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Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Jan 17, 2019, 10:50pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: Nothing Left on Earth Excepting Fishes

I'll admit I did have a bit of a brain fart and forgot Ed initially had her at gunpoint. However, I don't see what that changes. Her ship was boarded by a hostile force which was certainly going to kill her and destroy the ship anyway. She could have taken the calculated risk that Ed wouldn't shoot her and just ran away - particularly given she knew him pretty well at that point, and he isn't the kind of person to shoot someone in the back. Regardless, he clearly was distracted by the time she got to the escape pod. The way the show was constructed they only could have escaped together, but I find it very implausible that two people in their situation - one of which professes to hate the other person, and the other of which found out they were horribly betrayed only five minutes before - would be able to trust one another under any circumstances. I mean, Ed has a hard time moving past his ex-wife boning other people, but he's able to quickly compartmentalize the hurt and betrayal here and just be an action hero?
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Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Jan 17, 2019, 10:34pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: Nothing Left on Earth Excepting Fishes

I honestly wasn't feeling this one as much as last week. Both the A plot and the B plot seemed to be somewhat...contrived.

The whole thing with "crewman Tyler" was obviously some sort of reference to Discovery's first season. People were predicting it as of the season premier because they reused the same actress. I was honestly hoping for a bit more of a slow burn along several episodes. Regardless, while I could see what was going to happen from a mile away, the story beats were rather predictable. Barring that is one head-scratching moment - why she saved Ed when the ship was under attack, rather than just leaving him to die and finding her own escape pod. At first I figured that perhaps she still believed he had actionable intelligence, but since she initially intended to kill him as soon as she was rescued from the planet that wasn't the case. Maybe it was - as Ed said - just because she wasn't faking it as much as was suggested. I did like the conclusion of the episode - their continued attempts to humanize the Krill as individuals even as the culture itself remains a cartoon - but it didn't make up for this really badly plotted twist mid story. It would have been much better if she was somehow knocked out and he rescued her and dragged her into a life pod.

As for the B plot, it was nice for Gordon to finally get some development since Season 1 treated him solely as a joke character and didn't really ever give him a plot of his own. That said, it sort of felt perfunctory on the part of the show, and like it was sort of came out of left field rather than being a logical development of the character.

2.5 stars.
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Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Jan 17, 2019, 9:15pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Brother

Yeah, I'm rating that a 3 out of 4. It was good, bordering on great. So many of the complaints I had with Season 1 were absent. Anson Mount was great as Pike. I felt like the initial introduction to Tig Notaro's character felt a bit off, but she worked better as time went on. VFX were light years better than last season. The script didn't include any clunkers really, with even Burnham's monologues being better than last season. And despite some critical comments from early reviews, I didn't think the episode had "too much Burnham" as was the case in a lot of Season 1, or that there was any effusive praise which drew me out of the story. The shift away from TEH PLOT! to character was also very much appreciated.

That asteroid field was absolutely ridiculous - asteroids don't look like that - but at least they had the excuse that it was just beginning to break up.

There were, at first blush, three things which made me not give it a perfect 10/10 score.

1. Tilly just seems wrong this season. She was a breath of fresh air last season, when everything was dark and dour. But with the lighter mood she stands out more in a bad way - as if she's a character who mistakenly wandered in from another show. I found this strange, because I feel like Stamets and Saru were picture-perfect and treated as well rounded characters. But Tilly just seems like...a joke character.

2. I don't think the flashbacks to Micheal's youth with Spock worked entirely. They were beautifully visualized and well directed, but they really didn't make me feel much of anything. They seem to be relying upon our fannish interest in Spock to keep us engaged, which is a big mistake. The show should engage us on its own merits.

