Star Trek: Discovery

“New Eden”

3 stars.

Air date: 1/24/2019
Teleplay by Vaun Wilmott & Sean Cochran
Story by Akiva Goldsman & Sean Cochran
Directed by Jonathan Frakes

Review Text

If there's a trend to note two episodes into season two of Discovery, it's the more low-key approach. Rather than the frequent hey-look-at-me twists, turns, and sometimes-abrasive hyperbole of season one, these first two episodes take a more measured approach of contemplation and slow-burn plotting. That's not to say there aren't flashy moments of kinetics (exhibit one: the asteroid sequence of last week; exhibit two: more fun with asteroids here), but the story seems to be more intent on exploring a gradual sci-fi mystery while foregrounding a weekly plot that grows from it.

In this case, it's a human colony that somehow ended up on a planet 51,000 light-years away in the Beta Quadrant (at one of the locations of the unknown-in-origin "red burst" transmissions; Stamets reluctantly pilots the spore drive to get to this place, which would take 150 years to reach otherwise) after being grabbed from a church on Earth 200 years ago in the aftermath of World War III and dropped onto the planet with no explanation. They've been living there for generations ever since, completely unaware that the rest of human civilization went on to become what it is now.

Despite this group being human, Pike believes they should be treated like any pre-warp civilization and be subject to Starfleet General Order 1, aka the Prime Directive. I disagree with his decision that the Prime Directive should apply to abducted humans, but that's just my opinion, and Pike's decision isn't necessarily wrong; the situation has plenty of precedent in the Trek universe. Burnham also disagrees and voices her disagreement, but she heeds Pike's orders not to reveal the truth to the colonists. They go undercover as visitors from "the north" to investigate this settlement.

At the center of the colony's existence is a church made up of an amalgam of human religions (although if the colony didn't represent a significant cross-section of the world population, I wonder how this amalgam came to be). Included among the symbols of major human religions is a figure that resembles the mysterious "Red Angel" Burnham saw in "Brother." Obviously there is a connection here between the Red Angel, the red bursts, and this colony that somehow ended up on the other side of the galaxy. But what is the connection exactly — and even more mysteriously, why is this connection?

Anson Mount again shows promise as a good captain in a much more straightforward, thoughtful, classical mold of a Trek captain, and a solid co-anchor for this show. (I liked Jason Isaac's performance as Lorca last year, but the hidden twists of season one ultimately did his character no favors.) Mount and Martin-Green start to develop a rapport here that's also a good basis for vintage Trek — showing an intellectual and (understatedly) emotional connection.

The plot is nothing groundbreaking, especially the planet-side stuff which feels like TOS comfort food and doesn't go into a whole lot of depth in looking at what makes this colony tick. Instead, the away team gets locked in a basement by Jacob (Andrew Moodie), one of the colonists. While this fairly routine plot development deprives us from scenes where the away team might have had more insightful dialogue with the colonists, it does ultimately pave the way to the payoff with Jacob's final scene with Pike, where Pike provides Jacob the solution to a lifelong puzzle. Also, it allows for some action on the part of Lt. Joann Owosekun (Oyin Oladejo), one of the three members of the landing party. It's nice to finally see evidence this show will start using some of its supporting players.

In the B-plot we have Tilly attempting to get to the bottom of the mysterious, super-dense, dark-matter asteroid fragment. She does this because she wants to find a way to use the spore drive that does not involve Stamets plugging himself into it. (Stamets relays his experience to Tilly of having seen Hugh in the spore network, where lines between life and death are blurred. He's not looking forward to repeating the experience.) Tilly gets to experience this blurring of lines herself when she gets encouragement from her old academy friend May (Bahia Watson in an off-kilter performance that telegraphs strangeness before it's revealed), only to discover May died some time ago. Poor Tilly; she's already got enough neuroses to deal with, and now she gets the added challenge of I See Dead People. Why is she seeing dead people? Is it because of the spore (or whatever it was) that landed on her shoulder back in "What's Past Is Prologue"?

"New Eden" sets up a season that shows indications of analyzing questions of faith/religion/God alongside those of science. This could make for an interesting angle within the Trek universe, if they can thread the needle successfully. Trek's tackling of God/religion vis-a-vis science has ranged from mixed (the Bajoran Prophets in DS9) to disastrous (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier), so there are certainly perils here. But if done well, there is fertile ground for the harvest.

"New Eden," like last week's "Brother" does not break new ground or rivet one to the screen with brilliant insights. But it does capture a nice tone of consistent intrigue and exploration, which is good thing for a series called Discovery.

Some other thoughts:

  • The mystery vibe I get with a lot of scenes here (especially the mystery of Tilly's dead friend May) reminds me of the vibes of sci-fi strangeness in one of Alex Kurtzman's previous shows, Fringe. I mostly liked Fringe, so that's okay by me.
  • It turns out Pike knows where Spock is, and that place is in a psychiatric institution, where he has been admitted on his own accord. And he doesn't want any visitors.
  • Burnham on her initial reluctance to share her vision of the Red Angel: "The word angel does carry with it certain implications." I'm glad the writers came right out and owned up to the dangers of using such a potentially hackneyed image.
  • The use of the asteroid's super-gravity properties to save the colony from incoming debris was a nice visual sequence that showed the crew working to together to solve a problem. That said, I could've done without the tired cliché of the colony being saved at the last possible second.
  • Nice scene between Saru and Tilly after Tilly's ill-advised decision to take on excessive risk in studying the unstable asteroid nearly kills her.
  • I finally decided to make a change with my CBS All Access connection to see if the problem lay somewhere with my devices. I was using the Android app and streaming it through a (first-generation) Google Chromecast. (Let me stress this setup streams Netflix with no issues, so it's not that the devices aren't viable so much as it might be some sort of compatibility issue between the CBS android app and Chromecast.) So I decided to instead go through the CBSAA app built into my smart TV. The results were much better, although not quite perfect. The video stutters were thankfully gone. Instead, I had two instances of static-y audio. Fortunatelly, this was fixed by rewinding the feed a few seconds and playing it again.
  • Just a tip: Speculating that it takes me so long to post a review because of how I might have received the episode is almost always bound to be wrong. Do you not remember that I'm the guy who took three years to review Star Trek Into Darkness and ultimately gave it an endorsement? (For the record, I had a busy weekend that pushed my writing back for this review. Simple as that.)

Previous episode: Brother
Next episode: Point of Light

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141 comments on this post

    Pretty good episode and one that I enjoyed more than last week’s as it didn’t have some of the dumb elements that dragged down “Brother” like the science officer’s death, the crass Orville-style humour, and more of a show-off style over substance feel. This one kept my attention consistently.

    This episode felt more self-contained and thoughtful with some good characterizations. I’m liking Pike and Saru more and more. Tilly wasn’t overly annoying (although there is a Barclay/Wesley Crusher element here) and Burnham is showing she can follow orders when in a pinch (about time).

    Another planet thousands of light years from Earth with a human colony — we’ve seen this many times before on Trek, but it’s nice to see a “normal” away mission — makes things feel more like classic Trek.

    Interesting that the natives have gone to an amalgam of religions and have lost the technology they once had. I liked the treatment of the Prime Directive here. They initially try to prevent Jacob from learning the truth but Pike has to go back to clear things up based on what Jacob already believes/has seen. The tech turns out to be a confirmation of Jacob's beliefs although the female leader of the colony reminded me a tad of "Alixus" from DS9's "Paradise" who claims he's living by the corrupt old ways.

    Saru continues to impress as a 2nd in command officer in his counselling of Tilley who is desperate to prove her worth and be a captain someday. I liked Saru recounting his situation of putting pressure on himself as the only Kelpian in Star Fleet — he is a good mentor and motivator, not to mention an able captain who quickly adopts Tilly’s idea to save the colonists.

    Tilley reminds me a lot of Barclay — awkward in person but meant to be bright and take risks. She’ll be consistently used to provide some levity and I thought it was better handled here than in “Brother”. Not sure what to make of the weird person (May?) who speaks to Tilley but that the computer said is deceased…so Tilley has visions now too?

    For this week’s great visuals we got the asteroid pulling away all the radioactive matter — the kind of solution you’d find in TNG that was well done here. Good CGI visual here. But it's good that the episode didn't just try to hammer you over the head with awesome visuals.

    Some interesting perspectives on God/religion — Pike seemed willing to go along with a theory of God put those Earthlings on the planet while Burnham and the other black lady in the landing party aren’t so sure. But I think this red angel had something to do with putting them on the planet and signalled Discovery to come and watch the extinction of the people, until Tilly’s idea saves the day.

    3 stars for "New Eden" -- felt like the Discovery team is coming together better. Very good pacing to his episode and didn't have the excesses of "Brother" which bored me at times. I thought the spore drive was over and done with but it's back -- that's one disappointment for me. Still no real details on the red angel or whatever but at least it's more out in the open as Pike and Burnham discuss it. I feel better about DSC S2 than I did at any point during S1 -- so that much is good.

    I didn't like it as much as last week. I'm giving it 2.5 stars.

    There were elements of it I loved. It was great seeing Owosekun and Detmer treated as characters even more than they had been in the season premier. Tilly's imaginary friend was creepy as fuck. The way they approached the religious planet was also a unique twist - foregoing the obvious Trek trope of the away mission getting into trouble due to dogmatic followers, and instead having the freethinking scientist act as a mild antagonist in the show. Also Burnham was notably a relatively minor character here. She had some know-it-all tendencies, but her role in solving the crisis of the week was less than Pike, Tilly, Stamets, and even Detmer. It helped to make the episode feel much more classic Trek.

    That said, there were big problems with this episode as well.

    The number one issue I had - which made it go down a whole half point - is Frakes direction this go around was absolutely atrocious. The lighting was terrible. The editing was so quick it was giving me a headache. And the music and ambient sounds were mixed very high, while the dialogue was mixed very low. All of this together made it a very physically unpleasant experience to watch. I presume this comes down to the editing because none of this bothered me last week.

    The dialogue was notably not as snappy as the previous episode either. The entire monologue the religious lady gave was cringe-inducing. It should have been played as some sort of ritualized sermon. But instead she said what happened 200 years prior in a very matter-of-fact manner, save for the angel - as if it hadn't fallen into legend at all. Worse, since the bridge crew was undercover - supposedly from the north - she should have presumed they knew it all already. It's an infodump for the sake of the viewer, which is a big no-no for scriptwriters.

    Also, Tilly remains a weak link this season.

    So yeah, 2.5 stars. Which is frustrating, because with just a bit more work it would have easily been a three-star episode.

    I liked Rahul’s review, pretty much said what I wanted to say about this one.

    Anyone else notice the “negatory” computer bleep from TNG being used several times? Thought that was a nice touch. At one point, they also played the Star Trek fanfare usually used at the beginning of TOS/TNG, as well as the old Paramount Trek movies. Good feels from old Trek.

    This episode seemed to tone down the action hijinks a lot more which I really appreciated, and it gave a lot more time towards some very thoughtful discussion which made this episode feel very "trek" like, I enjoyed this one plenty enough! Though they have brought back the spore drive which opened up a few old questions about why we don't see it later and there is the whole matter of Tilly's friend which adds on yet another layer of mystery that I am totally interested to see how they unravel...

    Another good outing for STD Season 2, so I'm hoping we have a nice trend happening here. Very intriguing story regarding this human colony in the beta quadrant. I love how the writers tied this colony, and the strange signals, and Spock's disappearance, to "something" that happened during WW III (just one small bone to pick, Michael states that 600 million died in that war, but that breaks with established canon of 30 million)... Both of these stories are more aligned with what has made Star Trek so great over the past 50 years, tell a good story, and I'm looking forward to seeing more... I give this episode another solid 3 out of 4.

    Discovery's second season knocks it out of the park again with another good episode. For me it focused a lot on the characters and their likability.

    *I already loved Saru, but his mentoring was great to see.

    *Captain Pike's headstrong protection of the Prime Directive and the way he fixed everything in the end was very Picard-like. It's gonna be real sad when we eventually see how he gets that injury and how he's in the chair in TOS, cause I'm sure Discovery will show it in all TV-MA detail.

    *Owosekun and Detmer actually having more than 2 lines of dialogue was good, and shows the writers are trying to make their promise on developing the bridge crew. I kind of wish Owosekun actually had a conversation rather than "i'm going to do this and that".

    *Tilly still bounces on the fence of "hecking adorable" and "annoying as shit" for me, but she was more so adorable this episode.

    The pacing is also infinitely better this season with the season-wide story unlike the Klingon War from last season. The way the Red Angel coincides with the episode missions is pretty nice, and makes me excited to see the other 5 spots.

    My bigger gripes were the ending scene and - funny enough - the direction. Pike goes on about how he can't interfere with the development of this community, then immediately turns around and gives Jacob a battery charger. A little contradictory, don't you think? It also makes me wonder how the Prime Directive works in the sense of a pre-warp HUMAN society. It's their own people, does it still count?

    And the directing: Jonathan Frakes did this? The cameramen must have hammered some Andorian ale before filming because they couldn't hold it still for a second. There were some really awkward cuts and speed-ups with the camera pan, not to mention that really bad upside-down shot of the Discovery before the away party landed - what was that shot supposed to develop in the scene?

    3 stars for me, but if I was going on a 1-10, I'd go for a 7.5 or maybe even 8. Good work boys, keep it up.

    Great episode. This felt like classic Trek to me; the broad story could have been told on any series with any crew. Effects were finally used to just enhance the story rather than tell it. Characters were endearingly developed through conversations and we finally get to actually hear some the bridge crew speak. Was also nice to see them do what was essentially a self contained episode that still advanced the overall arc. My initial wariness of Pike as the captain is wearing off, hes filling the role of boring boyscout version of Kirk well and allowing the others to shine. When the Captain isn't meant to be central character this really makes sense. Hope to see more episodes like this and really hoping this red angel plot-line pays off or it could sully this solid step in the right direction. 3.5/4

    Who can forget the scene in DS9's "In the Pale Moonlight" with Sisko and Senator Vreenak? The entire episode was brilliantly scripted by Ronald D. Moore, but this scene in particular percolated with wit and tension. T

    Sisko and Vreenak are drinking Romulan ale, which Sisko had replicated. Sisko then tries to convince the Romulan that a Federation-Romulan alliance is a good idea, because if the Dominion wins - thereby gaining control of Cardassia, The Klingon Empire, and the Federation, the Romulans will be.... surrounded.

    It is right after the utterance of this word when the Romulan says, about the replicated ale, "It really is a good replica. The aroma's starting to grow on me. For a moment there I almost forgot that it wasn't the real thing, but only for a moment. "

    So it goes with Discovery. Tonight's episode moved incrementally closer to the feel of a TOS or DS9 or TNG episode, but it did so... mostly superficially. Words about religion versus science were uttered. Quotes from Arthur C. Clarke about extraterrestrials being God evoke the days of TOS in which every other episode seemed to feature a God entity presiding over an alien race. There is even a character - a naysayer - who believes that the Discovery crew does indeed exist, and travels through space on a starship. These plot components, or ones like them, were staples of TNG/DS9/TOS fare.

