Star Trek: Discovery
"Light and Shadows"
Air date: 2/28/2019
Teleplay by Ted Sullivan
Story by Ted Sullivan & Vaun Wilmott
Directed by Marta Cunningham
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
"Light and Shadows" is a connective-tissue piece-moving episode, rather than the more episodic-blended-with-serialized outing that has more typified season two. It's significantly better than "Point of Light," despite being only a brisk 40 minutes long, because it takes time to breathe and deal with its characters and — well, it doesn't have anything to do with the Klingons.
Connective tissue was what season one often lacked. Characters would drop off the map and then show up again under new circumstances, and it felt sometimes like we were missing entire episodes. Season two has been an improvement in this regard. "Light and Shadows" moves perhaps implausibly quickly in one regard: It moves Burnham from ship to planet to ship seemingly instantly. But if you're going to skip over something, it might as well be travel time. (I'm reminded of the narrative adjustments to travel time in Game of Thrones, where season one spent half a season crossing Westeros, whereas by season seven, we were crossing the continent in between scenes of a single episode. It's certainly something that feels a little off, but I can't really complain too much that we didn't have a bunch of extra scenes camping out on the wagon trail.)
Still, sometimes this felt like temporal displacement, like in the DS9 finale when (vague descriptions to avoid spoilers for the uninitiated who should go and watch that series) an entire fleet went and did something massive and then returned, and then we had an entire aftermath — while two other characters apparently had spent the same amount of time hanging out in some caves. It's best to think of these things as scenes that happened at roughly the same time but perhaps maybe not exactly simultaneously covering the same duration. But Discovery has shown improvement in not being so messy with its fast-moving multiple narratives.
Here we finally meet Spock (Ethan Peck), who after all this time it turns out has been hidden in not-quite plain sight on Vulcan by his mother Amanda. Burnham returns home looking for clues, but instead she solves the mystery — well, the first of several, at least. We get a look into the challenging logic-versus-emotion family dynamics surrounding Sarek/Amanda/Spock/Michael (the last of whom has been retconned into all this).
The story avoids us actually meeting Spock for yet another week by having him in the middle of a complete mental breakdown. While he's spouting gibberish, we instead deal mostly with the feelings of Amanda, Sarek, and Michael. This works to a degree, but I must admit I've never been hugely compelled by this dynamic, and nothing here changes my mind. At the very least, this allows the finding of Spock to be rooted in some characterization that plays on long Trekkian histories, albeit without adding much. And while I appreciate this show using its prequel nature to try to delve into some franchise-defining backstory, it never rises much above the passable in terms of drama. I will say that Spock's appearance here, in being so intentionally underplayed as a revelatory moment, and still mostly postponed by his mental break, manages to not thud to the ground the way I have been predicting. But I'm hoping once we do get into Spock's right mind, we get something interesting.
The other plot going on here involves a temporal anomaly that appears in orbit of Kaminar (which the story establishes is where Discovery still is, then proceeds to completely ignore what's happening on the planet in the wake of the massive Kelpien/Ba'ul upheaval unleashed in last week's "The Sound of Thunder," which is borderline criminal). Strange things are-a-happenin', but it's hard to know what exactly, because technobabble, temporal interference, and whatever-something.
The investigation takes Pike — apparently the most qualified expert in this sort of shuttle flight — along with Section 31's Ash Tyler into the anomaly to investigate. What they find are a lot of weird temporal things going on, most notably when the Discovery's own probe has apparently returned from the future with some rather nasty AI modifications that attack them, while also sending malware up into the Discovery computer, which is protected by anti-virus software — but cyborg (or whatever she is) Airiam's eyes flash ominously. This attack from the future, coupled with the belief that the Red Angel is also traveling through time to interfere in history, raises the question of what and who all are messing with the timeline. (It's too early to say, but sprawling timeline plots are minefields; look no further than the inconclusive, nonsensical, and ultimately abandoned status of Enterprise's Temporal Cold War.)
Regarding the characters, the problem with Tyler is that his appointment as the ship's resident Section 31 officer was so clearly contrived and unearned that now he just comes across as an asshole interloper when he tries to give Pike suggestions that seem like orders — or, when that fails, tries to guilt-trip him into doing something. Making Tyler Section 31 was better than trying to shoehorn in some sort of terrible ongoing plotline on Kronos, but they honestly would've been better off just leaving the character behind, because his role on the ship feels extraneous (and often obnoxious) and I don't buy that he would've been given this assignment in the first place, even if Georgiou has Section 31 in her pocket somehow. Tyler's role is employment based purely on the economy of him being one of the regular characters from season one that they decided to reboot after his original story concluded.
And on a related note, how has MU Georgiou become this all-knowing Section 31 badass who can out-maneuver her own boss at every turn? I guess I can buy Section 31 looking for talent in weird places, but how has she grown so powerful so quickly, and why hasn't this awesome black-ops organization kept her under better control? How does she have so much information, including the secret that (dun-dun-dun!) Leland is responsible for the deaths of Burnham's parents? (This is information Georgiou intends to use to lord over him.)
I do like that Georgiou's motives are more gray, and that she warns Burnham (once she comes aboard the Section 31 ship with Spock) that Section 31 intends to mind-probe Spock for information in a way that's not going to preserve the well-being of his brain. This leads to a fun little caper where Georgiou allows Burnham to escape the ship while maintaining plausible deniability that she masterminded the whole thing. I enjoyed the staged fight that they make look real enough for the security cameras.
But really, this episode was engineered basically to get Spock out of hiding, and move things along to next week's apparent visit to Talos IV (coordinates of which Burnham learns after decoding Spock's literally backward repetition of numbers), where we will apparently revisit elements of "The Cage." Now that's a gutsy-sounding enterprise. As piece-moving episodes go, this isn't too shabby, but it's not anything approaching conclusive, either.
Some other thoughts:
- Sarek urging Burnham to turn Spock over to Section 31 seems way too expediently plot-convenient. This is an ambassador with some significant political connections, so if there's any chance these murder charges against Spock are bogus — which hovers at about 100 percent at this point — he should be back-channeling through Starfleet to get to the truth. But instead, he's going to trust Section 31 to do the right thing? Come on.
- The computer virus that apparently hacks into Airiam does not strike before the episode ends. That's our cue to consider this a case of Chekhov's Cameron's Dad's Classic Ferrari. This would have more impact if we had the slightest clue about Airiam's background or alien nature. This series' tendency to prioritize plot so much higher than its supporting cast is probably its greatest flaw.
- Pike's and Tyler's adventure on the shuttle ends with them reaching some Mutual Respect and Understanding. I still think Tyler is too dull to have warranted being brought back to Discovery in such a contrived manner, but here's hoping for improvement.
- There's a fair amount of plot silliness in this episode, but I'm enjoying Discovery consistently enough to say this is shaping up to be a pretty good season so far. Of course, when you play the serial long game, there's still plenty of opportunity to fumble the ball in your opponent's territory.
Previous episode: The Sound of Thunder
Next episode: If Memory Serves
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123 comments on this post
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 8:16pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 8:27pm (UTC -5)
The revelation at the end that Spock kept mumbling coordinates for Talos IV is intriguing. I guess according to canon it is happening at the right time roughly speaking but I didn’t think it would happen so soon in the series. So there’s probably some background Spock builds up on Talos IV before Pike has his major accident and the events of “The Cage” take place.
So what was the point of the time rift rescue subplot? We know the Red Angel is some kind of time traveler. This subplot was pretty mechanical I think. Their probe turns into a gigantic metal squid that nearly kills Tyler and Pike. Stamets uses his tardigrade DNA to rescue them. Tilly acts like an airhead (one of her weaker episodes for me). The point seemed to be that they are in a fight for the future, so perhaps the Red Angel is from the future and has come back to the past to change the future — sounds a lot like the temporal cold war from ENT. Ugh.
