Star Trek: Discovery

"If Memory Serves"

4 stars

Air date: 3/7/2019
Written by Dan Dworkin & Jay Beattie
Directed by T.J. Scott

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"If Memory Serves" is an episode that takes the qualities that are hallmarks of Discovery and employs them to tell a satisfying story. Against all odds, they've taken these disparate elements — prequel backfilling, strange old worlds, retcons on classic characters, impressive production values, vibrant and stylish filming techniques, Red Angel timeline shenanigans, Section Freaking 31 — and stitched together an episode that ultimately works because of performances and emotional resonance. It's an absorbing and immersive dialogue-heavy outing that's also a breathless plot and an homage to the franchise. And it's the first episode of this series to reach greatness.

There are so many ways this could have gone wrong. Somehow, it doesn't. I'm not saying it's perfect, but this hour had me in its spell from beginning to end. It starts with a "Previously on Star Trek" montage that breaks the fourth wall because they are showing scenes from "The Cage" with Jeffrey Hunter as Pike (which were filmed in 1964), before then cutting directly to Pike on Discovery, as if we were catching up with him during a mental flashback of someone else. This may be a knowing wink to the audience, but sometimes you need a wink to remind you of what we're really talking about here, which is a meditation on Trek's own myths.

Burnham and Spock are on their way to Talos IV, which looks like a black hole before disappearing as one of the Talosians' illusions. From here we get a landing sequence that uses current-day visual effects to envision a TOS planet — simple rock formations but more convincing than those old '60s sets. Even those vibrating blue plants that create the ambient "alien planet noise" are here. Burnham smiles at the sound they emit as she touches them, as Spock once did.

Vina (Melissa George), the human woman from "The Cage" who is partially real, but partially an illusion, guides Burnham underground to meet the telepathic Talosians, who connect the dots for us. Spock has returned here because he needs the Talosians' help to heal his mind, which was scrambled because of its inability to decipher past, future, and present as a result of the temporal-shifting experience caused by the Red Angel. We get a peek into Spock's mind, where we learn he has become aware of an apparent galactic scourge from the future which will kill entire civilizations. This sounds ludicrous and, yes, it is, but never underestimate this series' ability to somehow ground insanity with the steadfast conviction of characters who believe what they are hearing and saying. Discovery somehow makes the loony seem plausible.

This is an episode that slows down for dialogue scenes (and it helps that it's 53 minutes, which makes a difference). I liked the give and take between Spock and Michael, which reveals a great deal of snark and bitterness beneath the all-business surface. With Spock, everything plays like a logical riddle with an undercurrent of masked resentment. With Burnham, it's "I made a big mistake, but I'm helping you now, so just forgive me already!" These two have some healing to do.

In matters that are only slightly more grounded in the Discovery workday, Culber is reaching a breaking point over having returned from the dead as someone with all his past life's memories, but an understandable belief that he is no longer himself — that he's not right. He can't feel things the way he thinks he should. His relationship with Stamets? He has so utterly lost belief in it that he simply declares it over, right then and there. Meanwhile, he keeps seeing Tyler in the corridors.

In a sequence of inevitability that so obviously had to happen I was beginning to worry the writers of this show might skip it with one of their patented narrative gaps, Culber goes to confront Tyler in the mess hall, and picks a fight seeking pure catharsis — and also to see if he can "bring out" Voq from within Tyler. Tyler, to his credit, understands what is happening and kind of rolls with the punches. Kind of. Saru says the fight "must be allowed to play out" because of the bizarre circumstances, which leads to a great little amusing sequence where Pike admonishes Saru for allowing a fight in a Starfleet mess hall. Saru responds with all the reasons why this particular scenario is just not normal ("humans with Klingons grafted to their bones and a ship's doctor returned from the dead") — and it's hard to argue with the pure lunatic logic of his decision.

After being so generally pleasant and milquetoast in his limited screen time last season, Culber here reveals a truly compelling, tortured, transformed persona that is vividly portrayed. I had no idea Wilson Cruz had this in him based on his previous episodes, but watching all the psychological scars gradually boil over in this performance is compulsively watchable. Really good stuff.

Meanwhile, Anson Mount continues to be terrific as Pike. I like just watching him think. Trek history states he's going to have to go back to the Enterprise eventually (before meeting his untimely disfigurement, whenever that is), but I'm really hoping they find a way to keep him on Discovery for an extended period, because he has quickly become one of the most likable captains in Trek, and I'd like to see what more they can do with him. (That likability comes with a very easygoing approach to command authority, and I'd perhaps like to also see what his tougher edges look like.) He gets a significant scene here that ties back to "The Cage" when Vina appears to him to covertly call the ship to Talos IV in a way that avoids Section 31's spycraft. In addition to moving the plot forward, the scene takes on an evocative quality in its style and performances.

But "If Memory Serves" is clearly pushing to pay off the big reveal of that day Burnham hurt Spock as a child, and we get to see that replayed for the Talosians. What's interesting is that this big reveal was already mostly revealed with Michael's speech to Amanda in "Point of Light." What Michael said there was mostly what had actually happened; "If Memory Serves" merely dramatizes the memory and adds the underlying emotion of it all. And the moment works powerfully, if you can accept it for what it is — two children, one trying to protect the other in a perhaps misguided way, by saying very cruel things that proved to be a formative turning point in his emotional/logical journey.

This is perhaps one of Sonequa Martin-Green's best performances on this series, in an episode that has a lot of standout performances — including a promising one from Ethan Peck as yet another rendition of Spock, although I want to see more of it under more normal circumstances before I commit. And while I still have questions (like: Did Spock and Michael never speak after that day as children? Did Michael actually run away, never to return — surely not — and if so, to where?), the scenes here were more than enough to carry me to the story's emotional destination. We visited the planet of "The Cage," but everyone's real prisons are their own memories.

Some other thoughts:

  • The Talosians' final illusion gambit that thwarts Leland in his failed attempt to steal Spock right out from under Pike is nicely done. It's expected, but no less satisfying for it. Meanwhile, Georgiou is always pleased whenever Leland is losing. Her long game seems to be to take over when Leland's failures eventually get him canned, but I still don't know what she actually wants to accomplish here. Does she really want Section 31 career advancement for its own sake?
  • Did they really have to play the "eradicate all life in the galaxy" threat card? Couldn't something even slightly smaller have been sufficient?
  • Spock saved Michael as a child after a vision from the Red Angel revealed her imminent death. Hmmm.
  • Someone — presumably the hacked Airiam — sabotaged the spore drive, and Tyler is getting blamed for it. Pike relieves him of duty and confines him to quarters.
  • For defying Section 31, the Discovery crew finds themselves as fugitives. I'd like a clearer picture of how Section 31 fits into this era's structure of Starfleet and the chain of command. I'd really like to see Pike escalate this up the ladder and see how Starfleet Command handles an open conflict between divisions. I don't know if that's in the cards, because this show is so laser-focused on just what's happening in Discovery's immediate orbit.
  • Too. Much. Lens flare. It's distracting. This is something these producers learned from J.J. Abrams that I wish they'd unlearn. I'm fine with it here and there, but this is just too pervasive.
  • "If Memory Serves" is a good choice for a title because (1) it's a classic Spockian saying that also considers the memories of its main characters going back to childhood and (2) it comes in an episode that asks us to go all the way back to the franchise's original (and originally unaired) pilot.
  • The first time I watched "The Cage" was probably in the late 1980s. It was either a VHS release or TV broadcast of the episode in partial black-and-white. Wikipedia informs me this was probably based on a 16mm reference print of the episode used when the original color negative was still thought to have been lost during incorporation of the footage into "The Menagerie." Excepting more recent viewings of "The Menagerie" (which itself was probably 15 years ago) I probably haven't seen "The Cage" in its entirety since that B&W version 30 years ago. If memory serves, that is.

Previous episode: Light and Shadows
Next episode: Project Daedalus

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287 comments on this review

Justin Minor
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 8:18pm (UTC -6)
"Course heading, sir?"

God I love the Disco crew.
Rahul
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 8:46pm (UTC -6)
Terrific episode and, for me, the best of DSC yet. Thought the plot with resolving Spock’s issues with the help of the Talosians while avoiding Section 31 was clever and even the Culber/Stamets B-plot was decent. I’ve not been a fan of Ash Tyler and it was good to see him put in his place for trying to undermine Discovery’s efforts. And the crew comes together with Spock apparently back to normal with the most intel on the Red Angel so far — had a feel-good ending to it. There was a lot of ground covered in this episode but it didn’t suffer from the heater-skelter pace of “Point of Light” and “Light and Shadows”.

I can understand DSC paying a tribute to “The Cage” with the opener and Pike’s vision prior to his Captain’s log, but the way it was done with the accelerated original TOS theme music didn’t feel right to me. This was over-the-top stuff and excessive. But otherwise, this episode kept the integrity of “The Cage” very well — the Talosians were well done; liked the nice touch of the blue-leafed plants on Talos IV!

As for the Talosians wanting to see Burnham and Spock memories as kids as payment, this is convenient for resolving their squabble. If Burnham wanted to run away to avoid the logic extremists, why did she have to be such an asshole to Spock who apparently idolized her? Where was her compassion for him as someone struggling being half Vulcan half human? But the lesson for Spock here is that he learned his human half was damaging and he thus suppresses it.

The Talosians and their illusion capabilities which can reach light years away is farfetched but it is part of the canon. It was used well to fool Section 31 and help Discovery/Spock/Burnham. So Star Fleet command wants Spock for his knowledge of the Red Angel’s info, which Leland was going to get and now Discovery is a fugitive working with Spock on the Red Angel stuff. That’s an interesting dynamic, although the whole thing about the threat to all sentient life and all these planets getting destroyed is definitely going overboard. Will have to see how it all works out.

The more I watch DSC, the more a fan I am of Mount as Pike. Good scene with telling Saru not to condone violence after Culber/Tyler brawl. It’s interesting that the changed Saru permitted the fight whereas if he had his threat ganglia he would not have. I also like Pike’s concern for Burnham and Spock and his defiance of Leland.

I guess whatever is up with Airiam remains a mystery.

As for Culber/Stamets — did coming back from the dead make Culber straight? He wants nothing to do with Stamets and it pissed him off to see Tyler on the ship. What did their fight solve? It was strange to see the fight but Saru’s justification of an “unavoidable catharsis” seemed OK to me. And the fact that Pike addressed it with Saru cleans up the indiscretion.

3.5 stars for “If Memory Serves” — really well done with working the Talosians into the Red Angel/Spock story in a sensible way. Felt like the Discovery crew (barring Tyler) came together well and the Pike character continues to shine. The qualm I have is the Red Angel being a human with some kind of futuristic technology and conveying to Spock future visions of so many planets blowing up is definitely stretching the suspension of disbelief (which probably means a letdown of an upcoming episode).
FELCommentary
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 9:13pm (UTC -6)
The show is still continuing the movie curse of every even episode being a banger, because this was a solid banger.

Starting with the negatives, I am begging the team to fire whoever is directing this show. This episode's camera work wasn't as bad as the others, but you don't have to flip around and do a 180 to introduce a shot and room!

Also the color grading on the show is an immense issue. Everything: the hallways, the uniforms, the planets, is blue. I'm on season 2 of this show and I still can't tell who is an Engineer, a Tactical or a Science officer. That was part of the beauty of the TOS outfits and I reeeeeeeally wish Pike told the crew to wear the one he wore in the first episode.

Georgio. Why is she still around? Literally 80% of her dialogue is "look how edgy I am, I'm from the Mirror Universe guys!". I get it that it's all set up for a downfall of Leland and her spinoff show, but I can barely fathom her being the lead of a show if her character continues to be like this.

And just like that, Michael is once again ignoring Starfleet's wishes and is acting as a fugitive (this is more plot forgiving though). In all of the Trek shows, no crew and ship is as batshit crazy as Discovery has been in their 23 episodes of airing so far. Maybe it's the modern day serialized drama writing style or its the showrunners' idea of what Trek is, but I feel it is still the main driving force of hardcore fans calling Discovery "not real Trek".

As for the positives:
*That recap scene of The Cage was beautiful. I normally am very so so about the nostalgia and use of classic lore, but this was creative and that transition from old Pike to new Pike was flawless.

*The Talos IV bit was the best part of the episode. Seeing the revamped Talosians and Vina (that actress is vaaaaaaalid) was also great, and now adds an interesting twist on the identity of the Red Angel: it's a human! There goes the future Spock idea.

*The Stamets/Culber story is progressing slowly, but I feel it will have a dramatic conclusion. It's interesting the lines between him and Tyler where they are both people who don't really know who they are anymore. Also I can't wait to see the hardcore right-wing fan reaction to that emotional heart to heart scene between the two and how much of a "forced gay agenda" it was. Maybe if Culber was a big breasted blonde woman they'd have no problem with it.

3 stars for "If Memory Serves". 6 more episodes to go, I'm very hoping it won't have a shoehorned rushed and contrived ending the way the first season did.
msbooth
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 9:21pm (UTC -6)
Great episode for me, first 4/4 of the series in my opinion. Riveted through and through with tons of great character moments, actual revelations, and some good intrigue.

The whole cast acted their asses off here.
Steven
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 9:43pm (UTC -6)
These cliffhangers leading into cliffhangers make the individual episodes almost impossible to gauge. I don’t envy your job here, Jammer :-)
Lord Garth
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 9:59pm (UTC -6)
Best episode of "Discovery" so far. And I've been a huge fan of the series so far. DSC is my favorite Star Trek series besides TOS, but with "If Memory Serves", they knocked it out of the park. This even managed to edge out "Calypso", something I didn't think would ever happen.
Jason P
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 10:02pm (UTC -6)
This was quite the mixed bag. Lots of good historic and intriguing Trek stuff paired with a somewhat incoherent mounting crisis. The AV Club was guessing (maybe jokingingly) that the menace in the future is none of the than the Borg. Well, let’s hope we get something more inspired than that.
Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 10:05pm (UTC -6)
Don't have much substantive to say, except - given the rating system here - I would call this a four star episode. On a ten point scale it would probably be a nine though, due to some minor flaws (like Ash still not doing it for me). Still, overall it's far and away the best executed episode of Discovery to date. It feels like Trek, was well directed/paced, had good emotional beats, and the exposition was handled in a relatively artful way.
Shannon
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 10:10pm (UTC -6)
Excellent episode! Covered a lot of ground and moved the overall plot forward very nicely over the course its 54 minutes. I liked the payoff of wondering all these episodes what happened between Michael and Spock to cause their falling out; had a very real emotional underpinning to it. We also learn what many of us have suspected, that Georgiou is playing everyone like a fiddle... but to what end? As for the Fx, amazing as always. Loved the little touches, like the sounds the plants make on Talos IV (nice tip of the hat to Trekkies)... As yet another bridge to get us towards solving the mystery of the Red Angel, this episode was heads and tails above last week's, which wasn't bad, but certainly didn't have the overall strength of this chapter... Still not a fan of the Culber storyline, but it's growing on me. I'm glad to see the writers are willing to take it to a dark place and not push the infamous Voyager reset button; after all, what happened to him has to have consequences.

Very well written, very well acted, and the direction was much better than recent episodes... 4.0 stars!
Cody B
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 10:21pm (UTC -6)
I hate everything about the Michelle yeoh character. Discovery’s mirror universe arc sucked and yeoh is not only the worst example but the only thing remaining and keeping me from pretending it never happened. Her accent sounds like a speech imepidement that is distracting and hard to understand. Trying so hard to be “badass” and wearing all black all the time. But the worst is the acting. TERRIBLE. Makes Avery brooks look like Daniel day Lewis. Get rid of her please
Hank
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 10:56pm (UTC -6)
Oh come on. General Order 7 is in effect, but the computer just nonchalantly explains what powers the Talosians have?

Georgiou is still around even though she only works against her commanding officer? How come she didn't have a transporter accident or some other "misfortune"?

Other then that: Yeah, ok, pretty decent? A shame that it is imbedded in the rest of the series. I don't know, I wasn't particularily hooked. And the Angel is confirmed to be human, so, I guess it will be one of the usual suspects. Hm. Strange, I really have nothing to say about this episode.
Brian
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 11:54pm (UTC -6)
I know some people are going to like this one, but it fell flat for me. 2 stars.

Every single thing in this episode felt shoe-horned in, starting immediately with the TOS montage. I felt no real connection to the original series in any way. The entire thing feels like a desperate attempt by the showrunners to somehow link Discovery to TOS. For me it is failing, epicly. The link between MB and Spock feels shoe-horned. The link between Spock and Talos feels shoe-horned. The false drama generated from section 31 being on the discovery feels shoe-horned. The drama between MB and Spock feels false. Having talosians standing around in the background of every scene didn't add a single thing to this episode.

We had the check-box fight scene. We had the checkbox footage of Georgiou prancing around in black looking smug.

The plot has become so convoluted, that it now feels like doing math homework keeping up with what's "going on". Dialogue was especially cringe-worthy.
Back to rapid cuts and everyone spits out their lines so fast you don't have time to digest what they just said. I'm so sick and tired of everything being ORANGE or BLUE.

I'm actually just sick and tired of this show. Watching it literally feels like work.
I think the writers and show-runners could all use a visit to Talos themselves. Or, perhaps, go back and watch "The Cage" and take notes on how to generate suspense, drama, and familiarity with characters within 15-20 minutes, and then have time to spare to tell an interesting story about them.

The only saving grace in this episode, was they actually did something interesting with Culber, and I felt like he turned in a good performance. Yes, the fight scene was obligatory and check-boxy. But he did manage to get my heart pounding, which means the actor nailed the scene, regardless of whether I think it should've been there. And props where props are due.

PS: my disappointment with STD may or may not have something to do with the fact that I also watched "Tapestry" earlier today, in order to illustrate a point to my mother about not regretting past decisions :D
Spockless
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 1:22am (UTC -6)
WTH episode was that... the teaser is all kinds of WTF
The Gorn
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 3:02am (UTC -6)
@Brian
"Every single thing in this episode felt shoe-horned in, starting immediately with the TOS montage. I felt no real connection to the original series in any way. The entire thing feels like a desperate attempt by the showrunners to somehow link Discovery to TOS. For me it is failing, epicly. The link between MB and Spock feels shoe-horned. The link between Spock and Talos feels shoe-horned. The false drama generated from section 31 being on the discovery feels shoe-horned. The drama between MB and Spock feels false."

My feelings exactly. I have given up hope that there will be something worthwhile coming from CBSAA. And now we have a bearded poverty Spock on top of that, who doesn't even remotely look like the beloved classic character.
Booming
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 4:41am (UTC -6)
Good episode.
What bothered me:
- Cinematography again. No arc shot of death this time but a lens flare bonanza which became a problem because in one scene they used it to convey that Pike talks telepathically but in other scenes it is just a stylistic device without any deeper meaning.
- The fight scene in the mess hall almost broke the B plot for me. People just watching two crewman fight. They followed it up with a scene (Pike Saru) which lessened the "WTF" moment to some degree.
- We didn't need the red flash in the robots eyes. That's there for dummies, I guess.
- I really don't like section 31 on this show. I hope they fade into the background. We don't need bad guys to create tension. Another ship could have intercepted them and then they had to deal with that problem but section 31s ship is always directly behind (did they expect Pike to be contacted by the Talosians and then fly to Talos to find Spock or did they just hope that Pike would somehow find Spock???).
- Give me an episode without a fist fight, please.
What I liked:
Almost everything else. This episode worked. The ensemble is again very good.
The B-plot worked really well. As I mentioned it almost imploded with the fight scene in the mess hall but the scenes before that provided us with very good acting: Stamets holding back while actually being as happy as he could be and Culbert undergoing an understandable crisis of identity.
And surprisingly enough the A-plot worked, too. Most conflicts were resolved in a way that I could get behind. But the Vulcan wildlife administration really needs to get it's act together! Are tourists constantly eaten by giant monster spider somethings??!
Because of this special day I give it 3 underpaid nurses on my undervalued female jobs scale.
Tom R
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 4:46am (UTC -6)
I feel like everyone who liked this episode has just lowered the bar so low, they don’t know what a good Trek episode is anymore.


This whole episode was a waste of time. Everything revealed were things we all already knew. The red angel is a time traveler. It’s probably MB anyway. Don’t ask why. And why did MB have the intelligence as like 9 year old to know she should leave her home because of some bs politicial faction? Is she just great at everything she does all the time?

I also dont even buy that she cares for Spock. They’re relationship is completely unbelievable.
Saru letting that fight continue. Was ridiculous also.
Kinematic
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 4:55am (UTC -6)
This episode was a big, big shock. In a good way.

Discovery seems to have finally figured out what it wants to be. What impressed me more than anything was the respect this episode showed the characters, giving them room to grow organically without resorting to cheesy writing, ridiculous stakes ("all life in every universe will be destroyed...") or spastic camera work to create engagement. And no Orvillesque jokes either.

In the last episode, Spock came off as a combination of plot device, pandering token for fans and zoo animal, stripped of his dignity to boost ratings. While I still dislike the choice to include Spock in this story, especially as adopted brother to Michael, when you take the story on its own terms his performance here is effective. Even in a fugue state he commands respect, and the combination of the writing and the actor's portrayal managed to convey the reasons for his breakdown without resorting to cheap contrivances. Recasting Spock was never going to work -well-, but here it's working out in about the best way it possibly could.

Michael's story has been a litany of disregard for the people around her, and in this episode she's finally taken to task. Spock knows more than she does and knows better than she does, and he is unapologetic about the fact. She has been carrying the "plot ball," but now it's Pike, Spock and Section 31 who are making the decisions that count.

Also, Culber and Stamets became real people in this episode. Their breakup amidst Culber's desire to feel something again and his resistance to handholding by Stamets feels organic and arises naturally from the performances of the actors. Unlike almost every other episode, this one devotes a great deal of time to developing relationships that aren't Michael's, one of the things the show desperately needed in order to make people care about the characters. Just a few eps ago Stamets was slinging vapid Marvelesque quips with Reno, now we're beginning to get some sense of him as a person and how he responds when his attempts to engineer a relationship that looks perfect on paper go sour.
Booming
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 5:08am (UTC -6)
@Tom R
"I feel like everyone who liked this episode has just lowered the bar so low, they don’t know what a good Trek episode is anymore. "
Somebody fancies himself to be a Talosian.
And it may sound odd to you but 9 year olds can understand what intolerance is. I personally can guarantee you that.
Macca
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 5:35am (UTC -6)
So the actress who plays Vina is Melissa George.

She is an Australian most famous for her role on the soap Home and Away.

The name of her character: Angel
wolfstar
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 5:49am (UTC -6)
The best, and saddest, thing about this episode was watching Wilson Cruz act rings around Anthony Rapp (whose portrayal of Stamets I've always found shallow and supercilious), and watching both Ethan Peck and Melissa George act rings around Sonequa Martin-Green. Great performances by guest stars and recurring characters are always welcome, and Cruz is excellent here, in the most he's had to do on the show so far. Likewise, Ethan Peck is considerably better than Zachary Quinto in the Spock role – he has just the right intonation and sensibility without overtly copying Nimoy's performance – and George is very effective as Vena. By contrast, SMG is just dreadful here; her exposition-laden dialog doesn't help, but the scenes on Talos really show her up – her performance is painfully flat and shallow with the usual wide-eyed overemoting.

It was better than last week. The main weakness (apart from Burnham) is all the Section 31 nonsense, which is pantomimish.

