Star Trek: Discovery

“Project Daedalus”

3 stars.

Air date: 3/14/2019
Written by Michelle Paradise
Directed by Jonathan Frakes

Review Text

The more I watch Discovery, the clearer it becomes this is a series that wants me to feel something above all else. I'm not saying it doesn't also want me to think, or at least ponder its plots and puzzlements. But the creators of this show want me to experience it in a very immediate and visceral way, with scenes that are about emotions, conflict, camaraderie, action, peril, tension, and aesthetic and tactile conveyance. World building, problem solving, and intellectual debate are secondary.

The things I mentioned in the latter list are things I like about Trek. The things I mentioned in the former list are things I like about Trek that Discovery does more than any Trek series before it. Call me a hopeless optimist, but I like Discovery for what it is, even though I also long for some of the things it isn't.

In "Project Daedalus," we finally get an episode about Lt. Cmdr. Airiam (Hannah Cheeseman), which essentially builds an entire backstory and humanizes her character primarily to pave the road for her dramatic and emotional death at the end. This is a character, you might note, we didn't even know for certain was human when the episode began. But now we learn about her, we see her humanity fighting — sometimes unconsciously — against the programming that has taken control of her cybernetic being, and when she loses, we feel for a character we just got to know. This is a character we learn used to be fully human, before a terrible accident killed her husband and led to her being artificially augmented and rebuilt in a way not unlike Robocop. There's a poignancy to the way she goes through a weekly routine of deciding which of her memories to keep and which to delete — like combing through digital photos on a full hard drive in an effort to free up space.

You could read this character death as cynically manipulative and maybe have a point. But it's done so well I really can't complain. If the writers decided they had to kill Airiam, better to show us who she was and build that backstory into the story at hand rather than simply offing her as a glorified extra. Honestly, in purely economic terms, what writer Michelle Paradise and director Jonathan Frakes pull off here borders on miraculous. They made me care about the fate of a background character whom I knew nothing about, in the span of a single episode that also had a ton of other stuff going on.

On the other hand, this methodology again raises the question of why Discovery has an entire consistent cast of bridge characters played by the same actors (ironically, Airiam was the sole bridge actor recast in between seasons one and two, which was easy to hide under all the prosthetics), and yet usually treats them like furniture. I don't buy the excuse that 14 episodes isn't enough to develop smaller players. Of course it is. It's all about picking a scene here and there and just committing to saying something about them as people rather than using them purely as exposition delivery devices. Case in point: There's a memory Airiam reviews here that shows her eating lunch and laughing with her shipmates. I don't know that we've ever seen anyone laugh in the mess hall before. This literally takes seconds, but it's the sort of human detail that builds out a larger world of a living crew beyond the core characters. It can be accomplished with mere minutes over the course of several episodes.

Speaking of characters, we get a good scene between Spock and Michael playing 3D chess. It's a sharply written sequence of escalating passive-aggressive Vulcan rat-a-tat dialogue featuring bubbling emotion ready to boil over. It pays off with outbursts on both sides. The subtext of the scene plays like a meta-commentary on this series' own monomaniacal tendency to place Burnham at the omnipresent center of all action in this show. Spock takes Burnham to task for trying to "control everything" and "shoulder the burden alone" for all things, which feels like the writers analyzing their own typical handling of this character. Intriguing.

Aside from the subtext, this also works on its primary level, cutting to the heart of Burnham's well-intended but poorly-conceived decision to try to sever her relationship with her brother as children in order to "save" him from the logic extremists. These two argue over long-held differences, and do not succeed in finding any common ground. Ethan Peck is good at delivering a Vulcan intellectual front that's not trying much at all to mask the contempt behind it. And if it's perhaps a cliché that Spock always seems to get pissed off as a matter of delivering "rare" fireworks, Peck sells it. Peck feels perhaps less Spock-like than Zachary Quinto, who looked for specific notes in his performance to try to remind us of the of-course-incomparable Leonard Nimoy. Peck seems to have a different agenda entirely — to create a version of the character at a completely different stage in Spock's journey. It's solid work; I'm just not sure yet it's "Spock." Martin-Green is also good here, revealing her own loss of control amid failed attempts not to give in to her emotions as she fences with her brother.

Speaking of control, that brings us to Section 31 and its strategic AI super-computer, Control, which appears to be giving an entire branch of Starfleet its orders. The plot brings Admiral Cornwell to the ship in a mission to travel to Section 31's secret base and investigate what looks like an operation gone rogue. Section 31's space station is protected by a minefield that threatens the ship, leading to the requisite starship peril sequence of tech speak and explosions. Meanwhile, the nature of Airiam's compromised state, simmering for a few episodes now, finally ramps up, to the suspicions of Security Chief Nhan (Rachael Ancheril), the second bench player this week to get bumped up to the starring lineup.

Eventually, an away team ends up on the lower decks of the space station in an attempt to possibly oust the Vulcan admiral and logic extremist who is apparently giving the orders. But when it turns out Control has killed all the people and seized the station for itself, and is sending out holographic communications pretending to be the flesh-and-blood in charge, the away team (Burnham, Airiam, Nhan) has to figure out how to stop the computer. Meanwhile, Airiam's secret agenda, which she isn't even fully aware of herself, is intending to upload the Knowledge Sphere's information about AIs to Control, which I guess it hopes to use to learn how to evolve itself into something greater.

This plot is tense and exciting in its admittedly derivative way — involving time travel, AIs run amok, and data transfers milked for scenes of amped-up suspense. It puts us in a situation that pits Airiam against her shipmates and forces a big choice that proves both tragic and revealing. At the end, even Airiam, now realizing how she has been compromised, is pleading to be allowed to die for the good of the mission to keep the knowledge she carries from being gained by Control. Burnham is forced to confront a choice — sacrificing a fellow officer — that she can't bring herself to carry out, because she's convinced she can find another way. She believes she can control and outsmart the situation, when there's simply no time to do so. It's a human response of desperation that overrides all the ingrained Vulcan logic she should, and fails to, fall back upon. (In the end, Nhan — not Burnham — sacrifices Airiam at the last moment.) This is a moment that underscores the strange paradox of Michael Burnham in a way that's more effective and more believable than the puzzling "Vulcan Hello" made in the very first episode. Thematically, this idea of control — something Burnham seems intent on enforcing upon the universe — is a character flaw that has reverberated through her life and led her to make a number of questionable decisions.

Some other thoughts:

  • During the scene where Nhan gets her breathing apparatus removed and seems to be suffocating on the floor, the episode never cuts back to her, making it seem like Burnham is completely oblivious to her possible fate, or that the writers simply forgot about her (which they clearly didn't, given how the sequence plays out). This could've been fixed with a five-second shot of Burnham giving her the breathing apparatus, and then Nhan catching her breath on the floor, while Burnham continues to the airlock door to have the scene with Airiam. Nhan still could've come in unseen later to press the button, and the scene would've played essentially the same, except without the weird feeling that we're completely ignoring a dying character.
  • The malware hacking of Airiam came from the future, which I guess means Control sent the cyberattack back in time in an attempt to create itself. Time travel's a bitch.
  • Whether it's Skynet in The Terminator, the machines in The Matrix, or the Cylons in Battlestar Galactica, the AI will always, always rise up and try to destroy us. It's a constant in every sci-fi universe.
  • Saying the ship is "upside down" in space is a dumb choice of words, as it implies there's a "right-side up." Why not say something like "The ship has suddenly inverted"?
  • Strange how a story centered on Section 31 doesn't have Tyler, Georgiou, or Leland in it. It didn't need them, but it's still kind of strange.

  • Speaking of minor players, I guess Jett Reno is just hanging out in her quarters these days, since she has only made two appearances (one good and one not) all season. I'm not clamoring to see her again after last time, but considering how much the Discovery press machine made of Tig Notaro, this seems strange. (Then again, the Discovery press machine makes way too much out of everything and is best ignored.)
  • I enjoyed the back-and-forth between Stamets and Spock in engineering. This felt like some vintage barb exchange in the Spock/McCoy spirit, only different.
  • "Project Daedalus" refers to something Airiam says to Burnham right before she flies out the airlock, which is that it's "all about you." I'm guessing this mysterious project is going to tie into the deaths of Burnham's parents (shown off-screen here in a flashback), secret dealings from the past that somehow involve Leland's role in all this, and perhaps the nature and identity of the Red Angel. Funny how the writers double down on the plot being all about Burnham in the very episode they made pains to comment on Burnham's role as center of the universe. Are they subverting their own subversiveness?

Previous episode: If Memory Serves
Next episode: The Red Angel

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293 comments on this post

    The more I think about this episode the more I didn't like it and it's because of the one thing this show does that I hate. The smaller characters are not developed at all, so when we get a big episode featuring one of them, it rings a little hallow. I mean Burnham and Airiam were friends? Since when?

    The scene where Airiam is sharing memories of her hanging out with Tilly and Detmer is a clear example of why this series doesn't develop these people all that well. If she was an important character in death, she should have almost been an important character in life too.

    A pretty good episode here and one of the season’s better ones mainly because of the ending and the death of a somewhat regular cast member in Airiam. Glad the series is taking risks, although it remains to be seen if this is just done for the shock value of building up a character and then killing her off — need to see the greater purpose, but for now the effect worked as a mostly self-contained drama. Section 31’s motives are interesting — how did they compromise Airiam? Was it Tyler’s doing? And trying to get the sphere’s data from Discovery to build up AI to become invincible somehow is a curious, farfetched but plausible idea under the Trek paradigm.

    The ending really elevated this episode. It’s good to see the crew’s horror as Airiam is blown out of the airlock. The scene with Burnham trying to save her while getting orders to blow her into space even from Airiam herself was powerful. Well done with a decent musical score to highlight the gravity of losing a secondary cast member.

    The episode built up Airiam’s back story — and it’s pretty good. She has memories she cherishes, others she wishes to delete. Some decent texture was added to the character.

    Section 31 is now clearly the enemy. I don’t buy how the entire rest of the Federation would side with them vs. Discovery and now Cornwell who also becomes a fugitive. But maybe this is Section 31’s doing in blocking all communications from Star Fleet and using holograms to frame the Vulcan admiral along with Spock. But we need to see other admirals in Star Fleet and not just Cornwell.

    There were some noteworthy character interactions (Spock/Burnham, Tilly/Airiam, Stamets/Spock) which help flesh out the cast.

    Spock and Burnham still have issues with each other - to no surprise. Spock unleashes his emotions after the chess match — in TOS Spock would have the occasional outburst (smashes monitor in “Amok Time”) so it’s not totally out of character + it’s hard to figure how compromised Spock on DSC is after all the Red Angel visions. I liked how Spock points out Burnham is full of self-importance — so very true. I wasn’t a fan of SMG’s acting here or maybe it was how the Burnham character was written yelling like a child “Shut up!”

    Stamets is like a “glue guy” — I like this aspect in how he tries to help Spock and Burnham understand each other. By the way, where the hell is Jet Reno? There have been enough scenes in engineering but she’s nowhere to be seen or found. Weird how DSC seems to have completely dropped her. But I was never a fan of the character anyway.

    Thought the fight scene between Airiam and Burnham was made to look overly dramatic — it wasn’t as realistic as the fight between Burnham and Georgiou in “Light and Shadows”. There was also the scenes of the ship navigating the mines which reminded me of the flying through the asteroid scene on “Brother” — didn’t do much for me and seems to be purely for flaunting the technical aspects of the production, which are cool for sure.

    3 stars for “Project Daedalus” — interesting title referring to something Airiam mentioned before getting killed - something Section 31 is running it would seem. As for the Red Angel, not much new as Spock tries to figure out why he was chosen. Liked Stamets’ prodding of Spock on why he is unique and the chosen one. Thought this was another one of DSC’s fairly self-contained episodes that had good tension, didn’t irritate me with overly rapid pacing, and upped the stakes in the intriguing battle between Discover and S31.

    I agree - I was super excited that we were finally getting some secondary crew development! It was cool to see Airiam developed as a character. I am really bummed that they seemingly offed her. I should have known better - it's the same thing they pulled at the beginning of "Skin of Evil" before they offed Tasha Yar.

    That said, I did enjoy Spock taking Burnham down a peg, saying what we're all feeling - she makes everything about her and puts everything on herself.

    I liked the episode a lot - it was a good one and well acted, I just wish they didn't pull the "let's develop-and-kill this character in one episode trick" - I was actually super interested in learning more about how Airiam ended up like that - clearly some sort of accident, but I wanted more!

    This episode highlights one of Discovery's greatest problems: the complete failure to capitalize and explore the side characters that are on the bridge.

    At this point in the show, there is absolutely no reason that there should be SO MANY SIDE CHARACTERS (Leland, Georgio, Cornwell, Jet Reno, etc) when you have enough on the screen to develop and continue with their stories, especially in a 14 episode season. Remember Tilly's promise to return to the mycellial world and help out May? I member.

    More and more this makes me wish they had taken a page out of Enterprise with the way they tackled a season-long arc, because Discovery's direction is one in which each season is a self contained story (mostly because what other choice does it have?). Drop the budget for some of the effects and take some episodes to develop those side characters more in an A and B plot. Like why is Tyler's worthless ass even in the season when we could have explored Detmer more than her flying really good or Owo more than her family growing up on a village?

    Aside from that, my usual complaints of the camera work: we already know it's bad so I won't repeat myself. I also absolutely hate this imagining of Spock and continues to make me wish her brother was an original character. Unless there's some godly last-minute last-episode connection to why everything must be around Spock I'll give it the benefit of the doubt, but right now I wouldn't be surprised if our door-slamming angsty Vulcan friend goes to his quarters and blasts some of The Smith's classics.

    So the big thing now is the AI that seems to be the antagonist: could it really be the ship's AI from the thousand year future Short Trek? The Saru episode was meant to connect to his episode arc, so maybe this other arc was for that. Is it possibly flagging the future of Discovery, where they have to abandon the ship because it's been taken over by a crazy AI from the future? Maybe I'm just theorizing too hard...

    And Ariam mentioned something in her death rant to Michael about the AI saying "it's all because of you". Did the showrunners just spell out to us that Michael is the Red Angel? If so and she is I will be immensely disappointed, but not just because it would be such a lame plot twist for an already despicable and glamorized character. It would also be because of the poor execution of it: how stupid do these writers think the audience is? We can pick up on subtle signs, you saw first hand when people suspected Lorca was from the MU within the first episode of him being there. We don't need everything spelled out to us.

    On a positive note, Spock's tidbits with Stamets was actually kind of nice to watch, just in the sense of how a pivotal main lead from another show interacts with another show's crew (similar to Worf and the DS9 crew). I hope to see more of it. I'm also starting to be a little more lenient on Section 31's use in this show: will everything fall apart because of a crazy AI and Starfleet dissolves it to nothing more than the shadow branch we see in DS9? Who knows.

    2 and a half stars for Project Daedalus. My suspicions of the second of the season ruining the whole season are growing, but I'm still hopeful for an above average ending.

    Man, poor security chief Nhan in the last scenes here. She’s apparently suffocating on the floor and Burnham is calmly having an extended conversation with Airiam and the Discovery. Guess she’s OK though.

    I agree with FEL and Greg above about not developing the bridge crew enough and I griped about this alot throughout Season 1. One of the biggest failures of Season 1 was to give zero character development to 5 regular bridge-crew members. Imagine how much (even) more powerful the last 10 minutes would have been (they are great already on their own) had they given Airiam half the character growth she got in this episode alone. Of course, this is also triggered partially by the limits of a 15-episode season. Adding a few more or making it a 20-episode season would help.

    Many, including myself, complained about Doug Aarniokoski's "circling camera" scene a couple of episodes back, and here we go with Jonathan Frakes doing the same thing! And they are supposedly two accomplished TV-show directors. Are we maybe the outcasts here on Jammer's message board? lol :)

    Having said that, this episode has a lot of positives, and overall, DSC pulls another solid outing. The last 10 minutes truly kept me on the edge as I was watching. More importantly, I genuinely enjoyed the fact that that the episode took place almost entirely in Discovery and involved solely the ship's family (+ Spock and Cornwell). That allowed, along with the 50+-min episode time, plenty of character-oriented scenes and the actors performed well. Spock and Michale's interactions were well-written I thought and Sonequa Martin-Green holds up her own for the second time in a row. Ethan Peck and Anson Mount are great. Culber and Tyler do not appear and I never even thought about it once. No need to crowd a good narrative. The writer of this episode, Michelle Paradise, will be in charge of the upcoming Picard show and if this episode is an indication, it's encouraging.

    I especially enjoyed little scenes like when Cornwell straightened out Pike on the bridge when Pike was catching an accusatory tone, Tilly and Airiam's interactions in front of the computer screen, as well as Stamets and Spock scenes in the engineering, and Michael and Spock in the chess scene.

    This season has me fully engaged and the main puzzle is turning interesting with the latest revelations. Thumbs up for "Project Daedalus" although I would probably put it at 4th or 5th in my personal ranking of this season's episodes.

    I really like young Ethan peck Spock so much more than I could've guessed, and the writing for him is on point. Some legit good character development for Michael and a good developing relationship between the siblings, over chess no less. Very good use of Tilly and the whole extended cast, and assuages a lot of my fears about the pro-section 31 slant earlier in the season. I'm glad all the due diligence stuff hanging over from S1 feels like it's cleared up (retcon klingon hair, Tyler, Culber), and the show is starting to get over its anxiety of influence and just tell neat stories about people in space. 3.5 stars and optimistic about where we're going (although I'm definitely putting my money on it being Michael in the red angel suit.)

    Viewed in isolation, the episode had a lot of good elements. The dialogue in the last episode seemed like it went up around 15 IQ points, and it's continued here. I liked the little touch where Detmer essentially lampshaded to Airiam that they were secondary characters (the whole "going on an away mission" thing - considering Airiam was actually fairly high ranking it made little sense in universe, but made sense to us as viewers. The acting was for the most part great too (I never really liked Cornwell that much in the first season, but this one sold me on her as a character). Frakes did a good job with direction as well, although there were admittedly a few shots (the pan when Cornwell came out of the shuttle, and some of the slow-motion fight stuff) which was too stylized.

    That said, as with others, I felt like the episode lost a lot of potential impact because Airiam was not well developed as a character. Hell, she wasn't even a character. In the first season, she was an extra. This season, she got a few more lines in earlier episodes, but wasn't even as developed as Detmer and Owo. It felt kinda like when Voyager would introduce a special guest character and then kill them off at the episode's end - which is not a good thing. Actually, it's a bit more extreme, because the episode was consciously framed largely from the POV of Airiam. Again, if they built her up as a character for the last season and a half, it would have been awesome. But I didn't get the feels with the emotional response to her death at the end. I just didn't.

    A more minor quibble is the sudden veer into the plot - Cornwell's shuttle shows up, and she gives an infodump - was just a bit too much for me to suspend disbelief. Maybe I've gotten used to serialized drama, but I expected a tiny bit more connective plot tissue here. Some sort of indication as to what life on the run has been like for Discovery. We didn't get that.

    The episode also felt curiously half-finished. Don't they still have to get in and disable/reset Control? Are they waiting till next episode? Will it happen off camera?

    Given that Airiam downloaded her memories into the Discovery computer, I suspect they'll be able to recreate her in a new body.

    Let me see if I have this right...

    So, a few weeks ago Disco comes into contact with a giant space sphere thing, which has been gathering intel on galactic life for a long freaking time. Disco brings that bad boy on board and downloads the history of the world part one into their computers.

    Later, Disco sends a shuttle into a crazy timey-wimey space anomaly. While there, a probe from the future latches onto the shuttle. The probe hacks Ariam.

    Ariam goes to Section 31's HQ (Disco is there on the orders of Admiral Whatshername) and begins downloading the space sphere's info into the HQ computer (a special AI called "Control").

    The conclusion that everyone reached as a result is that: Control sent a probe from the future to get that info, so that it can evolve and destroy all sentient life in the galaxy.

    Now I assume the fact that this opens a queen-mother of a temporal paradox is just going to be ignored, as happens with 99% of time travel stories in fiction, but is that basically what we were told this episode? Right? Control came back from the future to take over robolady so she could give control in the past the tools needed to become wicked smaht in the future and destroy everything?

    I'd prefer something simpler, like saving the whales or rescuing Data's severed head from Mark Twain, but whatever.

    I like what was done with Arium in theory, but not in execution. I'm glad she got to be in the spotlight, but it feels kind of forced. I never got the sense that any of the Discovery crew were friends (outside of the main cast), so it feels kind of strange to have that be the focal point of an episode. It'd kinda be like if one of the characters from the TNG episode "Lower Decks" was Riker's best friend, even though they'd never been mentioned previously. And they really shouldn't have killed Arium off. That "emotional" ending didn't resonate with me at all, and it wasn't earned in the slightest.

    Ethan Peck did a great job as Spock. I already think he's better than Zachary Quinto. I think he has really good chemistry with Michael, and I think their dynamic was surprisingly the best part of the episode. Besides Pike, at least, but that goes without saying.

    Overall, not the worst episode of the show, but certainly nothing special. If the Spock/Michael stuff wasn't here, I'd say that this is a definite clunker, but because that stuff is so good, I think this episode just barely scrapes by with 2 stars out of 4 for me.

    This is the first compelling episode of this show, like since it began (at least, it’s the first conpelling episode I can recall).

    The Ariam stuff was well done but would have been better if all the everyone loves Ariam stuff had happened over time and wasn’t crammed into the episode where she dies.

    It was clear where this was going — but it was still entertaining. Not Modern-Golden-Age-of-TV entertaining but entertaining.

    Random observations:

    - The rotating camera shots made me dizzy

    - Displays show the entire UV spectrum but holograms don’t?

    - I didn’t miss Tyler or Georgieu

    - I will miss Ariam, though.

    - Martin-Green’s acting is showing, a little

    - Could we have a fresher, more interesting take on AI destroys humanity? (even The Orville did it better).

    Lots of good stuff going on here and interesting questions raised that I hadn’t thought about. Just wished airiam was a more developed Character. Possibly the actress was trying to get off the show. Anyway I like the idea that maybe the federation will dissolve section 31 because of all these issues and it becomes the quiet small organization it is in DS9.

    "The writer of this episode, Michelle Paradise, will be in charge of the upcoming Picard show and if this episode is an indication, it's encouraging."

    Error on my part. I meant to write, Paradise will be in charge of the 3rd season of DSC.

    Pulitzer prize winning Michael Chabon is in charge of the Picard show. He wrote Calypso. I think Sir Pat's show is in good hands.

    This episode was just incredibly hackneyed. Hmm, let's give a character who has had maybe five lines a tragic backstory and close friends we never knew about only to give her off. Let's have a rogue computer that kills its creators. God, both beats have been done to death.

    Additionally, Sonequa Martin Green's performance continues to be highly problematic, as whenever she has an emotional scene, and she has a lot, she just weighs it down.

    I'm also so tired of seeing Spock act angry all the god damn time. He was that way in two of the three reboots, and now this. Why can't we just have the highly intelligent Spock from TOS who maybe once a season would let his emotions show. Nope, instead we have to see him sniping at his sister and not helping Stamets until specifically asked.

    Dialogue continues to be incredibly cringe-worthy. Admiral Cornwall's big epic smackdown of Pike "Why don't you get off my ass" was just painful. These are supposed to be professionals and they act like adolescents. Indeed everyone acts like adolescents in Discovery.

    @ matthew: I think that's right.

    However, I feel like this episode insinuates that it was Control that had her hacked, not the future probe. Did anyone else feel that way?
    So, was Ariam compromised by the future probe? Or was she compromised by 'Control' / Section 31? Do we know for certain that the future probe is in fact part of Control? Am I just being dumb?

    Either way, I found these last few episodes very entertaining with great writing and acting. Significant improvement over season 1. I just wish they would stop referring to it as the 'red angel' now that they know it's a humanoid from the future. Comes off as a bit cheesy especially when science should trump religion in the 23rd century. But then again, DS9 had lots of religious themes surrounding the prophets etc..

    And as mentioned above, did Arium actually download her memories into Discovery's computer? I feel like there was a lot of 'downloading' going on over these past couple eps and didn't quite catch that...

    As a side, I always felt the future probe was from the red angel. Was I wrong to assume this?

    In today's real-world technology, so-called artificial intelligence (AI) achieves human-level (or rarely super-human) capabilities on very narrow tasks, by being trained on very very large data sets: much larger than a human gets trained on. It is an interesting extrapolation that a super-human AI (not only on narrow tasks, but general AI) could be created by being trained on a data set that ranged across ten thousand years and a vast section of the galaxy. Discovery must be praised for producing *actual sci-fi* for the first time.

    (Now, in the real world, an algorithm needs to be in place to be trained on data. Where does this algorithm come from? Is it Control's original algorithm? Or did the algorithm travel back from the future on the octopus probe, jump on to Airiam and now on to Control? It would be an exciting predestination paradox to have the sentient AI create itself.)

    Airiam's character development, even though brief, was very well done. I cried at the end, something that does not usually happen to me. The plot device of her being the data vessel doubled up as excuse for character development!

    It is clear that the seeds of future Spock do exist in the present Spock. I am hoping the writers handle this deftly. After all, they do seem to be aware that he is acting "out of character" as Burnham points out. Also, kudos to Spock point out the character flaws in Burnham (and/or her writing up to this point). C'mon guys, Spock basically said 'Michael Burnham, you are an unrealistic Mary Sue character' -- be happy, all of y'all won! Looking at Burnham's refusal to let Airiam go, it looks like it's a lesson she will not learn easily.

    Four plots: Airiam's past, Control's self-evolution and Airiam's death, Spock vs Michael, Stamets post Culber. Four plots that were woven together *into a single coherent whole*. Great.


    "In today's real-world technology, so-called artificial intelligence (AI) achieves human-level (or rarely super-human) capabilities on very narrow tasks, by being trained on very very large data sets: much larger than a human gets trained on. It is an interesting extrapolation that a super-human AI (not only on narrow tasks, but general AI) could be created by being trained on a data set that ranged across ten thousand years and a vast section of the galaxy. Discovery must be praised for producing *actual sci-fi* for the first time."

    What? Today's real-world technology hasn't even able to produce an AI with the intelligence or capabilities of a worm, let alone a human. Super-human AI is nowhere near actual sci-fi, if we're using that term to signify something approximating realism.

    Hot Take on “I’ve Been Putting Out Fire [With Gasoline]”:

    I dug the first 40 seconds, but then…

    Ugh … the endless exposition.

    Ugh … the illogical “logic extremists” buzz-phrase.

    Ugh … the The Gilmore Girls coffee klatch routine.

    Ugh … the sentimental signposting a tertiary character’s death trope.

    Ugh … the Talky-Tilly Dolly routine.

    Ugh … the “The Days of Our Lives” repeat.

    Ugh … the suspicious security chief who doesn’t say a peep gag.

    Ugh … the another “The Days of Our Lives” repeat.

    Ugh … the this Peck ain’t no Nimoy fail. [smashes checkerboard]

    Ugh … the skulking security chief who still doesn’t say a peep gag.

    Ugh … the yet another “The Days of Our Lives” repeat.

