Star Trek: Discovery

"Vaulting Ambition"

3 stars

Air date: 1/21/2018
Written by Jordon Nardino
Directed by Hanelle M. Culpepper

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

The twists and reveals are coming fast and furious as we reach the home stretch of this first season of Discovery. "Vaulting Ambition" is another entertaining hour of an entertaining — albeit significantly flawed — season, and it dives right into the encounters between Burnham and the mirror version of her mentor, Philippa Georgiou. But it will probably most be most remembered and discussed for the reveal in its final minutes regarding Lorca, who, as many had theorized, is actually from the Mirror Universe and has been an impostor playing the part of his Prime Universe counterpart all along.

This reveal and its implications are likely to overshadow a lot of better material in this episode, including tense dialogue scenes between Burnham and Emperor Georgiou, and intriguing scenes within the mycelium spore network between Stamets and his MU counterpart — as well as some emotionally resonating scenes between Stamets and a spore-network presence (in whatever form) of Hugh Culber, who somehow talks to Stamets from beyond the grave.

But we've got to talk about the Lorca headline, because there's so much to unpack there — both about the storyline itself as well as all the discussion it prompts about the way this season has been constructed and consumed. Something about Lorca has been "off" all season, starting with his ominous and morally ambiguous interests in the tardigrade, and continuing right down the line into his apparent override of the final spore-drive jump that brought the ship to the MU. Now that we learn that he is from the MU and somehow crossed into the PU before or shortly after the series started, all of his anti-Trek behavior makes a lot more sense (including decidedly un-Starfleet actions like leaving Harry Mudd behind on the Klingon prison ship).

On the other hand, the plot's allegation here is that Lorca's plan all along was to figure out a way to bring Burnham into the MU so he could use her to get close to Emperor Georgiou (where his actual endgame and motivations remain to be seen). Logistically, this is problematic. Even though the writers went to pains to lay out the clues (which are shown here with Burnham's aha-moment flashback montage) and pay them off here, this is one of those elaborate plots that is too clever and perfect to be believed in retrospect.

The plot has been reverse-engineered to fit Lorca's now-assumed successful outcome, but not in a way that could possibly work without the writers' heavy hands serving as chess master. When working backwards, to arrive at this destination requires every possible variable would've gone exactly Lorca's way, including things completely out of his control. How, for starters, would he have recruited Burnham into his fold had she not happened to have carried out a mutiny that landed her in prison and stripped her of her rank? And how could he expect to manufacture all the events that led to the success of the spore drive that allowed him to return to the MU? (For that matter, there are a lot of unanswered questions around how he crossed into the PU and replaced the PU Lorca in the first place. They may yet be answered, but I doubt they can make his plan seem less magical.) This also means he's been a crucial strategist in a war that isn't even his. If his mission the whole time was to get back to the MU, what explains his motivation in fighting Klingons?

This also means all of Lorca's up-to-now ambiguous characterization, which has been an intriguing part of this show, could all be a facade that gets thrown aside in favor of the new paradigm. I'm hoping it's not as simple as Lorca Is Actually Evil — and that this will all eventually come back around to his "Context Is for Kings" speech — but we shall see. (Perhaps he's the heroic bad guy fighting worse guys — although stomping his boot in the face of the captor he's just escaped is not exactly the best evidence of that theory.)

One of the risks of playing this sort of long con is that you risk your audience feeling like they're being jerked around by plot machinations that don't play fairly or consistently, thus creating characters who are projections rather than people. I've found this plot to be mostly fun to watch on a purely mechanical level, but unless this series has some solid cards up its sleeve, this could become one of those situations where you scratch the surface to find little substance beneath. Hopefully Star Trek: Discovery does not turn out to be vaporware.

We now learn the MU Georgiou mentored the (now-dead) MU Burnham and considered her a daughter. And the MU Lorca mentored her like a father. But at some point there was a key betrayal of these relationships. PU Burnham now finds herself brought into to the middle of this feud. So the arc of the entire season thus mostly boils down the dynamic of a three-character family power struggle all revolving around Michael.

The way the creators have chosen to play the serialized plot has been to take a few primary strands and play them out over the course of the season. That's also proven to be a liability because it has imposed limitations on what this series can be about. This may yet pay off and work in the final three episodes. But it also speaks to this series' biggest problem, which is that this universe feels so undercooked and underpopulated outside of these main strands. The scope of the entire season — which is far too small for a Trek universe where a big part of the point is world-building — exists to play out these few central conflicts.

I say all of this having very much enjoyed "Vaulting Ambition" for the way it makes these more intimate connections and pays off certain pieces of the long-term plot, however contrived. The production design and costumes aboard Emperor Georgiou's palatial flagship, the Charon, are impressive. Michelle Yeoh is terrific in her scenes as the cold but intelligent emperor. Her scenes with Burnham drip with tension and dread. The meal where Burnham realizes she's eating the Kelpian she thought she was saving by picking him out of a group (apparently not mirror-Saru, although it sure looked like him) is particularly stomach-turning. Sonequa Martin-Green pushes Michael's looks of terror too hard at times; my wife put it best, saying, "She needs a better poker face." It doesn't take long for Georgiou to discover Burnham is lying, leading Burnham, in an act of desperation when facing execution, to tell Georgiou the actual truth of having crossed over from the other universe. How the secret files about the Defiant will play into all this, as well as Lorca's own plan, remain to be seen. If nothing else, this series has managed to be successful in setting up weekly cliffhangers for subsequent episodes.

Some other plot strands get their due, to varying degrees of success. Best here was Stamets' story of being trapped in the spore network along with the MU Stamets. Together, they work together to figure out how to escape — although MU Stamets of course has his own clandestine agenda (and, conveniently, we learn he's aboard the Charon). Most notably, the Stamets/Culber relationship gets a solid and effective resolution — even though the magical, life-transcending nature of the spore network looks more and more like the Force with each sequence that explores it (though one could attribute Culber's appearance here to simply a part of Stamets' subconscious talking to himself). I'm not sure Culber's sudden and early exit from the series will end up being worth what we're going to get out of it dramatically, but this was at least a decent start, and the actors make the most of it.

As for the Voq/Tyler storyline — it continues to make little sense in terms of an undercover mission that ever could've worked for L'Rell, and the writers, not unexpectedly, backtrack on the "Voq has taken control" angle indicated in "The Wolf Inside." Now the battle between Tyler and Voq is simply driving Voq/Tyler insane. Saru appeals to L'Rell to do something to help them both, which she reluctantly agrees to do. It appears for the moment that she is able to "kill" the Voq personality inside Tyler, which indicates we aren't done with the "Tyler" character but might possibly be done with "Voq." Or neither. Your guess is as good as mine; the writers have given themselves enough room to draw out this identity-crisis storyline for the rest of the season, and possibly beyond. Is the long-term plan a character who must live with a split personality, or merely one who must live with the guilt of what he did as that other person?

These are questions that might be worth exploring, assuming the writers choose to give them some depth. Lately we've been in such a flurry of plot disclosures that there hasn't been a lot of time to explore what they truly mean to the characters. It's one damn thing after the next. Fortunately, there are still three episodes left in the season. Will Discovery manage to pull this together for this to mean something to the limited number of characters the show focuses on? Or will this all end up being an exercise in mechanics?

One of the strange things about watching Discovery this season has been seeing the hive mind of the Internet decode, uncover, and predict the show's bigger plot twists far before those developments arrive, thanks in no small part to the writers' own press statements. I've seen numerous people decry major plot revelations as "predictable." I think that's a harsh interpretation. The Voq/Tyler thing was foreshadowed before it was revealed, so it was meant to be "predictable" to a degree. (Even so, there are people who must be way smarter than I am, or are watching more closely. I read about the Voq/Tyler theory weeks before I would've figured it out on my own.)

That might be a lesson for the writers of Discovery. If you are building your season around a bag of tricks, you'd better be careful not to let people peek behind the curtain. The crowdsourced brain trust will inevitably crack the magicians' code.

Previous episode: The Wolf Inside
Next episode: What's Past Is Prologue

◄ Season Index

284 comments on this review

John Harmon
Sun, Jan 21, 2018, 8:12pm (UTC -5)
Hey look...another totally not at all surprising surprise twist. Is this all this show has to offer? Hollow, shallow, obvious, meaningless twists?
Chrome
Sun, Jan 21, 2018, 8:30pm (UTC -5)
Wow, I didn’t think that reveal with Lorca would come so soon, but I think it they handled it very well. I also loved how cruel Georgiou was in this episode (the scene where she kills are her guards is especially gruesome) yet because of Lorca’s devious nature, you actually feel sympathy toward Georgiou. This is probably Michelle Yeoh’s acting shining through, and I think she really made this show work.

Elsewhere, Stamets finds his mirror buddy who is naturally evil and destructive. It was fun seeing him talk with Culber and there was some touching dialogue about Stamets’ life work.

Finally with Vash, who else thinks that this human/Klingon hybrid will go on to mate and populate the Klingon Empire? That would certainly explain how these Klingons and the TOS movie Klingons can be one and the same.
Andrew
Sun, Jan 21, 2018, 8:31pm (UTC -5)
Had it at all been previously established or hinted that people from the mirror universe have light sensitivity? Did I miss something? They acted like that was supposed to be a clue except it wasn’t for me.
Frank
Sun, Jan 21, 2018, 8:40pm (UTC -5)
Game of Trek. Gimmick TV.
Chrome
Sun, Jan 21, 2018, 8:40pm (UTC -5)
@Andrew

Pretty sure that’s a retcon, but I don’t think it really conflicts with other Mirror episodes.
WTBA
Sun, Jan 21, 2018, 8:45pm (UTC -5)
Stellar episode again. MU is brutal as fuck. Yeoh was intense.

A little disappointed MU Lorca is confirmed. Guess that means he is out for Season 2. The reveal was really well done though. (He let that guy die!) Note that when he said "someone better came along" he meant MU Burnham (and maybe to a small degree PU Burnham, depending on his timeline between Buran and PU Discovery).

Will we find out how he got to the PU?

The Lorca reveal does bring me to my first bigger criticism so far. With both the Lorca and Voq/Ash reveals, DSC has undercut an otherwise interesting character. Ash had PTSD (and I guess Voq as Ash did too), but the reveal sort of guts that (no pun intended). Then, Lorca seems to be a damaged soul (partly due to losing the Buran), and now that he is officially a MU asshole, his seeming growth and struggle has all just been a long con (though he probably does regret losing the Buran - or does he?). I am enjoying what they did do, but I just wanted to point this issue out.

I enjoyed Tilly (she didn't do much this time). Saru was very good (both overall and especially in the L'Rell scenes).

Also a shame it was only 37 minutes. Shortest episode yet. Only THREE left...
WTBA
Sun, Jan 21, 2018, 8:47pm (UTC -5)
oh, I also liked the Stamets stuff. Culber wasn't probably necessary, though it was a decent way to get PU Stamets to listen/wake up. Have we seen the last of MU Stamets? I am guessing not...
Troy G
Sun, Jan 21, 2018, 9:13pm (UTC -5)
This series is so different from the other Treks--for example, we get a commercial (well, I do) before the "Next time on Star Trek Discovery".

This episode revealed what I (and all of you) already suspected. I plan to watch the series from the beginning again once the season is over now that we know about Lorca.

It is also likely the shortest live-action episode of all of Star Trek.

I would like to see more Mirror-Stamets.

Light sensitivity? Sure, why not.

I read 2019 for season 2. I would love to see the subscriber numbers for CBS AA from the end of Season 1 until the beginning of Season 2. Probably zero subscribers.

Not much to say about this one, besides the reveal. It continues the show's stories and links the previous episode with the next.

Jammer will likely score this one **1/2



Troy G
Sun, Jan 21, 2018, 9:20pm (UTC -5)
Actually, I stand corrected. If i remember correctly, on DS9 and TNG there might have been advertisements before the preview of next week's episodes
Karl Zimmerman
Sun, Jan 21, 2018, 9:26pm (UTC -5)
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.
warp10lizard
Sun, Jan 21, 2018, 9:42pm (UTC -5)
“It's way too woo woo for Trek to have me believe this is Culber's ‘soul.’”

It’s like Guinan visiting Picard in the Nexus from Generations.
Dan A
Sun, Jan 21, 2018, 9:45pm (UTC -5)
I don't think Voq is gone from Ash. L'Rell is acting like he is, with her death howl, but if Voq is truly gone then what was the point of that plot? He hasn't really done anything yet and, although Discovery seems to be following the twistcentric school of TV writing, I can't believe they would have set up that whole plot just for his one confrontation with Burnham last episode.
Shawn Davis
Sun, Jan 21, 2018, 9:51pm (UTC -5)
So far I'm enjoying the show inspite some obvious plot twists. I was with everyone who said that Ash Tyler and Voq are the same. I also was not surprised about AU version of Churchill making an appearance, although I was a bit surprised that she is the emperor in that universe. I thought that she be at least another captain but with an type of antihero attitude almost like Lorca.

Speaking about Lorca; I'll be honest with everyone as when he first mention about parallel universes to Stamets in episode 9, I didn't think about the fact of the possiblity that he was from the alternate universe. I only thought that the writers added this scientific curiosity only to develop his character that's all. So no I was not on the bandwagon of those who predicted correctly that Lorca is from this multiuniverse. To be honest, at the end of episode 9 when Stamets accidentally brought everone to this alternate universe, I thought that he was from that universe.

Boy I need to pay close attention to the details of the plot of this show :-(.
Frederick Lang
Sun, Jan 21, 2018, 10:16pm (UTC -5)
When I was 10 episodes or so into the show, I thought of my ranking of worst to best captains. My list went as so:

6.) Janeway
5.) Archer
4.) Lorca
3.) Kirk
2.) Picard
1.) Sisko

A character from the Mirror Universe has more interesting aspects and elements about himself to me than actual Starfleet captains.

I'm kind of upset that this ultimately was the way his character was going. A man who was originally seen as a no-nonsense militaristic captain of a warship who struggled with regret and PTSD is actually just an eeeeeeeeevil Mirror character. I really hope they find Prime Lorca and that Michael doesn't become the captain, because I'm sick of this show trying to get me to continuously like a character by forcing her into every episode, scene and conflict.

The Georgio plotline was kind of head-scratching to me too. Why would the Emperor of the Mirror Universe put so much faith and interest in Michael and potentially damage her entire empire with Lorca running around?

The Stamets plotline was heartbreaking and interesting though, and it makes a lot of tidbits makes sense now, like how Lorca hit that override key on the DASH drive jump and why Lorca ordered Stamets to develop the DASH drive on his own.

2 and a half stars for Vaulting Ambition for me. The progressing storyline for the Mirror Universe Arc is hitting a snag in terms of developing the story and characters at a good enough pace without complete character assassination (like Lorca). I hope that this is the same case with Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum, in which that it's a smaller build-up episode for a story arc finale.
Captain Jon
Sun, Jan 21, 2018, 11:00pm (UTC -5)
I really enjoyed this episode. I'm kind of disappointed that Lorca turned out to be from the MU, but I don't think he'll be gone from the series. There's still a clip from one of the trailers for the series that hasn't aired in any episode yet; him and Burnham walking through the Discovery, she says something and he answers "That's the spirit" or something to that effect. Anyone else remember this?

As for Culber and the network, someone mentioned it's like Guinan in the Nexus. What if this network IS the Nexus??? Just a thought....
Rahul
Sun, Jan 21, 2018, 11:32pm (UTC -5)
More of the same sort of decent but not great Trek -- highs and lows in this episode for me with the obvious high being the reveal that Lorca has been Mirror Lorca all along. The low points are the other 2 subplots (Stamets and Voq/Tyler/L'Rell) and some of the weirdness.

We've always suspected Lorca is really Mirror Lorca but how the reveal came about with the discussion between Burnham and Mirror Georgiou coinciding with the escape from the agonizer booth was excellent. The light sensitivity, Lorca's desire to get Burnham etc. all makes sense now but at the time of initial viewing, these details were likely not considered that important. At least we get some validation of why Lorca was behaving in a non-Star Fleet way and maybe we should cut some slack to those earlier episodes. But overall, I'm not a fan of this type of bait and switch, although, as I said, the way the reveal was done was terrific -- like uncovering the murderer as the detective lists out all the clues.

The other aspect of the episode that I thought was well done was Yeoh's portrayal of Mirror Georgiou -- she portrayed evil really well. Very convincing with her blunt, cold speech. An interesting deal is swapping the spore drive technology for the way to go home for Burnham but Lorca being outed changes things a bit.

The Stamets arc took a twist with some making sense and some not. So Culber was killed but what is he doing in Stamets' visions? Or is this another vision implanted by Mirror Stamets? This part was confusing and while Mirror Stamets was trying to get the spore drive to work, something went wrong? Tthe whole spore drive thing is such nonsense that I find it hard to care as much about it. What is with this "the enemy is here" that Stamets says now and then? This arc continues to baffle with new questions popping up all the time as others sort of get answered -- kind of frustrating actually.

As for L'Rell, I take it she realizes her plan for Voq hasn't panned out -- this can be the case for what a warrior (Voq) has to deal with. Not sure where this leaves Tyler after L'Rell does something with things attached to her fingers -- more suspension of disbelief required here. Saru's involvement didn't do much for me.

2.5 stars for "Vaulting Ambition" -- the MacBeth reference. This episode seemed a bit weirder than the prior 2 as the Stamets arc is murky and the Tyler arc getting more bizarre, but now Lorca is free and I guess he wouldn't necessarily know if Burnham knows who he really is. But he knows who Mirror Georgiou really is so that should set up a good conflict next time. Still a few big loose ends and having at least another episode in the gimmick that is the MU where plenty of conversations and actions happen under false or deceptive pretences remains a bit of a drawback to this arc for me.

matthew
Sun, Jan 21, 2018, 11:39pm (UTC -5)
What is the end-game to this season? Is it Lorca becoming Emperor of the Terran Empire?

If that happens and Disco goes back to its universe, what have we gained? The whole season becomes a big shaggy dog story.
Surak
Sun, Jan 21, 2018, 11:52pm (UTC -5)
Technically, this series has so far been a dazzling spectacle. But the effect of watching it continues to be, for me, like watching an extremely complicated game of chess between two strangers, from the perspective of someone totally disinterested in chess. The game WOULD be interesting if the spectator was invested in the players or the stakes involved, but in the absence of those things the events are largely without impact and more or less meaningless.

Is this the show's fault or mine for expecting some kind of emotional investment in the characters? I'm not sure yet.
Peter G.
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 12:10am (UTC -5)
Another mixed bag. The show continues be better directed than it was in the first half of the season, but the clunky writing and random plot twists are going to create a glass ceiling above which the show will never rise. At its best the twists will be good, and at its worst predictable and facile. In the end it will usually be a bit of both, and therefore will never achieve greatness of any kind. It will not be possible to get an "Inner Light" out of this series, although a Braga-esque weirdness might occasionally be achieved for some temporary entertainment. It's really not a good thing to aspire to, and in the end my chief criticism of the series is that its aspirations are painfully low compared to previous Trek series. Say what you want about ENT, at least it wanted to be interesting an inspirational. It failed miserably but it aimed high. Aiming low and succeeding is now success at all.

About the details, I, too, had the thought during the episode that we were seeing the Nexus. Maybe the phenomenon in ST: Generations was a weird entry-way into this place. Ok. Would that mean that "the enemy" is Malcolm McDowell? Hah, or maybe it's Guinan. Q did say she was a "dangerous imp".

If what we saw was really Culber then we're getting into the sci-fi territory explained in books like Hyperion, where space itself has a memory network that never loses data, and which can be tapped into by any person if they're tuned to it. Actually, teleportation is also a potential use of that property in those books...maybe the physics of this show is based on that?

I guess they had no way around it, but there was an incredible amount of sheer exposition in this episode, virtually spoken directly at the camera. I wish there was a different way of doing things. It's one thing for The Attendant to give exposition to Major Kira in a one-off episode, but we're in a long-arc show, and it's inept to repeatedly require these lumbering monologues to explain what the story is.

Most of the rest of the episode was no surprise, so the entertainment value must rest in the playing out of it. On that score I think there were ups and downs. The scenes in Mushroom Kingdom were ok essentially because Rapp is really good. The scripting was awkward but he made it work. The scenes with Burnham and the Emperor were really mixed because they amounted mostly the scene after scene of blustering and exposition, with very little 'interaction' going on that created new possibilities. Burnham seems to continue to use short-term logic to solve immediate problems, and it seemingly never occurs to her to just stop taking matters into her own hands and ruining the game. Even making mention of the spore drive to a veritable Hitler shows how little progress Burnham's made since the initial mutiny. She's just as shallow and selfish as ever. I doubt the show intended this, but it's what they're showing; a colossal mistake in characterization as far as I can tell.

The Voq/Tyler scenario continues to be baffling and inexplicable. L'Rell's insistence that "this is war" explains her plan is just about ludicrous, and even Saru more or less spelled out to her that whatever her plan was supposed to be - which was probably ridiculous anyhow - has certainly been scuttled. But why? What went wrong? Was the problem that the Tyler persona was too strong? But if so then how could she know this wasn't a possibility? Is this a prototype procedure? Why in the world would she used an untested technical method on the mans he sees as the most important to the Empire? And if it was tested then how could the potential complications be unknown to her? This type of question tends to make her look like an idiot, as there's no other reasonable explanation other than that she just didn't know what she was doing and is a maniac.

Getting back to the spore network, they seem to be pointing at what some have theorized, which is that the network must die off for the series to have continuity with TOS and the rest. I assumed it would happen in some plot twist or decision (my guess had been that Stamets would destroy it on purpose) but it's a bit disconcerting to be randomly told after the fact that it was already infected and is dying already for reasons unknown. M-Stamets seems responsible, but that doesn't help us as we don't know his story. Basically we were told about a new frontier of exploration and reality only to be told almost immediately after that it's in the process of going away anyhow, so never mind. I seriously hope something is made of this magical network before it's killed; otherwise, as matthew just above put it, the whole spore plot becomes a giant shaggy-dog story that goes nowhere and is about nothing. The only thing we've really learned about it so far is that it exists, just in time to be told it soon will not exist (unless it's saved). That paints the writers into a corner, because if they save it then it will have to vanish after for some other reason to maintain continuity; and if they don't save it then it's gone before we know anything about it, and it may as well have been the Wizard of Oz.

Quick shout-out to Georgiou's method of killing her guards, straight out of "Wanted". Since I like that movie I'll approve of paying homage to it, even though the scene in Wanted was much cooler.
doctorbenjiphd
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 1:44am (UTC -5)
forgive me if this was mentioned above, but I really got the impression from this episode that MU Stamets and PU Stamets switched places..."our" Stamets is on the Charon while the one talking to Tilly and checking the spore cache was the imperial Staments. All because when he is told to follow the music or whatever, it shows him waking up on the Charon and saying "I'm back." I definitely got the impression that they are switched.

A comment on the show overall. Where is this all going? In three episodes the season will be over. I presume Discovery will be back in its native universe. Probably no Lorca. Captain Burnham? Captain Saru with First Officer Burnham? Back to the war with the Klingons? It doesn't really make sense.

I know when Bryan Fuller pitched this show, he wanted to do an anthology--every season being a self-contained story with unique characters in different points throughout the timeline of the prime Trek universe. I think it really shows that they have *no idea* where they are going without Fuller. It might as well be an anthology show, just with a shared core cast of Burnham, Saru and Stamets.
Todd
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 3:40am (UTC -5)
@doctorbenjiphd I disagree that the Stamets were switched...when normal Stamets wakes up on the USS Discovery he tells Tilly he knows about Hugh...mirror Stamets never met him.

Regarding the mirror universe, I think this is the show...its basically Star Trek: The Mirror Generation. They get home when the show's ready to wrap up. They didn't spend a dozen episodes setting up the long con of Lorca being from the Terran Empire without it having a long scale payoff. I think the Klingon War was both preamble and maguffin to what we're seeing now. We already know how that war ends up...the Federation wins or they reach a truce. The mirror universe stuff has the suspense.
Tim C
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 4:01am (UTC -5)
A perfectly watchable episode, although the only real high point is Michelle Yeoh's stellar turn as Evil Georgiou. The rest is all table-setting for the end game of the season, and as far as that goes it was all serviceable. This is the problem with heavily serialised shows, even the best ones like Game Of Thrones - you've got to eat your vegetables before you can get to the meat.

The confirmation of Lorca actually being Evil Lorca was well-done, I thought, and explains a lot of his earlier decisions and motivations. It also poses an interesting question: does winning a war *require* throwing aside Federation ideals? It's arguable, for instance, that the Dominion War wouldn't have been won without Section 31. And Evil Lorca's constant pushing of the Discovery crew to fight harder, along with morally questionable calls like the way he ordered experiments on the tardigrade, might be what got the Federation over the line in this Klingon fight - provided they ever get that cloak-busting algorithm back to Starfleet.

Food for thought.

Oh, and @Frederick Lang... just because I love a classic Internet argument, here's my ranking of Trek captains:

6) Lorca
5) Archer
4) Sisko
3) Picard
2) Janeway
1) Kirk
Gul Densho-Ar
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 5:46am (UTC -5)
@Chrome

"Finally with Vash, who else thinks that this human/Klingon hybrid will go on to mate and populate the Klingon Empire? That would certainly explain how these Klingons and the TOS movie Klingons can be one and the same."

Not sure that'd really explain it, considering that the TOS Klingons show up only 10 years later (and seem to be older than 10 years). Besides, 100 years earlier, Archer encountered TNG-style Klingons.

I don't think there can ever be an explanation for this, the creators of DSC wanted their Klingons to look like that and simply ignored the matter.
Gul Densho-Ar
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 5:48am (UTC -5)
And the correct ranking is:

6) Archer
5) Janeway
4) Lorca
3) Kirk
2) Sisko
1) Picard
James
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 6:04am (UTC -5)
It's hard to rank Lorca based on what we've seen so far given he's been impersonating someone else, but if he's destroyed the Buran and crew and not gone down with his ship that's pretty disgraceful.

