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Galadriel
Tue, Apr 30, 2019, 4:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: The Road Not Taken

@ Dave in MN

On my laptop, I have just a regular English key­board, but I have pre­defi­ned spe­cial key­stroke se­quen­ces for extra cha­rac­ters like ac­cen­ted Latin cha­rac­ters, non-Latin alphabets and various other sym­bols that I need regu­lar­ly. This is done via the X11 Com­pose mecha­nism (which, AFAIK, is dif­fi­cult to emu­late outside of Linux).

BTW: I am not young but ‘Gerontius’ is still a little bit exaggerated.
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Galadriel
Tue, Apr 30, 2019, 2:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: The Road Not Taken

@Dave in MN “are those Greek letters or symbols”

In the Golden Wood, we use keyboards with as many keys as there are leaves on a Mallorn trees, and we sing Σαπφώ's immortal songs while typing. Serious, I don’t know what you mean by “letters or sym­bols”; I just used the same letters that would be employed for writing any Greek text, an­cient or mo­dern. But the very same letters would also be used for any formula like sin(α), where they func­tion as symbols.

@Quincy “They flew into the event horizon of a fucking black hole”

Sure, light could not escape from there, but to those having faster-than-light flight ca­pa­bi­li­ties, that might be just a minor in­con­venien­ce. This did not cost me must sus­pen­sion of dis­belief.

I found it funny, though, how both Discovery and Orville casually used a black hole in their latest season, and basically ren­de­red it the same (re­alis­tic light paths but no Dop­pler). Three years earlier, this would have been a real mo­­ment oft crown­ing awe­some­ness, but now every­one just yawns. Did the In­ter­stel­lar team release their ren­der­ing soft­ware to the public?
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Galadriel
Tue, Apr 30, 2019, 1:39pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: The Road Not Taken

@ΟΘΔΦ

Funny how our cross-posted comments (I hadn’t read yours before typing mine) ad­dress pretty much the same issues, though ap­pa­rent­ly we dif­fer with re­spect to the prison es­cape se­quen­ce (I come from a coun­try where con­cen­tra­tion camps are not con­sider­ed a re­spect­able work­place).
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Galadriel
Tue, Apr 30, 2019, 1:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: The Road Not Taken

@SlackerInc “I have steadfastly resisted single-timeline time travel; […] those kinds of stories […] are basically BS.”

I agree that this kind of story is hard to tell convincingly, al­though Trek has shown that they can be often used as a ve­hic­le for ef­fi­ci­ent drama (“The City on the Edge of For­ever”, STVIII “First Con­tact”, “Yester­day’s Enter­prise”) and also comedy (STIV “The Voyage Home”, “Troubles and Tribble-ations”, “Rela­tivity”). Fail­ure, how­ever, is more common (“Little Green Men”, “To­mor­row is Yester­day”, “Time’s Arrow”, “Paste Tense”, “Fu­ture’s End”), al­though some of these suc­ceed­ed at least in parts.

The most astonishing time-travel episode ever was in Babylon 5 (“Babylon Squared”, “War Without End”). The time-tra­vel­ling story made a lot of sense and a­void­ed internal con­tra­dic­tions, and more­over it was a crucial tur­ning point in the story arc.

@GG “can't decide if it's a show with serious sci-fi stories or an homage/comedy”

This argument is often heard, but frankly I don’t under­stand it, as there is no need for pid­geon-holing every­thing into a fixed number of mu­tu­al­ly ex­clu­sive of cat­ego­ries. Did any­one com­plain that GoT does not know whether it want to be a heroic fan­tasy tale, a po­li­ti­cal in­tri­gue drama or a soft-porn flick?

@all

I keep surprised that so many people like the Birth­day Cake epi­sode. For me, it was easily the worst of the sea­son, and per­haps of the show: A relent­less race for the idiot ball being as widely dis­tri­but­ed as possible:

(α) The aliens prove megastupid by imprisoning members of highly ad­vanc­ed races (“Sure, they have an FTL drive, but that does not im­ply their wea­pons are any bet­ter than sling­shots, right?”)

(β) However, the Orville crew works on the same level by not pointing out the obvious: „Yes, their birth­day jubi­lee falls into your month of BS this year, but this is ne­ces­sari­ly true for every­one born on a planet with a dif­fe­rent ro­ta­tion peri­od of yours, in some years. Nor does it im­­ply any­­thing about their actual dates of birth, which are deca­­des past, and even if it did, it would be point­less ’cause our con­stel­la­tions are different.”

(γ) Yet this is all dwarfed by the gigastupidity of Union Govern­­ment. Halsey should have said “Ed, tell them we want our officers back. If they refuse, drill them a nice 5-km-crater in some desert, and then increase pressure steadily; re­mem­ber, you’re the cat and they are all mouse. How­­ever, be diplo­ma­tic and offer them we’ll never make any con­tact again un­less they desire otherwise”.

(δ) Hard to believe, this is still topped by the script than em­ploys a ‘so­lu­tion’ that wouldn’t have fooled even the ancient astro­no­mers on Earth because of par­allax. Yet these aliens are con­vin­ced wit­hin half a second and change their entire single-hatted society immediately.

This gets ½ a point for the intended mes­sage and ½ a point for Kelly and Bortus going serious on the con­cen­tra­tion camp guards, which at least show that some­one has some sense left.
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Galadriel
Fri, Apr 26, 2019, 1:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: The Road Not Taken

Last week, I complained that the show fails to sur­prise and stays on trod­den paths to much. I also pre­dic­ted that the time­line issue would never come up again as the sea­son finale is like­ly to in­vol­ve Kay­lons. My Mir­ror should have told me bet­ter, and I hap­pily con­fess I was wrong by a 50%.

Alternate time-line stories have a tendency to suck, be­cau­se we have no rea­son to in­vest in cha­rac­ters that are pret­ty much guar­an­teed to get erased by the end of the story. Worst of­fen­der is “Storm Front”, fol­low­ed close­ly by “The Visi­tor” (yes, I know, I am most­ly alone with that judge­ment). Rare­ly, this can be over­come by mak­ing the Alter­nate ver­sions com­pel­ling enough (“In a Mir­ror, Dark­ly”) and more com­mon­ly by bring­ing in Prime cha­rac­ters that have to solve some­thing im­por­tant for the Prime Uni­verse. Yet the lat­ter ap­proach car­ries the risk of treat­ing the Alter­nate na­ti­ves as plot tools (“Car­pen­ter Street”, “Time­less”, “End­game”) and this is bad unless it be­comes an is­sue in-epis­ode (“The City on the Edge of Forever”).