A number of pissing matches (light vs. shadows perhaps?): Sarek vs. Amanda on shielding Spock from Section 31 and her helping him as a child due to a condition and his human half; Leland / Georgiou power struggle in Section 31 (wasn’t sure how Georgiou was blackmailing Leland — whose parents did he kill?) and Tyler/Pike who make up after the rescue but it was bizarre to see Tyler challenging the captain on just about everything. I think the writers just like to create conflict for the purpose of conflict, hence the in-your-face presence of Section 31. It just strikes me as artificially created tension, which is a hallmark of DSC.
2 stars for “Light and Shadows” — a confusing mess of an episode, some of which is due to answers that should come in subsequent episodes. At least we finally see Spock, although he’s a basket case. A bit more is learned about the Red Angel so the overall arc has been advanced. But this episode was difficult to watch due to the blistering pacing/switching between subplots — does everybody have to talk in rapid, hushed tones? This one reminded me of the problems with “Point of Light”. But Burnham and Spock are off to the see the masters of illusion on Talos IV and that’s promising to get that familiarity.
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 8:45pm (UTC -5)
I guess I'll start with the A plot - Burnham's search for Spock finally drawing to a close. I thought that this was - generally speaking - well done. SMG put in an above-average performance for her (aside from the very beginning of the episode). I enjoyed seeing Amanda again as well. I felt like Sarek's decision to not just turn Spock in, but turn him over to Section 31 made little narrative sense though - it just happened because the plot demanded it. And after that discussion it's very, very hard to see why Amanda would ever stay with Sarek. Not sure how I feel about finding out that Spock is...erm..."special" either. I liked seeing Georgiou's character deepen a bit, though I felt like - once again - people were being dragged along a bit by the needs of the plot rather than anything which was grounded in the characters.
As for the B plot - holy hell was there a lot of technobabble! I appreciate that this plot helped to build trust between Pike and Tyler, but that's really just about all I appreciate about it. Otherwise it just was a bunch of flashy graphics and plotted way, way too goddamned fast.
Under Jammer's scoring scale, I'd go with 2.5.
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 9:21pm (UTC -5)
What year was Pike irradiated? I thought it was 2258, which would make it a possible plot point of a future Discovery episode. Can anybody give me a solid answer for where and when Pike's disfigurement took place?
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 9:29pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 9:36pm (UTC -5)
A good middle chapter that moved the plot forward, with some nice emotional touches. I'll give it 3 stars.
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 9:46pm (UTC -5)
Pike first visits Talos IV - 2254 (The Cage)
Pike takes command of the Discovery - 2257 (Brother)
Pike disfigured by radiation - 2267 (The Menagerie)
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 10:23pm (UTC -5)
This episode confirms my fears that Section 31 is nothing more than a plot device to sow tension into the crew and advance/fill in plot holes when necessary. Us finding out Leland killed Michael's parents is just useless information that either will never show up or will death-flag Leland for the end of the season. Also the show really needs to work on their memorable reoccuring side characters, because I can't stand Georgiou at all.
Also this is - what - the 3rd or 4th time now Michael has disobeyed Starfleet orders and regulations? Worst officer ever.
As I had said on earlier episodes, I enjoyed the pacing of The Search for Spock arc of the season because I knew he was going to be my least favorite thing about it. Seeing him here now as the door-slamming - apparently special ed kid - character just makes me wish he was an original character that was Michael's brother. Maybe the whole thing with Talos IV is setting it up to be a huge story twist? I see it as TV and movie executives making another bad version of a classic character.
Ash Tyler proceeds to also be the most worthless character on the screen. He's somehow even less than Trek's typical eye-candy character, cause his personality only extends to "hrrrr Michael" and that blank stare the actor always does. This very fast-paced "push him and Pike together so the audience knows they're cool now" isn't working for me.
As for the positive, I kinda like what they're doing with the whole time aspect in terms of both visuals and overall story. I do like @Rahul comment about it shaping up to be similar to the Temporal Cold War arc from Enterprise, but I think the general structure of the season is going to differ from the "random tall alien guys fight each other off screen" structure the TCW arc had.
I want to add an interesting little note too: It seems like this season is following the same curse that the Star Trek movies had: every single odd episode is meh to a stinker (Except Brother) and every even episode is a straight banger. Just a fun little observation.
2 stars for Light and Shadows, I hope this isn't the end for the fun side episodes or 2 parters for the season.
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 10:27pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 10:58pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 12:01am (UTC -5)
The dialogue was surprisingly snappy and natural; it didn't feel stilted like it commonly does. The Spock-Amanda-Michael interactions were smoothly done. The A plot was pretty riveting and I enjoyed the drama, and the B plot may have been superfluous but there wasn't anything glaringly bad about it. Also I'm a sucker for time wackiness.
Overall, the most well-composed episode of the season so far. 3.5 stars.
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 12:02am (UTC -5)
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 12:27am (UTC -5)
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 12:28am (UTC -5)
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 12:38am (UTC -5)
I really miss the captain's log, though. These melodramatic monologues are pretty generic, and I find them oddly out of place.
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 12:41am (UTC -5)
I think it's after The Cage. Definitely before The Menagerie, though.
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 1:06am (UTC -5)
To my shock, the Spock reveal is the effective story. A young, distressed, and incapacitated Spock was not what I expected, and it's one of the only ways the show could make the thoroughly explored character and his family interesting. Sarek is in top Vulcan form: acting on his feelings of anger and disappointment toward is child and making up logical excuses. As is often the case, involuntary hospitalization for a child is sending them to a place of further danger and trauma, not of healing.
Mirror Georgiou feeling welcome on the screen comes as an even greater surprise. She's not acting to help Michael or Spock; she wants charge of Section 31. And we can imagine what a person like her would do with it. Take its morals so far from Starfleet's that it becomes a secret splinter organization, maybe?
Right, then the other plot where Ash and Pike compare penises, grunt at each other, and ultimately walk away with mutual respect. Strictly paint by numbers. Their logical leaps of a time war outline some intentions of the writers without making much sense for what the characters would reasonably guess. Airiam gets possessed by Squiddy from The Matrix before it blows, and we the audience won't be able to tell any difference in behavior because we have no idea who Airiam is. But maybe that will change with the plot that must follow?
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 3:06am (UTC -5)
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 4:02am (UTC -5)
* Airiam seems like she needs better antivirus software. I hope that when this thread pays off, we can learn a bit more about who she actually is.
* I appreciated the scene between Amanda and Sarek, because I've always found the idea of their marriage fascinating and wondered how it worked in practice. Apparently, not easily.
* Despite the show's attempts at misdirection right at the end, I think that Emperor Georgiou is actually picking up some bad habits from living in the Prime, and is on the path to becoming a better person.
* The "players from the future interfering in the past" angle to season 2 is giving me flashbacks to ENT's Temporal Cold War. That is not a good thing, because the TCW was never properly defined or explored and existed solely as a plot device before the writers gave up and just deleted it without ceremony. Hopefully DSC is not going to go down the same narrative route and wind up at the same ending. They'll earn bonus nerd points if the Angel is somehow actually *related* to the TCW and can give it some more logical background than ENT did. It'd be nice to finally know who Future Guy was...
* Talos IV! Well played, DSC. I didn't see that coming, and it didn't make me groan and roll my eyes like the meet-up with the Enterprise at the climax of season one.
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 6:54am (UTC -5)
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 7:23am (UTC -5)
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 7:23am (UTC -5)
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 7:40am (UTC -5)
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 8:53am (UTC -5)
And how they handled it was something that worked. I feared a big hero reveal something that tries to be awesome but this was played very straight. Here he is, that is his state of mind.
What else: cinematography, of course, no motion sickness this time. The camera was pretty restrained almost a little too tame. What I didn't like were the lens flares. In one scene it started to annoy me a little.