6) Lorca
5) Sisko
4) Archer
3) Janeway
2) Picard
1) Kirk
Ed
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 6:30am (UTC -5)
@James

Unless it was really the MU Lorca crossing over, blowing up PU Lorca's ship with him on it, escaping, assuming his identity and manipulating the Federation into believing his actions were justified.
Peccath
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 6:35am (UTC -5)
Uh... Not much to say here. All these supposed plot twists have been so predictable that when they are finally revealed, I just feel lack of excitement instead of being thrilled by the show. I'm afraid STD will have a very low rewatchability...
Rahul
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 6:42am (UTC -5)
Just for grins: my ranking of the captains based on their characters/how they were written:

6) Lorca (somewhat provisional ranking)
5) Archer
4) Janeway
3) Sisko
2) Kirk
1) Picard

Based on quality of actor and the overall acting performances:

6) Sisko/Brooks
5) Janeway/Mulgrew
4) Lorca/Isaacs
3) Archer/Bakula
2) Kirk/Shatner
1) Picard/Stewart
ben sisko
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 9:06am (UTC -5)
I'm sure the writers are building up to yet another big reveal. If they wanted Lorca's reveal to be a dramatic turnabout, they would've saved it for the finale or something.

Also, whoever is ranking Janeway above Picard I must ask, are you also from the Mirror Universe? Because that's the only explanation I can think of for that ranking.
Gee
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 9:09am (UTC -5)
This is not turning out how I'd expect a show called Star Trek: Discovery to. They should rename to Dark Trek: General Lorca

@Rahul
Why is Kirk better than Sisko? Kirk was good at tactical (although not great) but many of his diplomatic achievements were through sheer blind luck! Also, he couldn't keep a family together. Sisko was good at tactics and diplomacy whilst raising a son. My list:
1. Sisko
2. Picard
3. Janeway
4. Archer
5. Kirk

But I agree, more or less, with your assessment of acting ability:
6) Sisko/Brooks
5) Kirk/Shatner
3) Janeway/Mulgrew
2) Archer/Bakula & Lorca/Isaacs tied
1) Picard/Stewart

Iceman
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 9:15am (UTC -5)
Oooh, this sounds fun!

6. Archer-Bland and uninteresting.
5. Janeway-Well acted but highly inconsistent with her morals and values.
4. Lorca-Not really remarkable, but interesting
3. Kirk-He was the first, and deserves great credit for that, but he's kind of a terrible actor.
2. Sisko-Awesome character and actor.
1. Picard-A true thespian. The highest quality actor that Trek ever got, combined with great character writing make this a no-brainer.

@Gul Denso-Ar, I approve of your taste.
Gul Densho-Ar
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 9:25am (UTC -5)
Bakula? On par with or even better than Isaacs? Really? On my actor ranking, he'd be last by a mile.
Rahul
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 9:34am (UTC -5)
@Gee

In my first ranking (the character/writing), it's a close call. Yes Kirk's family life is a mess but that's not played up much in TOS and I'm largely disregarding the movies (since only Kirk/Picard were in them). Kirk's character as a tactician, his love for the Enterprise and even his womanizing makes him a very rich, compelling character.

In the second ranking, Kirk blows away Sisko largely due to Shatner being a far better actor than Brooks. Consider Shatner's acting in "The City on the Edge of Forever" as one example. Hard to find an episode where I didn't enjoy his acting. There are so many episodes where I had issues with Brooks' acting -- too much overacting, huffing/puffing. Sisko's monologue in "In the Pale Moonlight" was the high point for Brooks.

What Sisko has going for him is great writing (DS9 has the consistent best Star Trek writing, for me -- aside from those Ferengi episodes!)

HawgWyld
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 10:01am (UTC -5)
That's it. I officially hate this show now. It's just shallow, boring, completely predictable and beyond redemption. Phooey on this nonsense. They should have left that glowering, sulking mutineer n the clink and had done with it.

As long as we're ranking captains...

6) Lorca
5) Archer
4) Janeway
3) Picard
2) Sisko
1) Kirk

I may be biased in favor if Sisko because DS9 remains my favorite Star Trek series, of course.
HawgWyld
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 10:03am (UTC -5)
@Rahul -- hey, I loved "The Magnificent Ferengi." Fun, fun!
Rahul
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 10:21am (UTC -5)
@HawgWyle -- allow me to counter with "Profit and Lace" and "Ferengi Love Songs" -- hard to believe these were actual DS9 episodes!
BZ
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 10:43am (UTC -5)
I can't really rate Lorca yet. There's just not enough there, so my captain list (based on writing, not acting)

1. Picard
2. Sisko
3. Kirk
4. Archer
5. Janeway

By acting ability:
6) Sisko/Brooks
5) Archer/Bakula
Shatner, Isaacs, Mulgrew about tied
1) Picard/Stewart
Peter G.
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 11:07am (UTC -5)
You know I just realized something. This episode gave us a bit of a retrospective look at earlier episodes in the season, explaining many of the mysteries and other random stuff, such as Lorca's light sensitivity, why he picked Michael, and why Stamets saw some of the stuff he saw. We're meant to understand that Lorca wanted Michael by his side because in his universe they're an item, and because he needed her to get to the palace. I guess we should assume that he didn't really care for even M-Michael but was using her to get to the Emperor, as Georgiou suggests. It would fit, since he's perfectly willing to use P-Michael to do the same.

So fine, he went and tracked down Michael Burnham to use her for this purpose. Except there are a few wacky things involved here. For one, what if Michael hadn't mutinied and was still XO of the Shenzou? There's no way anyone would be able to get her to leave her post or join some other ship, and it's not like Lorca had the clout to 'make that happen'. So we're to assume that his master plan required her to have gotten herself into the situation where she could just be picked up and rescued, and join a new ship? But the next problem is worse, which is a fact I didn't really pay attention to before. How in the world did Lorca bust Michael out of a prison shuttle, kill the pilot (blatantly), make Michael part of his crew, and get away with this? For several episodes we even had an admiral on board, knowing full well that he had committed murder and a prison-break, and Starfleet's reaction to that was merely to grumble about it and mention how it was bad for morale. You don't say? At the time I was sort of accepting it because I was still entertaining the theory that Lorca was Section 31 and that they had engineered the affair and 'fixed' it within Starfleet command. But now, looking back, he isn't 31 and so he basically just got away with severe crimes for...reasons. Wtf. They let him keep a ship after that?

So now in order to bend logic to make sense of S1 I have to assume the following: P-Lorca really was Section 31, hence the carvings under his ready room on the ship exterior (talk about bragging about it publicly), and when M-Lorca had his ship destroyed he replaced him and sought command of the Discovery. Section 31 apparently accepted him back as their agent, and 'fixed' the situation with Michael after the jail-break. Without them in the picture nothing here makes sense. But there's more: Section 31 wouldn't be worth the dirt on their boots if they were unable to tell the difference between the Lorcas, and so we must assume they knew P-Lorca was dead and were intrigued to make a deal with M-Lorca. Maybe he promised them secrets about the M-universe in exchange for their cooperation.

That's how far one must go to make sense of this story. Maybe they explicitly planned it out exactly as I just wrote in, in which case my complaint would be that there's no way an audience is going to gather all of this, and certainly the basic comprehension of a show a show shouldn't require its viewers to go online and read conspiracy theories about how the story might make sense if you create a series of hypotheticals to back it up. And heaven knows the only way to make any of this clear to anyone would be to exposit it through even more lugubrious vaillain's monologues.

I'll even offer a small critique of the theory I just wrote. If Section 31 really has made a deal with M-Lorca, it strikes me as being out of character for them compared to the 31 that we meet at other times. Yes, they're ruthless and resort to Tal Shiar type methods, but it does seem to have been made clear that they really are patriots of a sort and only do what they do to (in their opinion) protect the Federation. I find the notion off-kilter that they'd put a dangerous fascist from an alternate universe in command of a starship, especially one bearing experimental technology. That's exactly the kind of unnecessary risk that 31 would take steps to *prevent*, rather than to incite.
Chrome
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 11:24am (UTC -5)
@Peter

"How in the world did Lorca bust Michael out of a prison shuttle, kill the pilot (blatantly), make Michael part of his crew, and get away with this?"

To your first question, it appears that Lorca is an opportunist and perhaps he just got lucky being able to recruit Burnham. Still, we don't know how long he was stuck in the P-Universe, and it's entirely possible he had another plan to recruit her. Also, Burnham just made a bunch of speculations this episode which appeared to solve some riddles of the show, but Lorca's plan hasn't been fully revealed. Going by the teaser, it looks like Burnham yet may side with Lorca, so there must be at least one last wrinkle.

As for the shuttle, there's plenty of things Lorca could report falsely to cover his tracks. It may not be common, but I'm sure shuttle accidents do happen, even in the 23rd century.
Drea
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 11:28am (UTC -5)
With the Lorca reveal, the most nuanced characterization on the show is now out the window. Instead of someone so determined to defend the Federation that he has lost sight of its ideals, we have a villain from the cartoonish Mirror Universe.

What are we getting from any of this? We're not getting much meaningful characterization. We're not getting a story with any clear themes or direction. We're not getting insight into our current real-world ethical or political dilemmas. The show could still grow into something worthwhile, but by slicing away Lorca, they've just kicked in one of their best supports to do so.

Clearly the writers or directors believe that by making a show more gruesome they make it more adult. They're wrong. We don't benefit from seeing Voq's surgery over and over, or from watching Lorca suffer in the torture chamber. Whom does this entertain?

Stamets is doing a disproportionate amount of work to make the show enjoyable. I'm not yet sold on the writers' declaration that killing Culber does not amount to yet another "bury your gays" moment, but his scenes with Stamets in this episode worked. Will Stamets find that mirror Culber is some kind of decent human being and bring him back? It's among the plots that keep me watching.
Galadriel
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 11:35am (UTC -5)
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.
Gee
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 11:37am (UTC -5)
@Iceman

"Archer-Bland and uninteresting."
did we watch the same shows? He was vocal against Vulcans and prideful; that makes him pretty interesting. He was excited about exploring in a way no other Captain was. He was great at stunts, always getting into fist fights and treated everyone fairly (and in doing so became the initial glue which held Vulcans, Andorains and Tellerites together). I understand his personality might not be everyone's cup of tea but "Bland"? really?!

"Janeway- ... inconsistent with her morals and values."
I don't think she was inconsistent, she did change over the course of the 7 yrs though. As she says in Counterpoint, "I don't put much stock in the Prime Directive, I just do what I feel is right and sort it out with the board later; those admirals and I are on a first name basis you know". And you can interpret her behaviour throughout as just following her gut. She isn't perfect and logical all the time; she is guided by instinct and reacts emotionally many times but then again she is Human and not Vulcan. Towards the end of the serious, she and others (inc. Harry Kim) value 'the family' more than starfleet/federation regs/law -using time travel to correct their mistakes and save other members of the 'family'.

Also you say Kirk is a 'terrible' actor and Sisko is awesome?! We def haven't been watching the same shows. I think many would agree that Sisko overacted many times and there was way too much puffing and huffing.
Peter G.
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 11:39am (UTC -5)
@ Chrome,

"it appears that Lorca is an opportunist and perhaps he just got lucky being able to recruit Burnham."

So literally the only person in the universe who could make his plan work becomes available, and that's 'lucky'? More like contrived, but ok, it's certainly lucky for him. And this happens almost exactly the same moment when the spore drive technology becomes viable for the first time in history? Is that 'lucky' too?

"As for the shuttle, there's plenty of things Lorca could report falsely to cover his tracks. It may not be common, but I'm sure shuttle accidents do happen, even in the 23rd century."

So Starfleet will note the mysterious loss of a shuttle, just as the Discovery is right where the shuttle has its 'accident', so they the prisoners can be rescued, and then Burnham is 'recruited' despite the fact that she's in prison? Is Starfleet supposed to be so stupid that they couldn't consider foul play, from a captain already suspected due to the mysterious loss of his previous ship and his lone escape? And how about the fact that the other prisoners would pretty clearly have a recollection of the events as some ship swooping in and killing the pilot? Or how about the crew of the Discovery who carried out those orders? All of them will keep their mouths shut about engaging on a prison shuttle? It's not like Lorca was piloting the ship all by himself. Early in the series they almost made it sound like the entire crew was Section 31 with the black alerts and all, but this was promptly dropped as they were later portrayed as regular Starfleet who just experienced 'unusual' security alerts without knowing what they meant. Whatever.

Anyhow, I don't think any regular captain could just announce "Burnham's not going back to prison, because I've said so." Starfleet knew she was smart, so it's not like it was a surprise to learn she could be of help to a ship. She committed treason and was sentenced, and that should have been that. I don't see Starfleet Command accepting an alteration in that arrangement unless Section 31 were to meddle.

Overall it takes a lot of straining to explain away these events. People have gone through this type of exercise with LOST, where, after finishing the series they'll go back and watch from the beginning to see if it all makes sense and to use the knowledge from the reveals to vet how everything is portrayed from the start. Maybe one can successfully 'make it fit', maybe not, but surely it should be clear that the creators are banking on no one being able to make sense of it on a first watch-through, and if you like it enough to do a second watch-through just to verify everything they've already won since you're consuming their product repeatedly.
BZ
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 11:40am (UTC -5)
@Peter G,
This all depends greatly on how, when, and why Lorca entered the PU, and when Burnham became part of his plan (or even when he formed his plan).

My take as of now is that he entered the PU (somehow) sometime before the battle of binary stars, simply to run away from the MU and regroup. He found his PU counterpart, and, when the ship was lost with all hands, faked being the only survivor. He found out about Discovery and its mission, and only then formulated a plan to request command of Discovery, get Michael (who was already imprisoned by then), and use Discovery Tech and Michael to get home and try to get back at the Emperor again.

Before knowing that Lorca was from the MU, I assumed the shuttle pilot was rescued off screen, and this may still be the case. Since the somewhat questionable practices aboard Discovery were known to Starfleet Command and condoned (presumable because "we are at war", it's not surprising (to them) that Lorca would put Michael, someone with no other choice but life in prison, to take a post that a normal officer would find unpalatable. Then he just tried to act the way he thought teh PU Lorca would act until he had enough data to return to the MU.

I think that covers everything
HawgWyld
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 11:46am (UTC -5)
@Rahul -- Yes, those two Ferengi episodes were dreadful and cannot be defended. So, I won't even try.

Honesly, if the Ferengi episodes tended to be more like "The Magnificent Ferengi" and "Little Green Men" than "Profit and Lace" and "Ferengi Love Songs," they wouldn't have such an awful reputation amongst DS9 fans.
Henson
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 11:47am (UTC -5)
@Galadriel

I vote that we make your notation standard in all future discussions. !Character is a neat, clean, and unobtrusive way of denoting mirror universe versions.
Dom
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 11:50am (UTC -5)
@John Harmon, yep, this show has become all about plot twists for the sake of plot twists. In other words, it's boring. In TOS, the MU was not just a cool sci-fi concept, but also a morality play about the importance of individual choice in resisting evil. It didn't overstay its welcome. In DS9, the MU was usually just a fun, fan-service break from the overarching story. The episodes weren't always the greatest or most insightful, but they weren't supposed to be. With STD, it feels like the show is so obsessed with *shocking* viewers that it's forgetting what Star Trek is all about. It's about the themes, the ideas, the BIG questions in life. What is STD telling us about the world in 2017?
Dom
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 11:53am (UTC -5)
Also, in the TOS MU episode, Spock tells Kirk that their MU counterparts were detected early because they were too savage to blend in with the Enterprise crew. What does it say about Starfleet in STD that Lorca seemed perfectly at home in Starfleet? Nobody seemed to question if he really belonged in that universe. Apparently, STD's commitment to the Federation ideals is so weak that an MU character could become captain of a starship. It really shows just how far into grim dark territory STD as a show has gone.
Dom
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 12:01pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G., "Is Starfleet supposed to be so stupid..."

Yes. Remember, this is the same TV series in which Starfleet left its most critical mining facility nearly defenseless and, if not for Disco's spore drive, would have lost the war.
Gee
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 12:41pm (UTC -5)
@HawgWyld @Rahul
You forget the greatest Ferengi story ever told; "Treachery,Faith and the Great River" and also is it not the episode with the best title? This Ferengi story was so good they rehashed it from "In the cards" and told it twice!

LJ
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 12:50pm (UTC -5)
Troy G

Actually it was both VOY and DS9 that had ads before the preview, due to the fact those were aired on UPN (which is defunct by now.

Rahul

It's been implied that the "enemy" is either Voq/Tyler or MU Stamets.

Surak

I suppose the question of whether we are emotionally invested in the characters or not varies from person to person. I for instance, find myself extremely invested in Tilly, Saru, Stamets and Culber and heck, even in Lorca.
I still find Burnham too logical to be compelling though, although that means we can't complain about the SMG's interpretation of someone raised on Vulcan; she nails it. lol

Peter G

It's clear to me that L'Rell simply effed up with her plan. I guess that she expected that Tyler's personality would never take over Voq's, so she expected that whenever she said the prayer to him, he would instantly go back to being Voq and then they could advance their plan (which would probably be deleting the cloaking algorithm and take Discovery to the hands of the Klingons). Her plan didn't work though, so yeah, she pretty much effed up.

Regarding the Lorca thing, I suppose the your assessment regarding his motivations to seek out PU Burnham in the first place are correct and that the rest was simply "luck" playing out. He probably searched Burnham's location first thing when he got into this universe, arranged a prison transfer for he (which I believe to be something he would have enough clout to pull off), waited for her in the suttle's path, deliberately attacked her ship with space bugs and then "rescued" her. As for why he was able to take Burnham out of prison, it's explained away by a regulation in the 5th episode (you can conscript virtually anyone in times of war, or something along these lines). He managed to retain command of Discovery even after the Buran disaster because it's clear he's an accomplished liar and he lied to Admiral Cornwell.

@doctorbenjiphd

When (supposedly) MU Stamets wakes up he says "He did it. I'm back", probably referring to PU Stamets, whom he was begging to come up with a solution as to how exit that plane. So I guess that's still MU Stamets who we see waking up.
And yeah, probably the fact this whole season was written when the show was going to be an anthology series is the reason why we're probably not getting many characters from this season on the next one. Although they might still find that PU Lorca is still alive, somehow and have him being assuming his rightful place as Discovery's true captain.

@Drea

I agree. I had hoped the show wouldn't go the way of having Lorca being an MU character, because he was very well nuanced and believable as just a conflicted/traumatised captain with a grey morality. And it was also what made him stand out when compared with other captains (Kirk et al). Now he's lost his uniqueness.

@BZ

It's said by Mudd, on episode 5, that the Buran was lost one month into the war, so that's when MU Lorca switched places with PU Lorca. And like you said, only after he switched places was that he realised he had all the tools to go back to the MU (spore drive, PU Burnham, etc).

@Dom

I beg to differ that this MU arc is purposeless. I'm finding it to be the best use of the MU so far in Star Trek. As for the supposed lack of Trekkian themes in DSC, I can mention at least 5 of them that were approached by the show. But going by the way you call the show STD I'm guessing your hatred of it is pretty final, so I won't waste my time.
Also that critical Starfleet mining facility had been under attack for hours and hours on end and its shields hadn't stopped working, so I guess it was far from being defenseless...

As a side note, I don't know why you people who hate the show take your time coming here to discourse about how much you hate the show, but that's just me. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

By the way, my personal ranking is:

6) Archer
5) Janeway
4) Kirk
3) Lorca
2) Sisko
1) Picard

Poor Janeway. I really saw potential in her character but, as most of VOY, it was so badly written, in my opinion. Which is unfortunate, since she was the first female captain Trek presented us. And the second one, i.e., Georgiou, who seemed to be infinitely better written than Janeway, was killed off after only two episodes.
Also @James: I think PU Lorca wasn't the one who destroyed the USS Buran and didn't go down with his ship, but rather MU Lorca
Yanks
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 12:50pm (UTC -5)
Well, well, well.... many of our suspicions prove true. Seems we now have a reason why Lorca wasn't a very "Star Fleet" Captain. Loved all the little clues put together in All Trek.

All very well done with one exception (I could be mistaken here). ... I thought it was Voq's body that was surgically altered, then Tyler's "ora" for lack of a better term was implanted in him. Didn't L'Rell just state the opposite????? Tyler's was captured, and modified to receive Voq? ... how does that make any sense with what Cluber figured out?

Micheal Yeoh did a fine job here, but I like her much more as Capt Georgiou.

Now Lorca is turned loose... can't wait for this. I thought the "darkness" reveal was pretty cool. Never mentioned before in the MU or does something happen to eliminate it maybe?

A little disappointing this episode was so short...

Did Michael just eat MU Saru? :-)




Rahul
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 1:02pm (UTC -5)
@Gee @HawgWyld

Well, if we're considering B-plot Ferengi stories, then I'd say I actually appreciated "The Dogs of War" for its Ferengi B-plot with Quark's right wing ideologies coming to the fore. Now here's a DS9 subplot that is quite the appropriate allegory for our times!
Dom
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 1:18pm (UTC -5)
@LJ, We discuss the show because this is a discussion forum, right? I'm trying to give this show a chance and sticking through the first season, but I also don't think it's right to not call out problems with the show. I'm pretty disappointed so far, but if the writers improve for Season 2 then all the better. STD seems as appropriate a 3-letter abbreviation as TNG or DS9.

I don't really see anything that's being developed thematically in this MU arc that really speaks to me. If you do, great, but it every time I see something that has potential the show undercuts it with a PLOT TWIST or SHOCKING REVELATION. Lorca could have been an interesting commentary on Federation values in a time of war, like Sisko on DS9, but making a MU doppelgänger seems like the show is saying "Lorca is morally ambiguous because he's from the MU," which I just don't find interesting.

As for that mining colony, this is from an older episode admittedly, but the fact that Discovery saves it by destroying one ship then warping out suggests to me that the Klingon attack in fact wasn't all that strong in the first place. If you have a planet/station that is so crucial that the war will be lost if it falls, you make sure that there are ships nearby to reinforce it in case of attack.
Ed
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 1:21pm (UTC -5)
@Yanks

Saru--Are you sure you haven't seen any of my kind in the other universe?
Michael--Absolutely, sir. Excuse me. I'm starving. Permission to go to the mess hall?

(Tries different kinds of food, but none have the flavor she's looking for)
Peter G.
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 1:25pm (UTC -5)
@ Yanks,

"Tyler's was captured, and modified to receive Voq? ... how does that make any sense with what Cluber figured out?"

It doesn't. Culber clearly said that the originally Klingon body was modified, such as having bones crushed and shortened. It was ridiculous even then, but in any case was the given circumstance. L'Rell seems to be getting it wrong.

"Did Michael just eat MU Saru? :-)"

Yes. It was a disgusting moment in TV, probably up there with some of the torture scenes in GoT with Theon. Congrats, you've managed to make me feel disgusted for no other reason than it's cool to gratuitously gross out the audience. That, along with the repeated gore shots, tells me plenty about what sorts of tricks they're banking on to capture attention. Shocks and thrills, twists and turns, gross and horrible, etc etc. It's basically a circus geek show.
Chrome
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 1:28pm (UTC -5)
"Actually it was both VOY and DS9 that had ads before the preview, due to the fact those were aired on UPN (which is defunct by now."

UPN didn't exist until Voyager. Both DS9 and TNG were run in syndication - meaning in the U.S., if you saw the shows on their original air date, you were watching them on a local channel, maybe your local FOX affiliate. Thus, it was entirely up to the network when to run ads between previews or not, but I'm sure most networks would. I know mine did!

Since we're on the subject, Paramount bought Spike TV and has rebranded it "The Paramount Network" just this last weekend which means if you have cable you'll probably be able to watch all the Trek movies very soon.
Dobber
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 1:35pm (UTC -5)
Well of course Lorca is from the MU. What I want to know is was his security chief from there too? Although I think I saw her in the preview for the next episode.
Dobber
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 1:38pm (UTC -5)
Can I just ask what is going on with the ships on this show?

Why did Burnham and Lorca have to warp to the imperial flagship when at the end of the last episode the Shenzou and it were in orbit of the same planet? It’s like when the Cooper shot the rebel’s but didn’t show up until much later. And how Discovery was about to beam Tyler on board. Wtf is going on?
Mertov
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 2:03pm (UTC -5)
Wow, for a number of episodes, some people complained that Lorca was nothing like a Starfleet captain, and that his character was everything against Trek, etc.. There were even people explicitly saying that the only way it would make sense is if he were from the Mirror Universe..
And now that it is revealed to be so - in an efficient way in my opinion - others are now complaining that writers wasted his character, it's a terrible idea, etc..

Hard to make Trekkies happy :))

I will wait for Jammer's review for the developments in the episode and simply say that it was one of the most intense episodes of the show so far. But its strongest element was the acting, especially by Rapp and Yeoh.

Nit-pick question: Is this the first episode in which Detmer (whose character continues to receive zero development, hello Harberts, Berg, and Kurtzman, hellooooo?) does not appear at all?

As to the captain's rankings, I agree with Rahul's, in both rankings (the character ranking and the actors' one) except I would switch Mulgrew and Bacula in the acting department..
Baron Samedi
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 2:04pm (UTC -5)
I'll chime in regarding ranking the captains:

Favorite to least favorite as characters:
1) Kirk
2) Sisko
3) Picard
4) Lorca
5) Janeway
6) Archer

Best to worst as actors,:
1) Janeway/Picard (tie)
3) Lorca
4) Kirk
5) Archer
6) Sisko
(I don't think any of these actors were "bad" - they were all great at least 90% of the time. That said, ENT S1-S2 Archer was performed a bit blandly and Avery Brooks occasionally over-acted noticeably.)

Most effective to least effective as leaders:
1) Picard
2) Sisko
3) Archer (mostly for S3-S4)
4) Janeway
5) Lorca
6) Kirk

I agree with some of the comments above regarding Janeway's inconsistency as a captain, as you have to make way too many leaps on your own to explain how often she oscillated between strictly following protocol/the prime directive in some episodes and her jettisoning those traits in others. It's tempting to try to draw some kind of an arc around her behavior, but futile imo, as I'm convinced there's hardly anything holding her character together over the course of the series. That said, Kate Mulgrew did a fantastic job with the character and made a big impact with her strong performances in individual episodes ("Tuvix," "The Thaw," "Scorpion," "Dark Frontier," and the series finale come right to mind).

As to "Vaulting Ambitions," it's my favorite episode of Discovery so far. I haven't truly believed anything we've learned about Lorca so far because something has always seemed "off" about him and his explanations for his behavior and his past, so I don't feel like an interesting character has been excised through the revelation that he's from the MU - I was hoping the show would go this route, as it explains a lot about his character so far. On top of that, Saru, Burnham, Stamets, Lorca and Georgiou all had strong character moments throughout. I'm impressed at the number of bases the episode touched effectively in its short running time.
Trent
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 2:20pm (UTC -5)
Wow, Michael ate Saru, Lorca was tortured, Lorca's buddy was tortured, Stamets was tortured, Phillipa massacred some henchmen, Evil Stamets is on the Discovery and Ash is being tortured. How interesting.

