Star Trek: Discovery

"The Sound of Thunder"

3.5 stars

Air date: 2/21/2019
Written by Bo Yeon Kim & Erika Lippoldt
Directed by Douglas Aarniokoski

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"The Sound of Thunder" is probably the most riveting episode of Discovery yet (and was well on its way to an elusive four-star rating) for its first three acts — before it then rushes through a final act of overheated drama that has some considerable problems. Overall, this is still a very strong and satisfying hour of this series that ends with a major change in the status quo for two entire species. But the shortcuts and missed opportunities on the way to the conclusion take some bloom off the rose.

For the most part, this is an episode that has the necessary elements, weight, and established backstory to stand alone and work on its own merits. But the episode also tries to tie this standalone story into the Big Serial Arc of the season involving the Red Angel, while incrementally moving that arc forward. While I think tying your serial arc into individual standalone stories is the right way to do a season-long arc (as opposed to the "10-hour movie" that leads to lots of narrative drag), the way they do it here proves to be one piece too many.

For a very long time, this doesn't step wrong. The focus is almost entirely on Saru, and it's all the more effective because it mostly adopts his point of view. One of the mysterious red bursts has been detected on his homeworld of Kaminar, and the Discovery goes to investigate. We know from "An Obol for Charon" (and the "Brightest Star" short) that Saru's species willingly sacrifices themselves at the behest of the planet's other species, the Ba'ul, who are warp capable and control the Kelpiens through their technology and the Kelpiens' long-held beliefs surrounding the Great Balance, where they must be "culled" at the time of their vahar'ai. Saru knows this to be a lie from his own personal experience with the vahar'ai, which left him alive and no longer with the fear that defined him. But to share this truth with his people would be a violation of the Prime Directive (still known as General Order 1).

Or would it?

That's the question. It's worth asking, and Saru certainly wants to consider it, since he represents an entire species whose fate rests on a lie perpetrated by another. There's an especially tense scene on the bridge between Pike and Saru where Saru steps up and voices opinions in an insubordinate manner as he moves slowly toward Pike until he's practically in his face. It's an eye-opening scene that raises the question of what a post-vahar'ai Saru — and by extension, any Kelpien — might actually be like without the built-in submission to fear.

Saru and Burnham take a visit to the planet surface. For Saru, it's returning home after many years to discover it hasn't changed at all. There, Saru is reunited with his sister Siranna (Hannah Spear), who figured him to be long dead. The scenes on Kaminar allow us to experience some Trekkian world-building at a very nicely relaxed pace, which sets the stage for the growing tension that comes later.

The Ba'ul notice. They don't take kindly to the Federation coming near their planet, and they have no intention of letting Pike interfere with their affairs. They demand Saru be turned over to them. Pike refuses. The situation quickly escalates, and for once we have a ship-to-ship standoff that feels tense and exciting because the stakes are so personal and immediate. (The creepy audio depiction of the Ba'ul is inspired, albeit difficult at times to understand.) Saru keeps interfering in the dialogue. Pike orders him off the bridge. It's dramatic stuff, done straightforwardly. We follow Saru off the bridge and into the corridor, and the story simply lets us experience his feelings in the moment.

Saru surrenders himself to the Ba'ul to stop them from destroying his sister's village, which brings us to an equally compelling sequence on the Ba'ul ship, where a Ba'ul emerges from a black oil slick (like Armus in "Skin of Evil," but in a decidedly less corny and more menacing way). The revelations come fast and furious. As the Discovery crew tries to get to the bottom of Kaminar's history — discovering that the post-vahar'ai Kelpiens were once the predator species before the Ba'ul reversed the role by stopping the vahar'ai from happening — Saru undergoes more physiological changes that essentially bear this out first-hand while turning him into a superhero. It's fascinating to watch the prisoner/jailer standoff unfold as we begin to wonder who actually has the upper hand here. Subsequently, the crew discovers they can free the Kelpiens from the Ba'ul by prematurely invoking the varhar'ai on all Kelpiens and exposing the lie at the root of this society.

From here it looks like "The Sound of Thunder" is going to become an analysis of whether exposing the lie should or shouldn't be done, especially given that it becomes quite clear the Kelpiens freed of that lie might upset the balance of the planet. It would, in short, be inciting a revolution, which is, shall we say, not exactly what the Prime Directive is about.

Such deliberation would certainly have been the instinct of TNG. And that brings us to the biggest problem with the Discovery writers, which is, I think, their lack of patience. They're not content to let a story just play out on its logical terms with "boring" negotiation. They always have to outdo themselves by overbaking everything into a Massive Cinematic Production. Don't get me wrong: What they do here is visually and viscerally awesome. Discovery manages to do TV spectacle better than Star Trek ever has before, by a very wide margin. (And I think we also tend to take for granted these elaborate visuals, and forget that someone had to actively imagine, plan, and sketch them out, even before all the pure technical CG execution.) But there's another road that could've been traveled using dialogue and negotiation to resolve this, and by taking its time in considering the Prime Directive arguments seriously. Art thrives on restrictions and we're seeing what happens when those technical restrictions are removed. This could've been a great episode had the creators pulled back on the spectacle and focused on characters and issues. When you have an actor in a role as good as Doug Jones makes Saru, why not use that as a simpler (and more effective) tool in the toolbox than all the CGI? Instead, this misses out on a prime opportunity to tackle the big Trekkian ideas.

Instead, we have a sound-and-fury climax, which is effective in its own way but glosses over some major questions, like: What happens when you completely change the power structure of a planet after a decision made in a moment that was deliberated for what seems like only seconds because we're rushing through a late scene? And what happens when the Ba'ul decide to take the extreme action of using their technology to resort to genocide? And what happens when you intervene to stop them, and you fail, only to have the Red Angel show up and stop them for you? And what then after all that? Where are all those Ba'ul ships that were out there facing off against the Discovery? Are they just going to let this go? Did they vanish? Decide to go for coffee? Maybe gonna write a letter to Pike's boss later?

These are sloppy cut corners that hurt an otherwise excellent show. Can I come up with answers for these questions and fill in the blanks on my own? Probably. But I shouldn't have to because the episode should focus on showing its work rather than showing us awesome FX.

This is all mitigated by the fact that Saru takes agency for himself on behalf of his people to overcome millenniums of injustice in the face of an unreasonable adversary. It's intended in the spirit of the Grand Gestures of Justice and is compelling in that vein. But considering Saru is also a Starfleet officer and this show theoretically has as much time as it wants to tell a story, why not tackle the Prime Directive issues and downstream societal effects in a little more thoughtful detail?

Some other thoughts:

  • We get a few details about the Red Angel when Saru witnesses its latest "miracle" by stopping the Ba'ul's planned genocide of the Kelpiens. The angel is apparently a time-traveling humanoid in a mechanized suit deliberately appearing at certain points in time to drive specific events, rather than some mystical creature or god. I suppose this changes the question of the season from "What is the Red Angel?" to "Who is the Red Angel?"
  • Culber gets a good scene early in the episode where it's revealed that his mind and memories are occupying a new "pristine" body that has been completely freshly generated from his DNA. This adjustment proves to be unsettling and not easy for him because he doesn't feel like himself. Thematically, this connects well with Saru's similar struggle of self-identity relating to a fundamental change in physiology. Better still, the writers manage not to underline the point.
  • It seems impossible that no Kelpien ever, for thousands of years, went through the vahar'ai before to survive like Saru. Perhaps the Ba'ul had perfect controls on Kaminar and could cover up the dissenters or kill them even if they didn't surrender willingly to the culling. But this logical gap probably should've been addressed.
  • That ridiculous never-ending arc shot with Pike, Burnham, and Tyler is a perfect example of drawing attention to technique where it is absolutely not wanted. To quote from a review Roger Ebert wrote in 1997 (which I somehow remember 22 years later, about a movie that's not even worth mentioning the title of): "Consider the scene involving a heated conversation, during which the camera needlessly and distractingly circles the characters as if to say — look, we can needlessly circle these characters!"
  • Airiam (Hannah Cheesman) gets a chance to leave the bridge and play a supporting character in the database search scene. But I'd still like to see these bridge people explored more as characters than props. My guess is this show has no time for that.

Previous episode: Saints of Imperfection
Next episode: Light and Shadows

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227 comments on this review

Yanks
Thu, Feb 21, 2019, 8:37pm (UTC -5)
Very enjoyable.
Rahul
Thu, Feb 21, 2019, 8:49pm (UTC -5)
Very good episode overall that is helped by building on the established background of the Kelpiens and Ba'ul. An emancipation story tends to work pretty well although I wish there was more of an examination/discussion of the Prime Directive, which just seemed to get glossed over. And now the Red Angel is considered as some kind of savior by the Kelpiens who can try to establish a new balance with the Ba'ul -- guess the jury is still out on that, but there's hope.

I liked the parallels between Burnham and what she realizes she has to do for her brother Spock and how Saru helps his sister and all other Kelpiens go through the Vahar'ai. This is an episode about hope conquering fear and becoming what you're meant to be -- judging from Saru's opening monologue (which I appreciated -- at least it wasn't Burnham doing it).

Good that this episode is rather self-contained and had enough moments where it could breathe. Also nice that there was really only 1 plot -- Culber getting used to his new body doesn't even count as a subplot since it had so few scenes.

Really liked the scenes on the Kelpien planet -- at least everything's not a shade of blue! Saru's sister was a good character, well-acted. She shows genuine awe at meeting another species (the human Burnham).

The Ba'ul were a bit ridiculous -- I guess they look like Armas from "Skin of Evil"? Hard to catch every word they said but it was clear they wanted to maintain the status quo and keep enslaving the Kelpiens. Pike is initially certain he doesn't want Saru involved as he's lost his fear and still getting used to that, but he gives him pretty wide latitude nevertheless and eventually has to try to stop a genocide. I think a scene just between Pike and Saru would have been good to establish some order.

What was a bit convenient was Saru breaking free from captivity and destroying the drones -- seems farfetched / out of place in the episode. Stuff like being able to induce the Vahar'ai in all the Kelpiens via the sphere's knowledge ... gotta let this kind of thing go in Trek. But it was neat that the sphere had history on the planet and that, at one point, the Kelpiens were predatory and the Ba'ul were on the defensive.

As for the Red Angel deactivating the Ba'ul's weapons -- apparently manipulating the fates of species ... this is also intriguing + it's a humanoid with advanced tech. Is it Spock himself?

3 stars for "The Sound of Thunder" -- plenty to like about this episode. Had its quieter moments as well as tension. I think the writers went overboard in trying to make the Ba'ul appear evil -- maybe like a cross between the Sheliak from "The Ensigns of Command" and Armas. Interesting to ponder the Red Angel's motives -- a bit more learned in this episode. But ultimately I guess we're supposed to feel good about the Kelpiens being liberated -- was this the Red Angel's intention or could Pike/Saru/Burnham not provide a greater justification of how it jives with the PD? Overall one of the best DSC episodes for me.
Rahul
Thu, Feb 21, 2019, 8:56pm (UTC -5)
@Jammer -- the official episode title is called "The Sound of Thunder" not "The Sounds of Thunder"

http://www.startrek.com/news/sound-thunder-primer
Thomas
Thu, Feb 21, 2019, 9:01pm (UTC -5)
One of Star Trek’s best shows in the last 20 years. An extremely fun and engaging watch! Go Saru!
brfytrl
Thu, Feb 21, 2019, 9:39pm (UTC -5)
For whole moments at a time, I forgot I was watching “Star Trek Discovery,” and just felt like I was watching Star Trek. This story would have fit comfortably within the confines of any prior Trek -TOS, TNG, ENT, and even DS9 (the basic plot line reminded me a little of “Hippocratov Oath.”
Justin Minor
Thu, Feb 21, 2019, 9:48pm (UTC -5)
MAKE.

SARU.

CAPTAIN.
Shannon
Thu, Feb 21, 2019, 9:50pm (UTC -5)
Fantastic!!! The best episode in the series thus far! I've always found Saru and the mystery of his species intriguing, and here's an episode that put both center stage and delivered an amazing story in the true spirit of what Star Trek has always been about. Well written, well acted, well directed, amazing effects, and just downright fun to watch. I like how it stayed connected to the overriding mystery of the red angel and the seven signals, and yet also works on all levels as an outstanding standalone episode. Kind of brings a whole new meaning to the old cliche "and the truth shall set you free". On the one had we have the Kelpians learning that the Great Balance is a great big lie, but also learning that it was devised by the Ba'ul to fight back against their species, as they were once the viscous predator that almost drove the Ba'ul to extinction. That was a very pleasant surprise, and adds a layer of context that makes you really care about how all of this is going to play out.

Kudos to the writers and producers for finally delivering a true winner. A solid 4 stars from me!
Gil
Thu, Feb 21, 2019, 11:27pm (UTC -5)
Hot Take on "The Sound of Exposition":

“To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering one must not love. But then one suffers from not loving. Therefore, to love is to suffer; not to love is to suffer; to suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love. To be happy, then, is to suffer, but suffering makes one unhappy. Therefore, to be happy one must love or love to suffer or suffer from too much happiness… I hope you're getting this down.”
Leif
Thu, Feb 21, 2019, 11:46pm (UTC -5)
No no! Am I the only one sorely,disappointed that the Red Angel is apparently NOT a mysterious angel like winged nonbumanoid alien but just some human or humanoid alien in a suit? I wanted a really unique, exotic, original or at least fairly imaginative alien race like Species 8472 or the Bynars or the Xindi orbthe Iconians as depicted in Star Trek Online video game..somethibg akin to what the Baul looked like in this episode..or the Sphere thing from the Obol episode..is anyone else as disappointed as I am? So the Red Angel is what..Spock in a butterfly drag queen suit from the future? It looks like Spock in a suit with wings.. I was hoping for something more..maybe a Talosian or some new alien race that looks cool..again something like the Ba'ul looked here or the Jasepp like May on the spore network..I hope we see the Ba'ul again and learn more about them...

Yea the rest of the episode was good...
Alan
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 1:42am (UTC -5)
Episode was quite good until the dumb dumb dumb twist happened:
the kelpians are actually the apex predator race, but they have to suffer through their pon far in order to get there. Wait, so if the ba'ul were previously the prey species who were the prey kepians getting sacrificed to? Other kepians??? This show is dumb guys. Really really dumb.

Yay for Saru turning into a superhero too.
Cody B
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 2:57am (UTC -5)
Alright so this is my first time actually being able to comment right after a episode of Trek aired. I just started Discovery two weeks ago and I’m now caught up. This was a good episode I like Saru’s new bone darts. I’m wondering if they have poison. We are supposed to believe Tilly is running all the time and beating her personal best records yet it is very clear the actress has gained weight since last season. Some might say that’s mean but she’s playing a character that’s supposed to be physically pushing herself and coming into her own with growing confidence. I’m getting a little tired of being strung along with these Spock teasers at the end of every episode. I bet he ends up being the red angel somehow. Not sure how I feel about the doctor being brought back. This whole thing where people die and they bring them back either through the spores or by their mirror universe counterpart is just silly and takes everything heavy and shocking about someone dying. It’s just too “comic booky”. Overall I think the series is still improving from the bad second half of season one so I’ll still give credit for slow but steady improvement.
Cody B
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 2:58am (UTC -5)
See you guys next week on Vulcan
Cody B
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 3:03am (UTC -5)
@ Rahul

They should have had Denise Crosby voice that Bahul black goo monster as a little wink to the fans.
Tim C
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 4:10am (UTC -5)
So close to a home run! This episode was firing on all cylinders: tense starship faceoffs, Our Captain being a total badass, Saru really stepping up and fighting for a cause, some more science nerdery vis a vis the Sphere, even a strange new world!

But. And it's a big "but" for me. The Disco crew's solution to the issue of radically accelerating the vaharai (or however it is spelt) across the whole planet comes across as *such* a flagrant violation of the PD, it actually broke my suspension of disbelief. Pike isn't Janeway, having to make decisions alone and on the fly with no backup. Nor is he Archer, blazing the trail with no idea where it might lead and no prior experience to guide him. He's captain of the flagship and should damn well know better.

Let's leave aside the fact that - as Doctor Pollard points out early on - they don't have nearly enough knowledge about Kelpians to know what effect accelerating the vaharai would have on the entire species, where even a 1% kill/injury rate would mean thousands of deaths on Pike's shoulders...

Pike is assured by Saru that the Kelpians won't succumb to their rage and try to take vengeance on the Bahul. But Pike has just had a *front-row seat* to Saru freaking out with some serious rage issues on his bridge and taking matters into his own hands - and Saru has *training*. How the hell do they know how the rest of the Kelpians are going to react??!!

This would seem to be *exactly* the kind of situation the PD exists for. It's just such a huge responsibility for the Federation to accept and be accountable for.

But! *If* you can set that aside, then this was one of Disco's best episodes to date. I liked it a lot. Three stars.

My favourite line of the episode, once again, goes to Tilly:

TILLY: Well, that's what Aryam and I are here for. We will find it.

ARYAM: There it is.

TILLY: When I said "we", I just meant Aryam.

I laughed out loud. Mary Wiseman is just perfect.
Jack
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 4:24am (UTC -5)
Hated it. The show is quickly becoming fan fiction. The camera wouldn’t stop jumping around. The twist made no sense.
Eric Jensen
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 5:03am (UTC -5)
My thoughts/opinions: The reasons why I think they skipped the Prime Directive (PD) on this is because: 1. Saru has a personal stake on this 2. The Kelpians have seen warp technology before (from Michael) . 3. Although they did not know this at the time, the natural progression of Kelpian evolution was stunted/controlled by the Ba'ul (hinted by Saru losing his ganglia) and effectively Saru is asking Starfleet for help... 4. The investigation into the Red Angel.

Throughout the episode I was hoping the Kelpians wouldn't "evolve" to become the Ba'ul. This episode could have been better served over two episodes - why force the Kelpians to accelerate their evolution? (Obviously to overcome the Ba'ul, but without consent? And it being related to the Sphere/Red Angel, but isn't that playing "fate"?)

I feel a bit different this episode because Tilly and May's chemistry was better than Saru and Siranna's (sp?). We saw May at least 3 episodes and we see Siranna just once. I understand why Siranna felt the way she did in this episode - Saru leaving, The Watchful Eye, joining the priesthood, but it felt rushed. But I still liked the brother/sister relationship in this episode.

That superhero scene with Saru, the Ba'ul and Siranna was cool, where Saru released the darts from himself. We know Saru is physically capable but his "adrenaline" in this situation allowed him to do this because of his repression of fear. I thought the Ba'ul was menacing.