3. The show was a nice action-adventure, but action-adventure Trek isn't my favorite flavor. I only rate as perfect character drama type Treks like Duet, The Visitor, The Inner Light, etc. So as long as Discovery hews to this format I don't think I'll rate any single episode as perfect.
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Karl Zimmerman
Sat, Jan 12, 2019, 10:21pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: Home

@ wolfstar

It's just my opinion, but I feel like The Orville's decision to show aliens as just like modern Americans (even if they look very, very different from humans) is basically satirizing Star Trek, since it's just a more extreme version of what we already have seen. Basically instead of just being bland "cultureless" aliens who anyone outside of the U.S. would regard as American, the show chooses to actually present them more aggressively American - such as by using contemporary language. The wink and the nod are clearly intended however.
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Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Jan 10, 2019, 9:47pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: Home

Oh, I forgot to say. I'd give it three out of four stars. If it didn't have the esophagus guy, and had better pacing in the middle portion, I'd rate it 3.5 stars. Four is something special I really only reserve for true works of art like The Inner Light or The Visitor though.
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Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Jan 10, 2019, 9:29pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: Home

I'm actually not quite sure what my feelings are at the end of the episode. Sections of it worked better than anything else in The Orville to date, and sections of it were still kinda blah.

I was somewhat disappointed that it turns out Alara's homeworld looks just like our own despite the higher gravity (mountains should have been lower, buildings constructed differently, etc) but given she doesn't look like what you'd expect a high-gravity species to look like, along with budgetary constraints, I wasn't surprised. Plus of course it was absolutely beautiful, even if it wasn't plausible.

I was very much enjoying the character focus on Alara, and surprised the degree to which the rest of the crew took a backseat. Robert Picardo was putting in a great performance, but I was beginning to wonder when the actual plot was going to start, because it felt like very little happened between the pre-credits opener and the final 15 minutes.

The action - when it started - was pretty much by the numbers (and over very, very quickly), but it worked well enough. Billingsley's character and his wife were not supposed to be professional soldiers after all, but normal people who were driven to terrible actions in their grief (I didn't like Billingsley's performance as much as Picardo's, but at the same time, it was easier to forget his Star Trek role for some reason. The subtle dig on antivax was nice to see as well.

Then of course there's the last few minutes - the whipsaw between thinking she'll actually come back onto the ship, and then deciding to leave (semi) permanently. I have to say I was surprised at how successful this was at being emotionally touching. It is surprising to say, but I don't think Trek has ever written off a character in a manner that was as successful from an emotional standpoint.

From a character standpoint, this episode was great. Although admittedly pretty surprising, insofar as one does not typically provide tons of character development to someone who is being written off the show. The humor was entirely absent for once, aside from that weird double esophagus guy (why even have that scene - seriously?). It's interesting that The Orville has gone with three relatively low key character focus episodes in a row. Last season had more of a TNG/VOY vibe to it, but I wonder if they're looking more to DS9 now.
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Karl Zimmerman
Sat, Jan 5, 2019, 9:52pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: Primal Urges

There is a way you can watch The Orville for free streaming even if you don't have cable TV - without pirating.

Basically, Fox streams The Orville online, but for those without Cable only gives a 60-minute pass - a pass which runs down regardless of whether or not you pause the play, so make the bathroom breaks quick.

I used up mine for the season premier. Thought I was going to have to buy the second episode, but an incognito window on Chrome was enough to get to see it. Presumably it will work for future weeks as well.
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Karl Zimmerman
Fri, Jan 4, 2019, 11:55am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: Primal Urges

There were a lot of logistical problems with the B story about the doomed world way beyond how it broke up.

1. Why didn't they at least try and modify two shuttles? Isaac and Bortus could have both flown one over separately and ultimately saved 2/3rds of the group.

2. So, the natives had radiation suits. But the atmosphere of the planet was already gone and the seas had boiled off. They should have both run out of breath and cooked to death in the short time period between leaving the tunnel and getting onboard the shuttle. For that matter, Isaac and Bortus didn't even deal with an airlock or depressurization when they entered.

