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Trent
Wed, Apr 24, 2019, 6:14am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

Can someone explain this?

According to the show, the signal at Kaminar happened before Discovery arrived. The angel that Saru saw out the window showed up several hours or days after the signal, and disabled all the Ba'ul weapons. This seems inconsistent with this new episode, which shows Michael arriving and creating the signal at Kaminar when Saru was already on the Ba'ul ship.
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Trent
Tue, Apr 23, 2019, 12:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

Alan said: "Which show would an outside observer suggests needs more to learn from the other? "


Popularity and longevity don't inherently correlate with quality. The most watched youtube videos include Justin Bieber, a singing cartoon shark, a Latin American woman shaking her butt and Gangnam Style. The most watched series last year include America's Got Talent, NCIS and Young Sheldon. The longest running TV shows include NCIS, Beverly Hills 90210 and Two and a Half Men. Firefly was cancelled after 1 season. The Wire was ignored when it was originally running. Seth McFarlane has the second and third longest running half-hour sitcoms in the history of TV.
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Trent
Tue, Apr 23, 2019, 6:15am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

Lynos said: "By the way, I did not see anyone mention this, but the opening was different, wasn't it?"

Yeah, the credits were hugely cut.

As for "dating the younger version of your ex", I don't see anything unethical about it, especially if your ex gives your permission as Ex Kelly seems to do in this episode. But it's worth remembering that the episode itself doesn't endorse this; both Ed and the writer conclude that it's a bad idea.

For me, far worse was Orville's handling of Kelly's "infidelity". She was basically raped by the Blue Alien and his pheromones. This subplot needed at least one scene which condemns this, but it's brushed aside or treated for laughs.
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Trent
Tue, Apr 23, 2019, 6:09am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

Artymiss said: "Huh?! In what way is he 'de-gayed'?"

Sorry Artymiss, I wasn't clear enough. When Culber returned from sporeworld, there was speculation here that he had been radically transformed and probably become heterosexual. Of course subsequent episodes confirmed that this isn't true. But for a brief period (one or two episodes), I thought it was an interesting SF angle to explore, especially as Culber's acted so well.
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Trent
Mon, Apr 22, 2019, 7:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

There are no space battles in Delany's Nova. And I can't believe people are comparing Disco to Jules Verne and Wells.

Disco is mostly good SF ideas destroyed by generic, tropey TV writing. In season 1, the idea of contrasting the Federation and Mirror Universe, and having them bleed into one another at a time of war, is good. The idea of fleets starring down one another over a torch-beacon, is good. The idea of a pacifist/prey species, is good etc etc.

Meanwhile in this season the idea of dramatic red signals in the sky is great. The idea of a powerful alien or thing orchestrating events to save species, is great. The idea of Culber being "de-gayed" after his trip back from sporeworld, is great etc etc.

Discovery cooks up some good ideas. A team of bad writers then systematically destroy, ignore or chop them up. I mean, this show literally degenerates from mysterious red lights to a GIANT SUBPLOT ABOUT A WOMAN NONSENSICALLY TRAPPED WITH A TORPEDO.
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Trent
Sun, Apr 21, 2019, 8:56pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

Can someone explain the probe encountered over Kaminar?

Michael in the Red Angel suit appears over Kaminar, then is yanked back to the future through the wormhole created by the suit. Pike fires a probe into this wormhole and the probe gets sucked 500 years into the future, where it encounters someone who reprograms it (Control?) and turns it into a super , futuristic, high-tech probe. It then re-emerges from the wormhole and attacks Pike.

Is that correct? Isn't that what the early episode's say?

But according go this finale, the Red Angel suit wormhole led just a few weeks into the future. The probe couldn't have come from here. And in this future - the battle with Section 31 - nobody saw a probe or messed with it anyway.
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Trent
Sun, Apr 21, 2019, 4:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

I thought this episode had two great jokes: Ed and Gordon playing future Nintendo on the couch, and Yaphid dancing like a manic blob.