I also liked how the camera focused on Saru putting a hand on his colleagues... is that alluding to his empathy still being intact? Anyway, I felt this episode was good but not as good as the previous episode. 3/4.
Eric Jensen
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 5:08am (UTC -5)
And that scene with Saru and Pike on the bridge, until Michael stepped in between. That was tense. Also when Saru stayed in the captain's chair... will Saru become more aggressive over time?
Booming
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 6:03am (UTC -5)
I think this show is starting to win me over. Good episode.
What I didn't like was the cinematography. There was an arc shot that went on forever. The scene were the three officers talk. I felt a little queasy. Sometimes it worked but too often it was distracting. Apart from that. I think it is a wise choice to have Tyler in normal uniform. It would look strange having him run around in black.
Some scenes a bit convenient. Saru having all the stuff he needs to basically destroy the Ba'ul control network. And the Ba'ul should really have prisons and shackles that can withstand Kelpians. Somebody in the Ba'ul engineering department is going to lose his/her/d job...
But yeah I liked it. Felt like Star Trek. Discovery seems to find it's footing.
@Eric Jensen: This had nothing to do with evolution. They just induced a process that the Kelpians experience at some point. And at that point get killed/eaten? by the Ba'ul.
Dan Bolger
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 6:13am (UTC -5)
Absolutely amazing episode. The best of Star trek discovery, so far. Maybe one of the best of Star trek since the beginning. This is easily a 3.5 or 4 star episode, jammer!
Eric Jensen
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 6:29am (UTC -5)
Booming said: //@Eric Jensen: This had nothing to do with evolution. They just induced a process that the Kelpians experience at some point. And at that point get killed/eaten? by the Ba'ul.//

Do you know what evolution means? Do you know what prey and predator mean? At some point? Not unlike a butterfly undergoing metamorphosis? And what is "induce a process"? What process? Oh wait, a biological process. What kind of biological process? Anything biological is related to evolution. Why do you think Michael, Tilly and Airum were doing discussing about what Kelpians/Ba'ul were doing in the past? Extinction and evolved Kelpians, and non evolved... are you watching the same show??
Booming
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 6:36am (UTC -5)
@Eric Jensen: Jesus, no need to go full evolved Saru on me.
I know what evolution means but to quote an objective and respected source (Oxford): "(biology) the gradual development of plants, animals, etc. over many years as they adapt to changes in their environment."
What we saw on Discovery is not evolution but a natural process happening during the lifespan of a Kelpian.
Booming
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 6:38am (UTC -5)
@Eric Jensen: Like puberty. What we saw in this episode is comparable to puberty.
Bortus
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 6:58am (UTC -5)
Someone needs to tell the makers of this show it is possible to convey a story without cramming dialogue (and monologue) into every available second.
MadManMUC
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 6:59am (UTC -5)
Well, I'm impressed. This episode, for me, is like 'An Obol for Charon': it *almost* felt like I was watching a proper Star trek episode. It's not quite there yet, but I was overall impressed.

What I liked:
• It wasn't a Burnham-centred show;

• The pacing was overall excellent. It took its time where it needed to, and we were rewarded with spending much needed time on the things that actually mattered;

• The plotting was much, much, much tighter than in the rest of either seasons. It mostly stripped away the non-essentials and distractions, and focussed itself. The short scenes with Culber worked, without getting in the way of the A plot, but still found itself to be relevant in the context of the A plot. Finally. More of this, please;
• Mount was 100% in the Pike groove this week. I really hope they don't ship him back to Enterprise after only one season, he adds a *lot* to this show;

• The Ba'ul felt proper malevolent. And I actually liked the one we saw on screen, I actually thought it was well done. And that voice was just eerie.

What I didn't like:
• That fucking arc shot. Ugh. That was nauseating;

• And speaking of camera work, for the love of all of our mothers, please stop whipping back and forth;

• The audio really sucks. So much dialogue gets drowned out by music, or people's lines running into each other because of edits being too close;

• Whilst the bridge crew had more to say and do this week (cool), we still haven't started to *know* them as people (not cool);

• Ash Tyler. His character just sucks. When he's not standing there looking baffled and breathing through his mouth, he just phones his lines in. He's a completely wooden non-presence on screen, I really don't know what he brings to the party. And also, a Section 31 agent lecturing the ship's captain on the Prime Directive? That's pretty fucking rich.

What I think I might not like at all:
• The whole idea of Discovery intervening on this planet. So, the actual A plot. I really don't know if it's a PD violation or not. I'd need to think about it some more. On the other hand, if I'm thinking about it, it's mission accomplished from a Star Trek point of view.

In the Discovery context, I'm going to give this 2.5 out of 4. It's far, far better than the overwhelming majority of episodes in S01 and S02, but doesn't quite reach 100% Trek for me yet.

Still, I didn't hate myself for watching it, and that's a net positive for me.
philadlj
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 7:47am (UTC -5)
When I first heard that audio I thought we were dealing with an offshoot of the Sheliac Corporate; when I first saw the black goo I immediately thought "Armus!"

I enjoyed this episode for many reasons, but intentional or not those references to previous episodes where Starfleet had to deal with a species that not only wasn't humanoid, but also didn't much WANT to interact with the Federation except for them to stay out of their affairs.

While it's certainly hard to watch, it makes sense that Hugh is nowhere near himself again (and indeed physically will never be himself again); Paul is putting on a brave face, but it's not going to be easy for things to return to normal. Hugh may have lost the scars on his skin, but at the cost of far deeper ones to his psyche.

I enjoyed seeing (and hearing!) more Airiam, but she's still treated as more background dressing than character, and it didn't make sense that she, a Lieutenant Commander, seemed to be taking commands from Ensign Tilly. Disco needs to understand that the more prominent they make the secondary bridge crew, the more we'll want to see them have episodes that flesh them out, just as TNG, DS9, and VOY did.

But to return to the main cast, Saru has another hell of an episode, which not only propelled his character, but his entire species, which turned out to be the whole point of the Red Angel signal appearing at Kaminar. We also learn a tiny bit more about what the Angel is; "biomechanical suit" dredges up curiosity over whether it's more of a time-traveling "who" than a "what."

In a universe where Q, the Prophets, and many other beings that might as well be gods from the Starfleet perspective, I'm finding it fascinating that rather than communicate directly, the Angel is having Discovery perform tasks that improve the lives of people, whether it's small-scale like saving the Hiawatha survivors and New Eden, to large-scale like creating a new balance between the Ba'ul and Kelpians (which also called to mind the So'na and Ba'ku).

Sure, the constant Spock-teasing (though notably not present this week) is a bit annoying, but at this point it seems like finding Spock is secondary to completing the remaining missions the Red Angel has set out via the red lights (if that's indeed what it intends). There's also the possibility Spock IS the Red Angel...

Anywho, 3.5 stars.
philadlj
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 7:55am (UTC -5)
I do have to mention the meeting in Pike's ready room with Pike, Michael, and...honestly I forget who else because THE CAMERA WAS SPINNING. AROUND. THEM. SO. FAST!!! What is this, Star Trek: Boondock Saints of Imperfection? :-)

I had to look away from the television and hope that spinning would stop once the scene changed. Not sure why the heck they went with THAT much spinning. I imagine I now know a bit how Ezri Dax must've felt when she first came aboard DS9 (the spacesickness, not Worf ignoring her).

Also, I second the fact that the Prime Directive was kinda just...set aside? When they decided to activate Kelpian pon farr in the entire population *without smaller-scale testing*. I mean, Saru's sister went through it fine, but the "let's just do it and hope it all works out" was more of an Orville direction than Discovery.

Maybe the fact the Ba'ul are mentioned as a warp-capable civilization means the PD doesn't apply. But they're said to have only had warp for a couple decades... Assuming the Discovery is something like 700m long, yet those are some mighty huge "sentry ships" they've got! I guess they focused on bigger, not faster ;)
Eric Jensen
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 9:04am (UTC -5)
Near the beginning... That spinning thing with Michael, Ash and Pike, before the signal was received by Saru, was very funny now that you mentioned it. I couldn't remember where it happened but they were discussing the Red Angel. However I did not feel dizzy or anything, otherwise I would have remembered it, but it was very funny.
Yanks
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 9:13am (UTC -5)
Going into this episode I'm hedging bets on getting a good Saru story but not much in the way of forwarding the Red Angel story.

Discovery gets a hint of the Red Angel and it just happens to correlates to Kamanar (Saru's homeworld)

The backstory of Saru, his sister, the culling and his home world are all set up nicely in the Star Trek Short: "The Brightest Star".

We know Saru is going to react differently now that he was "withstood" the whateveritiscalled.

His reaction on the bridge with Pike I guess was to be expected, but they just might have been a little over the top. Maybe it was the music behind his outburst at Pike that made it feel that way, I don't know. Anyway, Michael has to place herself between Pike and Saru and convince Pike that Saru is needed on the away team in search for Red Angel info.

They beam down to Saru's old village where we get some touching moments between Saru and Michael then they run into his sister. They embrace as to be expected, but then we find out she and the village had felt enormous guilt and fear over Saru's departure fearing he had upset the 'Great Balance' and Saru's father had transitioned.

The Baul are keen to Saru and Michael's presence on the planet so they decide to beam up.

His sister is taken by the Baul (Kelpian bad guys). Discovery learns of this and Saru gets so out of control Pike has to throw him off the bridge. (pretty powerful moment). Saru will have none of this and he makes his way to the transporter room where he sets the transporter timer just long enough to have a dramatic conversation (60 seconds) with Michael before he beams off to save his sister. Michael has him at phasor-point and of course ends up not stunning Saru (shocker). We learn through, what reminded me of Armus from TNG and an effort from Tilly and Ariam (about 4 seconds of screen time and maybe a grunt) searching the "100,000 year database", that the way of things on Kamanar was not always as it is now. What happened centuries ago was, the Keplians would go through the whateveritisicalled and THEY were the prey over the Baul. Almost to the point of being wiped out, the Baul fought back with technology, gained the upper hand and created the 'Great Balance' framework for the Kelpian society. (suppressing the Kelpian's using technology). Saru ends up have launchable spikes that come out of his head instead of his fear thingamabobs.

There is a pretty impressive stand-off between Discovery (Pike) and the Baul as the Baul prepared to eliminate all the Kelpians on the planet because Saru figured out a way to use the monoliths in each village to spread the word that the 'Great Balance' has been nothing more than a lie. Pike won this one after some nifty shooting (male bridge member that I'm sure has a name) and intervention of the Red Angle. Pike indicated that the Federation would negotiate the future of the Baul and the Kelpians and Saru gets a REALLY good look at our Red Angel.

We learn that the Red Angel is a person in a suit wielding incredibly advanced technology that seems to put Discovery in position to do great things.

We however are made to wait a week to find Spock it seems.

Aside from Armus, I mean the Baul, being so dark and hard to make out, the visuals continue to be out of this world on this show.

Very enjoyable Star Trek episode for me. A story that could have been told by many of our Star Trek's throughout the years, but may not have been told as well as Discovery just did.

All actors/characters did a fine job. Some serious growth for Saru of course. I enjoyed Saru's sister (her name escapes me) as well.

Oh, the "B" story..... Culber isn't really himself (shocker)... his "cute scar" is gone... some sporenobabble...(blah, blah) and it appears he may not have feelings for Stamets anymore. Doc says he’s cleared for duty, but it will be interesting to see what memories he has retained. Hell, he might not be gay anymore.

Hard to knock this one, I'll go 3.5 stars of 4 for me.
Yanks
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 9:20am (UTC -5)
@ Tim C
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 4:10am (UTC -6)

"But. And it's a big "but" for me. The Disco crew's solution to the issue of radically accelerating the vaharai (or however it is spelt) across the whole planet comes across as *such* a flagrant violation of the PD, it actually broke my suspension of disbelief. Pike isn't Janeway, having to make decisions alone and on the fly with no backup. Nor is he Archer, blazing the trail with no idea where it might lead and no prior experience to guide him. He's captain of the flagship and should damn well know better.

Let's leave aside the fact that - as Doctor Pollard points out early on - they don't have nearly enough knowledge about Kelpians to know what effect accelerating the vaharai would have on the entire species, where even a 1% kill/injury rate would mean thousands of deaths on Pike's shoulders...

Pike is assured by Saru that the Kelpians won't succumb to their rage and try to take vengeance on the Bahul. But Pike has just had a *front-row seat* to Saru freaking out with some serious rage issues on his bridge and taking matters into his own hands - and Saru has *training*. How the hell do they know how the rest of the Kelpians are going to react??!!

This would seem to be *exactly* the kind of situation the PD exists for. It's just such a huge responsibility for the Federation to accept and be accountable for."

I thought they addressed this well during the episode. Michael aptly summized that this is clearly in the muddy zone and it was going to have to be Captain Pikes call. You make good points, but I think Pike weighed the benifits AND the fact that the Red Angel put them there and made the right call.

"My favourite line of the episode, once again, goes to Tilly:

TILLY: Well, that's what Aryam and I are here for. We will find it.

ARYAM: There it is.

TILLY: When I said "we", I just meant Aryam.

I laughed out loud. Mary Wiseman is just perfect."

I did too!!!! Agree, she's great but I'd like more than 3 words from Arium some time please!!! :)
Chrome
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 10:17am (UTC -5)
Well, this was a fun episode. I like them focusing on one story and letting aspects of the setting breath a bit.

I guess the point of contention everyone is talking about is the Prime Directive. This conflict easily reminded me of "Pen Pals", with the resolution being similar. When a member of the race has specifically asked the Federation for help, it's no longer a plea Starfleet can ignore. Although, I might even go one step further and say Pike was more justified than the crew of TNG. Whereas Data initiated First Contact in "Pen Pals", here Saru himself made that contact . I suppose more time could've been spent dealing the ramifications of initiating the population's vahar'ai. But while that may have been a story I wanted to see, I won't knock the writers if that's not the type of story they want to tell. I mean it's not as if Trek hasn't done that story before.

Otherwise, I agree with Madman and Yanks - that there should be more time devoted to what Aryam and the other bridge crew members are about. See how enjoyable this show is when they go into depth about someone besides MB? Maybe there's something to be learned here.
Matt G
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 10:18am (UTC -5)
Compared to other ST series this may not be one of the stand out episodes, but by STD's run so far this is surely one of the best.

What we have is strong world-building, an interesting dilemma (what to do when one species is warp capable and the other isn't?) and a fantastic performance by Doug Jones who is allowed to show how conflicted he as about both Starfleet duty and the persecution of his people. Perhaps it didn't dig deep enough into these issues for my liking, but even scratching the surface is a welcome change for STD.

The ending may be very deus ex machina and Captain Pike makes some questionable decisions, but this is the first time when I thought that the increased budget ACTUALLY contributed to the story (Kaminar and the obelisks looked authentic and the Ba'ul were genuinely creepy).

By any other measure this would be a 3 star episode, but the way STD has managed to shift from the God awful season opener and 'Spock murdering people', surely this deserves a 4.
Trent
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 10:44am (UTC -5)
"Discovery's" weird, in that its episodic tales should be serialized and explored carefully over several episodes, whilst its serialized tales are stretched over whole seasons, but are generally junk and should be limited or omitted as much as possible.

We see this in "Thunder". This is a tale - the social reordering of an entire planet, the Federation ending what is essentially an exploitative regime - pregnant with interesting material, and yet it's briskly introduced and solved in the space of 40 rapid minutes. Old Trek got away with this because it was very theatrical, allegorical and abstract, like watching a dialogue driven stage play. But "Discovery's" juggling contradictory aesthetics; action series, pulpy comic book and wannabe high brow science fiction. You can't help but feel that this material would be better served with less action and more conversation.

Regardless, "Thunder" is one of "Discovery's" better episodes. It's first 30 minutes are low-key, generate drama via simple discussion, and it has no B-plot, Klingons, Tilly-spam or spore plots to drag things down. Stripped of its excess baggage, we get glimpses of what this show might one day become.

We also get to see an alien planet, Pike gets some great scenes and Martin-Green's performance is a bit better. Unfortunately the series' line reading continues to be awkward, characters motor-boating their way through conversations, speaking past one another or to one another in ways which feel unnatural or stitched together in an editing room.

The moment Saru sacrificially beams down to his planet, the episode also degenerates into a string of dei ex machina. Everything's too convenient, the techno-babble too fast and fortunate, and the solutions too incredulous. That the Federation so quickly "induces" a "biological change" throughout an entire planet's populace is hard to accept. That Discovery's sensors can detect these changes ("80 percent of the population has undergone transformation!) is similarly odd, even by the standards of Trek's magical sensors. Saru's ordeal in his prison cell also felt too comic-book, complete with monster villain, bad guy monologues, action movie poses and fisticuffs.

What's most staggering is Pike's willingness to risk killing hundreds of thousands of Kelpians. This is a decision which needs to be properly sold to the audience. It needs to be discussed in depth, and perhaps portrayed as a leap of faith, and so a kind of spiritual choice, on Pike's part: a choice to trust in, and believe in, the Red Angel. But it's a momentous decision which is quickly rushed aside.

This episode also brings up the idea that the Red Angel is a time traveler. This is now a series which has adopted Mirror Universes, Alternate Realities, Spore Dimensions and Temporal Dimensions. You can't help think that, like the major DC and Marvel comic-book franchises did in the 1970s, that these "blurring of timelines" are being introduced for purely marketing reasons; to provide leeway to continually revisit, reboot and reintroduce products.
Gil
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 11:09am (UTC -5)
Hot Take #2 on "The Sound of Exposition"

Perhaps it would be in CBS's short-term interest to include a complimentary season-long subscription of Dramamine® with an All Access membership. That, or maybe have a camera operator's vestibulo-ocular reflex tested before the director shouts "Action!"; heck, just instituting on-set drug screenings might straighten things up.
Drea
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 11:41am (UTC -5)
I simultaneously enjoyed the episode and have no idea how to reconcile the crew's decision with the Prime Directive.

Although a captain may make a judgement call to have tea with a pre-warp civilization already in contact with spacefaring people, non-interference still applies. Non-consensually altering the body of every person in a species seems like the furthest from non-interference that Pike could get. There's no imminent demand that Pike take such action, either: the genocidal threat comes as a result, not as a reason. If the Kelpians collectively requested this intervention, then the Prime Directive would force Pike to decline, but without their request or even consent, the decision seems ethically inexcusable.

Quibble: Kelpian "evolution" appears to be simply a part of their life cycle, like our puberty, but the history made it appear as if the "evolved" Kelpians were a subspecies, living in different settlements on the planet.

If we somehow insert adequate reason for the Discovery to intervene as it did, then we have an outing that works reasonably well. Character beats for Saru and Michael deepen who these people are. The beats with Hugh felt appropriate, though Stamets felt written as almost implausibly insensitive to Hugh's discomfiture with his resurrection. The story of liberating the Kelpians gets the job done, despite the rushed conclusion common across a great deal of Trek. And hey, that sphere from a few episodes ago serves a plot purpose here.

The Red Angel is something we haven't quite seen before, which makes it interesting. It's far superior to Federation tech, but not godlike, and it evidently acts benevolently. We also now know it's a technology, not an entity. Could it be someone we know in that suit? Or different someones over time? Ash's responses seem illogical, both in general and that Ash would so quickly become an adherent to Section 31's perspectives.

The complete lack of reasoning surrounding the arrogance of altering an entire species' bodies on the sayso of a Federation crew prevents my regarding the episode as a 3/4, but so many aspects work that it's a strong 2.5.
Mac
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 11:44am (UTC -5)
This episode was fantastic. I think I'd give it four stars. It's probably my favorite episode of the show. Surprisingly, this second season is really hitting all the right notes for me lately. I love how they've decided to do a self contained story every episode, but keep a serialized aspect to it, if that makes any sense. After watching two seasons of TNG and a season of DS9 in a row, I respect how Discovery is harking back to the earlier times of Trek, but still remains a breath of fresh air.
Thomas M
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 11:48am (UTC -5)
For those criticizing Ash in this episode, I think he's going to be vindicated later. It's easy to see the Red Angel's actions as altruistic, but you have to wonder if, as Ira Behr would put it, there aren't some "weasels under the coffee table" here.
Alan
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 12:07pm (UTC -5)
Why is Ash who is the torchbearer of war who wanted to destroy the humans and was also a sleeper agent telling Pike war is bad??????

Who are these writers??? Get your characters straight.
MadManMUC
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 12:13pm (UTC -5)
@ Thomas M:

'For those criticizing Ash in this episode, I think he's going to be vindicated later. It's easy to see the Red Angel's actions as altruistic, but you have to wonder if, as Ira Behr would put it, there aren't some "weasels under the coffee table" here. '

I have my doubts about Tyler. I think he was just a poorly conceived character from the beginning, played by someone whose only talents are mouth-breathing and looking perpetually flabbergasted, and now they don't know what to do with same lame duck character.

As for the Red Angel, I really think we're being set up for a whopper of a MacGuffin.

@ Trent:

'"Discovery's" weird, in that its episodic tales should be serialized and explored carefully over several episodes, whilst its serialized tales are stretched over whole seasons, but are generally junk and should be limited or omitted as much as possible.'