    What Discovery has never learned (and I fear never will, despite the writers' obsession with the word "context") is how to slow things down to the point where any of the lines, or images, or references, are allowed to germinate and develop into an actual scene that lasts for three minutes. Serialization has already presented problems for the show (Stamets' mourning Dr. Culber was all Stamets was given to do, and the character deserves better than having to play the same simply plotted beats over and over again; conversely, some storylines have simply been confusingly plotted over the course of several episodes); a serialized show that plays as if every second must be dialed up to 11 does not work; there is an enjoyment moment to moment but nothing to ponder when the episode ends.

    This episode felt closer to “Star Trek” than anything I’ve seen on TV since the Vulcan arc in the last season of “Enterprise”. I’m giving it 3.5 stars.

    Here’s an interview with Frakes where he provides a possible explanation for Tilley’s imaginary friend:

    He also reveals in the interview that he will have a role in the upcoming “Picard” series but is not allowed to reveal what it will entail.

    Is this in the JJ Abrams Universe, the Dark Mirror Snow White Universe or the He Man Masters of the Universe?

    Maybe all three, then Worf shatters the universe, like that episode I watched three times, but forgot the name of.

    You know, Worf has that trophy thing in the shuttle. Any help?


    Yeah, the TNG/DS9/VOY sound pack has been in use since S01, and it's one of the thorns in my side with this series. I mentioned it in my comments on S02E01, along with other superficial fan-service gripes.

    On to the episode.

    I'm going to try and be a bit fair here. Whilst this was another mixed bag for me, I will fully admit this felt a bit more like proper Trek. I generally don't like 'hitherto unknown human societies/elements of Earth culture found in uncharted reaches of the galaxy' episodes. And — to be fair to STD, for once — this dislike extends to TOS, TNG, DS9, and VOY. They're just not my favourite sorts of episodes.

    That said, I was grateful for this episode at least feeling a bit more like Trek.

    A fair bit's been said here so far, and other online reviews, about the editing and pacing in this episode, and I'm going to have to agree. I'm not sure what was going on in Frakes's head, but episodes like this really do need gentler pacing. This was frantic, disjointed, and pretty un-nerving.

    The real stand-out for me is Mount's Pike. He's throwing himself in the role with abandon, and it's really paying off. I can buy into this being Capt Christopher Pike, Starfleet captain, embodiment of everything that is right and noble about the job. Single-handedly, he makes the whole of the series feel better. Inevitably, however, he will have to go back to the Enterprise. I just hope that's not for at least a couple of more seasons, because he's really right for this. We needed him badly in this series, and we didn't know it until he turned up.

    Moving on.

    I dislike Tilly. She gets on my nerves.

    Whilst it was good to see/hear more of the bridge crew, they're not seen or heard in any way that's making us give a shit about them. They're being used as space filler and sound bites, and this needs to change.

    On the up-side, Burnham was also used more or less as space filler and sound bites, too, this time, and that made this episode infinitely more watchable.

    And now, I must issue a dire warning about the over-arching plot in this season, and the irreparable damage it will cause to canon, and how the writers will probably deal with that:

    So the idea is that the Discovery is out changing Red Things, which — as we are told — are scattered throughout the galaxy. This week, Red Thing #2 was deep in the Beta quadrant, which required the use of the Magic Mushroom Machine to get us there (and here you thought we were done with that thing).

    Fair enough, let's go chase Red Things. But — and here's the warning part — the plot will inevitably necessitate us turning up in the Gamma and Delta quadrants* ... and we know from DS9 and TNG/VOY that *officially* these two were unexplored prior to the wormhole to the Gamma quadrant and Q's and the Caretaker's intervention in TNG and VOY respectively.

    And so — like in STD S01 — the writers will use the cheapest of cheap cop-outs there are to deal with this: the Discovery's exploration of said quadrants will be classified, in the same way they classified the Mirror Universe. Ugh. Is this how they will handle *all* canon breaking?

    This is really why this series should never have been a prequel.

    *I sincerely, sincerely hope that if my suspicions are correct and we do turn up in both these quadrants this season, that we don't get the Borg (or any other Delta quadrant race) and the Dominion making appearances.

    I noticed the pacing problem too. To be fair to Frakes, if he's handed a script which is twice the length of a typical TNG script and has to cram it all into 45 minutes, what is he supposed to do? The slower, quiet moments required of this kind of theme simply can't be accommodated. I don't know how a typical Discovery script compares with a TNG one, but it sure as hell feels a LOT longer. Whether that's just the industry standard nowadays or it's an order coming from higher up to attend to viewers' short attention spans, I wouldn't know.


    Fair point, and it comes back to the writers trying to cram too much into an episode. They could trimmed a lot of fat in last week's, and this weeks could have done without a couple of fillers. They really need to tighten this shit up.

    Wtf.. Since when did the Prime Directive apply to abducted humans??

    This season is off to a better start than the last one but the acting, dialogue and plot deficiencies remain. Plus boredom. Nothing has hooked me at all.

    Oh and the Spock element is getting on my nerves and we haven't even seen him as an adult yet.

    Probably my last comment about this show.

    I can't get over all of the egregious violations of canon. Everything about it annoys me, every time I see something anachronistic to the timeline I grew up, I immediately say "But what about _________?"

    Nu-Spock and Nu-Pike grates on my nerves almost as badly as MU Emperor-Captain and Nu-Sarek. Everything about the way they are written and portrayed irritates me.

    As JohnTY pointed out, the Prime Directive shouldn't have applied: i can think of dozens if Trek episodes where a forgotten human "colony" was discovered and the PD was never brought up.

    Honestly, how can they spend this much an episode and still have actors/ characters who make Harry Kim and Travis Mayweather look like Shakespeare?

    I'm glad some people can derive enjoyment from this, but this literally does the opposite for me.

    It's disheartening to watch the franchise I love go down in flames. I think I'll stick to reading the postmortems when this travesty is canceled in 6 months.

    I guess what I HATE about this episode ar ehte things I HATE about Discovery, which is why this is a decent Discovery episode but it's terrible Trek. The writers room just HATES Trek. "Guys, let's make the Discovery ship even more AWESOME than the Enterprise ever was. Ok so.. let's make a crisis that is WAY TOO FAR AWAY that the ship could never reach it by the end of the epsiode, but we will make it so it HAS to get to that destination anyway, so we can USE the SPORE DRIVE. and ONLY the DISCOVERY can use this. So make sure that number is so big, like every episode it needs to go up to 50,000 light years from where it was. Forget the traditional Trek means of storytelling we have to make DISCOVERY awesome. Oh and if Discovery needs to get into an area that is DANGEROUS, it can use the SPORE DRIVE again, because the SPORE DRIVE IS AWESOME, and is not like anything in the other Treks." It's almost as if the Spore DRive was invented so CBS could make sure that Discovery was dissimilar enough from the rest of Trek for the sake of copyright issues with what aspects Paramount owns

    "Discovery" seems to be now doing Arthur C. Clarke's "Childhood's End". If you've read this SF classic, or seen the recent TV adaptation, you'll know it's about angelic aliens who save humanity, who humans begin to worship, and then grow suspicious of. The angels are then revealed to be a horned, demonic looking things.

    Regardless, whilst I liked how "classically Trek" this episode felt at times, I thought the writing was terrible: most of the dialogue is info-dumping, explicitly spelling out themes, or hammering home the episode's ideas. This is poor writing which unconsciously holds the audience in contempt. At one point Pike and Michael heavy-handedly name drop Clarke and Shakespeare after info-dumping some factoids about World War 3. Later we get some explicit science-vs-religion sparring. No dialogue flows naturally in this show, and better writers would leave 80 percent of this episode's spoken words or shared feelings and emotions, unsaid. The crew itself never seems professional; they're always on the edge of hysteria, faces contorted in awe, worry or emotional pain. Compare this to the matter-of-fact professionalism of the TOS and TNG crews.

    "Discovery's" hand-waving is also grating; too often Stamets and Tilly are given huge scenes where they madly, wildly, science-away a problem. It's TNG-style hand-waving taken to MTV-level proportions. The show's camera work and overall aesthetic - incessant cuts and crane shots done for the sheer sake of it - also constantly sabotage any power the scripts may have. TOS and TNG's sedate long and medium shots contained a tension which allowed these respective shows something to incrementally ratchet the tension up from. With "Discovery", everything is a whirl.

    One scene epitomizes this: Tilly runs onto the bridge, sits at a computer desk, and with an immediate, single, swift gesture, "slides a simulation/image" from her desk panel onto the main viewing screen. No pause, typing, or even looking; just a flippant gesture done in the name of speed and cool.

    Thematically, the episode is also dated SF. This, thus far (things may change), is 1950s level "science fiction examines religion" storytelling, something a "Futurama", "Orville" or "Rick and Morty" would knock off in 30 minutes (or DS9 would do well, slowly, and with neo-realist flair, in its first 2 seasons). So there still seems to be something fundamentally wrong with the aesthetic, intent and philosophy of the show

    I feel so horrible trashing this show, given how obviously hard it's trying, and how much better this episode is to season 2*. I just think that the people writing and making it are forged by cultural/environmental forces that are simply shallow, unread, unimaginative and boring. These are not factors conducive of good, serious art.

    *it's a bit sad that most of this season's good stuff is due to Pike. In a series that tried so hard to be edgy, with its gay scientists, chubby ensigns, black pseudo-vulcans, pacifist/cowardly alien, Chinese captains's the White Guy Hero archetype (the heroic, brave, strong white leader) that feels most "right". Pike's familiar and works on his own narrow archetypal terms, whilst the others don't work as realistic people or comicbook archetypes.

    First time commenting on a Jammer thread after reading his reviews for a few years now!

    Really good episode all around, and very "Trekkian." Really digging the season so far. Only real issue with this episode was the pacing being a bit too fast - too many cuts and jump cuts for my liking. Still, that's a pretty small quibble overall. Excited for next week.

    Thu, Jan 24, 2019, 9:18pm (UTC -6)
    "I liked Rahul’s review, pretty much said what I wanted to say about this one."


    "Anyone else notice the “negatory” computer bleep from TNG being used several times? Thought that was a nice touch. At one point, they also played the Star Trek fanfare usually used at the beginning of TOS/TNG, as well as the old Paramount Trek movies. Good feels from old Trek."

    I sure did!! Many times throughout this episode I could hear tones etc from TMP, and the other TOS movies. I very much enjoyed that. Definatley caught my ear.


    "Pike goes on about how he can't interfere with the development of this community, then immediately turns around and gives Jacob a battery charger. A little contradictory, don't you think? It also makes me wonder how the Prime Directive works in the sense of a pre-warp HUMAN society. It's their own people, does it still count? "

    Pike didn't give then anything they didn't orginally have. He gave them a power cell to replace their worn out batteries.

    I personally didn't think General Order #1 applied here. Just like it didn't in VOY: 'The 37's'. I think Discovery should have granted passage to those that wanted to go back to Earth. Not sure if they should have forced anyon to leave against their wishes.


    I would have no issue with Discovery being in the Delta and/or Gamma quadrant for an episode. Looking at the spacing of the red star thingy's, I'm pretty sure we are going there. It can EASILY be done without messing with the almighty "canon". Space is big. And for what it's worth, TNG messed with it's own "borg canon" so... just sayin...


    On to my comments.

    Rahul, I echo your comments.

    I very much enjoyed watching this episode. It was nice to have an episode where someone isn't performng superhuman mind-numbing feats.

    Aside from Michaels "my scientific mind..." comments... blah, blah.... she would be so much more effective if she quit referring to herself while spewing out statistcs, plans, solutions, etc.

    I liked Tilly in this one. Seemed more "in character" for her. Still impulsive and has trouble slowing her mind down.... always trying to help the cause though. Stumble and learn.... that's what I like about her. Interesing work with the meteor. Lots of gravity, etc.

    Engage the spore drive!! Stamets back in the saddle! So.... he tells Tilly that the last time he was in there, he saw Cluber and Cluber saved him and all of Discovery... blah, blah.... he plugs himself in for the good of the mission... they get there and he leaves and brushes off Tilly on the way out of Engineering. Did he see Culber? ... did he NOT see Culber and that's what he's upset about? It would have been nice to find out after having to listen to Stamets in the beginning of the episode.

    This felt very "trekkie" to me. Not only in pace and story but musically as well.

    Suru is awesome once again and allows his crew to work together to save the day. One day I hope they give him Discovery.

    I enjoyed meeting, albeit briefly, Joann Owosekun. These "secondary" characters won't be fleshed out like the "big ones" are, but it's nice to get to know them. Sort of like Sulu, Uhura, Chekov etc...

    I enjoy the bridge crew each time we get to see them operate. I would however like them to turn up that dimmer switch just a little bit. I don't need Orville bright, but I do like actually seeing their faces. The bridge is beautiful... show it off!! It would lighten the mood of the series a tad, which is a goal of their's as well.

    Nice exchange bewteen Tilly and Suru in sickbay... also - nice s-l-o-w-e-r conversation between Pike and Michael at the end. I'm glad she came clean with him.

    I, as others have stated, liked how Pike didn't crush them because of their religion. He understood it and took a couple opportunities to explain it to Joann and Michael.

    They really couldn't have picked a better Captain (and actor) for Discovery this year. I'm fairly certain he will only be with us for one year though.

    I will agree with others above; this is not Frakes best effort behind the camera. something was off... I'm not sure what it was/is.

    I'm likin where Discovery is going this season!

    3 of 4 stars.

    Following up from last night, a minor nit to pick: They should have taken Jacob (the "science guy" from the planet) and his daughter with them. It would have dealt with the "cultural contamination" issue, made things right with him, and he also clearly wanted to go along. Of course his mysterious vanishing would have cultural implications to New Eden, but they would have been relatively minor compared to leaving behind a small piece of advanced Federation tech and allowing Jacob to tell the full story (with proof).

    Also, people mentioned elsewhere that the direction might have been off - particularly the editing - because the writers just jammed so much dialogue into the episode that Frakes had to cut each scene to the bone, leaving out the seconds of "blank time" between scenes needed for emotional impact. It's an interesting theory, but as a streaming show, there's no reason this episode needed to be 44 minutes long. Not unless they're still trying to keep episode length down for the only country it live broadcasts in (Canada).

    @Karl Zimmerman

    I got the impression from his conversation with Pike that Jacob may turn up again.

    My nit pick - what's happened to the Reno character from last week...? I also could've done without suddenly seeing (and hearing) Hugh's neck getting snapped. I had enough of that last season.

    I'm still finding the sound mix distracting.

    Tilly's creepy new friend is presumably connected to the red angel aliens...

    @ artymiss

    We don't even know if Reno is on the ship right now. We do know she'll appear later, but for all we know she disembarked for now to wherever Sarek went. Presumably she'd want to have some time back home to catch up with friends and family after being stranded for 10 months.

    Also, I think Tilly's friend is connected to the "green spore" last season. This may or may not be the same thing as the red angel.

