Star Trek: Discovery

“The Red Angel”

2.5 stars.

Air date: 3/21/2019
Written by Chris Silvestri & Anthony Maranville
Directed by Hanelle M. Culpepper

Review Text

I'll say this: Discovery is almost never boring. Even when it's batshit-crazy bonkers, it's pretty exciting.

Consider "The Red Angel," which is equal parts respectable and loony, measured and overwrought, exposition-filled and visceral, and either benefits or suffers from numerous WTF moments — I'm not sure which. It advances the season arc by answering questions that raise more questions. It has substantial character work, but nearly all of it surrounds a single character. Guess which one. This is entertaining, but I can't call it good. It's a sci-fi potboiler.

It also expects more of Sonequa Martin-Green than possibly any episode to date, and the results are mixed. The writers really put Michael Burnham through the wringer here, and sometimes it's just too much. Multiple scenes end with tears streaming down her face. Probably too many scenes.

What can you say about an episode that reveals in the teaser that, yes, according to a bio-neural signal and some technobabble I've already wiped from my memory, the Red Angel is indeed confirmed as a version of Burnham from the future traveling back through time to various points to manipulate the timeline to prevent the destruction of all sentient life in the galaxy at the hands of evil future AIs? (I think there was also something explaining the evil AIs could potentially find their way back in time when the Angel opens its time vortex into the past, which I guess would mean the Angel's attempts to stop the AI could possibly lead to their very presence, which seems like a flawed prevention strategy.) There's a great deal of technobabble here that is in the classic TNG-era mold, none of which I care to recap.

But wait, there's more. It turns out the Red Angel's time-suit technology was developed by Leland's Section 31 team 20 years ago in what was known as Project Daedalus (in a "temporal arms race" against the Klingons, no less), meaning Leland has known this whole time way more than he has been letting on, because, well, classified. (Yes, bureaucratic turf-war BS will always ensure sensible information-sharing is thwarted, even if that makes everyone look stupider and everyone's jobs harder in the process.) But the kicker here, which Leland reveals after suddenly deciding to be forthcoming, is that Burnham's parents were stationed at the outpost where they were killed because they were actively working on Project Daedalus. So everything Burnham thought she knew about her parents' deaths was wrong. And she reacts predictably emotionally, in a tearful rage and two punches to Leland's face. (This is viscerally satisfying, but also too dramatically easy.)

Martin-Green pushes too hard at times with a raw and emotional performance that might have gone down a little easier if it was underplayed to help modulate the insanity we get within this eventful hour. In addition to this scene, we also have Burnham taking out her fury on a boxing dummy (which is overly amped up before Spock comes in to chat and we end up with one of the hour's nicer understated moments where they finally reach some understanding). And then she later cries on Tyler's shoulder (proving these two have no chemistry beyond plot requirements) because she's scared about the self-sacrificing tactics of the plan devised to lure in the Red Angel. And then there's her screaming agony of death throes as this plan is carried out on the deadly planet surface. The gauntlet "The Red Angel" puts Michael through would be a lot to ask of any actor; Martin-Green gives it her best, but strains at times.

The plan is based on one of those overly certain logical assumptions that puts all the eggs in one basket, and assumes because the Red Angel must protect itself (i.e. Burnham) in order to ensure the eventual saving of the galaxy, it obviously must travel back to this point to stop Burnham from dying in the past. When it does so, Discovery will capture it/her. (What comes after that is anyone's guess, but we're not thinking that far ahead.)

But for me, the real above-and-beyond WTF moment involves Leland and his dastardly traitorous binoculars. During the frantic attempt to capture the Red Angel with the technobabble plan, Leland tries to command his computer to do something while looking into an eye scanner. He says things to the computer, which repeats things back in his voice, then he is inexplicably stabbed in the eyeball by his own scanner, which knocks him to the floor. In an episode that brings the crazy like a season one outing, this moment stands out. I have no doubt this will have significant meaning next week, but for now it's such a strangely bizarre non sequitur that my reaction was, "Wait, what?"

While regularly flirting with the insane, "The Red Angel" still manages to build its way there gradually. It puts in the time for the technical setup, and manages to weave in moments of character dialogue throughout the hour that are sometimes welcome (Burnham/Spock) and other times tedious (Burnham/Tyler). By the time we get to the daring plan (which Pike reluctantly signs off on, after a half-hearted protest that is defeated with an example of completed staff work that probably wouldn't pass muster in your workplace), it's full speed ahead, until Burnham is writhing in pain in a chair, dying.

And then we of course get one more WTF moment — the Red Angel appears, revives Burnham, and is captured. Inside the suit is ... Burnham's birth mother. This is going to be one strange reunion, but I wouldn't miss it for the world.

Many other firing brain synapses:

  • The episode begins with an extended funeral service for Airiam, which is depicted with weight and fanfare. This is well done and I appreciate the sentiment, but it also feels a bit out of scale with the importance of the character overall, who — let's face it — was a background extra until suddenly rising to prominence last week. They've essentially retconned Airiam to be a major character death, which feels like the show writing a full year's case study the night before it's due.
  • There's a quick moment where Lt. Nilsson takes over Airiam's post. Nilsson is played by Sara Mitich, who played Airiam in season one before Hanna Cheeseman took over the role in season two. Are the Discovery producers just messing with us now?

  • Does Pike know yet (or care) that Georgiou is from the mirror universe? Everyone else — or at least enough of the crew — on Discovery does, so is he still being kept pointlessly in the dark because it's "classified" or whatever? This never made sense, and now strikes me as one of those worst-kept-secret situations.
  • Georgiou playfully deconstructing Stamets' and Culber's relationship in a bid to make them uncomfortable — and suggesting that maybe she have a role in there somewhere — is mildly amusing but goofy and strange. Tilly says it best: "What just happened?"

  • When it's clear Burnham is going to die, Georgiou, showing an interesting bout of genuine compassion, tries to stop the plan. But Spock overrules her and everyone else, intending to see it through.
  • Culber goes to Admiral Cornwell — who we learn here has a background in counseling — to ponder the dilemma around his relationship and self-identity crisis. Cornwell's role in this sense comes completely out of left-field, and yet the scene somehow works and helps provide a little more human detail to Cornwell.
  • I wonder how much of this timeline fun was originally planned at the beginning of the season. I thought this season was originally supposed to be an exploration of some sort of intersection of science and faith, but that notion has long since been abandoned. I wonder if the change in direction to a time-traveling suit had anything to do with the change in showrunners earlier in the season.
  • Leland gets punched in the face (twice) and eye-stabbed by his own scanner. Talk about a bad day. This is what you get for working for Section 31, I guess. Was Leland attacked by Georgiou being devious and booby-trapping his equipment, or Control, which has somehow infiltrated it? I'm predicting the latter.
  • Section 31 is pretty poorly regarded by everyone at this point, including Cornwell. I wonder what, if anything, this means for the organization moving forward after this season's plotlines are resolved.

Previous episode: Project Daedalus
Next episode: Perpetual Infinity

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238 comments on this post

    Didn’t come close to hitting the heights of the last 2 episodes but was a reasonable example of TNG-style technobabble problem solving with plenty of character interactions of varying significance. Again an example of DSC going for visceral shock value with Burnham as bait dying and then being revived by the Red Angel.

    I liked the idea of trapping the Red Angel with Burnham as the bait. But I guess it was the worst kept secret that the Red Angel is related to Burnham. And if the plan went wrong all sentient life in the whole universe could eventually end — at this I had to role my eyes big time. So they’ve set a mouse trap where the timing has to be perfect for Burnham to hopefully not die and for the Red Angel to appear and then technobabble trapping it. Or something *really* bad will happen. Not particularly inspiring stuff but DSC did try to milk it for all the shock value possible.

    Maybe the best scene for me was the memorial to Airiam. Here a death is treated properly and not just brushed off. We see the whole cast come together, which was nice and reminds us of what Star Fleet should be.

    So Section 31 created the Red Angel suit and the Klingons stole it somehow as part of a temporal arms race…interesting, I suppose. And another reference to time crystals, which Harry Mudd once got his hands on. As a Trek backstory, it can work.

    Felt like this episode also wanted to close some loops. So Spock and Burnham reconcile as she was taking out her anger on a punching bag after learning Leland’s negligence got her parents killed. Both felt that emotions and logic had failed them and so both are in an uncomfortable position. I guess misery loves company.

    Not a fan of the Ash Tyler / Burnham scenes. But the show is acknowledging that these 2 have some baggage, which is good. I just don’t find it interesting or compelling.

    Georgiou was a bit better in this episode — at least she wasn’t cardboard thin with her evil hisses. Her Mirror Universe side came out in that weird scene with Culber, Stamets (and Tilly). Was it just to show how insensitive she can be?

    I again liked Culber in this episode — he is lonely and has to forge a new path but tries to be understanding of Stamets, albeit at the wrong time. It was good that he went right to Cornwell, which also helps add depth to the admiral’s character.

    2.5 stars for “The Red Angel” — nothing really special here but nothing really bad here either. It’s a decent episode but has the usual cliches of the "ticking time bomb". And it’s amped up with the threat to all sentient life — but of course Burnham isn’t going to die. I liked how different teams worked on different parts of the project to trap the Red Angel -- which appears to be Burnham’s mother?!?!

    But what if Michael was the red angel but then actually died? If Michael dies, doesn’t that eliminate the red angel from the future and undo all of the things that the red angel goes back in time to do? They don’t seem to address this part of the time paradox. This issue turns out not to be a problem since it seems to be Michael’s mom instead, but no one knew this when they created the plan to try and almost kill Michael.

    I've been wonder what Airiam's back story is for a season and a half, we finally get it conveniently right before she's killed, then get a bunch of speeches about how much she meant to everyone, when she's been nothing but a background character this whole time. If they wanted that to work on any emotional level they should have given her character some depth at the start of the season.

    Don't even get me started about time crystals. I guess it's not that far of a stretch considering they've been using a mushroom engine.

    Calling it now. Mama Burnham alters history so Michael and spock never become siblings handling the spock never mentioned her plot hole.

    Boy oh boy, Facebook is going to have a field day with that "pansexual" scene between Stamets and Georgiou.

    Anyway, there's a lot to talk about with this episode so I'll just bulletpoint the good and the bad.


    *Airiam's send-off scene was pretty touching, albeit the typical play on the "don't develop a character but feel bad for them when they die" trope in bad developmental writing.

    *I am so so glad that it wasn't actually Michael in the Red Angel suit. It would have cemented the Mary Sue argument that Michael is a racist and egotistical terrible character that the writers have to make look good by saving the whole galaxy. And the Angel is her mom?? I'm interested to see how this will play out, especially since we have 4 more episodes.

    *This show is following the closed-loop style of time travel based on the plan with Michael. Everything in history is predetermined from the start of the universe to the end, so Michael going back in time wouldn't have been a conscious thought, but history commencing as such. A neat thing, but good lord time travel is complicated...

    *Keyla talking about her augment after a season and a half was very nice to hear.
    The writers are kiiiiiiinda working on their promise to develop this crew more, with her at the front of everyone else. Again, if only we saw this more in the prior episodes. Rule Number 1 of writing people: show, don't tell.

    *This show's Spock is starting to warm up to me a little. I still think he's a little edgelord (but that's because everyone on this show is an edgelord) but that scene of him and Michael was pretty touching and a good turn around for the whole disparity between the two.


    *So adding to Michael's list of Starfleet Violations of reckless species endangerment, shooting Starfleet doctors and harboring a wanted fugitive at the time is straight up assaulting a Starfleet Captain. This is what I hate about the modern day drama writing style of this show. We get that she's angry at Leland, but how many times is she going to break the rules and get away with it. This "ends justify the means" mentality is ruining this show and a character that I already hated from the get-go, and seriously makes me wonder if characters like Sisko did nothing wrong or not. Compared to other characters in the Trek universe, Michael Burnham is climbing the ranks of the most dangerous, insubordinate and horrible Starfleet officers of all time. But she'll get her pat on the head at the end of the season like the last one I'm sure.

    *The camera work was way better (I also do like this show's style of beauty shots by zooming into the section of the ship), but the placement of scenes was a little weird. How do you have this calm and resolving scene of Culber in a quick therapy session then quickly cut to a high octane and music driven boxing scene?

    *Cornwall went from being a kinda badass side character in Season 1 to an annoying, bossy and unnecessarily mean character. I get that Section 31 is a bunch of meanieheads, but saying "I'm already cringing" to Leland offering help in a galactic-destruction scenario makes you sound like a bitch more than a badass Admiral, lady.

    *The Klingons in a temporal arms race is fine, but the whole "spying and destroying facilities" seems very dishonorable and weak. Maybe I'm basing it off of Star Trek games - specifically Birth of the Federation - in which actions like espionage is looked down upon, but we already know how disloyal this show is to Klingons. And since the teaser shows them coming in for the next episode, I'm holding my breath.

    *Tilly continues to straddle the extremely thin line of being tongue-in-cheek cute and Neelix level annoying. We get it, she's socially awkward, stop doing the same damn gag over and over.

    2 stars for The Red Angel. I'm wondering how the time aspect will play into dealing with an enemy from the future. I hope it isn't something like @Justin Minor said and the characters become egotistical sociopaths and alter history just for their own selfishness.

    Side note I forgot: didn't Tyler and Pike say the Red Angel suit was made of "technology far beyond our current development"? How did Section 31 make it unless there's some more time travel shenanigans going on?


    Chrome wrote on Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 12:34pm (UTC -5)
    “The angel is Michael Burnham's biological mother. If I lose, I'll watch The Orville for two weeks.”

    Phew, thank goodness I didn’t lose that wager. ;-)


    And for an encore she do the same thing for all the other family members Spock never mentions until we meet them.

    I like my Trek with lots of briefing room scenes, technobabble procedural, and characters getting mad and then apologizing once they realize their character flaws, so I was fated to like this. It's by the numbers and doesn't reach for spectacular heights, but it never made me mad either (except for the Georgiou pansexual scene, which was offset by the kind of good, subtle Georgiou scenes we never otherwise get to see, so okay). And moments like Culber talking to Cornwall (but why her?) and Burnham and Spock just being normative siblings talking through problems felt good and pointed toward more effective baseline trek ahead, once the writers start finding these moments and character dynamics among the main cast. I also really like Michael's basic character issue being the literal plot here: they're going to trap the angel because they know Michael's too much of a control freak to let herself die in the past, and it has to work by her literally giving up control (and Spock trusting that choice.) Nice twists with Leland and Ma Burnham as well. 3/4 stars from me: did no harm and I think pointed toward good ahead.

    I called the "Burnham's mom is the Red Angel" thing a few weeks ago, so I was not all that surprised at the twist.

    Anyway, this episode was kinda a roller-coaster for me.

    The first bit - Airiam's funeral - was quite well done with nice emotional beats, although it arguably laid it on a bit think in places.

    Most of the rest of the first half of the episode was mediocre as hell. Tons of Red Angel-related technobabble. Leaden scenes with Michael and Ash (including Ash once again - unconvincingly - defending Section 31). That weird scene with Georgiou flirting with Stamets. The culmination of this was the scene with Leland and Burnham, which - despite one of the best performances from SMG to date - just came across as idiotic. Leland was partially responsible for the "death" of Michael's parents - but only in the sense he fucked up his job. And it was decades in the past. I thought that Michael's response seemed way, way too overwrought - as if he was one of the Klingons or something.

    But from then on in, the end run of the episode turned from bad to good. Burnham's discussion with Spock was fantastic. Georgiou began being more than a cartoon character. The Culber/Cornwell discussion was unexpectedly gripping. And the last 10 minutes finally built some tension and action into an episode which had been - up until that point - just a bunch of people talking in rooms.

    I'd say 2.5 stars for this one personally, though it's hard to rate, given some sections were good, and others were frankly bad.

    I was very surprised by,the I liked least it wasn't Michael..I thought it would be Old Captain Pike in a wheelchair from Talos or something else....still wish it would've been a cool new alien species or phenomenon though instead. Does anyone else think they should relate the super advanced Control-spawned AI that wipe out all life to an MU version of the V'GER probe from ST:TMP that couldn't find it's creator or something? To make the whole AI idea more original and creative...What does everyone else think?

    No points awarded for the extremely obvious Red Angel reveal.

    The funeral in the beginning fell flat, because it was for a character they’ve given us zero reason to care about. You can’t just emotionally trick an audience into feeling something.

    Pike might be the worst Star Trek Captain for the decisions he makes here. Once again he just goes along with whatever the most recent person around him tells him to.

    Burnham is told Leland is partly responsible for the death of her parents, and as usual her response is instantly violence. She does not know how to respond any other way. She strikes a captain multiple times and gets away with it. She is a terrible officer.

    We’re told that the reason humans became so technologically advanced is because of time travel. Cool. Star Trek is no longer about humans coming together to build a better, beautiful future. We’re not special anymore. It’s because of visitors from the future.

    I noticed they deleted all of Airiam’s files. So I guess she ain’t coming back.

    Georgiou telling Tilly to stop talking made me like her more. The cringey sex dialogue was not good though.

    Burnham’s “death” scene was really hard to watch, because it felt like she was really suffering. The fact that everybody just sat and watched it makes them all terrible people. Georgiou was actually the most righteous person in that moment.

    Well let’s see if there’s anything interesting left in the season. Really hoping it’s not just the tired Skynet plot it seems to be turning into.

    Giorgiou’s outfit was completely ridiculous. Black leather with fingerless gloves? Really? She looked like Andrew dice clay. I literally cringed. Please write her off the show. And another thing, it’s time to say something about Tilly’s weight. She is supposed to be running everyday and breaking her personal running records and growing more confident. The obvious weight gain says the opposite. You might say I’m being mean but there are hundreds if not thousands of actors willing to do anything for a part like that. Tilley kind of gets on my nerves anyway. The “just a fun silly, quirky girl nervously can’t stop talking” schtick got old halfway through the first season.

    At least we now know where Michael gets her "I have to carry the weight of the universe on my shoulders attitude."

    From her mom.

    Should that be a surprise to anyone?

    Oh I almost forgot the casual mention of a TIME CRYSTAL. Oh, you know that crystals...made of time? Everyone knows about those. Holy shit that’s 80’s Saturday morning cartoon writing.

    @Johh Harmon

    I laughed out loud at your time crystal comment. Agreed. Lots of stupid stuff going on in this episode. DSC is really’s like, it has really awesome ideas and moments, mixed with just awful ideas and moments. I’ve never seen anything like it before. Like, who thought Georgio’s outfit was a good idea?

    It could have been worse.

    The Red Angel could have been Michael. My partner and I groaned when the show told us it was, since we'd agreed that literally anyone other than Michael could be a satisfying story. So Michael's mom? Weird, and not without those who guessed it, but also not as predictable as the "twists" from season 1.

    Georgiou's bizarre attempt to reunify Stamets and Culber through jealousy will probably raise more hackles among fans than the scene was worth. What are this woman's motives, anyway?

    Holding up Tilly as neurodivergent representation is less cool when it's a laugh beat on the show for other characters to tell her to shut up.

    The episode mostly had us sighing and laughing instead of whatever emotions we were meant to feel. An intelligence officer has things he isn't telling you, Saru? Really? And then he does tell Michael the truth because she tells him he really has to? No he doesn't. Is he killed by that machine toward the end or merely blinded, and either way, why?

    In what should cease being a surprise by now, some of the effective scenes came from the personal interactions with Spock. He's able to reach out to his sister in a way that's a big step for them both--all while maintaining that unique snark so recognizable from his TOS incarnation.

    The funeral also felt appropriate: even if we the audience hadn't gotten to develop a connection to Airiam as we should have, at least we see the crew reacting appropriately.

    There's no reason the show can't pull all these threads together and have a strong conclusion, but this episode felt just plain silly. Two stars. (Yes, two. If you want to see 1.5 and below, see season 1.)

    @ John Harmon, @ Tom R

    People aren't keeping up with their science are they?


    "Georgiou's bizarre attempt to reunify Stamets and Culber through jealousy will probably raise more hackles among fans than the scene was worth. What are this woman's motives, anyway?"