Don't get attached to Leland. This guy is as good as dead. Would be a nice twist if he survives but Georgiou or Burnham one of those two will probably... decapitate him... or vaporize.
I did not care for the B-plot. It was mostly there to set things up. A few nice effects but meh.
A little sad that we didn't get at least a few lines about how the Kelpians are doing.
I could probably write a lot more about the little missteps of this episode but I just didn't care that much and others have described it quite nicely.
Second weakest of the season in my opinion
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 8:57am (UTC -5)
His was the only contribution here that made me want to tune in elsewhere. God, fucking annoying. Pike should have throat punched him.
My only real complaint about this episode other than our hybrid Klingon/human was the pacing during distress stuff.
I liked Amanda/Sarack/Michael exchanges on Vulcan. I like the Amanda/Sarak drama. We've always know it was there, but we've never really seen it before.
Also, I thought Michael showed us some real emotion when dealing with/talking to Spock. Much better SMG. I don't know if she had made the effort to improve her acting or it's better directing, but I think Michael has made huge strides in season 2.
The whole "B" plot with shuttle pod drama was pretty good if too fast.... just slow it down a bit. Instead of going 75 in a 55, go 65. They also need to brighten it up a bit. I don't want "The Orville" bright, but I'd like to appreciate all the cool looking stuff more. Bringing in Stamets was the right thing to do, but everything happed so damn fast I'm going to have to watch it 2 more times to understand the damn thing.
Wow.... Talos IV!!.... I wasn't expecting that one for sure, but I'm really excited here. BZ!!
Thanks guys for all the time line help.
I'm glad they have involved Airium and very interested in what she just downloaded... not so sure I agree with her "firewall" stuff... this entity hacking into Discovery pretty darn fast.
I wonder who sent that probe back? I'm guessing it wasn't our Red Angel and probably is the someone that is causing all this hate and discontent in the timeline(s).
I REALLY liked how they involved our section 31 Georgiou this time. THIS is what I thought she could bring to the table. "You not calling the shots anymore" A BZ for the fight choreography between Michael and Georgiou too.
So, Leland killed Burnham's parents? Did I hear that right?
I don't think they beamed with the shields up.... I think they were at Yellow Alert (could be wrong of course)
Overall I very much enjoyed this episode, but I'm not sure I can go about 3 stars.
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 9:03am (UTC -5)
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 9:54am (UTC -5)
However, I’ll give this one points for opening the mystery box and actually showing us what the deal with Spock. And most of the Spock material is pretty good; we get to see Vulcan (which looks distinctly like Coruscant, incidentally), and we really get to the heart of some of the human/Vulcan family dynamics.
Just last year in the comment section for TNG’s “Sarek”, a woman brought up the point that Sarek’s wife puts up with a lot from the man with little return. I’m glad this episode penetrates that point, showing that being a family isn’t always easy. Indeed Amanda has given up everything for Sarek, which must mean that she cares very passionately about Human-Vulcan peace. This type of relationship must occur all the time in Star Trek, but one can only imagine the complications of becoming an Ex-pat from one’s own planet.
So with the Spock box opened, we see that he is fighting an illness similar to one he suffered as a child. We also see Talos IV come up indicating perhaps Spock knows how to treat himself (in much the same manner he suggested for Pike in “The Menagerie”). I admit S31 is used to a corny effect here, but as usual Michelle Yeoh makes it interesting with a staged fight. One wonders how many guaranteed fight scenes are in Yeoh’s contract...
The time rift story is a Trek standard. There’s actually an Easter Egg here, as in “The Cage” Pike called warp speed “time warp factor”. So Tilly’s joke about putting time in front of anything to make it cool is a sly poke at TOS. Otherwise a very vanilla, though I kind of enjoyed the bromance between Pike and Tyler, which leads us to a series problem.
Pike is way too interesting. Are the writers really going to be able to write him out of the show? Is there a way too keep him on for awhile that makes sense? You gotta feel these were the types of discussions swirling about the writing room as they created this season.
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 12:35pm (UTC -5)
'Pike is way too interesting. Are the writers really going to be able to write him out of the show? Is there a way too keep him on for awhile that makes sense? You gotta feel these were the types of discussions swirling about the writing room as they created this season. '
Agreed. Pike is really the only part of this show I genuinely, unreservedly like. Mount throws himself into the role, and I truly believe he's treating Jeffery Hunter's Pike with reverence, and wants to do well by that actor and his (brief) characterisation of Pike.
If I was an STD writer, and I wanted to keep Pike on, I think the simplest way would be to simply decide that it's high time Enterprise got a refit, since she's down with pretty serious technical problems and in spacedock anyway. Things like this don't happen overnight (if I recall, her refit from TOS configuration to TMP configuration took ... err ... 16? 18 months? It was mentioned in TMP, anyway), so what better way to keep Pike in active service while the work gets done.
And, as an added bonus, at the end of the refit, Enterprise looks like she should again.
In any case, I absolutely agree that they should keep Anson Mount on as Pike for much more than a season.
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 1:11pm (UTC -5)
Totally agree they need to find a way to keep Anson Mount on the show!
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 1:16pm (UTC -5)
Pike really makes this episode, and - strangely enough - I was quite glad to see Georgiou. I'm wondering what her agenda is.
I too am reminded of ENT's Temporal Cold War.
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 1:40pm (UTC -5)
This episode had a couple nice shots of Vulcan, but IMO the season's become increasingly uninteresting as it's gone along. Nothing fascinating's being done with the red lights, Spock and Spock's relations with Michael are one big ill-conceived soap arc, and the show's attempts at "action" and "drama" feel cheesy. Like the countless action, cop or superhero series on TV, there's a big mismatch between how seriously this show takes itself, and how cheesily its written and looks.
Meanwhile, the series is back to its "SHOCKING REVELATIONS!". Turns out Michael's parents were KILLED BY THE SECTION 31 GUY and SPOCK HAS THE CO-ORDINATES TO TALOS IV!!!
IMO the more Discovery dredges up past characters and locations, the more it demystifies and banalizes what was once mysterious, intriguing and alluring about past Trek mythology. Almost every fantasy franchise that has gone back and "filled in the blanks" of its past mythology, has demystified legends, deflated myth and turned beloved heroes into something disposable. And this is all typically done for reasons very tawdry: the brief buzz generated by that flicker of recognition.
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 1:59pm (UTC -5)
I partially concur with you. The arc just isn't engaging me this season.
It's funny, because on an episode-by-episode basis, I feel like Discovery's second season is much, much better than its first. However, the first season I felt more drawn to tune in because I really wanted to see how the hell they were going to pull the closing of the arc off (of course, they didn't).
This time I don't think they've painted themselves into the same corner - I don't think it's going to be a train wreck of a close at all. At the same time, the arc itself just isn't that interesting. The Red Burst/Red Angel aren't that intriguing as of yet based upon the teases, and the whole "Search for Spock" didn't really emotionally engage me. The best parts of the season to date have been watching the Discovery crew randomly stumble into things which only tangentially relate to the arc. I basically "tune in" now to see if the episode will be good or mediocre each week - not to get more pieces of the puzzle.
Oh, and as an aside, I wonder if they made some sort of massive change to the arc after Berg/Harberts were fired. Supposedly a major aspect of this season was going to be "Science vs. Faith." That was absolutely on display early in the season. But starting with the prior episode (the first one filmed after they were fired) the pseudo-religious elements of the Red Angel were basically entirely deflated, and we seem headed into a Temporal Cold War redux.
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 2:17pm (UTC -5)
'we seem headed into a Temporal Cold War redux'
If Kurtzman is holding ENT up as the gold standard of Trek from which to be inspired, this show's in even more trouble than we thought.
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 3:16pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 3:24pm (UTC -5)
'[...] the shuttle that he (Spock) stole disappeared somewhere in the Mutara Sector,' mumbled Michael Burnham semi-intelligibly.