2.5 stars, and I echo Brian on his "check-box" comments.
Kinematic
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 6:18am (UTC -6)
Continued:

Speaking of relationships, Pike has been strong all season but he's flying higher than ever here. His devotion to the crew, his relief at finding Spock, his bond with Vina and his scrutiny of Saru are all superb moments for the character.

And another formerly forgotten character is emerging: the Discovery itself. In Trek, the ship is as much a character as any of its crew, and while the effort put into set design is commendable, the production has often followed the style of JJ Trek, with environments getting lost in a blur of lens flares and Dutch angles. The cinematography in this episode is a breath of fresh air, giving the environments room and time to breathe. The camera work takes advantage of even small details in the set design - recall the slow-moving shots that emphasize seams in the shining floors, small disruptions in the characters' reflections. Or are they ripples in a pond, consequences spreading in the aftermath of choice? The slow shots of Culber in the turbolift and Spock's memory of the hospital room are also standouts.

One more thing about environments: the show has often resorted to flashy, over-designed stages to catch our interest, like the Vulcan crypt in the last episode. The scenes on Talos this time took place on a rocky plain and a dark cave, not the Grand Temple of Talosian Ancients, and the episode was much better off for it.

Ash Tyler spouts up once again with neocon propaganda about how the Central Intelligence - er, Section 31 is needed to protect the Federation, but he gets sent to the doghouse after too much disrespect for the captain. Well, OK, it was for something he didn't do, but good riddance anyway. Hopefully Shazad Latif can be written off soon, his mono-expression is one of the show's weakest links.

Negative points: Section 31 scenes are painful, but relatively sparse. The ex-empress is woodenly acted and an annoying reminder of story elements that should have never been. Michelle Yeoh has done much better in the past; perhaps she's just treating her character with the same regard that the showrunners do. Hiss!

The giant CGI monster chase was an eye-roller. Michael's final memory scene was weak but done about as well as SMG can do; the cut-heavy nature of the scene helps to obscure her poor delivery. And the TOS pilot montage at the beginning did not do it for me, it was the main thing in this ep that rang of tacky nostalgia-baiting.

But nonetheless: Discovery has seemed up to now like a mishmash of cable drama cliches assembled by people who didn't understand or care about Star Trek. It seems to be finally establishing a voice and personality of its own, and while it's not everything that a Trek series should be yet, there's a clear path for it to get there.
Jon
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 6:54am (UTC -6)
@ Tom R

I have to say I’m pretty disappointed that you feel the need to insult those who have a dissenting opinion from yours. If you didn’t like this episode and don’t like Discovery in general that’s fine. You are entitled to your opinion and have the right to voice it. If you want to debate the merits of the episode/series then by all means do so. Stick to elevating your opinions not denigrating the opinions. Your comments has an air of snobbish, as though you know better then anybody else as to what makes good Trek. It’s all subjective, based upon one’s own tastes and preferences. I’m not going to take away from you not liking the episode, but don’t insult me or my opinions because I enjoyed this episode.

I don’t automatically like anything with Star Trek in the title. I’ve not always been happy with this show but I’ve enjoyed some of the changes I’ve seen lately. That’s my opinion. You have yours. You’re no more an authority on Star Trek then I am. Save the snobbishness for your kitchen table.
MadManMUC
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 7:40am (UTC -6)
I haven't decided what I actually think about this episode yet. I'll have to think about it some more.

A couple of specific opinions, though:

• Overall, I didn't mind the new Talosians, I think they did a good job with the makeup (even if they declined to include the butt-cracks on the backs of their heads). What I don't like is that they made them far, far more benevolent than they were in 'The Cage'. I really don't know what their motivation is to be so nice this time around.

• I can't stand the Section 31 angle. They're such moustache-twirling Scooby-Doo villains, that there was exceptionally little standing between them and the line, 'Rats! Foiled again!', or, 'And we would have done it, too, if it hadn't been for you meddling kids!' The sooner we're done with these imbeciles, the better.
Mac
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 9:02am (UTC -6)
Once again, I really enjoyed the episode. This is the fifth episode in a row that I would have to call "great" (3 stars or above for me) and it marks 7 of 8 episodes this season that I would call "great." That's very high praise from me considering season one was incredibly rocky, and I only thought 3 episodes were on par with what season two is currently delivering.

I like almost everything on display here. I think Ethan Peck was great as Spock. I am very happy that the crew of Discovery is much more in the spotlight relative to season one. I like Detmer, Owosekun, and Arium a lot. The Talosians weren't demystified at all, as some were concerned about. I think that they were written perfectly, however, I do prefer their original design with the throbbing veins and what not, but I understand that design doesn't age well. I seem to enjoy Section 31 more than most. They don't bother me at all.

The only thing I didn't like isn't a flaw with the episode, it's a flaw with the season. I don't much care for an event that ends all sentient life in the galaxy. The "end of the world" threat is played out, and dumb. I've seen it a thousand times. I'm tired of it.
Hank
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 9:02am (UTC -6)
Oh yeah, forgot to mention that, for the first time, Culber and Stamets felt like they actually had something going. Culber especially was great, and his actions and motivations were completely believable. I agree with wolfstar, Stamets acting was subpar, compared to Culber, who, for the first time, felt like a real character, instead of a setpiece or foil for Stamets. He actually says something this episode, has feelings and motivations beyond "I love you stamets!". So, Discovery, you CAN write characters, why not just do it all the time?

Regarding Spock: He is sometimes right, but ... he just isn't Spock. I can buy Pike, and all the other minor characters, but Spock ... no, his likeness and mannerisms are just too ingrained in my mind. And his story is ... kind of far fetched. Yeah, Burnham was an asshole to him, but he already figured out why, so, why all the hatred for her? I don't know, I just think it would need more than one incident in his childhood to so completely turn him against Burnham. Not that Burnham has a hard time turning people against her. I am extremely vindictive and resentful, but I am aware of that, as I expect Spock would be, and I still find it hard to believe that Spock is so absolutist in his descisions.
Saru's Ganglia
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 9:11am (UTC -6)
@Mac

If they really want to do a doomsday plot they'd probably be better off as just saying it'll wipe out the Federation or the Alpha Quadrant, which is still a monumental task but at least still feels "local". Wiping out a whole galaxy with just ships would take such a ridiculous amount of time.
Mac
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 9:29am (UTC -6)
@Saru's Ganglia

Yes, there are ways to do something like that in a smart way, but I'd prefer we don't see it at all. Star Trek: Discovery is a prequel, so we know that the galaxy is gonna be just fine. So why include a plot like that at all? Unless the destruction of the galaxy that they're trying to stop will take place in the 26th century or something, but that wouldn't work because it wouldn't be a danger to these characters we're watching now. Either way, it doesn't work.
Peter G.
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 10:15am (UTC -6)
What are the odds the Red Angel savior isn't SMG?
Booming
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 10:31am (UTC -6)
@Mac
To be fair we always know that in the end all will be fine prequel or not. The Borg, the Dominion or whatever. We all knew that Star Trek Voyager, DS9 or TNG wouldn't end with "and then the Dominion conquered earth and killed every Federation official" or the Borg assimilating the galaxy.
Mertov
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 10:39am (UTC -6)
Discovery comes up with the best episode of the season for my part, arguably of the series. It's surprisingly coherent and well-written considering the game-changing events in the outing, but they worked, the pacing clicking on all cylinders.

Couple of things help, one being that the episode's runtime is 53 minutes, and so far all the episodes above 50 minutes have been solid. The other one being that Ethan Peck does a good Spock, and Mount continues to excel as Pike. Vina is well-casted also, she does pretty good Vina from the original series. Culber and Stamets scenes come across genuine, Cruz's performance is great and Rapp conveys well the emotional pain of helplessly losing someone he loves for the second time, especially in the scene where Cruz blows off steam toward him.

Georgiou-Leland confrontation ties in to the A story, and Discovery crew's togetherness shines also. I am especially loving all the bits and pieces that the show is doing to fill Spock's backstory, it's an ambitious project but it dares to create a more complete picture of his background than any other show did, and they are making it work, it's all believable. It's fascinating to learn what happened to Spock and his vulcan education, starting with "Lethe" in the first season, and get a well-framed picture of his youth this season. Dialogues were pertinent, Talos well depicted.

I can't see any major flaws with the episode. I'll wait and see what Jammer has to say, but for me this is a four-star outing by his rating (although I care much less about Jammer's stars than the content of his reviews which I deeply appreciate).
Hank
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 10:40am (UTC -6)
@Peter G.: I'd wager we have a fifty-fifty-chance that she is the angel, with the fifty percent against being split between 35% chance of it being some other character we know and 15% that it is some other random person. Also: SMG = "Savior Michael ... godess?"

So far we had: The Empress being Philippa, the Spore Monster being Culber, Ash being Voq, the Kelpians being the predators, Lorca being the bad guy all along... I feel like I have forgotten a few occasions where there was an "unexpected" twist. At least we can out the "Angel = Ghost buddy of Dr. Crusher" theory, as it is confirmed to be human. But maybe a Neon Genesis Evangelion crossover is coming, with the Angel being the 13th Angel (humanity), and everything ending in a sea of goo with Ash trying to choke Burnham to death, to which she replies "pathetic".
John Harmon
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 10:49am (UTC -6)
I knew the reveal of why Burnham and Spock were estranged was going to be disappointing, but wow. They literally went with the first thing they thought of huh? It's just the "yell at your dog to stop following you" trope. Or "break his heart to save him" trope.

It's ridiculously hackneyed soap opera bullshit that's nothing but self parody at this point.

It shouldn't even count as a fight, because it's not. The fact that they're estranged because of that, when Spock knew the whole time she was just trying to protect him, is laughably absurd. It ruined an episode that, up to that point, wasn't completely terrible.

And now they're saying this """"'fight""""" is the reason Spock is so logical? Michael Burnham is literally the reason Spock is who we know him to be? Fantastic. Just...great.
Chrome
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 10:55am (UTC -6)
Despite this one being unmistakably epic, I found it underwhelming. Don't get me wrong, I loved seeing "The Cage" at the beginning and basically all the Pike and Vina material is great (Melissa George really lights up the screen in what's likely going to be her only appearance). And New NuSpock isn't bad at all either, he's definitely got the voice down.

The Doomsday scenario we get a peak at feels like recycled rubbish to me. Are the machines taking over? Didn't The Orville just do a show about this - is this the only type of cataclysmic scenario Hollywood has to offer these days? Besides which, Trek already has The Borg, so it doesn't really need another technological terror with crazy technology, does it? Or is this Trek's way of getting revenge on The Matrix for taking away all its viewers for Nemesis? I'll try to stave off my disappointment until we find out more, but so far - meh.

That aside, it's an okay episode. We knew there'd be a huge tense moment between Michael and Spock that would leave lasting damage on the pair. And the tragedy we get a glimpse of is well, tragic enough, but I don't know if it really justifies the retcon. I suppose Spock finding who he is again is supposed to parallel Culber finding out who he is again and that is all thematic with the material of Pike finding out where he belongs. So that's fine and good - unlike earlier episodes this one at least gels. Culber had some good scenes that make sense and kind of give us a reboot on the character to a point where we feel like he can be anyone or do anything from here on out.

This is the first time I've hated the S31 material, and Georgiou is getting painfully annoying. As some have pointed out, why is she getting such special treatment from Starfleet Admirals? Do they still think that's their Georgiou? This needs to be explained because to stupid to keep showing us these interactions without justifying them.

My favorite part of this televised blockbuster is Talos IV itself. The planet on its is visually awesome in its own right without any illusions. And even then, I thought the illusions were used sparingly and smartly to let a good story unfold in connection to our heroes. Particularly of note, the Talosians themselves get sort of a Heel Face Turn as we find out they're not so bad after all if you're willing to give them what they want to live. Anson Mount has said in interviews he's going to turn the tragedy "The Menagerie" into a great victory for Pike's character, so I'm interested in all the developments related to him related to the planet.

Finally, the sneak peak for next week looks a bit crazy, but I'm actually looking forward to seeing it. Apparently Discovery is heading into The Technodrome- er I mean, Section 31's headquarters and is going to face a double threat with Airiam going rogue on them which thankfully happens sooner rather than later.
Saru's Ganglia
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 10:59am (UTC -6)
I actually thought the doomsday ships looked like Ba'ul ships
Cody B
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 11:02am (UTC -6)
I’ve seen a number of people say Saru letting them fight was ridiculous. I think you are forgetting that Saru “evolved” and is now alpha male saru. Btw I’m sticking with my red angel is khan theory. I’m playing the longshot on this one. I’m probably absolutely wrong but if I’m right I want a all expense paid for 7 day trip to Risa. Picard totem thing included. Non negotiable.
bluejfk
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 11:28am (UTC -6)
The Red Angel is a woman... Look at the hips.
Karl Zimmerman
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 11:33am (UTC -6)
Regarding the Red Angel, it's now established by Spock it's a human. Also, Spock said "she" - which I think was obvious given those hips, but some people still seem to think it's a man for some reason.

Given how this show works, the Red Angel is probably someone we've met before, probably the main cast. Frankly, Tilly wouldn't fit into that suit. That leaves, in decreasing order of likelihood, Burnham, Georgiou, Reno, Cornwell, and Amanda.
MadManMUC
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 11:35am (UTC -6)
Theories on a couple of other sites have it that the Red Angel is the corporeal manifestation of Discovery's sentient computer, as seen in one of the shorts.
Mertov
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 12:02pm (UTC -6)
"Theories on a couple of other sites have it that the Red Angel is the corporeal manifestation of Discovery's sentient computer, as seen in one of the shorts."

That's actually not bad (the only speculation out there that I find intriguing, really). I'd sign up for that story.
MadManMUC
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 12:06pm (UTC -6)
'That's actually not bad'

I thought so, too, though it would take a lot of narrative gymnastics to explain this.
Saru's Ganglia
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 12:11pm (UTC -6)
Just for the love of Q don't make it Burnham
msbooth
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 12:28pm (UTC -6)
Red Angel literally can't be Burnham. She was dead in the timeline before the Angel came back to save her life. Must be someone with intimate details of the situation, though.
Chrome
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 12:34pm (UTC -6)
Michael Burnham's biological mother. If I lose, I'll watch The Orville for two weeks.
Saru's Ganglia
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 12:35pm (UTC -6)
I think they should go with Orion Clint Howard personally
Yanks
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 12:36pm (UTC -6)
@ wolfstar

"The best, and saddest, thing about this episode was watching Wilson Cruz act rings around Anthony Rapp (whose portrayal of Stamets I've always found shallow and supercilious), and watching both Ethan Peck and Melissa George act rings around Sonequa Martin-Green. Great performances by guest stars and recurring characters are always welcome, and Cruz is excellent here, in the most he's had to do on the show so far. Likewise, Ethan Peck is considerably better than Zachary Quinto in the Spock role – he has just the right intonation and sensibility without overtly copying Nimoy's performance – and George is very effective as Vena. By contrast, SMG is just dreadful here; her exposition-laden dialog doesn't help, but the scenes on Talos really show her up – her performance is painfully flat and shallow with the usual wide-eyed overemoting."

Wow, so well put and right on the mark. I had recently applauded SMG's improvement over season 1, but I think I now realize that when she's up against real actors (Mount, George, Peck, etc...) it's still apparent she needs to go back to acting school. One section I thought she did well was when they told the story to the Talosians of her distancing herself from Spock.

@ Kinematic,

Wow, I don't believe we've crossed paths here, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post.

So, on to this episode.

The little TOS/Cage montage clip thingy was fine for me, but I'm not sure it would have done anyone that hadn’t seen 'The Cage' any benefit... it was probably a head scratcher to them.

This episode really was a fine homage to 'The Cage' though. REALLY well done here. I don't know that they missed anything of consequence.

I really enjoyed it. The pace didn't bother me in this one as in some others. I felt like I could breathe watching it. I didn’t have to strain to keep up.

Some have indicated that Saru allowing the fight to happen was wrong. I don't agree. Everyone on that ship knew what happened, this mix up was bound to happen and in my mind, from Culber's standpoint, needed to happen. Even Ash understood this as his fighting was defensive. He's a trained Star Fleet Security guy, he could have easily finished that fight at any time. He saw that in order to get past things, Culber needed to vent on HIM.

I think Pike handled the fight perfectly. No harm done and he reinforced the regs with Saru. It was also a different reaction from Saru that I think that we wouldn't have seen before his transversion thingy. I also see a difference in how he converses with Pike now. Well done Doug Jones. I don't imagine this is an easy thing for an actor. He has, over a season and a half, grown/developed his character into what we and he knows... and now it's very essence has changed. He seems convey this change without effort.

It was CLEARLY apparent to me that Wilson Cruz was acting circles around Anthony Rapp. Well done Mr. Cruz. It will be interesting to see how this pans out. I'm predicting Stamets is going to have to lose Culber again (death/suicide?).

Pike was frellin awesome in this entire episode. Mount continues to impress. I was almost cheering when Pike took Ash’s little badge and locking in his quarters.

The only dangling participle in this episode I thought was they kind of left the whole spore drive corrupted thing hanging.

I’m really liking our new Spock. While I didn’t dislike Quinto’s Spock, I think Peck’s will be different. I know it’s hard to compare a series to a movie, but that’s what I see.

I want more like this. I’m intrigued to see the Spock/Michael relationship, because I truly believe they love each other. Looks like they figure out that Airium is “under the influence” and it’s gonna be a rough ride next week.

I think I’m going 4 stars on this..... and I'm predicting Jammer will too.
Yanks
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 12:40pm (UTC -6)
@ Mertov

""Theories on a couple of other sites have it that the Red Angel is the corporeal manifestation of Discovery's sentient computer, as seen in one of the shorts."

That's actually not bad (the only speculation out there that I find intriguing, really). I'd sign up for that story."

I'd thought of that as well, but I can't figure out why on earth she'd want to destroy Andoria, Vulcan, Earth and everything else. Not that someone could figure something out, it just alludes me.

God, I hope it's not anything related Michael....
Karl Zimmerman
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 12:42pm (UTC -6)
Spock explicitly said that the Red Angel is human. If we take him at his word, it can't be "Zora" since she's an AI. Mind you, this is an absolutely horrendous idea which would totally ruin Calypso, which was a sweet little character study. It's like if TNG decided to follow up The Inner Light by revealing that the flute was a piece of advanced technology which allowed Picard to travel through time and space whenever he played it. Fanwank at its absolute worst.

The Red Angel saving Burnham does not mean that it couldn't be FutureBurnham. Some hypothesis about time travel suggest it would be possible if it happened in a closed loop - meaning someone was always "fated" to go into the past and do something. This would mean there was no free will, and the future was as determinate as the past, but that's how some physicists think of time anyway. Time is literally no different than the three dimensions of space - it's just an illusion of how our consciousness is set up that we seem to "move forward" through it.
Mac
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 1:09pm (UTC -6)
@Booming

"@Mac
To be fair we always know that in the end all will be fine prequel or not. The Borg, the Dominion or whatever. We all knew that Star Trek Voyager, DS9 or TNG wouldn't end with 'and then the Dominion conquered earth and killed every Federation official' or the Borg assimilating the galaxy."

I absolutely agree with you, but The Original Series, The Animated Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and even Enterprise were all made in a time where serialized storytelling in television wasn't as popular as it is now. Of course there are exceptions, but for the most part, the writers couldn't write cataclysmic scenarios that would change the characters and the world they live in forever because the characters had to remain relatively consistent for the next week's episode. New shows are free of those shackles. We're in a world where shows like Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones are the norm. Discovery could have done unexpected things and doomsday plots that break the universe if it were set after TNG, but by making the show take place before TOS, the writers have once again restricted themselves because everything HAS to be okay in the end.
Booming
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 1:18pm (UTC -6)
I think the Culber/Stamets story will not end tragic. They went to such length to bring Culber back. Their arc will probably be to get together again.
The trope to kill off one of the gays is there because back then and still today some are not comfortable with men showing loving affection on screen. In modern family ,which had first regular normal gay couple on TV, they waited until season 2 when they kissed in the background. In the later seasons they kissed a few times but still far less often then the heterosexual couples.
It seems logical to turn that on its head and make it about them slowly falling in love again. And the homophobes have to sit there and grind their teeth while watching it which is awesome.
fevredream
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 1:19pm (UTC -6)
Possibly the best episode of Discovery to date (something I've said many times this season, haha). Felt "perfect" in a way even other generally great episodes haven't - nothing felt out of place, nothing detracted from the impact of the episode, and the pace was perfect. It added to, expanded, and deepened existing canon in a meaningful way. We also had three separate major character moments that all worked wonderfully - Pike/Vina, Spock/Burnham, and Culber/Stamets/Tyler. The reveal of the rift between Spock and Burnham wasn't earth-shattering or needlessly epic, but rather simply a deep emotional wound that Michael felt forced to give Spock back when their relationship was first truly developing. It helps explain his turning away from emotion for Vulcan logic, adding to the other points we already understood. Just great stuff. I won't even mention how amazing The Cage recap at the beginning was.
Bold Helmsman
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 1:19pm (UTC -6)
@Mac

I agree, but I think it's a consequence of writing in a franchise. They're less eager to take chances moving forward because of backlash from fans.
fevredream
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 1:20pm (UTC -6)
Forgot to add - if I was ranking this one, it would probably be my first 4/4 for the series.
Cody B
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 1:36pm (UTC -6)
Anyone else think Culber and Ash seemed to have a “connection” there at the end of the fight? Love is in the air. Also I noticed Saru does the Connor McGregor walk now with his shoulders pulled back and arms swaying behind him. ALPHA. I expect a Mayweather fight by season three or I’m dissapointed. Maybe Floyd Mayweather is the red angel.
Saru's Ganglia
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 1:37pm (UTC -6)
@ Cody B

Saru's done that walk since season 1 actually, it's one of those things you see in every scene once you notice that's how he walks.
Booming
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 1:40pm (UTC -6)
@ Mac
Don't get me wrong I was very much against a prequel because these normally suck. And it is obvious pandering. But moving forward would not have been easy as well. Either you set the show directly after the Dominion war which was a borderline cataclysmic event and I must admit I would have preferred that but going even further into the future brings the problem that everything becomes magic. How far would a harmonious scientifically oriented interplanetary federation be in the year 2500?

And as sidenote: I'm not the biggest fan of Breaking Bad. Everybody loves it I know but to me it always looked like an American white middle-class power fantasy where they show those Latinos whats what. I really liked the first season, though. Bryan Cranston to me will always be the hyper emotional dad from malcolm in the middle and the rapey dentist from seinfeld. I never bought "HEISENBERG". Thinking about his tiny gangster hat makes me chuckles every time.
And Game of Thrones. Oh boy. I actually read the books way back, mostly to know how it continues. They are not that good but ok. The show on the other hand has gone of the rails. That is a show that kind of imploded under it's own surprise success.
Mac
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 2:15pm (UTC -6)
@Booming

Yes, I agree going forward (especially a century) from TNG/DS9 would be VERY tricky and I understand why writers would want to avoid it at all costs, but I think there are still some things you could do scientifically before you get to the magic barrier. I was reading up on the Enterprise-J recently, and I heard what the creator had in mind when designing it was that it wasn't constructed, it was 3D printed, and therefore was capable of having a structure very different from ships we've seen before. I think that's a really neat idea that could be explored further.

This probably sounds silly, but I'd like to see Star Trek's interpretation of the Andromeda galaxy. Maybe every life form there is silicon based. Maybe some federation vessels get stuck with no way of coming home and have to remain in this new galaxy forever. Do they stick to their Federation ideals, or do they explore this new galaxy, or do they fight amongst each other?