    To get to enjoy herself and have a good time without having to worry about being stabbed in the back for the first time in her life?

    A time crystal or space-time crystal is a structure that repeats in time, as well as in space. Normal three-dimensional crystals have a repeating pattern in space, but remain unchanged as time passes. Time crystals repeat themselves in time as well, leading the crystal to change from moment to moment. A time crystal never reaches thermal equilibrium, as it is a type of non-equilibrium matter, a form of matter proposed in 2012, and first observed in 2017. This state of matter cannot be isolated from its environment[citation needed]—it is an open system in non-equilibrium.

    The idea of a time crystal was first described by Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek in 2012. Later work developed a more precise definition for time crystals. It was proven that they cannot exist in equilibrium.[1] Then, in 2014 Krzysztof Sacha predicted the behaviour of discrete time crystals in a periodically-driven many-body system.[2] and in 2016, Norman Yao et al. proposed a different way to create time crystals in spin systems. From there, Christopher Monroe and Mikhail Lukin independently confirmed this in their labs. Both experiments were published in Nature in 2017

    Ahem, gentlemen and ladies. That is what we call science.

    @Alan Roi

    These real “time” crystals have nothing to do with time travel. And I assume the time crystals in this last episode aren’t the same things that you’re talking about.

    @Tom R

    So what? Are phasers real? Is warp drive real? Can we teleport things like transporters do? What do photon torpedos have to do with photons? There's plenty of Star Trek technology that doesn't line up with modern physics. Do you question every term or technology that doesn't line up perfectly with known science of our time.


    That was unexpected.

    Things I liked:

    * The Angel was not actually Burnham. Phew.

    * Saru and his newfound confidence, sizing up Leland.

    * Ethan Peck's turn as Spock is leaving Quinto in the dust, although nobody will ever be Nimoy.

    * Georgiou playing chaos agent with Stamets and Culber, and Tilly's "WHAT JUST HAPPENED" face afterward (my reaction too!)

    * Georgiou and Burnham, dropping the shields for a bit to admit they both care (although goddammit, Michael, the woman is basically Space Hitler; just like every time Kira didn't immediately stab Dukat in the face when he appeared onscreen, I find myself wondering why you don't save yourself the trouble of her inevitable, painful betrayal)

    Things I didn't like:

    * I don't buy the logic of the "Let's Kill Burnham" plan. If the Red Angel really was Burnham, she'd have already lived some version of her past life, and would know that Spock, Pike, Saru, et al would never let her die. Spock put on a good show but I reckon he would have cracked quickly if the RA hadn't turned up.

    * Erm, so I guess Dr. Pollard now works in the same section of the ship as the still-unseeen (and apparently not very useful) Chief Engineer and Jett Reno?

    * Michelle Yeoh is game for anything the writers give her, but what they're giving her is wildly inconsistent from episode to episode, and I think this is because they're playing their cards too close to the chest. What is her angle? What's in any of this for her, aside from her connection to Burnham? More information please, show.

    Thing I found confusing:

    * What the hell is Culber wearing this episode? Dude is dressed for a night on the town.

    The time crystals are just used to power the mechanism developed that actually does the time travel. What Alan Roi is describing could theoretically serve that purpose. It’s certainly more scientific than say, the Flux Capacitor, (and to be fair, BTTF does promote real science in other parts of the story).


    Or chroniton particles, or slingshoting around the sun, or most other form of time travel the franchise has cooked up..

    If you ever want to read a batshit-insane Grand Unified Theory of Treknobabble Time Travel, have a read of Christopher L. Bennett's first Department of Temporal Investigations book. It might be one of the most impressive fanwanks ever thrown together, and manages to plausibly reconcile basically every single type of time shenanigans we've seen in the shows (and even the Kelvin timeline).

    It earns double plus bonus points for Dulmer and Lucsley's hilarious debriefing of Captain Janeway after Voyager returns home, where they nail her for repeated violations of the Temporal Prime Directive, and she basically tells them to go fuck themselves. It's note-perfect, vintage Janeway.

    First thing that shot into to my head during this episode what Jammer’s comment in the last review regarding writers possible meta-commentary on Burnham driving all the action. If they were making fun of themselves, they sure shrugged it off and doubled down on her being the centre of the universe.

    "Holding up Tilly as neurodivergent representation is less cool when it's a laugh beat on the show for other characters to tell her to shut up."

    The best I can say about Tilly is that I now can truly appreciate just how lucky TNG was to snag Dwight Shultz.

    If last week can be tauted as a major writing course correction, this week seems like yet another transmission failure. It's a long episode, so the writers really had time to sit back and tell us a good story. Instead we get the first five minutes or so wasted again on minor character Airiam. While last week I thought this was handled subtly, delivering the perfect emotional punch for the duration we'd known the character, this week it just drags on with characters reminiscing moments we never saw and can't appreciate about the character. All this is compounded by the fact that it appears that the actress who played Airiam in season 1, now known as Lieutenant Nilsson, is taking over Airiam's post. Is that poetic justice or just a huge joke on the audience?

    The Red Angel plot itself is decent. I'm in minority here who thinks that the mouse trap designed to capture !FutureBurnham is pretty clever. Call me a sucker for time travel plots, as I also very much enjoyed "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad". It's an interesting idea that one might be monitoring their past's progress and making sure nothing abort's their plan for saving the universe. Spock is also right, that this is a very fitting motivation for Michael Burnham and the writing is at least sensible enough to address the point.

    However, the pacing of this plot is too impossibly quick. It's like everyone is racing to see Burnham die and the decision is inevitable without a serious discussion, which, even by this series' standards seems to necessary to attempt what they're attempting here. Spock is a smart guy and all, but he makes mistakes and very often it's Kirk or Bones who will challenge Spock and his "logical solutions". Eventually we do see characters like Georgiou and Burnham herself question the decision but it seems like too little, too late. And of course the plan has to work or else Spock looks like a complete jackass. So Mission Accomplished, I guess.

    Some of things that do work here are Leland's confession to Burnham and Burnham's reaction to it. Michael punching Leland twice feels like a visceral catharsis, which is one thing this show can do well. That Georgiou apparently pulled the strings to make the confession happen is somewhat believable too, based on the power paradigm we've seen up until now between her and Leland. Speaking of Georgiou, Michelle Yeoh is on fire this week, not just because of her actively helping Burnham. But she brings about some of the most racy dialogue we've seen on Star Trek since Nana Visitor was in the mirror universe. No doubt Georgiou is becoming more three-dimension to help sell us on the idea that she'll actually have her own show.

    Another neat thing is the way that Control is very much alive still and is able to fool S31's diagnostics systems. This seemed somewhat inevitable but I was surprised at the way it happened none the less. This also sets up a plausible story for how S31 could be so active in this time period, only to become a clandestine group no one wants to associate with by Picard's era.

    Oh and Burnham's mother is the Red Angel. Well - if you put all the clues together, it was only logical.

    "Time Crystal" just sounds stupid. Regardless if there's any basis to it in real science, it sounds stupid and I fully guarantee you the writers of the show had no idea about the scientific concept. They just thought "Time Crystal" sounded cool. It doesn't. And people kept saying it so casually like we're supposed to know what that means.

    This episode also had a quick casual mention of a time travel arms race against the Klingons. What is with this show?!? How can they just so casually mention that and have all the characters act like that's normal talk? Why don't the writers ever act like writers and have these things properly drawn out with the proper amount of attention paid to them?

    A time travel arms race against the Klingons? That's mind blowing. And it's treated with the same level of interest as someone saying they're going to the bathroom.

    This season they've also done this with the mention of the Control AI. Introduce this huge universe changing concept out of nowhere like we're supposed to know what it is.

    And you remember how a couple of episodes ago they made a huge deal about Discovery being fugitives after they picked up Spock? There was a big dumb Captain's speech, and fanfare, and the crew rallying behind him and everything? And this episode it's handwaved away with one line from Admiral Cornwell. Them being fugitives didn't factor into the story one bit.

    This is what I mean when I say the writers of this show don't care about continuity or making sense. They know care about manufacturing MOMENTS with BIG FEELINGS to trick the audience into thinking what they're watching is meaningful. The show is designed to move so quickly that you don't have time to think about how little sense everything makes. It doesn't matter to them. All that matters is what happens NOW with the FEELS. Even if it contradicts something set up earlier in the series, season, episode, or sometimes the same damned scene.

    A good example of that is having Tilly win that foot race earlier in the season, even though they showed her stop for a few minutes and have a conversation with a ghost and showed everyone else blaze past her. They still had her win, by a lot, and beat the record on the race even though there's no logical way that could have happened. But it didn't matter. What happened a few seconds ago literally doesn't matter to the writers of this show. What happens NOW is all that matters.

    @John Harmon

    "Time Crystal" just sounds stupid. Regardless if there's any basis to it in real science, it sounds stupid and I fully guarantee you the writers of the show had no idea about the scientific concept."

    They specifically refer to times crystals attributes in the Mudd ep last season when the concept is first introduced on the show, so they clearly had read up on Time Crystals. But sure double down. What do you think of Chroniton particles? Or all the other 'magical' means of time travel in Star Trek. Why start attacking something which actually has an albeit minimal but actual basis in science oever all the rest which actually have zero bases in science at all.

    OH WAIT, NOW YOU ARE USING ALL CAPS, to trick non-thinking people that you are saying something meaningful. But as long as you use ALLL CAPS just the use of ALL CAPS must mean that what you are saying is true, right?

    I'm sorry, your argument doesn't hold any weight, even in the weightless envrionment in space. As for Tilly, yes, she was having an argument in her head with a being that was living inside her head. Do try to think about that for a moment. if it helps I'll saying in all caps. WE WERE TREATED TO A SCENE THAT WAS ALL INSIDE TILLY'S HEAD. And that fact that she won the race and enjoyed a personal best WAS SPECIFICALLY SHOWING US how mentally messed up her situation with MAY was, to demonstrate MAY's nature. Or is that too hard for you to wrap your head around? It wasn't for me.

    Everyone keeps saying Peck is amazing, Peck is better than Quinto etc etc.

    Whilst Peck may be a better actor than Quinto, I don't think he is a better Spock.

    Quinto's Spock had the same inflection in his voice as Nimoy. That weird way of speaking where just about every phrase or statement sounded inquisitive. Peck just... speaks. He does not sound like 'Spock'..?

    @ Chrome
    Thu, Mar 21, 2019, 9:24pm (UTC -5)


    Chrome wrote on Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 12:34pm (UTC -5)
    “The angel is Michael Burnham's biological mother. If I lose, I'll watch The Orville for two weeks.”

    Thanks for posting this. I was going to go back and look it up because I remembered someone making that predicition but I couldn't remember who.


    @ Alan Roi

    Thank you for imparting that bit of knowledge on Time Crystals. I had no idea. I was going to chock it up to something on par with dilithium crystals. :-)

    I guess I was a little dissapointed with this one.

    I'm certainly glad the Red Angel wasn't Michael, but we had pretty much figured out it couldn't be. I guess I wanted it to be Airium.

    Nice service for Airium.

    @ FELCommentary

    "THE BAD

    *So adding to Michael's list of Starfleet Violations of reckless species endangerment, shooting Starfleet doctors and harboring a wanted fugitive at the time is straight up assaulting a Starfleet Captain. This is what I hate about the modern day drama writing style of this show. We get that she's angry at Leland, but how many times is she going to break the rules and get away with it. This "ends justify the means" mentality is ruining this show and a character that I already hated from the get-go, and seriously makes me wonder if characters like Sisko did nothing wrong or not. Compared to other characters in the Trek universe, Michael Burnham is climbing the ranks of the most dangerous, insubordinate and horrible Starfleet officers of all time. But she'll get her pat on the head at the end of the season like the last one I'm sure."

    While I agree that Michael has been insubordinate WAY too many times without consequence, my issue with her giving it to Leland here has nothing to do with her breakng any rules this time. The current state of Section 31, Leland conduct while serving with Michael's parents and the reveal that S31 build the damn suit that has everyone on a wild goose chance gives her a push here. I have more of an issue with how easily she drops him. Woman power I guess. A joke really.

    So, S31 built the suit (Mr and Mrs Burham).... I can accept that... they will always have black budget projects and probably don't have the same moral/regulatory limitation regualr Star Fleet does.... hell, they won the damn Dominion War by infecting the "link".

    Pretty neat trick to capture the Red Angel. It seemed a plausible solution here. SMG definately sold the suffering...

    But this is where I have my first real beef with Pike.... he was calling off the damn thing because Michael was suffering.... all which was known by all, accepted by Michael and agreed to by all to include her resuscitation when it was all over. He just put Michael ahead of "all sensient life in the galaxy".

    I really felt like Michael was scared when she was with Ash.... don't like that they are "together again"... I wouldn't bat and eye if he vanished....

    Capt Georgiou was feeling it for Michael... I don't know that I saw that coming. I had to look up "pansexual".

    I think Tilly could lose a little of her air-headed-ness. I think I'm tired of Pike having to say "do you have something to say Tilly?"

    Not a bad ep... not up to the quality of the last 2.

    Like I said, I was just disappointed the reveal wasn't someone like Airium.

    2.5 stars I guess.

    When Leland was telling Burnham about her parents, I actually thought to myself "the least interesting, dumbest thing they could do here is have her punch him in the face over this".

    And sure enough that's what happened. What would have been interesting is for her not to do that. Maybe show some character growth. But nope. Just stupid lowest common denominator pointless "cathartic" violence. Just like we've come to expect from our Star Trek characters.

    I don't think Burnham has changed one bit since the pilot. She's still reckless, insubordinate, extremely violent, and wholly unworthy of her station. She's the single most dangerous Starfleet officer in the history of Star Trek.

    They sure got lucky that The Red Angel had a magic healing Care Bear Stare beam to shoot at Michael to bring her back to life a considering she showed up long after she died.

    @ John Harmon

    She's dead for 2 minutes. 'Long after' that is not, even by the medical standards of 20 years ago.

    #John Harmon

    "She's the single most dangerous Starfleet officer in the history of Star Trek."


    Please, keep that absurdist humor coming.

    Quinto is a superior actor with more experience. He didn't need to impersonate Nimoy, he just talked with the guy to understand the character.

    I don't get the hype about Peck's Spock from kelvin trek haters, of all the people. Wtf? Now, don't be so wishy-washy because the guy is even more the emo Spock that fans of JJ's movies like and if anyone should get a pass for being different, that's Quinto's version that is from a different reality NOT Peck's who is playing young Nimoy's Spock. I just can't take the fanboys serioustly when they are praising emo ooc Spock by Peck in the same breath they whine about Quinto's version for much less.
    After reading Dc Fontana novels, this Spock has nothing to do with how the original writers though young Spock was. But to be fair, he didn't have a sister or brother in the original canon so at this point Peck's version is no less AU than Quinto's.

    First, we had magic mushrooms like in Super Mario, now we have time crystals, like in Zelda (specifically Skyward Sword). Clearly the makers are Nintendo fans, so that endears them to me.

    @ Boo

    Quinto did have the advantage of a live Leonard Nimoy, which Peck does not. And its a well known fact that the original writers were making Spock up as they went along.

    "She's dead for 2 minutes. 'Long after' that is not, even by the medical standards of 20 years ago."

    Dead is dead yo. Especially when exposed to the toxic atmosphere of an alien planet. Doesn't matter how long you're dead for, there ain't no coming back from that.

    Unless of course you have a magic Care Bear Stare healing beam.

    I don't know why but while watching it I thought this is a good BSG episode.
    On the plus side. The whole memory debate from last week is settled. Airiam has an actual brain so even after downloading here memories Airiam persona would be there.
    I laughed about Tilly asking: "What did just happen?" That was the right way to use here as comic relief.
    Is Gergiou turning her outfit episode by episode into a domina costume?
    The character is certainly torturing me. And what is her character? Evil psychopath or caring mentor.
    For some reason I knew that Leeland would get eyestabbed.
    Also why did he tell Burnham that he was kind of responsible for Burnhams parents death?
    What I in a way find impressive about this show is that it treats it's great reveals with a certain disrespect. Spock just shows up in a cave mideason. The red angel is just captured 4? episodes before the end. I mean where is this going? What I mean is that it is nice that they weren't teasing the reveal for two or three episode where they almost get the angel.
    Somebody complained about people not freaking out about Klingon temporal arms race. They are literally working on a problem which could doom all life. Klingon temporal shenanigans are around problem 12-15 on the list of "Holy shit we are all gonna die"
    I actually liked that they took a little time to show the impact of the death of Airiam.
    And about the episode as a whole. Ehh, it was ok.

    @ John Harmon
    " a magic healing Care Bear Stare beam"
    It is well established that the care bears shot love from their bellies not from their eyes.

    OHHHHH I totally forgot!
    No fist fight this week. We made it!
    Thanks go to Lelands glass chin!

    @Alan Roi
    Even before he met him, Quinto said he didn't want to impersonate original Spock. He made his research to understand who the character was and later Nimoy just validated his different version through his own appraisal but he didn't tell Quinto to imitate him.

    "And its a well known fact that the original writers were making Spock up as they went along."
    As the rest of the characters.
    Discovery's team said they would never cast another Spock, for that matter.
    The fact remains that their version has nothing to do with the original, neither Nimoy's take during the series nor the younger version of him as tptb ultimately decipted him in their final novels.

    As said in other comments , I prefer and like the anthology episodes. Nevertheless I must say that I also enjoy the last episodes. Also this. Ok A little bit soap but at least now well done. Even appreciated the appearance of Lealand and Giorgiou.

    @Alan Roi
    "Drea: Georgiou's bizarre attempt to reunify Stamets and Culber through jealousy will probably raise more hackles among fans than the scene was worth. What are this woman's motives, anyway?

    Alan: To get to enjoy herself and have a good time without having to worry about being stabbed in the back for the first time in her life? "

    Taking over Section 31 and using it to turn the Federation into a Terran Empire with herself as its leader has been my own interpretation of her motives. "I'm just going to enjoy screwing around in this loser universe" is a fun alternative, but her choices imply a master plan to me--and she doesn't go small.

    My best guess for the Stamets/Culber intervention is that she recognizes Stamets as an asset, and one that will be more valuable with the stability of his partner. I don't think she does much without an agenda on at least some level.

    I'll give STD this much:

    Overall, S02 is more watchable than S01. S01 is an utter shit sandwich.

    The problem with S02 comes from the fact that's been really incosistent in its quality. One week it's shit, one week it's OK-ish, another week it's meh, and yet another week it's sort of OK-ish again.

    Well, this week, it went back to meh. It simply bored me. And made me roll my eyes a lot. 'Time crystals', you say? Neat-o ...

    Why are we having a five-minute cold open funeral scene for a character we barely knew? This isn't Spock, and this most certainly isn't TWOK. Airiam was effectively a red-shirt, and this was an emotionally and narratively flaccid waste of time.

    The pacing of the folowing half hour was just too frenetic. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: trying to pack A, B, C, and D plots into a television show is just way beyond these writers' and producers' skill sets. It produces shows that go nowhere and do nothing.

    And the Red Angel is Cmdr Mary Sue's mum. Well, ho-fucking-hum. This is yet another rankly wasted opportunity, the latest in a long line of them for this poor show. It was a fart of an anti-climactic plot 'twist'. Again.

    Elsewhere ... watching Culber doing, you know, Star Trek stuff was kind of fun, instead of just being the mopey ex-dead-guy. Conversely, watching Ash Tyler simply exist was not fun at all. I guess one has to take the good with the bad.

    And Spock, well ... yeah, I still don't know about him. I'm sure — as I mentioned in last week's episodes comments — Peck means well, and wants to do well by the character, but I just don't know if he's got it in him (this, incidentally, from a JJ-Trek hater, so it's not like I'm fawning over Peck. here). Also, is there a reason he's still got a beard, and isn't yet back in uniform?

    One other thing: wasn't this season hyped to have this grand theme about science vs faith, or some bullshit like that? Well, other than MB's mum being called the Red Angel, and one episode having a bunch of interstellar rednecks and a church, I don't see any evidence of that grand idea being addressed so far.