The Modus Operandi of The Orville is pastiche plus heart. So we re­live the look-and-feel of DS9’s shab­by mir­ror uni­ver­se, get a sha­dow of Star Wars and loads of “Yester­day’s Enter­prise” (a really good ex­am­ple of Alter­nate Time­line plot). On the se­cond point, every­one is tho­rough­ly like­able (Ed flirts by the same goo-goo eyed tech­nique as in the Prime Time­line), cha­rac­ters haven’t changed much and the Alara cameo was a nice touch.

Yet there is something to this episode which dis­tingui­shes it from every­thing I have seen on Trek (if I am wrong, please pro­vide ex­am­ple): Every­one here ac­tive­ly and con­scious­ly works to­wards their own ob­lit­era­tion to create a bet­ter world which they are not a part of, and their heroic struggle will never be­come known to those who bene­fit from their sacri­fice. This de­gree of self­less­ness may be con­sid­er­ed old-fa­shion­ed, but I found it re­fresh­ing. This also re­moves the issue of using co­habi­tants of the time­line as pawns, be­cau­se (al­most) every­one is in on the plan, and ful­ly em­braces it.

And, speaking of heart: I cheered when Alara ap­peared in the sha­dow of her base. Not be­cause she was im­por­tant to the plot (she wasn’t), but be­cau­se it in­di­cat­es that the Orville team is not a Bunch of Bick­er­ing Bas­tards in real life that mob­bed her away, but it rather al­lows me to main­tain my hope that the team is a good-natured as the cha­rac­ters they play.

Of course, the plot does not make too much sense: The capa­bili­ties of the Kay­lons fol­low plot re­quire­ments (really, not the worst jerks but the worst shots in the gala­xy). Viewers ask­ing after “Iden­tity” why the Kay­lons are not inter­linked will not enjoy the re­ve­la­tion that they are. Bortus makes an ex­cel­lent major­domo. The visuals of scar­red Earth look great but should be much more fiery and dusty, or the atmo­sphere should have gone com­ple­te­ly. The so­lu­tion em­ploy­ed was sim­plis­tic, and Claire’s va­nish­ing into thin air looked cheesy. The Big Ele­phant, how­ever, is Kelly who ap­parent­ly warned no­body about the Kaylons though the was wil­ling to draw other ad­van­tages from her pre­vious know­ledge of thing to come.

I’d probably pan The Other Show™ merci­less­ly for these plot­holes. But strange­ly, they don’t affect me as badly in this show. Maybe I am a hypo­crite, but more likely there is some­thing to The Orville that The Other Show™ simply lacks, and that I value very much.
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Galadriel
Wed, Apr 24, 2019, 7:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

@ Alan Roi “We all know enough about Hitler to know that there's not enough to know about Georgiou to know, but we do know so far she isn't literally Hitler. its not even close.”

We have seen her destroying half a planet (“The Wolf Inside”, 46:20), feasting on a Kelpien (“Vaulting Ambition”, 12:50), executing her advisors (ibid., 18:10), bragging of turning Qo’noS into a blackened mass of dust (“The War Without, the War Within”, 31:42) and of blowing the Talosians and their stupid singing plants off the face of their planet (“If Memory Serves”, 51:37). Maybe I missed some.

While two genocides, a war crime and a few murders perhaps don’t yet fully qualify for the Hitler level, I am pretty sure that she has not told everything about her activities as a Mirror Universe Empress. Most likely, not even 1%.
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Galadriel
Sun, Apr 21, 2019, 2:40pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

Sorry Booming and Artymiss, your excessve feature requests are unfeasible. I just piped the HTML file through a pipe that counts the number of posting head lines and reformats it properly. Your desired weighting by posting length would require much more extensive work.

wget -O - https://www.jammersreviews.com/st-dsc/s2/such-sweet-sorrow-2.php | grep -i view.all.com | cut -d\" -f6 | cut -d' ' -f5- | sort | uniq -c | sort -nr | sed -e 's/^ *//' -e 's/\([^ ]*\) \(.*\)/\2 (\1)/' -e 's/$/, /' | xargs | sed 's/, *$/./'
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Galadriel
Sun, Apr 21, 2019, 1:31pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

@Mertov: “Wow, almost 200 comments in little less than three days since the finale aired? I bet about a 100 were by about 6-7 commenters”

At present, it is 206 comments by 71 authors, the most prolific of which are Alan Roi (23), Booming (17), Artymiss (11), Tim C (7), Boura (7), Chrome (6), axiom (6), Trent (5), Quincy (5), OmicronThetaDeltaPhi (5), Daya (5), wolfstar (4), Kinematic (4), Galadriel (4), Cody B (4), Brian Lear (4). The top 7 commenters amount to 80 posts.
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Galadriel
Sun, Apr 21, 2019, 10:56am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

@Alan Roi: Actually, the source was tor.com — some of the com­men­ters (who seem in­siders) drop­ped omi­nous hints (which, to be fair, I might have mis­under­stood or ex­ag­ger­ated in meaning, or they might be bogus at all). They also an­noun­ced an ar­tic­le on the pro­duc­tion history of S2 for next Fri­day, which will hope­fully solve the question. In any case, we will see. https://www.tor.com/2019/04/19/the-director-of-your-opponents-fate-star-trek-discoverys-such-sweet-sorrow-part-2/comment-page-1/#comment-800646

Your very special talent never ceases to amaze me, and I mar­vel at the mul­tip­le ex­amp­les that you give. Yet, you are right — as I told be­fore, I have al­ways been a Spock fan, and I found the level of contra­dic­tions some people can han­dle (and, in­deed, con­sider nor­mal) far too much for my own ganglia.