Imagine a serialized Trek show about a Federation starship discovering a new alien species and planet, being assigned to study their culture without meddling, learning that a Romulan outpost is doing the same thing, and then both the Feds and Romulans finding themselves in a First Contact race against time to reveal themselves to the aliens and then ideologically convert them to their respective "empires". The Federation then begrudingly back down from pursuing the aliens, as the aliens utilize a caste system which they deem immoral. The Romulans take over. More stuff happens. The aliens beg the Feds to come back, at which point the Feds begin converting the alien planet to a funky post-scarcity space-democracy with gizmos and land reforms and suff. The most violent moment in the series will involve a captain slicing a pineapple at an ambasadorial function.
Lobster Johnson
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 2:21pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G

I don't know why you think he killed a shuttlecraft pilot, he certainly didn't need to in order to acquire Michael. For one, Michael notes the pilot changed course mid-flight which you can reasonably deduce means the pilot was instructed to meet the Discovery. Lorca kept this a secret in order to observe Michael over the course of episode 3 - Michael explicitly theorizes he arranged the entire thing at the end of the episode.

Second, Cornwell exposits later on that Lorca has conscripted Michael which is within his power during wartime - so again no murder is necessary.

Finally, although it's hard to hear (but easily viewable with subtitles on), when Michael first arrives on Discovery there's a background announcement calling personnel to sickbay so you can reasonably assume the pilot was beamed there.
Lobster Johnson
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 2:22pm (UTC -5)
@Trent

Michael didn't eat Saru, Saru is onboard the Shenzou
Peter G.
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 2:34pm (UTC -5)
@ Lobster,

Maybe you're right about the pilot, I can't be sure. They certainly didn't take any pains to make it clear that he *didn't* kill the pilot, which you'd think would be really important for us to know. Like, as in, is he a murderer or not. In the end it seemed like an irrelevant detail compared to "look at this badass who does whatever he wants." That's what they were going for and that's what they got.

About eating Saru, I looked carefully at the three Kelpians there and I could swear the one she chose looked exactly like Saru. When being asked to choose I interpreted the scene in the following way: Michael had to guess what she was choosing them for but banked on it being a reward since it appeared that Michael was being rewarded for bringing in Lorca. Once she realized she had to pick she quite definitively picked the one that looked like Saru, which I interpreted as meaning she wanted him protected above the others, which in turn would become a morbid piece of irony as the one she was indebted to ended up being her meal. You don't see that as being the narrative being shown?
LJ
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 2:46pm (UTC -5)
@People who are asking if Michael ate MU Saru

One of the writers confirmed on Twitter that, no, she didn't.
She did eat a random Kelpien, though, which I guess the series could do without. But oh well, it *is* the MU after all... Terrans are barbarians and etc.
And while we're on the subject of barbarians, either MU Lorca really restrained himself or he might be one of the more decent MU citizens, on par with MU Disko and Smiley.
LJ
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 2:51pm (UTC -5)
And imo, a thing that the show could improve in its writing is this tendency it has to go with totally controversial plot points (Culber being killed for no reason at all, Michael eating a Kelpian that looks exactly like Saru but isn't, etc) and then having to rush to Twitter of all places to explain things in more detail and calm down the masses that are justifiably mad at said plot points.
Dom
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 2:52pm (UTC -5)
@Trent, I'd watch your proposed Trek show in a heartbeat. Trek has flirted with the idea of interacting with cultures that hold illiberal values, but there's so much storytelling potential there. DS9 started to do that with Bajor, but never really made it work (the Bajor episodes pretty much fell by the wayside after Season 2). Moreover, with the rise of illiberalism today, such a show might actually have something of value to say about our life and times.
LJ
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 2:55pm (UTC -5)
Ah, I meant MU Sisko* on the message above. Stupid corrector. lol
LJ
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 3:00pm (UTC -5)
@Mertov

"Wow, for a number of episodes, some people complained that Lorca was nothing like a Starfleet captain, and that his character was everything against Trek, etc.. There were even people explicitly saying that the only way it would make sense is if he were from the Mirror Universe..
And now that it is revealed to be so - in an efficient way in my opinion - others are now complaining that writers wasted his character, it's a terrible idea, etc..

Hard to make Trekkies happy :))"

I have to agree with that, though I was one who was happy with Lorca not being Starfleet through and through but rather a disturbed/anti-hero kind of captain since the beginning, so I didn't like this oversimplification that comes with him being MU, myself.
Chrome
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 3:08pm (UTC -5)
@LJ

Re: Eating Saru

Saru's species was originally supposed to be prey after all and Terrans are by far the dominant "predators" in the MU, so I thought it was a nice, albeit grotesque, detail.
Lynos
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 3:09pm (UTC -5)
Can someone be kind and explain to me what this show is about? Week after week I watch it, because it's called Star Trek, and I still don't get what it's about. It looks great, very well made, some good acting, but it's so hollow. The Mycelian network? So? I mean, other than showing off how cool and progressive it is (female African-American protaginise with a male name! A gay couple!) it's just reveling in gore and despair while bringing very little of value to the table. It's focusing on empty plot machinations and cliffhangers designed to make you keep coming for more. Where are the philosophical ideas, the humanity, the social commenatry, all the stuff the best Trek is known for? I'm fine with mindless action-adventure once in a while, but... I just don't get it. Every episode, people screaming, being tortured... either without (Lorca) or within (Tyler). God almighty, someone crack a smile already.
Trent
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 3:17pm (UTC -5)
Lj: "Wow, for a number of episodes, some people complained that Lorca was nothing like a Starfleet captain, and that his character was everything against Trek, etc.. There were even people explicitly saying that the only way it would make sense is if he were from the Mirror Universe.."

Personally, I've been rooting for Lorca being MU since the third episdoe aired. This confirmation saved the character for me, as it preserves the aspirational, utopian ethos of Prime Trek. If Lorca were revealed to be a freedom fighter within the MU, it will be even better. Trek is one of the few utopian, post-capitalist, post-scarcity SF franchises to break into the mainstream, and I feel this aspect should be preserved as much as possible. And even in print SF, this utopian stance is very rare (since the death of HG Wells, only Kim Stanley Robinson, Ursula Leguin and Iain Banks have visited this subgenre frequently). A product of a very specific time and place, Roddenberry created a universe that is actually quite original, philsophically and politically, when compared to other SF and utopian SF works.
Trent
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 3:24pm (UTC -5)
Dom said: "DS9 started to do that with Bajor, but never really made it work (the Bajor episodes pretty much fell by the wayside after Season 2)."

IMO the first two seasons of DS9, where we watched as a superpower (The Feds) was forced to mediate between two "primitive" cultures who didn't share their values and who had been at war for decades, all whilst trying to keep a multi-cultural station from collapsing, was the best thing DS9 ever did. That stuff was sophisticated and gripping and an interesting tangle. I'd love a series focussing on such mediations. But - as DS9 itself proved - war is what sells.
HawgWyld
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 3:26pm (UTC -5)
@Gee -- Wow. How could I have forgotten "Treachery, Faith and the Great River?" Great one!
Mertov
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 3:30pm (UTC -5)
LJ and Trent,
My comment was obviously not directed at you and others who felt like you. LJ, I was totally in your camp too, actually.. Trent, I also agree with your assessment, although I would have still preferred if it worked out the LJ'ian (and my) way :))
HawgWyld
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 3:34pm (UTC -5)
@Rahul -- good "B story," too. Of course, we can't forget about the torment poor Nog went through in "The Siege of AR-558," either...
Peter G.
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 3:37pm (UTC -5)
@ Trent,

"But - as DS9 itself proved - war is what sells. "

I'm not sure that's a fair conclusion. The fact that a lot of people hail DS9 S4-6 may just as soon be due to the serialized nature of the stories, the world-building that was finally seeing large-scale payoffs, and the fact that the characters go through a lot of changes and don't have it easy on the moral front. We saw a teeny bit of this in The Maquis when Sisko had to choose a lesser of evils, but it got much worse than that later in the series. What was rewarding in DS9, much owed to the fact of a well-run writing team, was the fact that they allowed many established threads to have consequences and to lead somewhere. We got significant arcs from Garak, Kira, Odo, Sisko, and heck, even Quark. Julian doesn't so much have a story arc as a character arc, which is quite noticeable if you finish the series and then restart from the pilot. So I'm not sure it was the war setting per se, but rather the fact that it allowed the characters to really go somewhere; the crisis didn't allow them to sit on their laurels.

But as far as Trek utopia-values go, I think DS9 pushed Trek values to the limit by showing just how far the Federation was willing to go to maintain its footing as a non-violent organization. They certainly didn't instigate the war against the Dominion, and tried diplomacy and discussion to no avail. Worf even prevented Garak at one point from potentially annihilating the Founders, which when you think about it was an act that, in and of itself, speaks volumes about how dedicated DS9's Federation was to its values: so much so that even a Klingon was indoctrinated enough to prevent that happening.

Sisko refusing to drink blood wine during the finale seems to clinch the fact that, although there were many exciting battles and action, DS9 shouldn't be taken to have been a 'war-show' but was about people who legitimately didn't want to fight being made to do so.
Dom
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 3:40pm (UTC -5)
@Trent, agreed, the first 2 seasons of DS9 weren't the best drama the series had to offer, but rich intellectual fodder. Incidentally, I wrote an article about this very thing a few years ago:

https://www.popmatters.com/star-trek-nation-building-on-bajor-why-deep-space-nine-is-really-the-post-9-2495411968.html
Todd
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 3:54pm (UTC -5)
@Lynos The value of the show right now is the contrast between the Federation and the Terran Empire. The difference in values, methods and characters.

In art it is often said you need the dark to bring out the light. I think that's true in drama as well.

Listen to how the Emperor spoke about Federation values, scoffing at them. Ironic if a Federation starship ends up saving her from Lorca (which is where I think this show may be going).

As to social commentary, look at how the Republican Party and Trump are trying to govern the United States at the moment...as a xenophobic inward looking fearful place. Whether you agree with that approach or not, the parallels between Trump and the Empire are there.
Ed
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 3:59pm (UTC -5)
@Todd

And Trump likes to cover everything in gold, too. :)
Lynos
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 4:17pm (UTC -5)
@Todd

If so, why did it take Discovery 10 episodes to get there?
The same point was made in stand-alone shows or previous Star Trek series.

My issue with Discovery is that as a serialized show, it seems to be aimless. Not aimless in that it doesn't know what it want the plot to be, but aimless in that it doesn't know what it wants to be about. TAS and TNG, and Enterprise were about exploration. DS9 was about diplomacy and the mingling of different alien cultures in one place. Voyager was about resourcefullness (at least in the beginning, before it became another TNG). Discovery is about... what? At first, it seemed to focus on Burnham's character and its story, now the focus switched to the Mirror Universe, and it seems now it's going to center on Lorca...?

Chrome
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 4:21pm (UTC -5)
"They certainly didn't instigate the war against the Dominion"

Really? I've heard some fair arguments that Sisko and co. did actually instigate the war with the Dominion. They kept sending away teams into the Gamma quadrant after the Dominion made it clear they wouldn't tolerate the incursions. Sisko was rude to every Vorta who tried to strike a deal with him. War may have been inevitable, but I don't think Sisko did anything to *decrease* hostilities.

That's just the thing about DS9, there aren't really any clear good guys or bad guys; everyone has got their hands dirty. Except... maybe not Rom? Oh wait, he tried to kill his brother -- oh well!
HawgWyld
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 4:28pm (UTC -5)
@Todd -- what contrast? We had a "mirror universe" guy blend into the Federation quite easily. The point has been made that the mirror universe "savages" were identified immediately upon returning to Prime in TOS because their behavior was so out of bounds.

That wasn't the case at all here, and that is a real problem with this series.
Yair
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 5:08pm (UTC -5)
Sigh. DIS is well made technically, but ultimately the plot marches by fiat, and most of the characters are flat.

* How did Lorca knew he'd get out of the torture chamber? He couldn't have known that he wouldn't just be fried or that someone would ever open the chamber. This could have been easily fixed by simply giving him some co-conspirator on the inside. And doesn't the prolonged torture have any side effects, to the point the victim can just step outside and act normally?

* Does anything L'Rell do or did, ever make any sense?

* Ok, so MU Stamets is an horrible human being, we could guess, but how could 'using the network for his own gain' destroy it? Using warp drives for some Empire's own gain doesn't destroy subspace. Is it some magic thing where the user's motives matter? And why would Stamets waking up wake him up too?

* Didn't MU Archer order the Defiant library erased precisely to avoid its incendiary content?

In a previous episode's comments, it was argued that Trek was outdated, and at least DIS tries to innovate. I think that's true. Trek is outdated. It's just that the reasons for that aren't presentation issues, so where DIS tries to innovate it does it over not-so-relevant style issues (serialization or not, more gore, etc.)

The original TV show had a futuristic technical and social vision. Trek lost its tech relevancy long ago, and the social vision - always somewhat limited by the military setting - has become blurred. This creates a void, which Trek-style series try to fill in different ways.

DIS does it by replacing most of the sci-fi content with arbitrary character drama + action scenes. Ultimately, we watch it merely to see what happens next. The Orville (so imitative of TNG it has same problems) replaces it with jokes and social commentary. A true heir will only arrive when it comes with a refreshed futuristic vision.
Trent
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 5:20pm (UTC -5)
Dom said: "Incidentally, I wrote an article about this very thing a few years ago:"

Wow, that's you? I've read that article several times in the past. I've always said DS9 anticipates the Bush years ("We must break a few eggs, and trample on a few laws, to preserve our culture from the barbarian horde!"). It anticipates a lot of the thematic TV trends that would start in the early 2000s, but is never quite able to transcend them (and reinforces a lot of their worst aspects and strawmen). With its only Pakistani-muslim actor playing a terroristy sleeper-agent Klingon, and wanting to be a cross between Homeland and Game of Thrones, Discovery is continuing these same, now worn-out themes.


Peter G said: "They certainly didn't instigate the war against the Dominion, and tried diplomacy and discussion to no avail."

IMO the Feds instigated everything and didn't try diplomacy. The Feds repeatedly enter Dominion space, are warned not to return, but then repeatedly return with cloaked warships. This behavior is reckless and something the Federation would never do to the territorial demands of Romulans or Klingons. To make matters worse, the Federation then supports a genocidal Romulan attack on the Dominion homeworld. A giant war-crime which Sisko and the Federation never attempts to stop, contest or challenge. You could improve relations between the Feds and Dominion instantly by flying the Defiant over to the Founders and fighting alongside them against the Romulans, or even warning them (the Feds had advanced warning of the Romulan plans, and even provided them with the homeworld location). But no. The Federation want the Dominion wiped out way before the Dominion has even crossed the wormhole. Indeed, the Federation conforms entirely to the mad, violent caricature to which the Dominion ascribe all solids. And the series never meaningfully points this out or acknowledges this or challenges it.

For several more seasons the Dominion are mercifully kind to the Federation, who has shown it nothing but irrational hostility. It takes a immoral alliance between the Feds and Klingons (who attacked the Cardassians) to drag the Dominion into a war with the Feds. You'd think the Feds would forge a peace treaty with the Dominion to protect Cardassia from the Klingons, but no, the Feds don't (and Dominion brain scans of Sisko and company back in season 3 show that the Feds would never support a peace-treaty anyway; a finding that Fed behavior repeatedly proves to be right).

IMO DS9 started out as realistic, serious drama but increasingly relied upon the kind of comic book tropes which we see DISCO playing with. Beyond comic book logic, it didn't really make sense for giant, space faring civilizations to behave as they increasingly did. By this point in time, you'd also think the Feds had a dedicated first contact team comprised of uber Picards and Betazoid experts specifically trained at dealing with crazy space super-powers. And if not, park a Genesis device by the wormhole and relax.

Todd said: "The value of the show right now is the contrast between the Federation and the Terran Empire. The difference in values, methods and characters."

I think the problem people have is that Disco's Prime Universe never seems utopian or different to the Terran Empire. To hastily jump from grim Prime to grimmer MU has been jarring, especially when your prime crew is as messed up psychologically as a healthy MU psychopath.
Nievesg
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 5:33pm (UTC -5)
@HawgWyld:
I also found unbelievable to see MU Lorca pose as PU Lorca... until I remembered the Defiant files.
If MU Lorca has been so close to the Emperor's daughter, he may have read the classified Defiant files about PU. His liar talent and a good PU Klingon war did the rest of the work. But without the Defiant files he would have been detected and imprisoned immediately. Just my own opinion anyway.
Trent
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 5:37pm (UTC -5)
Yair said: "The original TV show had a futuristic technical and social vision. Trek lost its tech relevancy long ago, and the social vision - always somewhat limited by the military setting - has become blurred."

Yes, that's a key point IMO. IMO for the franchise to have any artistic relevance, it has to get more politically radical. Which means it has to become a series about future modes of social (economic and political) organization, and how this intersects with culture and technology. It needs to get more sophisticated, and more interested in worldbuilding (ie, sketching alternatives to our world). Anything else, and you're just repeating familiar tropes. Indeed, since DS9, Trek's been stuck in what philosophers called "capitalist realism"; the belief that there is no alternative beyond grim neoliberalism and the incessant, petty "identity politics" battles that obfuscate the economic dictums dictating behavior.
Skabs
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 5:53pm (UTC -5)
Not that this show made a whole lot of sense before, but now it makes no sense at all.

I could buy the spore drive/mycelial network before (barely), but now? What happened in this episode? Is the network sentient? Is it heaven, or purgatory or something? How is it creating all these illusions and why? Did it create Culber or was it Stamets that created him? Why would it trap Stamets there, then tell him how to leave? Why would PU Stamets opening his eyes set both Stamets free? What the hell is going on?

So they had the spore drive in the MU too apparently, since MU Stamets got trapped in the network, so why did Georgiou act like she had never heard of it when Mike told her how they got there? It was being researched on her ship after all. Or maybe they were just working on it, but hadn't made it functional yet, but then why was MU Stamets in the network? PU Stamets only got there after making over a hundred jumps. How did MU stamets get in there? What's going on?

I thought Voq had taken over Ash completely last episode, yet he appears and asks Saru for help in this one. L'Rell 'killed' Voq's personality? Or did she? Why would they have Klingon mind wipe glove thingies on the ship? Why did she get the original Voq/Ash procedure all backwards when she explained it? A writing goof or actual plot? What's going on?

And now supposedly this whole thing has been a complicated plot by Lorca to do...something. But that makes no sense. How did he know he would get posted as captain of Discovery? How would he know it had a spore drive? He recruited Mike before the spore drive was even working properly. How would he know that it could travel to the MU? What a coincidence that Stamets went mental and they couldn't just turn immediately around and go back to the MU. I don't buy it. It's like the writers had this idea and then forced all the plot points to make it happen, instead of making it subtle. This thing had to happen, so it did, then this thing had to happen, so it did. No real logical story progression behind it, just make it all these things happen so Lorca can do his plan, whatever it is.

So many twists and turns and reveals and then more twists and why? Just once I'd like to watch this show and understand what is happening without having to wait 3 more episodes to know what happened in the episode I just watched.

2 stars.
Dom
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 6:17pm (UTC -5)
@ Trent, yep, that's me.

DS9 hasn't aged perfectly, but its social commentary has a timelessness to it, more so than TOS or TNG's. The issues of freedom vs. security, multiculturalism, religion vs. science, etc will always be with us.

"With its only Pakistani-muslim actor playing a terroristy sleeper-agent Klingon..."

I'm shocked this hasn't been a bigger point in hot takes on Discovery. I applaud the show for casting a Pakistani actor, but making him a terrorist seems like the worst type of stereotyping. I'm willing to give the people making Discovery the benefit of the doubt about this, but it's unfortunate.

Contrast to Bashir, played by a Sudanese actor born in Sudan, who defies pretty much every negative stereotype Americans might have of Muslims. And that was an issue even back in 1993 because the World Trade Center bombing had occurred recently and the Palestinian Liberation Organization was widely viewed as a terrorist group.
The Tower
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 6:34pm (UTC -5)
One angle not discussed at length as the disposition and activities of the real ISS Discovery. It's an assumption that it was shuffled into the PU, but the proof is in the shot of the last fateful spore drive jump, during which Discovery split into two ships as it did its spin.

I don't think we're done with MU impacts by any stretch, as it's pretty obvious to me that, once Discovery returns to the PU, it will be dealing with the fallout from all the shit that the ISS Discovery was causing in the meantime.

Methinks this will be a cliffhanger, with imagery similar to what we saw at the end if "Into the Forest I Go", only they get back home, and things are jacked.
Cameron
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 7:29pm (UTC -5)
I agree with everyone who said that DS9 was at its best and most interesting in Seasons 1 and 2 and pretty much jumped the shark from Season 4 onwards, save for a couple of standout episodes. I thought I was the only one who felt that way.
Ed
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 7:39pm (UTC -5)
@The Tower
Depending on who the MU Discovery first encountered, it may be on a Klingon-killing spree that will end in its own destruction before PU Discovery returns.

"Captain, some Vulcan in an admiral uniform keeps calling us up to tell us to stop committing 'war crimes' whatever those might be."

Captain 'Killy'--"Filthy alien propaganda! Block him and keep blowing sh** up!"
LJ
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 9:23pm (UTC -5)
Some people here seem to not have watched the same episodes I did, or at least not watched them paying the same level of attention I did, because most of the questions made by these people were either answered already or the show made it clear that an answer is coming sometime in the future.

@Yair

"How did Lorca knew he'd get out of the torture chamber? He couldn't have known that he wouldn't just be fried or that someone would ever open the chamber. This could have been easily fixed by simply giving him some co-conspirator on the inside. And doesn't the prolonged torture have any side effects, to the point the victim can just step outside and act normally?"

He pretended to pass out and be on the verge of dying, something that Emperor Georgiou made clear she didn't want (she says Gabriel "will live a long life and that every moment of that life will be passed on our agonisers"), so of course the captain of the imperial ship didn't want to have him die at his hands, because the Emperor would probably kill him in case that happened. And Burnham applies a hypo-spray that makes Lorca's skin less sensitive to the effects of the agoniser, hence why he was able to just step outside and act normally. This was shown very clearly in the episode.

"Does anything L'Rell do or did, ever make any sense?"

Yes, it did. She turned Voq, a Klingon, into a human, put the personality of a Starfleet officer on top of his own personality, and managed to make him infiltrate the most powerful Starfleet vessel, i.e., the USS Discovery, as a sleeping agent. She planned to wake Voq later with a prayer, so that he could do his job as a spy, but obviously something in her "programming" went wrong, because her plan didn't work. Again, this was explained in the show.

@Yair and Skabs

"Ok, so MU Stamets is an horrible human being, we could guess, but how could 'using the network for his own gain' destroy it? Using warp drives for some Empire's own gain doesn't destroy subspace. Is it some magic thing where the user's motives matter? And why would Stamets waking up wake him up too?"

"I could buy the spore drive/mycelial network before (barely), but now? What happened in this episode? Is the network sentient? Is it heaven, or purgatory or something? How is it creating all these illusions and why? Did it create Culber or was it Stamets that created him? Why would it trap Stamets there, then tell him how to leave? Why would PU Stamets opening his eyes set both Stamets free? What the hell is going on?"

MU Stamets' consciousness was inside the mycelial plane and the mycelial plane was being put inside his head (by Tilly's experiment in the real world), leading the mycelial plane to resemble Stamets' thoughts. This was literally explained by dialogue in this episode. How using the network to MU Stamets' own gain can destroy it? This show is serialised, meaning that we don't get the answers to all of our questions in a single episode. And it's quite clear they will answer this question in future episodes. The only question they might not answer is why PU Stamets waking up led to MU Stamets also waking up.

@Skabs

"So they had the spore drive in the MU too apparently, since MU Stamets got trapped in the network, so why did Georgiou act like she had never heard of it when Mike told her how they got there? It was being researched on her ship after all. Or maybe they were just working on it, but hadn't made it functional yet, but then why was MU Stamets in the network? PU Stamets only got there after making over a hundred jumps. How did MU stamets get in there? What's going on?"

No, they don't have the Spore Drive in the MU. MU Stamets apparently never got around to developing it. How did he get trapped in the mycelial plane? Again, this will probably be explained in a future episode.

"I thought Voq had taken over Ash completely last episode, yet he appears and asks Saru for help in this one. L'Rell 'killed' Voq's personality? Or did she? Why would they have Klingon mind wipe glove thingies on the ship? Why did she get the original Voq/Ash procedure all backwards when she explained it? A writing goof or actual plot? What's going on?"

Ash's and Voq's personality are fighting each other. At some moments he's Ash, at others he is Voq. It wasn't explained what L'Rell did in this episode, but yeah, like I said above, this will most certainly be approached before the season ends.

@Yair

"Didn't MU Archer order the Defiant library erased precisely to avoid its incendiary content?"

Yeah, he did alright. He was then killed by MU Hoshi, so his orders were never executed to the letter. And MU Georgiou does say this data was classified, which says something about them wanting to avoid the consequences of its information leaking.

@Skabs

Lorca didn't have a plan. His only goal was always to overthrow the Emperor. He probably ended up in the Prime Universe by accident (most likely as a result of the ISS Buran's destruction) and then being an accomplished liar and probably having some info on the PU (that came with the Defiant) managed to find his way into a command and use this command to manipulate people as he went along his way. First he conscripted Stamets and his research, knowing it could present a way to go back to the MU. Then he conscripted Burnham, essentially taking her out of prison, partly because he had some kind of weird relationship going on with MU Burnham and partly because he knew Burnham was the key for him to enter the Emperor's flagship, so he could try to overthrow her again.

I figured all of this simply watching the show and paying attention. It's simple enough if you're not watching the show already thinking you're going to hate it and not thus not really following its story.
LJ
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 9:27pm (UTC -5)
@The Tower

I do hope they show what sort of havoc the ISS Discovery is wrecking in the Prime Universe.

@Ed

"'Captain, some Vulcan in an admiral uniform keeps calling us up to tell us to stop committing 'war crimes' whatever those might be.'

Captain 'Killy'-- 'Filthy alien propaganda! Block him and keep blowing sh** up!'"

LOLOLOLOL. Thanks for the laugh.
Skabs
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 10:18pm (UTC -5)
@LJ

'I figured all of this simply watching the show and paying attention. It's simple enough if you're not watching the show already thinking you're going to hate it and not thus not really following its story. '

Thanks for assuming that we hate DIS and don't follow the story, btw. But my point was that they introduce so much stuff with no explanation whatsoever of how or why it's happening. I'd rather watch a show where I don't have to hypothesize about 75% of it, only to have it explained later or left unexplained or ending up with some 'surprise twist'.