I was thinking along the same lines after watching this episode, that — with intelligent writers — they could have made this a pretty good two-parter. That would have given us a chance to prevent rushed deus ex machina endings, maybe ramp up the tension some more between the Ba'ul and USS Discovery. It might have been a chance, too, to make the plot itself more palatable on a Prime Directive/General Order 1 level, cos I'm still not really comfortable with how that played out. But, then — as Chrome mentioned — TNG had 'Pen Pals', which also tweaked the PD's nose a lot.

What I find interesting is how other major review sites — which normally fawn over everything STD and think it's the most amazing show ever created, and Michael Burnham is the second coming of the prophet of your choice — are largely panning this episode outright and pretty viciously, too, in a couple of cases. And it happens to be an episode I didn't particularly mind so much, for a change. Weird.
MadManMUC
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 12:20pm (UTC -5)
Also, MB still owes Pike an explanation for who Agent Mouthbreather actually is, but she still hasn't delivered. 'Don't make me chase you,' he said.
John Harmon
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 1:04pm (UTC -5)
Y'all are so thirsty for anything resembling Trek that this perfectly meh episode is being treated as the second coming.

It was ok. It was paced better than most episodes in this series, and it only had one plot to focus on which automatically makes it easier to digest. But it was just alright. The writers of this show don't know how to build tension at all so I felt nothing the entire way through. But I wasn't bored.

Burnham's answer to trying to get Saru off the Transporter was to threaten to shoot him. She just immediately pulls her gun on him. Good lord she's a psychopath. It's her first answer for any situation. She probably pulls her gun on her boxes of cereal trying to decide which one to eat for breakfast.

All I keep thinking was, if the race of Not Armuses had interstellar space travel capability, why the hell did they bother staying on that planet? If they were keeping this fake balance because they were scared the Kelpians would kill them, literally all they had to do was go away and they'd never see them again. Hell, they're all up in their ships in space anyway. There's no threat to them. That was nonsensical.

I forgot they brought Culber back to life. Ugh. Hey, you remember how when Spock died they brought him back with some weird handwavy nonsense? But like, it was ok because Spock is the most famous character in Star Trek and it took the plot of an entire movie to bring him back that cost Kirk his command, his ship, and his son so it's ok to forgive how they brought Spock back?

Well let's get even more bullshit with bringing back nobody's favorite character Culber! Seriously, does anyone care about him? I thought it was stupid to kill him off, but also he had zero character before. He was a boring emotionless blank slate and now he's back and even less of a character. This should be fun.

Pike makes the very rational and Captain like decision not to play good and force an entire species to change, but Burnham says some words and he just gives in. He has the title of Captain, but his actual role in the show is to just bounce ideas off of Saint Burnham so she can make her decisions.

I'm not sure why they had Ensign Tilly bossing Lt. Commander Airiam around anyway. Once again, rank means nothing on the show. The ancillary bridge crew continue to be nothing more than set decoration. Treating Airiam like she's the ship computer does not equal characterization. Until the bridge crew become real characters, all that visual diversity is just Toledo tokenism, and it's pretty gross that the writers and producers are ok with that. The actors are being wasted.

I like Saru. He's far and away the best character on the show and he should be Captain. I actually liked the twist in Charon about the revelation of his species. I was looking forward to them dealing with that some time in the future as a really great upheaval for his people. But nope they just rush to it 2 episodes later and get through it in a really haphazard way. It was all just in service to the boring Red Angel story. The revolution of Saru's people can't even be its own story.

Still, I'm happy that the show is experimenting with change in its characters, but I'm still waiting to be truly surprised in a great way with this show. It needs a watershed moment like TNG had where you could tell it was different and it kept pulling you back to it. I'll still stick with this in hopes that this Red Angel story ends up being some uplifting message about humanity. But I'm going to go ahead and call it now. The Red Angel is Burnham from the future. I won't be surprised one bit.
MadManMUC
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 1:19pm (UTC -5)
@ John Harmon:

'Y'all are so thirsty for anything resembling Trek that this perfectly meh episode is being treated as the second coming.'

Sigh. You're not wrong. My kingdom for some really good, really proper Trek.

'The Red Angel is Burnham from the future. I won't be surprised one bit. '

Oh, god. I think you might be right. Ugh. Fucking ugh.
Alan
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 1:28pm (UTC -5)
@John Harmon

Wow. Amazing summary of Trekdom today + DISCO.
Bold Helmsman
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 1:45pm (UTC -5)
@Trent
I agree, this could easily have been a two-parter and even been improved, but nowadays, genre showrunners are much more averse to doing two-parters that don't directly tie in the season arc.
John Harmon
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 1:52pm (UTC -5)
There's also fewer episodes per season, so they're trying to cram 26 episodes worth of ideas and plot into 13 and it shows.
Gil
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 3:42pm (UTC -5)
Hot Take #3 on "The Sound of Exposition"

My 7 year old nephew looked up from his Switch last night and asked me if I thought Saru would like wearing his underwear on the inside or the outside of his superhero costume. I shrugged my shoulders and said “I dunno. Let’s get Mikey.” He rolled his eyes and gave me the loser sign then went back to playing LEGO DC Super-Villains.
Yanks
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 3:53pm (UTC -5)
@ John,

"There's also fewer episodes per season, so they're trying to cram 26 episodes worth of ideas and plot into 13 and it shows.."

Agree. I've felt this has been an issue from the start.

"The Red Angel is Burnham from the future. I won't be surprised one bit."

God, I hope they don't go that far with the "Michael" thing.

I'm with you on Culber... he shouldn't have been able to "come back" and MAy should have had to kill him.

While I can understand your point about wanting good Trek, I think you're a little hard on Season 2. They've made huge strides and just like all the other spin-offs - Discovery seems to be finding her way. Time will tell of course.

Break...

Some folks have brought up 'Pen Pals' from TNG. I'm not sure it ended up being a Prime Directive episode. It was, and Picard said "no" when General Order #1 was being discussed...... but it changed when she cried out for help to Data.
ALongTimeTrekkie
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 4:34pm (UTC -5)
This episode SEEMS great only because it is more coherent than most other Discovery episodes... but compared to TRULY great Star Trek episodes from earlier franchises, Sound of Thunder is still mediocre.

- The camerawork is artistic failure. It is an attempt to induce emotion (fear, disorientation, etc.) by moving the camera so much. However, it just serves to make the show difficult to concentrate on. It literally made me a little dizzy. That's not a good thing. This bad cinematography unfortunately overlays the entire episode, making the whole thing worse.

- Pike's decision to trigger this massive, species-wide biological response was radically irresponsible, not courageous. He could have accidentally wiped out the entire Kelpian population. Genocide would then have been at his hands, rather than the Bauul -- which he scolds them for. There was virtually no good, multi-sided discussion about this decision. This is shallow storytelling.

- The Bauul are still far too unnecessarily evil. Yes, we understand that 2000 years ago they were the prey species on the planet. But their only response is 2000 years of enslavement? History moves much more quickly than that among pretty much any humanoid species. And making the Bauul look like black, oily, spiky things rising out of sludge was just silly. This isn't a show for 8-year-olds.

There was a lot to like, enumerated already in previous comments. But the good is way overshadowed by gigantic problems of artistic decision-making.
Artymiss
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 4:55pm (UTC -5)
Didn't like this episode and found it nothing special even if all the action and camera tricks and VERY LOUD music were trying to persuade me it was. Discovery seems to be getting worse to me or maybe I've just finally lost patience with it. I genuinely enjoyed season one despite its faults, but this season, no.

The Red Angel is probably the Prime Universe Lorca who didn't really die after all. Or is the Angel really Mirror Universe Burnham who didn't really die after all???! Yawn.
Hank
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 5:20pm (UTC -5)
Hm, didn't like it.

I expected something ... more substantial? Ok, the setup is fine, up until the point where the Goa-Ould say "You (Kelpians) don't know who you are!". Here I fully expected the twist that the Goa-Ould are actually evolved Kelpians: The Ritual of "sacrifice" actually transforms them. As Saru said beforehand, other than the oppression, his world is a paradise. So my thought was that the evolved Kelpians let the unevolved Kelpians have their share of Eden before bringing them to the real world, or whatever. Or that Kelpians might NEED that phase of terror and constant fear in their life, otherwise they don't grow up properly, become sterile, or whatever. That would explain why they just didn't leave the planet. Or, another possibility, that the Goa-Ould actually need the Kelpians in some form of symbiosis. That would have opened up some ethical dilemma: Yes, the Kelpians are suppressed, but if they aren't, the Goa-Ould die, so ...

But now, when they are just afraid that the Kelpians will kill them all - why not just leave/kill them all outright? Why are they still afraid in the first place? It just makes no sense that there are still Kelpians and Goa-Ould around when they already almost extinguished each other once, and one side is so superiour to the other. Star Fleets actions make no sense as well. Why just assume that everything will be fine when you turn a whole population of docile people into fearless predators? "The Goa-Ould still have superiour technology!" yeah, sure sure, but you are just setting up the planet for a massive world war because one side fears extinction, and the other comes to the realization that for 1300 years, they were suppressed, and WILL want revenge, given how Saru behaved himself in front of Cpt. Pike. I mean, if the Goa-Ould are so advanced now, they would have been sentient 1300 years ago - and more advanced anyways, if 300 odd people (if the statistics are not displaying units of 10000 or millions or somesuch, which I find unlikely, since there are only 4000 odd "villages" of Kelpians on the planet) can turn the tide on a massively numerically superior enemy. Which means the Kelpians are genocidal.

And then we see the Goa-Ould. And as cool as they look - that needs an explanation. Are you telling me a srawny little Kelpian is hunting a huge, three or four meter tall beast with giant claws and glowing red eyes? Have the Goa-Ould genetically modified themselves? Whats going on here? Why can they breathe underwater? Whats with the oil slick (other than a callback to that certain TNG episode)? How does THAT species evolve on a planet as serene? And how are THEY the prey?

And then the Red Angel happened, and Deus-Ex-Machinaed the whole thing to oblivion. And I came to the terrible realization that the Angel is either:

1: Micheal Burnham from the future
2: Mirror Georgiou from the future
3: Prime Georgiou from the future
4: Some random woman who has some random motivation to do random things to random people (but always includes Michael T. Burnham in her plans).

Seriously, by having the situation resolved by just brute force, there is nothing substantial here. Yes, sure, the heroes won the day (by having an aggressive genocidal predator species realize its potential for aggression, yay), and the Red Angel is super duper mysterious, but, what are we supposed to take from this? Nothing was resolved. The cycle just started anew. Is there really nothing deeper to all this technological commitment from the Goa-Ould than primal fear? What was Discoveries Plan B after the activation of the Kelpians? Did they really think the Goa-Ould would just say "Oh well, our efforts of 1300 years are wasted, guess we just love each other now?" instead of "Jesus fucking baby jesus christ on a stick, they are going to kill us all, NUKE EM FROM SPACE!"? Also, the Goa-Ould are said to be able to "keep Star Fleet at bay" (why? Star Fleet does not impress itself on people who don't want contact, so there is no need to keep them at bay), yet they only have Warp for a few years, yet they have Giant ships (with constantly firing thrusters that fire down, but their ships are not moving away from Discovery), yet Discovery is confident that it can defeat the energy shield of that massive fortress, yet it never fires a shot, and Discovery does not understand that the obelisks are only relays, they just have to destroy the few closest to the fortress to stop the whole machinery, and why didn't the Goa-Ould ships try to stop Discovery when they discovered that all the Kelpians are awakening, and why is Saru just free to sabotage their whole control room, why is there no surveillance, why is he in a control room and not a holding cell in the first place (even though there are forcefields in the doorways, which you would expect from a cell, not somwhere control room/meeting room), why do they only send completely inadequate flying drones if they KNOW that the Kelpians are super powerful, why do said drones which only have whirly bits for attacking, and not phasers, why does Slick-Guy not come back and try to stop Saru, why can Saru rip apart solid metal, what the fuck is actually going on here?

Superficially, this episode is about oppression, how superstition and fear leads to terrible things, and how people can come together to overcome such differences, but nothing of that sort actually happens. Sure, the Kelpians are "oppressed", but we are never shown what actually happens to them. We assume that they are killed, but we haven't heard the other side, and no confirmation. For all we know, they lead perfectly save, healthy, plentyful lives for at least several decades before being "culled". We are never shown what actually happens.

Sure, the Goa-Ould are acting out of fear and superstition, or are they? Maybe the Kelpians really ARE a terribly aggressive race, and the Goa-Ould, showing mercy, allowed them to survive despite that, creating a paradise for them, while they themselves live secretive lives, ensuring the survival of both species. Maybe, in a few years, when all the Goa-Ould are dead because the Kelpians, as it turned out, couldn't conrol their rage or thirst for revenge, Star Fleet will think back and say "Yeah, well, we shouldn't have interfered".

And the coming together part? No sir, there is just a Red Angel (which is a plot twist waiting to happen) who completely turns the situation around, and we don't hear a single word from the Goa-Ould, how they view the situation, what their plans are, and so forth. Maybe THEY will just genocide the Kelpians, as soon as the Enterprise leaves. Nobody actually talked to each other, nobody actually came to any understanding. Nobody even knows whats going on.

It is this same thing again that bugs me about Discovery, and that others have noted too: Superficially, it might resemble Star Trek. It even gives glimpses of some deeper thoughts. But in actuality, the music is just off. If you are far away, you hear the beat and some dominant tones, and you think "This sounds allright", and then you step closer, and you hear that it is actually a cacophony, where the right chords are overlaid by a dissonant, arythmical melody, that only generates emotions by being unpredictable and noisy, and then, after you have finished the episode and thought back on it a bit, all the chords and the melody blend together to some constant droning noise that contains no actual music anymore, even though all the frequencies are there.

For one moment in this episode, I can't recall exactly when, I felt like this is actually something deeper than flash and thunder, yet, after that brief moment, something happened that brought me back to reality. There are great opportunities for exploration here, and for moral dilemmas and the ever thrilling unknown. Yet it all ends with a stupid deus ex machina peace-through-superiour-firepower solution, and nothing is explored (just like season 1). It's a shame, really. The Expanse, season three especially, has so much more actual sci-fi, it is unbelievable. This would have been a fine Doctor Who episode, where you are just waiting for the Doctor to solve everybodies problem at the last second by some wishy-washy explanation, and everything is fine forever after.
Steven
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 5:26pm (UTC -5)
"Here I fully expected the twist that the Goa-Ould are actually evolved Kelpians: The Ritual of "sacrifice" actually transforms them."

They probably didn't want to go that route because they did it already in Star Trek: Insurrection with the Ba'ku and the Son'a. It's way too derivative and I believe The Orville has dibs in that area.
Hank
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 5:33pm (UTC -5)
@Steven: Yeah, completely forgot about Insurrection. That movie wasn't so great either, if I forgot that fact, and I have seen it multiple times. But still, they need SOMETHING that makes them stay for 1300 years, controlling a population they fear and hate. And to be perfectly honest, I wouldn't have minded a derivative story, if it actually was a good story.
John Harmon
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 6:35pm (UTC -5)
“This isn't a show for 8-year-olds.”

No, but it’s written like it’s for 14 year olds.
OllieVoil
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 7:08pm (UTC -5)
Add me to the list of those who felt this was one of the better episodes of ST:D, except for the nauseatingly restless camera.

Yes, Pike’s decision to outrageously accelerate the metamorphosis of the entire Kelpian race was an egregious violation of the PD but then this is pre-TOS Trek and, let’s face it, Kirk had no problem whatsoever beaming down to some random planet with a primitive culture and totally dicking about with it (e.g. “The Apple”).

It would be interesting to see if there’s any consequences to this in future episodes. I love the idea that the reason we never see Kelpians in any subsequent Trek is because they and the Ba’ul end up annihilating each other and only one solitary Ba’ul survives and, decades later, he kills Tasha Yar :)

And if the red angel turns out to be Michael...yeah that would be pretty awful. Could be worse though. It could be Wesley Crusher.
Clark
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 7:52pm (UTC -5)
ugh. Way to keep your crew in line, Pike.

They just altered the future of 2 entire species without any plan for the future aside from "be nice to each other you guys" and left? I'm not really one to harp on cannon but this felt just totally irresponsible for Star Fleet.

1/4 for me.
Hank
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 8:41pm (UTC -5)
@Clark: Harp on Cannon? Sounds like the 1812 Ouverture to me ;)
Mac
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 11:38pm (UTC -5)
Y'know, I find it interesting that if you average all of Jammer's reviews, TOS comes in at 2.639 stars, TNG has an average of 2.625, DS9 has an average of 2.957, and VOY is at 2.613. But Enterprise has an average of 2.634, which is higher than TNG and VOY. Weird.

And just for fun, even though it really isn't that fair of a comparison considering these two shows haven't even finished their second seasons yet, but after 20 episodes, Discovery is sitting at 2.750, and The Orville is currently at 2.395 after 19 episodes.
Mayor of Utopia Planetia
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 12:50am (UTC -5)
After some thought, this episode is reminiscent of The Apple episode from TOS, with the arbitrary decision to accelerate a culture’s development via gunboat diplomacy. The only saving grace is that Saru self realized a change to his being which makes the decision by Pike to accelerate the species evolution somewhat reasonable, all things considered.

A well crafted show that continues the Red Angel arc while giving Saru’s being valuable context.
Steve
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 2:16am (UTC -5)
A better episode but what was with the camera work? Especially when the three of them were talking a the beginning and it was swinging around them like a drunken sailor. It was so jarring.
Joe
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 3:14am (UTC -5)
@Mac

I was thinking that too. I’ve essentially disagreed with every Jammer has been saying on DSC vs The Orville. Very odd. His reviews of TNG are pretty spot on but I’m a little confused on the high praise of DSC vs the heavy criticism of The Orville.
Eric Jensen
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 4:21am (UTC -5)
Oh dear... has anything thought of this... empress Georgiou could be the red angel. She has saved people in the past.. ! She's connected to Michael. Leland didn't want to help but Georgiou gave them an extra 3 minutes... "have a little faith" or something she said...

I think the red angel is Georgiou
*gasp*
Michael
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 4:29am (UTC -5)
Guys. Have you thought about why Michael is called Michael?

As in the archANGEL Michael?

Knowing the writers of this show, it's not a huge leap of logic to make a guess at who the red angel is.

Then again, it could be also Gabriel Lorca.
Eric Jensen
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 4:30am (UTC -5)
Yeah, Hank said it. It could be Georgiou.

*anyone (above comment)
Michael
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 4:35am (UTC -5)
Sure, but considering the writers have been using biblical and mythological references in the episode titles and throughout the show, I'd say it's a pretty big hint.
Shabuti
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 4:39am (UTC -5)
Saru beamed down to the planet when the shields were up. Minus 3 stars. :)
Mac
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 5:06am (UTC -5)
@Joe

I don't think DSC necessarily gets high praise. It just consistently gets 2.5 stars and 3 stars. He's pretty much seen a ton of flaws in every episode. I think that once DSC has more episodes, it'll average out a little bit better.

As for The Orville, I haven't read every review yet, but I think he doesn't like the comedic aspect of the show. Maybe he also has a problem with how derivative it is of other Star Trek shows. I think overall, he thinks DSC is decent and The Orville is average (pun intended).
Mac
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 5:19am (UTC -5)
@Shabuti

I didn't even think about that. Dang, you're observant.
Booming
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 5:43am (UTC -5)
Oh oh I know who the red angel is.
It is Jesus and he is flying in from imaginationland.
Steven
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 10:45am (UTC -5)
@Mac

The numbers are interesting, but you must remember Jammer stars don’t scale across each series. Jammer judges shows on their own merits and evaluates what they’re trying to do. So, one might imagine that a 2.5 star TNG episode is equivalent to 4 star ENT episode because the bar for a TNG classic is just that high.
Timo47
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 12:03pm (UTC -5)
If I remember correctly, Jammer reviewed TNG after the series had already aired, while DS9, VOY and DSC are being reviewed while the show airs.
Reviewing episodes of a show you have already seen and where you know how it will all play out, will probably influence your review and ratings somewhat.
Gil
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 12:04pm (UTC -5)
Hot Take #4 on "The Sound of Exposition"

D’ya suppose Airiam would rather be serving on the Orville where they wouldn’t treat him/her/it like some random stage prop in a shintzy Las Vegas magic show?
Rahul
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 12:48pm (UTC -5)
@Mac

The reason DSC's average ratings look pretty good now is that the series hasn't thrown us a true turd of an episode (i.e. no 1* or below episodes) and it's only been 20 episodes. There has been a consistency as to the quality.

