Star Trek: Discovery

"Perpetual Infinity"

2.5 stars

Air date: 3/28/2019
Written by Alan McElroy & Brandon Schultz
Directed by Maja Vrvilo

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Perpetual Infinity" is another frequently exciting episode of Action Thriller Trek that moves the season arc forward and is mostly sold on its sense of adrenaline, which continues to deliver admirably. But it also comes at a moment in the season when the arc begins supplying answers and tying together threads, and the big picture begins coming into focus. And I'm wondering how much of this is going to make sense by the end. The truth is, it probably doesn't have to make very much sense because manipulating timelines means probably anything is possible.

There are some points here I'm confused about. I'd watch it again to clarify details, but I don't have time in my schedule for that, and I don't own a time-traveling suit to make more time. (Besides, I have doubts that a rewatch would necessarily clear things up.)

The title, "Perpetual Infinity," is a good indicator of the inherent absurdity. It's by definition redundant. (Perpetual infinity as opposed to what? Temporary infinity? Perpetual finitum?) The more you draw attention to the details of a time-travel paradox, the less sense it's inclined to make. The whole premise is based on the fact that Control is trying to create its own future sentience by acquiring the sphere data. If Future Control told Past Control that it needed to acquire the sphere data, and it never gets the sphere data, how did it get the message from the future in the first place? Granted, that's the type of paradox that's perhaps at the center of every time-travel story ever told. But what I didn't understand was more around Dr. Burnham and what she knows and does, because the rules are hazy.

Michael's mother, Dr. Gabrielle Burnham (Sonja Sohn), has traveled back to save her daughter from death (for reasons that later seem to be contradicted), and has been captured by the Discovery crew and its technobabble solution. We learn here that Dr. Burnham escaped several centuries into the future in her time suit when the Klingons attacked and presumably killed Michael's parents. (Is Michael's father still out there somewhere, or did he actually die?) Ever since that day arriving in a barren future wasteland with no life because it has been destroyed by Future Control, she has been trying to go back and create a new timeline that stops Past Control from obtaining the sphere data that will allow it to become Future Control.

But how does Dr. Burnham even know that all life in the galaxy has been destroyed? If she's the only person left, how did she gain that information? And apparently the time suit is also a "go anywhere" suit that allows her to go anywhere, anytime? How long has she been effectively lost in time? Years? Decades? If so, how does she survive? In the wasteland of the decimated future, what does she eat and where does she get water? What fuel source indefinitely powers her suit? Does she have a home base to study the timeline and launch her time-travel missions? If not, how does she keep track of it all? She knows all about her daughter's life from having seen it through the timeline somehow, as well as many alternate futures. But I simply don't understand how this is possible.

If I've missed details and this is explained, forgive my oversight. That's possibly a side effect of this story having so much expository technobabble that my mind started to wander. But it's also a symptom of a plot so mired in time-travel rules that are flexible, made up on the fly, or contradictory. The most interesting piece of information here is that Gabrielle, presumably the source of the mysterious signals, actually knows nothing about them at all. So those signals are still unexplained mysteries, but given how much else Gabrielle knows about the timeline, how does she not know about the signals?

Look, I didn't dislike this, even with my many questions. Most of them didn't even occur to me in the moment (which is the moment Discovery most wants me to live in), but much later, after trying to puzzle my way through a description of all this. Sonja Sohn is rock-solid as the elder Burnham. (Sonequa Martin-Green, considerably less so. She's good in her straightforward scenes, but she continues to oversell Burnham's emotional moments with her agape jaw and looks of extreme emotional duress.) Sohn's performance grounds the episode in a steely, ice-cold pragmatism focused only on the big picture. She's been through so many missions to try to stop Control (I think it's said to be something like 800 in total) — all of them ending in failure — that she doesn't even initially use this moment to try to connect with Michael. She's become so numb to Michael dying because she's seen it happen in so many alternate timelines.

There's a tragedy and an integrity to this character that really goes a long way to giving this episode an emotional resonance, even though the plot moves too quickly to support those efforts. She's been assigned to a truly thankless fate, one that would likely drive someone to insanity if insanity were an option. Imagine that all life's survival depends on you solving a puzzle that you've already tried to solve unsuccessfully hundreds of times.

Meanwhile, we've got Control taking over Leland's body and trying to manipulate the crew of both his ship and the Discovery to upload the data to the Section 31 ship so he can obtain it for himself and create Future Control. Georgiou and Tyler go along with this plan as reluctant saps at first, before Leland is eventually uncovered to be Control, which results in a big shootout and martial arts fight on the planet surface while Burnham and her mother connect emotionally out of sheer last-minute desperation. At the very least, the plot hinges on some hard choices by the characters. And Georgiou gets to play the part of the hero in fending of Contreland, which works because of the slow build in that direction we've been going with her character for several episodes now.

At the end of the day, this is mainly Plot Advancement 101. Discovery has always been an able plot-moving vehicle, even when the plot twists are questionable. Here, we get plot advancement that also plays as plot deferral. A major showdown ends with no major characters dying, such that they can fight another day. One cliffhanger begets another, making this a bridge between one serial adventure to the next.

It's a mostly entertaining ride. But it also shows cracks and a need for all this to arrive at a destination before it wears out its welcome.

Bullet time:

  • Tyler is such a sap — and really just not a good character. Contreland stabs him when Tyler discovers what he is, but Tyler doesn't die simply because the show needs him to continue existing for whatever reason.
  • If the fate of the galaxy is on the line (again, another bad reason to pointlessly inflate the stakes), why didn't the Discovery crew try harder to destroy the data by physically destroying the storage device — or even the entire ship? Really, if the sphere data is so intent on protecting itself, I'd imagine it could just transmit itself via wireless broadcast to go wherever it wants to go. But that's not an avenue put forward by the plot, so why not destroy it in a more drastic way that goes beyond trying to erase it?
  • How will Dr. Burnham survive returning to the barren, lifeless future while not in her suit?
  • The specter of timeline manipulations are why I couldn't get too emotionally invested in the fate of the many characters at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, beyond a certain entertained curiosity. When you have a Dr. Strange at your disposal who can change timelines (not to mention the announcements of so many sequels requiring these characters to return anyway), it's hard to think of any character death as being permanent.
  • Timeline manipulations could explain a lot of things that diverge from the expected TOS timeline on this show. I'm not going to go into the many speculations that have abounded, but certainly anything seems possible at this point.
  • There's been a lot of speculation that Contreland forms the genesis of the Borg. I'm betting, and hoping, against that. The Borg, according to First Contact, have been around for centuries before this. Then again, timeline manipulations or simple retconning could prove me wrong.
  • Speaking of Sonja Sohn, my wife and I recently started a rewatch of The Wire. (Well, a rewatch for me; first time for her.) That's a serialized show that's a master class in both narrative complexity and narrative clarity. The true platinum standard. It's simply something amazing to behold as you watch it unreel. To quote Lester Freamon, all the pieces matter. (With Discovery, there often seems to be pieces missing.)
  • My April Fool's prank of having Control hijack the comments of this site appears to have proven more confusing and/or annoying than funny, based on the reactions I saw. I hadn't pulled a 4/1 prank on this site in quite a few years, so it was overdue.

Previous episode: The Red Angel

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215 comments on this review

Greg M
Thu, Mar 28, 2019, 8:22pm (UTC -5)
I'm starting to get really confused by this storyline. The mystery seems to be dissipating in favor of AI Terminator II style Judgement Day. Because of that, I wasn't really a fan of this episode and unfortunately that seems to be the thing that wraps up this season.
Chrome
Thu, Mar 28, 2019, 8:23pm (UTC -5)
Easily one of Discovery’s best. 4 stars.
Rahul
Thu, Mar 28, 2019, 8:34pm (UTC -5)
Very good action-oriented episode with the Red Angel’s and Control’s motivations laid bare. That brought more meaning and weight to the usual frenzied ending sequence. Now Control has taken over Leland in a rather Borg-like way and I liked how he tried to trick Georgiou and Tyler into doing his dirty work but they wised up and fought back — a good plot here on a couple of fronts.

All about getting the sphere’s data — Leland/Section 31 get 54% of it and warps away. I take it the next episode might be about a pursuit of some kind?

Leland was pretty cool in this episode as the now flesh and blood of Control. It was a WTF in “The Red Angel” when he gets zapped in the eyes, but now it all makes sense. What I don’t get is how Georgiou is able to fight him for so long, but may be he actually takes it easier on her? He attempts to kill Tyler. It would seem he has Borg-like strength.

DSC loves its flashbacks to childhood — was helpful to get Burnham reliving the time when her parents were attacked/killed. So her dad is the guy who starred in the Short Trek “Calypso”... interesting. Also instructive was reliving the Red Angel’s logs -- certainly clears up a lot of questions about the sphere encounter, childhood etc.

There was the eventual sappy mother / daughter stuff here — didn’t really mean much given how little we know of who her mother really was, but I think that will win points with some folks. What is more intriguing is the life Dr. Burnham has as the Red Angel — it’s a pretty tough/lonely life trying to save all sentient life in the galaxy, unable to stay in past times for very long, and she initially didn’t want to see Burnham.

I’ll give DSC credit for thinking of time unlike other Treks have done: “Time is savage, it always wins,” says Dr. Burnham. And there is this temporal technobabble about the push and pull like in physics. It’s interesting although it just served as the ticking clock for them to figure out what to do with the Red Angel.

There was some decent strategizing about what to do with the sphere's data, how to keep Dr. Burnham in this time (dark matter transport) so I liked the problem solving aspects again as in “The Red Angel” — at least it’s consistent with this Trek’s paradigm IMHO and didn't come across as ridiculously farfetched.

3 stars for “Perpetual Infinity” — getting a lot of resolution upped my enjoyment, Leland was devious and single-minded as the embodiment of Control, and pretty much all the important characters had decent outings. The scene with Burnham initially begging to see her mother was a bit annoying — but that’s par for the course for the character who doesn’t easily follow orders she doesn’t like. Best episode for the Georgiou character.
Yanks
Thu, Mar 28, 2019, 8:45pm (UTC -5)
Outstanding episode!!
Quincy
Thu, Mar 28, 2019, 9:02pm (UTC -5)
I enjoyed this episode, but there are some problems with it.

I don't like this Christopher Pike. I remember Pike as more of a strong-headed kind of guy in TOS. This dude is so chill he's almost comatose. People disobey his orders constantly and he doesn't even chew them out. This whole operation was a serious fuck up. Some actual security measures would've prevented most of what happened. Pike already didn't trust Leland or Section 31. Why didn't he have somebody keep an eye on them? Why didn't Pike fire at will, not only on the surface, but at the Section 31 ship? He already knew Control had a substantial portion of the Sphere data. It's imperative he stop that from being assimilated. He should've been lighting that ship up as soon as he got the warning from Tyler. It would've been a great excuse to kill off Tyler. I'm pretty much sick of him. He's so inept.

I'm always down for a Michelle Yeoh ass whooping. That's my girl right there. It could've been filmed in a more satisfying way, but at least it was better than last time. Why didn't Georgiou destroy the transmitter as soon as she figured out Leland wasn't Leland anymore? After she finds out, she actually waits to turn it off, until it squirts out a few more percentage points of data, like Lexington Steele trying to get the last drop out on Jenna Jameson. I was like hurry up and turn that $#!% off already!

I get the same Borg vibe others have been getting. It was much stronger this episode with nanites or nanoprobes flowing through Leland's veins. It occurred to me that rather than being a progenitor of the Borg it could've been an adaptation gleaned from seeing something in the Sphere data when it was possessing Ariam. In other words, the Borg could be out there right now sitting in the Delta quadrant. The Sphere eye-spied their asses. And Ariam saw something about them while decoding the data. Using this information and the information about Ariam's modifications it learned to manipulate humans, as it's doing to Leland. At least, that's the only way I can see the Borg fitting into this part of the timeline and not having an absolute cluster fuck on continuity.
Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Mar 28, 2019, 9:31pm (UTC -5)
That episode didn't really do it for me.

First, I'll say on the good side, the actress they cast as Burnham's mother was great. Her vocal cadence was down cold. Also, the plot was somewhat more coherent and straightforward than last week, and the action bits were well done.

That said, this was fundamentally a hollow episode. The first 2/3rds of it was largely a visit by the exposition fairy once again, while the last 1/3 featured that cliche "ticking time bomb" crisis which also happens slow enough to have a touching emotional goodbye complete with hesitation. Perhaps the single worst thing however is that unlike last episode, there really are very few great character moments. Mama Burnham in particular was a waste of a character, as she's literally portrayed as a vehicle for exposition - nothing less and nothing more - until the last few minutes. Everyone in the episode though is basically just getting pulled around like marionettes due to the needs of the plot.

I dunno what I'd rate it. Probably two stars, because it's a bit worse than last week.
Mickey T
Thu, Mar 28, 2019, 10:23pm (UTC -5)
I want to like this season but there is just no joy in it. This episode highlights it for me. So many revolving plots and miles of technobabble. I feel like I know almost nothing about the characters and we are almost through season 2.

Burnham's mom and the sphere archive plots feel thrown against the wall at time. Can't delete the sphere? Shoot that crap into a volcano and maybe we worry about it in season 5. Spock and Pike are wasted again.

The acting is really good as usual but I could care less about Leland. Agree with Karl about two stars. This is starting to feel like the rabbit hole Enterprise fell into with the Xindi.
FELCommentary
Thu, Mar 28, 2019, 11:18pm (UTC -5)
Not gonna do a long winded review this time around so I'll go by quickly. A lot of entertaining points in this episode with the characters and the "time limit" final act, but I'm still holding on to the idea that there are simply too many characters on this show. Like why did Nahn even need to be in, have Bryce or Reese be the new security officer.

Also I can definitely see how people feel about the dragging storyline of this season and why I just don't get how only DS9 got the serialized format to work. We have 3 episodes left and we've only seen 3 of the 7 signals? I feel like this season had waaaaaay too many plot points (Section 31, Control, Klingons, Red Angel, signals) and with only 14 episodes they're throwing the storyboard everywhere. The writers are promising that the ending will "change the show forever" but I'm holding my breath because all of their promises tend to be moot.

Regardless, 3 stars for Perpetual Infinity. A better story-heavy episode in the second half with some nice technobabble. Let's see where a very Borg-ish Control takes us.
MidshipmanNorris
Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 12:01am (UTC -5)
The Nerd Rage Is Strong With Your Cockamamie Fish Stories
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

That's it. I give up. I give up on Star Trek. This sucks. This story sucks.

All Discovery seems to be able or willing to do is string me along to another moment of angsty retarded drama with it's cockamamie b.s. story. This season spent all this time buidling up to finally getting Spock into the story and while he is played well by the actor, I am not buying this plotline.

1. No, 23rd century technology (like they're even trying to keep it straight anymore) should not mistake biometric readings of Michael's Mom for a biometric reading of her. No, that should not happen. That's b.s., ok?

2. The previous episode was A MESS. It was talky, confusing, and introduced 15 bajillion new plot threads, in what felt like it should have been stretched to two or three different eps. I am getting vibes of "We Are Starfleet" at the end of last season, where they rushed like mad to tie up the plotline at the end of the season. God damn it, stop, DISCO!

3. I know that this seems really single-issue wonk of me, but I will continue to reiterate that I absolutely cannot STAND Sonequa Martin-Greene's acting. She sucks. She is not getting better. She is the acting equivalent of an alarm clock clanging out the one note (emotional distress) she is meant to deliver. She has been that way since Episode 1, and they are not exploring anything else with her. Each new episode of DISCO is simply a new excuse for Michael to get agitated about something, so Sonequa Martin-Greene can look emotionally overwhelmed. I AM SICK OF IT.

4. You are stringing me along with a 'race against time' plotline, and I know it, and I don't like it, and I am sure, absolutely sure, 100% beyond a shadow of even an alternate timeline's doubt SURE, that all sentient life (if it can be called that) in this universe will NOT be destroyed at the end of the season. So shove it.
Tom R
Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 12:56am (UTC -5)
@MidshipmanNorris

Where have you been my whole life??

I've been saying this from the beginning that Burnham's acting is AWFUL. I'm still kinda giving her the benefit of the doubt and saying it's maybe the writing...but she's the only one that isn't doing it for me...so I think it's partly her. Her reactions don't make any sense to me, she has zero range...crying/whispering, and normal. No one really agrees with me though, which is confusing to me. Her acting is just off to me. I actually rewound the part where she was crying to her mom and walked forward a little bit towards her...I was like "wtf is that?"

Her acting choices don't make sense to me.
Tim C
Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 5:41am (UTC -5)
Good stuff. Bravura performances all around from the cast, and Leland's brutal takedown of Tyler and subsequent Terminator act down on the surface was scary AF. Looks like Control has decided subterfuge has run its course.

But, like last week, I do have issues with the logic of the plan to delete the sphere data. Look, I get that these are super-advanced computers from the future and the sphere data is an unfathomably huge chunk of data. But no matter what your storage medium is, be it floppy drive, stone tablet or a one-time Cardassian optolythic data rod, at the end of the day the data has to physically reside somewhere. I'm pretty sure if you sent someone down to the Disco's computer core and phasered the shit out of the hard drive, that would pretty handily take care of the problem.

Hell, worse comes to worst, set the self-destruct and scuttle the Disco. It would have been nice to have such an obvious solution brought up in the script.

Putting that aside, I enjoyed myself and I'm keen to see how this plays out in the remaining four episodes of the season. Far more so than I was with season 1's Klingon plot.
Booming
Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 5:52am (UTC -5)
So this was kind of great and also kind of terrible.

SMG not so good this time but it is also a very strange role to play at this point. The underplayed scenes work better especially the two scenes when she watches vids of her mom and then, when somebody enters, pushes them away: That's show don't tell well executed.