    Ugh … the time out for touch-feely affirmation routine.

    Ugh … the hey, lady driver, there’s no upside-down in space fail.

    Ugh … the Prometheus take off our helmets because we don’t have to test for possible contagions first gag.

    Ugh … the forgetting you’ve got an officer down fail.

    Ugh … the transporters were standing by just a moment ago, but … I guess we forgot fail.

    Ugh … the drawn-out spill their guts until they make the audience cry (or just as likely put them to sleep) because they’re just about to die trope.

    Ugh … the “we hardly knew ya” unearned feels routine.

    Ugh … the “on the next Star Trek: Discovery” … more hoary speechifying from the girl voted most likely to make the most insufferably hoary speeches routine.

    Ugh … the writing on this show. Where’s a D.C. Fontana when you need her fist shake to the sky.

    Somehow I think Arriam will return. No one ever really dies on Discovery. Just get a mirror universe replacement or be reborn in tree bark from spore land. But idk if robots have mirror universe counterparts. I thought we were finally going to get an episode without Stamets “eyes closed worried look” but he snuck it in right at the end. He just loves to look worried. Good episode overall

    I’m calling it now. Expect a trek short on how arriam became half robot


    I absolutely agree with you completely. Please do consider my use of the phrases 'so-called AI' and 'very narrow tasks'. Since this is not a discussion on today's state of AI, I chose not to elaborate on my thoughts about AI; which are that I agree with you wholeheartedly. Not even a worm's intelligence.

    But on really narrow tasks, computers do outperform humans *by outcome*, once in a while. Only by outcome. They require to gulp enormous amounts of data (usually labeled painstakingly by humans) to do so. This means they are dumb. Algorithms. Not intelligent humans.

    But, given that narrow algorithms can be trained using tons of data, I only said that it is an "interesting extrapolation" that using quadrillion gazillion tons of data, an algorithm could become intelligent enough to approximate consciousness. Please do consider my use of the words "interesting extrapolation". Extrapolations can be wrong. This one is likely to be wrong. But none of us can know for sure, because there is no technology today to train a deep net on galaxy-wide data of 10,000 years. If someone solved the data gathering problem, and created compute infrastructure that could actually train on that data, maybe a consciousness gets evolved. We do not really know.

    The fact that I was made to ponder the above points is what I meant by "actual sci-fi". I did not mean "approximating realism" in my use of the word sci-fi. Apologies if I confused any one. To me, good science fiction is a parable which makes me reflect on the nature of reality, life, physics and philosophy. In that sense, DIS created this feeling in me for the first time. I personally like this much better than watching "game of thrones in space". Most TOS S1 episodes make me ponder - they may be way of the mark in their predictions - but they make me ponder. DIS did this (for me) for the first time. That is what I meant.

    As an aside, if predicting the future is a hallmark of science fiction, then I do find transporters and warp drive much less believable than sentient AI. There is no proof that matter-energy transference (Picard's words) is even a thing, or that the Alcubierre drive can be constructed. There is, on the other hand, mild evidence that sentient machines can be constructed - that evidence is us! Machines constructed (according to the best theories of a majority of scientists) by evolution guided by the survival of individuals.

    Tl;DR -- I agree with you Andre.

    Very narrowly tasked algorithms very narrowly outperforming some very narrowly tasked humans:

    Am I the only one who is sad that they killed the Andorian and Tellarite admirals?
    The Andorian has quite a few scenes before and I think the Tellarite did, too.

    Although I suppose I could just be being racist. Maybe it’s not the admiral we have seen previously.

    Also, I agree with Robbie. I kept waiting for Burnham to check on Nhan while she was suffocating, but apparently no one cared. Although, I was also wondering why Nhan didn’t just put her EV helmet back on..... Nice to hear that she’s a Barzan. That’s cool continuity.

    Great episode! Except for the upside shots.


    LOL! Amen to D. C. Fontana.

    (I agree with all your observations, except I think the "upside down" line was supposed to be ironic.)

    Ooh - I’m also really glad that they clarified that Arian was an augmented human or “half-robot”.
    The character has kind of annoyed me since her introduction since if they had artificial life in the 23rd century that’d make Data much less of a marvel.

    3 stars this week, after last week's 4 stars.

    The end was very good but I couldn't help but not be completely won over by Airtriam, and how the crew feel about her. She's been a minor character up until this episode, so it's hard. Tilly crying though...

    The episode did a good job at trying though. I loved learning more about Airtriam and what she was like pre-implant.

    It seems like the show is actually calling out the S31 of this era on being so out in the open. It all seems very intriguing.

    For me, the most hopeful sign of this episode was that Discovery seems to begin to tackle its Burnham problem. Spock's monologue after the game of chess was pretty much a summary of Discovery's much too narrow narrative focus on Burnham.

    Not only did Spock state the problem, the episode took some steps in the right direction by having quite a lot of scenes of other characters interacting without Burnham. Most importantly though, the final scene had Burnham doing her Burnham thing (stubbornly ignoring everybody else against all reason) and was -not- proven right in the end, but instead needed Number 1 (whom she had left dying on the floor forever) to save the situation.

    This gives me hope for the rest of this season and even more so for season 3, when the new show runners can work without having to clean up the baggage left by the old ones.

    The Control from the Future sent The probe... The vírus hacked Airiam and was working with its present counterpart... A temporal loop comes from It...

    The Red Angel are our heroes trying to undo The apocalypitic Future Created by Control...

    This is Discovery's Q-Who - it was just stellar. Michelle Paradise came in and systematically attacked all of the show's problems head on while making every single character work (even in small scenes), delivering a compelling plot with superb pacing, and (in a first for this show) managing to convey information and deliver several "reveals" without any of them feeling like terribly-written info-dumps. Compare and contrast with the dreadfully unskilled exposition-laden dialog of last week - it's night and day.

    Paradise structures the episode as a fully realized tragedy, managing to humanize Airiam and give her a compelling backstory despite the writing room's failure to do this in previous episodes. So by the end, we actually care. Spock's deconstruction of Burnham's character is superb - Paradise decides to tackle the issues with the character by having Spock (a beloved character the audience relates to) calmly but mercilessly call her out on the narcissistic way she makes everything about herself; over-responsibility as a dysfunctional and damaging coping mechanism. Paradise is smart enough to see that what the Discovery writers have until now sold as Michael's virtues are actually grave flaws, and it sets the stage for a potential retooling of the character going into S3. Even the small character scenes work - Detmer shines in this episode, Tilly is utilised really well, and the Barzan girl (even if we don't know much about her) likewise. There's a Lower Decks feel to the flashbacks of Owo, Detmer and Airiam playing kadis kot with Tilly, and the actresses all sell it and are enjoyable to spend time with - why have they been treated as glorified extras so far? There's a strong ensemble focus and every character gets their moment. For me, this was the first time in the entire series's run that Stamets's character actually worked as intended - just a couple of superbly-written scenes greatly inform his character, humanizing and reframing his snark while showing an underlying warmth.

    4 stars. And great that Michelle will be co-showrunner on S3. I feel optimistic about this show for the first time in ages, especially given that Kurtzman will be more focused on developing the other spin-off shows, so Michelle will likely be the main showrunner for S3.

    Why didn't Discovery simply beam Airiam back and put her under confinement?

    Dedalus was the father of Icarus, who flew too close to the sun on artificial wings and perished. So the Red Angel was created by a project within section 31?

    - Airiam, one of the most intriguing characters on the show, finally gets developed only to be killed off by the end of the hour. What a waste. On the other hand, leaving us with only glimpses of who she was is quite intriguing on its own, even though it hampers this particular episode's emotional payoff.

    - I still can't bring myself to care regarding Spock's and Micheal's family drama.

    - the continual use of elaborate, spinning camera moves by different directors tells me it's more of a stylistic mandate of the show than a choice.

    Occasionally nice character exploration, but it's mixed with a plot which isn't logical when examined because it's at the service of Action (a la S1), and a somewhat exploitative use of Airiam (which would have worked if she had been even slightly developed earlier) - 2 to 2.5. Calling out Burnham is always appreciated though.

    * Why would Control need to go to all these lengths to get the Orb data? The Discovery surely never intended to keep those secret from Starfleet itself!

    All it would take would be to fabricate an order to the Discovery to upload its data somewhere - and Control could even get that order by simply convincing whomever is still alive since it's so easy to justify (the Discovery is at risk of destruction given its dangerous mission and technology, the data is extremely valuable, and providing it won't be much of a detour given the spore drive) . Once the data is out there, Control could have as much access as it wanted given it already impersonates Admirals.

    * Control managed to choose for itself to kill people, and passes the Turing Test without fail. It looks quite self-concious already to me. It's a typical dangerous AI plot, delivered by the characters telling us PLOT rather than showing anything.

    * Airlock sequence - doesn't the Discovery have transporters? Didn't Control, well, keep control of the doors at the facility?

    * Video encoding strive for efficiency, the ultraviolet data Saru seeks simply won't be encoded in the first place even in a 'real' video. Besides, checking for holograms would be the first thing every semi-competent examiner would do. Oh, and temperature data would be in the infrared (still not stored).

    * No reason to deplore the use of mines in space, the current arguments against land mines don't apply - a distinction even 21th century treaties could understand given that the non-land mine types are not regulated.

    With this episode, the show trod on the very same narrative landmine that DS9 did with 'The Ship'. Which is to say: taking an otherwise minor character (or even barely known, in the case of Muñiz), giving a concentrated info-dump for a backstory, contriving hitherto unknown relationships with crewmates, and then demanding that the audience cares about their death.

    In both the case of 'The Ship' and of this episode, that demand of the audience is not only unfair, it's indicative of cheap, sloppy, and cowardly story plotting/writing. If we're being totally objective: why should we care, actually?

    In the case of 'The Ship', we'd only seen Muñiz twice before on DS9. Admittedly, he'd had a good scene with Worf on 'Starship Down', but that scene really did nothing to advance Muñiz's character at all. In fact, that scene was a Worf scene, to show us he had a lot to learn about command. So, when he popped up in 'The Ship' and it turns out he and O'Brien were friends, it was difficult to get into this, because we'd had absolutely no prior indication this was a thing.

    Still, I think that in 'Project Daedalus's' case, it's even worse of a demand to make of us. Whilst Muñiz's friendship and back-story info-dump came to us as a surprise because of lack of exposure, Airiam has been around since S01 of this show. And — if comments here on Jammer's site are any indication of anything — people had *wanted* to get to know Airiam for a long time. But, we didn't, because this is The Michael Burnham Show, not The Crew of the USS Discovery Show.

    Instead, she — along with the rest of the bridge crew — had been treated like a piece of furniture, right up until the point it was time to kill her off for some cheap feels.

    I said earlier it was cowardly writing. Cowardly, because — for both 'The Ship' and 'Project Daedalus' — the stories would have functioned so much better and would have had so much more impact if they had involved well-developed characters that people had spend a lot of time with, and had invested in emotionally week over week. Even more so for 'Project Daedalus' because — for all of this episode's other problems — Frakes managed to get the feels in with a pretty good execution of the idea. But the writers of both episodes weren't brave enough to off that sort of character. If it had been Saru or Stamets in that airlock, it would have been a much, much more fair demand of us to give a shit.

    It's just a shame it was for a character we knew nothing about, up until this one episode's concentrated info-dump. Her lack of development until now represents two seasons' worth of wasted opportunities, and her death is ultimately pointless because of it.

    Will she come back, be resurrected somehow? I really hope not. Like with Culber, it would simply cheapen the idea of her death even more than it already is.

    I suppose it's the price to pay for having a Star Trek that has stated over and over again that it's really all about one character, and one character only. That's the biggest mistake of all.

    Another good outing.
    I'm very impressed by the quality of the acting. From a purely artistic standpoint I would call Discovery the best in the acting department. The cinematography was better. One or two shots were pretty daring but we got some nice establishing shots.
    Other pointed out the problems with Ariam. But I want to add here that I thought that the whole reviewing your memory scene and erasing some memories while keeping others was nice storytelling device. It was also nice to clarify that Ariam isn't some machine race. I must say that I want to see more of Owosekun. She is a good actor.
    Again, no episode without a fistfight which I actually enjoyed this time. The fight had a certain roughness that elevated it.
    There were a few moments were the episode almost went off the rails like when Spock got angry but it mostly worked I thought.
    Commander Nham was the weakest point. Not because of her acting but because she for the most part felt shoehorned in. There was a moment were she looked at Ariam and I thought "What is she doing on the bridge? Is she just standing around?"
    I must admit though that I'm not really sold on the whole evil A.I. storyline. That's pretty unoriginal. Terminator, Matrix. We have seen this before.
    I'm also unsure about the Section 31 storyline. So section 31 started killing admirals or was that just Control? And is control just an A.I. telling Starfleet what to do? And then at some point later Section 31 was kind of defeated but the Federation decided to keep it a secret. ehh. I don't know.
    But as a self contained episode this works really well and I liked it even more than last weeks episode.

    One other thought about Airiam as being some kind of half-robot/android after the human Airiam had some kind of terrible accident: Basically she is where the Federation is at in terms of making androids out of humans prior to TOS's "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" when Dr. Roger Korby perfects the technique and can make the android look exactly like the human thus "preserving" the human for eternity -- until, of course, Kirk & co. comes along and puts an end to Korby's plan. So I think DSC is consistent with canon here. Trek has not come to the stage of the Data android yet which is not based on a human.

    And I guess I wouldn't rule out rescuing Airiam somehow in a future episode as she could probably be re-booted after tracked down from floating in space. Surely, this would not be beyond Section 31's capabilities...

    Enjoyed that overall - things are looking up.

    I'm glad we're getting to know everyone a bit better - Nhan and Rhys included. That said, the characterisation of Michael as forever brow-wrinkled and talking in that breathy intense voice does irritate, as does Tilly's babble - we don't need either of those signposts to character any more, we've got it. Michael's beginning to annoy me as much as Janeway did, just by manner of speech, and Tilly is starting to remind me of Sonya Gomez - not good, and Tilly was my favourite person on board for a long time.

    I understand people's reservations about the way we were belatedly introduced to Airiam's back story so that we'll care at the end, but I still enjoyed this one. I also wonder whether Airiam is going to turn out to be the red angel - we're surely going to learn more about project Daedalus.

    Also nice to get a refence to cheese as something people know about and (presumably) therefore eat, rather than just as a threat to ship safety.

    Honestly, this is the most tightly written episode of the season, if not the series. Every piece of dialogue felt important and either contributed something to the S31/Control story or the Red Angel, answering some questions along the way. This is comforting, especially because this was such a fast-paced episode, and in spite of that, it avoids flying off the rails (like in the similarity paced “Point of Light”). This is no doubt thanks to Michelle Paradise coming with some common sense storytelling skills that Discovery so often lacked.

    I agree with CanofUbik, that one of the highlights was Spock chewing out Burnham for trying to be the unnecessary hero. Spock’s chastising of her futile methods to protect Spock’s family during childhood are mirrored in the climax with Airiam (this is the correct spelling, people - Google is your friend).

    I understand the criticisms of people wanting Airiam in the story more frequently, but frankly I think this episode’s use here, and her prior appearances this season, are exactly right to tell a very dense story in a subtle way. Basically we get all we need to know about the character to like her, but not too much that we feel like she suddenly became a main character out of nowhere.

    I also liked how we were given enough clues to sort of figure out the main arc’s conclusion. Episodes like this that provide necessary groundwork for the resolution are what season 1 sorely lacked. To that end Spock’s conversation with Stamets was great, and I like how after some initial tension, the show’s two most intelligent characters were able to bond so well. It reminds me a lot of the Data/Spock scene in TNG’s “Unification”, and offers us a glimpse of the promise of what this show can be.

    Thinking about it more, the unearned emotional beats regarding Airiam don't annoy me as much as last night. Basically the showrunners had been responsible for the arc, and Michelle Paradise wrote this episode. She was already handed a scenario where Airiam was compromised by Control, and needed to be defeated in some manner by the episode's end. She had two options. One was to not develop Airiam and treat her as a shallow plot device (as Discovery has often treated even main characters like Stamets) that needed to be defeated by Burnham. The other was to develop her into a character. She chose the latter. That the payoff was unearned is ultimately the fault of the showrunners, but it doesn't mean the writing of this episode was badly done.


    "I think the "upside down" line was supposed to be ironic."

    Ahh, but if the line was intended ironically then Admiral Sourpuss shouldn't have overrode Lt. Lady Driver. The observation should have gone unremarked; perhaps just a wry smile in response instead?

    But then it's par for the course of course for the characters on this show to be obliviously judgy. Soap Opera Writing Rule #101, paragraph 8.

    "Admiral Soupuss" did not override "Lt. Lady Driver". The Admiral informed her that the interference was being caused by a particuar kind of mine that only she had knowledge of. Detmer was reporting on what he board was telling her.

    But then its par for the course for people who don't want other people to think about what they are watching to support their insistance the show is 'silly' or is hobbled by 'soap opera writing'.


    So for Season 2, the Discovery writers have decided to rip off Terminator. I figured out the season's overarching plot as soon as they revealed that Airiam was beaming the message to the S31 base.

    When the squid-bot came back from the future, it deposited a program in Airiam that Airiam used to augment the Control AI and make it fully self-aware. Control then evolves, creates an army of squid space robots and kills all sentient life, and then sends that one squid-bot back in time to ensure its creation. Same as the remains of the first Terminator being used by CyberDyne as the basis of the SkyNet machines. And like Terminator 2, the story features a relative of the protagonist escaping from a mental hospital.

    The writing and acting are also really weak here. Last week was a breath of fresh air but it might have been a fluke. Culber, who suddenly became quite an interesting character last time, didn't even get to appear. More to come.


    The story isn't finished yet.

    Maybe Control isn't the big bad guy at all. Maybe it tried to save the Federation from being destroyed, but failed, and send the Squidbot back in order to upgrade itself before the disaster arrived in order to be more capable to defend the Federation when the threat came and do its job.

    @Alan Roi


    Which obliviously judgy Discovery character are you supposed to be?


    From Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:

    "What are you doing Arthur?"
    "Trying to teach the cavemen to play scrabble. It's uphill work. The only word know is grunt, and they don't know how to spell it.

    @Alan Roi*

    "Very deep," said Arthur, "you should send that in to the Reader's Digest. They've got a page for people like you."

    Interesting how 2 people can have totally different takes/understandings of the writing/acting in this episode (or perhaps Trek in general).

    Chrome: "Honestly, this is the most tightly written episode of the season"

    Kinematic: "The writing and acting are also really weak here."

    So who is right? They both can't be.

    It does sound like some folks have an agenda against DSC and aren't able to be objective about their comments. Either that or they don't understand what constitutes good writing/acting.

    @ Rahul,

    Strictly speaking those two statements do not contradict each other. A script can be objectively weak but still be the strongest presented so far. That said Chrome probably meant something more complimentary than that in his comment.

    But I don't think it's correct to say that some people unfairly have it in for DSC. There is a certain style of writing that Kurtzman inspires (or even insists on) that I think is very likely to result in some people outright hating it regardless of how much it succeeds on its own terms. Jammer reviews things on its own terms, but it would be foolhardly to expect a viewer to actually *enjoy it* on its own terms. That's like expecting someone who's allergic to peanut butter to enjoy high quality peanut butter cups. Doesn't matter how good it is at being a peanut butter cup if you don't want any! The viewer will enjoy it if the viewer is getting something attractive *to them*.

    So let's talk about standards: let's say a show (or movie) has the standard to be like Transformers: dumb fun, but exciting in a sort of mindless way. I actually liked Transformers, btw, and will defend it. But I can see why many people hate it, and likewise with its dumb sequels (some of which had some merits, others less) there is no way that was going to appeal to certain kinds of viewers. And in fact they'd be perfectly in the right saying that it was stupid schlock, but not right in calling people stupid who liked it. Now DSC isn't Transformers, but I'm just using that as an example of perhaps being good on its own terms even though a viewer might argue that it's objectively dumb.

    I'll admit I haven't watched DSC S2 and I may never do so. I have to say that I only sat through S1 so that I could participate in the discussions here, and for no other reason. But it was too painful and awful to continue into S2 and joining in on the weekly discussions wasn't enough to put myself through that again, so I stopped. I've contented myself commenting on the older series (which is still great to do with posters like William B and Elliott). I have no problem at all saying that I think DSC's writing and show direction were dumb, however that doesn't mean that someone who wants exactly this sort of thing can't comment on how tightly the shows are shot and how the scripting works on its own terms. It's perfectly plausible for one person to say the episodes feels weak, and another that they're getting better: if they're getting better at doing something undesirable then they'll still feel very weak to that person; no contradiction there. Personally I think a Trek show in the style of LOST - or more accurately, Fringe, is going to be weak to me no matter what it accomplishes, but that's just me. I don't like being jerked around, I don't like the rules of the universe being warped each week in order to create new plot avenues that are over the top (which Fringe did almost every show later on), and I don't like the characters being mere props for a story-writer's fantasy (which happened to Olivia's character post-S1 more or less). And I'll note as I say this that I more or less did like Fringe overall, despite it becoming sillier over time and basically a fantasy-Alice-in-Wonderland adventure. However Fringe had two adantages over DSC: a couple of the stars were simply superb, and it was an open-ended world with no canon to have to stick to. As I'm hearing that a couple of the stars of DSC S2 are excellent I'm happy to hear that, so perhaps it's evened out on that score.

    But no, I don't think it's such a mystery why some people seem to despise DSC while others accept it for what it is. For my part I can't accept a show callled Trek that is realistically in the fantasy genre rather than sci-fi; not because I don't like fantasy, but because the rules of a fantasy world tend to be too loose and wiggley to realize what I think is generally the point of Trek: to figure out what to do in situations where the rules are set and you're stuck. But there can be no real moral decisions when plots advance with the wave of a magic wand. Therefore any advances in the story come through writers' fantasy rather than the necessecity of the characters to learn, or working through the mystery of the science plot.

    @Peter G.

    "But there can be no real moral decisions when plots advance with the wave of a magic wand."

    Common plot advancemet in TNG, for example:

    "But what if we reverse polarity of the main deflector?" Geordi La Forge
    "Make it so," Captain Picard.

    There are plenty of ways and times Star Trek has waved a magic to solve problems from TOS through ENT (once or twice it even was an actual magic wand). Can't have been much Star Trek you've ever accepted.

    @ Peter G.
    "That's like expecting someone who's allergic to peanut butter to enjoy high quality peanut butter cups." You didn't like the show and you made the decision to walk away. Like a normal human being. I think that the Orville is a dumb bro humor version of TNG. I didn't like it and therefor stopped watching it.
    What is weird is that some people can't do what you and me did. Stop eating the peanut butter cup. Some people just need to hate. What other explanation is there?

    @Peter G.,

    Thanks for your comments, as usual.

    I guess the operative idea her is "on its own terms".

    So yes, strictly speaking the 2 statements aren't exact opposites although it's a bit of semantics. The 2 statements are basically expressing contradictory feelings about something in common.

    And I would say, reading some of these comments, it does seem like some folks have it in for DSC for whatever reason. True, those people probably aren't accepting it on its own terms. I tend to look at it in absolute terms and measure it against other Treks. No question, it has plenty of flaws that transcend any "it's trying to do its own thing" and those flaws involve character development, writing, direction, and overall premises/themes/ideas. But sometimes a DSC episode gets these things mostly right.


    Of course many people have agendas when it comes to Star Trek. Everybody knows that.


    I agree with everything you wrote. Most importantly, in this episode, there were whole moments at a time where the story was so compelling that I forgot I was watching "just another episode of Star Trek." The best episodes, including "Q Who?" are just able to pull the viewer along, and the logical questions that immediately present themselves in poorly or merely decently-written episodes, only come up once the episode is over.

    @ Alan Roi,

    "Common plot advancemet in TNG, for example:

    "But what if we reverse polarity of the main deflector?" Geordi La Forge
    "Make it so," Captain Picard.

    There are plenty of ways and times Star Trek has waved a magic to solve problems from TOS through ENT (once or twice it even was an actual magic wand). Can't have been much Star Trek you've ever accepted."

    At its worst TNG did do this on occasion - but not very often. Almost every single time a [tech] solution was merely the allegory for a character growth moment. Here are some examples:

    -Elementary, Dear Data: A tech problem solved not by tech, but by Picard's diplomacy and respect for Moriarty.

    -Booby Trap: The tech solutin was to shut off main power; this was representative of Geordi only being able to get Leah to like him by him shutting off the flirtation machine, which was repelling her. Basically he had to shut off main power so that the air was clear enough for them to really take each other in.

    -Hero Worship: Tech problem solves when the kid realizes he has to stop blaming himself and use his experiences to help others.

    -Hollow Pursuits: Tech problem solved when Barclay realizes that it's not the holodeck that's the problem, but himself (represented by people being the carrier of the parasites).

    -The Most Toys: Tech confinement story resolved when Data decides the use of deadly force is acceptable.

    -Best of Both Worlds: Invasion/technological problem solved when Riker has a big character growth moment, accepting that he really is the Captain, but that as Captain he will choose to retain part of Picard's mentorship. He will command, but won't let Picard go. He will resist envying Shelby, and instead of fighting it will allow his demons there to 'sleep', thus diffusing the conflict.

    You can take pretty well any TNG tech plot and I'll show how the tech solution was just a outgrowth of character realizations. The show worked very much in a sense similar to TOS where solutions were human solutions, not technobabble ones. You will, of course, find the occasional TNG episode where the tech solution is sort of arbitrary (like Time Squared, or Night Terrors), but this only happens in the minority of cases, and usually people will agree that these are the weaker episodes.

    Let's not mix apples and oranges, now, and pretend that TNG played the magic wand card very often.

    @Alan Roi

    Yes I understand that. I guess my point is why some people seemingly have an agenda to just hate on DSC.

    In any case, I just like to get a sense for what some commenters (that I choose not to completely ignore) thought about the episode. This comment stream is a big free-for-all and so there will be all kinds of opinions, takes, interpretations etc.

    FWIW, objectively speaking, I thought it was a well-written and mostly well-acted episode and that is also relative to prior Treks.


    Finally we get to meet her, only to see her killed off. Really?

    Probably not. This show has a habit of bringing people back from the dead: first Georgiou, then Culber.

    I suspect that Airiam is really the Red Angel. You'll see, that's going to be the big reveal or something.

    If that prediction turns out to be correct, I'm not sure whether I'm going to like the writers, or hate them for being too obvious.

    Still, liking the second season so far. One can only hope they don't let everything fall apart at the end of the season again...

    The way Spock said "I understand now" was very reminiscent of TOS. Nimoy's Spock was always very expressive, but in a way that you could miss it completely. (And I think Jolene Blalock pulled it off well too.)

    In Peck's delivery of "I understand now" there is a micro-expression of snark or ridicule. That is very TOS Spock. And Peck's build up from this level of emotion to full-blown anger was amazing. It was a smooth glide each step of which felt natural. So that till the very end, you do not realize that this is way way out of character for our beloved character. Real people climb this ladder of escalating emotions too sometimes. Only at the end of the scene, the camera suddenly cuts to a wide shot as if to say "see what just happened, look where we are now!"