I know it's serialized but that doesn't mean that every single episode has to have 10 different unanswered questions, that may or not be answered some other time. That smacks of amateur writing to me. They can't create real suspense or drama, so they replace it with plot twists and loose ends that create a false sense of suspense and drama.
Shannon
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 10:41pm (UTC -5)
Wow, this series just can't please some people, can it. Perhaps those of you that have been consistently bashing this series should just stick to reruns of the other Star Trek series for which you seem to be longing. Or better yet, find some investors, write a script, and start your own series since you think you know so much better.

I loved this episode, and would easily give it 3.5 stars. So many things from earlier in the series are now starting to make sense, and I see that thread that is tying all these episodes together. We always knew there was something "not right" about Lorca, and now we know why. The whole notion of him needing Burnham to get to the Emperor was a well written surprise, didn't see that one coming.

Looking forward to Jammer's review.
Peter G.
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 11:00pm (UTC -5)
@ Trent & Chrome,

I know it seems at first glance to be Federation instigation when you put it like that, but change "Dominion" for "Nazi Germany", plug that into all of your statements (Trent's, mostly), and tell me again if you stand by your comments. If only England had just made peace with Germany and not applied pressure to them, all would have worked out better, right? That's the Chamberlain approach. I'm almost 100% this is precisely what the DS9 writers were referencing over several seasons, and they very deliberately made Sisko someone more defiant than Chamberlain was. They permitted the DS9 crew to use the knowledge from the past to inform their actions and not give leeway to a fascist dictatorship bent in controlling the galaxy. Now granted, the same can probably be said for the Romulans, Klingons, Cardassians, etc etc. And what keeps them in line? The balance of power, and the threat of force. Not the Federation being Mr. Nice Guy and giving in to all of their demands, that's for sure. That's one of the things DS9 got really right: not the "give up your freedom for security" BS (it addressed that squarely in Homefront), but rather the notion that even peaceful civilizations must maintain the balance of power through...power. It's a truism that Trek at times risks forgetting. TNG only occasionally remembers it, such as in episodes like The Wounded and Chain of Command (both episodes of which are geared towards setting up DS9 mythology, go figure), but mostly wants to have its cake and eat it too with being peaceful and yet somehow not being overrun by hostile powers. It's actually for the *good* of hostile powers that the Federation hold its own militarily, else they'd run amok and never reform. The Romulans have a self-interest in having some sort of relations with the Federation since it's clear they can't conquer them, and that could lead to real diplomacy. But there's no chance for diplomacy if the other side doesn't see you as an equal, which brings us right back to DS9.

The Federation learned very quickly that the Dominion was bent on domination, was very powerful, and only used diplomacy as a weapon. They didn't want peace, and didn't respect the Alpha powers. Can you imagine claiming an entire quadrant as your own, even though the actual Dominion empire surely didn't extent nearly as far as the wormhole? Their basic argument was essentially that of course all of space was theirs, including the wormhole. Why? Because everything is rightfully theirs. As long as their ships can get there it belongs to them. But oh, they only need 'breathing room', right? And so as long as the Federation left their space alone there would finally be peace. Ah yes. If the Federation had actually complied with the directive the inevitable invasion in full force was just a matter of when, not if. And in that scenario the Federation has zero intel and doesn't know what they're up against.

Sisko did exactly the right thing from the start. You don't give in to bullies just because they make outlandish claims. If they press the matter and act with hostility you let them know they won't get away with it easily (the Odyssey excursion). Staying away from them and acting like they had the innate right to claim all of space as their own would only give it to them eventually. It's the wrong strategy, and certainly not the one employed against the Alpha powers. Creating a strong border - one not simply dictated by the other side - is crucial if the other side is going to respect you. Now, you might say that Gamme/Alpha would have been a reasonable border to establish and that the Federation was 'aggressive' to reject it. I disagree. I think they could see what they were dealing with and weren't going to put up with it, which doesn't make them warmongers but rather just intelligent. You don't give Nazi Germany breathing room, you don't cede territory to them, and you don't make treaties with them that will weaken you and which they'll ignore when they so choose anyhow. The only reason treaties in the real world are ever adhered to is because of the balance of power; allies on both sides that present a threat should the other side step out of line. This is true even today, which the Eastern and Western blocs still taunting each other.

I really do see Sisko as being a peacemaker, a family man, and someone who will do the right thing but won't be pushed around. He's practical, yes, in that he knows that his ethics need to be backed up by firmness. We saw a lot of that in S1-2, and although everyone thinks of In the Pale Moonlight when they think of his stint in DS9 they should really be thinking of In the Hands of the Prophets, where he isn't going to just back down and let people - even religious VIP's - walk all over him and the station. In the Pale Moonlight is what happens when you push a good, reasonable man past the point of endurance, but that's not the kind of CO he is at heart. He's definitely no Captain Jellico or even a Captain Maxwell, who rightfully might be called unreasonably aggressive at times.

I'll stand by the case that DS9 is what happens when an actually peaceful government comes into contact with an implacable foe that will never accept peace unless it's forced down their throats at the point of a gun. I think it does a great job of showing how to deal with such people, and how patience shouldn't be confused with capitulation.

I guess I'll justify this argument line as existing in a DISC thread by saying that DS9 was extremely careful to frame aggressive actions as being forced, and that its so-called 'grey morality' that it's famous for is really nothing of the kind in my opinion. It was TNG values when confronted by a horrible danger. The edginess that we feel in DS9 isn't in the shadiness of the crew, but rather from the nature of the threats they face. It's the Dukats and the Weyouns of the series that give it its edge and require very particular responses from Sisko. In other words, the arc of the series has a lot to do with the personalities involved, and also with the kinds of nuance afforded by the scripting team to these scenarios. In DISC the 'edge' comes from having the crew themselves just be borderline evil at times (to use D&D terms) in order to provide dark events but in a manner unearned because no outside scenario forced it. You might argue the Klingon war was that scenario, but we've never been afforded any real look at that war and why it requires certain approaches and not others. The war was just kind of 'out there' and seemed unrelated to the fact that Lorca was a maniac, Stamets was a jerk, Tilly was cursing, Burnham was a mutineer, the security chief was a fascist, and Saru was a coward. Were were just traits the crew were going to have either way and existed to be edgy. Sisko wasn't edgy in his character bible. In fact, he was arguably boring to an extent in S1. He got edgy because he had to, not because it was neat-o to have violent characters inhabit the Trek-verse.

I guess you get my general point.
John B
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 12:21am (UTC -5)
Something has been bothering me for the past few episodes. When MU Sarek went to mind-meld with Michael, it appeared he didn't recognize her. I thought he should have, since MU relationships and history tend to be so similar. After this episode, we now know why - she wasn't raised by Sarek in the MU, but by Georgiou and Lorca. And then, I thought, perhaps we have just been handed the continuity solution...

Because Spock doesn't *have* a foster sibling in the PU we have always known. And Starfleet doesn't have spore-drive technology, or holodecks yet (probably). And what we have seen so far this season certainly didn't seem very Starfleet or Federation, even if that was the name it went by. Similar, yes, but a little... off.

So I propose that we are currently in the MU we have always seen in the various series: ENT, TOS, DS9, etc. - the mirror to our PU. But where we came from in the first half of Discovery's season was not *our* prime universe, but a (very similar) variant to our prime.

Lorca might have even started his journey looking for Michael in our PU but was unable to find her. If so, that mapping of alternate universes he showed Stamets might not be quite so recent as he indicated. And, if so, perhaps Discovery's next stop may not be back to their prime universe, but over to ours.
Skabs
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 12:22am (UTC -5)
@Shannon

'Wow, this series just can't please some people, can it. Perhaps those of you that have been consistently bashing this series should just stick to reruns of the other Star Trek series for which you seem to be longing.'

Personally, I've given several DIS episodes 3 stars, which is pretty good, and only one episode below a 2, so for the first season of a Star Trek show, it compares quite well with the others.

Saying people who criticize some of the episodes (on a critic's website no less) should stop watching the show is a pretty juvenile attitude to take.

If you love DIS so much that you can't stand to hear anyone saying anything bad about it, that's your problem.
Yair
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 1:11am (UTC -5)
@LJ,

* Assuming Lorca is in distress, all a guard needed to do is to stop the Agonizer and call for medical attention. There was no need to open it.

* L'Rell had no way to know Ash would be kept on Discovery. Or that she'd manage to get there herself and somehow still be kept there rather than transported to a prison camp. Her very survival was at least very lucky.

* Erasing Defiant's files couldn't take very long. There was plenty of time to do that while MU Archer was still in command.

* If we try hard enough, we could excuse all of that, and well, Trek had worse plotting in the past (VOY has plenty of examples), but this just grates more on a serialized show which strongly relies on plot and mystery to keep the viewers going.
Latex Zebra
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 3:12am (UTC -5)
Do I like the more grown up, gory Star Trek - Yes.

Do I like the serialised nature - Yes.

Do I like the fact that "fan theories" turn out to be correct, more or less - Yes.

Do I like Star Trek Discovery - Yes... Yes I do.

Not much more to add. My wife and I look forward to watching this on Monday nights... Are sad there are only a few episodes left... Are extremely sad we'll have to wait ages for season 2!
Ed
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 6:22am (UTC -5)
@Yair

It's notoriously difficult in our world to truly erase anything on a computer. Hundreds of years in the future, they'd probably have better ways of trying to erase things but also better ways of retrieving them.

An Emperor with infinite means and the right people could probably get a good deal of information out of the Defiant unless the computer had actually been destroyed which would defeat the purpose of appropriating PU technology.

I always worried that Sisko's erased murder confession would come back to haunt him.
Gee
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 6:46am (UTC -5)
@Ed who said "I always worried that Sisko's erased murder confession would come back to haunt him."

Might still do in future trek. When paramount find a producer who dares to set a series in the 27th C -we know from TNG that there will be time travelling historians then. What if they decide to go back and find out why the Dominion/Cardassians killed that Romulan senator? They'll find out a lot more than they bargained for lol
Ed
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 7:56am (UTC -5)
@Gee

You Human and Cardassian bastards .... you KILLED Grandpa!

The current Romulan Senate however is happy that the Dominion was kicked out of the Alpha Quadrant and is grateful to the Feds for putting down the Reman uprising.

So this Romulan Kirk/Khan must get his revenge alone.
1. Destroy the now utopian DS9 where Jake Sisko II lived with his Cardasdian wife--Garak's great niece.
2. Destroy the Wormhole where Sisko still lives.

Sisko must come out of retirement.
Trent
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 8:02am (UTC -5)
Peter G said: "change "Dominion" for "Nazi Germany", plug that into all of your statements (Trent's, mostly), and tell me again if you stand by your comments. If only England had just made peace with Germany and not applied pressure to them, all would have worked out better, right? "

To me, that's a common strawman. We have to be tough on fascists, we're told. But that we're causing this fascism is always ignored.

That's the chief problem I have with DS9. It appeals to cartoonish WW2 Good War mythology. The Nazi Party was a product of the Imperialism of the French, British and Americans, and their attempts to shut down the worker's revolutions across Europe (supporting fascists over unions, the Spartan leagues, communists etc) and even reinstate monarchs where possible. An enlightened body like the Federation would know precisely the kinds of complicity and socioeconomic/class/political pressures that forms Hitlers, and would know precisely how to neuteur it.

More importantly, what Germany would do was formally no different to the billions of lives killed by the other Empires' colonialism in Africa, India etc over a far longer period. ie- German Imperialism was a reaction to surrounding Imperialists. So yes, unless your goals are 100 percent altruistic, it would have been better if the western Empires did nothing. Doing something is precisely what created and exasperated the situation. Ignore Germany, and Hitler never gets into power. Don't take Saarland, Rhineline and other productive forces away from Germany, and don't block their colonialism - or really market expansion - into Africa with your own Imperialism, and you don't give them territory they feel they need to reclaim. Denouncing Germany for "taking territory via violence" that was itself taken by volence, and itself was once Prussian, or was only deemed necessary to take by Germany because the Allies declared war on it (and so would have been ignored, as Hitler's aim was to move north easterly), is also hypocritical. You can't condemn one form of colonialism and accept the other just because they "won". And it's the same case in DS9. The Federation's initial behaviour is formally no different to the Dominion's, we are just positioned to side with them because they're "the good guys".

You say "DS9 shows us what happens when a peaceful society meets an implacable foe", but I am skeptical of the agenda of any writer who wants me to believe in an irrational, implacable, existential Bad Guys that can only be stopped by mass violence. To me, this narrative always seeks to obfuscate more important lessons.
Dobber
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 8:31am (UTC -5)
The way L'Rell explained what happened to Voq/Tyler was very confusing. Dr. Culpers data suggested that they modified Voqs body to look human and imprinted Tyler's personality on to his mind. By the way L'Rell explained it it sounded like they out Voqs mind in Tyler's body. It was confusing.
philadlj
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 8:55am (UTC -5)
I liked this episode, and was on the fence about Lorca until the reveal. I will say that Emperor Georgiou's rotating throne reminded me of The Price is Right. "IT'S A NEW EMPEROR!!!"

The Flagship Charon has what looks like a mini-star as a power source. this is similar to Romulan Warbirds using a miniature quantum singularity. The smallest star we know of in 2018 still has a slightly larger radius than Saturn, so not sure how that works, but it was definitely cool.
Chrome
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 9:16am (UTC -5)
Ah yes, I knew it was only a matter of time before Godwin's Law showed up in a Discovery thread. I agree with a lot of what Trent is saying about the writers forcing us to accept that what Sisko did was the only, or the best solution to facing the Dominion. When I did my rewatch of DS9 last year, I watched Sisko's interactions with the Dominion and I always thought "What would Picard have done here?" and I can somehow come up with a better solution.

But DS9's strong points weren't the war anyway. I think that was just forced (By Behr and Moore) into the story to compete with Babylon 5 and Battlestar Galactica, which were doing similar war stories at the time.
Skabs
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 9:21am (UTC -5)
@LJ

'MU Stamets' consciousness was inside the mycelial plane and the mycelial plane was being put inside his head (by Tilly's experiment in the real world), leading the mycelial plane to resemble Stamets' thoughts.'

That doesn't explain why Culber was suddenly alive and acting as if he was real. He even says 'I remember your arms around me. You made me feel safe. You always did.' I guess it could all be in Stamet's head, but I doubt it, and most of the rest of it doesn't make any sense either. The network seems to be alive, and capable of doing some sort of telepathy or something. Resembling Stamet's thoughts doesn't cover even 1/2 of what happened. Besides MU Stamet's explicitly says that the mycelial network 'knows what is familiar' to PU Stamets, which is why he is on Discovery in his 'dream' world or whatever it is.

-------

'No, they don't have the Spore Drive in the MU. MU Stamets apparently never got around to developing it. How did he get trapped in the mycelial plane? Again, this will probably be explained in a future episode.'

And you know this how? MU Stamets says he's been doing experiments and talks to PU Stamets about the 'Mycelial highway' and other things, so it sure sounds like they have it, or at least know it's possible, and have been experimenting with it.

------

@Yair

"Didn't MU Archer order the Defiant library erased precisely to avoid its incendiary content?"

'Yeah, he did alright. He was then killed by MU Hoshi, so his orders were never executed to the letter.'

I think that was just a blatant error. Not remembering or caring what happened on ENT.

--------

'Lorca didn't have a plan....'

That and everything you said after that is complete supposition. Except for the part about getting Mike so he could get on the Emperor's ship, since they said that exact thing in this episode.

It pretty much flat out stated in this episode that everything Lorca did so far has been part of some elaborate plan.

I think you are reading much more into things than what was actually presented on screen. Which is fine, but don't claim it's true and then tell people they are wrong because they think something else, when no one knows the truth yet, including you.
Chrome
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 9:25am (UTC -5)
@Skabs

There is no spore drive in the MU. We know this because Mirror Georgiou was willing to make a deal in exchange for spore drive technology.
Gee
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 9:43am (UTC -5)
@Chrome
They do have spore drive in the MU, MU!Stamets says that he's unconscious in the palace. Mirror Georgiou wants to see if there is anything in the PU schematics which might improve her spore drive.
Chrome
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 9:50am (UTC -5)
"MU!Stamets says that he's unconscious in the palace"

He's clearly on the ISS Charon when he wakes up.
Peter G.
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 10:29am (UTC -5)
@ Chrome & Trent,

Godwin's law applies when the Nazis are invoked to blow over an argument about something else; in other words, to overwhelm the context of the argument by invoking something over the top. But that's not what I was doing here, as I legitimately think they actually had the Nazis in mind when conducting the series arc. I think they were going for literal allegory, and so that's why I'm bringing it up.

@ Chrome,

Yes, Picard would have dealt with it differently, and IMO he would have led the Federation to its demise in so doing. We have a great example of the Picard method vs alternative methods in Chain of Command, where there's no chance Picard would have achieved the result Jellico did. The latter may not be our ideal, but he was the man for the job in that situation, as Sisko is in DS9. I think they deliberately made Sisko into a man rather than an ideal; this is Picard's strength and his weakness. He's the embodiment of Trek values, no doubt, but there's very little nuance in his characterization for people down here on the ground who don't have clear vision of what's always the right thing to do. Real life isn't like that, things are messy. That's Sisko's story. He wants to be the ideal officer, but he's a father. There's a conflict there, and there's no good answer to it. Do you accept a posting at a place bad for your child? It's your duty, but is it right? With Picard there was never a conflict between duty to the Federation and what was right. In DS9 there is, and that's because Sisko didn't have the benefit of morality plays to shine through. He had dirty problems to solve.

@ Trent,

Just bear in mind through this conversation that you're talking with someone who's anti-war, so take that into consideration when I suggest to you that sometimes the only options are to be pro-active or to be steamrolled. Yes, we can look at Versailles or any number of historical facts that led to a Nazi Germany and say these are to blame. That's fine, but skip all that and head straight to 1939 and you have a decision to make: what's it going to be? There were some, like Dorothy Day, who claimed that going to war was wrong under any circumstances. She was in the vast minority but there's an argument to be made there. Most people seem to believe that even with peaceful intentions there are some evils you cannot leave unattended. I assert that the Founders were (for better or worse) meant to represent this kind of implacable foe who could not be reasoned with. They were sort of like the Borg (in more ways than one) but with the ability to have acting scenes with them, which fixed the untenable problem the Borg presented as potential villains: no face. Well the Founders have all the faces, so there you are. And speaking of Nazis, you may have noted that the Founders have an aspect of "master race" written all over them. And unlike the Nazis, the Founders have some legitimate claim to be a superior life form, and boy do they act like it. In S1-2 we heard talk of "sending in the Jem'hadar", and of entire worlds being wiped out for spite. These are not guys you can make nice with. It's true the Federation did nothing to stop the Cardassian/Romulan fleets from attacking the Founders, but honestly why should they? The Federation had no peace treaty or alliance with them, so there's no legitimate reason to get between two sovereign powers warring with each other. The very notion of "in anyone goes to war, everyone goes to war" is exactly what led to WWI and WWII, and it's not what anyone should have wanted in the Alpha Quadrant. I do not believe the Federation had any moral imperative to actively protect the Dominion from invasion, nor would it have been wise to do so.

The one thing I'll grant about the arc of DS9 is that I agree with you that Behr was most likely on the B5 train heading to war-town, and that this was anticipated from early on. From that standpoint I think they truncated the process of the Federation realizing the pointlessness of negotiating with the Dominion, and skipped ahead to "these guys see us as vermin". Sisko arguably have more conviction about them early on then he had a right to, which perhaps was a case of the writers giving him the god's-eye-view to an extent. However it's not like he was wrong, but her perhaps came to his conclusions a bit earlier than he should have. Overall though we were given several examples in S1-2 that Sisko comes to judgements pretty quickly, such as in Paradise or The Circle. We already knew he doesn't like bullies or make nice with people who have no intention of being reasonable. Picard would go through the motions of diplomacy until the last possible moment, but Sisko doesn't do that, he knows when it's pointless and doesn't just go through motions on principle. It's just a different kind of person, but I don't think his handling of the Dominion was ever unreasonable.
Gee
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 10:48am (UTC -5)
unbelievable @Chrome, you really dont pay much attention do you? I'd advise that you watch the ep again, carefully this time. Listen to every word and if there is something you don't understand, use the rewind

ISS Charon is 'the palace' in the same way as the USS Enterprise is 'the flagship' in PU
Dom
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 10:50am (UTC -5)
I think there's also a useful analogy between the Federation/Dominion and US/China today. China is obviously not an evil empire, but its geopolitical interests are similar. China wants to control the waters along its shores, even extending as far as the South China Sea. The US insists that those waters remain open for trade and free navigation. That's basically what the Federation did in DS9, insist that the Gamma Quadrant should be open to exploration and navigation. The Federation didn't try to conquer the Gamma quadrant, but it also didn't recognize the Dominion's claim to the entire area around the wormhole. The Dominion had some right to protect its territory, but its claims also extended far beyond the Founders' homeworld to include subject peoples who didn't necessarily want Dominion control. It's a bit more realpolitik than we usually get in Trek, which worked wonderfully for DS9.
Henson
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 10:58am (UTC -5)
@Trent

"To me, that's a common strawman. We have to be tough on fascists, we're told. But that we're causing this fascism is always ignored."

I'm not sure what this has to do with DS9. The Dominion is an ancient organization whose practices far predate the Federation. Whether you agree with Sisko & the Federation's actions or not, it's pretty clear that they didn't create the kind of organization that the Dominion is showed to be.

Moreover, while it's certainly worth considering the actions of the Federation towards the Dominion, I think you're misremembering a lot of the Dominion's actions as well. For instance, the Klingon war with the Cardassians was instigated by the Martok changeling. The Dominion tried to start a war between the Federation and the Tzenkethi by taking over the Defiant.
Chrome
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 11:22am (UTC -5)
"Godwin's law applies when the Nazis are invoked to blow over an argument about something else"

No, it just means that the longer an argument on the internet continues, the chances of Hitler being brought up increases. It's neither a bad or good thing. But it's a tad trite, which could undermine the point one is making. To whit, I don't think the Dominion were ever as bad as the Nazis (the whole racial purity element is missing, for starters). I also don't see anything less than scoffing at the Dominion's demands is "appeasement". There's many other options. Quark said it best, "why not cut a deal?" A simple solution would be for the Federation to ask for passage to Dominion-allowed parts of the GQ, instead of ignoring their sovereignty.

Incidnetally, I agree that the writers wanted to make us think that Picard would've gotten himself killed or something. The captain of the Odyssey, another Galaxy-class ship, does function as a psuedo-Picard. I just don't buy the anti-peace message that the writers were selling there. I understand that many do, and that nuanced worldview is why they prefer DS9 over TNG. Me personally, my favorite part of DS9 is when people who are very different forced to get along like Garak and Bashir, Odo and Quark, or even the later seasons, Kira and Dumar have some great moments which I think are pure Star Trek.


@Gee

So what does that have to do with the spore drive? Is today non sequitur day?
Shannon
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 11:29am (UTC -5)
@Skabs

"Saying people who criticize some of the episodes (on a critic's website no less) should stop watching the show is a pretty juvenile attitude to take."

I'm not talking about reviewers like you that have been even-handed in your reviews (that's a compliment, by the way, and I won't call you a name which is a courtesy you did NOT bestow upon me). I have been referring to reviewers that week-in and week-out lambaste, not criticize, this series as not being Star Trek, as having consistently poor writing, as having uninteresting characters (yet in the same breath they ironically praise Enterprise). I have no problem with constructive criticism, or someone who simply didn't like an episode as a matter of taste, but the vitriolic trashing of this series seems to be getting made by posters who must have 5 Emmy Awards sitting on their shelves, because they sure as heck act like they are experts.

Star Trek is back, so let's enjoy it before we lose it. Doesn't mean we can't criticize it, because there certainly has been some mediocre episodes, but let's show a little civility in our remarks and continue to appreciate that we have our beloved Star Trek back on TV... Notice I still haven't called you a name. I will continue to bestow that courtesy on you.
William B
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 11:34am (UTC -5)
I agree with Peter that the writers were probably largely going for a Nazi allegory with the Founders. I think they were also going for an extreme monarchy/aristocracy kind of imperialism, sort of more of the pre-20th century variety, without much effort to make any lip service to the notion of freedom. The Founders' extreme distaste of outsiders has a kind of incestuous intermingling to it, and the emphasis on blood as a marker of difference between them and others also sort of alludes to the blue-blood purity stuff.

I think the reason this is a little different from Nazi master-race stuff is that the Founders also very clearly felt themselves above actual combat or, indeed, almost any involvement in the fighting at all, and on the extreme paucity of their numbers. Nazi Germany was regimented and authoritarian but there was some lip service to the idea that Aryan foot soldiers were part of the Master Race, whereas it seems as if the Founders really do have some kind of horizontally-organized equal society of shapeshifters, and then there is no particular effort to make anyone below them in the organization feel that they are part of the master race, or indeed have any value except insofar as their ability to serve the Founders. There isn't really any sense of the Founders needing to conquer other lands in order to bring them "back" to "their people." Not that this totally changes the story, but I think it's more a small, central imperialist neo-monarchy than the more Nazi Germany kind of fascism. Maybe if we are going with WW2, and the Federation is meant to be the Allies, they are a bit more akin to the Japanese in social structure.

Cardassians, by contrast, were more clearly modeled on Nazi Germany Master Race stuff, though not exclusively, and so maybe we could read the Cardassian/Dominion alliance as some sort of metaphor for aristocracy using fascist movements to carry out its plans, and then turning on them brutally once some genuine patriotism (i.e. actual concern for "one's people" beyond merely needing for one's people to be held to be superior to other races) underlying the nationalist fervor starts to assert itself.
Gee
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 11:46am (UTC -5)
@Chrome, let me tell you what just happened:

Chrome: There is no spore drive in the MU.
Gee: They do have spore drive in the MU, MU!Stamets says that he's unconscious in the palace.
Chrome: He's clearly on the ISS Charon when he wakes up [as if countering that he is on the palace]
Gee: ISS Charon is 'the palace'
Chrome
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 11:51am (UTC -5)
Gee, I'm really not following you. Does it specifically say the MU has a spore drive, or does Mirror Stamets just mess around with the mycellial network for fun and profit? I'm not really sure Burnham would have enough leverage if the Emperor could already traverse the mycellial network, though.
Gee
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 12:07pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome, I'm with you now. I had figured that Stamets might be holding back on the Emperor and she suspects she's not getting full disclosure.
But you bring up a very good point; in the MU Stamets might be researching the spore drive in his own time and the Emperor may not be privy to any of it.
Paulus Marius
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 12:15pm (UTC -5)
Rapp and Cruz light up the screen. Their chemistry is fantastic. Too bad that's probably it for Rapp-Cruz scenes.

