saru-Tilly interaction this week. Some of it, despite being related to the plot, felt actually like two people talking at work. I hope Discovery can improve on this front, because then it can become a much better show to me.

I partly blame the running time. Is it my imagination or are DSC episodes significantly shorter than TNG era Trek episodes? Those extra minutes is where you can put in some character interactions. Show people being together for a reason that is not "tech the tech so we can plot the plot" or "I love you so we can plot the plot" or "I'm intentionally vague and mysterious so we do not yet need to plot the plot".

Another contributor to the perceived shallowness of some of the characters is the fact that some characters (mostly Lorca and also Stamets and up until this episode Tyler to some degree) are more presented as "mysteries" than as "characters". Which is a shame. Those things can go hand in hand, but keeping characterizations vague just to preserve mystery is not the way to go about it. That might work for a supporting character, but not for a main character.

The show is still holding my interest for now and for as long as an episode lasts I am entertained, but I notice that afterwards I am not thinking about any meaningful themes or ideas the episode presented, or any emotionally engaging character work, but I am wondering about all the missed opportunities and odd choices that were made. At least the broad strokes of the plot are interesting (even if they're hard to fit into the Trekverse), so I am interested in continuing watching and enjoying the show for what it is so far. But I feel I can be a lot more than it currently is if the production can manage to get the show to a point where it 'clicks'. Just because it took TNG and ENT a few years to get to their high points, doesn't mean this show needs to start off below par. There are plenty of shows out there that come out of the gate swinging.








Hank
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 12:47pm (UTC -6)
@Plain Simple: Regarding the length of the episodes: They are actually longer than TNG. TNG was always 44 minutes, these are sometimes fifty, but I have the same feeling that they seem far shorter. In a strange way, even though most things are frantically filmed and cut, nothing much happens every episode.
Karl Zimmerman
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 1:10pm (UTC -6)
The episodes might not be shorter, but I'm pretty sure they have less dialogue than classic Trek episodes. I can't be certain, because we haven't seen the real scripts yet (just transcripts) meaning the word counts aren't accurate (since a real script has some information about setup of the scene and the like). But I think the average Discovery episode has about a 25% to 33% less spoken dialogue. The ratio is worse when you realize how much of the script is actually monologue rather than dialogue.

As I said, there is nothing "snappy" about how dialogue is scripted in this show. No one ever talks over anyone else. With the exception of Mudd, I don't think anyone has talked in an excited/fast pace. Instead there's a lot of drawn out sentences, and "emoting" involving looking into the middle distance.

In general, I have felt for awhile that they are using rules developed for movies (particularly action movies) for a TV format, which is what is hurting characterization. For example, one reason so many movies fail the "Bechdel Test" is Hollywood screenwriters are not supposed to include scenes with secondary characters talking about something other than the protagonist. The writing room for this show seems to have taken this to heart, with nearly every "inconsequential" dialogue snipped out. When you're trying to do a 90-minute film this is understandable, but long-form serialized TV means you do not have to stick to these conventions.
Andy
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 1:19pm (UTC -6)
@Plain and Simple,

Good point about Hoshi vs Georgiou. I was a little annoyed by those comments myself - a classic example of the soft racism that minorities have to deal with on a daily basis today on Planet Earth. Not only that, DSC gave Yeoh's character a Romanian (or Greek?) last name, probably as a subtle hint that mixed marriages are pretty common in that era and race/ethnicity are irrelevant, at least within humans.

Koreans and Malaysian Chinese are about as different ethnically and culturally as Russians are from Spaniards. Being from the same continent is the only thing both groups have in common. Nobody would ever imply that Manuel Hernandez and Vladimir Pushtikov are related, so why do it for Asians? I know that nobody meant harm with the Sato/Georgiou insinuations but please think carefully about what you write next time.
Shannon
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 1:25pm (UTC -6)
For those of you who are not liking the show but seem to be open-minded, give it some time. I remember when TNG first came out (I was 16), and there were many naysayers as well. Now mind you, there was no Internet, but I would pick up the sci-fi mags at my local book store and read the reviews, many of which were negative. They were upset because there was no Spock, Picard was too old and way too cautious, Riker was too much like Al Gore with a stick rammed up his ass (well, I kinda agreed with that one... he got better though!), Troi was Miss Butt-in-ski, the android was stupid, and Wesley needed thrown out an airlock (yeah, agreed with that one, and he NEVER got better). It didn't help that the writing was more often than not utterly atrocious. Remember Code of Honor, Justice, Angel One, Haven ("oh, you're the one who wants to be a starship captain"... ugh, made me puke), When the Bough Breaks, and Skin of Evil ("you have my pity"... ugh, if I were Armus I would have killed her right then and there)? Horrible writing to say the least. But there were bright spots here and there: The Last Outpost, The Battle, 11001001, and Heart of Glory... I'm the first to admit that Discovery got off to a shaky start, but they are finding their footing and telling better stories, all within a main story arc. These last 3 episodes have been solid... Try re-watching them together one night.
LJ
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 1:34pm (UTC -6)
@Manolo

"I also forgot to mention how easy it was to find out Tyler's identity, as he doesn't have mirror counterpart. Or let Sarek mind meld him to know why he attacked the albino Gorn, well..., 'Klingon'."

They might still present a MU Tyler, one that's still alive and whose personality wasn't "stolen" and then grafted onto Voq's consciousness.
Because at least to me, it's clear that once upon a time there was a real Starfleet officer named Tyler, who was killed (probably at the Battle of the Binary Stars) and then the Klingons took his death as an opportunity to sieve through his memories and thoughts (with the "mind siever", introduced and only used in the TOS episode "Errand of Mercy") and then implant his thoughts into fake Tyler, after altering Voq to make him look like Tyler. Hence why Tyler has a backstory that Lorca and Culber both check in order to make sure he's not a spy.
So maybe we'll still see a MU Tyler, one who hasn't died.
Yanks
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 1:37pm (UTC -6)
@LJ
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 6:32pm (UTC -6)

"Tilly's line about "fungi being the only organism with the biological aptitude to link death with life", as ridiculous as it may seem, it actually is real science and it's a concept taken from real-life American mycologist Paul Stamets' book "Mycelium Running". Paul Stamets, the real-life mycologist, was the one who inspired the creation of DSC's Paul Stamets. Actually, the whole "spore drive" concept is based on this mycologist's work, so for those tho are saying it's too fake-science a concept, compared to old-school Trek technobabble, well, it's not. "

Thank you LJ!!

Jammer, this should be on the Discovery main page. I tire of hearing "spore science" bashing... especially when it's unjustified. There's more "real science' referenced in discovery than any other series.



Kuebel
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 1:41pm (UTC -6)
Some seemed to have missed that Tyler/Voq wanted to die ("She should have let me die").
I guess he is still torn between both sides and can't live with it, so he attacked, first MU-Voq and then Bernham, to be killed.
LJ
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 1:45pm (UTC -6)
@Hank

Really good points too!

@Todd

I don't think they would go to the trouble of changing the Klingon design (and pissing off a good part of their audience) just to serve a plot that would only last less than a season, or at least I *hope* that wasn't the case.
The design change wouldn't particularly bother me if the new Klingons still had hair. As it is though, I just can't see it fitting with the established continuity, unless we just pretend that the Klingons always looked like that, which sort of ruins the previous shows' attempts to explain the difference between the TOS Klingons and the TNG Klingons.
And even if the new design is inspired by the Kevin-verse Klingons, it still is radically different, since those still have hair and "normal" noses.
Shannon
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 1:46pm (UTC -6)
@Yanks... Great point! I don't understand all the criticism of the spore drive as being fake science. No one ever had an issue with the transporter, which is probably the least plausible technology in all of Star Trek.
Chrome
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 2:05pm (UTC -6)
I'd say the holodeck wins the Christopher Pike Gold Medal of Fake Science because it incorporates both matter transporters and replicators. But the holodeck is a pretty damn cool Sc-Fi conceit, so everyone lets it slide.
Peter G.
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 2:34pm (UTC -6)
@ Plain Simple,

"Don't enter the palace! Our princess is in another castle."

Wait, is this an actual quote? And you're right, at the end of this episode he appears in a Mushroom Kingdom. Are the writers seriously making a Super Mario Brothers reference here? Oh man, Star Trek has been reduced to a pop culture pun.
LJ
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 2:38pm (UTC -6)
"Christopher Pike Gold Medal of Fake Science" LOLOLOLOL.
In all seriousness though, practically every technological element of Trek falls apart if we analyse it too closely.
Warp drive needs subspace and dilithium crystals to work, both things which don't exist, not to mention that we would have to discover a way to generate enormous quantities of antimatter, which has already been proved to be quite difficult; for effect of comparison if we got all of the antimatter generated by the CERN large hadron collider, since it was first turned on, it wouldn't be enough to keep a light bulb on for more than a few minutes.
Then there is the transporter, which completely ignored the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, a principle that just can't be ignored. Not to mention that thing about having to get killed everytime you beam up or down. We would have to discover a way to counter off the Heisenberg uncertainty principle and then a force field technology to envelop all of our atoms and send them to be materialised somewhere else. This is way beyond our understanding.
LJ
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 2:45pm (UTC -6)
@Peter G.

No, it isn't t an actual quote. Stamets only warns about not entering the palace, which can be the emperor palace, seeing that all the other things he's said turned out to be quite literal, i.e., "the enemy" is Tyler, who is actually a Klingon, therefore an enemy and "the forest being dark but I can see him" being literal too, since whatever plane he is in, it resembles a dark forest and he can see his MU version there.
Hank
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 2:46pm (UTC -6)
Hm, okay, to make a drastic comparison: A Mushroom spanning the Multiverse is about as scientific a theory as trying to propell a spaceship at superluminal speeds by concentrated elephant farts. Yes, Mushrooms grow networks of enormous sizes - compared to our sense of distance, and yes, elephant farts burn when you light them, and are hot, according to our sense of heat, but like a kilometer is an unimaginable tiny fraction of a lightyear, not to speak of the entirety of the known (and unknown universe), a lit elephant fart is not comparable with the center of the sun or the accretion disc of a black hole.

A transporter is highly unrealistic because it would need enormous amounts of energy and computing power, and some new physics yet to be discovered. But you can always handwave in new physics, more energy and more computing power. You can not magically handwave an elephant fart that burns hot enough to propell a ship at lightspeed - at least not in a way that is in any way believable enough to make for a compelling SciFi-concept. A replicator may never be possible - but the basic principle, the matter-energy equivalence, is firmly grounded reality. Thats the genious of the Heisenberg-Compensators: Nobody knows how they work, but what they do: They compensate uncertainty. Can that work? No! But the Spore Drive tells you exactly how it works: You take some spores, let somebody inhale them, strap that somebody on a chair and then you teleport to another location on a mushroom spanning all the multiverse - with no energy consumption, nonetheless! You just have to replace the spores from time to time...
Pandapirate
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 2:48pm (UTC -6)
a summary I found on google for the book Mycelium Running

This book is a manual for the mycological rescue of the planet. Setting the stage for the mycorestoration revolution, Mycelium Running unveils new methods for growing mushrooms, generating mycelium, and implanting mushroom colonies into the environment. Capitalizing on the digestive power of mycelium, this pioneering book shows how to strengthen sustainability of habitats while providing a multitude of biological benefits. Based upon the premise that habitats and humans (animals) have immune systems, and that mushrooms are the beneficial bridges for both, Mycelium Running marks the dawn of a new era: the use of mycelial membranes for ecological health. Linking mushroom cultivation, permaculture, ecoforestry, bioremediation and soil enhancement, Stamets makes the case that mushroom farms can be reinvented as healing arts centers, steering ecological evolution for the benefit of humans living in harmony with its inhabitants. Four components of mycorestoration are described in detail:
•Mycofiltration: the filtration of biological and chemical pathogens as well as controlling erosion
•Mycoforestry and mycogardening: the use of mycelium for companion cultivation for the benefit and protection of plants.
•Mycoremediation: the use of mycelium for decomposing toxic wastes and pollutants.
•Mycopesticides: the use of mycelium for attracting and controlling insect populations.

The newly updated version contains more pages, more full-color photos, and new information on a wide variety of mycological topics, including:
•Prototaxites, a giant fungus dotting the landscapes of Earth and was the tallest organism on land 420 million years ago
•The role of oxalic acid and calcium oxalates in sequestering carbon dioxide and building the carbon bank
•Psathyrella aquatica nom. prov., the first underwater mushroom
•Gamma radiation fueling the metabolism of fungi analogous to light energizing plants
•New information on antimicrobial properties of mushrooms


How does this relate to the spore drive?







WTBA
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 2:54pm (UTC -6)
@Kuebel Tyler/Voq said "she should have let me die" because it would have been an honorable death (versus being imprisoned).

A bit about the episode and the show as a whole:

I thought the episode was great (as was Despite Yourself). I was on the edge of my seat for most of it (save for the beginning monologue and Tyler/Burnham scene).

I enjoyed Tilly trying to science Stamets back to reality. Her trying to do so was no crazier than every time any main cast member on any Trek risked their life or others on some crazy scheme to solve the problem of the week. So she is a cadet? So what? She is obviously trained in science and understood the spores better than most. There probably should have been medical staff on hand, but Saru letting her try was not an issue for me.

I never thought Burnham/Ash had much chemistry, so I don't care that that relationship is over. I thought SMG played the betrayal well and Latif was masterful as Voq began to break through. When he went into Klingon mode, I had goosebumps!

I think most people are too harsh on Burnham. Aside from the mutiny (a mark on her record for sure), she hasn't really done anything particularly immoral (and the state of the mutiny is debatable to a degree - probably more arrogant or misguided than immoral). Her killing Connor in the MU was pure self-defense, so critics that point to that didn't seem to pay proper attention to that scene or its context.

Lorca seems to be the biggest (Tyler/Voq murder aside) problem morally. I am not sure whether his win-at-all-costs is purely because he lost the Buran or whether he in part lost it because of that attitude in the first place (he did say he destroyed it to spare his crew - ?!). I am not on the Lorca is really a MU guy train, and I don't really want that to be the case. It would ruin his development, unless they pull it off in a heretofore unseen way. I like his redemption arc, and I think that there is more to the Buran story we haven't learned yet.

Overall stuff:

I love this show. I look forward to it more than most of the shows I watch. I really do not understand most of the criticism from people here and on other Trek boards.

I am not here to tell others to enjoy the show. Everyone likes different things. For those with continuity (mostly visual) or serialization/theme issues or other gripes, I am sorry the show isn't what you wanted or thought it would/could/should be.

I enjoy the serial nature (my favorite Trek is DS9, though I like most of Trek), and it has been great to see what Trek can be in that format.