I actually said, 'Oh, come ON' out loud to no-one in particular when I heard that. Cheap, easy, and pointless fan service that had no real business being there.
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 3:27pm (UTC -5)
That said, I think it's very, very hard to get the TCW to make a lick of sense. I say this because any effort to alter the past would destroy the future due to a temporal paradox. This has been established numerous times in Star Trek.
The best way to square this away is to presume whatever temporal incursions the Red Angel and the "squid faction" are doing were always destined to happen, because they happened in the past and time is a closed loop. But if this is the case, the Trekverse is completely deterministic, and there's no drama in the outcome whatsoever.
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 4:17pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 5:18pm (UTC -5)
That said, even if the Red Angel doesn't wind up tying into that storyline (which seems likely), you would hope the DSC writers would've learned the lesson of ENT's failure with the material. Unless you go into it with a clear idea of where it's going to end, you just wind up with an unsatisfying narrative mess. DSC already screwed the pooch with the conclusion to last season's main arc; I really want this one to get better treatment.
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 5:25pm (UTC -5)
i agree. Many problems with this show but I found myself enjoying this episode. I cant justify it logically. Either something in my brain broke or the character work is good enough that I enjoy the show inspite of its many flaws. The only episode I truly couldnt stand this season so far was the hyper violent klingon battle episode.
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 5:37pm (UTC -5)
The best uses of time travel in TNG and DS9 were when the outcome was already guaranteed, and there was no "war" to win or possibly loss scenario. One example is (amazingly) Captain's Holiday, where although Picard did have an adventure the outcome had already been written. And in DS9 in the also comic episode Trials and Tribbilations, where likewise we find a temporal causality loop. Anything beyond these types of time travel uses and the whole concept of narrative is out the window and it descends into arbitrary chaos.
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 8:42pm (UTC -5)
As for Burnham's plot: why does Spock have to be dyslexic? I'm dyslexic, and I don't like it just being used for sympathy points and magic writing. Why would Sarek turn his son over to section 31? Why would Burnham take him there? Why has no one thought to look on Vulcan for Spock?
Also, small thing, but Discovery is still around the Kelpian planet, so why don't we get some follow up of the momentous events in last episode?
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 9:19pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 9:37pm (UTC -5)
Oh, thank god. If there's one constant in History, it's sides staying peaceful once they've promised to be nice to each other. Argh!
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 11:30pm (UTC -5)
Talos IV? Wow! Didn't see that coming and that's something that well-played. This is still a few years after The Cage and well before The Menagerie. I'm sure whatever events take place here will result in Talos IV being forbidden. Am I right in saying that the Enterprise was specifically said to be the only starship to visit Talos IV? If so, then we will likely be seeing The Big E enter the picture shortly.
As for Anson Mount as Pike, man I wish they could keep him on after this season! He's an excellent captain and, IMHO, the best Trek has seen since Sisko! No offense to Janeway (well acted, poorly written) or Archer (so-so acted, poorly written) but Mount as Pike is a perfect captain! Too bad he's not someone else cuz they could just keep him on instead of sending him back to the Enterprise when the season is over.
Sat, Mar 2, 2019, 12:08am (UTC -5)
"Oh, thank god. If there's one constant in History, it's sides staying peaceful once they've promised to be nice to each other. Argh!"
There are numerous examples where two or several sides did that. The EU for example. US and Japan. England and Scotland.
Sat, Mar 2, 2019, 3:36am (UTC -5)
12 Monkeys TV show that spanned 4 seasons was a surprisingly solid take on the temporal shenanigans. I'd recommend it to just about anyone who enjoys sci-fi.
Sat, Mar 2, 2019, 4:29am (UTC -5)
Pike/Mount is so good we need an episode focusing on him, I perk up everytime he's on screen.
I actually love all the timey wimey Star Trek episodes, even the ENT ones. I know they are nonsense but I don't care.
Sat, Mar 2, 2019, 8:02am (UTC -5)
I like the dynamic between Amanda and Sarek. That drama felt like a real problem for these two. But that's pretty much all I care for in this Vulcan soap. I still don't understand why there was a need to have Spock being part of the show. Why could Michael not have a distinctly different half-Vulcan foster brother? (this concept alone feels contrived). It also rubs me the wrong way that Spock is such a conflicted mess in this show when he was previously the most stable character in scripted TV and movie.
Somebody mentioned upthread that there is still unfinished business between Stamets and Tyler. I want to add Culber to that topic. How does he feel about his killer being on Discovery and everybody pretty much being cool about it? Complain all you want about DS9. But that show was usually very good at dealing with following up on consequences. DS9 would have devoted an entire episode on this one question. In Discovery we may get three scenes for this. I suppose that's the disadvantage of having relatively short seasons. But maybe I'm complaining too early. Culber is still recovering. His behavior indicated that there is still struggle to unfold.
I liked the Georgiou story. It was less mustache twirling this time. The empress has always been very much a standard evil character. When she was evil in her universe she was always tactical, never very strategic. She was always killing everybody on the spot. Now it looks like she is plotting long term to reach a goal. I want to know what that goal is. Is it just world domination? Does she want to go back home? Or is there something else she wants?
One last thing: I want Burnham to stop whispering.
Sat, Mar 2, 2019, 8:05am (UTC -5)
"12 Monkeys TV show that spanned 4 seasons was a surprisingly solid take on the temporal shenanigans. I'd recommend it to just about anyone who enjoys sci-fi."
Thanks for the recommendation! That said, I think you've basically hit it: to do anything like that successfully the entire show would have to be structured around such a plotline (like Dr. Who) and would end up being a departure from 'normal Trek'. And you'd really need writers who can wrap their heads around that sort of thing, make sense and purpose of it all, and of course (something 12 Monkeys didn't have to do maybe) wrap it all up into the prime timeline!!
Sat, Mar 2, 2019, 10:47am (UTC -5)
Sat, Mar 2, 2019, 11:32am (UTC -5)
Spore drive = slipstream (right down to its visual appearance, the fact it's made up of strings, and the fact it requires a sentient pilot)
Stamets = Harper (the snarky blond engineer whose entire personality is wisecracks)
Tilly = Trance (the sweet, ditzy comic relief character who keeps saving the day)
Ash = Tyr (the non-white character from a warrior culture who other crew are wary of... you're never sure whose side he'll be on)
Saru = Rev (the benign, noble alien from a predator/prey species who has chosen a different way of life)
Burnham = Hunt (the personality void at the center of it all)
STD Klingons = the Magog (monsters who eat people)
Sat, Mar 2, 2019, 12:50pm (UTC -5)
There’s still time to tell a story like that. It’s not like DSC forgot everything from season 1 and never brought it up again. We already had two huge Saru stories this season about his culture and people. It makes sense to let that matter sit for awhile and come back after later developments.
Sat, Mar 2, 2019, 1:39pm (UTC -5)
"Evasive manoeuvres" lol
When Saru took charge, it was awesome. Saru knew what to do straight away. When he mentioned Mudd, it is clear he could remember things.
When we see Spock in his condition, we could see the anguish from Michael Burnham. Did Amanda mention how she found him or how Spock came to Amanda? All Amanda said was that Spock came to her for help. How did Sarek know to follow Amanda?
I did not like how Ash and Pike were arguing though...
I am confused why Sarek would turn Spock in to section 31 (but as a human)... as a Vulcan, he would do so, because of the alleged crimes he commited... Section 31 is not as mysterious yet and not as nefarious...
(If Leland allegedly killed Burnham's parents, does that not mean Leland is the killer, and not Spock?)
During the scene with Leland, Burnham and Spock, I got the sense Leland wanted something nefarious.
When Burnham found the number was backwards, I thought, why couldn't Burnham have thought of that before?
The scene with Ash and Pike in the shuttle-craft as they were being attacked - I thought it looked like a giant virus... why would the probe be sent to the future 500yrs, back again to kill them
Saru's command of Discovery was amazing, how he praised the guy who figured out the 3 plasma bursts (Rhys)
I like how Stamets helped and gave Tilly a pep talk.