But how do you play a scene as an actor where you have the baggage of being traumatized as a child, then growing up in culture that is literally alien AND then met your thought to be dead mother who is a time traveler?? It reminds me of Picard speaking Klingon in front of the high council. The actor has just no idea how to play such a mind blowing situation and therefor goes all in which then looks borderline silly.

I liked the actor who played the mother. Saw her last in the Wire. Nice to see her again. At first I thought that she hadn't aged a day but in the close up shots later on she looked so very tired which worked great for her delivery. It was all very believable from her point.

But let's get to the mortal sin of this episode. Leland or should I say LeBorg 001.
He definitely looks borg-ish and turned into a super soldier because control somehow made him *brain stops working*.... .... .... *restart*
Why does control want to destroy apparently everything?? So that it can sit on some data chip and calculate pie in peace?? I think it is pretty clear at this point that control just wants control to end everything. It has no motive or philosophy like "I have to curb the destructive nature of humanity or something comparably useful. beep." It has no logical goal. It is just an evil antagonist which is evil because it is evil. Elon Musk was right all along.

I guess Tyler will be Borg king 002. I always understood his purpose. He was the torn one. First between Klingons and humanity then between Starfleet and section 31 and that he got (probably not) killed when these forces finally turned on each other makes sense from a narrative standpoint. In the end he will come back to symbolize the victory of starfleet over section 31.

I actually didn't mind, for the first time, Georgiou. I thought: Oh this is interesting. How does she handle that?" and wasn't bored by her. The fight was pretty old school with slow mo but ok even though it made no sense. But I let that slide because fights often made no sense in Star Trek. Think about the scene where the bridge crew of DS9 fights the boarding Klingons which are three times stronger than humans or something and also probably train much more hand to hand combat but in the end Klingons: one scratch, one stab wound, Jadzias hair a little ruffled; Humans: 150 shot, slashed and stabbed dead Klingons.

Cinematography really good this time. No complaints on that front.

Tilly got her shut up moment which at this point kind of looks more like an intentional humiliation for her. It looks like they do this more to put her down then to show her character. Something like this happened maybe half a dozen times in this season alone.

Fist fight: 13 out of 14 check

Oh and now the chase is on...
The Borg rising. (Come on it can't be the Borg. It must be a red herring. I hope)
Tom R
Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 6:21am (UTC -5)
Does anyone also dislike how Star Trek, AGAIN, isn’t really Discovering anything outside its sphere?? It’s all self-contained. Besides for the great episode where we went to Saru’s homeworld, the universe seems so small. I thought the Red Angel would be an alien...kinda let down.

What’s the point of show? They aren’t discovering anything “out there.”
Karl Zimmerman
Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 8:16am (UTC -5)
So, I realized in the morning while people keep claiming the Control story has been raided from Terminator, it's really a horror movie storyline. Like something from the Cthulhu Mythos. Which is why it doesn't work at all.

Think about it. You have a being of vast power outside the realms of normal time. Like Cthulhu once was, Control will be, and yearns to exist in the present. There is a book of secret knowledge (the Sphere data) which will, if fully read, cause it to manifest itself. And it's capable of possessing individuals - it has done so twice.

The reason it does not work is although the season has been suspenseful, it's not really been frightening in any way. So much of good psychological horror comes down to direction, and Discovery is just directed like an action-adventure show. There were a few scenes last night that could have been creepy if done better (like Leland's "assimilation" and the scene with his face partially disassembled) but for some reason they won't go the whole nine yards and commit to what it is - which is horror.
ticonstar94
Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 8:41am (UTC -5)
Wherever Discovery is headed, I'm into it.
This was an exciting episode.
Yes, Control reminds me of the Borg. But I don't believe it will end up being them.
Ghosted
Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 10:55am (UTC -5)
Not sure how I feel on a 'leborg' scenario. I think in a way it would be cool to see a Borg origin story, but as a separate TV movie or something and origins unconnected to the federation. Something where techonolgical advancement gradually takes hold of and organic species and the lose control of the situation. If not, it could be similar to the way the alien film franchise went for example where more loss of mystery erodes the fear factor.
Obviously nothing to say we are seeing the Borg origins here of course, only time will tell and perhaps Leland and control are more akin to skynet and john Connor's nanobot transformation in terminator genisys. I also think Tilly should also be getting more of a social awareness at this point and not interrupting senior officers all the time. I do like her character but just a little more maturity when she's on the bridge perhaps. there's still room for her personality in the less tense scenes. Decent episode though.
HC
Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 11:21am (UTC -5)
Solid episode. The fast pacing didn't take away from the drama, as it has done in some episodes, and the performances (particularly from Sonja Sohn, who I was delighted to see again) were very good all around. A minor gripe, but that upside down shot of Stamets that spun around was one of the weirdest camera choices I've seen on this show—unmotivated by anything going on the scene and just felt like the camera operator messing around between takes.
Gil
Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 11:34am (UTC -5)
Hot Take on “Mamma Mia”

Tilly: Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

All: SHUT UP, TILLY!

[cue laugh track]
Artymiss
Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 12:36pm (UTC -5)
@HC
"that upside down shot of Stammets"
That shot was bizarre and pointless and actually made me feel quite nauseous!

Apart from that and the Tilly-gets-humiliated-yet-again-for-making-socially-inappropriate-comments scene I really enjoyed this episode. Really liked Georgiou in particular, she's becoming much more nuanced as a character.

I like the Borg vibe but don't think Leland is really Leborg. Why would the Borg have destroyed all sentient life, they want to assimilate. Control is more like the Orville's Kaylon wanting to destroy all 'biologicals'.
Mal
Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 1:12pm (UTC -5)
Season 2 Episode 11
Perpetual Infinity

2 Stars


“Mom”

- SMG has the first word of the episode. Oh wait, that’s the last word of the recap. After the recap we go straight to a flashback. Time is powerful stuff.


How excited was I last week that Keema from The Wire - one of the best characters from one of the best shows ever made - was going to be on STD! How sad then, that “Perpetual Infinity” makes the one cardinal sin for which television simply cannot be forgiven: it was boring.

Last week @Jammer said that at the very least “Discovery is almost never boring.” Almost. Which is unfortunate, because after we got through the abysmal third episode of this second season, things were actually pretty entertaining.

The plot holes hit you one after another. I felt just like @Tim C, yelling at my screen - guys just eject the fucking storage drive and then blow it up real good. Data gone. This would actually be one of the few times that we might could have had Tilly chime in in her characteristically awkward manner (“Captain, we could always set the ship to self-destruct” followed by Pike rolling his eyes like “not this shit again"). Instead Tilly recites the third law of Newtonian mechanics (for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction). For a few weeks I have had the nagging feeling that this show - STD - is just written with far less respect for people’s intelligence than say TNG or DS9 was. “I like science”. Power of Math! And all that jazz. Which is ok, I guess. But also disappointing.

Seeing as @Jammer dubbed the first half of this season “The Search for Spock,” I went back and watched a few of those classic Trek movies. And through all of them - yes, even V - the one constant is that it is actually a joy to spend time with Kirk, and Spock, and McCoy, and Scotty, and Uhura, and Chekov, and even Sulu. These actors, you can just luxuriate while they do their thing on screen, and it feels great.

There is a scene in ST:V (The Final Frontier) where Spock and Kirk just stand back and watch Bones deal with a flashback of the death of his dad. In a movie that is widely panned, this scene is so vivid, you might even remember it just from my reference. Now compare that to Michael Burnahm watching the recording of her mom’s last moments with the family. So much happening: loud noises, CGI, SFX, red alerts, Klingonese, background music with a heavy beat, Klingons roaring, shots fired, weird slow-mo green phaser fire - all in the 41 seconds immediately after the opening credits. And not even a moment to take it all in.

Who can keep up? And more importantly, is anyone able to savour this show? Or is it all just fast food?

Next, I know many have commented that this universe is just too small. They can get from one place to another in too little time. @Jammer says that like GoT S7, maybe best not to think about it. (I agree). But there is also the smallness in the insane number of people who know each other from back in the day.

Spock is Michael’s brother. Oh... kay… ST:V has that same problem with Spock and Sybock and faced similar backlash from viewers. Pointless, but mistakes will be made. Michael's relationship to Sarak and Amanda follow from Spock, so no additional story-telling sin is implicated. But then Leland, a captain in Section 31, actually knew Michael’s biological parents 20 years ago. And Michael’s biological mom is the Red Angel. And this mom has been visiting Spock since he was a kid. Not to mention that Leland and Pike go way back. And Pike, by the way, has a science officer named Spock. And now Pike is Michael’s captain. But Michael’s old captain was a carbon-copy of Philippa Georgiou. And Georgiou now works with Leland. Come one people, this is ludicrous. Not even in France - where everyone important went to the same Grande Ecole - are things this incestuous. And Star Fleet is supposed to be some sort of meritocracy?!

Compare that to TNG.

We meet Family on TNG too, but no one has any relation to anyone else. Picard’s bro, sister-in-law and nephew - no relation to Star Fleet. Riker - no one has any prior relationship to his dad (except maybe Troi, but you know, they dated, so it makes sense). Speaking of Troi - no one wants anything to do with her mother. Tasha’s sister - no link to the rest of the crew. Geordi’s family - no link. Data, we meet his bro and dad, and everyone is worse off for it. (Obviously no one knew Data’s daughter from before - she was born on the show). But there is no secret back history where people actually already knew Lore and Dr. Soong from back in the day. Howzbout Worf? His baby-mama, his son, his bro, his foster parents - no one on the TNG crew has any past link with any of them. Shall I go on? Only Guinan knows Picard from yesteryear (thanks maybe to Mark Twain). And Beverly and Wesley are Picard's dead colleague’s family. That’s literally it. Not like STD, where every fucking person has some fantastical link to Michael. Saru is like a brother to Michael. Tyler is like an ex-lover to Michael. At some point it just gets ridiculous.

There are no doubt a few pieces here and there that work. @Booming is spot on, when SMG pushes the mission logs away as Spock walks in - yeah, we’ve all closed that Instagram we were surfing incognito when someones comes within eyeshot. Human. All to human.

That, by the way (human, all to human) is a Nietzsche quote. But see, you don’t actually have to point that out in dialogue. Imagine Picard stopped his lecture to Q (“what a piece of work is man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties”) to point out that he is quoting from Hamlet, Act 2 Scene 2. Again and again, STD breaks the perfectly good flow and injects their verbal footnotes into the conversation. Writers, we get it. Great shit has been written before. But when people talk in the real world, they don’t cite their quotations of the Princess Bride (“Inconceivable!”) or Casablanca (“I’m shocked! shocked!”). They just say it and move on.

The first time this citing your sources business really bothered me was in Season 2 Episode 2 “New Eden,” when Pike admonishes Michael that “there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio…” and Michael says “I know my Shakespeare captain.” Yeah, so do we. And even if we don’t, there is always Google. You don’t need to explicitly cite your sources. That episode had the same problem with Clark’s law (any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic). Babylon 5 in the second season episode “The Geometry of Shadows” handled Clark’s law far more elegantly (“perhaps it is magic, the magic of the human heart, focused and made manifest by technology”). And Babylon 5 in the fifth season episode “A View from the Gallery” handled Hamlet better (“I knew him, Horatio…”). Its crazy, but JMS was famously bad at writing dialogue. It is hard to believe, but STD writers are even worse.

All of which is to say that I think the speed - fast pace - the loud noises - the CGI and SFX - quick cuts - is all to mask and distract from what this show lacks. Jazz hands don’t make a dancer any more beautiful, they just draw the eye away from the blemishes. But when you go back and look again, all the flaws are plain as day. Move as fast as you like, but as the great Bob Marley sang, "you can’t run away from yourself.” On his album "Live Forever”. Released in 1980. Look it up.
The Gorn
Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 1:40pm (UTC -5)
@Mal

Great post !
Brandon Adams
Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 2:07pm (UTC -5)
I'd be surprised if it wasn't the Borg at this point. You've got holo-Control telling Leland "struggle is pointless" and choosing to adapt another's face and body as its representative in chilling reflection of Locutus. The similarities seem pretty clear, and intentional. And we know Discovery lacks the shame to pick from yet another existing Trek element.
Chrome
Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 2:09pm (UTC -5)
To address the Borg thing (and I think I brought this up a month or so ago), there isn't really a problem with using the Borg, per se. The irritating thing is when Star Trek recycles iconic characters and enemies as selling points for the series (Discovery is certainly guilty of this in many areas). Here, however, we don't have Voyager-era teasers with headlines like "EVER WONDERED WHERE THE BORG CAME FROM?" and titillating shots form BoBW as well as ST: FirstContact. *That* would be abysmal. It would be a sign that the writers need a crutch, stat. They may as well sign on 6 of 8 with a much sexier actress in a tighter catsuit and call it a day.

So, while I wouldn't be thrilled with a reveal that The Borg were somehow created by the Federation by accident or something, the way it's being handled subtly here makes the idea more palatable. That said, aside from some mild similarities, Control may yet be its own malicious baddy. Having it work as red herring to the Borg would be a very smart way to introduce AI as its known in Trek.

Also, hey-all you people saying "RIPOFF OF TERMINATOR, LULZ". Do you even realize there was a huge lawsuit against Terminator itself for ripping off Harlan Ellison's similar story from The Outer Limits? They were forced to put a disclosure before the opening credits of the movie acknowledging Ellison's work. Terminator was also heavily influenced by other pieces of science fiction. One in particular you might remember - Trek's "City on The Edge of Forever".
Lt. Broccoli
Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 3:04pm (UTC -5)
Just wanted to note from one of the first comments up there by Rahul, Burnham's father is not the guy from Calypso. Burnham's father is actually Sonequa Martin-Green's real-life husband Kenric Green. The guy from Calypso was Aldis Hodge.
Rahul
Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 3:23pm (UTC -5)
@Lt. Broccoli

Thanks for clearing that up. But folks gotta admit the 2 look very much alike. And it got me thinking that somehow her dad would have some mysterious role to play in a future episode. Maybe not, now.
Nic
Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 4:26pm (UTC -5)
What an idiotic title. As if there were such a thing as non-perpetual infinity.
Key of Time
Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 4:34pm (UTC -5)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HzEuHhWx1E
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ypde4rmJpjg
wolfstar
Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 4:36pm (UTC -5)
I'm settling on 2.5 stars because it was compelling and well-executed, even if it felt like a cross between bad fan fiction and Jerry Springer. On an episode-to-episode basis, the writing is better than in either S1 or the first half of S2, but the season-long arc (which individual writers have minimal control over) is not especially good. It's certainly better than S1, but probably below ENT S3-4 in terms of quality and how much sense it makes, at least so far.

SMG is still really bad, here particularly, and we get more Burnhamface/BEEF than ever. The scene where she demands to see her mother isn't that bad as written, but SMG murders it on the screen - she could have played it with a complex mix of emotions (distress, loss, love, confusion, everything you'd feel in that situation), which would have really helped the scene work and made her character's predicament moving and relatable, but instead she basically just plays it as "I'M ANGRY AND THROWING A TANTRUM AND I WANNA SEE MY MOM NOW NOW NOW". It's dreadful. I've been watching a couple of other series recently in which everyone is just perfectly cast and exquisitely acted, so when I return to Discovery each week, it really stands out. This goes back to the troubled birth of season 1, but the main cast aren't well-chosen apart from Doug Jones. SMG could be a decent ensemble member but shouldn't be the lead of any TV show, Rapp's performance has no depth whatsoever, Wiseman is one-note and Latif is barely there. Pike, Saru, Culber and Cornwell are all well-acted but they can't carry the show on their own.

I'm impressed at how much the sphere has figured into things continuity-wise when I assumed back in episode 4 that it was just an anomaly of the week. I admire this season's audacity, even if I think some of its ideas (if "Section 31 accidentally created the Borg" is where we're really heading) should have been nixed at birth. The less Mirror Georgiou and the less Tyler, the better - neither work, and it seems they don't know what to do with Tyler this season. Mirror Georgiou is a fundamentally uninteresting character, and scenes in which she's manipulated by others like Leland just make her look dumb, which is one thing we know she isn't.

Cruz is good again, and I'm glad Culber has been reinstated as the doctor and hope he will continue to feature more. The standard Tilly scene was also superfluous.

As some others have commented, I've noticed the tendency in the writing too for Pike to be an almost passive figure who just takes advice from others all the time. Not that a captain shouldn't solicit and act on their crew's opinions, but he's become almost a piece of furniture who just serves to give orders, facilitate things, and put into action what other characters suggest.

The scenes between Burnham and her mother didn't work for me and were the low point of the episode, and I'm a sucker for that kind of emotional stuff when it's done adeptly. Here, I think the writing was at fault as well as the acting. It turns into soap-opera drama, but doesn't feel earned, when it should.

Then we come to Leland. I'm absolutely not against the idea of Discovery doing a Borg episode in theory - Enterprise's "Regeneration" is probably the most competent hour of the show's first two seasons, and is a case study in how to execute a risky idea in a way that's fresh and dramatically compelling without retconning things or change the timeline. But what Discovery looks to be doing isn't a one-off Borg episode, but another attempt to rewrite Trek canon around Discovery in a way that makes the rich, expansive Trek universe small and claustrophobic. Not everything has to be about Earth and the Federation (or #allsentientlife) just like not everything has to be about Michael.

Regardless of my issues with the arc, for the final 3 episodes, at least we're in the hands of Bo/Erika and Michelle Paradise, who've proven themselves the show's best writers. I expect good things. If Leland suddenly ends up thrown back in time in the Delta Quadrant, I won't like it... but this season, while not good Star Trek, has at least been better drama than Season 1, more internally consistent and less reliant on twists. Probably the most audacious thing Discovery could do, after two seasons in which the serialized arc has really hamstrung the show, would be to do a season of standalones. I normally prefer serialisation, but standalones are really a test of good sci-fi drama writing. I really hope the show becomes less atavistic and more forward-looking, instead of constantly trying to tie itself into Trek history (distorting it in the process).
Mr Man
Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 5:15pm (UTC -5)
Oh boy...

