Star Trek: Discovery

“Through the Valley of Shadows”

2 stars.

Air date: 4/4/2019
Written by Bo Yeon Kim & Erika Lippoldt
Directed by Douglas Aarniokoski

Review Text

I'm finding the serial nature of Discovery — particularly the past few weeks where the episodes are more chapter-like with incremental arc progress than they are episodic standalones — is starting to make the reviewing process somewhat more tedious as we reach the end of the season. There are only so many ways I can say I was moderately entertained by an hour of sci-fi action-adventure while shrugging at the big picture because it's deferred for yet another week.

But that's the MO of this series. Advance the plot in mechanically incremental but not especially substantively groundbreaking ways (because we still have two episodes after this one). Deliver some decent dialogue scenes. Reveal a somewhat significant character insight. Have a major action set-piece. End on a cliffhanger that teases us for next week. This, as I say nearly every time, is adequately diverting. But it's becoming considerably less interesting to write about as the season goes on. I've reached the point where I want to know what the destination is. The journey documenting Control's desire to take over the galaxy has probably gone on long enough — and an evil AI devoid of any plausible motivation for its plan to wipe out all life is not particularly compelling as villains go.

In the case of "Through the Valley of Shadows," we've also got L'Rell and the Klingons brought back into the mix. That seemed like a bad sign (after "Point of Light," this season has largely and wisely steered clear of the Klingons), but this episode handles it better than expected. The Klingons are still dour, humorless, and boring, but at least they aren't pointlessly antagonistic. (This might be the first episode of this series featuring Klingons but no Klingon-induced violence.) But something has got to be done with L'Rell's voice. I don't know what they've done to poor Mary Chieffo, but she perpetually sounds like she's been tasked with delivering a speech after having been given a mouthful of novocaine injections.

One of the mysterious red-burst signals has appeared over the Klingon colony of Boreth, which is coincidentally the place with the Klingon monastery where Tyler's and L'Rell's infant son was left orphaned to the monks in order to sidestep L'Rell's political problems. Neither Tyler nor L'Rell can be seen going to the surface to be seen anywhere near their son, because reasons. So Pike goes down with the mission to recover from the monastery one of their mysterious time crystals, which can be, I dunno, used to do something that will help us defeat Control? I probably missed the details. Bottom line: The plot needs one.

In the monastery, Pike meets an albino Klingon named Tenavik (Kenneth Mitchell, playing a character whose name is spelled like a prescription drug and whose makeup and costume design look like he stepped off the set of The Lord of the Rings). Tenavik is actually the son of Tyler and L'Rell, born mere months ago but already aged to an adult on Boreth because of his proximity to the time crystals. Tenavik tells Pike he must pay a price to remove a time crystal from the monastery. That price is one to be paid in the future; Pike sees a future vision in which he is badly injured as a result of a future catastrophe — the one that will leave him horribly disfigured and disabled as we know him from "The Menagerie." The way Pike experiences this vision is horrifyingly evocative.

It's simultaneously the most interesting and substantive thing about this episode and yet also a completely plot-imposed because-we-said-so pronouncement. Tenavik says taking the crystal will ensure Pike's vision will come true as a matter of destiny. But logically speaking, couldn't Pike merely change his fate by making different future choices (like not serving aboard a starship)? I guess the point is that he won't, because he chooses his duty and the mission above his own future well-being, now and presumably for all points in the future up to and including the moment he is injured. I like that this episode frames Pike's inevitable incapacitation as a fate he is willing to choose for the greater good. Anson Mount has been good all season and is good here as well, imbuing the captain with virtue and humanity.

The B-plot in which Burnham and Spock go after Leland's ship (which they find has had its entire crew jettisoned into space, save one survivor) is straightforward sci-fi action — competent but nothing worth writing home about. It gives this episode some hardware to play as a counterpoint to the other plot's mysticism. The fact that Control can use nanobots to assume anyone's identity is employed here to run a con on Burnham and Spock — one I'm unsure why is necessary. For some reason, Control wants to take over Burnham's identity. Because It's All About Burnham.

While this show always manages to milk a certain level of suspense from its action with pure technique, there's a reliance here on off-the-shelf tropes that feels hoary. Things like the killer who talks and gives the heroes time to act, when he should be doing more killing. Or the way the sound of Control's host body's voice suddenly takes on an electronic quality simply to up the menace. (There's no logical reason for him to stop sounding human just because the jig is up.) Or when Control has the needle just inches from Burnham's eye, before Spock comes in to save her at the last minute. Naturally, our heroes escape. Naturally, Control is not yet defeated. After all, we still have two episodes left. But the longer this goes on, the more it feels like stalling.

The cliffhanger has all of Section 31's ships — apparently now under Control's, um, control — closing in on Discovery's position to retrieve the sphere data once and for all. Things look grim. Well, grim enough to cut to black until next week.

Some other thoughts:

  • I'm glad someone (oh, who are we kidding; it was Burnham) finally voiced the idea that destroying Discovery might be a way to destroy the sphere data and keep it out of Control's hands. Maybe they were just waiting for things to get really desperate before resorting to that plan.

  • The repartee between Spock and Burnham has improved as the season has gone on. Sonequa Martin-Green and Ethan Peck have developed a rapport that's working better, and their dialogue, now that their deeper sibling troubles have been mostly resolved, has settled into a groove.

  • Tyler. Still this cast's least valuable player. The fact the writers can't even find a way to have him properly engage in the plot that brings him back to his son is just kind of sad. (But at least that gives Pike center stage.)

  • I really hope the red bursts are explained before this is all over, and they aren't simply a plot device used to move everyone from A to B to W.

  • The conceit that Control's nanobot shot must be injected into the eyeball is given no rationale whatsoever. It's just one of those kewl sci-fi horror ideas for the sake of itself.

  • The mysteriously MIA Jett Reno returns, with a better appearance here than her last outing. While I think Tig Notaro plays her too abrasively one-note with the snideness, we see a gradation of that personality when she visits Culber in sickbay and plays the "I loved someone too but didn't get a second chance because she died" card. Culber finds that's a hard card to argue against.

  • There's still a vaguely episodic structure to all of Discovery's outings, in that there's some goal or task or setting that is unique among the serialized arc backdrop. But I'm finding the back half of the season has more of a sameness to it than the first half. Here's hoping these last two episodes pick up the slack and send us out with some notable intrigue.

Previous episode: Perpetual Infinity
Next episode: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

Like this site? Support it by buying Jammer a coffee.

◄ Season Index

Comment Section

211 comments on this post

    Not a bad episode but definitely for me the weakest one since “Light and Shadows”. Basically 2 equally “important” plots that don’t knock it out of the park and some crew interactions. The 2 main plots seem to make the rules up as they go. Again Burnham comes across as some kind of super-genius — always has the solution (like the boy wonder Wesley Crusher) and Control sees her as some kind of variable it can’t control?!? And then she comes up with the idea in the end for the Discovery to destroy itself, which Pike starts implementing. But at least this is supposed to get the crew back on the Enterprise where Pike and Spock belong.

    The Klingons have always been a disappointment on DSC and revisiting the whole Tyler/L’Rell child saga was something I didn’t want. Not a fan of the whole time crystal thing (felt too much like fantasy and not sci-fi) — and of course the Klingon sacred moon Boreth is where they’re guarded. Lots of Klingon fluff about the keepers of the crystals — but the one thing I liked was Pike seeing his future and himself in as he’d look in “The Menagerie”. He knows he has no choice but to take the crystal and be damned with that terrible future — or he could refuse them and let all sentient life in the galaxy be wiped out…

    Better (but not great) was Spock and Burnham on the Section 31 ship after Control had taken over and took the form of a former Shenzhou tactical officer. There’s some technobabble for a plan to contain Control but of course there has to be an all-action phaser fight. Neat effect with all the nano probes coming out of Control’s embodiment and Spock in the nick of time magnetizing the floor! This is all arbitrary stuff purely for entertainment — gotta expect this kind of thing in every DSC episode.

    We get a Jet Reno sighting — and she’s as annoying as ever but means well in trying to get Culber and Stamets back together. And we find out she’s a lesbian whose partner died in the Klingon war and so she can tell Culber he’s got a 2nd chance. But at least there was a scene with the secondary characters having dinner in the mess hall and they played some word game. Nice to see an actual crew with some personalities and not just Burnham saving the galaxy.

    I think Tyler winds up saying "I'm sorry" at least once an episode. He's 1 of my least favorite characters. Every scene with him in it falls flat.

    A low 2.5 stars for “Through the Valley of Shadows” -- felt like one of the earlier Season 2 episodes with a multi-plot structure, although not as frenetic as "Point of Light". Some of the annoying elements (L'Rell/Tyler, Jet Reno, fantasy feel of time crystals keepers) detract from my enjoyment. But ultimately this episode just moves the overall plot forward -- nothing insightful here. Pretty typical DSC.

    I like the neat and unthinkable fairly original idea of the time crystals. Can anyone back me up that it's fairly original, at least in Trek? Aside from,the similarity to the idea of past present anf future all happening at once a la that Doctor Who episode The Wedding of River Song..that and Captain Pikes vision smacking of Sisko or Kira's experience with the Orb of Time or Orb of Prophecy on DS9..anyone else think this..but I like the twost of a sory of Time Garden or Temporal Arboretum as I like to call it..where time is not fixed until you snap off the Crystal...But is any of this violating continuity 29th Klingons and Boreth on TNG? I DON'T remember learning about any time,crystals in Rightful Heir or Birthright episodes from TNG..Dpes this violate continuity? Are these time crystals what Alexander used to go back in time,on that TNG Season 7 episode Bloodlines?

    Much better than last week, or even the week before. Still no If Memory Serves though.

    Breaking down my thoughts on each part of the show:
    The Pike on Boreth plot was mostly great. Anson Mount put in a great performance, and it was chilling - yet gripping - to see the accident finally dramatized. It was also nice to see a different sort of Klingon from what we are used to with the monks. My only problem with the episode is nothing about the time crystals in this episode made a lick of sense. I'd say it was a fantasy element dropped into a science-fiction show, but it's not even that. It's just a hastily constructed plot device which does what the show requires. As long as you ignore that, however, it was a good element of the episode.

    The Burnham/Spock B plot on the Section 31 ship was meh. First, SMG's acting was off this episode again. Like the time that she said to Spock "I'm not angry, I'm furious" in a completely level tone of voice. Even two episodes ago I thought she was really hitting it out of the park. But in every scene, she's outshone by Peck as Spock. Even outshone by the Control-possessed mook of the week, who is a convincing character until he goes all bond villain. Which gets to the other issue - the plot is boilerplate, and does nothing whatsoever to even bring the arc along further. Honestly, I'm not sure who thought it would be helpful to have fights for two weeks in a row between a character and a control-assimilated person. The only thing I can think of I'm supposed to get out of this is that losing mama again knocked Michael back on her heels, and this gets her groove back. But I think that could have been dealt with through a 5-minute conversation somewhere, with more focus on Pike.

    There's a couple bits of non-plot character work. One is Ash's journey - dealing with his unsettled feelings about abandoning his son, meeting L'Rell again, etc. The initial bits where he talks to Michael about things is painful - as are all his scenes with Michael. His later scenes with L'Rell are much, much better. Still, I've come to the conclusion Latif just isn't one of the best actors on the show. He's not given the best role, but he does nothing with it other than make it relentlessly bland, where a greater actor would help to bring out the torture within.

    The other big character work involves Stamets and Culber. This stuff is great. Stamets gets basically one scene, but considering how much the show has been ignoring him, it's great that he got that one scene. Culber is kinda bland in comparison to the last few episodes in sick bay, but he's really there to get lectured to Reno (and Tig Notaro shows she can do more than snark). The group mess hall scene was much appreciated, but...where the fuck is Tilly? You have Stamets and Reno eating with four extras, and you can't have Tilly there? Did she even appear in this episode?
    So yeah, good, but not great.

    Outstanding, other than the faces of horror from Pike and Burnham

    That scene with Pike confronting his future was... absolutely chilling.

    Sorry infernal autocorrect. And I meant the TNG Season 7 episode Firstborn with Worf's son Alexander. In would love for some feedback on my thought that control might be a corrupted version of V'GER from ST The Motion Picture maybe from an alterbate universe. And after the disappointment of the Red Angel being not a new alien species or phenomenon, is anyone else hoping the Seven Signals are some new life form like a multidimensional time creature that is made partly of dark matter and maybe grew from the time crystals on Boreth and can communicate through the spore network..Whay does everyone else think? I hope the signals aren't just random signals or some technobabble thing since they seem to set up a big mystery about them after Mama Burnham said she has nothibg to do with them..I hope they're not just a byproduct of Control or something...