In any case, I am happy you could put your unique talent to pro­fes­sio­nal use as ghost­writer. I did so too, becoming scientist.
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Galadriel
Sun, Apr 21, 2019, 8:18am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

I once read a col­lec­tion of humo­rous short stories from the olden days when no­bili­ty still aboun­ded and the noble­men’s chil­dren would get in-house edu­ca­tion by a private tutor. The exams were a chal­lenge for the teacher, because a young Prince could never be wrong, and the tutor’s job was to justi­fy every answer given by the ex­ami­nee. This would play out like the following:

“How long did the Thirty Year War last?” — “Seven Years.” — “In those days, no figh­ting oc­cur­red during the nights, nor on sun­days and holi­days. More­over, there were cease­fires and nego­tia­tion breaks. Taken to­gether, all of those re­duced the war­ring time to seven years, as cor­rect­ly stated by the Prince.”

I think we are come to that point, and Alan Roi would make a per­fect tutor (get me right, this was con­sider­ed a great career then). Some head-canon in­deed is needed all across Star Trek, and per­haps in SF gen­er­al­ly; TOS was quite an of­fen­der here, and since I have seen it as a teen, I have also de­vel­oped some skill to fill gaps in a story (“wasn’t men­tion­ed be­cause known to every­one in-story”), dis­card ob­vious­ly botched state­ments by the cha­rac­ters (“lay­men’s talk”), invent work­arounds for bla­tant errors (“inside joke”) or come up with ex­cuses for mis­sing con­sequen­ces of mis­deeds (“was never re­por­ted to ad­mi­rals”). This makes epis­odes like “The Galileo Seven” or “Plato’s Step­chil­dren” watch­able, be­cause they con­tain good sub­stance which can still be enjoyed despite ob­vious flaws.

However, there are limits. I found no way of mind-bending that could inject any de­gree of sense into “The Al­ter­na­tive Fac­tor” (no doubt Alan Roi can, and I am the same time awed and en­vious and ap­pal­led). How­ever, I never ex­pec­ted there would ever be some­one who spends a hun­dred mega­dollars for pro­duc­ing a 13-epis­ode remake of “The Al­ter­na­ti­ve Fac­tor” or “Thresh­old”. Nor did I ex­pect half of the world ap­plauds to such an enter­prise and praises the mul­tiple lens­flares, the di­verse cast, the emo­tio­nal jour­ney of the prot­ago­nists, the auda­cious cine­ma­to­gra­phy and the kewl SFX. It has hap­pen­ed be­cause we live in a crazy world. And yes, I know a few people who still de­fend “Lost”, because even if it ended no­where, it was a great ride, they say (“sunk cost fal­lacy” in my opinion)

Having done some research on the web, I found indi­ca­tions that in­deed the main story­line of the sea­son was changed in mid-pro­duc­tion, mean­ing that the Seven Sig­nals had dif­fer­ent pro­per­ties and mean­ing for the cha­rac­ters in the early epis­odes; the mys­tery solved in the end was there­fore dif­ferent from the mys­tery posed in the be­gin­ning. Cha­rac­ters paid lip-ser­vice to what they had said be­fore, but acted ac­cor­ding to the changed sce­na­rio, re­sult­ing in huge in­con­sis­ten­cies. No doubts, the next days or weeks will bring new leaks and in­sight and revelation.

Think of a murder mys­tery story where a girl is found drowned in a bath­tub in chapter one. At the end of the novel, the in­ves­ti­ga­tor sol­ves the case by stating that the victim, a 50 yo pro­fes­sio­nal wrest­ler, was suf­fe­ring from prostate cancer and hanged himself, plan­ting hints that im­pli­cated his former as­soci­a­te. Would any­one be satis­fied with that?

Now, my head-canon: Dis­cov­ery season 2 is an off­shoot of the wea­pon de­vised by Data and Picard in “I, Borg”: No mat­ter how you look at it, no sense can be made of it, it rather drives you crazy when you think about it. Some time-travel­ling AI from the 24ᵗʰ cen­tury used it to infect Kurtz­man's brain in an at­tempt to eradi­cate huma­ni­ty by re­duc­ing our intel­lec­tual level to that of half-rot­ten in­dus­try-made custard.

I will say no more, at least for now.
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Galadriel
Sat, Apr 20, 2019, 2:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

Discovery is frustrating to me, and I think I now know why: Be­cause it forces a speci­fic per­spec­tive on the viewer. Jammer once said “This show wants me to feel somet­hing”, and hardly any­one can deny the truth of this and its flip side: that the show does not want me to think. Yet this is only half of the pro­blem, be­cause the show also wants to guide my feel­ings to­wards speci­fic people (who are usually con­nec­ted to Burn­ham). Take the red­shirt­ing of Airiam as an ex­amp­le: That “robot girl” served mostly as bridge furni­ture, and I don’t re­mem­ber a single line of her in the whole of S1 (her name was spoken on screen exacly five times). In S2, she did speak a few words, in­clud­ing a semi-private con­ver­sa­tion with Tilly. In her death epi­sode, how­ever, a lot of dia­logue and screen­ time was given to just to force viewers to care fo her in­evit­able death. That’s guided emo­tion, which some may call mani­pula­tion, and I find it distasteful.

Cut to the current episode and the fist­fight in the ro­tat­ing tunnel. Three people fight vi­ci­ous­­ly: A Con­trol­led™ section 31 agent, an exiled Empress with a taste for Kelpien threat ganglia, and a se­curi­ty of­fi­cer. Whom shall we feel with? The script de­ci­des: It’s the Empress (un­doub­ted­ly, be­cause of her con­nec­tion to Burn­ham), and there­fore Nhan is basi­cal­ly dis­car­ded of after that scene (we don’t even know whether she sur­vived). The two people that mys­teri­ous­ly appear out of nothing and then li­teral­ly go to no­where at 37:08 don’t matter, either. The au­dien­ce must fol­low the lead pro­vided by Burn­ham and her clan.

Compare that to TOS: For me, it was always the Show with Spock™. Kirk was often cool, but he seemed the se­con­dary cha­rac­ter to me. No doubt other viewers pre­fer­red Kirk, or maybe McCoy, or even Chekhov. The show sup­por­ted mul­tiple points of identi­fica­tion, and that’s why it became popular. Si­mi­lar­ly, I found Kira the pri­mary cha­rac­ter of identi­fica­tion in DS9, pro­bab­ly a mino­rity choice. But all these shows left the choice of per­sonal focus, emo­tio­nal in­vest­ment and per­spec­tive to the viewer. Dis­cov­ery has a more authori­tarian approach, and thus I could never get warm with it. I don’t like being kept on the leash.