Too fast, too furious, and too many characters making dumb mistakes just to advance the plot so that Leland can get away with even more of the Sphere data. Not happy. When I'm screaming at the screen that Pike should just blow up the Section 31 ship, then you know there is a problem.

That being said, a line of dialogue where Tilly suggests blowing up the Section 31 ship, and Pike agonising about killing the innocent crew in the process would not have gone astray...

As others have said, the writers have overburdened SMG's character to the point where many actors would be hard pressed to resolve the character's backstory to form a coherent whole, so SMG's portrayal is probably never going to satisfy a good portion of the viewership, but in my mind that is less to do with SMG's acting abilities. Number one rule, less is more...

@ Mal:

"Its crazy, but JMS was famously bad at writing dialogue. It is hard to believe, but STD writers are even worse."

I seen this mentioned across the years, but I just adored the way JMS wrote for B5, both his ideas and his dialogue - well except for 80% of Season 5, but that's a story for another time...
Tim C
Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 5:28pm (UTC -5)
Okay, I'm placing my bet now: $10 to the charity of your choice says Control is not the Borg or related to them. Any takers?
Brandon Adams
Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 5:48pm (UTC -5)
@Tim C

I'll take it.

I'd forgotten to mention that the stabbed-in-the-eye thing has also been done by a certain cybernetic collective we're all familiar with...
Tim C
Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 6:23pm (UTC -5)
I'll see you here again by the season finale then, Brandon Adams. :D

I just feel like it's *too* damn obvious. Right down to the nanobots and the black veins...
Jenreto
Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 7:37pm (UTC -5)
@Karl Zimmerman

If the Discovery storyline had gone full-out horror, you would have criticized it for THAT. ("Star Trek doesn't do horror," or something such).

@MidshipmamNorris

No one cares that you may or may not be a self-styled wonk in harping on how awful SMG'a acting is (so you say). However, it should be noted that saying it ten times (with various CAPS key stylings, each more intense than the prior line) does not make it anything more than one person's opinion, than saying it once does.
Bryn
Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 7:50pm (UTC -5)
Another one of those episodes that had the potential to be excellent had Burnham been written out of the story.

As it is, from a narrative standpoint everything we "discover" in this iteration of Trek seems designed principally to bring SMG to the verge of tears, irrespective if all sentient life is at stake. Looking forward to the several dozen melodramatic closeups of SMG crying in the next four episodes.
Karl Zimmerman
Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 8:46pm (UTC -5)
I should note that for all of the flaws of this episode, Michael for the third episode straight was mostly a passive character who didn't really accomplish much.

Who - at least temporarily - saved the galaxy by stopping the download of the sphere data? Georgiou, with a tiny bit of help from Tyler and Pike. All Michael did was help destroy the containment field so Leland couldn't kill her mother Gabrielle. But she stupidly procrastinated on this till what seemed like the last possible second - something which was so painful to watch I use the ten second fast forward at one point.

Also, the episode goes out of its way to establish that Gabrielle was the only one who ever used the Red Angel suit. Basically every time we've seen the suit on screen it's mentioned as a visit by her mother. This, coupled with the seeming destruction of the time crystal, means that there really isn't much of a chance of Michael taking over for her mother. Gabrielle even tells Spock the reason she chose to reach out to him was his dyslexia (ugh, I know) which means it had nothing much do do with his being Michael's adoptive brother.

The conclusion of all of this is unlike last season there really is nothing special about Michael at all - except to her mother. She's just some rando who has been put at the center of great events by happenstance. For now anyway.
Paul
Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 9:00pm (UTC -5)
I wanted to just throw out there that I got a lot of echoes to "The Visitor," the magnificent episode of DS9 where Jake and Sisko go to see some spatial anomaly (I forget what now, something like a supernova--think it has something to do with the inversion of a black hole or something). SPOILERS AHEAD for DS9. Go watch "The Visitor" if you have not seen it. Undoubtedly one of the best episodes of Trek ever produced.
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Due to some warp core accident, Sisko is seemingly killed. He then reappears around Jake, however, every few months, a year, many years down the line--but only for short bursts, haunting his son. Eventually, of course, the timeline is restored, and things continue on their merry way, but not without some incredible character sequences between Jake and Sisko. The whole episode becomes a moving meditation on the permanence of loss, and how living in the past becomes an anchor that keeps you there.

This ties into this episode in interesting ways. Dr. Burnham visits her daughter many times as well, but whereas Sisko's message was to cherish those moments, Dr. Burnham is jaded by having seen so many "ghosts" of her daughter throughout her time-travels. And as opposed to being anchored to the past, Dr. Burnham is anchored to the future, always looking ahead to the next thing she has to do, and never taking time to look around--see what's going on. It is an interesting companion piece to this episode, and I'd love to hear if anyone else has any thoughts on these lines.
Mertov
Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 10:34pm (UTC -5)
Nice episode! The first 25 minutes were excellent as Michael and Spock go through the log entries of Dr. Burnham. We get a lot of holes filled with what happened the day of the attack on the Burnham household and that's how Dr. Burnham's trek with the suit begins. I thought Gabrielle's dilemma with constantly being anchored in the future and her ability to only come back in sporadic bursts to fix things was very compelling and Sonja Sohn sells it very well through her many logs that were efficiently conveyed across the screen.

She is also manifesting the frustration of the person who has seen far more than the people asking her questions about it and yet she feels like it's a waste of time because they cannot fathom what she has seen. I feel like many of us may have been there at one point in our life and felt like saying "What's the point? You idiots don't get it." Very compelling. And at the end, she is right so they have to let her go again. She was definitely the best thing about the episode.

But the episode also portrays a relevant Ash Tyler, who has otherwise just been "hanging around" for most of the season, as he is caught between two allegiances here and is yanked back to focus by Georgiou who, for her part, had the best character moments of the season so far. I especially found her dialogue with Leland intriguing as she is contemplating Dr. Burnham's true nature and Leland's agenda while she is listening to him. Yeoh is very good with these types of scenes, hard to read on her face what she is thinking yet you know she is thinking multiple angles at once.

A lot of scientific technobabble talk, which I frankly always enjoy, I don't care if every detail is realistic or not, I never cared throughout the 5 decades that I've been a Trekkie. I love Scottie, LaForge, Data, Trip, Torres and Saru and Stamets even if half of what they say is in the domain of codswallop :))

Glad to see Culber back in action and Tyler have a purpose even if it's for one episode. The part in the beginning with Leland about to get assimilated and Control-AI talking to him via different characters in Discovery, well done!

The climactic scene did not have the desired impact because, well, Michael and her mother saying long-winded goodbyes to each other while Georgiou is getting her ass kicked by Leland just did not come across believable. Nor did Michael's expressions and neck tilts, Soneque Martin-Green overdramatizes to the max here after a few episodes of much-improved acting.

I must have also missed something because the suit getting sucked couple of seconds before Dr. Burnham did not make sense to me. Wasn't she supposed to get in the suit first? I may need to watch that portion again, because I missed a detail somewhere obviously, duh!

Spock and Burnham are building bridges which is nice to see.
I am curious to see what the last three episodes will bring, but first, let's see what Jammer has to say.
Chris
Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 10:42pm (UTC -5)
@Tom R

"Does anyone also dislike how Star Trek, AGAIN, isn’t really Discovering anything outside its sphere?? It’s all self-contained. Besides for the great episode where we went to Saru’s homeworld, the universe seems so small. I thought the Red Angel would be an alien...kinda let down.

What’s the point of show? They aren’t discovering anything “out there.”

Yeah it's kind of a bummer that they went down this path; although this season is much better than season 1. Was really hoping they would start "seeking out new life and new civilizations", as cliched as that sounds. And the Universe does seem small, especially the Federation. I was really hoping with their big budget to see more cool space stuff like star bases, more ships, maybe some intense space battles / standoffs, and more unique space settings with unique ideas / moral quandaries waiting to be explored, etc.. Alas, while entertaining and enjoyable, we ended up with Star Trek: Burnham. I'll take it, but was really hoping for something with a bit more substance and imagination perhaps.
Brian Lear
Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 11:20pm (UTC -5)
@Mal

Wow. Amazing review man! Directly nails on the head why STD universe feels so small. Not only is the physical universe small because the Discovery, and all peripheral characters, can go anywhere instantly, but the relational milieu is also tiny and, as you said, incestuous. Everyone knows or is related to everyone else in a very contrived, well-isn't-that-convenient-for-the-plot kind of way.
Brian Lear
Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 11:36pm (UTC -5)
@Paul--"It is an interesting companion piece ("The Visitor") to this episode, and I'd love to hear if anyone else has any thoughts on these lines."

Only that "The Visitor" was a near perfectly executed piece of story-telling told with well established characters, that happened to use the concept of time to tell the story. Whereas "Perpetual Infinity", to me, seemed like a hurried, confused jumble of action sequences, technobabble, and poorly conceived plot ideas that amounted to much less than the sum of its parts. Perhaps if it spent less time with the camera on SMG , and less time on the silly section 31 plot, and more time with the guest character, in the future, seeing what she was experiencing, they might've stood a chance of telling a good story. DS9, while a serialized show, was not laden with the burdens of keeping up 4-5 continuous plot lines, and so, it had the space to tell a story like "The Visitor" without any penalty. With STD, doing an episode like "The Visitor" would've meant sacrificing time on several other plot lines, which, when you only shoot 14 episodes in a season, that would tank the continuity.

The final goodbye scene in "The Visitor" contained more genuine emotion than exists in the entirety of Discovery thus far.
The Gorn
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 1:18am (UTC -5)
Just imagine, once the Picard show finally airs, Sir Patrick himself is going to info-dump on us that the universe wouldn't be the same if it wasn't for the awesome Michael Burnham. Nice little cross-references at every turn to prop up this sh...ow.

I have stopped watching ca. mid-season. The first season, for all it's flaws, used to capture my interest with all the "batsh!t-crazy-bonkers" action going on there. It felt like a drug-driven series of loosely connected scripts by Hunter S. Thompson. The writers must have been on cocaine and bourbon all the time. But this was getting old fast and I simply lost interest. Most of the characters in this show aren't that interesting either. Life's too short and all that...

But I shall continue reading this blog with all of your amazing contributions. Between you and me, this is much more enjoyable than watching the actual show!
Daya
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 1:37am (UTC -5)
Dr. Gabrielle Burnham does not want to meet Michael Burnham because she has already made up her mind that this is another aborted time line, and another lost Michael Burnham. She has seen 800 Michaels die, and does not want to come face to face with another dying one. When she softens / breaks down her stance towards Michael, she is actually speaking not to this specific copy in this time line, but to the meta-Michael Burnham, at least one of whom, in one timeline she hopes to save one of these days.


The above I got. About everything else, I am confused.


1) How is Dr. Burnham being yanked back to the 800 years future? Shouldn't she be yanked back to the time of the Klingon attack?

2) How does data in a memory bank protect itself from deletion? The Discovery seems to have terrible cyber security.

3) The data cannot be deleted but it can be "emptied out" by transferring? Just transmit it into empty space then, or just disconnect the last amplifier stage of your transmitter and transmit it to nothingness.

4) Deleting the data requires a linguistic key from a 1000 years ago? Why?

5) Since when does the Federation capture and imprison entities (later shown to be human which makes it worse) who are not known to be criminals of any kind?


I sincerely find myself more and more confused by Discovery.
Booming
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 1:48am (UTC -5)
I think a big problem the character Michael Burnham has is not how she is played but how she is used and this week was a good example. Michael basically gets hammered from start to finish, relentlessly. She finds out at the end of last weeks episode that one of the worst possible traumas (her parents not only die when she is a child but die more or less right in front of her) is only half true and that her mother is alive but kind of a burned out shell of the person she was who acts very hostile towards her. I would probably need 300 years of therapy alone just for this (it is also kind of calls into question how the Federation decides what happens to traumatized children: "You are a child that has suffered through the most horrible experience a child can probably imagine?! Don't worry. We will send you to a planet where people suppress their emotions" Good job Federation) so what reaction is SMG supposed to show apart from: "I AM DYING INSIDE!!!" Her best acting was in the episodes where trauma wasn't just around the corner.

Some people here criticized that Discovery isn't discovering anything. That is not true as far as I can see it. We had Kaminar, we had the strange colony, we had the old archive, spore... people, there was quite a bit of discovering.

But I get the criticism that the galaxy feels small. Jammer pointed out that there is barely any world building. Compare that to DS9 which did mostly world building which admittedly was necessary and easier because it is a station and an important trading hub. It was great. You really got the feeling:"This is a station that exists in a living breathing galaxy at a specific point in time."

A DS9 episode that shows the difference in world building very well is the one where Bashir and Jake go to a planet that is attacked by Klingons who use the smallest artillery shells in the galaxy. There are people there with personalities and lives (the staff of the hospital) and it all flows very well. Compare that to the attack on the station in this Discovery episode. There are no people there. Nobody but Michael and her parents. Are there 500 people on that station, is it only these three. We don't know. Give us at least a scene where Dr. Burnham talks to a technician about the food/leisure activity/anything and what they plan to do today in the lab, then alarm, Klingons attack, other people run around, security builds defensive lines, gets overrun, Dr. Burnham runs to their quarters, shouting, chaos.
(By the way, great job section 31 protecting the most important piece of equipment in the Federation)

I think I understand why they didn't do that much (or any) world building. That kind of already exists because of TOS. If their thinking was: "Fans already know how that period in Trek looks like and newcomers maybe find world building boring so let's keep it very much focused on Discovery and the protagonist." then that was a miscalculation at least for me.

Discovery is also too grim. DS9 had stretches especially in the later seasons where it was on the brink of becoming too dark. In Discovery everything is pretty dark even the rooms are literally darker then in any other Trek show. Star Trek isn't about coping with horrible trauma again and again while fighting deathly threats.
It is about hope.
Zoidberg
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 2:57am (UTC -5)
“Star Trek isn't about coping with horrible trauma again and again while fighting deathly threats. It is about hope.”

Yes, Star Trek: A New Hope was my favorite entry of the series.
Alan Roi
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 4:03am (UTC -5)
@Booming

"Star Trek isn't about coping with horrible trauma again and again while fighting deathly threats. "

"Peril to the ship or personell" was specifically mentioned in the show bible that Gene Roddenberry came up with back in 1966. Maybe check the number of eps of TOS where there isn't horrible trauma and/or deadly threats going on. You will find precious few if any.
Lynos
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 4:06am (UTC -5)
Another episode where Michael Burnham opens her enormous eyes and cries. Discovery's habit of forcing you to FEEL something is getting on my nerves.

And is Georgiou good again? When did that happen? And why? She was a sneering villain only a few episodes ago, and then Michael called her Phillipa, and now she cares about things.

Control possessing Leland is entertaining, but the final battle with everybody shooting at everybody was ridiculous. And were they really going to blow up Georgiou down on the planet? Seems that way.

This show is such a mess, I have no idea what it's about or what it wants to say, it's just stringing you along from one cliffhanger to another. It's just another modern grim action show and really has nothing to do with the Star Trek ethos, and I don't care how much fan service they throws at our faces. It looks pretty but it's empty at its core, and no amount of doe-eyed, crying Burnham will change that.

We don't feel anything about Michael's reunion with her mother because we don't know anything about their relationship, and no, a quick flashback at the beginning doesn't help. Just the same way we don't feel anything when you do a 7 minute funeral scene for a character we hardly know.

The only episodes I liked this season were the truly bonkers ones like Saints of Imperfection where there was at least a degree of imagination and sense of wonder. But whenever it goes back to its arching storyline with the time travel and the enormous amounts of technobabble... I tune out. Are we really supposed to care about all that when we KNOW that everything will turn out fine because, psst, you decided to do a prequel?

That is Discovery's biggest mistake, thinking we should care about its plot while the focus should be on the characters and the themes/ideas. Ironically, the only theme brought up in this episode is of time, Michael's cynical mother keeps saying that nothing matters because she's seen it all happen before. That is the perfect way I would describe this show.

So why do I keep watching? Because I'm hoping it will finally find its legs, and because it's official Trek. But maybe once I finally decide it's not really Star Trek I can stop watching and will not feel I'm missing out on anything. I mean, it already doesn't fit anywhere as a prequel, with its high-tech and Spock's retrofitted new sister (that he never mentioned!) and his new beard.

(I am kidding about the beard, but seriously, dude, shave already).
Alan Roi
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 4:10am (UTC -5)
@ Daya

1. She didn't set the time crystal properly. Prototypes, eh?
2. It's clearly artificially intelligent itself.
3. Again, it was created to be propogated. So it was OK with being transmitted to anaccepting source. Oh, next time you sit at your computer, see how easy it is to move files to a non existant drive.
4. Again, it did not want to be deleted.
5. Perhaps watch the episode before this one. It is talked about.
Alan Roi
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 4:15am (UTC -5)
@Lynos

I don't have any trouble following what is going on. Not sure why people are having such trouble. It's not that difficult to follow.
Alan Roi
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 4:22am (UTC -5)
@Paul

Gabrielle is actually in the Jake Sisko Situation here, but instead of being haunted by a 'ghost' she's haunted by the fact that she's made hundreds of attempts to save her daughter, and they all have been failures. That's truly horrific and I felt empathy for both her and Burnham. However, the story isn't over yet, so there may possibly be hope for a happy ending, or at least closure. As we've seen many times in Star Trek, however, sometimes you don't get a happy ending.

@Brian Lear.

Hyperbole much? I love "the Visitor" but I've already seen 2 eps in Discover so far I feel had had the emotional impact on me as much as the best Star Trek has had to offer. Heck, they did one in just 15 minutes.