    Abd P.S. Jammer, I did enjoy your Control April Fool's joke. And I did get it...I didn't find it confusing or annoying at all.

    'But is any of this violating continuity 29th Klingons and Boreth on TNG? I DON'T remember learning about any time,crystals in Rightful Heir or Birthright episodes from TNG..Dpes this violate continuity?'

    As such, no, simply by virtue of the fact that we didn't know very much about Boreth when first introduced in TNG/DS9, so it's kind of blank slate for retconning. Much in the same way Pike's history between 'The Cage' and when command of the Enterprise was transferred to Kirk was largely unknown — which is why Kurtzman could get away with including him on Discovery.

    It was okay. The sudden reappearance of Reno was a bit bizarre though (where's she been all this time?), she was literally just there as a blatant plot device to try and get Culber and Stammets back together. And Tilly's having the day off?! I actually didn't even notice she wasn't there until I read @karlzimmerman's comment. So yeah I literally didn't miss her...

    The Burnham and Spock going after the Section 31 ship blah blah was just tiresome eg it was sooooo obvious the surviving crew member was going to turn out to be Control and that it was all a ploy to get Burnham on the ship in an attempt to inject her eyeballs with nanowhatsits. And why didn't it occur to anyone it might be a trap? Saru needs his ganglia back, the caution that came with them is not a bad thing!

    The Pike on Boreth stuff and his terrifying sight of his future was excellent, and how obviously shaken he still was back on Discovery. Great work from Anson Mount.

    Did L'rell always have four nostrils?! You know something's wrong with a scene when you spend it pondering someone's nostrils....

    A] Pike's fate was beyond the time period of Discovery, so it is interesting that they could integrate it into the episode. Also, it was done in a meaningful way (not just a flash forward, but a choice - Pike's sacrifice of a personal future, for the future of the galaxy). It brings new meaning to the resigned-ness of the wheelchair bound Pike in The Menagerie.

    B] I also liked the interesting way in which the faith-vs-logic debate was rekindled (aboard the shuttlecraft). These are the kinds of debates we watch Star Trek for. It was interesting that Burnham chooses to side with logic whereas Spock sides with faith.

    C] I do not mind the fantasy elements of the episode. Fantasy has always been a part of Star Trek. So time crystals are fine for me. I have a tough time with "data that doesn't allow itself to be deleted" though. I don't know if anyone else has the same problem. (To give an example: a fantasy story which said "in the past, there were flying elves" would be easier to enjoy than a fantasy story which said "in the past, humans stood on their heads and jumped around using their neck muscles", even though the second one is probably less fantastic than the first one. Maybe there is an "uncanny valley" of fantasy, and headstanding humans and data-with-intentions fall in this uncanny valley for me.)

    D] Burnham says, "I'm not angry. I'm enraged." I am completely lost here. What does this line mean? I wish Spock would have asked her what she meant instead of going off on a convenient discussion ending tangent. Also, Burnham actually cutting off her captain while he was talking seemed a leap beyond what decorum would allow. I wish he had completed his speculation, I wanted to hear it. Pike seemed happy downstairs on the moon - no underlings to order him around.

    E] Will we see the bridge of the Enterprise next week? I am a sucker for fanservice. I liked the updated look of the Enterprise exterior, it was familiar enough to be called the Enterprise (and wayy better looking than the Discovery). How I wish the Enterprise bridge is recognizable too.

    F] I think we are seeing the origin story of the Borg. As the Federation wins, one nanite hybrid will remain and at the last moment in a desparate bid to save itself will jump to an unknown time-and-place using a time crystal.

    G] Wouldn't it be great if they never explain the signals!

    Not angry, I'm enraged. Means she is so so angry that she's gone beyond mere anger to a higher stage (I think the implication here is that 'enraged' sets you on a highly focused mission to achieve vindication and retribution, whereas anger is mindless and would make you want to punch someone on the nose). But the delivery of the line was really meh.

    Maybe a better line would have been 'Oh I'm not just angry, it goes way beyond that. I'm ENRAGED!!!'

    Oh and she's also talking to Spock who isn't going to be impressed by anger as motivation - anger is a human emotion tut tut. Enraged sounds better.


    Teaser next week offered a hint of the bridge in a brief shot. nice update. Kind of a mix of mostly Movie and Disco style bridge with some TOS touches.


    Thanks for your replies! I liked your explanation involving Spock the best. After all everyone around him must be perennially afraid of that Spock zinger, "Ah! One of your human emotions." :)

    Well, I definitely appreciated the slower pacing.

    I'm not sure the Reno/Stamets/Culber angle was needed. It just cluttered everything and didn't contribute much.

    And, I think we can breathe a sigh of relief that Tenavik probably isn't going to end up being the Albino from DS9, as has been speculated a few times on other websites since his reveal earlier on in the season.

    I wish I could be as confident that we're not seeing a Borg origin story, though.

    As others have said. I'm gravitating from not caring to being annoyed by Tyler. He feels more and more out of place.

    The time crystals reminded me of the orbs in DS9.

    Apart from that. I laughed very hard when the nanites wanted to eat Burnham. I was also relieved when Burnham stated the obvious: Destroy the damn ship!

    Notaro better this time.

    A little world building here and there which is nice.

    Wasn't a fan of Television or whatever his name is. Not of the performance itself but the fact that the child had to be the king of the time crystal mountain which again makes the galaxy seem small.

    SMG's acting weak for a second time.

    I'm so sick of lens flairs. I don't know who came up with the idea to use something that normally would be a lighting mistake. You can use it to show confusion when somebody comes out of an unconscious state or something similar but any other use just reminds me that there is a camera in the room.

    Oh and again no fistfight?!! What's happening people. 10/12!

    You know, the more I think about it ... as conceptually interesting as the seven signals *should* have been, the execution of it is really fucking sloppy.

    At the beginning of the season, we're shown a map of the galaxy with the signals marked out in specific places. All seven of them. We're also told the Klingons know of them.

    Yet, in every episode in which they're going to a signal, it's 'a new signal has been detected.'

    So, which is it? Are they in the same place as shown on the galactic map, or they move from place to place? This — as far as I'm aware — has never been explained on-camera.

    Sloppy, inconsistent, and poorly thought-out. I fear that the outcome of this really clumsy plot-point will be another damp squib.

    Well ... I don't know how I feel about this yet, but it seems the season finale is going to be ... interesting:

    [Spoiler removed]

    As far as I understood it. They had sightings of earlier signals and this one over Boreth and the one over Kaminar were new signals.


    Hmm, OK. I was always under the impression that there were only ever seven signals, and they knew the precise locations from the start of the season.

    Was L'Tell impregnated by Voq before he got 'hidden inside' Tyler or after? I thought her now adult son looked less Klingon around the eyes suggesting he has some human DNA.


    Funny, I was just assuming the make-up department decided to make him look more like a TNG/DS9/VOY Klingon, but that's a good point you make.

    I'm not clear on the bursts thing either.

    As MadManMUC writes, we're told in Brother that seven signals have been detected spread out over a range of 30,000 light years, all appearing within the same 24 hour period. We're shown images with their locations on the map. Discovery heads to the location of the nearest of these red bursts, which is the asteroid debris field in Brother. So far, so clear.

    But then the red bursts at Terralysium, Kaminar and Boreth - although they're new, additional bursts that happen after the original seven - are now being treated as *being part of* the original seven. The seven initial red bursts plus the ones at Terralysium, Kaminar and Boreth make ten total. Borath is the tenth red burst, yet we're expressly told it's the "fourth of seven". The bursts that have happened over the course of the season (three of which are still yet to happen) are being conflated with the original 7 detected in Brother.

    Really bad internal inconsistency...

    About the 7 signals. (I have been confused by it as well). Here is a proposal.

    The 7 signals flashed on a particular day. The Federation has a vast network of sensors, but still it is not dense enough to detect the location of each flash with precise accuracy, just a general position on a map (like triangulation of a cell phone works with present day technology). Only the first few signals could be detected with accuracy, because they were close / within densely populated Federation space where the Federation has a high density of sensors. With time, other signals were also pinpointed (either by further computation to pinpoint the location, or more accurate data collection over days, or sending real spatial probes in search of the locations of the signals; or maybe the entity that created the signals in the first place facepalmed at the ineptitude of our heroes and recreated the signals one by one so that the Federation can pinpoint them this time).

    @Alan Roi:

    Thanks for pointing out the that the teaser has a shot of the Enterprise bridge. It does, however fleeting, with Number One sitting in the position we first saw her in the opening sequence of The Cage.

    I am actually pretty happy with the Enterprise bridge. Most importantly, the size seems closer to the TOS bridge (I was worried the humongous size of the Disco bridge is now the standard). The pilot and nav stations are next to each other. Good. The captain sits in a well. I like the size of the viewscreen. Of course they cannot go back to the slide-projector size, but at least it isn't like the Discovery's "infinite window". The red railings are a throwback, as are the random Christmas light stations and the station chairs. And do I detect some (gasp!) buttons?

    I'm a happy fan. Provisionally.

    Another cogent episode penned by Erika Lippoldt and Bo Yeon Kim where the narrative moves at a reasonable pace and head-scratchers are minimized (not eliminated), and that is despite the source material that they had to deal with when given the task of writing this episode - a return to the Klingons, dealing with Control.This is three out of three for this duo, which gives me hope for the Section 31 show because I am not half as excited about it as I am about the 3rd season of DSC or the Picard show. Aarniokoski, who received criticized (rightfully so) in a previous episode for the panning camera, does a much better job of directing in this one.

    The Klingon plot story is very powerful, largely thanks to Anson Mount. Him seeing his future, his immediate reaction to it, and making the subsequent decision about the time crystal (+ the special effects and make-up) all create a powerful sequence and sold well by Mount for such an iconic character in Trek. I had no idea it was coming so it had the desired impact for me. The Klingon story also benefits from having L'Rhell in a more contemplating role rather than the usual angry Klingon chancellor.

    I also did not see it coming when Gant turned out to be Control, so that worked for me too, but that story was less riveting than Pike's on Boreth. It gets a bit tiresome also to see Control being far superior to anyone when it comes to killing methods and prowess and yet, when engaged in one-to-one combat with our characters, it somehow struggles to swiftly kill them. The same Control who took out Tyler in 4 seconds and who was kicking Georgiou's butt pretty badly (although, again, it should have been a lot swifter) can't push the needle 5 more inches into Burnham's eye for 5 seconds? Come on..

    I really enjoyed the short crew scenes throughout the episode back on Discovery. Jet Reno's discussion with Culber was the highlight of these, but every bit of scene where the crew interacts helps and I thought this episode could have used a few more of those types of scenes (why not have it at 50 minutes and do just that, instead of 46? I don't know? I just don't know). I still find Detmer underused. Showrunners could have easily come up with a meaningful backstory for her, opportunity missed.

    Solid episode (but not devoid of glitches), that gets us to the Section 31 showdown without going berserk with lightning-fast plot developments.
    Very intrigued by what is to come next week.

    He looked different from the other Discovery Klingons and I'm still wondering why. I need to go back and see how many nostrils he's got! (can't believe I didn't notice before this episode that L'Rell and the other Klingons have four nostrils....!)

    Well, this is a perfect example of the "you can never trust a trailer" phenomenon. Remember last week in the trailer we were teased that a bunch of S31 ships would be chasing down Discovery? Well, that ends up being this weeks cliffhanger, though it turns out to be one of the series' weakest and most predictable "twists".

    Otherwise, a pretty much ho-hum episode. I wouldn't mind time crystals if they tried to give them some sort of scientific basis in the show, but the way they're introduced here made me feel like I was watching Avengers Infinity War. I mean seriously, I was waiting for Dr. Strange to come out of the shadows and snatch a time crystal from the temple. We have to imagine that Star Trek is trying to ride on the heels of Disney's success and blockbuster movie hype, when it should really be doing its own thing.

    Anyway, the parts with Pike seeing his future were adequately creepy and added some interesting depth to the character, especially for those not familiar with his tragic fate. But, I kind of feel like they're milking Pike for all he's worth, since the radiation incident which leads to his tragic fate isn't suppose to happen for years yet. And, there's no reason Discovery needs to tease us like this as if we're too dumb to go back and watch TOS to connect the dots ourselves.

    The Control B-story was much more engaging and on point for me. I like how Saru didn't unquestioningly give Burnham a shuttle to take on the AI all by herself, but had the common sense to have Spock go along with her. We soon meet the surviving Gant at the scene of eerily dead crew members floating in space. We could all tell by his mannerisms that Gant wasn't all he appeared, but it was fun watching him slowly close in Burnham like a specter in some sort of sci-fi thriller. The part where Spock magnetized the floor while Burnham desperately shot at nanoprobes was also a real treat to watch. I love how Spock maintains his cool during this tense situation which I attribute to Peck for playing his role here just right.