The future probe trying to determine about the shuttle craft and the Discovery...
The choreography with Georgiou and Burnham was AMAZING! I alughed out loud. They did their own stunts? I expect so.
Was Airium infected by something?
When Georgiou reacted as she shot Burnham...
It's good that Pike and Ash patched things up.
That camera shot "Fight for the future" and ended up on Airium...
What is at Talos 4? *gasp*
In the preview I saw those OCTOBOTIC things attacking Earth...
Sat, Mar 2, 2019, 1:46pm (UTC -5)
I respectfully disagree. When a ship radically changes a planet's culture that has stayed the same for 2000 years, they had better stay and deal with the situation. Otherwise, they seem incredibly stupid at best, and callous at worst.
Sat, Mar 2, 2019, 1:59pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Mar 2, 2019, 2:17pm (UTC -5)
James Kirk would like a word with you. :)
Sat, Mar 2, 2019, 2:22pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Mar 2, 2019, 2:58pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Mar 2, 2019, 7:29pm (UTC -5)
EAS has a page on the DSC ship designs: http://www.ex-astris-scientia.org/schematics/discovery_federation.htm. As seen in this graphic ( http://www.ex-astris-scientia.org/schematics/dis-tos-enterprise.jpg ), the DSC Constiution variant at 442m is signicantly larger than the 289m TOS version.
Personally, I just treat this change as the (extremely annoying) aesthetic choice that it is and ignore it. I'd be much more nerd-ragey if this show was centered around a Constitution-class ship, but thankfully they've mostly left it alone.
Sun, Mar 3, 2019, 1:15am (UTC -5)
For me, since the early Voyager, circa 95-96. I’ll take it, for now.
Sun, Mar 3, 2019, 7:26pm (UTC -5)
It merely forms a bridge from one episode to the next in Discovery's serialized story-telling.
I've just finished it, and I wouldn't be able to tell you much about what happened if i had to do so right now.
There's a time rift, Pike has to go in himself, for some reason (he's the most qualified; at what?). I must have missed the reason.
The Red Angel is from the future? Was this revealed in the previous episode? If it was, I must have missed it, unless it was when Saru scanned it with his eyeball. And if so, then that's ridiculous.
Pike and Tyler argue aboard the shuttle, I do remember a good bit where Pike threatens to throw Tyler in the brig. But keep it in mind its been over an hour since i watched it
Burnham zips on over to Vulcan in a shuttlecraft and tells her mother, "They HAVE to" do something, so they take him to Section 31, who strap him to a chair, Georgiou and Burnham stage an action scene, I mean, a fight, and MB and Spock escape on the shuttle and hide.
And is that how it ended? Or did it end on Discovery? Oh and Stamets beams over to the trapped-in-time shuttle because only he can.
I don't want to rip on this episode too much, but its just a blur of images. And Discovery does this too often. With the exception of the Harry Mudd Time Loop episode, only bits are memorable, not episodes. For example, Mirror Stamets uses his tricorder to count-down how long a personal shield bubble protecting him and others will last. For some reason, that scene stuck with me. Couldn't tell you what episode it belongs to.
And here with Light and Shadows a bunch of stuff happens and it ends.
Sun, Mar 3, 2019, 8:51pm (UTC -5)
– Starfleet General Order 7, 2267
Hmm, this could be interesting...
Mon, Mar 4, 2019, 6:41am (UTC -5)
Mon, Mar 4, 2019, 7:20am (UTC -5)
Mon, Mar 4, 2019, 7:37am (UTC -5)
"She’s a brilliant analyst and has a great memory despite abusing drugs and alcohol." Just why? What is the point of making the 24th century just as dirty and nasty as our current century? You can make something dark and still keep the people heroic, see DS9.
Overall, this show has gone from interesting to depressing really quickly.
Mon, Mar 4, 2019, 7:46am (UTC -5)
Mon, Mar 4, 2019, 8:28am (UTC -5)
By the way, Reginald Barclay says hi.
Mon, Mar 4, 2019, 10:12am (UTC -5)
Mon, Mar 4, 2019, 10:19am (UTC -5)
I think that's probably giving the Discovery writers too much credit, but it'd be neat.
Mon, Mar 4, 2019, 12:39pm (UTC -5)
The frenetic pace of the time distortion plot was aggravating. I knew there was going to be a problem with pacing, when I looked and saw the episode was only going to be 40 minutes. Jesus, slow dafuq down! Somebody call the highway patrol. The pacing reminds me of one of the Shonda Rhimes shows, like How to Get Away with Murder, where everything's a whirlwind. A lot of modern shows seem to have this problem. Makes me wonder if this is due to copycats, a lot of the same people working across productions, or an artifact of the current generation.
As far as Ariam needing better antiviral software, lets just say she's got quite a few centuries worth of virus definitions to download and... it's going to take awhile. Amazing how no one suspected that she might be vulnerable, considering how quickly and easily the hijacked probe penetrated the shuttle's and then Discovery's computers. Not to mention, what happened recently with the sphere. The security chick with the Bluetooth headset screwed into both sides of her face should automatically suspect she's been compromised. I sure as hell would. I'd have the entire compliment of ship's personnel perform a level googolplex diagnostic on every computerized system in the ship, including all cybernetic people. What the probe was searching for is up for speculation, but seeing as they just got a 100k years worth of intel downloaded from the sphere... To paraphrase John Wick, yeah, I'm kind of thinking it's going to find it.
Mon, Mar 4, 2019, 3:29pm (UTC -5)
Aside from that observation, I'd avoid really trying to read too much into it; TNG's own original bible and character descriptions have elements that were routinely ignored during the series run. http://leethomson.myzen.co.uk/Star_Trek/2_The_Next_Generation/Star_Trek_-_The_Next_Generation_Bible.pdf
Mon, Mar 4, 2019, 4:54pm (UTC -5)
Maybe female spock from the future and from a parallel universe? (FFSfPU)
Tue, Mar 5, 2019, 12:58am (UTC -5)
Tue, Mar 5, 2019, 4:16am (UTC -5)
Tue, Mar 5, 2019, 4:19am (UTC -5)
Tue, Mar 5, 2019, 6:07am (UTC -5)
Tue, Mar 5, 2019, 5:10pm (UTC -5)
Sybok is probably involved too.
It's the only explanation that makes sense.
Tue, Mar 5, 2019, 5:54pm (UTC -5)
Red Angel is Khan.
Discovery mentioned being in the Mugara system so there’s the connection AND discovery seems to be in love with throwing in TOS characters and references. You heard it here first. Until the red angel is shown to be something else and I’m proven totally wrong.
Tue, Mar 5, 2019, 9:02pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Mar 5, 2019, 9:48pm (UTC -5)
You silly fool. Sybok isn't just involved. Michael Burnham IS Sybok.
Wed, Mar 6, 2019, 12:31am (UTC -5)
Strike three! It is the MUTARA nebula. You will be sent to the dilithium mines on rura penthe. Take him away!
Wed, Mar 6, 2019, 5:47am (UTC -5)
...of course!! It's all falling into place!
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 10:00am (UTC -5)
To all the prime directive hawks on this site, I don't disagree that Pike's actions certainly violated General Order One, or at the very least bent that rule a bit. But let's not forget that this isn't the NG/DS9/VOY era. Even Captain Janeway acknowledged that Kirk's era was a different time where starship captains couldn't be a walking rule book. Even Picard stretched the PD on a few occasions, like when he wouldn't allow Wesley to be executed (ah, would twere that it were).
As for the red angel being from the future... Why? Just because he/she has superior technology doesn't necessarily mean they are a time traveler. I'm not saying that isn't a possibility, but the evidence to date just points to a technologically superior being. We'll see.