And I don't think they'll screw up so badly as to throw us a "Profit and Lace" or "Threshold" etc. They're making fewer episodes and taking more time to do it. That being said, they should be hitting more 3.5* episodes.

As for the other series, it's clear Jammer has a strong positive bias toward DS9. I really think you have to take his DS9 ratings with a grain of salt. It's not very useful that you can't compare his ratings across series -- (which is why I'm doing it myself and trying to be rigorous/unbiased about it).
Tommy D.
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 1:36pm (UTC -5)
I thought this was pretty good. The bridge scene was extremely tense, though I think if I were Pike I would have removed Saru from the bridge about halfway into it. I'm not sure what to make of the red angel. Think its an interesting concept but it hasn't really gone anywhere so far.

I also am not a fan of the Tyler character. I don't know if its the writing, acting, direction, or all of the above. Just doesn't do anything for me.
Paul M.
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 1:38pm (UTC -5)
"D’ya suppose Airiam would rather be serving on the Orville where they wouldn’t treat him/her/it like some random stage prop in a shintzy Las Vegas magic show?"

Nah. I think the toilet humor would be beneath him/her/it.
Paul M.
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 1:56pm (UTC -5)
"If I remember correctly, Jammer reviewed TNG after the series had already aired, while DS9, VOY and DSC are being reviewed while the show airs.
Reviewing episodes of a show you have already seen and where you know how it will all play out, will probably influence your review and ratings somewhat."

True. TNG was a bit more hit'n'miss than your average TV show due to its often experimental and/or high concept nature. I'd say that weak episodes seem even weaker when viewed later due to the lack of novelty and surprise factor. At least that's how I see it. There were a lot of silly "out-there" episodes of Trek that were genuinely interesting to watch the first time around, but grew increasingly less enjoyable later on as that first impression wore off and all that I was left with was second-rate sci-fi pulp. And this is coming from someone who truly loves TNG. My guess is that Jammer's TNG reviews would score a little higher on average had they been based on his initial impressions. On the flip side, taking into account the general been-there-done-that feel of Voyager and Enterprise, perhaps Jammer's reviews of those two shows, had they been penned at a later date, would have been even more critical.
Tim C
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 3:08pm (UTC -5)
On star ratings, @Mac: I think it's relatively easy to explain. TOS, TNG and VOY are all variations of the same episodic adventure-of-the-week show, hence their similar scores. All of them have some high highs and some low lows with a lot of mediocre dreck (moreso in VOY). TOS probably gets the highest because it had a shorter run and thus less filler episodes dragging down the average.

DS9 gets the highest not because Jammer's biased in favour of it, as some suggest. It's because while it too had a largely episodic structure, it also devoted time to Big Picture arcs that made even the filler eps more satisfying for the long term viewer. Objectively speaking, it's the best Star Trek show and I don't know how anyone can really dispute that (even though my own loyalties ping pong between the uber-cheesy TOS and the eternal underachiever VOY).

It's been awhile since I looked over Jammer's ENT reviews, but as I recall his biggest issue (and mine) with the show wasn't that it was *awful*, it's that it was, in its first two seasons, constantly churning out ho-hum stories that had no real reason to exist. So the very slightly higher average than TOS and TNG doesn't reflect a better show; rather it just shows a greater commitment to safe mediocrity. Plus, like TOS, there's less of it and thus less time for the filler material to drag down the average.

As for DSC vs Orville: never have I seen a more pointless debate. The two shows are trying to accomplish wildly different things in very different ways.
Paulus Marius Rex
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 3:14pm (UTC -5)
My favourite episodes of DSC so far have been the ones with slower pacing: An Obol for Charon, New Eden, Into the Forest I Go. What I liked about this episode was that it nailed the faster pacing for a moment, when the Ba'ul ships showed up: the action-Trek feeling I remember loving most about TNG and DS9. It was just right: tense, without being frenetic. And there was lots else to like about this episode.

But it fell apart for me on two points:

1) Can we please lose the amateurishly written, preachy voiceovers and have some realistic-sounding Personal Logs instead? Burnham gets a lot of flak on this board for her voiceovers, but this episode showed that it's the voiceovers and the writers that are the problem. Saru's voiceover made me cringe, it was so bad.

2) The near-escapes where everything falls into place just perfectly are asking me to suspend disbelief a little too much. I mean, yeah, it's sci-fi, so I'm suspending disbelief, I'm all in for that. But the way Saru was able to quickly piece together a tool to suddenly transmit the frequency that had been somehow sent to him on his improvised device by Tilly...it was all a bit much. There was a lot of that in this episode, as has been pointed out by numerous folks above.

Tighter writing please.

And for the love of Spock, no more jerky swoopy camera pans and no more camera flares pleeeeeaaaasee
Gil
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 3:15pm (UTC -5)
@Paul M.

"Nah. I think the toilet humor would be beneath him/her/it [Airiam]."

Hey, ya never know. Considering how he/she/it has been given such short shrift, there's as good a chance as any that there's a ContraPoints, Eddie Izzard or Sarah Silverman encased inside all that plastimetal.
Rahul
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 3:25pm (UTC -5)
@ Tim C

"DS9 gets the highest not because Jammer's biased in favour of it, as some suggest. It's because while it too had a largely episodic structure, it also devoted time to Big Picture arcs that made even the filler eps more satisfying for the long term viewer. Objectively speaking, it's the best Star Trek show and I don't know how anyone can really dispute that (even though my own loyalties ping pong between the uber-cheesy TOS and the eternal underachiever VOY). "

You don't know how anyone can really dispute that?? I can easily dispute that. Those who call TOS "uber-cheesy" simply just don't get it. Trek should not be penalized for poor special effects or cheap production. It's about ideas, themes, and stories whether episodic or not. And the DS9 filler episodes like the Ferengi ones are mostly utter garbage. You really think "Ferengi Love Songs", "Profit and Lace" etc. is good Star Trek and make for more satisfying viewing over the long-term? I've watched DS9 at least 3 times and I don't agree with that at all.

TOS had better acting, better themes, better characters than DS9 or any other Trek. Not taking anything away from DS9, it's my 2nd favorite Trek but nothing comes close to TOS.
Brian
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 3:25pm (UTC -5)
Enjoyed this one overall. everyone is spot on in that the second half of the episode speeds through too fast and becomes pretty dumb. If the show could maintain the quakity an dtone of first half of this episode there wouk be nothing to complain about.
Mertov
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 3:31pm (UTC -5)
Just watched it. I had high expectations coming into it because the episode’s written by the same two writers who co-wrote first season’s best episode “Into the Forest I Go” – at least the most coherently written one –, and I wasn’t disappointed. Terrific episode with tie-ins to multiple previous ones for continuity, much enhanced by the excellent acting of both Doug Jones and Hannah Spear (Siranna). Fairly unexpected turn of events when we learn that it’s the submissive-appearing Kelpiens who were actually the hunters and the reason for which the culling is held by the Ba’ul. Add to all this, the benefits of the 55-minute-long runtime, allowing the plotlines to evolve at a measured pace, and you have a winner. As I’ve noted before, I have no idea why DSC tries to squeeze episodes into 45 minutes or less when it has the freedom to hold longer ones thanks to the streaming platform. Best three episodes of this season are 50 minutes or above each.

I agree with the criticism of the “circulating-camera scene” with Pike, Ash, and Michael, it was spinning too fast. Not sure what he was thinking there, but Doug Aarniokoski is an experienced TV director and the quality of his camera work shined elsewhere (see the Pollard-Culber-Stamets scene and camera angles during the conversation, as well as the bridge-moment-sequence editing when Pike finally orders Saru to remove himself off the bridge). That one scene is an outlier rather than the rule.

I did not have much of a Prime Directive issue as some of the other posters seem to have. Saru and Siranna are the ones who ask for the process to be accelerated because they no longer wish their people to be sacrificed before their passage from adolescence to adulthood, and Pike and Burnham address to possibilities.

I agree with Hank about not knowing how the Ba’ul view the situation at the end and nobody coming to an understanding from their perspective. Maybe it will be addressed in the future, or not, but that will not change the fact that it was not in this episode, and an error in judgment in my opinion.

One last thing, unfortunately I saw on the next-episode teaser that Spock will make an appearance. I say “unfortunately” not because I don’t want to see Spock, but because I was perfectly fine with the pacing of the Spock-search storyline (I realize that I am in the minority on this). In fact, I think seventh episode is too soon, I would have preferred a few more episodes with the Discovery crew + Pike adventure before Spock starts taking significant screen time as part of the plot. Let’s see what actually takes place in the next few episodes. I really like the second season (with “Point of Light” being the only mediocre episode) so far and looking forward to next episode.
Mertov
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 3:43pm (UTC -5)
"As for DSC vs Orville: never have I seen a more pointless debate. The two shows are trying to accomplish wildly different things in very different ways."

Could not agree more with Tim. It's silly.
I like both shows.
Even sillier is the infantile attempt to use one as an example to bash the other. As if it were not possible to be a fan of both shows.
Booming
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 3:53pm (UTC -5)
@Mertov: Yeah , it is a little weird that some have a problem with Discovery intervening. What would have been the other option? Losing the first officer and let the Kelpians live in horrible fear and slavery waiting to be killed. Probably every day a lot of Kelpians would die if that system had continued.
Not to forget that the Ba'ul would have attacked them if Saru hadn't beamed over.
Chekov
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 4:18pm (UTC -5)
I wonder when the Discovery will get around to hiring an electrician. Those flickering lights (with the Ba'ul speaking over comm, Tilly running down the corridor) must begin to get annoying after a while for Pike & co.
Bold Helmsman
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 4:22pm (UTC -5)
@Booming
Seems ike they're more interested in the word of the Prime Directive than they are in actually helping people.
Gil
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 6:12pm (UTC -5)
Hot Take #5 on "The Sound of Exposition"

Hugh feels funny. Hugh feels strange. Hugh feels odd, and not quite right.

OMG!

Did the Mycelium Network remake Culber straight?
Iceman
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 7:34pm (UTC -5)
@Rahul-

We may disagree here, but in my opinion, but Trek is also about execution. Discovery has plenty of great ideas, it just can't execute them properly. And the execution of many, many TOS episodes leave something to be desired.

You calling Jammer prejudiced in favor of DS9 is just odd. It is possible that he simply enjoys the series more than you. By the same logic, I could call you biased in favor of TOS (Best acting? Seriously?), but it wouldn't really accomplish anything. I respect your opinion-you should respect Jammer's.
Steven
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 7:50pm (UTC -5)
Iceman, as much as I like DS9, if you read Jammer’s reviews of it you can tell he really likes it. I mean, he even gives episodes like “Move Along Home”, “Q-Less” and “Meridian” two or more stars. And as someone already mentioned, his DS9 reviews were from the show while it was running. On the other hand, the TNG reviews were updated 10 years after the show ended so he had to time to reflect and consider which were the best over time. You can see how it’s not really fair to compare reviews of the two shows like that.
Tim C
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 8:21pm (UTC -5)
Didn't mean to upset you, Booming. I reckon I'd be able to give anyone a run for their money in a TOS fan-off, so please don't take me the wrong when I say it's cheesy. It still holds the title for some of the greatest stories in the Trek universe, and I don't think there's ever been a better captain than Kirk.

But by God, it's cheesy sometimes. The slide- whistle sense of humour, the b-movie horror monsters (I.e. Gorn), the fistfights that invariably break out every episode... and yes, Shatner, when he felt the material needed spicing up. Even by the standards of the time, there's a lot of scenery- chewing going on, especially in the bad episodes.

When I say that DS9 is "objectively" the best, I don't mean that it has the superior cast or setting or characters or whatever. I just mean that if you're a long term viewer then DS9 will greatly reward you with consistent character growth throughout the show and a deep bench of recurring talent. DS9 simply does world building better than all the others do. The crew at the end are very different people than when they started, except maybe O'Brien and Quark.

Whereas the only thing that might tell the difference between a TNG season one episode and a season seven episode is Riker's beard (and the season one episode is probably really shitty). Same goes for TOS and VOY.
Rahul
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 8:23pm (UTC -5)
@Iceman

I don't mean to sound rude or something but I totally disagree with pretty much everything you said. And honestly whenever I see your comments, I just scroll past them. I thought about whether I should respond to you or not.

"Trek is also about execution" -- no it isn't. Different series made various "execution" mistakes and that makes some of their episodes unable to realize potential, but to say Trek is about execution is just bizarre. Trek is not about a technical exercise in producing an episode well.

"Discovery has plenty of great ideas" -- like what? The spore drive? A mini-arc in the Mirror Universe? Have you actually seen the series? DSC lacks great ideas. But I agree that what few good ideas it has, it hasn't executed them well.

I don't think you really understand acting. Consistently across the main cast and guest actors TOS absolutely had the best acting. I'd say DS9 is the next most well-acted series, but Brooks/Farrell aren't good enough.

And where do you get that I don't respect Jammer's opinion? I always look forward to reading his reviews whether I agree with them or not. He writes well and intelligently. If he likes DS9 most, good for him. I think it's a terrific series too. I know you're not supposed to compare his ratings across series, but just as an exercise in a series achieving it's objectives, I don't agree with him that DS9 does this so much better than any other series (judging by series average ratings). If my thinking that offends you then too bad.

And don't tell me to respect somebody's opinions -- I'll judge for myself what to respect and what not to. I respect Jammer's opinions but I can't respect yours.
Gil
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 10:47pm (UTC -5)
Hot Take #6 on "The Sound of Exposition"

Seth MacFarlane & Brannon Braga trash talk this show more than we do.
Lig
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 11:18pm (UTC -5)
I wonder if Seth and Brannon hate it so much they pay people to troll its fandom...nahhh
Mac
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 11:29pm (UTC -5)
Oh, sorry, let me clarify. I wasn't trying to start a DSC vs Orville debate, I just stated their averages together as a footnote in case anyone was curious. The shows are kind of too different for me to compare them. It's kinda like trying to compare Coca-Cola with potato chips in that there aren't enough similarities to warrant a serious comparison.

I appreciate everybody's input, though.
Daya
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 11:33pm (UTC -5)
I wholeheartedly support Rahul in his statement that TOS is the best trek; and that it has very good acting.
Booming
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 1:45am (UTC -5)
TOS is not the best Trek by any measure. It was mentioned that it is ripe with sexism which is absolutely true. People complain about Discovery when it comes to supporting cast but what does TOS have to offer here: Scotty, the Scot who likes wiskey, Chekov is... young, emotional and Russian (he was included to appeal to teenage girls because every other man on the show was middle aged), Sulu can fight with a sword because Japanese and Uhura doesn't even have a first name. Oh and the female first officer, who for some crazy reason was allowed to wear pants, erased.
During the whole run there is zero character development and the acting was so hammy one wonders if Coyotes were circling the studio.

And how enlightened TOS was about LGBT. To quote from an interview Roddenberry gave a few weeks before his death: "My attitude toward homosexuality has changed. I came to the conclusion that I was wrong. I was never someone who hunted down 'fags' as we used to call them on the street. I would, sometimes, say something anti-homosexual off the top of my head because it was thought, in those days, to be funny. I never really deeply believed those comments, but I gave the impression of being thoughtless in these areas. I have, over many years, changed my attitude about gay men and women."
Roddenberry never hunted down fags. Good for him.

So yeah if you prefer a world where white heterosexual men decide everything, the token black woman answers the space telephone, women run around is super short skirts, everybody else is a racial stereotype and LGBT themes are completely absent then TOS is your show.
Andre
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 1:54am (UTC -5)
Even just Chekov and Sulu are enough to make TOS more diverse than Discovery - which has a grand total of zero non-Americans serving on the crew. So much for a unified Earth!
Paul M.
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 2:00am (UTC -5)
Haha Booming, you're a little harsh. TOS is a product of its time and it shows. But it was also ahead of its time in multiple ways, so there's that. But your point is taken.

I do want to comment on your remark regarding the characterization (or lack thereof) of TOS secondary characters. I do find it amusing how overblown the whole "just look at DIS supporting cast to see how bad that show is-syndrome" has become. True, these guys could stand a lot more screen time and plot/character relevance, but it's not like the other Trek shows were that much better, especially after this few episodes. As you said: Uhura, Scotty, Chekov, Sulu. I'll add Troi, Beverly, Chakotay, Kim, Sato, Mayweather, a probably a few more. Where I am concerned, characters are the least problematic part of Discovery. While we can (and do!) level all sorts of criticisms upon the show for its often lazy hypersonic plotting, the core cast and characters are almost universally very very good. I've said it before, but I'd take Pike, Burnham, Saru, Stamets, and Tilly over VOY and ENT cast any day... and, you know, it may be a blasphemy, but it's not that far behind TNG crew. I mean, Picard is Picard, and Data is Data, but that show had, what, 170 episodes to get to the point where they are. For mere 20 installments, I'd say Discovery is not too shabby at all in this department.
Booming
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 3:29am (UTC -5)
@Andre: What are you talking about?? Saru is not even human, Owosekun doesn't sound American as does Detmer (German name). We actually don't know where most of these people are coming from.
@ Paul M. Oh TOS was probably pretty progressive in it's days. I was commenting on people liking it now and what that tells us about them. The only exception would be nostalgia. I can understand that somebody saw it back then and thought this is so much better than everything else on TV right now and still thinks fondly about it. But if you saw it later and said: "Yeah, this is how an enlightened future should look like." Then we know enough to judge how enlightened you actually are.
Clark
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 4:20am (UTC -5)
I still just can't get over how quickly this crew just warped the future of two entire races and left. Saru directly ignored Pike's orders to do this with no consequences at all. They just showed up and showed an entire race that their entire existence was a lie and almost got them all exterminated if that Red Angel didn't save the day. There was good stuff in this episode but that resolution was a mess and Pike just got walked all over.
Rounin
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 4:56am (UTC -5)
The episode started from "Ok, I guess we can bend the prime directive to initiate first contact with Saru's people because they've seen others use warp technology" and went to "lets biologically modify all the Kelpians at once, inducing horrible pain, hopefully not killing them, and overturning the balance of two species which will inevitably end up with conflict". The captain made this decision after Saru said that they'll establish a peaceful solution whilst just moments ago the evolved Saru has shown aggressive behavioral changes and was confrontational on the bridge and his sister realized that all the loved ones and friends were killed based on a lie. Also the captain questioned, how do we know that you won't exterminate all the goo people? To which Saru replied that the goo people have superior technology. But moments later the technology gets fried by the angel just before they manage to execute their plan to kill all Kelpians. From that point we know nothing about the future of the goo people and their intentions, Kelpians might as well just needle them down while they're vulnerable, or goo people can restore power and manage to kill all Kelpians in a different advanced manner.

Also the motivation of the tar aliens is completely not explored. Is there a reason they can't just warp to another planet to live on? What are the ties with this planet? If they think that Kelpians pose such a threat to their existence why not just eliminate them? How come the balance came to existence?

Complete disregard to the PD and Deus ex Machina galore is what killed this episode for me. Bad writing.
Eric Jensen
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 5:30am (UTC -5)
Quote: [But the way Saru was able to quickly piece together a tool to suddenly transmit the frequency that had been somehow sent to him on his improvised device by Tilly...it was all a bit much. There was a lot of that in this episode, as has been pointed out by numerous folks above.]