Or on a different note, we could explore different dimensions, or travel between planes of existence (that last one is a little magical, I guess). I think there is a lot that can be done, honestly.

P.S. Personally, I thought Breaking Bad was beautifully done. I love the show, but I get that it's not for everybody. Outside of my father who already loves it, I can't get the rest of my family to watch it even if I pay them.
Trent
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 2:55pm (UTC -6)
Look at the structure of this script. Look how much contempt the writers have for you.

"If Memory Serves" opens with actual footage from TOS' "The Cage", designed to bring us up to speed on the events of a 50 year old Trek episode.

After this info-dump, we immediately get another info-dump; a terribly acted Vulcan spews terribly written dialogue designed to catch us up on the motivations, locations and even health statuses of our heroes. This is a show which doesn't even have faith in you remembering its last episode. Our post-literate audience, raised on constant informational overloads, absorbs this with relish: Info! Info! Info! Dopamine zap! Zap! Zap!

More infodumps abound: Ash catches us up (via catching Pike up) on his romantic relationship with Michael, followed by a shuttle computer bizarrely violating Starfleet hush-orders by catching us up with Talos IV's Trek lore. Hilariously, six minutes into the show, after literally 4 sequences informing us that "we're heading to Talos IV", Michael brings Spock to consciousness and informs him that "We're approaching Talos IV". Just in case you forgot.

"We're really on the other side of the looking glass now, aren't we?" Michael cheesily says, as she and Ninja Spock "break through an illusion" and land on Talos IV. But there's no "looking" in this show, no beauty, no lingering, no space for feeling or thought, only lots and lots of explaining.

This is the aesthetic of a post-cinematic generation; TV as twitter feed. Zap! Zap! Zap!

Meanwhile, we learn that "Spock has been suffering because he experiences time as a fluid rather than linear construct". This doesn't bother Sisko and the wormhole aliens in DS9, but apparently it is enough to "drive Spock mad". In an effort to cure himself, Spock thus seeks the medical help of the Talosians. In return for this help, the Talosians want Michael to infodump her memories of her and Spock's relationship into them. Michael agrees, but only if the Talosians infodump Spock's mind into hers. Everyone agrees to the mutal info-dump orgy, in which we ultimately learn that "the red angel has guided Spock and Michael's life through childhood" and "provided Spock with information regarding a future galactic Armageddon!".

Dwell on that for a moment.

It took this show 7 convoluted, poorly written, poorly paced episodes to tell you that A BADDIE WANTS TO BLOW UP THE UNIVERSE.

Remember when "Discovery" introduced those stakes mid-way into its first season as well? No. Of course you don't. Now. Now. Now. Consume. Consume. Consume. Liner time is for idiots. Behold the Infinite Now! Zap! Zap! Zap!

Meanwhile, Stamets and Culber are doing stuff, all of which involves Culber out-acting everyone on screen, especially Stamets, who always seems like he's tripping on LSD.

Later we learn that the Talosians can project images halfway across the galaxy and into Pike's office on board the Discovery. This seems far too powerful, making them on par with Trek super-races like the Organians, but actually, no, this is a series with Insta-Spore Drives and trans-galactic transporter devices. Screw limitations! Excess! Excess! Excess!

And what images are the Talosians projecting into Pike's office? Turns out they're projecting the character of Vina from a 50 year old TOS episode. But who cares about Vina? Who cares about the Talosians? Who cares about Spock and Michael's childhood? Who cares about Section 31? Who cares about the Mirror Empress? Who cares about the Klingon Civil War? Why is so much of this show dedicated to fundamentally ill-conceived subplots?

Think about it: this is a show which shoe-horned Talos and Vina into its narrative, all so that a simple memory can be yanked out of Spock. All this plot, just to yank a memory out of Spock. It's so obvious that this is not good writing, but gimmicks shoe-horned and reverse engineered into a plot because of wacky corporate types.

The episode ends with Pike trying to use the Spore Drive, which apparently is no longer off-limits, a health risk to Stamets, or an environmental risk to the universe. Meanwhile Spock has begun to transition from Edgy Spock - wouldn't it be cool if the ordinarily calm and composed Spock were unhinged and insane! nobody but Kurtzman wonders - into Old School Spock.

Finally, the episode reveals the HORRIBLE THING which Michael did to Spock as a child all those years ago. Turns out - and the series thinks this is a SHOCKING REVELATION! - she WHITE FANGED him. Yes, the famous scene in the classic novel, "White Fang", in which a guy pretends to hate his wolf so that it returns to the forest and re-joins its pack, a scene which has resulted in countless memes and parodies in sitcoms and romantic comedies ("You have to white fang the girl so that she breaks up with you, bro!"), is what this show believes is the worthy culmination of what it believes is a GRIPPING and SUSPENSEFUL arc.

When I watch "Discovery", I keep seeing philosopher Frederic Jameson's predictions about the next stage art and techno-consumerism: future man will be beholden to the ecstatic over-proximiy of all things. The brain of the future doesn't experience a loss of touch with reality, but its opposite: a schizophrenic collapse between body and worldly spam, the body perpetually suffering the instantaneous incursion of, and over-exposure to, heaps and heaps of tacky stuff. With this comes the worship of the now, and the inability to understand history, the past, or any sort of context. "Discovery's" itself is the kind of show you watch upside down on your tablet while dissing your granny on Twitter and scrolling through YouTube comments discussing the first 5 minutes of that other show you plan to binge after you figure out how to download adblocker and increase the frame-rate on your VR googles so you can speed-watch it during lunch break at your job down at the sugar factory while ingesting slow-release toothpaste so you can save chew time in the bathroom and use the temporal profits to play the stock market on your ipod and reinvest the winnings on pheromone sensitive advertising pioneered by a llama factory startup in Peru.

Zap! Zap! Scroll, scroll, scroll.

One thing I like about this episode is its literal using of TOS footage. "Discovery's" gone from namedropping and fan-service ("Oh, I recognize that ship/word/character! Gimme dopamine!") to literally injecting past footage. This show is like weird-ass necrophilia. An unintentional Cronenbergian, Baudrillardian meta-comment on its own zeitgeist, or something.
wolfstar
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 3:18pm (UTC -6)
Trent, chapeau.
MadManMUC
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 3:19pm (UTC -6)
I'm not sure, but I don't think Trent liked this week's episode. Call it a hunch.

:D
Peter G.
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 3:20pm (UTC -6)
Lol @ Trent's write-up
Daya
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 3:27pm (UTC -6)
1) Ethan Peck almost has Nimoy's Spock voice. I wish he didn't speak in an American slur though. Seems less formal than Spock always was. I don't know what to say ... when it's close you want it to be closer. Ah, nostalgia.

2) I like how this episode bridges The Cage and The Menagerie. It makes Vina living with an imaginary Pike (The Cage) canon, while keeping space for Vina later living with the real Pike (The Menagerie).

3) I didn't like Spock's passive aggressive behavior towards Burnham. It is true that Spock is passive aggressive towards both Kirk and Bones in TOS, but this is always good natured ribbing. Never uncontrolled childish anger meant to hurt as he exhibits in this episode. Nimoy's Spock also has an air of superiority, but it never feels racist. I suppose I could believe that these characteristics of Spock got toned down with time, and we see ironic vestiges of them by the time TOS happens.

4) It is interesting that Burnham's abusive words (freak, half-breed) are repeated by Kirk many years later on Omicron Ceti III (This Side of Paradise). Explains why Spock got so angry at Kirk. Kirk had triggered an old feeling that Spock had had difficulty assimilating. It is worth going and watching the moment Nimoy's Spock "loses it" in the face of Kirk's abuses. Almost feels as if Nimoy is channeling Peck's anger from this episode.

5) Spock does always smile in TOS, yes in almost every episode. Nimoy's use of his face to convey emotions that Spock suppresses was just amazing. Peck's attempt at the fanservice Spock micro-smile was laudable, but fell short. Especially with Pike calling out the smile, the smile could have been subtler. (I did like the fact that Peck understood that Spock's use of an "Earth expression" "riding into danger" would be ironic.) Also, Spock is supposed to have a comeback, not just accept he smiled!
Booming
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 3:29pm (UTC -6)
There are some interesting differences between the anti orville crowd and the anti discovery crowd. While the anti orvillians criticized the show or Macfarlane (myself included) the anti-discovery crowds always has to point out that everybody who likes this show is either stupid or brain damaged. Which tells you a lot about the people writing this but not much about the people enjoying it.
For those people Discovery apparently is a sign of coming societal doom.
Excess! Excess! Excess!
MadManMUC
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 3:31pm (UTC -6)
'Explains why Spock got so angry at Kirk. Kirk had triggered an old feeling that Spock had had difficulty assimilating. It is worth going and watching the moment Nimoy's Spock "loses it" in the face of Kirk's abuses. Almost feels as if Nimoy is channeling Peck's anger from this episode.'

Err ... except that 'This Side of Paradise' aired in 1967. What you're doing here is retconning. And Nimoy most certainly not channelling Peck.
Daya
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 3:37pm (UTC -6)
Err ... yes.
Eric Jensen
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 3:46pm (UTC -6)
4 stars
Saru seems more snarky, after his evolution.
That episode on Voyager, Kes returns and Tuvok could figure out why the time-line has changed, it just reminded me of that.
This episode told us that Burnham must be important somehow, or that Spock and Burnham are important to this series. Why save her then? Without the Red Angel she would have been dead...
I think the fight between Culber and Ash needed to happen.
And what is going to happen to Airium? The camera is pointing at her after all these unauthorised business so they want us to think about her... what is this three red dots? Does it mean anything?
Ok, so the crux of this episode is that Spock is now better after visiting the Talosians because they have mind powers? The change in the timeline made Spock trying to make sense of the change in the time line, then Spock was trying to make sense of it when more of the sightings were happening... Spock became affected and Talosians cured him?
Saru's Ganglia
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 4:15pm (UTC -6)
@ Trent

take a breath man
Trent
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 4:26pm (UTC -6)
Booming said: "the anti-discovery crowds always has to point out that everybody who likes this show is either stupid or brain damaged."

Art is a kind of neural masturbation, so its always intimately tied to biology.

Capitalism functions by simultaneously eradicating the past and promising to resurrect it better, faster and harder. In the 1980s Guy Debord was predicting what he called a blip-time aesthetic. Shorter and shorter moments and sensations, each saleable only if the consumer hyperbolically believed them the BEST EVER. What's new, what's now, is always FOUR STARS! The GREATEST THING EVER, the system continually transgressing its own limits, and promising the subject the ability to do the same.

You'll notice the Disco bashers are always talking about the thing being overstimulating, overwhelming, producing feelings of anxiety, or being needlessly overstuffed. The Disco lovers, meanwhile, love the rush, and don't engage in silly things like comparison or context. That's not brain damage, that's a kind of pragmatism, or unconscious survival mechanism.

Debord, meanwhile, advocated withdrawal; disconnection to prevent being swallowed up. And you see that happening with the cutting edge of contemporary print science fiction, which is moving toward pastoral, solar punk, eco-fiction stuff.

This is the kind of pretentious crap I think about when watching "Discovery". I still can't believe it took 7 episodes to reveal that WE ONCE AGAIN HAVE TO SAVE THE GALAXY FROM BEING DESTROYED!!!!
CanOfUbik
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 4:41pm (UTC -6)
So, with the Red Angel (a female, human time traveller) interfering so Spock could save Burnham, Burnham being the catalyst for how most of the story since season 1, and it being revealed that Leland is responsible for the death of Burnham's parents, could DSC be setting up for the big reset button?

The Red Angel seems to want to stop some kind of apocalypse (given the corrupted probe from 500 years in the future probably some nanotech/machine uprising stuff), and its first intervention was to save Burnham from death. Maybe the finale will be the realisation, that saving Burnham is the right call, but that it has to come before her parents die, so sehe never even becomes Spock's sister. That would give DSC the convenient reason to wipe the slate clean and reshuffle for season 3.

And would fit with its pechant for blatant unsubtilety.
Jason P
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 4:47pm (UTC -6)
@Trent

Say what you will about the Looking Glass line, but at least the show has established on multiple occasions that Michael and Spock both have read "Alice in Wonderland". This is opposed to DS9 where someone from the MU references the same line without Lewis Caroll's works existing in their reality.
Karl Zimmerman
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 5:12pm (UTC -6)
Here's an outside the box idea: The Red Angel is Burnham's mother.

Not Amanda - Burnham's birth mother.

Consider the following:
The Red Angel personally intervened to save Michael's life.
The Red Angel is female and human.
Burnham never actually saw her parents die - she was hiding in a cupboard IIRC.
Section 31 - Leland in particular - is somehow responsible for their "deaths."
Sarek raised Michael, and had connections to Section 31.Basically maybe Burnham's parents were either working for Section 31 or their work was known to them. Their research involved time travel. Control rules it was too dangerous and they must be killed. Burnham's mom somehow escapes into the future, finds a future suit, and is battling with Control across the timeline.
axiom
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 5:15pm (UTC -6)
You know, Trent, I have a PhD and teach Debord, and I think you’re really stretching this to a toxic and woefully unsubtle ends. But thanks for inspiring me to register after years of reading these reviews. I enjoyed the episode quite a bit — more than any other DSC entry so far. Shock, horror, gasp.
wolfstar
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 5:50pm (UTC -6)
Karl, I'll bite.

This thing with the "Control" AI – are they using ideas from this Trek novel? https://memory-beta.fandom.com/wiki/Control_(program)

(Apparently Control was mentioned in Point Of Light too, but I didn't notice.)
Mertov
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 6:28pm (UTC -6)
LOL axiom.. Welcome aboard and get ready, the hatred is intense and real by the few (Booming is right on point above).

It must take a special skill to put aside an hour every week to watch a show you loathe and get worked up enough to spend another hour or more every week here to discharge that hatred toward the show and judge its watchers. They definitely have that particular skill, and apparently have the time to practice it on regular basis.
Bill
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 6:31pm (UTC -6)
@Trent

"The episode ends with Pike trying to use the Spore Drive, which apparently is no longer off-limits, a health risk to Stamets, or an environmental risk to the universe. Meanwhile Spock has begun to transition from Edgy Spock - wouldn't it be cool if the ordinarily calm and composed Spock were unhinged and insane! nobody but Kurtzman wonders - into Old School Spock."

Seriously? Your entire post is dedicated to criticising fans of Discovery for their supposed attentional deficits, yet you yourself don't pay attention to the end of the episode long enough to note that they *warp* into space at the end?

It reminds me not to take seriously those that try to replace argument with ad hominems.
Hank
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 6:33pm (UTC -6)
@Karl Zimmerman: Oh god no...

@Booming: How in the world is saying "That piece of art is designed to trigger basic responses and bypass higher brain functions!" saying that "Everybody who watches this is stupid"? Trent opens his paragraph with saying "The writers treat you with contempt", implying that he thinks that the writers think that we are idiots, in contrast to him who thinks that we are intelligent and not fooled by flashing images and fast paced, mindless action hiding bad storytelling.
Mr Man
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 6:34pm (UTC -6)
After this episode, I am convinced that the Red Angel is Michael. It's the scene where we explore Spock's memories and it shows an (? attempted) mind meld with the Red Angel. Spock starts - "My mind to your mind"; it then cuts to Michael who is the possible partner in the mind meld - "My thoughts to your thoughts". I can't think of another reason to have Michael recite those lines in a memory that was pulled from Spock's interaction with the Red Angel.

Her as the Angel also plays off the notion of Spock's reverence for Michael as a child, and his rejection of her ("I was wrong to idolise you".), counterpointed as her possible guise as a guardian angel (Michael the Archangel), whom the characters instinctively idolise. My two cents worth...
Gil
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 6:34pm (UTC -6)
Hot Take on "The Way We Were":

Memories
Like the corners of my mind
Misty watercolor memories
Of the way we were

Scattered pictures
Of the smiles we left behind
Smiles we gave to one another
For the way we were

Can it be that it was all so simple then?
Or has time rewritten every line?
If we had the chance to do it all again
Tell me, would we? Could we?

Memories
May be beautiful and yet
What's too painful to remember
We simply choose to forget

So it's the laughter
We will remember
Whenever we remember
The way we were
The way we were
Hank
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 6:37pm (UTC -6)
@Bill: He said "try to use" not "used". If we are nitpicking attention spans here...
Bill
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 6:41pm (UTC -6)
@Hank

"He said "try to use" not "used". If we are nitpicking attention spans here... "

I'm aware of that, but I can't find any point where the Spore Drive was even mentioned after its initial use. I could be wrong (being an imperfect human being!), but I am happy to be corrected if you can point me to the minute mark where they attempted to use it again.
Chrome
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 6:43pm (UTC -6)
@Karl Z

Yeah, I mentioned her above too but I like your reasoning. It's also very typical in storytelling that a central masked figure is a "good guy", and usually it's someone thought to be long dead.

By the way, folks, can we get a moratorium on The Orville/Discovery fights in here? It's pathetic and something I expect to see in a YouTube comment section, not Jammer's Reviews.
Gil
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 6:48pm (UTC -6)
Hot Take #2 on "The Way We Were":

Culbert and Tyler going mano a mano brought more heat than either had with their former romantic partners.
Mertov
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 6:49pm (UTC -6)
Yeah, Chrome. Tim C's quote from a couple of episodes ago is very reusable:

"As for DSC vs Orville: never have I seen a more pointless debate. The two shows are trying to accomplish wildly different things in very different ways."
Hank
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 6:49pm (UTC -6)
@Bill: Oh yes, you are right. Trent has to answer this, but I think he ment that time where they tried to use the spore drive but it didn't work. Anyways, his argument was that the spore drive had limitations that are completely ignored now, and that argument still stands. And I am not sure you are using the same definition of ad hominem argument, now that I think of it.
Hank
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 6:53pm (UTC -6)
@Gil: Funnily enough, I thought the same. There was instant chemistry between them, more than between Ash and Burnham or Culber and Stamets... Maybe we are in for another surprise.
Gil
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 7:10pm (UTC -6)
Hot Take #3 on "The Way We Were":

It only took 53 years, but the Talosians finally got the budget to pay for their sex reassignment surgery. Thanks, Netflix!
Sir Beardalot
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 7:39pm (UTC -6)
Did I miss it or has it been explained why Spock has a beard? He obviously had access to shaving facilities in the psych ward and cared enough to groom it, since the beard is meticulously shaped and cared for. Did he just think it looks cool?
Bill
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 7:51pm (UTC -6)
@Hank:

Yes, but this doesn't end the episode like Trent stated. Also, as far as I remember (again, I could be wrong), they last used the Spore Drive at the end of the fifth episode to rescue Tilly, and they haven't used it since then because they haven't needed to, and also I imagine because of its potential cost.

But if rescuing Spock and deciphering the Red Angel's signals could affect the fate of the universe, then I think there is a case to be made for authorising its use in this instance. That doesn't mean all future repercussions have been ignored.
I think the only limitation you can make a case was completely ignored was the health implications for Stamets of using the Spore Drive, but that was more of a season 1 to season 2 thing.

And yeah, perhaps it is better to use a general term like "character attacks" rather than ad hominems, because the latter depends on a contentious claim about what the underlying argument actually is. But as I see it, attacking someone's character is not going to encourage them to see your point of view, and what really matters are the arguments for a position, not the supposed inadequacies of the people that fail to hold it.
Mouse
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 9:07pm (UTC -6)
The Cage has always been my all time favorite TOS episode (technically I guess I saw The Menagerie but whatever) so I was hard wired to be receptive to this on the basis of that opener. I loved the fade from TOS Pike to DSC Pike; the actors look more alike than I'd realized. It's wild how much I'm loving Mount as Pike given how awful I thought he was in that Marvel show that was so bad I've already forgotten the name. I guess he's an actor who needed some actual words to say to really sell a performance? I don't know but he's perfect casting for me so far on DSC.
Kinematic
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 9:11pm (UTC -6)
@Trent

I agree with you about almost every episode of Discovery except this one. The nadir of Trek as mindless spectacle was the JJ movies, where everything was done 2TheXtreem™, and JJ Trek seems to be the STD creators' main point of reference for the franchise. What I took from this episode is that some kind of original inspiration is finally happening within the production.

This ep still had problems: clunky dialog, iffy pacing, but it was head and shoulders over everything else in the show's run except perhaps Into the Forest I Go, but even that was an action-adventure story that didn't focus much on character. Compared to the cheesy monologues and quips before, the character interactions were fairly believable and naturally paced this time. And most critically, the show is taking time to develop character relationships other than Michael's. It also seems to be taking steps toward a place where Michael is no longer an infallible writers' pet.

The show is still too high on empty spectacle, the bridge crew are still living furniture, and many other problems remain. But your criticisms seem to apply to other STD episodes a lot more than this one. I definitely didn't expect to see a scene like the one between Pike and Vina - a non-breakneck-paced character exploration with no Michael in sight.
Cody B
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 10:40pm (UTC -6)
@ Trent

For someone as intelligent as yourself, watching two seasons of a show you hate sure seems stupid.

Or maybe deep down you don’t hate it after all.
Come have a hug and join us
Mac
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 11:08pm (UTC -6)
@Trent

Yeah, I agree with Cody B. You obviously like the show.
Jon
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 11:21pm (UTC -6)
I think Saru letting them fight was the only viable solution. Tyler violently murdered Culber who has now been brought back to life. How is Culber supposed to process that? This wasn't a thing of them fighting over a woman (or man) or like Tyler slept with his mom and wouldn't call her back. Culber was murdered and his feelings are going to be very strong and very aggressive. If you break up that fight now, Culber will just find some other time to unleash that justified aggression and there may not be anyone on hand to make sure that it doesn't get out of control.

Saru did the right thing.
Cathy
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 11:45pm (UTC -6)
"I think Saru letting them fight was the only viable solution. Tyler violently murdered Culber who has now been brought back to life. How is Culber supposed to process that? This wasn't a thing of them fighting over a woman (or man) or like Tyler slept with his mom and wouldn't call her back. Culber was murdered and his feelings are going to be very strong and very aggressive. If you break up that fight now, Culber will just find some other time to unleash that justified aggression and there may not be anyone on hand to make sure that it doesn't get out of control.

Saru did the right thing. "

Whoa. Justified aggression? We didn't even have the idea that retributive punishment was justified in the 20th century, why would we supposed to buy into the idea that in a supposedly enlightened 23rd century it will be? Will crimes in the future be dealt with by throwing the victim and perpetrator into a boxing ring?