3. The entire planetary population being winnowed down to only 75 people was kinda ridiculous, but perhaps understandable if only one small "prepper" colony survived the surface holocaust. But what was a bit worse was that 75 INCLUDED CHILDREN!!! Obviously aliens can have starkly different moralities, but what kind of sick fucks would bring children into this world that they knew would die before ever seeing adulthood?

But all of these foibles are no worse than the average Trek episode - and relatively minor compared to say some of Discovery's head-scratchers. They're also understandable considering the point of the B plot was all to set up for that final scene where the colony leader had to split up with her husband and child, staying behind to die while they went to safety. It might have been contrived as all hell, but at least it was contrived for a good narrative reason - and led to a decent payoff.
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Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Jan 3, 2019, 10:21pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: Primal Urges

My general understanding of stellar evolution is that suns swelling into red giants are thought to cause planets to spiral outward slightly, rather than inward, as the outer portions of the star are lost to space. The only cases where planets spiral inward are those where the stars expand enough that the orbit of the planet ends up in the photosphere. Then drag caused by the plasma results in a loss of a stable orbit, and the planet falling corewards.
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Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Jan 3, 2019, 10:02pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: Primal Urges

Yes, that was a good episode. Nothing groundbreaking mind you, but it took a standard Berman Trek format (character focus A plot, sci-fi B plot) and put a spin on them that Trek couldn't at the time (partially because it was too stuffy to go there, partially because internet porn wasn't really a big thing - though it was implied that was part of Barclay's holoaddiction).

The Orville also continues to show that it's not TNG or VOY, and there really isn't a reset button. Bortus's relationship began souring all the way back at the time of About A Girl. Presumably the effects of this episode on his character will also become clearer as time passes.

I have a hard time believing that this episode was held over from last season, if only because Bortus and Klyven's son was rapidly aged in the same manner as in the last episode - not a baby.

Also, I'm glad to see that the Union doesn't believe that if a bunch of folks are going to get incinerated by their star, you just need to let them all die since they don't have warp drive.

The only down side is that while the planet breaking up looked amazing, they didn't even try to make it look scientifically accurate. Of course if the sun really had swelled to a supergiant, the planet would have been a ball of molten lava by the time they got there anyway. And I'm pretty sure it would be enveloped by the photosphere well before it was destroyed.
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Karl Zimmerman
Wed, Jan 2, 2019, 1:14pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: Ja'loja

Ed Mercer is still light-years more competent than Jonathan Archer. Most of his failures have to do with his own personal life being in omnishambles. But when it comes to making the proper call in combat, or in a first-contact scenario, he has the Right Stuff.

Basically, The Orville has yet to do a single episode where the plot arc is "The Captain is a big dumb idiot who gets the crew in trouble because his judgement is terrible" Enterprise did that at least 20 times. Mercer mostly fucks things up for himself, not anyone else - and he's always reasonable enough to be talked down from the ledge if he's in danger of doing so.
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Karl Zimmerman
Mon, Dec 31, 2018, 9:57pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: Ja'loja

I personally thought that was pretty damn good. Basically a lot of DS9 B-plots strung together with no A-plot. Strictly a character development episode which gave every member of the main cast at least a little bit of development. Not every episode needs to be high-concept sci-fi after all, and the heavy-handed messages in much of last season didn't seem to be McFarlane's strength.

It's also worth noting that none of the humor this episode seemed out of place for once. Seth is getting a handle on the sort of dramedy he wants to write. And that the show truly isn't "episodic" in the way that TNG or VOY were - a lot of the threads woven through this episode only really make sense in the context of what Season 1 established.
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Karl Zimmerman
Tue, Nov 13, 2018, 9:01am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: General Discussion

Personally, I thought Calypso was fantastic. The editing was a bit jerky at times, but besides that, it's the first Trek product which the new team has put together that felt like Trek.

I think some people are missing some of the subtlety of the story.