Thematically, I thought this episode would turn out to be a giant guy's fantasy: Ed misses Kelly, wants to make up for being a poor husband, is still in love with her, and so, via a time-travel contrivance, conjures up a version of Kelly from 7 years ago. Finally a chance to make things right!

But, perhaps because it was written by a woman (Janet Lin, who I assume has no interest in creepy Ed), the episode focuses on Kelly instead. The younger Kelly is used to examine older Kelly's insecurities and her perceived failures. We then get a moment of twin-sister solidarity: younger Kelly assures older Kelly that their lives turned out well.

But when younger Kelly returns to her own time (via another time travel contrivance), she commits a breathtakingly sinister act of vengeance. She turns down a date with Ed and so effectively kills future Kelly.

What's interesting is that, when she was in the future, younger Kelly saved the Orville from certain destruction at the hands of the Kaylon. This detail seems strangely specific, and I assume this occurrence will have weird ramifications in the next episode.

Some have complained that Ed is a giant creep in this episode, but I think he redeems himself. He's just madly in love with All Kelly's, but recognizes Old Kelly as his Prime Kelly. And I'm not even sure that ditching your Present Ex for her Past Version is immoral. I dunno.

It's interesting that Discovery ends with a time-travel heavy two partner, and Orville likewise is now ending its season with a time-travel two parter.

Anyway, I found this to be a decent episode, engaging and pleasant but a bit too low-energy and low-stakes. It's very hard to rate it without knowing where the second installment goes. Some have compared it to TNG's "Second Chances", but I think it also echoes TNG's "We'll Always have Paris", an underrated time-travel episode, this time with Picard pining for a long lost love, and contemplating his past, career and various regrets.

I hope they lean a bit heavier on the comedy next season. Just a slightly bit more jokes and wisecracks (or is this just me? Do people prefer a more straight tone?); this season has been very serious, and very relationship heavy, with only 1 real "planet of the week" story. It's handed its little "SF relationship" plots consistently well, but "anthology" shows like this need some variety.
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Trent
Sat, Apr 20, 2019, 5:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

Galadriel said: "with a lot of crew that might have pre­fer­red to re­main in the 23ʳᵈ cen­tu­ry even if a time jump is deemed neces­sary to eli­mi­nate the threat for­ever"

This is a big issue. Does the show ever explicitly say that crewmen who wish to remain in the 23rd century, are being shipped to the Enterprise? We know the crew shipped to the Enterprise when Discovery was set to auto destruct, but it seems to have been repopulated once plans were changed.
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Trent
Sat, Apr 20, 2019, 5:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

Galadriel said: "How­ever, there are major pro­blems: (α) Ash he could not have left, because the enemy ar­ma­da showed up im­me­di­ate­ly after his talk to Pike (β) the time is in­suf­fici­ent, as there can be no more than an hour of time be­tween him leaving the stage an re­tur­ning with the Klingon Flag­ship Ice­breaker and (γ) he cannot reveal himself to any Klingon with­out under­mining Chan­cel­lor L’Rell. "

lol, wait a second. That's true. Ash is hugging and making out with Michael in the previous episode, which was about 30 mins before Section 31 showed up. And he shows up with a Klingon fleet about 55 minutes later. This show has no sense of time and space.
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Trent
Sat, Apr 20, 2019, 11:05am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

Alan said: "The door is called a BLAST door. What do you imagine a BLAST door is capable of stopping. A BLAST maybe?"

Ah yes, those infamous "closed from the inside blast doors which cannot be closed by robot drones and must be closed by high ranking admirals immune to transportation devices."


Alan said: "But only Burnham gets called a God? Such worshipfulness. [...] The Enterprise and crew saves the Universe just as much and repeatedly during Kirk's era. This is what the Enterprise does. When was it ever a humble exploratory vessel. For example, In Erand of Mercy it was the vanguard of the fleet in a war that was about to start with the Klingons."

The series explicitly links Michael to divine beings. But that's not the point. Michael can save all the universe's she wants. The point is, Spock and the Enterprise are now huge, galactic scale heroes before that reputation is built in TOS.