    Finally, there's the everyday material with Stamets and Culber - oh and for comic relief, Jett Reno (who is apparently a lesbian). You know how Elliott constantly criticizes DS9 for what he calls DS9 banality indulgence (or DBI for short)? That's how I feel about this material. Please spare us the weekly romantic drama. It wasn't very good last season with Burnham and Tyler and it's not serving the plot to tease us with a "will they or won't they" romantic snoozefest in what's heating up to be the climax of the show. It's nice that Discovery develops its characters besides the main bridge crew, but if doing that is going to result in this type of story I'd rather they just left it out.

    2 stars.

    Did anyone else thing L'Tell looked different in the face? It looked like her face puffed up.

    I liked this episode quite a bit. I was intrigued to learn more about this story, red signals, the Red Angel, etc.

    Pike again, killed it. He see his own fate (which us trekkie's aready knew about) and he putts the "needs of the many" ahead of his. I was moved both by his performance and the story. This just builds on the premise we already know of why Spock is do dedicated to his Captain in 'The Menagerie'.

    Ash.... well he's still Ash.... I hope he doesn't end up in our new Section 31 series.

    I enjoyed the Michael/Spock mission. They play well off each other I think. I'm still a huge Peck/Spock fan, although I would like to see the beard go away sometime and SMG hold her own in these scenes. I did however think that they were rescuing Control right off the bat. Not a huge suprise there. I lke the "magnatism" approach to subduing Control. Spock using science to win.

    I really didn't need Michael to figure out that Discovery needed to be destroyed. I mean come on.... let Pike do his job. .... or Saru even....

    I did like Pike's plan, it should be fun to see 1701 in action next week.

    I'm guessing that Discovery will end up 1000 years in the future?

    Very enjoyable episode.... no usless Tilly outburst....

    3 of 4 stars from me.


    Was L'Tell impregnated by Voq before he got 'hidden inside' Tyler or after? I thought her now adult son looked less Klingon around the eyes suggesting he has some human DNA.

    Before. Before Vog was supressed. I did think the son looked a little "human".

    'did anyone else think L'rell looked different in the face'
    Yes, me! The make up had changed from the last time we saw her. I think this is why I suddenly noticed all the nostrils too, her nose was positioned differently. She sounded even more muffled than usual as well.

    Unless I'm very much mistaken, L'Rell's make-up from S01 had her nostrils (numbers 3 and 4) much more prominent. They're toned down here.

    What I'm really having trouble with is how obviously vinyl or resin or rubber the make-up is on the Klingons. The texture of it looks clearly artificial, and it's not just L'Rell, but all of them. It just kicks me out of the immersion, because I can spot it so easily.

    At least with TMP/STIII:TSFS/STVI:TUC/TNG/DS9/VOY Klingons, the respective make-up departments made a really concerted effort to blend the prosthetics with the actors' skin.


    Please refrain from posting items from news stories that are potential spoilers.

    Speculation based on what's on the screen is fine, but some of us here don't go looking for headlines outside of what has already aired and would rather be surprised by what unfolds on the screen.


    It's the Discovery Klingon hands and fingers I can't stand, they look like those joke rubber Halloween ones.

    Thanks, Jammer. I'm still not 100% it's convinced the news there is real because journalists can get these things wrong, but just the same I'm in the camp where I'd rather not read that stuff without warning.

    Maybe it would still be okay if people posted stuff like that with spoiler tags?

    There's a typical A/B plot structure, and surprisingly enough its the fantasy/Klingon plot that works better, while the 'regular' action-adventure plot fails completely. I'll get to the ending in a moment.

    The adventure part starts with poor dialogue** continues with even more poor dialogue in the Spock-Michael talk***, followed by the universe's most obvious trap, which is sprung most badly**** ending with an unexciting firefight, whose only notable scene is its end. At which point the characters just pretend the nanites don't exist anymore despite being them being able to give information about Control.

    The Klingon plot works because the regular characters who do Klingon plots are mostly uninvolved, so we get Ansom Mount who can sell his role (DIS works surprisingly well when the temporary cast is involved in a story that mostly outside of its arc). The dialogue is slightly corny, but this is perfectly fine for Fantasy.

    Once both plots are done, they finally understand that they could destroy the ship to delete the data (something they should have figured out last time), precisely in the situation where it wasn't the only logical choice - can't they just use the spore drive to get out? The episode even mentioned explicitly earlier that Stamets can still do that!

    Ultimately, the episode succeeds when it does something not quite related to its arc. In retrospect, DIS is at its weakest when it does the things it is supposed to bring to the Trek storytelling: serialization to an arc which isn't quite interesting (if its not a disaster like in S1), the regular characters like Tyler and SMG - look, we're not making the captain the main character! But we'll make all the other characters do what our main character says, at which point her rank doesn't really matter - and this time, poorly done action-adventure.

    DIS is better when it is outside its 'innovations': We've seen it can refer to TOS successfully and it can do episodic not too badly, the temporary characters like Pike and Spock. I suspect the showrunners put themselves in a hole in S1 and are slowly trying to dig themselves out.

    ** Michael rudely interrupting Pike, Tyler telling Michael "noone could stop her".
    *** "I'm not angry. I'm enraged." said in a completely flat voice by SMG. There are some very rational reasons to follow the signals, Pike himself gave a few earlier, so this isn't a 'faith' debate.
    **** A computer program can't be 'trapped' that way and Michael/Spock should have noticed that. Control must have had, oh, twenty opportunities to 'assimiate' Michael before he makes her suspicious, and given the way he showed some immunity to the shots in the end, should have just ignored her shots and walked up to her.

    I've had a bit of time to reflect, and overall, I actually didn't mind this episode at all, for the most part. Yes, Tyler is just annoying, yes the Reno/Culber scene probably wasn't necessary, but overall ... I really didn't mind it.

    Two things stick in my mind as being great:

    1) Anson Fucking Mount. I'm really not happy he's leaving. His scenes when he saw his future were just excellent. The accident depiction was fantastic, in my view;

    2) Oddly enough: Tenavik. Despite the make-up/design, despite the whole LotR vibe of the environment, he came across to me as the most Klingon we've seen so far in two seasons of this show. There was just ... something very Klingon about him that I couldn't pin down. And his use of the word 'honour' really did it for me.

    There you go. A comment on a Discovery ep where I've used words like 'great', fantastic', and 'excellent'. There's a first time for everything.

    Anyone else feel like maybe they should do a spin-off series starring Anson Mount and Ethan Peck aboard the Enterprise? One that bridges the gap between The Cage/Discovery and Where No Man Has Gone Before? I’m sad to see Mount go in a couple weeks and want to see more of him on the Enterprise! The series can close with Pike handing off command to Kirk. We can see what leads to Pike moving on with his career.

    There's a key line in this episode, where Gant/Control outright says that Section 31 stepped up its threat assessment program in the wake of the Klingon War. This is important because it implies with no Klingon War, there's no Control. Season 1 established - somehow, I guess - that Michael Burnham caused the Klingon war singlehandedly. Hence if she goes back in time and fixes her childhood - ensuring her father doesn't die and her mother isn't lost in time as the Red Angel - Control is butterflied out of existence. Which is more fodder to the hypothesis that we're heading towards a retcon which essentially erases the first two seasons (outside of First Contact style plot-armor for the main characters) from continuity entirely.

    If Pike has seen this future, how is it unavoidable? Just refuse to do any cadet training exercises involving equipment that produces lots of radiation.

    If Pike refuses the crystal, he doesn't have long to live anyway; this episode reminds us multiple times that Control is going to wipe out all sentient life.

    Why does the Control puppet praise Control and clue Michael in to its true nature? Why not stun her with a phaser and then stick her with the nanomachine injector as soon as Spock left and it was alone with her?

    Wilson Cruz's performance was gripping in the Talosian episode, but Culber's newfound distinctiveness seems to have melted away. Reno is like some stereotypical romantic comedy character working to get him back together with Stamets.

    So they have to blow up Discovery to get rid of the sphere data. Why can't they just jettison the computer hardware where the data is saved? If they lose Discovery they lose the spore drive and the ability to outrace any warp-capable ship. I suppose this will be the writers' justification for the lack of the spore drive in the future Trek stories.

    as agreeable or disagreeable some of the plot decisions are - its bold "think big" stuff that wants to surprise and entertain. i like that.

    this especially occured to me after thinking back to the days of the absolutely spineless storytelling of the first two enterprise seasons, where it seemed like they were so scared of violating continuity that they literally just ended up telling one "captain is thrown in some brig on some planet" story after another. think of discovery what you want, but at least its not *that*. i still will never understand why this had to be a prequel and couldnt just happen at the back end of the main timeline (it would all make a LOT more sense in that setting) - all just for the spock namedropping? prequel premises are so limiting to the range of stories youre "allowed" to tell. so limiting about the threats you can put into the story (best example here: the "all life in the universe will cease to exist" threat which is even MORE pointless that it already is by default). so limiting when it comes to the villains. like, the best trek villain will always be the borg, yet by definition you cant ever truly explore them in a prequel. so many limitations for nothing. but at least it seems like they finally recognize that and try to do something about it.

    having said all that, will the ultra super uber pointless, one dimensional "i have one angsty look in my repertoire and thats it", breathtakingly charisma free tyler please die already? at this point, even replacing him with young wesley crusher through some time anomaly would be a vast improvement.

    i mean, they do have a time crystal now. one can always hope :-)


    Discovery thinks so big it ends up being pointless, you can only threaten all life in the universe so many times before it gets tiresome.

    If they wanted to tell a darker, more tragic Trek story set before TOS, there's an easy choice: the origin of the Prime Directive. Early Federation explorers find a civilization in dire straits, share technology with the best of intentions, then watch as their beneficiaries destroy themselves. Plenty of potential for the darkness and moral ambiguity that's popular now, along with a meditation on the ideas and values that Trek is about.

    They're definitely milking Pike for all he's worth, but when you think about it, it isn't really THAT much when we're talking about a character who spoke in one unaired episode and beeped his way through another. For the most part Prime Universe Pike was a blank slate for them to do what they wanted with, but it was inevitable they'd reference his eventual fate in some way (so far I count three: once in the first episode, once when Dr. Burnham quipped about it and this time when it was blatantly shown). It definitely adds something to his character that he rationally chose his fate rather than simply getting injured in a spontaneous act of heroism though.

    Despite some people finding it a snore, I actually think Culber's character growth is one of the most intriguing aspects of this season. We've had so many Trek characters die and come back to life before, this is one of the few times it feels like it truly has consequences- Culber isn't even sure he's really himself which is the sort of thing you'd think would happen when you return from the dead. I just think back to stuff like Harry Kim technically being a copy of the original through most of Voyager and shake my head at how that potential story idea is almost completely wasted.

    Also I must say I was amused by the characters considering blowing up the ship after last week when so many people were pointing out that's what they should be thinking about and crapping on the show as a result. So many cases of people thinking there are logic holes in the show and then the show directly addresses it one or two episodes later. For example, I've seen so many people claim they swore off the show because it showed Spock murdering people, even though it was likely a fabrication from the get-go, multiple characters suggested that was the case, and that, you know, ended up actually being what happened.

    But I must dock points for how they're handling the Time Crystals. Okay Discovery, I will give you that Time Crystals are things that exist, but don't show them being literal crystals that you can hold and access the magical energies of. Come on now. They really should've given them a more mysterious form that couldn't really be perceived by people stuck at one point in time. I mean, they certainly have the budget to go for something more abstract like that.

    1. Random thought, along with the Trek movies since the 2009 one — why are hand phasers now burst weapons as opposed to beam? It was one nice way to differentiate them from Star Wars blasters. I only thought of it again with all the nanoprobes chasing Burnham. A beam weapon would’ve seemed a lot better there.

    2. Pike is the man. Somehow the writers/Anson Mount have got that balance between a competent, serious captain and someone with empathy. Much as I like Picard or Kirk, I’m sure Disco Pike would be the best one to serve with.

    I really enjoy and want to see more of every single character on this show EXCEPT the two that keep being given most of the screen time. That is a frustrating place to be in.


    They aren't addressing their 'logic hole' this time. They're adding two.

    We might have had some babble explaining why they couldn't scuttle the Discovery, but now that it is established this is possible, we still have to ask why they didn't do it last chapter.

    Also, Michael claims this is the only logical choice - but it obviously isn't. They still have the spore drive (Stamets is congratulated for a jump earlier during this very episode), and could jump far away from the S31 ships.