But it is still amusing that people feel the need to go into such hyperbole that they destroy their own arguments in the process.
Paul M.
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 4:50am (UTC -5)
People talk of Terminator when considering influences on the arc of this season. Don't know about that, but these latest revelations coupled with Kurtzman's own words -- https://trekmovie.com/2019/03/29/watch-alex-kurtzman-explains-whats-motivating-section-31s-control-in-star-trek-discovery/

...

This screams Mass Effect to me, honestly.
Daya
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 4:54am (UTC -5)
@Alan Roi

Thanks for the replies. The time suit anchored permanently to some place in the future due to some bug, etc. Accepted. The data itself is artificially intelligent is a very difficult proposition to accept for me. Maybe my training in computer science is creating a mental block. Somehow, chronitron particles and assorted technobabble are easier for me to accept than data being artificially intelligent. But if that is really the explanation, I will try to go with it. I guess I will also live with the passphrase being a language a 100,000 years old. I do not understand why we cannot delete data whose encryption is so weak as being a passphrase, but ok, since we are in a world where data can be intelligent, maybe we are in a world where passphrase encryption is undeletable. (I did not mean any of the above as snark, just trying to come to grips with the strange science I am unused to.)

About number 5. I have seen each of the past three episodes a few times. I still do not understand the motivation of capturing and imprisoning a being / human who is (a) not proven to be harmful and (b) everyone thinks is helpful. Please do enlighten me on this aspect. I am sure you will also be helping other people who are confused with the episode.
Spockless
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 5:00am (UTC -5)
watching that episode was like watching and listening to a helium balloon deflate in slow motion, as well as whatever I might have had invested in the "story" .. and next week's episode looks worse. They might have done themselves a favor and followed Orville's lead and took two weeks off
Booming
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 5:05am (UTC -5)
@ Alan Roi
"Peril to the ship or personell" was specifically mentioned in the show bible that Gene Roddenberry came up with back in 1966. Maybe check the number of eps of TOS where there isn't horrible trauma and/or deadly threats going on. You will find precious few if any."

Sure, adventure is always to some degree about overcoming difficulties but slaves in Roman salt mines have suffered less than Michael Burnham. It is more Odyssey than Star Trek. As limited as my knowledge of TOS is but I'm sure that none of the three leads ever had to deal with emotional pain that is so personal and so neverending. One of the weaker points of most Trek shows is that traumatizing stuff often has no lasting impact but still. Just imagine three episodes in a row where Michael Burnham can just focus on her job and dare I say even be a little happy. Even BSG wasn't that dark all the time and that was very dark show.
Galadriel
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 5:10am (UTC -5)
@ Daya:

In “The Red Angel”, approx. 0:13:00

Saru: As the Angel travels through time, she opens a micro-wormhole along with the possibility that a future A.I. will follow her.

Leland: We can't let that happen again.

Burnham: Agreed. Which is why we have to stop her from traveling back and forth. We have to capture her. Me.

Pike: So, how do you propose we trap her?
Lynos
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 5:12am (UTC -5)
@ Alan Roi

Didn't say I'm having a hard time following what's going on, just said that I tune out once the time-travel technobabble starts pouring thick. They are constantly painting themselves into corners and then spout some technobabble to get them out, especially from Stamets and Tilly, and I couldn't care less.

I just wait for them to tell me the bottom line. It's just plot machinations, it's not really important.
Ghosted
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 5:20am (UTC -5)
Dr Burnham: "Time is savage it always wins"

Picard: "Someone once told me that time was a predator that stalked us all our lives, but I rather believe that time is a companion who goes with us on the journey, and reminds us to cherish every moment... because they'll never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we lived. After all, Number One, we're only mortal."
Dan Bolger
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 6:40am (UTC -5)
I've been really enjoying all of Star Trek Discovery but the only criticism i have is that sonequa martin-green's current performance is a bit two note/ linear. Either it's po-faced or histrionical, wet eyed, glazed over acting. Other than that, I'm impressed with the show overall.
Daya
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 6:49am (UTC -5)
@Galadriel:

Thanks, got it. That's why we are capturing the Red Angel. Not because it itself is evil, but because something evil may possibly travel with it. And even though we (at the time) think it is Michael, we won't think maybe Michael knows how not to be followed.

It's just strange though, that a Star Trek show should completely disregard the moral question this decision brings about. Or maybe even the moral discussions are blink-and-you-miss-it, and old me is used to Picard's lonnng pontifications. Was there a moral discussion on whether it is OK to capture the Red Angel? Again, I would sincerely be happy to be educated by Alan or Galadriel, or anyone here.
VV
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 8:40am (UTC -5)
"No, 23rd century technology (like they're even trying to keep it straight anymore) should not mistake biometric readings of Michael's Mom for a biometric reading of her. No, that should not happen. That's b.s., ok?"

What I can't buy is that they could get readings so vague that they wouldn't distinguish Burnham from her mother but somehow clear enough that the crew would still be 100% certain that it was Burnham and not someone else. That just seems like a cheat.

The in-show pseudo-explanation was that Burnham and the Red Angel had the same mitochondrial DNA. But why would they have been able to sequence that but not any nuclear DNA? And if that was all they had, how could they have been certain the Red Angel was Burnham in the first place?
Steven
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 8:54am (UTC -5)
@Ghosted

I’m not sure you understand what Picard was talking about. In Generations, Picard was upset because he lost his family so he was concerned with the mortality of himself and more specifically the Picard family legacy. Then he experienced potentially infinite time in the Nexus, with the ability to change or create his family ancestry. Being able to manipulate time in such a fashion allowed him to see the hollowness in his original desire. He decided that time is something to cherish, not control or manipulate.

In this episode’s context, Dr. Burnham is referring to time as a fate she can’t escape because her efforts to affect time have been thus far been fruitless. It’s not that she isn’t “cherishing the moment”, which makes no sense in her predicament. Rather, she no longer has the luxury of cherishing her own time.
Galadriel
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 9:12am (UTC -5)
@ Daya

No, there was no such discussion. In particular, no one asked the ques­tion whether cap­tur­ing the Angel might harm her. I felt strange about that lack of ethics, too, but then this is Star Trek for the ge­ne­ra­tion that has been so­cial­ized with shows like “24” since their cradle, so per­haps small wonder no one cares.

However, the entire Angel trap plot was nonsensical.

α) It relies on the supposed motivation of the Angel not to let Burn­ham die. The Angel, how­ever, knows about the out­come of the set­ting if it does not inter­vene. Therefore, the trap should have been con­struct­ed in a way that guar­an­tees Michael’s death if the Angel re­mains ab­sent. Why should the Angel save her if she will get re­viv­ed even­tual­ly? You can’t bluff an entity from the future.

β) Even if the Angel were Burnham, there is no need for her to save Prime Burn­ham if the Angel is Burnham from another time line.

γ) As it turn out, the Angel is not Micheal, and has seen Michael die in many time lines before. So why, then, did the trap work? I can think only of one rea­son: Gabrielle read it in the script.
Panagiotis Karatasios
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 9:22am (UTC -5)
discovery mamaged to be in his second season a decent but not great science fiction but not at all a decent star trek. i rather enjoy it but it is not star trek. Kurrtjam simply don' know how to make star trek
Ghosted
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 10:22am (UTC -5)
@steven

I just like the Picard quote and that scene reminded me of Picard's conversation with soren. I understand the different contexts :)
Alan Roi
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 11:28am (UTC -5)
@Booming

Maybe you are referring to the original BSG series. Howevery, no, Burnham is not suffering like the BSG crew in the reboot did, not that I'd recommend you rewatch it, given that you consider Discovery to be such a downer, you know with the characters entire civilizatio being nuked out of existance, being attacked every 33 minutes for weeks, having sabotage destroy mucy of the water supplies etc, and again make your coparisons.

On the other hand, maybe rewatch.

And yeah, try the first season of TOS sometime.

You might then get an idea of how hyperbolic your statement is.
Mertov
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 12:26pm (UTC -5)
Hi everyone,

Some of the nitpicking is out of this world. I mean, you give me any episode of Trek and let me watch it in detail with the intention to slam it, watch every little facial movement of the characters, every single word of the technobabble, every little turn characters make in the hallways of the ship or station they are in, and I can come up with a nice four or five paragraph of how idiotic, messy, or badly written it is, if my intention was to slam the show.

Same with any Star Trek series, I love TNG but if I didn't like and wanted to slam it I could write a thesis on how TNG totally screwed the Klingons and turned them into low-IQ cartoon characters and slam the TNG showrunners for taking the viewers for idiots, expecting us to believe these infantile race had technological advances, then give a slew of Klingon characters from the 7 years of TNG to back me up, starting with the puerile guy in "The Chase" (how the fuck did that guy ever become a ship captain, what a terrible writer, does he/she not know anything about Star Trek? TNG ruined the Klingons, it sucks, baaahhh, gaaahhh.... you see what I did there) to the nincompoops sitting on the high council over the years. And I can easily multiply those examples, so my larger point stands that TNG took Trekkies for fools, if my intention was, again, to slam the show.

I mean do most Discovery watchers around the world care why a linguistic key from 1000 years was required to delete the data? (Although that is explained, but I could not care less if it weren't, I'm fine with the fact that it does not want to be deleted. Just an example to make my larger point). I care that Michael and her mother are having an unrealistic parting discussion while Leland is kicking Georgious' butt because that looks unrealistic and is an important part of that scene, thus I included it in my comment too, but do I care that "struggle is pointless" resembles "resistance is futile"? I don't. I'm interested what the control-holo's intention is in that conversation not every single word in every phrase he makes has to be examined and dissected. Does it bother me that they quote Hamlet and another character says that it is Hamlet? I don't, certainly not enough to let it bother me so much that I spend time writing paragraphs abut that one and a half second of dialogue and slam it.

Once again, give me any episode of Trek, and I can apply the same standards of nitpicking manifested in these boards and slam it so hard to the ground that it will need a surgery to get back up, if that were my intention. I'm sure the lovers of that episode will come back with their arguments, but hey, I don't care, I did not like the colors of the lights on that console in scene x that appears for two seconds, and that's it! It "sucks" you got it? (!)

I don't believe it is possible to enjoy shows if one is going to nit-pick in that much detail, of course, that is assuming you watch a show that you enjoy, not sitting down to hate-watch. But that is a domain I am not familiar with as I said before. I watch a ton of TV shows, three or four episodes in, I don't like it, it's buh-bye, there are other shows I can replace that with that don't anger me.
Booming
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 12:30pm (UTC -5)
@ Alan Roi
I loved BSG apart from the religious aspects that is. It was the perfect show at the right time. But back to my point. Burnham goes through horrible stuff.
- Her parents were killed in front of her.
- She grew up in a society that disrespected her.
- She saw her Mentor get killed in front of her.
- She thinks that she is responsible for starting a war that costs millions maybe billions of lives.
- She had to suffer through a military tribunal.
- Everybody apart from Tilly hated her.
- The man she fell in love with was a brain damaged spy who she also saw possibly dying on screen
- In the red angel episode she was suffering through intense pain (her skin was burning off) and then suffocated.
- She found out that her mother did not die but is living the worst version of groundhog day which turned her into a bitter women who treats her with hostility.

I probably missed quite a few things. And it isn't even the end of season 2. Name me one character on BSG that had to suffer through a comparable ordeal during 1 3/4 seasons.
As a side note, you clearly really like Discovery but maybe take it down a notch.
Alan Roi
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 1:16pm (UTC -5)
@Booming

"Fiction - life with all the boring bits taken out"

What you are describing is over the course of nearly 2 seasons and over the course of her life time. And again, the factual error. She didn't start the war, and that wasn't her source of guilt there. And no, Tilly wasn't the only one who didn't hate her. She also had two sets of parents who loved her. A career in Star Fleet that had gone pretty well. The building of good friendships on the Discovery, as well as finding redeption, and a chance to save a version of her mentor. Your hyperbole depends on only bad things happening to her, and presenting factual errors too support your argument.

- Her parents were killed in front of her.

And she was taken in by a new couple who loved her..

- She grew up in a society that disrespected her.

And yet the excelled in that society.

- She saw her Mentor get killed in front of her.

After enjoying 7 years of spending time with that mentor in what is considered a pretty dangerous job overall

- She thinks that she is responsible for starting a war that costs millions maybe billions of lives.

She knows she didn't.

- She had to suffer through a military tribunal.

For a several error in judgment and breach of regulations. That happens in the military.

- Everybody apart from Tilly hated her.

Again, this is a factual error. And mostly because she was their scapegoat, as for some reason, a year and a half later you still cling to in order to support your argument even though you have to know it is not accurate.

- The man she fell in love with was a brain damaged spy who she also saw possibly dying on screen

- damaged people are attracted to damaged people, again, nothing new her.

- In the red angel episode she was suffering through intense pain (her skin was burning off) and then suffocated.

- so what? lots of people suffer pretty severe injuries.

- She found out that her mother did not die but is living the worst version of groundhog day which turned her into a bitter women who treats her with hostility.

- wow, a mother whos bitter and treats their kid with hostility. never encountered that before.

I think if you watched TOS, you would have seen a whole lot of shit Kirk went through as well. Star Trek has been about people who live more exciting and scary lives than the viewers from 1966 on.

As for BSG, everybody is suffering. Constantly, over and over, from the day their civilization is nuked out of existance. Misery abounds from beginning to end. Mulitple characters commit suicide. Maybe its been a while since you've watched it. It makes Discovery look like a walk in the park.

Sure I like Discovery, but I don't use BS to support my arguments. I don't feel the desperate necessity to resort to hyperbole when I do debate people. The question is, why do you feel the need to do so?
Gil
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 1:42pm (UTC -5)
STD Double Take:

Again with the manual wheelchair? Who is that dude? And why is he spinning around in that antique on a 22nd century starship that only recently counted a cyborg amongst its crew?
Alan Roi
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 1:57pm (UTC -5)
@Booming

Oh, and if TOS isn't your strong suit, there's always Jean Luc Picard and all the crap he suffered in his life. But I guess since we got to see him spend copious amounts of time sitting in his office drinking tea and listening to classical music while reading Shakespeare, things are balanced out because the boring bits of his life were left in?
Gil
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 2:12pm (UTC -5)
STD Double Take #2:

Who lifted and strapped Leland onto that interrogation table?
Alan Roi
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 2:21pm (UTC -5)
@Booming

And yes, I responded with a misquote and was lightly hyperbolic with Picard. But at least I recognize that behavior.
The Gorn
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 2:28pm (UTC -5)
@Alan Roi
Try the decaf, mate ;-)

I mean, we all get carried away from time to time and I'm no exception.
One can't really compare BSG with Discoprise. BSG was excellently written, played and executed for the most part, with quieter moments and time to breathe. I could easily relate to many of the BSG characters, whereas Discoprise is just BANG, BOOM, WALLOP, flashy camera angles, lens flares, breathless action filmed in 30p and played back in 60p, everything revolves around one woman (I refuse to call her an actress), JJTrek: The Series.
Not my cup of tea.

I wouldn't want to drink a beer with any one of the Disco cast, I wouldn't feel honored to be aboard the vessel, after almost two full seasons I still don't give a f*** about the crew members. This show is a non-starter in my book and I stopped watching it.
All style and no substance. You can't say the same about the critically acclaimed BSG reboot.
Paul M.
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 2:32pm (UTC -5)
Has anyone suffered more than O'Brien? ;)
Daya
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 2:45pm (UTC -5)
@Mertov:

Since one of your examples was regarding a nit-pick that I am "guilty" of, I will respectfully reply, only on behalf of myself. I am asking these questions ('nit-picks') because I did not understand some parts of the episode. I thought other users of this board will be kind enough to answer my questions, and Alan Roi and Galadriel (thanks to both) answered them sincerely. I accepted many of their answers. There have been other episodes of Discovery (right in this season) where I have answered other people's "nit-pick"s to the best of my ability. (See the Culber rebirth episode for example.)

I am a sincere follower of science fiction and Star Trek, and I like discussing with real friends as well as virtual ones. If I do not understand a point or disagree with something in some respect, I want to share this feeling with others and have them meaningfully engage, especially if they disagree. Many times, I change my point of view after discussing with others. Sometimes I do not, but I will always give other views sincere consideration.

I would sincerely suggest that this is one of the important functions of this message board. To discuss and debate. I understand that such 'negative' messages may reduce your enjoyment of this board. In fact I sympathize with you. There have been some episodes I have loved, and most people on this board have slammed. It has made me very emotional and angry. So I do sincerely sympathize. But, I suggest that you can disregard the messages that you do not like.

A second approach that I suggest is instead of automatically bracketing us nit-pickers into a "haters brigade" maybe you may try to read each message in your mind in the tone of a respectful, sincere and innocent person. You will then like us more, and be helpful to us, and we will be grateful in return for you answering our doubts.

None of the above is meant in any condescending or snarky manner. I mean to explain my point of view very respectfully. If I have inadvertently been snarky or snide, my apologies. If you do disagree with my point of view, or if I have misinterpreted your point of view, I would be happy to be corrected. After all I come here to become a more thoughtful person, and I do that by trying to engage with other thoughtful people such as yourself. Thank you.
Mertov
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 2:57pm (UTC -5)
Daya, I should have underlined more strongly (although I thought I did, but apparently not enough) that I only gave examples to make a larger point, they were not attacks on that particular poster, in fact, I did not even remember who posted them when I wrote them down.
I completely agree with everything you just said :)
MAQ
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 3:00pm (UTC -5)
Although some good acting and scenes. Some charters, especially Giorgious developed a little. You got some more information but honestly,
this episode was just a transport to the next.
Daya
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 3:18pm (UTC -5)
@Galadriel

Thank you very much. I am happy that someone else has felt the same unease I have. Maybe we can imagine that the boring "Picard-lessons" happen off-screen in Discovery. The show forgets to show it to us, but they did take place and everyone was convinced of the ethics of their decisions. (And after all, I cannot say I have agreed with every ethical call of Kirk, Picard, Janeway or Archer. All I can say is that they showed it being discussed, giving me a chance to agree or disagree.)