Moreover, the script is written in a way that ac­tive­ly dis­coura­ges viewers from thin­king about it. Take Tyler: Last time we saw him, he beamed from Dis­cove­ry to Enter­prise to­gether with Pike (“Part 1”, 45:30) asking him to get away. Now we know that he con­tac­ted the on-call Klingon Caval­lery Ser­vice, pro­bab­ly by shut­tle, en­abling L’Rell to save the day with a Klingon ice­breaker of sorts. How­ever, there are major pro­blems: (α) 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.

Now, concerning (α) I can pro­bab­ly con­vince my­self that there was a little more time than shown on the screen, and con­cer­ning (β) that ships moving with the speed of the plot are not un­heard of in Star Trek. But what about (γ)? In “Valley of Shadows”, 9:42, L’Rell says ex­plicit­ly “If it were dis­cover­ed that […] you were still alive, the Klin­gon Empire would be vul­ner­able to sedi­tion” because she had per­sonal­ly called him a traitor and pre­sented a fake head to the Council (“Point of Light”, 44:31). Yet standing next to her on her flag­ship (which he him­self has re­ques­ted to go to war) is OK? This show spends mil­lions on CGI, but can­not af­ford writers worthy the name.

I also noted that a similar di­lemma is planted for the Empress. Last time we hear from her (53:57) she is in Dis­cov­ery’s En­gineer­ing, and the whole ship will jump to the 31ˢᵗ century exact­ly one minute of show time later (the time be­tween is spent with melo­drama­tic crap). Yet rumour says she will appear in a Sec­tion 31 spinoff show set in the 23ʳᵈ century. Ques­tion: How many Empresses do they have?

I will not go to Siranna’s quick training as a fighter pilot in a quick­ly united Ba’ul and Kelpien fleet. Nor to Spock’s beaming aboard Enter­prise during the battle while shields are up. Nor to the use­less time jump after Control has been dis­abled (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). Nor to the tor­pe­do-proof glass wind­ow. Nor to Spock and Burn­ham dis­cus­sing sibling mat­ters while people died by the dozens every minute. You see where this all leads to. Alan Roi’s claim that “Dis­cov­ery de­mands more from the viewers than any other ST show” has haunted me for a week. May­be the de­mand is to hin­der my brain throw­ing ex­cep­tions when­ever the writers plunder. Can any­one come up with a Braga-era WTFery like this?

Challenge to Alan Roi: Spock seems to be sur­prised by the loca­tion of the 7ᵗʰ signal in the Beta Qua­drant. How is that pos­sible as he him­self has drawn the Seven Signals in their cor­rect loca­tions months be­fore (“New Eden”, 1:48)? And who told him, BTW? It can’t have been Burn­ham sen., be­cause she knew no­thing of the Seven, nor Michael, as she cannot time-travel after arrival (“Part 1”, 25:25). But then, how could she plant the Seventh Signal any­way, and how could she pro­mise to do it before leav­ing? Also, we have seen the 3D galactic map with all the signals couple of times early in the season; yet by what kind of time-bending she­nani­gans could all of this vanish, so that no cha­rac­ter in the show re­mem­bers it, but all have to wait for the sig­nals to mani­fest them­selves after they had all been recor­ded by Fe­dera­tion sen­sors before the actual start of the sea­son (“Brothers”, 12:11)? Which de­mand did I not meet to miss the cen­tral element of the whole season?

I am a Trekkie, and that is quite an ad­dic­tion. So I shall pro­bab­ly watch future sea­sons be­cause every junkie knows cut drug is better than no drug. But I shall not invest any emo­tio­nal or intel­lec­tual re­sources into it, unless the show con­vinces me not with baits (that have no nu­tri­tio­nal value) and pro­mises (that are never kept) but with actual de­liv­ery. Yet, reading to Kurtzman inter­view linked to above (that, cor­rectly, calls the finale “shocking”) I feel very pessimistic.

I want my Star Trek “cerebral” because I am an ana­lytic person. There is no cere­brum in this show. Rather, I think of an­other ana­tomi­cal re­gion that, by chance, is con­tained in the word “analytic”.
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Galadriel
Fri, Apr 19, 2019, 5:13pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

I liked it. There are weaknesses, but this episode does a lot of things right when it comes to time-travel (like, ack­now­led­ging the ab­surdi­ty of it), it has great humor (“I was a real bitch” — “Been there” is more funny, honest and heart­felt than lite­rally everything in two seasons of some other con­tem­po­ra­ry SF show, because it flows from the cha­rac­ters as estab­lished), and it feels so warm, humane and friendly that I start melting away. It was a pleasant surprise that everyone gave Kelly² a warm welcome and no cha­rac­ter showed any sign of jealousy or avoided her out of an this-is-awk­ward-feeling.

Really, the episode is about character growth, which mirrors the entire show: With the ex­cep­tion of Claire and (arguably) Kelly, every­one was pretty much in­fan­tile in 1x01, and this has mostly changed (only Talla is still pretty much a blank slate, owing pro­bab­ly to the circum­stan­ces). Even Mercer has grown from his boy-feigning-ad­ult­ness-at­titu­de in 1x01, though most charmingly it re­ap­pears when­­ever he tries to flirt.

I cannot stress enough how much I loved the bar scene at the be­gin­ning. The Orville is a place where I would like to work because every­one comes well along with every­one else. Compare that to The Other Show™: The only time I can re­mem­ber people laughing in a bar there was in the episode when one of the laughing people got killed later — a cha­rac­ter that had spoken less than a dozen lines in 20+ epis­odes before. That’s what I call cynicism.

‘The Orville’ cannot be accused of being cynic, but it has previously often shown a ten­den­cy toward pre­dict­abi­li­ty and sim­plism. The cur­rent epis­ode amply de­mon­strates this weak­ness. Pretty much every­thing up to the failed bed scene comes as ex­pec­ted. Plea­­sant sur­pri­ses: Ed’s honesty to Kelly¹, when he sought her per­mis­sion to pursue Kelly². I didn’t expect that from the guy who took a shuttle to spy on his ex-wife. Also, Kelly¹ handled that scene admirably.