    All the Pike praise is a bit over the top for me. He's a good character, but best captain? How? He doesn't command nearly enough, he comes across as rather dim and lacking in initiative in conversations he has with his crew, we still don't know what he's like as a person away from his role as captain, and he's lacking in ideals. The last one is his weakest trait as a character and in particular a captain - what does he stand for? I can't say I have the faintest idea, whereas with all the previous captains I would be able to tell you. Like many of the other characters he's failed to make a distinct impression upon me about who he actually is. I can't really figure out why, but Discovery's attempt to make its characters more real has only done the opposite for me.

    Yeesh. This was the worst of the season for me, more so than Point Of Light.

    - the Stamets/Reno/Culber material is not especially bad, just disposable filler. But Tig Notaro's performance is absolutely terrible, and it's a poor plotting choice. Why should Culber and Stamets be expected to get back together? What about respecting Culber's decision? Surely the person who knows what's best for Culber is Culber. This is a waste of time but the least bad part of the episode.
    - dead guy on the Section 31 ship turns into a scowling horror zombie who taunts Burnham about her mother and whose entire insides are filled with nanoprobes that flood out and try to "get" Burnham. Voyager never showed nanoprobes behaving like this. Injection tubules are one thing, but how are millions of nanoprobes supposed to move independently through the air like sentient snakes?
    - The Boreth detour was absolutely the worst part. Pike's future vision, which could have been handled with sensitivity, is likewise turned into horror schlock, a monsterization of disability that's cheap and revels in its own excess. The fact the Klingons are presented as having always had these "time crystals" (which function not scientifically but in a way akin to magic) is ridiculous, as is the depiction of the rapid-growing plants and the fact Pike's guide in the monastery (which, apart from a couple of CG shots, was clearly just filmed in a regular Gothic church building) is the rapidly-aged son of Tyler and L'Rell is absurd too.

    Talk about your split personalities. What I liked this week:

    From the actors: Anson Mount once again brings his A game, and like in the excellent "If Memory Serves" he gets a chance to step outside of being just a Space Hero and show some range and he really delivers. His shock at the reveal of where he's headed was played perfectly. Performances like this shouldn't be taken for granted; whatever show gets him next is very lucky.

    Tig Notaro returns with a more toned-down performance, and while it's easy to see how some find her acting wooden I personally find it to be a perfectly calibrated deadpan. Make this woman Chief Engineer in season 3, show.

    From the writers: finally, after 26 episodes, a Klingon plot I actually found myself engaging with. Mainly this was due to the mysticism of Boreth, a concept I've always been fond of because it helps make the Klingon society seem bigger than just one-note warrior-monsters. (This idea of the Klingons being guardians of some serious time-travel shit also plays to me as a cheeky nod to the events of VOY's "Endgame", wherein Future Janeway steals her time travel device from the Klingons. I doubt it's intentional, but it feels right to me.)

    I didn't even hate L'rell this week!

    What I *did* hate: the ongoing Control/Burnham/Spock plot, where my logical nitpicks just keep stacking up and up and up to the point where I'm now almost completely disengaged from the story:

    (1) Just how fast are these fucking shuttles, and how long was the Disco at Boreth? The show often does this, teleporting characters and ships around the quadrant, to the point where I now just roll my eyes when they use the spore drive, because why even bother when travel time to pratically anywhere is apparently only a couple of hours?

    (2) Why didn't Control just break Burnham's fucking neck as soon as Spock left the room? Why bother sitting around to monologue about it? This is a standard critique of TV and movie supervillains, but this one is supposedly a cold, unemotional AI and I am 100% not being sold on it.

    3) Why does Control need to inject you in the eye with nanobots, aside from the fact it was a good shock horror effect the first time they did it to Leland? And if it can reform itself into scary little tentacles, why not just do that to begin with? And if... oh, forget it. When you stop imposing limitations on your scary monsters, I stop caring, because the answer to anything becomes "because the script said so".

    4) WTF were they even doing on that ship anyway? If Control is a super-intelligent AI, why are they talking openly about their plans on a ship they know it controls and where it can undoubtedly hear everything they are saying? If... GAH. *starts banging head on desk*

    5) Oh, so NOW you want to bring up self-destructing the ship? Better late than never, but holy shit show, your audience should not be this far ahead of your intrepid crew of heroes.

    I give it 50/100 quatloos.

    On Tenavik - where did he get all his apparent wisdom from? If he was placed next to a time crystal as a baby I get that his body would have grown and aged, but you need life experiences for your mind to develop. Discovery's materialism and the fact it thinks mind is a product of matter is cute, but outdated even in scientific circles.

    I should’ve added that I hope for some recognition of the new Klink *D7* — at least some comment from the Discovery crew along the lines of “what is that?” Oh well.

    If after this episode you still don't know who Capt. Pike is or what he stands for... I don't know what to tell ya'.

    So the whole last episode was S31 managing to acquire more than half of the sphere data from discovery and having it downloaded to their ship.. yet...

    This episode starts with Saru saying "we have determined that sphere archive could not be removed or deleted form this [Discovery] ship"
    \This is why Discovery fails. WRITe CONSISTENT STORIES.. otherwise there is no drama and no investment

    A very good episode. It made me glad I hadn't given up on this series, as I almost did. Great to see that the Stamets/Culber stuff was kept to a minimum and that there was no "Tilly" irritation. Captain Pike has turned out very new nicely, and, to me, has been the high point of this show.

    "Save all life in the galaxy including my own or save myself from a debilitating accident" - it's not much of a choice, is it? Even MU Lorca wouldn't choose differently.

    I don't have that much of a problem with them not suggesting that they destroy Discovery last week. If you consider the circumstances, the direct threat from Control was absent at the time. There was no immediate danger of Control acquiring the AI so going straight from "I can't delete the archive" to "Blow up the ship" is quite a jump. I'm sure if at the end of last week's episode, had they been unable to stop Leland Pike would've destroyed the ship. Sure, logically and practically making the suggestion makes sense but from a dramatic standpoint, you do what the writers did and save that for a later date.

    Which brings me to this week's episode when the danger to Discovery is immediate. They're severely outgunned with little hope of victory. So you bring out the Big Guns and the Measure of Last Resort for the week's Big Shocking Twist which is "Blow up and evacuate Discovery". If you pull out the Blow Up the Ship card one week, it has less impact the following week. Just saying, anyway....that's my two cents.

    Oh....and also, someone above (sorry, I don't remember who) said that it should've been someone other than Burnham's idea. I totally agree with you on that. This is the writers constantly turning to Burnham as the one who thinks of all the alternatives. I think it would've been better to go from Burnham saying, "We're outgunned" to Pike giving serious thought to the situation breaking into giving his end of episode orders. That way, your closing line is "Bring up the auto-destruction sequence. We're going to evacuate Discovery." Cut to black.

    I think people are a little hard on this episode.
    There is good stuff here.

    - While I didn't love Mount as much as most people because his performance had a few weak points here and there it was still pretty good. The script portrays that whole scene very well and that is why Mount shines so bright.

    - People point out that Mount has a less dominating command style than other captains which I find very appropriate considering that he took over the Discovery temporarily after the former captain (Lorca) destroyed the trust of the crew.

    - I think people also liked the Tenavik stuff because they changed the Klingon masks again. While watching it I wasn't even sure that he wore a full facial mask. That is still Discovery cruise control which could be the title of season 2.

    - I still find it puzzling what people accept as hard sci fi and what not. The orbs of the prophets are fine. The warp drive which lets matter and anti matter flow through something something dilithium crystals something makes the ship fly faster than light which breaks some of the most fundamental laws of physics but that is fine. Talking instantly to people hundreds of light years away through "subspace" is fine. Giant snowflakes flying around with warp speed eating planets are fine. Super powerful species 8472 living in "liquid space" just flying in to quickly destroy everything also fine but time crystals and mycelial networks. Pure fantasy.

    - The CGI again looks pretty great.

    - Scenes where the crew interacts are nice.

    - Even the interactions between Spock and Michael feel pretty natural at this point.

    - The pacing was good for the most part.

    These are a few parts that were done well and I could name more.

    It sometimes seems that people like and dislike in waves here. And right now we are more in a dislike wave. I often like to think about the bigger picture which means that in my opinion season 2 is a big improvement over season 1 which is pretty much like it was with all the better Trek shows. Discovery is also already better than Enterprise which was at the same time bland and insulting "We are Americans... I mean we are Humans and we will do what we want but hey aren't we totally lovable in our blandness. Oh and look we have our own seven of nine from the start and the captain has a dog. How adorable." I stopped watching Enterprise after season 1. I stopped watching Voyager somewhere around season 4 or 5 because of bland and inconsistent characters and stories and of course... Jeri Ryan. For me despite some serious flaws Discovery surpasses both these shows because it took chances which Enterprise and Voyager did not and it appears to me that they now listen to fans and tweak the formula. That's why I see most of season 2 with a more kind view than many because I see the improvements and I hope it is a precursor to a fully matured season 3.

    wolfstar said:
    "I'm not clear on the bursts thing either.

    As MadManMUC writes, we're told in Brother that seven signals have been detected spread out over a range of 30,000 light years, all appearing within the same 24 hour period. We're shown images with their locations on the map. Discovery heads to the location of the nearest of these red bursts, which is the asteroid debris field in Brother. So far, so clear."

    I remember season 2 of Enterprise, the infamous Borg episode (which I liked, btw). A few moments before they managed to destroy the augmented Borg shuttle, they detected a subspace message directed towards the Delta quadrant. They estimated that it would take the signal 200 years to get there.
    Talk about inconsistency.

    @The Gorn

    'the infamous Borg episode (which I liked, btw)'

    Brave of you to admit this in public, I can respect that! :D

    MadManMUC said:

    "Brave of you to admit this in public, I can respect that! :D"

    My pleasure. lol

    "Well ... I don't know how I feel about this yet, but it seems the season finale is going to be ... interesting:"

    Well, it's ... different.

    But with the whole universe constantly revolving around Mary Sue Burnham, wherever she might be, and with the same quality writing staff, what could possibly go wrong?

    L'Rell looked weird -- not just her puffy face, but the hair and the outfit.

    I also rather liked Tenavik. I took it that his age was not only physical appearance, but a product of living through or looking into many windows of time, perhaps sometimes in loops.

    I hate the pressing to get Culber and Stamets back together. Culber's sense of disconnection from the life previously lived by his original model made perfect sense.

    'I hate this pressing to get Culber and Stamets back together'
    I agree, and in reality I think it would be more likely to push people apart. Why can't Culber have the time to work out who he is and what he wants, and Stamets meet someone new and stop the love sick puppy routine!

    @ Artymiss and Peremensoe
    I disagree. They are in fact still married. Is Stamets supposed to find somebody new while his actual husband is still on the ship? First he loses his husband and then he comes back but his born again husband doesn't want him anymore. That is a pretty rough deal. Thats half a dozen traumas right there.

    And Culber has a mental illness probably depersonalization disorder plus PTSD both seem very severe. He should be in therapy daily and long term.

    @Peremensoe @Artymiss

    I feel pressing to get them back together will be problematic: even if they get back together, it would be empty, like a very basic fairy story ending "and they lived happily ever after".

    There wouldn't be any exploration of the actual difficulty of the relationship or of Culber himself. Culber must be going through a very unique kind of PTSD + identity crisis. 6 months of hell, death, your body not being your actual body are not something a real person will ever be ready for. What are the actual psychological effects, and how does one cope? This is what science fiction is supposed to be, exploring hypothetical situations. Unfortunately, it seems we will setup a hypothetical situation, then not explore it, and just try to glimpse it once in a while through the (good) acting of Culber.

    Stamet's predicament (assuming someone is dead, then finding them alive) has been explored many times before, but in this case, Stamet's seems to be a one-note representation of that.

    Even in a five 5 minutes scene, a minimally meaningful exploration of these issues is possible, but oh well.

    Are you sure they're married? I know they were in a long term relationship and shared quarters but I don't recall it mentioned that they were married. I could've blinked and missed it the speed Discovery goes at though!

    yeah, it was mentioned but I also had to look it up at memory alpha.

    @Panagiotis Karatasios

    'so kirk in tos has nothinng to know about all this garbage.'

    To be fair, Kirk had his own hands full. Whether it was with problems, or with alien boobs.

    I've come to accept STD's existence. I still it overall shit, but I accept that it's here, and it's not going anywhere. And neither is SMG, we're stuck with her, too.