I don't find the writing/dialogue to be poor (especially after the first couple episodes, which were the weakest in that regard). I like the characters just fine. Some more than others, but I don't dislike anyone.

I find it sort of humorous that some of the same people who cry foul that the so-called twists are too "shocking" also claim that the same twists are "predictable." Can you be shocked by predictable things? Can I be shocked the sun came up today? I guess if you think the writers think they are being shocking, then they might fall short...

The Ash/Voq reveal was very well done, but unfortunately, it was discussed so heavily here and other Trek places, it was never going to be what they hoped. It was hindered by Latif being first announced as playing a Klingon, which they retracted. The fictional actor listed as playing Voq also hurt things. I also think the weekly release format leaves too much time in this current internet/social media culture to really lay groundwork for longer plots/reveals. Everyone is discussing theories to death.

If DSC had been released all at once, I would have binged it in a couple of days and only read boards after I was done. I would have likely never entertained the notion that Voq was Ash, because I would never have dug into IMDB or fan theories. I wouldn't have had enough time to think about who the Emperor might be or whether characters might be MU from the start or anything else.

I have loved waiting for each new episode, but my thirst for reading about the episodes and what people are saying has probably made the experience less good (or as least very different).

We will never know, I guess. I suppose the cynical answer to why it is weekly is so CBSAA can keep folks on the hook longer. For shows like House of Cards, I usually only get Netflix for the month it comes out, binge it and then cancel. I would have done the same with CBSAA, and I will most certainly drop it after the DSC season ends.
Henson
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 2:58pm (UTC -6)
@Plain Simple @Andy

I think I disagree with your objections regarding the Hoshi/Georgiou connection. Two characters, both empresses of the same organization, both of Asian descent, within 100 years of each other. Given the hereditary nature of many of the ruling bodies of our own universe, is it really so bad to hopefully speculate as to a connection between these two entries in the Star Trek franchise? True, the cutthroat nature of the mirror universe might put a damper on the probabilities, but then again, there is a novel Sorrows of the Empire which does make a case for a long-lasting dynasty. The point is, the possibility is much better than just random chance.

I think it's worth making a counterpoint: both Hoshi Sato and Hikaru Sulu are Asian characters in Star Trek, they even both have Japanese names. Yet practically no one that I'm aware of proposes a family relation between them. And rightfully so: there is no reason to presuppose a link between crew officers on starships.
Hank
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 2:58pm (UTC -6)
@Pandapirate: It relates to the spore drive in the same way that quantum physics relates to Deepak Chopras theories about conciousness: Not in the slightest. They just use the same words, without understanding what they mean.
LJ
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 3:14pm (UTC -6)
@Hank

"You take some spores, let somebody inhale them, strap that somebody on a chair and then you teleport to another location on a mushroom spanning all the multiverse - with no energy consumption, nonetheless!"

Well, technically it's not any person, but rather a guy who had space tardigrade injected into him. ;p
But yeah, I see your point and I hadn't thought about this through that angle. But I still think that most of the Treknology that we see is fake beyond the most basic scientific concept, hence why I don't mind the spore drive at all. Add the quantum physics to it (to explain away the instant and energy consumption-free transport of the ship) and I'm as okay with it as I am with the holodeck or the transporter.

@Pandapirate

The thing that relates to the spore drive is the spores' capabilities of forming really large mycelium networks (which in the show is expanded unreasonably into a cosmic dimension). Also, I believe the thing about spores being capable to basically regenerate life will come into play if they decided to revive Dr. Culber.
LJ
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 3:23pm (UTC -6)
@WTBA

I agree with you that DSC would benefit more if all of its episodes had been released at once, à la Stranger Things. Imo, although I mostly like the show's writing, I do think the producers are bad at keeping secrets, hence why the majority of the audience sees their "shocking revelations" coming from a mile away.
Also I wish they would invest more in character development in the second season, which imo is their forte, and avoid the "shocking revelations and deaths" aspect of it, once this is no Game of Thrones and after a while these revelations and gratuitous deaths grow old, as they did in The Walking Dead.
KT
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 4:30pm (UTC -6)
@Shannon
There is a huge difference between science fiction like the transporter, and nonsense like the spore drive. Transporters are based on real physics (coupled with fictional tech e.g Heisenberg compensaters) so it doesn't invoke disbelief. Spore drive, on the other hand, and the idea of biology as quantum physics is nonsense: the idea of spores as the building blocks of energy is nonsense. DSC writers took the biology based work of the real Paul Stamets and turned it into pseudo-phsyics nonsense before basing their spore drive tech on it. Biology cannot be the building blocks of quantum physics, any more than literature can be the building blocks of language. Credible science fiction is based on science and not pseudo-science nonsense.
LJ
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 5:08pm (UTC -6)
@KT

At no point the series implies that "biology is the building blocks of quantum physics", lol. It just says that, "at the quantum level, physics and biology are the same", i.e., at the quantum level we're all made of the same materials, the only difference being how these materials interact with one another. This is not pseudo-science, it's science.

And the fictional tech that makes up the rest of the spore drive concept isn't any more fictional than Heisenberg compensators or subspace or force fields.

It's a *fictional* show, people, stop wanting everything to be explained away with minute details, especially when these minute details are all made up with fictional and unrealistic tech. lol
LJ
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 5:10pm (UTC -6)
And by the way, if you want a "credible science fiction" show, Star Trek ain't for you, since it never was hard sci-fi. Go watch The Expanse. ;)
Plain Simple
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 5:21pm (UTC -6)
@Peter G.

Haha, no that wasn't an actual quote. Sorry for being misleading. Stamets' talk of palaces coupled with his trip to the Mushroom Kingdom just made me think of the "princess" line.

@the people who mentioned that the new Klingon look was chosen to hide the Voq actor's identity.

Do you have a source for that or is that just your guess?

By the way, I do find it somewhat ironic that T'kuvma and Voq are so concerned with "staying Klingon" while they seem to be doing nothing of the sort in a wider Trek context.

@Henson

I think you are missing the point. Do you think if a non-Asian actor had played the Emperor, people would be suggesting they would be a descendant from Hoshi? Why not? Why would a Chinese Malaysian be more likely to be a descendant (only a few generations apart) from a Korean (or Japanese, if that is what Hoshi was supposed to be) than, say, a Russian or an Australian?

@the spore drive discussion

I sorta kinda appreciate what the writers were going for. Where the 20th century is often called the century of physics, with major breakthroughs like relativity theory and quantum mechanics, the 21st century is described (possibly prematurely, although understandably) as the century of biology. So I think the writers might have wanted to tie 21st century Treknology into that idea. But the way they've gone about it is about as good as Trek always was with biology: horrible, mostly (...all the nonsense Trek has done with DNA over the years...).

One difference between warp drive or transporters on the one hand and the spore drive on the other, is that the former, while not (currently) possible, at least present a mechanism for doing what they're supposed to be doing. If tomorrow we wake up to a world where warp drive is invented, then I understand why that would allow us to travel over large distances. If tomorrow, however, we wake up and find out that a giant mushroom spans all of the universe, I still don't have any idea how that would allow us to travel instantaneously to other planets.

@speculators

Oh, we need speculation, right? Here goes. Lorca is actually MU Lorca who ended up in the other universe, destroyed his counterpart ship and all, and sought out Burnham because she has shown to stand up to Georgiou (who is in Lorca's way in the MU). If Lorca survives, I assume MU Lorca somehow gets assimilated into the Discovery crew for real for season 2, although it gets hard to imagine how the MU can be kept a secret the more and the more sustained interactions there are between the universes or characters from the different universes.

@WTBA

I don't think people find the reveals both shocking *and* predictable. I think most appearances of the word shocking have appeared in quotation marks, in most cases probably indicating its use to be sarcastic.
Hank
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 5:31pm (UTC -6)
@Plain Simple: That the Klingons shout "Stay Klingon!" all day, while being completely non-Klingon, is best explained as a cheap jab at Trump-Supporters (who the new Klingons are supposed to be), because Trump supporters are totally unamerican (in the eyes of the writers), but boast the most about being American. At least thats my possible explanation.

The thing about the Klingons looking like they do because the plot twist requires it is just a guess, as far as I know.
Hank
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 5:32pm (UTC -6)
Dammit, forgot to add: I think most people find the plot twist shockingly predictable or predictably shocking.
KT
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 6:14pm (UTC -6)
Hello @LJ, i dont think Stamets was saying what you think he was saying... this is the conversation I was referring to (from ep3)

Burnham: in what is our problem based? Biology or Physics?
Stamets: are you so naive as to think there is a difference? At the quantum level there is no difference between biology and physics, no difference at all.

Stamets then goes on to say:
What are spores? They are the progenitors of panspermia, they are the building blocks of energy across the universe. You ask "physics or biology"? No. Physics as biology.

The science fact is that spores are not the progenitors of energy or life or anything profound.

But as long as the magic mushroom drive is never mentioned in any future, post-22rd century trek outing I can live with it I guess.
KT
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 6:16pm (UTC -6)
@LJ, thanks for the expanse tip, I'll check it out :D
Henson
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 6:47pm (UTC -6)
@Plain Simple

"Why would a Chinese Malaysian be more likely to be a descendant (only a few generations apart) from a Korean (or Japanese, if that is what Hoshi was supposed to be) than, say, a Russian or an Australian?"

I think you're getting too hung up on nationalities. Acting and casting are largely about looks. Michelle Yeoh may be Chinese Malaysian; but to an audience, she isn't limited to that nationality. The relevant quality is the visible race of the actor.

Now, yes, it's entirely possible that Georgiou is half-Caucasian or one-quarter American Indian, or all sorts of possibilities, so it's certainly not unlikely that Hoshi's descendants don't look Asian at all, and it's certainly not unlikely that Georgiou would get her Asian looks from many other ancestors. But storytelling takes shortcuts all the time, and the audience accepts shortcuts and conveniences for the sake of storytelling (we accept, for instance, a mirror universe that just so happens to have mirror versions of all the crew, despite the vast improbability). So, an audience, knowing that families carry resemblances, will take that shortcut of visible race as a possible indicator of familial relation.

And of course, once that possibility has presented itself, the fans will want to make those connections. It's fun to try to find how everything links together!

The real question we should be asking, I think, is this: if a non-Asian actor had played the role that Hoshi did as head of the empire, and a non-Asian actor had played the role that Georgiou takes as head of the empire, would people still try to make connections between those two characters? Or perhaps, this: if all the Star Trek series had been made in China with largely Chinese actors, would audiences try to link those same two non-Asian actors in the previous question? And would any of this be objectionable?
LJ
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 7:15pm (UTC -6)
@KT

Oh yeah, now I get what you said. Yeah, that part isn't scientific, but oh well, I don't mind that, tbh. And do watch The Expanse, it's great!

Regarding the Discovery Klingons, in my opinion, when put side by side with other Klingons Trek has presented, they may seem the least Klingon of all, but I don't think that's a jab at Trump supporters (which is something I wouldn't exactly be against if it was, once the orange clown in chief is a freaking racist), but rather the plot having them being a religious cult of sorts, something we hadn't seen among Klingons before.
In other words, they deliberately made these Klingons different, to subvert that Star Trek notion that basically dictates that when you've met one representative of an alien species (e.g., Worf), you've met all the members of that alien species, because they all look and act the same. That's something Trek has done with almost every alien species it has presented. We don't get to see diversity among an alien race.
And there's also the real world reason of charging actors with the difficult job of acting while speaking Klingon *and* using all that ridiculous amount of prosthetic to top it off. Those prosthetic pieces clearly limit the actors' movements and makes it hard for them to speak properly.

@Plain Simple

The new Klingon look being chosen just to hide the Voq actor's identity is only our guess. Nothing has been officially said by the producers on that matter. In my opinion, like I stated above, they deliberately changed the Klingon's visual in order to present a different set of Klingons.
Ed
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 7:35pm (UTC -6)
I love the show 's crazy fungal space travel thing. It's like something out of Philip K Dick.
Chrome
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 7:41pm (UTC -6)
@Henson & Plain Simple

Unfortunately, Trek’s already gone off the deep end when it comes to Asian casting, as I mentioned in an ENT review of “In the Mirror, Darkly” the other day. Koreans and Chinese play Japanese characters just because the writers like Japanese culture but can’t find appropriate Japanese actors.

That said, I sympathize with Plain Simple and Andy’s concern and I hope at least Discovery doesn’t flat out say Georgiou and Sato are related. It’s an obscure ENT reference that doesn’t add much to DSC anyway, so they should just leave it up to the fans whether they want to link the two or not.
LJ
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 7:44pm (UTC -6)
@Plain Simple

"One difference between warp drive or transporters on the one hand and the spore drive on the other, is that the former, while not (currently) possible, at least present a mechanism for doing what they're supposed to be doing."

Not exactly, since warp drive, as presented in Trek, relies entirely on the existence of subspace, which is an invented concept with no bases at all in real science.

As the article on the site Ex Astris Scientia about warp drive says, "Subspace as shown in Star Trek does not exist in present-day physics as a reality or only a theory. It is a concept of storytelling. Subspace is necessary because FTL travel is impossible within the boundaries of special relativity as outlined in Chapter 1.2." In other words, subspace is a made-up "sub dimension" of normal space, where the physical rules that prohibit FTL do not apply. So yeah, if we ever get warp drive in real life, it won't be Trek warp drive, because that is entirely fictional.

The closest thing to warp drive we have in real life is the Miguel Alcubierre's drive, which, although theorised by a Trekkie who also happens to be a theoretical physicist, is a radically different concept and doesn't even involve matter-antimatter reaction to begin with. And is also a concept that relies on the equally theoretical existence of something called negative mass, which scientist are not even sure if it exists or not, rendering all of Alcubierre's theory false if it turns out that it doesn't really exist.
KT
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 8:05pm (UTC -6)
LJ,

Warp drive in Star Trek works by annihilating matter (in the form of deuterium, a kind of hydrogen gas) and antimatter in a fusion reaction mediated by dilithium crystals. This produces the enormous power required to warp space-time and drive the ship faster than light. This doesn't require subspace.
LJ
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 8:49pm (UTC -6)
@KT

Actually no, it does require subspace. From Memory Alpha: "Warp drive was a technology that allowed space travel at faster-than-light speeds. It worked by generating warp fields to form a *subspace bubble* that enveloped the starship, distorting the local spacetime continuum and moving the starship at velocities that could greatly exceed the speed of light."

From Ex Astris Scientia's excellent article on the Physics and Technology of Warp Propulsion: "Star Trek is certainly no 'hard SF', still it ranks among the science fiction franchises with the most elaborated science and technology. Yet, the well-known warp drive is rather a visualisation of FTL travel for TV than a real physical or even technological concept. And although Star Trek's warp drive frequently serves to illustrate hypothetical concepts of FTL propulsion in popular media, those hypotheses usually have nothing in common with the idea of enveloping a starship in a mass-lowering and propulsive warp field."