And the TOS Enterprise was a humble vessel. Previously, its 5 year mission tinkering at the edge of space, is what cemented the ship and its crew's heroic legacy. Now Enterprise/Spock is the symbolic savior of the Universe before Kirk even gets her.

And Errand of Mercy was a relatively mundane mission, and one in which the problem is solved by Organian Gods, not Kirk. Kirk only saves the universe once in Season 1 from galaxy destroy villains, in the terrible "The Alternative Factor". TOS only ever lifts the stakes that high again in "Doomsday Machine" and "Nomad".

"Trek" has made this mistake already, with Archer being given a ship called Enterprise. Piggybacking on name recognition lessens the charm of the TOS era.

Alan said: "The Enterprise and Disco have been established as capable of taking a pounding."

Go and watch the season 1 pilot again, and look how fragile Fed ships are compared to this season 2 climax.
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Trent
Sat, Apr 20, 2019, 7:28am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

So to summarize this two parter:

1. The Discovery and Enterprise are fleet carriers with massive fleets of drones and shuttles.

2. The Federation possess awesome time-traveling suit technology which can be hastily built in a few hours.

3. L'rell denounces Ash and displays his decapitated head to the Klingon Council, but sticks him on the bridge of her flagship and rallies a fleet behind his wishes.

4. Low-tech Kelpians achieve independence and suddenly become capable of commanding massive warships and/or fighters.

5. An Admiral is stuck in a room with a torpedo. This torpedo has a countdown timer or ticking clock pasted to it. The explosion of the torpedo can be stopped by a small, windowed door. This magical door can only be closed from inside the room, and only by a high ranked human and not a robot drone. The human, once having pulled the lever, cannot be transported out of the room.

6. The Mirror Empress can win a hand-to-hand battle with a powerful, nanite guided robot Leland.

7. In a society with fusion power generators and anti matter matter reactors, the Golden Gate Bridge is covered in solar panels.

8. Like a god, a divine being arranging events, Michael sets up a temporal paradox in which she is essentially the savor of the Federation and all sentient life. Michael is now the most important Trek character ever.

9. Spock and the Enterprise are now permanently altered. Kirk's Enterprise is no longer a lowly, simple exploratory vessel in the processing of earning a reputation and forging a legacy and a place in history. No, suddenly, Enterprise and Spock are responsible for saving the universe before Trek mythology and its various heroic journeys even begin.

10. The Disco and Enterprise's shields can sustain over half an hour of pounding from over a dozen capital ships.

10. Discovery has a spore drive which lets it stay ahead of Section 31 (it can spore jump far away and THEN recharge the crystals with the spore drive), but conveniently forgets to do this.
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Trent
Fri, Apr 19, 2019, 9:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

Well, we finally have the climax of this 14 episode arc.

This episode divides cleanly into 5 sections. In the first, Saru and Pike wage a massive space battle with Section 31. But despite all the razzle dazzle on display, this is dull CGI spam, devoid of tension, clever ideas, any sense of drama, geography or intelligent tactics, and which panders to the lowest common denominator's idea of "cool". That the Discovery and Enterprise can take so many hits, and that Discovery contains so many shuttles and fighter-drones (especially when you consider, as her elevator shots show, that Discovery's mostly empty space), is unbelievable. This section also ends with an ally fleet coming to the rescue of our heroes, a generic "cavalry charge deus ex machina" which we recently saw done marginally better in The Orville.

The episode's second section involves an Admiral trying to solve the problem of a torpedo lodged in the Enterprise's hull. Bizarrely, this torpedo didn't detonate against the ship's shields. Nonsensically, it has a ticking clock pasted to its shell. Incredulously, the admiral's solution to the problem of the torpedo is to "pull a lever that seals the torpedo in a room with magic, impervious doors". She dies in this room, because everyone forgets to beam her out. Why devote such a big part of your season climax to such a silly subplot?