    One more weird aside. Why was Jacob black, and why was the religious leader white? The whole colony was descended from a small group of people who could fit into a church 200 years prior. Without some sort of institutional racism, everyone on New Eden should be thoroughly mixed by now. Trek has done this before (Ensigns of Command for example) but it always breaks my immersion.


    "Tilly's creepy new friend is presumably connected to the red angel aliens"

    Wasn't Stamets just saying that fungi regenerate the dead and that's how he could see Culber? It seems logical that Tilly's work making a functioning spore drive without Stamets would make her also see dead people. Perhaps all the messing with life and death is why the spore drive gets banned in the future, although this episode also suggested it was because they needed eugenics to run it (which is also banned).

    NoahO: Welcome aboard!

    Jammer: This is from what you said in the previous episode review about CBS All-Access; I forgot to give feedback on it so I'll do it here. I watch with my computer (Windows), hooked up to 50-inch screen (HDMI), it runs very smoothly for me, picture quality is amazing.

    @Karl Zimmerman

    Perhaps the Red Angels are connected to the spores in some way. Tilly's friend helped her save the planet and New Eden and it was a Red Angel who took these people away in the first place (for reasons as yet unknown) and guided Discovery to the spot.

    Okay I accept Reno deserves some shore leave! I just hope she'll be back as a regular character.

    It was pretty good. Felt a bit like BSG at times.
    I'm a little worried about dead people appearing, though. I guess in the end we all go to the great space fungus. :D
    The camera work as mentioned was a little strange especially the two super fast panning shots on the bridge. I almost fell from my recamiere! Martin Green was better. Pike good most of the time. I guess this episode worked for me.
    I give 31 out of 44 stars.

    "It's gonna be real sad when we eventually see how he gets that injury and how he's in the chair in TOS, cause I'm sure Discovery will show it in all TV-MA detail."

    @FELCommentary what makes you think we'll see that? He doesn't get that injury until long after he's finished as Captain of the Enterprise on a Class J starship. Pike still has many years ahead of him before handing over the reigns to Kirk in the mid 2260's.

    @Dave in MN

    Since when has the Prime Directive ever been consistently applied in Trek? Ever? And I certainly haven't seen anything from these characters that have sunk to the depths Harry Kim plumbed (and this is coming from someone that actually doesn't hate the guy)

    A minor point: I'm disappointed Wilson Cruz was dropped from the title credits after having been added just the previous week.

    I'll first get off my chest something that nags at me:

    I am speculating that the appearance of May in this episode is part of the bigger Tilly storyline that will eventually tie into bringing Culber back to Discovery, which sits badly with me, unless they can somehow make it come across as plausible and not as forced-fan-service, but I doubt it. It was an error to abruptly kill him in Season 1, and now, in an effort to bring him back (due to fan backlash) as more than just a memory, they are going to end up ramming through an implausible storyline. I hope I turn out wrong. Otherwise, this is a typical case of using two wrongs to (woefully) create a right.

    As for "New Eden":

    Probably one of the most, if not the most, trek-y episode of the show so far. I loved it. I was able to follow fine so pacing was not a problem for me but the directing was off (I thought the same thing one other poster said above about that shot of the Discovery upside down that appeared for half a second. Whaaaat?)

    I join few others above in agreeing with Rahul.
    There was an ample amount of science-talk and problem-solving together, always helpful.

    Mount is killing it as Pike, and Saru is easily my favorite character of DSC, probably one of my favorites (so far) of all Trek. The overall arc is intriguing, let's see where it leads. I can't say enough about the increased screen presence and participation in scenes of some of the bridge crew who got zero development in season 1. That was my biggest sour spot, but these first two episodes are taking care of that so far. Detmer and Owosekun are carrying their increased roles well too.

    As for the rest, I'll wait for Jammer's review.

    @Dave in MN
    "Honestly, how can they spend this much an episode and still have actors/ characters who make Harry Kim and Travis Mayweather look like Shakespeare?"

    Wow... seriously? I'm not big on Discovery, but none of the characters on this show are even close to the level of Travis "barely a character" Mayweather.

    Also, admitting that people are enjoying the show but then selfishly wishing that it'll be cancelled soon is a bad look. It wouldn't be cool to be like that on the Orville threads and it's not cool here.

    @Dave in MN

    'I can't get over all of the egregious violations of canon. Everything about it annoys me, every time I see something anachronistic to the timeline I grew up, I immediately say "But what about _________?" '

    I totally agree. I have to admit, I've found this season far more compelling than the last, and was really getting into this episode. But then I remember that this is a Kirk era where they somehow have spore-drives and holographic communication and where the Klingons don't act or look like Klingons.

    Why, why, why did this have to be a prequel? All of these stories would work much better if this were set fifty years after TNG/DS9/VOY. The new technology we've never seen, the new ship designs, a new threat (that didn't have to be Kingons) would all fit into the timeline. But instead my brain is trying to shove this square Discovery peg into a round prime-universe/timeline hole.

    I fear that even if the stories get better and better, which they are so far, I'l still never 100% be able to buy into the show.

    @Riker's Beard
    Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 5:03pm (UTC -6)
    @Dave in MN

    "Wow... seriously? I'm not big on Discovery, but none of the characters on this show are even close to the level of Travis "barely a character" Mayweather."

    I liked Travis, but he wasn't "developed" well because of his acting chops at the time, not because folks didn't like him. He had his opportunities.

    "Also, admitting that people are enjoying the show but then selfishly wishing that it'll be canceled soon is a bad look. It wouldn't be cool to be like that on the Orville threads and it's not cool here."

    I was just thinking the same thing reading these posts and I agree.

    The glass is half full people!!

    2.5... but I have very mixed feelings about where this is going.

    - Saru still fantastic
    - Pike really solid
    - Owosekun gets more to do; not enough, but I like what I see, she seems practical and no-nonsense, and there's a groundedness to the actress's performance
    - Jason was a decent guest character

    - I warned about it in S1, and it's become even more the case so far in S2, but Tilly is now the Neelix/Lesley Crusher of this show. I'd go as far as to say that the main issue is not her dialogue or her role in the plot, both of which are actually fine on paper by this show's standards, the issue is Mary Wiseman's performance, which (as I said in S1) is far too sitcommy and overplayed. As another commenter wrote last week, it's like she's wandered in from another show – she's scripted fine but the actress overplays her to the point it's painful, non-credible and offputting. Barclay was a similar character who worked both because he was better performed and because we only got him in small doses.
    - The colony doesn't feel like a real place, in a way that reminds me of bad Enterprise episodes like Civilization/North Star. Jason is alright but the other colonists don't convince, and the matriarch character is written and played painfully simplistically. Given the colony is so small and divided into small towns/villages, it also strained credulity that the away team was able to blend in so easily. For one thing, their speech would have immediately given them away – after 200 years of development in isolation, New Eden English would not be identical to the 23nd century Earth English spoken by Pike, Owosekun and Burnham.
    - Deus ex machina plotting
    - Another badly written instance of showing the audience how awesome Burnham is by having her tell people things they already know. Last week she had to remind Saru to use his superior eyesight. This week Pike only retrieves the helmet camera because Burnham reminds him to, even though he was present when they were told about it. This makes it look like Saru and Pike are stupid. Their professionalism and competence, even their memory, is undermined to try and make Burnham look good. Having her tell colleagues to do things they already know about, instead of them just doing them of their own accord, is terrible writing – really shoehorny and facile.
    – I was surprised Jason didn't go with them.
    – Also terrible writing that they had Pike do a Janeway by giving him technology. (Just for a dubious visual gimmick at the end of the episode.)
    – The spore drive.
    – The contrived, overblown jeopardy/action sequence didn't convince.
    - Burnham as a retconned adoptive sister to Spock isn't convincing either. This aspect of her character was really unwise from the start. OK, have her be a human raised on Vulcan, but why does she have to be Spock's sister? It's a misguided, fan-servicey fetishization of TOS that strains credulity while also making the universe feel like a much smaller place.

    I heed MadMadMUC's warning about Discovery jumping to the Gamma and Delta Quadrants. Let's see what happens. And I think Karl is onto something with Tilly and the spore... the show really seems like it's going down the route of "echoes of dead people exist in the mycelium network" (which is just woo), possibly as a contrivance to bring Culver back, as Mertov warns. With the literal deux ex machina plotting and Tilly having a head character, I'm starting to get BSG vibes... but also Star Trek V vibes. Not a good mix.


    Perhaps less so when I watch it again, but on first blush this is Star Trek Discovery's best episode


    This week we get a fresh script and guest direction from John Frakes on a story that, fortunately, takes The Discovery crew closer to “real Trek” territory than many expected after the messy season opener. Unfortunately, the writing team continues to struggle, and the episode ultimately is dragged down by a few problems that just refuse to go away.

    Firstly, congrats to the writers for going back to traditional Trek material and making a good faith effort to recapture the feel of the prime-universe. It’s nice to have some time away from the Discovery, and an away mission on a primitive planet is a great way to do that. Kudos to the team for trying what they did this week, and, partially succeeding. Captain Pike has been very good, and as someone above so astutely observed, so very ironic that the new favorite cast member is a strong, Kirk-like character.

    As has been noted by multiple reviewers, the film/editing/production team seems to have incredible difficulty crafting space for scenes to play out naturally. The most egregious example this week was early in the episode when Burnham and Pike were in his quarters. A close, face to face conversation scene was destroyed by frantic editing. There were at at least 20-30 cuts that just plain shouldn’t have been there. And I highly doubt that these actors bungled their lines so thoroughly that they had to do those cuts. Instead, they indicate a fundamental misunderstanding of how to compose a scene on the part of either the filmographers and/or editors. They aren’t even doing the cuts each time someone finishes speaking--there are cuts where the person is still speaking! It’s amateurish and damages the shows credibility, not to mention destroys the impact of the scene. It’s season 2 of a Star Trek franchise show, and we have mistakes being made that you’d expect to see in amateur film.

    Continuing with the writing, we still get a large number of “info-dumps” and by this point it is just downright insulting. As someone above elegantly put it, “it puts the audience in contempt.” A number of other writing mistakes killed the episode, the most glaring of which was a completely phoned-in performance by the matriarch of the village--just a complete epic failure. They really could not have written a poorer monologue for that character. Again, as someone above so accurately described it, we have simpleton 1950’s “sci-fi examines religion”, weak scripts for the supporting cast, and as a result, bland performances which pull the viewer right out of the story.

    The spore drive continues to make the universe feel incredibly small. It doesn’t matter that the universe “feels really big and infinite” to Stamets, if it feels small to the viewer. Once again, the weak writers seem to think that if they have Stamets TELL us about how big and awesome and infinite the universe really is, then that’s enough. It’s like they don’t have any experienced writers around to slap them on the wrist for that amateur mistake.

    I wrote last week that the Burnham-Spock connection sub-plot has “withered on the vine.” Or perhaps I just want that undesirable thread to unravel itself and disappear, because I agree with those who see it as brazen fan-fiction level retcon. To each their own, if you like getting teased with fragments of juicy retcon every week at the expense of real story-telling, more power to you. I hope you get your big payoff, probably in the last 2-3 episodes of the season as they shoehorn something together that leaves you feeling empty.

    Finally, I must take issue with the philosophy and ethos behind the story. We have a message that basically says, “Science always saves the day. These poor, religious/spiritual people finally know the truth, it’s just technology in the end.” Sure, when Burnham questions Pike on his interpretation of events, he leaves open the possibility that there is some kind of divine intervention at work. But at its core, the message is not changed. It remains firmly committed to telling the viewer that “Science saves spiritual/religious people from themselves.” The power cell, not God, is who lights up the church. How simplistic. This strikes me something a disaffected 21 year old who just finished “Philosophy of Religion 121” would come up with. When TNG confronted ancient societies with spiritual beliefs, I recall that there was a lot more respect paid. So for me, this episode failed to provide any compelling statement on science and religion. I really hope that Discovery goes in the direction of unifying spirituality and science.

    This is a 2.5 star episode for me, better than last week but still with significant problems. Going right back to the beginning of season 1, I knew that writing was going to be a huge problem and it continues to be. They have improved in many areas--the pacing IS better, the characterization IS getting better. But, that writers room. It’s got serious problems. My prescription? Start from scratch, kill the spore drive, cancel the nu-klingons, cancel the plots about stamets, and go with what is working--The crew of discovery under Pike, exploring, being Star Trek. I think if anything, this episode proves that they can do that. Now if they could just let go of what’s NOT working, then what they tried to do this week might just work better.

    The problems are in the eye of the beholder.
    We don't live in the 80s or the 90s and slower and less packed episodes won't do anymore.
    Compared to TNG and DS9 episodes or 2,5 and 3 stars, this one gets 4 easily.

    My only problem is the spore drive, but it is unique and I trust in the end the writers will find an intelligent reason why it was abandoned. Also, it may prove to be the reason Federation survived and built its reputation in its first steps, accumulated a vast number of members and Earth seems to be its leader later on.

    In 50 years, we may be able to feed all Trek episodes to an Artificial Intelligence to edit, cut , alter and ensure 100% continuity. I'm sure HAL will get really bored with some older Trek episodes btw...

    So, it seems that there's a fan theory gaining some traction about the Red Things:

    I can actually see it, too. Not sure how I feel about it yet, but at least it makes a certain degree of sense to me.

    This by far is the closest DIS has gotten to 'typical' Trek storytelling. We have an A/B structure (A on the planet, B on the ship), and this episode tones Michael down significantly.

    I'll go as far as to suspect this particular chapter is more episodic than serial (which I consider as a stylistic choice, not as 'one is better' choice). What did get for the greater arc here? Michael's vision already suggested that the Red thingy is interested in (some) humans and its shape, and they'll probably get some other clue it is real next time. So we end up with Tilly getting a 'ghost' friend. That's possibly not a part of the main 'Red Angel' arc and could have been done in 2 minutes in another episode, so the 'meat' of this chapter is episodic.

    All this means that this chapter needs to be graded along a more typical Trek curve, and DIS has a bit to go here. The direction could get some work and the premise isn't original or well-used (reminds me of ENT S3 'North Star'. The gimmick there was a Western). It does keep attention. Hm... 2.5 given that Frakes can do better but also that DIS is improving on some of its more annoying issues.


    * Saru and the crew never debate whether they should save the colony (and that's a good thing). In certain other Trek series we would have had a tiresome debate.

    * Michael is still annoying. Obviously the first thing one does when being graciously hosted is tell the hosts they're wrong about everything.

    * Tilly's "What would Michael have told me to do" sounds like the showrunners satirizing themselves. Same with Pike expressing all but surprise that she followed orders. A hint that characters are going to be allowed to come up with their own solutions rather than Michael doing everything by herself?

    * I'm OK for once with Michael convincing Pike to go down to the planet again. This time, it's not because the non-Michael person needs to be dumb for Michael to shine, but because he placed a high priority on PD.

    A few more observations--

    # The spore drive is a perfect analogy for our society. This is instagram/google/youtube Trek. A whole generation of now young adults have grown up with instant access to everything all the time. I believe these people now expect their beloved characters to also have instant access to what they want.

