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Jeanne
Thu, Apr 18, 2019, 11:26pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

I was very down with this until the ending--i just didn't need Spock, of all people, to establish some wacky anti-truth conspiracy of silence treason regulation just to explain why Kirk never asked Spock about Burnham on screen or why spore drives aren't standard model. And ending on the NCC-1701 folks--even though I get it, we're saying goodbye and closing loops, and this season was all about drawing on the TOS goodwill bank as a means of rebuilding trust--feels like too much fan service at the expense of the folks we should really be caring about here: the only real character stuff not involving a beloved TOS character we got here is from Georgiou and Culber. Michael going to Jupiter and beyond the infinite was good, but I'm glad she's clear of this Messianic chapter of her life and that the show can maybe make her a developed human character in S3, someone with interests rather than just a ton of gravitas?

I give this three stars for competence marred by grin-and-bear-it continuity checkbook balancing. S2 overall had some major flaws, but still a clear step up on S1--probably somewhere in the midlevel VOY range, as seasons go? I really hope S3 has the guts to be episodic for a while, to let us get to know these folks, and to start to build out a sensible and coherent strange new world for the group--my worst nightmare is that wherever the ship is going resembles Voyager's featureless, textureless Delta quadrant more than something new and fun and star trekish. More morality plays, character episodes, and sense of confidence rather than insane anxiety of influence going forward, please and thanks?
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Jeanne
Thu, Apr 11, 2019, 10:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

Loved it from the moment we saw the ncc-1701 bridge on. I deeply appreciate the efforts to retcon some human detail onto our people--Stamets talking to his brother, Detmer, etc--and I thought the Burnham and Pike speeches were so easy to screw up yet so on point. Good jokes with Georgiou, multiple personality dimensions, attention to detail (I appreciated the Sarek dialogue that sets up "journey to Babel," for one.)

There was some dumb stuff (how fast is Sarek's shuttle, again?), and some infelicities, and I don't care about Tilly's friend one bit. And yes, it was basically fifty minutes of slowing down for briefing room talk and characters emoting. If these fifty minutes had been amortized over the past two seasons, yes, obviously a better choice! But that work had to be done at some point, and it would have been so easy for TPTB not to have done it--to have kept the Action Moments flowing, rather than taking the time to create the context for a meaningful sacrifice.

I really, really appreciate the work that went into this--which, to be clear, is remediating work, not exciting new ground, and all the more impressive for that--and I really appreciate the writers' high level of all around game here. It makes me legit excited for S3, when we're no longer paying for the sins of S1, and it's my first and only four stars for a DISCO.
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Jeanne
Sat, Apr 6, 2019, 11:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Through the Valley of Shadows

The eternal recurrence/amor fati moment with Pike really felt like the heart of the episode, and I honestly would have loved a whole episode around it--i could easily imagine a story constructed around efforts to cheat the fate shown that ultimately fall apart, slowly building to acceptance--but I'll take what we get, a horrified Pike refusing to be tempted even in the literal face of disaster. Control is still Borg lite, but mechanically scary enough to get the job done.

I'm getting strong end of Xindi superweapon plot vibes: a sense that the writing team is solid and has ideas, but that they've inherited a lemon of a season-long plot arc to put to sleep with some dignity. It's late S3 ENT territory, hopefully approaching S4: I'm excited to see it steadily improving (although this episode was a little unambitious), but definitely won't miss this season when it's gone.
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Jeanne
Thu, Mar 21, 2019, 9:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Red Angel

I like my Trek with lots of briefing room scenes, technobabble procedural, and characters getting mad and then apologizing once they realize their character flaws, so I was fated to like this. It's by the numbers and doesn't reach for spectacular heights, but it never made me mad either (except for the Georgiou pansexual scene, which was offset by the kind of good, subtle Georgiou scenes we never otherwise get to see, so okay). And moments like Culber talking to Cornwall (but why her?) and Burnham and Spock just being normative siblings talking through problems felt good and pointed toward more effective baseline trek ahead, once the writers start finding these moments and character dynamics among the main cast. I also really like Michael's basic character issue being the literal plot here: they're going to trap the angel because they know Michael's too much of a control freak to let herself die in the past, and it has to work by her literally giving up control (and Spock trusting that choice.) Nice twists with Leland and Ma Burnham as well. 3/4 stars from me: did no harm and I think pointed toward good ahead.
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Jeanne
Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 10:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Project Daedalus