    The progressive closeups in this scene reminded me of a scene in Hitchcock's Psycho where Normal Bates gets more and more angsty.

    Hot Take #2 on "Putting Out Fire [With Gasoline]"

    Is nu-Spock's ebony temptress of a sister kicking off a pon farr? It's so Norman.

    *This* was Discovery's first great episode--Jammer jumped that gun by one week.

    From start to finish, the episode ratchets the tension high and rivets attention to both the characters and the action.

    To my continued surprise, this take on Spock is fresh and interesting. He's not the person we know ten years later, and his relationship with his sibling feels strikingly real. The writers also aren't keeping him capsuled with Pike and Burnham either: we see his nuance in his kindness toward Stamets. Ethan Peck is acting circles around anything Quinto ever did.

    And Airiam? Yes, it's regrettable that the series didn't introduce us to her better previously, but if we judge only this episodes on its own merits, she's at least as compelling as any single-episode character in Trek. The notion of sustaining an injury for which technology's partial compensation means choosing on a daily basis what memories to keep is a compelling sci-fi premise. Like many such premises on Discovery, it deserved more time than one episode could give it, but I did indeed care about this character by the time she left the airlock.

    We don't need a long arc of Burnham having grown close to Airiam to believe she would be desperate not to execute a shipmate. That she cannot bring herself to do it speaks volumes about Burnham's capacity to hold to Vulcan logic in practice as well as theory.

    The season arc has now also become clear: Section 31's AI becomes sentient and sends back a monster from the future to guarantee its own creation, and the Federation deploys Project Daedalus (clearly relating to the winged "Red Angel") to stop it. Yes, it's the concept from Terminator, and yes, that's fine--especially since it will probably come with a twist we don't see yet.

    Starfleet's intelligence division has become careless of Federation principles and oversight, and everything we've witnessed so far this season comes as a direct or indirect consequence of this overreach. It's easy to see how Section 31 will become what we know them as in DS9.

    It's hard to believe how far this show has come. The woman who wrote this episode has been tapped to become showrunner for the next season. Whoever made that call chose well.


    We live in an age where many people's definition of "bad" is "Not what I wanted". So no matter how accomplished something is, if its not what these people "want", its garbage. That is the long and short of it.

    I too thought it was a decent episode, well acted, had good pacing and effects, and had a sad but heroic ending that wasn't diluted by a TNG style "what lesson did we learn today kiddies" epilogue.

    Fun fact: this is the 24th episode in Discovery's run, and Skin Of Evil was the 23rd in TNG's run. I guess that makes Airiam this series's Tasha Yar.

    I was reminded of DS9's Life Support too, where Bashir wrangles with the ethics of replacing parts of Bareil's brain with positronic implants.

    Some people who comment here watch this out of sheer self-flagellation. They watch it because they hate it, there is absolutely nothing that could possibly happen in an episode for them *not* to hate it. Even things they would love in *another Trek show* is skilfully bent towards hatred. Every week this cycle repeats itself. And then they go online to share their abject hatred, thinking of meeting others who do the same thing. Because nothing is more fun than shared vitriol. Let's all circle jerk the hatred. Does it make them feel good? No. No it doesn't, it is a sickness. And if it does please them to hate something to intensely and then engage in endless sharing of it, then it is called a psychopathy.

    Honestly, the show has problems. Honestly, there are things I think that could be done a whole lot better. But I don't personally go around eagerly awaiting my weekly dose of flagellation and hate. I just stop watching and do something worthwhile. Like petting a puppy. Or eating cake. Or sleep. Or you know, nice things.

    I liked this episode, but something felt... off... with the dialogue. Did anyone else get that feeling? Maybe it was just this terrible hangover I'm nursing this morning.

    Aside from that, it was nice to have Airiam finally explained, even if it was the same episode in which she was killed off. (Did I miss something about the transporters not working, btw? 'cause the obvious solution would have seemed to be to beam her into the brig, rather than just give her the Alien Queen treatment.)

    As others have mentioned, though, the show sold itself short here with its failure to develop Airiam earlier than this. This could have been a really devestating gut punch if they'd done so. As it stands, I felt the drama of the moment, but mainly out of sympathy for Burnham having to press the button, rather than really caring about Airiam's fate.

    I have some issues with the idea that Starfleet admirals are all taking strategic advice from an AI. This has never, ever been mentioned before and as far as additions to the canon go, it's a pretty fucking weird one and I don't think I like it.

    Effective episode in a lot of other ways. Anson Mount continues to impress the hell out of me, I really enjoyed the minefield sequence, and the frozen graveyard of the space station was appropriately creepy.

    @Bert, et al

    That's odd. Google Maps Notifications is telling me something a whole lot different.

    Because the only speed bumps I ever encounter on the Jammer Expressway are these butthurt fanboys who jump into traffic practically every week holding up signs that scream:


    Sure, most of the times you can just swerve around them, but sometimes … well, if the city won't fill the potholes.

    I was prepared to say that regardless of the plot, this was the best directed episode yet in terms of clarity, pacing and balance. However there are few things I don't understand:
    -The shields were turned off and yet the mines still didn't affect the ship? In one scene you saw blue flashes of light, which I assume were the shields.
    -The transporter, as many have mentioned, would have been the obvious solution to the Airiam problem.
    -What exactly was the nature of Airiam? They made it seem like she was just a bunch of memories in a cybernetic shell, which should have made it possible to survive the vacuum of space. What is it in her that 'died' and could not be revived when she was portrayed as basically a computer?

    Ariam was part cybernetic and organic. They joke about that early on. In one of her deleted memories she’s also shown getting something to eat.

    They had turned the shields on after the first set of mines attacked them.

    They couldn’t use the transporters because the prison made it impossible to scan for lifesigns. They could beam in, but couldn’t beam out till they had taken Control back over.

    @Thomas: The shields did go up when Pike announced red alert, which he did as soon as he saw the mines were attacking the ship.

    @Rahul: Interesting connection to What Are Little Girls Made Of. In the next decade then, technology will have to progress all the way from Airiam, to a (a) unamalgamated pure robot (not cybernetic augment) that can (b) fool itself that it is human.

    @Gil: Ha ha. Interesting connection to Norman Bates. One I did not intend to make, of course, but I'm laughing.

    @Drea: I find it hard to believe that Burnham stuck to Vulcan logic. As Spock often quoted "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one". By that standard, Airiam should have been sacrificed, because what she was doing right then brought all sentient life in the galaxy in jeopardy. No, Burnham was using her own version of Federation (read human) high-ideals like "we do not leave our own behind". Furthermore, Vulcan logic must also distinguish between friend and enemy. If 10 Vulcans are surrounded by 20 Klingons, they will not give up without a fight just because the 20 Klingons are the many and the 10 Vulcans are the few. So, since Airiam was taken over by the enemy and thus logically the enemy she did need to be killed. (I would be happy if you sincerely refuted this and showed me why Vulcan logic dictated that Burnham should not have pushed Airiam out of the airlock.)

    So questions that remain unanswered are:

    - Why not use the transporter?
    - The strange double standard of not wanting Airiam to die while not caring a whit about Nhan. (It's for the shocker at the end, I get it, I just don't understand how Burnham could sincerely do this.)
    - Why is Control attacking the Discovery with mines if it wants Airiam to transfer her memory to it?
    - How will Control ensure that Airiam becomes part of the away team?
    - Why will you need a hologram to mimic a person if the hologram is being transmitted over video anyway? Just doctor the video, its easier than creating holograms then capturing them via video.
    - Heat is usually in IR. Why are they looking at the UV channel?
    - Why does Federation standard video encode UV? (Actually this is not that hard to answer. Different Federation species must be seeing different parts of the spectrum, so they may be using a broad spectrum encoding scheme: one which Saru catches with his eyes, but then has to spectrum-shift for humans to see.)

    The thing about the transporter is, it's just too powerful for compelling storytelling and the writers have to come up with a new explanation every episode why it won't work. Thanks Charles J for pointing out that they did put in an explanation. Many of us seem to have missed it.

    They had checked the video to see if it had been doctored. They would have discovered that bit of trickery. It’s already been established that Section 31 possesses tech far beyond standard issue Star Fleet. There’s little reason to assume the people in the video are fake, only the video itself. Especially if the holograms are radiating heat. Presumably Saru was using the UV spectrum for further confirmation that they were not real.

    From our perspective Nhan is dying or dead. There’s never any indication that the crew reacts as if that is what is happening. In fact, the framing purposely obscures Nhan’s display on the Discovery so we never fully see what information is being relayed back. The only text we see says “suit cam offline” and a few numbers below that. She also never says what would happen if she didn’t have her breathing apparatus, only that she needs it. Basically, she passed out and we assumed she had to be dying.

    @Charles J & Daya

    "They couldn’t use the transporters because the prison made it impossible to scan for lifesigns. They could beam in, but couldn’t beam out till they had taken Control back over."

    There's no such caveat in the script:

    @ 26:23
    Pike: Scans show no life signs but it is a former prison, so.…
    Burnham: So it would have been designed to prevent such scans from working.
    Pike: Find a workaround. We need to know what we're walking into.

    Burnham: Power and life-support are disabled. Everywhere. Except the data centre where Control is located so we'll have to beam over in EV suits.

    Burnham: Captain, still no life signs and gravity is out.
    Pike: Please be careful. Standing by to BEAM YOU OUT.

    I really enjoyed this episode and thought that it was really well done. However, I think it epitomizes what's wrong with DISCOVERY; the little development done with all the non-primary characters. It's about more than just giving them some extra lines or getting them involved in aspects beyond their regular ship duties. It's about making them people with depth.

    They finally accomplished that with Ariam and I felt that it was really well done. I got a sense of who she is and actually learned some stuff about her. The problem is that it was all done for that emotional death at the end. So while the ending was touching and I found myself moved, I felt that it was earned entirely within the confines of this episode's 53 minutes. It would've meant so much more if some of those character background scenes had been spaced out over the course of the entire season or even the series. And not just with Ariam but also with the other non-primary characters. I feel the ending would've meant so much more if we had that attachment and investment in this character before this one episode.

    It was all really well done and shows the potential of DISCOVERY, but it also shows how things have been mishandled in favor of plot over character. Hopefully they can start to invest time in some of these other characters and give them a few minutes here or there so we feel attached to them as well.

    @Charles J & Gil

    I like Charles' solution to why Burnham didn't tend to Nhan. Very adroitly put.

    Thanks Gil for the detailed response. I'm not sure about the transporter one, Charles. Anyway, when a person has communicators and a whole transmitting bio-suite, I do not think scanning for bio-signs is required for transporter. ("Lock on to my communicator signal" happens frequently enough). Furthermore, Airiam could have been transported back to Discovery a few seconds after she was in space. So the transporter one is still out there.

    I solved one of the mysteries on my own list. "How will Control ensure that Airiam becomes part of the away team?" Airiam, controlled by Control, volunteered for the mission.

    Gil, I don’t think it’s productive to inject a dog whistle (conflating DIS fans with “triggered” millennials), nor in any way appropriate to use deragtory and homophobic words like butthurt, to communicate. I would really appreciate your (ortherwise insightful) critique much more without that rhetoric.

    Nhan completely messed up the last scenes for me. I realize the other characters had more important things to do, but still, she was right there on the floor suffocating, and you had no idea whether she would survive or not... and after the fight, not even the camera paid her any attention. I was a lot more worried about her than I was about Airiam and Burnham whose fates were a lot easier to predict.

    While not beaming Airiam into the brig is apparently a plothole and a pretty significant one I think we should keep in mind that this death had to happen.
    Look at her name: AIR I AM. And she was shot out of an airlock. Is she a descendant of WILL I AM? Maybe
    And don't ask Gil to stop making homophobic, transphobic or racist (thank god we don't have Jews and Muslims in Discovery) comments. He is either trolling or he is a transphobic, homophobic racist. And if you tell him to not show these believes then who is actually intolerant here? Jammer is committed to free speech no matter how revolting or disgusting some people act. Others have asked Gil to stop. He didn't. Let's just accept that he is what he is.

    Yeah, that was a pretty cheap trick. Showing her suffocating while here breathing thingy was just a few centimeters away and then she swoops in to push the button. Not a great Trek moment. The whole thing would have worked far better, despite transporter plothole, if Burnham had checked on her, even a look would have been enough, and then had pushed the button herself.


    Other than the above directed to me, your only other contribution to this site has been to tone troll Trent too:

    Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 5:15pm:

    “You know, Trent, I have a PhD and teach Debord, and I think you’re really stretching this to a toxic and woefully unsubtle ends.”

    I gotta say the whole "PhD and teach Debord" gag had maybe a half-life of about a millisecond, but do get back to me when you've either finished spanking the last of the unruly monkeys here or grown bored of the schoolmarm routine you've adopted for yourself.

    Gil, thanks for the warm welcome to the site — as I mentioned in my post, I’ve been a reader for many years, but never felt provoked to comment — until now. I stand by what I said, and I suspect the great majority of commenters here would, too. By all means, dig your heels in and continue the name calling when someone confronts you — that’s the spirit of Trek!

    Ariam was infected with Control's virus and under its control. Oh, and since this show is not pretending its being made in 1990, she also has wireless communicationsl. Does anyone think that it might be a little risky to beam aboard a potential threat like that at that point onto Discovery?


    You mean: until then. And … nope … I didn't call you any names.

    More precision, please. But thanks for the effort anyway. It was fun. Stop by again soon.


    People who can only shout infinite uncritical love about a fictional television series and come here to find others to circle jerk their love fall into the same category as self-flagellating vitriol pissing trolls. They are both extremists. Both groups are incapable of reflective thought or realistic critical analyses. Both groups share the same pathological need to find others to share their feelings with in order to uphold a certain consonant. Both groups are really sad people.

    Gil, if you hate it so much that your comments are such vitriolic hatred that they turn into trolling, stop watching it. It's very simple, really. Honestly, do something worthwhile in that time like finding a cure for cancer. Or phone your parents for that little pat on the back you're so obviously looking for.


    "- Why is Control attacking the Discovery with mines if it wants Airiam to transfer her memory to it?"

    To disable Discovery's warp and impulse engines, so she can't escape?

    "Commander Nham was the weakest point. Not because of her acting but because she for the most part felt shoehorned in. There was a moment were she looked at Ariam and I thought 'What is she doing on the bridge? Is she just standing around?'"

    She was *watching* Airiam, in suspicion. After the previous scene where she questioned her, I thought Nhan might actually figure out Airiam's duplicity right there. As it was, she was just primed to push the button on her later.

    Notice also how real-Airiam's struggle to expose/sabotage hacked-Airiam was shown in the exchanges with Tilly.

    @ Alan Roi
    "Ariam was infected with Control's virus and under its control. Oh, and since this show is not pretending its being made in 1990, she also has wireless communicationsl. Does anyone think that it might be a little risky to beam aboard a potential threat like that at that point onto Discovery? "
    You could get around that like a level 1 super strong force field. Thinking about how control controlled... Airiam poses more questions than it answers.

    I saw what she was doing. What is here job/function apart from watching crew members? And when they beamed her over I was convinced that she would die.

    Another great episode for the series. My only negative take away with any substance is that I wish we had seen more of Ariam sooner. The actress playing her really did a great job in this episode under a lot of make up and prosthetics. 4/4 for me. They are on a roll right now.

    "Gil, if you hate it so much that your comments are such vitriolic hatred that they turn into trolling, stop watching it."

    Look who is talking... Isn't that exactly what you're doing on the Orville threads?

    But honestly, I agree this has gone far enough. I think Jammer should start deleting posts which are nothing but vitriol on the threads of both shows. Disliking a show is one thing. Posting vitriolic mockery and starting wars is quite another.

    "You could get around that like a level 1 super strong force field. Thinking about how control controlled... Airiam poses more questions than it answers."

    Another point is that Pike doesn't know which systems Airiam has compromised. Perhaps she has already setup access from the brig or reprogrammed the transporter system. If transporting her back to the ship is the rational move, it would also be rational to assume the A.I has already anticipated this. If the A.I comes from a distant future where it is capable of destroying all biological life, it would be prudent not to underestimate its capabilities. Especially since, the *only* people who know about its plans and therefore have the ability to stop it are on the Discovery.

    Even if there is only a 1% chance that transporting Airiam back would allow the A.I to complete its mission, if that is a 1% chance of total extinction, it is still pretty high.


    “Gil, if you hate it so much that your comments are such vitriolic hatred that they turn into trolling …”

    Since I have the time. You’re really gonna make me go there, aren’t you?

    Please provide any evidence of my having articulated hate or taken hostile action in any form toward any single poster on this page—unlike, say Booming and others like yourself, who haven’t met a disparaging allegation they’re not unwilling to lob at another poster to control or sideline the discourse.

    Also, please provide any example of my writing on this page that even comes close to what could be described as vitriol, i.e. bitterly abusive feeling or expression, unlike, say Booming, who can write something like: “He [Gil] is either trolling or he is a transphobic, homophobic racist,” yet curiously neither you nor your fellow travellers have yet to call out he/her/it for such repeated transgression.

    Then there’s this:

    Sat, Mar 16, 2019, 11:27am

    “I think it is funny that people will actively reconfigure this show when necessary to fit with their own internal message.” — Bert


    Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 6:17am

    “@SlackerInc - Sure man, I told you not to take it personally but you still do. That says more about you than me actually … If you like it, good for you. But if you need to come to places like this to circle jerk about your love what you are really looking for is bias confirmation from others, all strengthening that need to feel it is good.” — Bert


    Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 2:07pm

    “Aside from the ass-kissing to this McFarlane guy, which is rather preposterous, what I am mostly seeing is people defending an episode just because they need to like it. And they come here to meet others with the same need, just echoing each other. It's also called circle jerking or cognitive dissonance.” — Bert


    Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 1:56am

    “@ Dave in MN: Jeez Dave, are you a snowflake?” — Bert

    Hear that? That’s my bullshit alarm going off. And those are just four examples of your penchant to police and troll other posters.

    Your behaviour, Booming’s, and a few others who don’t immediately come to mind, is (are) so transparent it’s remarkable Jammer hasn’t shut you (all) down already. On any moderated board you (all) would have already been banned for breaking forum rules for repeatedly attacking and disparaging other posters.

    As I, and a couple others, have pointed out previously, the only ones habitually derailing the comments in Discovery threads and launching unsupported claims, accusations and libellous remarks at other posters are those, like yourself and your fellow travellers, who (transparently) try to control and police the discourse by attempting to shut down posters who praise a show you seemingly don’t like or attempting to shut down posters who criticize, satirize or parody a show you seemingly do like.

    You have a point but then they should have said that "Burnham, we can not risk beaming her back!" or something.


    The crew did a thorough search after the engine was compromised, and they never found any transporter breach. Besides, if the transporter was compromised, the easiest way for Control to win would have been to use it before and ensure that Burnham and Nahn never materialize, letting Airiam complete her part in peace.

    I'm sure that we'll soon see the Discovery using the transporter again without regard to what happened here.

    @Alan Roi,

    Given everything we've seen from the Discovery so far, they'd take the risk of a compromised crewmember rather than killing a crewmember. They took a larger (and far more illogical) risk with letting Tyler onboard.

    @ Gil
    Some comments you made about the last two episodes

    "Is nu-Spock's ebony temptress of a sister kicking off a pon farr?"
    "butthurt fanboys"
    "a tribe of “latté-sipping” neo-Visigoths (con)descending en masse from the Hollywood Hills in their stealth Teslas to wage a proxy war on behalf of the under-served and under-represented who have otherwise been passing time updating their Instagram feeds whilst sweating cattle calls in Studio City. "
    "demographic pandering"
    "Michael Burnham was (possibly) created in a frenzy of coked out virtue signalling"
    "the dick waving nu-Pike/Tyler bromance"
    " androgynous Talosians from TOS’s “The Cage”—now 25% less androgynous according to unnamed sources. "
    "when nu-Amanda momsplains nu-Sarek a new one to his coldhearted nut sack and Michael, the only one clever enough on a planet populated by logicians and their passive-aggressive housewives,..."
    "It only took 53 years, but the Talosians finally got the budget to pay for their sex reassignment surgery."
    "Culbert and Tyler going mano a mano brought more heat than either had with their former romantic partners. "

    So again, you are either trolling or are transphobic, homophobic and a racist. I probably should have added misogynistic.
    And that you try to play the victim now is pretty pathetic.

    Judging from reviews and comments across the net, it seems like those hooked by the season are viewing this episode a bit negatively. Meanwhile, those with problems with the series seem to enjoy this episode precisely because of its deviations.

    Personally, I found this to be best episode of the season thus far, and the most gripping one since segments of season 1's pilot. And it's gripping throughout, not just in isolated sequences.

    I think the chief reason this episode works well is because it's extremely conventional. This is an archetypal Goodies vs Baddies plot, and one in which a Trek cast function as a wide ensemble. Michael, who mostly hasn't worked as a series lead, is here revealed to be excellent when part of a larger group, when on the margins, or when viewed through another character's perspective.

    The rest of the cast are also constantly bouncing off one another, granted little vignettes and shown interacting whilst off-duty and on. It's one of the few episodes to portray these guys as people, as people with off-duty relationships (shades of “Lower Decks”), and as something other than dehumanized mouthpieces to utter rapid-fire exclamatory or expository dialogue.

    Another reason the episode works well is because it stresses crew hierarchy. The command staff – Pike and Cornwell – exude gravity, discuss things, make decisions, and direct their subordinates. Previous episodes relegate Pike to the background, treat Pike as "buddy" figure, or have his underlings running about doing stuff and solving things themselves. In this episode, you finally get the sense that this is a nautical vessel with a clean command structure.

    There are other subtle differences between this episode and others. For example the uptight characters (Michael, Spock, Airiam) are balanced by their opposites. Data, Spock, Worf, 7of9, Tuvok etc work, and engender sympathy, precisely because they're not the focus, but are constantly bouncing up against “regular” people; Yin and Yang. We get to know them via loving juxtapositions.

    In this episode, you have the uptight, mechanical Spock, Michael and Airiam, balanced with the rest of the crew. In contrast, previous episodes touted Michael as an uptight outsider, but she never felt like an outsider largely because there was nothing she was meaningfully outside of, the wider world and crew sidelined as mere plot-propulsion mouthpieces. Which is not to say that a series can't focus primarily on a character like Michael – an outcast, isolated and ostracized – but such things require the series to be a far more intimate, patient and careful thing, especially in how it creates the world and crew around Michael. A Michael Bayesque action vehicle with lots of flash and dash, can't quite do this.

    This episode was directed by Frakes, who directed episode 2, the first (relatively) low-key episode of the season. Here - aside from two dumb camera spins - he gives scenes time to breathe, maintains a good sense of geography within the mis-en-scene, slows things down, and lets his action scenes ramp-up incrementally and gradually (the whole script is structured classically well by first-timer Michelle Paradise). These action scenes include a trek through a minefield, which includes lingering shots of the (still ugly and boxy, but at least not spinning) Discovery, marred only by some cartoonish “saw-blade” mines. The second action sequence features some low-gravity fisticuffs between Michael and Airiam, which conveys an amazing sense of pain and anguish, Michael's Vulcan-jit-zu overwhelmed by Airiam's enhanced strength. Aside from the fleet stand-off in the season 1 pilot, I can't think of a more tense sequence in “Discovery”, and all done with a simple set and glass door, no garish FX spam needed.

    Aroundabout now in season 1, “Discovery” introduced the Mirror Universe. Lorca was suddenly “not a bad Starfleet officer corrupted by war” but a literal baddie outside the Federation and from a Mirror Universe. Fans complained about this, but I always liked it. Though that Mirror Universe arc sucked, it preserved the symbolic sanctity of the Federation. The bad captain was literally from a bad universe.

    At the same point in season 2, Section 31 is now “no longer a body corrupted by war”, but an unhinged baddie outside Federation oversight. It's run by Control, a super powerful AI which either runs Section 31 and wants it eliminated because its corrupt, or runs large chunks of the Federation and, like Skynet, seems to want to either destroy whole planets to preserve itself, or destroy elements of the Federation (ie Section 31) to preserve its idealized conception of how the Federation should be. This stuff isn't clear yet.

    This twist is a familiar Man vs Machine Overlord narrative, and it eradicates all issues of complicity, culpability, and political critique that the concept of Section 31 raises, but it also does something which I like: it preserves the symbolic purity of the Federation. Section 31 and its jerks are literally being purged by a Fed AI which thinks they're dicks. Delving into all of this was unnecessary, tedious, and forced us to watch boring pantomime villains for 2 seasons, but at least it seems to be resolving in a way that protects future Trek from going down this generic route again. At least that's what one hopes. The existence of an upcoming Section 31 TV series will potentially destroy any good vibes this episode may or may not contain.

    Beyond this, the episode is elevated by being reasonably self-contained: there's no goofy spore network here, no spore jumping, no Culber histrionics (a good subplot, but distracting given how busy the series is), no Klingon politics, no Ash, no Tilly meltdowns, no manic Stamets, no Mirror Empress, no Leland, no Section 31 humans, no Michael's “parents” etc etc. Even the “Red Angel” is a bit beside the point; this is a straight up Man vs Machine adventure, humans entering the Monster's techno lair to slay the beast.

    In terms of flaws, it's a bit unbelievable that the Federation has access to an organization-running AI, with remarkable powers, when in Kirk's era the M-5 computer can barely run a single starship (“The Ultimate Computer”). The episode also continues the trend of veering off into wild sub-arcs, and bringing things up suddenly only to get rid of them suddenly (Airiam introduced then dispatched- though the character is revealed to be so good, so elegantly acted, so touching, and so aesthetically well designed, that she'll probably be resurrected; at least she should be). And while Michael and Spock have good rapport in this episode, their dialogue reasonably well written, their chess game does degenerate into overcooked, soapy writing (not content to psychoanalyse his sister, Spock then goes and incredulously drops some Freud on Stamets).

    The episode also conveniently forgets about the transporter device (Airiam could surely have been saved and held in suspension), and seems to point in a direction many feared: Michael is again the Center of the Universe, the Red Angel specifically intervening in her life. If she ends up saving the Universe, future Trek timelines seem to thus exist specifically because of her.

    Incidentally, Airiam "dies" to prevent Control getting access to information on Discovery's computer. Given that Control is a vast network which governs a lot of the Federation sub-networks, and given that the data on the Discovery belongs to the Federation, you'd think Control could simply get that data fairly easily. It simply needs to order Discovery to send the data to another ship or starbase or Federation database, thus sending it directly to Control. But this series always seems to sacrifice plausibility in the name of forcing "dramatic" puzzle pieces into place.

    I know Jammers rating scale is far from scientific. But now he's set the bar of a 4 star discovery rating to be last weeks episode, then this one has to be 4 stars too.

    Well done Jon Frakes, great direction. Last scene was the most emotional of any Disco to date. Which is fitting because the whole episode certainly had a variety of emotional themes. Ariam's loss of husband/herself, Spock hitting the chess board, Spock Culber chat, Airiams memories of Tilly etc, the whole holographic lack of emotion thing... nicely tied up.