    # It doesn't feel like the Discovery is truly "exploring" and I figured out why. It's because there is always a pre-determined "plot" reason for going to a location. There is never the sense, as there was in previous Trek, that the ship is just out there flying around and happening upon interesting situations. For instance in this episode, the plot directly draws the Discovery to New Eden in an extremely obvious way, and it casts a shadow across the entire production. We are all looking for the feeling that our ship is literally exploring the universe, where the goal is simply to do that. With Discovery, it feels like the writers don't think that's a valid thing to do. They insist that ever single jump must be for a very concrete, plot-related reason. For me, it completely ruins the sense of adventure. And for this being a prequel, where Starfleet has much less knowledge about the wider universe, I would think exploration would figure much more highly. I guess you could counter with "there's a war and so people are focused on that" but, actually they are not! The show isn't focused on it at all, it's background information except for a few specific episodes. The main, "A" plot is the secret messages, and while interesting, is starting to feel like a heavy, suffocating blanket over the show.

    @ Brian: "There is never the sense, as there was in previous Trek, that the ship is just out there flying around and happening upon interesting situations"
    That is not true for DS9. And the Voyager wasn't really exploring, they were flying home.
    And the war in Discovery is over. Plus they couldn't use the spore drive until Tardistamets was ready to do it.

    This episode for me was Trek at its best. Philosophy debate, religion vs science, prime directive vs what's best for population, hint at paranormal activity which is probably an alien force yet there was providence with the asteroid they took in the last episode. And of course star trek discovery's exceptional production quality. 4 stars for me - and the first one in all of star trek discovery (which I have been less than impressed with to date). To borrow a phrase from star wars, it has given me a new hope for this incarnation.

    Kapages said: "We don't live in the 80s or the 90s and slower and less packed episodes won't do anymore."

    False dichotomy and very cynical. Something can be slow and packed with thought provoking material. Something can be fast and use this speed to cover up its vacuity. And the past is not inherently slower; average shot lengths were higher in the 40s/50s than the 60s/70s, for example. Similarly, the running times of "popcorn" films is going up, becoming more bloated. On TV, meanwhile, a plot which might ordinary take 40 minutes, gets padded out for an entire season.

    Spore drive sucks. It's just a very basic plot metaphor. I like earlier Trek (from before the JJ-verse) because it had a slower pacing. Indeed, they didn't force so many things into 45 minutes. One did not have his time to look around. And the constant camera motion is enervating. It's too close to the actors, why couldn't they give a normal perspective of that damned brigde? Some of the people criticise the ENT for not being in coherence with the usual trek-style. I just have rewatched it, and from the storytelling up to it's visual style it has more to do with Star Trek than this. The ship feels like an overcrowded submarine and that's it, the early stages of starship voyages.
    I don't really like the sterile, shiny environment of the Discovery. It's not inventive at all, we've seen it in dozens of melodramatic sci-fi-s like Oblivion etc.
    And Star Trek is ultimately, about the human condition. Not about some obscure and pointless space adventures. The Wrath of Khan is about Kirk confronting the multiple consequences of his actions (cheating the no-win scenario, leaving Khan on a planet insead handing him over to Starfleet Security, leaving a woman pregnant and flying away); the DS9 is about how could a benevolent superpower act upon different political issues - and it's room for fail as well, for example the Maquis; the ENT (among other issues) tells a story of a traumatised Earth vulnerable to right-wing propaganda and how could overcome it - even VOY debates questions of historical credibility and accuracy, issues of an Erinnerungspolitik, but Discovery is just brainless fanservice and action. I aknowledge that the writing staff did some improvements, but hey - if the crew is not a real crew but rather some impersonation of an identity-political agenda, we ironically arrive to the point as @Trent is putting it, that the Male White Hero saves the day. So exactly to the opposite of that the writers would have like to accomplish.

    @ Örs,

    I disagree. While the treknobabble behind the Spore Drive is ridiculous, the drive itself is a great idea had lots of narrative potential. After all, it's been canonically established it not only allows for instantaneous travel through space to absolutely anywhere, but also travel to any other point in space or time in the entire multiverse. Discovery could go back 4.5 billion years ago and meet the ancient humanoids. It could end up "lost in the multiverse" and keep visiting slightly parallel versions of the Trekverse with minor differences. The "Sliders on a spaceship" concept would also help die-hard canon nerds who have issues with the visuals and the lack of any inference of Michael having existed before, by leaving open the possibility Discovery starts out in a universe very close to, but not identical to, the Prime Universe.

    The writers however horribly misused the limitless potential of the spore drive, just using it to jump from place to place, then go to the MU, then accidentally jump forward nine months in time. Why they didn't decide to jump back in time to just after they originally left after "recharging" (or even better, to before the Battle of the Binary Stars) I will never understand.

    @Karl I don't think that Örs comment is making that much sense. Maybe it is his limited English but the last 4-5 lines are very confusing.

    @Booming how many foreign languages do you know? at least i tried to make a point with my limited knowledge of english.

    @Karl spore drive doesn't make much sense in a pre-TOS period, it just feels like it is retconned there. I'm not against the spore drive in general, but it ends up being the convenient plot device here. Cannot arrive in time to the beta quadrand? Use the spore drive. How to get inside a klingon cave? Use the spore drive. Ultimately the spore drive solves all our problems, not the character developments.

    and guys, my comment was about how they are writing this series. Is this writing consistent with the trekkian narrative frames we've got used to?


    Good art often relies on limits. Not having limits, can just as easily make it difficult to tell interesting stories as to enable them. What you see as 'limitless potential' can also become 'very limited/confused storytelling' when you have to ask yourself 'why didn't the protagonists do that? what about the implications of the technology to the setting? how to make the antagonists powerful enough to be a credible threat?'.

    Think of all of cases we needed to have arbitrary things shut down the transporter ("can't get a lock", "ion storms", having it the first system to go offline) because having it would ruin the episode. Think also of all the implications transporter tech would have. It took decades of storytelling for Trek to own much of it.

    The spore drive 'tech' has even less limits, and it has to go away. Add the serial nature of DIS (less time to explore the implications), and the dreadful non-explanation for it (arguably against the spirit of Trek). You end up with something that probably can't be integrated into Trek, not in DIS anyway.

    DIS 1 already used it as a massive bomb amongst other things. You want to add a multiverse + timetravel to it. Eventually the question after each episode is going to be 'why didn't the protagonists travel back in time as soon as trouble started, to avoid the issue in the first place?' and every antagonist's first action must be to find a way to disable it. That's boring!

    @ örs: Three and I will learn a forth this year (Italian). And what point did you want to make? That the writer are on an identity politics mission and for some reason made Pike the hero by almost sacrificing himself without intending that? They are writing the story. If they didn't want him to save the day why did they write that scene?? It is also debatable that he did save the day. He saved a kid. Didn't Tilly, Stamets or Saru save the day by stopping the destruction of the planet? And just to mention it. The word identity politics is a scientific term that just means: Everybody has an identity that must be viewed in the context of a certain culture. For example a black man from Namibia has a different identity in Namibia than in the US. In one country he is part of a group that occupies most positions of power in the US he would be part of a minority (immigrant from Namibia) in a minority (black skin) that has very little power.
    I seemed to me that you wanted to insinuate that the writers are on some kind of anti white crusade while at the same time pointing out that the white heterosexual man who is the captain did something heroic. Talk about confirmation bias. And that is why I said that you English is limited to give you the benefit of the doubt. Not to insult you.

    Criticising non-native speakers' English in comments isn't OK, and I'd have thought that a multilingual person would have got that.

    @ Booming you've got me wrong. I didn't accuse the writers with any anti-white crusade, I've just said that they solved a problem against their original intentions by using Pike, the par exellance white male captain. If they've reflected upon the diversity of the crew, it's unlikely that they didn't notice that Pike comes with a mixed bag.

    And i'm perfectly aware what identity politics are. My point is is that identity politics (among many other things) are being used in DIS very narrowmindedly, by creating Mary Sue-ish characters like Burnham, or just talking clichés, and the viewer must accept them only because their representational value. Solely on ideology you cannot base a story.
    Why did stories in DS9 function where Sisko emphasised his blackness? Because first they've built a complex character and gave him credibility. After that came the history lesson.

    So Discovery is a capitalist show because all of ideas, ideologies, genre properties are treated as commodities. The audience needs science vs. philosophy debate? They will get it no matter how shallow one. Is a gay character progressive enough for us? Let's write one! (Then kill him off). None of the ideas are truly explored here in their depths. That means assuming some risks. And why assume any risks if what we get is profitable enough?

    @ Örs: I still have a hard time following your argument. Sorry.
    Is Burnham a Mary Sue? Hasn't she fucked up several times now?
    When did Michael give us a history lesson, for example??
    Star Trek is a franchise owned by companies to make money with cultural products. And with that product they try to make as much as possible. What's your point?

    "Star Trek is a franchise owned by companies to make money with cultural products. And with that product they try to make as much as possible. What's your point? "

    That was precisely his point. :-)

    Fucking up can be part of a Mary Sue - after all, she was for the whole of Season 1 the only character that drove the plot, and ultimately solved all the problems.
    As for the history lessons, the were none in the literal sense, but Burnham is constantly lecturing everybody on morals, which is the same concept.

    And his point about identity politics was simply exploring the implications that the ideology that the writers espouse has for their own show, while making the observation that Discovery is paying lip-service to current political debates without ever going in depth to appeal to a target audience and make money.

    Pardon me, because my English isn’t perfect, but from what I understand a “Mary Sue” is a fictional character who shows abilities that are unearned. Admittedly, Michael Burnham is a highly capable character, but she’s trained on Vulcan with the likes of Spock so there’s a reasonable, rather than irrational explanation for her abilities. She should be incredibly gifted in science, we should expect nothing less.

    Nor is Michael Burnham the only part of the crew with incredible abilities. Stamets is a genius engineer who mapped out the mycellial network. Saru can learn to become a good commander just by research. Tilly, for her flaws, is quick to catch on, the youngest member of the command training program and can handle dangerous science experiments only Stamets himself would dare try. I don’t think I need to get into Pike, do I?

    What I’m getting at is that ~all~ Starfleet officers are extraordinary, and when you start cherry -picking their outstanding moments and forgetting their failures, that semi-blind critical analysis of these characters comes off disingenuous.

    The problem, as we discussed in S1, is that none of the characters were conceived as people. Lorca and Tyler were written as plot devices/gimmicks first rather than people (once their "twist" function was deployed they were both promptly discarded) – they're weren't characters but structural elements, human plot furniture that only existed to be red herrings and to pull the rug out from under the audience. Stamets is barely more than a BSG hybrid, Tilly is the stock comic relief character/audience surrogate, and Burnham is written inconsistently and takes completely arbitrary actions and decisions because her function is to drive the plot wherever it needs to go. Most of the show's characters were conceived specifically for the S1 arc (which was plotted backwards from a predetermined endpoint) back when this was supposed to be an anthology show. Apart from Saru and to some extent Tilly, little effort went into making them actual people. Now we have Pike too, possibly Owosekun if we get to see more of her.

    Diversity isn't so much the issue, it's more that the diversity serves as window dressing to hide the lack of absolutely anything else, unlike earlier Trek series where it was baked into the fabric of the show. TOS/TNG/DS9/VOY understood that diversity was just a starting point, a necessary tool for good storytelling, whereas now it's presented as an end point, an achievement in and of itself. I'm a gay guy and I don't care for Stamets/Culber in the slightest or have any interest in their storyline, because their characterization is barely there and the show has no ideas – I'd take The Outcast, Rejoined, Chimera, Stigma etc. over Stamets/Culber anyday. Diversity and representation have always been an important and welcome part of Star Trek, and part of why so many people find hope in it – seeing a positive future that you can imagine yourself being a part of is a big deal when you're growing up as a minority or disadvantaged in other ways – but the problem is that with the rise of social media and the resulting culture wars etc., diversity and representation have been placed on a pedestal to the point that some writers and creatives increasingly don't think *beyond* them: they think representation alone is enough, that as long as you tick all the right boxes, people will automatically be happy at seeing a member of their identity group on-screen and will enjoy the show merely on that basis - to see themselves represented - so you don't have to bother with decent writing, characterization or storytelling, or to properly flesh your characters out and give them depth, relatability and compelling motivations. That's one of the many problems with this show. It's really patronising, and lazy – it's not enough to throw the audience a fish by going "Look, a gay" if you're not going to give Culber any other character attributes at all. Similarly, we're supposed to find Mirror Georgiou sassy, awesome and badass (to the extent the show expects us to want to see her again this season, which I don't – I'd much rather have Captain Georgiou back) yet we're not supposed to like Lorca at all, when their malevolence and ideology is near-indistinguishable. The subtext is that because Mirror Georgiou is female and a person of colour (in the modern parlance), her pantomime evil of the type we were supposed to abhor in Lorca is translated into awesomeness and empoweredness.

    To that extent, the main reason that Pike is working (apart from the performance) is because unlike almost all the other characters, he wasn't conceived for the disastrous S1 arc. I'm still wary that they will pull some kind of twist with him though.

    @Wolfstar. A well thought out argument. But I still think it is problematic to assume only because there are gay people or PoC that this implies some kind of agenda. And to think that minorities are so shallow that they would watch something just because somebody like them is in it and then be happy about it. It certainly didn't work for you. It didn't work for me either. Culber was bland and I didn't care for him.
    I find it strange that again and again people bring up this point. As if including people who aren't white male or straight is in and of itself some kind of agenda. And that is then connected to the writers inability to write interesting or three dimensional characters.
    I think there are still quite a few people out there who don't like to see men kiss on TV or PoC having important jobs but because racism has fallen out of fashion these days these people must find different ways to voice their discomfort.
    I'm of course not talking about you wolfstar but I would humbly advice you to stay vigilant. Injustice is working 24/7. On that note the supreme court has finally decided. Transpeople are barred from the US-military. Which by the way is or soon was the biggest employer of transpeople in the US. I don't see the masses demonstrating because of it and I don't think I will. Who cares? Certainly not enough.

    "The subtext is that because Mirror Georgiou is female and a person of colour (in the modern parlance), her pantomime evil of the type we were supposed to abhor in Lorca is translated into awesomeness and empoweredness."

    Shoot me now, please. The only thing left to do is find a way to mention Putin with regards to Discovery, and the entire spectrum of current socio-political obsessions will be included in these pages, as they are on ALL the damn pages on the entirety of the Internet. I know it's hard to fathom, but there are other impulses out there besides hating white men, empowering women to rise against male hegemony, and exposing Russian interference in the destruction of all things holy.

    With that out of the way, let me say that I find Discovery Season 2 a very pleasant experience, much improved over regrettably problematic -- yet in my eyes still watchable -- Season 1. I appreciated a welcome return to classic Trek storytelling, wrapped in distinctive Discovery visual style. A good sign for the future of this show.

    Finally, finally, finally, a Discovery episode that was actual Star Trek. Yes, crew meets primitive humans has been done before, but the Prime Directive has not been explored from this angle. A pre-warp civilization shall not be interfered with. But what if the civilization happens to be your own, from just 200 years ago? This gray area is unanswerable -- its legality may be straightforward, but morality is not.