Violence is not only of many ways to deal with an issue like this, I don't think it's asking too much of a doctor to be aware of them. In any other Star Trek Saru would be court-marshaled.
Cathy
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 12:14am (UTC -6)
Is this a universe anyone can say they want to live in? It is barbaric, chaotic, dreary and depressing. There is no joy. Put me in almost any era of Earth's and I will take it over this. Most eras of prosperity were far higher in ideals, in nobility, in values. I don't see the point of the series at all. What does it want to say, and why?
Booming
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 1:24am (UTC -6)
@ Trent
Well, if your worldview is inspired by obscure revolutionary Marxist then your posts make a lot more sense. Being very left I must admit that I'm not a big fan of Marxists. They are reminding me of religious people who act like they have the ultimate truth. Discovery is not the wire which by the way is one of the very few shows that takes it audience seriously. But Discovery has improved notably. And even though it is a product first and foremost that doesn't mean that there isn't real skill at work here. For me the deciding season will be season three because at that point they really have to figure out what they are. More serene and intelligent or action schlock. And just to refute your view on culture. We just had a decade of great storytelling which on average was far better than most of what we got before. And to add. People in the Orville section far more often shout 4 stars, best ever and so on (Yes Orvillians. I'm watching, waiting for the moment to strike down! To destroy the Macfarlane!!). While your criticism is not wrong when you think about season 1 I think creators scaled it back enough to keep me watching. And to you personally I can only say a few things. Discovery is not the harbinger of doom. Most people here are not from the (whatever that means" twitter generation". Scientifically speaking a lot goes in a nice direction apart from distribution of wealth, militarization and what will probably kill our grandchildren: climate change.
And don't forget when an American man has a hard time meeting women he creates playboy or hustler when a French man has a hard time meeting women he writes a 10000 page book on how to destroy capitalism. Just keep in mind the first Marxist you reference is 84 and the other died in the 90s. Maybe concentrate more on theories of Marxists that didn't fight in the Spanish civil war.

@Hank
I would say these sentences qualify as insulting: "Our post-literate audience" or "Remember when "Discovery" introduced those stakes mid-way into its first season as well? No. Of course you don't."
And it may sound shocking but I don't think that insulting a general audience is a sign of intelligence, it is a sign of depression or deeply ingrained cynicism. If you hate something so much why would you force yourself to watch it and then write lengthy articles about it. If you think that everything goes horribly wrong in late capitalism then go out there and agitate. Don't moan about a science fiction show in a small and intimate message board.

@Gil
I kind of get the feeling that you want to say something openly homo or transphobic. Can you do that please so that we don't have to read whatever it is your are experiencing right now. I know that times are hard for homo- and transphobes. You have to hide. You cannot be open about your disgust for all these perverts. Intolerant people are a little like persecuted minority these days and isn't that ironic. And if you feel respect for your fellow homo and transsexuals then sorry for misinterpreting this comment:"It only took 53 years, but the Talosians finally got the budget to pay for their sex reassignment surgery. Thanks, Netflix!"
Uxbridge
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 2:49am (UTC -6)
I think the red angel is Chief Engineer Logan from the Star Trek TNG episode “The Arsenal of Freedom”. He is trying to make up for being such an hypocritical asshole to Geordi.
The Gorn
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 2:51am (UTC -6)
Nice write up, Trent !

So, the Talosians can project illusions into the minds of distant visitors, fine.
Yet in this episode, they could even fool the foreign sensor array of the shuttle into believing that there is a black hole in their flight path. Uh huh. Or was it just a product of Michael's vivid imagination? I get the feeling that the producers are desperate to generate at least one thrill a minute to prop up this show.

Oh, to be a fly on the wall of the writers room (if there is such a thing)!

It is my belief that the CBS brass learned early on about the limited acting capabilities of SMG. Yet she was cast as the lead actress, which gave them quite some head aches. Thus followed general order #1 to directors and the film crew: Make Burnham look awesome in every possible way to compensate for her obvious flaws. And they tried very hard, no doubt.

I don't hate the actress, but I am really annoyed by the way she is presented here. The many close-up shots of her, especially during season 1, with that smug expression "see, I'm always right" makes me want to punch my screen. I guess I'm developing the kind of PTSD I got from too many FRODO close-up's, lol (off topic).
Isaac
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 2:56am (UTC -6)
Why would the Talosians want Burmans bad memories of her falling out with Spock? The Talosians (from The cage) do not like Negative emotions. Also, why did the Talosians not use the blackhole to prevent Section 31 ship from find their planet?
Tommy D.
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 3:09am (UTC -6)
Thoroughly enjoyed this one. Hope the momentum continues.
Tim C
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 4:03am (UTC -6)
Hey, nice work, show! Your second great episode of the season. I didn't like it as much as "An Obol For Charon", but I thought *that* episode was spectacular. This one will just have to settle for great.

Coming off a re-watch of "The Cage", the opening "previously on Star Trek" really played on my nostalgia. A cheap trick, but an effective one. Much like some of the better episodes of ENT (an DSC season 1's underrated "Lethe"), this is one of the few episodes of prequel Trek that actually takes advantage of its time period to add to and reinforce, rather than contradict, the existing canon.

I'm talking about the scene between Pike and Vina in the ready room, which cleared up something about "The Menagerie" for me. Namely, why Pike would accept a life of illusion, even in his crippled form? The answer was always Vina, but "If Memory Serves" explicitly spells it out for us: she had a profound impact on him in "The Cage" and it haunts him, viscerally, years later. Anson Mount and Melissa George sold the hell out of it in the short time they had together. Great stuff.

I also liked the reveal of what caused the rift between Spock and Burnham, because it wasn't an over-dramatised melodrama of forbidden romance that I feared it was going to be, nor any silly sci-fi MacGuffin. Instead it was much simpler, and something I and I think much of the audience could relate to: how the cruelty of an older sibling in childhood can resonate deeply even in your adult years. Well-intentioned or not, Spock will never let Burnham off the hook for her words and I don't think anybody could blame him.

Also loved the travails of Culber and Stamets. Culber's storyline here is reminding me a lot of Buffy after her own "miracle" resurrection, and both he and Anthony Rapp are playing this note-perfect.

All in all, it's 90% great stuff, 10% meh. 3.5 stars.
Tim C
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 4:07am (UTC -6)
(The "10% meh" is the Section 31 stuff. I would like them to either shit or get off the pot here: Leland is not an interesting character and if Georgiou is going to take him down then I would like her to just do it already.)
Bill
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 7:48am (UTC -6)
@The Gorn

"So, the Talosians can project illusions into the minds of distant visitors, fine.
Yet in this episode, they could even fool the foreign sensor array of the shuttle into believing that there is a black hole in their flight path. Uh huh. Or was it just a product of Michael's vivid imagination? I get the feeling that the producers are desperate to generate at least one thrill a minute to prop up this show."

Didn't you answer your own question? Surely it is easier for the Talosians to convince Michael that the computor is reporting a black hole, than it is to alter the data in the sensor array?
Timo47
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 8:29am (UTC -6)
@Bill

"I'm aware of that, but I can't find any point where the Spore Drive was even mentioned after its initial use. I could be wrong (being an imperfect human being!), but I am happy to be corrected if you can point me to the minute mark where they attempted to use it again."

Did you miss that they were going to use the spore drive to get to Talos IV? But couldn't only because it was sabotaged? After that, Ash is confronted with this codes being used for the secret transmissions and confined to this quarters. Then Pike comes up with the plan to set course for Starbase 11. It's around the 40 minute mark.
Alan Roi
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 8:31am (UTC -6)
@ Booming.

Excellent riposte, especially this:

"And don't forget when an American man has a hard time meeting women he creates playboy or hustler when a French man has a hard time meeting women he writes a 10000 page book on how to destroy capitalism. Just keep in mind the first Marxist you reference is 84 and the other died in the 90s. Maybe concentrate more on theories of Marxists that didn't fight in the Spanish civil war."
Bill
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 9:02am (UTC -6)
@Timo47

"Did you miss that they were going to use the spore drive to get to Talos IV? But couldn't only because it was sabotaged? After that, Ash is confronted with this codes being used for the secret transmissions and confined to this quarters. Then Pike comes up with the plan to set course for Starbase 11. It's around the 40 minute mark. "

No, that's what I meant by its initial use. Trent said the episode ended with them trying to use the spore drive, so I assumed he was referring to an additional attempt to use it.
Trent
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 9:13am (UTC -6)
Bill said: "Trent said the episode ended with them trying to use the spore drive"

Yeah, Airiam the cyborg most likely disabled the spore drive.

The spore drive which is needed to help defeat the Galaxy Destroying Squid Drones is now "not an environmental threat" because it "only destroyed ecosystems because Culber, who was revived by a tear, covered himself in wood chippings".

Every conclusion to every arc in this season, just like season 1, gets sillier and sillier.
Mac
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 10:19am (UTC -6)
I thought of something. I never ever want to see Captain Kirk or Dr. McCoy in this show. But if Kirk and McCoy were in the show, who would you guys want to see cast in the roles?
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 1:43pm (UTC -6)
@Chrome
"By the way, folks, can we get a moratorium on The Orville/Discovery fights in here? It's pathetic and something I expect to see in a YouTube comment section, not Jammer's Reviews. "

Agreed.

There are viewers who like both shows. There are also viewers that dislike both shows. And even if you like one and not the other, this pitting of one show against the other is stupid.
Clark
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 1:59pm (UTC -6)
One of the best episodes of this series so far. Everything they've developed so far season paid off with great result. 4 Stars for me
Gil
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 2:01pm (UTC -6)
Hot Take #4 on "The Way We Were":

For a moment there I thought Burnham might have landed on Magrathia and was about to get introduced to Slartibartfast. Gravel pits look all the same.
Paul M.
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 2:28pm (UTC -6)
@Mertov: "As for DSC vs Orville: never have I seen a more pointless debate. The two shows are trying to accomplish wildly different things in very different ways."

You know the best part? All these Trek gatekeepers lately inhabiting Jammer's boards would have diametrically opposed opinions on DIS and ORV, if Orville were the official Trek series (with some cosmetic changes, of course) and Discovery were the unofficial Trek copy/love letter/choose your description. You can bet your ass that the usual suspects around here would hate, HATE! Orville with a burning hatred of a thousand suns and glorify Discovery as the Second Coming, some "understandable imperfections" aside.

Cause, in the end, it's not about these two shows. Just how it wasn't about TNG when it premiered back in '86 or about DS9 when it first aired in '93, when they faced enormous "fan" backlash and hate. Just how it wasn't about reimagined BSG when the die-hard fans of the original series called it GINO - Galactica in Name Only. Imagine feeling nothing but contempt for one of the best space-based sci-fi shows of all time, a show that after more than 20 years breathed new life into those same "fans'" favorite fictional universe. Imagine how out of touch, how fundamentally creepy that mindset is.

So no, it's not about Discovery and its perceived or real flaws. It's about chest-thumping, proving to themselves and their surroundings how they're the True Fans, Gatekeepers, that cherish and safeguard a time and place when intentions were pure, stars bright, and they young. It's sad really. Living in constant need to recapture an ancient feeling all the while, in the corner of your mind, knowing you never really will. Hence the constant aggression, the compulsion to hate-watch and the desire to have these feelings validated by similarly afflicted.

My sincere suggestion: find a new hobby.
Frank
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 2:47pm (UTC -6)
4 star episode for me. And anyone else think that the effects of the planet destroying probes looked a little like a mutated version of the results of the Genesis project? And that Spock may be linked to it all because it effectively lead to his rebirth later in life? Food for thought...
Mertov
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 2:50pm (UTC -6)
I can certainly attest to the fact that TNG and DS9 received overwhelming waves of hatred coming their way in the late 80s and early 90s respectively. People behind those waves simply did not have the internet to air it out. Research into letter sections of newspapers/magazines or simple news reports will easily show that.

I know in my town's Starfleet chapter back then, and among my circle of friends, both were not accepted as "success" well into halfway in their run. Leaders of nation-wide Star Trek fan groups wanted the franchise name "Star Trek" disassociated with TNG, claiming it was tarnishing the franchise and their leaders even said so in conventions in late 80s.

Imagine if the network listened to them! Thankfully, "fans" don't have that power.
Mertov
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 2:53pm (UTC -6)
Wow, Frank, I never thought about that, but it does not seem far-fetched. Food for thought indeed.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 3:50pm (UTC -6)
"You know the best part? All these Trek gatekeepers lately inhabiting Jammer's boards would have diametrically opposed opinions on DIS and ORV, if Orville were the official Trek series (with some cosmetic changes, of course) and Discovery were the unofficial Trek copy/love letter/choose your description."

You know the best part?

That the people you like to bash as "Trek gatekeepers" are openly saying that this Orville vs. Discovery thing is pointless and stupid. And it is people like you who are trying to refuel the fire and the warmongering.

Enough of that already!

By the way, if Discovery weren't an official Trek series, I wouldn't be praising it. In fact, I wouldn't be talking about it at all. The only reason DSC gets any kind of attention from me, is that it is officially part of a franchise I've been a fan of for 30 years. Why on earth would somebody talk about a production he has zero interest in?

"Just how it wasn't about TNG when it premiered back in '86 or about DS9 when it first aired in '93,..."

Just a reminder: I've happily embraced all the new Trek shows as they came, including Enterprise (which quickly became a favorite of mine). Discovery, on the other hand, completely turned me off the franchise. And I'm not alone on this, so your "analysis" is clearly off-base.

Of-course you would known this already, had you bothered to actually read the reasons that people like me gave for disliking the show. But having an actual honest debate that relies on actual facts was never your strong suit, was it? With you it's always strawman like "the haterz want '60s cardboard sets" or "you're mad that ship X has phasers type Y" or whatever. Never ever did you actually address (or even acknowledge) any of the points that were made by the detractors of Discovery here.

Gotta tell you, you're not doing Discovery any favors with your strawman-based arguments.

BTW It's funny when you are accusing the old timer fans of nostalgia and fear of change when Discovery has the most fan-wonky premise that was ever devised. Just in case you have forgotten, it isn't the classic fans who pushed this show to deal with Sarek and Spock and Mudd and Pike. The creators of this show are buried far deeped in the nostalgia stew than any fan could ever be.
Dave in MN
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 4:04pm (UTC -6)
Seriously, the only people beating this "unfair comparison" subject into the ground are the people who act victimized when someone professes their dislike of Discovery.

I can fairly say this: whether or not the Orville ever existed, I'd still think STD has no internal logic, endgame or real ideas about what makes well- written characters and dialogue. I'd also say it lacks a true Trek "spirit" and I've yet to see anything to convince me otherwise.

PS amazing how 50+ years ago, they made more intriguing/ believable/ unsettling Talosians than this hot mess of a show!
Dave in MN
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 4:17pm (UTC -6)
By the way, the rumor online is that the next (and last) season of STD is only being filmed to fulfill actor contact obligations and CBS still needs to free up funds for the Picard show... apparently STD Season 3 willl be 10-15 bottle-show Short Treks shot on a shoestring budget before they wrap for good (if they even bother to film it: all of the behind- the-scenes staff are all working on other shows now).

At best, this show is on life support!
SixDifferentWays
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 5:18pm (UTC -6)
Oh, man! @Dave inMN, that was one of the best imitations of those ridiculous anti-DSC YouTubers and their outlandish, wish-fulfillment rumors! Nice one! That one is so out there, but I can see those folks totally buying into it. Ha! Good one. Made my day.
Tim C
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 5:32pm (UTC -6)
Citation needed, Dave in MN. If you think about what you've just said logically then it falls apart.

1) Netflix is reportedly paying for the majority of the show's budget in exchange for distribution rights. https://deadline.com/2016/10/star-trek-discovery-bryan-fuller-steps-down-showrunner-1201843506/

2) According to Netflix, DSC was their #4 "family show" in season 1. https://media.netflix.com/en/press-releases/2017-on-netflix-a-year-in-bingeing

3) The show's first season budget was reportedly around $8 million an episode. https://variety.com/2017/tv/features/star-trek-discovery-preview-cbs-all-access-sonequa-martin-green-1202540540/

So from this you can conclude that: (A) Netflix is paying for the show and it is costing CBS very little, (B) Netflix are pleased with the performance of it, and (C) the budget for the show way exceeds the cost of paying out actor's contracts in the event of cancellation (if that's even a thing, which I don't think it is), so citing those as the only reason for a third season renewal is... well, dumb.

Perhaps you can draw different conclusions from those reports. But "people are saying" is not a very reliable basis on which to further speculate.

BTW: the show's official abbreviation is DSC (or DIS if you'd rather go by Memory Alpha). Continually calling it STD is such fifth-grader humour, it really undercuts any adult point you hope to make.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 5:42pm (UTC -6)
Here we go again...

"New commenters" who never posted here before, chime in for the sole purpose of attacking other people. The second time (at least) in the past 48 hours.

An IP-check on these guys should prove interesting.

That said... :

Dave, this isn't the first time you're posting strange rumors about Discovery. Is this one from Midnight Edge again? Talk about a show with no logic... Why can't your taste in youtube videos be as refined as your taste for sci fi? ;-)
Dave in MN
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 5:58pm (UTC -6)
Language policing?

Really?

Setting aside the fact I grew accustomed to STD (as an abbreviation) before CBS corporate decided on an "official" one..... the abbreviation is apt and reflects how I view this neverending fantasy-trope non-philosophical boom-pow unscientific insubordination-celebrating show.

It's Trek In Name Only.

As far as the rest goes,

#1. I'm on my phone and creating cross-app links are very hard to do .

#2. Instead of typing a full editorial decrying what I readily admit is being reported as a"rumor" from inside the-production leakers, why not go research it yourself?

It's sad to see one's time so mismanaged.
Dave in MN
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 5:59pm (UTC -6)
That was @Tim, not you, Omicron. :)
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 6:06pm (UTC -6)
@Tim C

Do you have any evidence at all that Netflix payed anything up front for the second season? Surely if there was such an agreement, CBS would have proudly announced it?

Is there any evidence that Netflix is pleased with DSC performance? Them listing the show as "#4 to watch with the family" doesn't prove anything. Have you actually read the press release you've linked to? It's not like they've said that the show is ranked at #4 in the ratings or any other meaningful measure.

In fact, to me that press release reeks of desperation. Since when is Discovery a family-friendly show? To me it looks like Netflix put the show on that list in a desperate attempt to get more viewers. Not surprising, given that a show needs to be wildly successful to offset an investment of $8M per episode.

I agree with you that Dave's rumors are baseless. But your own rumors don't seem to be any more believable.
Mertov
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 6:09pm (UTC -6)
According to haters of Discovery, the show has been on life support since middle of season 1. LOL.

“Rumors”? :)))
Is this also Midnight Edge circulating these "rumors", that clickbait account that you cited as a source last time? Or let me guess, another person or a group like them that hates DSC?

Because their "sources" (they like to call it that) also said while back that the show would be canceled after the first season. When it did not, their "rumor" became that it would get canceled after the second season because the second season was "only" filmed “thanks” to Netflix. It did not, sadly for them, their hopes did not pay off a second time, their “rumors” exposed.

And now that their "sources" turned out wrong, again, they bait DSC haters with a "new rumor," Part Trois. But hey, they will keep rinsing and repeating (because there are enough haters that want to hear what they want to hear, perfect for their clicks and ratings) every season, because sooner or later the show will indeed either get canceled or conclude its run and as group y'all can celebrate with champagne and yell "Huraaayy, we told you so." Never mind that the tally on these "rumors" is one out of three at best as of now.

In the meantime, they are always welcome here, wasting more time spewing their hate to get their weekly relief on a show that they are already wasting one hour of their life each week. It must be a special skill to stick to watching a show that one deeply loathes.
Dave in MN
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 6:15pm (UTC -6)
I care about the franchise .... and if there's news to be shared amongst fellow fans, I think it should be out in the air for people to see. I cannot personally attest to the veracity of these reports, but they seem to have had some credibility thus far.

I personally believe that Midnight's Edge report is spot on and they have Free Press protection. Lawsuit-happy corporations CBS, Paramount and Bad Robot haven't done a thing even though it's demonstrably negative to their property and people are profiting big time from reporting as such. Still, that's just my personal belief based on the current data I have.

A philosophical aide:

Would the hardcore doubters trust this info more if CNN was reporting it (in between endless commercial breaks)? The only difference between CNN and Midnight's Edge is the method of delivery... and actually, I think M.E. is way more likely to actually be accurate!

Besides, the days of investigative reporting on such backroom dealings is long gone .... the media goes after low- hanging fruit, they don't care about the copyright esoterics of canon. (Well, they don't care until they get to write a snarky easy-to-Google post-mortem about a dead franchise, they love that!)
SixDifferentWays
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 6:15pm (UTC -6)
This was probably my favorite episode of the series, so far. I’m fully aware that part of it is due to the connectivity to the original pilot, as well as its repurposing into “The Menagerie”. But for me, it really worked. I also really appreciated the added subtext that Anson Mount and Melissa George brought to Pike and Vina during their scene together.
Dave in MN
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 6:21pm (UTC -6)
Midnight's Edge was absolutely correct about CBS trying to extort Netflix to pay extra for the Short Treks ... why do you all think Netflix dumped them unceremoniously into the trailer section after the new season started airing?

I'll give M.E. some journalistic credit, even if no one else here will.
Nicsha
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 6:51pm (UTC -6)
@Booming

That was a gorgeous riposte to @Trent's hyperbole. When you want your criticism to reek of unearned authority, cite to philosophers and be sure to use their abstruse references as abstrusely as possible (those philosophers' observations could be used to indict a Kubrick or a Tarkovsky; the observations speak to nothing about Discovery in particulalr and everything toward satisfying a need to make one's criticism more "wordly" than yours or mine and therefore more "correct." Nothing says critical sophistication like launching a missile to kill a mouse.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 7:17pm (UTC -6)
There goes another one of those "new guys" [Nicsha]. I wonder... how many of them will we see here before the day is out?

As Spock would say: Fascinating.

@Dave MN

Let me ask you a question:

Have ME ever revealed a fact that was both:
(1) Surprising
(2) Found later to be true?

I mean, something that's a little less obvious then "CBS tried to milk Netflix's money in devious ways... again!"? A journalist shouldn't get credibility points for stating that sun has risen in the morning...
Tim C
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 7:31pm (UTC -6)
Two short things, because these fights bore me.

Dave in MN: It's not language policing. You're free to call the show whatever you want. Abbreviate it to XXX if it tickles your fancy. I'm just politely telling you that calling it STD makes you look immature and serves as a deterrent to engaging you in further conversation.

As for "go research it yourself", uh, no? I'm not the one spreading baseless rumours that bear zero actual scrutiny...?

OmicronThetaDeltaPhi: The fact that I'm watching Discovery on Netflix every week, and the great big "A Netflix Original Series" banner that appears before every episode, is all the evidence I need that they are still paying *something* for DSC. Is it on the same terms as the first season? I have no idea, nor do I care.

All I really do care about is that when people start to throw around speculation and rumours, they base it on some kind of reality that we all can share. I mean, sure, you might think that Netflix is desperately lying when they say the show is doing well. But why on Earth would they bother? They have more money than God and if they cared to, they could easily just throw together their own Orville-style Trek clone and call it a day.

As we've seen with the recent cancellations of the Marvel Netflix shows, they are not afraid to cut a popular brand away if they don't think they're getting a favourable deal.
Yair
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 7:45pm (UTC -6)
Last week was a plot-bridge episode but with some pretty bad arc choices, these unfortunately keep reverberating a much better directed and written episode (A high 3 IMHO).

The good has been told by others here: A/B plots that are intended to parallel each other, Callbacks to TOS that work for once, Culber and Stamets getting some characterization again finally (Stamets hasn't been a real character since mid-S1). So I'll focus a bit more about the bad.

* The S31 part gets more irritating. Why should anyone in S31 defer to Georgiou? They know enough about her to know they should keep her far away and on a tight leash.

So whatever with Michael's parents. Judging by its reputation, S31 must be doing far more evil stuff everyday by breakfast. Leland should have just laughed Georgiou off and have her offed offscreen. Plot armour, I know...

* Speaking of S31, I wish Tyler was just written out of the show. Show-wise, he's a confusing character which has been given poor material since S1, and that doesn't change here (Culber carries that plot and scene).