In other words, as both these fan-sites state, warp drive, as seen in Star Trek, does depend on the existence of subspace, which is a fictional concept.
Jason R.
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 8:50pm (UTC -6)
A Mirror Darkly was great fun and Hoshi being empress at the end was a great gag ending but that's all it was: a joke. It was basically a Simpsons Halloween episode. To connect Georgiou to Hoshi is the height of absurdity - not what grimdark Discovery was going for.
LJ
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 9:02pm (UTC -6)
"A Mirror Darkly was great fun and Hoshi being empress at the end was a great gag ending but that's all it was: a joke. It was basically a Simpsons Halloween episode. To connect Georgiou to Hoshi is the height of absurdity - not what grimdark Discovery was going for."

Exactly. The MU in Discovery seems to exist to inform the overall story they're making and is presented in a serious light, not as a one-off joke where everyone can play their "evil" counterparts and have a laugh about the ridiculousness of it all.
John
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 9:04pm (UTC -6)
Of course subspace is a fictional concept, but that doesn't necessarily mean much. Space itself is a pre-scientific concept which cannot be proved, yet we rely on it for methods of automation we use today. So statements like "subspace is only a theory" is meaningless without warp drive, and will be equally meaningless should warp drive ever be invented.
LJ
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 9:19pm (UTC -6)
"Space itself is a pre-scientific concept which cannot be proved." What?

I'm not saying that warp drive is a scientific impossibility that will never be discovered. I'm just saying that warp drive *as depicted in Star Trek* cannot be discovered in real life because the concept *as depicted in Star Trek* depends on the existence of subspace, which doesn't exist in real life.

We might someday discover warp drive in real life, but it won't resemble Trek's warp drive, not even be similar to it.
John
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 9:34pm (UTC -6)
You're not wrong. And yet, the invention of engines propelling cars and planes did not require proof of the existence of space, a concept which can therefore also not be said to exist "in real life".
Heraclitus
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 10:53pm (UTC -6)
I can't believe on a sci-fi forum people are saying warp drive is impossible because according to Einstein nothing can go faster than light. Einstein was wrong about a lot of things and, as physics evolves constantly, it is likely the nature of time will be found to be something entirely different to what we thought it was - if not abolished as a physical concept encompassing a fourth dimension. There are physicists and philosophers taking seriously this idea - see Balbour's essay:
http://www.platonia.com/nature_of_time_essay.pdf

Ideas like spore drives and mycelial networks are why sci-fi is appealing, and in my opinion Star Trek does not take its ideas nearly far enough.
Booming
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 11:26pm (UTC -6)
LJ is just saying that subspace doesn't even exist as a theoretical concept (which is another way of saying it is made up) and that the whole concept of Deuterium somehow reacting with antimatter mediated (whatever that means) by a made up crystal is as scientific as some spore drive.
I guess people find it easier to accept the warp drive in star trek because there is an engine room with a reaction chamber and so on which looks like something on a real ship but in reality both concepts are complete fiction.
Peter G.
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 12:05am (UTC -6)
@ LJ,

It's easy to confuse which parts of Trek of totally made-up and which are closer to being theoretically possible, and which are in the hazy middle which 'could' exist but we have no reason to expect for now. TOS, TNG and the rest have each had their share of each, but I think it's lazy to lump everything together and just surmise that Trek 'science' has always been nonsense. I firmly do not believe that to be the case. But there are exceptions: the transporter is a blatantly made-up idea whose original purpose was just to avoid using models for landing; it was a budget issue in TOS. Based on what we know today that tech should be impossible, hence the 'Heisenberg Compensators.' Naturally that became the signature tech of the series, but there are many other aspects of it that make far more sense. We had a discussion about this recently in another thread and I don't want to rehash all of it, but suffice to say that the warp drive idea contains a mix of the possible, the probably, and the very unlikely. Matter/antimatter as a power source is highly probable for future use; note that the matter/antimatter energy has nothing to do with warp drive, it's just the power source for the ship. Using crystals to channel charged particle? Theoretically possible, and highly likely in some way, shape, or form. Other options include containment fields (which the Enterprise also uses), or some other non-reactive chamber. Of course the benefit of the crystals is the lattice structure, which perhaps we'll be able to re-create in novel ways, so that while we may not use crystals per se it might end up being some artificial structure that uses the molecular arrangement to channel particles, but that's close enough to count for me.

Then you have the 'warp bubble', which heck if I know what it really does. So that's not something I can address.

But getting to subspace, which does seem necessarily as a premise in Trek, it's not without theoretical backing. Previous to Einstein physicists regularly referred to the "ether" as being the medium through which EM waves traveled, as they surmised (perhaps correctly) that all waves require a medium. By the 30's it had been concluded that whether or not there's an ether normal mechanics measurements could be made even while ignoring it, so it was deemed superfluous as a concept, which *isn't the same* as stating that there is no ether (which there may be). In fact I think there is one, but that's no matter. The point is that if 'space' was in fact not empty space but rather a substance of some kind, then of course a corollary of that would be that this substance must exist against some backdrop, i.e. that there must be some kind of reality behind the ether; some structure, or even just a rule-set. We could easily enough just call that something 'subspace'. Why not? All we'd need to do is to suppose that the light speed limit is determined by the ether, and that in order to bypass it we'd need to bushwhack through the ether or part it like the Red Sea or something. If it really is a 'something' then surely it can be manipulated. So no, I would definitely say that subspace is a safe sci-fi concept insofar as it certainly could exist, and there's certainly no reason to suppose that it doesn't, provided there really is an ether. And if there is no ether, I might add, it would be most curious that bozons such as photons would all obey some strange principle causing their speed to always be fixed, neither faster nor slower. The most likely candidate as far as I can tell to govern their uniformity ought to be some principle about how their propagate, which surely must be related to that in which they propagate.

But enough about fun theorizing, the main point some are trying to make isn't that there are prominent theories out there hypothesizing the existence of subspace; of course there aren't. But it's one thing to imagine something that surely could exist and in fact would make total sense if it did, and quite another to suppose a sci-fi concept that beggars belief and actually sounds ridiculous. I do believe the argument being made is that the spore network is neither likely, nor suggested by any conceivable reasoning, nor would it even make sense to us to suppose that such a thing exists, and it certainly doesn't make any sense to suppose that spores are some kind of basic building block of reality. It's not just far-fetched, it's simply ridiculous. Could there be strange life out there? Sure. But supposing that the universe is tied together by spores is roughly on par with belief in the Force from Star Wars; in fact it's so close that it borders on copyright infringement. But I really do think that this concept is much closer to a fantasy premise than sci-fi. Most sci-fi isn't supposed to be 'real science' anyhow, but it's quite another thing to introduce what is basically magic and call it science. Frankly I think that's not only sloppy, but gives people a very bad impression of *what kinds* of concepts can be called scientific.
Andy
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 2:41am (UTC -6)
@Henson,

"I think you're getting too hung up on nationalities. Acting and casting are largely about looks. Michelle Yeoh may be Chinese Malaysian; but to an audience, she isn't limited to that nationality. The relevant quality is the visible race of the actor."

Um, you don't get it. To your eyes they may look similar or the "same race" (whatever that is supposed to mean) but they are not related at all, nor do they look related in any way. It's pretty obvious that they are of different ethnicities. That is why I brought up the analogy of Russians vs Spaniards. Would you think an average Russian and average Spaniard look the same to an audience? Would you think they must be related because they're both Caucasian and look similar?
Latex Zebra
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 3:01am (UTC -6)
Continues to be entertaining and engaging.

I sometimes feel that people forget that TV can be about switching off and going with the flow rather than switching on an analyzing the **** out of every minute detail...


wolfstar
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 4:49am (UTC -6)
Round of applause for Peter for that science post, which hits the nail on the head.

And I'm with Pandapirate. The Mycelium Running book seems reasonably scientific and is about novel, plausible ecological uses of fungi on Earth, in our ecosystems. It's about real biology. It has absolutely nothing to do with space or instant teleportation. Far from being an extrapolation of real science the way Trek tech used to be, the spore drive is a misuse of ideas based on an unscientific misreading of a book.
Anonymius
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 5:18am (UTC -6)
@ peter G His second action is almost as ridiculous, which is to attack the Captain on a ship where once she's dead he'll be killed right after so that the XO can become Captain.

@ED I agree about him trying to kill her back on the ship.

I thought according to Terran rules it's the person who kills the captain who becomes the captain, you know, like the pirates in Archer.
Ed
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 7:21am (UTC -6)
@Anonymius

I think it's more complicated than "anyone who kills the captain" which would allow for radically unqualified people to control the ship. It probably follows the chain of command with possible exceptions for talented lower level officer with support of crew.

Ash was presented as Michael's bodyguard and tried to kill her. Who would trust him?
Booming
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 7:29am (UTC -6)
I must say people discussing the merits of one made up system over another or accepting arguments that are made up as valid is kind of interesting. And the willingness to write endless columns about it.
It is also curious that the people who complain about this new show being too dark, mean and illogical argue in a way that deserves to be described with the same adjectives.
I really recommend watching "USS Callister" from Black Mirror if you want to better understand the hate and bile in this comment section. I feel a lot of entitlement here and hurt feelings. It is a little sad.

Henson
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 8:54am (UTC -6)
@Andy

"Would you think they must be related because they're both Caucasian and look similar?"

No one is suggesting that Hoshi and Georgiou MUST be related. It's simply a possibility based on both being Empress, one that some fans have latched onto because they like making connections.

"Would you think an average Russian and average Spaniard look the same to an audience?"

Well, I'm afraid I don't know what an average Russian looks like, any more than an average Pole or German or Frenchman. Or Laotian or Cambodian. And yes, a western audience, like myself, probably isn't so good at distinguishing visually between a Korean and a Chinese Malaysian. Is this a bad thing? Would you prefer a state of affairs where John Cho is told he can't play Sulu because he isn't Japanese? I would think actors would be thrilled that their roles aren't limited by nationality.

And given how Star Trek has not always been picky about nationalities, with both Hoshi and Kelvin-verse Sulu, I don't think audiences are in the wrong for thinking that Georgiou and Hoshi could be related.

""same race" (whatever that is supposed to mean)"

Merriam Webster: "a category of humankind that shares certain distinctive physical traits" . I might add the word 'cross-continental' myself, for its most common understanding.
Plain Simple
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 9:58am (UTC -6)
@Hank

I didn't make any connection between the Klingons and Trump supporters, although I suppose it is a good sign if a fictional work is applicable to different real life situations for different people.


@Henson: "The real question we should be asking, I think, is this: if a non-Asian actor had played the role that Hoshi did as head of the empire, and a non-Asian actor had played the role that Georgiou takes as head of the empire, would people still try to make connections between those two characters?"

Excellent question. That's a difficult one to answer, as I cannot think of any similar situation within Trek where we have seen a (potentially) heriditary position being revisited in different series with different people filling those roles. Anyone?

My suspicion however is that the answer would be no, because of a mix of a very real and existent `soft racism' (as Andy called it above) or orientalism and the fact that the only in-cannon knowledge we have of the way the Terran Empire works is that new emperors come into power by overthrowing the previous emperor, just like any other position of authority in the empire seems to be 'handed down' the generations.

@Henson: "Or perhaps, this: if all the Star Trek series had been made in China with largely Chinese actors, would audiences try to link those same two non-Asian actors in the previous question?"

This is, in my mind, a somewhat less excellent question, since it presupposes some historical balance in the power relations between Eastern and Western cultures. Perhaps a more relevant question would be "if western cultures had endured many centuries of colonialism and other forms of explicitly or implicitly unbalanced power relations at the hands of eastern cultures, with all the (hard and soft) racism that comes along with those and all the Star Trek series had been made in China with largely Chinese actors, would audiences try to link those same two non-Asian actors in the previous question?"

My guess (and obviously this is a speculation even further removed from any kind of testable scenario) would be "yes".


@LJ: "In other words, they deliberately made these Klingons different, to subvert that Star Trek notion that basically dictates that when you've met one representative of an alien species (e.g., Worf), you've met all the members of that alien species, because they all look and act the same."

That would be a very interesting idea and I would like it if that were the case. There are two problems I can see with that. A minor problem would be that it would, if not require an explanation for, at least raise the question why we have never seen those other Klingons before, despite having had many dealings with Klingons, from warriors to politicians to scientists. A major objection to this interpretation is that DSC is in fact not showing a mix of differently looking Klingons. So far in DSC they all look the same (Voq's albinism excluded). If my understanding of the Klingon timeline is correct, at this time in Klingon history there should be a mix of TOS, TMP, and DSC Klingons around. It would be cool if they showed us that. Otherwise they're not showing diversity, but just another kind of monoculture (or mono-appearance).

And if they really did change the look to hide Voq's actors face, then surely there must've been other (better?) ways of doing it. What if Voq's face had been disfigured in an accident and the reason why he's an outcast is that he refused to kill himself after the accident as Klingon culture demands? They could've even tied this into his willingness to have his whole appearance changed, since his Klingon appearance is a constant reminder of his (in Klingon eyes) dishonour.


@Chrome

I wonder why they made Hoshi Japanese instead of Korean. I suddenly got this horrible notion that they might've made their (really really good) translator Japanese as a joke playing off the bad Japanese-to-English translations that would make their way into the west via electronics manuals and the like. I hope my notion is not true; it's based on nothing at all, except that I started wondering what the reason could have been for making Hoshi Japanese and the discussion here had driven my mind to ponder stereotypes. It's not like they did anything with her Japanese cultural background in ENT, did they?


@LJ: "Not exactly, since warp drive, as presented in Trek, relies entirely on the existence of subspace, which is an invented concept with no bases at all in real science."

Thanks. I thought warp drive was 'just' supposed to fold space (in the sense of general relativity; no subspace needed), but FTL communications went via subspace.

Still, my main point remains though. If tomorrow it was discovered that subspace *does* exist, then I can understand how that can potentially be used for travel (or communication). If tomorrow a giant universe spanning mushroom is discovered, I still don't know how that makes a starship instantenously jump between planets. Is it supposed to be some kind of transporter where the signals are sent via mushroom tendrils? I think in the early (earlier) days of DSC I saw some comment where someone speculated that this space mushroom is what connected all the Iconian gateways. That could be a fun connection between two fantasy technologies.


@Peter G.

Possibly a bit off-topic, but why do think there is ether, despite the fact that there doesn't seem to be any requirement for it in any of our current scientific theories (to the best of my knowledge)?


@Peter G.: "Could there be strange life out there? Sure. But supposing that the universe is tied together by spores is roughly on par with belief in the Force from Star Wars; in fact it's so close that it borders on copyright infringement."