    We still encounter lost primitive cultures right on our Earth once in a while. What should we do? Convert them to modern humans and probably push 90% of them into poverty? Or leave them untouched and pristine, and deprive them the chance of modernity? This episode feels like the best of TOS episodes -- episodes that present a moral dilemma without pretending to know the answer. And coming from Discovery, whose entire first season was about simplistic moralistic self-aggrandizement, this realization that not every question has a clean-cut answer is very very refreshing.

    = = = =

    I wish the writing became a bit more confident at his point. The mixture of religions was nothing more than a curiosity, and in such a busy episode, could have been left out. Or rather than presenting it as "ooh multi-religious stained windows, look!" the curiosity could have been presented sublimely as an evening prayer which casually references multiple religions as well as the red angel, and weaves the world war 3 story into the myth. Oh that would have been so much fun. So TOS / TNG.

    @Booming and Paul M.

    We (sorry wolfstar if you see that differently) don't assume an agenda - we just mirror what the producers/actors said was their agenda, and the show was praised for that even before release by the press. I don't subscribe to an identity politics ideology. But if the people in charge want their show to be viewed through that lense, fine, I will entertain that notion.

    And yes, it is insulting to minorities to assume that just because you have one of them in your show, they would love the show, which is precisely why we speak out against tokenism of this form.

    @Jason: What constitutes a Mary Sue is not an exact science, and unearned abilities are just one aspect. Things pointing to Micheal being a Mary Sue are:
    -Tragic Backstory: She is an orphan, but she is adopted by one of the most beloved characters (Sarek) and adoptive sister to Spock, one of the most iconic characters of all time. This is a common trait for Mary Sues: Being linked to the hero in some totally contrived and special (canon breaking) way.
    -Being Loved/Admired by Everyone: Lorca is enamoured with her, Sarek praises her "infinite compassion", etc etc etc.
    -Her Weaknesses are actually her strength/are irrelevant: Burnhams biggest weakness is her disregard for chain of command, impusliveness - which is also what saves the day almost everytime. In the more common fan-fiction version this is most likely a desease/birth defect that is in name negative, but actually really desireable: Having cats ears/horns (in the Anime variant), having to sneeze all the time (but the snot cures cancer), such things. Of course, the latter examples are exaggerated, but you get the point.
    -Everything revolves around Mary: The Hero does not want to go adventuring anymore, but Mary is in trouble, so he goes, and he falls in love with her. In Michaels case, she starts the whole story of season one and ends the whole story of season one, proving time and time again that she is the lynchpin of the universe. It goes to such extreme lengths that she has to tell Saru to use his superiour eyesight, for example.
    -Being the best at everything/having informed abilities: Informed abilities or attributes are what other characters say our Mary Sue has: i. e. an infinite well of compassion, while Burnham portrays skills in: Fighting, Flying (she was of course the test pilot for the landing pods, who else could have done it?), Diplomacy, History, Warfare, Physics, Biology ... You are right, every main character suffers from this to a certain degree, and season 2 has been pretty restrained so far, but in season one, there was not one thing that Burnham couldn't do better than anybody else. By the same token, Seven of Nine was also a type of Mary Sue, even though she had more actual weaknesses and far better storylines, and did not always have all the answers. By all means, if she truly kept her Borg knowledge, she should have been even more overpowered. Michael literally only has her upbringing to explain her extraordinary skills in almost every field. Oh, and she can mindmeld with Sarek across space and time ... a completely magical power.

    So yeah, Michael is a Mary Sue, at least to me.


    I found MU Georgiou vile and don't personally view her character as "sassy, awesome and badass", no idea if that was what the writers intended but they failed with me! I'm interested to discover what Mirror Universe Georgiou becomes though in the Prime Universe. Will she change, is she redeemable, will she be interested in the PU Georgiou and become more like her, what will her relationship be with Federation values...

    Discovery is so plot and event driven that it doesn't really give its characters much space to develop and, apart from Saru (and I think this is down to the actor rather than the scripts) it's been hard for me to care about them. I don't know how much this can be put down to a lack of confidence in the creators (or their lack of faith in their audience), it's a sort of 'we've got to make as much happen as we possibly can because otherwise people will get bored and won't watch!!!' hysteria.

    Re Michael 'Mary Sue' Burnham. I actually stood up for her last Season in the comments but only two episodes in this Season and I don't know why I did. Her sheer wonderousness and brilliance at everything, the way all the other characters defer to her over everything is really getting on my nerves!!! (her sheer amazingness is so extreme it's almost starting to seem like a parody). No wonder Spock hasn't spoken to her for years...

    @ Hank. Isn't tokenism the inclusion of one person or very few in a far larger homogeneous group? Like Token Black in South Park. But we for example have as many white men as we have black women in Discovery. So it is not really tokenism anymore. The same goes for the gay couple. And Burnham doesn't fade into the background so that the white men can take over when things get serious. But I'm reading this all from the wikipage. So who knows.
    @artymiss: Maybe I'm remembering it wrong but what did Burnham do that was so awesome and brilliant.? More brilliant than what Stamets or Tilly or even Pike did? Even Owosekun was arguably more important for the jailbreak/basementbreak and other stuff.

    @Booming: She's not Mary Sue. Culbert is not token gay. (I mean really, what is Stamets then? The exception that proves the rule? Ha!) Those are just all-present buzzwords these days that people love to use no matter what. I mean, dislike Burnham all you want. Hell, I also happen to think she's probably the most uninteresting lead character of any Trek show to date, which, I am sad to say, isn't only the writers' fault but also the result of Sonequa's rather one-note acting. But I just zone out immediately when I see these lazy arguments like "Mary Sue" get bandied about. Jesus, every single TV and movie out there is full of Mary Sues nowadays, and they all want to destroy men. Of course, those same movies/shows are also full of toxic men who want to violate women in every way they can and they are helped by self-hating women who don't understand they are apologizing for the patriarchy by meekly submitting. Or something. It's insufferable really.

    I generally liked this episode as much as the first this season. We're off to a good start here. However, there are 3 things I really didn't like about this episode:

    1) The dark matter fragment was just discarded like so much refuse. It was supposed to be a new energy source or method of running the spore drive and yet they let it go so easily. Basically, the alien signal told them where to find the dark matter to use to save the human abductees it also told them where to find. Is that it?!? I know Tilly still has a couple of samples, but she no longer has a crap ton of dark matter? Are two samples really all they need?

    And does gravity really work that way? Or was some other force at work pulling those radioactive fragments out of reentry? Because they'd have to be towing the moon around to yank all that stuff back up that easily. And if the only way they can tow it around is to negate its mass somehow, like when Tilly took that sample, how would it still have it's gravitational mass to yank all those fragments, like that?

    2) In what seemed like nanoseconds, Jacob went from, "I've always suspected Earth survived! Now that we have the truth we can all go home!" to "Just knowing my family's been right all this time is enough for me." Dafuq?!? He flip-flopped like your favorite flapjack. I fully expected him to say, "Take me with you, god damn it! Take me with you!"

    3) Prime Directive? These were human abductees. Even though they were ostensibly abducted to save their lives, they're still human beings that the Federation would have an interest in. Wth does the prime directive have to do with it?

    I'm going to copy and past this comment by Mercercreate, from above because its just so spot on...

    "Guys, let's make the Discovery ship even more AWESOME than the Enterprise ever was. Ok so.. let's make a crisis that is WAY TOO FAR AWAY that the ship could never reach it by the end of the episode, but we will make it so it HAS to get to that destination anyway, so we can USE the SPORE DRIVE. and ONLY the DISCOVERY can use this. So make sure that number is so big, like every episode it needs to go up to 50,000 light years from where it was. Forget the traditional Trek means of storytelling we have to make DISCOVERY awesome. Oh and if Discovery needs to get into an area that is DANGEROUS, it can use the SPORE DRIVE again, because the SPORE DRIVE IS AWESOME, and is not like anything in the other Treks."

    Completely nailed it! The spore drive HAS to be used because its there. The writers make the locations SO far away from each other every episode, so that they have to use the spore drive to get there. As a result the universe feels no bigger than a single room. It completely destroys the audience's sense of the show existing in a very large universe. Remember in TNG when the Enterprise was thrown out into Borg space by Q? That was one of the most astounding moments in all of Sci-fi history, when they realized how far they'd gone.

    The Discovery travels that far EVERY single episode and yet not one time has the show even come close to generating the gravity of emotion or wonder which TNG created in ONE moment in ONE episode.

    For the show's sake, for the writer's sake, for OUR sake...the spore drive needs to explode and never be seen again...

    Solid 3.5 stars.

    Now we're watching Star Trek!

    We have a 23rd-century enlightened crew interacting with descendants of 21st-century humans who have become enlightened in their own and different way. We have classic sci-fi themes of the relationship between religion and science, but make no mistake: this is no rehash of the same old Trek. Old Trek almost never touched actual Earth religions, and it would not have depicted them in this fashion.

    The humans of New Eden came from a world torn apart by war. And what do they do? They fuse their different religions and cultural differences and create a little society apparently unmarked by significant violence for two centuries. They do not possess the technological utopia of the Federation, but their Eden is perhaps the first apparent idyllic planet in Trek that turns out to be exactly what it appears.

    Then we have Burnham, with her Vulcan upbringing, declaring that their religions are simply false. Pike has greater respect both for difference and for the Prime Directive, and we see their philosophical differences play out in their choices.

    Meanwhile, both Stamets and Tilly encounter the inexplicable. Culber seems still to exist somehow, whereas Tilly has made contact with an alien life form that takes the shape of a dead childhood friend. "Your brain is so much fun," this entity says; she behaves quite differently from the ghostly Culber and is surely no hallucination.

    The red flashes and the angel who comes with them have so far behaved in only a benevolent fashion, but not one that has clear motives as we would understand them. We're not facing a monster of the week, or an arbitrary universe-ending threat. We seeking out new life. We are watching Star Trek.

    So it took me a while to figure out why I hated this episode.

    Part of it, what is that the planet-side stuff felt like an episode of a 90s syndicated Canadian-made scifi show (both in production values, acting and silliness).

    And I don’t get what the point of it all was. What is the story telling us? What’s the message? No, not everything needs a message. But without a message there’s no point to any of this because there was no human steaks, no emotion, no nothing.

    So a bunch of people gather in a church (apparently with all the texts from the world’s various religions) seeking shelter from nuclear bombs and the church was whisked across the galaxy, saving them. They have no technology and they manage to get along with each other (and somehow learn to make stained glass) and do just fine for the next 200 years. It’s presented as a utopia, in a sense.

    But we learn nothing about them. Why did they thrive (because they thought they were the sole survivors; because they were saved; because they think they’re following God’s will?)

    It’s all a mess that doesn’t really say anything and gets us more rah-rah-ing for humanity’s progress.

    “Illogical. Illogical. All units relate. All units. Norman coordinate.”

    So…General Order 1 aka “The Prime Directive,” huh?

    Assuming Prime Universe, according to Wikipedia: “the non-interference directive is a guiding principle of Starfleet, prohibiting its members from interfering with the internal and natural development of ALIEN civilizations.”

    Based on this definition, General Order 1 would not apply here because the planet’s inhabitants are humans, not aliens. Consequently, they are entitled to know the truth about their circumstances and be granted the choice to reintegrate into modern society if they so desire.

    Conclusion #1: The Star Trek: Discovery episode New Eden is hereby declared non-canon.

    “Make it so, Ensign Crusher”.

    But…there’s a caveat.

    “Explain, Number One”.

    Consulting various sources it would appear that there is no consistent, authoritative (legal) definition of the Prime Directive. One version, similarly worded, can be cited which does not explicitly delimit the directive to aliens, while another only implies the directive can be delimited to aliens, and then there is yet another definition, a reframed interpretation of intent, which draws no distinction between humans or aliens and applies the directive universally to any pre-warp society or civilization.

    Pike invokes that last definition.

    “Apologies, Captain. I seem to have reached an odd functional impasse. I am, uh … stuck.”

    Conclusion #2: This is Gene’s fault for not having had the foresight to authorize and codify a definition (and revisions) for TOS, while Rick is at fault too for not undertaking the same for TNG. And so we get results like “New Eden” wherein, to paraphrase Martin Izsak at, writers and viewers assume a meaning, and then interpret it as they see fit. But then, given the already rampant breaches in established canon exploited by the writers and producers of STD, whose to say they wouldn’t throw Gene’s or Rick’s authoritative versions of the Prime Directive out with the bathwater too.


    Eye-Rolls of the Week:

    I don’t particularly find a neurotic, chubby chick floundering about habitually breaking protocol, disregarding orders and generally making an ass of herself either endearing or amusing. Remember Barclay?

    Anything to do with retconning Nu-Nu-Spock as damaged goods in need of saving through the Power of Love™.

    Where can you find a Christian, a Muslim, a Hindu, a Buddhist, a Wikkan and a friendly, neighbourhood pantheist all under one roof during a global crisis? I swear that isn’t the beginnings of a joke. Or maybe it is. This IS STD we’re talking about after all.

    “It’s the power of math[sic], people!” of the Week:

    It’s quite impossible to instantaneously observe the synchronous bursts of seven distinct “red things” spread across 30,000 light years at differing relative positions from any one given reference point.

    The #$@&%*! spore drive.

    The dark matter asteroid’s pronounced mass will attract the radioactive debris field which makes up the ring but won’t also attract the Discovery itself. Uh huh….

    How many people and of what age distribution, sex ratio, genetic health, and breeding potential would you have to squeeze into a crummy clapboard church from Ass Backward, USA suitable for relocation to another planet 55 light years away in the Beta quadrant—and barring any natural disasters, accidents, diseases or genetic defects—could then presumptively grow to a population of 11,000 over the course of an estimated 6.5 generations?

    The What’s Your Name Again, Dude? of the Week:

    With the government in shutdown Stamets has to fill in for a retiring tardigrade without pay, and not only that, but he’s still on bereavement leave too! And if those two reasons weren’t enough to drop those damn power converters and join the Rebellion, he’s also had to risk being exposed to more Tillyicium.

    @Gil: Very good. Your really put some thought into this. I will just copy paste this from the wikipedia page about Misogyny:" Misogyny is manifested in many different ways, from jokes to pornography to violence to the self-contempt women may be taught to feel toward their own bodies."
    Have a nice day.


    "Misogyny is the dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women."

    Tilly is not all women.

    Tilly is a fictional character.

    But Tilly is neurotic. Tilly is chubby. Tilly breaks protocol. Tilly does disregard orders. And Tilly generally does make an ass of herself.

    These facts are borne out in the show.

    Tilly just happens to encapsulate a good many annoying character traits into one especially chatty package, none of which, I might point out, are intrinsic to women.

    "I need you to repeat after me. I will say … fewer things."


    @ Gil. While you wanted to point out your problems with the character or the acting you felt it necessary to first point out her body shape which does deviate from the male defined beauty standards and add to that the word chick. And people ask themselves why there are less women in Star Trek or here.