Saru is intelligent, no? He could speak and understand how many languages? He got off the planet, didn't he, when he was younger? Sorry, but that quote is nonsensical. I think Saru is intelligent enough to deduce or work out how Ba'ul technology works since it is from the same planet where Saru is from... Sure it is a stretch but it is not implausible.
Eric Jensen
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 5:46am (UTC -5)
Quote:[lets biologically modify all the Kelpians at once, inducing horrible pain, hopefully not killing them, and overturning the balance of two species which will inevitably end up with conflict]

Devil's advocate:

I am not saying you are wrong, but the Ba'ul falsely accused of the Discovery/Federation of kidnapping Saru! The moment Ba'ul threatened Discovery/Pike, it became a Federation matter. Saru had curious instincts to explore the stars. Again, I am not defending why PD was slightly washed over, but Saru was effectively an asylum seeker on Starfleet.
1. Saru had a personal stake on this, he has a sister on the planet
2. The Red Angel is reported to have been sighted there, a Discovery mission
3. The Ba'ul (we learn now) lied about the Great Balance and is effectively oppressing the Kelpiens (apologies for previously spelling it with an a) because they were prey to the evolved Kelpiens.
4. Yes, the Kelpiens have seen warp technology, albeit very rare and occasionally.

So yes, the PD should have been explored more, but they did explain WHY they did what they did. It is not like the species were totally unknown to them and completely pre-warp. Saru was basically an ambassador and yes they did not ask for their permission to have their biology changed, but they just accelerated puberty, as it were.
Mertov
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 9:37am (UTC -5)
Agreed Eric. And the alternative was... what... Letting Saru (First Officer of Discovery) and Siranna die, along with the rest of the Kelpiens eventually getting exterminated, when their "time comes" at best (speaking of "horrible), by another group of species well aware of space travel.
If there is a time to disregard the PD - which every show has done multiple times - this would be it. And that's assuming this is a clear-cut PD case (which it is not, Saru and Siranna, two Kelpiens, are first wanting this, the acceleration, not a change, of their passage from adolescence to adulthood, so to speak)
Gil
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 9:51am (UTC -5)
Query.

I recall the online acrimony dumb-downed Trek, aka ENT, sparked during its run because, well, I actually participated in it, but looking back, would the particular rift in fandom ENT spawned exceed, compare or be marginal to the divisiveness STD continues to foment?

J.J. Trek aside, is STD, in its attempt to chase the CW demo, the absolute nadir of Star Trek (we've seen thus far)? And what are the unique factors debilitating or undermining STD specifically and the Trek franchise generally as you see them?
Clark
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 10:31am (UTC -5)
This isn’t about the prime directive or even good intentions, they almost caused a genocide through their reckless actions and then left.
Paul M.
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 10:55am (UTC -5)
"I recall the online acrimony dumb-downed Trek, aka ENT, sparked during its run because, well, I actually participated in it, but looking back, would the particular rift in fandom ENT spawned exceed, compare or be marginal to the divisiveness STD continues to foment?"

Fans are fans. It's probably worse these days, but I think that's because of Internet and social media. Fifteen years ago there was simply no technical way to spew as much hatred and moaning all day long -- and have an audience while doing it -- as there is today. Trek is in no way unique here; almost every single long-running franchise is faced with similar problems, besieged on all sides by so-called fans in dire need of heeding William Shatner's advice.

"J.J. Trek aside, is STD, in its attempt to chase the CW demo, the absolute nadir of Star Trek (we've seen thus far)? And what are the unique factors debilitating or undermining STD specifically and the Trek franchise generally as you see them?"

I don't think Discovery is the nadir of Trek. I am speaking only for myself (of course), but I found Voyager and Enterprise almost unwatchable all those years ago, and I thought the same about Insurrection and Nemesis. These were all sub-par products, milking the old cash cow for all the poor thing's worth. All of them were shoddily produced and showing their age by the time they hit the screen (well, maybe Voyager excepted), the cast and characters were getting increasingly one-note and caricaturised, and Trekkian themes were barely there anymore. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I find it kinda silly to blame nuTrek (meaning JJ Trek here) for turning the franchise into a slickly packaged action-adventure schlock when that's something Powers That Be have been trying ever since late nineties. AbramsTrek is everything late-era Berman&Braga wanted and failed to accomplish.

As for Discovery... I am not a huge fan; I'd like to see more thoughtfulness, more classic Trekian approach to symbolism and thematic exploration of various contemporary issues. That said, I find Discovery enjoyable to watch week-to-week, and I sincerely do think it's a step in the right direction (especially Season 2) from pure action adventure to something with a humane heart&soul at the center. Discovery in my humble opinion, for all its flaws, does a fairly good job of blending high-end action with solid character work and some interesting sci-fi concepts. It's far from perfect, but I find it much more enjoyable than much of late-era Berman mediocrity.
Mertov
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 11:23am (UTC -5)
Paul, yep. This came up in previous episodes' comment threads too. Nice myth people have going there about DSC being unique in creating divisiveness, or even the most divisiveness. And as usual with myths, the idea is that if you repeat it enough, it may become a fact in people's perceptions (which is an often-successful tactic).

The acrimony that TNG, DS9, ENT created may not have been online but each was quite severe. The way TNG was criticized and attacked by then-Trekkies would have been an online storm by today's standards had internet existed back then. Almost all Star Trek fan groups (that I can remember at least) opposed TNG's association with Star Trek in late 1980s.. And I am glad none of those fans got to decide what should come next, just as those fans who opposed DS9, ENT, DSC, and did not get to do so, and just as no fan in the future, hopefully, should with whatever else comes next.
Booming
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 11:29am (UTC -5)
What Paul M said.
MadManMUC
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 11:49am (UTC -5)
@ Gil:

'I recall the online acrimony dumb-downed Trek, aka ENT, sparked during its run because, well, I actually participated in it, but looking back, would the particular rift in fandom ENT spawned exceed, compare or be marginal to the divisiveness STD continues to foment?'

Good question, but I think that it's ultimately a bit of an apples and oranges thing.

I think there were two things that were dooming ENT from the get-go (three if you count that fucking awful song):

• It was a prequel — we'd just spent the entirety of the run of Trek from TOS to VOY (and all of the films in between) going forward. I think the fans simply didn't want to go backwards. I know I didn't. There was enough world building between all of the series and films that, I believe, fans didn't see any need for a prequel. They just wanted to keep going forward*;

• Over-saturation — Trek had been on air literally from 1987 to 2001. In that span, there were three seven season-long series, and five films. That's a *lot of Trek*. I get the impression that Berman & Co were simply running out of ideas, and I think other fans did, too. I also remember thinking at the time ENT was announced that they should have simply parked the franchise for a couple of decades to give it a rest, and to allow new ideas to spring up, instead of dumping ENT on us. I was simply all Trekked out, despite being a fan.

And it's because of my second point that I'm worried — very worried — about Kurtzman's and CBS's plans to have so many series going on between now and who knows when: STD, the Picard show, the Section 31 show, and two cartoons. And that's what we know now, who knows what else is in the pipeline. It will lead to over saturation, again, and franchise exhaustion. To say nothing of really stale ideas. They obviously didn't learn from the Berman-era mistakes.

Fans of the Star Wars franchise got a taste of that, too, I think, with all of the recent films.

* And history repeated itself with STD. When the series was announced, a lot of fans were deeply unhappy at the news it would be another prequel, and wouldn't pick up in the prime universe post-VOY/NEM.
Mac
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 12:35pm (UTC -5)
@ Booming

"Oh TOS was probably pretty progressive in it's days. I was commenting on people liking it now and what that tells us about them. The only exception would be nostalgia. I can understand that somebody saw it back then and thought this is so much better than everything else on TV right now and still thinks fondly about it. But if you saw it later and said: 'Yeah, this is how an enlightened future should look like.' Then we know enough to judge how enlightened you actually are."

So people aren't allowed to like the original series because it isn't progressive enough? I watched every episode of the show just a few years ago, and it's probably my favorite. I like the show because of just how campy it is. I like the writing, and I find the shoe-string budget effects endearing. TOS is a show that is fun to watch. I've never met a single person who looked at TOS as some kind of "enlightened future." I respect that you might not like the show as much, but to write off those who do as racist misogynists wearing rose-colored glasses is totally the wrong way to look at it.
Booming
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 1:09pm (UTC -5)
@Mac: There is a whole debate going on here what is Trek and what isn't and following what you write that TOS "is no enlightened future" then it isn't Trek.
But to your point. If you like it for the hammy acting and the campy style that is, of course, a legitimate reason. So nostalgia and liking campy stuff. But when somebody says they think that TOS is the best TREK show well...
Trent
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 1:17pm (UTC -5)
This episode makes less sense upon rewatch.

How does Saru beam down to the planet? Yellow alert generally means shields are up, and Saru returns to the ship when it is under yellow alert. Pike then orders the shields raised and "phasers warmed up" signifying red alert, but then Saru effortlessly transports off the ship.

You see other inconsistencies later: Saru's transformation takes hours, but for the rest of his race its nigh instantaneous. More crucially, enemy ships instantly appear in the first half of the episode, but when Discovery threatens to destroy the pylons (with torpedoes, the collateral damage of which should destroy the very alien villages the Feds hope to protect), the ships are nowhere in sight.

And why do the The Ba'ul keep the Kelpians around? They're deathly afraid of them, and have no qualms about culling and murder, yet keep the Kelpians alive.
Dobber
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 1:21pm (UTC -5)
I have to say that this was the best episode of Star Trek Discovery to date, and by a massive margin. If the show becomes more like this in the future then it may have hope from me.
Gil
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 1:26pm (UTC -5)
TOS is not camp.

I quite often see camp misapplied to describe the more theatrical execution and delivery of pre 80s television compared to post 70s television, however camp is a very deliberate, and I stress, deliberate exaggeration of delivery and execution, usually on the fey side. It is not accidental or inadvertent.

TOS was theatrical, not camp.
wolfstar
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 2:17pm (UTC -5)
Haven't reviewed this yet... I agree with Dobber. There are a lot of Discovery-typical inconsistencies and oversights, but on a basic storytelling level this is the most compelling and interesting episode the show has done so far. Or more precisely, the first 75% of it is Discovery's best episode to date and the final 25% is a rushed overblown mess. All in all though, this was for me what New Eden and Brother were for some other people. I enjoyed it.

This episode has in its favor that it's a standalone, but one centered around a character and situation that has been established in previous episodes. (Even if the Kelpiens and their backstory were reimagined for S2, contradicting what we were told in S1.) So we care because we care about Saru. And the script doesn't force events in the episode to revolve around Burnham, who's reduced to a helpful ancillary working alongside Tilly and Airiam. As Mertov noted, it's by the same writers as S1's "Into The Forest I Go", one of the best-written and paced and most coherent episodes of the series to date.

The biggest problem with the episode is that apart from Saru, we only meet 1 Kelpien character and 1 Ba'ul character. Thus the entire planetary-level plight of the two races and the struggle between them is reduced to three people (well, two people and a CG creation) in a room. The village scenes at the end of the episode where more Kelpiens are shown don't help much in this regard, as none have speaking roles and it's too little too late.

The episode kinda falls apart in the final quarter – the Ba'ul trying to kill Saru and his sister with weird drones (that don't look very effective), the all too convenient exposition-via-sphere of the planet's detailed history, the mass vahar'ai initiation (which Saru triggers using... some panel in the floor of the Ba'ul ship???) and the subsequent intervention of the red angel to prevent the Discovery's actions from causing the Ba'ul to murder the entire race. This is all just a mess. The fact that the Discovery's course of action would have led to the Kelpiens all being killed, were it not for the unplanned red angel ex machina, is very much not cool. The "red angel" itself is revealed to be a humanoid in a "mechanized suit"... I'm thinking Riker in his anbo-jitsu gear? :D

Then, as others have flagged up, you have the whole deal of why the Ba'ul are still on the planet and why they still care about controlling the Kelpiens given they're warp capable and so much more advanced than them. And the fact that apparently no Kelpien before Saru has ever just let the vahar'ai run its course and discovered nothing happens.

It was a big step in the right direction though. Both in S1 and in this season, the quality difference from episode to episode is largely determined by individual writers. For me, the episodes written by Lisa and by Erika/Bo are compelling, coherent, have good dialog and characterization, and feel like Star Trek (or at least good sci-fi). The episodes by the other writers, who are less experienced and (apart from Kirsten) less versed in Trek are considerably weaker, mainly on a dialog and plotting level. Lisa and Erika/Bo know how to write for television – the others are struggling.

I agree with the other comments about the show's distracting overproduction, like the spinning camera scene and the lights flickering during the Ba'ul transmission.

A high 3 stars.
wolfstar
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 2:20pm (UTC -5)
I meant to say... so the Ba'ul don't eat the Kelpiens. What do they actually do with them then?

(Also makes it extra-weird that people ate Kelpiens in the MU.)
Mac
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 2:30pm (UTC -5)
@Booming

"@Mac: There is a whole debate going on here what is Trek and what isn't and following what you write that TOS 'is no enlightened future' then it isn't Trek.
But to your point. If you like it for the hammy acting and the campy style that is, of course, a legitimate reason. So nostalgia and liking campy stuff. But when somebody says they think that TOS is the best TREK show well..."

Well, what? If you wanna throw shade, don't imply it, just do it. You think that I don't understand Star Trek and therefore my opinion is not valid. Alright, you can think that if you want, but hear me out for a second. Star Trek is a work of art. People don't look at art because they want to see what someone else sees in it, they look at art to determine what they see in it. George might watch Star Trek because he sees it as a Utopian view of society, Janice might watch it because she likes the action and set pieces, Bill might watch it because he loves the characters, Joe Bob might watch it because of how it answers ethical questions, and Joanna might just watch it because it's entertaining. George, Janice, Bill, Joe Bob, and Joanna all get something completely different out of the franchise, and they are all correct. You and I are both right. What is Star Trek and what isn't Star Trek isn't static; it changes with time and depends on the individual that watches it. And that's what I like about Star Trek.

I don't love TOS because I'm an out-of-touch old man who's been blinded by nostalgia: I'm nineteen. I like the show because it's a good show. All I ask is that you respect my opinion the same as I do yours because they're both equally valid opinions to have.
Robbie
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 3:33pm (UTC -5)
@Leif -- I am definitely with you on the disappointment with the humanoid red angel. It was a real letdown. I was excited for something much more alien (like something like TAS's Kulkukan or Dramians. I never knew that the Iconians were shown in Star Trek Online but it looks like a great creative representation too.
Lynos
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 4:01pm (UTC -5)
Both Discovery and Orville apparently not only delievred very good episodes this week (perhaps even their respective series' best), the two also share a lot in common. In both a beloved crew member returns to his homeworld, inititating world-changing events. Both crew members are very alien with not much known about them by the crew they serve with. Of course that's where the similarities end. Still, it's curious.
Booming
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 5:07pm (UTC -5)
@Mac: I don't think that you don't understand Star Trek or that your opinion isn't valid. But I disagree with your assessment that it isn't static. It is. It was sexist, completely ignored/erased LGBT people and featured a lot of stereotypes. The show hasn't changed a bit. Culture just isn't violently anti-LGBT anymore/for a while and far less sexist. That is the difference. And while it may be a utopia for some I can guarantee you that for the majority (women, LGBT,PoC) TOS is more akin to a dystopia.
For example the birth of a nation was racist back then (and no I'm not saying that TOS is like The birth of a nation) and it is racist now. And it will always be racist because it is. And to clarify while Birth of a Nation was reactionary TOS was fairly progressive. Just an example.
TOS will always be sexist, anti-LGBT and pretty ripe with racial stereotypes. Because it is. No matter if we are racist scum or evolved Voyager fish.
But if you watch it because of it's merits which are undeniable be my guest.
wolfstar
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 5:26pm (UTC -5)
I don't think it's expedient to view shows from 50 years ago through a rigid contemporary lens. I agree, for sure, TOS is pretty sexist in a lot of ways that wouldn't fly today. It also put a black woman on the bridge in a speaking role, at a time when TV roles for black women were often restricted to stereotypical characters such as maids, and showed her as a highly valued professional and an equal member of the team. And TOS showcased and celebrated otherness and the accepting of differences in so many ways. A positive Russian character at the height of the Cold War and a positive Japanese character just 20 years after WWII, again both highly valued professionals and equal members of the team. It showed a hopeful future for humanity that people could dream of and work towards – a world where people of all creeds could come together as equals and work to better themselves and humanity.

Of course TOS didn't feature gay characters, because no shows did at the time. Calling it "anti-LGBT" though is both wrong and pernicious.
Mac
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 5:30pm (UTC -5)
@Boomer

No, I wasn't trying to say that TOS isn't static, because it is. I was trying to say Star Trek as a franchise isn't static.
Peter G.
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 5:36pm (UTC -5)
@ Booming,

While your point about TOS is one I've heard from others too, I don't think your position is using consistent terms compared to Mac. You don't mean the same thing. It is undeniable that TOS was challenging racist norms and established understandings. Any other conclusion is simply delusional. *However* we can also recognize that it wasn't the final destination in our understanding of how to be better, as you perhaps suggest. But to call it actually racist, as in, should be condemned for that, is to take sides against MLK and many other people of color who insist that it was a turning point for minorities in American television. Whether you like the show is a matter of opinion; whether it was fighting against racism isn't. Not really at all.

And one more point: if (for you) TOS was racist due to not being up to today's standards, then you will surely recognize that everything going on today (including *anything* you approve of) will likewise by your argument be racist and X-ist by the standards of the future. And you might even agree with this! But if so, then by this line of thinking *everything, for all time* can be called racist by comparison to some future standard. And once everything is racist, the term is meaningless and the argument more likely for people hearing it to cease to care about the topic at all. Which we are in fact seeing now. Something to think about.
Leif
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 8:36pm (UTC -5)
@Robbie: Thanks so much for your response..I'll have to check out tbse TAS characters..and yea you should check out the Iconian design if you haven't already...does anyone think there is still hope that the red Angel is still some new strange alien race we've never seen before..maybe even Pike was wrong and it is a nonbumanoid? If it involves time travel I think t would be cool to tie it in with the Temporal Cold War since they never revealed who the Shadow Man was on Enterprise..make the Red Angel one of Vosk's species from ENT or a Xindi or a Talosian or something creative but that fits with Canon...what does everyone else think?
Leif
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 10:16pm (UTC -5)
..I just had a brainstorm what if the RED ANGEL IS PRIME UNIVERSE LORCA NOT DEAD AFTER ALL?? Has anyone else thought of this...having been in hiding and. or lost in the spore network..allowing him to travel to,the future.and become a human -Jasepp hybrid with special spore like abilities..hence the wings..what do you guys think..not to,be immodest, but even that sounds more creative and interesting than having the Red Angel be Future Michael or Future Spock or,Future Zombie Georgiou or,Future Predatory Saru or Future Tilly-May spore human interdimensional love child or the other possibilities floating around here..

Hope its good and FOR GOD'S SAKE BRING BACK THE CREPUSCULANS ALREADY!!
JohnTY
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 10:37pm (UTC -5)
Last week's episode was 3 stars so this one should be what, 5? :P

If so, I would sort of agree, just my scores would be out of 10..
Artymiss
Mon, Feb 25, 2019, 1:43am (UTC -5)
@Leif

"what if the Red Angel is Prime Universe Lorca not dead after all. Has anyone else thought of this?"

Yes, beat you to it quite a few comments above. I thought it just a ludicrous thing these scriptwriters might do to bring the character back from the dead but as someone else has pointed out Gabriel = Angel so who knows....
Booming
Mon, Feb 25, 2019, 1:59am (UTC -5)
@Wolfstar:
"pernicious" I had to google that one. That is what Oxford dictionary had to say about it:"having a very harmful effect on somebody/something, especially in a way that is gradual and not easily noticed." Interesting. What would you call a show that willfully erased/ignored LGBT people and that didn't even bother to mention anything about that topic during it's entire run?