    Its made very clear and repeatedly that Control is a threat assessment system and that it is not sentient, even if the crew thinks that 'future Contro' is attempting to jumpstart it into a threat itself, which may or may not be an accurate assessment on their part. M-5, however, will be a sentient system, however despite the fact that it will be housed in a computer system, its not so much an AI since it will be based on its creators engrams. M-5 is more or less the equivalent of Spock's brain in a computer system. And it will run a Starship quite well, thank you very much, not 'barely'.


    Exactly how is Tyler going to take over the Discovery's computer system like future Control would be able to?

    @Alan Roi,

    I'm referring to the Discovery's past behaviour. In S1, no one had any idea of Tyler's loyalties and he already killed before. In S2, he explicitly works for S31. Despite that, they have no problem accepting him.

    This doesn't make much sense, since Tyler doesn't bring anything special with him that 1000s of other Federation officers could do. He could be happy anywhere else in the galaxy which isn't the Federation's only Spore-drive enabled ship.

    I was saying that the Discovery would surely act the same towards Airiam. Airiam, by the way, couldn't take control of the Discovery's computer back when the crew was unaware of her problem, and surely would be even less capable once the crew was aware of it.

    @ Trent.
    Yeah, the Spock/Michael chess scene almost went of the rails but what saved it for me were two things. The acting was really good especially from SMG. Parts of the scene were very hard to pull of and she did it quite nicely. I was almost waiting for the acting to fail but it didn't. The whole conversation seemed to have a meta quality. Spock telling Burnham that she always puts everything on herself, like she is the center of the universe seems to be another nod of the writers telling the audience: We get it.
    Season 2 could be called Course correction and I think that is another correction.


    There is a difference between couldn't and didn't. Look it up. PS. They blew up the future probe a couple episodes back. Could you remind us why?

    @Alan Roi,

    So you're saying that Control let the Discovery be, when he could simply hack the computer and get whatever he wanted? Look, we have a plot hole, it happens, lets not introduce a bigger hole to cover for that.


    Trent never seems to look at anything at more than the most superficial or in meme level broad strokes. He can produce catch-phases and cliches, but they to are poor analytical tools for what he's describing. If someone is listening to what Spock is saying, its easy to understand why the chess game goes the way it does because Burnham refuses to give an inch i how she views him. Its a sibling dynamic very common among arguments between younger and older siblings. I kind of doubt Trent has siblings, based on his behavior.

    Maybe its the writers telling the audience they get it. Maybe they've always gotten it. I too have written stories about similar characters that ultimately provide such introspection, but its not like I haven't known what I've been writing all along. Its not as through people who attempt to carry burdens all by themselves don't exist in the real world. Some people might find this hard to believe, but that does include older siblings, since taking care of their younger siblings is one of the first major responsibilities they are shouldered with.


    You are assuming that everything you don't immediately understand is a plot hole. Maybe, as I do, start asking a simple question like, why? Say, why doesn't future Control appear to be the genocidal AI the crew thinks it is based on Spock's mind meld? Perhaps this isn't a plot whole but an intentional part of the narrative that hasn't been revealed yet.

    @Alan Roi,

    You're the one that argued that Airiam posed a threat to the Discovery and therefore wasn't teleported. That wasn't 'asking a question', that was 'providing a bogus answer', because it's incongruent with the Discovery's crew own past behaviour.

    That said, I'm not getting going to reply more to you on this issue. Judging by your behaviour in AVClub, you'll make this a 1000 comment fight, and I'd rather not monopolize the thread.


    Apparently producing a possible answer to a fair question is considered bogus by people who are desperate for plot holes. Which begs the question? Why is it so important to you that Discovery has plot holes that cannot be explained through actually paying attention to the story? Everybody knows why the people on the Discovery don't consider Tyler a security risk as they did Ariam after this episode. And in addition to that, the moment Tyler was suspected of anything, Pike had him confined to quarters, or did you forget why we didn't see Tyler in this ep?

    Alan Roi said: "If someone is listening to what Spock is saying..."

    I don't think I've "missed what the conversation about". I just think the conversation stops being excellent the moment Spock begins his "let me be clear" rant, and Michael responds in kind. It's very blunt and obvious. You already have a "we need to introduce chaos!" scene in the minefield to hammer Spock's point home and to hammer home Michael's realization that she needs to relinquish control. Had both actors underplayed and slowed down the back-end of this conversation, it might also play better. Not that it's a bad scene - far from it - it just sticks out given how weak the line reading and dialogue usually is, and how uniformly excellent they are in this episode.

    Booming said: "Season 2 could be called Course correction and I think that is another correction."

    Someone above mentioned that Paradise is show-running season 3. If this is true, we might get lucky. She might Piller the series.

    I think season 2 is still making most of the same mistakes season 1 did, but I agree that episodes like this point toward how little needs to be changed for everything to click. A bit stronger writing, a bit more care in how you juggle the crew, and dial down the manic tone, and all these characters work well.

    Alan Roi said: "Its made very clear and repeatedly that Control is a threat assessment system and that it is not sentient"

    Sure, but we don't know yet if contemporary Control (ie Control in this episode) has already begun integrating itself with the wider Federation network/computers*, has begun transcending its original programming, or if this is all a Terminator scenario (future advanced Control going back in time to give birth to itself, defend itself, or enhance itself, or speed up its inevitable enhancement etc).

    *this is all from the Trek Wikipedia, which claims that Control, as portrayed in novels, eventually oversees chunks of the Federation.

    Alan Roi said: "I kind of doubt Trent has siblings, based on his behavior."

    I have 18 siblings and am a young women with one child and am an award winning, internationally recognized expert in childcare, rearing and child psychology (Vulcan and human).

    @ Alan Roi
    I found Trents take on the episode interesting. I can understand why that scene barely worked for some. And who knows if he has siblings? Maybe he has four and they all live in a happy little community.
    My biggest problem with the scene was Spock getting angry. For a moment it reminded me of Quinto Spock which was an interpretation I did not like.


    "Had both actors underplayed and slowed down the back-end of this conversation, it might also play better."

    Sure, because that's exactly what angry siblings when they are fighting do.

    @ Trent
    I agree with basically all of your points. As I said a while back. Season three will be the deciding season for me. Season two kept me watching after the pretty subpar first season. Maybe they actually have the guts to tell a smaller, smarter story that is not about the destruction of the galaxy. Something that resonates with today's audience and also gives us that nice little shot of hope about the future.


    Yes, we don't know exactly what Control is here, because its not the books, so relying on what happened in the books is not a great idea, IMHO, just like meme based analysis of Discovery is not a good idea.

    As for Spock and Burnham, I saw it as the kind of baiting that siblings do with each other. Was Spock really getting as angry as he seemed? Or was that a 'fuck you!' Micheal you aren't my mother and I am not a child moment for her benefit to leave him alone with her compulsive older-sistering?

    We are talking about a character who didn't speak to his dad for 18 years because, as Spock himself stated, all they did was argue.

    I can't be in here 24/7, and I sometimes get 50 or 100 comments behind and it takes me a while to catch up. But there are certain things that are getting old and we need to see less of in here, such as:

    * Posts that attack ad hominem other users, or fans in general of another show.

    * Posts that take the implied or explicit position of pitting the fans of one show against the fans of another show.

    * Posts that discuss the behavior or arguing techniques of others, or decry how "the people who did X are worse than what we're/I'm doing."

    * Posts that accuse others of launching attacks without having the self-awareness to realize they are engaging in similar behavior from a supposedly (or even actual) defensive posture.

    If you respect this place and its host -- who doesn't have time to wade through the details of every argument to try to piece together and judge who is more in the wrong on every individual case to be "fair," which I am NOT going to do -- then just ask this one simple question before you hit submit:

    Does my post discuss the shows and related issues, or someone else's behavior?

    If it's the latter, then try again. Please and thank you.

    (Furthermore, I don't want to argue about any point I made in this post if you think it's targeted at you specifically -- which it very well may not be -- or you don't like my position. I don't have the time and I'm not going to do it. But I think everyone would be better served by just talking ABOUT THE SHOWS.

    Thanks to everyone who is contributing in the discussion politely.

    When the Writing Room Just Keeps Letting You Down:

    1. Nhan is a just an ill-conceived character, plain and simple.

    Nhan is a security officer with a built in tactical disadvantage. She can’t breathe in an oxygen atmosphere without artificial support, which makes her functionally useless as a security officer in hand to hand combat because, as was demonstrated on screen, an opponent merely has to deprive or disable her respirator to incapacitate her. Nhan has a second tactical disadvantage, this one defying basic common sense: her luxurious, Estée Lauder mane, which can also also be taken advantage of in a physical confrontation, can get caught in an obstruction, or can even catch alight.

    And based on the bad writing, Nhan is also hilariously bad at her job. Three times the writer signposts Nhan's concerns and suspicions about Airiam, but she doesn't once raise these concerns or suspicions to one of her commanding officers, whether Pike on Discovery or Burnham on the station.

    2. What happens when you hire writers who only write to plot.

    Given this respirator provides basic life support for a crew member, its function would have to be common knowledge aboard ship (in the event of an emergency), so why would Airiam, who is no stranger, enquire after it unless the writer was only using the dialogue to signpost Nhan’s Achille’s heel. Or why doesn’t Nhan’s EV suit not house an emergency breathing apparatus in the event of helmet breakage or loss? Details, details, details.

    @44:00: Airiam rips off Nhan's left respirator in front of Burnham
    @44:06: System reports Airiam's suit offline.
    @45:43: Airiam has locked herself in; Burnham reports she's fine.

    Almost a full minute passes and Burnham makes no move, makes no inquiry, or shows any sign of concern for Nhan's status. From the looks on the faces of the bridge crew they fear the worst but none bother to follow up, because apparently as far as the writer sees it, in a ”man down” situation the bridge crews’ jobs consists primarily of gawking at a gigantic TV screen looking concerned.

    The writer also conceptualizes EV suits without emergency backup systems, so that neither of these things happens as either could or should:

    Burnham: Nhan’s down; in distress. I can’t lend assist.
    Pike: Transporter room. Lock onto Nhan’s transponder. Beam her out of there.

    or even …

    Pike: Transporter Room. Lock onto Airiam. Beam her to a maximum security cell.

    @50:53: Nhan reappears apparently no worse for wear.

    I'm sorry to be the one to have to tell you this Nhan, but the writers didn’t really think through your character or the technology you rely on, or even endow the Discovery crew with the ability to multitask. Maybe, next time, just punch Burnham in the face. That seems to get everyone’s attention.


    And back to that "upside down.”

    @27:53: “Switch to pattern Gamma 4.”
    @28:00: “Discovery commences roll manoeuvre.”
    @28:15: “Discovery completes roll manoeuvre.”
    @28: 32: "Sensors are saying that we're upside down."
    @28:33: "Those are blackout mines. They interfere with navigation."

    Three questions:

    3. How misinformed must the programmers (or writer) of those blackout mines (“floating" in zero-G) be to include "upside down" in their counterintelligence arsenal (script)?

    2. Since there's no such thing as an "upside down" in zero-G—no north or south—why would the sensors acknowledge, let alone report a non-existent spatial property to the helmsman?

    1. Since she's "flying" a spaceship in zero-G why is Lt. Lady Driver panicking when her sensors indicate something she would surely know doesn't apply in their situation?

    And ya gotta love this contradiction in motion:

    @28:40: “The helm isn't responding.”
    @28:41: “It is, Lieutenant. You're flying blind, just like in the Academy.”
    @29:40: Lt. Lady Driver begins inputting a succession of random course changes …

    … which means she would have to be receiving some kind of guidance control feedback, otherwise she wouldn’t know when one course manoeuvre has ended and the next begun, or whether one or more manoeuvres are impossible to execute based on the one proceeding or following. She’s not flying a jet in a planet’s atmosphere where she would receive visual (or audio) cues and experience physical stress response to acceleration, tilt, rotation and g forces.

    So not not responding. And not not blind.

    No excuses. Fire the writer(s)!


    People see what they want to see.


    Nhan showed her suspicions 1 time. Not three. The one time when they interacted that is it, and it hardly offered a sign that Ariam was under external control. During the next phase there is no point where Nhan is looking directly at Ariam and what she is doing while the ship is getting attacked by the mines.

    Her breathing aparatus is no more vulnerable than a regular person's throat.

    Her suit was out and not sending any telemetry after she was thrown 50 feet. Every reason for the others to believe she was dead.

    Again, no one is getting beamed out, implying no lock was possible due to station defenses. Likewise the backup systems on the suit are likely to be limited in capacity and capability as most emergency backups are.

    And again, there's a mission going on that requires people's attention who aren't very possibly dead.

    2. Spaceship have a position in space, which is determined by the stars and other objects of reference. Should the ship appear to have been flipped horizontally 180 degrees from its previous position, then 'upside down' is not an inaccurate statement and quicker to say. And a helmsman not being able to trust what their instruments are reporting accurate information is cause for alarm. As we know in reality, that kind of results in plane crashes, in ships running aground etc.

    Oh, and lastly on the away mission is Nahn's Este Lauder mane of luxurious hair floating about? No. Its tied up in a bun. Can't imagine how you didn't notice that.

    Everything below is pure speculation on my part...

    With all the recent revelations plus next week's teaser, I now believe that not only the red angel is Michael but that we will know this fairly soon (maybe next episode?) and spend a couple of episodes, if not three, with her, as the red angel, racing against time (in the sense that, there is time travel involved and an adversary) to get ahead of whatever force it is that is trying to destroy "all civilization." Furthermore, the Discovery will be well aware of this and assisting Michael along the way in some kind of fashion. I am even suspecting that Spock may have known that Michael is the red angel all along.

    Michael being the red angel would not have been my choice if I were in the writing room - mine would have been either to have an unknown race/entity/intelligence be the red angel, or two entities, the good red-angel one one good one bad, or have some type of artificial intelligence be the red angel (MadMan was the one to suggest this in an earlier message, credit where it's due). Having said that, I am curious to see how it's going to play out. It could be very interesting if the dynamics are well planned.

    -- FIN de spéculation --

    Well, I enjoyed this one as well. Thats two pretty strong outings in a row. Hopefully next week starts a hitting streak.

    Well, count me as one of those highly impressed with this episode, which is quite rare for me. I'm consistently rating 1 star lower than Jammer and I thought last weeks 4 star rating was very generous. I'm usually one of the outspoken "critics" of the show, and I've been highly critical of just the general way the show is produced and written, but I've always said I give credit where credit is due, and this week I will do that.

    Michelle Paradise has written one of the best scripts so far. It was paced well, shot well, and effectively built tension. Scenes played out organically, with time and space for lines to have their intended effect. Some of the dialogue was still a little cringey, but man, compared to most Discovery dialogue, this was pretty solid. I'm extremely glad she is taking control of the show, but she won't be able to do it alone. I'm hoping she and a couple other key writers can pull this show out of the can in season 3, and with this episode, there is now hope.

    As the writers and showrunners make improvements, it becomes increasingly obvious how poorly SMG works as the series lead. As someone else pointed out, she works really well as a side character or in ensemble situations. Whenever she is in a lead role, the show suffers. For whatever reason, Michelle Paradise seems to have figured this out. We even get a not-so-subtle "writer talking to the audience" scene where MB and Spock are playing chess and end up fighting. Paradise highlights the writers annoying habit of placing the stakes of the entire universe on Michael Burnhams shoulders, and turns that rookie writing mistake into character depth. It even lets the previous writers save face and say, "But that was our plan all along." Alas, somehow, she still couldn't help herself from having the climax of the show be Michael Burnhams worst trope--face contorted in horror, this time watching out the window as a minor side character dies.

    Much has been said about Airiam, so I won't repeat it. Basically, let's withhold judgement until we see if she's really dead or not.

    Regarding the overall plot, I've always maintained that DISCO likes to keep it convoluted, and as season 2 drags on, it just gets worse. It kind of felt like bringing the orb thingy back and linking it to the overall plot was a big shoehorn. But at the same time, it also seems like Paradise was doing the right thing and really trying to connect threads in a series that cannot even tie its own shoe-laces. That its ending up basically a Terminator story...well, we'll see what they do with it. This is supposed to be Star Trek. They will need to transcend that story, and really push the audience to challenge their perceptions about the universe.

    My impression of this episode was that they got a talented writer in Michelle Paradise, who attempted to tie up some loose threads in this beleaguered franchise, and, on many counts, succeeded. That she managed to deliver a tight, character-centric drama that managed to maintain my attention better than any other DISCO episode since "Magic to make the sanest..." is a testament to her talents, and I'm cautiously optimistic about season 3 knowing she is in the captains chair.

    3 stars for me, in a mostly 1-2 star season so far.

    And, in the spirit of improving the community, I'm going to give a few shout outs:

    - to wolfstar, for a well written explanation of why this episode worked

    - to karlzimmerman, for admitting his own over-reaction to the Airiam thing and posting a semi-retraction, in the spirit of honesty.

    - to madmanUC, for not liking this episode and not being afraid to write a very succinct and thought provoking post about why that is. A good read. While I thought Michelle Paradise did a great job with this episode, madmanUC did not. That's okay!

    @ Alan Roi
    If you follow Gil's logic then Nahms entire species would have to be barred from becoming security personal. I doubt that the Federation would allow that kind of discrimination.
    And about that Este Lauder hair. Wasn't Worfs hair actually longer. And Klingons don't wear buns at all. Just go to Zero G and Klingons are defeated by their lush manes.

    @ Brian
    Most Trek apart from TOS always used an ensemble cast. It was a mistake to center the show around a single character. And it has been my impression that Discovery went back to an ensemble cast plus SMG acting improved considerably.

    I see season 2 a little more positive than you. The longer shots and more establishing shots worked wonders in my opinion. Scenes have more time to breath. The beginning of the episode was a good example with that long shot of the Discovery while it is approached by the shuttle. The shuttle shining light on the Discovery was subtle hint what the episode would be about.

    The acting has improved across the board. There was one scene where Mount, which I like but not as much as most here, really did a great job. He goes into an elevator and the moment the doors close he smiles a little. Great scene. Subtle and effective.

    But there is of course the season arc which at this point seems like a bad reminder of what Discovery was.
    You write " They will need to transcend that story, and really push the audience to challenge their perceptions about the universe."
    I fear that it is too late for this season to pull this off.

    As usual, this show doesn’t hold up to the slightest bit of scrutiny.

    It tricks you into thinking it’s making sense in the moment, but after it’s over and you start thinking about it, it all falls apart.

    First off, they’re just doing the Terminator. Control is Skynet. That’s the best these writers can come up with? A concept done a million times in sci-fi? Hell, The Orville just did “Evil AI wants to kill all sentient life” just a few weeks ago.

    They build this up over the entire season like it’s huge and important and different, and it’s just evil AI. I can’t help but feel back in the day this would have just been a cool two-parter, so the show could have variety and other adventures. Stupidly stretching out a weak idea over an entire season is what’s wrong with modern tv writing.

    As a positive, I really enjoyed Spock telling Burnham the whole universe doesn’t revolve around her, but then Airiam literally told her the whole universe revolves around her so, yeah. Burnham is definitely the Red Angel. Ugh.

    If they had spent time developing Airiam this whole time, I would have really cared that she died. Her death caused me to feel nothing, because I still have no idea who this person is or was. But also they said all her memories were downloaded into discovery so I’m guessing she’s not really dead. Death means nothing in the Kurtzman Star Trek world (magic blood?).

    Focusing more on character is always a good thing, but the show still has a long way to go before it can even be considered competently written. I dare say it needs to be a completely different show.

    DSC's great weakness is the diminished number of episodes in a season to flesh out the minor characters. We should have had at least 3 to 4 episodes across the first 2 seasons to know Ariam, so that her death here would have some significant emotional impact, but the breakneck speed at which we are running through the season arcs leave no time for any character development beyond the key 4 or 5 DSC personnel. I really wanted to be swept away with the emotion of the situation, but all I had was a feeling of irritation that we had none of Ariam's backstory before.

    Also, what is it with the repetition throughout this episode of someone telling Spock "The Red Angel chose you" or some variant. I noticed it at least 3 times, and by the 3rd time, I was getting really annoyed. That being said, I feel that Ethan Peck is great as Spock, while Anson Mount is the best thing about DSC, hands down.

    A solidly directed wpiaode by frakes that unfortunately cant overcome the problems with the plot of the show. As melodrama this might have been an effective show if Ariam had been established at all. Very very odd decisions with the plot and writing.

    But anyway in and of itself the writing was better than normal and slow enough to have actual character development. So in some ways the show is still improving. Great burn by Spock to Burnham.

    Some of you have asked why I don't like the writing and acting in this ep.

    First, the acting. The scenes between Spock and Michael are conceptually interesting, but they yell at each other like they're on Jerry Springer. A dispute between Vulcan-raised individuals should be an exercise in subtlety, with maybe a bit of emotion occasionally drifting near the surface. That subdued tension is one of the interesting things about a culture of logicians, but it's too boring for the GoT/Walking Dead generation so we get a talk show chair fight instead. Delivery of Spock lines like "let's play chess" and "it is arrogant of you to assume my present manner of thinking needs fixing" are groan-inducing. Him knocking the chessboards over was also silly. The Vulcan culture is just a prop to the showrunners, I don't think they're capable of imagining how people who pursue pure logic and suppress emotion would act.

    In the last episode Spock was dignified and intelligent in the midst of his psychological crisis, but the acting seems to have returned to the show's over-dramatic baseline here. Ironically, the dispute with Spock features the best-yet piece of acting from SMG. Her state of shock after Spock is finished ripping her is very well done, probably because the feeling is genuine and SMG thought her character would be a Teflon-coated idol forever. But later she delivers one of her worst lines in the series, "what if it is?" (a game), so it evens out. On the S31 station she showcases her classic weaknesses, the super-strained expressions of sympathy and panic.

    Admiral Cornwall was another agonizing performance, the actress seems stoned and doesn't depart much from her saucer-eyed expression and droning delivery. Did anyone look close and see if her pupils were dilated? Tilly is also more caricature than character here, a kind of twee Ned Flanders. She's supposed to be the comic relief and she plays that role with such a heavy hand nothing genuine can come through in the performance. There've been times before when she moved in an authentic direction but that seems to be forgotten. In the JahSepp episode she had good moments because she was pushed outside her comic relief role, but now she's back in the straitjacket the writers have made for her.

    Second, the writing. Why didn't anyone from S31 realize that their installation has gone rogue and everyone there is dead? They're an intelligence agency, they should be the best at ascertaining whether their assets have been compromised. It's been weeks since the AI took over.

    The mine scene was awful. It exists purely to create tension and spend the FX budget with no bearing on the story. First they don't use shields because it attracts mines, then they turn on the shields because the mines are attracted anyway. There's a sequence where 5 mines fly into the shields and explode, and the only effect is the ship shaking a bit and no response from the characters. And why didn't they use phasers to destroy the mines? And as others have mentioned, there's no upside-down in space. The mine sequence could have been removed without affecting the plot at all.

    I -think- the writers want us to like Cornwall, since she's been heroic and decisive in the past, but she displays the worst leadership qualities ever here. She snaps mockingly at Detmer, saying "you're flying blind, just like in the academy" when Detmer is in a life-or-death situation with the lives of the crew in her hands. She chews out Pike in front of his crew basically for having principles and he just takes it - this while the Discovery is harboring her as a fugitive. And she's disrespectful of the crew in general. Perhaps this is partly down to the acting; the lines might be good with different delivery but instead they come across as demeaning.

    Others have mentioned Michael ignoring Nham's plight, and so no need to go over it in detail. It destroys the believability of these characters as comrades and shows why it's foolish for viewers to invest in them. Cornwall's abuse of Detmer does the same thing.

    On the plus side: Nham's scenes with Airiam were well-done as she wordlessly acted out her growing suspicion. Too bad it was a dropped plot thread. Spock's takedown of Michael reads like an apology from the writers, but we've yet to see an indication that they can actually do something different. The Stamets/Spock scene was good aside from a bit of garish acting and the fact that for some reason a problem with a device that Stamets has disconnected and set on a table makes the power drop.

    About "upside down":

    I agree with both the points of view of Gil and Alan Roi (upside down is slightly wrong, but can be explained away, but is still slightly wrong), but think that being just an ironic line, we could excuse it.

    On the other hand, is there really no upside down in space? (I do not mean this as opposing either of you two. You are right in the literal sense -- there is no upside down in space; but I am going to argue that there could be a "conventional" 'up'side in space navigation. Please hear me out.)

    All the planets in our own Solar System (except Uranus) have their equators in roughly the same planes. Even the Sun's equator matches most planets' equators, and these planes approximately match the planes of rotations of most planets. Furthermore, all of these roughly match the "galactic plane", the plane along which the mass of the Milky Way Galaxy is distributed.

    Let us assume that most planetary systems are going to be roughly aligned to the galactic plane (this is not an arbitrary hypothesis, there are astrophysics reasons to do with angular momentum why this is somewhat believable). Then it would make sense for starships to keep their "up" aligned perpendicular to the galactic plane, i.e. matched to the galactic North. They don't have to, but by convention they may do so. The star charts, nav readouts are all made to conform to this convention. Then, "upside down" can be imagined to be a colloquial expression for the ship's "up" temporarily pointing to the galactic South.

    In the various Star Trek shows, ships have many times dropped out of warp and automatically been approximately aligned to the rotation axis of the planet. Also, almost without exception, when two ships have met each other, they have their "up" directions pointing in the same direction. This further bolsters our belief in the "galactic driving convention" I have mentioned above.


    That was actually a very plausible explanation, Daya. Kudos, seriously!

    My only (tiny) addendum would be that if the system wasn't aligned with the galactic disc, it should be sensible for any ship to automatically align with the orbital plane of that particular system. After all, the shortest distances possible between planets are planar.

    Who knows when it might be necessary to find soneone hiding on a moon or to stop a incoming comet?

    Again, thanks for the theory, Daya. Great deduction!

    Mr Man said: "DSC's great weakness is the diminished number of episodes in a season to flesh out the minor characters."

    14 episodes a season is a lot of time to flesh out characters. Most Trek pilots get that work done and out of the way pretty efficiently and cleanly.

    Discovery's approach to "character development" seems to be to ignore characters, and then suddenly shove them into hugely dramatic/elaborate subplots.

    Kinematic said: "The mine scene was awful."

    What I specifically liked about this, was that it forced the show to produce a relatively slow and protracted action sequence, and one which involved all the bridge crewmen. Thus far, similar sequences have been pretty manic.

    John said: "As a positive, I really enjoyed Spock telling Burnham the whole universe doesn’t revolve around her, but then Airiam literally told her the whole universe revolves around her so, yeah."


    @Dave: cool addition. In 200 years they will be calling this the Daya-Dave standard for galactic navigation. :)

    @Trent: yes, a space action sequence that was a little more than pew-pew. I also liked that they did "bridge lurches". Very Trek!

    DIS has had more than enough time to develop its minor characters.