Interesting comparison with the Force. I think we can take this analogy a bit further. Why did people hate the whole midichlorian business from the prequels so much? I suspect one reason is that it forced some ridiculous pseudo-scientific 'explanation' onto something that is basically magic. And even taken at face value, it doesn't explain anything. Even if there are midichlorians who can help people to tap into the Force, that still does not explain any or all the cool Forcy things that the Jedi can do. In the end it is still magic, only now it is magic plus pseudo-science. The spore drive at the moment feels the same, as I've elaborated on in my response to LJ above. Even if there is a space mushroom and Stamets takes a good sniff of its midichlorian spores, what does that do to help explain why the Discovery is jumping all over the universe(s)? Perhaps I just don't see the explanation, but as far as I know none has been given on screen. Perhaps some writer explained it in some ancillary material?



@Latex Zebra: "I sometimes feel that people forget that TV can be about switching off and going with the flow rather than switching on an analyzing the **** out of every minute detail..."

TV can be about many things and if you want to switch off and go with the flow, you can. If other people want to think about it more and get something valuable out of discussions afterwards ---whether that is simple enjoyment, a deeper understanding of the show, or perhaps even one of those "meaningful lessons" Star Trek is supposed to be famous for--- can they not also do that? I'm honestly always a bit suprised by people who go to a discussion board (about whichever topic) and then are surprised (or perhaps even concerned) that they find people discussing the topic at hand.


@Andy: "Um, you don't get it. To your eyes they may look similar or the "same race" (whatever that is supposed to mean) but they are not related at all, nor do they look related in any way."

Good point which I failed to make in my response above!


>>I really recommend watching "USS Callister" from Black Mirror if you want to better understand the hate and bile in this comment section.

Where you see "hate and bile", I mostly see a civilized discussion between people that hold different opinions. In fact, a quick search for the word "hate" on this page, only shows a few people talking about other people in terms of "haters", one person mentioning they no longer hate the show, and one mention of Klingon society hating Voq. Now, of course there might still be an undercurrent of "hate", even if it is not explicitly mentioned, but I'm not feeling it.


@Henson: "Would you prefer a state of affairs where John Cho is told he can't play Sulu because he isn't Japanese?"

That is a different situation. First of all this is only relevant of course in cases where someone plays an already established character with an established nationality. Despite Hollywood's current craze of remakes, I still think that is probably the vast minority of roles out there. Secondly, we are not necessarily talking here about an actor playing someone with a different nationality than the actor's (like an Englishman playing a French character say... that would never happen on Trek); the initial issue I brought up was more about the tendency which many western people have ---and which may or may not have been at the root of the Hoshi/Georgiou suggestions which people have made--- to view all Asian (or East Asian) cultures as the same.

@Henson: "Merriam Webster: "a category of humankind that shares certain distinctive physical traits" . I might add the word 'cross-continental' myself, for its most common understanding."

Race is a complicated concept, which definitely deserves a discussion (but not one I want to get into here and now). Suffice to say that it is mostly a cultural concept and there is very little (if any at all) biological basis for it.


Peter G.
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 10:32am (UTC -6)
@ Plain Simple

"Possibly a bit off-topic, but why do think there is ether, despite the fact that there doesn't seem to be any requirement for it in any of our current scientific theories (to the best of my knowledge)? "

The universe is expanding, and/or the ruler is shrinking, at an accelerated rate. The massive objects within it aren't the source of expansion, so something else is. The current buzz-word is 'dark energy', which is a pretentious way of saying "we have no idea." The simplest solution to me is that the main substance of the universe has properties we don't understand. Also, it would simplify a lot of quantum observations; for instance, quantum fluctuations wouldn't have to be seen as emerging 'from nowhere' if space itself was a fluid.
Chrome
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 10:35am (UTC -6)
"I wonder why they made Hoshi Japanese instead of Korean. I suddenly got this horrible notion that they might've made their (really really good) translator Japanese as a joke playing off the bad Japanese-to-English translations that would make their way into the west via electronics manuals and the like. I hope my notion is not true; it's based on nothing at all, except that I started wondering what the reason could have been for making Hoshi Japanese and the discussion here had driven my mind to ponder stereotypes. It's not like they did anything with her Japanese cultural background in ENT, did they? "

I'm not sure, it might have to do with Hikaru Sulu being Japanese and ENT wanting to associate more with older eras like TOS. Maybe Harry Kim (Taiwanese) already filled the Korean person quota for the writers? I will say, though, that country-blind casting of Asians is more of a problem in Hollywood generally than one specific to Trek. It's just a shame Trek couldn't be the exception (as it used to be - with Sulu!).
KT
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 10:39am (UTC -6)
@LJ
I'm not sure how accurate Memory Alpha is, but according to this page; http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Subspace_bubble
subspace bubbles protect against changes to the timeline and force fields, but has nothing to do with warp drive.

Startrek.com seems equally unreliable offering contradicting statements about warp drive across different pages; On the page about warp drive it says "... the annihilation of matter and antimatter ... generates the tremendous power required to warp space and travel faster than light." This suggests that it is normal space-time and not subspace which is being warped and travelled through. And this is indeed the impression I got from watching various ST eps across the different series. Moreover this is true to the real life theories about the nature of space-time. The page about subspace, however, says "Warp-drive spaceships, for example, travel through subspace at the speed of light."

However I don't recall anything from the episodes which link subspace/bubbles to warp drive, which has always been depicted as travel through normal space-time and not subspace. So my advise would be to ignore all the contradictory snippets out there on the internet and just stick to lines directly from cannon which is that warp drive as depicted in star trek episodes do not involve subspace. In the episodes (e.g. ENT S04E16 DIVERGENCE) it's always been a 'warp field' that surrounds the ship and enables warp travel, and not a subspace bubble.
LJ
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 10:50am (UTC -6)
@Plain Simple

Thanks for the reply! What I meant with my comment about the Klingons is that they're showing a different group of them this time around, ones that are centred around religion and cults. The reason why within this group there is no diversity because all the members of said group are on the same page. They just look like a monoculture if analysed separately, but in a broader context of Klingon culture, they are different from all the other Klingons we've met. That's what I meant when I said that thhey added diversity to Trek's portrayal of this alien race. Q'onoS isn't a planet of hats anymore.
KT
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 10:55am (UTC -6)
@Booming
Before you label all systems equally "made up", why not read one of Lawrence M. Krauss' books on the subject?

Also I am not impressed with your assumption that anyone who says anything which you deem is negative is spouting 'hate and bile'. I get the impression that many commentors are genuinely disappointed that DSC doesn't live up to what they love about ST and want to express/discuss this. Whether fairly or unfairly, it's their opinion based on facts and their own perspectives. Why not counter their points instead of blanket labelling them?

LJ
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 10:57am (UTC -6)
@KT

Warp field and subspace bubble are synonyms. The canon "proof" that Trek warp relies on subspace to work is in the Voyager episode "The Omega Directive" (S4/Ep21), which presents us to the omega molecule, a highly unstable molecule that destroys subspace, rendering warp travel impossible.
Ed
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 11:19am (UTC -6)
@LJ

Regarding your earlier remark about Klingon diversity, I'd like to see the rise of the Klingon worldview as it existed in TOS be a reaction against the mixture of religion and feudalism which produced this war.

The current war will obviously be a bad loss for them. The Empire is then taken over by a centralized, pragmatic military dictatorship which diminishes the power of the great houses and gets rid of religious fanatics.

When THAT eventually fails, the houses become prominent again.
Henson
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 11:28am (UTC -6)
@Plain Simple

Well, while I absolutely disagree with your assertion that race is not primarily a biological categorization, I agree that this is not a discussion I wish to get into here; I don't wish to derail the conversation too far from Star Trek, so I'll leave it there.

In any case, I do appreciate hearing your many perspectives on this topic. I'm not sure if I agree with it all, but it's given me something to think about.

On another topic entirely, I definitely feel that the primary reason the Klingons look and sound the way they do was to disguise the actor playing Voq, and I tend to think it wasn't worth it. To cripple your actors' ability to communicate and emote in service of a Mystery Box moment that many people saw coming...bleh. Now the question is, are they stuck with that decision for future seasons?
Plain Simple
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 11:38am (UTC -6)
@LJ: "Thanks for the reply! What I meant with my comment about the Klingons is that they're showing a different group of them this time around, ones that are centred around religion and cults."

My impression (and I cannot reconstruct at this moment if that is purely based on what we have seen in the episodes or also what I've heard or read in other places) is that these 24 houses make up all of Klingon society, or at least the part of Klingon society that has any political influence. There was one episode where the big bad evil head honcho Klingon, whatever his name was, was addressing representatives of many of the other houses and all of them were of the new Klingon variety. So if it's the show intention that the Klingons we see are just one group out of many (in terms of general appearance), it is not doing a good job of bringing that across, despite having had very natural opportunities to do so. (Oh, and you're welcome... for the reply I mean. :-) )
Dobber
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 12:23pm (UTC -6)
My impression of what subspace was was that it was extra spatial dimensions (which is a part of many mainstream scientific ideas, like the small curled up one's predicted by String theory) and that the warp drive must warp space along these dimensions in addition to the usual 3 plus time. However, I don't think subspace was ever explicitly defined on the show.
KT
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 1:12pm (UTC -6)
I agree with those who've said that the idea of subspace is not so far away from current day real science to seem ridiculous. Whereas the idea of a magic mushroom network underlining the multiverse is a stretch into realms of fantasy or as Stamets puts it; physics as biology! :P
Ed
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 3:16pm (UTC -6)
Maybe the new Klingon look is a side effect of some widely used quack remedy for the augment virus.

--Tired of looking like a weak human? Get your ridges back in no time! Guaranteed results--

"Hey my ridges are back! And you said I was stupid to use this stuff."

"Crap, my hair is falling out!"

"My face looks like a hideous mask! No side effects my ass; I'll kill that guy!"
Todd
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 3:23pm (UTC -6)
As soon as the Discovery realized they were in a parallel universe, Burnham suggested they dive into the spore drive's navigation record to see what happened to them and Lorca immediately said no, we need to figure out where we are first, obviously trying to distract his crew from finding out he changed the coordinates of the jump.

Pretty clear he's Mirror Lorca...I believe the show will establish that he and mirror Burnham wanted to wrest the Empire from Georgiou, so they investigated the history of the Empire and found information on the USS Defiant. Realizing he and Burnham would have twins in the prime universe, they worked together to find a way there. Lorca went through, took his counterpart's place and got command of USS Discovery, intending to use the spore drive to (a) go home and (b) use it to defeat the emperor once there.

They faked mirror Burnham's death so they could successfully implant prime Burnham on the ISS Shenzhou, preserving Mirror Burnham's cover as a co conspirator and allowing them time to locate the emperor or lure her to them.

Convoluted and a long con. Like nothing Star Trek has done before. Suspect the final twist of the season will be Lorca's true intent and that he's mirror Burnham's lover. Discovery will be in the MU for a long while.
Ed
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 3:34pm (UTC -6)
@Todd

I like it. He seemed pretty calm when he saw the Emperor's hologram. He must have a plan.

This reminds me of something I was thinking about. As much as I love the idea of Georgiou riding in and acting badass, it seems very risky for an Emperor. Too many "accidents" could happen.

Once I got to that level I'd stay in a highly fortified palace surrounded by guards and servants conditioned for loyalty (or at least wearing explosive collars set to go off if I die unnaturally) and institute a bunch of failsafes to protect my position.

People outside the Palace staff would only come near me after a through scanning and even then have to stay about 20 paces back.
Gee
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 4:37pm (UTC -6)
@Todd
Interesting theory but I think it may be too convoluted for it to be right.
Mitch S.
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 4:43pm (UTC -6)
Well, I have no comments about this particular episode, but I do have much to say about Star Trek Discovery as a whole. As a matter of fact, I've held back since it started in September, so this is the very first time I'm sharing my thoughts about the new series.

Let's just say I'm no stranger to Trek, I've watched EVERY single episode of EVERY series (TOS, TAS, TNG, DS9, VOY, ENT, all 13 films) and viewed most during their original run, save for TOS which dates back before I was born. I've also been a regular of Jammer's site since it opened in 1995. Okay, sure, I was incredibly disappointed (to put it lightly) with VOY, ENT, Nemesis, and almost completely turned off to the series with the reboot films, but never could I imagine it sinking any lower. Oh my, then along came STD (perhaps it should be short for "Star Trek Dreck"?).

I made every effort to be opened minded and really, really wanted to enjoy this, but I simply cannot. Plain and simply, this is not Star Trek. Worse, it is not even entertaining or well written television. This is a dark, depressing, violent and aimless show. Horrible writing, grotesque visuals (horror film gore in Star Trek?) and just mediocre plotting and pacing. By contrast watching TNG was fun, exciting, wondrous and left me feeling a sense of optimism and hope for the future. As others have said, it was a world I've always fantasized about living in. DS9 had dark moments for sure, but it was still firmly planted in the established Trek universe, and dealt directly with how certain events or people conflicted in that universe. It showed a darker side of the Trek universe, yet while still plausibly existing in that
universe. The characters were complex and relatable, and most of all, likeable. I was
completely absorbed by the stories, characters and settings. Stories I still distinctly
remember decades later, and lessons and morals (be it TNG, DS9 or TOS) I still refer back to this very day. I was touched, moved and inspired watching Trek, how many other television shows do that? By contrast, watching Discovery leaves me feeling sick and depressed afterwards, and certainly uninspired. I don't care about these characters, about where the show is going, sitting through and watching it is just a chore. Forcing myself to endure it in hopes, maybe, somehow, I'll acquire a taste for it and it'll somehow improve. I think it's clear at this point, I'm fooling myself that such a moment will ever come.

Let me also point out that STD is *not* science-fiction, it is science-fantasy. When I think back to the Star Trek films of the 80's, the Enterprise on impulse engines moved in a very slow, plodding and steady manner. It FELT like an actual spaceship moving through space, something I could imagine as existing in our far future. Compare that to scene of the USS Discovery in "Into the Forest I Go", where the ship is rapidly blinking in and out of space every half second, while the saucer section is spinning like a fringing Figet spinner toy after each jump. What is this, a cartoon? Even Star Wars isn't that hyper about how ships move. A spore drive, using what seems more like magic and fantasy to navigate space?

Then there is the way these characters talk and act. Tilly sounds like one of the cast from Two Broke Girls or Modern Family (or any current day sitcom/drama), and the crew dropping F-bombs on top of that? This is supposed to be the future, where humans have highly evolved and entered a period of enlightenment, these are merely contemporary copies of any Joe Blow off the street from 2018. Not just in the way they speak, but the way they act as well. And don't get me started on the Klingons, which have been transformed into some kind of violent space-monsters (and look like the California Raisins!) with the most grating and ear piercing of vocals.