Plot-wise, there's no good reason for him to be allowed on the Discovery. Tyler provides no unique capabilities, but he's a walking unknown risk on a very valuable Starfleet ship. Even when he doesn't try to make trouble!

In this episode, Tyler's very existence on the ship is distracting the crew and leading them away from the real problem, while leading to discomfort among actual ship personnel. Any other S31 person (or better - no S31 'liaison') would have been more credible.

* That leads us to the other arc trouble, Is Pike going to, well, command a bit sometime? Characters keep going against his wishes or disrespecting him. In this episode, he gently corrected Saru, but that was Pike's mess hall and he was absent. I checked how Tyler got in the ship in the first place, and it's Leland all but forcing it. Every instance of Pike's light hand can be individually excused, but overall he's almost not running the ship.

* If we're talking about insubordination, we have to mention our resident serial mutineer. So Michael was so arrogant even at age nine? This does tie in well with her behaviour in the pilot, but the character is now even more unappealing to me. At least the show has been keeping its Michael quotient down recently, and that alone makes it more watchable.
SixDifferentWays
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 8:22pm (UTC -6)
Are new commenters not allowed? I’ve been reading Jammer’s reviews for almost 20 years, but never posted until today. I didn’t realize that there was a vetting process.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 8:29pm (UTC -6)
@Tim C

"All I really do care about is that when people start to throw around speculation and rumours, they base it on some kind of reality that we all can share."

Here we agree completely.

"The fact that I'm watching Discovery on Netflix every week, and the great big 'A Netflix Original Series" banner that appears before every episode, is all the evidence I need that they are still paying *something* for DSC."

Why?

They've already payed over 100 million dollars for the production of season 1. They pretty much jump-started the show all on their own, while also indirectly helping CBS to launch their own streaming platform.

So the way I see it, CBS owes them big time. And Netflix aren't run by idiots. I highly doubt they would have payed this kind of money for a deal that requires them to spend tens of millions of dollars every year just to keep the show.

"As we've seen with the recent cancellations of the Marvel Netflix shows, they are not afraid to cut a popular brand away if they don't think they're getting a favourable deal."

They've already payed for Discovery, though. They might as well make the most of their purchase.

BTW I don't think that Discovery is flopping on Netflix. It is probably doing alright. But there's a difference between "doing alright" and justifying a yearly $100M+ investment to keep the show running.

There's simply no way that Netflix is doing this.

@SixDifferentWays

New commenters are definitely allowed.

But when three of them come within 48 hours and the first post of all three to mock another poster, it doesn't take a genius to realize what's going on.
Robert
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 8:44pm (UTC -6)
@Booming

That was a brilliant rebuttal to @Trent's exaggerations. Nothing says sophomore writer like using a proverbial bulldozer to make a sand castle. When you want your criticism to reek of unearned authority, cite to philosophers and be sure to use their most obscures references for the most dramatic effect. By the way, such philosophers' observations could be used to indict a Kubrick or a Tarkovsky; the observations speak to nothing about Discovery in particular. They only satisfy a juvenile need to make one's criticism more "worldy" than yours or mine and therefore more self-indulgent.
Bold Helmsman
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 9:13pm (UTC -6)
@OmnicronThetaDeltaPhi

Why do you feel the need for these thinly velied aspirations again first time posters? For someone who so eloquently derides the idea of fandom gatekeeping, you're doing some really gatekeeper like things.
Tim C
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 9:35pm (UTC -6)
OTDP, I'm having a really hard time grokking what you're saying. It seems to be: Netflix paid for season 1, but that's all, and they are not paying for season 2 or the recently announced season 3?

I don't want to sound condescending, but I don't think you know much about how these kind of licensing deals work. There's a good explainer here: https://redef.com/original/5b81f41dcbfd8a70442b3e8b, although there are other sources to be found.

In short, Disco is a "Co-Licensed Original", and Netflix very likely agreed to fund more than one season of the show when they initially signed up. Exactly how many seasons is anybody's guess. My personal guess would be two seasons, because the season three renewal announcement came a little later in the game than the season two announcement did, implying that there may have been some renegotiation going on behind the scenes. But that's just speculation.

TLDR, it's very, very unlikely to be how you describe it. Keep in mind that all the legacy Trek shows are on Netflix, so they already had a good idea of how much the franchise is worth to them.

(And a very good idea of which episodes and shows people are coming back to again & again; would it surprise you to know that VOY's Endgame is the most re-watched episode in the franchise? https://io9.gizmodo.com/this-list-of-the-most-re-watched-star-trek-episodes-is-1803780922)
Dave in MN
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 9:36pm (UTC -6)
@Bold Helmsman

I think I can explain Omicron's apprehension about the sudden statistically anomalous burst of new commenters (a sentiment that I happen to share).

We had a rather high-strung guy who posted here regularly until very recently:

#1) he obviously had extensive training in coding,

#2) he was constantly accusing everyone (who disagreed with him) if being a sock puppet .... yet he always seemed to be the only person to regularly have a new persona popping up to defend him just when he needed it most).

#3) He tried to get Jammer to give away all our private information (an idea which Jammer was smacked down immediately). After that, he stopped posting (under his screenname) and ...

#4) i've seen at least once post in this thread that bears a striking similarity to that commenter's idiosyncratic writing style. (No, I'm not naming names.)

I'm inclined to agree with Omicron .... there's a reasonable chance that our old friend is using a proxy to mask his IP while he pops in here to continue his typically snarky commentary ... all without having to deal with the personal consequences of his previous statements/ insults).
SixDifferentWays
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 10:07pm (UTC -6)
I don’t about the motivations of the other new commenters, but I felt compelled to respond to what I thought was a wild, unsubstantiated rumor. Not the most graceful way to make an introduction, admittedly, but there you go.
BRiAN
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 10:11pm (UTC -6)
My biggest fear- that they would totally ruin spocks character- is so far unfounded. Best Spock actor since Nimoy. Very good!

They are sort of ruining other canon. Not sure why they had to return to Talos IV exactly. Im sure there were other ways they could have cured Spock.

Can someone pls explain why the heck Discovery had to go to Talos iv? Michael and Spock had a Space ship!! They could have simply found Discovery and flown to them.


That opening montage of TOS sort of epitomizes my feelings on all of Discovery. It has a kernal of a good concept for doing a new style of recap, executes it with a lot of technical precision, but due to over editing and loud music makes the actual content nigh-indiscernible.
Jon
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 11:34pm (UTC -6)
@ Cathy

You're right that violence is not the answer. I agree with you totally. However, when I say that Culbert's aggression is justified, stop and look at the situation for just a moment. This is very atypical of any situation ANYONE would face. Tyler murdered Culbert, something that Culbert still has a memory of! He remembers what was done to him and now here he is having to deal with this person face-to-face once more. His feelings are quite justified. His actions are wrong, totally, but his feelings are not wrong. How would any of us deal with having someone break our neck only to then have to come back to life and see this person roaming free, absolved of their actions?

Saru allowed the situation to play out because there needed to be some kind of resolution. Them fighting was not the best solution and Pike rightfully slapped Saru on the wrist for allowing it to happen. However, Saru is right in that there is no correct way for dealing with a situation in which there is a conflict between "a Human with a Klingon grafted to his bones and a doctor brought back from the dead". This isn't normal conflict resolution we're talking about because this is an atypical conflict. As Pike said, differences should not be resolved with violence. But this is a situation where no one really knows how to handle it.
Booming
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 1:58am (UTC -6)
Man, you watch Nightcrawler and Moonlight and go to sleep and when you click on this thread again it's back to the loony bin. (By the way, both great movies)
About cancellation I actually saw the same about Orville
https://sciencefiction.com/2019/01/09/ratings-orville-hit-series-low/
And we should not forget that Discovery already got the green light for season 3 while Orville did not. And season two of the Orville is almost done.. Oh oh oh... :D

About the whole shadow poster debate (far better then sock puppeting) I must admit that Roberts and NIcshas post who understandable lauded my musings with deserved praise look a tinsy tiny bit similar. :)
But now I will reveal the actual conspiracy!
Are you ready?
Ok, here it comes: I think that anti discoveries want to delegitimize the new fans of Discovery, or as some like to call it STD, to poison the well... They pose as pro Discovery but make their posts obviously similar so that everybody thinks that they are not real....
Where did I find these rumors? I think it was Midnight Edge or CNN. I often confuse these two.
And I must say that I'm baffled by what people remember. I have a hard time remembering what we were talking about even a week ago.
Booming
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 3:04am (UTC -6)
PS: Uhhh this does not look good, either.
"The second season of The Orville is averaging a 0.81 rating in the 18-49 demographic and 3.35 million viewers. Compared to season one, that is down by 35% and 23%, respectively. Find out how The Orville stacks up against the other FOX TV shows." but it has been approved tax payer incentives for season three so maybe, maybe tax payer money can save the Orville. *fingers crossed*
https://tvseriesfinale.com/tv-show/orville-fox-cancelled-renewed-season-three/
Paul G
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 5:13am (UTC -6)
I too am tired of the 'true fans' who consider themselves an elite. As such, they hang around the internet trying to make new fans aware they are not true fan. Because what they're watching is not real trek/transformers/star wars/lotr/etc.

Being a fan of a multi-billion dollars franchise is not being pure. It is not a priviliege. You are not a superior being if you think the new powerpuff girls show is not 'true powerpuff girls'.

There are plenty of reason to like or dislike discovery, but it being 'not true trek' is not one of those reason. There is no absolute truth about liking something or not. Extremism does not make these forums fun to read. And the extremist never looks smart.
Saru's Ganglia
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 6:35am (UTC -6)
I find the nativity in believing random people on YouTube have serious behind the scenes insight into corporate politics an extremely bizarre phenomenon.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 6:39am (UTC -6)
@Paul

Different people may be attracted to Star Trek for different reasons. That's cool. But it is also cool for an individual to dislike a Trek series when it no longer delivers the kind of entertainment he wants. And there's nothing wrong with being disappointed and even annoyed when something you enjoyed for 40 years is no longer enjoyable.

Look... love it or hate it, Discovery *is* doing many things differently. That's an objective fact. People are allowed to dislike the specific kind of changes that the show is making. This does not make them elitists. Nor does this make them old farts that resist any kind of innovation in the franchise.

You want to know what I'm tired of? People who make gross generalizations and make a habit of trivializing what's important to others by erecting strawmen arguments. You know... things like claiming that the vocal detractors of Discovery expect '60s cardboard sets and that they will rage quit just because the phaser outputs aren't exactly right.

The funniest thing about this latest point, by the way, is that Discovery usually gets those little useless details right (like Spock's room number on the Enterprise). It's the big things they get wrong, like giving us a genocidal emotional Sarek and lizardmen Klingons.
Booming
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 6:56am (UTC -6)
@Omicron
"You want to know what I'm tired of? People who make gross generalizations and make a habit of trivializing what's important to others by erecting strawmen arguments. You know... things like claiming that the vocal detractors of Discovery expect '60s cardboard sets and that they will rage quit just because the phaser outputs aren't exactly right."

Don't you see the irony of that statement?!! :D
Is this supposed to be an example of projection??
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection

You know what I hate?! People who write about what they hate!
I mean, come on! Reflection.
Paul G
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 7:08am (UTC -6)
@omicron
I don't like discovery's klingon either.
That doesnt make discovery 'not true trek'
And that doesn't make people who like discovery 'not true trekkies'
Some (i never said all. No generalization) need to bash the new doctor who and its follower because it's not proper doctor who and the new fans are not proper fans. They're inferior.
That's what I don't like. I don't know if you're one of those purist. I trust you can decide for yourself. Just that the 'not true trek' argument is being used too much in this place, especially as it's not a valid argument.

I don't like michael burnam, but those who do are not better or lesser fans than me.
Paul G
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 7:14am (UTC -6)
About the show.
I find Saru's behaviour suspicious. Maybe now than his race is aware of space travel, they may have plans to conquer the universe?
Meddling with an entire species on this scale is bound to have consequences. Maybe the red angel is a repenting Saru?
JohnTY
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 7:30am (UTC -6)
So what do the Talosians actually do for Spock and why do they need to see an old memory as payment?

The Culber stuff was mostly good. The rest felt like an over engineered waste of time (at best).
Paul G
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 8:53am (UTC -6)
@Saru's Ganglia
"I actually thought the doomsday ships looked like Ba'ul ships"

Indeed.
The red angel is Georgiou (turned good) who travels back in time to save the universe from the kelpians (turned bad)

@JohnTY
The Talosians live in illusions. A real, emotional memory is of great value to them.
And they helped Spock to overcome his time sickness with their mental powers, or something. I was not 100% convinced either, but it kinda works.
Bold Helmsman
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 10:22am (UTC -6)
@OmnicronThetaDeltaPhi

Wow. First you use a strawman about people denigrating others by using straw arguments like 60's sets and phaser outputs, and you turn around and claim that Discovery has got the Klingons 'wrong' because they look like lizardpeople. Do you even notice the cognitive dissonance?
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 11:08am (UTC -6)
@Bold Helmsman

I have better things to do then to justify myself in front of people who debate dishonestly and/or come here looking for fights.

Go find yourself another victim.

Thank you.
Bold Helmsman
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 11:27am (UTC -6)
@OmnicronThetaDeltaPhi

I did not ask you to justify yourself, nor am I debating dishonestly or seeking a fight. I'm simply pointing out the inconsistencies of your post.

I will say that if you have an issue with my debating technique, I hope you could point it out to me.
Dave in MN
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 12:14pm (UTC -6)
@ Booming

Your zinger that was intended to "finish me" Mortal Kombat style is laughable. I'm sorry you think globomegacorp CNN is trustworthy.

Here in the real world, it's a clickbaity blowhard- personality-driven editorializing agenda-driven network with a ton of debunked "reporting" under their belt. But +1 for trying! 👍

The days of journalists the financial & entertainment legacy media actually spending the time to cultivate connections for inside scoops is long gone.

No one at CNN, HuffPo, The Wall Street Journal, Variety, The New Yorker, Bloomberg, Breitbart, MSNBC, The Mary Sue, The Big 3 or a hundred other so-called "trusted" media conglomerates are going to commit resources to reporting on the state of Nu Trek. (They save that kind of monetary investment and scrutiny for the BIG cultural juggernauts: Game Of Thrones, The Sopranos).

It's not like the 90s when various media outlets tried their hardest to find out whether Picard was being written off TNG between season 3 and 4.

This Trek is a niche show on niche streaming service. No one in the mainstream legacy corporate media cares. Therefore, we have to find these sources elsewhere.

Anyways, you can mock all you want OR internalize this as a "maybe" or research it more or think about something else , it's your call. I never claimed the rumor to be gospel truth ... however I CAN say that certain predictions from the same sources have thus have borne fruit.

Do with that information what you will.

PS If the leaks proves true and the next (final) season is really a parade of cheaply done mini-eps, I hope "future me" can resist the urge to come back here to crow about it. ;)
Steven
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 12:26pm (UTC -6)
“This Trek is a niche show on niche streaming service. No one in the mainstream legacy corporate media cares.”

LOL, this show is regularly reviewed and reported on by The NY Times. I think we’re getting trolled here folks...
Yair
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 12:47pm (UTC -6)
There's no way CBS will discontinue DIS or even cheapen too much on the next season, barring something like CBS going chapter 11 or a massive DIS-related PR scandal. It doesn't matter what the ratings are or what Netflix thinks, DIS is just too critical for CBS's future.

DIS is nearly the only selling point of its streaming service ( = the future as far as CBS sees it), plus CBS is planning on other Trek TV shows. Kill off DIS, and CBS can forget about fans investing time in the other Trek shows ("CBS will just cancel them anyway"), while its streaming service takes a big hit. Not going to happen, no matter what anyone says.
Dave in MN
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 1:05pm (UTC -6)
@Steven

Despite your false equivalency, there's a HUGE difference between reviewing an episode and investigating the real world behind-the-scenes events.

@Yair

Once the Picard series is released, this show (in all likelihood) will NOT be a CBS financial/ creative priority.
Alan Roi
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 1:23pm (UTC -6)
@Dave in MN

"Once the Picard series is released, this show (in all likelihood) will NOT be a CBS financial/ creative priority."

CBSAA is looking to build for the future not the past. Disco is about looking to the future, not just of what Star Trek will be but to build a streaming service to compete in the future not the past. Hitching their wagon to a soon to be octogenarian won't achieve that goal. You've been watching too much Midnight Edge, Doomcock pal.

And even 79 year old Stewart has little interest in being the Picard the Berman era fans remember on a show that won't be TNG 2.0 (his own statements) and his crew (so far including a thief and an ex-intelligence officer drug addict) light years from even how close the crew of Disco is to the TNG all-stars that's as the British say 'not bloody likely' as there will be probably as much of a hew and cry about JLPD tarnishing the TNG legacy and demanding it to be sruck from canon as there has been regarding Disco.
Booming
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 1:26pm (UTC -6)
@ Dave
I just for shits and giggles googled it.
Variety has published four articles on Star Trek this year alone. Or were you implying that they don't commit resources to make the articles?
I must admit I was pretty proud about that CNN line. Making jokes in a foreign language isn't easy.
I just found it funny that you believe a small youtube channel who does not provide any information on how they get their content. In my opnion the least trustworthy source imaginable. I know journalists for important papers and they seem really dedicated to finding the truth and give genuine reporting. But I get your point. The fact that more and more papers/news provider are owned by a few super rich is very concerning.
And we all know at this point that you believe in quite a few conspiracy theories which is fine. There are people who believe in ghosts. The psychological impulse behind it is normally the need to feel special (I am one of the enlightened few who knows something more or less important while everybody else is a stupid sheep).
But I want to encourage you to come back if Discovery goes under that would certainly be funny.
On the other hand don't fear that I will ride into the Orville thread like a vengeful Valkyrie when the Orville does not get a third season. Right now because of all the bickering I find the thought pleasing that the Orville could be canceled but if that actually happens and the people who like Orville are sad that would make me sad. I like to tease the Orvillians every now and then but I'm nevertheless happy for them. They have something they really seem to enjoy which is great.
Yair
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 1:28pm (UTC -6)
@Dave in MN,

CBS can't rely on the Picard series just yet. These decisions must be made in advance, and it's just too risky - for all CBS knows that show could bomb. Besides, if DIS is cancelled too soon, fans will decide the Picard show would be cancelled too. They won't invest time in it and it would end up a self-fulfilling prophecy. CBS has no choice but to renew DIS (already done), and reasonably fund the next season.

@Paul G,

We must take this theory to its logical conclusion.

Once the Discovery did its thing and left for Talos, the Kelpiens immediately genocided the Ba'ul, and will slowly but inexorably increase their domain. In the far future, there's a nearly unstoppable Kelpien Empire making the Terran Empire look nice, and the Red Angel is one of the bad people trying to make this reality stick.

The time rift thingy was sent by the desperate underground trying to stop the Empire from ever existing. It tried to do so 'nicely' by preventing the Discovery from awakening the Kelpiens but narrowly missed the time-window to do it. Now the only way to stop the Empire is by blowing up half the galaxy (a direct consequence of timey-wimey theory, don't ask).

This is a longshot, since the underground has so few resources. Discovery will probably prevent this and have a huge victory party. Then, Emperor Saru will watch and quietly snicker from the background, knowing that his final victory is inevitable.
Saru's Ganglia
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 1:32pm (UTC -6)
@ Dave

"Anyways, you can mock all you want"

I mean, if you insist.

What's next - Discovery turns frogs gay? CBS kidnapper the Lindbergh baby? Alex Kurtzman is an actual demon?

The cynicism toward real news organizations is starkly hilarious when you're putting trust in some guy on YouTube. We might as well look to astrology or the Long Island Medium next.
Booming
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 1:33pm (UTC -6)
@ Dave
ps: Could you provide the articles/source that predicted this third season thing which as you mentioned has predicted other stuff correctly. Could you provide the articles with the predictions that came true?
Dave in MN
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 2:02pm (UTC -6)
I will spend the half hour to collate together some cross-app links when someone can produce a current mainstream legacy news article where Discovery 's backroom production is covered in a probing journalistic manner.

Otherwise, Google is our friend ....
Dave in MN
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 2:04pm (UTC -6)
And again, an article "about Discovery" doesn't mean it's investigative journalism. So much false equivalency!!!
OmicronThetaDeltaPhis
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 2:04pm (UTC -6)
@Saru's Ganglia
"...Discovery turns frogs gay?"

I knew it!
Alan Roi
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 2:48pm (UTC -6)
@Dave

I have found that people who are looking for what they want to see and hear on the internet often take rumors as fact no matter the source. People who desperately want Disco appear to be particularly suceptible to this phemomenon despite all the actual evidence to the contrary, and clickbaiters know this.
Saru's Ganglia
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 2:50pm (UTC -6)
Also even if Discovery is canceled after 3 seasons I dont see how the would prove any of these conspiracy theories correct unless theres any actual info included that its canceled for anything beyond the reasons any other show gets canceled - ie underperforming.

I realize that's less interesting than an elaborate conspiracy of super duper secret contracts and corporate intrigue but if you predict a show is going to end after every season - inevitably it will come true.

Hail Zorp.
throwaway username
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 2:58pm (UTC -6)
These comment threads really need some heavy-handed moderation. Right now, they're just useless (or worse: actively harmful), aggravating bullshit.
Dave in MN
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 3:09pm (UTC -6)
Last time i'm saying this: I can't vouch for what others are reporting, i'm just relaying the message.

It may not be true, I don't know. (For the record, it seems to pass the smell test for me personally, but that's just my best conjecture as a third party.)

But considering the historical track record of those relaying the information, there's enough of an actual tangible chance that this is actually happening where I felt comfortable sharing it ... whether it ruffle a few feathers or not.
Jammer
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 3:12pm (UTC -6)
I agree that this discussion really needs to get back on track. This endless sniping about Orville vs. Discovery fans and who is attacking whom, and using the discussion of renewal or cancellation as a jumping-off point for media coverage and YouTube investigations ... it's really gotten kind of out of hand.

The goal of the discussion should be discussing the *episode at hand*. I understand that conversations spiral into related topics, but this has spiraled too far.
Dave in MN
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 3:37pm (UTC -6)
My apologies, Jammer.
Paul G
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 3:44pm (UTC -6)
@Yair
"Now the only way to stop the Empire is by blowing up half the galaxy"
And blowing out the mushroom universe too. After this disaster, the Prime Directive takes the place of General Order 1, which was giving too much latitude to ship's captains.

Saving Burnam was important too, as she'll be the one who push the button and make the sacrifice. The Red Angel had to save her in her childhood for this only reason.
Spock could not stand having his sister destroying a whole universe, so he ask the talosians to make him forget everything about her.
spinalatte
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 3:58pm (UTC -6)
I liked this one, I was worried about how they would deal with Spock, but can not complain too much. Pace seemed good, good FX, I did not feel naseated following the camera shots.

I did not not have a huge issue with "the fight." I think in homage to TOS we need to see more double leg jump kicks, and double-fisted axe blows to the back, since those are signature Kirk moves.
Dave in MN
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 4:06pm (UTC -6)
@Yanks

Somewhere upthread I posted a response to your query about the rare Xeleyan disease and I reread my response and ... yeah I was shooting for snarky but it came across as rude. Sorry about that.
Peter Swinkels
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 4:27pm (UTC -6)
Much better. Now we have to wait until the next episode is released.
Yanks
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 6:16pm (UTC -6)
@ Dave in MN

"Somewhere upthread I posted a response to your query about the rare Xeleyan disease and I reread my response and ... yeah I was shooting for snarky but it came across as rude. Sorry about that."