    S1 needs a whole rewrite, but lets write what DIS could have done while keeping its general plot and structure. In S1, we could have shortened the MU arc to 1 episode, rewrote "Magic" (don't focus only on Burnham), and ditched "Si Vis Pacem" for something else (The L'Rell stuff never made any sense, and the showrunners themselves ignored what happened with Saru in S2). That's 4 episodes' time, without going over other smaller changes they could have made.

    It's a bit early to say about S2, but "Point of Light" isn't needed or wanted (just write Tyler out already), and "The Sounds of Thunder" could probably have been delayed to S3 (Most of Saru's development occurred at "Obol" already).

    @ Yair
    Saru's changed mental state was brought up and shown. He behaves differently I think.


    We're talking about S1's "Si Vis Pacem", right? That chapter ended with Burnham telling Saru "that wasn't you" (which all but obviated any character development Saru had during the chapter), and the "Saru gets aggressively angry without his fear" idea definitely wasn't the case in S2's "Obol".

    So I'd say the showrunners ignored that episode anyway - which was fine by me, since I didn't like it anyway at the time...

    Perhaps my initial pharsing was unclear, I meant they ignored what happen with Saru in S1's "Si Vis Pacem" afterwards in S2...

    I thought you meant his development in general. I have blocked out season 1.

    @Alan Roi

    “People see what they want to see.”

    [cough, cough]

    “Does my post discuss the shows and related issues, or someone else's behavior?” — Jammer, Sat, Mar 16, 2019, 5:24pm



    “Nhan showed her suspicions 1 time. Not three..”

    Actually four times (I forgot one).

    1. @18:56 “What are you doing?" Obvious lingering suspicion.

    2. Film language 101:

    @27:33 Cut to Airiam telling Tilly “she’s got this” and can go back to her post.
    @27:45 Cut to Nhan looking in Airiam’s general direction.
    @27:46 Cut back to Airiam.

    3. Film language 101 again:

    @29:49 Cut to shot of download 95%.
    @29:53 Cut to shot of Airiam turning her attention to Nhan’s location (Airiam’s stage right).
    @29:55 Cut to Nhan espying Airiams' activities.

    4. Film language 102:

    @38:53 "I'll be back in 2 seconds if you need anything." [foreshadowing]
    @38:57 And as Nhan steps backward she casts an extended gaze Airiam's way. [signposting]

    And at no time does this security officer inform a superior officer of her concern or suspicion. Give the writer a round of applause folks.


    "Her breathing apparatus is no more vulnerable than a regular person's throat …” and “… backup systems on the suit are likely to be limited in capacity and capability as most emergency backups are.”

    Except the human trachea does not extend laterally outside both sides of the face like handlebars readily seized and snapped, and suffocation will not ensue from blunt force unless the trachea has actually been crushed, so it’s not necessarily a given that a human would go down for the count like a Barzan. And, as should be expected, combat skill will come into play when executing an attack or anticipating and performing defensive counter moves. A human security officer wearing an EV suit without a helmet would be highly cognizant of the fact that their head and neck are the likeliest targets, a Barzan quadruply so because they’ve got these two respirators poking outside of their face which might as well have flashing neon signs on them blinking: GRAB ME! NO! GRAB ME!

    Preliminary Risk Assessment: You don’t send a Barzan Barbie into an offworld bar fight without a helmet.

    As to practical technology and equipment. This is the 22nd century we’re talking about here, a time that has spore drives, holographic communication, and sentimental cyborgs. Why would EV suits purposed for microgravity come standard with inadequate backups? Why, given the atmospheric mix requirements of the species when offworld, would their EV suits not be personalized and equipped with more than “limited” fallback to meet basic life support in the event of an emergency?

    Without such, a Barzan is a liability risk, both to themselves and others.

    Certainly in the real world you wouldn’t expect to see a security officer lugging around an oxygen tank for a debilitating respiratory condition, anymore than you would be likely to encounter one requiring the use of a cane. A security officer’s job presents unique challenges, has particular requirements, and demands a specialized skill set, all in order to meet rigorous standards. Not all individuals can meet these challenges and requirements or possess the required skills. As is the case with Barzans, whose demand for ancillary material support for basic respiration introduces an obvious tactical disadvantage into the mix.

    So is Nhan a go? “Computer says No.”

    “Her suit was out and not sending any telemetry after she was thrown 50 feet. Every reason for the others to believe she was dead.”

    That's pure conjecture. A logical fallacy. And it's not in the script. Plus it’s a perfect example of the “technology go dumb-dumb” for the sake of the plot trope. It also ignores Burnham not taking proactive measures in the 55 seconds that were available to her to check on her “man down,” which in the absence of any immediate threat to her person should have been her first course of action. Milling about wearing a worry face just doesn’t look good on the ranking officer of an away mission.

    “Again, no one is getting beamed out, implying no lock was possible due to station defenses.”

    I addressed this earlier; nowhere in the script does it state or imply there was any transporter impedance. Quite the contrary:

    Burnham: Captain, still no life signs and gravity is out.
    Pike: Please be careful. Standing by to BEAM YOU OUT.


    I “can't imagine how you didn't notice that” she [Nhan] doesn’t wear her hair in a bun when she’s on duty aboard ship. Common sense would dictate that a security officer would deny an opponent any possible advantage in close quarters combat, let alone have her line of sight obstructed, or risk entanglement in equipment or debris. Therefore, when on duty, Nhan should be wearing her mane in a bun or take the more practical approach and simply have it shorn.

    Haplessly, this leads tangentially to the onboard Talky-Tilly Dolly and her Side Show Bob fro. Since she often works in and around highly conductive environments and equipment the risk of electrostatic discharge makes her a walking fire hazard. Not only that, but it would be getting up into everyone’s faces and she’d be constantly shedding all over the ship on and around sensitive electronic instruments and hardware. Ewww! Poor Stamets is probably picking up hairballs every where he turns.

    In a common sense world, both Nhan and Tilly would be violating numerous health and safety regulations. But this being Discovery, we get a security officer who looks like she works the door at Bergdorf Goodman, and the comic relief figure who needs a giant ginger mop to achieve pitch perfect proportion … well, they have to compensate for the width of her hips somehow, don't they? Diet and exercise haven’t worked.


    “Should the ship appear to have been flipped horizontally 180 degrees from its previous position, then 'upside down' is not an inaccurate statement and quicker to say …” and “… a helmsman not being able to trust what their instruments are reporting accurate information is cause for alarm.”

    For purpose of clarity: position and attitude (angular position) are distinct measures. The former describes location relative to a given reference point and the latter orientation in space in relation to another body.

    It doesn’t matter which way the ship is “flipped”—whether it’s topside is facing you spinning adrift in the void running low on oxygen waving frantically to Lt. Lady Driver for help, or its bottom is “flipped” to me sitting pretty a whole franchise away sipping a 200 year old scotch on the “No More Mr Nice Guy”* placing bets on whether Discovery runs you over—Lt. Lady Driver’s orientation in space remains the same, i.e. her up and down is determined by the strongest source of gravimetric pull which, in her case, is the ship’s grav-plating.

    * Name of GSV class ship from Iain Banks’s “Consider Phlebas.”


    The blackout mines are feeding the Discovery “false” sensor readings, and in one particular instance, apparently these “false” sensor readings are informing Lt. Lady Driver that the ship is “upside down.”

    OK. Fine. Just for the moment let’s go with that and Discovery’s navigational computer is outputting data about the ship’s orientation in the vernacular. Still … “upside down” respective to what? And why would it matter in this particular instance?

    The Discovery is shown making four manoeuvring rolls, and it’s during the second that Lt. Lady Driver reports the “sensors are saying” they’re “upside down.” Meanwhile mines are bombarding the ship from every vector and there’s no obvious angle of escape. Still, Discovery only needs to maintain course in the station's direction; whether the ship’s orientation aligns with that of the station or not is irrelevant. And a ship that is oriented 45º, 90º, 135º and then 180º from the centre line along its axis at, let’s say, 5, 10, 15 and 20 second increments is literally a manoeuvring roll in progress.

    So the Discovery was halfway through a roll (oriented 180º from its last reported relative angular position) when Lt. Lady Driver panicked. The more generous take might be that she was stating the obvious with a surprising degree of enthusiasm.

    The only instance of warranted panic was when Lt. Lady Driver announced “the helm is not responding,” whereupon Admiral Back Seat Driver told her to fly blind … utilizing (apparently) unreliable sensor data to boot.

    OK. So which way is the station, Admiral? “ANYWHERE!” submits Burnham. And so Lt. Lady Driver proceeds to input random evasive manoeuvres with nu-Pike’s “You Can Do It” bromide to cushion the ride … and “flies” them all right into a ditch.



    “plane crashes … ships running aground”

    Ya, but no. Though given the events that take place in “Project Deadalus” anything seems possible. Apparently all it takes is a little grit & spunk and maybe a daily affirmation or two and you can just about do anything, and go just about anywhere.

    Yair, you make a good point, but it can also be interpreted that Saru learned his lesson from that experience on the planet back then, and now is able to hold himself back and stay in more reserved thanks to that experience.

    I had to chime back in bc people kindly reminded me- the “upside down” comment was absolutely ludicrous. Dumb even by my lower Discovery standards.


    Many scripts offer little more than basic instructions to the director and camera men. And many people are able to figure out what is going on and don't have to be spoonfed everything from beginning to end. I don't.

    As for Nahn

    A knuckle strike to the throat isn't any more difficult than a cheek grab. In fact it takes much more attention to grab at someones cheek than then hit them in the throat. You don't like that Nhan wears her hair down while on duty on the Discovery? Take that up with Starfleet gain, as longish hair as been permitted for quite a while. Even the US navy allows pony tails which are grabbable in a fight.

    Also, If you are going to grab someone's hair that actually puts you at a tactical disadvantage in a melee as it takes one of your arms completely out of a fight as your opponent still as all their limbs available to them to hit you. No one who is in a serious fight grabs at their opponents hair. Its a desperation move and only works when your opponent is incompetant in a fight.


    There's only 1 single instance where Nhan can be said to be remotely suspicious of Airiam, and that could just be general suspicion given the situation. All the rest show now indication that she was scrutinzing Airam's behaviour. It was simply where she was positioned. Most of the time she was just glancing around in concern that something might come flying at her as the ship groaned and sparked. You imagining what's going on in her head, which isn't supported by the shots and where Nhan is looking during them.


    The Admiral also never told Detmer to rely on unreliable sensor data, she specifically told her to ignore it, as you even note.

    How many Brian's do we have here now? 5? Is this an Irish invasion?
    I have no idea who is writing what?!

    Good episode.
    Yes, the evil AI is an used trope. BSG, terminator, etc. And it's just a sub-trope of evil technology, going back to Franckeinstein or even Prometheus. But there's time for many twist. Maybe the AI is not the big bad. I'm still convinced the Kelpians are behind all this. Or maybe they'll be the big bad in season 3?

    Apart from the AI, the other weak points were Nahn left to die by Burnam (don't want to kill Airiam, but doesn't care to help Nahn), developping a secondary character just to kill her, and not enough Saru.

    Strong points were no klingons, no Tyler, no Georgiou, and I can trick myself to believe Pike and Spock are the real thing (kudos to the actors), so I care what happens to them.
    I still dont care about Michael, whatever trick I try. I would care about the other crewmate though, if they'd give them more screentime without killing them.

    There's hope.

    The Airiam storythread still eludes me.

    Airiam is supposed to be part human, part machine. After her shuttle accident with her husband the scientists were capable enough to mechanically reconstruct the part of her that thinks, remembers and functions, which is how she is able to interface with computers and function from downloaded algorithms such as the red lights virus. They've also given her an entirely mechanical face and probably (from the way she walks) most of her body. So why is it they can't rebuild the parts that "died" when she is ejected into space and reattach them to the core memories and functioning that the rest of her body is built around? It should be a piece of cake compared with the complexity of essentially building a mechanical brain which holds all the memories of her previous life.

    Maybe I'm overthinking it, but it often seems like the tech in this era is more advanced than it should be, but only when it is convenient to advance the plot.

    @Daya: Yes, Burnham acted on emotion regarding Airiam and could not put the Vulcan logic she believes she holds to into practice. We're making the exact same point! Mind you, making decisions on emotion and using whatever logical explanation it takes to justify those actions is exactly what we've seen Vulcans do since TOS, but Burnham's not even doing that anymore by the time she's disobeying orders in her frantic attempt to avoid sacrificing Airiam.

    The first season writers gave us a character with apparently inconsistent beliefs and behaviors, but I'm not sure they put thought into the discrepancy. The second season writers are taking that inconsistency and putting it in a much more self-aware way into the heart of her character development.

    I think Airiam is supposed to be a full-conversion or almost-full-conversion cyborg. She has a human brain and maybe some human internal organs (she eats regular food) but the rest of her body is mechanical. And it seems her brain was damaged so some of its functions are being performed by cybernetic computer hardware, hence the limited memory capacity.

    In real life there have been experiments with chips that mimic the function of the hippocampus, the part of the brain that makes memories, so there's some scientific grounding there. People with damage to the hippocampus function kind of like the character in the movie Memento.

    I don't know of any other full cyborgs in Trek, the Borg queen is almost there but she comes from a civilization thousands of years more advanced than the Federation. Also, in Discovery we occasionally see a transporter operator with something that looks like Geordi's VISOR, but his connects to large implants on his head. I figured it was supposed to be an earlier, cruder version of the VISOR tech. That guy illustrates that Federation cybernetics have a long way to go to reach even Geordi's level, whereas Airiam is far beyond that level.

    Regardless, I don't critique Discovery for ignoring canon because it's obviously never been a concern for the showrunners.

    This ep shows us where Burnham's savior complex comes from, reinforcing that it comes out of guilt and past failurs not from the narcissm that many people still seem to attribute it to.

    We knew that this isn't a great thing from the opening episodes of the series. And that is what makes her a compelling character as a lead on the show.


    Because there are plenty of characters over the course of the series who have fallen into this trap and have ended up on the tragic end of things. Captains like Tracey, Commodore Decker and others have been buried by their failures and the responsibilities of those failures and the mistakes they produce.

    Here we see Burnham reminded by Spock of a wound she has never allowed to heal, and finds herself in that 'no win' situation which Kirk always cheated his way out of. And the story is compelling if you are at all interested in the man vs. himself narrative.

    Star Trek has been mostly preoccupied by the man vs. man and man vs. nature narratives as well as the man vs. God, but not so much with this kind of internal struggle with a motivation that is both heroic and destructive.

    And I for one think that's worth Trek exploring.


    Discovery is presenting a future as from 2019, where we already enjoy primitive cybernetics in reality. And cybernetics isn't anything that discussed or shown on a great deal, so having characters with cybernetic implants is hardly outside of canon especially as there is a picture from Star Trek III which is making the rounds featuring a background character who looks almost identical to Airiam. Or is ST III not canon?

    @Drea: Thanks for the clarification. When you wrote, "That she cannot bring herself to [execute a shipmate] speaks volumes about Burnham's capacity to hold to Vulcan logic in practice as well as theory", I assumed you meant her capacity to hold to logic was high. But of course, you meant the other way around, I understand now.

    By the way, here's Spock in a similar situation:

    "I suggest that Dr. McCoy is right. We must save Lt. Chekov."
    "Spock! Is that the logical thing to do?"
    "No. But it is the human thing to do."

    Of course, Chekov was not trying to kill Spock neither was he threatening all sentient life (the shale probe was threatening humanity, though), and Spock explicitly accepted that it was illogical by his own standards to save Chekov.

    I must ask you, though, why you think "Making decisions on emotion and using whatever logical explanation it takes to justify those actions is exactly what we've seen Vulcans do since TOS". If your comment includes TOS, can you give me examples from TOS where Spock or another Vulcan indulged in such flexible logic?

    @Alan Roi

    “The Admiral also never told Detmer to rely on unreliable sensor data …”

    Yes; that ellipsis of mine doesn’t establish a sufficient break between the Admirals actual voiced instruction to Lt. Lady Driver and only the implication she would have just the (supposedly) unreliable sensor data to rely upon.

    re: Long Hair

    “Female sailors can soon sport several new hairstyles including locks, ponytails and options that fall below the collar in certain uniforms, according to new approved regulations announced [10 Jul 2018].

    Lock, or loc, hairstyles and buns that span the width of the back of a female sailor's head will now be authorized for women in all uniforms. Ponytails will be OK in service, working or physical-training uniforms -- provided there's no operational safety concern. And hairstyles that hit beneath shirt, dress or jacket collars will be approved in dinner-dress uniforms.” —

    Pony tail ≠ Flowing mane reaching below the breast that would: cover the face in a melee, become waterlogged and caked in aqueous conditions, or snared in machinery, or easily pulled, yanked and twisted.

    Nhan is not particularly imposing at 1.66 m and her mane is a third of her height.

    “There's only 1 single instance where Nhan can be said to be remotely suspicious of Airiam”

    There … are … four … times.


    Canon isn't much of a concern for me either. It's just that it's hard to feel any emotion upon, say, the occurrence of a shuttle explosion or any other life-threatening, when the resident Federation surgeon-magician at the nearest starbase can resurrect anyone involved with a bunch of cybernetic implants. Same goes with Culber's spore-womb revival. In this universe, the price of death it seems is rather cheap.

    @ Gil

    Its unlikley her hair would be a problematic obstruction - this is a tv show not a military documentary.

    become waterlogged and caked in aqueous conditions, or snared in machinery - The Discovery isn't a naval ship.

    Pulled, yanked, twisted - just like arms and legs.

    As for your continued insistance. Nope. Nope. Nope. Maybe watch the ep and look where Nhans eyes were looking.

    @Alan Roi

    It's not made clear what kind of being the STIII character is, he could be an android, which showed up a few times in TOS, or maybe a little hamster-sized alien piloting a mechanical humanoid robot to facilitate easier interaction with humanoids. Airiam's nature has been made explicit.

    I don't know that cyborgs are a more likely prediction in 2019 than in the 80s and 90s, cybernetic beings were more popular in the media then than now: see Robocop, Terminator, etc. Lots of sci-fi works predicted the use of cybernetics by the time TNG came out.

    Trek has traditionally shied away from depicting the use of cybernetics in the Federation except for Geordi's VISOR, which is a prosthetic designed to compensate for a disability. I think the reason is that like genetic enhancement, if cybernetics were used to augment human ability past the point of compensating for disabilities, taking the technology to its logical conclusion would warp people beyond anything we'd recognize as human. And so cybernetics are mainly identified with the Borg, one of the most menacing antagonists in the franchise.

    @Alan Roi

    "this is a tv show not a military documentary. "

    It is? [shocked face] But then … that would mean none of your own "real world" reasoning would apply either.

    "Pulled, yanked, twisted - just like arms and legs."

    You're reaching.

    "Nope. Nope. Nope"

    Yup. Yup. Yup*.

    Editing is storytelling in time.

    An editor wouldn't repeatedly cut between the same two characters, one a security officer, the other her suspect (whom the audience knows is guilty), unless said editor wasn't trying to communicate to the viewer that the set up between the two of them in the first act wouldn't pay off somehow at some point down the line. Otherwise there's no point including the two bridge sequences (which intercut between the two eyeballing each other) in the final edit.

    * Lingering scrutiny telegraphs potential conflict, generating suspense, or at least that's what Frakes was aiming for.

    Sorry if this has been asked already, but why couldn't they just beam her back from space into the ships brig?

    @Alan Roi cont'd…

    And besides, what could be more telling than having Nhan skulk behind a support with vantage of Airiam's station throughout the conflict. Shouldn't Nhan be at her own station (previously scene positioned on the opposite side of the bridge)?

    Frankly, the whole setup is altogether silly and makes me laugh*. Both because the intent is so transparent and because, allowing for Nhan to position herself anywhere on the bridge as she so chooses, why didn't she just take a position in immediate proximity to Airiam?

    Because that would mean we would have to throw the last 30 pages of the script right out the window, you nincompoop.

    * HA, HA. Oh jeez, I just reviewed the sequence again and there are actually four moments during the battle that show Nhan espying Airiam.

    @28:05 (the funniest one)
    @29:09 (easy to miss)

    @ Alan Roi
    Why are two guys debating female hairstyles??? Or what connection or relevance does the dresscode of the US military have to Star Trek?

    There is no debate here.
    Gil thinks that any species that is less capable when it comes to physical violence than Humans should be barred from working in security. One of course would also have to ask why not all security personal is Vulcan, considering that they are far stronger than Humans but that is a debate for another day, I guess.

    He also thinks that a security officers should without any real reason suspect anybody of being a traiter/trying to harm the ship even if these people have served faithfully for years maybe even decades.


    That's not how Saru described his feeling is "Obol". It was "I feel power", not "I feel anger". Later on, we rarely see Saru get very aggressive or very angry (his behaviour in "Thunder" has a more mundane explanation, and all other appearances have him being calm). This looks more like a dropped plot thread.

    Even if it wasn't, the show could have shown Saru has repressed anger in S2 with only a bit of effort (a few lines in "Obol" and "Thunder"), so my point about S1's "Si Vis Pacem" being easily replaceable stays. Ultimately, DIS had a lot of time for minor characters - the showrunners just made a choice not to do so and center the series about Burnham. This may or may not change in the future.

    The key characteristic of Burnham isn't her 'saviour complex'. It's her complete disregard for others when she's set on something, not matter how much it hurts them.

    From her childhood (the incident with Spock) to the pilot (where everyone she asks, *including* Sarek warn her against the "Vulcan Hello"), to her actions in the current episode (where everyone tell her to shoot out Airiam but she ignores them all).

    Heh, If we look at all the examples, her mutiny count must be in the double figures by now. Which is why in "New Eden" we have to had a special scene to mark the fact she followed orders for once! But it's her disregard and not her mutinies per se that is the problem with her. This isn't entirely 'fixed' by S1's end, which why I don't consider the character redeemed.

    "From her childhood (the incident with Spock) to the pilot (where everyone she asks, *including* Sarek warn her against the "Vulcan Hello"), to her actions in the current episode (where everyone tell her to shoot out Airiam but she ignores them all). "

    I don't know if these show any disregard for the suffering of others. When she hurt Spock as a child she was a child or young teenager herself and for the wrong reasons tried to protect her family. Spock points out her error of judgement but who doesn't f*** up as a teenager.
    In the Vulcan Hello Sarek tells his daughter what the Vulcans do which is at least an implicit recommendation for the action she should take.
    And about the scene with Airiam you should keep in mind that it is far harder to actually push a button to kill somebody, somebody who is right in front of you no less, then to just give the order without having to witness it directly.


    We don't know all of the background for what happened with Spock and she was nine, but there's a repeated pattern here and she doesn't seem to get better.

    Her actions in the "Vulcan Hello" can just as easily be read as satisfying her inner rage at Klingons, better IMHO and Sarek certainly suspects this. Burnham has to repeatedly implore Sarek to get him to tell her what the Vulcans did, and he tells her to not let her history colour her judgement and that what worked for Vulcans** may not work for Humans. My reading is that Sarek does everything to dissuade her except openly hiding info from Burnham or telling her what to do (either would show distrust in Burnham), but his clues falls on deaf ears.

    Her action with Airiam is understandable, but note her disconcern for Nahn and the opinions of the crew and her captain.

    And another example: her actions in the MU, where she's fine with killing people for someone who isn't really Georgieu (but no Starfleet officer ever faced consequences for what they did in the MU so...).

    ** Did the "Vulcan Hello" really work for Vulcans? After all, they are part of the Federation, the Klingons don't hesitate to attack it...

    @ Yair
    I always saw Sarek's comment on the course of action as a hesitant recommendation. She asks him what to do and he knows that a wrong recommendation could have devastating consequences.
    But I haven't seen that scene for quite some time. Perceptions.
    About the whole did the Vulvan Hello work. I think the last time the Vulcans encountered the Klingons the Federation was still in the making.

    The whole Nahm suffocates scene and the fact that it is Nham that pushed the button was not great storytelling. Maybe it was made that way to again underline that the universe doesn't rely on Michael Burnham which seemed to have been one of the topics of the episode. Therefor Nahm pushes the button. That Burnham didn't even check if Nham was still alive is a bad choice nonetheless.
    A pretty cheap trick. Deus ex Nham.

    "That's not how Saru described his feeling is "Obol". It was "I feel power", not "I feel anger". Later on, we rarely see Saru get very aggressive or very angry (his behaviour in "Thunder" has a more mundane explanation, and all other appearances have him being calm). This looks more like a dropped plot thread.

    Even if it wasn't, the show could have shown Saru has repressed anger in S2 with only a bit of effort (a few lines in "Obol" and "Thunder"),"


    Saru did not permanently lose his fear after that visit, I am not sure we are on the same page. It was the inhabitants in energy form of the planet that made him temporarily lose his fear and he, as a result, lost control and got aggressive. But once he was off the planet, his fear was back, he was back to himself. At the end of the episode, he was very regretful of his actions. But it was clear that he would not behave that way again since he was back to himself. He was not repressing anything because he did not fundamentally change in "Si vis" other than the fact that he got a glimpse of what he *could* be without fear, not knowing at that point that he would one day be so. Remember that is before "The Sound if Thunder."

    What happens in "The Sound of Thunder" is different. He is now permanently without fear. But that experience back then may now have become relevant to him, having shown him how dangerous he can been. TYherefore, now he is more equipped to deal with his situation.


    I agree Saru did not change permanently in "Si vis". My understanding was that the anger was already inside him (there was no good reason to be angry otherwise), and being without fear simply released it. So I'd have expected Saru to feel that anger again once he was again released (this time permanently) from that fear. Judging from the dialogue he doesn't feel that anger or any need to repress anything beyond the usual (Saru being quite good at repressing emotions like fear and pain already), and that is why I argued "dropped plot thread".

    If I am reading you right, you are arguing Saru needed to learn how to control aggression and anger specifically, and he might not have been able to handle them otherwise?


    'to madmanUC, for not liking this episode and not being afraid to write a very succinct and thought provoking post about why that is. A good read. While I thought Michelle Paradise did a great job with this episode, madmanUC did not. That's okay!'

    Well, you know, actually ... I'm really still not sure whether I liked it or disliked it, four days on. I was merely pointing out what I considered to be a pretty glaring structural problem that reminded me of that particular DS9 episode.

    When I was watching it, there were minor things that bothered me, but nothing to dismiss it out of hand. The only other major thing that bothered me — at that time, when I watching it — was Spock's characterisation during his argument with MB. I thought he was being petty, vindictive, and emotional.

    Then I thought about it some more, and I thought, 'Well, he just went through a mind-bending experience, *and* he's half-human after all. And he won't actually decide to go the whole distance, and take the Kolinahr to purge himself of his remaining emotions until after the Enterprise's five-year mission under Kirk is done (shortly before and during ST:TMP).' So that knowledge helped me half-excuse Peck's interpretation of Spock.

    Then, on a lark, I re-watched a couple of TOS S01 episodes, and realised that S01 Spock could actually be outright nasty and confrontational. I'm thinking specifically of his speech in 'The Squire of Gothos' ('I object to you,' said Spock); and of his treatment of his shipmates and overall emotional bearing in 'The Galileo Seven' ... despite all of his claims of behaving logically during the ep.

    So, up until this very moment, I was on the fence about Peck's Spock (never minding the fact that I fail to see any necessity in having him in this series to start with).