@Peter G:
I have written !repeatedly! that TOS was progressive when it came out and helped probably quite a few black people to find positive role models (the most brilliant scientist was black, there were black admirals). But it was also the product of a racist society which dictated that black people should have the more subservient roles. And having the only regular black person on the show sitting around in a miniskirt is kind of doing that. And it shouldn't be condemned for being racist. I only pointed out to people who think that it is the best Trek show that there are serious reasons to think otherwise and it went on from there.
And yeah a lot of media products of the West are racist and will be seen as racist in the future. Think about how Arabs have been portrayed since 2001. But there are, of course, a lot cultural products who aren't racist or sexist or anti-LGBT today. I also want to mention that as a social scientist I'm well accustomed to your line of argument:"I did point out that TOS is a product of a racist society which is turned into me making the word racism meaningless aka I'm helping racists by pointing out racism." I guess that was very pernicious of me.
Kira Nerys
Mon, Feb 25, 2019, 4:01am (UTC -5)
So far, the second season has been waaay better than the first! But please, can we stop with the stupid voice-overs at the beginning and end of each episode? Having characters read lines from fortune cookies in an ultra-serious voice doesn't automatically make the show more ˝profound˝ and ˝thought-provoking˝, Discovery!
wolfstar
Mon, Feb 25, 2019, 7:02am (UTC -5)
"What would you call a show that willfully erased/ignored LGBT people and that didn't even bother to mention anything about that topic during it's entire run?"

I would call it a 1960s TV show. TOS did not "wilfully erase" gay people – it just wasn't something that was depicted on TV at the time. Social mores changed. You may as well argue that Chaucer's Canterbury Tales "wilfully erases" LGBT people or that Discovery "wilfully erases" asexual and intersex people. It's a facile non-argument. I am many more things other than gay, and I don't expect that every aspect of my identity be represented in the media I consume as some kind of narcissistic validation. Todd on Bojack Horseman is the first asexual regular character in any TV show, and that's great – but it doesn't mean that every TV show before it "wilfully erased" asexual people. It's a really reductive and inflammatory way to look at things.
Cody B
Mon, Feb 25, 2019, 7:03am (UTC -5)
Wow there’s alot of people who hate-watch Discovery. I’ve never watched two seasons of a show and said how bad it was after every episode while continuing to watch. Either stop watching or admit you like it
Booming
Mon, Feb 25, 2019, 7:37am (UTC -5)
@wolfstar:
As we are both part of the LGBT community I have to say to you that your behavior really makes me think of a character in a book from 1852. Now please continue talking about the dark sides of gay culture or how you being gay doesn't define you or that representation isn't important but actually narcissistic or that a show created by a homophobe produced in a deeply homophobic country that never even once mentioned the 10% LGBT part of society is not anti-LGBT.
And Peter G. mentioned how important it was for many black people (Sammy Davis, Whoopie Goldberg and so on) to see positive role models on TV. LGBT people only had to wait another 50 years to have a regular on Star Trek and there are around as much black people as there are LGBT people.
wolfstar
Mon, Feb 25, 2019, 8:42am (UTC -5)
Describing TOS (which, to be honest, I'm not even that big a fan of, having grown up on 90s-era Trek) as "a show created by a homophobe produced in a deeply homophobic country" is single-issue reductio ad absurdum, and false on all counts.
Paul G
Mon, Feb 25, 2019, 8:50am (UTC -5)
@John Harmon
"I forgot they brought Culber back to life. Ugh. Hey, you remember how when Spock died they brought him back with some weird handwavy nonsense? But like, it was ok because Spock is the most famous character in Star Trek and it took the plot of an entire movie to bring him back that cost Kirk his command, his ship, and his son so it's ok to forgive how they brought Spock back?"

Come on. It's never ok to bring a character back to life. It cost Kirk nothing, we knew everything would be reset in the following movie. I forgot Kirk had a son. He forgot too, most of the time.

It's harder to make fresh stories after 500 episodes and 10 movies. But on average, this show is better than all the previous one, who all had many really bad episodes in their first two seasons. Most people new to trek will prefer Disco than older shows. TOS is so sexist it's nearly unwatchable nowadays.

That doesn't mean DISCO is perfect on every aspect. Character wise, Suru is great, Tilly and Pike are okay, and I don't like the others. The cast from DS9 was way more interesting ( Odo, Dax and Sisko were great, all the others we're at least ok). So I hope improvement on that point. 7 of 9 helped Voyager a lot. Wesley departure helped TNG a lot, too. Let's hope they bring in new characters, focus more on the bridge crew, and kill Ash and Mickael and never bring them back.

Also, the Cardassians and the Dominion were much better villains. Nothing is close to that in Disco, I don't like the Klingon and there's not much else for now.

TLDR : DISCO is not perfect, but neither were all the previous trek. It's still the beginning, we'll see where it brings us.....
Jason R.
Mon, Feb 25, 2019, 9:37am (UTC -5)
"It's harder to make fresh stories after 500 episodes and 10 movies. But on average, this show is better than all the previous one, who all had many really bad episodes in their first two seasons. Most people new to trek will prefer Disco than older shows. "

I kind of agree actually to a point. This goes to a point I have noticed which is the remarkable number of 3 star reviews Jammer has rendered with respect to Discovery. Virtually the entire series has been 3 star or 2.5 star with just a couple of 3.5 star episodes and zero with 4 stars.

Go look at STNG, Voyager, DS9 and Enterprise and compare - no series to date has had this level of consistency. I think this about more than the effects of serialization. There is a process by which these shows are now made that produces a vastly more even product. A show like Discovery will never be as bad as TNG season 1 with turkeys like Code of Honour. Even with later series entries like DS9 and Voyager there is alot more trash (going by Jammer ratings) than Disc.

But here is the catch - how many 4 star episodes of Disc have appeared? Remember, even the dreadful Season 1 of TNG had at least one. DS9 and TOS had some certifiable classics that hold up today. Even Enterprise had a couple (Voyager may be the standout here with none in its first season)

Consistency, it seems, may come with a price. I think no one is going to remember Discovery once it is finished. In 10 years or 20 years no one is going to be returning to Jammer's site to post reviews or comments on random Disc episodes the way they do for most of the previous series even to this day. That is because Disc will just be gone, forgotten.
Steven
Mon, Feb 25, 2019, 9:51am (UTC -5)
Well Jason, let’s see how you feel about this in 10 or 20 years.
BZ
Mon, Feb 25, 2019, 10:06am (UTC -5)
@Jason R,
The problem with a heavily serialized show like Discovery in S1 is that you can't really rate most episodes as you watch them. You have to look at them as a whole. And any episode featuring Lorca or the Klingon war is ruined by the revelations in the MU arc and the finale respectively. This really leaves only the series premiere and two "episodic" episodes to somewhat stand on their own two feet. In S2 most of these episodes will hold up regardless of how the red angel and Spock story lines resolve themselves. The episodes will be *enhanced* if it's a good resolution, but not really hurt if it's a bad one.
Iceman
Mon, Feb 25, 2019, 11:47am (UTC -5)
@Steven-I'm not disagreeing with that. I'm just saying that those ratings are the result of when he wrote them, not because of some prejudice he has. That's just odd.
Steven
Mon, Feb 25, 2019, 12:00pm (UTC -5)
@Iceman

Do you think it’s odd for a critic to have a favorite show? I don’t, and I certainly wouldn’t knock Jammer for it. If you’ve read some of Jammer’s comments on the matter, the star ratings are based on his “feeling” about the show as it aired. He’s not running some sort mathematical Star equation to come up with his star ratings, unlike say, Elliott.

Do I think that makes Jammer’s DS9 reviews uncredible? No, I just think that he’s more likely to tilt towards a higher star rating if he’s on the fence about an episode because he enjoys the whole package overall for what it is.
Peter G.
Mon, Feb 25, 2019, 12:53pm (UTC -5)
@ Steven,

"Do I think that makes Jammer’s DS9 reviews uncredible? No, I just think that he’s more likely to tilt towards a higher star rating if he’s on the fence about an episode because he enjoys the whole package overall for what it is."

Your same argument could be taken to suggest the opposite of your conclusion. Liking a series can mean holding it to a higher standard, and being all the more disappointed when it fails, thus penalizing it more harshly than one would another series. Whereas for a struggling series one might be very charitable towards episodes that seem to be recitifying previous errors, and aware higher-than-normal marks for the effort and relative success. And in fact I think this is more ofen than not what we'll find in Jammer's reviews. In both early VOY and now DISC, he seems to have found some issues that needed addressing, and seemed very positive when subsequent episodes improved on weaknesses he found earlier. Observing his ratings for DISC, it seems to be that he's looking for every opportunity to give the benefit of doubt and to find chances for the series to get better, and that's great. And as a result I think some of his good ratings of the episodes stem from this positive, hopeful outlook, and seeing signs of stemming the tide against the show's vices. I saw the same in his reviews of VOY, and if you read his season write-ups you'll see that his general concerns are noted over each season, and that his reviews will be somewhat based on how they're doing rectifying those matters. So while TNG might always be good to watch (I think it is), one can penalize it harshly for an episode that's lazy, even if that lazy episode is objectively more entertaining that an above-average ep of ENT, which gets a higher rating in his scale.

So my educated guess, to whatever extent Jammer overtly conducts the ratings in this way, is that the rating 'advantage' as it were is most likely to be found in a series making the most mistakes and that begins to address them, not in the one he already likes best. Just my 2c.
Rahul
Mon, Feb 25, 2019, 1:30pm (UTC -5)
Just something to follow up on a previous comment I made about DSC taking the time to crank out episodes and that it has achieved consistency without any truly outstanding or truly terrible episodes.

DSC has now put out 21 episodes. Since the time it debuted to the time of the 21st episode a whopping 507 days have elapsed.

By comparison (and I fully understand this is not an apples-to-apples comparison as some series were into Season 2 by the 21st episode etc.), here's how many days elapsed between the starts of the series and the airing of their 21st episodes:

TOS 151
TNG 193
ENT 208
VOY 249*
DS9 263*
* took 3-month breaks between S1 & S2

I think it's remarkable what TOS achieved in S1. But I really think DSC should be doing much better given how much time they're taking. And there would certainly be no excuse for a turd of an episode. All the earlier series except TNG came up with some outstanding episodes in the early going (first 21 episodes).

In a nutshell, I think some new [better] writers are needed with DSC. I tend to agree with Jason R.'s final point about DSC being forgotten in 10-20 years if things keep going the way they are.

As a digression -- with Trek, it is really the outstanding episodes that are treasured/remembered and that define a series. So with TNG (getting bashed for its terrible start), it will always be remembered for coming up with some of the best episodes in the Trek franchise like BoBW, "The Inner Light" and "All Good Things..." And TOS and DS9 have such episodes as well. But, to me, VOY and ENT didn't quite reach those heights - but I still greatly appreciate them.
Cody B
Mon, Feb 25, 2019, 3:25pm (UTC -5)
@wolfstar
@booming

Wolfstar is right. TOS would not have got made if they had openly gay characters. The network would have refused. That’s just how it was. I think it says good things about the people involved that George takei was hired. They could have been bigoted and no one would have batted an eye. Booming I think you get ready to sort of nitpick as soon as someone talks about race or sexuality. No one means ill will and are just looking to have a positive discussion. I know as soon as I explained that I liked Sisko never talking about his race because it gave the impression that humans had evolved to the point of finding races so equal that discussion was pointless, and I explained exactly what I meant, you got a little rude and insinuated I was being racist. I am only pointing this out because I think people have complete positivity and love in their comments and you can be prickly and find things that arnt there. I hope you don’t find what I’m saying confrontational because that’s not what I intend. A lot of times reading what someone says doesn’t have the nuance of speaking and things can be misconstrued or interpreted wrong
Steven
Mon, Feb 25, 2019, 3:56pm (UTC -5)
Peter, I understand what you mean, but like I mentioned with “Move Along Home”, “Q-Less”, and “Meridian” getting more positive reviews in spite of themselves and certainly higher than similar TNG duds, I can’t help but conclude there’s a certain tilt towards DS9. I don’t really see a problem with that, though, and in fact enjoy reading otherwise widely criticized Trek shows in a more positive light.
Iceman
Mon, Feb 25, 2019, 6:50pm (UTC -5)
@Steven-No, I'm not at all. In fact, that's my entire point-Jammer should absolutely not be criticized for having a favorite. It's entirely normal for a Star Trek critic to have a favorite Star Trek show, and to rate episodes of that show higher than others. I'm pretty sure most, if not all, Star Trek critics on the web do the same.
Mac
Mon, Feb 25, 2019, 8:20pm (UTC -5)
Nobody has really mentioned it, but I love the ship designs for this show, especially the Klingon ships. They don't make very much sense from a canonical standpoint, but they just look so cool. I adore the design of the Qugh-Class Destroyer and the new Bird of Prey. Anyone else?
spinalatte
Mon, Feb 25, 2019, 8:21pm (UTC -5)
Amazing that we are up to 140+ comments already!

I enjoyed this episode although it seemed to overplay the villain aspect of the antagonist race, and was a little predictable. I felt it moved at a good pace, and has some interesting developments. We shall see how they pan out.
skyelord
Mon, Feb 25, 2019, 8:30pm (UTC -5)
It's all subjective but I'm really not seeing where the love is coming from on this one.

Started out ok but rapidly went down hill.

Pike needs to start court marshalling or demote some people. Apparently it's ok for everyone to just argue with him in front of the entire crew until he changes his mind. Then even if he does order them off the bridge they can go ahead and do whatever the F they want anyway. And why in god's name when they're at red alert did Michael wander off the bridge to track Saru down with a phaser.. didn't she think she'd be needed on the bridge? Can't call security maybe?

I think Pike is a great addition but they're undermining further episode by episode. I don't like the new Saru at all.

The prime directive was vaguely mentioned again then they went ahead and changed the entire balance of power on the whole planet. Who says the kelpians (sp) won't become the predator race again? Didn't they nearly wipe out the other guys before? I don't much care either way.

Michael was sidelined to ridiculous facial expressions again which is never a bad thing.

The Red Angles being a humanoid from the future in a time travel suit with futurist powers is a crap idea in my opinion and it better not be Spock in a suit..grr

I hate how this season is going. My interest in DSC is fading fast and I was trying my best to enjoy it and doing so reasonably well until the last 2 episodes.

It's weird watching another show with a big budget (like Westworld) after DSC (which I did) and seeing some actual acting and well written stories and scripts. It's a shame DSC budget seems to be being used on stupid visual effects i couldn't personally care less about.

Last week we had a shot of a camera following a torpedo to hit the shuttle. I may be in a minority but i actually prefered it in TNG/VOY/DS9 where the tactical officer just said "direct hit" and we saw nothing. Get on with the story.. we can assume a torpedo was fired - don't need a camera following it.

This week we had lot of pointless shots of the enemy ships and planetary thingies - who cares?!? Spend the money on actors/writers/script/editing.

Or even a Smaller budget show like SG1/SGA with non big-name actors that are actually well written and have tight scripts. I sincerely wish DSC had just some of that.

Oh well there's still time.
Cody B
Mon, Feb 25, 2019, 10:00pm (UTC -5)
@Mac

Yeah the ships look great. I was really impressed in the first episode the spacesuits the Klingons wore while solo outside their ships fighting. Idk why they only showed it for a second it looked so great. I’m even in the minority’s that likes how the discovery spins. I know it doesn’t scientifally make sense but it looks awesome.
Mac
Mon, Feb 25, 2019, 11:04pm (UTC -5)
@Cody B

People don't like how the Discovery spins? It kinda reminds me of flipping a pancake. What's not to love?
Leif
Tue, Feb 26, 2019, 12:06am (UTC -5)
@Artymiss..oh darn sorry I didn't see your post..and here this time I thought I was being original..but then I also forgot that Lorca's first bane was Gabriel..I commiserate I hope it's not MU Michael either..so how biit this: THE RED ANGEL IS ZOMBIFIED SECURITY CHIEF LANDRY BROUGHT BACK TO THE LIFE BY THE TARDIGRADE USING ITS SPECIAL SPORE CONNECTIONS..USING LANDRY AS A SPORE PUPPET TO DO ITS BIDDING,,OR THE RED ANGEL IS JUST THE TARDIGRADE ITSELF WEARING A HUMAN SUIT AND WINGS AS A DISGUISE..COME ON NOW HAS ANYONE ELSE THOUGHT OF THAT? This time I think I'm original...

I honestly also like my idea of it being a Tilly and May interdimensional love child spore monkey,thing..there's a subject for a spinoff show..forget the planned Georgiou section 31 spinoff..
Ocampa
Tue, Feb 26, 2019, 12:41am (UTC -5)
So according to the Disco captain and crew the Ba'ul can just f*** off and die. Okay.
Booming
Tue, Feb 26, 2019, 12:45am (UTC -5)
@wolfstar:
"Describing TOS (which, to be honest, I'm not even that big a fan of, having grown up on 90s-era Trek) as "a show created by a homophobe produced in a deeply homophobic country" is single-issue reductio ad absurdum, and false on all counts. "
To give you a little history lesson when TOS was created homosexuality was illegal in every state but Illinois (decriminalized there in 1962). Therefor I think it is fair to say that the US was deeply homophobic or maybe you think imprisoning homosexuals isn't homophobic? And Gene Roddenberry himself admitted that he was homophobic back then. I fail to understand how you turn these undeniable facts into an accusation of: "single-issue reductio ad absurdum".

@Cody B.:
They couldn't because the network wouldn't let them. True. The network forced them to create something that was anti-LGBT. And Takei wasn't openly gay in the 60s (he outed himself in 2005) which makes this pretty ironic. They had a closeted gay men in an important role while the show itself never even mentioned LGBT.

And our debate about Sisko well. I think I recall you writing something along the lines of:" Siskos anger is only included to separate people and make white people feel guilty." I don't think that I accused you of being a racist but that line is something racists do say. It boils down to: "Talking about racism is an attack on white people." But let me make this clear. I don't think that you are a racist. Nevertheless, I would strongly advise you to rethink that line. And could I have been nicer while explaining that in the other thread. yes.

And as a side note. Studies seem to indicate that people perceive online communication as far more negative then it is often intended opposed to actual talking. That is because online communication more or less completely lacks meta messages which sends the brain down the rabbit hole. So Cody B. when you read what I have written just try to see my intentions as more positive then they might seem.
Ezri D
Tue, Feb 26, 2019, 3:38am (UTC -5)
@Leif

Can you cool it with the capslock? It looks like you’re yelling and makes it harder to engage in polite discussion.
Yanks
Tue, Feb 26, 2019, 7:51am (UTC -5)
@ Ocampa
Tue, Feb 26, 2019, 12:41am (UTC -6)

"So according to the Disco captain and crew the Ba'ul can just f*** off and die. Okay."

Not at all.... and they specifically addressed this in the show.

#1. Baul technology is decades if not centuries ahead of the Kelpian's.
#2. Star Fleet/Federation will moderate the treaty between the two species.
Gil
Tue, Feb 26, 2019, 9:48am (UTC -5)
@Jason R.

“Go look at STNG, Voyager, DS9 and Enterprise and compare - no series to date has had this level of consistency … A show like Discovery will never be as bad as TNG season 1 with turkeys like Code of Honour.”

Comparing Ewoks to Wookies are you, young padawan. Ewoks to Wookies. Always fairness we must apply, hmm? From twenty-six eggs a "Code of Honour" might hatch and fly, but boiled down and stretched for a fifteen-course meal, how thin would that "Code of Honour" taste, hmm? That is STD S1. And that is why it fails.

“Even with later series entries like DS9 and Voyager there is alot [sic] more trash (going by Jammer ratings) than Disc.”

Hmph. “You must unlearn what you have learned.” Of the be all and end all, Jammer’s stars are not. In appearance, the standards of judgement must equally apply or objectivity fails.