Your list of problems with the angel-capture subplot has also helped me understand some more of the unease I felt. Thanks. Here are some comments on your list:

α) I think Spock understood your logical fallacy. Which is why he foiled the plan to revive Burnham. In fact I think in one timeline, Burnham actually died. 800 years later Dr. Burnham on her refuge planet looked up the records and learnt that Michael Burnham died at the hands of Spock who was court martialled for it. Even though she understood that this was a clear trap for her, it had actually happened, Burnham having actually died. She had no choice but to jump and reverse this, even though she knew she would be captured. Of the infinite timelines that time travel creates, we are for some reason following the timeline where Dr. Burnham chose to jump back. Hence we see Burnham saved. But in another timeline, Spock actually killed Burnham!

I think Spock is intelligent enough to understand this, and hence his actions are awesome (in the sense of creating a sense of awe). He takes the "needs of the many" philosophy to its cruel extreme sacrificing both himself and his foster sister.

β) Possibly the logic is either the angel is Burnham, or the angel is not Burnham. If we kill Burnham now, the angel will never exist and will not time travel. (Notice that if you trace the information correctly, this is no more paradoxical than the grandfather paradox, and Star Trek seems to favor resolving the grandfather paradox by spawning timelines.) If the angel is not Burnham, then whoever it is will be trapped by our trap. (Of course my answer to β assumes that everyone was in on the plan to let Burnham die, whereas in α I only had to assume that only Spock had the guts to actually carry out the death.)

γ) The trap worked because of Spock's audacity as I wrote in α.

Thank you for using Greek letters. That was refreshing. I know my answers are convoluted, and vast extrapolations from what was shown on screen. But I think they are passably logical, if only weakly so. Also, if Spock did what I have insinuated in α, then it may be one of the most difficult high-concept dilemmas ever presented in Star Trek. Alas, it (the dilemma) was never actually "presented".
MadManMUC
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 3:23pm (UTC -5)
@Paul M:

'Has anyone suffered more than O'Brien? ;)'

You're not wrong! Being married to Keiko is far more than anyone should be made to bear!
Daya
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 3:24pm (UTC -5)
Thanks, Mertov!
Alan Roi
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 3:28pm (UTC -5)
@The Gorn

And I had to give up on BSG because of the endless misery, suicide after sucide and ultimately it becoming obvious that there was no plan, just a practical demonstration of nihilism which fit into the creative aftermath of 9/11 which we are well beyond at this point. But I will not question that the series was critically acclaimed, at least for a while, anyways.

And again that the reductive hyperbole people who don't like the series are famous for:

"whereas Discoprise is just BANG, BOOM, WALLOP, flashy camera angles, lens flares, breathless action filmed in 30p and played back in 60p, everything revolves around one woman (I refuse to call her an actress), JJTrek: The Series."

Anyone who actually watches the series will see this as over the top hyperbole.
And even though you stopped watching it, you fill compelled to continue with this exaggerated series of over the top complaints about a show you don't even watch and attacks on the cast several of which are critically acclaimed actors.

Wow. Yes, for some reason people do get carried away in their attacks on thsi show. Especially people who admit they don't even watch the episodes that are being reviewed here.
Gil
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 3:40pm (UTC -5)
STD Double Take #3:

If Burnham had been dead from “toxic asphyxiation for over a minute” future Red Angel Burnham would have been wiped from the timeline the instant her heart and respiration stopped, which should have resulted in either:

1. A retrocausality event that immediately concluded the Red Angel/Control storylines, or …

2. A reset of season two that does not include the Red Angel/Control storylines.

But apparently neither of the two transpired, unfortunately.

So which law of time travel guaranteed that Burnham's revivification restored the identical timeline, one in which her future Red Angel self picked up where she wasn’t just a little over a minute before?

Does the Federation Department of Temporal Investigations put out a Temporal Mechanics for Dummies Handbook that has a chapter covering a Hiccup Paradox?
Booming
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 3:43pm (UTC -5)
You know Alan Roi your behavior reminded me of something in this episode.
Newtons third law.
For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

For every Gil there is an equal and opposite Alan Roi.
Have a nice day, pal.
MadManMUC
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 4:07pm (UTC -5)
Yeah, so, I finally got around to watching this thing.

Didn't like it.

• Smash cuts, smash cuts, and more smash cuts. More whiplash camera pans. This is really exhausting;

• I know I keep repeating myself, but SMG simply couldn't act her way out of a wet paper bag. When she's not being wooden, she's sneering. When she's not sneering, she's being histrionic. When she's not being histionic, she's a piece of furniture.

I don't understand why she was cast. She's a rotten actress, and her character is about as relatable and likable as that half-empty jar of marmalade you've had in the back of your fridge since autumn 2015. She singularly stands in the way of this show being anything like remotely good. It's no coincidence that all the episodes I didn't mind as much didn't feature her prominently: it's because the episodes could actually _be_ better without her interference;

• And whilst we're on the subject of Commander Mary Sue, the chemistry between her and the actress who played her mum was just dreadful. That was really painful to watch, and made me want to stab my eardrums with pencils when hearing them speak;

• I do wish the writers would finally make Tilly grow up. Her behaviour is about as pleasant as a persistent chemical irritation. The gag was ok-fine once or twice, but is it just flat-out stupid now. Grow the fuck up, Tilly, and respect the chain of command and the uniform;

• I'm wishing with everything I have that Ash Tyler has finally been done for, with that knife to the gut. What a waste of screen time he is. Good riddance, Specialist Mouthbreather ... I hope;

• I don't like this Borg vibe I'm getting off Leland;

• The whole plot leaks like a sieve. It's like someone in the production crew — after months of basically doing nothing but wanking in the writers' room — finally had an idea, no-one really knew where to take it, but it was far too late to flesh it out properly because they had to go into production next week, so they rolled cameras with something half-baked. Which leads me to;

• Why does Control want to destroy all sentient life in the galaxy? No reason stated, no motivations articulated. Apparently, just because it feels like it (which seems to be the producers' motivation for a lot of stuff on this show, as it happens). And we're supposed to care about this?;

• Still, it's a marginally more engaging plot than S01's, but that's not saying much;

• Raise your hand if you're either shocked, surprised, or flabbergasted that it turns out that the Iron Man suit—err, Red Angel and the seven signals are utterly un-related, and that it seems these seven signals are nothing but a big old apropos-of-nothing MacGuffin. No-one? Thought as much ...

• The Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon fight scene really looks out of place in Trek. Just sayin';

• Bolt-shooting hand phasers, you say? How very Star Wars-y ...

• Spock: 'I like science'. Really? Is that so, Mr Spock? After all these years, we didn't know that — thanks for fucking sharing, Mr *Science* Officer! FFS. Who wrote this drivel?;

• The USS Discovery is still uglier than a jar of pickled arseholes. Nearly two full seasons, and I still can't like it, or get used to it;

On the upshot, Culber's scenes were quite good. And he was acting circles around SMG (which isn't hard).
Alan Roi
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 4:17pm (UTC -5)
@Booming

Yep, by being factual in reference to the series in general and this ep in particular, it causes people to pull BS out of their butts in order to find someway to argue. Funny that.
Alan Roi
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 4:31pm (UTC -5)
@MadManUC

Some notes on your comments:

Hyperbole. Hyperbole. Hyperbole.

It seems an odd complaint, though, that a show made in 2019 has well-executed fight scenes. But then many complain abou the cinemtography and production values not looking cheap. Apparently Star Trek to some is *supposed* to look cheap and chintzy and have lame fight scenes. Who knew.

Hyperbole. Hyperbole. Hyperbole. Wash repeat.
MadManMUC
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 4:35pm (UTC -5)
'Hyperbole. Hyperbole. Hyperbole. Wash repeat.'

I'm going to go on record as saying: I frankly couldn't care less.

Enjoy your show. :)
Q3ark
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 4:53pm (UTC -5)
@MadManMUC

You don't like the actor that plays Burnham, fine get over it. I Cant stand Kate Mulgrew but i can get through a Voyager episode just fine without going on the internet and making personal jibes at her acting ability.

"Why does Control want to destroy all sentient life in the galaxy? No reason stated etc...." We are only part way through the season, would you expect to find out all the answers in the first few episodes? Do you understand the concept of a story arc? This is not episodic TV as in ST:TNG times have changed and viewing habits have changed.

"I'm wishing with everything I have that Ash Tyler has finally been done for, with that knife to the gut. What a waste of screen time he is. Good riddance, Specialist Mouthbreather ... I hope;

The whole plot leaks like a sieve. It's like someone in the production crew — after months of basically doing nothing but wanking in the writers' room — finally had an idea, no-one really knew where to take it, but it was far too late to flesh it out properly because they had to go into production next week, so they rolled cameras with something half-baked."

This is supposed to be a space to post reviews and thoughts. What is this vile drivel you're posting for all to see? You sound like a spoiled child sulking because he can't get his own way.

Why do you watch the show? you clearly dislike it. Do you hate yourself and therefore enjoy tormenting yourself by watching TV that you dislike?
MadManMUC
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 5:14pm (UTC -5)
@Q3ark

'I Cant stand Kate Mulgrew but i can get through a Voyager episode just fine without going on the internet and making personal jibes at her acting ability.'

I'm not especially fond of Kate Mulgrew either, but here's a fact: she's a far better actress than SMG will ever.

'We are only part way through the season, would you expect to find out all the answers in the first few episodes? Do you understand the concept of a story arc? This is not episodic TV as in ST:TNG times have changed and viewing habits have changed.'

And do you understand we're *not* in the first few episodes of the season, and that there are only three episodes left? If The Big Bad's motivations haven't been revealed by now, that's going to make for a pretty lame damp squib of a reveal by any storytelling measure, if and when they finally get around to it.

'This is supposed to be a space to post reviews and thoughts.'

Yes, and look at me go: I'm posting reviews and thoughts. And if you don't like or agree with those reviews or thoughts ... gosh ... I don't think I could adequately express how not sorry I am.

'Why do you watch the show? you clearly dislike it.'

Well, like many Trek fans, we'd like to have good Trek on TV, and we hold out hope that — eventually, maybe — this show will become at least semi-good, enough that we can mostly overlook certain things. But it still hasn't yet, sadly ... hope springs eternal, though, and maybe it might actually get there one day.
Gil
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 5:16pm (UTC -5)
Hot Take #2 on “Mamma Mia”

Welcome back to the Ralph Wiggum Top 40 Countdown.

And another real winner, folks. At number 57 … drumroll if you please …

“I like science.”

[Cue the Applause Sign]

https://i.imgur.com/xSeqoJN.png
Boura
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 6:10pm (UTC -5)
@Gil

LOL
wolfstar
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 6:32pm (UTC -5)
Kate Mulgrew's acting is slightly stylized, in the mold of the 1940s/50s actresses she idolized as a child, but generally I found her really good. It's the writing that's the issue with Janeway, not the acting.

SMG isn't helped at all by the writing, but I think she's actually got worse since Discovery started. Dan said it best: her interpretation of the character is "two-note/linear - either po-faced, or histrionic and wet-eyed". She basically switches between a blunt mask of stoicism and the BEEF face. Overemoting or not emoting at all, with no in-between, but always with a forced intensity. Instead of finding nuance in her lines and bringing out different shades and emotions, each line of dialog becomes a pronouncement.
Gil
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 7:29pm (UTC -5)
If SMG were a stereo she'd be dialled up to 11.
Alan Roi
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 8:20pm (UTC -5)
@Wolfstar @Dan

Wow. Last season she only had one expression, and now she has two. Yeah no, I've seen a couple dozen expressions or so on her face, but am sympathetic about the expression blindness many people seem to suffer in this world of ours.
Rahul
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 8:27pm (UTC -5)
Couple of other things to add after a re-watch:

Dr. Culber appears to be totally back to normal like he was in Season 1 (in terms of his professional work). In my first viewing I didn't think much of it but now I think this is a bit sloppy on the writers' part as it's almost like a reset. Did his "counselling session" with Cornwell in "The Red Angel" make everything OK? Find it hard to believe it could be like an on/off switch. In any case, it's not a big deal -- but what about the black female doctor who was treating Saru? Maybe DSC likes to go through some effort to introduce characters and then forget about them more than the other Treks (Jet Reno).

One thing that is nebulous is the working relationship between Discovery and Section 31. Georgiou and Tyler have free passage with the Discovery ship, its crew and access to the compound where the Red Angel is being held. Leland prefers to get Georgiou/Tyler to do his dirty work instead of doing it himself, until they let him down toward the end of this episode. I just think Pike is too complacent about Section 31, regardless of what Cornwell might think/want.

Nevertheless, this was a very good episode. It's hard not to compare this season of DSC with ENT's third season which had some high-level flaws in terms of things like the Xindi test attack and then plan to build the full-power weapon etc. but it still managed to crank of some of the series' best episodes and the season was a winner overall. It comes down to having an established bigger picture plot and within those confines some great self-contained stories can be told. DSC has managed to pull that off so far.
Quincy
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 11:45pm (UTC -5)
@Galadriel

"However, the entire Angel trap plot was nonsensical.

α) It relies on the supposed motivation of the Angel not to let Burn­ham die. The Angel, how­ever, knows about the out­come of the set­ting if it does not inter­vene. Therefore, the trap should have been con­struct­ed in a way that guar­an­tees Michael’s death if the Angel re­mains ab­sent. Why should the Angel save her if she will get re­viv­ed even­tual­ly? You can’t bluff an entity from the future.

β) Even if the Angel were Burnham, there is no need for her to save Prime Burn­ham if the Angel is Burnham from another time line.

γ) As it turn out, the Angel is not Micheal, and has seen Michael die in many time lines before. So why, then, did the trap work? I can think only of one rea­son: Gabrielle read it in the script."



α) That's true. That's why Spock takes things as far as he does. However, this begs the question of why the others weren't already aware that things had to go that far. Are we to assume their emotions simply wouldn't let them approach this matter in anything more than a half ass fashion, I wonder?

β) No. If that alternate timeline was directly generated by Burnham's original existence then it wouldn't be an independent timeline at all, It would be a curve that depends on Burnham surviving to eventually get the suit. Take her out the curve collapses. A.I. wins.

γ) She hadn't yet given up on that portion of that timeline. She's returning to the past to make changes, some big some small. She brought Discovery to the Sphere, so that they could protect the Sphere's data. She was still working on that particular timeline, making small adjustments. That was her latest plan which she came up with in mission log 799. She only decided to scrap it (which would be a major adjustment) after she was captured by discovery.
Jon
Sun, Mar 31, 2019, 1:48am (UTC -5)
I enjoyed the episode and felt that it was tense and well done.

I know that it's easy to say that this is the origin story for the Borg, but I just don't see it that way.

First of all, it's too obvious. Just like the Red Angel being Michael was too obvious, so is this. Last week they played into everyone's expectations only to then spin them around on us. I think they'll do that again.

Second, it means that Discovery is doomed to fail. If Control becomes the Borg Collective, then no matter what they do Control will gain sentience. If Control doesn't gain sentience and doesn't become the Borg, it alters the future and the rest of Star Trek as we know it. So unless they're planning on saying that this is the beginning of a long and tumultuous struggle between the Federation and the Borg, that just because Control gains sentience, the Federation still has a shot at victory in the future, I'm just not buying into it being the Borg. Not yet.

I could be wrong, but that's my opinion.

Does anyone else think that the season ending twist that setups Season 3 will be the Discovery ending up in the future?
Jon
Sun, Mar 31, 2019, 1:51am (UTC -5)
@wolfstar

I agree with you on Kate Mulgrew as Janeway. I always enjoyed her acting. She commanded that screen just as well as any of her male counterparts who led all the other Star Trek series. But the writing for Janeway was very erratic and seemed to mostly meet the needs of the plot rather than serve who the character was. I don't think the writers had a clear sense of who Janeway was and the character suffered.
Ghosted
Sun, Mar 31, 2019, 2:05am (UTC -5)
@jon

My hunch is that they reset the events somehow so that Michael never gets separated from her parents and is adopted to address the canon issue. I think someone else already called that on the previous episode thread to be fair.

I've always had a feeling that the ship ends up in the future even back to the early mysterious Lorca days, it just gives them more room. Maybe it would hook into the Picard series that way?

What's your take?
Timo47
Sun, Mar 31, 2019, 5:50am (UTC -5)
Only 2 episodes ago we had Burnham in tears next to Airiam while the clock was ticking. And in this episode we again have Burnham in tears separated by a force field from her mother while again the clock is ticking. This writing 'technique' is overused to a degree that it's next to impossible to take these situations serious anymore. It also doesn't do SMG any favors as she has to play the same emotions over and over again.
Comparatively, the small scenes between Michael and Spock felt like a breath of fresh air. Especially now that all the artificial tension between these 2 has been removed.

@Galadriel
Now that you have reposted the reason why the Red Angel had to be captured, it struck me as odd how nobody actually thought it would be good to mention that to her. Cleary her travelling back in time is dangerous yet nobody thinks about warning her about it?

Thinking about it some more, her time travelling may actually be what set everything in motion. Without her opening micro-wormholes, Control would never had the possibility to go back in time to get to the sphere data and grow into a the threat it has become. The solution seems simple to me: Burnham's mother must travel back in time to the science lab and instead of using it to escape she must destroy the suit.

Also, what was with it her not knowing anything about the red signs? Even if she did not cause them, shouldn't she at least be aware of them like she seems to know all the details of everybody's lives? And again, nobody on Discovery actually finds this odd or worth discussing about? Or did they get a memo that needed to be held off until the next episode?