No issues, I'm bulletproof. I came to "the internet" back in 2006 to find out why the series I love was canceled. Ended up defending it at every turn, on the ST.COM message boards if you can believe it. I was getting hit from all sides. I earned the name "Enterprise Defender" :-)

Jammer didn't specifically mention it, but new posters are most certainly welcomed SixDifferentWays.

As to how successful 'Discovery' is, I'm not a numbers guy, but 28 million Discovery views per week on All Access isn't chicken feed. That's not counting any Netflix viewership. (rest of the world) Love it or hate it, it appears to be pulling in the views.

Here's where I got my info. He talks about where he got the info in the first couple minutes of the video. I've found this guy to be very levelheaded in his reviews.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3FAuYIG4ck

I for one am glad it got a season 3 and if it is pulling in this kind of viewership, it should continue past that.

I'm also hoping 'The Orville' get renewed too, but it's numbers don't appear to be very strong.
Vulcan logik
Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 12:54am (UTC -6)
Awesome episode! I'm binge watching all 3 episodes with Pike in TOS now.

Do you think we're going to see how he got all messed up? It happens within 10 years, right?
Bob
Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 4:27am (UTC -6)
28 million just within the US? Has that been confirmed? That is massive numbers, doesn't seem the type of show to pull those numbers.

I thought the episode was "ok". Probably 2.5 stars. I'm enjoying Pike. What I am not enjoying though is Section 31. They're ridiculous. They were going to straight up murder Spock who is a Federation officer. I don't care how "out the law" they are, if they are going around murdering their own officers then they are cartoon villains.
Booming
Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 7:04am (UTC -6)
@Bob
It means that Discovery (Season 1 and 2) episodes have been watched 27.6 million times over the past week.

And about Section 31. While I'm not a fan they clearly stated during DS9 that they would have killed Bashir if he hadn't passed their tests. So they seem to have no problem killing Star Trek officers or in Spocks case force something into his brain which could lobotomize him in the process.
Yanks
Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 7:11am (UTC -6)
@ Bob

"28 million just within the US? Has that been confirmed? That is massive numbers, doesn't seem the type of show to pull those numbers."

Not sure where I got 28. The vid indicates 23+ million.
Booming
Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 7:13am (UTC -6)
@Bob
And according to Goldmedia (no idea if that is a viable source) Discovery has 15.7 million clicks on Discovery episodes last week on Netflix.
Rob S
Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 8:54am (UTC -6)
@Rahul
Good review, however, gay people fall out of love and have physical fights just the same as anyone else. It doesn't mean they're turning straight when they do.
Rahul
Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 9:44am (UTC -6)
@Rob S

Yes, of course.

I was only joking given all the changes Culber said he was feeling since his return.
Cody B
Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 9:47am (UTC -6)
@ Booming

Moonlight is a very good movie. I cried towards the end.
Dave in MN
Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 9:57am (UTC -6)
@Rob S

Great point!

I'm sure the religious fundamentalists of the future will be pleased. Who needs gay conversion therapy when you can just send your kids to the Upside Down?
Luiz Castanheira
Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 9:57am (UTC -6)
I Think It is a waste of Jammer's talents that he is reviewing Orville instead of Expanse... I Just dont understand... Sorry!

The Episode was great. Four Stars for me! The First One to achieve that Mark!
Rahul
Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 10:05am (UTC -6)
@Luiz Castanheira

I agree with you about Jammer's talents being wasted on "The Orville" -- especially when there is/were "The Expanse" and "Babylon 5".

Also agree that this episode was the best DSC has produced so far.
Dave in MN
Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 10:08am (UTC -6)
I just decided to use the "Find In Page" feature to search this discussion. I wanted to see the context in which the show is being brought up ... you know, if T.O. fans are inserting themselves into the discussion, drawing comparisons, etc.

So I typed "Orville" in the search box and pushed enter.

Do I need to spell out what I found?

There's a reason Jammer wants the back & forth fanbase attacks to stop. If you can't see his reasoning, replicate my little experiment and draw your own conclusions.
Paul M.
Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 11:26am (UTC -6)
@Rahul: "I agree with you about Jammer's talents being wasted on "The Orville" -- especially when there is/were "The Expanse" and "Babylon 5"."

What happened to Jammer's off-season reviewing project he kinda sorta announced last year? I really hoped it'd be The Expanse. As far as I am concerned, this site is the absolute Number One place to find some damn fine space sci-fi reviews, and the community that sprung up around here isn't too shabby too! Seeing as how The Expanse is the best space show since the glory days of BSG (and I don't say this lightly), who better to review this mighty fine piece of TV than ol' Jammer? And what's more, I really think he'd enjoy it. It has just the right mix of character drama, political intrigue, action, and weird alien science to be right up Jammer's alley.
Gil
Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 3:43pm (UTC -6)
Let’s clear a few things up.

Without any actual hard numbers to reference, estimates of “viewership” of Discovery on All Access or Netflix amount to no more than either idle speculation and/or statistical guesswork, and press announcements by either streaming service concerning "viewership" figures should all be taken with a grain of salt.

Fact: CBS has never released hard numbers on their All Access subscription service, let alone provided a show-by-show viewer breakdown.

Fact: Any mention of All Access subscription figures come via press release which, by their very nature, “accentuate the positive.”

Fact: Netflix has never released hard viewing figures on Discovery.

The most recent All Access subscription figure that can be cited is 4 million which, if it need be said, does not automatically translate to 4 million Discovery viewers. Moreover, the quarterly report that is commonly referenced to tout a jump in new subscription numbers lumps Discovery in with new subscriptions/free trails for their broadcast of the Super Bowl. There are no specific numbers to distinguish the two, and, of course, there is no reporting of subscription/free trail cancellations after the Super Bowl.

As for Parrot Analytics and Goldmedia*:

Parrot Analytics is a data analytics firm out of New Zealand which tracks "demand expressions", i.e. it "measures global demand for TV content through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites".

These sources, subjectively weighted, are then run through some fuzzy math to arrive at a “demand rating” which is supposedly an expression of consumer “demand.” Which means that even bad reviews here on Jammer’s site, satirical memes posted to Reddit, Midnight Edge’s videos and torrents could all be counted as expressions of “demand.”

Therefore “demand expression” ≠ viewing figure(s) or paid subscription(s).

So that 24 million “demand“ figure for Discovery sourced from Parrot Analytics should in no way, shape or form be confused with actual episode viewing numbers. Goodness, Riverdale, with 53 million expressions, is double that of Discovery.

But the implication of Parrot Analytics “demand” model is obvious: that in a media world of nebulous, unreliable, or unavailable data, even bad news is counted as good news. And funnily enough, all things being equal, it may be the case that there are actually more people watching Discovery via pirate sites/download than via All Access and Netflix combined.

In brief: Parrot Analytics’ job is to scrape the bottom of the proverbial bucket aka “the internet” for any and all “expressions” of a given variable (Star Trek: Discovery, for example), and then run these “expressions” through an algorithm intended to measure a show’s presence/popularity; Parrot Analytics then sells this data back to a studio, CBS for example, who in turn writes bullish subscription projections for their shareholders and glowing marketing copy for the media at large.

Conclusion: bullshit in = bullshit out = short term $$$ (also see 2008 Subprime Mortgage meltdown).

* Goldmedia is a marketing company out of Germany which uses data analytics from sources such as Parrot Analytics to help clients package, promote and sell their product(s).
Booming
Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 4:40pm (UTC -6)
@Gil
I probably shouldn't engage you but still. Your write"These sources, subjectively weighted, are then run through some fuzzy math to arrive at a “demand rating” which is supposedly an expression of consumer “demand.”
I got a pretty thorough statistics training.
First of all you just describe how statistics work. You have data and then you have to weigh this data. Second, I highly doubt that you know the formula this company uses to weigh things and you also have probably no idea what data sources they actually use.
Therefor you have no idea whether what they do is correct or not.
Justin Minor
Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 4:53pm (UTC -6)
Putting on my Karnac hat. Tears open envelope and blows


Georgio keeps mentioning Control and artificial intelligence. In the Section 31 Books Control was an Ultron-Like AI that wormed it's way into Starfleet and essentially became section 31.

Sloane told Julian that 31 has no headquarters, doesn't submit reports and reports to no one

Now all of a sudden 31 is like a third branch of the Federation.

So here's my theory.

Control, like Ultron realized the best way to save lives is to wipe them all out so they aren't a bother. Control modified the Doc Ock probe and has invaded Ariam. It sent all the probes in Spocks vision that wiped out the Alpha Quadrant.

So to stop this, the Red Angel is Georgio. She saved the World War 3 survivors because someone there was the Creator of control. It was probably Joshua. He had to survive Ww3 so he could help undo it later.

She will destroy 31s AI and officially 31 will be disbanded and done away with. But in reality, led by Georgio it will mutate into the small shadow organization we know from Ds9.

Remember, Because of the Defiant, she has knowledge of at least ten more years of Federation future, she can use future events to her benefit, like orchestrating Kirk to steal the Romulan cloaking device or making sure the next Klingon war starts near Organia so the Organians can stop it.

Based just on a small section 31 rather than this mega faction with ships and starbases, the section 31 show could be awesome just watching Georgio pull the strings and shape the Federation future.

I wonder how much I will get right.
Andre
Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 8:37pm (UTC -6)
Firstly. To every debating who the red angel is: ITS MICHAEL. Obviously. This show has made her the ultimate central star with all the solutions so you think they will make the entity saving the ENTIRE galaxy someone else? The writing here is not nearly that sophisticated. And it has never been in star trek. The star has ALWAYS been the primary problem solver/hero (think Kirk, Picard, Janeway, Sisko). So its Michael.

This episode was, in my humble view, 3/5. I may be too young to care about the reference to the Cage, so I wasnt nearly swayed by that. My suspicion many persons who liked it were. I stand to be wrong on that.

Details. The portrayal of S31 is different from previous treks. Its more CIA/KGB. Im giving them time to develop it. Its neither terrible nor great. IT can be tied into continuity easily, as S31 can be discredited during this period and forced deep underground by TNG time nearly a century later. Let me ask you- what was the name of the British Empire's secret agency in 1919? What about the russians? Gotta go and check right? Exactly. So to all the people screaming about how it breaks continuity, chill entirely out.

There are missing significant opportunites to delve into ACTUAL societal debate between Tyler and Pike. Pike seems more idealistic and Tyler more realistic about the real threats facing the Federation. It could try to tackle a problem which genuinely defines the current age in Western democracies: should we be idealistically sticking to our principles of respect of human rights, dignity and freedom even in the face of incredible threats of terrorism, and a resurgent russia/china, or should Western states do what is necessary to protect its population, even if it means curtailing freedoms? Should speeh be limited to safeguard feelings ? I dont know these answers, but these are worthwhile discussions. Which STD doesnt do, but has time to denounce the social terror of men arguing.

The interaction between Michael and Spock is, in my opinion, ridiculous and one of the most forced conflicts in television history. Sorry not sorry. Sibblings argue all the time. Why would this shape Spock's life? Also hes logical enough to see the purpose of her actions as a matter of love. Its honestly so stupid that adults carry that around.

Just. Leave. The. Doctor. Dead. Again unncessary forced drama. Stupid.

Saru let the fight happen. On a ship. In a military. A fight. Allowed. by the 2nd in command. In Starfleet. Okay. I waste no more words on the implausibility of that story line. If that makes sense to you then try that at work tomorrow. See how fast you get fired.

Ill summarize with this. Im glad star trek is back on 'television'. Most series take 3 years to find their footing. Ds9 is my favourite trek but their first 2 seasons were the WORST of all series. Same for TNG. Discovery is finding its stride. Better with season 2, next season should be golden.
Startrekwatcher
Tue, Mar 12, 2019, 1:28pm (UTC -6)
@andre

Tng and ds9 had a nice cast and interesting characters from the start to get the viewer through rough start. DIS doesn’t have that

I’d also disagree about DS9 season 2. It was a great season. Most Trek like of all its seasons. Season one was awful but had some good episodes. More good episodes than DIS season one

And I thought TNG season one was good myself with Naked now, last outpost, where no one has gone before, the battle, neutral zone, Datalore, conspiracy, coming of age, when the bough breaks, skin of evil and heart of glory
BZ
Tue, Mar 12, 2019, 3:03pm (UTC -6)
I'd say Saru and Tilly are interesting characters. Stamets to a certain extent as well. Lorca would have been interesting had his character not gone off the rails. In fact, he was shaping up to be the most interesting on the show, which is part of why the MU arc destroyed the whole season for me. And now we have Pike who pretty much outshines everyone else this season.

As of season 1 on TNG, I'd say only Picard and Data were established as anything special. Voyager's truly interesting season 1 characters were The Doctor and Tuvok; maybe Tom Paris could be on that list too. DS9 had a lot more, and had probably the best season 1 in all of Trek.
Cody B
Tue, Mar 12, 2019, 4:12pm (UTC -6)
@ Andre

I don’t think you have to be old to have seen and watched TOS and the cage. I mean I was in pampers while TNG was gaining traction and I’ve definitely seen TOS. Discovery wouldn’t reference TOS if it wasn’t popular. Enterprise and discovery take place in that era for a reason. There are enough fans of TOS to sustain giant television shows that only take place in that era and have passing references. So I’m going to guess the majority of fans didn’t watch TOS when it first aired.
Trent
Tue, Mar 12, 2019, 6:07pm (UTC -6)
BZ said: "As of season 1 on TNG, I'd say only Picard and Data were established"

I just finished rewatching TNG season 1; all the characters are locked down and cleanly established. Riker and Picard have great rapport, Data and Geordi's friendship begins, its Troi's best season, and Worf gets one great episode. Even Tasha "rape gangs" Yar is cleanly sketched as an archetype.

In "Discovery", characters exist to hurriedly connect the dots a writer's room laid out before any script was written. The result is a serialized show in which episodes, always feeling the need to move forward, are constantly dropping or hurtling away from past ideas and issues. Witness how the Red Lights are introduced but their awesomeness and mysteriousness never dwelt upon, or artistically conveyed or captured. How Tig Notaro is given a massive introduction, but then jettisoned. How the second episode introduces themes of religion and churches, but then gets bored with it. How the Enterprise teasingly pops up, then disappears. How L'rell finds herself in the middle of a civil war, then vanishes. How Ash's baby appears, then is exiled. How the spore drive eco-catastrophe is a big issue, then is averted by removing naked dudes covered in tree bark. How a big deal is made of tracking and chasing Spock's shuttle, only to abandon the chase and then randomly find him on Vulcan. How Mirror Empress seems interested in playing Klingon politics, only to get bored and start chasing Spock. How Kaminar's entire socio-bio-political order is upended by the Federation, and then forgotten about. How Vina pops out of nowhere, as though this overstuffed season has time for Pike's love life, and then disappears.

Airiam will turn up in the next episode, wow fans with her "awesomeness" for a few hours, and then similarly be forgotten about. Because "Discovery" exists in the moment. It doesn't want you lingering, but overwhelmed and rushing to the next episode, which rolls out the same baits and gimmicks. And like season 1, all of the little "things" and "stories" and "arcs" it pretends to be about will most likely have cartoonish and silly resolutions. Resolutions so bad, that just describing them will be laughable.

You can see this already happening, with the revelations about spore space, about Michael/Spock's childhood conflict, with the Section31 Killed My Parents revelations, with the Galaxy Destroying Squid Drones, and now with the Red Angel revealed to be a time traveler. "Discovery" has never landed any big "idea" its ever had, it just tricks you into thinking it knows what its doing. It takes advantage of audience faith.

But audiences love that. All this baiting is why serialization became popular, first in the Victorian era when modern technologies allowed for cheaply printed disposable pamphlets/papers with serialized, cliff-hangered tales which never ended and kept interrupting themselves, and then with TV soap operas, where endless banal "twists" and cliff-hangers were used to sell detergent to hooked housewives. The science fiction equivalent of this would be the SF/fantasy serials of the 1930s (Flash Gordon et al) and mid century comic-books, the amalgamation of which is essentially Discovery (a Marvel show with aspirations of being science fiction). Serialization which transcends all this is probably something like The Wire, or the Bajor/Cardassia/Federation arcs in early DS9, all of which feel like something out of Balzac, or a novel.
spinalatte
Tue, Mar 12, 2019, 8:17pm (UTC -6)
Good write up Trent, I had forgotten about many of those plotlines in paragraph 3.
brian
Tue, Mar 12, 2019, 9:44pm (UTC -6)
@trent

great writeup man.

I am still unfortunately willing to turn my brain off and enjoy this new star trek for what it is. But it utterly lacks in the writing department any real ideas of substance. Which is a shame, idk why they cant hire some genuine sci fi authors to come in. I am reading some newer short story science fiction and there is a lot of really new and interesting stuff coming out suddenly.
Alan Roi
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 12:35am (UTC -6)
@Trenk

I find it interesting that since you can't follow all the threads of Discovery's season, your first instinct is to brush it off as the modern equivalent of a 30s serial. Many people are actually interested in seeing how the threads actually play out before making their pronouncements. The assumption is that such threads will never be returned to, or that they were as important as some people think they are when they are introduced. Jett Reno, for instance, was not given a 'massive introduction'. Ash giving up his baby was part of his story but not the whole, as we are seeing. The spore drive never caused an eco-disaster, as what was going on in that ep was something else entirely. We are likely to return to Kaminar and lastly Vina's reappearance was reflective of a complex tale of regret, longing and reconciliation that 'If memory serves' repeatedly dipped into.

I also get that people want their TNG style stories that offer a simple direct plot that is wrapped up in a bow at the end of each 45 minutes. And that they can't wrap their heads around a far more complex narrative than what Berman-Braga era Star Trek offered. But dismissing it as 30's serial or soap opera level storytelling (I have seen plenty of both to know Discovery isn't offering such narrative simplicity) is yet another example of the Dunning-Krueger effect displayed by critics who can't keep up with what their watching, don't want to or are unable to offer the degree of attention this series requires from its audience. Instead they try to reduce the series down to what they are familiar with/want it to be and find that can't be done.
Cody B
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 12:57am (UTC -6)
@ Trent

So when do you plan to stop watching?
Boura
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 1:03am (UTC -6)
@ Cody B

See brian's comment above:

"I am still unfortunately willing to turn my brain off and enjoy this new star trek for what it is. But it utterly lacks in the writing department any real ideas of substance. Which is a shame"

I'm sure Trent still watches Marvel movies (I do).
Boura
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 1:11am (UTC -6)
@Trent

"the HORRIBLE THING which Michael did to Spock as a child all those years ago. Turns out - and the series thinks this is a SHOCKING REVELATION! - she WHITE FANGED him"

Thumbs up for the White Fang reference.

@Alan Roi

"complex narrative"

There is nothing complex about this. Is this the best the writers could do?

Also, I can't see how that little Spock kid that was so full of emotion became the Spock we all knew and loved in TOS, just because Michael Superwoman left him. Especially given that Spock said he knew her reasons for leaving.

Again, why did they have to shoehorn Michael and the rest of the nonsense in as a prequel. This show should have just been made to stand on its own merits.
Boura
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 1:12am (UTC -6)
Agree about The Expanse - great show.
Boura
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 1:22am (UTC -6)
@Alan Roi

"Many people are actually interested in seeing how the threads actually play out before making their pronouncements"

Like Season 1? You'll forgive the bitten for being shy this season.
Worf
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 1:46am (UTC -6)
I think you guys are too hard on this show. It will almost certainly go down as one of the best sci-fi series of all time. At the moment it's not quite there, sitting just below Andromeda and Stargate:Origins, but give it another season or two.
Booming
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 2:01am (UTC -6)
@Alan Roi
I don't think what Trent wrote qualifies as the so called Dunning Kruger effect. Even though Trent uses hyperbole and makes some flimsy comparisons who are a little insulting to some people here but that doesn't mean that he thinks he is smart while actually being an idiot (or vice versa; intelligent people often underestimate their abilities).
@
Trent
- I would say that they dwell on the red lights quite a bit. There are several, I would almost say numerous, scenes where different people talk about the red lights and what they could mean.
- Tig Notaro is not given a massive introduction. She was a side character in two episodes. She was good in one but terrible in the other and she will probably reappear, you know, like a side character.
- I'm also pretty sure that the whole "the spore drive is bad for the magic mushroom" will become important again. They talked about the fact that they cannot use it often several times.
- And the whole Klingon story was abandoned because it was terrible and everybody hated it. I liked the Bajor stuff in DS9 but there is a reason why we barely saw Bajorian politics after season 2. It was Kai Winn and that's it. Even Shakaar who had several episodes dedicated to him more or less disappears. Kira just says in one episode that they broke up and he is gone forever.
- And the religious debates continued. The whole Ba'ul-Kelpian storyline was basically a story about religion and how it can be used to control people. Maybe you didn't notice it because you have already made up your mind about the show?
- And they trace and find Spocks shuttle and then continue to search for him and then it is revealed that Spocks mother hid him and wasn't sure if she could trust Burnham with the information. This is all set up.
I could continue but I hope my point came across. Discovery is certainly no soap opera which most prominent feature is that nothing ever changes (apart from getting new characters in when the ratings drop) and TNG or TOS are actually more like soap operas. Something horrible happens, peoples brains get melted on the bridge by some alien like Nagilum but next week everything is hunky dory again and nobody is traumatized by something this horrific. Or Data stealing the the ship and kidnapping a 1000 people. Forgotten the next week. Let's not look at the past with rose tinted glasses.
I would appreciate more thorough characterizations and a little bit more breathing room for scenes which this season did but not enough.
I will wait for this season to conclude and even if it is another let down I will probably watch season three to see if it gets somewhere. But if season 3 does not fascinate me then I'm done.

@Cody B.
Off topic. I liked Nightcrawler a bit more than Moonlight because Jake Gyllenhaal is so great in that movie and it is such a twisted American success story. Also Moonlight didn't surprise me that much. I pretty much got what I expected but I teared up quite a few times during the movie.
Alan Roi
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 2:06am (UTC -6)
@Boura

"Michael Superwoman" "Nonesense"

Funny.

Maybe if you can get past your prejudices you might actually see what's going on in this show. Until then those blinkers are going to cause you problems.
Boura
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 2:46am (UTC -6)
@Alan Roi

What's going on in this show is that Michael Burnham is Star Trek's answer to a question nobody asked.

She can do anything, even make Spock a true Vulcan.

Yes, I'm the one with the blinkers on.
Alan Roi
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 3:06am (UTC -6)
@Boura

It's interesting to find that so many people watching Discovery either have no siblings so cannot understand what it is like to have a sister or borther, or have never either thought about what effect their older siblings have had on them or the effect they have had on their younger siblings.

Those of us who do and have don't really think that the dynamics in the Sarek family are so implausible.
Booming
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 3:13am (UTC -6)
Because this Burnham debate is creeping back into the conversation I just want to say:
Pike. Totally a Mary Sue!
Alan Roi
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 3:57am (UTC -6)
@Booming

I'm beginning to wonder with this ep, exactly how long Pike can resist paying another visit to Talos IV, and if his 'accident' in ten years happened the way we think it did now, and how much more was an illusion than we were originally lead to believe (can we even be sure that the beep beep chair was real?)
Jammer
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 4:10am (UTC -6)
Review now posted.
Tim C
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 6:39am (UTC -6)
Just want to say: Jammer, IIRC, when you went to pitch stories for Voyager back in the day you were introduced to the writers as "one of the last Trek reviewers with any integrity left". I think you've maintained that reputation* well. Your Disco reviews are standing in stark contrast to a lot of other outlets in their thoroughness and their well-reasoned analysis. Keep it up. (You really should have a tip jar somewhere on the site.)