    @ MadManMUC

    He has the beard still because he isn't 'real' Spock yet! In the end, he'll have his perfect haircut and his perfect clean blue uniform and we will think he has became "Spock".
    Or they hope so. Cheese.

    Firstly ROFL at Saru's lip syncing during the memorial! it was good that the death was acknowledged but I felt my eyes rolling a little as seemingly each character had to make a similar speech plus the flag draping etc etc. As others have said it's a shame that Airiam's backstory was crammed into a single episode and perhaps the character has been a slightly missed opportunity overall despite the good episode last week. Hopefully there will be more (unforced) development of the ensemble cast going forward. I think Peck is fitting as a 'discovery' version of spock though giving him more scenes with Anson Mount would be good given the supreme act of loyalty in the menagerie. To recreate the iconic Nimoy version is impossible..but perhaps just a few more subtle character traits would help bridge the gap. Maybe Quinto's version maybe suffers from the awkward uhura relationship and is too emotionally driven? All in all enjoying the season so far (when not spore driving or in the mushroom network!)


    " it appears that the actress who played Airiam in season 1, now known as Lieutenant Nilsson, is taking over Airiam's post."

    Wait...does this mean that the actress who played Airiam last episode got a nice bit of characterization, while the actress who played her all last season still doesn't have any character to act? Well, I guess it's a paycheck...

    I've read some funny reddit posts joking about how next season Nilsson should be killed off, to be replaced by an Andorian played by the same actress. And then replaced again the next season. And repeat.

    Georgiou cares for Burnham - the hand, the fear of losing her.
    I thought it was rude that Stamets brushed off Culber
    Wow, Burnham's mum?
    Tillys comedic moments... excellent
    I liked the Spock and Burnham moment but Spock still seems snarky but a lot better this episode
    That Leland and his eyes got punctured... wtf?

    Anyone else notice airiam’s replacement? Isn’t it just the same actress? What’s up with that?

    " Maybe Quinto's version maybe suffers from the awkward uhura relationship and is too emotionally driven? "

    Alternate reality.
    The thing with Uhura was hinted a bit in tos at least and it isn't more awkward than force-retconning a sister we never heard about making her the reason for everything that happens to Spock, the end of the universe and its salvation.
    Discovery Spock is more emotional and ooc, less respectful of established canon and he is no alternate reality guy.

    If fanboys give this Spock a pass just because he doesn't kiss Michael, but hate on Quinto's take just because he has a girlfriend instead of a mary-sue sister, then they are even more dumb and immature than I thought.

    @John Harmon.

    I had no heartbeat for five minutes once from a reaction to anesthetic during an operation. Deas as a doornail. Yet somehow it didn't stop a jolt of electrictiy from bringing me back. And that was in the 70s. The Red Angel has tech that's 750 years more advanced than that. Stands to reason it could bring a person who'se been dead for a couple minutes back to life even in Burhnam's condition.

    @Alan Roi well it sure is lucky for our heroes that the Red Angel just happened to have magical healing equipment that was never established.


    I don't have any problem with Quinto's spock. But he's a replacement Spock from a different timeline. Peck is playing a younger Spock, and having watched Star Trek from TOS on, he's doing a decent job.

    FYI, his adopted sister is not a Mary Sue according to any definition of the word other than 'a female character you happen to not like'.

    @John Harmon

    "And advanced enough technology is indistinguishable from magic." -Arthur C. Clark.

    It was established that the tech teh Red Angel has available to is it is 500 years ahead of the current Federations. So yet, 'magical grade' technology was established as soon as that fact was determined.

    Also, Absolutely nothing new where it comes to any iteration of Trek over the past 50 years. Both Spock and Worf have benefited from having alien features that kicked in without anyone being previously aware of them.

    @ Alan Roi
    You just got to the point. Peck is playing a younger version of original Spock, Quinto didn't. If people find Quinto's take too emotional or ooc it's OK if but they consider Peck's perfect, in spite of being much worse by their own standards, they are being illogical and unfair to an actor who wasn't even asked to play a younger version of the same Spock but did a good job capturing him neverthless.

    mary sue is an hyperbole but saying that people call her like that just because they don't like her is as biased and reductive. The writers keep making her the center of everything in text (with dialogs and characters confirming that). Everything revolves around her. A glorified retcon of decades of source material that never once mentioned her.

    Nothing wrong with being a fanboy / fangirl / whatever imho...i guess that's why we're here commenting, however dumb that might seem. If you enjoy 'romantic Spock' then great. I prefer a more dispassionate, logical Spock that has a element of humour. I don't get that from the bad robot version. Doesn't make Quinto or Zoe S bad at their jobs, just that DSC Spock is closer to the version I prefer. It's not perfect but a TOS era Spock would not work either. It is what it is.

    Not saying the sister recon is working for me either, but I have more of an issue with how the show has centered around that one character, hopefully that will change in the future.

    @ Boo

    Mary Sue had a definition. If people are going outside the definition, then ergo Burnham is not a Mary Sue. What you offered was the definition of a "series lead". Mary Sue has a specific definition its not that and its certainly not the Star Trek word for b*tch as the most ardent Discovery critics seem to use it as a substitute for.

    Star Trek adds past source material that it never mentioned before constantly in every single series. This is nothing new for a TV series in general or the Star Trek Franchise in particular. As for Spock never mentioning her, what about his wife, his father, his brother, his ex-gIrlfriend. Absolutely none were mentioned before we met them and he was forced to acknowledge them. Try again and back that up with actual something that has merit regarding either Star Trek or Spock.

    @Alan roi

    Lol, I didn't think he was lip syncing another crew member or a kelpian backing track! The singing scene just made me smile unintentionally..just didn't feel like a natural singing scene and thought it was a little bit over dramatic for the actual time we spent with Airiam as viewers.

    @ Ghosted

    Spock certaintly wasn't uninterested about romance in tos, and even his father married a human.

    Discovery Spock is no dispassionate, logical Spock. He is 'romantic Spock' too: he loves his sister, idolizes her, she's the center of his conflict and why he is so emotional and then why he wants to be a vulcan.
    He just doesn't kiss the girl. That's all.
    The relationship they give him here gets even more screentime for emotional scenes than that romance ever did and it does change his character more.

    You need a more convincing argument why you think this Spock is more like Spock especially when you, like other fans, seem to miss the point entirely that the writers don't want him to be like original Spock.
    Peck's cadence, mannerism and humor is nothing like Spock. He's just a vulcan with feelings like Frain's take on Sarek.

    But you give him a pass because unlike Quinto he doesn't kiss the girl.

    Going for 3 stars on this one - preposterous content well-executed (much like Saints Of Imperfection, albeit marginally less preposterous). The writers are two novices and they do a better job than the writers of many earlier episodes this season.

    That said, there was a lot that didn't work for me. SMG's ham theatrics writhing around in that chair were hilarious. And while I guess I'm vaguely glad the word "gay" has now been uttered in Star Trek, the Mirror Georgiou scenes misfired more than anything else in the episode - the character is so grating, and wasn't well-utilised here. I do applaud the choice of unusual character combinations in this episode though: Saru + Leland worked, even if Georgiou + Stamets and Tyler + Cornwell didn't. (Tyler has become really annoying and superfluous, and the actor seems bored.) Also, Detmer got a relevant, character-building line of dialog!

    Again, Wilson Cruz was way better than Anthony Rapp. There's just no depth to Rapp's performance - a better actor would suggest other emotions behind the snark (the way actors like Nimoy, Spiner and Ryan were able to skilfully add so much color and nuance while playing very controlled, emotionally buttoned-down characters) , whereas Rapp uses Stamets's snark as a cover for his lack of ability.

    The plan, of course, makes no sense - they could have brought her to a near-death state medically, like the Doc did with B'Elanna in Barge Of The Dead. And if the Red Angel intervened to save Burnham's life as far back as her childhood, how come it didn't intervene at any point she was endangered in season 1? Their logic - that putting Burnham in a situation in which she will be killed will summon the Angel - is flawed.

    The angel being Michael would have been an eye-roll - I laughed when Tilly "revealed" it - but it being her mother is only slightly less of an eye-roll. It damages the show by once again making everything revolve around Burnham, and it further burdens her character background. If her character is ever to work, they need to stop piling more and more things on it - it's an impossible character biography, and I don't know how any actor can be expected to play it. She "started" the Klingon War (or at least the show kept telling us, even if she didn't), is Spock's adoptive half-brother and responsible for making him who he is, her parents were secret Section 31 time travel scientists, and she single-handedly convinced Starfleet not to do genocide. In terms of her behavior, she's pseudo-Vulcan and highly logical, but also human and highly emotional. That's not a character, it's an unholy hodge-podge. How does any actor get a handle on it? I'm not surprised SMG's performance is blunt, confused and overwrought when her character is expected to be everything to everyone.

    Disco really doubled down hard on the "end of all sentient life" aspect this week. And I hate it. It's such a lazy way to raise stakes and tension, and it doesn't even work. We've never seen these supposed villains that seek to end all sentient life, so how are we supposed to be afraid of them. Maybe spend an episode showing them coming back and you know, actually, attempting to end all sentient life and being partially thwarted, etc. But no, its this omnipresent "threat" that the entire show supposedly hangs on, yet it falls flat every time. I feel nothing when they mention the threat of all sentient life ending. In fact, my first thought is usually, "well can we just get it over with, it sounds more interesting than whatevers going on in the show right now."

    The threat has become almost like a backdrop--like a mural painted in the background of a scene that we are supposed to believe is real, but you can obviously tell its a painting and whatnot. It’s something that could’ve been a two-parter in any other trek series, and then periodically brought back (which is a much more intelligent use of serialization). But no, here, it is drawn out over 10 episodes, having absolutely no impact until the very last, when, we are supposed to have some type of huge emotional catharsis all at once as the whole thing is revealed. It’s like theatrical bulemia.

    The writers even ABBREVIATED the threat in dialogue this week. I believe MB was saying something and Spock CUT HER OFF mid sentence, and, so she didn't have to say it, he just said "Yup....all sentient life."

    I've never laughed so hard during a discovery episode.

    1.5 stars for me.

    @ Alan Roi

    Mary Sue has became an umbrella term used by people to identify pretentious lead characters whose importance is too much overinflated in the story, and everything revolves around them and only them in a way that feels forced. They don't need to be flawless. A lot of leads are like that because many writers cannot write authentic characters perhaps but it isn't arbitrary for leads to be like that. That isn't the definition of lead.

    " As for Spock never mentioning her, what about his wife, his father, his brother, his ex-gIrlfriend. Absolutely none were mentioned before we met them and he was forced to acknowledge them. "

    They weren't as important as Michael is.
    I don't understand why you all insist still comparing her to previous never mentioned before characters like Sybok when the writers themselves acknowledged Michael is different and they promised a canon explanation for the retcon that wasn't needed for those other characters. You don't need they need to explain but they do. You don't think it's weird Spock never mentioned her, but they do.

    @ Boo

    What Michael Burnham is is a lead. Again, these days some people think Mary Sue can mean whatever they want it to. But the more they broaden their use of the term the more meaningless it becomes. Your definition is entirely subjective and could cover anyone from Sherlock Holmes to Dorothy Gale to Thomas Magnum to Ellen Ripley. Sorry, FAIL.

    The people writing this series don't need to explain anything. All they have to do is continue telling the story. Whether the people who don't like how Discovery is told, the character of Michael Burnham or her existennce in Star Trek is their problem.

    thank you, Wolfstar, for the most accurate description thus far for why Michael Burnham isn't working as a character.

    I do wonder if the threat of Control is the reason we won't be seeing any cyborgs or technologically enhanced humans post Discovery. I can see Starfleet quietly, politely purging the ranks to prevent another Airiam incident. What would that mean for Detmer, though?

    A so-so episode, ramping up the threat levels to 11, but that's par for the course with DISC. A few of things worth mentioning:

    Michael now has her mother and her mother figure (Georgiou) in her life. I wonder how that's gonna work out...

    Georgoou's motivation in the Stamets and Culber dynamic is one of enjoying other people's discomfort, nothing more. She used that mirror-universe information to make the other characters in that room uncomfortable. Much like it made a segment of the viewership uncomfortable...

    Peck's portrayal of Spock works for me, that snarkiness is right on the money, very TOS. Glad there was some bridge building between Spock and Michael's characters.

    What is it with this apparent dislike of an unexplained sister in Spock's backstory. It's not like it hasn't happened before (cough cough, Sybok, cough cough).

    On that note, where is Sybok anyway...

    @ Boo.
    It is interesting that people came up with a term for women in movies who make no mistakes. Sure, we had male heros who made no mistakes for 80 years and never invented a word for that. Why? because certain people don't have a problem with a man being awesome. The moment women get the same hero treatment that is of course a sign for sjw. Again let us not forget that people who hate women or whatnot cannot say this openly because most people don't accept that anymore so they have to come up with terms like mary sue.
    Rey from star wars 7 is a good example. Certain people were shouting Mary Sue Mary Sue. The first time Rey flies a ship (which she obviously knows as she explains) she barely makes it off the ground and then crashes it into a building. Or when she fights Kylo Ren these certain people where shouting:" How can she beat him. He is trained and she is not." They ignore of course that Kylo is bleeding out and when he focuses for a moment almost instantly beats her.
    A few male heroes that could do no wrong.
    John Maclaine
    All the Batmans
    All the Chuck Norris
    All the Clint Eastwoods
    All the: Sylvester Stallone, Steven Seagal, Jason Statham, van Damme and so on.
    Neo in the Matrix
    Indiana Jones
    Ethan Hunt
    James Bond
    And so on and so on and so on
    But nobody has a problem with these Bros being infallible. No. And nobody ever came up with a derogatory term for this kind of hero even though we see that type far more often and for a far longer time. Certainly just an oversight.


    It's just personal opinion, something feels a little 'off' with the bad robot spock for me, but it's not ruining my life or anything. I don't really like the portrayal of Scotty either and takes that character too far in the comedy direction. I digress. Perhaps STID and the role reversals thing also contribute to that off feeling too.
    I would have bought Spock/Uhura over a longer period of time and perhaps better suited to TV, but the coming together had occurred off screen in the movie. Spock/Kirk also feels a bit forced esp. in STID, though Spock/Bones is always good.

    Yes DSC Spock is emotional too, but he's recovering from the affects of the red angel visions and there's scope to gradually become at least similar to the TOS era Spock in spirit and hopefully at some point, appearance. It may or may not happen but I don't think me or other fans necessarily miss the point, we can just accept the DSC version for what it is. Maybe it would work better as a different Vulcan character but either way it's not going to be Nimoy.

    The term “Mary Sue” was actually coined by a woman, Paula Smith, in the 70’s, in regards to Star Trek believe it or not. She was a fan fiction writer fed up with reading fan fics starring what she believed to be perfect characters who everybody loved. She brought up the criticism as a way to help other fan fic writers craft more believable, non self insert characters. This is actually her parody story, titled “A Trekkie’s Tale”, in its entirety, featuring the original Mary Sue:

    “Gee, golly, gosh, gloriosky," thought Mary Sue as she stepped on the bridge of the Enterprise. "Here I am, the youngest lieutenant in the fleet - only fifteen and a half years old." Captain Kirk came up to her.
    "Oh, Lieutenant, I love you madly. Will you come to bed with me?" "Captain! I am not that kind of girl!" "You're right, and I respect you for it. Here, take over the ship for a minute while I go get some coffee for us." Mr. Spock came onto the bridge. "What are you doing in the command seat, Lieutenant?" "The Captain told me to." "Flawlessly logical. I admire your mind."

    Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, Dr. McCoy and Mr. Scott beamed down with Lt. Mary Sue to Rigel XXXVII. They were attacked by green androids and thrown into prison. In a moment of weakness Lt. Mary Sue revealed to Mr. Spock that she too was half Vulcan. Recovering quickly, she sprung the lock with her hairpin and they all got away back to the ship.

    But back on board, Dr. McCoy and Lt. Mary Sue found out that the men who had beamed down were seriously stricken by the jumping cold robbies , Mary Sue less so. While the four officers languished in Sick Bay, Lt. Mary Sue ran the ship, and ran it so well she received the Nobel Peace Prize, the Vulcan Order of Gallantry and the Tralfamadorian Order of Good Guyhood.

    However the disease finally got to her and she fell fatally ill. In the Sick Bay as she breathed her last, she was surrounded by Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, Dr. McCoy, and Mr. Scott, all weeping unashamedly at the loss of her beautiful youth and youthful beauty, intelligence, capability and all around niceness. Even to this day her birthday is a national holiday of the Enterprise.”

    @ Alan Roi

    You think the writers don't need to explain, but they do feel that need because they keep saying that they will give a canon explanation. They are self conscious about it. Why you are ignoring it?

    I don't hate Michael btw, she's a solid lead but I wish she wasn't Spock's sister (or if she was, she was more like Sybok and less a retcon of his whole history) and the writers toned down the 'everything is about her' drama. They are the ones baiting the mary sue complains, but you want to label everyone a petty hater if they feel some things are forced. This makes you as biased. The mary sue stuff is just a straw man argument to derail the point and tell people they aren't allowed to think that, perhaps, the writing is over the top about her sometimes and they didn't need to.

    @ Booming
    You won't get points here because I hate mary sue male characters like Kirk, James Bond and most of male lead characters written like that. I rarely do like the main guy and prefer secondary characters whom I find more interesting and authentic.
    I agree that people seem to notice this issue only with female characters and it's unfair that give guys a pass, but it doesn't make it any less valid for someone to prefer lead characters that have less of these elements and feel more realistic. Perhaps we should start a conversation about how to write leads in 2019 and shy away from a certain narrative and a way to write leads that is, IMO, outdated.

    @ Ghosted

    "Yes DSC Spock is emotional too, but he's recovering from the affects of the red angel visions and there's scope to gradually become at least similar to the TOS era Spock in spirit and hopefully at some point, appearance."

    And the guy played by Quinto saw his home planet getting destroyed and his own mother die in front of him. What's your point, again?
    Even before that, he had different life experiences that explain why he embraces emotion more. You could even infer he didn't have a sister who hurt him so much he decided to deny his human side. Maybe Quinto's character just grew up respecting his human side because he respected his mother and had a good bond with her.
    Tbh, he still was more or less like tptb wrote young Spock in the novels and tas, minus some differences that make him evolve into not tos Spock exactly, but the man Nimoy's Spock became as he got older.

    I don't see discovery Spock is more like the original or gives hints he will be. Frankly you only believe that because the writers said that he's in the prime timeline and he will become tos Spock, but if he was playing a reboot and alternate reality version too, you'd dislike him for the same reasons you dislike Quinto's version because every of those complains does fit to Discovery too. You aren't getting out of the accusation that yes, Peck's version is very obviously getting a pass for things people dislike about Quinto's take. It is nonsense for Peck to be more allowed to show a different Spock than the guy who is playing an alternate version of him who therefore is supposed to be different in the source material!

    @ John Harmon
    I know where the term comes from. But she did it to point out sexism in women's fan fiction in 70s. You certainly agree that the people who use it today use it for different reasons.

    I think we agree here. But movies are about wish fulfillment. We will see these leads no matter what because Joe schmoh wants to feel like a super hero every now and then. And let us be honest if the "an average guy is an unwitting superhero who just needs the right situation to become awesome" trope dies Tom Hanks is out of work forever.

    This show is about Burnham... so to say it does otherwise isn't really thoughtful... you knew what you were getting into


    I'm not especially trying to make 'a point', you're right that the events in the movie would be more dramatically character affecting which kinda is my point actually, i didn't feel they needed take it where it did, but makes for a more dramatic movie which I'm happy you enjoyed (as did I to a large degree). Awesome.

    Time crystals DO exist.
    "In a paper published online last week in the journal Physical Review Letters, the UC Berkeley assistant professor of physics describes exactly how to make and measure the properties of such a crystal, and even predicts what the various phases surrounding the time crystal should be — akin to the liquid and gas phases of ice."