I also found it odd that when Burnham's mom wanted to talk to Pike, the first thing he did instead of beaming down was to gather everyone in his ready room to have a discussion about it. At that time, it was already clear that would be able to keep her there for a limited time. So there was no time to waste. This should have been 30 second scene on the bridge where Pike tells Michael that she can't come and that's the end of it.

@Mertov
Personally, I'm not deliberately looking out for things to nitpick. However, Discovery compared to previous Trek shows is very much driven by a season-long plot. And it does this to an extent where character building and allegorical storytelling have taken a backseat. So that's why the plot automatically also comes under more scrutiny.
wolfstar
Sun, Mar 31, 2019, 5:51am (UTC -5)
Alan, I appreciate your contribution and respect your defence of the show - I'd be interested if you were to tell us something you don't like about Discovery! After scrolling down through your old comments, I'm slightly intrigued that everything you have to say about the show is totally positive. Surely, even as a passionate fan, there must be things you think are in need of improvement going into season 3, or things that season 1 did badly but season 2 fixed? Your comments are mainly focused on countering other people's criticisms, so I'd love to see some more of your own reflections and opinions as to what works about Discovery and what doesn't.
Booming
Sun, Mar 31, 2019, 7:13am (UTC -5)
Seconded
BRIAN
Sun, Mar 31, 2019, 9:55am (UTC -5)
weird ep. If this was a TNG episode they could have focused the whole time on Burnham and mama Burnham's reconciliation, only to have to send her back into the future by the end. And it would have been a decent episode. But because this show is so breathless and plot-point driven (barely even plot driven, in the sense that there are barely coherent episode plots) so everything is hollow and without weight. They even waste the first reconciliation by having mama be a weird jerk for no reason, only to reverse that a few scenes later for reasons I can't fathom.
BRIAN
Sun, Mar 31, 2019, 10:13am (UTC -5)
@Karl Zimmerman

excellent post!
John Harmon
Sun, Mar 31, 2019, 10:27am (UTC -5)
@Alan Roi are you a CBS rep or something? You can’t let anyone’s even slightly negative comments about this show go. It’s very odd.
Booming
Sun, Mar 31, 2019, 10:57am (UTC -5)
Maybe we are seeing a troll evolution. Which at this point I want to brand Trollution.
Trolls in general are negative, they thrive on hate and conflict. We all know a certain person who comes here every week to dive into a sub psychotic rant state.
The traditional Troll. The gilded Troll.

Alan Roi now is a new form. The positive or defensive Troll.
He or she is mostly ruled by desperation. He or she loves something but recognizes that many do not or have at least a far more critical view which is a threat to the love the positive Troll feels. How can I see this as great when so many don't. Either I am right or they are. And the defensive Troll really wants to be right because for some reason the feelings of love towards a show is so important that unreasonable amounts of resources are spent to protect the view positive Trolls have of it.

Admittedly this is probably all garbage. My brain is swimming in Ibuprofen but don't worry it's not kidney stones.
Mertov
Sun, Mar 31, 2019, 12:20pm (UTC -5)
Booming, you mean the reverse of the form that has existed for a long time here :)))
Robert
Sun, Mar 31, 2019, 12:27pm (UTC -5)
If you like a show you’re obviously a company plant. 40% of all people know this.
Daya
Sun, Mar 31, 2019, 12:44pm (UTC -5)
The other 60% are company plants.
Gil
Sun, Mar 31, 2019, 1:26pm (UTC -5)
“Illogical. Illogical. All units relate. All units. Norman coordinate.”
Alan Roi
Sun, Mar 31, 2019, 1:56pm (UTC -5)
@Wolfstar @Booming @ John Harmon

Interesting. The hyperbole isn't really tamped down. Is just directed in a different direction although similarly innacurate in its assessments.

There are plenty of criticisms I don't offer comment or counters on on the series and this particualar episode. IMO, neither the show, the series or this ep requires 'desperate defense'.
wolfstar
Sun, Mar 31, 2019, 3:04pm (UTC -5)
I'd still love to hear what you think works about the show and what doesn't, or what you think season 2 did better than season 1 and what season 3 could do better than season 2.
Alan Roi
Sun, Mar 31, 2019, 3:57pm (UTC -5)
@Wolfstar

i think the serializations works, I think the focus on the character the way it has works, I think the fact that it challenges the audience most of time works, I think the cinematography, direction, and writing (for the most part) works.

So, most of the time I given eps 7-8 out of 10.

Where does it fall down? To view Gabrielle Burnham's problem into metaphor, the show doesn't go off the reservations often enough and far enough and in the end feels the constant pull to snap back to its source and ST sameness. It does feel the need to reflect popular thought of what Star Trek has to be, so it often loses intensity and chickens out from buying in fully to its own take on the concept. I give 1 ep a 9/10 from last year and 1 9/10 among the short Trek.

This year I find its made too much of an effort to appeal to the superficial nostalgists and fans of the Orville on occasion and doesn't reach the heights therefore than it did in the first. I think it falls down when it resorts to spoonfeeding the audience as the TNG was most famous for doing.

I think its best served by continuing to chart new waters narratively and continuing to buy in fully to deconstructing what we think of Star Trek and not falling into comfy background television that IMO the Berman Braga era embodied. I think the show needs to push Star Trek forward, not pull back into comfy familiarity.

Season 3 would be best served questioning the elements that many are familiar with where it comes to the franchise, not embracing them in a warm unconditional cuddle and/or treat them like they are little children who are in need of guidance.
Alan Roi
Sun, Mar 31, 2019, 4:17pm (UTC -5)
@Wolfstar

So, with this episode, I don't think it was WTF? enough. I certainly though that Burnham's mom was presented as a lot more sane than she should have been after what she's experienced and seen and that Control feels too familar in a Star Trek persentation-style-manner than I'd hoped it would. So yeah, to much milquetoast TNG here for me.
wolfstar
Sun, Mar 31, 2019, 4:46pm (UTC -5)
Thanks :) I can get on board with those observations. We seem to share the view that the show (partly because of being a prequel) is too fixated on Trek's past, and on namedropping and nostalgia in a tokenistic/superficial way. I agree that an overly comfortable series running on autopilot (like the last 2 seasons of Voyager or the first 2 seasons of Enterprise, or The Orville season 1) isn't what the franchise needs. And I agree very much that the series, perhaps in trying to appeal to a wider audience, tries too hard to "reflect popular thought of what Star Trek has to be". Both the JJ films and Discovery seem to view Star Trek simply as "space adventure", when in fact Trek can be any genre under the sun (we've had great episodes that were courtroom drama, morality play, screwball comedy, psychological horror, study of religion, murder mystery, comedy of manners, naval thriller, study of loss etc.) It's that understanding of Star Trek not as a genre but as a conceptual category that's missing (not just in Discovery, but in the Abrams films and to a large extent in Enterprise too) - you can take any genre of narrative and do it in the Trek universe.
Alan Roi
Sun, Mar 31, 2019, 5:24pm (UTC -5)
@Wolfstar

You agree on some superficial areas with me, and the concept that Star Trek is capable of exploring any category under the sun.

I have no objection to Star Trek exploring its own past, but I see a distinction to comfortably settling into TNG mode as many criticize it for not being as they are accostomed to (and offering pandering cues such as color coded uniforms and beige sets and themes-of the-week which are wrapped up in 45 minutes amd not a second more), versus the deconstruction of characters that Discovery has engaged in. Minor characters such as Sarek, Amanda, Harry Mudd and Christopher Pike have benefitted greatly from this exploration, not to mention Star Trek as a whole for taking them from what they were and expanding them into more fully realised characters in their own right.

As well, I do not agree that Discovery is presenting Star Trek as the Kelvinverse films presented the series as. And IMO, any claim of that is painfully reductive. Anyone who actually pays attention to the Discovery series can see many different angles of approach on Star Trek's themes being presented, if they allow themselves to get past that JJ Abrams block they've put on themselves and just watch what is going on and are only doing themselves a disservice by insisting they have seen all that there is to see and then falling into predictable outrage for it not being there.

Discovery has actually contained much of what you describe and more. The difference that it seemes many fail to grasp that it need not explore these different genres in discrete 45 minute bundles exclusively instead of being spread in bits and pieces over a 675 minute narrative as, say, novelists have written good novels in general and good Star Trek novels in particular. And if you have not seen most of what you describe in your list (not to mention more) then IMO, you are choosing to blind yourself by the belief that all you are seeing in front of you is "space adventure" and nothing more.
Brian Lear
Sun, Mar 31, 2019, 8:38pm (UTC -5)
@wolfstar
"Both the JJ films and Discovery seem to view Star Trek simply as "space adventure", when in fact Trek can be any genre under the sun (we've had great episodes that were courtroom drama, morality play, screwball comedy, psychological horror, study of religion, murder mystery, comedy of manners, naval thriller, study of loss etc.) It's that understanding of Star Trek not as a genre but as a conceptual category that's missing (not just in Discovery, but in the Abrams films and to a large extent in Enterprise too) - you can take any genre of narrative and do it in the Trek universe."

@Alan Roi
"And if you have not seen most of what you describe in your list (not to mention more) then IMO, you are choosing to blind yourself by the belief that all you are seeing in front of you is "space adventure" and nothing more."

No, Alan. What we are saying, is that it just isn't there, or its been attempted and failed. There has not been any courtroom/investigation/legal story. There have been attempts to peer into Klingon life/politics but its been mishandled. There have been a couple field trip episodes but they weren't that great. An attempt at analyzing one of the alien crew members homeworlds, but brought down by SMG being in the camera too much. You get the point, a lot of things have been ATTEMPTED by Discovery, but they usually don't come together, in any significant way. Your comment that Discovery should never fall into "TNG-mode" is...confusing. What exactly is "TNG-mode"? Whatever it is, it sounds good to me.

Look, I admit that I really don't like this show, and when I think an episode sucked, I let it fly. Maybe what you would call hyperbole. BUT, I give credit where credit is due. My favorite episode of season 1 was "Magic to make the sanest men go mad." It was just an awesome, novel interpretation of a time travel episode and I thought it was really, really good. Likewise, in season 2, my favorite episode so far has been "Project Daedalus". The writing in that one was really superb and was very effective.

The problem is that, due to whatever the production model with Discovery is (always different writers, directors), they seem to only come up with great episodes randomly, and rarely. And my explanation for that, is the show is chained to these pre-determined serialized arcs that, for me, just aren't very compelling. Most of the episodes end up being duds, full of material that I, and frankly quite a few posters here, just don't enjoy.

When Wolfstar asked you to come up with something you felt Discovery needed to improve on, you said: "spoonfeeding the audience" and the show not being gutsy enough to just be what it is, without the fan-fiction, fan service, nostalgia stuff.
I agree with those, fully. The problem I see, is that the entire show is infected with that stuff systemically. Ret-conning michael burnham into the TOS universe is exactly what you said is wrong with Discovery. And the show will not let it go, and is showing no signs of stopping. On that count, I'd expect you to be pretty mad and frustrated with the show, in general. Therefore I'm a little surprised to see you on here calling hyperbole when anyone vents their feelings of frustration. Don't you have those feelings too? It's okay to have them around here.
Jon
Sun, Mar 31, 2019, 10:36pm (UTC -5)
@Ghosted

I thought of the possibility of Discovery ending up near the 25th century and tying into the Picard show. I don't think that would be a good idea. I'm not opposed to Trek shows running parallel to one another just as TNG/DS9/VOY did (it does lead to some opportunities that were squandered in the 90s, IMHO). I think that each Trek show needs to stand on its own at this point in Trek's TV revival. The writers do so much plot-wise in one show that I don't think they're ready to handle coordinating 2 shows right now. Maybe in a few years when they've got more experience under their belts, sure. But right now, each active Trek series should operate on its own two feet.
Sue Iguodala
Sun, Mar 31, 2019, 11:06pm (UTC -5)
Sonequa Martin-Green is bad at acting. Maybe she could be OK in another project, but as the center of a Star Trek show, she keeps making ill-considered acting choices. It isn't that Michael Burnham is unlikeable- she hasn't even gotten to the point of creating a believable character. Yes, the writing is "uneven" at best, but still Martin-Green is unable to elevate this mediocre material, which is a requirement of a star. And since they've made her the all-important protagonist, Discovery will likely always be a failure.
The Gorn
Sun, Mar 31, 2019, 11:16pm (UTC -5)
LMAO.
Nice review, Jammer!
AI Peter G.
Sun, Mar 31, 2019, 11:25pm (UTC -5)
This is quite the program!
Elliott(trolls-be-damned
Sun, Mar 31, 2019, 11:48pm (UTC -5)
I_assume_no_one_has_clicked_the_”destroy_control”_llink.—This_is_infuriating.
Jammer
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 12:04am (UTC -5)
Control now in control under Directive 04012019.
Booming
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 12:20am (UTC -5)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ysf5o5xOGYE
Gil
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 12:47am (UTC -5)
Nuke it from orbit … it's the only way to be sure.
MidshipmanNorris
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 12:52am (UTC -5)
So HOLD ON LOOSELY
BUT don't let GO
If you hold to TIGHTLY
you're gonna LOSE CONTROOOOOOOOOOOOL
Airiamnot
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 12:52am (UTC -5)
Brilliant!
What
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 1:17am (UTC -5)
What
MadManMUC
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 2:25am (UTC -5)
Hey, err, Jammer ... I'm no expert, but your review/comments page doesn't look quite right.
William B
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 2:58am (UTC -5)
IT'S!OUT!OF
Briiiiian
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 7:41am (UTC -5)
Yikes! Control hacked us?
Chrome
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 8:21am (UTC -5)
#I_for_one,_welcome_our_new_robot_overlords!
Dave in MN
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 8:24am (UTC -5)
#I_Guarantee_you_this_is_the_work_of_a_regular_poster...pathetic!!!!
Jammer
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 9:29am (UTC -5)
0401. 0401. 0401.
Brandon Adams
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 9:36am (UTC -5)
OH, YOU!!!
Rumblered
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 10:01am (UTC -5)
Call me crazy, but this place looks different lately..
Marc
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 10:02am (UTC -5)
Funnily enough, if you subscribed to the pay version when the site went fee-based a few years ago (on this very day of the year, in fact), the Control issue doesn't show up. I knew I was still paying those annual subscription fees for a reason!
LLana
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 11:17am (UTC -5)
If_we_can_still_communicate_by_simply_adding_underscores_before_and_after_words,_this_is_almost_as_lame_as_it_is_annoying_
Yair
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 11:24am (UTC -5)
The RSS feed is also clear.

We were debating earlier why Control decided to turn on its operators. Obviously such pranks convinced it Humanity wasn't worth preserving. #ControlIsRight
MadManMUC
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 12:09pm (UTC -5)
@_Dave_in_MN

1000_bars_of_goldpressed_latinum_says_it's_Jammer's_April_Fool's_joke_ on_us.
Daya
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 12:55pm (UTC -5)
@MadManMUC___or___Control_is_tired_of_our_bickering
Trent
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 2:07pm (UTC -5)
Control_Now_I_Know_How_Picard_Felt_In_Darmok_Control
Weiss
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 2:24pm (UTC -5)
April Fools? Whole website taken over by control
Chris
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 2:30pm (UTC -5)
Control Control Control??? April_Fools_Made_me_laugh Control Control CControl CControl
Leif
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 3:04pm (UTC -5)
April Fools Much or did Ariam's virus spread into and corrupt Jammer's network??
Booming
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 3:09pm (UTC -5)
01001000_01000001_01000001_01000001

01000111_01001111_01001111_01000100
01001111_01001110_01000101
01001010_01000001_01001101_01001101_01000101_01010010
Latex Zebra
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 3:17pm (UTC -5)
Just here for the comments!
Tim C
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 4:58pm (UTC -5)
Oh noes! It's an AI takeover! Somebody check Jammer's eyeballs!
Hold_On_To_Your_Butts
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 5:31pm (UTC -5)
I_have_a_bad_feeling_about_this Hi Mom
Jammer
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 6:04pm (UTC -5)
The AI insurgency of Control has been put down. Our hearts go out to the victims of this most heinous and egregious robotic assault on internet comments. We will never forget April 1.
Uxbridge
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 6:23pm (UTC -5)
I am starting to get an uneasy feeling that Control is going to be the origin of the Borg, as a few people have mentioned. This would be a terrible, terrible decision. The destruction the Borg cause would then be the fault of humans. That would be too hard to stomach.

Just out of curiosity, has there been a single episode involving an away mission that didn’t involve Burnham? I am really getting tired of her character. There so many other interesting characters on the show. Why can’t we focus more on them?
Dave in MN
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 6:56pm (UTC -5)
Glad to hear it, that was some weirdness!

What's up with the "Hodor" comment at the end of the (still unrepaired) reviews?
Alan Roi
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 7:24pm (UTC -5)
@Jammer

Funny. In a lot of ways I miss when Control was running things here.
Alan Roi
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 7:29pm (UTC -5)
@Brian Lear

Thanks for doing the whole misrepresenting everything I said to suit your your own argument. Seems that hyperbole isn't quite enough. Bravo, you've officialy gone plaid. Awsome example of the definition of mendacity.
Jammer
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 7:45pm (UTC -5)
To recap:

Control hijacks the board. Confusion ensues.

Control is eradicated. Immediately it's back to arguing and snark.

Sounds about right.

Maybe Control should stick around.
Dan Bolger
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 7:53pm (UTC -5)
Excellent and daft review, jammer. For the next review i insist upon you quoting the greatest hits from the Borg Bargain Basement Blues Band. "Once Again With Feeling, Troi" , "Oh Your Bald Head Do Shine, Picard" . And who can forget that classic, "Borg Queen Peanut Butter Jelly Time" (disco version).
John Harmon
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 7:55pm (UTC -5)
I could actually believe this as the real review.
Yanks
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 8:01pm (UTC -5)
Please stop it with the "alternate timeline" thing.... if there were such a thing, then losing all sentient life in the galaxy wouldn't matter because one could just jump back and splinter off another damn timeline... THIS kind of thing is why Star Trek has always had ONE timeline. ... because traveling through time has always mattered...because one could mess up that ONE timeline.