*even if you thought Into Darkness was good, which, well, geez...
SC
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 7:42am (UTC -6)
Into Darkness is very good.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 8:04am (UTC -6)
@Brian
"I am still unfortunately willing to turn my brain off and enjoy this new star trek for what it is."

You know something? I wouldn't mind "turning off my brain" if the stories and the presentation were enjoyable to me.

But I don't find it enjoyable at all. I can't sit through more then 30 seconds of this show without a million things bugging me. The show claims to be prequel but it is way too trigger-happy about making new sh*t up just for the sake of making new shi*t up.

I used to say that I don't like Discovery because of continuity and consistency issues. But that's inaccurate. The truth is, we Trekkies can fanwonk an explanation to almost anything, if the show gets us to CARE about its stories.

For example, I could dream up a dozen excuses as to how Spock had a step-sister we've never heard of before. I just don't see the point in meddling with the history of an iconic character in this manner.

This is, really, my problem with the entire show. They've failed to convince me that they're adding depth to an already existing universe (which - by the way - is something that ST:Enterprise succeeded in doing from the first minute).
Booming
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 8:17am (UTC -6)
@SC
You mean as a parody? :)
Or should I say: KAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHNNNN!!!!
MadManMUC
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 8:36am (UTC -6)
Well, Jammer, I'm frankly surprised you gave this 4 stars. And I'm not saying you're right or wrong, I'm just surprised. I would have given it 2.5 at the most, and this is in large part to the Section 31 thread just being entirely too silly, and because I kind of find the whole back-story between Spock and Commander Wooden Plank—err, Michael Burnham—simply implausible, given what we knew of Spock from the various series and films. Like OTDP said, doing this was simply unnecessary.

All the same, I'm totally with you on Anson Mount, he was the best thing to happen to this series, and I'm saying this as someone who generally dislikes the show.
MadManMUC
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 8:41am (UTC -6)
Oddly enough, now that I'm thinking about it, I haven't formed an opinion of Peck as Spock yet.

I still 100% disagree with him being on the show in the first place, and to have MB as his adoped sister; I think this was just a dumb idea.

But, we have a new Spock whether we want one or not, and those misgivings haven't coloured my impressions of Peck's performance either way, yet. I think he might have ... potential. We'll see. I suppose the coming episodes will show us if he's got what it takes. Something tells me the actor himself will want to do well by the character, in the same way Mount is doing his best to build on Jeffery Hunter's original Pike.

In many ways, Mount has it a lot easier than Peck. Canon Christopher Pikle was only around for one episode, so it's not like we had a whole lot to go on in judging Mount's interpretation. I suppose he was more free than Peck is.
Yanks
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 8:42am (UTC -6)
Nice review Jammer.

Glad my prediction was correct.
Rahul
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 9:17am (UTC -6)
Enjoyed reading Jammer's review as usual. Not surprised at all he rated it as 4 stars. As I've said before, this is the best episode DSC has produced so far and my rating also reflects that.

This is what we want to see from DSC, albeit there are things that could be improved upon. But if, positioned when it is in the Trek canon, DSC can connect TOS threads, retcon successfully -- and bottom line, tell a compelling story with decent to solid acting performances, the issues with the series (direction etc.) will gradually fade into the background. All the other Trek series had their consistent flaws as well.

I still can't truly say I like DSC like I do the other 5 Trek series, but after this episode I certainly appreciated it a lot more.
HC
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 10:18am (UTC -6)
Excellent review of an excellent episode. As always, it's refreshing to see someone who's been writing about Star Trek for so long be able to approach this new series on its own terms and give thoughtful critique on that basis.

Although the reasoning for Burnham reliving her childhood memory at the end was a little contrived, the execution was just wonderful. Spot on direction and editing, combined with terrific performances from all four actors involved. Made for a very moving scene that lives up to the promise of what they've been teasing since the beginning of the show.
Chrome
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 10:57am (UTC -6)
Great review, Jammer. Although I put this up there as high as you, I can understand why you liked it. I really do agree that the episode's main story - all that relates to memories on or around Talos IV - was enjoyable to watch.

Re: Star Trek: Into Darkness

I caught this on TV last year and I found myself enjoying it more than I did in the theater. Maybe once you get over the initial "what have they done to my childhood" shock you can see the underlying story. Many critics are so hard on JJ Abrams, but he really does seem to be a big fan of TOS and it shows in his movies. Into Darkness is good on its own terms because it has what I would call a very Trekkian depiction of how we should think about terrorism and how we measure our reactions to it.
Mertov
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 10:57am (UTC -6)
Good review as usual Jammer (I know I say this a lot). I love the "loony plausibility" bit :)

I also liked the beginning with "The Cage" footage. I understand that there are a lot of people who have not seen it (not talking about most of the posters here) and if anything at all, it made them go back and revisit the underrated episode. I thought that there was something special to opening the latest episode of the Trek world with the very first bit of Trek ever filmed and as you say, "This may be a knowing wink to the audience, but sometimes you need a wink to remind you of what we're really talking about here, which is a meditation on Trek's own myths."

Booming and SC, Spock's "Khaaaaaan" in "Into Darkness" totally trumps Kirk's "Khaaaaaaan" in "Wrath of Khan" :))))
Booming
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 11:16am (UTC -6)
@ Mertov
"Booming and SC, Spock's "Khaaaaaan" in "Into Darkness" totally trumps Kirk's "Khaaaaaaan" in "Wrath of Khan" :)))) "
ok, so you are writing us from an insane asylum! :)
Mertov
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 11:26am (UTC -6)
You got it. My choice of verb must have given it away :)))
Saru's Ganglia
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 12:09pm (UTC -6)
you know it's funny how Into Darkness sort of legitimizes this misconception in popular culture that the KHANNNN scream was an unironically serious moment in Star Trek, when in fact it was Kirk hamming it up to trick Khan.
John Harmon
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 12:09pm (UTC -6)
Wow. I thought for sure this would get 2 stars at best. I mean it’s just an hour or bad service, information we already know, and it took 8 episodes just to tell us the entire universe is at stake...again. Not to mention the laughably bad drama between young Spock and Burnham is that she just “White Fanged” him, which is so overdone it’s just self parody these days.

I have no idea why people from Section 31 are taking orders from Starfleet when they’re supposed to be above oversight, but then they also act like the can give orders to Pike which also makes no sense. Why is Leland keeping Georgiou around? She’s clearly trying to massively screw him over. She’s Starscreaming him at every turn. There’s no logical reason for him not to get rid of her or kill her.

Saru allowing the fight to happen was bad Star Trek, and having Pike bring it up as bad doesn’t excuse it.

Just too many baffling questions. I just can’t abide this new Star Trek made from writers who used to work on soap operas and CW shows.
Dave in MN
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 12:22pm (UTC -6)
^

Agree completely with John, except I'd nick off a half star for the CGI "Talosians" and the Spore Gay Conversion therapy.
MadManMUC
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 12:36pm (UTC -6)
'Spore Gay Conversion'

The what, now?
Booming
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 12:56pm (UTC -6)
To all the befuddled Discovery haters. I can explain Jammers opinion.
He is a CBS shill.
They are playing the long game. Decades ago they planted him in the Star Trek community, slowly building up his reputation and bam 20 years later he can influence the opinions with is "reviews"! Well played CBS, well played.
Maybe I should make youtube vids. The truth is out there and I know it all.

@MadManMuc
Dave is incapable of understanding that "the gays" can break up without becoming heterosexual and what is better to make this point than to joke about a pseudo scientific torture treatment hundreds of thousands of Americans were forced to undergo by the people they trusted the most, their parents.
As a bonus this treatment also quintupled suicide rates.
So funny.
MadManMUC
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 1:04pm (UTC -6)
@ Booming:

'@MadManMuc
Dave is incapable of understanding that "the gays" can break up without becoming heterosexual and what is better to make this point than to joke about a pseudo scientific torture treatment hundreds of thousands of Americans were forced to undergo by the people they trusted the most, their parents.'

I see. So a comment thread best avoided, then.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 1:18pm (UTC -6)
@Booming

No need to be an ass about it.

I doubt many people here are surprised by Jammer's rating of this episode. We've already had 3 JJ-Trek movies and 20 Discovery episodes to realize that Jammer's view of what Star Trek is is very different from (say) mine.

The warmongerers (from both sides) may find this hard to believe, but it's okay for somebody else to like something you don't. That doesn't make that guy stupid, nor does it make him shill. The world would be a much less interesting place if everybody had the same opinions.

And to all those who come here looking for a fight: Just stop it. Your posts are niether productive nor are they amusing. It is these warmongerers that are the problem, regardless of what TV shows the like and dislike.
philadlj
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 1:31pm (UTC -6)
I hold "The Cage" pilot (available on US-Netflix in all its remastered glory) in high regard, and when I first heard the shuttle computer say "Talos IV" last week, I suddenly got goosebumps.

It was, quite honestly, amazing to see a planet, a species, and an iconic character in Talos IV, the Talosians, and Veena respectively, brought back to life FIFTY-FOUR YEARS after we last saw them, and with significant emotional effectiveness AND narratively practical reasons. That's the power of Star Trek at its best.

It's actually the second instance of me watching a thoroughly successful resurrection of an over five-decade-old franchise being resurrected in 2019, the other being Studio Mappa's modern re-imagining of the classic anime Dororo to Hyakkimaru.

I fully endorse the 4-star rating, which gives "If Memory Serves" the distinction of being the highest-rated episode of DISCO.
philadlj
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 1:41pm (UTC -6)
One of my favorite "if memory serves" lines:

"If memory serves, there was a dubious flirtation with nuclear fission reactors resulting in toxic side effects. By the beginning of the fusion era, these reactors had been replaced, but at this time, we may be able to find some."
Dave in MN
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 1:43pm (UTC -6)
@Booming

#1. I''m gay.

#2. Your nebbish superiority complex and constant negativity has grown tiresome to me. I'm not going to interact with you anymore.
Booming
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 1:51pm (UTC -6)
@Omircon
Why am I an ass?
Again the psychological disconnect is baffling. You insult me and then end your post with: Stop fighting!
I just found the reaction to Jammers review funny. Some seem to be almost shocked. And can you blame people to be pissed?
There is a group of 4-6 people who come here week after week spitting on Discovery. And they mostly make judgments not constructive criticism.
Just look at the kind of phrases they use.
This is from five negative posts about this weeks episode.

" just self parody" "laughably bad drama" "from writers who used to work on soap operas and CW shows" " shoe-horned" "desperate" "Dialogue was especially cringe-worthy" "sick and tired of everything" "bearded poverty Spock" "they don’t know what a good Trek episode is anymore" "completely unbelievable" "ridiculous" "ridiculously hackneyed soap opera bullshit" "laughably absurd" "Look how much contempt the writers have for you." "a terribly acted Vulcan spews terribly written dialogue" "info-dump orgy" "inability to understand history, the past, or any sort of context" "weird-ass necrophilia"
Booming
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 1:57pm (UTC -6)
@ Dave
I'm saddened by this... maybe you should stick to Orville then you don't have to endure my nebbish superiority complex.
I had to look up nebbish: "`sad sack,' a loser, a person who can't make any thing or any situation work right for him or her; unassertive, shy, timid."
So am I timid and unassertive, shy and timid or do I have a superiority complex?
And being gay and joking about that. Classy move. During the last years you see more and more gay uncle tom or is it self hating gays. I always confuse the two.
MadManMUC
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 1:57pm (UTC -6)
'There is a group of 4-6 people who come here week after week spitting on Discovery.'

In all fairness, I've made no secret of the fact Discovery is my second-least favourite of all the Trek series (the bottom of the Trek barrel is still firmly coated with the detritus that was ENT for me), and I'll not hesitate to shit on it if I fancy it/thinks it needs it.

However ...

What I *won't* do is insult anyone who does like it.

What I *will* do is keep watching it anyway, in the hopes I will finally get to like it. Why? Because I'm a Trek fan, and I want to watch Trek on TV. Simple as that. And if Discovery improves in my eyes, then I'll be happy. If it doesn't, I can always ignore its existence down the track, like I do with ENT.
MadManMUC
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 1:58pm (UTC -6)
Further — despite my foul language and apparent negativity — I actually do try to be constructive about my criticisms, and suggest how I think it could be better.
Booming
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 2:01pm (UTC -6)
@MadManMUC
And I don't have a problem with people criticizing the show. It is far from perfect.
None of the examples I cited above were from you. I have a problem with hat watching. Do it if you must but please spare us your bile.
MadManMUC
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 2:04pm (UTC -6)
Well ... I'll admit I hate-watched S01. :D

I took up S02 because I know first seasons of any show can be naff, and I was also interested to see what Mount would do with Pike. And I'll also admit S02 did hold a few other pleasant surprises for me, so that's a net positive.
Booming
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 2:13pm (UTC -6)
@Madmanmuc
Just think about the more sensitive types and how they react to the negative language. It is not fair to them. Thats why I get so defensive.
And for the sake of peace in this thread I will remain from interacting with some people here and only address constructive criticism or positive comments and ignore the rest.
Booming
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 2:15pm (UTC -6)
whoops! I meant refrain...
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 2:55pm (UTC -6)
@Booming

The real problem with some of the haters isn't the negativity par-se, but the fact that they aren't supporting their opinions with anything. There's a difference between posting a seriously thought-out negative opinion and outright mockery.

Unfortunately, there are too many people - both among the fans and the detractors of Discovery - who don't understand this difference. So we have childish hate rants from one side, and people who get personally offended by every single negative opinion on the other side.

Gotta say that niether of these things is conductive to having a civil discussion.
Paul M.
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 3:09pm (UTC -6)
Great review, Jammer. Thoughtful, wordy, and just plain fun to read. It's strange. I've been a Trek fan for decades -- since early nineties -- but I can hardly separate my love of the franchise from my appreciation for this site anymore. Jammer's reviews has become a natural extension of Star Trek for me. Fifteen years and counting. Keep it up!
Ian Whitcombe
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 3:40pm (UTC -6)
And here it is, Jammer's first four-star review for a Star Trek episode since ENT's "Damage", fifteen years ago next month.
Booming
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 5:30pm (UTC -6)
@Omicron
I think the negativity is a problem on it's own. You have your years to put this all into perspective. I'm a counter-puncher and I relatively quickly forget what we talked about because of more important stuff but think about shy or nerdy kids who just want to talk about what they like or dislike about this show. I don't like bullies but hey, I have enough on my plate and don't need to push back against these people.
Dom
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 7:09pm (UTC -6)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi, I sympathize and am really distressed by what the Star Trek fandom has become. Perhaps naively, I used to think of Trekkies as more intellectually inclined and really believed in the Trek ideals of diversity and respect for other opinions. Unfortunately, Discovery and the JJ Abrams fans have revealed just how petty and aggressive some fans really are. This whole experience has soured me on the whole franchise. Fortunately, I can always go back and watch TNG or DS9.
FitBit
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 10:18pm (UTC -6)
I have followed Jammer for years, and respect his opinion greatly. He is my favorite Trek reviewer. I have tried three times with Discovery, each time canceling my CBS subscription before the trial expires. I actually love The Cage so I was intrigued. I restarted my subscription, and canceled it again at the episode's conclusion.

This is what a 4/4 episode is now? Lens flare? Dutch tilts? Wall to wall scoring that manages to be EVEN MORE boring than late era TNG? Pathetic fan service? Editing that made me think of the theatrical release of Legend? Robotic acting (90's era Trek seems positively radiant compared to this im that department)? I thought I was watching Battlefield Earth. And as a gay man myself, the melodramatic gay subplot made me sick. And how in the hell is Pike one of the "great" captains now? Worse than Archer. This is truly Trek for the consumer era, in the same way the worst episodes of Berman-era Trek were. But this has no heart.

I guess I'll just be "that guy" and stick to my DS9 reruns. At least they didn't have Spock.
Thomas M
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 10:55pm (UTC -6)
When the show hinted that the Red Angel was from the future, my first reaction that it might tie into the Short Trek “Calypso,” since that episode seemed so far removed from anything the show was actually doing (and the Saru short tied in directly to the season).

Rewatching “Calypso,” it still doesn’t seem to connect to anything, although the main character in it, Craft, who is human, has a big tattoo on his back that looks somewhat angelic (turns out its a cyclops owl, a native species from his colony planet).

Otherwise, the idea of time travelers from the future intervening in the past reeks a lot of the temporal Cold War from Enterprise, so much so that I’m inclined to wish it was tied into that. At least that would provide a decent sense of continuity I suppose.

However, I suppose if this Red Angel is trying to stop the destruction of all life in the galaxy then that means the show is creating the future that leads to Kirk and Picard and Sisko et al. from a natural timeline where everything was destroyed (not unlike when the temporal agents saved Enterprise at the end of season 1, I suppose). This would supposedly preclude the 29th century time cops from intervening.

In thinking about what the future machine fleet that did this was, my first thought wasn’t about the Borg, but the planet-killer from the episode “The Doomsday Machine.” What if Discovery retcons it so that the weapon that Kirk later encounters was actually from the future, a remnant of however Discovery ends up stopping the destruction of the galaxy? Just a passing thought. (Though it means requiring Spock not to know what it is. On a side note, Peter David wrote a pretty great novel that imagined the Doomsday machines in an ancient war with the Borg.)

On the other hand, Spock’s curiosity over the Red Angel reminded me a lot over his desire to mind meld with V’Ger.

Also, the “Interstellar”-type black hole was a neat visual, though anyone familiar with The Cage (as Spock was) would have realized pretty quickly it was an illusion. Likewise the final twist where they fake out Section 31. It basically puts the episode in a catch-22, as the legacy viewers will only appreciate the nostalgia as the story will seem predictable, while the new viewers who know nothing of The Cage might enjoy the tension, but the episode isn’t made for them.

Finally, still no mention of Sybok despite some moments he could have been name-dropped. Not that they need to, but I found it interesting that Burnham chastises the Talosians for wanting to see her and Spock’s pain, and seeing (and releasing people from) personal pain later turns out to be Sybok’s shtick. If the Discovery writers ultimately choose to completely sidestep the Sybok issue, it may be fodder for some future novel that Sybok learned of Talos from keeping an eye on Spock’s adventures, ended up going there, learned some of his mental tricks from the Talosians.
Shannon
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 11:03pm (UTC -6)
Great review, Jammer! Completely agree with the 4 stars, which is what I gave it in my comment last Thursday... I'm also glad that you are willing to rate this show based on its own merits and ability to tell a good story, as opposed to tethering it to past versions of Star Trek. Canon certainly has its place, but the writers do need to have some freedom to entertain us with good story-telling. I think Discovery has finally found that balance.
The Gorn
Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 1:20am (UTC -6)
Thomas M wrote:

"When the show hinted that the Red Angel was from the future, my first reaction that it might tie into the Short Trek “Calypso,” since that episode seemed so far removed from anything the show was actually doing (and the Saru short tied in directly to the season).

Rewatching “Calypso,” it still doesn’t seem to connect to anything, although the main character in it, Craft, who is human, has a big tattoo on his back that looks somewhat angelic (turns out its a cyclops owl, a native species from his colony planet).

Otherwise, the idea of time travelers from the future intervening in the past reeks a lot of the temporal Cold War from Enterprise, so much so that I’m inclined to wish it was tied into that. At least that would provide a decent sense of continuity I suppose.

However, I suppose if this Red Angel is trying to stop the destruction of all life in the galaxy then that means the show is creating the future that leads to Kirk and Picard and Sisko et al. from a natural timeline where everything was destroyed (not unlike when the temporal agents saved Enterprise at the end of season 1, I suppose). This would supposedly preclude the 29th century time cops from intervening."

I may be a simpleton, but here is how I see it:

Discovery is still using the spore drive, which, in some way, harms the mycelial network, which in turn can effect (and even destroy) "all life as we know it". No need to look any further. They have to get rid of the spore drive at some point and this "story line" is the set-up for the inevitable anti-climax that will follow.
Lynos
Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 4:50am (UTC -6)
It was a good episode and a good review by Jammer, but personally I don't really feel that it achieved any particular greatness.
I dunno. Yeah, it's cool to see the Cage and seeing Vina and the Talosians again ("we can speak the old-fashioned way for your benefit and for the benefit of modern audiences"), but other than that... what? Perhaps it's because I'm not really emotionally invested in the retconned relationship between Spock and his sister. I don't get it. Why does she have to be his sister other than connecting Discovery to TOS? I'm simply not that interested in this plot line and the stakes it supposedly raises.
For me Saints of Imperfection for example was a more satisfying episode because it managed to be exciting and thoughtful without tethering itself to old Trek and to fan service. It stood on its own.

But what is a four star episode in a serialized drama anyway? I feel it's much harder to pinpoint than with an episodic show.
Cody B
Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 5:58am (UTC -6)
@ Lynos

I think that’s part of the problem. People’s interpretation of what deserves four stars. To me it’s very simple- How entertained and completely drawn in was I? Other people seem to want every single loose end the series has to be tied up or they can’t say it was a good episode. Or others seem to get hung up on things “not being realistic” which is silly to expect from a fictional television show featuring multiple alien species.
Shabuti
Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 8:13am (UTC -6)
I can't give this a full star rating. Discovery once again shoots itself in the foot.

Every episode this season, up until this point, we've had Burnham saying (paraphrasing):

"What I did to Spock was so bad I can't even speak about it. It was so so so bad I can't tell even my closest friends and allies".

Fine, but when the payoff is "I called Spock nasty names", I'm sorry, that just doesn't cut it with the tension they've tried to create by continously bringing up this 'terrible' act. Multiple times. Per episode. And when they were children for that matter. Same old Disco. I pray for a true 4 star episode.
philadlj
Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 8:39am (UTC -6)
Not sure if it was intentional, but Stamets' "doomed perfect evening" setup for Culber reminded me of the times Geordi tried to create a romantic atmosphere for a love interest that simply wasn't that into him. His doomed holodeck date, his doomed dinner date with Dr. Brahms...poor guy had NO game.

Stamets would have had better luck reconciling with Culber at the SPACE IKEA on Starbase 12...where space relationships go to die!
TRK79
Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 1:52pm (UTC -6)
I have not been a fan of Discovery for all the reasons that have been rehashed endlessly, most particularly what I believe is lazy writing/fan service that makes the galaxy narratively smaller (a sin committed in spades with Star Wars).

However...

This is easily among my favorite Trek episode regardless of era. The revisit of Talos IV put a fresh spin on that unique race- remember visiting Talos IV is the only capital offense in Starfleet- and really fleshes out Christopher Pike as a person.

The writing team and Anson Mount have crafted Captain Pike into one of the more compelling characters in Trek lore, all the more for knowing his fate. No wonder Spock would have risked everything for him.

If the writers' room can find it in themselves to create characters this engaging outside of canon, they'll be onto something.

BUT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD IT IS NOT ALL ABOUT MICHAEL BURNHAM!
Seriously it's like watching new Voltron and Allura.

Sorry, honey. The universe didn't revolve around Archer, Kirk, Sisko or Janeway.

It revolved around Jean-Luc Picard only because Q was a horrific asshole.
MadManMUC
Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 3:19pm (UTC -6)
Oh, god.

What if the Red Angel is Q?
Trent
Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 5:22pm (UTC -6)
Alan Roi said: "Many people are actually interested in seeing how the threads actually play out before making their pronouncements."