    But, my wishes — my *big* wishes — for S03 are:

    • Simplification. Stop trying to pack in A-, B-, C-, D-, E-, and F- plots into a 46-minute show. It should come as no surprise to the producers and writers that the strongest S02 episodes also followed a simple A/B-plot structure. And the more you simplify, to better you can keep internal continuity on an even keel, and the better-focused/thought-out and compelling the stories are. (I'm looking at you, Seven Signals clusterfuck);

    • Trim the casting fat. Do we need Linus the Sneezing Saurian? No. Do we need Agent Mouthbreather from Qo'noS/Section 31? No. Do we need two or three baddies with their own agendas working at cross-purposes? No. What we have is a perfectly fine bridge crew/senior staff we're dying to get to know (Detmer & Co). Trekkies love bridge crews and senior staff. It's true. Please stop red-shirting them in favour of packing in two or three semi-random chumps ever week. Give them the prominence, and let us really get to know them now. Not like poor Airiam;

    • Sloooooooooow down. I've nothing against a bit of action-adventure in my Trek, but really: sloooooow the fuck down. And that means: pacing, cinematography, editing. And mix it up. Again, the strongest S02 episodes were a balanced mix of world-building (such as it is), character work, plot forwarding, issues/ethics, and action;

    • No more fan service. Please. I'm begging you. No. More. Fan. Service. Try to make this show stand on its own now, and not on the back of superficial fan nostalgia things.

    I'm sure I'll come up with more wishes as time goes on. But these are my big ones.

    I don't suppose it's worth pointing out the problem of reconciling the level of prosthetic technology shown with Airiam with Pike's post-accident condition, beep-chair etc.

    So many problems that DSC suffers from thanks to the pointless decision to make it yet another prequel series. DS9 had ended with a perfectly good set-up a for a new adversary race with the Breen, and left them such a blank slate that we never even saw their faces onscreen. Virtually the same story as S1 could have been told without mucking around with the Klingons or otherwise getting tangled up in past continuity.

    'reconciling the level of prosthetic technology'
    I've been pondering that since I saw this week's episode. Why would Pike be doomed to spend the rest of his life severely disfigured stuck in that chair given the advances in medical technology that made Airiam possible? I suppose I should just stop expecting Discovery to make sense by now...


    It is not that obvious to say that Stamets and Culber are still married. There is a case to be made that new-Culber is like Ezri Dax -- she who had the memories and some of the personality of Jadzia Dax, but was still not necessarily Jadzia Dax. Old-Culber's memory "engrams" are the connection between the two Culbers just like the Dax symbiote is the connection between Jadzia and Ezri. But new-Culber, is a new person. This just becomes easier to tell in the case of Jadzia->Ezri Dax because of the change in appearance; the specifics of the old->new Culber transformation make him look exactly like, and have the memories of old-Culber; making everyone on the ship as well as us, the audience, assume that he is the same guy. Think about it this way, if the only way for the spore world to bring him back was to imprint his memory patterns into a body that was not generated from his genetic code, it would be a completely different looking person who had the memories of Culber. Would we still call him Culber that easily? I don't think so. I submit that even if new-Culber is in a body almost identical to old-Culber, the answer should remain the same.

    The philosophical question aside, it is quite likely that legally new-Culber is treated as an entirely new entity, who is not married to Stamets. Stamets' husband is and remains dead. Can such a new entity be integrated into Starfleet? There have been many unique individuals, the only ones of their kind, to have become members of Starfleet, so there must be some procedure for it. I would think this is the procedure they will use to "reinstate" (actually just instate) new-Culber - that would be a good legal work around for him being declared dead as well.

    So is L'rell and Ash's son aging rapidly? Or does time flow differently on Borth? the episode doesn't make it clear, but seeing the plant demonstration it should be the former, which is ridiculous.

    Why is Pike told that when he takes the crystal his future is set? What are the rules with these time crystals? Why is Pike choosing himself to beam down alone? Why isn't he shown his future with Vina? Is this Star Trek or Lord of the Rings?

    Where did Georgeio disappear to? Is Culber now wearing his hair the same way he always did because he's ready to go back to Stamets? Why is Micheal "the only variable"? What makes her so important?

    I'll stop here.

    Well, part of me really hopes that they do blow up Discovery, but of course they won't, or if they do, they will have to find another name for the series.

    @ Daya
    I understood it differently. The Culber we have now is an identical copy down to the memories. It is more akin to a transporter than to a symbiont. A transport turns you into energy patterns and then turns you back into matter. I think this is quite similar to what Culber experienced. What is different here are the six month of horrible nightmare he had to endure.

    This may be sloppy storytelling but we haven't heart anything about a divorce. Either they just didn't bother to mention it because these two will get together for sure or they didn't have a divorce.

    " it is quite likely that legally new-Culber is treated as an entirely new entity"
    He takes up his old position as chief medical officer which seems highly illogical if he would legally be a new person. If he were a new person then he wouldn't even be in Starfleet and certainly not chief medical officer. It is different to the situation with Thomas Riker where we had two identical people living different lives from some point on. In any sense of the word the new Culber is the old Culber minus a few scars. I get your point, though. You could call Culber a perfect clone with identical memories but that really begs the question what does identical mean? I doubt that they will dive into these questions and our debate here is probably already deeper then what they have in storage. ;)

    Pike is not doomed to be disfigured & stuck in a chair. That is an idea of disability from the 1960s, but we should be farther today.

    It‘s well possible that it‘s his choice: we know he distrusts technology & after the Airiam event he may well reject tech that would make him susceptible to hacking. The Airiam event could also explain why this level of technology disappears between this show and TOS.

    Everyone has broken this one down rather well, but I just want to highlight one point.

    Re: Pike. To paraphrase above, this not a fantasy element, it’s maybe the most ridiculous, arbitrary and obvious plot device ever concieved. What’s more, it is exactly the kind of thing people (rightly imo) despise about the SW prequels, this lowest possible effort “storytelling” method that seems to anyways rely on drilling down into every piece of previously established lore and making it worse in the process. Yes, Anson Mount gave a great performance, but put that aside. Before, Pike was someone who was injured saving others in a tragic accident. Now, he is someone who traded a “time crystal” for being locked into a horrific injury at some time in the future, in order to save “all sentient life in the galaxy”. Ask yourself which of these is more relatable.

    You know what, the best way to handle these things is to not consider Discovery as canon. That's what I've been trying to do and the show is much more enjoyable this way. As a Star Trek prequel it simply doesn't work, well-executed fan service not withstanding.

    Just imagine it's in an alternate universe or something.


    Yes, thanks for the discussion. This is exactly what I meant in a comment above, these are the issues we were used to Star Trek taking up; and *then* us fans debating endlessly, not in stead of! :)

    I do not disagree with you. But I would put Culber's situation as somewhere between Ezri Dax's and Thomas Riker's. I think, for each occasion in Culber's life where he feels different than old-Culber did, he himself must be questioning whether this is because of the Ship of Theseus effect or because of the PTSD. This would make his problems much more difficult to work through than a normal PTSD survivor. Even if all his problems were actually PTSD problems, how will he ever be able to believe that that's just what the case is, and he is "supposed" to go back to being the old Culber?

    On the legality issue, I agree that an efficient society would just assign him the identity of the original Culber. But regulation is hardly efficient, especially in corner cases; which is why my estimate that the easiest way to get him on duty might be to declare him a new person. Think about it from the databases perspective -- would it be easier to change the entire Starfleet-wide HR program (or Federation-wide citizen registry program) to allow a single person multiple lives, or would it be easier to just add a new entry? Just give him a new employee code / SSN and be done with it. I'd do the latter.

    Also, I do not know he is back to being CMO. Whether legal or not, I would not make a person suffering from heavy PTSD and identity crisis the CMO of my ship if I were captain. Allowing him to be a doctor is a different matter, but CMO, I don't think so.

    @Another Michael: I see your point; but this particular retcon does explain some things better. For example, why was Spock so concerned about Pike's disability and last days, as to imperil himself with court martial and summary execution? People have accidents all the time. Why does Pike deserve a better outcome than the rest of humanity? And now we can say that Pike sacrificed himself to save the entire Federation; and hence Spock ready to sacrifice himself to get Pike to that hospice on Talos IV. I understand your point about the SW prequels (also applies to sequels I think) completely. But mayyyybe this episode's messing with Star Trek lore was actually well done.

    @Lynos: I know. Not thinking about canon makes it easier to enjoy the show. But if you let go of the continuity in your mind, Discovery feels more like Andromeda or Farscape. Like an epic rather than a tale with a moral. We want Star Trek to be Aesop's Fables not the Arabian Nights.

    This episode was so off the wall crazy i actually enjoyed it.

    Really liked how they addressed the Pike endgame situation. Actually very smart, much smarter than I would have given the writers credit for. Made Pike a very admirable character in an earnest way that is unfortunately missing from a lot of our modern anti-“heroes”.

    Was a little over the top with the melting face and I wish we got a couple flashing lights but darn good!

    Through the Valley of Shadows
    Season 2, Episode 12
    Mal’s review before Jammer’s

    3 Stars

    “Incoming transmission from Amanda Greystone”

    - Or was that Cylon-Zoe’s mom’s name?

    A few weeks ago, Amanda Greyson, wife of Sarak of Vulcan, tells Captain Pike that her son did not kill those starfleet personnel. Her son is kind and gentle, she said. And indeed he is. This week’s enjoyable outing “Through the Valley of Shadows" starts with Amanda calling Michael to check up on her after her foster-daughter’s clearly traumatic experience of meeting the biological mother. The call happened because Spock thoughtfully remembered to contact his mother (hint, hint) and caught her up on the family gossip - specifically what his sister had just gone through. What are good sons and good brothers for? And Spock is the best brother. To Sybock. And to Kirk, his brother from another mother. And now to Michael. The simple vignette with Amanda ends on an equally simple yet powerful exhortation: “Take care of each other. I love you both.” Amanda may not be the best actor, but we scifi fans in general (and Trekkies in particular) are used to bad actors. It is the thought that counts.

    As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and staff, they comfort me.

    This enjoyable Chris Pike outing is enjoyable because Pike is enjoyable. It is shocking what good leadership can do, and what bad leadership has wrought. The poor crew of the Discovery, refugees many of them from the Shenzhou, were beaten and bruised at the hands of Lorca. But now, one man - and two of his Enterprise crew - have vowed to drive back the night and rekindle the light of the Federation. On the Starship Discovery, hope lives again! (Am I the only one who misses Andromeda?).

    We are treated this week to enjoyable mess-hall banter. I have four 20-something youngsters who work for me, and they like to play this game called “Cities", where you have to name a city that starts with the last letter of the city the previous person said. Watching the below-decks crew play their "opposite compound word" game seemed very familiar and was a pleasure.

    And we get a little of Janet Reno (was the ex-AG also a lesbian? they do look similar), trying to play marriage counsellor. Not exactly riveting, but I appreciate the time this episode takes to stop and take stock of where things are in folks’ lives. Foster family - Michael/Spock/Amanda. Gay family - Stamets/Culber. Interracial family - L’Rell/Ash Tyler/and baby. IDIC. Family matters.

    There is a lot to be said for comfort. And after decades and decades and decades of Trek, nothing feels quite so comfortable as a nice A/B set of stories. Plot A, Captain Pike and the Temple of Doom. Plot B, Spock and Michael’s crazy adventures.

    When Pike beams down to the temple planet, this show felt to me for the very first time like TREK! When he looked up - way up - at L’Rell’s son, with those two bat’lets menacingly close at each side, my mind raced back to Chris Pine at the opening of Star Trek Beyond (my favorite of the nu-Trek films) staring way up at those tiny, tiny aliens; or further back to Archer (maybe because the uniforms are so similar); and further, much further back, to Kirk’s trial, where they too looked way, way up a Klingon judge - before he and McCoy were sent to Klingon Siberia.

    Last week I re-watched The Cage, maybe after more than a decade. A few parts really stuck out (“I can't get used to having a woman on the bridge” - seems like he finally has!), but mostly it is interesting how little Pike is really in charge in the Pilot. Pike spent a good chunk of the episode in a, well, cage! It is an interesting command style, and the light touch is clearly very effective. Here on Discovery, Pike has singlehandedly turned around the fortunes for one of the most unfortunate crews of the Federation. Maybe only Captain Ransom’s crew on the Equinox (VOY) came remotely close to this level of breakdown. Pike, so ideal that the Federation sent him far away so he could repopulate civilization if the Klingon war went south (“Sir, I was wondering. Just curious. Who would have been Eve?”), has redeemed the ship, and thereby the show. It will be sad to see him go.

    But go he must. As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and staff, they comfort me.

    I particularly loved Pike’s catechism when faced with the inevitable: “You are a starfleet Captain. *breathes* You believe in service. Sacrifice. Compassion. And love. *breathes*.