1. The whole thing is an allusion to the Odyssey. In the Odyssey, Odysseus (who, like Craft, was away from home for ten years) ends up stranded on an island and enchanted by the nymph Calypso. After seven years, he remembers his wife, and the escape begins. Craft is Odysseus, and Zora (the ship's AI) is Calypso.

2. One key element of the story has been revealed by Micheal Chabon off camera. Craft notes that he has been fighting an enemy called "V'Draysh" for a decade. Chabon has confirmed this is the Federation. A lot of the elements that at first don't make sense - the Betty Boop cartoon in the "alien" life pod, and Craft being unaware of human food and the days of the week - are because he grew up a human in a planet totally cut off from Earth culture.

3. The show was refreshing because it had nothing to do with anything else in Trek (it clearly only takes place on Discovery because it saved the showrunners money to use standing sets). Remember Trek began as a pseudo-anthology before it became this canon-obsessed mess. Fundamentally though the Trek world is still big and open. You can use the Trek format for anything from westerns, to spy stories, to romances, to comedies. Thus the fact that this story has nothing to do with the rest of Trek doesn't really bother me. The story is about the two characters - not about canon or even a plot (there really was none).
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Karl Zimmerman
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 7:34am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

Jammer,

I see you consider this to also be the season recap post. Does that mean you're going to be retrospectively downgrading some of your ratings, as you have in the past?

I agree with others that The Expanse would be the most logical series to review in the downtime. Not only because it's the best (although still modestly flawed) space opera on TV currently, but also because similar to BSG and Andromeda, it has a Trek connection (Naren Shankar is one of the showrunners). Though I'm also curious if you'd like Altered Carbon.
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Karl Zimmerman
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 9:56am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

So, I'm not even an amateur creative writer, but here is my plot synopsis of how the last episode should have gone - presuming all the schlock before it still happened:

MU Georgiou is sent along on her mission to blow up Qo'noS. The device isn't a ridiculous "hydro bomb" however. Let's keep the technobabble somewhat feasible, and say it's a dark energy weapon. When it goes off, it accelerates the cosmological constant in a localized area of space - essentially canceling the force of gravity and ripping the target planet apart.

The first half of the episode could go largely as it was shown originally, although hopefully with a little bit less hamminess by MU Georgiou. When Burnham finally goes down to the well/shrine thingy to confront MU Georgiou, she finds that she isn't willing to go along with the plan to turn over the bomb. Hand-to-hand combat ensues, and Burnham is ultimately forced to kill MU Georgiou. However, the bomb was not only keyed to her DNA, but her heartbeat, and the triggering mechanism goes off, albeit with enough time for Burnham to escape safely.

After we return to the Discovery, we get to see the destruction of Qo'noS in all its terrible glory. Word quickly comes in from Starfleet that the effort was a failure - the Klingon fleet decided that rather then return home and try and spacelift survivors, they were going to seek their vengeance on the Federation. Earth is bombarded from orbit, and billions die. Assaults on Andor, Vulcan, and Tellar begin. All hope appears to be lost.

Burnham says some line about their being no second chances in life. Stamets interjects that maybe there are some. Since the spore drive allowed them to travel forward in time, it should also allow them to travel back in time as well. The crew begins to hatch a plan, along with L'Rell, about how to undo the war, which has destroyed both the Federation and the homeworld of the Klingon Empire.

Discovery jumps back to just prior to the Battle of the Binary Stars. L'Rell has the shield/cloak frequencies of the Ship of the Dead. Burnham, Ash, and L'Rell use them to board T'Kumva's ship. L'Rell (and Ash) explain the outcome of the Klingon War - that T'Kumva's dream of a unified Klingon empire will die, Qo'noS will be a lifeless shell, and the houses will continue their petty squabbles. This convinces T'Kumva to reconsider - to try to unite Klingons from within, rather then through a show of force against the Federation.