And always the fear of lowering standards there is; for more immaterial to discussion objectivity then becomes.
Steven
Tue, Feb 26, 2019, 10:06am (UTC -5)
I think Jason’s point is the studio’s operations are different and a certain amount of quality control is in place. Perhaps “Shades of Grey” is a better example. That episode was made as fluff to accommodate the contractual demand for 22 episodes, but the current model of On-Demand rewatchable Trek leaves no room for clip shows.
Dave in MN
Tue, Feb 26, 2019, 10:34am (UTC -5)
@Mac

The USS Pizza Cutter
Mac
Tue, Feb 26, 2019, 10:51am (UTC -5)
@Dave in MN

Pizza cutters are quite useful, especially if you have a pizza. I think that would be an admirable name for a ship.
Gil
Tue, Feb 26, 2019, 11:03am (UTC -5)
@Steven

"…a certain amount of quality control is in place."

But you could wipe "Code of Honour" (or "Shades of Grey") from canon and it wouldn't affect the fabric of TNG S1. It would mean one less episode for Denise Crosby to complain about, but its absence would not be missed on any fundamental level. STD, to the contrary, being serialized, is the sum of all its parts. Pluck one out, does it not bleed? And if a serial is as fundamentally flawed as a one-off like "Code of Honour" (or "Shades of Grey") then the estimate of its “quality” bears more weighted scrutiny.

To further illustrate my point, simply separate the wheat from the chaff. Condense the respective first season episodes of TNG, DS9 and VOY (even ENT) to their fifteen best; then attempt a weighted comparison.

And production values cannot factor. If TOS has been able to withstand the test of time despite it’s late 60s aesthetic on a shoestring budget, so should STD under similar constraints.

Because the proof of quality is in the merits of the writing, not in the calibre of its (overzealous) showmanship.
William B
Tue, Feb 26, 2019, 11:54am (UTC -5)
Yeah, that is the thing with serial versus stand-alone shows. I do think that a terrible episode like Code of Honour (to defenders such as Trent, insert your own one-off) is ultimately relatively easy to forget -- or at least, it is once enough episodes have been piled up. Code of Honour is somewhat of a bad example because it comes so early in the series that it *is* doing some establishing work (who Yar is as a person, for example) that the show is somewhat stuck with. To take a later series episode, mostly no one likes Imaginary Friend but outside the pain of watching it, I don't think it does much damage to the series. By contrast, keeping it to TNG, I think there are a lot of problems with Journey's End and those problems actually do real damage to the fabric of the series and franchise, by getting the Maquis story off on the wrong foot and by giving Wesley a bad send-off that removes much of the goodwill from The First Duty. I'd much rather a show have a bad standalone episode than a bad arc episode (provided the two are "equally bad" as individual shows).

(No comment on Discovery as I haven't seen it.)
Gil
Tue, Feb 26, 2019, 12:09pm (UTC -5)
@William B

"No comment on Discovery as I haven't seen it."

Gadzooks! There's a virgin under these sheets!
William B
Tue, Feb 26, 2019, 12:14pm (UTC -5)
@Gil,

For now: Discovery has to buy me dinner first. Or at least not cost me money for Access!
Jason R.
Tue, Feb 26, 2019, 12:20pm (UTC -5)
Gill / Yoda my point is that all of those shows had highs (even their first seasons) along with the lows (which were admittedly very low for TNG). Discovery, just using Jammer's star ratings as a rough estimate, seems completely flat - consistently average. Make of that what you will.
Gil
Tue, Feb 26, 2019, 12:28pm (UTC -5)
@William B

Your chastity is a credit to your parent's wise counsel, sir. Woe is the man who would sell his honour at a price.
Cody B
Tue, Feb 26, 2019, 2:33pm (UTC -5)
@ Booming

No I never said anything AT ALL about “Sisko’s comments segregating white people”. That’s what you read into it and are now projecting on to me. All I said was I liked that ds9 never brought up race because it seemed in the future race was such a small inconsequential thing not even worth discussing. That’s all I said. (I encourage anyone to look at the comments of ds9 season seven episode badda bing as I now have been accused of racist comments I never made and you can read I never said anything at all near what booming implied)

As for Takei, it’s quite possible no one had any idea he was a gay man. But by the third season, in the rumor filled show business, along with Takei openly talking about how promiscuous he was when young, I think everyone knew he was gay. For everyone to stand behind him and accept him as family shows TOS was forward thinking and not “anti gay” or anything of the sort. It was a risk to employ a gay man on a television show in the 60s that’s all there is to it but they accepted that risk
bonelocotive
Tue, Feb 26, 2019, 3:00pm (UTC -5)
So I just skipped to the end of the comments here, and it seems we're arguing about racial issues and homophobia instead of discussing the episode, but I suppose that is to be expected after so much scrolling. Gosh this site is busy these days! I predict we're about due for Hitler/Nazi arguments (Godwin's Law) and religion/atheism arguments any time now.

Looking forward to the Jammer review anyway. This was a very solid episode, should be at least a 3.5 star episode. If Discovery keeps this up it may get close to redeeming itself for season one.
Mac
Tue, Feb 26, 2019, 3:15pm (UTC -5)
@Cody B

"I didn’t like Sisko going on about the unrealistic racism. Until now I don’t think race was ever mentioned (besides time travel into the past episodes). I preferred how it was never brought up as if in the future race is not even noticed. The captain is black. Why wouldn’t he be? No need to even speak of it."

"@ Booming

You missed my whole point. I’m talking about a fictional television show that takes place in the future. I’m talking about Sisko, not Avery brooks. The future is so advanced that human race is not even discussed. The fact that the captain was black was never talked about. It just is. Why wouldn’t he be black? In the future no one cares. It’s not even discussed. As for o’brien, his hate of cardassians was TNG not ds9. It’s barely talked about in ds9. And cardassians don’t impact our real world the way not acknowledging a black captain in the future can."

"@ Tim C
Well at this point the Benny Russel episode was a long time ago. Strange time for him to recall. But I see what you’re saying

My whole entire point is that I just loved how race wasn’t acknowledged. As if the future has went beyond. I’ve even seen a clip where Avery brooks is asked about being the first black captain and he says “I don’t live my life thinking can I do this because I’m black?”. If you take that one step further into the show taking place in the future, that seems to be everyone’s attitude and a given. Race isn’t even talked about in the ds9 present (until this episode)."

"@ Garth

Exactly. No one was “racist” at all. It was a perfectly respectable discussion. And no one “told Avery brooks to shut up”. That guy is either a race baiting troll or so overly sensitive to the topic of race that he can’t calm down to see everyone is being perfectly respectful"

There you go. You said nothing along the lines of "Sisko's anger is only included to separate people and make white people feel guilty."
Mac
Tue, Feb 26, 2019, 3:26pm (UTC -5)
@ bonelocotive

"I predict we're about due for Hitler/Nazi arguments (Godwin's Law) and religion/atheism arguments any time now."

Please don't give them ideas...
brian
Tue, Feb 26, 2019, 9:46pm (UTC -5)
The first half of this episode was really great and shows off the potential of this show. The pace seemed slower too and it benefited from it.

The second half did the usual doubling down on stupid. And what happens isnt nessacarily dumb but its just shown in the stupidest flashiest action movie way instead of slowing down and little and leaning into the drama more. Any other trek show would have resolved the Kelpian planets dilemna with a coherent speech by the csptain of the ship and presented at least a thought process behind their actions. Here we get some random action dialogue that makes everyone look and feel dumber.
Cody B
Tue, Feb 26, 2019, 10:39pm (UTC -5)
@ Mac

Thank you I appreciate that. I’m on iPhone and it’s hard to copy and paste those comments or I would have done it myself. I never said anything that could even be interpreted as “Sisko’s anger was only included to make white people feel guilty”. This comes right back to my original point that Booming reads into things too much and finds race and anti gay sentiments that don’t exist. I don’t think there is another person on earth who thinks TOS had an anti gay agenda. It’s the exact opposite. The show was extremely forward thinking and inclusive
Mac
Tue, Feb 26, 2019, 11:24pm (UTC -5)
@ Cody B

No problem. Happy to help.
Cody B
Tue, Feb 26, 2019, 11:58pm (UTC -5)
@ Bonelocotive

You didn’t like the first half of season one? I thought everything was great until the “fall break” and the last six episodes (mirror universe arc). To me if those six episodes didn’t exist I’d say Discovery was a very good series. My biggest problems with the show are that they’ve made it clear death means nothing (just replace someone with their mirror universe counterpart or recover them from that weird spore place) and the other thing I think was a huge mistake was replacing Lorca. He was perfect and had potential to be the best Trek captain ever. Instead they just threw him in the dumpster. There are a couple smaller issues I have like Michael being named Michael. Just why? And I find Tilly annoying. Also that girl with the weird eye and the other robot girl are constantly shown as if we know them well but the show hasn’t gave them any spotlight time or explained who they are properly. The show acts like if they put them in enough quick shots we will grow emotionally attached to them and accept them as part of the core crew which is just lazy.
Booming
Wed, Feb 27, 2019, 12:07am (UTC -5)
@Cody B.
Just looked it up which I should have done when I wrote my comment.
This was the comment I was referring to:"Sisko’s complaint about racism here is specifically a black issue with certain real-world repercussions, i.e. white people should feel guilty about the past. Effectively, it’s a message that divides the audience." but it was made by Steven (Sat, Feb 9, 2019, 5:22pm (UTC -6)).
I remembered it incorrectly. I want to apologize for that.

And I poked you a little to hard in the badda bing thread even though I think that somebody with black skin could be pissed about racism in the 24th century. There are numerous examples were people hold grudges far longer but your point is valid. I was researching right wing propaganda at the time and if you do that for month at some point you see right wing propaganda everywhere. I'm sorry.
Riker's Beard
Wed, Feb 27, 2019, 5:31pm (UTC -5)
Hmm, yeah. I'm just gonna leave this here for the overly negative people who kept predicting that Discovery wouldn't make it to Season 3:

https://deadline.com/2019/02/star-trek-discovery-renewed-season-3-cbs-all-access-michelle-paradise-alex-kurtzman-co-showrunner-1202565915/
Chrome
Wed, Feb 27, 2019, 6:04pm (UTC -5)
Not much of a surprise, but it's cool that Michelle Paradise is being promoted to co-showrunner. It sounds like she's the one responsible for the show's shift to slower-paced character episodes, i.e. the ones I've enjoyed so far.
Yanks
Wed, Feb 27, 2019, 6:25pm (UTC -5)
Discovery season 3 is greenlit.
Dave in MN
Wed, Feb 27, 2019, 7:06pm (UTC -5)
So was the Star Trek 4 reboot .... until it wasn't.
Mac
Wed, Feb 27, 2019, 7:11pm (UTC -5)
I'm super excited about season 3. I've found myself looking forward to Thursday every week since it came back. I really enjoy the show and have become attached to many of the characters. Something I forgot to mention about this episode is that even Burnham is kinda finally clicking with me.
bonelocomotive
Wed, Feb 27, 2019, 7:58pm (UTC -5)
@ Cody B

I have enjoyed a few season one episodes; the Harry Mudd time loop episode was quite fun, and the one with Saru on Pahvo interested me with its themes, which isn't something I've said about Discovery often. There were also certain backstory elements in season one which I thought had potential (and which kept me watching). I thought the Klingon war storyline was a mess however, and to be honest the pilot episode(s) bordered on offensive.

Season Two? Pleasantly surprised so far. There are still a lot of stylistic things I don't like, but the writing seems more consistent now.
Mac
Wed, Feb 27, 2019, 8:43pm (UTC -5)
@ bonelocomotive

Just curious, what didn't you like about the pilot? I thought it was pretty good except for almost irreparably damaging Michael's character.
Jammer
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 2:52am (UTC -5)
Review now posted.
OmicronTheteDeltaPhi
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 3:39am (UTC -5)
@Mac

"And just for fun, even though it really isn't that fair of a comparison considering these two shows haven't even finished their second seasons yet, but after 20 episodes, Discovery is sitting at 2.750, and The Orville is currently at 2.395 after 19 episodes."

It's not a fair comparision mostly because you can't compare star-ratings across different shows like that. Jammer said that explicitly.

Also, just for fun, here is where all the shows were after 20 episodes:

TNG 2.23
ORV 2.45
ENT 2.68
VOY 2.73
DS9 2.75
DSC 2.75
TOS 2.78
Cody B
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 3:39am (UTC -5)
@ Booming

Apology completely accepted. I was never mad or anything and I figured maybe someone else said something like that and you were confusing me for them. I just didn’t want anyone reading to ever think I posted racist comments. As far as the politics go, I remember someone saying something to the effect of “politics and religion are two things you’re not going to change in anyone. You’ll only make enemies”. Sometimes you just have to unplug from it completely. It can be extremely toxic. Maybe the most toxic thing there is. Personally I am not a very political person I feel nothing ever really changes it’s all just never ending arguments
Booming
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 7:28am (UTC -5)
@ Cody B.
I'm relieved. Thank you.
Also you may have noticed that I love debates even though they have a tendency to turn into something ugly but often they do not. I just think that everything that is important is hard. And as a scientist I can guarantee you things change pretty quickly right now. But if you are American I can understand your frustration. And before I dive into a several pages long essay why the US political system is broken I end it here. ;)

And hey, Jammer came down from his lonely mountain and gave orville and discovery 3 1/2 stars. Let us enjoy this short moment of harmony. Tomorrow it is back to the trenches...
Startrekwatcher
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 7:30am (UTC -5)
DIS was only Trek series I’ve ever bailed on. If it was a good entertaining series I’d have no issue subscribing but I tried sitting through most of the first season and thought it was poorly plotted and convoluted with a big emphasis on the con of the audience

I’ve read recaps and reviews of season two and besides the second episode which for a brief moment tempted to re up with CBS the rest of the season sounds like it’s as big of a hot mess as season one. Only difference is an attempt to be less grim

I’ll take TNG season 1 over DIS. I don’t think it is as bad as people make it out to be. It also did something DOS didn’t—make me like and become attached to cast and characters which helped pull me through some of the lesser efforts

I’ll take ENT season 1 over DIS. Looking back it was a fairly strong season. I think it had the right idea and tone and did a better job feeling like a prequel than DIS with its holographic communication, redesigned ships and uniforms. It had a lot of solid episodes—the pilot, Fight or Flight, The Andorian Incident, Breaking The Ice, Civilization, Fortunate Son, Fallen Hero to name a few. Even someweaker efforts had strong moments.

Likewise VOY season one was more enjoyable than DIS.

DS9 had the worst season one out of the 90s Trek shows but it still has episodes better than DIS.

DIS is just an awful Trek show.
Yanks
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 8:33am (UTC -5)
Just a note, I ranked season 1 & 2 of Voyager higher than I reanked ENT season's one and 2.

I don't know how that melds into the "you can't compare season ratings between series" thingy...

I think you can compare BTW.... not sure why you couldn't.
OmicronTheteDeltaPhi
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 8:37am (UTC -5)
Yeah, TNG season 1 isn't nearly as bad as most people claim it is. It's not great or anything, but it's still quite watchable.

Same with DS9 (which also had very high peaks with episodes like "Duet").

Voyager, actually, started very strong in my view. My main gripe with Voyager is that is just dragged on and on and on with recycled plots in the later seasons. But season 1 was still very fresh and very good.

As for Enterprise... I really don't get all the hate that series got. It was both fun and Trekkish. It (mostly) adhered to the established canon, while still filling in the blanks in one of the most fascinating eras of Trek history. What's not to love?
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 8:57am (UTC -5)
@Yanks

The "you can't compare ratings between different series" thing came straight from Jammer's mouth.

It also makes sense.

For example, Jammer gave "Star Trek: 2009" 3 stars. He also gave TNG's "The Wounded" 3 stars. Can we really compare these two items directly? I don't think so. That would like asking which is better: A Pink Floyd Album or a Beethoven Symphony. It depends so much on personal taste, that any attempt of a direct comparison would be meaningless. This also means that the question of "which is better" is going to vary wildly from reviewer to reviewer.
spinalatte
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 9:09am (UTC -5)
Jammer: "It seems impossible that no Kelpien ever, for thousands of years, went through the vahar'ai before to survive like Saru. Perhaps the Ba'ul had perfect controls on Kaminar and could cover up the dissenters or kill them even if they didn't surrender willingly to the culling. But this logical gap probably should've been addressed."

I agree and thought the same thing back in the reclining-assisted-suicide scene a couple of episodes back.
Yanks
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 9:13am (UTC -5)
Nice reveiw Jammer and I agree.

I didn't so much have an issue with the route they took (Prime Directive), but I wish we could have heard some more discussion about it.
Oobat421
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 9:14am (UTC -5)
@jammer Hate to be a grammar Nazi after reading so many succinct and insightful reviews, but in the paragraph before "Some Other Thoughts" you write "overcome millenniums of injustice." The plural of millennium is millennia.
Chrome
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 9:17am (UTC -5)
“this show theoretically has as much time as it wants to tell a story, why not tackle the Prime Directive issues and downstream societal effects in a little more thoughtful detail?”

Good question. If the recent reports are accurate, it looks like CBS is planning to air older episodes of Discovery on its broadcast station which I think explains why they’d like to keep episodes closer to the 45 minute mark.
Mac
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 9:38am (UTC -5)
@OmicronTheteDeltaPhi

"It's not a fair comparision mostly because you can't compare star-ratings across different shows like that. Jammer said that explicitly."

I know. That's why I said it was just for fun.
Yanks
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 9:42am (UTC -5)
@ OmicronThetaDeltaPhi

"@Yanks

The "you can't compare ratings between different series" thing came straight from Jammer's mouth.

It also makes sense.

For example, Jammer gave "Star Trek: 2009" 3 stars. He also gave TNG's "The Wounded" 3 stars. Can we really compare these two items directly? I don't think so. That would like asking which is better: A Pink Floyd Album or a Beethoven Symphony. It depends so much on personal taste, that any attempt of a direct comparison would be meaningless. This also means that the question of "which is better" is going to vary wildly from reviewer to reviewer."

I would have an issue with comparing a movie rating with an episode rating, but what music is in a episode is only appicable to that episode. So what composer or piece really shouldn't matter relative to anything else, it's how the music helps tell the story and evoke emotion from the viewer.

Reviewer to reviewer sure, that's a given.
Ben
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 10:31am (UTC -5)
Hey @Jammer, what are your thoughts on starting a YouTube channel to vocalize these reviews, and take more advantage of the fan buzz/modern podcast trends, in addition to continuing the site as-is here?
Paul M.
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 11:08am (UTC -5)
Oobat421: "@jammer Hate to be a grammar Nazi after reading so many succinct and insightful reviews, but in the paragraph before "Some Other Thoughts" you write "overcome millenniums of injustice." The plural of millennium is millennia."

Are you certain?
Jammer
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 11:23am (UTC -5)
@GrammarPolice: "Millenniums" is an acceptable plural form. Look it up. :)

@Ben: I don't see myself jumping on the video bandwagon for reviewing purposes. It takes way too much time to produce a quality product (I've done some amateur production, and I actually enjoy it). Besides, my preferred format is writing. In fact, I hate that so much of everything these days is video. Video is great and has its place, but video also sucks data bandwidth and cannot be viewed in as many places as written text, because of its disruption to others. The medium should fit the message, and for me that's definitely text.
Jerry
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 11:23am (UTC -5)
Nope. Nope. Nope.

This one didn't work for me.

I can't get past how oppressed and controlled the Kelpian's life has been for so long, and the knock on effects that will have, especially with the sudden removal of their fear without any context or explanation. Given that there are tribes of Kelpians all over the planet, not in contact with one another, the amount of sheer chaos and bloodshed that's about to occur seems catastrophic.

Tribe A will seek peace with the Ba'au. Tribe B will see believe the inexplicable agony they just went through as a new form of Ba'au punishment and wish to seek atonement. Tribe C will be out for blood. Tribe D will have another theory. And so on. And given how dogmatic they've been for millennia, and given that they've all just taken a massive hit of testosterone, each faction won't let go of those beliefs without a major fight. So Kelpian civil war is just going to tear that species to bits.
Gil
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 11:45am (UTC -5)
Hmm…that certainly doesn't read like a 3.5 review. At best a 1.5, and just for the production values.