Well I could go on for pages, but this is just to say I do not like what I see. I find myself already fatigued with this series and it's not even done with its first season yet. Voyager was campy and ridiculous, and Enterprise was dull, but at least I could still recognize them as Star Trek series. I even managed to enjoy a few episodes from those series. So far, there is nothing I am walking away with from Discovery except a sense of depression and feeling of dread. After watching "The Wolf Inside", I felt the need to rinse my mind of it by turning on a light comedy show afterwards.

Will I still continue to watch Discovery? Probably for now, just out of curiosity to see where its headed. I definitely do not like its direction, and feel at this point, I'm just watching like someone fixated by the sight of a train wreck or other disaster. I think the fact it has "Star Trek" in its name is the reason I haven't completely stopped watching it. I have to chuckle about something though. Years ago, I distinctly remember one of you on Jammer's site commenting, if a new Star Trek series were released that is nothing but a TV test pattern, we'd still watch it. Well hats off to whomever said that, looks like you were right!
Todd
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 4:45pm (UTC -6)
@Gee, convoluted? Did you watch Lost? Or Fringe? Or Game of Thrones? Their plots make this theory look like it was scribbled in crayon by a 2 year old.
Todd
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 4:51pm (UTC -6)
@Mitch S. Love your comments!! I don't agree with them, but love them anyway. Spot on valid criticisms of the show.

Regarding STD being fantasy, Star Trek has always been more fantasy than sci fi going way back.

Aliens that look like humans with makeup? Check.
Alien cultures that always speak English? Check.
Magic tech that serves whatever the plot needs (e.g., transporters, holodecks, etc.)? Triple check.
Alternate universes with vastly different histories and cultures, but somehow have identical twins of almost every single person? Yup.

I don't dispute that Discovery may not be what you were looking for (sounds like you'd have been happiest with Star Trek: The Next Next Generation). And fantasy it may be. But at least it is entertaining fantasy to this fan anyway.
Popeye
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 4:51pm (UTC -6)
All the so called continuity errors can be explained by timeline incursions esp. during temporal cold war st:ent

All the new tech comes from things Archer wrote about in his logs after encounters with future tech.

The Klingon faction also had their own agenda and no doubt caused changes within their own empire which Starfleet time division ignored due to it being irrelevant to the Federation. This could involve an attempt to erase the "human stain" from their gene pool which went strangely wrong and resulted in no hair.
Ed
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 5:01pm (UTC -6)
@Mitch S.

Jump drives (ships going places instantly) are relatively common in classic science fiction and this is one ship in all Starfleet using an experimental technology that will clearly have to be abandoned.
Dobber
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 5:52pm (UTC -6)
"So you die Captain. And we all move up in rank." - Mirror Chekov. The killer doesn't become the captain.
LJ
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 6:16pm (UTC -6)
As much as I love the happy and utopic universe of TNG, I've got to admit that it wouldn't fit in television in 2017/2018.
People tend to forget that shows like Trek don't exist in an isolated universe. They are primarily shows, okay, but they're also products that have to be consumed by large audiences and make lots of money to justify the producers spending millions of Dollars with *a single episode*.
And for those means, a TV show, any TV show, has to thematically follow whatever model the other successful shows that are being aired at the same time as it, so it stands higher chances of being successful too. And nowadays, the successful shows are the ones filled with the same kind of dark narrative, twists and plot convolutions that Discovery had, like GoT or TWD or The Expanse or Dark Mirror, to name a few examples.
If Discovery didn't follow the model employed in current successful television, it wouldn't make money. And without making money, it would be cancelled. It's simple like that.
Even the visuals of Discovery being more reminiscent of Kelvinverse Trek is explained by the simple fact that, what reignited the very interest in Trek was 2009's reboot film and its sequels. You can love or hate those films (I personally like 2009 but find the other two boring), but there is no way to deny they were responsible for bringing Trek to the spotlight again. And Trek being in the spotlight again was the main reason Discovery started being produced. So of course it would look like more these recent films, because it has owns its very existence to said films.
So yeah, as much as I would LOVE a Trek show à la old school Trek, I don't blame Discovery for trying to fit into the current market. I actually praise them for making something that, although not flawless by any means (my list of criticism of this show isn't small), is entertaining and manages to be successful too and lucrative, so most people are happy.
LJ
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 6:19pm (UTC -6)
Also, do you expect a happy narrative full of wonder and utopia when we're literally *in the middle of a war*?
Skunky
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 6:21pm (UTC -6)
@LJ

'And nowadays, the successful shows are the ones filled with the same kind of dark narrative, twists and plot convolutions that Discovery had...
If Discovery didn't follow the model employed in current successful television, it wouldn't make money. And without making money, it would be cancelled. It's simple like that.'

I think that The Orville has been pretty successful. And it's a light, bright, straightforward take on Star Trek. DIS could have done something similar and been very successful. Probably more successful than it is now, since that seems to be most people's major problem with DIS, is that it's too dark, etc. And not enough like the previous, more optimistic Trek shows.

---------------

Why didn't they just use the Tardigrade DNA on someone else and let them make one single jump back to the PU? Stamets only went crazy after making hundreds of jumps.

And why would they keep taking Tyler on missions, when every single one he's been on has been a distaster, with him losing it every time? I realize he's the only one on the Shenzou now that isn't from the MU, but wouldn't Mike just have gone by herself. She knows Tyler is a nut job.

Why is Discovery, and the Shenzhou and the Emperor's ship all within about 20 minutes of this secret base and each other?

It had been less than an hour since Mike told them to evacuate, so how did the Emperor even know she hadn't attacked the base yet? Did someone from the Shenzhou tell her? How did the Emperor get there that quickly? How did no one notice the Discovery?

So many plot holes and many more in this episode. And the dialogue made me groan several times. Just terrible. This one was very poorly written. Which is a shame, since the two previous episodes were the best so far.

They should have called this Star Trek: Exposition.

2 stars.
Jason
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 6:31pm (UTC -6)
LJ - Does the presence of a war mean we have to put up with constantly grim, dreary situations with no hope? When I think of the best war arcs on TV - DS9, Bab5... they were gripping without needlessly punishing the viewer with constant and unyielding oppressive darkness. That sense of balance seems to have been lost in DSC.
LJ
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 7:21pm (UTC -6)
@Skunky

Orville has been successful because it's mostly a comedy show, not something people watch because of its sci-fi values. In my opinion, it's comprised of TNG rip-offs interspersed with dick jokes. And seriously, if you consider *that* to be "a bright, straightforward take on Star Trek", then I guess you and I have been watching different shows for the last 50 years.
But hey, each to their own. If you like the show, great. I personally find its jokes so juvenile that it makes me cringe.
And in my opinion the main problem of Discovery is its writing, which is superb at some places and completely sloppy at others, not its inherent "darkness". But again, the show is still in its first season.

"Why didn't they just use the Tardigrade DNA on someone else and let them make one single jump back to the PU? Stamets only went crazy after making hundreds of jumps."

Because they only had one single sample of tardigrade DNA and the tardigrade itself got the hell out of sight as soon as they released it into open space.

"And why would they keep taking Tyler on missions, when every single one he's been on has been a disaster, with him losing it every time? I realize he's the only one on the Shenzou now that isn't from the MU, but wouldn't Mike just have gone by herself. She knows Tyler is a nut job."

The only two persons that realised Tyler has PTSD (or rather Post Klingon Transformation Into a Human Disorder :p) were Cornwell (which was unconscious after her time in the Ship of the Dead and was promptly dispatched to the nearest starbase by Lorca, before she could share her insights on Tyler's condition) and Burnham, which was too much in love with Tyler to hold an objective view of her partner.

"It had been less than an hour since Mike told them to evacuate, so how did the Emperor even know she hadn't attacked the base yet? Did someone from the Shenzhou tell her? How did the Emperor get there that quickly? How did no one notice the Discovery?"

I suppose the Emperor scanned the planet and detected life signs? Or probably like you said, someone at the ISS Shenzou, someone not very happy with Burnham's decision to wait, told on her plan to the Emperor. As for them not noticing the Discovery within the 40.000 km range of the transporter, it's either a plot-hole or they've used that ludicrous concept of subspace beaming, which was introduced in Star Trek 2009 (one of the few elements I disliked about that film).

@Jason

You're comparing entire arcs of TV shows to 11 episodes of Discovery (8, if you discount the first two, which were a prologue and the 7th one, which was a standalone time-travel high-jinks episode). Also, most of these shows had their war arcs beginning in their 3rd or 4th seasons, while Discovery started with a war arc from its beginning. I say, give time to the show find its proper balance between darkness and light. If it doesn't after a couple seasons, then I'll definitely agree there is a problem there. But for now I'm willing to be patient. :)
Paulus Marius
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 7:27pm (UTC -6)
*refreshes page yet again eagerly awaiting Jammer's review*

Some fascinating discussions on here, thanks lads & lasses

+1 to Shannon & WTBA's posts
LJ
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 7:47pm (UTC -6)
*Refreshes page yet again eagerly awaiting Jammer's review*. Glad to know I'm not alone. :p
MidshipmanNorris
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 9:33pm (UTC -6)
GET AWAY FROM THAT LAUNCHER

@Peter G.
"They come off similarly to that guy everyone knows who's totally incompetent and knows nothing and is always the first to volunteer to take charge of things and offer 'information'. The moment he opens his mouth you know you'll have no choice but to endure his chatter and there's nothing you can do about it. He'll probably be given the job, too, because no one has the guts to say out loud that he needs to just stop talking."

You mean he just keeps talking and talking in one long incredibly unbroken sentence so that no one would have a chance to interrupt it was really quite hypnotic?

"She's an unspeakably deep well of human compassion"

'Impossibly.' For their Universe, Sarek means, but I believe what is going on here is that he is not as proficient at melding as Spock was in "Mirror Mirror," and add into that that he is trying not to talk about the fact that he's just found out that this person is his surrogate daughter, and he is a Vulcan, and you can get him kind of flabbergasted I think. Perhaps the 'Alternate Universe' thing wasn't clear to him due to the emotional shock it delivers to a Vulcan to meet their child (?) for the first time, and see an entirely different past version of themselves in that person's memories. I don't find the dialogue to be bad, the way you do, but I get what you're saying...it's a little "Condensed Trek Speaky," and the talkiness of the scenes is bugging me. ...But somehow it never feels like they're TOO bogged down, as there's always some new event happening in a bit.

"PS, I should comment on something I neglected in my initial review, which is - why is there a need for this show to include material that belongs in films like Event Horizon or Seven? It's one thing to have adult themes and morally grey characters, but straight-up slasher gore and disgusting images? This not only has no place on Trek, but it makes it impossible for families to show this to their children. Just how stupid are the producers to think that making a Trek series rated R is a good thing? I suppose we could argue the same about Tarantino's proposal to write a Trek film, but at least parents would know in advance to leave the kiddies out of it."

Erm...they label the shows on CBS All Access with content warnings right? Don't they? Aren't they supposed to? Shouldn't you always screen something you think you want to show to your children anyway?

I get that you are saying you don't like the disturbing imagery, but you have to admit one thing about it, it isn't where Trek has been before. To truly fulfilll it's purpose, Trek has to move into uncharted territory as it has boasted about doing for it's entire existence. More on this in a bit.

"But I really do think that this concept is much closer to a fantasy premise than sci-fi. Most sci-fi isn't supposed to be 'real science' anyhow, but it's quite another thing to introduce what is basically magic and call it science. Frankly I think that's not only sloppy, but gives people a very bad impression of *what kinds* of concepts can be called scientific. "

I don't know about you, but I trust actual scientists to tell me what concepts can be called scientific, not science fiction writers. The point of writing fiction is to entertain people with a compelling experience. It always has been. That it can be thought provoking or not is one of the nice things about it, using your brain all the time for everything isn't always fun or productive. I like that DISCO loosens things up a little, without seeming like it's purposely crapping on the previous show, the way STID felt with it's technocrapple explanations for things.

@Gul Densho-Air
"Maybe having watched these series has made me indifferent to some extent. But just as VOY's outrageous violation of logic and common sense has taught me to take it for whatever it is, I guess I've learned to accept the ridiculous nonsense of DSC."

I wanted to comment on this...I am not a huge fan of late era DS9, I do not like how things went near the end of it. Up to about Season 5 I was alright, but eh...as for VOY and ENT, not really blowing up my skirt either. The intervening films underwhelmed me, with the exception of Star Trek 2009, which I was ok with for the most part. It got out of hand, I agree.

But Trek needs to reassert itself as a trendsetter, the way it began and the way I hope it continues to be. DISCO is daring to be different in the hopes of setting a trend in entertainment for others to follow, that you shouldn't be afraid to try something new.

That's what I like about the series so much. This episode handled the previous episodes' buildups well, and I enjoyed seeing the plot play out, and all the implications of those reveals which will continue to figure into future episodes. Who says Shazid Latif is done with this show? Hm?

What do we do with a Klingon altered to be human and brainwashed into thinking he is another person, to the point where he is being driven utterly mad at times? I like that the writer decides not to simply off him, but to accept the dramatic consequences of the character as a continuing plot thread. This show really likes to keep it flowing in terms of how each event creates new implications for the future, along with new dramatic possibilities.

I do feel that SMG ...may not go down in history as the best actor ever to play a Trek main character. I felt like she was developing some momentum for a while, but I'm starting to get the idea... She is sort of...erm...flat in her delivery. Static, you might say. It's very limited. Her eyes don't tell much of a story beyond "look the way the script says to look."

Phillipa Georgiou as the Empress is a nightmarish turn for the story which is played well by the music, might I add. :D I love how the shit just gets deeper and deeper on this show. You know they've got to do something that will satisfy the audience, but things are getting out of control here...

Speaking of out of control...Um...

Who or WHAT is Mirror Stamets...? Was he behind Lorca's ...ahem... alteration to the Jump coordinates? Or is Lorca ...

Is Lorca trying to defeat Mirror Stamets...? This freaking show is blowing my mind.
The Magnificent Ferengi
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 9:45pm (UTC -6)
"But Trek needs to reassert itself as a trendsetter, the way it began and the way I hope it continues to be. DISCO is daring to be different in the hopes of setting a trend in entertainment for others to follow, that you shouldn't be afraid to try something new. "

Different from WHAT? So far DISCO has followed the trend of every popular sci-fi/suspense/thriller show since LOST. It's gone well beyond the point where copying TOS to try to evoke some philosophical meaning and optimism for the future would be far more trendsetting than what it is currently doing.
John Harmon
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 10:10pm (UTC -6)
"Also, do you expect a happy narrative full of wonder and utopia when we're literally *in the middle of a war*?"

@Lj, the original series was made during the height of the Cold War.

TNG was made towards the end of the Cold War, but tensions were still high.