However, not all of the Klingon houses are onboard with this idea. One faction - lead by Kol - still thinks they should attack the Federation fleet. A short-lived "civil war" breaks out among the Klingon houses, with Kol's forces destroying the Shenzou and all those aboard perishing. The battle also results in the "downtime" version of Voq dying - with Ash at his side, getting to see "himself" perish.

Ultimately though, T'Kumva and his allies succeed. As they were victorious in battle, T'Kumva is named the new chancellor of the Klingon Empire, and declares there will be a detente with the Federation...for now. Burnham gets to "save the day" but still feels bummed because she blew her chance to save "her" Georgiou. Stamets is thrilled to be in a world where Culber is still alive, but also feels weird, because he knows that Culber in this world still has his own Stamets. After the debriefing, PU Lorca walks up to Burnham, and says he hopes that in the future, she won't judge the things his counterpart did against him.

In my mind, this hits all of the proper themes"for a Trek episode. War is shown to be a mistake for all parties involved - senseless violence that solves nothing. Burnham retains memories of what happened, and still suffers consequences (Georgiou is still dead). There are several "doubles" of Discovery crew members now running about which can be followed up with in the second season (seeing Tilly 1 and Tilly 2 hanging out alone would be a thrill).

Thoughts?
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Karl Zimmerman
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 12:47pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

Thinking about the "small quadrant" syndrome in this show for a second. Does it strike anyone else as ridiculous that the show introduced four Klingons within the first few episodes (T'Kumva, Kol, Voq, and L'Rell). Two died by Burnham's hand, and one became Ash Tyler. Rather than add any depth to the Klingon war arc by introducing a new Klingon character at the end, the plot is resolved through L'Rell, a character who has been sitting in the Discovery's brig doing nothing for five episodes straight? The leaders of the various Klingon houses remain faceless enemies, and all we really get to see of Klingon culture is a couple of them gambling (which is still the best Klingon scene in the entire arc - the first time any of them have seemingly enjoyed themselves).
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Karl Zimmerman
Sun, Feb 11, 2018, 10:13pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

One final thought. In his last scene, I was thinking that out of all of the characters, Ash Tyler by far was given the best arc over the course of the series. He went from a traumatized PTSD survivor to an awakened Klingon sleeper agent, to a psychotic mess, and finally seemed to integrate both sides of his personality in the end, becoming comfortable both with his human and Klingon memories. Yes, I think the resolution (his going off with L'Rell - who he formerly saw as a torturer/rapist) was contrived. But Latif's performance sold me on his becoming a whole person, and heading off on his own, new adventure. And then the wrote this suddenly compelling character off the show as anything other than a likely recurring guest character.

His arc contrasts strongly with Burnham. As I said, Burnham never shows any real growth. She just makes random choices, many of which blow up in her face, until she makes one set of random choices (trusting MU Georgiou not to kill her, and L'Rell to hold up her end of the bargain) that seemingly work out okay.
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Karl Zimmerman
Sun, Feb 11, 2018, 9:29pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

I'm kind of speechless at the moment at how completely lackluster that was as the ending of an arc.

I'll give the episode some credit. It didn't fall into the traps I was predicting. They didn't reset the timeline with the Spore Drive after Qo'nos was destroyed. Ash didn't make a heroic sacrifice, yet was still effectively written off the show as a main character. Burnham wasn't forced to kill MU Georgiou. And there were individual moments in the episode I liked. I really would have enjoyed something like the Qo'nos scenes if they occurred earlier in the season.

But the episode was such a huge failure in wrapping up the Klingon war. It appeared promising at the beginning, and then it's resolved by - Burnham talking Georgiou out of setting off the bomb? And then somehow, L'Rell using the bomb as a device to gain control of the Klingon Empire (essentially holding the population hostage)? Even if the Klingons were the kind of race to fall for that sort of thing, all they saw was a little electronic device - surely they'd want some sort of proof. If a person on the street comes up to you and claims they have a nuclear bomb, chances are you won't take them seriously after all. If this was a random episode of episodic Trek - even the second part of a two-parter - I'd give it some slack. But not as the end of a season-long arc. It makes season 3 of Enterprise look like a masterpiece.