To get to a 3.5 would require a whole heck of a lot of hand waving away of the forced drama and contrivance employed to get from plot point A to B to C. And, as has already been proven, any time the writers on this show encounter a Star Trek™ hurdle or roadblock on their way to The CW Feels® they either swerve drunkenly around it or plow right through it in a flash of pyrotechnics.

Just one example: would the captain of a ship countenance such flagrant insubordination (and physical intimidation)—and for that duration—from a bridge officer in the middle of delicate negotiations without having that officer relieved of duty and removed from the bridge pronto?

Clap if you believe in fairies. Roll your eyes if you don’t.

Yet another: there is no logical rationale for the Ba’ul to be doing what they are doing other than stepping in as the Big Bad of the Week. None of it makes even the slightest sense. Why would a technologically advanced society waste their time perpetuating such a charade? If they’re willing to cull a species to thwart any technological progress why not simply exterminate them outright? Because they’re really not the big meanies they appear to be, and that underneath all that Armus goo they’re actually really, really torn up about all this?

Terrible writing from A to Z.
Paul M.
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 12:10pm (UTC -5)
Gil, I am having a really REALLY hard time recalling the last CW show in which the average age of the main cast members is 43. Just sayin'. You may want to rethink your approach here and go for the road less traveled.
Gil
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 1:02pm (UTC -5)
@Paul M.

"I am having a really REALLY hard time recalling the last CW show in which the average age of the main cast members is 43."

Non sequitur. Clearly my criticisms refer to the style and level of the writing, Paul.

The producers are hiring writers with little to no prior writing experience (specifically sci-fi), and what experience they might have is in YA programming. CBS wants and needs a new fanbase because the old farts still alive and kicking and complaining remain a thorn in CBS's side and pose a barrier to their making money. And this is all about making money off a trouble franchise which still has brand recognition (because of all the old farts ironically enough).
Charles J
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 1:07pm (UTC -5)
@John Harmon

"Why would a technologically advanced society waste their time perpetuating such a charade?"

The oppression of the Kelpiens is systematic. A system that existed long before they had the advanced technology they do now. The question isn't why they would continue to waste their time. It's why would they upend thousands of years of social infrastructure if it's worked out in their favor? Especially one in which the Kelpiens are willing participants?

And as long as the Kelpiens can be controlled, they are not a threat. It's akin to slavery in the Americas. The threat of slave revolts didn't incentivize slaveowners to undo the institution. They reacted by enacting laws and engineering a society that ensured they remained in control.

That's ultimately what underlies this all. The Great Balance may have started out as the Ba'ul protecting themselves. In the end, it became a system that prioritized maintaining power over the Kelpiens over prioritizing the safety of the Ba'ul. Unfortunately, the show does blow right pass this, and it's never properly explored.
Gil
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 1:17pm (UTC -5)
@Charles J

Slave holders got free labour.

What are a highly advanced, space faring race such as the Ba'ul, with all the social, intellectual and technological innovation that would imply, getting out of micro-managing a bunch of throwbacks?

Shits and giggles? Revenge? What?
Paul M.
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 1:37pm (UTC -5)
"Non sequitur. Clearly my criticisms refer to the style and level of the writing, Paul."

"Clearly"? I dunno, when I think of CW, I imagine young chiseled people angsting all day long. To me, writing on Discovery is clearly incomparable with a CW show. I mean, clearly.
Yanks
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 1:40pm (UTC -5)
Gil,

Fear.
Tim C
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 3:32pm (UTC -5)
Jammer, I think you hit the nail on the head, WRT the way that Discovery's access to modern VFX and super high budget is actually more of a handicap that it might seem. In the case of an episode like "Brother", I found it to lend an immediacy and an urgency to the space action that we had never really been treated to before in Trek.

But in the case of an episode like this one that is screaming for the writers to pump the brakes and consider the consequences of what they're depicting, it's just too easy a crutch to fall back on to press the action button.

I'm curious to know what the conversations in the writers room were like about this episode, and whether the way this ultimately went was fought over or if everyone was in agreement that a Big Action Climax was the way to go.
Derek
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 3:38pm (UTC -5)
I'm just here to say I love all the ridiculous camera angles and swooping around and spinning. I don't know why, I just can't help myself. WOOOOOOOSH!
Gil
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 4:05pm (UTC -5)
@Yanks

"Fear"

Fear of what exactly? The Kelpians will throw rocks at them? Insult their mothers?

If a highly technologically advanced species were so inconceivably, irrationally afraid of a primitive, agrarian society, given the power at their disposal, the only logical (irrational) choice they would make would be genocide. Problem solved.

Again, what do the Ba'ul get from the arrangement other than a bad reputation?

@Paul M.

Well, Paul, ya actually have to watch some of their shows to get an ear for the way they are written. And if you haven't, and are just guessing like you stated, then where does that leave your counter argument? Besides, I'm certainly not the first to make this association, particularly given the "talent" behind the scenes.

"I imagine … people angsting all day long."

Burnham? Tilly? Stamets? Culber? Tyler? And, f*** me, Nu-Spock?

What was your point again?
Booming
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 4:35pm (UTC -5)
Just to say it because apparently nobody (?) thought of this so far. There are cultures out there that think that genocide is wrong maybe the Ba'ul are one of those. I know crazy thought.

@Derek: It is a rollercoste ride. I almost fell off of my recamiere!
John Harmon
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 4:46pm (UTC -5)
Wow. I'm shocked at the rating. Especially after reading the review. Certainly didn't come off as the review for a near perfect episode.

I found this one just too boring and far too dumb to enjoy. All the logic gaps you mentioned were too much for me. None of the situation made any sense whatsoever. If the Not Armuses used to be the prey to the Kelpiens, then how did they ever evolve to develop space travel? How did they do it without the Kelpiens finding out or co-opting it?

The ending was just too rushed and awful. Literally zero time is spent reflecting on the decision that was unilaterally made for an entire species, by an outsider, and that nobody on the planet had knowledge of. So what happens now? Do the Kelpiens become bloodthirsty predators again? Yay?

The design of the Not Armuses was cartoonishly stupid too.
Trent
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 6:37pm (UTC -5)
I'm still waiting for someone to explain where those giant alien ships went when Discovery started its orbital bombardment. And how photon torpedoes detonating on those village towers, didn't destroy the villages. And how the planetwide alien puberty was instantaneous, yet Saru's took ages.

It's like the show spams CGI, colors and lights, to distract you from nothing making sense.
Yanks
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 7:00pm (UTC -5)
@ Gil

"Fear of what exactly? The Kelpians will throw rocks at them? Insult their mothers?

If a highly technologically advanced species were so inconceivably, irrationally afraid of a primitive, agrarian society, given the power at their disposal, the only logical (irrational) choice they would make would be genocide. Problem solved.

Again, what do the Ba'ul get from the arrangement other than a bad reputation?"

Extinction? The Keplian's had almost wiped them out. Through technology, they slowly gained the upper hand and created a system to keep their prior oppressors at bay.

Why didn't they leave? ... and let the Keplian's gain that same level of technology and wipe them out? Better to control the situation.

Trent,

Those torpedoes from Discovery were intercepting the Ba'ul fire, not blowing up in the villages.
Yanks
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 7:03pm (UTC -5)
"I'm still waiting for someone to explain where those giant alien ships went when Discovery started its orbital bombardment."

#1. I didn't think they were that big.

#2. Probably more concerned with taking care of the Kelpians.
Gil
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 7:50pm (UTC -5)
@Yanks

LOL.

Tell me something, would ya.

Do you eat chickens because they taste good or because you're afraid they'll evolve into velociraptors again in a million years if you don't?

Asking for a friend called Occam.
Mertov
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 7:58pm (UTC -5)
"Wow there’s alot of people who hate-watch Discovery. I’ve never watched two seasons of a show and said how bad it was after every episode while continuing to watch"

Hahaha, yeah, Cory good one. Me neither.

I usually give a new show about 3 to 5 episodes maximum, if I don't like it, that's it for me. I watch a lot of TV shows and there are plenty of alternatives for me to waste more of my time on something I don't like (let alone hate).

The most I have ever watched a show that I did not like was a season + one episode of a very popular show that many of my friends insisted that I keep watching (it was basically me caving into peer pressure, lol). Then, I said "no more."
Otherwise, around three episodes, maximum five. I still don't like it? Then, buh-bye.


Jammer, good review as always. Culber and the "pristine" reference to his new body, classic :)))
Leif
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 8:31pm (UTC -5)
@Ezri D Sorry that wasn't my intention. I'll stop with the caps. Just hoping for feedback.

Can someone clarify for me..did the Kelpians always die during Vaharai...and Saru was the first to survive? Or he's just the first that Saru knows of? If so what happened to all the other survivors like Saru..were they killed by the Ba'ul?

Can someone explain why people were calling the Ba'ul the Go'auld since they look nothing like them... the Go'auld on Stargate were mostly humans or humanoids with a snake or slug creature inside them.....except for Anubis and maybe because of the deep synthesized voice? Although the Ba'ul do look like Armus as many and Jammer pointed out,,
Meynin
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 11:10pm (UTC -5)
@Jammer,

Terrific shout-outs to Nicholas Meyer and Roger Ebert and the not-worth-mentioning Nick and Jane. The ridiculous camera-swirling scene in this episode was like watching Brian DePalma on steroids and was goofy on so many levels. But as Ebert said in another review (this one of a movie you’ve reviewed), “But stop me before I get started.”
Booming
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 2:09am (UTC -5)
@Leif:
"...did the Kelpians always die during Vaharai...and Saru was the first to survive? Or he's just the first that Saru knows of? If so what happened to all the other survivors like Saru..were they killed by the Ba'ul?"
1: No.
2: No, he wasn't killed by the Ba'ul and a few thousand years ago the Kelpians reached that state as part of natural process.
3: If the Ba'ul weren't storing them somewhere then yes. And the whole thing was called the "culling"...
Trent
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 2:16am (UTC -5)
Yank said: "Those torpedoes from Discovery were intercepting the Ba'ul fire, not blowing up in the villages."

But the fire is coming from the pylons, and the episode's dialogue says: "They've activated every pylon in every Kelpian village. 4000 of them", "There's too many to target at once sir", "Let's get started. Target the pylons. Arm photon torpedos."

Granted the Red Angel appears before the Discovery gets off many torpedos, but Pike still makes it seems like they've started knocking off those 4000 village pylons.
btimlake
Tue, Mar 5, 2019, 6:55am (UTC -5)
The shape of the biomech suit of the Red Angel seemed undeniably feminine. I don't think there's any chance it's Lorca inside that skin.

I appreciate the discussions here in processing Season 2. I really enjoyed Season 1, even if too much time was spent in the M.U. I find Season 2 eye-rollingly bad sometimes, especially the voiceovers. I won't stop watching, but I long for the pace of Trek shows past that allowed a viewer to consider big ideas along with the characters. No time for mulling (or, usually, even big ideas) in Discovery.
Booming
Tue, Mar 5, 2019, 8:11am (UTC -5)
Strangely enough if it is presented as a personal log/ships log I don't mind the voiceover.
Iceman
Tue, Mar 5, 2019, 8:47am (UTC -5)
@Rahul-First off, sorry it took me so long to get back to you.

"I don't mean to sound rude or something but I totally disagree with pretty much everything you said. And honestly whenever I see your comments, I just scroll past them. I thought about whether I should respond to you or not."

That's your choice. No big deal. But for the record, I think you failed.

""Trek is also about execution" -- no it isn't. Different series made various "execution" mistakes and that makes some of their episodes unable to realize potential, but to say Trek is about execution is just bizarre. Trek is not about a technical exercise in producing an episode well."

Yeah, I strongly, strongly disagree. You said TOS is the best in part because of its ideas. Great ideas don't make a great television series. Trek is about execution in the way that all storytelling is-if you can't convey your ideas in a compelling fashion, said idea gets buried under it.


"Discovery has plenty of great ideas" -- like what? The spore drive? A mini-arc in the Mirror Universe? Have you actually seen the series? DSC lacks great ideas. But I agree that what few good ideas it has, it hasn't executed them well."

I think this season has had some great ideas-for example, the universal translator malfunctioning. Then it wastes them/doesn't utilize them properly.

"I don't think you really understand acting. Consistently across the main cast and guest actors TOS absolutely had the best acting. I'd say DS9 is the next most well-acted series, but Brooks/Farrell aren't good enough."

What problems do you have with Brooks? The most common complaint is that he overacts everything-which is a big problem with Shatner in TOS (he was great in the movies). Leonard Nimoy gave a great performance, though. It's just Shatner who I have a big problem with. Compared to him, Brooks is practically subtle. Farell is a problem, but I think she improves a bit, and isn't the main focus of many DS9 episodes, unlike Shatner.

"And where do you get that I don't respect Jammer's opinion? I always look forward to reading his reviews whether I agree with them or not. He writes well and intelligently. If he likes DS9 most, good for him. I think it's a terrific series too. I know you're not supposed to compare his ratings across series, but just as an exercise in a series achieving it's objectives, I don't agree with him that DS9 does this so much better than any other series (judging by series average ratings). If my thinking that offends you then too bad.

And don't tell me to respect somebody's opinions -- I'll judge for myself what to respect and what not to. I respect Jammer's opinions but I can't respect yours."

Well since you used the word 'bias'-which has a negative connotation. It doesn't offend me at all that you disagree with him, or that you don't respect my opinions/scroll past my comments. You can like what you like and read what you want to read. Again, no big deal. But for the record, I wasn't telling you what to do-just found it odd that you call a brilliant reviewer like Jammer biased (yes, that word has a negative connotation, whatever your claims to the contrary).
Hank
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 11:44am (UTC -5)
Regarding the Kelpian-Ba'ul relationship: It does not make the slightest lick of sense. This is the timeline Discovery lays out:

1. Ba'ul and Kelpians co-evolve on their planet (highly dubious - one looks like a normal mammal, the other like some eldritch horror from fantasy B-Story).
2. Kelpians are aggressive predators, and hunt the Ba'ul almost to extinction
3. Ba'ul strikes back: At a population of 300 (or 300.000, depending on what the graph in the show showed), they stem the tide, evelop Wunderwaffen and completely annihilate the Kelpian threat.
4. For the next 3000 years or so, the Ba'ul live in fear of the Kelpians, hence the "culling", while the very tiny number of Ba'ul live in hiding, even though the Kelpians are in the stone age and the Ba'ul have warp travel.

So.... Regarding point two: I just don't buy it. I get that people hunt animals to extinction - they are after all not able to talk back. I also see that people get genocided - but that involves hatred. The Ba'ul were food. They would not have been hunted to extinction, they would have been domesticated, if even that. The whole premise that one intelligent species hunts another for food is ridiculous. But even if it was possible - it would have to be pre-enlightenment times, or even pre-middle ages (their middle ages, of course), which brings me to point three.

Point 3: No. Just no. Never ever. Not in a billion years. The level of technological superiority is unachievable, if point 2 is true. If the Ba'ul had a headstart, they would have not been hunted to extinction, they would have waged war against the Kelpians and beaten them, and it would have been a one-sided fight. If they DIDN't have a headstart, they can't achieve the technological superiority neccessary. Lets assume that my hunch, layed out in point two is correct, and the kelpian hunts happend in the enlightenment era, as the absolutely latest possible point in their history. To win against a numerical superiority of ... what, 100000 to 1, the Ba'ul would need to invent nuclear weapons - 200 to 300 years too early, and with a minute population size, no resources to speak of, and constant danger from hunters. Or they would have to bioengineer a virus, which pushes the timeframe even further. There simply is no way for this story to make sense at all.

Point 4: If we assume that point 3 happened, and the Ba'ul somehow managed to invent battleships while the Kelpians sailed around in canoes, and moved them down by the hundreds of millions - why would the Ba'ul hide after that? They would maybe take the last few Kelpians, put them in a reservation, let them have gambling licenses and otherwise completely forget about them. Nobody holds grudges for 1000 or 3000 years against a non-threat that is contained. You can't assimilate them, as they are too different, contrary to what happened to the Neanderthals. So, that the Ba'ul fear the Kelpians is complete and utter nonsense. If it ISN'T, and they really do fear them for 3000 years, they WILL just genocide them. There is no way that you maintain a status quo where you live in constant fear. They would have, at some point, either reached an agreement, or keep them in reservations, but there is no need for the Ba'ul to hide, or do things indirectly. And if you chalk that up to "prey mentality", well, then they would just have run.

In North America, settlers WERE afraid of the natives - after all, they raided them, burned their homes, stole their children, and scalped their prisoners. What did they do? Almost completely genocide and culturcide them.

For the Ba'ul to act the way they do, they need to be extremely enlightened in that hot phase of the war against the Kelpians. Instead of what the Americans did, conquering the land, and pushing the natives further and further back, and only stopping because there literally was nothing left worth to conquer, they would have had to push the Kelpians back until they are not a threat anymore, and then, out of the good of their heart, create a "paradise" for them, and then go into hiding. At the same time, those enlightened Ba'ul also need to be extremely primordial to not overcome their fear at all. It just doesn't make sense in the slightest. If they are afraid now, with their technological advantages, imagine their terror when there were just but a few of them left, and they start their war of extermination against the Kelpians. They would not have stopped until every last ounce of danger from the Kelpians was gone. Rome and Carthage, except that Rome has nukes and Carthage has triremes. They might have completed the genocide just out of guilt alone. They killed hundreds of millions, for generations, their only goal was exterminating the enemy, generations of young Ba'uls saw the horrors of war - but, since they are so advanced, they come to the realisation what they are actually doing there. Do they just say "Oh well, we will completely shift our attitude and make amends by giving a nice life to the remaining Kelpians - but we are also cruel and cull them!" or would they just kill them all to not be confronted with their guilt anymore? The Ba'ul were beating the Kelpians when they were at their weakest, at some points the roles switched and the Kelpians cowered in fear before the owerwhelming might of the Ba'ul. Would the Kelpians not have tried to negotiate peace? And if the Ba'ul refused, and continued to slaughter them by the millions, why would they then go on to construct this elaborate system of religion, culture and brute force to keep them in check? The Ba'ul NEED to be genocidal monsters to wage their war the way they did, yet they also NEED to be empathic preservers to keep the Kelpians around. I am writing in circles, because this whole story is going around in circles. It makes no sense.
Hank
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 11:50am (UTC -5)
I meant to say "mowed them down" not "moved them down".

Also, TL;DR: The Ba'ul would have just gone extinct, as they could not have developed sufficiently to beat the Kelpians back with the numerical superiority they had. If they had a technological headstart, they would not have been hunted in the first place. Story makes no sense.
Peter Swinkels
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 3:05pm (UTC -5)
I thought this was a pretty good Star Trek episode. Jammer: I don’t think the writers made the ending a rushes spectacle by mistake. They probably thought most of the audience younger than 30+ or so would prefer that. For good or bad faster and more spectacular appears to be tendency since the first movies and tv shows were made. While I sometimes feel recent movies push it too far for me I think really old stuff is underwhelming and slow. I guess what I grew up with plays a large part in that.
SJU
Sat, Mar 23, 2019, 8:44pm (UTC -5)
I immediately thought of Armus, too.

As Saru is rapidly becoming my favor character, I loved this episode. I cried at least 3 times. Pure Trek to me.
SlackerInc
Wed, Apr 3, 2019, 5:33am (UTC -5)
Pretty good episode overall, but every so often this show does things that make me think it is actually (or at least partly) written for little kids. Having Saru and Burnham just loiter and chat right around the Watchful Eye, and then just underlining how it had spotted them? Come on.
Elise Kehle
Wed, Apr 24, 2019, 12:30am (UTC -5)
Rahul called it- I just squealed "Armus!" when we saw the Ba'ul. And did anyone catch the stilt city rising out of the water on Kaminar? Looked almost Kaminoan -rimshot-

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