I really hoped they would not push the reset button and send Kelly² back. Would she really like to forget the days on Orville? I under­stand she had a satis­fying social life back then, but living at a later time in­vol­­ves in­creas­ed op­portu­ni­ties, and I feel she should have changed her name to Shelley and live on with a career of her own. Yet this was the sim­ple choice (for the writers, not the cha­rac­ters) and there­fore the ex­pec­ted one. Chance missed.

The end leaves questions open. It seems the time loop is not con­sis­tent — in the beginning, Ed was surprised when Kelly¹ told him she was pissed about his call, and that does not fit to what we see in the last seconds of the episode. So the scene did play differently, and Kelly² will live a life different from that of Kelly¹. This might be a Red Herring, or a setup for a second part that may finally surprise me.

Yet I do not expect we see Kelly² again, and the reason is Kaylon. For 3 episodes after the epic battle, we haven’t heard anything of them, and Isaac has been given hardly any line since. Now he is back, and so are they, and if this means anything, then we are going to end the sea­son with a Kaylon cliff­hanger (which would also be a good star­ting point for a pos­sible 3ʳᵈ season), and I don’t see how the Kelly¹·² issue could be brought into such a story­line.

Just in case Mr. McFarlane reads this board: Please, surprise me.
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Galadriel
Fri, Apr 19, 2019, 10:15am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

As expected, the critizism here generally falls into the spectrum be­tween “dis­appoin­ted”, “vitrioic” and “nuclear”. I didn’t like every­thing, and emphati­cally dis­like a lot, but there is also some­thing rea­son­able to praise.

@Karl Zimmermann “Spock telling Michael how damn special he was to him during the scene where he was stranded in the shuttle­craft was laying it on a bit thick” I agree with that, but that is Dis­cove­ry’s trade mark despite not making any sence, even for humans and less so for Vulcans. Tear-soaked fare­well scenes abound every­where, and while action se­quences are always super­fast (and con­fu­sing, more on that below), the cha­rac­ters easily find time to give longish private and emo­tio­nal speeches that drag for­ever, drenched in saucy scores that want to evoke some human con­nec­tion between the cha­rac­ters and the au­di­ence, but fails.

@Rahul “The spore drive has been destroyed along with Control and no­body is to speak of this whole thing again un­less they want to be charged with treason. I think Spock even estab­lished some kind of tem­poral di­rec­tive” If he really estab­lished such a thing, he would become the worst of­fen­der to his own rule later. Such a “Don’t meddle with Time” rule actually makes a lot of sense, but I don’t see how it extends to the spore drive, which as we have learned in “Saints of Im­per­fec­tion”) is harm­less to use, and is not in any way connected to the Control fiasco. It’s also ir­res­pon­sible from the security angle: What if the Romulans come up with some­thing similar, or even the Jem’Hadar?

@Rahul “Cornwell sacrificing herself to contain the torpedo blast was weird” Actually, non­sensi­cal (the blast door even had a glass window (or trans­parent alu­mi­num?) yet con contain an ex­plo­sion that ripped out an ⅛ slice of the saucer. More­over, logi­cally Pike should have stayed behind, because (α) Cornwell can order him (β) he has only a wheel­chair to lose and (γ) the time crystal should have pro­tected him (to avoid being called a liar).

@mosley “the hilarious plot oversight that they actually didnt need to go to the future any­more because control was de­stroy­ed” yeah, this was weird, especially since Saru knew it and could have aborted the Time Jump, or at least delayed, since even if some Con­trol was still some­where, there was no im­mediate threat to the ships. BTW, it seems odd that Dis­cov­ery was pretty much full manned when Jumping. Are there so many people willing to give up their present lives for an uncertain future?

@Baron Samedi “I feel like the Discovery writers would have made the head Xindi scientist Archer's long-lost alien step­father” I fear Saint Michael Fucking Burnham (© MadManMUC) is going to meet a descen­dant of her unborn twin sister some­where in the future.

@Brian Lear “don't feel that the show ever really convinced me that the data in that sphere could rea­son­ably be expected to allow an ad­vanced AI to obtain con­scious­ness” I can imagine that this sphere thing was a quite dif­ferent life form, one that operates more like an AI and can thus better serve as a model for an AI wanting to evolve than the com­plete­ly messed-up Humans (or Vulcans). Of couse, the ques­tion why Control wants to be­come “sentient” (whatever that means, I have never under­stood that term in any ST show) and why it would turn de­struc­tive still remains open. Perhaps, Control read the script and decided to play along.

@Brian Lear “is anybody else sick of the fact that only female characters can solve problems” No, I am not. I have grown up with an over­dose of TV that shows pro­blem-sol­ving males and damsels-in-dis­tress that I still need anti­dot (BTW, I am male). Besides, Pike and (less so) Saru have also proven capable.

@John Harmon “It really bothered me how much the show reveled in the sadism of [Leland’s] death” We see that scene from the point of view of an Evil Mirror Uni­verse Empress, who had pre­vious­ly said (‘Such Sweet Sorrow 1’, 09:00) “On the other hand, I look for­ward to hunting Leland down to the ends of the galaxy so I can watch every piece of tech­no­logy exit his skin bit by bit”. In that scene, Burnham cri­tisized her sadism, so it is strange and untrekky that she got her wish fullfilled.

@wolfstar “The only reason Burnham knows where to send the signals from... is because she did it in the first place. How does original Burnham in any time­line learn why she needs to send the signals from those points?” That onto­logic para­dox is in­herent to time travel stories. I can imagine a physi­cal mecha­nism that would pro­duce such an effect, although it needs two two co­ordi­na­tes: One in which the action takes place, and a second one in which the loop reates it­self; in the be­gi­nning, the loops are in­con­sis­tent and will play dif­ferent­ly in every itera­tion, but over (second) time, a con­sis­tent loop is reached that obeyes cau­sali­ty in the first time. By some sta­tis­tical argument, we see only the final con­ver­ged result. There are weak ana­logies for such a mecha­nism in Quantum Mechanics.

