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Mark Gubbins
Wed, Apr 8, 2020, 10:06pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: What's Past Is Prologue

I'm only watching Discovery now on the heels of having finished ST: Picard. I watched this episode a few days ago, and have finished the season today. And I just can't get over how mad *this* episode makes me. It's not just that they ruined Lorca's character arc by making him a generic Evil Empire man; it's that it was so obvious how to fix it!

This episode could easily have been about Lorca's temptation of Burnham. It's "Context for Kings," part two--seeing through the possibility of abandoning Starfleet principles for some apparently greater good.

"See, Michael, this is what it was always about; second chances, or at least a new life. You think I'm a savage. Are you shocked I managed to masquerade as a Starfleet captain for almost two years? Well, what about you--didn't you get the hang of being a Terran captain in a few days? And I'll bet you were good at it. Admit it: it was beginning to shape you.

And you know what? My time in Starfleet has shaped me too. God knows the empire I'm heir to isn't about fortune cookies, but I'm not all Terran anymore either. What we do changes us, Michael. Forget the past: what we do now makes us who we are. I lied to you about who I was, but not about who I am. You're looking at the most Federation-friendly Emperor this galaxy has ever seen.

What do you have back home? A war to lose; and, if you win, a life to lose--again. I sent the cloaking information to the Federation; they'll be fine. They don't know how much they need someone like you, but I do.

So I'm making an offer to you: join me, and let's make this empire better--more than it could ever be otherwise. Bring the crew--they're worthy, even the non-Terrans--and let's rule this galaxy for peace and prosperity. With you as the new captain, and my right hand.

And their captain will make the same offer to his crew on the Discovery."

NOW we have a character arc that makes sense; a genuine temptation that's been hiding in plain sight all along and pits Michael's new life against that with Georgiou; a chance to put the Discovery crew at each other's throats about whether to follow their captain this far or not; and, when Michael finally chooses Georgiou ("Always second-guessing your current captain, aren't you, Michael?"), the choice is much more charged. (Not to mention the implicit softening of the xenophobia also explains how Spock got onto the ISS Enterprise a decade later.)

There are other ways to play this, but the thematic connections are so stupidly available that I'm just fuming that the writers (or their producers/editors) blew the opportunity this way. Frankly, this was unbelievable: Lorca's pretended character was so much more interesting and deep than Evil Lorca's true character, that it's almost impossible that he himself would not have reflected on how he was a better, happier person on the Discovery.

Apologies for the rant, but I needed to say something to folks who might understand where I was coming from. There's a lot of promise here (especially Saru), and some fun characterization. But this one ruined the season for me. It literally lost the plot.
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