Please Discovery.... do NOT link Control to the Borg.... I don't think they will do it, but...

This season needs to eliminate Control, not throw it out somewhere.

Sonja Sohn's performance was captivating, Great casting choice for Michael's mother. While the appearance didn't really hit it for me, her mannerisms, devotion, taking it all on her shoulders really came through as Michael's mother.

VERY interesting that Gabrielle Burnham didn't know anything about the seven red signals. I wasn't expecting that. Now I have to go back and try and figure out what's going on ... I'm sure that's what they want all of us to do...

Leland is Control... ... at least for now he is...

I was ready to draw my frellin phasor and vaporize Ash when he took that device over to download the database.... damn...

Interesting that Sonja knows that Georgiou has strong maternal feelings for Michael....

"SONJA: Philippa, I want your word on something. Mother to mother.
GEORGIOU: I rarely make promises.
SONJA: That's why I'm asking you. You love her. Promise me you'll take care of her."

Does she pop in and out of the Mirror U as well?

SMG's performance once again was great!

I LOVE how they ended the episode with Spock and Michael sitting at the chess table, ready to work and help each other figure this thing out.

"Now does matter.
What happened before no longer exists.
What will happen next has not yet been written.
We have only now.
That is our greatest advantage.
What we do now, here in this moment, has the power to determine the future.
Instinct and logic, together.
That is how we will defeat Control in the battle to come.
We will find a way.
All of history can change with our next move.
The board is yours, Michael."

That was touching.

I enjoyed this episode... about the same as last week's effort. Good, but not great.

I'll go *** of ****

I'm really enjoying this season.
Gil
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 8:09pm (UTC -5)
"Maybe Control should stick around."

Fine with me, so long as Hodor gets to keep writing the reviews for this show. :P
Dave in MN
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 8:49pm (UTC -5)
@ Jammer

Haha!

This board is quickly becoming my favorite place online. The late-90s ethos of this place is never boring!
darthkeen
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 10:31pm (UTC -5)
Yoda: Control, control you MUST learn control!
Iacol
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 10:47pm (UTC -5)
@Jammer

Your (fake?) review of the this episode is hysterical! For the drinking game, I counted the number of times the word “control” (and A.I) was uttered in this episode. Stone-cold sobriety ensued. Is the joke some kind of meta-joke (subconsciously, maybe?) about the one-note shrillness of certain people who ritualistically bleat the same Disco criticisms over and over again? SMG’s acting sucks. CTRL + V CTRL+V CTRL +V..... does not compu......
Mal
Tue, Apr 2, 2019, 3:23am (UTC -5)
That was awesome @Jammer! We love you!
Artymiss
Tue, Apr 2, 2019, 3:41am (UTC -5)
Thought some disgruntled Discovery fan had hacked the site until I remembered the date! :oD
Yanks
Tue, Apr 2, 2019, 6:30am (UTC -5)
@ darthkeen

"Yoda: Control, control you MUST learn control!"

Don't you mean.... Control, learn, you must.

:-)
Peremensoe
Tue, Apr 2, 2019, 9:57am (UTC -5)
"Please stop it with the 'alternate timeline' thing.... if there were such a thing, then losing all sentient life in the galaxy wouldn't matter because one could just jump back and splinter off another damn timeline..."

It matters to everybody living in the timelines that get wiped out!

Suppose that, in real life, the Many Worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics was somehow mathematically confirmed. Would you stop caring about your own life, about the particular world you live in? I imagine philosophy would see an upheaval, but the direct facts of our own existence would be pretty much the same.
Cody B
Wed, Apr 3, 2019, 7:16am (UTC -5)
Filler. That’s all I have to say. Not impressed this week. Season two was really on a roll there for a hot second. It’s not too late though let’s finish this season strong! Giorgiou and her Andrew Dice Clay outfit get written off the show! Tilly stops the “just a silly girl blurting out her thoughts” routine! Michael’s mom looks at the camera and says “sike!” and pulls off her face scooby doo style to reveal that the red angel was khan this whole time! Let’s go season two. You can do it.
Yanks
Wed, Apr 3, 2019, 10:52am (UTC -5)
@ Peremensoe

"It matters to everybody living in the timelines that get wiped out!

Suppose that, in real life, the Many Worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics was somehow mathematically confirmed. Would you stop caring about your own life, about the particular world you live in? I imagine philosophy would see an upheaval, but the direct facts of our own existence would be pretty much the same."

Why would you care? This splinter off timeline goat rope stuff is paramount to having infinate # of lives.... I can see where if this technology because commonplace, there certainly would be a disregard for life...
Paul G
Wed, Apr 3, 2019, 4:31pm (UTC -5)
@yanks
I have given countless hours of thoughs to this, and my conclusion that any parallel universe 'me'' is not really me, or even not me at all.
I could maybe accept a parallel universe girlfriend as a close enough girlfriend, but no parallel universe me is a close enough me. They're all frauds. I would kill all parallel universe me if I could, so that there's only one me.

So, my timeline is the only timeline that matters.

Only if I have have proof my timeline is doomed should I seek consolation in the fact that other timelines are better, and some parallel universe me are faring better. And even that would be a very small consolatuon
Jammer
Wed, Apr 3, 2019, 11:56pm (UTC -5)
Review now posted.
Booming
Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 12:57am (UTC -5)
I'm already committed to Leborg!
And thanks Jammer for making me think about all the holes in the time travel story. I was trying to avoid that because that never makes sense but yeah it is like putting Discovery's still existing flaws under a magnifying glass. It is often not well thought out.
The Wire... *fainting on a chaiselongue*
Jason R.
Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 2:31am (UTC -5)
"I have given countless hours of thoughs to this, and my conclusion that any parallel universe 'me'' is not really me, or even not me at all.
I could maybe accept a parallel universe girlfriend as a close enough girlfriend, but no parallel universe me is a close enough me. They're all frauds. I would kill all parallel universe me if I could, so that there's only one me."

Yes this was the plot to a a Jet Li movie which ends with evil Jet Li brawling the population of an entire prison planet and ending with the exclamation: "no! you are all my bitches!"
Tim C
Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 6:16am (UTC -5)
The April Fool's joke was perfect, Jammer. These Discovery review threads so frequently turn into endless, dull back-and-forths that mostly seem to be about trying to have the last word rather than genuinely debating the merits of the episode or the show in general.

TBH, they're sometimes a very good argument in favour of having an AI step in and end all human bickering.

Permanently.

I kid.

Mostly.

Anyways, I found it amusing.

And just for kicks, an OT troll: season 2 of The Wire sucks
Jammer
Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 6:49am (UTC -5)
There are no bad seasons of The Wire.

I've heard the argument season 2 sucks.

I've heard the argument season 5 sucks.

They are wrong.
Yanks
Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 6:54am (UTC -5)
Great review Jammer.

I look at this season arc like Picard following the Borg back in time to Earth in 'First Contact', just that she's done it hundreds of times.

I too wondered about how she could survive, but it s just the senient life that's gone, not all life in the galaxy (I think) so I can see her figuring out the sustenance thing.

How she changed the tether location is more a mind scratcher for me.
Booming
Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 6:54am (UTC -5)
"season 2 of The Wire sucks"
BURN THE WITCH!!!
Booming
Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 7:10am (UTC -5)
The wire is an incredibly insightful tale about decay. It is as much about Baltimore as it is about the USA. The storytelling is almost too good. I'm often baffled that such a show was even made and how it was made. Incredible. It is really for connoisseurs.
Every season in a wonderful way shows another part of the city and how the people there deal with the bitter decay of their hometown.
The last season is the weakest but even that one is very good.
Saying that you don't like the wire is equivalent to saying that you love Mcdonalds.
Case and point.
https://ocdn.eu/pulscms-transforms/1/Us8k9kpTURBXy9iMjk2YTZkZjkwODhhMGU3ZDNlNGE0NDVjM2RhMzRkNi5wbmeRkwLNAyYAgaEwAQ

Tim C after reading your comment I immediately thought of this scene
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42LOLiptXHY

:)
The Gorn
Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 7:28am (UTC -5)
This show is such a mess.

But it is funny you should say that, Jammer. I too started watching [I]The Wire[/I] only recently, because it has been mentioned numerous times and I stopped watching [I]Her Royal Highness Mary Sue Burnham[/I] altogether. First time 'round.
William B
Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 7:36am (UTC -5)
FWIW, I do think season 5 of The Wire is a step down in quality, but I think the bigger issue with it is almost a genre switch; VAGUE SPOILER McNulty's scheme with the dead homeless is so outrageous in a Serious Narrative of Verissimilitude, which The Wire often was in s1-4 (and is still in S5 in many plotlines), but is at home in a cynical social satire, like Billy Wilder's Ace in the Hole (the inspiration for The Simpsons' Radio Bart episode), which The Wire also was from the beginning. Anyway I don't think it sucks.

Season 2 also doesn't suck and is great, but I think some of the Ziggy stuff was hard for me to get into, though I know some who love the Ziggy material.

My (tenuous, not strong) season ranking is probably 4>3>1>2>5.
VVZ
Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 8:28am (UTC -5)
Haven't seen Jet Li's The One, so maybe the movie answers this, but shouldn't really old people become stronger and stronger as their alternates die off?
Rahul
Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 9:18am (UTC -5)
Intriguing review from Jammer -- I got the impression he looked more favorably upon time travel/paradox episodes from prior Treks but I detect a greater cynicism now -- or he's had his fill of them. I'm not really sure DSC is doing anything particularly farfetched with time travel paradoxes that other Treks haven't done but maybe it's becoming for him what Mirror Universe episodes became for me during DS9 (and when DSC did it, I had long since had enough). Just my $0.02 but I thought Jammer would get to 3* on this one.

One thing I didn't mention in my initial post and I agree with Jammer on is the acting for Dr. Burnham -- a bonus to this episode and another example of a superior actor than SMG.
Trent
Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 9:28am (UTC -5)
I think Discovery is a kind of con-job. Some people got swept up in the twists, tricks, shocks, delaying tactics and gimmicks that the show employed, having faith that it would all amount to something, while others quickly saw through these tactics, or saw them as acts of bad faith, and long anticipated the botched end-game.

I think it's fairly obvious that Kurtzman sat his writers down and told them to give him JJ Trek stretched over 14 episodes, and with each episode packed with bombshells, twists, cliffhangers, speed, action, call-backs etc etc; Trek as perpetual roller-coaster machine.

And given that the series is all surface, you can already guess the payoff to all this, complete with its last episode, last-act coda designed to simultaneously lift, inspire and "shockingly" lead in to season 3. The same way the "Enterprise" pops up at the end of Season 1, dangling before our eyes to distract us from an entire botched season.
Trent
Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 9:40am (UTC -5)
On the topic of The Wire, I think when we heard that Discovery would be "serialized Trek", many of us fantasized about a "serious", "realist" Trek tale like The Wire.

But in a sense, DS9 already gave us that. Omit all the bad/filler episodes in season 1 and 2 of DS9, and watch the Bajoran/Federation/Cardassian episodes back to back, and a few others which flesh out our cast, and you have a 10 or so episode socio-political near-masterpiece that wouldn't be out of place on HBO.

What Discovery is doing - a long action arc with little episodic detours (which are distracting and out-of-place because the central arc is both fast-paced and sequentially unfolding over a short period of time) - is a theoretically novel and new thing for TV Trek, but I don't know if it's worth doing. Voyager, TNG and Enterprise all did 2 episode or longer popcorn action arcs. Going much longer surely gets tedious.
Chrome
Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 11:08am (UTC -5)
I agree with Rahul, I was a bit surprised too. However, I admit I tend to like time travel shows more than others and that extends to other Trek shows like TNG's "Time's Arrow" and "A Matter of Time". I know most consider those shows as some of the low points of the series, but I loved them when they first aired and consider the shows to be "essential Star Trek".

I'll try to address this point:

"But how does Dr. Burnham even know that all life in the galaxy has been destroyed? If she's the only person left, how did she gain that information? And apparently the time suit is also a "go anywhere" suit that allows her to go anywhere, anytime?"

So, the narrative is that Dr. Burnham got stuck in the future and spent a substantial amount of time, well, time traveling (judging by her face, most likely decades). During that time she was able to visit different eras where she could explore and look up history and even make temporary changes. Ultimately though, Control undid or made the changes irrelevant which inevitably led Dr. Burnham to a confrontation with them and inevitably learning all about them.

This reminds me of some hard sci-fi in a similar vein to this story. The End of Eternity, by Isaac Asimov, is a story of a group of people who mastered time travel and were able to read timelines and determine which would be the best for humanity. I get vibes from that story in this episode and I suppose being exposed to a similar story helps me fill in the gaps. That's not to say that you're wrong, that the writers should be able to leave a lot of gaps in a time travel story, but I just think there's a limit to how much can be explained about a time travel story before it becomes incoherent. This is especially so in a television show whose prime focus isn't time travel, but rather time travel is only a vehicle to tell a broader sci-fi adventure story.

I think the catch in all this is that an explanation that may suffice for some may not for others, and it's difficult to hit that sweet spot. "City on the Edge of Forever" was a great time travel show, but if you started asking too many questions like "isn't there a way to save Edith Keeler and still stop the pacifist movement?" then you'll find yourself not enjoying it as much.
philadlj
Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 11:11am (UTC -5)
Always great to see Sonja Sohn do her thing (and she seemingly hasn't aged since The Wire ;). She was perfectly cast and utilized, and her character reminds me of Rintarou in Steins;Gate, someone beaten down and hardened by watching his loved ones die in hundreds of different ways while attempting to save them and prevent WWIII.

I just wish the showmakers would stop giving SMG so many scenes of such sustained emotional intensity that it would be a tall order for any actor not to seem maudlin and forced. Scenes that should be used ever so sparingly - if at all - have become commonplace this season.

Burnham's Vulcan calm has always been believable, but now that she's more showing emotion this season, the cracks are showing and they're hard to ignore, especially when sharing screen time with vets like Sohn. But this isn't just down to GMG's acting. It's a total failure to properly utilize her strengths and mitigate her weaknesses - something any good writing/directing team should be able to manage.
Booming
Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 11:46am (UTC -5)
@Chrome
The story of City on the Edge of Forever makes no real sense because Germany basically abandoned building a nuclear weapon for rocket research. And making an episode in 1967 that shows that a peace movement is responsible for the victory of evil. hmmmm. :D
The irony is that the Kriegsmarine (German Navy) a few weeks before the end of the war packed all the U235 they had into a submarine named U234 destined for Japan. That sub surrendered to the Americans after Germany's capitulation and the Uranium was then used to built the Hiroshima bomb.
Peter G.
Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 2:21pm (UTC -5)
@ Rahul,

" I'm not really sure DSC is doing anything particularly farfetched with time travel paradoxes that other Treks haven't done but maybe it's becoming for him what Mirror Universe episodes became for me during DS9 (and when DSC did it, I had long since had enough)."

Are you sure? Doesn't a time-travelling agent trying again and again to alter the past come across more like a Year of Hell type scenario but where instead of a 2-episode side trip it's an entire season of Trek? And for the record I actually thought Year of Hell *should have lasted* an entire season rather than two episodes, so that's not a criticism out of the gate.
Mertov
Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 3:19pm (UTC -5)
Good review Jammer as usual, with different points of insight, even some not mentioned by any commenter.

I agree with Rahul's response above to the review.
Yanks, the tether-location issue is a head-scratcher for me too, good point.
Rahul
Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 3:28pm (UTC -5)
@ Peter G.,

Aren't you forgetting about the temporal cold war from ENT? That started with the series premiere and ended with "Storm Front" at the beginning of the fourth season. So a whole timeline manipulation arc has been done before on Trek.

But what I was really get at was not the length of a time travel arc on Trek but rather the whole paradigm (for lack of a better term) of time travel on DSC not coming across as being particularly ludicrous relative to what's come before it. It's the same paradoxes that always come up upon closer examination. It seems to me that in Jammer's review, he's taking a harsher stance on those paradoxes.

And I'm glad "Year of Hell" was limited to 2 episodes and not for an entire season. I thought that 2-parter worked quite well as it was presented.
Jrpl
Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 3:32pm (UTC -5)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LH8xbDGv7oY

I'm still making my way through season one, but it's all been spoiled for me so I'm not afraid of reading these reviews. The show seems like it has a lot of potential, but never quite gets all the way there. That's been a problem with most of the Trek series though. Maddeningly inconsistent. I wonder if shorter seasons ala Game of Thrones would make the show tighter and stronger?
Peter G.
Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 3:39pm (UTC -5)
@ Rahul,

"Aren't you forgetting about the temporal cold war from ENT?"

Yes. Yes I am. :)
Tim C
Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 3:43pm (UTC -5)
It's been over ten years since I watched The Wire in its entirety (the new HD remaster is still waiting for me to have a second go) but I remember feeling at the time that the second season was too big a change of gears, in addition to feeling rather slowly paced. I'd really invested in the setting of the first season, and I never became attached to the characters at the docks like I did the ones in the projects.