@wolfstar “Burnham has never worn this suit before. How does she fly it through space?” There was a manual attached to it, in the form of logs from Burnham sen. (“Perpe­tual In­fini­ty”, ≈15:00). Probably the suit has some pro­pul­sion, even if only navi­ga­tio­nal thrusters, other­wise Burnham sen. would not have been able to land anywhere.

@Chrome “And of course 1 million points for Control not being the Borg” Didn’t you notice the word “Beta Quadrant” at the end (the location of the 7ᵗʰ signal)? I already get Borg vibes for season 3, and I don’t like the idea. I pretty much dis­liked every­thing Borgy in VOY after the “Scorpion” two-parter (does not ex­tend to the cha­rac­ter 7of9, because I con­sider­ed her well-written), for the rea­son that I prefer my Borgs com­pe­tent and mena­cing and with fangs.

@Booming “The very same engineer probably thought: Ok, emer­gen­cy lever on the wrong side. The only thing this blast door now needs is a window” — “Georgiou highlights the problem that shows or movies who make every­thing dark often have: You start to like the bad guys/gals because they are the only ones who have fun” ☺☺☺

Some own thought will come in a separate post. Yet I have to comment on the visuals, which are both terrific and terrible at the same time. They look astounding, reak of a lot of money spent, and would make great wallpapers, but they contribute only to the coolness factor, not to the narrative. John Harmon called it “Star Wars prequel white noise”, and that is as fitting as can be.

So we have fighters now (never been seen before in the ST universe). No one ex­plains how they oper­ate, what they can do and how they come there. It not even shown whether they are manned or not (some dia­logue seems to indi­cate they are, but there is not one shot how they look like insde). The design is un­fami­liar to the viewer, and they fight an equal­ly novel foe. How am I sup­posed t see who is who? Or should I not care and just marvel at the ex­plo­sions? I fear it is the latter, and that makes me sick (“style over sub­stance”). Compare this to the epic battle se­quence in Orville’s Kaylon two-parter, which managed to look great and tell the story by it­self, for it was mostly clear what happens and what moti­va­tion the ships have to do what they do.

Alan Roi famously said in another thread that Disco is more de­mand­ing to its viewers than any other Star Trek show. Maybe he is right, and I can’t pick up visual, verbal and acous­tic clues at high enough speed. Not an English speaker, I am chal­leng­ed enough parsing the muff­led, highly con­tracted and oc­casio­nally un­gram­ma­ti­cal speech drenched in too much score. Very often, I have to rewind a scene, some­times several times, to re­parse a highly in­form­al Eng­lish sen­tence against the back­ground noise without mis­sing some in­con­spic­u­ous but im­por­tant back­ground vi­sual. For example, in a madly fast-cut se­quence some­one says “The bayonet joint on this oxy­gen sensor’s wide open” which took me three re­runs to rea­lize “sensor’s” is not a pos­se­sive case.

Or, take the open­ing se­quence that moves (with a weird shaky-cam effect) from Saru asking some­thing from Owosekun, to Owosekun ans­wer­ing (she sits next to him on the Bridge of Dis­co­ve­ry) to Pike. At that moment, my brain threw an ex­cep­tion, and only after stop­ping the player and in­spect­ing the back­ground props I came to the con­clusion that Pike is where he should be, i.e., on Enter­prise. Maxi­mum con­fu­sion for con­fu­sions sake seems the di­rec­tio­nal mantra. Feeding the audi­ence with con­flict­ing in­for­ma­tion and forcing them to re­evalu­ate their inter­pre­ta­tion of what hap­pened a few se­conds be­fore may be de­mand­ing. But it is not what Trek­kies like me want most and what was famously called “cerebral” more than 50 ears ago.

The “cerebral” remark leads to plot issues, which I will treat in an­other post.
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Galadriel
Mon, Apr 15, 2019, 9:02am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

Count me among those who don’t understand Burnham’s Vision. But those who claim they do maybe can answer two questions: How many tor­pe­does did Enter­prise really fire at Dis­cov­ery? And why did Burn­ham stop Pike from firing an­other (first? second? third?) round of tor­pe­does (I don’t see any danger in firing them)?

BTW, in this scene we see a young blonde woman in red (who also has a line of dia­­logue at 17:50). She somehow looks like Yeo­man Colt, but the ‘The Cage’ she wore blue. Funny no one com­ment­ed on that.

@Alan Roi: I agree that Discovery somehow challenges the viewers. But it is not the kind of chal­lenge that I remember fondly from old Star Trek episodes, where viewers would be in­vit­ed to re­flect on the mean­ing of a plot, or at the de­cision of a com­mand­ing officer, or on an ethi­cal di­lem­ma. The chal­lenge is to under­stand the plot, be­cause it moves so fast. Con­trari­ly, any re­flec­tion on what hap­pen­ed and why ends in another enigma. I don’t know why there are seven signals in the first episode, al­though by the pen­ul­ti­mate epis­ode, only five have ap­peared. And I don’t under­stand why we need five episodes to de­le­te a file. IT se­cu­ri­ty must be ter­rible in the 23ᵗʰ century, they can­not even shred a hard disk (or erase it by dynamite); instead, they have to fly the ship into the future, with the entire bridge crew, a queen and an ex-emperess on board.

There might be a 10% chance that every­thing will make sense after the sea­son end. I called DIS a sort of fast food before — fast, tasty, shiny but neither nu­tri­tious nor fil­ling. Jammer nailed it with the verdict “This show wants me to feel some­thing”. But it does not want me to think about some­thing. Com­pare that to master­pieces like ‘Amok’, ‘Balance of Terror’, ‘All Our Yester­days’, ‘The Tholian Web’, ‘Chain of Com­mand’, ‘Yester­day’s Enter­prise’, ‘The In­ner Light’, ‘Duet’, ‘In the Pale Moon­light’, ‘Trials And Tribble-ations’, ‘Home­front’, ENT’s Vulcan tri­logy and many more. In all these epis­odes, pro­blems were well stated and solved, and far more inter­esting things happen than just a failed file delete, Most tellingly, they are still sources for many in­spir­ed dis­cus­­sions. Do you really feel the same will be true of any DIS epis­ode? I doubt it.