    But, now, I think Peck is actually doing a good job. It's clear to me he researched the character, and made a pretty good interpretation of where Spock is in his life, taking into account how nimoy protrayed him over the years from the early TOS episodes through to the TOS films, and probably into TNG.

    Is he Nimoy? No. Will we instantly associate Spock with Peck in the years to come? Likely not. But, I think, Peck's got more than an abundance of respect not just to the character, but to Nimoy himself, to not step in it with his own interpretation of the character. If we're to have Spock re-cast (again), I'm fairly pleased with Peck as the choice.

    As for the rest of the episode. It was definitely watchable. It just had the same niggling, nitpicky issues that irk me in the other ones, and that I wish would finally be solved. And, like I said, Frakes did a great job bringing in the feels, even if those feels weren't earned or deserved.

    Very good episode. Discovery continues it's excellence.

    Yeah, we get to "meet" Airium!! Insteresting stuff.

    Enter our favorite ADM. I read lots of folks don't like the camera trick in the shutle bay, but it didn't bother me in the slightest . Not sure why it would bother anyone.

    She gives Spock a lie detector test - he passes of course - but she conflicted because she has video from the mental hospital that shows Spock killing 3 folks as he is "breaking out".

    ADM tells Pike she is worried about the "Vulcan Extremists" ... she says they need to go to 31 HQ and reset "Control".

    Spock/Michael exchange was fantastic. Two reasons #1 Michael was finally put in her place (come on, you agree here.... how many Mary Sue haters were jumping out of their here?) ... probably by the only one that could really reach her to a point where she could accept it. #2. We see just how much this Red Angel thing is troubling Spock. So much he loses control while talking with Michael.

    Peck is simply outstanding as Spock.

    Michael is more human than we've ever seen in this episode. Probably SMG's best performance to date.

    I enjoyed learning more about Airium... even though I suspected we might lose her.

    I will only "ding" this episode 3 times.

    #1. Cmdr. Nhan. She was suspicious of Airium, but nothing came of it. (yet, we may still get something from this I guess)
    #2. While Airium was kicking the crap out of everyone, Nhan was struggling to get her atmosphere converter (ripped out by Airium) she kicks Michael then enters the airlock, Michael just ignored her. When Nhan opened the airlock, she still didn't have the converter... how was she conscious?
    #3. When Airium was in the airlock, they could have made some effort to beam her back to Discovery... or better, something should have been said to illuminate why they couldn't beam her out.

    I can't give this episode the highest mark because of them. These are pretty glaring but didn't affect the punch of this episode.

    I'm really getting attached to this crew. ... and Pikes addition only enhances that.

    I was moved to tears at the end of this. That hasn't happened to me in Star Trek in quite some time.

    Bravo Discovery.

    3 out of 4 stars... I'm surprised Frakes didn't catch those gaffs.

    People who hate this show but still comment EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK. should really stop. We get it. You dont just dislike the show but actually hate it and nitpick to a ridiculous degree and try to argue and ruin the fun for people who enjoy it. Please take a look at what you are doing. For three years you’ve watched every single episode only to vomit negative energy digitally. It’s obvious you can’t stop watching this captivating show which I can understand but PLEASE stop commenting. We got it loud and clear. Weekly. You hate the show. Duly noted. Now please take it elsewhere

    I find it interesting that the overwhelming majority of you consider the fact no-one suggested beaming Airiam back aboard Discovery to be problematic.

    Oddly enough, I didn't find this a problem at all. My logic — as I watching — was that beaming her back would be the worst possible idea, just because she could probably access any old panel and take over the ship. Or even do it wirelessly, Cylon-style in the BSG reboot, even from confinement; consider that this is how she got hacked in the first place, wirelessly and without having to physically connect to anything.


    I see why you'd draw some similarities between Muñez in "The Ship" and Airiam in this episode. Although, I think the issue with "The Ship", an episode I like on the whole by the way, is that it keeps wearing on about the same plot points several times in the episode. It is pretty sad that a nice guy like Muñez is suffering, and his loss is moving, but there's not just one but several different scenes with him doing this sort of witty-banter-but-I'm dying routine with O'Brien. And that episode overhashes similar conflicts like Jadzia being a smart alec and Sisko failing to negotiate *anything* which makes the episode more meandering than it needs to be.

    Other than that though, I don't see a problem with bringing a regular but minor character into the spotlight before they die. People die all the time in Star Trek, and it's somewhat unique when they get the audience involved in the deceased's life. Picard lost his whole family off-screen in "Generations" - but it basically felt like a cheap writing trick to get Picard thinking about death without involving the audience. The gesture of letting the audience in on the deceased's life is one of the strong points of this episode (and "The Ship") that really works.

    It will be interesting too, if something lasting comes of Airiam's death. I like how TNG made nods to Tasha's death several times during the series - in particular, how the memory of her was used in "The Measure of a Man".


    due to the endless amount of episodes where something always prevents an easy transporter solution, I just kind of assumed it got taken out during the mine sequence.

    I always found it confusing that people pointed to Nimoy's Spock as a paragon of logic and rationality. He shows emotions all the time. He is more or less a British gentlemen. Condescending and repressed. Nimoy was just so great in that role.
    Considering how fearful I was about this Spock and how they would introduce him I must say that I'm kind of ok with Peck.
    I liked you analysis. How Peck probably came up with a timeline of Spock. Where he would be in his live, what he was going through at the time. Good stuff.

    About the cinematography. I actually didn't mind that shot, too but many here are still recovering from severe neck and eye injuries inflicted during the last weeks. In a way it was impressive that the camera could make me feel dizzy one or two times but I doubt that is what they intended. It was fine this week.

    "I like how TNG made nods to Tasha's death several times during the series -"
    Really?? I always found Commander Sela pretty embarrassing. Talk about shoehorned. She was like a Bond villain.


    What I think I object to the most about the Airiam situation is the fact that people had been practically begging to get know the character (along with the rest of the bridge crew) since last season. Which is — fundamentally — a very reasonable request. Star Trek has always been about the whole, the ensemble; even if a captain or commander was nominally the main character of any of the given series.

    Bridge crews/senior staff in particular. The audience gets to know these people, and they feel somehow included in this little circle of people who sit on the bridge or the operations room and have adventures every week together.

    And this is where this show breaks the model, and I think that it disturbs people. And I'm not talking about Discovery-haters; I'd be hard-pressed to frankly find any hardcore discovery fan who wouldn't like to get to know Detmer or Airiam or Bryce a little more, week over week, in a more substantial way than just hearing them telling us the shields are down to 41%, or that there's no response to our hails.

    And that's why I think it was unfair of the writers to pull this off. They very likely knew what the fans wanted, and only sort-of delivered. And whilst I don't think writers and producers should by any means pander to fans, I think that the desire to get more stuck in with the rest of the bridge crew is absolutely, 100% reasonable and understandable. In the end: the Airiam really need to die? I would argue she didn't. There must have been another, just as compelling a narrative solution to the problem.

    Instead, this season, we got Linus the Sneezing Saurian, Agent Tyle the Mouthbreather, and a wise-cracking engineer who only turned up a couple of times. That's creative energy, casting budget, and narrative goodwill better spent fulfilling the fans' wish, I believe.

    Yes. Had it not been for that experience in "Si vis" he may have reacted after "The Sound of Thunder" in the same nutty way he did back then. That experience helped him deal better with the lack of fear. Again, I reiterate, that is just an interpretation and does not argue against your initial observation way back up the thread. Just that it makes sense to me, and that I don't consider "Si vis" or Saru's reaction to it as being ignored.


    Also, I'm with you on 'The Ship'; despite the Muñiz plot, I enjoyed the episode.

    So, I guess I think that — despite what I consider to be a narrative landmine with getting in-depth with a minor character for an episode only to red-shirt them at the end — the problem isn't ultimately a make-or-break one.

    And, ultimately, there it is: I'm sorry, Airiam. You were a Red Shirt.


    Oh, I don't disagree with giving more time to the unexplored bridge crew. I suppose this episode is a symptom of that, but I would argue that's more of a series issue rather than an actual problem with this episode when viewed in isolation. Indeed this episode is the best Airiam episode, so I'm reluctant to fault it for issue more apparent in its preceding shows.

    I would like to hear the reasoning behind not giving the bridge crew more screen time. Perhaps they haven't yet decided which characters they really want us to be in touch with for the long haul. Saving that time inside for developing guest characters like Mudd and Vina likely gives the writers more freedom, but I can't say for sure if that's a good trade off.


    'Saving that time inside for developing guest characters like Mudd and Vina likely gives the writers more freedom, but I can't say for sure if that's a good trade off.'

    It's about balance, I think.

    In the comments a few episodes back, I brought up 'Chain of Command' and, specifically, Gul Madred. In the space of one short episode, he was presented as being fully-formed and quite complex, but his characterisation didn't come at the expense of any of the regular cast. Now, granted, we'd had several seasons with the regular cast to that point, but the episode still found the time to advance Riker's character a bit, specifically in his dealings/relationship with Jellico.

    What I've been observing so far with Discovery, is that there's new character after new character that comes in, gets half-explored, but it's always at the expense of the regulars. The writers and producers haven't learnt the right balance here, and I think they're completely mis-directing their efforts.

    So yes, I agree with you 100%, the problem is with the series as a whole, not one or two episodes in isolation.


    My line of thinking was to beam her into the brig, or somewhere where forcefields could be used. But you make a good point, she possibly could not be contained.

    @Daya: "I must ask you, though, why you think "Making decisions on emotion and using whatever logical explanation it takes to justify those actions is exactly what we've seen Vulcans do since TOS". If your comment includes TOS, can you give me examples from TOS where Spock or another Vulcan indulged in such flexible logic?"

    The answer is worth an essay! The earliest instance that comes to mind is Spock's response to the Romulans in "Balance of Terror." Spock believes that attack is the only option toward those of his species who do not follow Surak--and he represents this prejudice as simple logic. McCoy becomes the one to speak for Federation principles. (If you disagree and think Spock is indeed simply logical here, then you see the script as much less layered than I do.)

    But we see this behavior essentially nonstop and with less ambiguity in how Spock and his father interact in "Journey to Babel." Here we first watch Vulcans putting the patterns on full display that they will repeat for the rest of the franchise. They cloak their personal approvals and disapprovals behind walls of logic and engage in near-constant passive aggressive sniping and baiting, with all of the emotions involved constantly denied. They will maintain this pretense up to and including life or death decisions.

    Whether we're talking about the ego of the Vulcan captain who challenges Sisko to baseball or nearly every moment a Vulcan walks onscreen on Enterprise, we see a people who must deny the emotion in their decisions and behaviors in order to maintain status in their society. That refusal to acknowledge a fundamental component of their motives leads to a lot of toxic behaviors.

    Of course, logic isn't *only* a pretense for Vulcans. Their devotion to meditation, reflection, and self-discipline allows many Vulcans to invoke logic to the benefit of themselves and those around them in ways that most people couldn't.

    What happens if you're raised in the Vulcan culture of emotional denial but haven't had the lifelong training to rely on Vulcan logic as a consistent asset? Enter Michael Burnham.

    Interesting take on the Vulcan society. Never thought about it that way.


    Those of us whose watching of Star Trek predates 1987 understand that the ensemble isn't the only way Star Trek has been written. Over the course of TOS we never learned much about anyone not named Kirk, Spock and McCoy. Neither Uhura nor Sulu were even given first names. Did Star Trek suffer creatively? Not according to any list of outstanding episodes of the franchise ever compiled. TOS regularly is represented in double compared with any following series.

    I don't disagree that those taught that the 1987-2004 era is 'proper trek' and are upset that the bridge crew isn't the be all and end all of what a Star Trek should be about, but like DS9, Discovery is a ensemble, just not a TNG, VOY, ENT ensemble.

    That being said, Discovery has offered focus on 5 members of the ships crew (Burnham, Saru, Stamets, Tyler, Lorca/Pike) plus an additional 7 ancillary characters in each season on external recurring characters including Sarek, Amanda, T'Rell, Admiral Cornwell, Spock, Culber, Georgiou, each of which have had as much light shone on them as lesser ensemble members of any Trek show. That is an ensemble of 12 recurring characters over a course of a mere 24 episodes.

    One doesn't like the ensemble as it is constructed, fair enough, I didn't care for the milquetoaste and dilute ensembles featured in TNG, VOY and ENT either. One pretends there is no similarly broad ensemble of characters in the show at all? That's pathological denial.


    Very interesting. Consider the ending of Jorney to Babel. "Emotional isn't she.." The way I see it, Spock / Sarek are clearly joking about Amanda. It is only thinly veiled as logical discourse. They are fooling no one, especially not themselves. (It's amazing by the way how Lenard manages to show even lesser on his face than Nimoy.)

    So I submit to you that at a superficial level Vulcans do have feelings and their culture makes them obsessively hide those feelings and deny any emotionality to their behaviour. At a deeper level, though, Vulcans' access to logic is far better than other species. In a sense the latter is what Surak really proposed, the former being superficial social norms that have developed around it. (You can draw parallels with religions, especially Oriental ones -- there are a core set of philosophical beliefs, which develop into many social behaviors as philosophy develops into religion.)

    Maybe I am saying the same thing you are. But at least in TOS, my understanding of Spock / Sarek was not *just* "Making decisions on emotion and using whatever logical explanation it takes to justify those actions". I specifically wanted to stick to TOS and not bring in the rest of the canon. I do agree that ENT Vulcans are described well by your statement. And in many other comments, I have myself commented on TOS Spock's passive-aggressive tendencies. Only I think that he was well beyond his superficial passive aggression.

    For example, Spock / Sarek's disagreement over Spock's career had a clear father-son ego clash vibe to it. But at a deeper level, there was a real philosophical disagreement as well - about how Spock should best use his gifts in service of the greater good. I hope I am making some sense.

    I will review Balance of Terror per your recommendation. Thanks for the discussion. I would be happy to be enlightened further.

    Well, folks — on a completely different note — I'm afraid our time with Anson Mount's Pike comes to an end after S02 is done:

    Just one question. Why didn't Burnham press the button and release Airiam herself? Of course she didn't want to do it. But this show showed a lot more promise in its very its very first episode, and down the track its lost something. Consider that Burnham actually started a war by firing on the Klingons was a mistake..A season down the track she can't decided to whether to relaese airiam and ultimately, although the show revolves around her a bit, a minor character has to do it for her. The show could be so much more if it had the courage to make serious decisions on behalf of the characters. To subject them to much harsher realities and to see how they cope. I suspect that that is where the better writing lies...

    I'll be very, very sad to see Anson Mount go. He's been perhaps the brightest highlight of season two, and I think he's put a very definitive stamp on Pike. Much like I'll never really accept anybody but Shatner playing Kirk, I think Mount has a good claim to ownership of Pike now.

    That said, I'm not feeling his loss as keenly as I did that of Jason Isaacs in the first season. Contrary to a lot of the opinion I see online, I actually didn't mind his reveal as a Mirror Universe villain. What I *did* mind was the lost storytelling opportunity of showing us how the influences of each world could impact a man like that. The show dropped the ball by not showing us how the lack of ethical constraints granted by a MU Captain could help or harm a Starfleet ship in a time of war, and then it dropped the ball *again* when it posited that his undercover time as a Starfleet captain hadn't changed his character at all.

    (They may try again at exploring that ground with Emperor Georgiou, but I don't think Michelle Yeoh's performance is as nuanced as Isaacs'.)

    Lorca (and Isaacs' portrayal of him) had layers, and could have remained a great fountain of character work for years to come. Pike has been great, but he's very very much a traditional hero, and such a character is more easily replaced.

    Personally, I'm hoping they promote Saru. Doug Jones has earned it. His work this year has been great and I would absolutely tune in to see him in the big chair.


    Burnham didn't press the button because of the guilt she has about not doing anything when her parent's were killed that Spock had just reminded her, and provoked the PTSD she still has from that event. So this is a harsh reality that Burnham had to face and this is her not handling it well.

    PS. She didn't start the war with the Klingons or fire first. Everyone who watches the series knows this. Hard to be a good judge of the writing of a show when one is ignoring some pretty basic facts about it.

    @ Tim C.
    I didn't like Lorca from start to finish. I have seen Jason Isaacs in good roles (also in bad ones) but Lorca never worked for me. For a regular Starfleet captain he was to ruthless and when we found out that he was MU his behavior made more sense but also turned him into a one dimensional villain. When he got the axe I didn't feel anything.

    Mount's Pike was good and was a very important factor in turning the USS Titanic away from the iceberg. With him the whole tone of the show changed. Sure he was the classic hero (which is the male version of Mary Sue, I guess) but he played that role very well. Would I like to see him continue to be captain. Yes. Could Saru be an even better captain. Probably.
    Now that you mentioned it. Saru's whole two season arc seems to have prepared him to become captain. I would be ok with this soft and newly improved giant. Would be nice to see how he deals with the aftermath on Kaminar if he is actually in the captains chair.

    Well you're not alone, Booming. A lot of people didn't like Lorca. Personally, many of my favourite Trek captain stories have been the ones where they either went off the rails or came dangerously close to it. I wouldn't want it all the time, but it always made them seem more real to me when we saw that yep, they were just human themselves and could get their buttons pushed too. (Janeway in "Equinox" is my favourite story of this type. Mulgrew could bring on such a cold fury when she was given the opportunity. The cargo bay scene with Lessing and Chakotay makes me shiver just thinking about it.)

    Similarly, I think that's what I found appealing about Lorca's character, and why I found it so frustrating when he got vaporised. As always with this show, YMMV.

    From what I'm seeing, just about every fan wants Saru promoted to captain in S3, and that's also the right call for DIS. The problem with Saru now is that the show took away his biggest characteristic. Perhaps there's one more episode returning to Kaminar, and then what?

    DIS needs a new touch for the character lest he turns invisible. So far the showrunners concentrated on Saru's super-vision and that's nowhere near enough (apparently, computers can't zoom or do UV analysis in the future). Promotion would be the ticket for putting him in the spotlight again.

    As much as I am enjoying Pike and Spock, loving Saru as a character, I'd prefer to see a new captain and watch Discovery develop its own adventures without any additional characters. Mount said when the season began that he was in it for a year so this is not really news (and some outlets reported it so back then). I am not sure Saru is fit (yet) to be captain either with the recent changes to his personality traits.

    Bummer (re-trekmovie article). He could stay onboard for another year(s) and still be within cannon.

    Mount's Pike has been outstanding.

    Notice the article sisn't mention anything about Spock. :-)

    Booming, what do you mean?

    Sorry, the article does mention Spock.

    But he still could return.


    I think what Booming means is that — up to now — Discovery has been relying too much since S01 on fan-service gimmicks to try and show its Trek credentials. From little things like the TNG/DS9/VOY sound pack on the bridge and to listing Jonathan Archer among the most decorated Starfleet captains, to bigger fan-service things like bringing Pike aboard, to making MB Spock's step-sister, and to actually bringing Spock on.

    All of this, rather than finding its own way and voice.

    At least ... I *think* this is what Booming means.

    @ Yanks.
    What MadmanMUC said. It is a little like with Star Wars 7 which I really liked even though it was a rehash of a new hope. With 8 I thought that after giving us this kind of great but also kind of save soft reboot they should do their own thing which they kind of did but in a really strange way that did not work. Even though it was kind of amazing like exploding a bomb in the new heart of Star Wars.

    With Discovery they used nostalgia to draw people in, now they are in (if Discovery is actually successful). And now is the time to just tell a great season arc or maybe start a multi season arc. They will either go for something bold and new or something kind of ok but boring. Or it will be a horrible clusterfuck. Who knows.

    I actually dont see why people love Anson mount so much. Its like people are grasping at straws. Ive felt like his performances are pretty wooden and his role is minimal. I wont feel his loss at all.

    @Brian Lear

    Mount's peformance has been subtle and relies on his Rutger Hauer like ability to underplay his role while still commanding scenes. Its not wooden at all.

    @Booming @MadManUC

    Discovery is in a no-win situation with many fans no matter what it does. When it started people claimed it was not Star Trek, that the ship's crew were all psychopaths and that Spock never had a sister! many people hated the 'nostalgia' because they rightly identified that it wasn't nostalgia but a deconstruction of Star Trek not an appeasement of their actual canon dependent nostalgia.

    Some of these people were appeased when Pike arrived, but then others went overboard with the claims that the show had gone all-in fan-servicey, even again that the show continues to mine deconstruction of and mining of franchise depth while fans howl that it's depiction of Section 31 undermines the whole franchise. While many others still insist its a genereric scifi show with a Star Trek barnd stamped on it.

    IMO, Discovery has had its own voice since day one, as it has approached the idea of Star Trek from a different angle than any series before, while still maintaining familiar enough trappings for it to be a member of the franchise and continues to add to Star Trek mythology in a way that forces its audiece to reevaluate some of the core ideas and ideals they associate with Star Trek.

    My hope is that it doesn't abandon its desconstruction-heavy but not judgemental gaze at the franshise, because, IMHO, that's what makes it unique amongst all the Star Trek series since TOS.

    Ahhh, come on...

    Where are the Admiral and Discovery meeting that she can just jump there instantly with her shuttle? Or was she undereway for a few weeks? Couldn't have used the spore drive. Oh well, space is small.

    There is a logic extremist (a known terrorist group) Admiral behind section 31? What the actual fuck? If that is public knowledge, why is that Admiral not removed? "Her fanaticism is ... troubling" Yes of course it is, that's why it's called fanaticism... Jesus. That line delivery, and that sentence, was utterly stupid.

    I did like Spock chewing out Burnham. Didn't like him getting all emotional.

    Blade mines. The worst invention since the spore drive. You have an organisation with apparently unlimited power constructing forbidden weapons, mines, and instead of arming them with anti-matter warheads, cloaking and shield penetrating abilities, they arm them with swords. Fucking brilliant. Next they invent the front loaded laser musket. The mines are in direct contact with the hull, one anti-matter warhead and Discovery is toast, but no, nada. And when we finally get explosive mines, they detonate with about 100kg TNT equivalent.

    Also, the mines track shields, but apparently not the ship itself. What a great targeting system. The Admiral says it is impossible for somebody to remotely send the mines somewhere - why? Because they have no propulsion? In that case, why would you deactivate your shields in the first place? The mines couldn't move to intercept you anyway. Or is it because you can't communicate with the mines? In that case, why can't you? they are not cloaked or in some subspace field or some other technobabble, they are clearly visible. You could send them flag signals for all that we know.

    "Sensors say we are upside down" ... ugh, what? In which reference frame? "Black-out mines interfere with our sensors". Yeah, right. Telling you that you are upside down in space, where "down" is not even a valid direction.... Or does space have a "This side up" sign? "Helm is not responding" "It is, you are flying blind, just like in the academy" uh ... no. flying blind is flying without knowing where you are headed. When the helm does not respond it means that your controls are broken. If those black-out mines can hack the sensors that tell you which thrusters are firing, or at how much power your impulse drive is, they can also tell your warpcore that it is only at 50% power, so that it will try to reach 100% and overheat shortly after. They could also tell your oxygen sensors that there is a lack of oxygen, thus the system will flood your ship with more and more oxygen until everything spontaneously combusts.

    Stamets is working on a part that he removed from some system. As that part fails, the whole room loses power... Of course, when I remove a tire from my car and then deflate it, the battery shorts out and the doorlocks open.

    Airiam offloaded all her memories to Discovery, yet Tillys speech manages to convince her. Why? She has no memories of ever interacting with her at all. Or who she is.

    "Michael, it is all about you!" Well, that was a surprise, wasn't it?

    To be honest, that "Advanced AI wants to become sentient" plot could have been nice. If it was a standalone episode. Instead we have conspiracy upon conspiracy, and another threat to all sentient life in the galaxy (AI-sentience = all life gone. Well Data... looks like we will have to terminate you). I actually liked some of the cinematography of this episode, and we finally get to know what exactly Airiam was (of course, she has to die as soon as we know something about her...), but whatever potential there was for interesting developements is completely undermined by all the nonsense. Everybody knows that a minefield is dangerous, no need to reinvent the wheel. Enterprise had a very nice episode centered around mines. If the AI is in complete control of the station, why can they turn the gravity back on? Why doesn't the AI turn up the gravity to 11? Again, it could have been interesting, but it was mostly poorly handled.

    @ Alan Roi
    Great if you are such an ardent fan but there will always be people who don't like the show not as much as you do. We are very emotional beings and when people hate a show it often has less to do with the show. The same goes for loving it.

    And sure, Discovery had it's own voice during season one it was just a confusing unpleasant one at least for me but season two turned it, for the most part, around. :)

    It's so weird to me how so many of the people who defend this show are the same ones who hated on the JJ movies.'s the same stuff. The same producers and writing style and visual language is present in Discovery as it was in the reboot movies. It's all the same. The JJ movies were badly written and so is Discovery.

    It's actually astonishing how bad the writing is on the show. The writers just don't understand narrative storytelling at all, or how to properly build and release tension, or make us care about the characters. The show is written with the nuance of fan fiction and until that changes the show can never be good, let some great.

    @ John Harmon
    You can pick apart everything. For example the Borg who gave us maybe the best antagonist in TNG make absolutely no sense. ZERO.
    They are slow moving beings who react bad to bullets. Give me five machine guns and loads of ammunition and I conquer the Borg in four weeks, six weeks tops.
    Shall I continue?

    And I don't think that the writing of Discovery is comparable, for obvious reasons, to a 2 hour movie or that it is actually that bad. It certainly isn't worse than a lot of what you consider Trek


    "When people hate a show it often has less to do with the show."

    You hit the nail on the head.

    For instance, I didn't enjoy ST09 the first time I watched it. And the second time I decided to try watching it for what it was, not what I wanted it to be and enjoyed it immensely. It was exactly the same movie, I merely approached it from a different angle. I understand that many people define themselves by that single angle they approach thier subjects of interest. That howerver, means they enjoy things a lot less than they would otherwise, like this series of Star Trek compared to what they think is 'proper' Star Trek. And that is a shame. Overcoming one's set of narrow perspectives is what the series has been about since day one.

    @Booming: The neutering and butchering of the Borg is one of the most common criticisms of both First Contact and Voyager. So it hardly went over as well as you suggest here.

    And why can't you compare writing in movies and in TV shows? Consistency, logic and suspension of disbelief work just the same in both mediums. Time constraints don't apply there, as you can just take one scene of a series and one scene of a movie and compare those.

    @john Harmon

    Try listening to what these people are saying and looking at the show from their perspective. You might be enlightened by approaching the show from their POV.

    @ Hank
    What did I suggest?? Sorry I have french wine in my veins.
    The forces that shape a big budget hollywood blockbuster movie are different. While a movie can overwhelm you for two hours if it is well constructed a TV show cannot. The actual question is. Are most people here idiots who don't know anything about consistency, logic and suspension of disbelief or is it something else. Something maybe more related to you? :)
    But hey again. I'm 60% through a wine bottle...

    @Booming: Sorry, by first saying "You can pick apart anything" and then giving the example of the Borg having glass jaws, you gave the impression that that point was just glossed over previously.