    Service, sacrifice, compassion and love - let these be your rod and your staff. They will comfort you.

    Anson Mount plays it perfectly. He has earned that chair. As L’Rell and Ash Tyler’s son (@Booming - LOL - Television - love it!) says, “I honor you, Captain.”

    I will not waste time on the B story. Save to say that the more they keep SMG in the B or C plots instead of the A plot, the better things will go for this show. When a zombie Control freak acts better than your show lead… .

    Nor will I go into the time crystals, though I find it fascinating to think this whole season arc - Control, Red Angel, etc. - is all the Federation’s fault (Leland, Michael’s mom, etc.), and Klingon time agents were just trying to contain the damage and get their crystal back! But there is no point speculating about a time travel plot where literally anything can happen.

    I’ll end here, but with this friendly reminder from our own Mr. Spock: call your mother.


    @Another Michael

    How is doing the right thing even though you know its going to mean you will face a difficult future because of it not relatable?

    It took me until this episode to realize just how strongly this show resembles the Mass Effect game franchise both in theme and structure, just with a Star Trek coat of paint. The moment it clicked for me was the boss battle against Control while wearing EV suits. Looking back, the last few episodes have been rife with parallels. Or at least, it certainly seems that way to me; I'd like to find any confirmation on influences by the folks making the show happen.

    The eternal recurrence/amor fati moment with Pike really felt like the heart of the episode, and I honestly would have loved a whole episode around it--i could easily imagine a story constructed around efforts to cheat the fate shown that ultimately fall apart, slowly building to acceptance--but I'll take what we get, a horrified Pike refusing to be tempted even in the literal face of disaster. Control is still Borg lite, but mechanically scary enough to get the job done.

    I'm getting strong end of Xindi superweapon plot vibes: a sense that the writing team is solid and has ideas, but that they've inherited a lemon of a season-long plot arc to put to sleep with some dignity. It's late S3 ENT territory, hopefully approaching S4: I'm excited to see it steadily improving (although this episode was a little unambitious), but definitely won't miss this season when it's gone.

    @ Daya
    " these are the issues we were used to Star Trek taking up; and *then* us fans debating endlessly, not in stead of! :)"
    It is fun to debate this stuff but the crazy part is we will never get any answers. But that was kind of always true for Trek. In earlier iterations they war just smarter in hiding it or we didn't care about that much because our standards were lower. Think about Guinan. Where does she get all these alcoholic beverages from? Is Guinan rich? Is she an alcohol thief? Does she smuggle it on board? Is Guinan horribly in debt? People don't pay her for the good stuff. Did she just go to Starfleet and said: "Admiral, I want to open a bar on your flagship." Admiral:" Sure, how much alcohol do you need?" So many questions.

    "Whether legal or not, I would not make a person suffering from heavy PTSD and identity crisis the CMO of my ship if I were captain." I wouldn't either but they probably have super great drugs for PTSD so it's fine. :)

    "i could easily imagine a story constructed around efforts to cheat the fate shown that ultimately fall apart, slowly building to acceptance"

    - Jeanne

    Oh, I agree completely. Angel - the Joss Whedon show - was particularly good at these. In the Season 2 episode "The Trial", Angel jumps in a swimming pool with no water and undergoes a series of trials to save Darla from dying. And though he passes each test, in the end there is no cheating fate. Or take the great Season 5 episode "Destiny", where Spike beats Angel to the holy grail, only to find the goblet filled with Mountain Dew. Or one of my favorites, the Season 4 episode "Awakening", where Angel goes on a quest to find a sword to defeat the beast - which would have been a hell of a lot better alternative to taking out his soul - but alas it was all a delusion.

    In the end these Big Damn Heroes choose not to run away from fate. They choose to walk through the valley of the shadow of death.

    "but I'll take what we get"

    - Jeanne

    Indeed. When I want introspection, I always have Babylon 5.

    In the Babylon 5 season 3 episode "Passing Through Gethsemane", brother Edward tells Delenn and Lennier about the keystone to his faith:

    "On the night before our Lord was crucified he spent the night alone in the garden at Gethsemane. And he knew they were gonna come for him, and in a moment of weakness he asked if this cup could pass from him. If he could be spared the pain and death that would come with the morning.

    And of course, the cup would not pass, and the soldiers would come to Gethsemane. But he did not have to be there when they arrived.

    He could have chosen to leave to postpone the inevitable for a few hours or even days. He knew what would happen, but he chose to stay. To sacrifice himself, and thus atone for the sins of others.

    It's a very fragile, human moment.

    And I've often thought about that night.
    And I honestly don't know if I would have had the courage to have stayed."

    Pike stayed. To save us all.

    Re: some of the comment abouts the fantasy element with the time crystals.

    I'm actually willing to give this a pass. After all, if we have orbs and 'prophets' in DS9, why not time-manipulating green crystals in this show?

    I mean, I don't particularly *like* the idea, but it's not like it's without precedent, unfortunately.

    @ Daya

    I watched The Menagerie many times and never felt like Spock's actions were unjustified. They were logical. For him. It was about friendship. Which I feel is much more powerful than "we need to help him because he saved the galaxy once so we owe him one". Spock doesn't consider if it's fair or not. He just thinks it's the right thing to do and he risks everything to do it. His loyalty to his former captain is really touching.

    Now, you can retcon this and say that he behaved like that because of the events in this episode, but since obviously it is never mentioned in The Menagerie, it doesn't gel. If The Menagerie was made post-discovery, this would surely be mentioned. The fact that it's not just shows again how clumsy and poor was the decision to make Discovery a prequel classic Trek and to have it mess with established characters and stories. I get that this season is partly about Pike, but I don't get what they want to say other then give us dollops of fan service, stuff that if done well and convincingly, will trigger a Pavlovian response of delight in almost every trekkie in existence. It's really cheap manipulation and a crotch from a show that messes up whenever it needs to develop its own original characters and plots. Saru is perhaps the exception to that but even his rather good episode was half-baked.
    Let's face it, Discovery is not much without Pike and Spock and Talos IV, just a mediocre action/adventure show in space. And if Control turns to be the Borg it will just prove my point. Those Section 31 ships that have been taken over by Control (assimilated?) and are now chasing Discovery sure feel like the Borg.

    I don't consider Discovery non-Trek, just not Trek that takes place in the same universe as TOS, TNG etc. It's like the Star Trek novels. The novels are not canon. They tell stories about favorite characters and fill up the gaps between years and events, but they take place in their own universe. I just refuse to believe everything that I see and hear in Discovery actually took place 10 years before Kirk. It's not just that the tech is way off, it's the characters, the tone of the show, and the plots. The two shows seem to exist in completely different worlds.

    I will say that Anson Mount is great as Pike but I wish he had more to do then going back and forth in time for our benefit and having Micheal boss him around.

    @Booming: Yes, not getting answers was always part of Trek. Your funny Guinan example apart, in many good Trek episodes the morality play is developed in such a way that there will be no clear correct answer. I can point to so many. So we are used to not getting answers. Not getting questions (even though they seem to exist) is new! :)

    @Lynos: I understand what you are saying, and agree with most of it. Most Star Trek shows till now were more loosely connected, referring each other rather minimally, and developing their own strands. In that sense, Discovery seems a little bit more invasive and disrespectful. I too think of Disco like I think of ST novels (or fanfic), sometimes I find the take interesting and a possible history, but not part of my mental canon, at least when I go back and watch TOS.

    @ Daya
    "Not getting questions (even though they seem to exist) is new! :)"
    I guess that is one of the most fundamental problems (or advantage for some) of Discovery.

    I want to point out that the other Trek shows always plundered earlier shows. I find it odd that people are so pissed when Discovery does it.
    We already have three shows that play on a ship called Enterprise. There is the Cristopher Pike medal. Worf was on TNG and DS9 as was O'Brien.
    Several TOS Enterprise characters appeared on the TNG Enterprise. DS9's pilot is build around one of the most beloved episodes of TNG and at the end SIsko and Picard shake hands and the Enterprise flies away. Gowron, Nachayev, Lwaxana Troy and so on. Star Trek never had a problem of using older iterations to boost numbers.
    Why do people mind it so much here?

    I thought yet again Anson Mount was excellent in this episode, especially the non-dialogue work with his eyes and facial expressions conveying the horror that Pike knows is ahead of him. I agree it's not necessarily the driver for Spock's actions in the menagerie and would have preferred to have seen a more developed relationship between them in discovery. I think pike is depicted as a symbol of what's at the core of the federation and that's why Spock would defy orders to help him. I'm wondering if pike will actually remember the events shown to him ultimately as I still suspect some kind of season finale reset event or sacrifice that reconciles the Spock/Burnham canon issue. On a side note, i'm kind of hoping that if there is a tie in to the borg, it's more that section 31 had been experimenting with recovered Borg nanobots and it has become its own thing rather than an origin story for the Borg. I've not seen or read potential spoilers though!

    @ booming

    Cross-pollination between the different Trek shows of the 90's existed for sure, but it did not involve retconning past events and changing characters motivations in retrospect. The fact that Worf and O'Brian move from the Enterprise to DS9 doesn't change anything. Same goes for TOS characters visiting the Enterprise D bridge, or the fact Emissary branches off of Best of Both Worlds. Note that the movement here is always forward, never backwards. It also helps that these shows were done around the same time with the same crews and the same cast, helping everything look and feel consistent.

    Enterprise (the show) did invent alien species and conflicts that were never heard of in Kirk's and Picard's time, but it never dared touch truly iconic moments and characters. Even when it did a direct homage to TOS with "In a Mirror, Darkly", it was about the Defiant, not the Enterprise.

    Daya put it very well. Discovery is invasive. It's a bunch of people who have no idea what they're doing changing the history of the franchise and of beloved characters, they are like a bull in a china shop.

    @ Lynos
    "Note that the movement here is always forward, never backwards"
    But criticizing Discovery for that is kind of a hollow critique because it is a prequel while DS9 to TNG and TNG to TOS were sequels. Even if Discovery moves forward it can never be more forward than a show that happened after Discovery's time.
    If you say that prequels shouldn't be allowed to use material or characters from other Trek shows while it is ok for sequels then you would limit prequels even more in what they can do.

    "Enterprise (the show) did invent alien species and conflicts that were never heard of in Kirk's and Picard's time, but it never dared touch truly iconic moments and characters."

    Is this a good thing???

    It was one of the reasons why it was the dullest, the most unimaginative Trek series ever. Here you have a first-time prequel series (which would not have been my first choice, let me be clear, I prefer moving forward), which represents a great opportunity to expand on some of the events that took place in the previous series and fill the background of some of the known characters - it can easily be done every now and then while still developing its own adventures - and instead, Enterprise does an hourly borefest of gigantic proportions for the most part because it would rather do a bunch of otiose, hourly night-time stories. It woke up in the late seasons, but, too little too late.

    If I am watching a prequel, the last thing I want is a rehash of previous shows, done in the same format, and on top of that, "not dare to touch other shows" mentality. If it's a prequel, it needs to act like one. Develop the background of some of the things, events, or characters we watched in previous shows. In this sense, DSC is doing exactly what Enterprise should have done but did not do.

    Now, is DSC overdoing it? Yes, I can certainly agree to that (MadmanMuc's fourth bullet point in one of his earlier post is right on target - as are the other three by the way). They should have done it here and there, instead of integrating it into a whole season arc. Lethe was a great example of background character growth for Sarek for example. I am loving some of Spock's background but it would have been nicer to have him in less of the season (thus my wish in the first few weeks, contrary to most people including Jammer, that Spock only appear late in the season).

    But back to my larger point.. I am glad Discovery is revisiting known characters and events and not remaining in the 'Enterprise-safe-zone.' Take Pike, for example. We had a captain who appeared in an originally unaired (only 20+ years later) pilot episode and a total of 2,5 episodes out of 700+ episodes (and three times in the Kelvin timeline), and DSC is doing what it should do, which is to take this character, fill his unknown background, and enrich his profile. And honestly, his accident was never thought much about until the 2009 movie news came out that his character was going to be on it (heck much of Star Trek's audience did not even know who Pike was).

    Again, I would prefer moving forward, but free reign on background-character development is *the* one advantage you have as a prequel, so it should be used.

    "...... (and three times in the Kelvin timeline)...."
    I meant to write "twice," sorry.

    Mertov said: "If I am watching a prequel, the last thing I want is a rehash of previous shows"

    Discovery might not be a "rehash of Trek" and "Trek tropes", but it is a rehash of every other middle-brow action series on TV over the past decade or so. When previous Trek was bad, it was bad in a way reasonably unique to Trek and Trek formulae. Discovery is bad in a more generic, commonplace way. It's the same level of writing as popular but awful Marvel series', or ensemble fare like "Criminal Minds" or "Navy NCIS", only now in Trek drag.