    @Eric Jensen
    At one point in your life you will have to accept that there are evil people out there and these people all hate Discovery. It's true.

    @ Ghosted
    So you agree that Peck's version is no more allowed to be a different Spock than Quinto's version and, therefore, it's hypocritical to give him a pass for stuff Quinto's take is bashed for, especially when Peck, unlike him, isn't playing an alternate reality version? Because that is the point and everything you say is just reinforcing the belief that arguments why Peck is better or more Spock are inconsistent.

    If discovery's team wants to boast about them being in the real timeline and not an alternate reality like the kelvin, then they need to accept criticism for not adhering to canon that much better than jj's movies did.
    You can't have the cake and eat it too.

    What the hell happened to Leland?! Why did his 'space binonculars' attack him like that?!?? Anyone have any theories?

    All Georgiou's outfit is missing is the whip...

    Wilson Cruz really impressing me since Culber's resurrection. And as someone else has mentioned his acting makes Rapp's look really poor in comparison. I'm really starting to care about Culber and his predicament.

    Also please NO MORE scenes of Tilly running into a room, babbling semi hysterical nervy nonsense and been brought to heel by eg Pike wondering what she actually wants. Surely Tilly should have learnt by now not to do it!!!

    @ Artymiss
    Agreed about Culber, he got more interesting and I'm looking forward to see how he can start again with Stamets.


    'What the hell happened to Leland?! Why did his 'space binonculars' attack him like that?!??'

    Presumably, our resident two-dimensional, moustache-twirling villainess, (MU Georgiou), rigged them to off Leland, so that she could rise up the Section 31 ranks. She made no secret what she thinks of him in prior episodes, nor of her own ambitions.

    @Mr Man:
    'On that note, where is Sybok anyway... '

    If we're all *exceptionally* lucky, Sybok is absolutely nowhere to be found anywhere near this series. STD has enough problems as it is, without having to compound them with fucking Sybok. You, sir, should be more careful ... merely mentioning him might manifest him into existence!

    (Although, maybe to finally line up with canon, at the end of the series MB goes through gender re-assignment surgery and hormone therapy, as well as skin bleaching, and cosmetic surgery, and becomes Sybok. Ha!)

    @Artymiss, Madman

    I thought it was pretty clear Control killed Leland as the next scene has *his voice* telling everyone the containment field is ready while the real Leland lies dead/unconscious. The implication of course is that Control is interested in stealing the Red Angel’s technology, and thus helps everyone contain her.

    They really need to tone it down with Tilly, I get what kind of character they are trying to portray, but her dialogue is just cringey. No way somebody like her is in the "command" track. "What the frick!?"


    Wasn't really clear to me at all that it was the AI, because there wasn't much of an indication it had taken his ship over, unless I missed something.

    I just assumed it was a Georgiou dirty trick.


    "You think the writers don't need to explain, but they do feel that need because they keep saying that they will give a canon explanation. They are self conscious about it. Why you are ignoring it?"

    Because all am interested in is the product. The marketing of said product is a useless distraction where it comes to enjoying said product. Why are you so obsessed with marketing and PR?


    It really does sound like you need to watch it again. Pike mentions that Control is likely still out there waiting to strike and has advised all S31 to purge the Control system and stop using it. Later after the Red Angel appears, the S31 ship’s main systems go offline. Leland attempts to get them back online using his security overrides. The ship glitches for a moment then starts working normally at which point the controls gouge Leland’s eye sockets leaving him for dead while taking his security overrides. We then hear *Leland’s voice* tell Tyler that he’s ready to proceed containing the Red Angel. We’ve seen Control imitate officers before on com systems, so you can make your own conclusion what’s going on.

    @ Alan Roi

    You are derailing now. No one cares about marketing. Michael is a huge retcon and contrary to what you said, she's different from sybok and others and the writers know it, that's why they keep saying they will explain why she was never mentioned in spite of being the most important petson. You said they don't need to but they are the ones who made Michael different from the examples you made and made it so they need to explain. Using Sybok as excuse doesn't work anymore.

    Michael is certainly a Mary Sue, and the term does not only apply to female characters. Being as this is a Star Trek community, I'd guess that some folks here might be familiar with one of the most notorious Mary Sue characters of all time, a male, who appeared on TNG.

    Here are Michael's qualifications:

    1. She shows uncanny natural talent for all or most plot-relevant skills. Piloting, biology, math, computer programming, combat - there's not much she can't do that isn't a narrow speciality like advanced medicine that requires a doctor or spore drive mechanics that only Stamets can do.

    2. She's introduced as a hitherto-unknown family member of a major beloved character. This is a major Mary Sue trait, seen in many bad fanfics. It's a cheap way to endear a character to the audience. Furthermore, her abilities are so advanced as to show up the established character, as when we discover that she actually did better academically than Spock but Sarek could only have one of them admitted to the Vulcan expeditionary corps.

    3. She rapidly gains the approval of other characters. She does face opposition within Starfleet, as the writers know it would be ridiculous otherwise, but she's lavished with praise by many characters. Mirror Sarek called her "a boundless well of human compassion," although compassion isn't a trait he would likely associate with humans. After hating her following the Shenzhou incident, Saru came to see her as his closest friend on the ship and trusted her to do his assisted suicide. She was a favorite of Lorca and the Empress in the MU, and her final scene in Season 1 has her getting applauded by all the Starfleet brass. Bonus points for characters who disrespect her, like the Enterprise science officer, being quickly and ignobly killed.

    4. She has an overly complex, exotic backstory. The first Vulcan-educated human who's actually even smarter than the Vulcans, handpicked as first officer by one of Starfleet's best captains. See all the Harry Potter fanfics where the main character is the last of the druids descended from Irish sidhe and has a dragon ancestor and has some kind of special familiar and wand that no other character has. Another lazy way to create interest in a character.

    5. She has uniquely tragic personal circumstances. She was the cause of the entire Klingon war that brought the Federation to the brink of destruction so it became her personal mission to end it. She's tormented by what she did to Spock as a child even though it was for his own good. Plenty of characters have tragedy in their past, but hers is presented in such a way as to frame her as the most noble and put-upon character in the series.

    6. She's almost never truly in the wrong. Really bad writers create Sue characters who are infallible; those with a bit more sophistication create characters who do face setbacks and take flack, but when they do it's because they're so virtuous that others target them or because they're courageously shouldering on a burden in place of someone else. "Starfleet's first mutineer" is an interesting premise and a major burden for a protagonist to carry, but at no point in the story does Michael step back and say "I was wrong" and work to change her way of thinking. Michael's mutiny is framed in such a way as to make Starfleet look like the bad guys; recall the ominous tribunal in the darkened room. Nearly all of Michael's irresponsible and insubordinate actions end up being for the greater good.


    People jump on the Mary Sue train as it gets longer and longer and adds more and more characters are unable look at any sort of nuance or past comparisons in order for them to make any sort of nuanced assessment. here's some counters to your argument which yes, lacks a whole lot of nuance and ignores a whole lot of things in order to fit this round peg in your square hole.

    1. So do many Star Trek characters, especially *lead* characters. And the Likes of Spock, Data, Geordi La Forge, Worf, Dax, Bashir, Space Jesus Sisco, Janeway, 7 of 9 etc. Mary Sues all? Is Star Trek filled with Mary Sues. May be according to how vastly broad and subjective this term is becoming.

    2. Subverted because Spock has a lot of family members that are never mentioned until he is forced to acknowledge them. Yeah, if it was Kirk or Picard or a never mentioned family member of Sicko's this would be a concern. But Spock? Come on. He never acknowledged his Wife, Father, Mother, Brother. How is a foster sister out of the question? Plus, it the writers have used this to to add depth to Sarek, Amanda and Spock serving more nuance to those characters. That's not a characteristic of a Mary Sue or how Mary Sues are insterted into existing properties by fanfic writers.

    3. It is not easy for her to win anyone over or back over for what she's done, it takes much of the season to win Saru back over, and only because how he screws up when he's lost and as we find out she is a favorite of Lorca and MU Georgiou, two evil characters from the Mirror Universe. And other characters connect with her because they are simlarly fucked up in their own ways, not because she's a friend magnet by any means. Yeah, hears is redemption arc. Never heard of those? Mary Sue's don't have novel length redemtion arcs because they don't ever need them, perfect as they started off.

    4. Her backstory isn't out of the ordinary for many scifi characters. Pretty much the only thing that distinguishes her from some other characters is a staggering ly bad choice in parents. Lots of us made a bad choice of parents. So what? Sisko had crappy parents too. So did Spock. So did Bashir. So did 7 of 9. Mary Sues all according to your super wide and encompassing definition.

    5. Again, the lie about her causing the Klingon war. The Klingons started this war. Everyone knows this. Burnham did not start the war. Lots of characters are tormented by their past actions. Spock himself is constantly put upon ovr the course of the series. Sisko is bothered by his past. And her 'carrying the world on her shoulders' is seen by now as a character flaw. Her 'nobility' is based on how desperately she needs to atone for her past actions. Mary Sue's aren't this characterized by this kind of past nor reaction to it. Again, they are perfect.

    6. How many lead characters in Star Trek aren't almost never truly in the Wrong? Kirk? Picard? Sisco? Janeway? Archer? This is a FEATURE of Star Trek as a Franchise. Again, being right most of the time is the characteristic of a TV lead in general and Star Trek in particular. She also is capable of making catastrophicly bad/highly questionable judgment calls. Assaulting superior officers when her arguments fail, falling in love/attracting people who are just as fucked up as she is, bringing MU Georgiou to the prime universe to try and atone for getting Prime Georgiou killed and in a belief that she can personally redeem MU Georgiou etc.

    If this fits in the definition of Mary Sue, then most scifi shows have several of these in the cast, and it applies to so many characters in science fiction that you have made the term utterly meaningless other than what most people use it for: "A competant female character I don't like."


    there is the story and there is the meta-world around it consisting of writers, producers, directors who say whatever they want. You are talking about things 'outside the story' which is the actual derailing of talking about the story. Again, obsessing on how the series is 'marketed' distracts from the story.

    Burnham is just like every other part of Spock's life we don't learn about until we do. That is how its always been with Spock as presented in the Franchises stories. Anything outside this is marketing.

    @Thomas M

    "pretty clear Contol killed Leland"
    It wasn't clear to me at the time, it all just happened so incredibly fast and I probably wasn't paying enough attention. I now realise he was looking into some kind of retina scanner, not 'space binnoculars'! Not sure he's dead though. Control could be planning to use him like it did Airiam.

    In Kinematic summary, Michael is a self insert character and that is part of the mary sue trope.
    I think it is the way they steal Spock's story and cannibalize it to not only make her his sister (which would be fine e.g., Sybok) but everyone's favorite in his family, the one to teach him human (instead of previous assumptions being that it was his mother's role to inspire him to be human too), the one he idolized, the one who made him want to be human and then the reason why he became.. Spock.
    It's like, spock is an iconic beloved character and the writers inserted themselves into the story by creating a character who is better than him and also gets all the credit for important aspects of his character. They use him to make their character more important. But she only exists in Discovery.
    Even giving Spock a disability seems manipulative like saying everything was easier for her than for him.

    Couldn't they make her a new character with her own story without forcefully dragging Spock and his family into it? Why make this character never ever mentioned before the most important person in Sarek's family and the one who created Spock? You can't deny it doesn't work with what we saw before and countless of novels written about him because you like it or not, she is a retcon. She didn't exist. Kurtzman wrote the movies too, can you honestly reconcile with Michael being such a big, important part of kelvin Spock's conflict too? After all, the human/vulcan conflict was the same as original Spock and it was all about his parents and especially his mother. Is kelvin spock to be considered au about that too now when original Spock didn't have a sister either? I don't think so. Michael didn't exist and it makes no sense to retcon more than 5 decades of canon like that. You can give him siblings never mentioned before, but Michael is no Sybok and you can't pretend it's the same thing.

    time crystals!! to go along with the engine crystals in the engine room! and dont forget the transporter crystals that let the transporters eork!

    tiiiiiiiiiiimmee cryyyyystalsssss



    As many have pointed out here and elsewhere, countless novels are not canon either. It is laughable to point to other non-canon works to support such an argument. Why bring up the Kelvinverse? Again, that is a laughable argument in any manner. What relevance is a different timeline?

    Mary's Sues are not profoundly screwed up characters like Michael Burnham is.

    I certainly have never come across anyone claiming Burnham is somehow 'better' than Spock. There's no indication that Spock idolized her any more than any younger sibling idolized an elder sibling, or even a baby sitter, really. Burnham is a screwed up character who just happens to be good at her job when she isn't making bad judgment calls, that is. Nothing the character flaws that Spock accuses her of when they interact rings false, even to those who like the character. Burnham cannot be a Mary Sue is if those flaws he brought up don't ring true. And that hasn't been the reaction of anyone I have heard of.

    Do you think Spock's critical assessment of Burnham is false?

    @Alan Roi

    Can you point to any other Star Trek characters who have the same combination of traits I outlined? Other than, of course, the notorious Wesley Crusher, who is probably the best-known "canon Sue."

    Other Trek series have characters with high abilities, but not the sheer range of Michael's skills. It's easy to believe that she could run a starship all by herself, something I couldn't see Data or Dax or Kirk doing. The circumstances around Michael combined with her backstory put her on a pedestal squarely above other characters.

    As to your comment about other protagonists never truly being in the wrong, there were distinct moments where Kirk, Picard, Sisko and Janeway had to be corrected by their crews. Picard needed a lot of help to see Hugh as a person rather than a weapon. Sisko resents Picard for his actions as Locutus in a situation where Picard was a victim and ended up playing a pivotal role in saving the Earth. Fans still express disgust with Janeway over Tuvix.

    One of the qualifiers of a Mary Sue is the setting in which the character exists. James Bond, Dirty Harry, Steven Seagal and Chuck Norris characters, etc. don't qualify because they exist in stories that are structured entirely around them as fantasy figures. On the female side, Milla Jovovich's characters from the Resident Evil and Ultraviolet movies are similar. There's not much concern for character growth or drama, just an idealized badass saving the day.

    The problem comes when an unbelievably perfect character is placed in a setting that has been the backdrop of more grounded stories. Wesley Crusher was so offensive because characters who the audience were supposed to respect were being made fools of in order to fluff up a teenage supergenius. In Discovery, Michael has no regard for rules or authority and gets away with it because she's just that cool. In this episode she beats a captain bloody! She should have been dragged to the brig the very next scene, instead she has a heart-to-heart with Spock. Star Trek has traditionally emphasized values of teamwork and cooperation, reflecting real military structures, whereas Discovery is more oriented around the reverence of a fantasy hero.

    This is the same problem with Harry Potter fanfic characters who show up with massively more power and beauty than existing characters, or Evangelion self-inserts who are genius pilots that crush Angels like bugs. Evangelion is about damaged people confronting their inner demons, when you add an invincible ace pilot into the mix it destroys the theme.

    Rey from Star Wars is a Mary Sue for the same reason: she has a level of ability that is completely unprecedented in the story (learns mind trick in 1 day not 4 years), she is instantly loved by existing characters (Leia hugs her instead of Chewie), and she upstages them in their own niches (pilots and fixes Falcon better than Han or Chewie).


    Yes, many of the characters in the show do have amazing and broad reaching abilities, but you decide to discount them, because, hey, none of them are the hated Michael Burnham, so they all get a pass.

    You have to pretend a whole lot of things haven't happened in the show to come to your conclusions. Below is just one:

    Burnham flouts the rules and ends up getting her ship blown up and in jail for the rest of her life and hated by everyone in the federation, especially her former friends and is only pulled out of that by a character from another universe pretending to be a Star Fleet captain who wants to use her to help him get back home to his horrific MMORPG version of the Federation and take over a genocidal civilization. Pure Mary Sue there, ROTFL. No, man, that is not how Mary Sue stories are written. And, no, not a lot of people would have been sad if Burnham had died during the first season. She did not easily shed the consequnces of her bad judgement calls which continue to resonate through the show.

    And yet again, Discovery not being a show about office workers set in space does not make the character a Mary Sue or the series a Mary Sue show.

    Fantastic post by Kinematic.

    As the term Mary Sue is kinda controversial and can easily lead to a reductive discussion on whether a character is or isn't one, it can be useful to look at it other ways too. Put simply, the show's basic mechanic is different to all previous Trek series - TOS, TNG, DS9, VOY and ENT were ensemble shows, whereas Discovery is a "ride" show, and the function of the Michael character is to act as an avatar for viewers as we travel with her in and around the depths of the Trek world. This is unlike any previous Trek, and whether or not it's a good idea is debatable. As such, Season 1 of Discovery functioned less like a drama and more like a non-playable video game, or even a rollercoaster (bearing in mind it was written backwards from a predetermined endpoint with various fixed twists along the way - consider those the loops). We've talked a lot in previous threads about how all of the S1 cast apart from Saru were written as plot functions rather than as people - Lorca and Tyler existed solely to be twists, Stamets was something akin to a BSG hybrid, Michael was the viewer avatar and Tilly the comic relief. If we imagine Season 1 as a rollercoaster, then Michael is the seat, Tilly is your friend sitting next to you, and Tyler and Lorca are the two big loops. Season 2, likely also planned backwards from a predetermined endpoint, even has your mom waiting for you at the end. I'm just glad it dispensed with a lot of the previous season's loops and twists for a calmer and more scenic ride overall.

    “Michael is a self insert character”

    Sorry, who is she a self-insert of? Alex Kurtzman? You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.

    @ John Harmon
    Fri, Mar 22, 2019, 2:17pm (UTC -5)
    "She's dead for 2 minutes. 'Long after' that is not, even by the medical standards of 20 years ago."

    "Dead is dead yo. Especially when exposed to the toxic atmosphere of an alien planet. Doesn't matter how long you're dead for, there ain't no coming back from that.

    Unless of course you have a magic Care Bear Stare healing beam."

    Ever see 'Amok Time' .... yo
    Ever see 'Mortal Coil' .... yo

    Come on John, this is the 23 century... "trek-medical" performs miracles all the time.


    But sure. If you're looking for a Mary Sue, and you are willing to ignore the contradictions apparent to your argument, and expand the definition like a baloon, eventually you'll find one. However, there isn't one in this episode and there isn't one in this series.


    IFAIC, there's nothing wrong with writing stories this way. When write a story of any length, i always know how it ends. I don't find randomingly meandering around from A-Z particularly interesting when it comes to storytelling.

    @ Alan Roi

    "I don't have any problem with Quinto's spock. But he's a replacement Spock from a different timeline. Peck is playing a younger Spock, and having watched Star Trek from TOS on, he's doing a decent job."

    I don't have any problems with either Spock. I do think Peck is channeling Nimoy's version a little better than Quinto.

    Quinto's Spock is not a different timeline, I don't care what Orci and company made up when questioned back in the ST2009 days. There aren't different timelines in Trek. That's just crazy. Why would you need Braxton and company if every time you traveled into the past another timeline just branched out?

    Ok, I'll bite.
    " It's easy to believe that she could run a starship all by herself, something I couldn't see Data or Dax or Kirk doing" First the premise of that statement is meaningless because what you believe is not an argument that carries any weight in a debate.
    Second, of course Data and Dax could do what Burnham can. Data is stronger than everybody, learns faster, works faster and so on. Dax has the knowledge of several other amazing people in her head. It is shown repeatedly that she knows insane amounts of stuff and can do incredible things.

    "As to your comment about other protagonists never truly being in the wrong"
    I don't know what was discussed before that but Burnham is wrong several times even during the first episode.

    "One of the qualifiers of a Mary Sue is the setting in which the character exists. James Bond, Dirty Harry, Steven Seagal and Chuck Norris characters, etc. don't qualify because they exist in stories that are structured entirely around them as fantasy figures."
    This is obviously wrong. These characters are not portrayed as fantasy figures. As archetypes maybe but if you see all these and Indiana Jones and Macguyver and so on as fantasy I guess many people will disagree. Or you would define almost everything as fantasy. But apparently not a show that plays two hundred years in the future. In a show where people do stuff that is literally impossible like faster than light travel.