I could watch Rapp for hours. He's so good.


BZ
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 12:25pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome,
"to compete with Babylon 5 and Battlestar Galactica, which were doing similar war stories at the time."

There was no Battlestar Galactica on during DS9. The last Battlestar Galactica-related work ended in 1980. The next one started in 2003. DS9 was on 1993-1999.
Chrome
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 12:49pm (UTC -5)
@BZ

Yes, for Battlestar Galactica's case, it was more of an inspiration than direction competition. But I hope you see my point about Babylon to 5. Needless to say, there's a huge shift in tone in DS9 after season 3, switching the focus from Bajor and the Maquis over to one war story after the next. Not everyone from the DS9 staff was on board with long war arcs, especially Piller and Berman. I think it's most noticeable in the finale, which ends the war relatively quick and tidily, and spends the rest of the episode focusing on the lives of Kira, Odo, and Sisko.
Plain Simple
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 1:05pm (UTC -5)
I liked this episode quite a bit, especially viewed through the Discovery lens, so taking the spore drive magic and subpar characterizations for granted.

Some of the the things I liked:

-Michelle Yeoh. Do I need to say more than others have said? She has made every episode she has (significantly) appeared in so far better for it (so not counting her brief appearance as a hologram in two episodes). I was really disapponted they killed off Georgiou at the end of the opening 2-parter, because she was the most engaging character in those episodes and she is again here. More please. Much more!

-Thingies. Stuff. Whatshamacallits...? Oh yeah, conversations between characters that seem to amount to something more than unearned forced emotional scenes or plot exposition/drivers. I liked the Georgiou-Burnham scenes (because of Yeoh, mostly), I liked the Stamets-Culber scenes (and for those worried about the potential for woo in those scenes: as played so far, they can be easily interpreted as manifestations of Stamets' subconcious; remember that he says in one of those scenes that he remembers seeing and holding Culber's dead body); I liked Saru going all subdued badass on L'rell; I liked Lorca's interaction with the guy at the end, even though we don't know or care about that other guy (Isaacs completely carried that scene). We don't know that guy, right? He looked familiar...

-I like that the MU Lorca (henceforth Murca?) thing is out in the open. Whatever you feel about the decision to make Lorca Murca, given that that was their intention from the start, at least now we can stop playing games and hopefully get some actual character building on the guy. Now I only hope they do something interesting with it. For one, we don't quite know what Murca's plan is. Is he planning to overthrow Georgiou for personal gain or to help the rebels?

-I like that I initially didn't connect the "Kelpian selection scene" in the throneroom with the dinner scene later on. It only clicked when someone else above mentioned it. Perhaps I'm too thick or perhaps it was the fact that they didn't hammer the connection home. I prefer my 'reveals' to be a bit more subtle. Even the gruesome ones.

-I suggested last week that Tilly's "wherever you are, I hope you are with him" directed at Stamets when she tought he died was foreshadowing about Stamets meeting (a representation of) Culber in the place where he is. And indeed it was.

-When Burnham revealed the alternative universe situation to Georgiou I thought "given the way the MU has been presented, Georgiou really should kill the other people in the room" and a minute later she did. Despite it having little to do with Star Trek, at least it's a consistent characterization...

-The mention of the Defiant's crew going insane.



Some things I didn't like:

-I think the Tyler/L'rell/Voq part of the episode was the weakest part. Perhaps it's because I still don't care about any of those characters. Perhaps it's because I'm really getting tired of the flashbacks to the gore. Perhaps it's because the endless exposition is starting to grate on me. We now have had plot exposition about this stuff for three episodes in a row: first from Culber, then from Tyler, today from L'rell. And still we don't know the main issue: does Voq or Tyler remain, or a mix of the two? Just tell us what's going on already or be done with it. Make room for actual character development. There is no mystery to milk anymore from this plotline, unless "wtf was L'rell/Voq's plan in the first place" is supposed to be an urgent question, because as presented so far it makes no sense whatsoever. As far as I can make out their story so far it's as follows: Voq is an outcast after being thrown off the sarcophagus ship by Kol. L'rell decides to use her position as captain in Kol's fleet to plant sleeper agent Voq on the Discovery with the aim to ... do something at some point? In the mean time L'rell so clumsily defies Kol that she is cast out as well (she would have been executed if the Discovery hadn't 'saved' her, wouldn't she?), so whatever their plan was, it apparently did not require the Klingon fleet to be under their control. So, when was Voq supposed to awake? What was he supposed to do? And why did he not do it when he did awake? Something went wrong and he went beserk?

-Too much exposition in the Stamets scenes. We really didn't need him spelling out that some of his rantings in earlier episodes were glimpses of the MU. Once mirror Stamets explained to him that he showed him glimpses of the MU, did they really need to drive the point home so unsubtly?

-Speaking of exposition. The Murca reveal, especially Burnham's realizations, were very convenient. Just because Georgiou said that Murca had been grooming mirror Burnham, she suddenly realizes he is from the MU? Remember, she was starting to connect the dots *before* the clincher: the rather conveniently timed light sensitivity reveal.

BZ
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 1:09pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome,
Yes, I see your point, though to what extent this change was inspired by Babylon 5 (which I have not seen) is debatable. The Dominion was first mentioned in season 2, though this does not mean the war plot was already envisioned. Official sources only say that the direction the war would take was shaped in "The Die is cast" ("After today the only real threat to us from the Alpha Quadrant are the Klingons and the Federation. And I doubt that either of them will be a threat for much longer.")

As a side note, I'm of two minds about the finale. I like that the characters are given time to say goodbye and move on (which was only sort of done in TNG and Voyager, both of which show an alternate future that didn't come to pass in the end), but I don't like the clip show that part 2 has become. And let's not get into the Sisko/Dukat/Winn plot resolution.
Yair
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 1:14pm (UTC -5)
@Ed,

It's not that difficult to make data unreadable, destroying is easier than creating. This should be especially easy and available on a military-grade starship. That said, it's a rather minor plot point.

I do expect consequences for Sisko, of a sort... As this thread shows, 27th century Federation must have lots of "revisionist" historians blaming the Federation for the war, any such history would eventually portray Sisko as responsible for the death of uncountable numbers. Sisko, being beyond time must be aware of this 'soon'** upon entering the wormhole. Now, it's possible he's 'ascended' beyond such concerns, but if he 'has' any ties remaining to Prime he is probably unhappy about it.

** Some terms are approximation of the true meaning for poor linear time creatures.
Erin Roberts
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 1:20pm (UTC -5)
I for one was hoping that Lorca was a time traveler from future section 31 or something like there is no way events could line up so perfectly unless you already knew where everyone was going to be at any given time. Also I guess we are supposed to believe it was BS but I feel like Lorca genuinely cared about winning the Klingon war based on Isaacs's performance.
Ed
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 3:19pm (UTC -5)
@Yair

I guess I got the wrong ideas from shows where the police can find anything they want on a computer that's been set on fire and dumped in the desert two years ago.

But I do like the idea that the Terran Empire at the highest levels knows a good deal about the Federation and fears incursions from it, even though these are always accidental and no one actually wants to go to the MU. Maybe there was some information stored on the ship in something other than the main computer.

You're right; Sisko would know the eternal consequences of his actions and if these are bad, he would feel guilty forever. I doubt that he would be too upset over conspiracy theories or even true exposes based on his exploits IF he still feels they were for the greater good, but if there actually are some terrible long term effects, that would be a different story.
Skabs
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 5:20pm (UTC -5)
@Shannon

'I'm not talking about reviewers like you that have been even-handed in your reviews (that's a compliment, by the way, and I won't call you a name which is a courtesy you did NOT bestow upon me).'

I wasn't aware that I 'called you a name'. If you are referring to when I said I thought you had a juvenile attitude, that's not really calling you a name. I didn't call you 'stinkypants' or anything. I described what I thought your attitude was. That's how I saw it and if it offended you, I didn't mean to. But I certainly didn't 'call you a name'. But you accusing me of 'calling you a name' certainly doesn't make me think you're attitude is any less juvenile.

Stinkypants.
Cameron
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 6:41pm (UTC -5)
On the subject of Sisko, the reason I wouldn't rank him very highly as a captain is because my memories of DS9 don't involve him doing very much captaining. If my memory serves me, he was only promoted halfway through the series and even then he was rarely on a starship. He was mostly swanning around the station, conversing with orb spirits or brooding in his office fondling his baseball. He was no doubt a good parent and diplomat, but captain? The jury's still out.

And while we're ranking captains, I thought I'd post my ranking of ships:
6) Defiant
5) Enterprise NX-01
4) Discovery
3) Enterprise NCC-1701D
2) Enterprise NCC-1701
1) Voyager
Troy G
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 8:50pm (UTC -5)
Jammer,

How is your experience with CBS AA lately?
Jammer
Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 4:40am (UTC -5)
The streams for "Despite Yourself" and "The Wolf Inside" were both very good, with only a handful of video stutters. But the stream for "Vaulting Ambition" was terrible, full of dropouts and several lengthy "buffering" delays. Sigh. CBSAA is still woefully inconsistent (using the Android app and Chromecast).
Plain Simple
Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 7:44am (UTC -5)
I do like the discussion that DS9 inspired in here. I suppose it's a good contrasting example for the people who don't quite get what people mean when they say DSC seems to be lacking ideas: DSC does not (yet?) inspire such discussions regarding real world issues. Perhaps it will some day, but so far it's been too insubstantive to do so. (But please prove me wrong. I'd love to see such a meaty discussion on a topic DSC has brought up.)
Plain Simple
Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 7:46am (UTC -5)
@Peter G.: "P-Lorca really was Section 31, hence the carvings under his ready room on the ship exterior (talk about bragging about it publicly),"

What carvings are those?
Chrome
Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 9:58am (UTC -5)
I think Peter means this:

https://i.imgur.com/2c7rRYH.jpg

Though, at this point, I think this might be a red herring. Isn't the Discovery covered in designs like this?
Peter G.
Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 10:10am (UTC -5)
Thanks Chrome, that's the one. I hope it isn't a red herring, because I would translate that to "lie" in my parlance. It means the intent is actually to fool the audience rather than to present an open-ended mystery.
Del_Duio
Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 10:31am (UTC -5)
Well honestly that was a pretty great episode!

Had me gripped the whole way through and I can almost never say that about this show.

3 things I don't really get:

1) So now Stamets is Haley Jo Osmond "I CAN SEE DEAD PEOPLE"?

2) Is Tyler a Klingon surgically altered to look human or a human body that was injected with a klingon's mind? They seemed to make it seem like it was the latter but if so how do they explain all those gruesome surgery scenes from the past 7 episodes?

3) So I get Lorca is the MU Lorca, which like the Tyler thing could kind of be seen coming a month ago. But is he MORE evil than the emperor now??
Del_Duio
Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 10:46am (UTC -5)
I agree with some guys above too, Saru is by far the best character on this show.
WTBA
Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 10:52am (UTC -5)
This may have been addressed upthread, so apologies if so.

I realized something rewatching the scene with the Stametses. When the camera zooms in on the screen showing “ISS Charon,” rather than being about the Stametses switching places, which they did not, I think the emphasis is meant to show that MU Stamets isn’t on MU Discovery, but rather on the palace ship.

Given we have not seen MU Discovery, we might wonder why it must look identical to the revised PU Discovery (as we know the ruse of changing unis and the ship lettering, etc. seemed to work).

If the spore tech is not functional (as MU Stamets got caught in the network – we don’t know the whole story yet), but is on the Charon, why does the MU Discovery look like the PU Discovery, as it was built for the spore tech? Is there a MU Glenn too?
Ed
Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 10:55am (UTC -5)
@Del_Duio

1. We don't know. Maybe it was just a creation of his own mind. If you dream of a lost loved one is that an encounter with a ghost?

2. Yea, there seem to be two different explanations of how Voq became Tyler. Too bad.

3. Whether he's more evil to you depends on your values, but ask yourself which of them would be more likely to be rejected or attacked by the other inmates in a modern maximum security prison (listen carefully to the story of his relationship with Michael--essentially his stepdaughter in that universe).

Georgiou just does what an Emperor does to survive (and also practices evil customs she was probably raised with like Kelpian stew) and seems to be capable of genuine feeling for a narrow set of people like MU Michael and even Lorca before they betrayed her. She also does it with a level of style and class that Lorca couldn't approach.

So I am kind of hoping she prevails in her own universe as long as the PU Discovery is safe and gets home. I'd even argue that the Prime Directive would be better served if she did. The spore network looks like it's decaying anyway so maybe Discovery's trip home will be it's last use for anyone.
Shannon
Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 11:14am (UTC -5)
@Skabs

Thanks for proving my point.
Chrome
Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 11:18am (UTC -5)
@Ed

Er, it seems to me they just used Tyler's DNA which they harvested from his dead body as a blue print for Voq's disguise. I don't see a problem with that explanation, maybe I heard it wrong?
Ed
Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 11:34am (UTC -5)
@Chrome

Actually, the way you say it makes sense. :)

From the way they were talking about it on the last show, I was getting confused about is this just Voq with all sorts of changes, including genetic alterations or is it a Frankenstein-like mixture of both of their bodies and brains.
Yanks
Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 12:36pm (UTC -5)
Oh, what the hell :-)

Ranking of ships:

1) Enterprise NX-01
2) Enterprise NCC-1701
3) Defiant
4) Voyager
5) Enterprise NCC-1701D
6) Discovery

Ranking of Captains:
1) Kirk
2) Janeway
3) Picard
4) Archer
5) Sisko

.... the jury is still out on the Discovery bunch ....
Chrome
Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 12:55pm (UTC -5)
@Yanks

Wow, what's the logic on putting Janeway above Picard? Because she was an admiral? I'm pretty sure Picard turned down any promotions after Kirk talked him into staying a captain.
Steven Walker
Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 1:28pm (UTC -5)
I loved this episode! One fan complaint that I cannot wrap my brain around is the notion that the show somehow failed because some fans were able to deduce the twists ahead of time. In the age of constant week-to-week speculation by an army of fans, it's literally impossible for a serialized show to keep a big plot twist a secret unless they cheat by not offering enough clues to make it believable. Figuring it out early doesn't mean the show failed. I personally do not try to hard to speculate because I don't want to ruin anything for myself. I never would have guessed Tyler=Voq, nor would I have guessed the big twist in Westworld, if fans had not posted their theories online, and I really wish I had never read them. I actually guessed Mirror Lorca, but not in a serious way. Just in a "this is an answer that would explain why he doesn't embody Starfleet ideals" kind of way, but I didn't really think the show would have the courage to go there, so it still felt like a huge revelation to me. My point is, if you are the type of person who spends more time obsessively speculating about potential plot twists than the writers spent writing them, it's not fair to criticize the show if you figure it out early.
Nievesg
Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 1:43pm (UTC -5)
Now I can finally talk: my husband is a journalist and he travelled to Toronto last summer for a visit to the sets. He told me this (privately. Obviously he can't publish everything, at least not too soon):
"I expect something weird about Lorca, because Jason Isaacs is the most secretive actor: his answers were vague. He refused to talk openly even about typical questions (i.e: What's your character's opinion about others such as Georgiou?)".

So when I read some of your ideas about Lorca being from MU, it made a lot of sense to me. I believe the show was planting hints to let us guess the mistery anyway, ala Agatha Christie!
SC
Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 3:08pm (UTC -5)
The picture quality / the visuals on this show is strange. On one hand, it makes the Orville look like a joke in comparison. On the other hand, the way it's shot makes the whole thing look dark and joyless. It has a fakeness to it.

The show itself isn't really doing it for me. It's watchable but there's something missing. I watched TNG the other day and enjoyed the repeat so much more.
Karl Zimmerman
Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 3:17pm (UTC -5)
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.
Ed
Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 3:25pm (UTC -5)
@ Stephen Walker

I agree and I think the "twists" as they turned out were the best possible choices given the setup. And there were lots of speculations predicting stuff that didn't happen. The Tyler thing could have gone either way as the writers pleased. But when Star Trek fans hear about the possibility that a character is a Klingon in disguise, it makes sense in universe given the time period.

There was a disguised Klingon in "The Trouble With Tribbles" and "Trials and Tribbleations". The concept is interesting. It's fun to see the first (probably) time it's happened. The Federation's experience with Voq's infiltration probably gave them info that made it easiy for Bones to later identify the spy easily 10 years later.

But there were people saying no, he's just brainwashed. Voq's sacrifice was something besides being made into Tyler.

It was even less clear who the Emperor would be. The main "clue" was out of the show's universe--many people including myself wanted to see Michelle Yeoh again. But it could have reasonably been several people. Michelle Yeoh could have turned up as a dissident or something.

Stamets would have made a good Emperor, too (though I'm glad they picked Yeoh). He could have used the spore network to see events everywhere or even have invented a successful spore drive in the MU giving his ships the ability to go anywhere instantly. Saru and Sarek were popular guesses. Boy were they wrong about them; especially Saru!

If these other possibilities had happened, everyone would be thinking about all the posts they'd read predicting THEM. The personal connection between Michael, Lorca and the Emperor weren't even considered in anything I've read, either.
Ed
Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 3:27pm (UTC -5)
Sorry, I meant "Steven Walker"
Hank
Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 4:20pm (UTC -5)
At the person who said that reviews are only OK if they are even handed: No. Just no. Everyone rates certain aspects differently, and there is no need to be fair to a show. As Godwins Law was invoked anyways: There is no need to be even-handed about the Nazis ;) Nobody would chastize a reviewer for being too positive about something when that nobody likes the show himself.

Regarding the Episode: Well, who saw that coming? Voq is dead, Tyler can marry Burnham, Lorca is from the Mirror Universe (playing 4D Chess, as I understsand it, most brilliant being in the whole universe, planning 10^666 steps ahead), murder blood and torture, and a whole lot of nothingness (the third time the Voq-Transformation-Sequence was reused - they need a theme music for it, like Power Rangers).

I think this show suffers from not being rewatchable. When you know beforehand that Lorca is a mustache twirling villain, the Klingon War is a McGuffin, Voq is irrelevant and so forth - why would you watch it again? There is just not enough meat here, not enough character and deep thinking to make you watch it again. For me the polar opposite is 2001: A Space Oddyssey: The more I watch it, the more details I get and the better I understand what is tried to be said. What has Discovery brought to the table so far? Nothing much that I can remember. The only interesting and fitting theme for our time was T'Kuvmas fear of foreign domination, being overwhelmed culturally by an enemy you can't very much define. That was, thankfully, never explored, as that could have provoked some thoughts - which is of course completely antithetical to Star Trek.
Dom
Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 4:46pm (UTC -5)
@Hank said it well. The problem isn't that there were plot twists, or even that the twists were predictable, but rather that they just haven't amounted to anything interesting. A plot twist really only works when you care about the characters and the story. Nothing in Discovery so far has really made me feel invested in Tyler. Who is he? Did I have any reason to think he was not Voq? And his romance with Burnham seemed too rushed and lacked chemistry to make it feel real. As for the impact the twist has on the war with the Klingons... what was L'Rell's plan with Tyler? Why was it important? Again, I care more about this than I do about being *shocked* by a plot twist.
Panagiotis Karatasios
Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 4:53pm (UTC -5)
This show has become a total mess from writers who doesn' nt understand anything about stsr ttek but even worst they don' t have any new ideas or imspitation
Gee
Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 7:57pm (UTC -5)
@Panagiotis Karatasios
I agree. I find myself watching only out of perverse curiousity. In contrast I recently came across and watched this fan film;
https://youtu.be/l94v4YOqxOc

It felt much more like ST than DSC will ever feel unfortunately.
NCC-1701-Z
Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 8:47pm (UTC -5)
@Gee

If you're into Trek fan films, HIGHLY recommend checking out Star Trek Continues and Star Trek New Voyages/Phase II if you haven't already!
Hank
Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 11:20pm (UTC -5)
@Dom: Now that you mention Tyler: I gather that Voq is now dead (hence the death howl), and Tyler lives. Now, the real Tyler is dead, of course - her explanation didn't make sense in the slightest, but I think it is safe to assume that the body that "Tyler" now inhabits is Voqs altered body. So in essence: Saru stood by and watched as Voq was murdered. Of course there was no discussion which person would take preference, or what Voq would have wanted, or - anything really. No, the whole Voq subplot only amounted to a vehicle for Burnham to fall in love.

The plot twist that Lorca is from the mirror universe falls equally flat: Yes, it makes total sense now why he acted completely antithetical to any captain we know - but everything else doesn't make sense anymore. Nobody noticed that the switch happened (ok, maybe thats plausible), nobody noticed that Lorca acted completely different, and above all: What the hell was Lorcas plan? First, how did he even cross to the prime universe? How could he have known that the could aquire Burnham? That there even was a way back? Why did he in fact go back? So instead of "yeah, that makes sense - in hindsight", we get "hm - that didn't make sense the first time around (why would anybody give Lorca command of the most important vessel in the history of starfleet ever) and makes even less sense in hindsight!" And in the end, it doesn't really matter, as there is, so far, no concept here to be explored, just plot. It really is just scheming, that only seems interesting because we didn't know anything beforehand (well, we guessed most of it). Take Planet of the Apes for example: That film, as cheesy as it may be, has a concept to be explored: What if humans are not the dominant species? The twist at the end has a clear anti-war message (of course, given the cold war) but does not seem overly preachy or convoluted, as the twist is not there for the viewer, but for Charlton Heston - it means something to his character.

Even Game of Thrones, which is mostly character driven and lives off of selfish and cruel twists and turns, has that overarching theme of characters trying to make the world a better place - with different answers. Daenerys stands for unification and justice, the Starks for self-determination and honor, as the idealists and dreamers on one side, and the Lannisters are the cruel opportunists, along with other houses, as the realistic power politicians. Yes there are plot twists and violence and all that, but the characters have motivations, and there are "meta-ideas" behind the plot. So far, Discovery lacks that, as the characters are all flat, and the ideas are nonexistent, so the plot is quite frankly irrelevant.
John Harmon
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 12:37am (UTC -5)
This is the shortest live action episode of Star Trek ever, and still so much of it was spent having flashbacks, some of which they've already shown multiple times before.

I feel that kinda says everything.
Ross
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 1:09am (UTC -5)
I cannot care about any of these characters. As much as I try, they just don't have any character, qualities, or history worth caring about, with maybe Saru and Lorca as slight exceptions. It simply lacks all of the important qualities that make Star Trek what it is. Even the trite mirror universe doesn't feel right, but rather like a group of writers floundering through production trying to use old Star Trek tropes as cheap plot twists and crutches for bad writing.

Discovery isn't any more Star Trek than Battlestar Galactica is. Except at least BG gets these themes of war and difficult choices right.

I desperately want a real Star Trek again. How sad is it that The Orville is more Star Trek than Discovery?

1) Picard/Sisko
2) Kirk
3) Archer
4) Alternate universe Riker where his only appearance is screaming at the other Riker before his ship blows up
5) Janeway (her incompetence is the reason they got lost, and she routinely betrayed her own ideals. Not to mention she was hugely smug and obnoxious. The Riker that gets his ship blown up is still better.)
Chillyn
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 2:09am (UTC -5)
So is Hoshi Georgiou's mom/grandma? (Not sure what she would be in the timeline) Obviously the matriarchal hierarchy established in enterprise still persists in the MU. Fascinating
Plain Simple
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 2:20am (UTC -5)
@Chrome @Peter G.

Thanks for the link and explanation of those 'scratches' images.

@Hank

While I tend to agree with your big picture concern (a seeming lack of ideas behind the plot), I think your plot concerns about Murca are a bit premature. We've only had the revelation that he's from the MU, I'm assuming we will learn his motivations and plans and the events that led to him ending up in the PU in later episodes. It's not quite reasonable to expect a last minute cliffhanger revelation to give all the answers. Although I do hope those answers will be provided in a less muddled and stretched out fashion than the Tyler/Voq thing. As I wrote in an earlier post above, the writers seem to think that, once the 'big reveal' has happened, they can sustain the mystery by drawing out the details of the Tyler/Voq situation over multiple episodes as B or C plot. But I think those details just aren't interesting enough to carry their own storyline, even if someone were invested in any of this stuff before the reveal.
Del_Duio
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 7:41am (UTC -5)
"I watched TNG the other day and enjoyed the repeat so much more"

Well of course, we all do!

Rankings:

1) DS9
2) TNG
3) VOY
4) TOS
5) DSC
6) ENT

Captains:

1) Picard
2) Sisko
3) Kirk
4) Janeway
5) Lorca is interesting and..
6) Archer was terrible!
Gee
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 7:59am (UTC -5)
@Del_Duio
What was terrible about Archer? You can't deny that without him Earth would have been yet another Vulcan pawn (and under the Romulan Empire eventually).
Ed
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 8:07am (UTC -5)
@Chillyn

I don't think this Empire had any guaranteed line of succession but being the child of a powerful person is an obvious advantage.

My theory Phillipa is the daughter of Hoshi Sato and maybe a Chinese husband. When she was a lot younger she later married a powerful older man with the surname Georgiou. He died either naturally or with her help.
BZ
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 8:35am (UTC -5)
I don't think Archer was terrible, but he was definitely unevenly written (not as bad as Janeway, but close). I would have said bad acting played a part too, but I know Bacula can act. I loved Quantum Leap and he basically played a different character every week in that show, and did it superbly, so I have to kick it to writing and directing, especially since he improved significantly (though not enough) in seasons 3-4. This makes it hard to make the leap to what he was made out to be in universe (the mediator between Vulcans and Andorians, the driving force behind the founding of the Federation, a celebrated great captain, etc)
Del_Duio
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 8:38am (UTC -5)
Yeah that's more of what I meant, terrible in a "THIS is Sam??" kind of way. He was so awesome on Quantum Leap but they somehow made Archer just so blah and boring all the time. It's really saying something when even Janeway is better!*


*It's just a matter of opinion of course :D
Shannon
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 9:51am (UTC -5)
@BZ

"I don't think Archer was terrible, but he was definitely unevenly written..."