    Mertov said: "If I am watching a prequel, the last thing I want is a rehash of previous shows"

    Are we sure "Discovery" is a prequel? Why isn't it a sequel to "Enterprise"? Should a sequel show fidelity to its predecessor?

    Regardless, "prequels" almost always de-mythologise, neuter, needlessly fill in blanks and demystify what came before. They tend to be unnecessary.

    The Trek universe is so huge that a "before Kirk" series could have easily existed without running into Spock, Pike, Mudd, Amanda, Mirror Universes, the Enterprise and so forth. The effect of "Discovery" hasn't been to "flesh out" and "deepen" the TOS era, but to make it less mysterious, less strange and much much SMALLER.

    And this is the end result of most long-running franchises; they become parasitic, cannibalistic and necrophilic, constantly eating their own tail and making love to dead artifacts. Things like commerce and brand recognition begin to trump art and the individuality of writers.

    Booming said: "We already have three shows that play on a ship called Enterprise."

    And so yet another show connected to the USS Enterprise and its mythos, is absolute overkill.

    And its worth remembering that, as early as season 1, TNG's world-building was smart, clever and went out of its way to envision what the Federation and the other cultures looked like decades after Kirk's era. You got a sense of the same universe, the same mythology, the same history, but one that had been logically extended forward. The entire 7 seasons of TNG only called back to Kirk's era a handful of times, and often in mediocre/bad episodes.

    "Enterprise", meanwhile, wasn't supposed to be called "Enterprise" or set on the Enterprise. These were choices forced on the writers by producers for commercial reasons. Rather than mimicking the TOS format, it was also supposed to be a tale of how the Federation/Starfleet formed. Using this - a needlessly forced connection enforced by producers - as an example of "why Discovery should be allowed to do what it's doing" seems bad. Indeed, "Discovery", like "Enterprise", is pandering to the same hacky whims of moneymen.

    Beyond this, I'm sure no one would mind a pre-TOS series centered on Pike and the Enterprise, or a pre-TOS series that "fleshes out Spock" or "fleshes out Mudd" etc etc. What people object to is the cynical reasons these call-backs are employed, the needlessness of it, how frequent they are, and the dishonesty of it all. A great writer who really wanted to explore any of these things, would not write this stuff as Disco has. And with every episode, you can sense the writers trying to salvage this material, to insert themselves into a tale imposed upon them that they do not want to be writing.

    If Discovery season 3 is to fix the problems of Season 1 and 2, it has to ditch Kurtzman and give much more say to its writers.

    @ Booming

    I simply responded to your post where you said that Trek shows always "plundered" each other. :-)
    Obviously it's not the same thing, but that's the point I was making.

    I think if you set out to do a prequel show to a 50 year-old franchise your writing should be top notch and Discovery's writing is not top notch. It's... serviceable. And also, you need to be very careful because what you do will change the way people experience the franchise from here on and I feel like they are bulldozing it to a degree with some clumsy writing and ideas.

    @ Mertov

    What can I say, I liked Enterprise much more than i like Discovery. For all its faults, it still *felt* like Star Trek and I liked all of the characters. Discovery for me is operating in the uncanny valley. It has Star Trek nomenclature and it uses old Trek storylines, but it doesn't *feel* right. There is also a physical/practical reason to that. This is the first piece of official Trek media not produced in Paramount studios. It's shot in Toronto with mostly Canadian crews and Canadian writers and directors. I used to live in Toronto and I remember how excited I felt when I realized they're going to shoot the new Trek show in my town, but I think this move to a different location had a big impact on the show look and feel.

    Anyway, I do like that they are focusing on Pike but I think the writing is sloppy. Unless this is leading to some major character development I don't know what the point is other than saying "Look! It's burned-up Pike from The Menagerie!"

    I am intrigued as to how they are going to handle the move to the Enterprise. But for me the longer Discovery goes on the more I view it as fan fiction on a grand scale. Maybe it was inevitable that a new Trek show in this day and age, where everything is either serialized or grim or usually both, this was the Trek show we were going to get.

    I don't think they do "plunder", there's some cross over of characters for example but at the same time DS9 could exist quite happily without O'Brien and Worf - I don't think them being there is built into the overall story arc in any essential way. Some other engineer or Klingon could have played the roles without it impacting on anything much in the DS9 scheme of things. Having them there gives a sense of continuity and familiarity and we get to see their characters develop beyond the confines of TNG. And it all feels like the same universe (and I suppose having characters appear from other shows adds to that sense) - I don't really care much about canon but Discovery feels/looks like a different place, it feels much smaller and if you took away all they've mined from earlier Trek shows I'm not sure what would be left! And it comes across to me as 'plundering' in a really cynical way.

    'Pike is not doomed to be disfigured and stuck in a chair. That is an idea of disability from the 1960s but we should be farther today'
    Well I agree with you but unfortunately Discovery in 2019 still has Pike in that chair and seriously disfigured as a nightmare image of disability, he looks in an even more dreadful place and state than he did in the 1960s!


    Just to be clear - because I don't disagree with much of what you are saying -, I don't hate Enterprise at all. I watched it weekly when it aired for the first time (then again, I did so with every series).

    I am only talking in relative terms. Among Star Trek series, it's my least favorite, but guess what? I watch a lot of TV shows and if I happen to run into a rerun of an Enterprise episode while I am flipping channels, I will gladly stay on it and watch Enterprise. Nevertheless, I like it the least out of Trek series, so to speak.

    It's all a matter of personal taste.

    I also don't have a pre-disposed hatred for Kurtzman's writing like Trent seems to have (I did not like some of Kurtzman's previous stuff, but there are also some that I liked), or pre-disposed dislike of Marvel series like some have expressed before (I like some of those movies while I dislike others), or pre-disposed notion that today's viewers represent a lower-IQ echelle compared to the audience of 80s and 90s, or a pre-disposed apprehension toward the idea of meddling with iconic characters and moments in Star Trek (like you seem to do) if it's done well, and I believe this season of DSC has done very well by Pike. You obviously do not agree, and that's fine. Like I said, you make a lot of good points and yes, sometimes it does feel like fan fiction.

    For third season, I would rather see all the extra casting outside of Discovery's crew ditched and the ship have its own adventures, and once in a while engage in fleeting fan-service moments, but from what the first two seasons show, I am not confident that it will happen. We can't turn back time of course, if we could, I would personally prefer a past where Star trek did not venture into prequels in its TV series and kept moving forward (fine if they want to delve into the past in movies). I agree with Mosley above, it's just too limiting.

    @ Artymiss
    I would argue that Worfs presence is essential to the story, especially the Klingon war and Gowrons fate, the guy that Worf and his brother installed as leader of the Klingon Empire in TNG. Without Worf Gowron wouldn't have been chancellor and without Worf Gowron would still be chancellor.

    And O'Briens hatred for Cardassians which was established in TNG plays into quite a few of the earlier stories of DS9.

    But I get the disappointment many have with Discovery. For me it's two main points. It is too dark and I mean that literally. In Star Trek the rooms were always brightly lit. That may sound like an unimportant detail but for me it is pretty important because it shows on a very simple level that Star Trek portrays a bright future. For some reason in Discovery they often use cold colors while TNG's (beige, orange, most of the uniforms have warm colors) and TOS (a lot of red and whatever color appears during an acid trip) often used warm colors. It is a strange design choice in Discovery which in my opinion achieves the opposite. The rooms often seem cold and even unappealing.

    The other thing is that in earlier Treks people where generally more hopeful. Everybody is at least respectful often far more than that. These people live in an utopia and it shows. I never get that feeling from Discovery.

    @Artymiss, adding Worf DS9 contributed to the story in other important ways. TNG was famously utopian, whereas DS9 started to push the boundaries and question if utopia could survive in times of war. In theory, DS9 could have had just any generic Klingon officer, but using Worf helped highlight the differences between TNG and DS9. Especially in Season 4 of DS9, we see Worf as a fish out of water, unused to the shades of grey that Sisko and company dealt with on a regular basis. And then seeing Worf's journey on DS9, his disobeying an order and killing Gowron, all have much more depth because of the baggage and knowledge carried over from having watch the character for 7 years on TNG.

    Tyler - didn't someone gut him last week?

    Fate - the future isn't written yet, but Pike seems destined to end up as an invalid - Contradiction? (heart wrenching scene btw)

    Time Crystals - why aren't the Romulans or Section 31 invading Boreth to get these crystals?

    Other Federation Starships, or any other Alpha Quadrant races for that matter - Isn't anyone else investigating these 7 signals?

    The show isn't boring, and they've had some outstanding episodes this season, but damn if it makes any sense.

    Pike: "I can haz time crystal?"

    Wise Old Klingon Baby: "Yesh. It's a super difficult sacrifice. 1) You get to see your future, and 2) You'll know that it can't be changed (the thing you already know when someone says they're going to show you your future [not "one of your futures]. You know, the future, singular)."

    Pike: "So...I can haz time crystal and 1) I get to see into my future and know how long I'll live (score)! and 2) Know something I already know? Where do I sign up?"

    So, as long as Pike takes a look at his watch when in the future, he knows how long he has to live (i.e., how long he'll basically be invincible for) and how shitty his future is so he can carpe the fuck out of his current diems knowing he'll be healthy and vigorous until he gets locked-in-syndrome and gets to star in a Metallica video.

    Am I the only one who thought the challenge of the time crystal (what a dumb name) isn't that challenging?

    Everyone is dark and moody on this show. Pike was the one ray of sunshine, and now he's ruined too. I guess that's how the time crystals exact a price: They steal the one fun thing about the show.

    At least Tig Notaro finally told that mopey baby doctor to grow a set and go back to Stamets. Maybe now that Pike is ruined and all moody and deep, Doc will now be the happy guy on the show.

    Also, I feel so #woke after this show.

    I was initially annoyed that Pike went down on the away mission. I felt my old familiar annoyance at a Starfleet captain constantly going on away missions, like when Kirk had the con. Funny that people think SMG being involved in everything started with Discovery, when it really started with TOS and Kirk. "Let me do something!" Don't know if anyone gets that reference, but had the Internet been around then that would've been a major meme with the reaction critics and fans had to it. Damn. Pike can't catch a break. Pike always gets the "pike" in every single timeline. Guess he should've taken his mama's maiden name. He couldn't be anymore screwed if he was Stamets' side wench.

    Which brings me to how putrid the whole thing with Stamets and the doctor is. His treating Stamets like $#!% doesn't make any sense. And Discovery RomCom is a stretch under the best of circumstances. God I wish he'd stayed dead. His sudden death was one of the most impactful moments in the first season. And his return from the alien, dirty booger transporter was completely retarded. That scene with Reno ratcheted up the gag factor past 11. When she was introduced, I really thought she was going to be a good character for the show. It's been downhill ever since.

    I laughed when Control told Burnham that he'd cross the distance in .8 seconds and break her hand. He certainly didn't move that fast when Georgiou was whooping his ass, but maybe he's had an upgrade. And wth was he waiting on anyway? Control set all this up to get Burnham by herself and he spends the time screwing around, when he could've just walked up behind her before she realized and infected her with his nanites. I really hate when villains give heroes time to respond, when they should be winning the fight. So easy to write scenes where the hero already has time to respond or is barely able to keep up enough to respond to a villain's moves. So annoying that writers choose not to do that. Also, Burnham manages to keep Control from plunging her eyeball with his nanite needle, but Spock who's 3 to 4 times stronger than a human male almost gets his arm broke? Really?! Does Control really not want to win this fight?

    All in all, despite these issues, I enjoyed the episode. I think both the A and B plot worked.


    It doesn't sound like you've every watched much TOS. Also, TOS was made in an era where people were making TV shows in a way to get people to buy color TVs when B&W was dominant. However, TOS was not portrayed as some height of utopia you imagine. The Federation had a lot of problems during the era.

    TNG was about putting a warm fuzzy blanket of Utopia and cruise ship styling which was all about making people nice and comfy.

    Disco's aesthetic is less comforting, sure, but then it is a pre-TOS show in an era where on a Fed colony planet a food shortage can get half of everyone you know executed.


    You forgot that Tyler is a Klingon. And also forgot that Time Crystals fuck up everyone who touches them, so yeah, the Romulans aren't stupid since there is literaly no real upside to using them unless your upside is getting fucked over.


    You forgot that Burnham's formative years were spent on Vulcan where she was trained in Vulcan martial arts.

    People wouldn't be so confused about Discover if they actually paid attention to what they are watching. I guess this it too much to ask for many people.