    No, I am sure that most people here are not idiots, quite the contrary, actually.

    My argument was that shows and movies, regardless of the outside influences and constraints that apply, can be judged along objective comon criteria. For example: Character A is holding a sword in scene A, after a cut he holds a gun, and after another cut he holds his sword again. All that happens in 3 seconds of screentime with no timejumps between scenes. We will both agree, hopefully, that that is an inconsistency.

    Now, the part where we disagree in the relative value we assign to this scene. You might simply ignore it because it was just a simple mistake and enjoy the movie regardless, while I, hypothetically, am completely analy fixated and write a fifteen page dissertation about why that ruins the movie completely. In that case, it is arguable that the problem does indeed lie with me, and not the movie.

    But if we move away from such clear cut cases, it becomes increasingly harder to determine if it is just my problem or an actual problem in the movie. Lets say the movie has fifteen scenes like that: Characters holding guns when they held a stick before. Doors being open that were explicitely shown to be locked. At some point, the case can be made that the movie is objectively bad. It doesn't mean you are an idiot if you enjoy it. It just means that you ignore more things than other people when assessing the value of the movie. And that is, of course, highly subjective.

    So yes, it is related to me, and we can include Alan Rois remarks from above here, who quoted you with: "When people hate a show it often has less to do with the show." This, I think, is a non-argument, just like "When people love a show it often has less to do with the show." is a non-argument, because it conflates subjective enjoyment with objective merits that the show or movie has. The implication is, of course, that the people who enjoy/hate the show are just to stupid to understand it, and that the show itself is flawless/utterly terrible. Telling people that they are the problem, and that if they only were to view things from a different (=the other guys) point of view will never convince anybody to change their mind. The other points of view are clearly laid out here, thats one of the reasons that I read the comments, but if they don't convince me, they don't convince me.

    We are again in territory that Jammer wishes to not have on this site in such large quantities, so I will just end it here.

    Anyways, I wish you good fun with the remaining 40% of your wine bottle (though I do hope that you are drinking the wine and not eating the bottle ;)).

    @ Hank
    OMG. I got kind of confused after "while I, hypothetically, am completely analy fixated "
    You know... just go for it.

    But let me assure you that I will write you a more or less reasonable response at a later time.
    A votre santé!

    I had to think of that scene


    I have often told people they need to pay attention to the show. here are a couple of your errors in observation,

    You stated:

    "Stamets is working on a part that he removed from some system. As that part fails, the whole room loses power... Of course, when I remove a tire from my car and then deflate it, the battery shorts out and the doorlocks open."

    Except he is clearly working on an ELECTRICALLY POWERED system, this is stated several times in the scene, and he states out loud he is concerned about being shocked (when you remove a tire is that one of your concerns? that you are going to get shocked) and he short this powered system out. And in my experience, if you short out your cars electrical system is it going to run? In my experience with cars made this century, they aren't.

    You also stated:

    "Airiam offloaded all her memories to Discovery, yet Tillys speech manages to convince her. Why? She has no memories of ever interacting with her at all. Or who she is."

    First of all, Tilly notes that Ariam offloaded all her "ARCHIVED memories". the qualifier of ARCHIVED tells us these aren't memories she needs to function.

    Now if you are going to miss these very obvious and very clearly stated components of the narrative, what more might you be missing? And I have to ask you, why do you think you are having trouble recieving what the dialogue of the show is very clearly telling you is going on?

    @Alan Roi

    Very objective counterarguments, Alan. May be we should have led with those.


    Regarding your question, does space have a "this side up" sign, please see my post above. You can find it by searching for the following words (include the quotation marks):

    About "upside down"

    @ Hank
    "We will both agree, hopefully, that that is an inconsistency. "
    I want to say yes.

    "write a fifteen page dissertation about why that ruins the movie completely"
    I don't mean that as an insult and I don't know how serious you are about movie mistakes but that sounds obsessive compulsive to me. I don't mean that disrespectful! And if you go in that direction then it is completely understandable that even tiny mistakes mightily bug you. I must tell you that popular culture will never produce anything that caters to such a specific taste. You will have to look for very specific stuff which is out there but Discovery is not that.

    "It just means that you ignore more things than other people when assessing the value of the movie."
    I think it is the other way around. Let me explain.
    Now my take on why I like Discovery. You seem very much focused on the consistency of the show or storytelling but my view is broader. I see it as a product which gets the acting right, it often looks really incredible. I'm aware that we are used to everything looking great these days but think about how much work people put into this. I could name other stuff the show does really well.
    I agree with you that the shows weak point is often the story but keep in mind where we come from. I only liked the time loop episode from season one. So while the general story often has it's flaws I can really appreciate individual scenes for their artistic value.
    In essence I assess the value of a show like Discovery more broadly. To give you an example. Whitney Houstons "I will always love you" is not a great song when you look at the lyrics but Houstons incredible performance elevates this rather mediocre cultural product to something amazing. Discovery is in a way like that. The stories so far may be okish but everything else works often so well that it elevates the artistic quality of the show to a point where many people can enjoy it.

    "This, I think, is a non-argument, just like "When people love a show it often has less to do with the show." is a non-argument, because it conflates subjective enjoyment with objective merits that the show or movie has."
    I agree , sort of. The emotional state a person is in while it consumes a cultural product is important. It is also important what general state somebody is in his/her life. If someone is unhappy with his/her life then that can make mistakes more glaring and limit the enjoyment.
    That is why I brought up the Borg. I could find all these kind of flaws you mentioned about Discovery in all the Trek shows. When you really think about them, none of them make sense in a lot of ways. In general and specific episodes. I accept science fiction for what it is: people making up stuff to get across certain ideas.
    There will always be very few shows I really like because of the writing. The wire, or community comes to mind. Both shows by the way were not very successful. Both barely made it. Which doesn't mean that people who like simpler, maybe even inconsistent stuff are, as you pointed out, idiots. It means that life slowly wrestles you down which limits your appreciation for more complex art.

    "Telling people that they are the problem, and that if they only were to view things from a different (=the other guys) point of view will never convince anybody to change their mind"
    Absolutely. And your points are valid. I just wanted to bring it back to the individual level. People, you and me included, have a tendency to generalize.
    I don't want to go full post modernism on you but objective quality is a debatable concept. What is good or bad is just a cultural specific construct, sort of. Think about Shakespeare. Is Shakespeare great because the storytelling is great or because the use of language is incredible sophisticated. Or is it just great because we think that is great. Sorry I didn't explain that well, but I haven't eaten and I am also a little hungover but let's not get into my obsessive patterns. :)

    "We are again in territory that Jammer wishes to not have on this site in such large quantities, so I will just end it here. "
    I can tell you with almost certainty that Jammer is fine with this type of discussion.
    You have laid out your opinion in a respectful way and I hope I have answered in a similar way.

    @Alan Roi
    "That however, means they enjoy things a lot less than they would otherwise, like this series of Star Trek compared to what they think is 'proper' Star Trek. And that is a shame. Overcoming one's set of narrow perspectives is what the series has been about since day one."

    I think it is quite insulting to categorize a person's individual tastes as "a narrow perspective that needs to be overcome". Is it wrong for people to have standards? Should we strive to train ourselves to like every bit of trash that the megacoorperations throw our way?

    I emphasize that I'm not talking about Discovery here. It is the general idea behind your comment that I find troubling. It reminds me of those dystopian sci fi settings where the world looks like sh*t and people are programmed to enjoy it. I'll take conscious living over brainless joy any day.

    In short: Making this argument in favor of a show you like, isn't doing that show any favors.


    "All the planets in our own Solar System (except Uranus) have their equators in roughly the same planes. Even the Sun's equator matches most planets' equators, and these planes approximately match the planes of rotations of most planets. Furthermore, all of these roughly match the "galactic plane", the plane along which the mass of the Milky Way Galaxy is distributed."

    The latter part is not true.

    The Ecliptic (the plane of the planets) is inclined at about 60 degrees to the Galactic Plane.


    What the script says:

    Pike: We’re fighting the system itself.


    Tilly: She downloaded all of her archived data … all of her memories … onto Discovery. None of it is in her head anymore. Those memories meant everything to her.

    Pike: Find out what she download into place. Lt. Bryce, open a secure channel to Burnham and Nhan only.


    Pike: What is Airiam doing?

    Burnham: Trying to restore the Admiral’s access to Control.

    Pike: No she’s not. Stop her. Now.

    [Airiam turns around.]


    Pike: Airiam’s compromised. Something’s controlling her through her augmentation.

    Tilly: Sir, do you remember the sphere, it was dying, it had a lot of data…

    Pike: I was there, get to the point.

    Tilly: OK, well the the message is to Section 31. That contains data from the sphere. That’s the data Airiam downloaded before leaving.


    Cornwall: Why would Control want A.I. data?

    Burnham: Oh, that’s it. It wants to think. It wants to evolve. The data is like a roadmap for Control to become fully conscious.


    Pike: Can you delete the data remotely?

    Tilly: I can’t access the system. And I definitely can’t hack Airiam.


    Tilly: Open a channel to Airiam. Please. Airiam. Hi, it’s Tilly.

    Michelle Paradise: Turn on the tears, Mary.

    FAIL: By uploading all her archived memories to Discovery, Airiam is no longer Airiam. She’s Control.

    FAIL: How did Airiam overhear Burnham’s and Nhan’s private channels?

    FAIL: How could a non-sentient computer [Control] “want” something, let alone possess a desire to evolve, unless it was already sentient, Burnham?

    FAIL: Why would Control hesitate at Tilly’s voice? Why would Control accept a data stream from Tilly?

    As is abundantly clear, nothing makes sense … once again … except that the writers continue to place priority on fee fees over sound reason.

    At no time in the episode is there any indication of an overt power struggle taking place between Airiam and Control—only this one voice of concern out of the blue:

    @19:57 I would like you to stand beside me. Do not move until we solve this problem. Do you understand … Please, Tilly.

    But where is this voice of concern coming from? Intuition? Does she know what’s happening to her? That’s she’s being controlled.

    And if she does, why is she wasting time asking a fellow officer [Tilly] to ignore that officer’s own duty in a crisis in lieu of doing her own and informing her superiors that she may be compromised?

    And if uploading her archived memories to Discovery were an indication of her own cognizance of having been compromised, but yet still manages bouts of self-control—such as in that instance—why wouldn’t she have again not informed a superior she had been compromised?

    It’s all bollocks!

    You barely have to scratch the surface of this episode (show) to uncover it’s built out of a house of cards.

    Just squeeze some soapy melodrama like ketchup and mayo between a lot of fast-paced action and whiz bang special effects and voilà: instant fast-food DRAMA, CW style.

    Was Star Trek ever this obviously stupid?


    NHAN (again).

    Explicit shots of Nhan eyeballing Airam suspiciously on the bridge after their encounter in the “computer” room:

    @19:42 Nhan follows Airiam and Tilly.
    @19:55 Medium shot of Airiam [standing at Bryce’s stating] staring at Airiam.
    @20:11 Medium shot of Airiam still staring at Airiam, then acknowledging Bryce, and then giving a sceptical sidelong glance to Airiam.

    Again, this is a Starfleet officer, the chief security officer to boot, who fails to do her duty to inform her superiors of any suspicious behaviour or outright concern of possible sabotage.


    Like so much bad writing for television and film these days, characters conveniently keep their mouth shut to keep the plot chugging along, despite the fact that common sense would dictate they would, should or it’s their stated duty to speak up.

    Jammer I really love to come here and love reading your reviews. I also cannot help but scroll through the comments as I love to hear how everyone is analyzing the show. Unfortunately, it's become quite tedious, with certain individuals taking over the forum, posters who can never compromise, never admit they're wrong, and then they give us exasperating long-winded unreadable explanations about why they are so right about everything. I'm assuming after writing this, I'll be accused of being a different poster incognito. I'm not. Just tired of people ignoring your guidelines, and making the entire forum about how brilliant they are, and about how stupid everyone else is for having an alternate viewpoint. I encourage commenters to learn how to agree to disagree quicker, and to try and restrain yourselves from having to make the same claims over and over just because someone disagrees. And all the time references for when something occurred in an episode, to help support points? Who is going to go back and check these times? #tedious Thanks for hearing me out. #MakeStarTrekForumsFunAgain

    It's tough to root for team nu-Trek when they change so much, shit all over what came before, drastically underperform in the writing department, then act so smug and SWJ self-righteous about it when they can't even get their facts right about what DID come before... you know, the ST content that became popular, inspired a franchise and created the opportunity for these people to have a JOB creating new Trek these days?

    Tower of Babel is an episode?

    This is a nitpick, but that SMG error embodies the "end of history" that's happening in modern works today. Who cares about the old? Who cares about the standards of what came before? Let's just redo Trek, and redo it in a self-absorbed way that clearly misses the mark on so many levels. SMH.


    And your scriptwork answers all of the questions you are asking.

    ARCHIVED data by its very nature is not actively being used.

    Sorry, if you are going to start with an assumption that doesn't even work with modern computer systems, let alone any evidence ARCHIVED data works any different in a a future cybernetic organism, then you have started with INVALIDATING your argument from the get go.

    Alain Roi:

    Tilly: She downloaded all of her archived data … ALL OF HER MEMORIES … onto Discovery. NONE OF IT IS IN HER HEAD ANYMORE. Those memories meant everything to her.

    What's NOT in your head can't be actively used.

    Ergo: there's no Airiam in there.

    That's what the script says.

    @ Hank
    Hey, I just wanted to make sure that I didn't insult you or anything?!


    Did you see Stamets working on an electrical system in this episode or did you see him changing the quivalent of a a tire as Hank claims? Did you hear Tilly say Airiam download her ARCHIVED data or active memories and OS to the Discovery or did you hear her support Hank's claim? Did you see Airiam say she could hear Tilly's speech before or after she reuploaded 'Airiams' favorite memory back into her active memory?

    I agree with you that there are people who watched this episode in particular and Discovery in general and respond with wildly different personal reactions that create very different narratives depending on how they are interpreted. Hank for instance saw these scenes very differently than I did. How about you? Did you see what Hank did? Was Stamets working on a 'tire'? Did Tilly use ARCHIVED or not as a qualifier or not? Was Airam able to respond before or after Tilly uploaded that memory to her?


    What does the word ARCHIVE in reference to a computer file mean to you?


    Yes, as you note, Nhan is looking in various directions. Gongrats. There are a number of people/things she could be looking at to her right if your assumption is that her focus isn't 100% on Airiam. Could be at Tilly or Saru, she could be scanning what's going on on their station. Your assumption is that her sole focus is 100% in suspicion of Airiam, but the follow scenes do not support this assumption precisely because she does not address such concerns with the Captain and she appears suprised when Airiam attacks them.


    It has been made clear that Airiam is a cyborg not a robot or android. That answers the question why Airiam answers Tilly. It cannot control the parts of her body which are still entirely biological. If you stop to consider these basic facts, its not hard to work out what is going on.

    @ Ben

    "This is a nitpick, but that SMG error embodies the "end of history""

    Yeesh, she misspoke dude.

    @Alain Roi

    I'm operating under the assumption that Control had to dump Airiam's ROM and RAM because it had to make room for the sphere data, and however possible it was that Airiam was aware of this at the time, she dumped her archive into Discovery as an act of self-preservation.

    Why else do it?

    While you're operating under the assumption that Control downloaded the sphere data leaving enough room for Airiam's ROM and RAM thus permitting Tilly to break Control's grip with a well-timed tear jerker of a speech.

    Why would Control retain Airiam's ROM and RAM?


    "Yes, as you note, Nhan is looking in various directions."

    Never wrote various directions. Bryce's station is to the left of Airiam's and Nhan is facing Bryce looking to her left.

    Ergo: she is looking at Airiam and Tilly whom she followed after exiting the room she first had had her encounter with Airiam.

    "the follow[sic] scenes do not support this assumption precisely because she does not address such concerns with the Captain and she appears suprised when Airiam attacks them"

    That is called circular reasoning.

    @Alan Roi

    It hasn't been established which parts of Airiam are organic and which parts are biomechatronic. As far as her brain is concerned: how would she be able to archive memories unless her brain wasn't biomechatronic in part. Or whole. Who's to say, as you're want to do, her sense of identity itself doesn't reside on a chip.

    Unless the writer spells these things out … like maybe spend more time developing a character.

    In any case, whether Airiam is still inside there somewhere in some capacity is really besides the point, there's no reason Control would suddenly lose control at that critical moment unless it's because the plot demanded it. As I stated previously, there was never any indication of a power struggle between Airiam and Control. One minute she's Airiam and, when it suited Control, she's Control. And then it's back to Airiam when Control doesn't need her anymore.

    But yet somehow Airiam overcomes Control's control just in the nick of time to heroically make the greatest sacrifice.

    It's all very unearned.


    here is one of the definitions of archive:

    Computer Science: A long-term storage area, often on magnetic tape, for backup copies of files or for files that are no longer in active use.

    As for Nhan


    Circular reasoning (Latin: circulus in probando, "circle in proving";[1] also known as circular logic) is a logical fallacy in which the reasoner begins with what they are trying to end with.

    I am merely pointing out that the empirical progression of scenes that follows Nhan's initial appearance of suspicion of Airiam does not support your assumption. You, however, insist at the point of suspicion that all of Nhan's actions are in suspicion of Airiam, which the narrative itself does not support scene after scene after scene.


    1. Tilly is not Airiam. At best, Tilly is interpreting what Airiam has told her. There's nothing in this episode, or the previous ones, that leads us to believe Tilly is an expert in cybernetics, or Airiam specifically.

    2. Extending from that, characters have subjective POVs. Without supporting evidence, not everything they say should be taken as objective truth. Unless they are written to be omniscient--and omnipresent--they are just as prone to information gaps and misinterpreting the world around them, including their own experiences, as we would.

    3. A challenge of television and film, compared to novels and short stories, is that we aren't privy to what's going on in a character's head. And that's informed by the writing, the actor, the director, and the editor. Collectively, they are creating a performance. If we were to ask each of them if Tilly's line is factual, or is it an emotional interpretation of a fact--or more apt, the emotional interpretation of something she's been told--we'd likely get different answers. Or, they may have all landed on the same one.

    4. We see the types of memories Airiam is sorting through to archive earlier in the episode. We're never led to believe that she has to archive her personality or core functions.

    5. If Control dumped Airiam's ROM, how is she even functioning? There presumably has to be a base for her to operate. It's not like Control will just happen to have all the code needed to also operate a cybernetic body. And have enough information to fool people into not noticing when Airiam isn't fully in control.

    6. We also don't know if Airiam dumped her memories as an act of self preservation. It could have been Control. Allow Airiam to beam over, dump the data, replace the memories when Airiam returns. Attempting to leave no evidence, and possibly continue using Airiam are just plausbile reasons.

    Could be a fail safe. For all we know, Airiam swaps out large chunks of data so she can process large data sets. Backing up her archive is an automated process when that happens.

    Going back to number 3, it's not always easy to convey motivations, nor is it wise to be explicit about what's motivating every action. One, it just slows scripts down, undercuts the drama, and it leads to exposition hell more often than not. Two, it doesn't make discussions like this possible. The questions a story can raise are just as important/fun as the answers. That isn't a bug, that's a feature.


    I was established from the beginning of the episode that Airiam choses to retain certain memories over other certain memories. These memories are shown to be ones that provoke an emotional response, not just random or mere technical activities. And this is done for narrative purposes, not randomly. And at the end she responds when and only when an emotional provoking memory is planted into her active memory. It isn't random, it is specific and follows the narrative to a tee.


    "As I stated previously, there was never any indication of a power struggle between Airiam and Control."

    Earlier, it's clear that Airiam is starting to suspect that something is wrong with her. She just doesn't know what that is. That's why she asks Tilly to not leave her side at point. It's not implausible that by the time of the fight with Burnham, Airiam is finally aware of what's happening. Armed with that knowledge, she can at least partially fight back. Also, by that point, there's no need for pretense. Control doesn't need to fully take over Airiam. It needs to focus on breaking in more than it does controling Airiam.

    Could they've shown Airiam and Control engaged in a power structure? Yes. But, that likely would have made it seem like Pike and Spock were truly being assholes as they pushed Burnham to activate the airlock.

    For all we know, that could have written that in and excised it for any number of reasons. From being kinda hokey, to wanting to up the drama, to it just doesn't add enough information to make a difference to the narrative.

    Just because it's not on screen doesn't mean it wasn't considered, written, or even filmed.

    * Power struggle, not Power structure...

    Amazing how the brain can make mental swaps like that when you're thinking on the fly. #towerofbabelinsteadofjourneytobabel

    @Alan Roi

    To conclude Airiam: how can an outside agency, in this case Control, which is software, switch on an off an identity rooted in an organic brain? It can't. Unless that organic brain is superseded by a cybernetic control system or is cybernetic itself.

    To conclude Nhan: the "emperical progression" of scenes has one character (Nhan) first encountering another character (Airiam) involved in what appears to be suspicious behaviour. Camera holds on a suspicious Nhan. It then immediately proceeds to show Nhan following Airiam (who is joined by Tilly) and stopping at Bryce's station and looking Airiam's way twice with active regard. Throughout the mine conflict the editor cuts back and forth between Nhan espying and Airiam at her station.

    That's called "empirical progression".

    To state that:

    "the follow[sic] scenes do not support this assumption precisely because she does not address such concerns "

    … is a logical fallacy, because your B is not supported by your A.

    Why would an editor repeatedly cut to Nhan espying Airiam at all if there were no narrative purpose (particularly when it's already been established that Nhan's suspicions had been raised)? That’s what editing is for: structuring narratives. Otherwise it's an incoherent jumble (unless they're going for surrealism, which is hardly the case).

    What B proves is that Michelle Paradise can't write her way out of a paper bag.

    @Charles J

    All I know I know from the script. Everything else is just pure conjecture and has no bearing on what is shown and heard onscreen.

    1. There is no evidence of a power struggle. Control can control Airiam on a whim. And Airiam is seemingly none the wiser … except when the plot demands it.

    2. Since asking Tilly to stay at her side demonstrates sudden self-awareness of her own compromised situation she should have said something to that effect. Except she didn’t. She’s a Starfleet officer interacting with another Starfleet officer aboard a starship in a crisis situation and yet she kept her worry to herself … because the plot demands it.

    3. Tilly informs everyone Airiam dumped her memory archive into Discovery. Tilly states she doesn't know how to hack Airiam. But apparently Control can hack Airiam since it can turn her off and on at a whim.

    3. Airiam, in a supposed fit of self-awareness, dumps her memory archive into Discovery. The only reason to archive something is to preserve it in the event of loss. Why didn’t she take that same amount of time to warn someone? Because the plot demands it.

    4. Control née Airiam somehow hears a private comm … because the plot demands it.

    5. Airiam magically regains control from Control in the nick of time to save the universe … because the plot demanded it.

    @ Gil

    "Why would an editor repeatedly cut to Nhan espying Airiam at all if there were no narrative purpose (particularly when it's already been established that Nhan's suspicions had been raised)? That’s what editing is for: structuring narratives. Otherwise it's an incoherent jumble (unless they're going for surrealism, which is hardly the case).

    What B proves is that Michelle Paradise can't write her way out of a paper bag. "

    ... or Nhan ends up being an uncover section 31 agent. She was the one that spaced Airium right before she could divulge more specifics?


    Again, assumption after assumption, after assumption, after assumption.

    You argument about this episode continues to rest on thing like, being shocked that an artificial intelligence 500 years in advance of the current date has a greater capability of hacking Airiam than Tilly.

    An assumption that it was it was Airiam who dumped her archive and not Control, when her best friend is shocked at the behavior.

    Airiam, as we have been shown, regularly deleted memories she doesn't need, so she is accustomed to having holes in her memory, and is trusting that her systems haven't been corrupted (probably supported by the AI that has infiltrated her technological components are likely telling her everything is AOK. We've seen this kind of trope acted out in many different stories of all sorts of quality.

    Her devotion to her emotionally invoked memories is show to us before hand. It not magical, its a hail-mary that draws on a character's understanding of her friend and again, not before but AFTER Tilly uploads new information into Ariam's active memory. It seems you repeatedly jetison any part of the narrative when it doesn't support your hypothesis. Sorry, if you are going to critique the episode that all of us watched, you can't keep pretending that portions of it don't exist because all of us have the ability to go back and see the progression you claim doesn't exist is actually played out for everyone to see.


    And then maybe she was just following her Captain's orders. Crazy theories can be fun, but I don't think it fits.

    This doesn't make sense either:

    @30:28 100% Download Complete. Message sending. Message sent.
    @48.25 "I was only able to transmit 25% of the A.I. data."

    What is Ariiam referring to? When she was standing at a panel punching buttons? If Control can control the station, control the mines, and control Ariam, why would Control need to access itself manually if all it involves is transmitting the information?

    @Alan Roi

    re: Nhan

    "Nhan attempting to sneakily watch Airiam on the bridge was honestly hilarious though, because...she’s just standing behind the bulkhead doing a really bad job of sneaking?" — contributing reviewer James Whitbrook @ i09

    "You argument about this episode continues to rest on a thing like, being shocked an artificial intelligence 500 years in advance of the current date has a greater capability of hacking Airiam than Tilly. "

    Whose posts are you reading, anyway? Clearly not mine, since I made no such statement or statements to that effect. It's mentioned in one of my posts above. Did you read my posts? Doesn't sound like it. Tilly can't hack Airiam. She said so herself. Did you watch the episode? Doesn't sound like it.

    "An assumption that it was it was Airiam who dumped her archive and not Control, when her best friend is shocked at the behavior."

    I only relayed what the script provided. If anything it's Tilly who assumes it was Airiam, as she rightly would. Still, there's no logical reason why Control would selectively dump Airiam's archive into Discovery?

    "… she [Airiam] is accustomed to having holes in her memory, and is trusting that her systems haven't been corrupted (probably supported by the AI that has infiltrated her technological components are likely telling her everything is AOK."

    Pure speculation that has no supporting evidence in the script.

    "Her devotion to her emotionally invoked memories is show to us before hand. It not magical, its a hail-mary that draws on a character's understanding of her friend and again, not before but AFTER Tilly uploads new information into Ariam's active memory."

    @47:34 "I think it's because you adored me."
    @47:35 Airiam shakes her head.
    @47: 43 "Im gonna send you something."
    @47: 46 Replay of coffee klatch. Airiam continues trying to open the door.
    @47:45 "Airiam, I know you can hear me.
    @47:46 Control loses control or Airiam regains control. Take your pick.

    There's no established precedent for Airiam being able to shake Control, because if she could have the jig would have been up a long time ago (if she had done her duty, that is, and reported that she had been compromised). And if, as you stated, Airiam's awakening occurs after the upload the obvious question remains, which I've already stated, but will repeat once more: why would Control accept an upload from Tilly? Why would Control respond to Tilly at all?


    Discovery was already onto ilicit multi-terabyte transmissions being sent from the ship as of last episode.

    Correction, should read:

    Whose posts are you reading, anyway? Clearly not mine, since I made no such statement or statements to that effect. Did you read my posts? Doesn't sound like it. Tilly can't hack Airiam. She said so herself. Did you watch the episode? It's also mentioned in one of my posts above. Did you read my posts? Doesn't sound like it.