I couldn't agree more! The problem with Enterprise, now that we've all had 12 years to watch the show numerous times over on Netflix, is that Braga and Berman kept creative control very tight to the vest, and that showed in a lot of the bland stories those two produced. Scott Bakula is a good actor, and when he was given a meaty script, he shined like we would have expected. But more often than not he, and the rest of the cast, had to struggle their way through mediocre scripts. I saw him in an interview state that the reason he believes the show ended after 4 seasons was that the cast lacked on-screen chemistry. That may be so, but the writing plays a big part in that. The cast of Seinfeld and Friends did so well for so long because the writing was superb... Look at the trifecta of Azati Prime, Damage, and The Forgotten. Those were three outstanding episodes, and the actors all raised their game to the high quality level of the scripts, and voila, three great episodes that were thoroughly enjoyable to watch. I think Jammer rated all three highly if memory serves, and rightfully so.
philadlj
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 10:31am (UTC -5)
My rankings (after recently finishing TOS):

Rankings:

1) DS9
2) TNG
3) VOY
4) TOS
5) DSC
6) ENT

Captains:

1) Picard
2) Sisko
3) Kirk
4) Janeway
5) Lorca
6) Archer
Peter G.
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 10:57am (UTC -5)
Oh all right, I'll offer up mine too:

Captains:

1) Kirk
2) Sisko
3) Picard
4) Janeway
5) Lorca
6) Archer

This is a combination of many factors, and I should note that Janeway's worst score is in consistent characterization but since I enjoy Mulgrew's attempts to play her I find her a good character in theory. Lorca barely qualifies as a captain at all but I'm a Jason Isaacs fan so he's still above Archer, who still rankles as a surrogate George W. Bush in space.

Shows:

TOS
DS9
TNG
ENT
VOY
DSC

At its best VOY smashes ENT, but it's at its worst too often, and overall ENT is less aggravating on a rewatch. Funny thing about TOS - although it impresses me on levels beyond the other series, I'm only occasionally wanting to watch it. I think it's because it's less of a 'chill' show than TNG and so not as useful as a lazy evening's diversion.
Gee
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 11:28am (UTC -5)
@philadlj
I wonder, if you were to watch the Andorain/Vulcan political arc of ENT again, whether you'd rate Enterprise more highly? Namely; "The Andorian Incident", "Shadows of P'Jem", "Cease Fire", "Proving Ground", "The Forge", "Awakening", "Kir'Shara", "Babel One", "United", "The Aenar".

It's a shame there weren't more eps like these. We never got to hear about first contact with Betazed, Benzar, Bolarus (or Nausicaans -are they all bullies or pirates or otherwise unpleasant?) or many of previous Treks' regular aliens...
Shannon
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 12:11pm (UTC -5)
@Gee

Agreed, that ties into what I said earlier about Enterprise. Instead of writing quality stories in Seasons 1 and 2 about the early missions that led to the formation of the Federation 10 years later, Brannon and Braga wrote/produced bland scripts like Unexpected, Terra Nova, Breaking the Ice, Fortunate Son, Fusion, Rogue Planet, Oasis, Carbon Creek, A Night in Sickbay, Precious Cargo, The Crossing, and Bounty. All wasted time that could have been spent on more stories like the ones you cited. I think that's what many of us were hoping for in this series, stories that serve as the foundation for the forming of the Federation, the development of The Prime Directive (Cogenitor was an excellent episode on that front), and other canon we've come to know and love in Star Trek. If you look at the numbers, they lost over half their audience over the first two seasons.
Yanks
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 12:34pm (UTC -5)
@ Chrome
Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 12:55pm (UTC -6)
@Yanks

"Wow, what's the logic on putting Janeway above Picard? Because she was an admiral? I'm pretty sure Picard turned down any promotions after Kirk talked him into staying a captain."

Just a personal preference. Janeway didn't have to hold a meeting to make a decision :-) I like Captains that fly by the seat of their pants (or skirt in this case?) :-)
Gee
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 12:57pm (UTC -5)
@Yanks
Janeway wore trousers (both literally and metaphorically!). She was confident, decisive and self-assured, in part, no doubt due to she had the science background not to have to rely on Data The Android or Spock/T'Pol/Dax The Vulcan/Trill. A lot of ppl seem to not like her for this; apparently she was smug and annoying. No pleasing trekkies haha :P
Dom
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 1:02pm (UTC -5)
@Hank, agree with so much of what you said. Planet of the Apes is a great example of a twist that is meaningful. There is some setup earlier in the film (the doll, etc), but it also fits the theme of the film and Heston's general cynicism about humanity. It's a twist that gives more meaning to the film when you rewatch it. DS9 did this really well too with the twist that Odo's race was the Founders. It was shocking, but also meant something for a character we already cared about.

Speaking of Tyler/Voq, isn't it a bit puzzling that we don't know what's going on or even if the character is dead? What exactly was L'Rell doing in that scene with her energy gloves? I'm fine with some ambiguity, but I have trouble feeling invested in a scene if I have no clue what the characters are doing or why? This is all just mystery for the sake of mystery, not good storytelling.
Chrome
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 1:08pm (UTC -5)
I don't have any problem with Janeway's "attitude", and in some episodes she's a great character. ("Scorpion") is a good example of Janeway at her best. The problem is, as others have mentioned is she's a different captain every week. Sometimes she'll completely ignore a route home because it violates the Prime Directive, then the next week she'll violate the PD because she wants to help some Delta quadrant aliens who double-cross her (i.e., "Dragon's Teeth").
Gee
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 1:18pm (UTC -5)
@Shannon
I thought the eps Terra Nova, Breaking the Ice, Fortunate Son, Fusion and Carbon Creek was ok as it gave the series some context. But totally agree that Unexpected, Rogue Planet, Oasis, Precious Cargo, The Crossing and Bounty could have been told on ST:Voy or better still not at all.
Jason R.
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 1:20pm (UTC -5)
One thing about Mulgrew is she had charisma. Like Peter G., I liked alot what she tried to do with her character even if the writing frequently let her down. Bottom line she deserved to be a captain and had a gravitas befitting her station.

By the way, I don't think Lorca is the relevent comparison despite his rank. Lorca is a secondary character in Discovery, which is a break from all previous series where captains were the leads. At least as far as I got in Discovery (midway through season 1) Burnham was the clear lead of the series. Maybe that changed later, but it seems obvious that SMG was the intended headliner. And boy oh boy does she falter. She can't hold a candle to Mulgrew or even Bakula, to say nothing of Shatner or Stewart or Brooks. Green is out of her depth.
Chrome
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 1:33pm (UTC -5)
Well, all the captains have charisma, it's basically the most important role of the cast. So you have to look at other factors, such as their actions, to compare them.
Dom
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 1:33pm (UTC -5)
@Jason R., I've got a lot of problems with Burnham as a character, but to be fair to SMG I have a feeling it's not so much her acting abilities in general as it is she's just not the best person to play a Vulcan. Burnham's backstory is that she was a human raised on Vulcan, but she seems to think- or was told - that "Vulcans" are detached and lifeless. It's a common mistake for actors new to Trek to play Vulcans as emotionless. The best actors to portray Vulcans realize that as individuals Vulcans actually have deep emotions, but try with every fiber of their being to control and conquer their emotions. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and Sarek (Mark Leonard) didn't express emotions openly, but they never came across as emotionless. Even Tuvok and T'Pol had some great moments in which they visibly struggled to control their emotions. Ultimately, I think a lot of this just comes down to the idea of having the main character be a human raised by Vulcans. That's a tricky role for even the best of actors.
Gee
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 2:24pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome who said "Sometimes she'll completely ignore a route home because it violates the Prime Directive, then the next week she'll violate the PD because she wants to help some Delta quadrant aliens who double-cross her (i.e., "Dragon's Teeth")."

The way I see it Janeway had a lot of compassion and was happy to break the PD to help others if she could and thought it appropriate. Have you got an example of "she'll completely ignore a route home because it violates the Prime Directive" as I can't think where this impression came from.
Gee
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 2:31pm (UTC -5)
@Dom @Jason R
Apparently Christina Moses also auditioned for the part of Burnham. Do you think she could have pulled Burnham off?
BZ
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 2:46pm (UTC -5)
@Dom,
Even Tuvok? Tuvok was one of my favorite Voyager characters (along with The Doctor and Seven of Nine). He's easily as good as Spock and playing a Vulcan. Sure, he was underused, but when he was used he was a great character.
Chrome
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 3:26pm (UTC -5)
"Have you got an example of "she'll completely ignore a route home because it violates the Prime Directive" as I can't think where this impression came from."

I felt like it happened nearly every week, but "Prime Factors", "Death Wish", and "End Game" for starters.
William B
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 3:40pm (UTC -5)
I guess I might as well -- but keep in mind I haven't seen Discovery and only watched about a third of Enterprise (s1 and some of s2):

1) Picard
2) Kirk (Shatner)
3) Sisko
4) Janeway
5) Archer
6) Kirk (Pine -- though I like Pine in other roles)

1) TOS
2) TNG
3) DS9
4) Voyager
5) TAS
6) Enterprise

I go back and forth on where the first three series are positioned, but usually my 1 and 2 are TOS and TNG in some order. In terms of how much I love them, TNG is number 1 and DS9 is maybe number 2, but I think TOS is the boldest and most original, and most ahead-of-its-time.
BZ
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 3:48pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome,
None of those deal with the prime directive. In Prime Factors, it was a matter of breaking the aliens' laws (not the Federation's). In Endgame the choice was go home or destroy the Borg conduits, no prime directive. In Death Wish, a "bribe" from Q to rule in his favor, again no prime directive.
Luc de Forte
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 3:56pm (UTC -5)
I don't see why so many of you see Mirror Lorca as a bad guy. I mean, he did fight the Emperor so doesn't that make him quite the opposite? Sure, he lied to everyone in "our" universe but wasn't that just because he's so dedicated to fighting evil in his own and was just looking for a way to resume that fight? In my eyes that makes him more interesting if anything. I like this plot twist.
Jason R.
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 4:17pm (UTC -5)
"The way I see it Janeway had a lot of compassion and was happy to break the PD to help others if she could and thought it appropriate. Have you got an example of "she'll completely ignore a route home because it violates the Prime Directive" as I can't think where this impression came from"

In the very first episode she violates the PD by helping the Ocampa, stranding Voyager in the DQ. Then in that episode with the Trajector she sacrifices a possible route home to avoid violating the PD (or at least Federation law!). Then in Scorpion she is back to pissing on the PD for the chance to get home (by taking sides in an interstellar war!!)

There are probably other examples. She is just all over the place.

But that isn't Mulgrew's fault any more than Burnham's ridiculous mutiny or murder of the Klingon leader in BOBS was Green's fault. But bottom line Mulgrew imbued Janeway with energy and spirit. Green is just empty and soooo boring.
Chrome
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 4:21pm (UTC -5)
@BZ

They may not name the Prime Directive specifically, but they're all episodes dealing with ethical dilemmas that are part of the PD and Starfleet's mission. Prime Factors, *violate a foreign's planets rules to get us home. Make an alliance with Q over letting a man commit suicide.* And Endgame, Janeway's original decision is not to take her future counterpart's advice because it violates the temporal prime directive (but it all works out anyways, lucky her!).

My point is, she has no consistent moral code except one that keeps the show going and/or maintains the status quo.
Dom
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 4:23pm (UTC -5)
@BZ, sure I didn't mean any offense to Tim Russ' acting. My comment was about how, as you said, Tuvok as a whole was just an underutilized character. Far fewer memorable moments.
Dobber
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 4:23pm (UTC -5)
I just rewatched this and I believe the bulk of the confusion over what happened to Tyler/Voq stems from these two sentences spoken consecutively by L’rell:

“We modified Voq into a shell that appears human. We grafted his psyche into Tyler’s.”

The first sentence implies that Voqs body was modified to look human. The second sentence implies that Voqs mind was implanted into Tyler’s. Since the first one is consistent with what Dr Culper said, I assume that she meant that Tyler’s psyche was grafted onto Voqs. Or maybe she meant Voqs psyche was transformed into Tyler’s in which case grafted was a poor choice of words.
Gee
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 6:41pm (UTC -5)
@Dobber
L'Rell wouldn't want to give away the exact way Klingons can turn into humans as these are house secrets. So we could take "We grafted his psyche into Tyler’s" as L'Rell trying to obfuscate what they really did; grafted an overlay of Tyler's mind on top of Voq's.
In reality I'm guessing the actress messed up the line and no one caught it. That's just the type of hands ST is now in, lucky us -more retcon !fun
Hank
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 6:41pm (UTC -5)
Or how I like to explain it: Make shit up as you go along, and have a terrible writing department.

@Plain Simple: Yeah, maybe I did overreach a bit. But if I remember correctly, it was heavily implied that Lorca planned to get on board of the palace ship with the help of Burnham, and that he specifically recruited her for that. So, either unrealistically successfull planning, or super-convenient luck ...

Overall, this series has completely shifted from "Lets show how the Klingon War went" to "Lets make this whole series a silly subplot from the Mirror Universe" ... They have even started to hint that the magic mushroom network will fail in the near future - because it has to, of course. Prequelitis strikes again. Which, in the grand scheme of things, means that this whole series is utterly pointless. Nobody except Sarek is ever mentioned again, and nothing happened - as the war was fought off-screen. At the end, we are back to where we started. We haven't even seen the Federation evolve, as it turns out that it was not the Federation in charge but the Evil von Lorca and hiz plan to take over ze empire! I bet you didn't see zat coming, Mr. Burnham! Now let me explain my evil plan ...

Somebody mentioned the Ash/Burnham pun - I think he is on to something. Burnhams love burned Voq to Ashes (after all, his brain was fried this episode) - and like a Phoenix, he rises again to forever be the foil on which her reflection dazzingly sparkles between the stars ... I think even more of the names make sense: Lorca = Orca, the ruthless killer, Tilly = Silly, the comic relief, Stamets = Stammering, as he was stammering incomprehensible for the last episodes while under the influence ... Saru means Monkey in japanese (according to google translator), and "Hugh Culber" ... sounds like a dick joke: "Hey, look at my ... Hug(e) Culber" ... like a mangled pronounciation of "Huge Calliber" or something ... well, this is getting silly, I have watched too much Monty Pythons recently.

Oh, did anyone notice that a wild medical team appeared out of nowhere? Apparently the Discovery does have more than one doctor on board... Also, can anybody tell me which roles Joann Owosekun and Airiam played in the show so far? And don't lie if you have to look up the names ;) And I am only asking because they got multiple reaction shots - which implies that they are somehow important.
Gee
Fri, Jan 26, 2018, 6:09am (UTC -5)
@Hank
Culber did mention "the CMO" in one of the earlier eps, maybe 6, implying Culber isn't in charge. So it's not a stretch to think there were others.
Yanks
Fri, Jan 26, 2018, 8:12am (UTC -5)
@ Jason R.
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 4:17pm (UTC -6)

"There are probably other examples. She is just all over the place. (Janeway)"

I could debate some of your examples, but I won't.

That's why I like her.
Gee
Fri, Jan 26, 2018, 10:39am (UTC -5)
@ Jason R
Species 8472 were bent on taking over this universe, and are more than a match for Starfleet so PD doesn't apply. I don't know what you mean by 'Trajectory' episode, please elaborate.
Chrome
Fri, Jan 26, 2018, 10:47am (UTC -5)
"Species 8472 were bent on taking over this universe"

You mean, like the Borg?
Gee
Fri, Jan 26, 2018, 10:57am (UTC -5)
@Jason R
The Ocampa were also exempt from PD because they had already been interfered with (by the caretaker's race) who forced Janeway into the situation. Janeway did what she thought best for everyone (inc. Starfleet) ; stop array from falling into Kazon hands. This is not violation of PD i.e. it's not 'playing god'; it's looking out for best interests of the galaxy as Kazon can't be allowed to control powerful tech.
Gee
Fri, Jan 26, 2018, 11:04am (UTC -5)
@Chrome who said "You mean, like the Borg?"

Yes, and Picard made the wrong decision not to use Hugh as a weapon against the Borg.
Thomas
Fri, Jan 26, 2018, 11:09am (UTC -5)
@Hank

"Somebody mentioned the Ash/Burnham pun - I think he is on to something. Burnhams love burned Voq to Ashes (after all, his brain was fried this episode) - and like a Phoenix, he rises again to forever be the foil on which her reflection dazzingly sparkles between the stars ... I think even more of the names make sense: Lorca = Orca, the ruthless killer, Tilly = Silly, the comic relief, Stamets = Stammering, as he was stammering incomprehensible for the last episodes while under the influence ... Saru means Monkey in japanese (according to google translator), and "Hugh Culber" ... sounds like a dick joke: "Hey, look at my ... Hug(e) Culber" ... like a mangled pronounciation of "Huge Calliber" or something ... well, this is getting silly, I have watched too much Monty Pythons recently. "

You know, you're probably not that far off with some of those. I know some people were speculating about the the religious connotation of names since the very first episode, and it's pretty clear that's where they got them.

Michael: In the New Testament Michael leads God's armies against Satan's forces in the Book of Revelation, where during the war in heaven he defeats Satan.

Gabriel: Gabriel's main function in Daniel is that of revealer, a role he continues in later literature. In the Book of Ezekiel, Gabriel is understood to be the angel that was sent to destroy Jerusalem.
Chrome
Fri, Jan 26, 2018, 11:18am (UTC -5)
@Gee

"Yes, and Picard made the wrong decision not to use Hugh as a weapon against the Borg."

So he should've aligned with them instead like Janeway? I don't see how you're linking these two things.

Regarding the Ocampa thing, the best argument Janeway could make is "Hey, I'm in the Delta Quadrant so Starfleet doesn't really have jurisdiction here anyway. I gotta do what I gotta do." The problem is she'll stick by the PD in other episodes, even when you could say the PD doesn't apply because of "special exception #603(j)"or the like.

But I agree with Jason, it's the writers's fault. They all had different ideas for what kind of captain Janeway is, and when they disagreed they just ignored eachother's characterizations.
Plain Simple
Fri, Jan 26, 2018, 11:51am (UTC -5)
@Hank: "Oh, did anyone notice that a wild medical team appeared out of nowhere?"

That caught my attention as well. I'm glad they're showing some more people around. Hopefully it'll stick.


Here is a recent fun video someone pointed out to me. Since DSC is telling us gore needs to be a weekly thing on Start Trek now, here's the Nerdist's take on how Tarantino might be compatible with TOS. :-) (Don't worry, no gore in this one. Nothing you haven't seen before.)

https://youtu.be/v3Nv2R9Acec
Gee
Fri, Jan 26, 2018, 11:56am (UTC -5)
@Chrome who said /"So he should've aligned with them instead like Janeway? I don't see how you're linking these two things."/

No he should have taken down the major threat to the galaxy like Janeway helped the Borg do to Species 8472 otherwise 'the weak will perish' ...

/Regarding the Ocampa thing, the best argument Janeway could make is "Hey, I'm in the Delta Quadrant so Starfleet doesn't really have jurisdiction here anyway. I gotta do what I gotta do."/

That doesn't really work because Janeway says (at the end of the Caretaker two parter) that 'this will be a starfleet crew' and that they will continue the mission of exploration. (They also mention during the series that Chakotay regretted being part of the Maquis and that Torres has anger-management issues due to being half Klingon and doesn't like that side of herself; this implies that they are not at odds with Starfleet ideology at their core.)

/The problem is she'll stick by the PD in other episodes, even when you could say the PD doesn't apply because of "special exception #603(j)"or the like./

I'm still waiting to hear a concrete example of this... Instead, I get impression that you are not considering the complexities of applying PD to space-faring species. My understanding is that the PD doesn't prohibit Starfleet from getting involved in interstellar conflicts, only internal conflicts (and even then there are exceptions).

/But I agree with Jason, it's the writers's fault. They all had different ideas for what kind of captain Janeway is, and when they disagreed they just ignored eachother's characterizations./

I know writers do mess up character continuity on ST but I'm not yet convinced that Janeway's relationship with the PD is one of these inconsistencies... concrete examples are most welcome!
Chrome
Fri, Jan 26, 2018, 12:14pm (UTC -5)
@Gee

We've given you several examples of PD violations but you it seems like you keep saying "but it's an exception to the PD because X". It's clear you agree with Janeway that sometimes the PD applies or doesn't but it's totally up to the captain, and that's fine. Some of us here don't like that and think it stems from the writers, that's all.
Mertov
Fri, Jan 26, 2018, 1:18pm (UTC -5)
What she did with the swarm was a blatant example of PD violation too.. Just another example among many others already mentioned above..
Gee
Fri, Jan 26, 2018, 1:20pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome
The examples you gave aren't PD violations. The PD is there to prevent more vulnerable species from dangerous contamination and also to protect Starfleet from being dragged into internal conflicts. PD doesn't apply to situations where a hostile and strong species has declared malevolently that 'the weak will perish'.

You can't possible think that a policy of non-interference should apply without exceptions in all situations? What do you think would have happened if Britain didn't interfere, when Germany decided to invade Poland, and start WW2?
Chrome
Fri, Jan 26, 2018, 1:37pm (UTC -5)
"You can't possible think that a policy of non-interference should apply without exceptions in all situations?"

No, I just expect it to applied consistently. The creaters of Star Trek made a set of rules they told us the Federation follows. What's the point of them if every single rule has an exception which the captain can use when it's convenient?
Peter G.
Fri, Jan 26, 2018, 1:44pm (UTC -5)
@ Gee,

"You can't possible think that a policy of non-interference should apply without exceptions in all situations? What do you think would have happened if Britain didn't interfere, when Germany decided to invade Poland, and start WW2?"

Did you...watch TNG? Yes, there is supposed to be no exceptions to this rule, period. Otherwise you end up with what happened on Voyager, where a ship's captain, with the power to dominate an entire planet, will play god and decide the fate of entire species. It doesn't matter if "she's right" or if you personally agree with the action. It is totally irrelevant. A captain is supposed to lose the ship with all hands aboard rather than violate it; it's the very firmament of the Federation itself.

As for your WWII analogy, go watch Redemption pt 1&2 again. The Federation cannot get directly involved in an interstellar war; it doesn't matter who's in the right or who we like. Janeway violated this so many times that she was in the strictest sense operating as a rogue ship and definitely not in the capacity of a Starfleet officer.

Don't try to use modern common sense principles to puzzle out what makes sense to you for the Federation to do. They are not us, and are not supposed to be us. In TOS the Fed/Klingon dispute was meant to portray the Cold War, but even so the Federation wasn't a direct copy of the U.S. On the contrary, its principles were in most ways a repudiation of the U.S. This is supposed to be a sci-fi vision of how a society should conduct itself if it really wants to have friendly relations with its neighbors, and it's not like what we have now. Don't think WWII...think WWIII and beyond.
Peter G.
Fri, Jan 26, 2018, 1:54pm (UTC -5)
I'll amend my previous statement slightly:

I said that "the Federation cannot get involved in an interstellar war", but what I should have said is "they cannot interfere with internal matters of non-Federation beings." It sounds a little dryer this way, but I think the diplomatic reality is that if there's an internal affair, such as a civil war, or a long-standing feud going on between species, such mattes are not in the Federation's purview to interfere with. However if two species, like the Klingons and Cardassians, for instance, came into conflict I believe the alliance with the Klingons would permit the Federation to fight against the Cardassians.

I guess I do have to agree that Borg vs 8472 may be hard to parse in terms of whether Janeway could legitimately be said to have made an "alliance" with the Borg, because Scorpion makes it clear that there is in reality no such alliance and it's a one-time opportunistic affair. From that standpoint I would surmise that Janeway's action is totally illegal under Federation law, as only a formal alliance would permit such actions as mutual defence. Things become much hairier when you consider Janeway flying by a new system, with one race already at war with another. Under such circumstances I can't imagine a scenario where the PD wouldn't apply, because that is already an 'internal matter' that had begun prior to the Federation making first contact.
Jason R.
Fri, Jan 26, 2018, 2:10pm (UTC -5)
In Caretaker, Janeway flat out chose to help the Ocampa at the expense of the Kazon. She allied herself with one group to thwart another and radically impacted the balance of power in the region by blowing up the Caretaker array to keep it out of Kazon hands. Unlike, say, Who Watches the Watchers, this wasn't some attempt to correct an interference by a Federation crew, but was just blatantly taking sides and interfering in local politics.

The PD applied to the Ocampa and the Kazon. Note the PD rule precluding contact with pre warp species should not be confused with the broader principal of non interference. As Peter mentioned, we saw this at play in Redemption, when Picard refused to aid Gowron and take sides in a Klingon civil war. He was prepared to help expose Romulan duplicity but actually fighting in the conflict (as Voyager does in Caretaker) is out of the question.

But then in an episode a little later, Janeway refuses to make a side deal with rogue elements of a society to give them access to Voyager's artistic database in exchange for technology that will get Voyager home. Her principals are so important that she throws away a potential chance to get home because she doesn't want to do business with shady art / literature dealers?! LOL.

As for Scorpion, the entire justification for helping the Borg was BS and Chacotay (and later that alien Arcturas) calls her out on it straight up. Other than one stray telepathic transmission to Kes she had 0 information about 8472 and their goals. Indeed we find out later that the Borg started the war and then later in the series that they are pretty reasonable and not the inplacable fanatics Kes made them out to be. This is precisely why the PD exists - to prevent Starfleet Captains from meddling in things they don't understand!

Chacotay nailed it in one of his best moments in the series during his scorpion speech. He pretty much tells Janeway that her motives are self serving and that she is not really helping the borg to protect the galaxy but because she's too much of a coward to own up to the consequences of her past decisions.

There are other examples, but basically Janeway's chatacterization is bonkers. She goes from straight laced by the book in one episode to attempted murder of a starfleet officer in the next (Equinox).
Gee
Fri, Jan 26, 2018, 3:41pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G
@Jason R
In TNG's Who Watches the Watchers, Picard brought aboard a member of a very pre-warp species and pointed out the awesomeness of tech at his disposal. This was to correct an unintended interference.

Janeway didn't ask to be brought to the delta quadrant, or have The Caretaker beg her to help the Ocampa. Caretaker felt a responsibility to the Ocampa as years earlier his species had unintentionally interfered with the Ocampa homeworld's atmosphere causing disastrous consequences. The Caretaker pleaded with Janeway to help rectify his species' interference.

In what way is the situation Janeway found herself any different to Picard's? And in what way is Janeway's actions a violation of the PD if Picard's actions weren't?
Peter G.
Fri, Jan 26, 2018, 3:58pm (UTC -5)
@ Gee,

You're confusing different scenarios. In "Watchers" the PD was violated because a pre-warp species was exposed to things they shouldn't have been. IMO Picard's solution was highly questionable, but perhaps he thought that by having one native ally to his cause to fix the damage he could prevent contamination the best. So we might view his strategy there as being one step backward (increasing the contamination) to make two steps forward. This can perhaps be compared to Kirk's solution to the Sigma Iotia problem in A Piece of the Action, where in order to fix the contamination Kirk had to increase their exposure temporarily in order to bring things under control. I'm not exactly sure if he achieved that, mind you! But it was a fun episode anyhow.