BTW, I considered ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ an ador­able piece of intel­ligent pop art. The premise ‘Pretty teen girls fight against monsters’ might sound wacky, but the show man­aged to do everything quite right, from great actors via nuanced scripts and well-de­vel­oped cha­rac­ters to an almost perfect execution.
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Galadriel
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 9:12am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Perpetual Infinity

@ Daya

No, there was no such discussion. In particular, no one asked the ques­tion whether cap­tur­ing the Angel might harm her. I felt strange about that lack of ethics, too, but then this is Star Trek for the ge­ne­ra­tion that has been so­cial­ized with shows like “24” since their cradle, so per­haps small wonder no one cares.

However, the entire Angel trap plot was nonsensical.

α) It relies on the supposed motivation of the Angel not to let Burn­ham die. The Angel, how­ever, knows about the out­come of the set­ting if it does not inter­vene. Therefore, the trap should have been con­struct­ed in a way that guar­an­tees Michael’s death if the Angel re­mains ab­sent. Why should the Angel save her if she will get re­viv­ed even­tual­ly? You can’t bluff an entity from the future.

β) Even if the Angel were Burnham, there is no need for her to save Prime Burn­ham if the Angel is Burnham from another time line.

γ) As it turn out, the Angel is not Micheal, and has seen Michael die in many time lines before. So why, then, did the trap work? I can think only of one rea­son: Gabrielle read it in the script.
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Galadriel
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 5:10am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Perpetual Infinity

@ Daya:

In “The Red Angel”, approx. 0:13:00

Saru: As the Angel travels through time, she opens a micro-wormhole along with the possibility that a future A.I. will follow her.

Leland: We can't let that happen again.

Burnham: Agreed. Which is why we have to stop her from traveling back and forth. We have to capture her. Me.

Pike: So, how do you propose we trap her?
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Galadriel
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 3:50am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Blood of Patriots

A little bit of “The Wounded” plus almost all of “Past Prologue” — this episode was a huge letdown from previous week.

On the plus side, I loved the medal ceremony at the beginning, Yaphit has very much become a person to me, and that’s a long way from the comical relief cha­rac­ter he was intro­duced as. It’s a strength of The Orville to show how initial per­cep­tions can be wrong, playing with our xeno­phobia that would not allow us to take a green slime ball as a serious character.

The rest of the episode was, however, pretty meh. Malloy channeled Kira from “Past Pro­logue” almost exactly, and I feared this would hap­pen from the mo­ment on when Oren pressed him so hard; by the time he shot Keyali in the Shuttle Bay, all sus­pen­se was already gone. The custom clear­ance scene was pain­ful to watch; I note that Keyali still has not be­come much of a cha­rac­ter, she just fills the Alara plot slot with­out being Alara.

Isaac has only one line of text in this episode, I guess they save his arc to the next epis­ode(s), which is fine for me. The signing of the Con­tract was so fast that it came out of nothing, and open questions remain: How did the Krill ac­cept the solution, with no proofs avail­able? Was the girl delivered to a Krill inter­roga­tion? What is the actual content of the Contract?

Makes two stars for me: Soso execution of a soso plot.
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Galadriel
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 2:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Identity, Part I

Wow, that was really impressive. Already a couple of weeks before, I have decided that The Orville is more fun to watch than Discovery, despite my emotional attach­ment to Trek. This epis­ode was far more riveting than any­thing Dis­cov­ery has de­liver­ed, because the con­flict, the tension and the near-impossibility of solu­tion flows naturally from the established charac­ters and back­grounds. It’s on a par with out­stand­ing Trek episodes like Best of Both Worlds or The Die is Cast.

Now I know why Kaylon always seemed to remind my of Cylon.

However, I feel stymied that the Union is obviously run by goof­balls. It seems they knew no more about Kaylon than the viewers did at the begin of the show (which is, no­thing). The whole idea of the Kaylons po­ten­tially join­ing the Union was brought up (ret­con­ned?) only two epis­odes ago (Hap­py Re­frain), IIRC, in Old Wounds Isaac men­tion­ed only “an effort to initiate rela­tions be­tween Kaylon and the Union”. As soon as the issue popped up in this epis­ode, I knew that we were in either for bad writing or a bad surprise.

BTW, I like Isaac as a character — it offers the intellec­tual power of data but omits the latter’s em­bar­ras­sing ser­vil­ity. An Android who is proud of his non-human qual­ities makes a better crew­mem­ber, and a far better ant­ago­nist. In my extra­pola­tion, the un­ex­­pect­ed shut­down will be used as a back­door to re­store the char­ac­ter at the end of the war arc. It would be a shame if the third season were to run without Isaac.
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Galadriel
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 11:35am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Vaulting Ambition

This episode had three colossal Points of Greatness: Michelle Yeoh, Michelle Yeoh and Michelle Yeoh. She has an enormous presence, and can even make SMG act.

Moreover, writing was much better this time, and direction and cut even impressed me. Moreover, I found the A story at the imperial palace genuinely interesting, well-written and insightful. The Kelpian Dinner scene was great and more terrifying than any CGI-enhanced agonizer.

But …

The Lorca Revelation fell flat for me. I had carefully collected all the various hints about Lorca being really !Lorca, and had hoped they would turn out red her­rings. Lorca as a grey, troubled anti-hero would have been interesting and might have given an un­usual angle to expose the Fede­rations dark spots, to chal­lenge and reas­sure Utopia as DS9 has done before. Being just an Evil™ person from outside ex­tin­guished all interest in the character and destroys all con­tribu­tions he could make to the show. More­over Jason Isaacs will be missed from the second season.

The mycelial network dying — yeah, this was one of two or three options required to keep continuity. Yawn. I guess it will be saved but cannot be used in the future (the Pahvans come to my mind, as their pre­ferred shade of blue looks rather sporey, and they could be involved in regenerating the eco­system). For me, the mushroom trip sub­plot was basically OK, and it brought us !Stamets as a new villain. Not that we had too few before.

The Ash/Voq subplot fell rather flat. We are probably meant to believe L’Rell destroyed Voq in order to save Tyler, but I’d be surprised if it were true, given she comes from the “weavers of lies” clan (where did she get the fancy cloves from? Starfleet Standard equip­ment?), and not from Médecins Sans Frontières. Saru is really a gullible guy.