I really like young Ethan peck Spock so much more than I could've guessed, and the writing for him is on point. Some legit good character development for Michael and a good developing relationship between the siblings, over chess no less. Very good use of Tilly and the whole extended cast, and assuages a lot of my fears about the pro-section 31 slant earlier in the season. I'm glad all the due diligence stuff hanging over from S1 feels like it's cleared up (retcon klingon hair, Tyler, Culber), and the show is starting to get over its anxiety of influence and just tell neat stories about people in space. 3.5 stars and optimistic about where we're going (although I'm definitely putting my money on it being Michael in the red angel suit.)
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Jeanne
Thu, Feb 14, 2019, 10:57pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Saints of Imperfection

How did we go from section 31 being so offensive to most federation sensibilities that its very existence has to denied, to "I know you Starfleet folks and you section 31 types have really different views on secret unaccountable crypto-fascist police forces, but we're all just gonna have to accept one another." I'm going to go watch inter arma silent leges again in a huff.

Episodes should not end with Michael Burnham literally praying that the writers know what they're doing.
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Jeanne
Sun, Feb 11, 2018, 10:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

It's sort of like they knew star trek needed to be more talk, but didn't know what KIND of talk was needed. I liked the balance a lot last week--this just felt like kind of a letdown in every way. I still feel fondly toward this show and I'd like to see it function some time when the ship isn't commanded by an evil malevolent realpolitik person--the brief moment of captain saru was almost cruel.
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Jeanne
Sun, Nov 5, 2017, 8:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

This was pretty good bread and butter alien possession material, good use of Burnham, Tyler, and Saru, reasonable space combat. The Klingon material was okay. I liked that the pace felt as if it had slowed way down this time to something approaching classic Berman-era: the conversations felt like they could breathe, and it was nice to see the characters interact without feeling as if the show was trying to Establish Them. Confusing ending (was Saru possessed or wasn't he? Can the Pahvans understand language or can't they? Is the Admiral dead or isn't she?) and kind of overly Meaningful Burnham speech knocks it down, but I like the general insight into Saru--his wail that Burnham "takes everything" lifts the plot out of Alien Possession doldrums, and I like the Tyler stuff about wanting to hurt the Klingons and the multiple ways we can read that. It's a pretty affable low 3 / high 2.5 stars from me, and I wish the show would spend a little more time just getting lost in low-stakes material like this.

(Nitpick: I still don't understand why the Federation has life sentences for well-intentioned mutiny but lets Harry Mudd off with a warning, but okay.)
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Jeanne
Sun, Oct 29, 2017, 11:01pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad

@karl: I had never heard of these crystals! I love them! Thank you for directing me toward them! I still think the episode is a three star affair-- Kefka Mudd is just too unpleasant and it's too implausible that he'd get off so lightly-- but I'm excited that Star Trek is refreshing its science chops for the first time in a really long while.
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Jeanne
Sun, Oct 29, 2017, 9:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad

Homicidal maniac nu-Mudd is a problem, and I don't like Tyler so Burnham/Tyler isn't that interesting to me, and jfc, TIME CRYSTALS. But on balance I liked this, especially starting from the moment Stamets and Burnham dance. Stamets is great throughout and I felt like Lorca was well deployed for once, and good moments from the ensemble. The party grew on me. I say high end of 3 stars-- too many weird plot contrivances for me-- but it feels like a Star Trek episode a lot more than have the last couple of weeks, and a pretty good one. The title is awful.
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Jeanne
Sun, Oct 22, 2017, 10:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Lethe

A mixed bag. I think there is a good story about sarek's crappy parenting in here for sure, picking up threads from all the way back to "Journey to Babel" and revealing something interesting about Burnham (and Spock) through them. But I really hate the contrived, bizarre way that story gets presented to us. Not only is there Magic Spore Power, but now the Federation is building katra-driven psi tech? Sarek and Burnham have Matrix duels for mental supremacy? It's just kind of dopey, and the good character work this week (except for Ash Tyler, the "Poochy" of DSC???) and the reasonable last scene btw Burnham and Sarek doesn't totally redeem it. Not even going to comment on the stupidity of "logic extremists."