But in Caretaker we have a completely different issue, which is warp-capable species in an internal conflict. There is no PD violation in them meeting the Voyager, because they weren't pre-warp (well, arguably the Ocampa were, but they were an advanced species so it's grey). The fact that Janeway didn't ask to be there is immaterial to the fact that it's perfectly acceptable, through whatever intents or accidents, for Starfleet vessels to make contact with new warp-capable species. Interfering in their affairs, mind you, is another matter. It's the choosing of winners and losers that's the question here, and she did just that. Strictly speaking the most appropriate action there would have been to send themselves back to the AQ and minimize their interference. Be destroying the array Janeway made herself arbiter in whether the Kazon should or shouldn't be allowed to become more dominant in the region. I'm not saying it was an easy situation; we would certainly not want the Kazon to run amok and annihilate the Ocampa. But on the other hand it's not our call, to go around deciding who should or shouldn't be allowed to do what in their own space. It's like showing up in your neighbor's back yard due to an accident (you landed there by parachute) and, while there, interfering in a marital dispute and at the same time destroying the television that was causing strife between them.
Chrome
Fri, Jan 26, 2018, 4:51pm (UTC -5)
Just to add to Peter's thoughtful comment, in "Who Watches the Watchers" the Federation were already monitoring Mintaka III, and it was glitch in Federation systems that caused the Enterprise to get involved. Thus, Picard was cleaning up after his own people's mess, so to speak. In the Ocampa scenario, Janeway has no Federation interest the planet or its people. She chose to get involved despite her duty, not because of it. That's a big difference.
Gee
Fri, Jan 26, 2018, 5:18pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G
I understand what you are saying in terms of the Swarm and the literacy dealer species. I don't necessarily think her characterisation is uneven; she follows the rules/laws of friendly species. She doesn't take threats well and she won't be bullied by hostile species. She prioritises going home over respecting hostile species but not friendly ones. She tried her best to negotiate alliances and talk to all sides, but she's not a trained diplomat. In the end we know that Janeway didn't get booted out of Starfleet (maybe she was lucky that Species 8472 didn't attack Earth), and didn't she and Chakotay agree to keep some of it out of the logs?

Gee
Fri, Jan 26, 2018, 5:24pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome who said "In the Ocampa scenario, Janeway has no Federation interest the planet or its people. She chose to get involved despite her duty, not because of it. That's a big difference."

But the federation will also provide aid when requested by external systems, and the caretaker who has similar morality/code did plead. Also Janeway can see that the Ocampa are cute and innocent, while the Kazon are ugly and aggressive lol
Chrome
Fri, Jan 26, 2018, 5:35pm (UTC -5)
"But the federation will also provide aid when requested by external systems"

True, but there's a difference between helping to treat a plague and getting involved in an internal political conflict. That was one of the big issues stopping the Federation from aiding the Klingons in their civil war despite Gowron's plea for aid, and despite it being an obviously good cause. And obviously Janeway got more trouble than she bargained for by helping the Ocampa, which proves the reason for the Federation policy existing.
Ed
Fri, Jan 26, 2018, 6:43pm (UTC -5)
Back to Vaulting Ambition, the episode makes me want to stay in the MU even longer to get to know Emeror Georgiou, see more of her activities, learn her background, etc. I'm so impressed with this character.

Was she ever married? The Georgiou name probably comes from a husband. What happened to him and what purpose did he serve in her rise to power? What relationship if any is she to Hoshi (not because she's Asian but because her title in Latin specifically mentions Japan).

I want to see her use that Predator-type weapon again! Then finish off survivors with her sword. She must also have a palace back on Earth, too. Let's go there. Please don't let Lorca replace her. Maybe MU Stamets if she doesn't keep the throne.
Skabs
Fri, Jan 26, 2018, 6:46pm (UTC -5)
I thought this was a thread about Star Trek: Discovery. I guess I'm in the wrong place.
Ed
Fri, Jan 26, 2018, 8:28pm (UTC -5)
@Skabs

Yea, I was trying to get the discussion back on track.

What do you think MU Stamets was trying to do with the Spore Network that messed it up and trapped his mind inside of it?
Yair
Fri, Jan 26, 2018, 8:52pm (UTC -5)
@Ed,

* Someone was keeping MU Stamets alive while in a coma. This is the Mirror Universe. They would probably harvest your organs if you sleep too long - unless you were useful somehow. Obviously he has some powerful people on his side who care about something he can provide them.

* Stamets' comments probably provide a clue. He looked at MU Stamets' hand and mentioned a scientific term (that dialogue ended with 'Apparently I'm a terrible liar in every universe'). I couldn't quite catch what term he used, and even if I did, I would likely fail to spell it correctly - but it's probably relevant.
Ed
Fri, Jan 26, 2018, 9:42pm (UTC -5)
@Yair

Yes, he's working on something big over there too but I don't think it's a method of physical travel like PU Stamets.

Remember early on in the series they were introducing the Spore Drive and the chamber he goes into. They demonstrate how you can also use it to see different places. They briefly look at a Romulan city and other places but don't go there in the flesh.

I wonder if MU Stamets had been using the Spore Network to see detailed visions of things that were happening all over the multiverse and got trapped somehow.

Maybe he'd even gotten good info. for the Emperor this way before going into a coma which is why they were keeping him alive.

He could be loyal to Georgiou, Lorca or planning to use this ability to become Emperor himself. Think of all the strategic and blackmail potential.

Think of the mystique he would have as Emperor if people knew he could literally be watching them at any time and not thorough conventional equipment you could protect yourself against like disabling hidden cameras.
Archer
Fri, Jan 26, 2018, 10:15pm (UTC -5)
When you think about the MU and the idea of parallel universes in general, how nonsensical is it that there could be a universe like the MU where everyone has the same name and looks the same? All it would take is someone dying at a different time from the PU or in different circumstances, and then the whole chain of events leading up to someone being born is messed up instantly. And they say even a butterfly flapping its wings can cause a tornado on the other side of the world...
John
Fri, Jan 26, 2018, 10:43pm (UTC -5)
@Archer

That's because parallel universes are pure science fiction. Despite all the hypothesizing (mostly from laypeople) scientists will never find anything like them, just like time travel or any other magical hocus pocus.
Peter G.
Fri, Jan 26, 2018, 10:50pm (UTC -5)
@ Archer,

"When you think about the MU and the idea of parallel universes in general, how nonsensical is it that there could be a universe like the MU where everyone has the same name and looks the same?"

I think this is precisely why DS9 tended to treat the MU as essentially Halloween episodes. Some were more serious than others in terms of the subject matter, but all were mostly a romp and letting the cast have some fun. Personally I don't see how I could possibly take that setting seriously since the premise is so absurd that there's no way I could ever call it science fiction. TOS did one stand-alone episode with it, and it primarily served as vehicle to show how even in an 'evil' universe where everything is upside down, Spock could still be trusted to be logical. He was the linchpin 'justifying' the setting, if you think in those terms. If DS9 had tried to make the MU serious it would have been a waste of time.

For DISC the danger is having a major plot arc in a setting that cannot amount to much more than putting on masks and costumes and acting funny for a few episodes. The wrinkle in that statement is Lorca, of course, who already had his mask on from the start. So perhaps his persona (once we learn what it really is) will be the linchpin justifying it here. I hope so.
Ed
Fri, Jan 26, 2018, 11:06pm (UTC -5)
@Archer

It's still dramatically interesting as a sort of secularized vision of Hell.

It tells a story of coming into contact with a demonic reflection of one's own civilization, culture, history, institutions and even self (and companions).

We're both attracted and repelled by it as my earlier expressed sentimental attraction to the MU Georgiou shows. At our worst we would prefer her to the kindly Captain Georgiou. We have a side that would love to reign in Hell rather than serve in Heaven. To don the flashy uniform and strut around in a world of naked ambition.

But then there are the better angels of our natures calling us to belong to the Federation instead of the Empire and reject its gold-plated charms. The MU saga is one of Star Trek 's most profound myths.
Skabs
Sat, Jan 27, 2018, 12:57am (UTC -5)
I still think Lorca has something to do with Section 31. Maybe he's not from the MU, and was sent there by them. And maybe he was assigned Discovery to do that. Since it has a spore drive, and also it's designation is NCC-1031. Not to mention the symbols on the ship that others mentioned.

I can't get over the fact that's it's NCC-1031. That seems significant to me. It may be nothing, but it sure seems to be a very big hint that it's run by Section 31.

And as I've said before, I don't like that they are spending so much time in the MU. It should be used for established characters to have some fun and to be over the top. Not treated so seriously as Discovery is treating it and integrating it into the main plot of the show.
Plain Simple
Sat, Jan 27, 2018, 6:06am (UTC -5)
@Skabs: "I still think Lorca has something to do with Section 31."

He's probably Khan and then we'll get lots of gory flashback scenes of Cumberbatch being turned into Isaacs. (I'm kidding of course, but only about the details. Given this show's penchant for throwing in plot twists like that, I wouldn't be surprised if there is another Murca twist in store.)
Gee
Sat, Jan 27, 2018, 8:40am (UTC -5)
@Skabs who said /I can't get over the fact that's it's NCC-1031. That seems significant to me. It may be nothing, but it sure seems to be a very big hint that it's run by Section 31./

or it's a deliberate red herring. Personally I'd have preferred Murca to be the red herring. I prefer to see a series about section 31. Terrian Empire? not so much.
Sloan
Sat, Jan 27, 2018, 8:55am (UTC -5)
A series about Section 31? Maybe they should set it on a planet which has 31 hours in each day, and have one episode for each hour and a season for each day. They could call the show, oh I don't know... 31
Gee
Sat, Jan 27, 2018, 8:57am (UTC -5)
@Peter G who said /Interfering in their affairs, mind you, is another matter. It's the choosing of winners and losers that's the question here, and she did just that. Strictly speaking the most appropriate action there would have been to send themselves back to the AQ and minimize their interference. Be destroying the array Janeway made herself arbiter in whether the Kazon should or shouldn't be allowed to become more dominant in the region. /

I think you are wrong to interpret Janeway's actions as 'choosing the winners'. The Kazon are not a political entity recognised by the Federation, they are a bunch of aggressive pirates. Janeway didn't have the option of trying to use the array because the Kazon were firing at them, and they were armed to the teeth. The PD is there to protect more vulnerable species and the Federation from unnecessary wars. Janeway did both by making sure powerful tech stayed out of Kazon hands. She upheld the spirit of the PD. Starfleet values officers who don't just blindly follow orders to the letter. The Admiral didn't appreciate Picard's decision not to take down the borg using Hugh. Janeway however is on good terms with those Admirals.
Gee
Sat, Jan 27, 2018, 9:02am (UTC -5)
@Sloan
Why are you being facetious? Are you not curious to know more about Section 31? How exactly did they begin? Did they start from within Starfleet or MACO? How have they managed to obtain better tech than Starfleet have? How are they managed and run? Who decides the operatives' missions? How did they get a Romulan senator on their side (when even Spock was betrayed by his contact on the senate)? So many questions left up in the air ...
Sloan
Sat, Jan 27, 2018, 9:16am (UTC -5)
@Gee
To answer your question - no, I don't have the slightest interest in Section 31. That part of DS9 (and ENT) bored me to tears and in my opinion is better suited to a La Femme Nikita or 24 style of show and not Star Trek.
Gee
Sat, Jan 27, 2018, 9:48am (UTC -5)
@Archer
/When you think about the MU and the idea of parallel universes in general, how nonsensical is it that there could be a universe like the MU where everyone has the same name and looks the same?/

Well not in the context of the multiverse theory which has been around for nearly a century because there are infinite universes -ones that are completely different from this one where you don't exist to ones that are the same as this one but you eat something different at breakfast today. So if you can imagine infinity it's not hard to include the possibility of a mirror universe.

However in reality many scientists acknowledge that they are probably missing a piece of the puzzle and that there is no such thing as infinity ... but it remains a valid theory
Gee
Sat, Jan 27, 2018, 10:06am (UTC -5)
@Peter G
/Don't try to use modern common sense principles to puzzle out what makes sense to you for the Federation to do. They are not us, and are not supposed to be us./
I wasn't, I was going by the admiralty response to decisions made by other captains. The defiant (in dsp9) continued to explore the gemma quadrant despite founders warning them out; the federation will not be intimidated by bullies and the PD doesn't apply because the Kazon/Founders are attacking/hostile powers (who wish to seize control for themselves) with whom diplomacy has failed.

This response just happens to be in line with the British response to that particular situation.
Jason R.
Sat, Jan 27, 2018, 10:46am (UTC -5)
Maybe Section 31 was founded in the PU by MU refugees.
Gee
Sat, Jan 27, 2018, 12:45pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G
@Chrome
@Jason R who said
/As for Scorpion, the entire justification for helping the Borg was BS and Chacotay (and later that alien Arcturas) calls her out on it straight up. Other than one stray telepathic transmission to Kes she had 0 information about 8472 and their goals. Indeed we find out later that the Borg started the war and then later in the series that they are pretty reasonable and not the inplacable fanatics Kes made them out to be. This is precisely why the PD exists - to prevent Starfleet Captains from meddling in things they don't understand!/

Sure but the in universe reasoning given is that Janeway felt that she had to find a way thru borg space at all costs (due to guilt), and wasn't thinking nearly. Really Chakotay should have got a medical profession to relieve her. In any case, as she said in the swarm; "we're a long way from starfleet".

To the people complaining that Janeway inconsistently followed the PD, why do you not accept that sometimes she made emotional and irrational decisions (aka calculated risks) based on desperation to get her crew home? I'm not saying the writers were perfect, I'm no fan of Bragga, but I am curious why you automatically assume the writers messed up instead of accepting that Janeway wasn't always as diplomatic as she could have been when up against species exhibiting seemingly malevolent behaviour?
William B
Sat, Jan 27, 2018, 1:44pm (UTC -5)
"To the people complaining that Janeway inconsistently followed the PD, why do you not accept that sometimes she made emotional and irrational decisions (aka calculated risks) based on desperation to get her crew home? I'm not saying the writers were perfect, I'm no fan of Bragga, but I am curious why you automatically assume the writers messed up instead of accepting that Janeway wasn't always as diplomatic as she could have been when up against species exhibiting seemingly malevolent behaviour?"

I think there's disagreement about whether Janeway's "non-traditional" behavior is justifiable on Starfleet grounds, particularly because as I see it, this conversation started with people ranking captains, which most took to mean how well they did their job as opposed to how well written they were, though there's some overlap.

Anyway, I dunno. Sisko rescued the Detapa Council from the Federation's Klingon allies in Way of the Warrior, choosing to protect neutral kind-of allies over much closer allies. Involvement in wars between "sovereign" powers has always been murky in terms of the PD, IMO. In the case of Scorpion, 8472 were literally interlopers from another kind of space, who explicitly were threatening to purge the entire Milky Way of all life. In that sense allying with the Borg is ironically not significantly different from agreeing to share data with the Romulans about outposts destroyed by the Borg in The Neutral Zone, or various opportunistic alliances against the Dominion. Janeway's lack of interest upon discovering that the Borg were the aggressors and that 8472 can be reasoned with is damning, and I agree that her decision was primarily emotional rather than carefully reasoned, but I'm not convinced that it's totally unprecedented to side with one known enemy against another unknown enemy from farther away.
Peter G.
Sat, Jan 27, 2018, 1:55pm (UTC -5)
@ Gee,

"The PD is there to protect more vulnerable species and the Federation from unnecessary wars."

No, it's not. You're thinking in terms of strategy, like as in, the PD somehow is *beneficial* to the Federation to follow, and benefits other species due to that protection. But pretty much the opposite is the case: the PD is a huge burden on the Federation and they lose a huge tactical advantage by following it. It is *despite* the burden of it that they follow the PD, because they view it as being a necessary moral law, and one that allows others to see that they don't operate from an agenda. You, yourself, just said in another comment that Janeway frequently operates out of desperation to benefit her crew, which automatically means she's not adhering to the spirit of the PD. The benefits or losses to her crew should be irrelevant in calculating how or whether to follow the PD. As we've seen in many episodes, it's occasionally to the extreme detriment of less advances species that the Federation won't get involved. You call the Kazon 'pirates' as if this de-legitimizes them and allows Janeway to dictate what they should or shouldn't do, and that is exactly the mentality the PD is meant to prevent: Captains making personal judgement calls on how other species should conduct themselves.

"To the people complaining that Janeway inconsistently followed the PD, why do you not accept that sometimes she made emotional and irrational decisions (aka calculated risks) based on desperation to get her crew home?"

Because in almost all cases in VOY the script and direction portrayed Janeway as being correct and making the right decision. You'd be basically retconning most of the series if you try to interpret it as a portrayal of an erratic Captain under too much stress. Oh, we may gather that ourselves from observing the inconsistencies, but they were most certainly unintended by the individual writes, with the possible exception of Scorpion. I'm not even sure if the writers of that one thought Janeway was being reasonable or not; perhaps they abstained from rendering judgement. But in the vast majority of episodes the portrayal is of a wise, if protective, Captain, who's the only one who knows the right moves to make.

There's another poster on this site (I Hate Janeway, I think) who has been railing at the fact that there are repeated arguments between Seven and Janeway where Seven is clearly being reasonable but where Janeway's argument is shown to be correct and Seven as a confused ex-Borg, and I agree that it's infuriating sometimes. These episodes can't help but make Janeway appear self-righteous when she blithely explains to the crew that no one but her can understand why her decisions are correct. In Scorpion she made much the same argument, but at least in that one they gave us Chakotay's counter-argument with some gusto, which is a rarity in the series.

In short, we find her writing inconsistent because they tried to imbue her with Picard's infallibility but while at the same time having her embark on exciting or questionable adventures all the time, pushing the boundaries of what an Alpha Quadrant Captain would ever do. But you can't have your cake an eat it too; either you are moral to a fault, like Picard, or else you're not, but they tried to show her as magically always being right while also always doing whatever she felt like. She was basically a moral judge, jury and executioner. The ship may have been far from the Federation, but at times she acted like she *was* the Federation.
William B
Sat, Jan 27, 2018, 2:05pm (UTC -5)
Just to tease what Trent said above about the Federation not warning the Founders in The Die is Cast, it's worth remembering that the Federation was supplying the Romulans with data on the Dominion in exchange for the cloak on the Defiant. If the Romulans decide to use that information to attempt genocide, I'm not sure how the Federation can claim Prime Directive neutrality or whatever, if they 1) do nothing when the genocide is attempted and 2) (presumably) maintain their tit for tat deal, since the Defiant keeps its cloak. Sisko saving the Detapa Council proves willingness to interfere with a much closer ally than the Cardassians and Romulans, on a non-genocidal mission. Maybe the Federation was right to wait and see and hope that the Founders get obliterated, but I don't think it's a neutral decision given their (continued, after Die) complicity in supplying the Romulans with info. This is relevant because as weird as it is, the Borg really are The Devil You Know against 8472 just as the illiberal, recent enemy Romulans and Cardassians were against the Dominion, and 8472 was honestly more explicitly threatening genocide at the respective stages of those stories. I think; the first time I remember a totally explicit threat of genocide against Alpha Quadranters by the Founders was the Female's "you're all dead" speech to Garak in Broken Link, though I might be forgetting.
William B
Sat, Jan 27, 2018, 2:21pm (UTC -5)
I'm just thinking aloud. Certainly as bad as the Romulans and Cardassians are, there is an established relationship the Federation has with them, which common sense dictates may be impossible with the Borg. And it's *possible* that the Federation either stopped feeding info to the Romulans or else believed that with the Tal Shiar out of commission, there was no more risk of their data being used aggressively. Mostly though I suspect they continued trading data for cloak anticipating that this would be used against the Dominion, possibly to attempt to wipe them out, and also continued working with Cardassians, particularly after the Romulans/Cardassians attempted preemptive genocide -- which, yes, the Founders stoked as part of a trap, but which a lot of Romulans agreed to and was hatched by Tain -- and I'm not sure why that's significantly different from Janeway's trade of info in a war she's nominally outside of.

I love DS9, but the various attempted genocides -- The Die is Cast against the Founders, By Inferno's Light against the Bajorans -- are so extreme and yet seem almost brushed off a week later, and I find it hard to know how to weight them. The Section 31-created Founder disease and the Founders' massacre of Cardassians in the finale feel more heavily weighted, somehow.
William B
Sat, Jan 27, 2018, 3:26pm (UTC -5)
I think, btw, that Federation ideals would dictate either divesting from the Defiant deal with the Romulans after Die or officially dropping any pretense of neutrality. Tain et al. in Die are like General Ripper in Dr Strangelove, basically launching a first strike which will necessarily force everyone into war whether they want it or not. In Dr Strangelove, in order to avoid mass deaths, the president attempts to stop the massacre. In this case, we gather that the Cardassian and Romulan nominal governments don't make any such effort. Maybe it's not the Federation's or Klingon Empire or Ferengi Alliance's (etc) call but they are all being dragged by Tain et al into war -- or would have if it hadn't been a trap. I don't think warning the Founders would be a PD violation, and I think it would be the moral thing to do, to be prevented preemptive genocide, except 1) I might be too starry-eyed and 2) it's complicated, because the likely blowback against innocent Cardassians and Romulans, and other Alpha Quadranters would be intense. So I don't know what should be done.

I'm also not defending Janeway's choices in Scorpion so much as saying that I don't think it's that far from what they do on DS9.

Re Peter's last point, I still think that the show is more ambivalent about Janeway in many eps, including Tuvix (we've talked on this before), Year of Hell, Prey, Night, Latent Image (where her initial position re the Doc's memories is shown to be entirely wrong), Equinox II, Tinker Tenor (where she also changes her mind re the Doc). I tend to agree that the scales are tilted more pro-Janeway than I'd like and in some eps -- Dark Frontier -- more signals that they know they're writing her cracking up would have gone a long way.
Ed
Sat, Jan 27, 2018, 4:36pm (UTC -5)
On Lorca and Section 31.

I think the Discovery being a research ship doing morally questionable research in time of war has some kind of special connection to Starfleet Intelligence which allows them a level of autonomy. Lorca being MU Lorca took advantage of this.

Not everything secretive and unethical has to be Section 31 though they could be involved on some level. I'd personally rather not see them directly even if their possible involvement is implied.

I think MU Discovery was also involved in some (non-Spore Drive) classified project allowing for less official interference too since the PU Discovery isn't now getting any orders.
Yanks
Sat, Jan 27, 2018, 5:06pm (UTC -5)
@ Ed

"On Lorca and Section 31.

I think the Discovery being a research ship doing morally questionable research in time of war has some kind of special connection to Starfleet Intelligence which allows them a level of autonomy. Lorca being MU Lorca took advantage of this. "

I don't think so. Lorca ordered all this stuff. He was given the latitude by Star Fleet. There is no evidence they were doing it before he got there.
Ed
Sat, Jan 27, 2018, 5:47pm (UTC -5)
@Yanks

Could be. It felt to me like it would have taken longer to get all that equipment set up. How long was it before the opening two episodes and the third, though? I guess a lot can happen in a few months.

I'll have to watch the early parts again. There were those awful experiments with that creature on the other ship. Could that have been Lorca's fault? Or did those people just not know it was sentient?

My memory isn't what it used to be. :) CBS pay service's streaming also screws up for me too much, which discouraged much re-watching.

The experiments with it on the Discovery were bad. Then letting Stamets alter himself was bad. Stamets is generally a decent person if grumpy at first so was the original intention totally innocent like trying to navigate the Spore Drive with regular computers but that failed?

Something about how the admirals are so deferential to Lorca makes me think his counterpart had some kind of connections. I know he's sleeping with one of them but not all.
Archer
Sat, Jan 27, 2018, 6:07pm (UTC -5)
@Gee
My complaint about the MU is less about the science more about internal consistency. Even if you accept the multiverse theory, how can a single MU as it is portrayed in Trek be sustained for longer than an episode or two let alone hundreds of years? The constant chain of killings and the way the Terran Empire seems to be run would mean that family lines would become different. If there is an Archer and Hoshi in the 22nd century MU, life is so different from the PU that there is very unlikely to be the same chain of events leading up to the crew of the Discovery being the same people and names as they are in the PU.

Think about it too much and it all falls apart.
Gee
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 5:36am (UTC -5)
@Archer
"If there is an Archer and Hoshi in the 22nd century MU, life is so different from the PU that there is very unlikely to be the same chain of events leading up to the crew of the Discovery being the same people and names as they are in the PU."

If is different but mirror. So whatever occured in PU that allowed Hoshi to exist also happened in MU but mirror. You talk about this being unlikely but you fail to concider that in a multiverse of infinite universes it is very possible.

also bear in mind that while the terrain empire might be the antithesis of starfleet, this universe does not contain 'a mirror' of all species in the ufp; I'm sure there are many universes out there where the Vulcans never imbraced logic or the Andorians an honour code....
borusa
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 6:38am (UTC -5)
The perils of the internet age include the probability that every plot development has already been anticipated and detailed long before any on screen revelation occurs.

Lorca being from the MU was considered almost before his first on screen appearance but it was nicely handled.

This continues to be an enjoyable show and ,naturally, we are all now awaiting the return of the PU Lorca ( presuming that MU Lorca cannot have killed him because if his MU self died so would he?)


Archer
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 7:04am (UTC -5)
"If is different but mirror. So whatever occured in PU that allowed Hoshi to exist also happened in MU but mirror. You talk about this being unlikely but you fail to concider that in a multiverse of infinite universes it is very possible. "

How is it possible? So everyone in the MU is as nice as they are in the PU until the time comes for Hoshi to be born and then the Terran Empire suddenly comes into being and everyone is now mean? It makes no sense.
Ed
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 7:28am (UTC -5)
@borusa

I agree. A story can unfold in an interesting way even if you've guessed more or less what will happen. It's more about the way it's told and the performances.

Also the extra details were good like not only is MU Georgiou the Emperor, she's also Michael's adopted mother and there is a love triangle between the two of them and Lorca who is trying to seize the Throne.

I didn't see any of that coming except in a general sense that I expected Lorca to be MU and involved in some kind of evil plot.