Star Trek has always been a great escapist contrast to the horrors of our reality. While the real world feels like it could crumble at any moment, Star Trek came along to show is that maybe the future won't be so bad.

Funny enough, DS9 explored darker themes and the horrors of war at a time of relative peace. Things aren't so good again. We may get ourselves into another Cold War, if we're lucky. I don't need Star Trek to remind me why the world sucks. I need it to show me it won't always be so bad again.
ALongTimeTrekkie
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 4:00am (UTC -6)
It seems that a higher proportion of commenters here are now defending Discovery compared to when the show started. I wonder if that is due to people who don't like it dropping away, and ceasing to comment any more on this board.
Gee
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 5:29am (UTC -6)
@Todd
I have seen Lost; it told us a shaggy dog story with a cop out ending and never really gave us any answers. DSC isn't like that. We get answers all the time. After the 3rd ep we were wondering what the heck is black alert? And the weird things going on? And that monster? After a couple more eps we are wondering about Lorca's motivations and true identity. A further ep along and we got the Vash theory. Then followed the mirror universe theory etc

Now, 11 eps in, we have got contrete answers to most of these questions. DSC isn't trying to be Lost imho.
LJ
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 5:39am (UTC -6)
@LJ, I can't believe Rick Berman and Jeri Taylor let that VOY ep, omega directive, piss all over warp drive!

Oh wait, I can believe.
KT
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 5:39am (UTC -6)
@LJ, I can't believe Rick Berman and Jeri Taylor let that VOY ep, omega directive, piss all over warp drive!

Oh wait, I can believe.
LJ
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 5:56am (UTC -6)
@John Harmor

I didn't mean a literal war, I meant the fictional war that's going on in DSC, i.e., the Klingon-Federation war.

@KT

That episode didn't "piss all over warp drive". It has been implied that subspace is the middle through which FTL travel and communication is possible since the first episodes of TOS. They even used the term "hyperspace" (which is basically the same thing), once or twice in TOS, before the show got its mythology properly defined.
wolfstar
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 6:06am (UTC -6)
The discussion thread for this episode has been one of the best recently. Lots of smart comments with different insights.

@Todd - I love your extremely plausible MU theory.
@Hank - I enjoyed this episode on a dramatic level and as a step up from last week, but I agree with a lot of your broader criticisms.
@KT - I agree with your comments.

I think the Klingon makeover was for a few reasons:
- because the Berman-era Klingons didn't look "credible" anymore by modern TV standards, mainly because of the hair
- for practical reasons (iirc, in the DS9 S7 extras, Robert O'Reilly says that his hair flew in front of his face every time he turned his head, especially in fight scenes, so they had to keep stopping to remove his hair from his face again)
- to avoid the Klingons being perceived as "black" or as actors in blackface in a contemporary American context, thereby avoiding any potential controversy/culture-wars backlash. See also the decision to make Voq an Albino.
- as an evolution of the bald Klingon look from Into Darkness
- and yeah, to mask the Voq/Tyler thing.

Zack Handlen (the guy who so brilliantly reviewed the whole of TOS, TNG and DS9 for AV Club) has some interesting comments on Voq/Tyler in his review of this week's episode that really echo what many of us here have been saying:
"it’s frustrating [...], because like so much of what happens on this show, it feels like a plot development that was planned without any understanding of how these characters work or why they make the decisions they make. I can grasp the facts of Voq’s ruse (going deep undercover to get information on the Federation’s most important ship), but the larger implications elude me. It’s the sort of twist you get when you build a show out of moments without regard to, well, connections. That, I think, is my biggest problem with Discovery. The serialization has created a narrative in which events happen less because they’re built to or earned, but because it was decided in advance that the show needed a Big Twist. [...] Right now, we’re just jumping from Twist to Twist, and that’s not really sustainable. [...] As it is right now, it feels like the writers are rapidly burning through every potential shock they’ve got on hand. The result is a show that’s often thrilling to watch but somewhat hollow in retrospect. The franchise history helps to fill in some of the gaps, and the cast is at the very least game for the experience, but without anything deeper to get invested in, you have to wonder why we keep making the effort."
https://www.avclub.com/truths-are-discovered-and-old-friends-return-on-a-fast-1822069663
Plain Simple
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 6:12am (UTC -6)
@Gee

LOST actually answered quite a lot of questions, although some answers were implied more than explicitly stated. And yes, it took them a while to get to the answers. For me personally the bad taste LOST left me with is due to the final seasons turning the characters into mindless pawns of the plot (sometimes even literally), which to a certain extent (but actualized in a different way) is one of my main issues with DSC as well.

What is the Vash theory? Are we expecting her to show up in DSC?
Anonymius
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 6:12am (UTC -6)
@ Dobber "So you die Captain. And we all move up in rank." - Mirror Chekov. The killer doesn't become the captain.

Killy did. So are we to assume she was already the second in command when she offed the captain?
Plain Simple
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 6:17am (UTC -6)
@wolfstar: "I think the Klingon makeover was for a few reasons:
- because the Berman-era Klingons didn't look "credible" anymore by modern TV standards, mainly because of the hair"

I can understand, to varying degrees, the logic behind the other points you mention (independent of whether I think they're good enough reasons), but this one I don't understand at all. What makes a (TMP) Klingon less "credible" than a Vulcan or Andorian? What does the hair have to do with it?
LJ
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 6:25am (UTC -6)
@Anonymius

It's not stated what was Tilly position before she killed her captain, but following the logic, she was an XO.
Same thing with Connor on the Shenzou. He became a captain after MU Burnham died during a mission, not killed by him, so it stands to reason he was the XO before that. And when Burnham kills him, MU Detmer becomes the XO (Burnham calls her "number one" in The Wolf Inside).
LJ
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 6:32am (UTC -6)
@Plain Simple

"What does the hair have to do with it?"

I suppose @wolfstar meant that the hair looked too human?
Plain Simple
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 6:37am (UTC -6)
@LJ

Could be, although given the humanoid alien trop of Trek that seems an odd aspect to focus on.

@Plain Simple: "For me personally the bad taste LOST left me with is due to the final seasons turning the characters into mindless pawns of the plot (sometimes even literally)"

Yes, I'm quoting myself, just to correct something. I wanted to write "final season", singular, not plural. I actually quite liked seasons 4 and 5 of LOST and I think there is a particular scifi concept (which I won't spoil here for those who haven't seen the show and still want to do so) they deal with really well.
Plain Simple
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 6:38am (UTC -6)
Argh... "trope", not "trop".
KT
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 8:02am (UTC -6)
@LJ
I bow to your superior knowledge of trek (I haven't actually seen most episodes of TOS yet) and was under the impression that while FTL comms are done via subspace, the warping was completely of normal space. my bad. I do wish they hadn't interchanged terms like 'warp field' with 'subspace bubble', and hyperspace and subspace though.


@wolfstar
now you mention it, it doesn't make sense for a warrior race to grow such long flowing locks... but it does look fierce like a Norse god or something. Also it never made sense that every senior starfleet officer was able to beat up a klingon in hand to hand combat. Even little Kira Nerys with a knife in her side, while the so-called warrior just stood there and let her (DS9 s04e02 way of the warrior pt2), /sigh/.
Ed
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 8:16am (UTC -6)
@ Wolfstar

They could have had the same basic look or at least aesthetic "feel" of TNG/DS9 Klingons using modern day prosthetics. The dated look of some of the old Klingon characters was a product of the technology of the day, not the idea of what a Klingon looks like.

My preference would have been far less mask-like, skin colors closer to the usual human range (with Voq an albino) but still bald. I like the idea of the Klingons having "fads" and maybe shaving your head was in style for a time.

They should have also shown smooth-heads as well since they clearly exist in large numbers canonically at this time.


@ LJ

Maybe she was XO, but I like to think that "Killy" was third or fourth in command and took out all her superiors on the ship at once. :) She's ambitious.
Gee
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 8:51am (UTC -6)
@Plain Simple
After 'choose your pain' a lot of people were calling Ash Tyler "Vash Tyler".

I will take your word for it about LosT; it's possible some of the implied answers went over my head at the time. But is it also not possible that DSC writers aren't taking us down a long and winding road with a shaggy dog in tow? that Lorca is as he has been presented? He is someone who:
-is desperate to win a war and save lives after having to kill his crew
-is suffering from a bit of PTSD due to stress of being in that command during wartime
-sees in Burham, a kindred spirit (and not a mirror lover!); they both believe the rules are to be followed only in context and that sometimes the ends do justify the means. But they will protect peace loving people as they are Federation at their core.
-is keen to get the war finished so he can explore the multiverse (and not end up seeing a shrink)
-picked up on a history between mirror-Burnham and the Emperor that could potentially be exploited (hence the calm little grin at the end). or maybe the grin was his thinking back to his 'destiny' conversation with Burham.
Plain Simple
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 9:20am (UTC -6)
@Gee: "After 'choose your pain' a lot of people were calling Ash Tyler "Vash Tyler". "

Vash as in V(oq) + Ash or was some connection implied between Ash and TNG/DS9 Vash?

@Gee: "But is it also not possible that DSC writers aren't taking us down a long and winding road with a shaggy dog in tow? that Lorca is as he has been presented?"

Sure. I think that most people who speculate about Lorca being from the MU come from an angle that a Starfleet captain should not blow up his own ship (while it's easily conceivable the an MU Lorca destroyed the ship to get PU Lorca out of the way) or suggest to Burnham that she should kill a whole bunch of people for her own benefit (as he did in this latest epsiode). Moreover, the show is most definitely presenting Lorca as a mystery, no matter which way the outcome will swing. Cornwell noticing weird unexplained scars, Lorca changing the coordinates of Discovery's last jump while saying something along the lines of "let's go home". Those might be red herrings, but it doesn't take away from the fact that the show wants us to consider Lorca to be a mystery. I think I've even heard one of the writers or producers say that in as many words on one of the After Treks.
Trent
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 9:45am (UTC -6)
Skunky said: "They should have called this Star Trek: Exposition."

My friend calls it "Star Trek: Loose Ends". Every episode exists to quickly tie loose ends while hastily setting up new loose ends. Like most postmodern storytelling, the raisen detre of the narrative is the sheer dumping and processing of information, and the rush the audience gets from processing the information. The aesthetic is akin to skimming countless internet pages.
Todd
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 9:48am (UTC -6)
@Gee...I would prefer personally that Lorca wasn't an MU doppelgänger, but the writers have been laying clues since he first appeared...

(1) He sleeps with a phaser...normal for a starship captain who has to worry about assassination
(2) Mysterious scars on his back Admiral Cornwell didn't recognize
(3) When the admiral is reminiscing with Lorca about past times, he clearly doesn't know what she's talking about, but he tries to fake it
(4) He clearly sets the final jump in episode 9 and whispers LETS GO HOME right before Discovery jumps to the Terran Empire
(5) When Burnham wants to investigate the spore drive navigation records to try to find a way home, Lorca says no, let's find out where we are first, trying to distract her from learning he directed them there
(6) When Burnham completes her mission on the ISS Shenzhou and says ok lets go, Lorca resists returning to Discovery

There are numerous other clues (his protectiveness of Burnham, the mysterious circumstances of the end of his last command, etc.). If the writers don't intend Lorca to MU Lorca, they're certainly laying down a clever set of breadcrumbs that point that way.
Filip
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 10:37am (UTC -6)
To all the people saying that the idea of making Georgiou and Hoshi related is ridiculous because they are of different nationalities, you've missed the point completely by identifying characters with their respective actors. If the writers decide to make them related, within the show it would work just fine as they are both Asian in appearance. The point about comparing the two culturally would be like comparing a Russian and a Spaniard is completely true when talking about actors, but just like a Russian actor could play a character that is related to the one played by a Spanish actor, both Yeoh's and Park's characters would work in the same manner. But, even though I am one of those who appreciated Enterprise, I couldn't care less if they go for it or not. I just wanted to point out how pointless that whole discussion is.

@Jason R.:
"A Mirror Darkly was great fun and Hoshi being empress at the end was a great gag ending but that's all it was: a joke. It was basically a Simpsons Halloween episode. To connect Georgiou to Hoshi is the height of absurdity - not what grimdark Discovery was going for."
See, this is what I think about ALL mirror universe episodes. They are all great fun, but are absurd to the point of being caricatures. Which is OK, because by next week, we would be back to PU and the show could go on. What DIS is doing is basing its main plot on a Simpsons Halloween episode. Which could very easily blow up into everyone's face. We'll see.

As for the spore-drive, I find the concept ridiculous as it is being used to explain away almost anything by being so vague in nature. It can be twisted in whatever way the writers want to in order for it to seemingly give logic to basically anything the plot requires. However, I don't think anyone would dissect the idea as much as people do if the rest of the show worked most of the time, which it doesn't. And once you don't have a coherent characterization and a convincing plot to drive the show, a highly fictitious element becomes a glaring flaw everybody can't wait to jump on. Especially since the way that glaring flaw is used, like I mentioned earlier, only exarcebates the problem. That is why sub-space in TOS or TNG worked. Because the shows themselves worked and no one cared that much that "sub-space" doesn't exist in reality. The stories were compeling, and the entire concept wasn't shoved down our throats all the time like the spore-drive is in DIS.

Jason R.
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 8:50pm (UTC -6)
A Mirror Darkly was great fun and Hoshi being empress at the end was a great gag ending but that's all it was: a joke. It was basically a Simpsons Halloween episode. To connect Georgiou to Hoshi is the height of absurdity - not what grimdark Discovery was going for.
Jason R.
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 10:54am (UTC -6)
Filip my point about Hoshi being empress was that even in the context of the silliness of AMD it was ridiculous - a gag within a gag. There is zero justification for her being able to just declare herself empress, even assuming the Defiant was all powerful. She had no authority over the Defiant crew and apart from Mayweather, who seemed to arbitrarily support her, there was no evidence that the crew would just follow her and and bow down to her for no reason. She wasn't even part of their command hierarchy (unlike, say T'Pol or Archer) Heck Mayweather may as well just punched her in the face in the next scene and called himself emperor.

The ending was basically a joke.

Regarding the spore drive I agree it is ridiculous. I don't even think it's like the Force, which is fantastical, but has the benefit of being non falsifiable at least.

Regarding the spore drive, we don't need to speculate - it is impossible with a capital I. Living spores do not permeate the vaccum of space including within spitting distance of STARS(!!!). If they do, they are so fundamentally different from spores on earth that you might as well just call them something else or say it's "the force" or whatever.
Gee
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 11:14am (UTC -6)
@Plain Simple
ahhhh yes, Vash. Had totally forgotten about her... was she just in the 3 episodes(across DS9+TNG), do you know?