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 12:57pm (UTC -5)
I don't really see it as breaking the Prime Directive at all. Isn't the Prime Directive only valid when applied to pre-warp capable societies? The Kelpiens are already familiar with warp drive and interstellar travel because the Ba'ul are capable of it. And I didn't view Pike's actions as wanting to cause the Kelpiens slaughter the Ba'ul, but to elevate the Kelpiens to an even playing field so the two species would work together.
That's how I took it, anyway.
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 2:56pm (UTC -5)
Regarding Talos IV: Oh not again... The whole Talos IV/General Order 7 stuff was flimsy to begin with. The death penalty was never justified, and was rescinded some time after The Menagerie, and now they will try to retcon it to be about the red angel, but then it wouldn't be lifted, and oh god, this will be a disaster. The Talos IV storyline was already full of plotholes, no need to add more to them, and now Spock visits Talos IV a second time, but I guess he will not remember it, as he doesn't mention it in the Menagerie, because of course, he is crazy now, and of course her trip will be stricken from the records. Uuuugh....
@Tim C: Hahahahahaha, best comment I've read all year. Jesus, that episode was so bad, it is unbelievable. But I also like the Sybok = Michael connection. Michael becomes the red angel, has a sexchange, and then Spock has a brother (who he never mentioned because reasons), so we fill one plothole with another. And Sybok, after detonating God, can just become Beverlys fuck-ghost later. Brilliant. It all makes sense now.
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 3:52pm (UTC -5)
Beverly's ghost mate had been haunting her family since the 1600s, though.
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 4:39pm (UTC -5)
In one thread I completely screwed up the chronolgy of the cage and menagerie, called detmer “denmore” and called mutara sector the mugara system. Oof. Well atleast I was on the right track with each one. Detmer I’m blaming on michael’s pronunciation. I never saw the name typed I thought they’ve been saying denmore. Actually I like denmore better I’m starting a petition
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 5:12pm (UTC -5)
Sounds like Picard is getting the JJ/Kurtzman treatment.
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 5:15pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 5:48pm (UTC -5)
I think the Prime Directive applies to all species, not just pre-warp. It's certainly more applicable to pre-warp, which is why the Federation waits until a society has achieved warp technology before making first contact. However, In essence, it states that we will not interfere in the natural development of other societies.
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 6:05pm (UTC -5)
Not sure what that means (for my part, I enjoyed the last three Trek movies, and enjoy DSC), but what I certainly don't want is a rehash of Picard of the TNG shows. Been there, seen it, loved him in it in late 80s-early 90s, and there are seven seasons worth of episodes of it that I can go back and watch again and again (which I've done many times) if I wish to re-live it.
But 20 years later for him, over three decades later for the viewer, and no longer the captain of the Enterprise, I sure hope we get significantly modified version Roddenberry-Berman version of Picard.
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 6:27pm (UTC -5)
Using gimmicks and nostalgia to lure old fans while pandering to what corporate types think is edgy and appealing to contemporary audiences. Picard doesn't work as an edgy action hero, as the TNG movies show. Do you see 90s Picard evolving into the JJ-esque daddy of a motley crew of 20-year old something misfits (if the aforementioned treatment is to believed), or some kind of ambassador, negotiator, spokesman or political envoy?
Kurtzman's the kind of guy who'd read a wiki entry on Picard, see "archeologist", think "Indiana Jones" and cook up some kind of alien treasure hunt ("Starfleet won't support him so he has to hang out with pirates! Yeah! Genius!").
The project has at least one decent writer on it, so hopefully Kurtzman's not calling too many shots. But that character/treatment document is kind of depressing.
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 6:34pm (UTC -5)
For my part, I'll wait and see, then pass judgment. I don't simply write off a show, or develop contempt about it, just because Kurtzman or Abrams (or both) are involved in it.
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 7:22pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 7:26pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 9:47pm (UTC -5)
@Thomas: "New life" is kind of misleading, though. Yes, he provides a short-term boost (which would have happened anyways - Star Trek 2009 was popular because legions, literal millions of long time Star Trek fans were completely on board with it, telling everybody and their mother to go see it, and dragging their families to the cinema, just because they were starved for Trek), but he ultimately damages the franchises far more than he helps them. Star Wars has seen the steepest decline of its history, even worse than the prequels, so much so that all the spin-offs have been canceled - and contrary to popular opinion this decline did not happen because of internet trolls. Star Trek, in my estimation, is bound for the same fate, as it tries to emulate JJs short term success with 2009, yet fails to see that that will only hurt it in the long run. I bet that we never see most of the series being announced right now. They got one chance left to deliver something with Picard, but so far, I see no signs that it will stand out any more than Discovery does. JJ is a literal hack. His whole "style" consists of constantly teasing depth and meaning, yet never delivering, and to constantly surprise you with twists and turns and actions and jumpcuts and spectacle to cover up the utter emptiness of his works. His work on Star Trek and Star Wars makes one thing clear: He understands neither franchise, but he does understand hype, nostalgia and making money.
The Force Awakens (a title that has absolutely nothing to do with the film whatsoever, by the way) paraded practical effects and puppets and X-Wings and LUKE FUCKING SKYWALKER in its advertisement, and I remember being pleased in the cinema with the mechanical beast that Rey is riding, for example, or the fact that everything looked like old Star Wars, not the prequels, and that is exactly what he was going for. I realised on the first watch that the whole thing was a retelling of episode IV, and on the second I noticed that the story made no sense whatsoever, the more you think about it. But it doesn't have to, he already had my money.
Star Trek 2009 did the same thing, but a little different. It dangled Kirk, Spock, McCoy, the Enterprise, and everything in HD and with cool effects and nice trailers, and it promised to be fresh, yet familiar, a similar kind of jump in quality from TOS to TNG, and I believed it. After all: A new Star Trek movie! And I did like it. But after watching it again with my family, I realised that it too was completely empty, tailored to activate basic responses. I have completely forgotten the plot, besides that Nero 2.0 blows up Vulcan and Kirk sucks him into a singularity. We are now four movies in, and JJ has jumped the ship, and Star Trek, at least on the movie side, is ruined. The fourth one was just cancelled.
Even JJs biggest achievement, Lost, is, after everything is said and done, completely pointless. It has no rewatch-value at all. And it doesn't make sense. Sounds familiar by now.
True, JJ does not sink a franchise outright. But it might turn out that he does not sink them for five years, but for good. On the other hand, we live in a time where there have been ... four spider man reboots, three superman reboots, three batman reboots.. So we might see a further few reboots of Star Trek, and progressively emptier and uninspired series. Since art is becoming ever more subject to monetary concerns (latest evidence: Discovery season 2 introducing all kinds of retcons and light humor to counter the worst criticisms, despite obviously going against the writers artistic vision), it will continue to decline in quality. Now, I am not a space hippy, I know that art will always be subject to some monetary concerns, I am just saying that it is getting ridiculous. The stakes are so high for the big franchise that they just can not risk anything drastic, hence the constant meddling, and why, for all its outragous moments and flashy action, Discovery never actually says anything of any importance, as that could alienate people. I will stop now, before I write another thousand words.
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 11:23pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 12:41pm (UTC -5)
For those not keeping score at home “Light and Shadows” was written by Ted Sullivan who, apart from the seventeen STD co-executive producer credits already under his belt, has written three episodes of STD, four episodes of Supergirl, nine episodes of Revenge, and going back to ’99, three instalments of As the World Turns, and going way, way back to ’86, one instalment of One Life to Live.
Which, I suppose, makes him as qualified as any of the other CW alumni on staff to chronicle the Brownian motion of soap bubbles in a partial vacuum—even one that has “Warning: Not Your Father’s Star Trek” stencilled on the outside of the test chamber door.
So what is “Light and Shadows” about? Besides the dime store melodrama, that is? Well, nothing at all, really.