No points for dishonorable Klingons. Major points for making it crystal clear that Lorca in no way has Starfleet's blessing, and for letting him make a pretty unforgivable choice that I think will lead to good narrative payoffs. Hoping last show will end with Burnham murdering Captain Jerkface. Idk: 2.5 stars, all earned from the last 15 minutes or so.
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Jeanne
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 9:46pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Choose Your Pain

Nggg. The "what the fuck" ending with Stamets got a lot of points back from me, as did the concept (if not the execution of "Saru in command.") But the Harry Mudd segments of the episode majorly rubbed me the wrong way:

(1) exactly why did Lorca need to be at a physical meeting in the middle of a war? Why did he travel alone by shuttlecraft through a clearly insecure part of space? If only they had some kind of ship that could fly by SPACE MAGIC

(2) Harry Mudd should be distinguishable, as a character, from one of the randos on that Con Air episode of ENT ("Canamar," I believe)

(3) Since when do Klingons torture people?

(4) Since when do Klingons take sex slaves?

(5) Since when does a Starfleet captain fire at the face of an unarmed combatant?

I can buy exactly zero of it and see no purpose, other than to get a Lorca backstory drop that could have happened any number of other ways, as well as to get the name HARRY MUDD all over the internet. I can do without a lot of torture of humans and animals. Lorca even punched the cyborg cockroach thing. I like my DS9 a ton, but even DS9 didn't have EVERY EPISODE be "Inter Arma Silent Leges" or "Pale Moonlight."

I really want the show to spend a little bit of time just dealing with characters, less hell-bent on assembling the next piece in the Spore Engine War Tactical Puzzle at the rate of 1 per episode. I just finished watching the Xindi Weapon arc on ENT: even that took some detours into time travel, Hoshi in the haunted space castle, "Evolution" (God help us), etc. There must be some way that we can just chill out a little and get to know these characters for a while. "Saru in command" is a promising idea, but in practice it turned into his having one "now this character uses his superpower and earns his keep" moment with the "prey patterns" thing, then retreading the already-old ground of his relationship with / trust in Burnham, and mostly yelling at everyone. I'm ready for some kind of episode-of-the-week break here.

2 stars. The major misfire "captain is in jail!" plot outweighs the nice character stuff with Stamets and the affable Tilly material.
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Jeanne
Sun, Oct 8, 2017, 9:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry

I was grateful to see not just one but several Calm Science Mystery Discussions. The whole infinite improbability spore drive is doofy, but it at least sort of appears to have internal rules, so I can give it a pass. Appreciated Lorca a lot more this outing, and the Saru/Burnham relationship is interesting for sure. Liked the doctor. This is the most sarcastic ship since TOS-- the twenty-third century had some kind of gift for sass, maybe!

I am hoping that the Klingon plot builds to something. I appreciate that Voq is kind of a loser, honestly--something about Klingon Strivers like Alexander or Duras always appeals to me, and I'm excited to see what's up with his weird little death cult of two members going forward.

I'm glad that the "pilot" part of the show is over now and that we can move into some good episodic development. I was leery of "Context is for Kings"--the treatment of prisoners just felt super not Starfleet to me, and Captain Lorca didn't leave a good first impression. But i feel like this is a solid if maybe ultimately Not That Special episode, back on track, and starting to build character relationships and lines of mutual respect. Three stars from me.
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Jeanne
Sun, Sep 24, 2017, 10:57pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: The Vulcan Hello / Battle at the Binary Stars

I loved it. The retconned quasi-Egyptian Klingons we're glorious and felt new enough to jump over my resistance to seeing the klingons again generally. Captain Giorgiou is great--shades of Janeway/Seven in her interactions with Burnham (more in the second half than the first).

Watched the ENT episode "Proving Grounds" immediately after and got command competence vertigo basically: seeing the legit tension Giorgiou has between trusting Burnham and respecting Starfleet's general ideals meant something to me, especially as I'm working through ENT and watching Archer's garbage whims pass as Enlightened Decisions. "The Cage," "Where No Man Has Gone Before," much of DS9: Star Trek just works when captains have to agonize, and I didn't even realize how much I'd missed that. Watching Burnham then raise the stakes felt legitimately dangerous, and I like that her mutiny didn't work--that there are just too many checks and balances on a starship for that to go forward. I like that there were bold choices, meaningful questions about how to deescalate a conflict, clear consequences that the episode didn't shy from. This is kind of all I want from Trek! Burnham even gets to outsmart a computer in "Binary Star." I'm more enthusiastic about Trek than I have been since I was a kid watching fifth season TNG.
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