The 'Vash theory' I spoke of does not involve her, it's just Voq+Ash Tyler =Vash

I am not immune to the ambiguity (or shades of grey?) of Lorca's characterisation but here's why I don't buy the mirror-Lorca theory:
-didn't the admiral on the Europa blow up his ship and crew? no attempt was made to try and beam some of them outta there.
-is it so terrible considering the rebels would have died anyway had the Discovery ships universe switch not taken place? and this is not a universe he himself is safe in. And as Burnham says, Lorca was not thinking clearly due to the pain booth. Plus it's a chance for the writers to demonstrate Burnman 'seemingly impossible depth of compassion'
-those scars are symbolic reminders of Klingon torture, we know Lorca thinks "you choose your own pain and [his] help him remember"
-what you interpreted as Lorca's "changing the coordinates of Discovery's last jump" maybe was actually his overriding (in the logs) the entry of the last jump so it looks like Discovery made 133 jumps in total rather than the 134 that was actually made. I'm not sure why he'd want to do that as of yet, but that's what it looked like he did. However I do agree that it's possible Lorca is from another, third universe, I just don't think the telegraphing is there for his being mirror-Lorca; if he is from the MU why was he so fascinated when Burham first displayed info about Terrain Empire (to all the senior stuff in ep10)? and his resignation upon hearing that his mirror-self is not 'a better version' of himself? this isn't the behaviour of a barbarian of the Terran Empire; as Spook says in the original TOS ep "it is not easy for barbarians to pretend to be civilised men".

that's just my penny's worth.
BZ
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 11:30am (UTC -6)
@Gee
If Lorca is from the MU, he may have had access to the Defiant files, and studied how humans in the PU behave. If his escape to the PU was planned (unlike the transporter accident that swapped the TOS away teams) he would certainly have had time to prepare and practice. There is also the possibility someone mentioned earlier that he's a "good guy" from the MU's perspective, which would mean he's not a 100% evil "barbarian" like some of the other MU characters.
Ed
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 11:32am (UTC -6)
@Gee

Good arguments for the "He's Prime Universe Lorca" point of view, but I still think he is from the MU.

The triangular scar reminds me of the portable Agonizer device MU Spock used.

He also has a smug look on his face when Georgiou show up, like he's been waiting for her and has a plan. I think he's plotting to become Emperor and using the crew to help him somehow.
Chrome
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 11:39am (UTC -6)
"To all the people saying that the idea of making Georgiou and Hoshi related is ridiculous because they are of different nationalities, you've missed the point completely by identifying characters with their respective actors. If the writers decide to make them related, within the show it would work just fine as they are both Asian in appearance."

Except that just making them Asian in appearance shouldn't be enough to make them related. There's rougly 4.4 billion Asians living on Earth, and even assuming only 1/100th of those survive WWIII in the Trekverse, it's still a pretty ridiculous conclusion to reach *without evidence besides race". If the writers wanted to link the two characters, they should give them more in common like give them both a Japanese last name or both a talent in translation or the like. Otherwise, Emperor Georgiou may as well be related to Mirror Sulu, Mirror Harry Kim, and Mirror Keiko O'Brien because they're all Asians.
Plain Simple
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 11:44am (UTC -6)
@Filip: "To all the people saying that the idea of making Georgiou and Hoshi related is ridiculous because they are of different nationalities, you've missed the point completely by identifying characters with their respective actors."

I think you've missed a subtlety in the original point I was trying to make. If Hoshi and Georgiou are presented to be related in a future episode, then that is what it is (just like Korean Linda Park playing a Japanese character or English Patrick Stewart playing a Frenchman; although there are reasons why the former is somewhat more problematic than the latter, having to do with orientalism as I briefly touched on in a previous post). My initial concern was about the almost instinctive willingness that some people seem to have to jump to the "they are related" suggestion. I don't know individual people's reasons for doing so, but seeing this in a larger context makes me suspect it has something to do with the apparent interchangeability of Asian cultures in western eyes (definitely historically and still to this day) and that they probably wouldn't have done so if the two characters had been Caucasians.

@Gee: "ahhhh yes, Vash. Had totally forgotten about her... was she just in the 3 episodes(across DS9+TNG), do you know?"

Off the top of my head her only canon appearances are Captain's Holiday and the Robin Hood Q episode on TNG and the season 1 (and only) Q episode on DS9. I'm sure Memory Alpha can confirm or correct. :-)

@Gee: "didn't the admiral on the Europa blow up his ship and crew? no attempt was made to try and beam some of them outta there."

Sorry, I'm not quite sure what you are referring to here. Was that one of the ships at the Battle of the Binary stars?
Plain Simple
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 11:51am (UTC -6)
@Gee

More Vash: now that I'm thinking about it, there might've been a reference to her (but no appearance) in TNG's All Good Things' future timeline. Or my brain is just making that up. Perhaps I should just check Memory Alpha after all.
Plain Simple
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 11:56am (UTC -6)
I couldn't resist. :-)

Memory Alpha confirms what I said at first (TNG: Captain's Holiday, TNG: Qpid, and DS9: Q-Less), but no mention of TNG: All Good Things... on Vash's page or vice versa.
Gee
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 11:57am (UTC -6)
@Todd
(1) Maybe he is worried about Klingon boarding parties/spies attack while he is asleep, we know they are not averse to killing
(2) They could be from Klingon torture (or maybe his other girlfriend is a dominatrix lol)
(3) I don't actually recall this, which episode is this in? But it's possible Klingons addled his memories but he didn't want to let on and risk his command. He knows the Admiral is a sharp shrink.
(4) "LETS" as in 'let us'? Meaning it's not just his home? I think he was glad to be going to the starbase to give starfleet the info they need to help with the war
(5) Lorca may well be trying to hide something but that doesn't mean he is from the MU. And he is right; the only way to survive brutal facists is to pretend to be one of them.
(6) I just saw a captain who has got the big picture in mind and thinks they shouldn't give up their pretence just yet. Plus the writers are not done with the MU just yet :P

I do see the breadcrumbs might point to mirror-Lorca, but I also think it could be another universe and that ST:DSC is going to be ST:sliders. If he is mirror-Lorca (so power hungry he tried a coup against the Emperor), I just can't get over how well he has done to pretend to be Prime-Lorca. As Spock said it's not easy for barbarians to pretend to be civilised.
Jason R.
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 11:59am (UTC -6)
I think you're all being played for suckers. If I were a J.J. Abrams school master hack writer, I'd make it *a* mirror universe but not necessarily *the* mirror universe. It's brilliant really. It let's the writer finally dispose of all that nerdy Star Trek continuity and just do whatever. Space Dragons? Light saber duels? Wizards? Why not? It's another universe! HAHA
Gee
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 1:07pm (UTC -6)
@BZ
If Lorca did get a chance to study the defiant files then I guess it's possible to pull of a prime-Lorca pretence, but mirror-Lorca is at odds with the Emperor who most likely is in possession of the old Defiant (she stays in power by having superior tech e.g. the only ship in the fleet with cloak) so I don't see it as a possibility.

Maybe Lorca is actually a (non-sleeper) Klingon? Remember he tells Voq (I mean Tyler) that "you fight like a Klingon" -takes one to know one! ha.

@Plain Simple
yes, the admiral leading the fleet was on the Europa at the battle of the binary stars. they self destructed after T'ukma's ship rammed them. But there were no escape pods and Discovery didn't try to beam anyone off.

@Jason R.
It's possible but the writers know that if, suddenly, pink unicorns fly out of dark matter and try to invade the universe, ST fans will switch off. At least I hope that we would.
BZ
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 1:15pm (UTC -6)
@Gee,
Michael got access to the Defiant files as the captain of the Shenzhou, so clearly it is not just the emperor who has it. Mirror Michael already held this position when presumed killed by mirror (our?) Lorca. Lorca was also attempting to assassinate the emperor. Clearly he held a high enough position in the empire to attempt this and have a captain chase after him.
Gee
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 1:19pm (UTC -6)
@Ed who said "I still think he is from the MU.... He also has a smug look on his face when Georgiou show up, like he's been waiting for her and has a plan."

You see a 'smug look' where I saw a calm grin. I imagine he was thinking back to his 'destiny' conversation with Burham.
Henson
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 2:11pm (UTC -6)
@Gee

"Maybe Lorca is actually a (non-sleeper) Klingon? "

Actually, this raises a very interesting question. If Lorca is actually from the mirror universe, then where is his non-mirror counterpart?

This could potentially be explained if Mirror Lorca were actually Mirror T'Kuvma or Mirror Kol. Now, this seems unlikely since I think all of the actors for our known Klingons are accounted for, but...you never know!
Henson
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 2:18pm (UTC -6)
Actually, disregard my comment above. The Starfleet admiral knew Lorca from before, so...scratch that idea.
Gee
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 2:39pm (UTC -6)
@Henson
Also it's evident that Klingons use real human personalities to layover their sleeper agents; It was confirmed in ep6 "lethe" that Ash Tyler is a real human (who is from just outside Seattle) as Lorca verified his ID. The real Ash Tyler is no doubt dead.
LJ
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 3:42pm (UTC -6)
@Ed

"Maybe she was XO, but I like to think that "Killy" was third or fourth in command and took out all her superiors on the ship at once. :) She's ambitious."

Yeah, I love that idea too! Captain Killy is awesome! :p
LJ
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 3:43pm (UTC -6)
By the way, I'm start to wonder if something happened to Jammer. He normally doesn't take this long to post his reviews...
KT
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 4:22pm (UTC -6)
... I was starting to wonder about that too!

What could be keeping him? not waterloo again I hope haha.

I hope he's ok...
Chrome
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 5:08pm (UTC -6)
We had the MLK holiday this week. Maybe Jammer took the family on the road for a Star Trek convention. Give him a break. ; )
Eric
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 6:20pm (UTC -6)
Where the hell is Admiral Cornwell!? They rescued her before entering the MU, why don't we see her at all?
Todd
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 10:42pm (UTC -6)
@Eric They sent Admiral Cornwell to a starbase for medical treatment before they jumped to the other side.
Brian
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 12:52am (UTC -6)
The scripting and acting continues to be horrible. Mumbling dialogue, long expository sentences, it just gets worse as time goes by. Sonequa Martin Green looks great in a night gown but she is not a good lead. The plot is going nowhere fast. I don't care about any of the main characters. At this point I literally spent most of the episode hoping characters would die or be killed, so we could get them off the screen and make way for some good actors to be brought in to replace them.

Meanwhile, the message boards (including this one) consist mainly of people mired in discussion of the inane "plot" details that I could not care less about.

Yes, we now have a whole generation of Trek fans reduced to fighting over table scraps.
Plain Simple
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 2:53am (UTC -6)
@Henson: "Actually, this raises a very interesting question. If Lorca is actually from the mirror universe, then where is his non-mirror counterpart?"

I've heard or read speculation that MU Lorca destroyed PU Lorca's ship with everyone (including PU Lorca) on board. That would explain the strange story he told about blowing up his own ship while getting away safely himself.

@Brian: "Meanwhile, the message boards (including this one) consist mainly of people mired in discussion of the inane "plot" details that I could not care less about. "

If you raise an on-topic subject you are interested in instead, I'm sure we're happy to discuss it.
Galadriel
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 8:00am (UTC -6)
@ Plain Simple

At the current point, I see little other options that to discuss the plot. This whole season is just one story, and we cannot judge the value of the story, or its ideological character, before we know what it leads to.

I remember well how much I hated the 3rd season of Enterprise, which I used to call “24 in Space”. At the end, however, this criticism evaporated, because Archer stopped channeling Jack Bauer and behaved like a Starfleet Captain again (and I loved the dialogue with the Suliban spy “Captain, you have changed“ — “Not for the better” in the otherwise horrible Nazi two-parter).

So let’s wait for the remaining two episodes to air before critisizing the plot. I do agree, though, that till now the plot works mostly by mystery, twists and shocking revelations, not by logic or character. This gives the show a character that I compare to fast food (somehow appetizing and even addictive, but not really nourishing or long-time sustainable). But if the writers are significantly cleverer than they have yet shown us, I don’t doubt they could still pull off a five-course meal out of elements that are yet sown.

Plain Simple
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 8:21am (UTC -6)
@Galadriel: "At the current point, I see little other options that to discuss the plot. This whole season is just one story, and we cannot judge the value of the story, or its ideological character, before we know what it leads to."

Agreed, to a point. But separate chapters in a story should be worthwhile examining on their own. You might see them in another light at the end of the story, than during the story, but that doesn't mean there cannot be any light to see them in during the trip.

I know fictional stories are not real life (although good ones can inform real life), but one wouldn't say (I hope) that one's life is not worth examining until it's over either. So why make that case for a story?

@Galadriel: "I loved the dialogue with the Suliban spy “Captain, you have changed“ — “Not for the better” in the otherwise horrible Nazi two-parter"

I recently rewatched ENT season 4 for the first time since it aired (mostly quite enjoyable!). Wasn't this line from a conversation between Archer and the captain of the Columbia (forgot her name... Archer's old flame) in the episode following the Nazi two-parter? Or were there similar lines in both episodes?

'Fun' fact: I recently read "The Fifty-Year Mission" books (highly recommended for all Trek fans!) and in the part where they talk about ENT season 4 someone (I think Coto) mentioned that there were some suggestions (I can't remember the source of those suggestions) to set the entire season during World War II. Luckily he didn't like that idea and put an end to such silly notions!

@Galadriel: "So let’s wait for the remaining two episodes to air before criticizing the plot. I do agree, though, that till now the plot works mostly by mystery, twists and shocking revelations, not by logic or character."

Four episodes even! More time for the writers. :-) I agree on the second sentence.
Nievesg
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 10:51am (UTC -6)
At first I didn't see the point of space-mushroom-highways.. until I remembered the legend of Yggdrassil "the tree of worlds", which is some ethereal living structure connecting Asgard&Earth&etc.
Now in real science I've recently heard about Laniakea (a tree-shaped accumulation of all known galaxies...)
Well, if I can understand Yggdrassil, I can live with the mushroom network of highways now. Not a big fan of "plant/fungus" highways, but not annoying for me anymore.

Nr.1 looked impressed when Burnham brought the data module from the rebels: she seemed tp take good notes for future plans. I guess nr.1 wants to learn a few more tricks before taking command and thats why she doesn't kill Burnham yet. Besides nr.1 can say the module was her own idea and let the emperor kill Burnham and give nr.1 the captain's seat.

Burnham wanted to meet mirror Voq, not to know his reasons to ally with other species (a common enemy is a reason good enough), but to know how a klingon would put the idea in words, as a resource for sweet-talking the klingons of her home universe. But Tyler's reaction shows that such mirror-klingon-talking doesn't sound convincing to a home-universe-klingon anyway.

Btw, I feel Tyler/Voq attacked the rebels by stupid instinct, while he attacked Burnham at her quarters with a calculated plan to take command somehow.