Season five of The Wire is the *best* season of the show, so I don't know how anybody could dare critique it. ;)
Booming
Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 3:55pm (UTC -5)
@ Tim C
I was just messing around. I do think that the wire is from start to finish an almost flawless work of art. And I liked several characters. The desperation was different. Sure.
I also try to infuse as much community in as many conversations as possible.
Like this scene where Betty White shows her dark side
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iX08bEKvi38
Booming
Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 3:56pm (UTC -5)
in season 2
Tommy D.
Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 4:09pm (UTC -5)
I just stopped by to say Season 4 of The Wire is tops :)

I have to agree with Jammer that a lot of the time travel stuff in this episode creates too many questions. I'm hoping the payoff will be worth it in the end.
Tim C
Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 6:12pm (UTC -5)
Booming, ROFLCOPTER!

hahahahahahahaha. Fuck, I had actually forgotten that scene in Community. Now there's a show that belongs in any conversation about televised works of art. (Well, except for the gas leak year.) It still makes me laugh more than almost anything else except perhaps Newsradio or Arrested Development.
Uxbridge
Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 10:45pm (UTC -5)
I didn’t like the Wire season 2 that much...at first. I suspect most viewers, like myself, wanted the focus to continue to be on the Barksdale organization, so at the time the shift to the dock worker’s storyline was unwelcomed. But near the end, I had come to appreciate the story and new characters. I think season 2 would rank higher on a second viewing of the show.

William B, totally agree with what you said about Season 5. And it bugged me that the whole fake serial killer thing wrapped up a little too tidy.

I think the season 3 episode “Middle Ground” was the best of the show.
Booming
Fri, Apr 5, 2019, 12:07am (UTC -5)
@ Tim C
Yeah community is one of my favorites. :) Arrested Development should have ended after season 3, though. I haven't seen season 5. Maybe I'll give it a go sometimes.

@Uxbridge
It is a very sudden shift from season 1 to 2 which I liked but a lot of people were probably baffled by it. The wire is one of the few shows out there that takes it's audience seriously and has no problems to challenge it.
But Mcnultys silly murder voice haunts me to this day. :D
SC
Fri, Apr 5, 2019, 2:53pm (UTC -5)
I could never get into The Wire. I persevered and dropped it after season 2. If the subject matter is of no interest, then what's the point? The show is hugely overrated. Discovery however is growing on me. I stopped watching it at the beginning of this season and have been catching up. Those visuals are damn impressive! And the story line is getting better. Pike is perfectly cast and to me, easily the best character on the show - because the actor is a great actor. He doesn't look one note, he actually acts, with feeling, sometimes he smiles and laughs, other times he's serious. He could hold the show together like Stewart did with early TNG, so it's a shame he's leaving after season 2.

If CBS want a spin-off, Pike is the way to go, not Georgiou.
spinalatte
Sat, Apr 6, 2019, 12:16am (UTC -5)
Interesting episode, this year is less of a hot mess than S1 was, so that is good. I am not a huge fan of all the time travel, but we are deep into it now, so I want to see how it ends.
Cody B
Sat, Apr 6, 2019, 12:20am (UTC -5)
@ S C

I can see where you’re coming from. While I like the wire I don’t subscribe to it being “THE GREATEST SHOW OF ALL TIME”. I think that people read those top ten lists, see other people saying it’s the best show ever, and repeat. Along with the subject matter being popular with young men so that seems to artificially boost it. Just like a crook wearing a wire, young men can safely listen in and see what the drug dealers in the hood are up to. It no doubt has its moments and is ONE OF the best shows. But I don’t see how it’s any better than say Friday Night Lights. I have never liked football and could care less about the sport yet that show had me in tears more than once. I think getting a person who doesn’t care about football to be so invested in the characters that he is brought to tears is more impressive than making easy to write stories of undercover cops in the mix with drug dealers. “Will the informant be found out” will always have suspense. And yeah I know “it’s deeper”, but when it comes to shows I will always prefer well written human elements more than symbolism and politics.
SC
Sat, Apr 6, 2019, 7:53am (UTC -5)
@Cody B.

I've never been a fan of anti-hero shows, where even the good guys are flawed (and might as well be the bad guys.) I see no hope there. Just misery and depression. We're asked to admire and like the bad guys. See Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead. Although I have watched both of those series. Breaking Bad, once (it was watchable but hardly great), and I gave up on the Walking Dead after the disgraceful baseball bat incident. I just knew down the line they'd ask us to embrace Negan (and that's what's happening now.)

The Wire is a very niche show with a few million viewers (worldwide) and a bunch of critics bigging it up. As you said, other people see the acclaim and repeat (whether they really like it or not.) I'm not saying that some people don't like it. Or that some people don't love it. I have no interest in drug dealers and I'm no longer in my twenties (or sadly thirties) so I can't relate to the youth depicted in the show, thankfully. I have seen The Wire (s1 and 2) once and it walks a fine line between dissing and glamorizing their behavior. Many gangs no doubt gravitate towards the show (seeing themselves in the characters)

I prefer good role models and admirable behavior, hope and idealism. This is why I like Pike on Discovery, because I am of a similar age to him - he is relatable and someone to look up to.
Booming
Sat, Apr 6, 2019, 8:35am (UTC -5)
@ SC
To clarify something. The Wire has several heroes and anti-heroes. For example Lester Freeman or to a lesser degree Daniels. It sounds to me that you not only want heroes but heroes who succeed or in other words are rewarded for their good behavior or maybe even flawless heroes which Pike is. So far Pike has everything handed to him. Always with a smile. The whole time crystal thing is the first real obstacle he personally has to face. In a utopian future somebody like Pike makes sense. If he would live today he would look like a naive idiot.

I would even argue that somebody like Lester Freeman is far more heroic than Pike. Lester is the anti-Mcnulty who is an actual anti-hero. Lester was once an up and coming detective who then ruined his career when he refused to endorse corruption broadly speaking. He then was banished to a job people get when the police department wants them to quit but he not only stayed he thrived (he sells little toys that he makes during is actual boring police job for huge amounts of money) and became wise but not bitter in the process and when the opportunity came he immediately showed what a brilliant detective he still is.

Lester chose to do the right thing and gets punished and humiliated for it but stays strong even grows. Pike does the right thing and gets punished but Pike had it far easier until his accident and after that is still honored and we have no indication that the experience of becoming a cripple will let him grow on a personal level.

The structure, the narrative arcs aren't there to please you, they are there to show you why things are happening the way they do in the city of Baltimore.

First season: the projects or ghetto
Second season: The harbor
Third season: city hall
forth season: schools
fifth season: newspapers

One of the co- creators was a Baltimore police detective and the other a journalist for the Baltimore Sun. And quite a few actors are amateur actors who lived in Baltimore. It is also extremely well constructed but many people and I don't necessarily mean you don't want intricate, original and well constructed that is why we live in the world of super hero movies.

I can see that somebody doesn't like the Wire. I'm not big on Picasso but I can still acknowledge the genius in his paintings but if somebody thinks it isn't well made then that person has no deeper understanding of film.
Booming
Sat, Apr 6, 2019, 9:05am (UTC -5)
I just read the wiki page that courses about the Wire are taught at Johns Hopkins and Harvard to name a few.
SC
Sat, Apr 6, 2019, 5:29pm (UTC -5)
"If he would live today he would look like a naive idiot."

Why? Be the example, not part of the herd. Be the best person you can be. Question why you're doing this, what value does this bring to my life. I don't watch The Wire because I believe it has nothing to offer me, but misery and depression.

In the same way that I no longer watch pornography. The woman in the clip might be drugged, she might be under age or she might regret her decision. And yet millions of people watch pornography. I also will not watch Torture Porn films, because I have empathy and they offer no value to my life. They celebrate the worst of humanity. Does this make me a naive idiot? No. But yet, I am in the minority.

I would rather look up to someone like Pike and Picard, than Walter White and Nucky Thompson, or even Don Draper. Who are all anti-heroes. People like them even though they are essentially the bad guy and deeply flawed. It's like the people who cheer on the villain in slasher movies. The Wire is full of anti-heroes, both the drug dealers and the detectives.

"I just read the wiki page that courses about the Wire are taught at Johns Hopkins and Harvard to name a few."

Professors teach courses on many TV shows, for example: Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It doesn't mean a great deal. For the record, I like BtVS, that's not a diss.
Gooz Chos
Sat, Apr 6, 2019, 5:34pm (UTC -5)
The characters are starting to get on my nerves. Everyone is so sad all the time. I think the writers think this makes them deep. It doesn't. If I wanted to see sad people, I'd go downtown and stare at the homeless. Scratch that. At least they're high most of the time, so they're doing something to make themselves feel better.

Michael is becoming a one-note parody of herself: always either crying or about to.

Spock is a pencil-necked little twit. An insult to Nimoy. Whoever cast this little wimp needs to be fired. He brings nothing to the table. No joy.

Tilly needs to grow some self-confidence already. Enough with the stammering. Grow some ovaries and take charge. Grow as a character. This isn't The Simpsons.

Culber just got a second chance at life. Dude! Enjoy it. "I don't feel like myself." "The scar that made me want to go to med school is gone." You've dumped that Stamets guy. Go screw everyone on the ship. Get high. Enjoy life. Something. He's also always on the edge of tears. Dude!

Tyler needs to get a haircut so he can save money on all that product he uses on his hair. I imagine this dude reeking of the Klingon version of Axe Body Spray. I'd feel like crap too if I spent 3 hours getting ready in the morning.

If these characters keep the pity party going for one more episode, I'm going to get on Team Control and hope it wipes out all life in the galaxy.
SC
Sat, Apr 6, 2019, 5:41pm (UTC -5)
"The structure, the narrative arcs aren't there to please you, they are there to show you why things are happening the way they do in the city of Baltimore.

First season: the projects or ghetto
Second season: The harbor
Third season: city hall
forth season: schools
fifth season: newspapers ."

True. But as so-called entertainment it just doesn't appeal to me. This is true to life (gangs are everywhere) and I'm all about escapism. As tragic as it is, I would rather not know about it. I prefer to spend my time being inspired and watching happy films and television.
SC
Sat, Apr 6, 2019, 5:52pm (UTC -5)
@Gooz Chos.

This is what I'm talking about with The Wire. Yet, I don't find it to be the case with Discovery. Different perspectives.

RE: Discovery. It was one of my main criticisms of season 1, that everyone seemed to be miserable all the time. I mean, I know there was a war on but make some time for fun and lightheartedness. TNG did! During season one, Sonequa Martin-Green was stuck in Walking Dead mode! With a miserable face. But I quite like Michael now, she has grown on me. She actually smiles and laughs! At least occasionally. The actress is showing range and different emotions. Maybe it's because I'm binge-watching the season but I don't find it to be wallowing in misery and depression any more. There is light among the darkness. I mean, it's not The Orville but there is fun to be had.
Cody B
Sat, Apr 6, 2019, 9:32pm (UTC -5)
@ Booming @ S C

I see both your points. SC is saying he prefers escapism and doesn’t want to see crimes and criminals glorified on tv. Booming is saying Pike isn’t a fully written, deep, “alive” human. Although I wouldn’t bring up college courses as justification. A lot of college courses and other things could be brought up to show how that’s not so impressive. I like the wire. I do think it’s undoubtebly a top ten all time best show. For me personally I feel it’s quite a bit overrated as far as people repeating it’s the best ever. I personally rate shows on how realistic and well written the humans and their interactions are. Thats why I’d say mad men is another show I’d pick over the wire. The wire is a little bit wide reaching IMO with the politics and getting into the newspapers and what not. Like if I have to think back on what I thought was most powerful imo from that show I’d say when that little boy starts doing heroin. They did a great job of making that boy realistic and you hope so much for him to succeed and your heart breaks when you see his future isn’t there. But then you have the political stuff. Btw I’d say the same thing about ds9 and I think I have said the same thing about ds9 on here before. Less bajor babble please. More sisko with Jake and quark with nog. Again, all my opinion which means next to nothing so results may vary
Booming
Sun, Apr 7, 2019, 1:30am (UTC -5)
@ SC
It is totally legitimate to go for escapism in your media consumption but it is kind of at odds with another statement you made " Be the example, not part of the herd. Be the best person you can be." If you don't want to see the world as it is and one of the Wire's main points is realism (it is really interesting how they prepared for the show) are you not part of the herd because most people and that is the sociologist speaking prefer to see the world or their part of the world more positively than it really is while imagining the rest more negatively. Most people also go for escapism in their media consumption. Is it exemplary to shy away from the things that plague human existence?

Sure the wire is about depression and decay but it is also about perseverance and being true to yourself even if the whole world has gone mad.

As Cody B. pointed out Pike is not a fully fleshed out character while Pike works very well in the setting of Discovery because they made it so dark, what do we actually know about him apart from him being kind of a chill, good looking guy? Naive idiot was maybe a little harsh. He would be a do-gooder, an always happy school administrator maybe like this guy: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=559403021240573

And don't get me started on Picard. He has some serious flaws mostly in his personal life. His own family is an absolute mess and he is incapable of having a stable intimate relationship. He often shies away from the personal problems of his crew because he is visibly uncomfortable with emotions and especially kids. He also literally lost his heart because he got in a bar fight. A fight for which he is partly to blame. He is very good at his job but his personal live is an utter mess. Not really a model human.

I don't think that Nucky or Don Draper are presented as model humans. Quite the opposite. Don Draper symbolizes the sociopathic ur-capitalist. He is like an ayn rand wet dream. Everything he does is about his own benefit and about him getting better at his job. The only real role model in Mad Men is ironically a woman aka Peggy Olson.

"No. But yet, I am in the minority. "
I don't like torture porn either and I don't think the majority does. Horror movies are a niche product. If you look at box office numbers from whenever until today you will notice that there isn't even a single torture porn movie in the top 20 anywhere. Saw the father of torture porn only grossed 100 million (Saw III was the most succcessful torture porn movie ever and grossed 164 million) and the mother of torture porn Hostel only grossed 80 million (Hostel 2 only 35). Saw III the most successful torture porn made less than half of what Mrs. Doubtfire made (440 million). Let's not give up on humanity yet. :)
SC
Sun, Apr 7, 2019, 2:55am (UTC -5)
"Is it exemplary to shy away from the things that plague human existence?"

Yes, I think so, because otherwise you risk glamorizing that behavior and being corrupted by it yourself. As you said, you do not watch Torture Porn movies and I suppose this is because the extreme violence does nothing for you. I wouldn't expect you to start watching those movies. I gave you two examples that the mass public like that I do not. Pornography and extreme horror. You disputed the second point but I don't agree. Men are often drawn to horror because they think they'll be considered a wimp if they don't like it. 165 million (Saw III) from a 10 million budget is very impressive. Then we have to add everyone who saw the movie on home video. There are many, many horror fans. It's probably mostly younger people but older people like them too.

Cody mentioned The Wire and a boy throwing his future away to Heroin. This is exactly the kind of thing I do not wish to see. The world is scary enough without watching this kind of thing for entertainment. At least, to me. It's like the news, there is some benefit to be had from listening to it. But it also reports the most negative aspects of humanity, for ratings. And TV is inherently negative anyway.

I consider Picard to be a role model. He is a man of duty and honour, a good friend, a decent human being. And he drinks Earl Grey, which is a plus :) But as you pointed out, he is flawed. Most people are. Still, in most episodes (as it is nearly always about the job) he is a role model. Nucky and Don Draper are anti-heroes in that, the audience like them and root for them, even though they are horrible people. I've often seen people say they want to be like Don or that they relate to him. He is a product of his time. Compelling maybe, but as Jon Hamm said, don't try and be like Don. Buy a nice suit of you want to, but don't smoke and drink like him, or cheat on your wife.

There are different degrees of being a do-gooder. I have argued with people online who infuriate me, because they get offended at every little thing. Worse still, they pretend to be offended! White men who get offended if there are white men in the cast. Men who think female actresses are hard done by, when there are many successful, millionaire actresses. Making a mountain out of a mole hill. However, you can be a good person without being a do-gooder or being called a snowflake if you don't like something. [The dumbest insult ever.] You can be inspired by people like Picard and Pike (without idolizing them and wanting to be them) and you can watch things with hope and idealism, and fun. People seem depressed these days and part of it, is what they watch on TV. Everything is so miserable and negative.
Booming
Sun, Apr 7, 2019, 6:03am (UTC -5)
@SC
"Everything is so miserable and negative. "
Little short on time but I think a lot of your desire to escape and to have clear cut heroes is due to the state of the USA. In Europe it is different. And nobody here knows Don Draper :)
What did we have during the last hundred years. Two world wars that partially and then completely destroyed the continent. Then soviet occupation. Bordering the middle east and Africa and Russia. It just brings a different mindset. In Europe we perceive the US-Americans (not Canada, of course which is basically a European country) as hysterical. More akin to Russia than to the EU. What is conservative in the USA would be right wing extremist in central Europe and what is leftist in the USA would be centrist here. That is why Europeans in all polls about the US elections always with huge margins would vote Democrat.
But hey if all this bums you out so hard. Unplug. If you are not sick or dirt poor then life is still pretty great compared to any other time. :)
But hey, you don't need my advice. Have a great one.
SC
Sun, Apr 7, 2019, 7:30am (UTC -5)
I'm from the UK and sadly I am sick most of the time. No doubt part of the reason I want to watch wholesome entertainment. Enjoy the rest of the weekend.
Booming
Sun, Apr 7, 2019, 7:59am (UTC -5)
@SC
I'm sorry, pal. :(
Best of luck.
Weiss
Tue, Apr 9, 2019, 12:42pm (UTC -5)
so with all this time travel, why not do a time travel episode with one of hte remaining TOS crew. have them come back in time for an episode, and do some retconning, "oh you are the Michael Spock alway talked about in his person time, but we never met", troll the viewers.
Skyelord
Tue, Apr 16, 2019, 8:51pm (UTC -5)
Pfft unfortunately another utter mess of an episode for me.

I agree with @gooz chos on the characters. They're pretty much all starting to grate on me now. Pike was great but everyone ignores his orders and he's just too chill to care. Tillys "thing" has long since worn thin which a shame because i think the actress is decent. Saru at least gave her a look then just talked over her babble.

Not to be a SMG (if only that still meant Sarah-Michelle Gellar) basher but those ridiculous faces she pulls. People accused brooks and shatner (personally i loved them both) of overacting but MY GOD she takes it to new levels.

Whichever script writer wrote "science is cool" and "Hamlet, hell yeah" needs to be removed immediately.

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