    @Alan Roi

    "Discovery was already onto ilicit multi-terabyte transmissions being sent from the ship as of last episode. "

    Tilly: OK, well the the message is to Section 31. That contains data from the sphere. That’s the data Airiam downloaded before leaving.

    And the download read 100% Complete. So where's this "only 25%" suddenly suddenly coming from.


    "Tilly states she doesn't know how to hack Airiam. But apparently Control can hack Airiam since it can turn her off and on at a whim."

    Your statement.

    Yes, this was the first attempt to break the control the AI had over Airiam. And it worked, a little, but not enough to prevent Control's objective which was opening the door. Still not sure what your relevant complaint is. What in Tilly's upload or in not preventing Airiam in speaking consituted a threat? In fact, allowing her to speak was to Control's advantage, as we saw. As long as Burnham saw Airiam as her friend and not as a threat, she wasn't going to push the button.


    Also, we don't know exactly what the AI's control of Airam actually entailed. We saw it make her do things, but we never saw it turn her on or off like we saw data being turned on and off. As viewers we can only speculate how much actual control the AI had. But again, based on the narrative we are presented, not 100% of both her organic and inorganic systems. In that case, one can speculate that perhaps it was manipulating her systems as opposed to dominating them.


    "So where's this "only 25%" suddenly suddenly coming from."

    From Airiam. In the episode we all watched.

    @Alan Roi

    "'So where's this "only 25%" suddenly suddenly coming from.'

    From Airiam. In the episode we all watched."

    That would almost be funny if only 25% weren't wrapped in quotes.

    I can now ignore the posts immediately preceding.

    This experiment is now concluded. Thank you for participating.

    But this argument about what happened could be irrelevant.

    Airiam could have already sent the 100% data complete and the whole situation after, including the fight on the station, could have just been stagemanaged by Control to keep the Discovery occupied while it retransmitted the data elsewhere.

    It could be 5 steps ahead of everyone involved and have the DISCO crew running around like white mice in a cage.

    @Alan Roi

    "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows..."


    "Never seen, only heard - as a haunting to superstitious minds as a ghost, as inevitable as a guilty conscience..."

    @Alan Roi

    "The weed of crime bears bitter fruit. Crime does not pay! The Shadow knows!"


    You are right. The ecliptic and the galactic plane are not approximately aligned. The galactic plane and the Earth's equator also seem to be misaligned ~60 deg. So my proposed driving convention is not as attractive then. Maybe it still applies in deep space (not near any star) like we see in this episode, and near a star everyone shifts to the local orientation. Maybe.

    Gil, yes, who are these Discovery superfans one sees on the internet, who spend so much time crying over the opinions of strangers, with the "leave my sweet Disco aloooone!"

    News: many long-time Trek watchers are going to watch the new Trek series, even if it is a very flawed show like Discovery. Instead of crying about their critiques, you could argue why you feel the writing is not incredibly slapdash, or why the jabbering Tilly is already a magnificent Trek icon. Just a thought.


    "That would almost be funny if only 25% weren't wrapped in quotes.

    I can now ignore the posts immediately preceding."



    "and the fact that for some reason a problem with a device that Stamets has disconnected and set on a table makes the power drop."

    This is a bit of a weird complaint regarding a show that takes place 250 years in the future. We already have wireless charging today and big money is being put into wireless power for not just phones but homes and business. Not out of the realm of science then in 250 years that when you short out your wireless power source, all the draws connected to it go down.

    Nice to see how the hatewatchers (very Trek by the way) needed only a few days to snap back into their insulting self. Wasn't it nice, the two days after Jammer asked us to behave in a more civil way.
    Two days of peace and reasonable debate.
    What a magic time that was...

    I really enjoyed this one and the last one. This show is really starting to feel very "Star Treky" to me now - it's not DS9/TNG/VOY/DS9 or even TOS, it is it's own thing now (oh and it's not JJ Trek either but since I personally find that nothing like any Star Trek I want a part of.

    Now that I can actually remember the names of some of the rest of the crew I'm really hoping they don't go back to it being The Michael Show.

    It's also a real shame they've killed off Airiam, she seemed to have potential to be a really interesting character given the backstory they were building. I wasn't really emotionally invested in her enough for the final scenes to induce a tear but they were exciting nevertheless.

    This episode (and the last one) had me gripped from start to finish unlike like all that drivel with Culber-mushroom and that episode where they just change an entire planet after everyone pretty much ignores the captain.

    I hope they can keep this up but a bit but then no Star Trek series has managed to hit it out of the park for many shows in a row so DIS has done a good job with these two.

    Incidentally (and I'm not trying to be provocative or open and cans containing worms) BUT... Why is almost every officer female (in fact even the medical staff and the other engineer is) on DIS? It doesn't matter a jot to me, just an observation. After Pike leaves and Tyler goes off to the spin-off show (presumably) we'll just have Stamets and a bridge crew guy they cut to for a reaction shot sometimes. I think only TOS had that much of a dominance of one sex. Someone can maybe correct me though.

    "Why is almost every officer female (in fact even the medical staff and the other engineer is) on DIS? "
    The captain is male, the first officer is male, the chief engineer is male and Culber was/is? chief medical officer. It is a real matriarchy. ;)

    You may be a hopeless optimist, Jammer, but you're not the only one. I'm also content to accept this show for what it is, rather than what I wish it would be, mainly because they achieve their most obvious goal - to deliver an exciting, action-adventure flavour of Star Trek - with such panache. Discovery is a more viscerally exciting show than any of its predecessors, and when it gels, it really gets the blood pumping. "Into The Forest I Go" is probably the show's best example, although "The Sound Of Thunder" also gets my motor running, rushed ending and all.

    I also have faith that the production team is listening to the feedback from the fans. The constructive feedback, anyway. If past Treks are any indication (bar TOS), season three will see this show fully formed and taking flight.

    P.S. Mandy Yang: I think "Jabbering Tilly" is already a Trek icon because of the combination of Mary Wiseman's impeccable comic timing and the character's idealistic science nerd nature, which brings a sense of wonder to the show that I think all past Treks could have used a little bit more of. Especially Enterprise, given that show's premise.

    "Why is almost every officer female (in fact even the medical staff and the other engineer is) on DIS? "

    Simple - the future is female. Men have tasted power for too long and reflecting on how it served their ancestors their ambition for it is already declining and won't last much longer. Hopefully both sexes will eventually see it doesn't have much to offer, and it won't take until the 23rd century, but entertainment media is a reflection of the times and Discovery is no exception when it comes to depicting power structures.

    Plus most of the women I know are far more energetic and active in the world. The lack of freedom and oppression over centuries is now coming out as a huge burst of energy and creativity across public life.

    Is this some crazy alt right thing???
    Like men are total losers today because of (insert minority or women) and I'm a total leftist men and love to be oppressed.


    Great review once again. I really do enjoy reading your writing and absorbing your insight.

    Couple points:

    "During the scene where Nhan gets her breathing apparatus removed and seems to be suffocating on the floor, the episode never cuts back to her, making it seem like Burnham is completely oblivious to her possible fate, or that the writers simply forgot about her (which they clearly didn't, given how the sequence plays out). This could've been fixed with a five-second shot of Burnham giving her the breathing apparatus, and then Nhan catching her breath on the floor, while Burnham continues to the airlock door to have the scene with Airiam. Nhan still could've come in unseen later to press the button, and the scene would've played essentially the same, except without the weird feeling that we're completely ignoring a dying character."

    I not only noticed that she was ignored, but I also noticed that when she opened the airlock, she didn't have that air thing hooked back up or heald in her hand. She was just gasping for air. So nothing changed from when she appeared to go unconcious earlier.

    "Saying the ship is "upside down" in space is a dumb choice of words, as it implies there's a "right-side up." Why not say something like "The ship has suddenly inverted"?"

    That might of come off better, but remember her navigation there was in reference to and based on the space station. She did have a vertical reference here.

    The first paragraph of Jammer's review is one of the problems I have with this show:

    "The more I watch Discovery, the clearer it becomes this is a series that wants me to feel something above all else. I'm not saying it doesn't also want me to think, or at least ponder its plots and puzzlements. But the creators of this show want me to experience it in a very immediate and visceral way, with scenes that are about emotions, conflict, camaraderie, action, peril, tension, and aesthetic and tactile conveyance. World building, problem solving, and intellectual debate are secondary."

    This also ties nicely to Alan Roi's statement that if people don't enjoy the show, then it's their problem that they are "enjoying less thing".

    It all screams of emotional manipulation.

    Now someone here will (rightly) note that ALL entertainment is - to some degree - about emotionally manipulating the audience. Fair point, but it's a matter of degree. It's also a matter of what direction you're manipulated into.

    It seems that Discovery is mostly interested in manipulating the audience to silence their inner critique in favor of "having feelings". It actively wants you to forget about things like plot logic, continuity, or the need of a consistent universe.

    Like nearly all modern TV, by the way.

    Funny note unrelated to Trek: I've just learned from my wife yesterday that there's a "Charmed" sequel. She complained how hollow and stupid it is in comparison to the original. I jokedly asked here "So it's a 'Charmed' version of Discovery?". She laughed and said that this sums her critique exactly.

    It is quite obvious that this dumbification of TV and film is happening all across the board (with *very* few exceptions).


    I'm fully aware that there are smart people who enjoy these shows. After all, my wife is still watching that Charmed sequel, because she finds it fun even though it is brain-dead. Nothing wrong with that, and to each his own. So please don't take the above as a personal insult against the fans.

    Great review Jammer, although I thought you would have rated it 3.5 stars. I almost did. I thought it was the 2nd strongest episode of the season so far.

    But most importantly I couldn't agree more with your opener "the creators of this show want me to experience it in a very immediate and visceral way, with scenes that are about emotions, conflict, camaraderie, action, peril, tension, and aesthetic and tactile conveyance. World building, problem solving, and intellectual debate are secondary."

    I think this speaks to today's TV audience unlike the one that grew up on TOS and TNG and why DSC gets criticized (sometimes rightfully IMHO) by the "older" generation of Trek viewers. There truly isn't a lot of substance to DSC, but it can be quite entertaining.

    I agree with Jammer's last line: "Funny how the writers double down on the plot being all about Burnham in the very episode they made pains to comment on Burnham's role as center of the universe. Are they subverting their own subversiveness?" It has me worried about how this arc is going to conclude. I'm fearing Burnham is going to give a big speech like she did at the end of "Will You Take My Hand?" about some Trek/human values etc. (while maybe even removing the Red Angel mask to reveal herself). That it has to be all about her is my fear...

    Jammer, another terrific review. I chuckled hard at your last bullet point and its concluding question even if you may not have meant for it to be funny.
    Well played :) - Great read.

    The whole star rating thing is driving me nuts to the point of giving up. I wavered between 3 and 3.5 and do think this is one of the better outings of the season and series, but did it make it over the line from one rating to the next? Who knows. I ultimately decided against it. I question just about every rating after I issue it these days, and everything seems to be borderline on two scores. And then I just conclude, on some level, IDGAF. IDWID.


    I may not agree with all your ratings, but I think giving star ratings to reflect overall quality is perfectly fine. Besides, most of us seem to have converted to the same standard.


    Speaking of which, this episode was by far the best of this entire series. It actually had a bit of the Trek feeling and competent direction. However, it still had a ton of huge plot holes and some questionable character motivation.

    2.5 stars*

    *rating excludes the many distracting violations of previously established canon

    "Riker" said: "The future is female. Men have tasted power for too long ..."

    Sexism is sexism regardless of sex.

    As far as the statistical overabundance of females on Discovery, the gender imbalance does annoy me as well, especially since it seems consistent across multiple species. But that's a minor nitpick compared to all the other things I can (and do) criticize.

    @ Skyelord

    here a list of male/female ratio among main cast member for series

    TOS - 3 male
    TNG - 6 male/2 female
    DS9 - 7 male/2 female
    VOY - 6 male/3 female
    ENT - 5 male/2 female
    DIS - 4 male/3 female

    There is still a majority of male main characters v female on the show. But compared with previous series where there was at best a 2:1 male to female ratio, its a little more equal.

    I watched the episode on Tuesday and then checked the comments. I wondered, "Why are there so many comments already? I bet it's Dougie vs Everybody else, again." But it's this guy, Gil.

    Man, this guy Gil.

    I watched the episode on Tuesday and then checked the comments. I wondered, "Why are there so many comments already? I bet it's Dougie vs Everybody else, again." But it's this guy, Gil.

    Man, this guy Gil.


    Star Trek had always been Emotionally Manipulative, from Vina's reveal at the end of The Cage and onward. What we are seeing in this age, however, is that instead of a series of short stories devoted to particular topics, we are getting novel length stories that spread the topics across whole seasons with the big questions being stretched across wholes seasons instead, again, of being focused on in a single episode.

    I can't speak of the reboot of Charmed, as I found the original too silly a concept to watch back in the day, but the modern age has given us plenty of thought provoking series that take advantage of the TV series as novel approach that allow character, story and idea depth that simply wasn't possible in the days of episodic TV in the same way novels offer depth that short stories aren't capable of, Star Trek included (and one can add in just recent years with Black Sails, 12 Monkeys, Counterpart, Man in the High Castle, Mr. Robot, Legion, The Magicians. American Gods, Game of Thrones, The Expanse, Altered Carbon, Travelers, Vikings, True Detective, The Terror, Taboo, Westworld, Better Call Saul just to name a few and the most recent. A *few* exceptions? Really?)

    Hey, I love a great story too. But its not a novel.

    There is a reason why novels overtook short stories as the prime driver of fiction. And that is the same reason why season length serial TV has overtaken episodic fiction. Its not because novels/TV Serials are somehow dumber. Quite the reverse actually.

    @ Omicron
    I'm not sure that cultural products have become dumber. Maybe we just have forgotten how stupid most things were and just remember the good stuff.


    "The whole star rating thing is driving me nuts to the point of giving up. I wavered between 3 and 3.5 and do think this is one of the better outings of the season and series, but did it make it over the line from one rating to the next?"

    I sympathize.

    A few weeks ago I decided to try and give all the Orville episodes a star rating based on your scale, and I had exactly the same problem: most of the episodes "hovered" between two ratings and I couldn't make up my mind.

    I think the problem, really, is that your scale is not fine enough. On the one hand, it makes sense to keeps scores of a 4.0 or even a 3.5 a rarity. On the other hand, If it's a show you like (and you wouldn't bother reviewing it if you didn't) you'll hesitate going as low as 2.5.

    So basically, unless an episode is truely exceptional (either positively or negatively), it will get a 3.0. That's hardly a useful scale.

    Back to my Orville-rating project: I decided to grade the episodes out of 10 instead of out of 4. Now 3/4 becomes 7.5/10, which was perfect: Every "high 3" episode is now 8/10, and every "low 3" episode is 7/10. Easy Peasy.

    (And just for the record: I haven't given a single Orville episode a 10/10 yet. There are quite a few 9's though)

    Boomer said: "I'm not sure that cultural products have become dumber."

    Just longer and more padded to stretch out profits. Most of the stuff touted as "prestige TV" is a rehash of a film contemporary viewers haven't seen, stretched for hours, padded with wheel spinning tactics and/or titillation, but now lionized because it's conveniently easy to stream.

    The idea that season 1 of Discovery is a "deep and nuanced" "novelistic thing" which "takes advantage of the medium" is similarly silly. Indeed, the 14 episode arcs seem a problem; the show would play better if, ds9 style, it limited it arcs to 2 to 4 episodes.


    Some of us have actually read Star Trek novels and find chapters like this one and the seasons as a whole reflective of the form seing each episode as a chapter in an whole story. Some of us don't consider long form fiction silly.

    "The idea that season 1 of Discovery is a "deep and nuanced" "novelistic thing" which "takes advantage of the medium" is similarly silly."
    Who would say that?? :D
    But seriously I hold my judgement until the end of season 3. You can do interesting stuff with long arcs. If they don't do that until the end of season 3 I doubt they ever will.
    What do you see as prestige TV stretched for hours? An example?

    My personal opinion is that we had around 10 great years. Sopranos, the wire, breaking bad (which i didn't like that much but it was well made),BSG and a few others. And most of these shows were made almost by accident. The stumbled into success and then they tried to fabricate it which doesn't work. Netflix is spending billions. They are producing every vague idea they can find and a lot of it is shit. But you are right there are lots of shows that constantly tease you but never really deliver. There is also the phenomenon which I call the good first season show. The first season is good, promising even but in season 2 it becomes absolutely clear that the idea had only legs for one season. I see a lot of those shows lately. But there is still interesting stuff out there. But I digress.

    New Spock is like someone wanted kelvin Spock but couldn't have him so they found someone who is a bit like him, but not like Nimoy. I like the actor and I can sense he watched Nimoy but I prefer Quinto. And that one wasn't even the same Spock cause he's from another reality, yet he was him. This one is too angry, too annoying, too childish. Quinto played a guy who was angry because they destroyed his planet and killed his mother but he felt like it was a shame for him to feel that. Even his love was a secret and something he was only comfortable making others see after his father admitted experiencing love as well. Nimoy and Quinto give Spock an annoying arrogance at times, but he is really funny too and has that distinctive sass only Spock has ("Captain? Please, I apologize, the complexity of Human pranks escapes me." ("Are you giving me attitude, Spock?")"I am expressing multiple attitudes simultaneously, sir. To which one are you referring?").

    I'm with @Trent on this one. Long-form, serialized storytelling can work, but too often TV shows adopt serialization not because it first the story, but rather because that's what you're expected to do. There's a lot of padding in a lot of shows (including some I like, such as Daredevil). I noticed this particularly in Westworld, where characters would have near-misses or the plot would come up with some contrivance to delay the payoff (as this article explains:

    BSG and DS9 were so brilliant in part because they were primarily episodic shows, but had long-running plot threads in the background that occasionally came to the foreground. That meant you didn't waste a bunch of episodes setting up the pieces or providing exposition. Every episode told a story, but also advanced the overarching story.

    Personally, I wish more shows would do what BBC did when it adapted Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. Decide how many episodes you need to tell your story, tell your story in that number of episodes, and then end the show. I'd much rather a strong 8-episode story than a 40-episode sprawling mess.

    “‘Project Daedalus’ refers to something Airiam says to Burnham right before she flies out the airlock, which is that it's "all about you." I'm guessing this mysterious project is going to tie into the deaths of Burnham's parents (shown off-screen here in a flashback), secret dealings from the past that somehow involve Leland's role in all this, and perhaps the nature and identity of the Red Angel. Funny how the writers double down on the plot being all about Burnham in the very episode they made pains to comment on Burnham's role as center of the universe. Are they subverting their own subversiveness?“

    No. The writers are just hacks that expect audiences to be dumb enough to forget what was said two scenes ago. All that matters is what happens NOW, regardless of the sense it makes with what was previously established in the series, season, episode, or even the same damned scene.

    @Alan Boi

    I knew someone would have the numbers. I thought it was about 3:1 male in the previous shows so its probably a good thing its more even now.

    It's kinda hard to tell with DSC/DIS?

    Are we going by main credits? Screentime? Rank?

    I mean you could easily argue that its just Michael haha. Anyway i couldn't sleep so I came up with a vague list. It seemed like they were fixing the fact i can't (be bothered?) to remember half these people in this episode at least.

    I'm curious who people actually consider the main characters/crew? Much as I love Pike and Spock isn't half bad i can't really call them DSC crew personally.

    Again this isn't some SJW thing or w/e. A vague observation which may well be inaccurate is more what it is. Anyway..

    @Jammer Nice review as always. I too share your optimism about this show. Regarding stars i'd have this as 4 and last weeks at 3.5 personally but who's counting. I'm just hapoy for more vaguely Trek shaped Trek

    Pointless list below:


    Guests from Enterprise

    Devna (f)
    Ow? (Tactical) (f)
    Airiam (f) - dead?
    Replacement Doctor (f)
    Mushroom Doctor (m) - dead inside?
    Nahn (f) - left for dead by Michael?
    Sarcastic Engineer (f) - emotionally dead?

    Section 31
    Georgio (f)
    Tyler (m)
    Useless Captain (m) - gonna be dead soon?

    So i guess it's 2-2 by my own count of mains.

    Or 8-3 (f-m) if you include speaking crew on the actual ship who aren't borrowed from TOS. I guess there's where my observation comes from.


    I go by recurring characters who have a significant amount of dialogue and character time and in around 1/2 the episodes or more. So for me its been, Tilly, Michael, Stamets, Saru, Lorca/Pike, Tyler, Georgiou. There's a mix of male/femaile minor background characters which are about even, but Culber, Sarek and Leland have gotten a lot more story time than any of the other female characters who've either been in one or two eps or are background characters.


    "speaking crew on the actual ship"

    Bryce and Rhys are male characters; they're on the bridge in most episodes (in season 2, nearly every episode or perhaps every episode). They have names and talk. They're certainly more important characters than Pollard ('Replacement Doctor').

    Not sure why you don't see the black man and the Asian man on the bridge. They're there.

    @bencanuck I see them but they're just extras/background really imo.

    I wish the actual bridge crew really was a developed as Airiam was (briefly). Hopefully with time they will. We had a glimpse of it in this episode and Eden.

    I haven't seen the newest one yet.

    SlackerInc said in his comment on the previous episode:

    "the terrible thing Michael did to Spock [was the] heavyhanded and obvious [trope of a] pretend insult that is actually intended to shield a loved one from harm".

    I had felt the same way watching the previous episode, "too obvious, too childish" had been my reaction. I think this episode subverted the trope, and I think it thus redeemed the previous episode. Spock is not angry at the insult. He is angry that his sister would think it is up to her to save him and his family. He is angry at her infantilization of not just Spock, but Sarek and Amanda as well.

    I have found many of the criticisms of this series bizarre, but especially this episode being faulted for not developing the bridge crew. All of the Treks have focused on a core set of characters with nameless bridge crew members, most of whom never see action or get any back story.

    The main cast is clear: Burnham, Saru, Tilly, Stamets, Pike, with Georgiou, Tyler and now Spock occupying major screen time. Plus, we had Lorca and Culber developed and killed off, Culber in the supporting category. That's quite a large cast to develop in 13-14 episodes per 2 seasons when the other Treks had 22 and some did less over 7.

    Claiming the show could have thrown in bits of back story for all of the crew is not realistic and doing it only to kill off a character is dismissed as manipulative. I think the show has hit the right balance. Ariam could well come back (as this show has done before) and if so, then the opportunity has been taken to fill out her back story in an exciting way.

    I've enjoyed this season immensely. It's TV and better than most and the episodes I've re-watched after I know the back story are a richer experience on reflection.

    And all of the moaning about no sympathy for what seemed to be dying Nhan - with all of the "redshirts" or equivalents bumped off and no one cared over the years? Come on. The twist worked for me.

    no, this is very sad ending. me and my partner cried for airiam. very powerful ending with airiam begging to shoot out the airlock, and after seeing the best memory before dying sent by Tilli. i wish nahn did something before to stop ariam but she was not sure? but she killed ariam at the end so she made a good decision (michael was making bad decision).
    we learn more this season about other people in bridge, i did felt more attachment with them.

    creatif for control to use ariam to recevie the information. i learn riker actor director to this episode, he is always fantastique.

    salutations jammer and everybody

    I'm of two minds about this one. Much like Saru's light lenses, there is more than one way to look at episodes like this.

    On the one hand, proponents of DSC can rightly hold it up as an example of an entertaining, visually engaging, and emotional ride as can happen when DSC is able to do what it does best, playing to its strengths.

    On the other hand, I find I need to turn off my brain in order to enjoy the ride along with them and -- this being Star Trek -- I don't feel like that's a fair expectation to have of me.

    I agree with Jammer that it wouldn't have hurt for them weave Aryam's personal narrative into the series more organically rather than have it look like that they're only jamming it in right now for emotionally manipulative reasons. If they had just slowed down now and then to have members of the ensemble cast interact for reasons that aren't directly in service of plot, I know I would have enjoyed this series a lot more.

    I don't like where this appears to be going with the ol' evil AI trope... yes, you can argue that this is still classic sci-fi, but I feel like there's a good reason this trope has hitherto been sidestepped in Star Trek with a few exceptions (could it be that it already has its own unique take on the matter that has already done it to death, being the Borg?). Rather than supposing that the writers have only just now thought up a way to make the trope fresh yet still meaningfully Trek, it's safer to assume that they're once again going for the low-hanging fruit.

    And speaking of lenses, am I the only one who noticed that Saru was looking for heat signatures using a UV filter and finding nothing? Of course he wouldn't see anything. That would require an INFRARED lens. I wish they still had science advisers on the staff of these top-tier science fiction shows...

    This episode gets an extra half star because Tyler doesn't get to make an appearance, still being in time-out.

    I just watched this episode and it was really odd how Burnham (and the Discovery bridge crew) acts as if Nhan never existed during that sequence with Airiam. You would think that Pike, at least, would have asked Burnham to check and see if she was still alive.

    I don't think it's quite true that AIs always revolt or turn hostile in sci-fi, at least not if considered at the individual level. Data is a prime example of one who didn't, and Blake's 7 had Zen and Slave, who were generally loyal to the ship's crew even though Zen could occasionally be oblique and mysterious and had his programming commandeered once. (Orac, on the other hand, sometimes had his own agenda that didn't always dovetail with the crew's.) And in Mass Effect, EDI actually proves entirely trustworthy when her programming constraints are removed.

    I think Trek works best when it’s an ensemble. It’s why season 4-5 of TNG is regarded so highly, but slightly less so when it becomes the Picard and Data show. It’s why Voyager had great stories which felt routine after it became the Voyage of Seven. It’s why DS9 generally rocked. It’s why the TOS is the gold standard. It’s why Picard ultimately didn’t click until the very end. This myopic view of Burnham is a real limitation, because characters I generally should care for like Airiam, do not hit me because it just feels manipulative.

    Regardless I’d give this episode 3 stars because they didn’t cheat. I mean, they kind of cheated by having Nhan eject her instead of Burnham, but they still made the tough choice. I was holding out for something deeper than killer AI, but hey I love the Matrix...Terminator...I, Robot... etc. It’s more interesting than V’ger, I’ll say that much.

    Better than last week because it focuses on the Discovery crew, not Spock. This is the worst actor ever to play Spock. I hate his presence on this show. I also wish the guy playing Pike was not Pike. He deserves to be a captain who stays on the series. Leave TOS out of this show, please.

    Airiam‘s arc here was very strong and made for a good episode, despite the murkiness of the villain’s plot. Loved her role here.

    I was very distracted by not seeing if Nhan survived. Lazy editing.

    When the Vulcan admiral turned out to be a woman, it occurred to me that no male characters featured in this episode. Culver and Tyler were absent. This is more inconsistency and lack of balance from Discovery.

    Stop rebooting TOS. Be your own show.

    Airium was such a cool character, I wish we got to know more about her... and the whole concept of human cybernetics in the Federation. It all got dumped into one episode and then literally jettisoned out the airlock. The episode was otherwise well done.

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