Sure. The show has people excited to find out "how and why Leland killed Michael's family!", "How Michael is related to Spock!", "What the Enterprise is doing on screen!", "What the Red Angel is!", "How Culber will return!", "Why Michael and Spock had a feud!", "What Section 31 is up to!", "Is Ash still a threat!", "Why are time travelers meddling in the past?", "Did Spock commit murder!?", "Will Tilly die?", "Will Saru die?", "What does the Red Angel want!", "Why's the spore network attacking!" etc etc.

Season 1 relentlessly employed a series of similar hooks. None of these trite questions will be resolved well, or have been resolved well, because they're cynically rolled out for very trite purposes in the first place.

Alan Roi said: "Jett Reno, for instance, was not given a 'massive introduction'."

She was. I was referring to the huge and costly action/flight/rescue sequence employed to get our heroes to her, and save her.

Alan Roi said: "The spore drive never caused an eco-disaster, as what was going on in that ep was something else entirely."

It did. It is initially said that the spore drive damages the mycelial network, which is alive, or filled with living things. When Culber died, a tear filled with his "life essence" traveled into the network. This caused "Culber to be sucked into the network" and be "resurrected as an entity made of spore/mushroom substance". The JahSepp then attack Spore Culber because he is "foreign" - this doesn't make sense, as he can't return to Stamets precisely because he is made of native mycelial stuff - but find it difficult because he is "hiding himself in mycelial tree bark". Once Culber is removed, the series vaguely tells us that spore jumps now "don't damage the network", only "jumps which leave stuff behind" (this contradicts season 1, where the Discovery can spent a long time in the network, whilst it takes an hour for the ship to entirely dissolve in season 2, when in the network).

Maybe you think this is good writing. I don't know. IMO it's the silly handling of a silly problem that only a silly writer boxed in by silly producers would have introduced in the first place.

Alan Roi said: "I also get that people want their TNG style stories that offer a simple direct plot that is wrapped up in a bow at the end of each 45 minutes. And that they can't wrap their heads around a far more complex narrative"

In TNG et al, when a ship uses the warp drive, it stretches "horizontally" and warps away. In "Discovery", the ship simultaneously spins horizontally, vertically (doing a 360 numerous times), and leaps/hops along the Y axis. The latter is more complex. It is also silly. And it is complex for the sake of difference, of overkill (more is better!), rather than substance or good aesthetic sense.

Look at season 1. It was very complex, but only in the sense that it was convoluted, shapeless, poorly structured and paced, and resorted to gimmicks or short-hand rather than good writing; shallow complexity. More "Lost" via Michael Bay, than "The Wire"*. Nobody dislikes season 1 because they couldn't follow it, they dislike it because the storytelling was comicbook level stuff.

*it's worth remembering that this series itself has connections to "Lost", and that Kurtzman spearhead many of Michael Bay's films. Bay is himself one of most financially popular directors in the history of cinema. Everyone is hooked by his "Transformer" movies, "Pearl Harbor" etc. But these are also glitzy junk.

Alan Roi said: "But dismissing it as 30's serial or soap opera level storytelling"

The raisen-detre of soap writing is to perpetuate the plot for the sake of perpetuating the plot, using very base "shocks". Virtually every Discovery episode has tossed in a new soap hook, usually in the last act.

Alan Roi said: "are unable to offer the degree of attention this series requires from its audience."

You're talking about a show by a show-runner who has never made something that requires anything from its audience. Most of the time, I would say "Disco" requires attention in the way your phone, or social media, requires attention, which is to say it is written primarily not to say something, but to monetize attention; to co-opt and hijack your nervous system with a kinda corporate mandated gimmickry ("stay tuned for the next piece of the puzzle!"). It's aggressively exploitative, though of course most TV is like this (using torture, nudity, rape, hookers, murder, last act-twists/shocks, mystery box plots etc to generate jolts).

Booming said: "I would say that they dwell on the red lights quite a bit."

They fail at making the Red Lights seem mysterious, alien, wonderful, scary, sublime and interesting, and fail to convey its size, location, and effect on the Federation and other civilizations. This was a great concept, and was potentially a great concept up until season 3, but it's not been handled with any sense of skill or weight or patience. Compare to how the monolith is handled in "2001: A Space Odyssey".

Booming said: "And the religious debates continued."

I didn't say it didn't continue, but that the show is bored of such debates. In the same way season 1 "continued" to be a "nuanced and interesting" look at imperialism, fascism, morality, racism etc etc, whilst constantly going off on tangents.

Booming said: "And they trace and find Spocks shuttle and then continue to search for him and then..."

Did you think that "arc" was good writing? Instead of a gripping and sustained chase of Spock, a tense cat and mouse game, Spock evading them at every turn with his superior brain skills, an uninterrupted, masterful chase between a lowly shuttle and a giant star-ship, you get snippets of an idea. You could write a better and more gripping "search for Spock" or "track that shuttle" arc, than that. That the show didn't is probably because the writers only loosely know what the other is doing.

Booming said: "certainly no soap opera which most prominent feature is that nothing ever changes"

The trait of soaps is that ridiculous things are constantly injected to shake things up. A is suddenly sleeping with B. C suddenly finds out that D is A's father. B learns that A is actually his son. B murdered A's family and forget to tell C that she doesn't actually hate him. Tune in tomorrow for the SHOCKING CONCLUSION TO TONIGHT'S SHOCKING REVELATION!

I know I sound annoying, but I keep seeing a repeat of Season 1's patterns (cool/intriguing pilot, a degeneration into alternate reality silliness [sporeland, mirror universe etc], the reappearance of characters from the past (Mudd etc), sporeland affecting a character psychologically [Stamets/Culber], the revelation that "the galaxy is under threat", the 8th/9th episode receiving Jammer's "best rating" etc). I don't believe the writers know what they're doing, and that the various subplots will eventually be revealed to have been hollow.
Booming
Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 5:31pm (UTC -6)
@ Trent
" Compare to how the monolith is handled in "2001: A Space Odyssey".
Ok, Discovery is not on the same level as Kubricks masterpiece. Well... what is?

"but that the show is bored of such debates."
You have repeated that phrase but I still don't know what that means.

And on a personal note. If I would tell you what happened to me during the last 6 month you would call my life a soap opera. Life is crazy.

" I don't believe the writers know what they're doing" I guess we know the answer to that question in two, three episodes tops.
Alan Roi
Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 8:28pm (UTC -6)
@ Trent

"Trite" "Dosen't make sense" "Silly" "Silly" "Silly" "Silly" "Overkill" "Gimmicks" "Glitzy junk" "gimmicky" "Wait a moment while I attack the show runner before resuming, and claim he's somehow connected to Michael Bay and Lost - except if they've worked on anything together, or if Kurtzman ever worked on Lost or with Bay in any capacity not even IMDB is aware of it. Why lie about these connections? I don't know.) "agressively exploitative" "ridiculous" "silliness."

What really stands out to me is this persons attempts to tie Kurtzman to Lost and Michael Bay, which is total BS and Discovery to Soap operas. So, short of being able to offer any real criticism, because he's not actually able to follow a show more complicated than, say, a 50s pulp fiction series (which he would likely staunchly defend as well as its creators for not knowing any better), he is just going its silly, its silly, its silly as though he is stuck on a loop.

Sorry, sir, where it comes to Discovery, your essays really aren't worth more than skimming through to see how many time you are going to use the word 'silly'. Which amusingly originally meant 'touched by God'.
Alan Roi
Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 8:38pm (UTC -6)
Oh sorry, Kurtzman was one of the writers on 3 scripts for Bay ten years ago. Apparently that counts as 'spearheading many Bay films according to @Trents hyperbolic mind. Okay.
William B
Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 8:42pm (UTC -6)
Huh? Kurtzman (along with his Abrams-Trek collaborator Orci) wrote the screenplay to Transformers, which Michael Bay directed and executive produced. It's the fourth thing listed on "known for" on Kurtzman's IMDb page, at least for me (mobile viewing) and the first work listed on his current Wikipedia page. A few minutes' research reveals he also co wrote screenplays for Bay's The Island and the second Transformers movie.
William B
Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 8:43pm (UTC -6)
Oh, I see Alan Roi already addressed this. N/m.
Trent
Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 9:02pm (UTC -6)
Booming said: "I guess we know the answer to that question in two, three episodes tops."

If it follows the season 1 template, it suddenly introduces a new sub-arc now (this is when we went Mirror Universe), deep dives it for 3 action episodes, then goes off the rails 5 eps from now.

Alan Roi said: "Oh sorry, Kurtzman was one of the writers on 3 scripts for Bay ten years ago."

He has a track record for writing and producing very bad stuff, mostly SF, both on TV and the big screen. You may want to watch his critically derided "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen", it shares many similarities and ideas with this season of Disco.

Alan Roi said: "he's just going it's silly"

I mean, there's no other way to describe a guy being resurrected by a tear as a mushroom clone and protecting himself via covering himself with tree bark in a trans-dimensional plane while his buddies learn of galaxy destroying squid drones sent out by a time traveling robot. I know the Transformers movies made a lot of money with this plot, but that's because they dressed it up in lots of CGI, shaky cam, violence and 2 second snap-editing and...OHHHHHHHHHHHH, NOW I GET IT..
Mertov
Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 9:58pm (UTC -6)
"He has a track record for writing and producing very bad stuff, mostly SF, both on TV and the big screen."

According to whom?

Personally, I agree that he has written some bad stuff (like "Transformers: Revenge", but he has also written good ones (I don't consider Star Trek 2009 "bad" by any means, it was also well received by critics. But that is just one example, he has other successful TV shows to his credits).
Alan Roi
Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 11:15pm (UTC -6)
@Trent

Or I could watch Fringe which featured some brilliant scifi storytelling. Hell, talking about Michael Bay, Black Sails, IMHO, is one of the best series in any genre I've watched in my life. But perhaps I should have avoided it because Michael Bay is some sort of scary monster who shouldn't be allowed near a camera.

I Understand that TV isn't the product of auteurs, at least most of the time, so if an idea seems worth the time I will give it some of my attention. And maybe you can't actually think of any other words than "silly" for things you can't or aren't willing to even try to wrap your head around. Okay. I like that Discovery is mind expanding Trek, you know the whole "new life, new cilizations thing". Its been a long time since I've gotten any from the franchise. But then again, I count Altered States as one of my all time favorite Science Fiction films so I guess I'm not so freaked out when things get the tiniest bit surreal and my mind gets to work on figuring them out to my satisfaction, as opposed to rejecting them out of hand.
JohnTY
Fri, Mar 15, 2019, 8:23am (UTC -6)
@Jammer

FYI someone just hacked your site and gave the Star Trek Discovery episode "If Memory Serves" a 4 star rating. They even tried to ape your style and wrote a full review.

Changing your password more often might prevent this happening again? Not sure, I'm not an IT expert.

Cheers
Yair
Fri, Mar 15, 2019, 9:04am (UTC -6)
@JohnTY,

That's pretty funny, but you are wasting your time.

One of the things I appreciate these reviews for is that hostile comments will have *zero* influence on Jammer. He won't hesitate to praise something pilloried in the comments or vice versa. That's amazing integrity - or maybe he's an android from the future.
JohnTY
Fri, Mar 15, 2019, 9:39am (UTC -6)
@Yair

One person's integrity is another's inflexibility.

At any rate, I appreciate jammer's reviews and the general quality of their content and composition (far better than anything I could ever do). I just didn't think it was worth pointing out everything I hated about this episode, as others have already said it.

And, if I'm honest, I feel strangely sad at how much my views on this season differ with jammer's. Pretty pathetic.

I really just need to stop watching this show. The fact that I effectively get it for free is a complete curse.
Paul M.
Fri, Mar 15, 2019, 11:15am (UTC -6)
I love how the usual suspects are getting tilted hard (harder than usual, that is) at the mere notion that a Discovery episode might merit Jammer's 4 stars.
Gil
Fri, Mar 15, 2019, 11:38am (UTC -6)
Hey-Hey Kids, Guess What Time It Is?

“The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show” (6 mins abridged: https://bit.ly/2JayxeJ) was a very well received and reviewed 8th season episode of The Simpsons that not only satirized the lengths a television studio would go to in a desperate attempt to resuscitate a flagging IP, but also was a self-referential jab at The Simpsons own (long-running) raison d’être. This metaparody takes the form of having an hitherto unknown, shamelessly trend baiting, character named Poochie crudely shoehorned into the established history and lore of the show in a desperate bid to grab the attention of young viewers and hopefully boost ratings.

Part 1: Starring Michael Burnham as Poochie

Michael Burnham is an hitherto unknown character who, not unlike Poochie, typifies current (controversial) meta-trends in demographic pandering, and again, like Poochie, has been shoehorned into the history and lore of a well established IP, in this case Star Trek®, and more specifically the House of Sarek, thus granting her pre-eminent status in the show simply by virtue of association with the most iconic character in the franchise: Mr. Spock.

Her impromptu rise to prominence was staged in the second season opener “Brother” by opening with a young Michael riding Sarek’s coattails in diaphanous slo-mo to her new life of narrative privilege—to say nothing of being the proverbial Trojan Horse in the Sarek household to get the TOS fan service rolling … AND …

“Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo!”

… just like that Michael Burnham is transformed into the belle of the ball and forthwith granted royal leave to cross the canonic threshold in regal splendour, a silver spoon brandished in one hand and the keys to the Star Trek® kingdom jingling forebodingly in the other.

But then: what of Sybok?* Well, the difference between Sybok’s and Michael’s trespass is one of authorial intent and canonic implication. While Poochie was obviously created to generate laughter, Michael Burnham was (possibly) created in a frenzy of coked out virtue signalling**.

Part 2: The House of Jenga† (formerly The House of Sarek)

Is it any surprise that Mr. Spock’s enduring popularity has ultimately led to the character’s overexploitation? That producers and salaried fanfic writers alike would be unable to resist his fanbait allure? That where there was just one, there are now two purported siblings of the official son of Sarek to have popped out of the woodwork?

Heck, in another 20 years there’ll probably be four, five, six … golly, maybe even a whole planet of Sarek offspring. And, jeez, who knows, when TNG’s “The Chase” is retconned in 40 years the pitiably few True Trek Fans™ remaining will probably be confronted with the gob smacking revelation that the progenitor of all life in the universe wasn’t a lonely enigmatic species personified by a pre-Changeling Salome Jens but, in shocking actuality, is the unofficially licensed love child of Paramount's Mr. Spock property and CBS's Michael Burnham property††.

In any case, the character of Sybok was a clumsy hook in a silly, half-baked, low-budget feature that never posed a serious threat to his canonical half-brother Spock since that character’s acceptance of his own “humanity” had already been explored thematically in TMP with satisfying results. Besides, Sybok (presumably) died at the end of TFF, and TUC, which immediately followed, was TOS’s last hurrah anyway … so hasta la vista, Sybok, we hardly knew ya!

Michael Burnham, conversely, is a character who doesn’t just impact Spock in one episode, graciously dies, and then exits stage right never to be heard from again (we wish), no, her grating presence throughout twenty-three episodes and counting has had, and will continue to have, an ever-expanding ripple effect not only upon Spock, Sarek, Amanda, and Pike, but the whole bloody shebang!

Part 3: Errr … Did You Just Say Shebang?

OK, time out. Let me think.

Grrr! Would you just wait a gall darn minute?! I’m thinking.

Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

OK. I suppose. Nah. Maybe. Ehhh …

Alright, scratch that. I’ve figured it out.

Michael isn’t just Poochie. Uh-uh. She’s not even that freeloader … what’s her name? Cinderella? No, no, no. She’s something worse. Far, far worse. Michael Burnham isn’t just Star Trek’s Poochie … because … because Michael Burnham is really Star Trek’s “Impossible Girl!”†††

Endnotes:

* Ya, why hasn’t Sybok been mentioned thus far? Oh, that’s right, Sybok’s owned by Paramount.

** As though Star Trek® has heretofore been a regressive, all white male IP to be rightly sundered and woked by a tribe of “latté-sipping” neo-Visigoths (con)descending en masse from the Hollywood Hills in their stealth Teslas to wage a proxy war on behalf of the under-served and under-represented who have otherwise been passing time updating their Instagram feeds whilst sweating cattle calls in Studio City.

† Only if one accepts Discovery into Trek canon without demur, of course.

†† The resulting paradox is cause for much consternation on “Jammer’s Reviews: The Post Post-Millennial Edition.”

††† Clara Oswald: controversial, timeline interloping companion to the Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors.
Alan Roi
Fri, Mar 15, 2019, 12:38pm (UTC -6)
@Gil

Awesome job of parody there.
Ruth
Fri, Mar 15, 2019, 3:59pm (UTC -6)
This has been the first episode of Discovery that I’ve really genuinely enjoyed for its own sake and not just in comparison to the rest of DSC which hasn’t generally lived up to my expectations. Sometimes I’m surprised by what Jammer does and doesn’t consider a 4 star episode particularly in DS9 and VOY but I’m in total agreement this time, including with the problems this episode has and is thoroughly enjoyable in spite of.

I don’t like the mirror universe as a serious concept in general and I don’t like Section 31 but I loved Georgiou relishing the Talosian’s trick on Leland. That was hilarious. I want to know if Burnham telling Spock to say goodbye Spock came from them or the Talosians or what. Maybe I have low standards or a stupid sense of humour but the episode got serious points from me on that alone.
Tanner
Sat, Mar 16, 2019, 8:06am (UTC -6)
Will this ship EVER fire phasers??????????????????????????????????
Paul Mehlin
Sat, Mar 16, 2019, 10:42pm (UTC -6)
There are times I find Discovery almost unwatchable. This was absolutely not one of them. An excellent episode!
Thiago Santos
Sun, Mar 17, 2019, 4:51am (UTC -6)
There we have it. The first 4 stars episode: well deserved.
SIdney
Sun, Mar 17, 2019, 7:26am (UTC -6)
Clips from "The Cage" = fan service. Since I'm a fan and I like good service I'll take it.

Talosians are still just as powerful as we saw them in "The Menagerie" and this story is the sequel before the sequel - Continuity maintained.

The acting is fine. Some characters are more fleshed out than others and some performances do stand out but I'm not going to complain about who's better at their job.

Section 31 - I'm still not sold on this out-in-the-open and openly defiant group. Starfleet can't contain them or work with them it seems.

Story Arc - as a previous poster stated, we're in the age of shorter seasons and season long story arcs. DS9 was the closest thing to this and they produced some phenomenal stories from The Dominion war arc so this structure is fine with me too. I mean, it has to be big - end of life as we know it kinda thing.

I enjoyed this episode overall. Best they've done and a great episode overall.
Dom
Sun, Mar 17, 2019, 12:35pm (UTC -6)
@JohnTY, I also have access to CBS AllAccess for free, but I haven't bothered with any of Season 2. I just decided that there are too many other shows that deserve my time more than Discovery. It makes me sad as a Star Trek fan that I don't enjoy this latest series, but I think I'm much happier overall for not trying to "hate watch" this show. I'll always love Star Trek and the stories it gave me, but I also realize that increasingly it's part of my past rather than my future. And that's fine.
Brian Lear
Sun, Mar 17, 2019, 2:35pm (UTC -6)
Gil, I love you, and your writing. Please never leave this community!
JohnTY
Sun, Mar 17, 2019, 11:53pm (UTC -6)
@Dom

Yeah good choice and good willpower. If you didn't like season 1 (like me) you won't get much from season 2.
Yanks
Wed, Mar 20, 2019, 5:50pm (UTC -6)
@The Gorn

"I may be a simpleton, but here is how I see it:

Discovery is still using the spore drive, which, in some way, harms the mycelial network, which in turn can effect (and even destroy) "all life as we know it". No need to look any further. They have to get rid of the spore drive at some point and this "story line" is the set-up for the inevitable anti-climax that will follow."

Very interesting.... and the Discovery is "sent" to some remote location "awaiting orders"

Now I've thought that the damage to the mycelial network would be the reason Discovery is abandoned in 'Calypso', but I hadn't tied it to the Red Angel and the "destruction of all sentient life".
Mitch
Wed, Mar 20, 2019, 10:53pm (UTC -6)
*Ahem*, if I may...

TNG's "Darmok" received 3 stars, but this episode of Discovery deserves a full 4 stars? More extreme, DS9's "Sacrifice of Angels" shamefully and far too critically received only 3 stars, but this episode of Discovery get a 4 star rating of perfection? Really?

I'm going to assume Jammer's thinking is each TV series is relative to the other, with him holding a higher level of expectation and standards of one over the other (i.e. if this were an episode of DS9, it likely would've scored 1 or 2 stars), but still... it's cringe worthy to see anything about this so-called Trek series get such high praise.

Personally, I found "If Memory Serves" fares no better than any other episode in this series so far. Sure, maybe it plays out better and above than some of the other really poorly written episodes of season one, but did I truly enjoy it? Did it make me re-examine my feelings on Star Trek Discovery on a whole? Absolutely "no" to both. Sorry, I just can't stomach this TV show, it is not Star Trek and it is just not a good television series in general.

As of this date, there is not one single episode of Star Trek Discovery I would ever want to watch again. It's depressing (even the opening title music is about as uplifting as a funeral march!), dull, convoluted, confusing and just a big giant mess. I suppose I still watch it out of obligation, in that I've seen every single episode of Trek (and movie)--ever. It's hard to believe that anything could be worse than Enterprise or Voyager, but even with those series, there are still a handful of episodes I could again re-watch and enjoy.

Yeah, I know I sound cynical here but honestly, I've tried to be as opened minded and neutral as possible to get into Discovery and I just...cannot. Sorry, but this show is just terrible, and I certainly disagree that this particular episode deserves 4 stars.
Mandy Yang
Wed, Mar 20, 2019, 10:58pm (UTC -6)
Agree with the previous commenters about Martin-Green. She just might be the stumbling block that prevents the show from ever lifting off. I was withholding judgement about her acting during the first season, but now it seems clear she doesn't have the feel for this sort of sci-fi epic. If last year she was too stiff, now she is too maudlin and soap opera-ish, with an array of cornball tics. She probably would be OK if she were just an ensemble member, but as the all-important lead, she seems unable to carry this thing.

And to anyone who would baselessly accuse me of bigotry or whatnot, please refrain. Penny Johnson Jerald is my favorite thing about that other space show.
Franco
Thu, Mar 21, 2019, 2:21pm (UTC -6)
Great episode. CBS should make a new show with Pike, Spock, #1, and Enterprise... and call it Star Trek ;-)
SlackerInc
Mon, Apr 8, 2019, 7:25am (UTC -6)
This wasn’t bad. It was decent. Four stars is way overboard, though.

I have commented a few times about “Discovery” that from time to time, scenes are written in a way that suggests children’s programming (my four kids range from six to nineteen, so I’m very familiar with that writing style). Once again, I noted it in the memory of the terrible thing Michael did to Spock, that they’ve been teasing out for several episodes. I foolishly thought that it might truly be something in a grey area, not something that totally ruins her character morally but something we might really be shocked by. Instead, it was a very heavyhanded and obvious portrayal of something we’ve seen in fiction a billion times before: the pretend insult that is actually intended to shield a loved one from harm. Reusing old tropes is no crime, but underlining and spelling them out so obviously, while removing all nuance or doubt, is not what I’d call sophisticated writing, to say the least.

(I’m confused by the “hacked Airiam” comment in the review, but given that no one commented on it, I guess this is something everyone else picked up that I missed.)

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