Shazad Latif was awesome as Voq, like some kind of Hyde (well, he plays Doctor Jekyll at Penny Dreadful).

I found mirror Saru and mirror Voq really interesting! They portray a subtle unspoken story of hidden pain somehow.

SMG may look dull, but I finally loved her performance of atonishment and horror when the Emperor crashes the party.

Stamets' words about someone in the forest...sound to me like his final mind-encounter with mirror stammets.

And I love the MU. Either at Enterprise and at Discovery shows. Georgiou and Sato might be related or not, Lorca may be a MU man with a plan to meet the Emperor and take her place. I love action and it may have flaws, but it's fun!

I'm no expert but it quite works for me. Just my own opinion.
Ed
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 11:01am (UTC -6)
@Plain Simple

Yes, I agree that if the Lorca we know is from the MU (which I think he is), he blew up Lorca's old ship and took his place.

Then he used his skills of manipulation to get his superiors to buy his story and also get himself assigned to a science ship where he could supervise the work on a means of travel which could provide easy access to multiple universes.

He probably ended up in the PU through one of those random accidents we've seen before, while on the run from MU Michael whom I think he killed. Now he wants to continue his plot to overthrow the Emperor.

I'm speculating that he tries to make peace with Georgiou by telling her about PU Discovery's jump drive and dimensional travel abilities and recommending that they put their differences aside, build a fleet of warships with the spore drive and go on a spree of multidimensional conquest.

He still wants to kill her, but he needs her now and she will need his knowledge of the spore drive. He could also get aboard Discovery and set it up for takeover without the potential for destroying it that an outright Imperial attack would have.
Jammer
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 11:16am (UTC -6)
"By the way, I'm start to wonder if something happened to Jammer. He normally doesn't take this long to post his reviews..."

You clearly haven't been here long enough. :)

I am determined not to fall behind into a backlog, but posting the day or two after airing, while a goal, will not always be possible. I have two kids under the age of 5, a full-time job, and household obligations that make time a premium. Sometimes the reviewing schedule just won't work out. I am frankly amazed it has so far since the fall.
NCC-1701-Z
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 12:52pm (UTC -6)
Jammer: Without commenting on the actual ep itself apparently your tendencies to delay are legendary; there's an old Trek parody site that made a brief reference to it (it's a parody of an Andromeda ep)

fiveminute.net/andromeda/fiver.php?ep=ouroboros
Galadriel
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 1:28pm (UTC -6)
@Plain Simple

I think this is the curse of serialized TV: The single episodes cannot be enjoyed as a standalone outing, but must serve a larger plot, which reduces their individual meaning.

If done badly (Alias, I am looking at you!), this results in completely meaning­less episodes that might fit together at the end of the season (or show), or more likely will never fit. They might be still engaging and thrilling, and efficiently moti­vate viewers to return to the screen next week, but in hind­sight, the experience is shallow. As with fast food, that you can’t stop eating but get stomach ache from.

In my mind, shows like Buffy, B5 and DS9 did it right, because they began mostly episodic, used the strengths of this format for characters and atmo­sphere and to establish the universe, and only switch­ed to serialized mode when the big things are going to happen. Yet, in the current word, where at­ten­tion spans range be­tween milli­seconds and mi­nu­tes, it is no longer an option to spend entire seasons on world­building and characters (which per­haps is why fran­chises are so com­mon — they draw on past worldbuilding).

I basically agree with all your criticism, but like I don’t pan a government in its first 100 days, I give the writers the bene­fit of doubt for the entire first season. My checklist of „things to fix before season finale“ grows longer and longer, but some items did get checked in the last two epis­odes, and I hope for more. Maybe I fell into the trap that I be­came so hungry for Star Trek that I am too patient now.

The dialogue between Archer and Silik is in “Storm Front II”, around 20:10. But you are right, there is a similar one with Hernandez also in the following episode.
Henson
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 1:46pm (UTC -6)
@Galadriel

Your complaints about the risks of serialized television are exactly the things that bug me in storytelling; for a lot of fiction, I can't know if the writers really know what they are doing until the very end. And once we get to that point, and things don't come together, I feel tricked for having stuck with the story for the whole time.

For long-form fiction, I want writers to focus on the journey as well, not just the destination.
NCC-1701-Z
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 2:02pm (UTC -6)
Doctor Who struck a good balance between standalone and serialization I felt - typical season was composed of mostly standalone eps, slowly dropping hints and building up to the season finale, but at the same time I can watch the eps of any season in any order and enjoy them. I can't say the same for more serialized shows - for instance I can't just decide "I'll watch a random ep of Lost tonight before bed" or I end up feeling well, lost, as much as I loved that show.
Trent
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 8:26pm (UTC -6)
Galadrial said: "I think this is the curse of serialized TV: The single episodes cannot be enjoyed as a standalone outing, but must serve a larger plot, which reduces their individual meaning."

In the 1800s, serialization was viewed by academics and critics as low art. Coinciding with the Industrial Revolution, it was deemed factory art, lacking in formal precision, churned out like a product, and forced to engage in constant wheel spinning and delaying tactics to maximize profit. But the masses loved it and guys like Dickens gave the format some street cred.

Ray Bradbury, in his writings on scifi writer Charles Beaumont, says science fiction writing should be short, playful, and have the wild, experimental curiosity of a child. He resented the dour, serious, protracted style of 1960s scifi, and preferred scifi to remember its pulpy roots in magazines, anthologies and short stories. A good SF tale is self contained, he believed, formally and thematically inventive, is designed around a point or idea, and exists to push the limits of what the medium, tale or idea can get away with. It tries to be as twisted and zany as possible. Today, shows like Orville and Dark Mirror try to evoke this old style, but they're mostly safe and derivative behind their updated decor. Comedies like Futurama or Rick and Morty update better the formal inventiveness and heady zanyness of 1950s SF, but their philosophies are largely apolitical, anarchic and cynical.

While I agree with Bradbury, I think what Trek needs - which is to say what society needs - is a loosely serialized TNG styled show which is intensely political, scientific and dead serious; literally episodes of guys weighing regolith and studying boring alien fungus. Maybe include a 2 parter involving the collection of soil samples. I'd pay good money to watch Captain Phillipa and Michael charting ion storms or taking humidity readings on Banal IV.
Trent
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 8:35pm (UTC -6)
Galadriel said: "In my mind, shows like Buffy, B5 and DS9 did it right, because they began mostly episodic."

And Buffy (created by a scifi buff) at its best wasn't merely episodic; it used its 45 minutes as a game or challenge to the writer; how far can you push the medium in just 45 minutes? How many metaphors, allegories, original angles and subversive moments can you cram into 45 minutes? What new things can you do with the narrative form in just 45 minutes? And it's those episodes you remember, much like TOS' "City at the Edge of Forever" is remembered, or TNG's "Inner Light" or DS9's "Visitor".
Plain Simple
Sat, Jan 20, 2018, 9:11am (UTC -6)
@NCC-1701-Z

Ah, the Five Minute ... website. I completely forgot about that one. Great blast from the past! Thanks.

@Galadriel and Trent

I'd be remiss if I didn't add Farscape to the Buffy, B5, DS9 list.

@NCC-1701-Z

I think new Who was in its initial conception quite influenced by Buffy, although I don't think it pulled off the season long arc very well in its earlier seasons. Or perhaps I was hoping for stronger serialization back in the day.

In fact, I don't mind serialization at all. One of my issues with VOY and ENT back in the day (much the same I think as Jammer voiced in his reviews back then) was the lack of consequences and subsequent squandering of then very interesting premises of those shows. But, as Galadriel also hints at, DSC moves at lightning speed with its plot, so that we have little to no time to care about the characters and the 'shocking twists' become empty, even if not predicted. For example: the death of Landry. She was briefly introduced in episode 3, spend the first half of episode 4 being obnoxious and stupid, and then got killed through her own unbelievable (literally) incompetence. So that 'shock' did not land for me at all.
Jammer
Sun, Jan 21, 2018, 11:25am (UTC -6)
Review now posted.
Gavin
Sun, Jan 21, 2018, 12:04pm (UTC -6)
Thanks for the review Jammer.

I for one am thoroughly enjoying the show. The characterisation and cinematography is compelling, but it is tempered by a few illogical plot elements (in particular, the L'Rell and Voq infiltration plan; it makes no sense).
Plain Simple
Sun, Jan 21, 2018, 12:09pm (UTC -6)
Nice review Jammer. I agree that the plotting seems to be improving compared to the first half of the season in the sense that each episode seems more focused, but it's not quite there yet (see for example the Tyler beam out scene that leaves many questions unanswered). Hopefully the upward trend will continue.
WTBA
Sun, Jan 21, 2018, 12:20pm (UTC -6)
I really don't understand the confusion about Discovery picking up Tyler. Burnham's earlier conversation with Tilly/Prime Saru clearly showed she had a communication line open with them. Furthermore, Lorca told the Discovery to say close (to the Shenzhou) before he and Burnham parted in the previous episode.

Sure, they could have showed Burnham calling Prime Saru back and hatching the plan, but that would have completely killed the drama of the scene of Tyler being beamed off and "saved."
Mertov
Sun, Jan 21, 2018, 1:41pm (UTC -6)
Great review Jammer, as usual..

I must admit, not being a fan of the Mirror Universe in general, I was hoping this episode would end that adventure (as I expressed in my comments for the last episode), but this is by far the most ambitious use of the Mirror Universe in Star Trek, tying the main characters into long-term, consequential, and revealing narratives.

This episode actually made the last episode look even better (although Frakes' directing of the Voq-Tyler/L'Rell dialogue scene in the brig made it the most intense sequence of the season in my opinion). I am game with this type of development even if it involves the MU. The stubborn in me still hopes, though, that we don't close out the season with an episode that still takes place in the MU. But, okay...

My only problem with this episode was the inactive stance of Burnham when Voq-Tyler attacked mirror-Voq. I can only "loosely" attribute that to the shock factor that Michael may have been experiencing at that moment.

I agree with WTBA (above) regarding Discovery picking up Tyler. Obviously, Michael communicated the plan to Saru even though it wasn't shown on screen. I didn't think twice about that either.

Looking forward to this evening's episode..
Plain Simple
Sun, Jan 21, 2018, 2:29pm (UTC -6)
@WTBA @Mertov

For my part, it's not the communication that 'confuses' me, but the fact that the Discovery is apparantly able to get there in a few minutes time without being spotted. Sure, you might be able to come up with a reason how thatbmight be possible, but that doesn't mean not showing any of that isn't uneven plotting. A large part of this season's plot focus has been on the Discovery's means of propulsion. If they can suddenly jump in and out of situations without the spore drive (using the plot drive instead) that undercuts the plot they want us to care about.

In the grand scheme of things it might be a minor issue, but it was the first (and freshest) example that came to mind when I wrote that comment about the plotting.
Neliz
Sun, Jan 21, 2018, 4:00pm (UTC -6)
@Mertov

I haven’t seen TOS and I mainly know the mirror universe from DS9, the last episode of which (something about the grand Angus) i didn’t even watch because I had grown so tired of the use of the MU. I was highly sceptical of DISCO going down the MU path, but so far I’m enjoying it a lot and actually think it’s a credit to the series.

The way I see this playing out is that episode 3 of chapter 2 will be in the MU in its entirety, and the USS Discovery will make it back to Prime in episode 4, so there are 2 episodes left to finish the Klingon war arc in the Prime universe. Unless the last episode is 90 minutes or so, in which case discovery might make it back to Prime in episode 5.
Dobber
Sun, Jan 21, 2018, 7:18pm (UTC -6)
@Neliz I highly recommend you check out TOS “Mirror, Mirror”. It’s one of the best TOS episodes there is and highly relevant for this story.

My perspective regarding the issue about how Discovery beamed Tyler on board, while I was watching the scene I was trying to figure out how they were going to keep Tyler alive. I thought maybe she would store him in the pattern buffer instead of completing the transport, or beam him somewhere else on the ship (maybe she put Lorca somewhere he could take care of him from). I had ruled out beaming him to the Discovery because there was no way the Discovery was near by. They were on a mission from the Empire, they would be detected and the opening scene established that Discovery was still in the debris field and damaged. So it was a jarring experience to see him materialize on the Discovery transporter.
Filip
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 5:18am (UTC -6)
@Plain Simple
"My initial concern was about the almost instinctive willingness that some people seem to have to jump to the "they are related" suggestion. I don't know individual people's reasons for doing so, but seeing this in a larger context makes me suspect it has something to do with the apparent interchangeability of Asian cultures in western eyes."



Sorry for the late reply, the explosion of comments this site has seen since the debut of Discovery makes it really hard to keep track of everything. Plain Simple, I understood everything you wanted to say, I just wanted to point out that if writers ever decided to make them related, the actors' backgrounds should by no means stand in the way of that. My comment was more of a critique of confounding real life elements with fictive ones. At no point did I say that they HAVE to do it. They don't. But to address your concern, I don't think people wanted to tie them together just because of some western whim seeing how they are both Asian. I think people want to tie them together because by doing that, they would tie this show to another Trek series, which is what would make this really odd series, to say the least, "more Trek." (The irony being that the other series they would want to tie it with is a black sheep of its own kind.)

@Chrome
"Except that just making them Asian in appearance shouldn't be enough to make them related. There's rougly 4.4 billion Asians living on Earth, and even assuming only 1/100th of those survive WWIII in the Trekverse, it's still a pretty ridiculous conclusion to reach "


Yes, I completely agree, and again, my point wasn't at all in support of that conclusion. It was in support of the fact that that conclusion is not an absolute impossibility. But take this -I would presume that there are even more Vulcans than Asians in the Trek universe, and again it happens that our protagonist is the daughter of none other than the Vulcan we've already seen in two other Trek series. How likely is that? Of course, I don't expect an answer to this question because we all know why that is. I am just saying that on the writers' table (especially the one where Discovery is being written), maths and real-life probabilites don't count for much.

I ended up in this discussion despite the whole deal with making the two related doesn't interest me one bit when compared to all the issues that plague this series because they being related was not even the point of my first comment on this subject.

Now, onto the next episode.
Nic
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 7:57am (UTC -6)
Not much to say about this one. No major missteps, but no truly riveting scenes either. If the characters had been sufficiently developed beforehand, this one would be a winner.

Of course Voq is the leader of the rebels and Sarek is his psychic and Georgiou is the Emperor. Who else could it be in a Universe populated by about 30 characters?

Although I like Tilly, I agree that having her be the one treat Stamets is, well, just as silly as pretty much everything else on this show. Can we get some recurring characters please? It’s telling that the MU Keyla Detmer (I had to look up the name) had more lines in this episode than the “prime” one did in all previous episodes combined.

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