    "reflecting real military structures"
    I was in the military and Star Trek is certainly not like that. Maybe like a ultra sweet cuddly version of a very nice military like in Sweden maybe and whose focus isn't killing people.

    The whole Leland thing happened on his ship? and he didn't press charges and there were no witnesses.

    "Rey from Star Wars is a Mary Sue for the same reason: she has a level of ability that is completely unprecedented in the story (learns mind trick in 1 day not 4 years), she is instantly loved by existing characters (Leia hugs her instead of Chewie), and she upstages them in their own niches (pilots and fixes Falcon better than Han or Chewie). "

    She is obviously strong with the force whatever that means. Is Luke a Mary Sue? She is loved?? In what way is she better than Han?
    Han has obviously not seen the Falcon for a long time which has probably undergone a lot of repairs while Rey is shown to be familiar with the Falcon. He is also in his 70s.

    @Alan Roi

    You could also say that a Mary Sue is defined by the degree to which they can break the rules of their setting. Michael can do lots of things you'd never expect other characters to be capable of, because she's just that cool. Same with Rey from Star Wars.

    You've brought up Michael's punishment for mutiny as a contradiction in my argument, and this is indeed the biggest setback she suffers, but she moves beyond it and - this is key - her character does not change significantly in the process of atonement. The only character growth she's gone through that I can think of is that she seems to no longer categorically hate Klingons over the deaths of her parents, but this is explored very little on the show.

    Imagine if Tom Paris had been Locarno from The First Duty, as was initially envisioned. His redemption story starts with him disgraced and scorned by other Starfleet officers. Then he finds himself transported across the galaxy with a crew who have only each other to depend on.

    At the outset, he admits his wrongdoing on the surface but subconsciously denies it, telling himself the dead cadet knew the risks. After seeing crewmates die performing hazardous tasks, the gravity of what he did finally hits him and he falls into a deep depression, understanding that his friend died because of his desire for glory. Another crisis drives him into action to protect the ship and he pushes through his pain and regret, understanding that the best redemption he can achieve is as a member of a crew who look out for each other instead of their self-image. And despite his change of heart, other characters may have longstanding enmity for him, and moving past this would form part of their own character growth.

    That would be a good character arc. Michael is still her same insubordinate self, though. Even in the first season, her misdeeds were forgotten relatively fast owing to the war effort. Instead of character growth, she has characters who used to have problems with her, like Spock, realizing that she was acting for the greater good all along. Her plotlines with Sarek have been about how Sarek did poorly by her, not about how she still had more to learn from him. Spock's disputes with Sarek, as explored in TNG's Unification, are painted as equal parts his fault and Sarek's.

    If anyone can point out other Trek characters who fulfill the criteria I've laid out, I'm all ears. Except, of course, for Wesley Crusher.

    @ Yanks

    Quinto's Spock is another timeline. Who cares what you believe, you didn't write the movies and don't make the rules.
    Different realities are trek's stuff. Just because you don't get time travel and the many realities thing, it doesn't mean it isn't what the movies were about and therefore canon.


    And now we're adding more stuff to widen the scope, which will capture even more characters in your every widening net. Breaking Rules? Well in this era, our chief examples Are Kirk, Spock and McCoy, characters to whom rule-breaking is their code of conduct.


    Given how inconsitant Star Trek is with time travel and parallel universes in general, my stand is that some forms of time travel disturb single timelines while others create branches. Braxton's crew therefore would only be tasked with dealing with those that don't create different branches.

    Alternatively, some others might put forth the argument that it took a while for Braxton's people to get around to repairing the damage that created the Kelvinverse, and that there being no 4th movie would suggest that they've finally fixed the timeline and erased the events that occured in it.

    @Alan Roi

    When I say breaking rules, I mean the narrative rules governing the setting, not in-universe rules like Starfleet regulations. In TNG, Wesley breaks the narrative by having knowledge and skills that are out of his league as a teenager, repeatedly showing up Starfleet officers who have spent their lives training to do their jobs. Precocious high-schoolers exist in reality, but very few of them can consistently outperform adult professionals, especially when it comes to staying cool under pressure.

    When Kirk breaks Starfleet protocols, he's not violating a rule of the setting. If he decides he's going to one-up Spock, goes through a few minutes' study montage and then has more scientific knowledge than Spock does, that would be breaking setting rules. Bringing in a character like Wesley or Michael makes the setting harder to take seriously, effectively depleting the "credit" built up by years of consistent storytelling.

    I gave six Sue criteria before, but the only criterion you really need is to ask whether the character breaks the narrative rules and why. It encapsulates all the other criteria; what they amount to is checking whether a character is given traits that are beyond the bounds of what's normally possible within the setting in order to make the audience like them (often accomplishing the opposite).


    "Of course Data and Dax can do what Burnham can"

    Data and Dax are portrayed as relying on a team of colleagues to fill in gaps in their ability; they are never shown as having enough judgment and moral authority to act on their own without any checks or support. This is the default for Michael, however. That's why it seems like she could run a ship on her own. If Data tried this he'd probably run into some problem he couldn't anticipate, then he'd need the other characters to step in and rescue him and the moral of the story would be that no matter how talented you are, you need a team to back you up.

    "These characters are not portrayed as fantasy figures."

    I don't mean fantasy in the sword and sorcery sense, those action heroes represent fantasies of supreme strength and competence, and achieving victory against overwhelming odds. Star Trek is traditionally about a team of characters as opposed to a singular hero, making the best of things in a complicated world where there are no absolute victories.

    "Star Trek is not like the military"

    It's not like the military per se but the organization of Starfleet mirrors the chain of command present in a military. In Discovery, Michael demonstrates that if you're the main character, you can be violently insubordinate over and over and suffer no consequences.

    "Rey vs. Luke"

    This isn't a Star Wars board, but to be brief: Luke is disrespected by other characters in Ep4 and needs to be rescued 4 times: from the sand people, the bar fight, the trash compactor, and finally from Vader by Han. He uses his innate Force talent to boost his learned shooting ability and scores a miraculous hit destroying the Death Star - definitely a heroic fantasy, but one with a movie's worth of buildup. In the following episodes he goes through many failures and tribulations and spends the climactic moment of his story helpless, being tortured and begging his father to save him. His victory is spiritual more than physical.

    Rey needs very little if any help from others and displays abilities far outstripping any other character's. She pilots the Falcon, a ship that normally requires 2 to fly and is in poor repair, well enough to defeat TIE fighter pilots trained since early childhood. She is able to maneuver the ship so precisely as to point its jammed gun turret straight at a smaller, nimbler enemy fighter so Finn can shoot it. Star Wars is a hero's journey story, which means that it's about a character who grows through sustained struggle. The disparity between Rey's power and rate of growth and those of all other characters cheapens the setting. There's no way that Ep9 will climax with Rey helpless and begging for Kylo to save her as Ep6 did for Luke.


    Except you are ignoring all of the different situation where she did not solve the episode problem on her own or even at all, Such as Choose Your Pain, Magic to Make the Sanest Man go Mad, When Captain Killy was needed in the MU and on and on.

    The trouble with most gung-ho Mary Sue accusations is that it requires a lot of pretending such things never happened in order to support the conclusion.

    this entire ep, for instance, is a group effort. But, there have been copious Star Trek tories in which individual characters were given the spotlight to solve all the problems of a given episode by showing off otherwise not-shown before skills because the episode needed them to. That's how storytelling in Star Trek has always worked.

    Again, there is nothing here that separates a particular character, whether that be Burnham, or say Saru with his own compendious skills and talents and utter brilliance, alien super-powers, beloved by everyone on the ship and savior of his entire race, and repeated insubordination (which he to has never been disciplined for) as a Mary Sue.

    The multiplicity of timelines/universes/realities is so established in Trek -- well before the 2009 movie was made. From "Mirror, Mirror" to "Parallels" and beyond, it's as much a Trek trope as time travel/weirdness.

    The odd thing to me is that we fans mostly do accept the concept, but then don't apply it when it so easily solves the cross-series canon and continuity questions. You don't buy Peck-Spock as the same character as the primary Nimoy-Spock? Fine, they're not. Have as many timelines as you need, to accommodate the Trek shows you like to watch. Or call them the same character, if that works for you and increases your enjoyment.

    Personally, I think of the main line of TNG and DS9 as one reality -- apart from those episodes that explicitly depart it -- but otherwise I don't much care. It doesn't really matter whether Discovery is the past to *the* OS and subsequent events that I watched, or another version of them.

    Not really feeling this show, I'm sorry to say. They may as well rename it Star Trek: Michael Burnham because the universe literally seems to revolve around her.

    On top of that Tilly has become annoying and Georgeiou's acting is atrocious.

    After nearly 2 seasons we still barely even know most of the bridge crew.

    "In Discovery, Michael has no regard for rules or authority and gets away with it because she's just that cool. In this episode she beats a captain bloody! She should have been dragged to the brig the very next scene, instead she has a heart-to-heart with Spock. Star Trek has traditionally emphasized values of teamwork and cooperation, reflecting real military structures, whereas Discovery is more oriented around the reverence of a fantasy hero."

    This is the only thing I miss from the Old Trek: heroism was able to exist within the command structure. However, Michael Burnam (much to my chagrin, bc I really love SMG, especially in this episode) is not a really a hero, she is a more of a vigilante.

    CW has been doing the same thing with their own "heroes" in the DCTVU: making them so insufferably virtuous that they can never be in the wrong, even when they're breaking the law, being insubordinate, unreasonable, duplicitous and sometimes, even downright stupid. For whatever reason, modern audiences gobble it up. I find it disgusting, maybe even disturbing.

    Yes, history needs rebellion every now and then - maybe even revolution. However, this is not whats happening here: this is a 2019 writers' room giving 2019 audiences what they think they will enjoy. Heck, who knows! Maybe they're young enough to believe that this is how "real" heroes behave like!

    Heroism within the command structure made for fine movies about WW2 in the 50s and 60s. It worked in TOS fine - and I liked it for it (as campy and ludicrous as it sometimes was). However, this incarnation of Trek is catering to present-day audiences bc, let's face it, CBS ran its numbers and hardcore Trekkies were never a big enough audience to support a multi-million dollar production like this one all by their lonesome. They needed other viewers too.

    I enjoy it. It's entertainment and it's entertaining. Enough for me.

    "CW has been doing the same thing with their own "heroes" in the DCTVU: making them so insufferably virtuous that they can never be in the wrong, even when they're breaking the law, being insubordinate, unreasonable, duplicitous and sometimes, even downright stupid. "

    So, accurately depicting Comic Book superheroes.

    @ Kinematic
    "Data and Dax are portrayed as relying on a team of colleagues to fill in gaps in their ability; they are never shown as having enough judgment and moral authority to act on their own without any checks or support. ... If Data tried this he'd probably run into some problem he couldn't anticipate"
    Now you are just making up rules to fit your argument.

    "I don't mean fantasy in the sword and sorcery sense, those action heroes represent fantasies of supreme strength and competence, and achieving victory against overwhelming odds. Star Trek is traditionally about a team of characters as opposed to a singular hero, making the best of things in a complicated world where there are no absolute victories."
    Again you make up rules to fit your argument. And I didn't mean fantasy like in Lord of the Rings (or Star Wars). James Bond not a Mary Sue. Rey from Star Wars is a Mary Sue because Star Wars is clearly deeply grounded in reality.

    "It's not like the military per se but the organization of Starfleet mirrors the chain of command present in a military. In Discovery, Michael demonstrates that if you're the main character, you can be violently insubordinate over and over and suffer no consequences."
    So Starfleet has a hierarchy like every organization ever. Isn't Burnham sent to prison after being convicted of mutiny. Saru was insubordinate several times. Data disobeys order, too and he steals the ship and breaks Worf's arm but I guess that is alright because his maker activated his come home switch.

    Luke beats Vader in Return of the Jedi after one day of training. He shots down several Tie fighters without every seeing the Falcon or using military equipment. He destroys the death star after all the other highly trained pilots fail. Leia kisses him at the end of the empire strikes back. He understands Chewbacca. He falls down 500m into a hole and catches some metal thing after even though he has just lost a hand and then magically sends a message to his sister to rescue him. He convinces his his genocidal father to kill the emperor in a short back and forth by using the power of love. But Luke not a Mary Sue.

    Again. John Maclaine an overweight cop with no special training whatsoever can mow down a team of international mercenaries but isn't a Mary Sue because that is obviously a heroes fantasy but Rey, even though she is alone and ignored at the beginning, captured later and defeated at the end in the Star Wars franchise which is a space fantasy saga about magic knights fighting evil, is a Mary Sue.

    Booming, this last comment is spot on. The Mary Sue argument is so, so problematic. I wish so very much thet folks would let it go as a device. At worst, it’s a misogynist veil, behind which folks advance arguments in bad faith. At best, it’s an amibiguous and fraught concept (and often self-fulfilling prophecy) which doesn’t really advance other, more nuanced critiques (e.g. those around the quality of writing on DSC, which can be... less than idea, at times.) Frankly, at this point, the concept is so toxic (by association with those who would like us to bring our level of discourse down to an entirely uncivil level) thet I wish we could find an alternative critique.

    This week was a mixed bag. There’s a degree of intelligence missing from this twist in the narrative, and perhaps too much fantasy for my personal liking. (I say this ready to acknowledge that Trek has always been more fantasy than science, even if the latter is what has generally appealed to me most.) However, I have to admit to being enitely exhilarated by the last few minutes. If you set aside your mind and roll with it, it’s an incredible powerful piece of television. I don’t think Trek has ever quite succeeded in this way for me, for better or worse. Take this as high, if uneasy, praise.

    DIS unfortunately is becoming more and more boring and uninteristing to me. I tried to love it, I really did, but I got fed up with Burnham wooden acting and all these lights and lens flare shit.

    It’s a shame the TREK didnt continue the saga after the VOY timeline and instead we got another boring prequel.
    ENT did this already and it failed, why did they have to repeat the same mistake?

    At this point it is pretty save to say that SMG more wooden acting happened because of the role not here abilities.

    @ Axiom
    That is my central point. There are several ways to describe the lack of character or bad writing without using the derogatory Mary Sue term.
    But I think that it is used these days shows that there are still strong double standards men and women are held to which is why nobody came up with a term for a male protagonist who can do everything for 80 years.
    The same applies to the word whore which is used for a sexually promiscuous woman while during the last years the word man-whore is used occasionally it clearly shows a gender bias because for 2000 years nobody bothered to invent a derogatory term for a promiscuous man. A whore is the norm, a man-whore is the deviation.
    The principle is switched around with terms like lady doctor (male doctors are the norm, a female doctor is therefor a deviation from that norm) even though that seems to have fallen out of favor with most people these days. Again tough times four women haters and the like. But I digress.

    Yooo. In regards to the mary sue debate that i know will never die but had to through my two cents in

    James Bond basically IS a Mary Sue. So is Indianna Jones, etc. BUT so is Laura Croft and other female Action Protaganists. (Im ashamed to say I cant think of more right now)

    Anyway. My issue is they have a typical Action Protagist in the middle of what wants to be a drama. All of the emotional beats fall flat to me because while Burnham has the depth to carry an action show, she is too flat to carry a real drama. It does seem like they are going tk lengths to try and address / fix it this season.

    @ Boo.
    Sat, Mar 23, 2019, 7:04pm (UTC -5)
    @ Yanks

    "Quinto's Spock is another timeline. Who cares what you believe, you didn't write the movies and don't make the rules.
    Different realities are trek's stuff. Just because you don't get time travel and the many realities thing, it doesn't mean it isn't what the movies were about and therefore canon."

    It wasn't what the movies were about. Funny you don't address my point, just attack me. At least Alan Roi gave some sort of alternative, although I don't subscribe to that alternative. There is no way or reason to "manage timelines".

    SPOCK (ST2009): "SPOCK: You are assuming that Nero knows how events are predicted to unfold. To the contrary, Nero's very presence has altered the flow of history, beginning with the attack on the USS Kelvin, culminating in the events of today, thereby creating an entire new chain of incidents that cannot be anticipated by either party."

    Nothing about a new timeline.

    Every time travel episode (aside from one and that's not really a time travel episode) and movie happens under the guise that there is one timeline and there are consequences for actions taken.... great caution must be taken or severe change will/could happen to THE timeline. I refuse to accept that because Orci didn't want to incur the wrath of Star Trek fans he gets to rewrite a constant in 50+ years of trek.

    Sorry Jammer, I'm WAY off Star Trek Discovery here. It will be interesting how Vulcan is addressed in the new Picard series.

    @Alan Roi and @Booming

    Here's a clarifying question: do you think that Wesley Crusher is a Mary Sue character? He is often held up as one of the most notorious examples in a canon work outside fanfiction. Also, do you think that Vic Fontaine qualifies?

    It seems that you are using a Sue definition wherewith the character cannot ever fail or have any kind of flaw. Wesley does fail and get humiliated on occasion, like during The Naked Now, but on the balance his character is shown as having talent and intelligence that eclipses the adults around him, and more importantly, the main characters treat him with a level of respect and esteem that beggars belief, allowing him to helm the ship as a cadet and throwing a party for him in the conference room when he returns from the academy. Wesley is despised by many fans because the special treatment he receives in the stories makes the setting less believable, and it feels like he's fulfilling a fantasy of the creator's rather than a character intended to entertain the audience.

    Vic Fontaine is another example of an annoying author's pet. He's a fictional computer-generated person who rapidly solves the problems of the main characters, and then we hear them gush about how great he is - this from members of a quasi-military organization in the midst of a war to preserve the Federation. It appears the Vic was created to fulfill a fantasy of Ira Steven Behr, who is a big fan of lounge music, moreso than he was created for the enjoyment of the audience. Most DS9 audience members were not as interested in that type of music as Behr, and they did not tune into Star Trek to see a character like Vic get so much time in the spotlight to the detriment of other characters' storylines.

    There are two operative criteria here:

    1. A character who displays a level of ability and esteem from other characters outside the bounds of what's considered normal in the setting.

    2. A sense that the character is being written for the gratification of the author moreso than for the enjoyment of the audience.

    Michael Burnham and Rey meet both of these criteria by my estimation. Michael's Sue status may be eroding a bit, as Spock recently performed a masterful teardown of her character, but for the most part it's been apparent that the showrunners see the story as something that serves Michael rather than seeing Michael as a character who should serve the best interests of the story. The creators seem to intrinsically value Michael's glorification even when it runs counter to the best interests of the story.

    Rey is similar. For example, when training with Luke she is tempted by the dark side but easily shakes it off. Given her background as a solitary scavenger and her high level of Force ability, temptation by the dark side would be a believable and interesting character flaw to balance out her immense level of talent. The values of compassion and restraint would not be readily apparent to someone with such a harsh upbringing, but it's clear that the creators do not want Rey to have significant flaws: rather than using her character to tell a good story, they want to use the story to make Rey as cool as possible.

    "1. A character who displays a level of ability and esteem from other characters outside the bounds of what's considered normal in the setting."
    Isn't that true for almost every character. Kira, Odo, Bashir, Dax, Sisko, even goddam Gul Dukat or Damar or Rom. And that is only DS9.

    "2. A sense that the character is being written for the gratification of the author moreso than for the enjoyment of the audience."
    That confuses me a little. Are you saying that you know what is going on on a psychological level inside the writers heads?? These episodes are written by a team I think(?). There is now way of knowing if that is true.

    "Rey is similar. For example, when training with Luke she is tempted by the dark side but easily shakes it off. " You mean like Luke did? :)

    You again make judgements about the writers intent and these judgement are a 100% based on your personal opinion.

    Sorry I would write more but I'm reading Kushner, Inc.: Greed. Ambition. Corruption. The Extraordinary Story of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.
    I can really recommend it. A real page turner.

    Kind of silly to have them pretend to try to kill Michael while having a crew ready to save her if the red angel doesn't show up, defeats the entire point of what they were doing. Liked seeing Georgiou break when they pushed it to the brink though, even in the mirror universe her soft spot for her was her biggest weakness. Good to see character development pay off. Sonja Sohn was a great choice for Michael's mother and very happy it didn't turn out to just be Michael herself. I doubt a lot of this was the plan from the beginning but they are doing a fairly good job weaving threads together from the start of the show to now. 3/4 for me.