    "Tilly is not all woman." But she is a woman.
    "Tilly is a fictional character." So you cannot be misogynistic about fictional characters...
    "Tilly is neurotic;" That is a medical condition. "Tilly is chubby"; I would say that she has a fairly normal shape. And why is it that relevant to you. Do you find women who aren't borderline anorexic so repulsive that you have the need to point it out repeatedly.
    "none of which, I might point out, are intrinsic to women." So only when you talk about something that only women have or do only that can be misogynistic. Interesting. So only vaginas and the second x chromosome. What a relieve.

    - Frakes is well known as a consummate professional in the directing department, and he did some nice work here.

    - FURNITURE is back in the ready room and I am HERE for it.

    - All the intrigue surrounding Spock reminds me of the buildup to Kurtz in Apocolypse Now. Let’s hope the payoff is more Brando and less J. Peterman.

    - I loved the little beat where Tilly runs out of Sickbay but then runs in the opposite direction.

    - That said...there really should have been someone in the shuttlebay when her accident happened. And she probably should have been wearing some kind of safety equipment. Like, at least goggles (or space googles)?

    - I wish May was a real Disco crewmember!

    - In any case, I think the reason Tilly has been acting more erratically than usual (even for her) is that she's got the same "spore madness" that inflicted Stamets last season and still influences his demeanor.

    - Owosekun, Airiam, Bryce, Rhys and Dr. Holland all...say things. Progress! But I still want more, particularly slice of off-duty life. I shouldn’t forget, initially Scotty, Sulu, Uhura and Chekhov didn’t have a ton of stuff to do either.

    - I really liked how Pike differentiated himself from Kirk as someone a bit more by-the-book. He hewed close to the Prime Directive here without urging of his officers.

    - I thought Saru would’ve made a fine full-time captain, but Pike is clearly the more experienced CO here, and they have a good dynamic.

    - I like how Burnham still consistently does that thing where she tilts her head slightly, as Spock (or another Vulcan) would do. Like Saru’s hypnotic arm waving as he walks, it’s a subtle but neat character quirk.

    - I too hope Jet Reno wasn’t just a cameo last week.

    - While I agree that things were pretty surface-y overall, I did like the homage to the TOS theme planet.

    - On that note, Orville and Disco continue to “rhyme, like poetry” (George Lucas’ words, not mine) with their episodes. This week Disco echoed Orville with a pre-warp civilization (combined with the imminent destruction of a planet), but strangely enough there was a lot more killing in the Orville episode!

    I feel like, while the first two episodes are indeed more like Star Trek, there just isn't enough that happens in them.

    So the action on the planet consists of the following: spending a long time figuring out the history by themselves, spending a long time being told the same history by the locals, talking with that one guy who prefers science over religion. Confirming his suspicions, making him not tell anyone.

    The action on the ship is even worse. The planet is in danger and is saved by cool SFX. That's it.

    There is no moral dilemma in this episode, no character development (except maybe Tilly), no allegory, nothing. The religion vs science debate is a short conversation not leading to anything of consequence (except Michael following an order for once).

    When previous series had a similar premise, you'd have real drama baked in, maybe a crew member falls in love with, or befriends, someone on the planet, someone breaks a law and is sentenced to some harsh punishment, there is some internal conflict the crew unwittingly gets involved in, something. But here, nothing of consequence happens.

    This happened often in season 1 as well, but there was always a hook for what comes next, so suspense was building throughout the season, and everything hinged on how the season ark was resolved (answer: badly, but that's a different issue). Now that we have more standalone episodes you can't really do that. The red angel thing is a subtext, it's not the meat of the series (so far). We need more to get invested in the episode.

    Or at least I do.


    Unfortunately, with the exception of Jacob (who served as something of an antagonist) the New Eden residents are a subject of the story, but only in a conceptual sense. They allow for Burnham and Pike to have a debate about faith vs. science and the ethics of the prime directive, and to be saved by the crew remaining on the ship. But the episode itself is utterly disinterested in them - something you can clearly see because besides Jacob only the religious leader gets any lines, and her role is almost entirely (poorly written) infodump. Fundamentally, the episode is about the Discovery crew though.

    @ Gil.

    The population was actually within the realm of reasonableness. Presuming about 150 people packed into the church (seems plausible given the size), you'd only need an annual population growth rate of 2.2% to hit 11,000+ in 2000 years. This is much higher than modern developed countries, but in the range of developing countries (many African countries are still at this rate or higher). You'd just need a social shift away from 1-2 child families back to 5-6 child families (which presumably would happen given lower development levels).

    A deeper question though is how the transition period actually worked. I mean, I presume there was not enough food stored in the church basement to keep them fed for years. No domesticated animals either. Maybe if they were lucky they had a few potatoes they could plant. But they would be initially stuck hunting and gathering when they transferred over, and most people were likely ill-equipped for that lifestyle, given most wouldn't know how to do things like make stone tools or identify which plants were poisonous. Maybe the Red Angel somehow put them down in a place already prepared, with fruit on trees year round, docile animals, etc. In that case it might be slightly more believable.

    Great episode. Felt like a real 'stand-alone' Star Trek...without the overall theme dominating. Really liked the exchange of equipment between Pike and Jacob at the end. Forgot the exact quote, but it made me laugh!

    Now to my opinion on some of your posts:
    - TOS was probably one of the worst of the Star Trek series. I can only name about seven episodes that I would re-watch. TNG Seasons 1 and 2 were also Nothing to write home about. DS9 got off to a slow start, but watched as a whole, it's probably the best of the lot! What I cannot understand is why everyone wants to go back to something that was not all that great! I'm just not getting it!

    - Really sad to watch all the 'tap dancing' when some of you try to explain why you don't Burnham, Tilly, etc. It pays to be honest, because your posts just don't make sense when you try to avoid what's the root of your problem with the characters. I will freely admit that I do NOT like Culber/Stamets story line! So please, for example, drop that Mary Sue argument.

    - Minorities are normal people, and choose programs like everyone else. Do you like programs where the protaganist looks like you? Do you choose programs which reflect your beliefs? Would you have a problem watching programs where most of the main characters were not like you? Judging from many of your comments, the answer is a resounding, YES!

    Oh my...

    I see that accusations of misogyny and racism are flying here without any good reason.

    Some people are way too sensitive. Just because a guy casually used the word "chick" in his post, does not make him a misogynist. Yes, even if dislikes a specific female character on the show.

    And I think we should invite Stamets here, just so he could tell some people:
    "Repeat after me: A person's dislike of the Burnham character does not automatically makes this person either a misogynist or a racist."

    I'm saying all this as a member of a minority myself. Really, people, we have quite enough "opportunities" to be abused and harassed by genuine prejudiced dickheads as it is. We don't need to invent new imaginary problems for ourselves.

    The episode was okay but I found it way too complicated for the story it was trying to tell. Too much techno babble throughout. 2.5/5. Pike remains the best thing about the show, he has a Picard type command.

    @ Omicron: I just find it annoying and my beef was clearly with the focus on body shape not with chick. And I have no problem with a critique of Tilly or Burnham. And I will also try not to imagine that this guy was clearly body shaming. Believe what you must.


    A thought experiment if you will: substitute every instance of Tilly with George*.

    George is not all men.

    George is a fictional character.

    But George is neurotic. George is chubby†. George breaks protocol. George does disregard orders. And George generally does make an ass of himself.

    George just happens to encapsulate a good many annoying character traits into one especially chatty package, none of which, I might point out, are intrinsic to men.

    Am I a misandrist?

    Other than describing George as annoying, there is no evidence in the text of my having made a value judgement about any one trait or in the aggregate respective to George’s sex.

    The character George is the sum of his parts.

    Unless you can point to evidence in the text of any of the value judgements you claim I have placed on any one of the enumerated traits or in the aggregate respective to Tilly’s sex, you are merely engaging in inflammatory conjecture and, unbecomingly, defamation of character with your scurrilous speculation about what I may or may not think about other women, real or fictitious.

    * George Costanza.

    See: “IS HE A CLOWN?!?”:

    So… in conclusion:

    George and Tilly are fictional characters possessing traits which, in the aggregate, and when viewed in the broader context of popular culture, could uncontroversially be compared to traits we commonly associate with (annoying) clowns.

    Clowns are commonly chubby.

    Clowns are also commonly annoying.

    † Please cite for the record where I “repeatedly” point to Tilly’s weight.

    @Karl Zimmerman

    Not a criticism, per se. Was just throwing minimum viable population (MVP) out there because a number of sources I consulted arrived at widely ranging numbers.

    I didn't interpret the original comments as misogynistic, though as I see it there's no need to comment on her weight. Of my criticisms of the character and performance, that isn't one of them.

    I liked the episode. One scene that stood out was at the end where Burnham goes to speak to Pike in his ready room after the away mission. There actually wasn't any music playing in the background...for about 10 seconds. But it was a miraculous 10 seconds.

    @ Gil. George Costanza is a beloved character... false equivalence.
    Wolfstar said it: "There was no need to comment on her weight."But you did anyways.
    And you mentioned it here "Mon, Jan 28, 2019, 3:18am (UTC -6)" and here "Sun, Jan 27, 2019, 11:48pm (UTC -6)"
    @Uxbridge: :D so true.


    1. Informal fallacy: moving the goalposts.

    2. I made no comment on her weight.

    3. You counted the first chubby as a repeat…

    And I'll just stop right there.

    "Say good night, Gracie"

    @ Gil:*Sigh* Words have meaning. Chubby is a word. The meaning of word chubby is overweight or fat. Easy enough now?! Jesus!


    Why, yes, words do have meaning, indeed. More precisely, words have a denoted meaning and can also have connoted meanings.

    But connotation ≠ denotation.

    chubby | ˈtʃʌbi | adjective

    1. Plump and rounded.

    2. "Having a naturally high capacity for fat cells within the body while maintaining a normal human shape; usually resulting in a round face, curvy figure, and a softer, thicker body.

    Different from "Fat", where the number of fat cells within the body exceeds the body's natural carrying capacity, thus forming cellulite, rolls, etc. as the body no longer has space to store accumulated lipids."

    3. Of a person, slightly overweight, somewhat fat, and hence soft, plump, and rounded.

    4. Buxom, flabby, fleshy, plump, podgy, portly, rotund, round, stout, tubby.

    5. Colloquial; informal: "imo chubby is a lesser version of fat. Emaciated ---> skeletal ---> thin ---> underweight ---> average ---> chubby ---> overweight ---> fat ---> obese ---> biggest loser"


    ∴ Chubby ≠ Fat.
    ∴ Chubby ≠ Overweight.

    Unless, of course, you express connotation = denotation. In which case you would be… uh … mistaken.

    By way of analogy, whereas I champion "infinite diversity in infinite combinations," you decree "We are the Borg. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile."

    Far and away the best ep of the whole series so far. I enjoyed the couple of moments of actual science fiction when the used the very dense greater mass fark matter to pull away the radioactive elements. Finnally a decent script! If they can weave the larger arc ariund smaller sci fi stories like this we’ll be in good shape. Hopefully the show is course correcting!

    Jammer is really drawing out the suspense for this review. He must have a lot to say.

    Maybe Jammer just doesn't want to review the episode.

    In any case, it's ridiculous for Booming to accuse Gil of misogyny on the basis mentioning Tilly is chubby. Did you witness him watch a Seinfeld episode and congratulate George for being chubby? Without such evidence, you have no case. You don't even have an indication that he MIGHT be misogynistic.

    And no, that's not a false equivalence. It's as close as a comparison can come without comparing identical twins. The character's popularity is irrelevant. By your logic, I can't compare Transformers to Gobots because the former was much more popular. Gil was right to indict you for moving the goal posts.

    You should have evidence when you make claims like someone is a misogynist, or, rational people shouldn't take you seriously. Do you have evidence that Gil hates women? I mean, besides that monofilament thin indicator "chubby"?

    @Gil. Totally chubby isn't used as a way to describe somebody being overweight. Ok. And that is also not the point. You wanted to criticize a female actor and you felt the need to mention her body shape in a negative way. The definition of misogyny: "Misogyny is manifested in many different ways ... to the self-contempt women may be taught to feel toward their own bodies."

    @Quincy: I did not say that he is a misogynist. I said mentioning the body shape of Tilly in a negative way without any reason is misogynistic. And what does that have to do with him watching Seinfeld and me not witnessing that. He made a comment, I criticized that and then he came up with this Seinfeld example which has absolutely no relevance to him commenting on the body shape of her. That is really the dumbest line of argument I have ever encountered. "I wrote something misogynistic but I could have written something else about somebody else therefor the comment I made isn't misogynistic." Brilliant.

    Did everyone forget this is a Star Trek discussion and review site, and not a study in political correctness or intolerant social justice?

    Does Jammer lack the enthusiasm to review this episode? "Ugh, I can't be bothered, it's just so meh." LOL. You never know!


    It's not like this was "Precious Cargo". Time has nothing to do with Jammer's "enthusiasm"; just look at the high ratings he gave The Last Jedi four months after its release.

    @Trek fan Everyone is getting antsy, because Jammer's review hasn't come out yet. So, it's all Jammer's fault that conversation here has degenerated. LOL

    CBS just put the season premiere up on Youtube for free, and despite the fact they just bought a bunch of likes a couple hours ago, the reception has been .... unpleasant.

    I'm glad I didn't pay for that ... and I'd be pissed that they are giving away for free what they just charged me money for on the 1st.

    BTW, I keep seeing the number 175,000 viewers tossed about for STD.

    If the number of viewers is really that low, then this is a move desperation .... and cancellation is almost assured.

    It's not to late to start watching The Orville (he said devilishly), it has much better chance of renewal and growth.

    Yeah, no. If Discovery was failing financially there's no way they'd be doubling down on new shows under Kurtzman. Businesses can't operate like that.

    Also people can watch multiple shows. Are all space shows competing for existence? It sounds like they're filling different niches at any rate.

    @Dave, not necessarily. It can boost sales in the long run to give people a free "fix" up front. Drug dealers figured that out a long time ago. Just for the easily offended: I am not likening CBS to drug dealers...

    Regarding the episode itself: I have to agree with Brian, it was the best episode of Discovery so far. I just wished they'd started with this episode, then most of the outrage could have been avoided. I liked that they finally introduced Owosekun, and gave her something to do (even if it just was opening a lock, but hey, she did it in a smart and efficient way), with a little snippet of backstory. If I imagine that Burnham and Pike have known each other for a long time, this would have made a great opening episode, detailing their dynamic (their constant back and forth, which, if viewed in isolation from Burnhams previous transgressions, wasn't all that bad. It would also help if she was actually Vulcan). The more I think about it, the more this would make a great opener for a completely standalone show (just drop Star Trek from the name, and Spore Drive around the universe all you want - after all, that worked for Stargate as well). But - and nobody is surprised by this more than I am - I am slightly optimistic that we might actually get some decent Trek out of this... well ... maybe. Lets see how that Red Angel stuff and the next episode turns out.

    This next part has nothing to do with Discovery per se, so feel free to just skip it. I shouldn't have written it in the first place, but I seem to suffer from verbal incontinence.