The episode's third section involves the Mirror Empress fighting Robot Leland. Yes, Discovery's idea of a "climax" is once again a game of fisticuffs. Leland and the Empress punch and kick and battle Inception-style in a rotating corridor, trading pantomime villain dialogue along the way (everyone in this show speaks with modern snark or hip slang). The Empress kills Leland with magnets and a glass box. It is implied that Control is thus beaten - all its ships power down, implying that Control goofed up and put all his nanite eggs in one basket (Leland) - which makes Michael's subsequent plan to "beam into the future" pointless.

The episode's fourth section involves Michael and Spock hastily completing the Red Angel suit. That the Federation has access to time travel suits with infinite computing power at this point in time, is unbelievable. Regardless, they use this suit to "navigate through the enemy fleet", thanks to the help of a goofy looking "shuttle escort". Once safe, Michael and Spock spend far too much time having melodramatic discussions. Afterwards she goes back in time to intimately orchestrate events. Like a god, a divine being arranging predestined domino collapses, Michael sets up a temporal paradox in which she is essentially the savor of the Federation and all sentient life. She learns to have "faith in herself", and in doing so births every single subsequent Trek episode. Michael is now the most important Trek character ever. Which is annoying, but fine.

What's less fine is that Spock and the Enterprise are now permanently altered. Kirk's Enterprise felt like just another lowly, simple exploratory vessel. Kirk, Spock and Enterprise seemed as though they were in the processing of earning their reputation and forging a legacy and a place in history. But now, suddenly, Enterprise and Spock are responsible for saving the universe before Trek mythology and its various heroic journeys even begin. The Enterprise is now a battle proven ship which has fought one of the most important battles in naval history. How can you even look at the TOS Enterprise and Spock the same way, knowing that the known universe exists precisely because of them.

The episode's fifth thread simply watches as various secondary characters try to keep their ships afloat. Mostly this is lots of whip-pans, over-written dialogue and over-dramatic reaction shots. Stamets takes a wound to the chest (the writers covering themselves for season 4), Culber shows up to love his man, and a security officer delivers some comic-book one liners.

And that's it. 14 episodes to tell a temporal paradox story that past Trek would have done in 45 minutes, and which Discovery would have done better to tell in about 8.

As for the rest of the season, which I just binge watched in rapid succession (the show benefits from being watched this way, and many perceived flaws are softened), I thought the pilot was great; exciting, intriguing, mysterious, fun and funny. Episode 2, "New Eden", similarly pushed things in an intriguing direction. Episode 3 was widely criticized - this is where the Klingons, Mirror Empress, Ash and Section 31 are introduced - but in hindsight its a decent episode. The initial hate of Ash and Section 31 stems mostly from not quite knowing where these arcs were going. And of course Mirror Empress morphs into something a bit heroic.

Episode 4 is when Discovery begins to get overcrowded. With "An Obol for Charon" we have the discovery of the data sphere, Saru almost dying and Tilly dragged into spore world. Far from an "integral piece of the puzzle", this all feels like a needless distraction. Still, its a reasonably fun, if overly busy episode.

Episode 5, "Saints of Imperfection" derails things further. What should be a streamlined, tense, Red Angel arc gets dragged into sporeworld. This is very very silly stuff, but also audacious and great in parts. Michael acts her little heart out, Tilly has a cute relationship with a spore alien, and Stamets and Culber have a great reunion. The problem with all this is that the Red Angel plot is clearly being used to justify "episodic asides", little offshoot tales that kill all overriding tension/momentum.

Episode 6 is the popular "Sound of Thunder", where Saru instigates revolution on Kaminar. I thought this was a bad episode, with lots of on-the-nose dialogue and incredulous moments (the Federation reorders an entire species' biology and culture!). "Light and Shadows" come next, where Michael travels to Vulcan. A weak episode, but it's the first time we see adult Michael and Spock interact. Though a better series would omit Spock entirely, and omit Michael's relationship with him, their arc throughout the series is nevertheless mostly excellent. Almost everything about them works well as a kind of sibling love-story.