I hope that PU Lorca and MU Michael are dead, but there isn't a rule that if you die in one universe you die in the other. Georgiou is alive in the MU and dead in the PU.
Gul Densho-Ar
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 7:50am (UTC -5)
Where's the review? I'm anxious to tell Jammer how wrong he is
Gee
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 7:52am (UTC -5)
@Archer
/"If there is an Archer and Hoshi in the 22nd century MU, life is so different from the PU that there is very unlikely to be the same chain of events leading up to the crew of the Discovery being the same people and names as they are in the PU."/

Let me rephrase my earlier answer; There was an Archer and Hoshi in the 22nd century MU, and life is different only in that the nature of Terrains are 'a mirror' of that of PU Humans. So why can't there be a Hoshi and Archer in 22C MU and then a Burham and Georgiou a few generations later, in both universes?

And don't say that's unlikely, because in a multiverse of infinite universes, there are also infinite universes where an MU Archer and an MU Hoshi exists (remember that infinity*infinity is still infinity).

/"How is it possible? So everyone in the MU is as nice as they are in the PU until the time comes for Hoshi to be born and then the Terran Empire suddenly comes into being and everyone is now mean? It makes no sense."/

Did you miss the references to the Roman Empire? It is obvious the writers want us to believe that the Terran Empire is what would have happened if Rome never fell. I believe it.
Gee
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 9:10am (UTC -5)
@Peter G
/ You, yourself, just said in another comment that Janeway frequently operates out of desperation to benefit her crew, which automatically means she's not adhering to the spirit of the PD. /

I did not say anything of the sort. I was talking about Chakotay's accusations, the one time (in Scorpion), and that being a possible in-universe reason given for what some people describe as 'Janeways inconsistent behaviour".
Henson
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 12:18pm (UTC -5)
@Gee (@Archer)

"And don't say that's unlikely, because in a multiverse of infinite universes, there are also infinite universes where an MU Archer and an MU Hoshi exists (remember that infinity*infinity is still infinity)."

True, but then there are also an infinite number of universes where MU Archer and MU Hoshi DON'T exist. So if we stumble into a parallel universe, which group of infinites is more likely?

Think of it this way: if we take a number at random, which is more likely: that is will be multiple of 2, or a multiple of 7? Both the groups 'multiple of 2' and 'multiple of 7' are groups of infinite size, but it's still clear that 'multiple of 2' is the far more likely of the two.

Now do the same for Star Trek. One group is 'Universe where Archer, Hoshi, Burnham, Georgiou, Saru, Sarek, etc. etc. etc. all exist', and the other is 'Universe where any one (or more) of those characters do not exist' (and by 'do not exist', I don't mean 'dead'). It's clear that the former is far less likely than the latter, even if both are groups of infinite size.

(It gets even more complicated when we consider that not only is this a universe where all these mirror characters exist, but one in which the inhabitants have had prior contact with a parallel universe that has the Federation.)

Now, personally, I don't think it's worth getting too worked up over the probabilities. Yes, it's kinda silly, logically-speaking, but that the price of admission to this story. It's just one of those premises that you just have to accept at the start, and then take that own internal logic to the rest of the story. Some people can't make that leap, but then, not every story is for everyone!

(For myself, I'm more perplexed by a parallel universe where Vic Fontaine isn't a hologram...)
Ed
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 1:00pm (UTC -5)
Maybe it was created by Q to mock humanity's nobler aspirations. But then he would have almost certainly thrown Picard into it.
wolfstar
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 2:02pm (UTC -5)
Over 250 comments. Wow.

I haven't been able to muster up the energy/presence of mind to comment on this episode until now, because for me it was kind of a shark-jump moment (insofar as the introduction of the spore drive in episode 3 wasn't already a shark-jump) - not because of the "Lorca is Mirror Lorca" "twist" which everyone saw coming, but because of the show's relationship with violence, specifically the fact that it's not commenting on it (let alone condemning it) as Trek has always done, but using it as a selling point - violence as sensation, gore as titillation.

There have been plenty of Trek episodes about violence, even some about torture, and several effective Trek horror episodes (Conspiracy, Catspaw, Schisms, The Thaw). Before Discovery, Trek's most violent moment was the one-off gore of Conspiracy (a fantastic episode, with the gore effects both rudimentary and limited to a single scene). Chilling episodes like Chain Of Command II and The Best Of Both Worlds II are fantastic because they show us just enough horror for the storytelling to be effective while never dwelling on or reveling in the unpleasantness, instead keeping a human focus on the character experiencing the suffering (Picard). Similarly, Empok Nor is a fantastic exercise in gothic style that has only one explicitly violent moment (just enough to establish that Garak means business), while The Assignment and The Thaw are fantastic psychological horror episodes precisely because of the extent to which they hold back and leave things to the viewer's imagination and empathy.

In terms of violence in Trek action episodes, it's 20 years since To The Death was edited down pre-broadcast because the climactic battle, though in no way gory, was simply considered too long/intense/violent. Even a totally schocky episode like ENT's Impulse avoided descending into gore, as did Voyager's enjoyable Alien-lite Macrocosm and its ring-combat episode Tsunkatse.

For me, this marked the episode where Discovery had turned into torture-porn, and after watching I really felt like not continuing with the show, even though there are only 3 episodes left. Other family members I was watching with who don't like the show's violence and tone have already quit, and there's no way I'd watch this with a kid. It's less about what's actually shown than the tone - the show has nothing to say about violence, no thoughts in its head or moral message. When Empress Georgiou fires blades through people's skulls or a man is torn apart in front of Lorca, it's just there to look cool. Even more than it did with the Klingon war, the show is using the MU as an excuse to revel in un-Trekkian schlock gore. No previous MU episode has wallowed in violence like this - Crossover and Mirror Mirror showed just enough of the MU's brutality for the story to work and for the stakes to feel real without reveling in it . I dread to think what an episode like Scientific Method or The Thaw would be like in the hands of the Discovery makers.

Changing subject now to the overall arc... I think a lot of the problems we're seeing are because the show's entire setting and cast of characters was conceived for a single-season arc. That's why all the characters are plot devices and the overall plot is self-resetting so as not to affect later continuity (the spore drive and the collapse of the "mycelium network", the extended stay in the MU, and probably Section 31 being invoked soon so that much of what happened in on Discovery in the prime universe is covered up) - it was never supposed to last more than a season, as per Bryan Fuller's original pitch of a Trek anthology show that would be different each season. That raises really big questions for season 2.

After escaping to the prime universe, Lorca recruited Burnham because after she rebelled against Georgiou, he realized she could be useful to him - that explains why Burnham's mutiny in the pilot was so arbitrary, illogical and poorly rooted in character (I was enjoying the pilot up to that point), it was just there for long-term plot reasons.

One hope I had going into this series (other than Michelle Yeoh's character not dying) was that Jason Isaacs's character wouldn't turn out to be a villain, as he's so often cast as villains. I agree with the commenters who say that just because he's from the MU shouldn't automatically mean he's a bad guy - the smart writing decision now would be for his characterization to be similar to Smiley (DS9) or Mirror Spock. Georgiou is a monster, psychopath and mass-murderer, he wants to overthrow her - this has to be a good thing, right? If the show starts siding with Mirror Georgiou, or has Burnham side with Mirror Georgiou against Lorca, I'm gonna have even more of an issue with it than at present. Burnham should help Lorca (who got her out of prison) and not forget that Mirror Georgiou was about to have her executed.

The reset button on Voq/Tyler (with L'Rell deleting Voq from his brain using her magic gloves, which she just happened to have with her, wtf?) was laughable but not surprising: the reveal was the endgame. They have no further interest in what this means for either character (Tyler or Voq... or L'Rell for that matter). And yeah, the dialog on how Voq was turned into Tyler directly contradicted itself. Culber talked about Voq/Tyler's bones having been shortened and found scarring around all his organs in Despite Yourself, and Tyler said that his Klingon body was "reduced" to a human one in The Wolf Inside. But in this ep, L'Rell says "We grafted his psyche into Tyler’s." I'm no wiser.

Predictions:
- Stamets will get with Mirror Culber (and bring him back to the prime universe?)
- We're gonna be seeing a lot more of Captain Tilly and whatever havoc she's wreaked once we get back to the Prime Universe, as Tilly is one of the few remaining characters who hasn't yet been sufficiently turned into a plot device - ergo some sort of plot-based instrumentalization of Tilly is still to come. (Maybe she even dies defending her crewmates from her mirror counterpart?)
- Lorca won't last the season :(
- The Discovery will turn out to be a Section 31 ship (hence the black com badges etc, an element that was never resolved), and everything that happened this season surrounding Burnham and the MU will be made classified, pseudo-explaining why we never heard of Spock having a human half-sister, why the TOS crew didn't know about the mirror universe and why we've never heard of the spore drive. Michael may even be made a Section 31 agent and the Discovery may continue as a Section 31 ship into season 2, allowing the show to continue to be "edgy" and non-Trekkian in its values, ethos and aesthetic.
- I have a feeling Saru and the nature of the Kelpian species as prey is going to feature more and possibly figure in the season's resolution. Again, the show has so far treated Saru as a person and character when it's treated every other crew member as a plot device, which makes me think Saru's instrumentalization in plot terms is yet to come. Something where he uses his instinct, fear and super-speed to save the day, and/or die tragically as a hero and experience a final moment of no longer being afraid. Very much bearing in mind that all these characters were created to only last a single season.
wolfstar
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 2:20pm (UTC -5)
A couple of articles on how the Discovery makers directly looked to Game Of Thrones for inspiration:
http://www.digitalspy.com/tv/star-trek-discovery/news/a842470/star-trek-discovery-showrunner-game-of-thrones-influence/
http://www.digitalspy.com/tv/star-trek-discovery/feature/a839085/star-trek-discovery-game-of-thrones/

(Except that, as Hank points out, "Yes there are plot twists and violence and all that [in GoT], but the characters have motivations, and there are 'meta-ideas' behind the plot. So far, Discovery lacks that, as the characters are all flat, and the ideas are nonexistent, so the plot is quite frankly irrelevant.)

I found a couple of passages really incisive in the reviews of this episode by the AV Club's Zack Handlen and io9's Katherine Trendacosta.
Handlen: "I just don’t care that much about Stamets. The character has yet to endear himself, and I’m legitimately not sure if that’s the fault of the actor or the writing. [...] Dr. Culber never got a chance to rise above 'nice boyfriend with medical degree' and Stamets is just a persistent vocal tone. There was nothing to distinguish Evil Stamets from regular Stamets besides the wardrobe. But that’s a standard complaint with this series. Very few of the characters stand out - of the lot, Saru is easily my favorite, which may just be because he’s the only one I can really see as someone who belongs on Trek."

Trendacosta: "I think I knew in my heart [the twist] was coming, but denied it because I was giving this show the benefit of the doubt - that it had greater themes in mind, but couldn’t help poorly executing them. I was, in fact, wrong. There are no deeper themes, just twists. [...] You know, I made a joke in the first episode of this second half that Mirror Lorca and Mirror Burnham had joined forces and were rebels in love. I did not expect that joke to be right. [...] Discovery. Come on. You get Tyler or Lorca. Having both is ABSURD. Tilly being captain is supposed to be a joke, but f*** it. She and Saru are the only people left alive who aren’t time bombs of some kind or another. [...] I am so tired of this show and its producers, writers, and actors just lying about things. In good faith, I assumed that Lorca was meant to challenge our perceptions of the Federation. That his actions - in a time of war - were meant to draw attention to Starfleet’s inherent contradictions as a semi-scientific, semi-militaristic, semi-diplomatic organization. No, that subtle, interesting idea was a lie to hide the fact that Lorca was actually from the universe where everyone is evil. Between the lie and the endless, stupid posturing about Ash Tyler and Voq - first announcing that Shazad Latif was cast as a Klingon, then the CBS press release that he had been 'recast', and the fake IMDb profile for Voq’s 'actor' - I’m just so tired. If you have to lie this much, if your show is this reliant on 'twists', you’ve failed. If the show itself can’t hide the twist, so you just have to lie in the press and public, you’ve failed. This is the opposite of subtle. Subtle would be the thing they used as a screen: Lorca being a good captain, just one very different than we were used to. But f*** it, everyone’s a secret double-agent. There’s no character work. No real allegory. It’s just plot. We’re supposed to drop our jaws in how the pulled it off, and go back and look at the clues. Except, of course, we all saw the clues and just assumed it was bad writing. And it was, it was just differently bad writing than we thought."
Gee
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 2:31pm (UTC -5)
@Henson who said "True, but then there are also an infinite number of universes where MU Archer and MU Hoshi DON'T exist. So if we stumble into a parallel universe, which group of infinites is more likely?"

That depends how the multiverse is arranged. I like the theory that, the more similar a universe the closer/more accessible it is
Jammer
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 4:10pm (UTC -5)
Review now posted.
Rahul
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 4:59pm (UTC -5)
Fair review from Jammer in my humble opinion.

This paragraph in particular sums up my feelings reasonably well:

"One of the risks of playing this sort of long con is that you risk your audience feeling like they're being jerked around by plot machinations that don't play fairly or consistently, thus creating characters who are projections rather than people. I've found this plot to be mostly fun to watch on a purely mechanical level, but unless this series has some solid cards up its sleeve, this could become one of those situations where you scratch the surface to find little substance beneath. Hopefully Star Trek: Discovery does not turn out to be vaporware."

What tends to happen with these types of arcs is the final episode of the arc winds up being the highlight, as it was in the 1st half. "Into the Forest I Go" was clearly the best episode there as it did an exciting job wrapping up stuff and even setting up the new adventure; however that's because it worked well as being "fun to watch on a purely mechanical level" even if there wasn't much beneath the surface.

So in this MU arc, some interesting pieces are falling in place, however far-fetched they may be (MU Lorca's plan, for example). I still think back to "Mirror, Mirror" and Kirk's last discussion with Mirror Spock as being classic Trekkian philosophy (1 man against an empire, fighting for change etc.) Will keep hoping DSC comes up with something meaningful that is truly Trek, but until then will have to be entertained with plot twists and revelations since the characters largely remain "projections".
Ed
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 5:02pm (UTC -5)
@wolfstar

Whether or not Michael or any other Federation character should "side" on a provisional and temporary basis with Emperor Georiou over Lorca depends on the merits of each in their social context. Yes, they are both bad from a civilized perspective. We need to find out which is worse.

Maybe all rich people eat Kelpian meat. Maybe Lorca eats it more often or would if he could afford to. Probably any Emperor would bombard a rebel planet from orbit. Removing Georgiou might cause more suffering if Lorca having declared himself Emperor must then engage in an extended war to establish himself over her loyalists and heirs as well as other random rivals.

I think going into a society with a completely alien value system a Starfleet officer should leave it's leader in place if possible unless it's necessary to overthrow her for the safety of the Federation. Prime Directive and all. The important thing is getting out and keeping the Terrans out of the PU. OK, I would take refugees, but keep their military out.

One thing Georgiou shows that Lorca doesn't is a trace amount of loyalty. She seems to only want to kill (MU) Burnham and Lorca because they were close to her and conspired against her. She raised an orphan as her own daughter and seems genuinely hurt by the betrayal of her daughter and Lorca her partner. Lorca has shown no love or kindness in the whole show or even a hint that he vaguely understands the concepts.
Tim
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 6:25pm (UTC -5)
This entire season reminds me of the scene in South Park Imaginationland, where military leaders are meeting with M. Night Shyamalan, "That's not an idea! That's a twist."

I think one of the reasons The Orville is so popular is that they're not following the current trend of hyper-serialization and binge watching. You can sit down and watch a random episode. You can watch it while making dinner, paying bills, etc, because it doesn't have to be religiously followed. Missing one scene won't leave you scratching your head weeks later trying to figure out what's going on.

There's still a market for this kind of television. NCIS has been on air for 15 seasons and remains one of the most popular shows. It has long term character development and continued storylines but remains mostly episodic in nature. TNG did this quite successfully; for all the implicit condemnation it gets vis-à-vis DS9, it had continued storylines and character growth.

Now you've got Discovery, going way beyond anything DS9 ever tried to do. It seemingly wants to be Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad, but insofar as I can tell there's no story outline that's being followed. I highly doubt that the writers have a written epilogue; there's no "All was well" moment on Platform 9¾ waiting for us.
Mertov
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 6:27pm (UTC -5)
Awesome review Jammer. I feel ready (again) for tonight's episode :)
Gee
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 6:42pm (UTC -5)
Since we're making predictions I think Voq will prevail over Tyler and find a way to revert back to Klingon. You read it here first folks :p
Ed
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 7:49pm (UTC -5)
@Tim

Episodic TV has it's charms, it's true. But I got to the point that once a few favorite shows including DS 9 were off the air, I was burned out from a lifetime of the stuff. Until I got into some serialized shows, I went for years where my TV was just a screen for movies on my DVD player with the exception of a couple comedies and the news.

It's probably something that will go in cycles. For people who grew up with nothing but serialized shows, they might become something to rebel against. Episodic shows will seem like this fresh new innovation if enough good ones are made someday.

@Gee

I think so, too. L'Rell is from a clan of spies and deceivers after all.
A funny thing--my spell check turned 'L'Rell' into O'Neill'
Shannon
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 8:48pm (UTC -5)
Good review, Jammer... I'm hoping a lot of your questions were answered in tonight's episode, which was terrific. I'll post my thoughts over there.
JohnTY
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 9:59pm (UTC -5)
Great review Jammer, particularly the last couple of paragraphs.
Dom
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 10:01pm (UTC -5)
@Tim, I too mourn the loss of episodic TV. It's not just that it allows for more casual viewing. Episodic TV also allows for more focused storytelling. Each episode of TNG or DS9 told a story, often touching upon some novel sci-fi concept or philosophical idea. Each episode felt fulfilling as a self-contained unit. I can go back and watch "I, Borg" or "Darmok" and feel like I got something out of it. With serialized TV, I just don't get that. Most episodes are so concerned with setting up future plot twists and going from A to B that they're not focused on the here and now of the story.
Tim
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 11:13pm (UTC -5)
@Ed: Not everything has to be Game of Thrones in scope. That's my complaint. Dom brings up a valid point: We're never going to get a "Darmok" or "I, Borg" (I would add "The Inner Light") out of Discovery. Frankly, I doubt that we'd get a "In the Pale Moonlight" either, despite a setting that seemingly lends itself to that sort of story, because they're so fixated on advancing the plot and laying the next twist.

I'm more partial to The Orville than Discovery, for reasons I won't go into in detail (tl;dr: I feel that it's TNG's spiritual successor), but I have watched Discovery, and through 13 episodes the only one that I feel hits the "Star Trek" mark is "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad." It was a compelling standalone adventure that actually "felt" like Star Trek, for reasons that are hard to put into words. They just "got it" in that episode.

The rest, meh, it's pretty, with amazing production values, they absolutely nail the visual/auditory feel of Star Trek, but I just can't get invested in it. Almost every episode ends with a new twist, including the one I just finished watching, "What's Past Is Prologue." Do we ever get a satisfying ending out of one of these episodes?

Besides the episodic nature, one of the things I really love about The Orville is the optimistic view of the future. The real world is plenty dark enough already. Recall that TOS and TNG aired when nuclear armageddon was a very real possibility. They provided a needed escape. I really wish that Discovery would have gone in this direction. All the pieces were there in the pilot, Michelle Yeoh was the most "Trek" Captain I've seen since Picard, but she got the redshirt treatment and they went in this direction.

And don't even get me started on the paywall nonsense. I already pay for CBS, via the "Broadcast Surcharge" on my cable bill. Now they want me to pay a second time.
Chillyn
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 3:53am (UTC -5)
Haha. On the whole janeway bit on breaking the PD, what starfleet capt. isn't breaking the PD every other week? xD

The PD is a joke and futuristic propaganda
Gul Densho-Ar
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 4:43am (UTC -5)
Not wrong actually. But I find this episode slightly worse than the two before, because like MU episodes in the past, it doesn't know when the evil is enough. Hello, I'm evil Philippa, and my hobby is, like, being REALLY evil. I'd kill my daughter with my sword, I kill a dozen bystanders with my fidget spinner just like that, and of course I eat Kelpiens. The next thing I expected was that she drinks the tears of orphans or something. I wish they wouldn't try so hard to be comic book villains, I wish they were something to be taken more seriously.

Because of this, sadly only 2.5.
Nic
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 9:52am (UTC -5)
The Lorca reveal may be the best-executed “twist” the series has pulled so far (but still nowhere near Dukat’s betrayal in “By Inferno’s Light”). It’s been obvious from the beginning that he was up to something, but until now I had no idea what it could be. Using light sensitivity as a “clue” is kind of a cheat, because it’s never been mentioned in any previous MU episode.

As others have mentioned, this will probably make him a less interesting character. What I objected to earlier in the season wasn't Lorca's actions, but the way Starfleet constantly let him off the hook.

The actors have certainly risen above the material. Georgiou is written as a cartoonish villain, but Yeoh's performance gives her a little more depth. Imagine what these actors could do with good material!


Lobster Johnson
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 12:40pm (UTC -5)
@Nic

It's very last minute, but when Georgiou nukes the planet the entire bridge crew including Lorca all shield their eyes from the blast. Michael however, is able to look straight into it without a blink.
Nievesg
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 3:32am (UTC -5)
I prefer to believe that MU Lorca didn't "need" PU Burnham in prison: there are many other ways to get a science officer like Burnham transferred to a science ship like Discovery, specially after losing so many other ships at the battle of binary stars.

completely agree with everything else on the review. We just guessed hints already planted by showrunners, but internet's hive mind guesses too much for our own good.

Thanks for your brilliant and well-worked reviews, Jammer
Tim
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 8:35pm (UTC -5)
@Gul Densho-Ar

"I wish they wouldn't try so hard to be comic book villains"

It worked when the mirror universe was a one episode wonder. It even worked when it became a once a season romp on DS9, a chance for our characters to don the goatee and play evil for an episode. Voyager did this with "Living Witness" and made one of my favorite episodes of a mostly forgettable series.

It doesn't work here though, when you've got a multi-episode story being played out in the MU. It would be infinitely more chilling to portray genuinely evil humans rather than comic book evil. Think of the military officer in an authoritarian regime who goes to work, casually murders a few thousand people, then goes home to kiss the spouse and play with the kids. Just another day at the office.

That's probably too much darkness even for this show, but damn, it would be a different look on the MU, and since they've already retconned half of the Star Trek backstory......
KT
Fri, Feb 2, 2018, 1:55pm (UTC -5)
@Gul Densho-Ar
"I wish they wouldn't try so hard to be comic book villains, I wish they were something to be taken more seriously."

I take the MU very seriously, I think the writers have done a good job extrapolating from what we know of Roman Empire culture. I didn't feel MU Philippa's portrayal was comic bookish. Romans were ruthless with their enemies and ate lots of meat including dogs. Also this type of behaviour goes on in our current times too e.g. the Chinese eat canine and the Sri Lankan government torture and brutalise anyone suspected of involvement with the LTTE.
Jarvis9
Mon, Feb 5, 2018, 9:20pm (UTC -5)
I wanted to start a bit of a discussion on one point.

Relevant quote from TOS "Mirror, Mirror", regarding how real Spock was able to detect the MU counterparts easily: "It was easier for you as civilized men to behave like barbarians, than it was for them as barbarians to act as civilized men."

Now that we know Lorca was from the MU all along, is this quote still relevant? I feel that it's a direct contradiction to real Spock's observation, and that philosophically, DSC really loses something. Can a barbarian act like a civilized man after all? What does this say about the "civilized" prime Federation at this time that Mirror Lorca the "barbarian" was able to blend in so easily? Or is it just terrible writing?

Thoughts?
Chrome
Tue, Feb 6, 2018, 9:11am (UTC -5)
@jarvis9

How is it a contradiction? Spock says easier but that doesn't mean it's impossible for MU characters to act civil. Indeed, MU Spock himself is a wonderful example of a MU character that's been enlightened by Kirk.

Just imagine a scenario where Lorca arrived in the Prime Universe immediately after the destruction of the Buran, and was not in contact with others for a few days. This Lorca is already a capable person, being the Terran Emperor's right hand, and he has access to a computer to fill in the holes. Under those circumstances, a determined MU character is conceivably capable of pretending to act civil. But let's not forget that his cracks were always visible, too. Maybe Spock would've spotted Lorca...
KT
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 11:42am (UTC -5)
@Chrome
"Just imagine a scenario where Lorca arrived in the Prime Universe immediately after the destruction of the Buran"

Then he would have arrived in empty space and died.

Even if we assume that for some reason Murca had detailed knowledge and understanding of PU/Federation, and arrived to a losing Buran before initating self destruct and escape. The fact he managed to elude the Klingons and then survive being debriefed by SF in his first few days in PU is highly implausible.

@Jarvis9
"What does this say about the "civilized" prime Federation at this time that Mirror Lorca the "barbarian" was able to blend in so easily? Or is it just terrible writing?"

I find it hard to believe that Murca wasn't discovered earlier. I think this is example of many contrived plot twists in DSC
Tim
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 10:45pm (UTC -5)
@KT, "Romans were ruthless with their enemies and ate lots of meat including dogs."

The Romans had Rule of Law, most of the time. There were certainly civil wars and rebellions, but nothing like the way-of-life backstabbing that we see in the MU. A legionary on campaign wouldn't have to worry about his brothers in arms killing him to advance up the ranks.
Tim
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 10:50pm (UTC -5)
(hit submit too soon.....)

A culture like the MU Terrans would struggle to escape hunter-gatherism and establish agriculture. It's fanciful to imagine they could establish an intersteller civilization. That's the problem with spending more than a single episode in the MU or trying to take it too seriously. It falls apart under even a casual examination.
KT
Sat, Feb 17, 2018, 7:34am (UTC -5)
@Tim
"A culture like the MU Terrans would struggle to escape hunter-gatherism and establish agriculture. It's fanciful to imagine they could establish an intersteller civilization. That's the problem with spending more than a single episode in the MU or trying to take it too seriously. It falls apart under even a casual examination."

I'm not convinced of this; I don't think that MU culture necessarily prevents establishment of agriculture. Only lack of seeds and that knowledge of what to do with them would prevent agriculture ... how did you come to this conclusion?
A2017 U1
Tue, Apr 10, 2018, 10:23am (UTC -5)
I really liked this episode.

However I am sure Burnham was too trusting. I would not believe the emperor is "trustworthy" just because in the PU she was an honourable person... I think the emperor wants to get more information out of Burnham (taking control over several universes perhaps?) And using MU Stamets to gather more information about the spore drive...

Submit a comment





Notify me about new comments on this page
Hide my e-mail on my post

◄ Season Index

▲Top of Page | Menu | Copyright © 1994-2018 Jamahl Epsicokhan. All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication or distribution of any content is prohibited. This site is an independent publication and is not affiliated with or authorized by any entity or company referenced herein. See site policies.