    Aww man, and here I thought last’s week’s broke the stupid bank. But, holy shit, I had to take triple the recommended dose of Time Away™ to wipe away the trauma caused by this one. It’s so dumb I thought it might leave permanent stains on my psyche.

    But lucky for me, Time Away™ from S.C. Johnson came to the rescue. It scrubs, it cleans, it polishes away all that distressing chrononomic particle buildup caused by overexposure to quantum levels of Dumb.

    Time Away™ from S.C. Johnson. For the discerning viewer.

    · outa **** stars


    Have you read any novels lately? I think the case you’re trying to make here could be applied to any protagonist. For example, Frodo Baggins is just so great and special. He’s probably written as a self-insert for J.R. Tolkien because they both share Judeo-Christian types of values. All the other heroes love Frodo and he’s incurruptable, fighting even the power of the One Ring that the almighty wizard Gandalf can’t fight. People are constantly praising Frodo and putting the big decisions in his hands. He doesn’t fight for glory, but for the sake of others. Basically, the typical Mary Sue.

    Do you see the problem with this kind of analysis?

    @ Yanks

    I can't take you seriously when you want to quote that scene but omit Uhura's next line where she expressly calls it an ALTERNATE REALITY and Spock says 'Precisely' . His whole speech was an in text explanation of them being into another reality and it invalidates your interpretation.
    It is another reality. What you believe doesn't matter, it's another reality and it isn't the first time for trek trek. What's your problem.


    In LOTR Frodo serves the story, the story doesn't serve Frodo. Frodo is mocked by other characters for being a hobbit, he goes through grueling struggles to reach the end of his journey, and once there it turns out that even he can't resist the temptation to use the ring. If the plot and setting were twisted in unnatural, unpleasing ways to make Frodo out to be cool and heroic even when it didn't make sense, then he would be a Mary Sue. For instance, if he turned out to be a better fighter than Aragorn despite spending his life in the peaceful Shire. As is the plot is set up to make his life harder, not easier, and his judgment is far from perfect.

    Indeed, LOTR is in many ways against the traditional concept of heroism; it makes clear that strong-willed people like Aragorn and Galadriel must not touch the ring because their nature makes them more, not less susceptible to its power. Frodo's only exceptional quality is that he is humble and meek, thus harder for the ring to corrupt.


    "Isn't that true for almost every character."

    You cite examples of characters who have abilities above those of an average person in the setting. I'm talking about a character who has acclaim and skills that are significantly above those of the main characters in the story. Vic Fontaine qualifies because it's so unusual for the highly talented professionals in DS9's crew to gush about how much they adore a holodeck character. Same with Wesley: you wouldn't expect the Enterprise crew to fawn over a teenager like that.

    "Are you saying that you know what is going on on a psychological level inside the writers heads??"

    I can't say for certain but it's easy to infer in some cases. Wesley is Gene Roddenberry's middle name, it's known that Ira Behr recruited the guy who plays Vic because he likes his music. Statements from Lucasfilm and the Discovery production indicate that they place a high intrinsic value on the characters of Rey and Michael.

    Many people perceive that the story is twisted around these characters to make them look cool, rather than the characters forming a natural part of their stories. I can't say that this is objectively true, as there is precious little objectivity in media criticism, but the parallels between these characters and the narrative structures around them indicates to me that there's a common problem underlying them.

    "At one point in your life you will have to accept that there are evil people out there and these people all hate Discovery."

    Excuse me? WTF is this?

    Funny how you constantly complain about the rudeness of those who don't like the show (off with their heads for having a different opinion), and then you write shit like this.

    How'd you like it if somebody wrote the same thing in reverse (something that never happened here, as far as I remember)? Jeez, man, what the heck is wrong with you?

    Come on, man. This was obviously a joke. That's why I wrote. It is true. :D

    Regarding "Time Crystals", an honest question:

    Do their use in Discovery has even the faintest resemblance to what they are in real life?

    If so, then I'll be genuinely impressed.


    In DISC Burnham serves the story, the story doesn't serve Burnham. Burnham is mocked by other characters for being a reckless, she goes through grueling struggles to reach the end of her journey, and once there it turns out that even she can't resist the temptation to ignore Starfleet regulations. If the plot and setting were twisted in unnatural, unpleasing ways to make Burnham out to be cool and heroic even when it didn't make sense, then she would be a Mary Sue. For instance, if she turned out to be a better fighter than Tyler despite spending her life in the peaceful Vulcan Academy. As is the plot is set up to make her life harder, not easier, and her judgment is far from perfect.

    See how that works?

    @ kinematic
    In science it is all about clear definitions. When I read your text without even wanting it I only see these words and phrases: "I can't say for certain" yes you can't; "it's known " by whom?; "statements ... indicate that they place a high intrinsic value on" Do they?; "I can't say that this is objectively true" but you continue anyways. I almost want to take a red marker. ;)
    "but the parallels between these characters and the narrative structures around them indicates to me that there's a common problem underlying them." which problem would that be?
    Everything you write is vague and subjective which is fine, of course, but not a good way to convince people to accept your argument.

    You know how the way of the protagonist is called in a three act structure or basically in every movie? The heroes journey. Almost all movies are created around one protagonist: the hero.


    "Regarding "Time Crystals", an honest question:

    Do their use in Discovery has even the faintest resemblance to what they are in real life?"


    "Time crystals" should not be confused with time crystals which exist on the quantum level and are described as a new form of matter, and should not be confused with “perpetual motion machines, weapons, or time travel devices,” because you cannot draw energy from a source at a rested state—even though a time crystal essentially does break “time-translation symmetry, which is essentially the idea that each instant in time is the same as any other instant in time,” and it/they therefore “suspend” the law of conservation of energy.

    There is no theoretical basis for time travel per se using the “silly science fiction” term time crystals.

    I agree with Kinematic's well-argued points and, when so much about Discovery is so much improved this season, especially the past few episodes – an improvement that looks set to continue into season 3 what with the new showrunner – arguing that Burnham is an effective character feels like a silly hill to die on. Seriously, loads of things about the show have got better but she isn't one of them, yet. It's important to be critical of this as it's one of the few remaining things that haven'e been fixed. I want the character to work better! And in general, going back to the worst parts of season 1, if people constantly defend even the weakest elements of a show, it holds back that show's development. TNG only got good because of the awful reaction to the legitimately bad S1+2. If fans had praised the first couple of seasons of TNG to the heavens and acted like it was perfect, the show would never have improved and never have been fixed, and wouldn't have gone on to have other spin-off shows either. Discovery's still far from perfect but it's got way better recently – I enjoy watching it and am engaged in the story – but it's important to be constructively critical of the things that don't work so that the show can continue to work on them.


    It doesn’t matter how much people complain, Burnham’s been the series’ protagonist and that’s not going to change. If you’re watching this show still and haven’t figured that out, and hold onto some misguided idea that this fundamental part of the show will change, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. You might as well hope that the next Avengers movie doesn’t spend much time on Tony Stark’s life. It’s a ridiculous and unproductive discussion.

    @ pemensky
    "Burnham’s been the series’ protagonist"
    While that is true it was always an odd choice to write Trek show so tightly knit around one character. It would not be impossible to turn Discovery into more of a ensemble show in season 3 without losing Burnham as a protagonist

    Hot Take on "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle"

    I couldn’t help but laugh at The U.S.S. Discovery emblem framed by “Auto Pilot” and next week’s preview of Burnham shouting “blow this place to hell!”

    If wishes were horses, Burnham, if wishes were horses.

    I don't intend to add more fuel to the Mary Sue debate because labels are a slippery slope, especially in this day and age. I do think that the writers are dangerously close to writing themselves into a corner due to the Fuller's initial decision not to center the show on the ensemble or the captain. Because of this, they constantly need to come up with ways to personally connect Burnham with almost every plot and side character out there and make everything at least tangentially related to her. So it's not some devious desire to make Mary Sue out of Burnham, but a consequence of making her the only true lead without giving her the needed moral and hierarchical authority in-setting.


    This is literary critique, not science, so there are no objective definitions. In theory someone could argue that Michael is Discovery's antagonist, not its protagonist, since the definitions of "protagonist" and "antagonist" are subjective. The point I'm making is that Michael meets most of the criteria associated with Mary Sue characters in fiction as those criteria are subjectively interpreted by Star Trek and genre fiction audiences.

    I'd be interested in your answers to these questions:

    Is Wesley Crusher a Mary Sue?

    Is Vic Fontaine a Mary Sue?


    Is Dilithium in Star Trek the same as Dilithium in the real world?

    As are dozens of Trek technologies that aren't like their real life comparisons.

    Your point, that is no point, makes no poitn.


    Time Crystals are a new state of matter that resets itself in space and time. So yes, it does have a faint resemblance to real life Time Crystals, given a scifi makeover.

    The term Mary Sue has sociological component that transcends movies because of it's real world implications. I clear definition for the term would be necessary to find out if it is in fact a misogynistic term

    The definition I'm using which, I believe, is based on Paula Smith herself.
    The source is

    "she noticed a pattern of recurring adolescent female characters who were the youngest ever in their Starfleet position, irresistibly yet uniquely attractive, and uncannily talented and capable in every adventure she and the crew dared endeavor."

    Based on that definition I would say neither Michael nor Wesley or Vic qualify as a Mary Sue character


    Like Michael Burnham, you can isolate a handful of scenes out of the Wesley Crusher's entire arc and make a claim he presents attributes that some apply to a Mary Sue. But then you can do that with a dozen or more characters in Star Trek by utilize the same discriminatory methods.

    However, analysing a character isn't about focusing the things that support your argument and thowing out everything everything else which runs counter to your theory.

    So, no, as a 'whole' neither Wesley Crusher nor Michael Burnham are 'Mary Sues' because there is too much about their characters and their arcs which run counter to the definition of the term.

    By the way, nice way of attacking me very personally Omicron for an, in my opinion, pretty obviously absurd exaggeration. When I made that joke I wanted to show the opposite of what you thought. That I think it is totally legitimate to dislike Discovery.
    So much for Jammers wish to not attack people personally.

    Sun, Mar 24, 2019, 11:49am (UTC -5)

    "I can't take you seriously when you want to quote that scene but omit Uhura's next line where she expressly calls it an ALTERNATE REALITY and Spock says 'Precisely' . His whole speech was an in text explanation of them being into another reality and it invalidates your interpretation.
    It is another reality. What you believe doesn't matter, it's another reality and it isn't the first time for trek trek. What's your problem."

    lol... I didn't quote it because it doesn't matter.

    I see you conveniently left out the next line that debunks your interpretation.

    SPOCK: "Precisely. Whatever our lives might have been, if the time continuum was disrupted, our destinies have changed."

    An "alternate reality" isn't a separate timeline, it is change to the ONE timeline (destinies have changed) caused by Nero and Spock's incursion. Events will change, just what all time travelers guarded against in every instance of time travel in trek. .... what's the exact number? ... 35+? It's ridiculous to assume this would be any different.

    @ Yanks

    You are funny. How can Uhura calling it alternate reality and Spock saying it's precisely that 'not matter' in your silly excuse of argument that they aren't into a separate reality? An alternate reality, or quantum reality is, by definition, not the same reality but another.
    I don't want to convince you that what is spelled in canon and what the creative team said is what it is. You can believe what you want, but you can't expect others to share your delusions (or confusion).


    “While that is true it was always an odd choice to write Trek show so tightly knit around one character. It would not be impossible to turn Discovery into more of a ensemble show in season 3 without losing Burnham as a protagonist”

    That would be a huge change in premise of the show. If that happens, we’ll know the series is doing badly. I’m willing to guess, however, that the writers like having a story that isn’t told mainly from the captain’s POV like other Treks and explores more of the sub-command structure of the ship. Having the story revolve around a science officer like Burnham is a unique opportunity to explore Star Trek in a new way.

    News reports lead us to believe there’s three or more other Trek projects in the works at the moment. Why can’t those be ensemble shows and leave Discovery the way it is for the people (like Jammer, for example) who like it?

    My call is they're gonna turn Leland into a Borg and retcon the Borg now...

    OK, here's a serious question about the episode at hand. I see people arguing about the logistics of the Angel-capture, but nothing on the reasoning of it.

    If they believe the Angel is a future-Burnham... and she's "one of us," presumed to be on the right side... and she does in fact appear to be saving people with each appearance, and working against the evil future-Control... why do they want to *capture* her? Why not try to talk to her? Work with her? Nobody even questions this?


    Its not like the Red Angel has bothered to stick around to do the same. They need to get it to hand around in order to talk to it. What other means to they have available to do this?


    "Having the story revolve around a science officer like Burnham is a unique opportunity to explore Star Trek in a new way."

    The problem is that the show wants to be about massive conflicts and intrigues that threaten humanity or the universe. It would be fine to follow a science officer on smaller-scope adventures with lower stakes; then there wouldn't be a need to have the science officer always tied to plots that involve their captain and all of Starfleet. This is one of the Orville's strokes of genius - when you're no longer following the most important people in the galaxy, you can get a more personal perspective on the setting.


    "why do they want to *capture* her?"

    Work with her? Talk to her? Boooring, this is the Game of Thrones generation. Also, since the Angel's scans showed the person in the armor to unmistakably be Michael, not her mom, I'm guessing that the mom is going to pass the armor to Michael, perhaps after dying for the sake of forced drama. Then Michael will take off to do her time adventure. If they're planning to write Michael off the show, this could be a way to do it


    A state of the art ship filled with highly qualified people are on a mission to save the Federation - For a Star Trek show this is apparently a problem.

    A group of schmoes on a ship generally often used for mail delivery and an 8 year old kid are on a mission to save the Union - For a Star Trek show somehow its a stroke of genius.

    Welcome to the upside-down everybody.

    Although I am like Jeanne way above (I did not read every comment, being selective works, saves time, I recommend), meaning that I like "briefing-room scenes" and "technobabble procedurals," I still found the first 15 minutes mediocre. The funeral scene lasted too long, except I have to single out Detmer's short speech (I so wish she would get the focus role in an episode) which was a meaningful message with good delivery on her part. There was also couple of lines dry-delivered by Spock in the briefing room that made me chuckle/smile, burning/mocking Michael about taking on too much. Well played E. Peck.

    Once we get to the Georgiou-Burham walking in the corridor scene, it picks up and the last 30 minutes are very enjoyable. The episode suffers from the Michael-centric syndrome a bit and the irony is, Sonequa Martin-Green, who is not to blame for that, delivers a five-star performance in this episode, her best of the series (I'd add that she has improved dramatically in the last few episodes over the first season and the first few of the second).

    The angel being her mom came as a total surprise for me, I'd accepted by then that it was Burnham (which I was previously suspecting, wrongly, thankfullly), so I was not expecting that reveal. I even thought for a second, when her mom was still on her knees with her head down, that it was Owosekun because of the hair. Other satisfying scenes: Michael punching Leland, Spock's talk with Michael after her exercise, Culber and Cornwell's conversation (although when Culber first enters the room wearing that jacket, it resembles the beginning of a porno-film scene with steamy sex about to take place, except we know that ain't happening), and last but not the least, Georgiou screwing with everyone's head in the engineering-room scene. Yeoh plays it so well that it's impossible to tell if, in her universe, she really did everything she says, or did some of it and exaggerating the rest, or simply making crap up to mess with Paul, Hugh, and Tilly. Either way, she accomplishes her goal :)

    One glaring problem in episodes like this one that don't involve the spore drive but require knowledge of engineering, and it's a general problem for DSC, why is Stamets heading the engineering part of the mission and not the chief engineer of Discovery (that we have yet to meet)?

    Overall, I liked "The Red Angel." I am glad the identity of the Red Angel did not last the whole season, and although I thought Spock appeared too soon in the season at first, after seeing Peck's performance and how he is played into the narrative, I changed my mind. I'd still personally rank this episode in the lower half if I had to rank all ten episodes of the second season. My first five, in no specific order, would be:
    If Memory Serves --- New Eden --- An Obol for Charon --- Brother --- Sound of Thunder.

    So, is Leland dead? And, Essof IV had a miasmic feel.

    Ok, I'll wait for chief Jammer's review :)

    "my call is they're gonna turn Leland into the Borg"

    Ha! Yes! Something seemed to be happening to the area around his eyes as he was on the floor that reminded me of the Borg.

    "my call is they're gonna turn Leland into the Borg"

    'Ha! Yes! Something seemed to be happening to the area around his eyes as he was on the floor that reminded me of the Borg.'

    Oh, please, no. No, no, no, no. The *last* we need is for Saint Michael Burnham being somehow indirectly responsible for the Borg having originated during her time in the universe, because that would be exactly the implication of what you're suggesting.

    Look at Leland's hand in the preview for next week:

    My working theory is that when the AI entered Airiam, it learned for the first time how technology can be combined with an organic body. It's now testing that out on Leland... how and whether they retcon the Borg with this is anyone's guess. But it reveals Leland's purpose in the series as being a plot function rather than a character, just like Lorca and Tyler in S1. I doubt very much he's coming out the other side of this, especially as we basically know that Mirror Georgiou will take over S31...

    Sigh. Stop depressing me, Wolfstar.

    Then again, I also wasn't a fan of what Roddenberry himself said when 'Q Who' aired:

    'Gene Roddenberry, in an interview shortly after "Q Who", said that the machine planet seen by Spock [when melding with V'ger] might have been the Borg homeworld. (Star Trek Encyclopedia (? ed., p. ?))' — Memory Alpha

    @ Peremensoe

    "OK, here's a serious question about the episode at hand. I see people arguing about the logistics of the Angel-capture, but nothing on the reasoning of it.

    If they believe the Angel is a future-Burnham... and she's "one of us," presumed to be on the right side... and she does in fact appear to be saving people with each appearance, and working against the evil future-Control... why do they want to *capture* her? Why not try to talk to her? Work with her? Nobody even questions this?"

    This is the reason they gave in the episode:

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

    We can't let that happen again.


    Which is why we have to stop her from traveling back and forth. We have to capture her."

    I neglected to give some credit where credit is due.

    Just watched this again and SMG killed it in this one.

    Well done.

    I swear if they turn Leland into the first Borg, I’ll be officially done with those show for good. That would be so lazy and cheap that I fully expect them to do it. I remember people joking last season that these hacks would bring in The Borg in season 2, but I never thought it could be true. I guess we wait.

    Thanks, Yanks. Seems weak.

    I'm not sure Mama Burnham *is* coming from the Control future. She's apparently been back and forth across centuries -- or someone in the suit has, or will have -- but did Mom come forward from Michael's past?


    Nice review, but really Batshit Crazy Bonkers has never been boring as long as I've been alive. It can be hard to take, but boring? Never.

    I don’t think that’s necessarily true. If it’s really “batshit bonkers crazy”, meaning senseless and random, then that’s about as boring as anything gets, because there’s no point in engaging with it, there’s literally nothing there to engage with.

    It’s easy to mistake randomness for cleverness. It’s very common in art. This isn’t exactly that, it’s more like what you get when you take 500 sci fi cliches and mash them together. Nothing particularly clever, or good, but always lots of things going on. It has all the meaning of randomness though. It’s a hodgepodge of themes and ideas barely connected and hardly explored, changing at random.

    Small nitpick, Jammer: Admiral Cornwell's background as a counselor was revealed back in "Into The Forest I Go".

    Otherwise, spot-on review, especially WRT how much the script demands of SMG. I have a hard time thinking of any past Trek actor who could've pulled it off with the exception of Stewart. (Just thinking of the scenery-chewing Shatner would have given us is making me giggle.)

    Loved the review Jammer. Great insights as usual. And I chuckled at your small Leland paragraph, yes, a bad day for him indeed :)))

    Airiam wasn't an important character to the viewers, but she was an important character to the other characters, and the funeral reflected that, as it damn well should have. I am so incredibly sick and tired of fictional characters' reactions to a person's death depending entirely upon the billing of the actor playing the dead person. To us as viewers, she's an extra, but to everyone on Discovery, she's a valued crewmate who died tragically, and she abso-damn-lutely deserves a big-ass funeral.