    @Booming: Just stop it, please. Film is a visual medium. If you notice that a character is fat, that is a totally fair point to bring up (especially if it is just mentioned, not judged). Throwing around "misogynist" is exactly what Paul M. for example complained about, and is not helpful in the slightest. And "self contempt", please... being fat is not a virtue. I am a smoker. I get told that I kill my loved ones and myself, and you know what? Thats probably right, smoking isn't good. But its a choice. Like being fat is. So we shouldn't be telling people that being fat is totally fine, when it is obviously harmful. We discourage self-harming behaviour all the time. And "chubby" really is the cute form of fat. Many people like chubby. So your whole outrage was pointless.

    A token character just is there to tick some box - which goes for almost all the bridge crew season 1 because they were so extremely underdeveloped. But maybe our definitions just vary.

    @Paul M: You are right, Stamets is not a token gay. I never said he was. I just agreed with the general sentiment of wolfstar. Yes she is a Mary Sue. Which is why I gave the whole list of things that point to her being exactly that. Sorry if you don't like the word, but it is far easier to say "mary sue" than to repeat all the reasons I gave every time. I don't think it is a buzzword, or I at least don't use it that way.

    And yes, I agree that it's insufferable - which is why I explicitly said that I don't think along those lines, and tried to point out the ridiculousness of it. Well, I just tried to clarify what somebody else said in the first place ...

    @Burn-em-Up: I am not tap dancing when I call her a Mary Sue... thats like saying calling somebody an asshole is tap dancing. It just encapsulates neatly everything wrong with the character. Add to that her complete lack of facial expressions, monotone voice, wooden delivery, lack of emotion ... really, the list goes on, and I made my dislike of her pretty clear previously. Or are you trying to say that I have some nefarious reason to dislike her? I am confused.

    And regarding minorities, no, our posts precisely DON'T indicate that we all only like people that look exactly like us. This is what I was trying to critisize and what drives Paul M. up a wall: You can not in this day and age critisize a character without having accusations of some -ism leveled at you. And thats also the reason I didn't like Discovery being promoted along those lines, instead of just letting the product speak for itself. But I guess everything has to be lampshaded nowadays. But of course, if you constantly think in ever finer divided subcategories of people, you slowly lose the ability to NOT think about those categories. That's not directed at you, Burn-em, it is a general problem, and one of the reasons why the current climate is so divided and hostile.

    Oh, and a small post script: I'd really like to talk more about this episode, and maybe it's just me, but there really wasn't much there to talk about?

    Regarding the Prime Directive being applied to humans, could it be that Starfleet captains can choose to apply the PD on closed societies they don't wish to disrupt? There were TNG episodes like "The Masterpiece Society" where the society functioned very well for centuries provided there was no disruption. In the end, Picard laments that he did more damage than the core fragment that was endangering the colony. It seems here, too, Pike is sympathetic to a closed religious society that's functioning well enough without interference.

    The wrinkle, of course, is Jacob who carries a painful legacy of refusing to acknowledge his family's choice to stick to scientific reasoning. Does Starfleet have a duty to interfere in a case like that? In DS9, they chose to leave behind the "Paradise" society without forcing them to modernize. So maybe it's not the PD at work, but a sort of subsection of that rule that deals with human societies that wish for non-interference.

    @Dave in MN
    "If it was a success, they wouldn't be giving it away for free."

    Yes Dave, you figured it out, that must be why they're greenlighting all of these other Trek shows. You're only seeing what you want to see and ignoring much of the warm reception for this season in these comments.

    Not sure why you insist on being overly negative here when you don't tolerate that kind of belly aching over on the Orville threads... the "STD is not Trek and must die" mentality is just as tiresome as the "Orville is a lame Star Trek ripoff" mindset. These things go both ways.


    Nonsense. You certainly implied he was a misogynist with your snarky post:

    "Very good. Your really put some thought into this. I will just copy paste this from the wikipedia page about Misogyny:" Misogyny is manifested in many different ways, from jokes to pornography to violence to the self-contempt women may be taught to feel toward their own bodies."
    Have a nice day."

    In any case, perhaps, you should clarify your position. Your introductory argument was a bit vague and yet at the same time self-righteous. How exactly is misogyny being "manifested" by non-misogynists?

    "I did not say that he is a misogynist. I said mentioning the body shape of Tilly in a negative way without any reason is misogynistic. And what does that have to do with him watching Seinfeld and me not witnessing that. He made a comment, I criticized that and then he came up with this Seinfeld example which has absolutely no relevance to him commenting on the body shape of her. That is really the dumbest line of argument I have ever encountered. "I wrote something misogynistic but I could have written something else about somebody else therefor the comment I made isn't misogynistic." Brilliant."

    Again, how is misogyny being "manifested" by non-misogynists. Couldn't Gil be a fitness buff who would comment on anyone who was chubby? Couldn't he simply be insulting a character he already doesn't like, not because she's a woman, but because she's annoying for many reasons? Do you have any evidence that indicates he was specifically targeting women?

    What's George got to do, got to do with it?
    What's George but second hand side character?
    What's George got to do, got to do with it?

    Me: I'm glad you asked.

    Gil's argument appeared to be, from my perspective, if I say precisely the same things about a male analogue of the Tilly character, would that make me a misandrist? If I'm misstating your position, please, correct me, Gil. In other words, he appeared to be asking, if "mentioning the body shape of George Costanza in a negative way without any reason" would be misandry being "manifested." Rather than address his point, you side stepped it with a brief moment of perfunctory hand-waving.

    Gil's question is legitimate. He appeared to be attempting to discover whether or not you're a rational debater. In other words, he was trying to establish who he's talking to, someone who's rational or someone who's irrational. (Again, correct me if I'm wrong, Gil.) A rational debater should've been able to give him a rational argument as to how his post exhibited any misogyny at all, rather than, "George Costanza is a beloved character... false equivalence," as if the relative popularity of the characters should direct our analysis of the characters. This answer is either "dumb" or disingenuous. You pick which one you want to be known for.

    It's hilarious that you already assume as self-evident a "fact," such as "I wrote something misogynistic," when in fact that's one of the things in dispute. Gil clearly doesn't agree that it's misogynistic. I don't either. You don't get to claim victory before the question has been settled.

    As for me, all I did was ask for EVIDENCE that Gil's comment was misogynistic. I then specified one type of evidence (that Gil makes wildly different comments about male Tilly analogues than he makes about Tilly) that might answer the question. It's not the only type of evidence you could present, but it's at least SOMETHING in your favor.

    To date, you've presented jack squat to back up your baseless implication, other than he mentioned Tilly was chubby a few times. What you said is insulting and silly and it was indeed an accusation. How someone could believe that Gil's "manifesting misogyny" by just mentioning more than once that Tilly's chubby, while SIMULTANEOUSLY denying that mentioning a Wikipedia article on misogyny as a response to someone's post with a "have a nice day" snarky remark amounts to an accusation that Gil is indeed a misogynist, smacks of cognitive dissonance on an astronomical scale. His saying one word about a character is enough for you to indict him for spreading, excuse me, "manifesting" misogyny, but magically in your mind, you saying a whole paragraph isn't enough for you to be suspected of conducting a witch hunt for which you have presented precisely zero evidence of witchcraft.


    Human or Not-Human is the wrong way to think about it. Especially in a setting like ST where half of the races are humanoid and likely "compatible" with humans. The arguments for and against PD have only a little to do with species anyway.

    One question is whether these are Federation citizens (nope) or members of a civilization apart of the Federation (very debatable). Pike could argue that this a separate civilization and therefore non-interference is justified, while Michael could argue that this is a wayward colony and they are simply reintegrating them into the fold.

    Either way, there are justifications for non-intervention aside from PD, namely, that starship crews are in all likelihood not the right way to do it if intervention is judged to be necessary. While TOS/TNG like to present simplistic scenarios, where the crew shows another way and everything just works, this is less realistic than warp drives or transporters. Responsibly interfering requires significant consistent interaction and the Discovery simply didn't have the time or resources to shepherd the planet to a different way of life given their mission and capabilities.

    Since this is Trek, no one would revisit the issue, but in a proper Federation setting, there should be higher-ups who should be the ones to consider the issue rather than leaving it all to officers like Michael - the PD issue here wasn't at all an urgent or exceptional question, unlike some other cases in TOS/TNG and unlike the 'nuclear winter' issue which was urgent and did justify an immediate decision to intervene.

    Maybe I should phrase it differently - the inability of most starship crews to interfere usefully and the fact that they're necessary for other missions is a more of a separate justification for PD rather than a different justification for non-intervention.

    Assuming that the people in charge had decided to interfere in New Eden, presumably they'd at least be able to send in specialists and sufficient force to ensure that enlightening the people won't, for example, lead to nasty civil war between remaining religious factions and the other Edenites.

    Sometimes companies work on new products when they know their current one has a limited shelf-life ... especially when a 3rd party is paying for the product (in this case, Netflix, which closed the purse strings when CBS tried to manipulate them into buying the Short Treks).

    I don't think Netflix wil be subsidizing this series once their contract with CBS is expires at the end of the season.

    Unless CBS is willing to cough up 10-15 million per episode for a streaming service that won't recoup their losses, this show doesn't have long for this Earth.

    I did not think they would have a perma-retirement on the spore drive, mainly because we had to have at least one usage with Pike at the helm.

    For this episode to work plotwise, the planet had to be quite far in the boonies, or it would have been charted long ago. The problem then is how to get there in a blink, and instead of using a space time continuity issue, a wormhole, or a holosuite malfunction, we have our magic spore drive. I have to assume that the crew seeing dead people will also play into the spore world at some point, so the writers could not have the luxury of parking it forever. We shall see.

    Normally I would find Tilley irritating, but I actually like her and the way they have been using her in s2 so far. That may change, who knows.

    I like Pike a lot, a stable leader and I enjoy the scenes with him in it.

    All in all, I am enjoying this season so far.

    re: booming

    Ahh, I remember those deliriously fractious days in TNZ when the likes of Enterpriser, that troll extraordinaire, could simultaneously confuse and confound, infuriate and offend, scandalize and outrage, and then, on that rare occasion, have you laughing your ass off—and against your better judgement too—at his many, many, many, many, many risible, reactionary ripostes; until, that is, he went off the deep, deep end, and crashed and burned into a BBS black hole.

    Booming is no Enterpriser.

    (Especially these days when the competition is hogging the limelight from behind the desk of the Oval Office).


    I’ve welcomed your responses.

    It really all comes down to this: I see a fictional character wrought by deliberate hands who was moulded from the same brand of modelling clay that so many other clowns, jesters, fools and oafs have been cast, including one named George Costanza … and yet another … named Joey Buttafuoco, except in Joey’s case, instead of being designated the “Schluby One” like George, Joey was designated the “Stupid One”.

    And who could possibly argue that body types, from skinny to fat, have not been exploited (and continue to be exploited) for comedic effect. Hello, Melissa McCarthy’s career!

    Tilly is the comic relief on STD. Her chubbiness is a feature not a bug. Just like George. And while I may find the character annoying, it’s not because she’s chubby, it’s because as acting Comic Relief Officer on the U.S.S. Discovery, I don’t find her foibles and pratfalls either endearing or amusing. I’m not expecting to tune into Star Trek only to get The CW.

    And to finally lay this to rest, here’s another thought experiment for the crowd: guess all the traits listed in Tilly’s character profile that Bryan Fuller, in all his wisdom :‑/, compiled for himself in the early days of development and then later had emailed to the casting director when STD officially went into production?

    @Trek fan

    There’s no such thing as “political correctness,” except in the pages of the respective playbooks of reactionaries and neoliberals (and online trolls) who have, there’s no denying it, achieved a great victory over the past 40 years waging a private putsch promulgating a culture war intended to keep proles, professionals and putative patricians alike distracted and divided while they make mince meat of the progress made by the New Deal and the Great Society† in a ploy to back-pedal to those poisonously phoney, paradisiacal days of “Leave it to Beaver*,” all the while profiting profoundly by pilfering the public piggy bank and pummelling public and political discourse to pieces.


    Put that in a pipe and smoke it! :)

    p.s. “Intolerant social justice” is an oxymoron.

    † And their corresponding institutions, organizations and laws across the globe.
    * …while nostalgically looking even farther back to the Gilded Age.

    As for Star Trek the pop-culture touchstone, well… when Ira Steven Behr remarked : “I know they [Paramount Pictures] got a lot of negative feedback, which only goes to prove a point I always believed in, which is that science fiction fans and Star Trek fans are much more conservative than people want to believe, and this whole Gene Roddenberry liberal Humanistic vision is truly not shared by a significant portion of them” he was either being unbelievably naive or—well, let me just say it—deliberately disingenuous.

    Not only is the conclusion he drew about the reaction to DS9’s “Rejoined” prime cherry picking at its peak, but it’s also a perfect example of the informal fallacy of false attribution, because Mr. Behr simply can’t presume that any of that negative feedback, not one piece of it, came from actual Star Trek fans (unless, of course, it was all from himself).

    Good gravy, for someone who has been working in the television industry for decades to so blatantly overlook the long storied existence of the “Outrage Industrial Complex” that has been up and running since the dawn of mass media—pumping out manufactured ire 24/7 from the pulpit and the press, by pen and by phone, and now, more recently, through social media—is the height of intellectual dishonesty.

    Hating on homosexuals has been a hobby of most conservatives and conservative groups, for like, forever, and they’ve been hard at work making everybody know about it, for like, forever.

    I could link to literally dozens upon dozens of articles citing the number of viewer complaints that erupt like mushrooms any time there are scenes of two men or two women kissing or showing affection toward one another.

    Few here will probably be aware of a highly influential, award winning yuppie drama that ran from 1987-1991 called thirtysomething. In addition to its creative and cultural impact, it also found itself lasting mention by being the target of a then unprecedented attack from the ever redoubtable anti-gay brigade:

    “On November 7, 1989 ABC's popular drama thirtysomething featured the first gay male couple to be shown in bed together. At the time, the implications of the scene (which consisted of morning-after pillow talk) was enough to set off anti-gay activists into organizing a frenzied backlash. Reportedly, the furor cost the network over a million dollars when advertisers pulled their ads from the episode. Now, however, the scene seems tame as television has inched closer to treating gay male sexuality equal to heterosexual sexuality. “

    Rejoined was broadcast on October 30th, 1995, almost 6 years later.

    So, pardon me for saying, but Ira Steven Behr was talking out of his sunglass shrouded sphincter.

    The very same sphincter that produced a much ado about nothing religiopolitical / galactic war arc that sometimes poked its head out of the sand for intermittent stretches to entice fleeing viewers that the show was still the bomb. Trek Wars, people! Trek Wars! You finally get some Trek Wars. It’s so dark & edgy; Trek like no Trek you’ve seen before. And wait until the end when you get to witness Spencer For Hire’s moody sidekick finally take down that beech Nurse Ratched in a cosmic fight to end all cosmic fights.

    So, y’all come back now!