Episode 7 is "If Memory Serves", which fans love but I found to be weak. An already overly busy tale didn't need to deep-dive into yet another tangent (Pike's life), and Spock's revelations (future robots want to destroy the universe) begin to steadily cheapen the show. Episode 8 is a straightforward, excellent, touching adventure with "Project Daedalus", at which point the series begins to nosedive. "The Red Angel", "Perpetual Infinity", "Through the Valley of Shadows", and the two-part climax are mostly a string of cliches and weak action scenes. Elevating things somewhat is Michael's mother, who shines in every sequence she is in, a scene in which Michael sacrifices herself by strapping herself to a chair (very Christlike, but that's our Michael), and some good scenes between Spock and Michael.

So, not as politically/philosophically interesting as Season 1, but not as awful as well. IMO the pilot and Project Daedalus are the best episodes, with perhaps 3 more episodes having isolated scenes which approach greatness. IMO this tale would have benefited from a tighter, shorter arc.
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Trent
Thu, Apr 18, 2019, 8:03am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

Liam said: "I wouldn't worry, everything is related to everything else on this show."

Which is itself the chief theme of the season: a god-like hand intervening, reaching through time and space, to orchestrate and organize every little thing and relationship in the season. The season itself begins with Michael telling the story of an ancient African myth. A myth about a "girl who tosses stuff into the air" which "becomes the universe" and "contains a message in a bottle" visible "only to those faithful few whose hearts are open enough to see it."

Pre-season buzz made this sound like a season about faith and religion, but the faith angle is doing something a bit creepier; faith in a kind of predestination or super-determinism. The guiding hand of Michael, Michael's Mom, or some other future agent we don't know yet.
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Trent
Wed, Apr 17, 2019, 6:46pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

Oh, thanks for that. Hadn't reached that episode in my re-watch yet. I'm trying to re-watch of all episodes before the final is aired.

I was hoping New Eden ties into the Calypso short Trek episode, and the finale, in some way. I expected the guy from Calypso to be a far-future ancestor of the scientist in New Eden.

Hastily binging these episodes, one quickly notices the subtle difference between the styles of the directors. I would actually say Kurtzman is the best director on the show thus far; his direction is the most cinematic, a cut above everyone else's, and his pilot juggles comedy, action and the entire cast well. Next is Frakes, who IMO directs the next two best episodes after the pilot. The others are pretty disposable, other than David Barrett (Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad in season 1, and Saints of Imperfection in this season). I wouldn't say these episodes are good, but they have interesting and great moments, and are similarly audacious.

I would say Olatunde Osunsanmi is the worst director (this episode and Point of Light, and he's directing the finale). Though on a show like this, the director is at the mercy of their script.
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Trent
Wed, Apr 17, 2019, 6:01pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

A reminder that we still don't know why the Red Angel sets up the colony on New Eden. Why save people from WW3 and plant them halfway across the galaxy?

Surely this has to be revealed in the next episode. That church and colony seems needed by Michael or Michael's mom, maybe because of the black engineer guy down there (needed to fix the suit? Related to Michael?), or perhaps the lights from the church tower (which wouldn't be lit without Pike) provide some kind of crucial, future beacon. Or perhaps the power cell Pike gives the colony has some future significance.

The show's setting up some big mind screw, because a lot of its little puzzle pieces are yet to slot into place.
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Trent
Tue, Apr 16, 2019, 2:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

Ghosted said: "I do think the 'goodbyes' dragged out a little too much for my liking."

Maybe they were inserted as padding. The final two episodes were probably one episode. When the producers ordered another episode (possibly, as Jammer alludes, to increase subscription profits), this "farewell" stuff may have been inserted as filler.
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Trent
Tue, Apr 16, 2019, 2:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

Alan said: "spending the equivalent of 10 pages on goodbyes isn't way too long by any stretch and definitely not bad storytelling. [...] Discovery is a 500 page novel [...]"

Telling goodbyes which involve characters who are barely developed, who have very little screen time, who are in romantic relationships which the audience doesn't feel or believe ("I love you but I need to stay back and hang out in the grey areas"...who writes this stuff), who take hokey shuttle rides to meet Michael, who have just been introduced (Xahean queen Me Hani Ika Hali Ka Po!), who are reading monologues/logs to characters we don't know, is bad storytelling.