As a conclusion to Burnham's arc, it was almost as bad. There were some individual character moments which worked, but there was way too much time spent by Ash, Sarek, and Georgiou complimenting Burnham and telling her how special she is. This shit is why people (wrongly IMHO) call Burnham a Mary Sue - the writers just love to insert dialogue to tell us how amazing she is as a character, rather than show it through her actions. Because the writing on this series has been so dodgy, I don't even have any real idea that she grew as character and began making better decisions. She just happened to luck out where her impulsive emotional decision in this particular case was the right one.

So yeah. Either the writing team has been asspulling this entire time, and they never had a plan, or they are, frankly, idiots. Either way, they need to purge the writers room and start over with an entirely new creative team.
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Karl Zimmerman
Mon, Feb 5, 2018, 8:32am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The War Without, The War Within

Warrior4Jah,

I agree that the *attempts* at character development here are welcome. But at the same time, don't you think it's a little late in the game to be throwing this stuff out there? The next episode has a lot of loose ends to tie up, and will almost certainly be action driven, meaning these arcs will either be aborted (if a reset takes place), be given only lip service, or left hanging until the next season in 2019.
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Karl Zimmerman
Sun, Feb 4, 2018, 9:03pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The War Without, The War Within

In some ways I liked this episode a lot more than the last one. It felt more like "Trek" in a lot of ways. The episode actually had a little bit more of the epic/big universe feel at times that the series has been lacking - perhaps in part due to the more extensive use of extras, and in part because we actually learn some things about the war for the first time in what - eight epiodes? Burnham's arc finally seemed to be going somewhere again. And I actually appreciated a slow, talky episode, along with the Archer reference.

Other things, though, were pretty bad. I don't mind dialogue-driven episodes, but as has been the case in the past with Discovery, there is often too much expository dialogue. People just don't talk on this show in the natural way that real human beings do. Also, someone pointed out a few weeks ago that there are no three-way conversations in Discovery, and ever since then it's driven me crazy. It's just dyad after dyad talking in rooms together.

All the Ash stuff felt stupid, even when the emotional beats were okay. At least we heard someone say that he won't be able to serve, Stamets was still livid, and Burnham didn't forgive him (for now), but overall I just hate that it seems like yep, L'Rell did "fix" him somehow. It basically returns him to where he was before - just a fucked-up dude, but for a different reason.

The Klingons winning the war despite being politically divided was just dumb. Yes they have a "killer app" in the form of a cloaking device, but the idea that a politically divided group of 24 houses, which do not coordinate tactics, strategy, or logistics, could put the Federation on the brink of defeat is just ridiculous. As is the mission, for that matter. I'm no military expert, but it's pretty clear no one writing for the series knows how wars are actually fought.

The series seems to me to be heading full speed ahead to a "reset" in the final episode. I say this because it's clear that Starfleet has okayed MU Georgiou to annihilate all life on Qo'noS. We know that won't happen within the context of the Prime Universe, and we know (both from this episode and the clips from next week) that Burnham (and probably others) won't be down with it. But even if they do interfere, and somehow the Federation wins the war, it would result in the main cast being charged with mutiny, thrown out of Starfleet, and no season 2. Hence I think - given spore tanks are back at full - Stamets is going to try and send them back in time - either to just before they left, or maybe even to before the Battle of the Binary Stars.
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Karl Zimmerman
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 9:28am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: What's Past Is Prologue

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

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

The one thing I'll disagree with is the idea that this is "Game of Thrones in space" Game of Thrones was, up until the last two seasons, a much smarter show than Discovery has been to date. It's also structurally very different - with multiple POV characters, loads of on-scene shooting and guest characters, and entire seasons largely given to character development. While I am convinced a lot of the issues that Discovery has are due to running over-budget early on and having to do things on the cheap, it is still almost diametrically opposed to GoT when it comes to the issues of plotting and character focus. As was noted, we have the same guest characters (Georgiou, Voq, Sarek, Cornwell) who keep popping up again and again for no particularly good reason, leading this show to seem the most claustrophobic and "stagey" of any Trek since TOS season 3.
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Karl Zimmerman
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 11:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: What's Past Is Prologue