    One more thing to add - the person who came back in time to help thwart the AI threat turns out to be a parent of one of the protagonists. Chalk up another plot point copied from Terminator.

    Wow, early review this week, Jammer! I agree with you that this episode has too many patented WTF moments to really make it good. It's entertaining for sure, but it's packed with so many shocking reveals™ that we can't even gauge which one we're supposed to be invested in.

    Take Leland "dying", for example. That should have been a pivotal event that shows that Control is still very much alive and able to undermine high-level ship systems. But it happens in the middle of so many other crazy events like Burnham dealing with her parents true identity and the capture/reveal of the Red Angel, that it all gets lost in the shuffle.

    I'll say at least, that I don't think Control is supposed to be The Borg. Control is supposedly responsible for destroying "all sentient life" in the future. But that's not what The Borg does. The Borg assimilates to become a "higher form" of both biological and technological life.

    Of course, the writers might forget all this and make it The Borg anyway, but we'll see.

    "That in theory is how I see it but there is a problem. For example when people use euphemisms. Trump is a good example here. For a long time it was the norm for republican politicians to say that they want strong borders to protect American jobs or something similar which is a euphemism for "We don't want Latinos to come over our southern border." but without sounding racist. The racists know what you actually are saying and you get these 5-10% of the electorate to vote for you. Trump started his whole campaign with the famous "Mexico sends us rapists and drug dealers " line and people voted for him anyways. Trump didn't need the euphemism anymore. The same applies to the "good people on both sides" line. "

    I understand the difficulty in addressing fairly arguments one perceives to be self-serving, or even outright disingenuous, which is what you are alluding to. It is extremely difficult to resist the temptation ti disregard another's point of view entirely if you perceive that some are exploiting the situation for nefarious reasons.

    But you should resist this temptation, because once you go down the garden path of attacking perceived *motive* behind an argument rather than the argument itself, you're lost in the weeds of partisanship and all hope for true understanding and compromise is lost.

    The problem is bias, quite simply. The human ability to address arguments opposed to one's group affiliation on any given subject (and like it or not *everyone* has a team that they naturally identify with on any set of political beliefs) is dodgy at the best of times. If you are going to cut off those arguments at the pass by focusing on motives instead of logic, then it's a self-fulfilling prophecy where *every* argument leads to the same conclusion.

    That's the partisan disease everone is so up in arms about.

    @Jason R.
    True. Man is wrong as long as he strives. But my research into the world of populism has given me an insight into specific patterns and words that are used almost exclusively by racists and comparable groups. But still overshooting is always a danger but keep in mind what is at stake for minorities. Jews and LGBT people know what happens to them when certain groups become powerful and it is sadly a pattern throughout history that when the extreme right no longer feels the need to use euphemisms times can get dark quickly. For you this maybe is about this or that debate and sometimes that is annoying and you have the understandable desire for harmony. For minorities like Jews and LGBT people on the other hand this is literally about life and death. In the USA they banned Transpeople from the military. In Brazil a guy was elected who stated that he would rather see his son dead than with a man. And let us not talk about Muslim countries. Sadly especially gay men (Lesbians and transpeople mostly see it differently) think that: "We have reached the mountaintop. Fight is over. We won." I guess they must learn the hard way what Jews have known for millennia:"Sooner or later they will come for us."

    I agree with Jammer here. Fun, but a little crazy. Loved the scene with Spock and Michael in the gym. Interested in where all this leads.


    "I'll say at least, that I don't think Control is supposed to be The Borg. Control is supposedly responsible for destroying "all sentient life" in the future. But that's not what The Borg does. The Borg assimilates to become a "higher form" of both biological and technological life."

    Maybe Control and Leland will end up being two strains of the same disease, per se. The pure AI strain wants to wipe out biological life, whereas the other strain thinks "if you can't beat 'em, merge with 'em." Splitting into two forms with two strategies would make sense for a being that wants to survive and conquer no matter what.

    I'm a bit worried to see the whole Borg angle gaining traction here (and on other websites). The problem with this is the fact that Voyager did a relatively decent job explaining some of their history, through some Seven of Nine info-dumps. We know that they were around in the Delta quadrant since at least Earth's 15th century, so there is no need — *no* need — for Kurtzman & Co to re-write and retcon Borg history.

    ENT introducing the Borg into their show was a mistake. And I really don't want to see it happen again on Discovery.

    Sadly, I despair: I know that the producers love changing stuff in Trek canon for no reason other than they simply feel like it (the Klingons, the Enterprise, to name just two things) — without it adding anything of value as a result. I fear that if, indeed, the Borg are somehow related to Control, the Borg will also get clusterfucked.

    I don't think they will turn this into a Borg story that would just be too stupid. In what way did they change Klingon history apart from how they look and what did they change about the Enterprise??

    They changed the entire design of the Klingons, and the Enterprise looks more like a cross between the TMP refit and the Intrepid-class (the front window design), than it does the TOS Constitution-class.


    I take it you have trouble engaging with batshik crazy. Too bad. It often isn't random at all, but when ones first reaction to reject is their goto, they lose out. Lots of stories, TV series, movies are both batshit crazy and have a progression which is not random. Nothing in this episode was random. It was a progression that just happened, as Star Trek has often done that the viewer can enjoy first, and figure out later. Last season's Magic To Make The Sanest Man Go Mad was a great example of that. It seemed batshit crazy and hard to piece together initially, but there was a completely logical progression going on from A-Z when one parsed it.

    But hey, sorry that Disco isn't simplistic and predictable and comfortably stolid enough for you. Maybe the next show?


    Gene Roddenberry already set precidence in chaning the Klingon design "they always looked this way" was his turn for turning what they looked like on its head". As such, any complaint should be directed at Star Trek in general for changing looks of species willy-nilly in the first place when ever it feels likek.

    As for stating that the Enterprise we saw looks like a cross between the TMP and Voyager that is just ridiculous. What show are you watching? I really want to know because the Enterprise in Discovery just looks like the original TOS with some updates to match 2019 design standards. It in no way resembles either ships you mentioned.

    But they didn't change canon? Only visuals?
    And they did change the look of the Klingons and the Enterprise between TOS and TNG but here they had a new ship class. I actually didn't really notice the difference between Discoverys Enterprise and the old one. Didn't they change the look of the Enterprise between TOS and the movies ?

    Booming, as an aside I'm Jewish. And while the extreme right hasn't been a friend to Jews to put it mildly, the extreme left has been no friendlier. I am personally not convinced that the gravest threat is emanating from the right at present. Quite the opposite.

    But that should teach you something about motive speculation shouldn't it? You got me wrong making at least two false assumptions.

    But I digress. I suggest to you that motive needs to be ignored in any civilized debate, even knowing the fact that some are arguing in bad faith. Especially knowing that, because as soon as you go down that path, you're in the mud with them and no one can tell the difference between you. Guys like Trump thrive in such an environment.

    Booming: "I don't think they will turn this into a Borg story that would just be too stupid."

    Discovery: "Hey, hold my beer. Watch this!"

    @Jason R
    I would agree to a certain degree. The extreme left has for quite some time now an antisemtic streak, at least parts of it which is in often related to Israel. But let's not forget Marx was jewish and so was Trotsky. There are other parts of the extreme left who are very much pro Israel. I would still argue that Nazis and racists are bigger threats and permeating society fast. Plus surveys show time and time again that by far the biggest part of antisemities are right wing.
    Which two assumptions do you mean?

    Most of the arguments I have here are not related to that. I just hate it that some people come in here week after week to make everybody else miserable. That is just not nice. So I'm not nice. The joke is that I'm not even a fan of Discovery, at least so far.

    @ Kinematic
    Hahaha, yeah. That would just be sooooo dumb. For now I'm certainly watching season three but if the Borg are started by section 31 then I can scratch that certainly away... I mean it can't be... that would be... No.

    Booming you misunderstand me. I am not referring to the anti Israel types specifically although they are a concern. You again assume my motive lies with my ethnic identity group. As a classical liberal, I don't like the very illiberal strain on the left that is seeking to curtail free speech and crush dissent.

    My honest assessment is that the extreme right in North America is a pathetic rump, a spent force that has lost every major engagement on almost every social issue of significance in the last 50 years, regardless of which party controlled the levers of power at any given time.

    The extreme left, on the other hand, is just finding its legs. It is no co-incidence that protesters on one side routinely outnumber protesters on the other side by a huge margin. And it's not the radical right that has the numerical advantage in any of the confrontations I have followed of late.

    But I digress again. It is not my intention to get into this specific debate. I am simply saying that if you want to make discourse *civil* you have to take the high road and simply ignore motive, even if you know that your opponent (or at least some faction) is disingenuous. This is not being a "boy scout" in the sense of being naive or bringing a knife to a gun fight. It is the only chance to have a real debate and not a shouting session. The alternative is to end up with armed camps shouting at each other.

    Booming I wanted to give an example of what I mean to illustrate.

    Let's say someone says he thinks illegal immigration needs to be curtailed to prevent criminals from infiltrating the country.

    Let's say, for argument's sake, that a substantial subset of the people who espouse this view, are motivated by racism. Instead of addressing the merits (the cost is disproportional, the security threat is exaggerated, etc...) you say that it's a racist policy advanced by racists.

    Let's say your statement is true. The actual racists don't care. They might agree with you and then double down. Your statement does not affect them. Then the people who aren't racists (maybe they are just mistaken or they are ignorant) now form the impression that you slandered them unfairly. Their shields go up and henceforth your credibility goes down to 0. Indeed, now when you (or anyone perceived to be in your camp) makes statements on other issues, they assume *your* motives must be corrupt, because if you lied once you'd lie again.

    Then a demagogue comes along and tells them exactly what they want to hear, and sets you up as the enemy, which is now easy to believe.

    And maybe a different kind of demagogue tells *you* what you want to hear - that the other guys are racist villains and hate everyone like you. And before you know it, demagogues and extremists on both sides are running the show.

    Have you read The Righteous Mind? It is an amazing book that deals with how people make decisions on morality. It should be required reading for anyone hoping to go into politics or to understand politics.

    @ Jason R.
    I would argue that there never was free speech and there probably never will be. I also think that the influence of the left that wants to curtail significant amounts of speech is so far at least very modest. I sometimes think that is just another right wing narrative as if a few disorganized anarchistic student groups at elite universities could really deeply change the limits of free speech. Students are always more progressive than the rest. It was always like that. A friend of mine went to NYU to do research and told me that all these supposedly radical leftists there would be run of the mill social democrats in Europe.

    " You again assume my motive lies with my ethnic identity group" I don't think that I did. I just laid out why I think and to a certain degree know (I am a political scientist) that the biggest threat to minorities comes from the extreme right. The right wing media landscape has radicalized itself during the last decade. Moderate conservatives have almost no media home. There is a Harvard study from 2016 that with a very interesting methodology researched patterns during the 2016 election.

    But you are right we are are so far off topic here and this is probably very boring for most.


    'Didn't they change the look of the Enterprise between TOS and the movies ?'

    Come on, Booming; you and I have had some very nice, very productive exchanges, but now you're being disingenuous.

    Yes, they changed the look of the Enterprise between TOS and TMP, and there was an in-film, on-camera explanation: a refit of the Enterprise after coming home her five-year mission.

    The Discovery Enterprise is substantially altered from her TOS configuration (including her overall length), with absolutely no in-show, on-camera explanation for the change. Thus, one can only conclude that the producers changed it because they felt like, and for no other logcal reason.

    And, by extension, this pretty much fucks with canon.

    So, my point: I don't *necessarily* mind change, but I do demand from producers and writers a rational, sensible explanation why. 'Because we felt like it', or 'to bring the designs up to modern standards' doesn't cut it.

    @Jason R.
    I could write quite a bit about what you wrote but again I think that is mostly interesting for us. I would say that these issues are so complex that we would need days to even establish a framework to have a good understanding of what we mean when we use certain words.
    But I will give that book a look. It sounds very American, though. Because of the two party system Americans have a tendency to think in dichotomies like liberal and conservative. It is a little different in Europe. But the little I have seen of the book I wholeheartedly agree that you should always remind yourself that the other side could be right. Or as I like to say: I prefer an honest conservative over a dishonest socialist any day.

    @ MadManMUC
    Sorry, if it came across as disingenuous. I really didn't know. I'm not a big fan of TOS and only like some of the movies but now that you have mentioned it. In ST 1 they mentioned that they retrofitted the Enterprise. That was because of the differently looking engines?? I did not know that
    My point was that they haven't significantly changed canon so far and inserting the Borg would certainly be a major headscratcher/eye rolling moment.

    On the topic of Disco's visual changes, I've grudgingly come to accept them, but like MadManMUC I continue to find them... vexing.

    To be clear, I'm not on board with the argument that the changes disqualify Discovery as canon Star Trek (and I've detailed my opinion on that ad nauseum), but it's hard not to feel like something fun and special was lost when the new production team proceeded to discard decades of generally careful adherence to visual continuity. Even though the ENT-era ships often looked more advanced than TOS-era designs by the unavoidable fact of modern VFX and set design, Doug Drexler and others still took pains to try and make them fit into the specified era.

    The DSC production team has totally gone their own way (with the exception of props like the phasers and communicators, which are admirably of a piece with what we'd already seen on screen). On the one hand, I think I agree that a new Star Trek show needed a clean break from the past. But as a long-term fan on the other, the "fuck it" attitude (particularly with the ship designs) seemed unnecessary, and some of the backpedaling in season 2 shows that the new production team might have come to agree with that too.

    And yes, the DSC Constitution shares a lot with the TMP design, with the swept-back nacelle pylons, saucer design, secondary hull and neck etc. In fact I think it's arguably more plausible that the DSC Constitution could be "refit" into the TMP-era ship than the iconic TOS variant. That doesn't mean I'm not sad to see the classic on the screen, though.

    Does any of this matter to the casual fan? Probably not. But then, by the same token, if that notional casual fan doesn't really care about the minutiae of starship design, then the producers could have made a bit more of an effort to integrate DSC with the legacy shows and movies.

    Gee I wish we had an "edit" function on this site. This sentence should be: "That doesn't mean I'm not sad to lose the opportunity to see the classic on the screen, though."

    Jason R: "My honest assessment is that the extreme right in North America is a pathetic rump"

    75ish percent of extremist crimes in the West committed over the past 15 or so years, have been by far right, Christian extremists. 23ish percent have been by far right Islamo-fascist groups. 2 percent have been by far left (or environmental) extremists.

    The "free speech crisis" is similarly manufactured silliness.

    Jason R: "And it's not the radical right that has the numerical advantage in any of the confrontations I have followed of late."

    The power difference is pretty staggering. Right wing activists are funded by or have ties to some of the most powerful thing tanks, donor groups and corporations on the planet (Heritage, Cato, TPUSA, Heartland, the Leadership Institute, DonorsTrust, Donors Capital Fund etc) many of whom have numerous oil and gas and banking interests. Then you have groups like the Archbridge Institute and the Atlas Network, which receive millions from ExxonMobil, Big Tobacco (Philip Morris), Koch foundations, and has pumped millions into the backing of violent, far-right causes across the globe, anti environmentalist causes, and millions more into social media propaganda. According to journalist Lee Fang, the Atlas Network has "reshaped political power in country after country, operating as an extension of U.S. foreign policy, with Atlas-affiliated think tanks receiving funding from the United States Department of State and the National Endowment for Democracy."

    The modern paranoia about lefty students, academics and artists is simple: as the third world lifts itself up, and western white dudes get exploited harder, and start asking questions and looking for who to blame, they turn to intellectuals and artists - the brains and the heart of a society - and these folk start pointing fingers, and if you're running some of the largest corporations on the planet, you don't want them pointing at you. And so you spend billions in "perception management".

    Jason R said: "because once you go down the garden path of attacking perceived *motive* behind an argument rather than the argument itself"

    IMO attacks on motives and pathologies arise because arguments and appeals to facts and reason don't work. Behavior mostly precedes belief and things like values and beliefs are retroactively applied to reverse rationalize how you already are. And all this probably has a biological component. Throughout history, power has rarely conceded anything by listening to reasoning anyway.

    You'd think stuff like this, or other issues, would lead to some good modern Trek stories. Why do space squids and time-traveling Michael's Mom when the world's offering you a treasure trove of ideas and issues?

    >>Culber goes to Admiral Cornwell — who we learn here has a background in counseling — to ponder the dilemma around his relationship and self-identity crisis. Cornwell's role in this sense comes completely out of left-field, and yet the scene somehow works and helps provide a little more human detail to Cornwell.

    Tim said: "On the topic of Disco's visual changes, I've grudgingly come to accept them, but like MadManMUC I continue to find them... vexing."

    The TOS era was a kind of pulpy, space-piratey era. Disco, in a sense, fits in with that gaudy style. The uniforms, new Federation ships, new shuttles, Airiam's design, new Klingon ships, new Federatopm ship-phasers, even new Klingon's all decent, and in keeping with the TOS spirit, at least on those few occasions when TOS was being at its most space-operaish.

    What lets Disco down is a few big instances of bad production design. The Discovery is an ugly-as-sin ship, its "spore special effect" looks ridiculous, its cavernous turbo-lift roller-coaster ride thingy looks silly, and the bridge of the Disco is the weakest, most cluttered looking Federation bridge Trek heroes have had, whilst paradoxically having the most wasted space. Some fans have produced decent ( looking "modern updates of TOS era bridges", but Disco opted for the JJ route.

    Then you have the bridge of the Section 31 ship, which resembles those unimaginative, cavernous "enemy ship bridges" we saw in Star Trek Nemesis and JJ Trek 1 (, only now wrapped in a circle.

    Just personal opinion, Trent, but I actually quite like the Disco's design (although I might have opted for shorter nacelles) and the spore drive effect. I find Discovery itself is somewhat easier to reconcile with the TOS design ethos, since it's an experimental starship class and has a reason to look different. But the other ships we saw in "Battle at the Binary Stars" feel much more like outliers to me, more like a mashup of ENT and Kelvin designs than anything close to TOS.

    Agreed on the turbolifts though; it's dumb and makes no logical sense. Same for the launch tubes that the pods are fired out of in "Brother"; they're laughably, implausibly long and take me right out of the episode when I see them. (It's even highlighted in this week's episode; when Airiam's coffin is fired off, you can see where the tube runs under the shuttle deck, and it's nowhere near as ridiculously long as it is in "Brother".)

    @ Trent,

    "IMO attacks on motives and pathologies arise because arguments and appeals to facts and reason don't work. "

    Are you sure? And as I ask this I don't mean to say that it's never true. But in a Trek context let me put this to you: the further a society develops technologically, both in productivity and media connections, the more the populace with (a) feel entitled to things, and (b) have access to information. In my view it was inevitable that sooner or later the feeling of entitlement to physical things would eventually turn over into an entitlement to informational things. And I think that exactly this has happened. You suggest that people resort to ad hominem and motive speculation because arguments don't work: but I would reply that the "doesn't work" event isn't that the listeners are irrational, but rather that the arguments are put forward with the entitled sense that whoever listens has to agree with you if they have a lick of sense. When the argument is met with resistance or dismissal this causes anxiety and then anger, causing a further breach in the two sides, and actually even creates in the first place a notion that there are only two sides, as Booming perhaps implied.

    So what many people perceive as being malicious or irrational, is on the face of it simply one person not embracing the statements of the other; and this is what's called "facts and reason don't work." And I also don't mean that the facts and reason are *wrong*; their rightness or wrongness is beside the point, because a reasonable person could find plenty to disagree with in even a rational, well-thought out argument. For instance you put out many very intelligent, well-thought-out statements of a socialist nature here which I believe are incorrect, but I also respect how well you render them. I might disagree (at least in my head - I try to not argue with posts just because I don't share all the values of the writer) but I also like reading them. But if for instance you were to take my disagreement as "facts don't work on him" then as Jason R. says the ability to have civil discourse would break down.