Because for forty yawn inducing, expository minutes this navel-gazing nosedive amounts to little more than fanbait for the next episode’s reintroduction of the iconically androgynous Talosians from TOS’s “The Cage”—now 25% less androgynous according to unnamed sources.
And if you are as antipathetic to the presence of Section 31 in your Star Trek as I am then the dick waving nu-Pike/Tyler bromance and the schizophrenic machinations of MU Georgiou never actually take place.
So what’s left to tell? Well…
Michael visits Vulcan and discovers that nu-Amanda has been hiding nu-Spock in the Stark catacombs since at least episode two, and all during that time nu-Spock has been reduced to a self-involved hipster dude engrossed in regression art therapy. Then the action really kicks off when nu-Amanda momsplains nu-Sarek a new one to his coldhearted nut sack and Michael, the only one clever enough on a planet populated by logicians and their passive-aggressive housewives, asks this thing called a computer if there's any possible meanings behind nu-Spock’s dyslexic dribblings and whether they might hold a clue to the next riveting plot twist (yay for learning disabilities!?). And just as fast as you can “’member Spock?”, Michael is off to see the wizards, the wonderful wizards of Talos IV to get Spock’s brain back.
Oh—I almost forgot—the Discovery just about falls down a “wibbly wobbly, timey wimey” rabbit-hole in an episode climaxing, Matrixy blow-out and all because nu-Pike resented not being invited to last year’s staff picnic.
And … that’s all folks!
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 3:59pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 9:31am (UTC -5)
Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 9:51am (UTC -5)
Yeah, that connection just created a visual in my head of all the various plot thread,s and the writers/producers deciding to connect one or two *more* than they needed to.
Not everybody and everything has to be connected.
" This series' tendency to prioritize plot so much higher than its supporting cast is probably its greatest flaw"
I have to agree, though it's not hard to agree with this. TOS may have done similarly very little with the secondary bridge crew in terms of development in its first season or two.
But that's no excuse for a bridge officer like Airiam suddenly having a crucial role in the fortunes of the Discovery when *we have no idea who or what she is.*
Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 12:36pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 12:57pm (UTC -5)
I actually rewatched season one and noticed that the writer's room was more in love with the overall season arc than well-executed, interwoven and character-based science-fiction episodes. There's some nice poetic mirroring with the whole Georgiou/Burnham-thing, but also a deeply flawed Klingon narrative with a very weak conclusion. Also: A lot of annoying pathos-swolen monologues included to make up for sloppy writing. Some pretty bad teenage soap opera drama between Tyler and Burnham, too.
Season two definitely improved, with a much better focus on characters: Saru, Pike, Tilly. But this plot-driven storytelling and the casual pathetic monologues are still bugging me. Sarek insisting to hand over his son to Section 31 is just totally implausible and plot-driven. Airiam has no backstory at all, his/her/its only function seems to be to further the plot.
One big flaw in Discovery's writing, in my opinion, is that the writers underestimate the viewers. Think of Better Call Saul, a series that requires a great amount of "filling the gaps" on part of the viewers. That is what quality serial TV is about, I think. Discovery too often tries to play it safe by characters stating the obvious. Example: In season one Burnham and Tyler visit the Rebels base in the MU, which is hidden behind a forcefield. That scene is not too hard to understand, dialog is unnecessary. Still, the writers had Burnham explain to Tyler / the viewers what we see.
Also, the writers started way to many story lines and fail to keep them going in the same parallel manner that series like The Wire or Breaking Bad did. TNG would've delved deeply into the Kaminar-thing. Discovery does not, even fails to elaborate how the time tsunami affects Kaminar. Hopefully, the following episodes will come back to this story line in a probable way. Maybe the tentacle-machine-aliens from the future derive from Kaminar... we'll see.
All criticism aside, this stuff is nonetheless very entertaining and going into a promising direction. I just hope the conclusion of this season's arc is not as dissappointing as last season.
Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 12:59pm (UTC -5)
Funny you should mention how previous Treks have conditioned us to expect development of various bridge crew; because actually I don't see that this has ever happned outside of TOS. TNG did the best job of creating a 'lived in' feel not because they focused on minor characters, but rather because they had recurring appearances at uneven intervals, with randoms sitting at the CONN much of the time (once Wesley left), and even occasionally at OPS until relieved by Data. It was actually the lack of having the same person at navigation every time that made it seem like it was a big ship with 1,000 crew members, but having enough face time of some minor characters (Dr. Selar, Nurse Ogawa, a few CONN people like Ensign Rager) that we noticed their return. Where TNG excelled was in setting aside episodes to focus on recurring characters who would only appear at all once in a blue moon, like Barclay, Ensign Ro, and O'Brien. Although to be fair O'Brien fits into both categories, sometimes having face time, and sometimes being prominent. And this devotion of episodes purely for human stories about secondary charcaters is something that really can't happen in a heavily plot-driven serial unless they are content to slow down the choo-choo train and take their time.
DS9 obviously took secondary characters to the highest level, where some fans outright prefer the secondaries to the main cast. And yet for all that DS9 never to my recollection had recurring faces in OPS, or in sickbay, or even security. The only recurring minor characters were in Quark's, I guess, which is something, but they didn't do this as much as TNG did.
I would say it's a new thing altogether for DISC to have actually regular, full-time cast members on the bridge and yet who have no lines or parts in the stories. That, I believe, is unprecedented. as usually salaries for regulars are reserved for people involved in stories and the rest can have their weekly casting sessions. I supposed it makes sense for a smaller ship to not have much variety in shift rotations, but still, it does make for a more static environment to have the same voiceless faces present all the time. They come across mostly as props rather than as parts of a living world.
Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 2:00pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 2:02pm (UTC -5)
"TNG did the best job of creating a 'lived in' feel not because they focused on minor characters, but rather because they had recurring appearances at uneven intervals, with randoms sitting at the CONN much of the time (once Wesley left), and even occasionally at OPS until relieved by Data. It was actually the lack of having the same person at navigation every time that made it seem like it was a big ship with 1,000 crew members"
I see where you come from, but it always took me out of the moment when I saw a completely random never-to-be-seen again crew member at tactical, con, or ops on the Enterprise. Sure, the ship had a crew of hundreds (I believe the 1,014 figure included families), but they all had their assigned stations. It's not like they rotated all around the ship all the time. It was strange how Ent-D never seemed to have the same extra at a given station twice except for that one woman who beat the odds and was the eternal con fixture once Wesley left. I hope she survived Generations because that exploding console sure hit her hard! ;)
"DS9 obviously took secondary characters to the highest level, where some fans outright prefer the secondaries to the main cast. And yet for all that DS9 never to my recollection had recurring faces in OPS, or in sickbay, or even security."
I guess Eddington fits the bill? That guys turned out to be a pretty solid side character. Aside from him, hmm... can't remember anyone. But frankly, not that they were needed, because DS9's very premise was built around the idea of a rundown frontier town, where, aside from several officers, government officials, and lawmen, it's the colorful local characters that would be almost as important. Man, talking about DS9 always makes me eager to rewatch it. It has been, what, over 10 years. Damn, I need to find the time one of these days.
"I would say it's a new thing altogether for DISC to have actually regular, full-time cast members on the bridge and yet who have no lines or parts in the stories. That, I believe, is unprecedented."
That's exactly why I don't really mind it. They're basically extras with recognisable faces and speaking roles. Not really much more to say about them, but I find that this approach doesn't bother me as I accept their roles for what they are. That said, I think Discovery could stand to have a couple recurring characters in the old-fashioned sense.
Going now on a complete tangent, but does anyone feel this show feels strangely barren where worldbuilding is concealed? It's been over 20 episodes, but we haven't seen nor visited a single Federation colony, or much of any civilized planet while we're at it (Vulcan and Kaminar excepted), aside from the Enterprise Discovery hasn't met any other Starfleet vessels... It's like the ship exists in a vacuum, and nothing outside its hull has any permanence or importance. That's the one thing I'd like to see this show improve on in Season 3. Give us a sense of all those "strange new worlds and new civilisations"... They are bound to be out there somewhere, right?
Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 2:10pm (UTC -5)
Jesus, so many typos and awkward sentences! Ugh. The first sentence of the last paragraph should read: "Going now on a complete tangent, does anyone agree that this show feels strangely barren where worldbuilding is concerned?"
Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 5:48pm (UTC -5)
I guess you missed those visits to the Klingon homeworld as well or Talos IV now.
"Give us a sense of all those "strange new worlds and new civilisations"... They are bound to be out there somewhere, right?"
Well, there's been Pavho and the visit to the mycyneal network, do those not count?
Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 9:53pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 10:17pm (UTC -5)
By the way, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is a great John Hughes movie. You should really check it out if you like any 80s movies.
Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 10:38pm (UTC -5)
.And as Alan Roi and others mentioned they did explore the Jasepp in spore worldland but maybe explore more mycelial life forms and more about the Ba'ul..it has been very limited so far..Give the Talosians their own Daytime Talk Show in the Federation or something...Show the Xindi again from Enterprise as galactic refugees now that the Expanse is gone and they're home..And Boston an electronic intergalactic techno dance concert on the planet Pahvo ..like the Ultra Music Festival they have here in Miami..but with aliens..and the whole planet vibrating to the beat...And hopefully the sound will give Section 31 a headache at night or something
@Chrome Thanks for the enlightenment. I've never seen it but have heard of it. I'm not likely to watch much that isn't sci fi or fantasy but maybe one day I'll watch it. Literally the only 80s movies I know are whichever Star Trek and Star Wars movies came out in the 80s..and I think Back to the Future which I know Jammer is a fan of if that is from the 80s. But thanks for the suggestion.
Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 11:04pm (UTC -5)
Also on the world building and exploration front, why don't we follow up with the Tardigrade and see how he's doing now that he's in a committed relationship with a very lovely Gormagander and they are raising a litter of um...Tardiganders? or Gorma-grade spore babies? Other name suggestions will be happily accepted....
Tue, Mar 12, 2019, 6:24am (UTC -5)
Tue, Mar 12, 2019, 4:42pm (UTC -5)
That said, I don't know how much better they could have made it, given it was the show's debut season. DS9's stakes in part came from the fact we'd had five seasons of political twists and turns to get to the point of war, whereas DSC jumped in cold. In that way it reminds me of DC's attempt to ape Marvel's success with the Avengers films and jumping straight into their own superhero teamup, without laying the groundwork necessary to make us care about any of the characters.
TLDR, making the show's debut story a war story was probably a mistake. Personally I feel that the Mirror Universe plot of S1 was far better done than the Klingon material, and would still contend it's been Trek's definitive treatment of that world.
I'm also fine with some of our bridge characters being glorified extras. At least they have names and they talk. VOY and ENT were particularly bad at having nameless, voiceless faces on the ship who might as well have not been there at all. (I feel like that particularly hurt Voyager - the potential for world building on that show was in portraying how a lone starship on a potentially generations-long journey would form its own unique internal community, and it was a terribly wasted opportunity.)
Tue, Mar 12, 2019, 5:53pm (UTC -5)
But hey, what am I writing hear? I didn't like season one and while season 2 is far better Discovery, as others have pointed out, seems to exist in a vacuum. The rest of the Federation barely exists. Have we actually seen anything of the Federation apart from the nightmarish court room in season one?
Tue, Mar 12, 2019, 5:54pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 6:58am (UTC -5)
Like, even though the original Bajoran storyline got pushed waaaay into the background after season 2 and was eventually reduced to the somewhat trite pagh-wraith stuff, it was never entirely forgotten and still informed Kira's character throughout all seven seasons. It also was the basis for a lot of other good stuff, like season six's occupation arc. And even though the Klingon stuff in season 4 was mostly a ratings ploy, the writers were still able to successfully tie it into their just-introduced changeling paranoia story.
If I was on the writing staff for Disco season 3, I'd be advocating for a smaller-scale arc for season 3. Rather than fighting a war or trying to save all sentient life or anything else so repetitively over-the-top, I'd rather see something a bit more political. Maybe season 3 can be a whistle-stop tour of the Federation, trying to root out rogue S31 agents from rustling up dissent.
Then again, who knows where season 2 is going. I'm still half-expecting the show to pull another crazy twist out of its ass and send the Disco on a Sliders-style journey through parallel universes.
Sun, Mar 24, 2019, 3:25pm (UTC -5)
Like how they snuck in the number 47.
In season 1 I kept wishing in each episode we’d see the last of Tyler. Guess I have to keep wishing.
Wed, Feb 5, 2020, 2:15am (UTC -5)
But then I recalled the fate of Lt. Connelly in the first episode of the season, who was quickly dispatched mid-sentence by the writers when he dared to condescend to their Mary Sue... so it's safe to say that Leland's days are numbered.
The thought of Sarek deep in meditation for days, maybe weeks, pushing his mental powers to the absolute limit in the Search for Spock, when Spock has been literally right under his nose the whole time because of his wife's machinations, is pretty hilarious and makes him look like a chump, even with the kryptonite or whatever. I can appreciate why he was slightly miffed. Somehow, Amanda manages to emasculate him even further when she twists his words into the pussy-whippable offense of implying that he has authority over her, when all he meant was that the using the house of an ambassador to harbor a fugitive is an abuse of the privileges that authority affords.
Tyler: I'm still here and I matter because Georgiou gave me this shiny black badge that means I get to mouth-breathe down your neck all the time and you need to tell me stuff because I'm important and have I shown you my badge yet?
Wed, Apr 22, 2020, 3:02am (UTC -5)
Burnham running away from home, are they ripping off Yesteryear from the TAS? They better not or we will have problems. Get your own original storylines DIS.
Since when does it rain on Vulcan? Or have lush green forests? It's a desert palnet, like in a Roadrunner cartoon. (You can tell what I grew up watching back in the 70s and 80s,) Another example of shitting all over Trek canon.
DIS needs to get better writers. I like this show and I love seeing Trek adapted to the age of dark adn serialized TV, even though DS9 pioneered that, and did better, but there is no over arching narrative, consistent characterization, crew interactions, or world building. It seems disjointed, less than the sum of its parts.
Is the Red Angel Crewman Daniels from ENT and the Temporal Cold War? Maybe DIS cna figure out how to make that work. Cuz it sure didn't on ENT. Or maybe DIS is again recycling old ideas from earlier Treks. But why would you want to recyle that lousy storyline?
Speaking of which, looks like the earth will get blowed up again like with the Xindi Weapon. More recycling.
Looking forward to Talos 4 though.
Mon, Aug 3, 2020, 3:21am (UTC -5)
I have not watched the rest of season 2 yet at this point, my guess is she’ll probably find a way to get back to MU or take control of the Alpha Q.
Mon, Aug 3, 2020, 8:18am (UTC -5)
Tue, Jan 11, 2022, 10:24pm (UTC -5)
I also find many of the characters are becoming less endearing, not more.
In particular, Tilly is fast becoming the Neelix of this series, a one-note exuberant character who is unintentionally comic at times in the way she flounces around the bridge without any apparent duty station. This is not a compliment. But while Neelix grew on me, Tilly desperately needs some character development and critical self-awareness the way he got it. I guess every series gets its Chekhov, but less is more: Challenge this woman or get her out of the way before she becomes another Wesley Crusher.
The Spock reveal felt like an underwhelming cheat. I share Jammer’s boredom with the Spock family dynamics, which don’t go anywhere interesting. And it’s all so rebooted: None of it feels like the Spock-Sarek-Amanda dynamic of TOS/the movies, adding to the feeling that all of this takes place in the Kelvin timeline. And not to be a purist, but show me some mention of Sybok or drop the pretense of retconning Michael into the family, because canon is canon.
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