I'm not sure I get the "just sit back and enjoy it and turn your brain off." First, I could do that with any type of media - I expect better than mindless entertainment (at least some of the time) from Trek. Secondly, while I recognize that Discovery has developed into a well-executed action series - I never liked "action Trek" much myself. I liked the intimate character-driven Trek like The Inner Light, Duet, Far Beyond The Stars, Visitor, Living Witness, etc. Thus even when the writing isn't as dumb as a bag full of rocks (like it was this week) it's just not the sort of Trek I enjoy at the moment.

I have hopes that the series will retool next season. They seem to be indicating they are moving to a more "ensemble" setup. I think a lot of the issues this season were budgetary - Fuller blew too much money in the first two episodes, constraining them to stories which used little to no location shooting and limited guest casts. But I really feel like they need to purge the writer's room and get some better talent in there, because what they have right now just isn't cutting it.
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Karl Zimmerman
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 8:52pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: What's Past Is Prologue

The good about the episode was basically the visual elements. The ship shots seemed better than in past episodes, and the fight choreography was excellent - action movie level. I liked the twist of Georgiou surviving, which was unexpected. I liked the ending scenes of Stamets navigating the network as well.

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

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

The worst by far however is given it appears that the Klingon War might have been lost by the Federation (unclear based upon the trailer, which seems to indicate only 20% of the Federation has been taken over) we might be heading for a reset/time travel episode. This potentially means that the entire season was for nothing, and they might just do a mulligan.
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Karl Zimmerman
Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 3:17pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Vaulting Ambition

Doug Jones is doing bang-up work as Saru, but he's not a good "character" by any means.

Seriously, think about all of the dialogue that Saru has had from the 9th episode on. In 90% of the cases, he delivers these generic lines that any XO could belt out. The nuance comes from Jones's performance, not the way he is written.
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Karl Zimmerman
Sun, Jan 21, 2018, 9:26pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Vaulting Ambition

Viewed in isolation, this was a good episode - perhaps the best of the season to date. It was well acted, well directed, and well shot. The writing was better than average for the series, although having virtually every scene be two characters speaking alone in a room got monotonous after awhile. Don't group discussions every happen in the Discovery-Verse?

My main issues with this episode are how two out of the three plot lines appear to have destroyed main characters.

The A plot revealed that Lorca is from the Mirror Universe (as many guessed). From the look of next week's trailer, he's potentially going to be a mustache-twirling villain as well, rather than some sort of antihero. This eliminates the potential subtlety of his character - that he might really have been a good captain wounded by PTSD. Obviously Trek has had "bad captains" before, and they are still in canon, but I still don't like the message that we should have taken his shadiness as a sign he was from the evil-verse.

Then there is the "B plot" involving Ash/Voq. I mentioned on another forum I wasn't sure given how they left the story with him in the last episode how Shazad Latif could be on the show next season. They suggested he would be "purged" of Voq. Lo and behold, it appears he might have been (judging by L'Rell's death howl). This is still a bit up in the air - maybe the two sides were somehow "integrated." But if they really "fixed" Ash after only a single episode, they completely aborted a potential arc for a quick resolution.

I don't have any major complaints about the "C plot" involving Stamets in the magic mushroom kingdom. Except for the question of what the hell Culber is. It's way too woo woo for Trek to have me believe this is Culber's "soul." I am really hoping we find out before the end of the season it's some alien entity taking Culber's form, or an aspect of Stamet's subconscious. Katra's aside, the Trek universe by nature is just as agnostic about what happens after death as we are, and I think it would be the worst sort of canon violation to break this.
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