A good 500 page novel would not shoehorn all of this out of nowhere. They would develop Detmer, Airiam, Owosekum etc before giving them elaborate funerals/farewells.
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Trent
Mon, Apr 15, 2019, 11:02am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Sanctuary

Alan said: "Why do you think no one one one the show ever wondered why Moclans society is the way it is? Do you ever wonder why they are the way they are? "

Several episodes have implied that the harsh conditions on the Moclan home world led to evolutionary and social changes. Their bodies became stronger, their digestive system less finicky, and they began to glorify strength and hyper-masculinity, traits which helped them survive. In one episode, one character outright says that humans would behave as Moclans do, if it facilitated survival on a harsh, desert world.

There's an interesting branch of anthropology that believes that gender roles and societies are shaped by their agricultural past and tools, which are themselves shaped by climate (cultures which used smaller tools, rather than animal driven ploughs, for example, have greater gender equality, as more women participated in manual work). Like human desert societies influenced various cultures, I'd imagine Moclan's brutal landscape similarly led to its norms.

Omicron said: "But I still maintain that Enterprise is a worthy addition to Trek lore. In fact, in some ways, it is my favorite Trek show. I also maintain that the Xindi arc is a good 9/11 analogy."

I think you've actually inspired me to re-watch S3 and 4 starting tonight. It's been a long time since I last watched. I hold you accountable for any distress that may befall.

Omicron said: "Take TNG's "The Outcast" for example. It's a pretty bad episode"

You don't even like the tone and direction of the episode? I can understand bashing it on thematic grounds, but I thought the muted, subdued tone was great. It's all such gripping, quiet conversation.

Gerontius said: "To start with, are there actually any differences between the "male" and [...] "

I always assumed the Moclans were some kind of hermaphrodite race, where the males can fertilize one another. This would (I assume) require each male to have "male" and "female" stuff (sperm and ovaries?).

Maybe they even started off with biparental reproduction, but the harsh conditions on their planet made them change over time. Like frogs change sex to survive harsh conditions (sequential hermaphrodites, born one sex but shifting to another as need be), evolutionary pressures maybe selected for mutable males, or males with both sex organs.

I'd assume that females could reproduce as well. If its a hermaphrodite race, you'd think everyone would possess the same sex organs. Or - more interestingly - maybe the females are a byproduct of a evolutionary dead end. The males literally have no use for weak females*, because the males are so altered, so evolved, that their junk is now only compatible with other males and...oh god, I can't believe I'm typing this stuff.

*I don't mean to imply that women are weak, but in many species, pregnancy and carrying young takes a toll on the body. Females are more physically vulnerable when carrying a child/egg. On the Moclan homeworld, this may have been deemed a hindrance.
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Trent
Mon, Apr 15, 2019, 10:13am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

Rahul said: "Maybe there's a better word than "swashbuckling" to describe Sisko's deeds..."

I'd call that "realpolitik" (ie a decision based on perceived practical and pragmatic considerations rather than moral or ideological considerations). Sisko was behaving like a typical politician or general; he rationalized what he was doing for the greater good.

"Swashbuckling" is something else entirely. It's Sulu in tights fighting with a sword, and Kirk topless and wrestling with a Gorn. It's old school adventure. For all its flaws, the JJ movies recognized that part of the charm of the TOS era was its funny, rough-and-tumble shenanigans.
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Trent
Mon, Apr 15, 2019, 10:03am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

Me last week: "Michael has a crystal vision of the Enterprise shooting at the Discovery, and seeing that this fails, tells Pike not to bother shooting at the ship. The moment is hard to miss, because it's structured as a little vision immediately after her main vision. So the Discovery never actually raises shields to defend itself from the Enterprise. It lets everyone back on board, because it doesn't quite view them as threat."

Alan this week: "Discovery is too complex and intelligent! Everyone missed the second vision! The haters aren't paying attention!"