    But if the general mentality is verging towards "I am entitled to my opinion, and also *to have my opinion respected*" we're headed towards trouble. An even worse case is "entitled to have my opinion agreed with", and that can be seen all over. Disagreement ends up being a personal attack, where the worldview and opinions of the speaker are perceived as coming under assault when others flatly disagree with it all. The kneejerk response to this will be - by some - to demand that the disagreement stop, and this, I think, is the curtailing of free speech Jason R. is referring to. It's not a question of literally being able to say any thing, because as Booming put it that was never really the case. But it's being able to say to someone's face "I think you're wrong" without them lashing out and turning towards avenues of force to shut down the disagreement.

    One thing I always liked about Jammer's site was the low level of moderation, and the key to that was to accept extremely dissenting views from others and argue without motive speculation and recrimination. I hope we can move back more towards that as a group. Being right doesn't matter; what matters is having your say and letting others have theirs without it getting personal.

    Jammer thanks for the review. Can you elaborate on why the story is potboiler to you? As opposed to "boilerplate" meaning predictable or standard..just cheesy ..did you find the plot twists too predictable, like Burnham s mom being the red angel? Or did you find twists like that surprising?

    Admiral Cornwell’s background as a counselor was a major plot point last season in one or two episodes as she was analyzing Lorca’s fitness to command and then herself becoming a POW

    I have read now that after one episode she returned to the Enterprise? O, okay. Was expecting to see more of her.

    Trent your post focuses on different things than what I was alluding to, which is fine. For instance, when I ask myself the question, who is "winning" (recognizing that is subjective) I am pretty results oriented about it. I don't really care about who is committing terrorist acts (although I take strong issue with the stat you cited) or who has more funding, but about how law and society has evolved in the last 50 years. When I said the right was impotent I did so because:

    1. Abortion is legal
    2. Gay marriage is legal
    3. Anti sodomy laws have been overturned
    4. Prayer and religion have been largely banished from classes
    5. Church attendance and religiosity are in the toilet
    6. Atheism is on the rise
    7. Pornography is ubiquitous

    Those are a few examples.

    I am not saying that your examples are irrelevant but I don't see them as being particularly significant in the grand scheme. What good is funding if it's impotent to implement your agenda?

    But let me end this tangent by saying that like Peter I think it is perfectly fine to disagree on issues like this. But motive speculation is almost never constructive. Even if you *know* the other side's motives are corrupt it is almost always a bad idea to say so if the intent is to have meaningful dialogue. It's bad because if you're right it is futile and if you are wrong, it is worse than futile - it poisons civil society.

    @Jason R.

    1. In theory abortion is legal but in practice it is almost impossible to get one in several states and these states do everything to make it completely impossible and with the new Supreme Court Judge there is a majority for revoking Roe v Wade. The only reason that abortion wasn't abolished is that it is so called settled law. Give it time...
    2. Again if that would be decided today the Supreme Court would not legalize it.
    3. Still 700.000 Americans were sent to "sexual reeducation camps"
    4. Is that true?
    5. Is that true? The VP is a religious extremist, as is the secretary of state, the chief of staff, the secretary of energy, secretary of urban development and housing and I probably missed a few.

    You know for which country 6 out of 7 examples were true? For the Weimar Republic. The Weimar Republic also had a comparable level of free speech. The Nazis used these six points and the amount of free speech very effectively.
    And only 5 years later every last one of your points was gone and so was free speech. That is why the German federal republic is constructed in a way that is called "fortified democracy". The US has the oldest democracy and that system clearly shows it's age.

    @Jason R.

    I don’t understand how you can say they are impotent.

    1. Taxes on wealthy are at record lows
    2. Gun rights are as strong or stronger than ever
    3. Most judges are now republican appointed and supreme court is most conservative in ages
    4. EPA and other regulatory agencies are under industry capture and barely doing their jobs
    5. Campaign finance reform was struck down with citizens united ages ago and notjing has replaced it
    6. Net Neutrality was overturned
    7. Healthcare reform is being stymied and could easily be overturned soon

    Side note Im not sure how you expect to legally overturn the social and religious aspects you speak of. Thats not really how “the left” achieved these things. These things changed because culture and society changed, and a consensus was built. The laws and rulings followed after. If you want more religiousness in society, you must demonstrate to peoole why it is a good and benedicial thing to their lives, not to dictate from on high. Alternatively if you want more “right wing” ideas in culture, letter writing campaigns, boycotts, and supporting shows that have religious themes etc are all tactics that have benefited “the left”

    Anyway this was a long was of saying Republicans have been crushing it and getting their agenda done for decades. I humbly think you need to reconsider what the Republican party actually is, what they really want to achieve, and what is important. Most of it is economic, not social, and social reform is not well addressed by laws.

    Well Booming, your response may be accurate but seems to miss the forest for the trees.

    if you are hypothetically a left wing black female gay atheist in search of an abortion, would your preference be to be living in 1969 or 2019, assuming for argument's sake that you are otherwise healthy?

    If the answer is 2019, why?

    And do you think that this answer has some bearing on which political movement has "won" the last 50 years.

    Incidentally, I never confined by statement to the USA. But if you prefer to keep the focus on that country that is fine too.

    Hi Brian, those are some good examples and I guess I have to concede that some questions are a matter of emphasis and perspective. On economics and guns, for example, I see things as more of a draw. Citizens United was enormously influential but it still isn't clear to me that this is some great victory for the "right" - especially if you accept the premise that the influence of corporations and plutocrats seems to straddle both sides on the traditional left / right spectrum.

    @ Jason R.
    Sure. I'm more worried about 2029 and I have also more of a global perspective.
    But Brian made a few good points. In my opinion Citizens United was the beginning of the end of the American democracy. There are quite a few studies that define the USA as a partial or complete oligarchy. And you are right that money is influencing both parties. That is probably the reason why no European would call the Democrats leftist. Centrist at best. Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and Gerhardt Schroeder destroyed the social democratic movements in their countries. That is the reason why we now see actual and growing socialist movements in all these countries.

    Stalling-took far too long to get to the planet, underwhelming twists, too much is connected to everything else and that strains believability, seems the budget constraints are kicking in because this was stale, static, small, unimpressive in scope...fairly dissapointing after 3 or 4 good and great eps

    Tim said: "Just personal opinion, Trent, but I actually quite like the Disco's design"

    I mostly like it from the top and back. TNG's Enterprise had some bad angles as well. IMO only the Kirk-refit looked good wherever you stuck the camera.

    Discovery's based on some 1970s Ralph Mcquarrie designs. Those designs were blocky and clunky, but it was a deliberate cluckiness which fit well with Ralph Mcquarrie's larger world and landscapes.

    Discovery takes this "ugliness" and tries to make it slicker and more cool. So everything is swept back and made more streamlined and with sharper angles. But IMO this leads to weird juxtapositions; the 1970s modernism of Mcquarrie doesn't mesh with the Discovery's interors or the show's larger aesthetic, and the ship's "cool updates" don't mesh with its shape itself.

    Compare to how the fan community... a "modern" version of Mcquarrie's work. The shapes are left - a kind of NASA-styled, functional, ugly-but-beautifulness - and just the size of the saucer is expanded. And you end up with something simultaneously retro and better balanced/looking.

    Peter said: "have access to information."

    On an individual level, information and knowledge rarely changes who we are. Studies show things tend to be the other way around: who we are determines what we allow ourselves to know.

    IMO if information changes things on a wider social level, it's because the old guard simply die off, and you have a next generation born into a slightly different "information landscape".

    And it's not that facts and reason don't work - humans listen to and learn facts all the time - it's that facts which challenge personal identities, identities which are not reasoned into, don't do much. You can't reason someone who believes otherwise, into believing that caravans of immigrants aren't coming to destroy their land, that God doesn't think Jews and muslims are hethens, that gay people aren't a perversion, that gender pronoun compulsion isn't a real thing, that climate change isn't fake news etc etc.

    The modern conservative/liberal divide itself isn't some new thing, and seems to be partially rooted in something very old and biological. Neurostudies show conservatives tend to prefer epistemic order, cleanliness, absolutes, see and respond to disgust in specific ways, respond to perceived threats with more aggression, are less likely to think holistically, fear ambiguity, novelty etc. Some think this was evolutonarily vital for preserving and protecting ancient tribes, or that a kind of might-makes-right social darwinism evolves its own ideological schema and further preserves itself by self-selecting believers and crushing outsiders (like the church purging during the Copernican Revolution, or the Enclosure Acts etc). Some anthropoligists see this evolving when we move away from nomadic life and begin to develop the concept of property (which leads to various forms of sexism - women now had to be owned to control issues of inhereitance - specific suites of religious belief [farming Gods etc], the consecrating of various forms of power, and the amping up of group conflicts over terrain); conservatism, then, as literally the law of the land. A belief-suite retroactively created to further legitimize those capable of holding land and controlling populaces.

    We also have many studies which point out the ways in which conservatives shore up around "faith" and "personal interpretation", "intuition" or "personal experience", rather than facts, and are generally less introspective (, and, to quote psychologist John Ehrenreich, "less likely to override their gut reactions/instincts and engage in further reflection to find a correct answer. As a result, they rely on error-prone cognitive shortcuts, less aware of their own unconscious biases, and are less likely to respond to factual corrections to previously held beliefs."

    Meanwhile, "liberalism" is something newer, and often counter-intuitive (extending the scope of concern beyond the tribe/family etc), and throughout history has often not been pragmatic, especially on a personal level; it gets you killed.

    So, in terms of conservative/liberal arguments, facts and reason rarely change anything. Something more ingrained is also influencing belief, and the sides are obsessed with different things (one in maintaining and justifying tradition and heirarchies, the other - the etymological origin of "radical" is "to strike at the root" - dismantling all this and creating a new baseline, what Sartre called the reversing of history; progressivism as not only a forward thing, but a backward thing, untangling and chopping away at history). There are lots of overlaps between the groups - witness how supposedly "conservative" organisations like the Church spawn so many "liberal" movements, and vice versa - but they rarely convince each other with reason or facts.

    The trend of history is itself "conservatives" winning all the big economic battles, and all the cultural battles, with "liberals" getting their asses kicked over and over again, and then nevertheless winning the little culture wars over time. And they win the culture wars because conservatism ultimately doesn't care about anything (abortion, gay marriage, atheism, porn etc, which Jason cites), that does not fundamentally challenge power. All these things are just more stuff to be monetized.

    Peter said: "But if the general mentality is verging towards "I am entitled to my opinion, and also *to have my opinion respected*" we're headed towards trouble."

    The current narrative is that "uppity political correct types" are "preventing us from saying stuff". Data analysis (,,,,,,, shows no free speech crisis, though, and that "fake news" and "free speech hysteria" has clear pipelines to big business.

    Which is why billionaires pump so much money into cultivating a "mistrust in mass media and scientists" (, why the fossil fuel industry publicizes studies to confuse the climate change debate (, why Big Pharma hides unfavorable information on drug safety and efficacy (, why Trump moans about "fake news" and why free market fundamentalists are suddenly so concerned about "free speech".

    Money has to be pumped into constantly spreading this narrative in order to provide cover for saying and doing trashy stuff, and to distract from the bevy of corporate personhood and corporate free-speech laws being cooked up.

    Is Wesley Crusher annoying because he's a Mary Sue? The forgettable TNG knockoff SeaQuest had a Wesley counterpart who was just as much a Mary Sue but wasn't one-tenth as annoying.

    Ever since I watched the mid-80's anime Zeta Gundam I've wondered if the TNG writers partly based Wesley off of that series' main charcter. He shares most of Wesley's more irritating attributes but they make rather more sense in context. E.g. railing at "adults and their lies" fits better when Zeta Gundam's Earth Federation is a bunch of creepy, arrogant, and reactionary old farts who blundered their way into a totally unnecessary civil war that nearly wiped out the human race just ten years prior and seem hell-bent on blundering into a second one. Wesley's Federation OTOH is an historically unprecedented near-utopia so when Wesley spouts off similarly he just comes across as an ingrate. (Maybe the TNG writers were already angling for a more DS9-like take on the Federation but got reigned in by Roddenberry?)

    And the "Shut up Wesley!" thing seems like a watered-down version of the way Kamille's face seems to be a magnet for other people's hands:

    1p: "Is Wesley Crusher annoying because he's a Mary Sue?"

    That's the chief reason IMO. Season 1 Wesley is a big Mary Sue. He's constantly saving adults and being told he's special and has magical powers. He's a bundle of bad, 1980s "boy genius" cliches.

    The tail-end of Season 1 starts fixing this, though. And by Season 2, the writers have started scultping Wes into something more realistic and/or normal.

    Hot Take #2 on "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle"

    From the creators of Star Trek: Discovery in association with Hustler TV comes “31 More Days of Sodom,” the unalloyed erotic exploits of her Imperial Majesty, Mother of the Fatherland, Overlord of Vulcan, Dominus of Qo'noS, Regina Andor, Philippa Georgiou Augustus Iaponius Centarius otherwise known amongst her many self-abasing admirers as the “Dragon Lady of the BDSM Quadrant.”

    Go Where No Star Trek Has Gone Before.…

    Coming soon to an alternate (uncensored) timeline near you.

    Um, they had already established that cornwell had psychology training last season. What u don't remember the time when this was mentioned when she hooked up with Lorca?

    I realise Michael is the "hero" of the show but she does seem to get away with pretty much anything. Ok she's sort of redeemed herself from mutiny. Starfleet are very forgiving and she did save the day in season 1.

    But the scene with Leland when he was (for no reason I can work out) telling her about her parents... she punched him in the face a couple of times. I realise section 31 is shadey etc but it's part of Star Fleet isn't it? She punched a captain (I believe that's his rank). Surely that's another court martial.

    (Ignoring the amount of times everyone completely disobeys Pike with no repercussions at all)

    Doesn't seem very military at all. Enterprise which is set before Discovery had an actual chain of command at least. Even if Archer was a complete idiot sometimes people still obeyed him.

    Just something that bugs me about Discovery.

    Personally I thought this episode was a complete mess and I was actually bored which is rare for Discovery since it's so high speed.

    "Are the Discovery producers just messing with us now?"

    Absolutely. This show is a farce.

    Who the f cares about 'The Red Angel'? Are we 10 or something?

    Character flipping is not the same as character development.

    Does everyone who dies come back to life? WTF???

    This show is stupid. Period. End of Story.

    I think some of you are too hard on Kurtzman. His job depends on keeping the show fresh with modern audiences in mind and, for better or worse, the superhero craze has taken on and visual excitement is what will get people watching. That's why the studios hired him. They would have taken no interest in whether he could replicate the intellectual themes of TNG or political intrigue of DS9.

    @ Anthony

    I have to disagree. Firstly he knowingly took a job that could come with criticism and he gets paid very very well so i won’t be shedding any tears. But more important, if he wants to take a show who’s legacy has nothing to do with superheroes and current trends and make it into that, well, there’s going to be backlash. NO ONE asked for that or wanted it. Successful art does not look at what’s popular and worry about current trends.

    I try to be fair and balanced but episodes like this one just make it so hard.. indeed, this has got to be the most WTF-worthy show of the series thus far, and not in any redeemably good or exciting way.

    I could go on and on about how stupid the Capture The Time Traveling Angel plan is, and the way they set about it... but most people here are pretty smart so I feel that I don't have to.

    And what is it with people in DSC punching or pointing phasers at superior officers when ever they have a dispute or disagreement with them? And then everyone shrugging it off later as if nothing happened? Didn't people used to get court martialed, or threatened with it at the very least?

    I think now that Burnham has finally lowered her defenses, her resuming the romance with Tyler is supposed to be the pay off that we've all been waiting for... as well as Tyler's true raison d'etre this season. However, I can't imagine the reception being any better than complete and utter indifference.

    Airam, we hardly knew ye...

    Maybe this was already covered, but Jammer, don't you remember the first season epsode, I can't remember the name now, when Burnham went on board the coffin ship to rescue Tyler and Cornwell, and blow up the ship, and Cornwell was paralyzed and she told Burnham that she used to counsell PTSD soldiers, and she talked Tyler off the ledge when he was having flashbacks to torture and freezing up?

    * What’s with Emperor Georgiou? Her character arc is strange so far, in season 2.
    * I laughed at the scene when Burnham was screaming in agony in the armchair. It’s like watching an actor act. SMG is really stretched in this episode.
    * Tyler’s experience is kind of a parallel to Captain Picard being violated when he was assimilated by the Borg. TNG showed the PTSD that Picard went through in “Family” - great acting from Stewart and great script from writers. Here, Tyler joined Kronos and then section 31; not clear on his motivations. Shouldn’t he be really fucked up?
    * TOS, TNG, VOY and even DS9 had a kind of optimism and brightness that makes me wanna join Starfleet. But DIS doesn’t, I’ll stay on earth and run a restaurant just like Senior Sisko.

    Discovery has an odd habit of getting in its own way. Whenever it has a great moment, it finds a way to get dumb again.

    After rising to a great tragic episode last week, Airiam is oddly undone by a funeral scene that wants to imitate that of Spock at the end of Wrath of Khan, but isn’t even as moving as Tasha Year’s self-eulogy at the end of TNG’s Skin of Evil. That’s because it’s completely unearned: we watch people give tearful speeches about her, but it’s hollow because we never saw them together. Even Yar was better rounded; we knew she had some connection with Data, etc.

    That’s the problem with Discovery: Instead of letting us get to know characters through their interactions, it invents stories for them to suit the plot. Another example is the admiral’s therapeutic background. Will this ever matter again? With Discovery, who knows?

    This show would be better if it focused on the original characters and jettisoned all the TOS baggage of Spock, Pike, the mirror universe, etc. I liked Burnham better before the Spock family retcon. I don’t want mirror Georgiou on the series anymore.

    I disagree with Jammer on one point: I frequently find this show boring.

    And the impaling of Leland was dumb.


    I think the Red Angel stuff was a serious disaster. It's not really the "science-fantasy" genre itself, because that was always present in Trek, especially TOS which was often very soft SF, or even the deification of Burnham, which has some analogues/precedent with DS9 (though I didn't like it there either) and even TNG with Wesley (see above re: didn't like it there either), but eventually just nothing makes any sense, even internally, and it's increasingly difficult to sort out what is supposed to be happening besides Big Important Stuff. It may be that there is an internal coherence I missed, but I am not motivated to revisit.

    @William B

    I mean if you didn't watch all the episodes leading up to this one, you're certainly missing out on internal coherence.

    Burnham isn't supposed to be some sort of messiah or savior in the context of the season. Although Pike throws the idea out there when he meets some quasi-religious folks back in "New Eden", mostly this season boils down to detective work by Burnham trying to find out the who, what, when and why of the Red Angel. If you go back and watch each episode of the season, DISCO gives clues as to who the Red Angel must be and what it's up to. So, I don't think it deserves to be lumped in with the mysticism associated with Pah Wraiths or Wesley's misguided spiritual journey to a different plane.

    That said, I do think you have a point that the showrunners hide the ball a bit with these season-long-movies in order to keep the viewers tuned in and guessing what in god's name is going to happen next. I sympathize, to an extent, with the break in traditional Trek storytelling because the networks these days can't rely on a solid base of viewers who have few choices in television. They need to grab the viewer and lock them into some mind-blowing drama. I fear that's especially true for younger audiences who have YouTube, Netflix, Twitch, and TikTok to compete with their attention spans.


    I actually did watch s2 in sequence, but it was years ago. I will say that the s2 finale is really what I thought was most ridiculous rather than this episode. I suppose I would have to jog my memory by reading the summaries to be more specific.

    @William B

    I didn’t mean to accuse you off watching a show out of context and in all fairness there is a religious theme to the season which I think Strange New Worlds carries on.

    And absolutely, the finale goes off the rails in more ways than one. Sure, there are some imaginative action sequences, but too many logical details are tossed aside so that the Burnham and the crew *must* go 1000 years into the future. Looking back, this was the most critical creative decision of the series since it distances the viewer from canon Trek as DISCO becomes its own Sci-Fi show.

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