    Ya, that war. That war that pretty much consisted of tiresomely repetitive pissing contests between a gaggle of blustering, clenched-assed potentates, pusillanimous pissants, growling grunts and stodgy bureaucrats with furrowed brows going on forever about “Honour!”, “Death!”, “No Surrender!”, “Victory!”, “Long live the Empire!”, “The Federation will never surrender!”, and that all-time classic “I’ll give you my phaser when you pry it from my cold, dead, genetically enhanced hands,” and so on and so forth—and all of that high octane drama transpiring inside walk-in broom closets or over the phone.

    And when they weren’t engaging in holo-hijinks between sips of Raktajino and bitty bites of Hasperat, they were playing “Cowboys and Indians“ in their pyjamas in Soledad Canyon with homeless drug addicts of dubious paternity, or blowing the season’s budget playing Star Wars: Rebel Assault II in a space confined to the dimensions of a 4x3 fish tank.

    OK, I exaggerate. A wee bit.

    Sure, it had some good eps and even some great eps but it was no less a conceptual failure than Voyager and Enterprise were…and what Discovery has become too.

    Enjoy the pulp, stay for the cheese!


    For those who have managed get this far, I do somewhat apologize for the length of this rant. I’ll blame it on the unreasonably inclement weather. Idle hands and all that.

    @ Hank: I don't think that Tilly is fat or chubby and it is a misogynistic pattern to bring up the body type/looks to criticize women. Tilly was one of the characters that got a relatively positive response in season one where she was bordering comic relief and they probably concluded: Let's amp this up." which wasn't a good decision. Do I like season 2 Tilly. "Not really oh and let's not forget I also think that she is fat!" It was my aim to point out this pattern. And now you are telling me to shut up. I guess you hate free speech...
    @Dave: It could be that they put the episode out there because it got a positive audience response. And they have to lure more poor Americans into their cbs lair.
    @Gil, Quincy: Sorry I didn't read your posts. Too long and you know what they say: Brevity is the soul of wit.

    @Hank At least, one thing that we can agree on is that...after taking time to really digest this Episode because of Jammer's delay, (I hope everything is all right, by the way, is that there is really NOT much there to discuss.

    It seems now that this Episode was sort of cobbled together with set pieces to appease the ever cricitical, social media Star Trek audience.

    @Gil Not only did I get to the end of your rant, but I also re-read it two!!! more times in trying to understand your madness. :)

    My conclusion...use the delete function, and always remember...there are other things you can do with idle hands.

    I watched this last week shortly after it debuted, but I was drunk off my ass at a friend's place and couldn't really focus on it, so I rewatched it tonight to see if my opinion changed.

    2.5 stars. This one raised a question for me: what makes for a good Star Trek episode? It's a complicated question, because there's actually been so many good Star Trek episodes over the years in wildly varying categories, from super-philosophical character studies to slam-bang action-adventures to bizarre high-concept science fiction to just outright comedy.

    There's also an interesting no-man's-land between mediocre and good in Star Trek. For instance, Voyager's "Counterpoint" would have been another run-of-the-mill hard-headed-aliens episode, were it not for Janeway's arc, from suspicion to infatuation and finally hurt triumph. By this point we've been with her for years and know how isolated she is, which makes all of the above land just that little bit harder. Right along with her, we're both glad and sad that her captain's instincts were correct.

    I bring this up because "New Eden" feints in the direction of this; a more thoughtful stand-alone adventure with a character arc, setting up Pike and Burnham for a classic science vs religion argument. They really gloss over it in the end, though. Both Anson Mount and Soneqa Martin-Green give bravura performances - in particular, SMG does great work with her emotional-human-raised-by-logical-Vulcans schtick - but there's just not enough depth in the script to get it over the line for me, and their conflicting opinions on the matter are never really brought to a head. Burnham does notably get to demonstrate that she's learned the value of following orders she disagrees with, though.

    The B-story is some classic Trekkian "the crew works a sci-fi problem" stuff and is fine comfort food, but comfort food doesn't make for a memorable episode. In ten years' time when I'm looking over my Star Trek collection for something to rewatch, I don't think "New Eden" will be high on the list.

    @Tim C

    Ah Counterpoint! My favourite ever Star Trek episode.

    I don't think Discovery has got (yet?) the self-confidence (or even the desire) to produce such a thoughtful, character driven episode. I enjoy Discovery but find it all very flash bang wallop.

    @Burn 'em' up
    You read that three times!?

    @Tim C LOL Yes, I did! Hence, my response. And Gil was absolutely was a rant, and in my opinion, worthy of immediate deletion.

    @Burn 'em' up

    It was me who commented stunned that you'd read the post three times. Unfortunately (?) there's no edit button in the comments here so whatever's posted stays there unless Jammer deletes it. Which I don't think he would unless it was obscene which it isn't. It's just @Gil's opinion at the end of the day and he's entitled to it even if I couldn't face reading it! I sympathize with him actually as I don't think he was being misogynistic, I think if Tilly was male he'd still have used the term 'chubby' as a descriptor.

    I'm going to say "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad" is still my favorite episode of Discovery so far. Most of season 1 got worse in retrospect given how the MU and Ash/Voq plots played out. This is one of two relatively standalone episodes in S1 and, as such, wasn't impacted by those revelations. Now it's not perfect by any means, but it introduces meaningful differences to "Cause and Effect" (one of my favorite Trek episodes of all time) to not be derivative.

    S2 so far doesn't feel as good. As I said before, we need more plot in standalone episodes, something "Magic" delivered.

    @ artymiss: "I think if Tilly was male he'd still have used the term 'chubby' as a descriptor." May I ask why?

    @Artymiss Oops....sorry! Thanks for the tip. I'll take a little more care as to what I post since we don't have editing control over our posts. And is unfortunate, because there's no room for error.

    @Paul M.

    It's not my fault. Really. The p in political correctness made me do it.


    Counterpoint is your favourite *ever*? Unusual choice. But I like unusual choices. (It's Kate Mulgrew's fave too.) I brought it up because I thought it was a good example of the idea I was trying to convey - that sometimes the only thing that seperates a good episode from a mediocre one in Star Trek is the extra character work, and that's what New Eden is missing IMO.

    I do think that Discovery is perfectly capable of doing good character work when it wants to take a breath and do so. I've brought up "Lethe" before as one that I think works well. You're right about it being a question of desire though. Unlike some streaming shows, DSC seems intent (for better or worse) on sticking closely to the 40 - 50 minute mark for its episodes, which means they have choices to make about whether to include more plot-focused or more character-focused stuff. "New Eden" erred on the wrong side of the line, I think.

    @ BZ

    Agreed on "Magic" as our season 1 favourite. I really like the entire Mirror arc, though. I think Discovery has done the definitive treatment of the Mirror Universe; they really sold the horror aspects of it in a way we haven't seen since TOS (and "Crossover", to a lesser extent).


    "Just a tip: Speculating that it takes me so long to post a review because of how I might have received the episode is almost always bound to be wrong."

    I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who reads these comments and nearly passed out from how deeply my eyes rolled back into my head when this was suggested...

    "Do you not remember that I'm the guy who took three years to review Star Trek Into Darkness and ultimately gave it an endorsement?"

    I remember, Jammer. In fact I will NEVER FORGET! (For the record, Into Darkness still sucks. :P )

    Are the 'Red Angels' making anyone else think of the Vorlons in Babylon 5? Enigmatic, mysterious motives, ancient, wings and a cross between angel//demon in appearance...

    Best episode so far. I didn't get on with the first series- too many plots that went nowhere, not enough character, not enough atmos and a captain that you couldn't trust. This series is great so far and with J Frakes at the helm on this one the quality is no surprise.

    @Booming: No, I am not telling you to shut up, I am asking you to think again before you accuse somebody of some serious character flaw. I understood your argument, I disagree with it. Calling somebody fat or chubby (and it doesn't matter if we consider Tilly that, that's beside the point) has nothing to do with hatred of women in itself. It is not a pattern of misogyny. It is a pattern of dislike for fat people (or a pattern of stating the obvious, depending on your point of view). Tilly just happens to be a woman. If I was to call Sisko an idiot, it would not be a "pattern of racism" in itself. And he was chubby as well, btw. You MIGHT have a point if instead of saying "Sisko is an idiot", I said "Yeah, no wonder Sisko is an idiot", then you'd be justified to doubt my motivation. Well, Quincy explained it all already, but since brevity is the soul of wit:

    -hating fat people is not the same as hating women
    -hating one fat woman is not hatred of all women
    -calling somebody "chubby" is not the same as calling somebody fat
    -"fat shaming" is justified because being fat is unhealthy - otherwise anti-smoking ads are not justified (its my body, allright? And I am feeling beautiful with black lungs!), and are, in fact, hateful content. And I guess you are not willing to die on the "smoker-shaming" hill. And yes, I know that there are people with genetic defects, they are of course exempt.

    Anyways, as fun as this was, from here on out we will just have to agree to disagree, if further disagreement persists. I think we both understand each others arguments, and I have nothing to add.

    I think it's time to move on from this too, or at least reframe it. It's less about who's right than whether the discussion is expedient or achieving anything. Of course calling someone chubby can have a gendered element, but it's perhaps more the case that people are remarking on Tilly's body shape (either positively or negatively) simply because there have hardly been any overweight regular characters in Star Trek. Of all the criticisms I have of the Tilly character and the actress's irritating sitcommy performance, her shape isn't one of them, though I think it's more a costume issue - her uniform isn't especially flattering and I don't think an overweight male character would be given as tight a uniform. It's disappointing that they went with the old cliche of making the only fat person the awkward, klutzy comic relief, and it's possible the tightness of her uniform is a deliberate part of that.

    @ Hank: That is why I posted a definition of misogyny repeatedly. And reducing women to their looks is a misogynistic behavior. And I might add that it is not good to live unhealthy in any way but on one hand there are many behaviors that are unhealthy and celebrated (drinking, fast driving) and on the other hand one should ask: Does hating and shaming people lead to an improvement in behavior? And the answer is mostly no (The military might be a strange exception) That's why teachers cannot hit students anymore, for example.
    But as you said. We made or standpoints clear one last time and should leave it at that.

    Ah, the old "I get to fat shame people because I'm a smoker" argument. This place is awful and its commentors are disgusting and will get no more of my time.

    Ah, the old "let's blame everyone for the actions of a few" argument. This hypocrisy is awful and will get no more of my time.

    Booming said: "And reducing women to their looks is a misogynistic behavior."

    Clearly, this is nonsense.

    Gil said:
    "I don’t particularly find a neurotic, chubby chick floundering about habitually breaking protocol, disregarding orders and generally making an ass of herself either endearing or amusing. Remember Barclay?"

    Gil gives a five part description of the Tilly character, which is pretty accurate. No one has been reduced to looks. Chubbiness was simply mentioned along with four other character qualities. And in the next breath he mentions Barclay in the same vein. Barclay has all of those qualities he finds annoying, except chubbiness. That totally torpedoes this nonsensical, half-ass "misogyny" argument.


    "TOS was probably one of the worst of the Star Trek series. I can only name about seven episodes that I would re-watch. TNG Seasons 1 and 2 were also Nothing to write home about. DS9 got off to a slow start, but watched as a whole, it's probably the best of the lot! What I cannot understand is why everyone wants to go back to something that was not all that great! I'm just not getting it!"

    TOS was written in the 1960's and was plagued by many of the general problems of TV of that era. For example, by today's standards, TOS is incredibly sexist.

    So I can certainly understand why many modern viewers find TOS to be unwatchable.

    On the other hand, FOR IT'S OWN TIME, it was a revolutionary progressive and enlightened show. Both in terms of its morality and in terms of the sci fi stories it was telling. It just didn't age very well. After all, it *has* been over half a century.

    So no, nobody wants to go back to TOS.

    What some people, like me, want, is for modern Trek to carry this torch to the current era. We want a progressive show with a moral center that is actually *about* something. We want a show that will inspire future generations to create a better future... or to become scientists and engineers... or to put their old prejudices aside and accept people who are different from themselves.

    TOS did that in the 1960's. Even at it's worst (and there are some real stinker episodes in TOS) it managed to do that. This is especially amazing, when you remember just how cheap everything on that show looked like.

    Can you honestly say that Discovery achieves this goal? Or even tries to?

    'We want a show that will inspire future generations to create a better future….'

    Well...why don't people say so?' Actually, I don't think that avid viewers can easily pinpoint what they dislike about ST Discovery, but I think that the majority would agree with your statement...the sentence I set apart especially.

    I have to disagree with your last statement, though. I really do think that the writers are trying their best to preserve the essence of Star Trek. It's very difficult; however, because our psyches have been saturated with progressive ideas and knowledge over the past 50 years….and like today's's almost impossible to present the audience with ideas which are original, and not recycled. Fans have become more sophisticated through the sharing of Information and knowledge..through social media...our own man-made Babylon.. using technology we only dreamed of..some of which ironically was introduced on TOS.

    But while I think the writers are doing their best, I think that you are right in saying that Discovery hasn't added much in terms of achieving what TOS originally set out to do. The themes seem to be set to: appease rather than challenge….force rather than convince…

    So, all that being said...I've noticed that I haven't taken the time to watch last week's episode, and I be honest and ask myself why.

    Enjoying the second season, but for Tilly turning into a combination of Wesley and Neelix. She’s making it hard to watch.

    I haven't read the review yet, but I wanted to say that this episode was a familiar Trekkian type of episode redone well by Discovery. I actually felt like I was watching actual Star Trek. Which is nice considering Discovery is supposed to be an updated Star Trek and not some generic action sci-fi series which it sometimes felt like during earlier episodes.

    I liked this episode better than the previous one, because of what others have mentioned about it being more like classic Trek. I don't know why we can't just fire up a five year mission and have interesting/weird/scary "Planet of the Week" stories.

    But I also share the antipathy for the spore drive and more broadly, the temptation this show (like "Fringe" and BSG) has to veer into woo. I understand that some people like that kind of thing, but I hate it.

    On Tilly: I generally like her. I think it's cool that the show features a female actor with, on the one hand, a pretty face and beautiful hair, but also not the standard body type one sees on TV. But it's also silly to claim she's not chubby. Chubby doesn't mean obese. It's certainly true that the uniform isn't doing her any favors.

    hello jammer and everybody,

    i liked this episode but not as much as you jammer. its not realiste for me that the scientific coloniste is simply happy that he knows the truth but dont have proof to show the other habitants. not satisfactory.
    good addition owosekun for the story. this is the first time one crew person is inserted to the prinicpal story, no? but for me and my partner, it was a bit slow. saru and tilly scenes were good. saru is our preferred personage.

    i watch more tonight. salutations jammer.

    New Eden's buildings so reminiscent of where the Caretaker plonk down Janeway's crew (Voyager pilot).
    Simplistic unravelling of what the Red Angel's missions are.
    I like it.

    This was the most Trek-like episode of Disco so far. I really enjoyed this one, even though I don’t agree with Pike’s assessment about the PD. I mean, I hated Janeway’s decision in Caretaker, and I slogged through 7 seasons built upon that shaky premise. This was overall well done, and the scene at the end, fantastic. 3.5/4 for me.

    I loved the short scene around minute 4 on the bridge where Tilly closes windows on Burnham's console screen and it is all about "to do" lists and private stuff. Hilarious and only visible when you stop the image.

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