But Alan is right in a sense; some episodes do need watching twice to track their lines of logic. Can anyone honestly say they understood the Culber/Sporeworld sub-arc after one viewing?

The problem is, these rewatches often expose how silly the information you're being asked to decipher is ("He survived because he was resurrected by a tear and covered himself in spore trees!"). The "shocks" and "gotchas" the show relies on to keep you watching, are also spoiled. The "big mysteries" made out of Spock's murder and Michael's "feud with Spock", to cite just two examples, feel dull upon rewatch.

Regardless, for me the 3 big "logic problems" in this episode are this: Firstly, Section 31 should never catch up with the Discovery. Discovery simply has to acquire the "crystal recharging technology", spore jump across the galaxy where it cannot be quickly reached by Section 31, and then begin using the spore drive to juice up the time crystals (which takes several hours).

Secondly, if you know Discovery (and the data sphere) seeks to protect itself, and you know it won't raise its shields (thereby letting you back on board), you have a multitude of ways to cunningly destroy the ship. As a last resort, you can even put the crew in escape pods, set the Enterprise to self-destruct, and ram it into Discovery.

Thirdly, if you know the "data sphere" has some sort of "sentience", you can "talk" to it and convince it that it is in its best interest to avoid Section 31. You can even convince it that it can "survive" in separate time line, or even in the sporeworld "sub-universe".

This all also obfuscates a big issue: the easiest way for Control to acquire the sphere data would have been to do nothing. Simply let the Discovery beam the data to Starfleet HQ. As Control is plugged into Starfleet computers, this data then ultimately flows to it anyway. Conversely, use one of your hologram admirals to order Pike to beam the data to one of your ships. It had plenty of time to do this.

Instead, Control operates like a 19th century data trader. It gets Airiam to physically download the sphere data into her, and physically walk into Control HQ and physically hand it over to Control. This is stupid, as it immediately tips our heroes off as to what Control is, wants, and how it operates.

But all these issues are brushed aside in the rush to usher us into Michael's plan.
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Trent
Mon, Apr 15, 2019, 9:06am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

Paul M: "There's no reason you can't have a swashbuckling action series post-VOY."

I agree if we're talking about characters outside of Starfleet. One can easily imagine a post-VOY show involving swashbuckling Klingtons, smugglers, traders and rogues.

But such a show involving the crew of a Federation ship? I can't see that quite working.

To me, the TOS era feels populated by 18th and 19th century pirates, packet ships and gunboats. It feels like the lawless times when the Great European Empires were scrambling for land and colonies, all making their first forays into the unknown! It feels a little bit tongue-in-cheek, and a little bit swashbuckly. It's a time of fisticuffs! Of gentleman rogues and dashing captains!

I associate the post TNG era with bureaucracy, protocols and order. I just can't see a post-TNG captain/crew doing stuff Kirk gets away with.
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Trent
Mon, Apr 15, 2019, 8:54am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Amok Time

Trekfan, William and Rahul's comments above say it all, really, and say it well.

I would add only that this episode is essentially a love story. Spock's overcome with the urge to mate, and his buddies love the guy so much, they do everything in their powers to help him. The bro-love between Spock and the gang is just incredible.

Beyond this, it's also a very brave and idiosyncratic choice for a season premiere (assuming it was always intended as one).
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Trent
Mon, Apr 15, 2019, 8:17am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Hippocratic Oath

I'm surprised so many are bashing Bashir in this episode. I thought he was correct, not only morally, but in terms of wider Federation tactics, and was surprised that he didn't push his arguments further: he should not only agree to help, but try to negotiate the bringing of more Stafleet medical teams over to the planet, or to bring the Jem Hadar to a location where the Federation can help them with high tech equipment. If the Jem Hadar are unwilling and paranoid about being conned, grant them some hostages.

If you're able to prove to the Jem Hadar that they can survive without ketracel white, or develop a white substitute, you've effectively created a rebellion army willing to help you fight the Dominion in the name of emancipation. Starfleet should be running massive political re-education and propaganda campaigns ("Citizens of the Jem Hadar, you are being kept as slaves! Reject your Gods! Say no to Ketracel White!") for precisely this purpose. Divide and conquer. Make it your chief goal to emancipate conquered worlds.