I also first assumed for certain that the two Stamets’ have changed body, but on second viewing, it is less clear. I still believe it because this show has a taste for surprise twists. Note that Stamets did once utter the name “Hugh” in !Stamet’s presence, so ?Stamets talk­ing about Hugh to Tilly is no proof. The ?Stamets awak­ing in the ISS Charon said “He did it“, and I take this to mean he was Stamets thinking Hugh brought him out, but I admit it could have been !Stamets think­ing Stamets did the job.

I found watching the episode entertaining, but it was by no means a thought-provoking or otherwise deep experience, and that’s grosso modo true for all the episodes yet. Was there ever a difficult choice to make? Did someone ever put real trust into another person, without good reason but just relying on the other’s good­­ness? Were there ever beliefs put to the test, or even shat­tered? Did anyone ever experience some­thing that changed his mind­set and gave him stuff to think about afterwards?

I am disappointed that on this highly serialized show it’s only the plot that develops (in a most baroque way, with a lot of orna­menta­tion but little sub­stance), yet the cha­rac­ters only talk about how they change, to cover up that they really never do. It does not help that the cha­rac­ters are also weak, with just one or two traits per person, just as much as the plot requires.
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Galadriel
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 1:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

@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.
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Galadriel
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 8:00am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

@ 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.
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Galadriel
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 12:06pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

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.
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Galadriel
Mon, Jan 8, 2018, 2:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Despite Yourself

I found this a riveting episode, on a par with “Forest” last year (which I con­sid­ered the best up to that time). After a couple of stinkers, DIS now really delivers.

Ruling Empress of this episode is, of course, Tilly. I liked her from the very begin­ning, she has only grown better since (no one com­­plain­ing about her choice of words, huh?). Her wish to become captain has been granted in amaz­ingly short time, and I wonder whether there will be a cost as­so­ci­ated with it.

With Ash, it’s the opposite. I found him hard to bear from the very beginning, oscillating between bad­assery, madness and PTSD randomly, and I can’t stand his mum­b­ling speech which makes it neces­sary for me to switch to sub­titles. Sure, he is an im­por­tant plot tool, but this does not mean I have to invest him emo­tion­ally. His killing of Culber (the first un­ex­pected thing he ever did) won’t help, either, and I found his speech to Micheal (“What­ever this place makes you to do, or me”) distasteful.

Glad to see not too much of Micheal here. Not that I dislike her actively, but I prefer ensemble work, as was done here. She was terrific as IIS captain, conveying both her moral out­rage and her playing to the rule simultaneously.

Yet the elephant in the room is Lorca. He was fastest of all to adapt to the MU’s rules, but that could be the result of his military thinking and does not necessarily entail that he is now “back home”. Also, some of his re­morse speeches about Stamets condition ring some­what true.

But if, as so many fans want to believe, he was orig­i­nal­ly from the MU, then I want to know why he came back to the place where the most ruth­less people of the multi­verse hunt for him, where he has no allies and nothing to care for? Why not stay in the Prime Universe, given that he is the wolf among sheep there and can achieve any military career easily and risk­free? Or is he mis­sing the agony booths so much?

Other points: If he knew about the Terran way of treat­ing pris­on­ers, his of­fer­ing to pose as one would have been extreme­ly ballsy. And in the scene where the crew responds to the “Cooper”, he was very close to an­swer­ing the call (which would have blown the cover im­me­di­ate­ly). His looks when he com­ments “That’s absurd” appears ab­so­lute­ly genuine.

Eagerly waiting for more. I would also really like to learn how the “ISS Discovery” fares in the PU. I’d even more like to learn how your hu­man­ity is af­fect­ed if you are forced to pose as a psycho­path 24/7.

The “faceless Emperor” also sounds intriguing. Be­cause of the “faceless” part, it could be virtually ever­yone, even Emony Dax. I note that we have not yet learnt of the MU counter­parts of Saru, Georgiou, Stamets, Culber, Corn­well and, I say with emphasis, Tyler, since every­thing seems to con­cen­trate on him.

The preview for next week seems to indicate that our heroes will meet the Rebellion and make contact with a certain goateed Vulcan. This does not sound like the MU arc is going to end in that episode, so we will not run out of Captain Killy too soon.
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Galadriel
Mon, Nov 13, 2017, 8:52am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Into the Forest I Go

@MadManMUC

I find it difficult to believe that someone socialized in the Terran Empire (with agony booths, routine assassination of COs and comfort women) could pose as a Starfleet Officer. By the MU’s standard, Lorca would probably be the most empathetic and humanistic captain in the whole Terran fleet. Makes still marginally more sense than Garth of Izar, though.

A mirror version of Georgiou would be great — I expect her to be as nasty as Empress Hoshi, but with Michelle Yeoh’s acting capabilities.

I don’t think we can at this point rationally judge on canon violations, because we don’t know how it all will sort out. ENT Season 3 attracted much criticism during its run (“This is not my Federation!”), yet at the end, continuity issues were ±neatly solved.
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Galadriel
Mon, Nov 13, 2017, 4:31am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Into the Forest I Go

@Kinematic

I noticed that, too. In “Context is for Kings“, Lorca said that unlike the Glenn, the Disco made only jumps in the range of hundreds of kilometers (before getting an organic pilot). Nevertheless, I can interpolate that these jumps were somewhat unprecise, or that a quick succession wouln’t work, or something else that requires the jumps in this episode to be done with a pilot.

There is another thing which I noticed only on second viewing: Immediately before the last, ill-fated jump, Lorca types coordinates into a touchpad, and for half a second you can read the line “Override-Lorca“ on the screen (ca. 43:40). Immediately afterwards, he says “Let’s go home”.

So, I am no longer sure whether the jump to the debris field was an accident. Maybe we are coming close to what Lorca’s agenda really is. He now has both the anti-cloak-gimmick and the spore drive at his hand, and he might now see the time to use them for his own purposes.

BTW, some fans actually guess Lorca is from the Mirror Universe (I don’t, because according to Spock barbarians cannot successfully mask as cultivated people). OTOH, I cannt believe that he abducted the Discovery just out of fear of Cornwell — after his breakthroughs, he won’t be bothered with a psycho test.

Stamets looks really bad. Maybe he becomes the Traveler in TNG? It is strange that disaster seems to affect mostly the two couples. I have a bad feeling about that.
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