Or if you don't want to meddle, park a couple genesis devices at either end of the wormhole, and threaten to blow it if any Dominion ships approach.

Anyway, I thought this episode's A and B plots dovetailed nicely. In one, Worf struggles to trust Odo, and adapt to his methods, in the other, Bashir and O'Brien struggle to adapt to one another's methods, whilst the Jem Hadar and the Federation struggle over issues of trust as well. Like most DS9 episodes, its all directed flatly, there's not enough momentum and energy in the plot, and aesthetically everything looks drab, but the ideas are good, and some of the dialogue scenes very powerful.
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Trent
Sun, Apr 14, 2019, 12:05pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

Paul M said: "I speculated years ago that the, frankly unneeded, decision to place DIS pre-TOS is the likely result of not wanting to mess with split timelines that resulted from Abrams' movies "

I think it was done for purely commercial reasons. The TOS era is more swashbuckling, edgier in a pulpy way, has readily packaged villains and so forth. It's the perfect epoch for a vast, pulpy, action series.

But "Discovery's" never been able to work well on these lowly terms. It needed to learn better lessons from JJ Trek: it had to be lighter, simpler, more tongue-in-cheek, more roller coaster and less convoluted. Instead it married three conflicting approaches: the mainstream action of JJ Trek, the mind-bending, SF plots of Brannon Braga, and the wannabe long-form grunge of stuff like Game of Thrones. The show got greedy.
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Trent
Sun, Apr 14, 2019, 11:55am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Sanctuary

Alan said: "Its not offering anything new. Its offering the comfort of the traditional."

I don't think anybody would argue Orville is radically new and/or edgy SF. It's 90s Trek meets TOS meets a more prominent vein of Hollywood leftism. But as these types of tales are rare, not only in their own zeitgeist, but our own, this nevertheless makes it quite novel.

The idea that Discovery is "cutting edge" and "new" and "challenging values" is meanwhile laughable. This is bog-standard, bad, contemporary SF/fantasy TV writing, perfectly mimicking everything else on TV and film over the past decade or so. And its messages ("Racist Klingons are bad!") and values are a step below even 1960s Trek, all mostly unexplored and cynically tacked on as a obligation to the franchise.

Discovery is challenging absolutely nothing. Aesthetically, it kowtows to TV trends. Politically, it is several steps behind even Orville. Philosophically, it is inept. Narrative-wise, it is worse than what one would consider poor contemporary TV writing. Format-wise, its Victoria-era serialization is even more dated than the modernism of TOS.

More crucially, Disco learns the worst lessons from past Trek. If past Trek steadily degenerated into convoluted action spectacle, Disco pushes this logic to the extreme. Be honest. What is Disco but the last 2 seasons of Enterprise, with twice the budget? It's the same "mind-bending", time-hopping, serialized, genocide thwarting, action Trek as the last 2 seasons of Enterprise. Or a Voyager two-parter action episode stretched for 14 episodes.

So people don't bash Discovery because "it's too new and edgy and too advanced", they bash it because they romanticize Trek as a highbrow, iconoclastic, unique, countercultural thing, and what they got with this installment was yet another lowbrow, conformist, trashy and pandering thing. It is Michael Bay Trek, and you can feel the writers' souls dying every time they're made to obey the mandates of the producers above them ("Write me a plot that gets us to the future! And make it lead into our two new spin-offs!").

Who can honestly look at S1 of Discovery and say "MAN, THIS IS CUTTING EDGE STUFF! THESE KLINGONS offer SUCH A DEEP LOOK INTO THE SOCIO-ECONO-HISTORICAL CAUSES OF ALT-RIGHT, RACIST, WARMONGERS! THIS IS HOW YOU DO SERIALIZATION! WHAT A GRIPPING, NUANCED, DRAMATIC USE OF THE FORMAT! DISCOVERY TRULY IS THE VOICE OF OUR GENERATION!"

That's laughable.
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