    @Alan Roi

    You really don't know what you're talking about. I'm not questioning whether or not Burnham knows how to fight. That's irrelevant to her arm strength. I'm specifically talking about when she's on the ground in a compromised position. Control is leaning all of his weight on top of her and trying to jab a needle in her eye and somehow she's magically strong enough to hold the needle off until Spock can grab him and pull him off of her.

    Then in the very next few seconds Spock doesn't have the strength to prevent Control from twisting his arm and tossing him across the room, even though he started in a superior position from behind. That's ARM STRENGTH, NOT martial arts. Spock has way more of it than even a human male, but with greater strength and a better position he fails were she succeeded? Unless you're going the claim she was summoning her Vulcan Chi to hold Control off, then that quite literally has fuck all to do with "martial arts." Burnham shouldn't have been capable of doing what she did, unless SHE IS PHYSICALLY STRONGER THAN SPOCK. We know that that's not the case.

    You know. People wouldn't be so confused about my posts, if they actually took their own advice and paid attention to what they were reading. I guess this it too much to ask for certain people.

    "He couldn't be anymore screwed if he was Stamets' side wench."
    I had really hoped we would have another homophobia and misogyny free week. How disappointing.
    Well, what can you do. Maybe next week.

    @Alan Roi

    Nice reference to "The Conscience of the King", one of the best (and underrated) episodes of TOS. Since you have proved yourself to be a true fan of TOS, and are also a vehement supporter of Discovery, let me make a few observations.

    I agree with your general disdain at our complaints - many of the things we complain about are explained in the episode, or can be easily explained, or it is not as if other Star Treks haven't done stranger things. But the complaints are a symptom, I think (as complaints usually are). Many of us don't like Discovery for what it is, and end up complaining / nitpicking about whatever is easiest to complain about.

    One of the deeper complaints I have seen is that bringing in new information so close to our beloved previous information just spoils our original memories. Fans of TOS want the original charm / intrigue / mystique of TOS intact, not hyper-explained. To many it feels as if someone is unnecessarily altering our fond childhood memories. E.g. would you want someone to alter the Taj Mahal? I wouldn't. I think many feel the same about TOS. Further, the far-from-perfect-quality (this is subjective, of course) exacerbates this effect. It feels like someone added a glass skyscraper in the middle of the Taj Mahal.

    So my sincere question to you is: you are an ardent fan of both TOS and Disco. How? How do you overcome this feeling that many of us have? How do you not feel "did they really have to do that to my memory of Spock?", etc.?

    (To the rest of us: I do not ask these questions to start a flame war. If Alan chooses to answer, it will possibly be a subjective one, and we should be respectful of that. Many of us have given our own answers in the thread above, but none of us manage to be as gung-ho about Disco as Alan Roi is. So Alan's answer would be educational.)

    Not sure if it's fair to single Alan out and I don't know who this "us" is that you are referring to Daya. I am a fan of both TOS and DSC and it does not bother me one bit that backstories of TOS events and characters are explored in a prequel, in fact, I think they should (explained in detail in my last post).

    And Alan, try to tone it down. The antagonistic rhetoric undercuts (some of) your otherwise well-rounded arguments.


    There was quite literally neither homophobia, nor misogyny anywhere in my post.

    Somebody can't see straight.

    You really need to get that sudden onset macular degeneration checked before you're walking around like Spock in "Operation Annihilate."

    Sure, saying that a heterosexual man would be screwed when he would be the "side wench" of a gay man is maybe not homophobic or misogynistic in whatever 8chan sphere you normally spent your time but anywhere else it is and on so many levels.

    What glorious week we had. The intolerants were silent. More women were posting. But sadly you came back.

    'What glorious week we had. The intolerants were silent.'

    Sigh. Is it Monday, already?

    @Mertov (@Alan)

    Sorry, I did not mean to "single Alan out" in any way. My question was sincere. You had already answered that question above, as had I previously (see above). I was interested in Alan's answer to the same question, that's all. Everyone is invited to chime in as to how they manage to be fans of both TOS and DIS without suffering any cognitive dissonance, if they feel like it.

    "Us" is the unnamed "people" in Alan's post just above. I am being their provisional (uninvited) advocate, and advocates usually use pronouns that insert themselves into the party they are pleading on behalf of, even though technically they are not the party. That's what I meant by "us".

    I guess you read my comment as setting up an "Alan vs. the world" dichotomy. That was not my intention. Apologies. This goes to show one can never be too careful in using language on the internet. Thanks for pointing out the possible miscommunication on my part. Alan, my apologies if you felt like I was singling you out or ridiculing you. Quite the contrary, I admire your ability to enjoy Discovery, and am sincerely hoping to learn from your answer.

    I guess for you on the other side of the pond one would have to write: What a glorious week we almost had."
    *fingers crossed* for the next...

    "We made it through the black hole!"

    "We're free! We're going home!"

    "By Grabthar's Hammer, we live to tell the tale."

    "Sir! Time knots opening all over the place!"

    "Surrender may be the only option."

    "No! Never give up, never surrender!"

    "New orders, sir?"

    [Dramatic music intensifies]

    "New orders, sir?"

    "Activate the OMEGA 13!"


    I'm going to agree wholeheartedly with you, though, Boomer. Up until now, we'd been focussing on the episode, its content, the mechanics of the storytelling, all of these relevant things.

    Decending into personal attacks again, though ... not good. I'm not engaging with this.


    "One of the deeper complaints I have seen is that bringing in new information so close to our beloved previous information just spoils our original memories. Fans of TOS want the original charm / intrigue / mystique of TOS intact, not hyper-explained."

    I actually wouldn't have minded this kind of thing, IF IT WERE RESPECTFUL TO THE ORIGINAL MATERIAL and WELL WRITTEN. I would *love* to see a Trek show that expands on the background story for (say) Spock in a thoughtful and respectful manner.

    The problem is that Discovery isn't doing this. Insisting that Spock suddenly has a half-sister-with-a-time-travelling-mother-that's-fighting-an-uber-AI-from-the-future-who-wants-to-destroy-all-life-in-the-galaxy is hardly doing any favors for the character.

    Look... I will be the first to say that all this red angel business makes for an interesting generic sci fi story. I would have probably enjoyed watching such a film/series (especially since I'm a sucker for time travel stories). But what the heck does all this have to do with Spock? Why, in the name of the Great Bird of the Galaxy, do we need to shoe-horn this zany plot into the background of a decades-old iconic character?

    Daya, I'm not Alan, but like him I'm a massive TOS fan who enjoys Discovery. I can't speak for him, but there's two strong reasons that I enjoy this show.

    #1: It's new Star Trek that feels fresh. Until Enterprise went off the air, Star Trek had been a fixture of my TV entertainment since I was born, and I remember in the later years of Voyager and the TNG film series how annoyed I had grown with the creative forces behind the franchise. Discovery is far from a perfect show, but the high-budget, foot-to-the-floor, "Hey audience, check THIS shit out!", plot-twist heavy approach is a far cry from the stale "Archer goes to jail, again" that was making me scream in tortured frustration back in 2002.

    #2: I remind myself that every previous show had its own issues. TOS could be super cheesy and sometimes felt like it had a very limited grab-bag of cliches (God Like Beings, Kirk Beats The Computer etc). TNG's characters were so insanely boring at times, its a wonder that show was as popular as it was. DS9 had to contend with Ira Behr's insane insistence that the Ferengi were hilarious. VOY was so creatively lazy it rarely bothered to use its own premise. ENT was the very definition of mediocrity in its first two seasons. And DSC focusses too much on Burnham and doesn't stop to let the characters breathe often enough. These are flaws, yes, but to my mind they're far from dealbreakers.

    Do I get annoyed by the shoe-horning in of TOS characters like Spock? At first, yes. When the Enterprise rocked up at the end of season one, I wanted to throw rocks at my TV. But then Anson Mount as Pike stepped off the transporter pad in "Brother", and goddamn if he just hasn't been an absolute gift to the show and the franchise. And Ethan Peck has been giving us a great performance as a younger Spock; do you really not enjoy his take on the character? Does knowing he overcame a learning disability as a child weaken his TOS character? I feel like it makes him an even more impressive specimen.

    It wasn't necessary to bring these legacy characters aboard the Disco, true, and I feared the writers would fuck them up. But they haven't, and I have more faith in them as a result. I would prefer they struck out on their own, but if they can maintain this level of quality in the casting without radically re-interpreting what has come before then I'll deal with it.

    TBH, I have a feeling that the time shenanigans in this season are somehow going to remove Michael from Spock's memories altogether. That would be a plausible reason why she's never mentioned again, although the fact that Spock was well-known for keeping personal matters quiet also works just fine for me.

    Anyways. That's my two cents.

    "Everyone is invited to chime in as to how they manage to be fans of both TOS and DIS without suffering any cognitive dissonance, if they feel like it."

    I don't know Alan's position, but if may volunteer my own. My favorite Treks are TNG and DS9. They are the first I watched, but I also think they are by far the most consistent and well-made TV shows out of all the Trek incarnations. I fully accept that my opinion may be influenced by the fact that I grew up on them, but I'd like to think I can intellectually formulate some quality standards that aren't completely dependent upon my early TV viewing experiences.

    I like both TOS and DIS. TOS's first season was exemplary, but unfortunately that show progressively worsened as seasons went by. It therefore doesn't have the consistency nor the overall quality to really qualify for the top-tier. Discovery, on the other hand, never tried or wanted to be exceptional in its themes, symbolism, or storytelling. It's a well-executed action-adventure show that is entertaining to watch and has compelling performances. Some may not like it, but to me Discovery seems to be the crowd pleaser that Voyager wanted to be but could never really get there. DIS has the money, the visuals, and the relentlessness that are a solid fit for what they are trying to achieve. Simply put: I like it. It's not TNG, DS9, or TOS, (let's not even mention the masterpiece that is The Expanse), but it gets the job done and keeps my interest in a way VOY or ENT never managed.

    As for "cognitive dissonance" that Daya mentioned, well, I was never all that into continuity porn. That's not to say that I don't appreciate canon, but it's not very high on my list of priorities. And this applies not only to canon, but to other continuity parameters as well -- I don't need unified themes or visual language to enjoy a franchise over several different TV shows.

    "One of the deeper complaints I have seen is that bringing in new information so close to our beloved previous information just spoils our original memories. Fans of TOS want the original charm / intrigue / mystique of TOS intact, not hyper-explained. To many it feels as if someone is unnecessarily altering our fond childhood memories."

    I can sympathize with your view, though I have mocked this sentiment in some of my, let's just say, less charitable posts. For those, I do apologize. Thing is, TOS is still there, all 79 episodes, original or remastered, for your viewing pleasure. That show and all your childhood memories aren't going anywhere. Watch it, cherish it, debate it with all the millions of Trek fans around the world, hopefully myself included. Discovery, for all its sins, real or perceived -- and beauty is, after all, in the eye of the beholder -- can't destroy that if *you* don't let it.

    @ Daya
    I just thought of something that is kind of interesting to keep in mind in our new Culber vs old Culber debate. Apart from the core of the eye and the cerebellum every part of the body on a cellular level is replaced during the live span of a human being often several times. If you are in your forties then your legs for example have been completely replaced two times already. A new body therefor does not mean new person I would argue.

    No problem at all.
    By the way, did you/anyone see the next episode's teaser? I have a feeling that in terms of TOS lovers wanting it to remain untouched and resenting DSC for not doing so... there are only three days left before they blow a gasket :)

    Given the show's focus on time-travellers and crystals, we can probably now make reasonable guesses as to what season 3 will do.

    Every episode of Discovery pretty much spins its wheels for 40 minutes, then gives us a last-act action sequence, then a big cliff-hanger and/or "shocking revelation". Given that the writers have hinted that the next season [spoilers removed]. Though Brian Fuller was kicked from the show, his original plan - each season a self-contained arc in a wildly different time-line and/or setting - seems to be the show's policy, except his intention was for a different ship/crew every arc. Discovery's using its spore drive and (presumably its crystals or Red Angel technology) to get around this and so retain a single ship and crew.


    Wow. That post was retarded.

    Never been to 8chan. Don't even know what that is. I've only heard about the 4chan website. I don't go there either.

    You know how metaphors work, don't you? That's really all it is a play on words. Anyone reading it knows that, but you. Meanwhile, you're busy re-imagining an entire misplaced transgression based on, who knows? How constipated you are today?

    Literally, the only person expressing intolerance is you! Congratulations on being a hypocrite!

    @ Quincy
    You seem to be very special so let's unravel your little package of intolerance, shall we.
    "He couldn't be anymore screwed if he was Stamets' side wench."
    First you write about a heterosexual or bisexual man being the side wench of a gay man. Merriam Webster defines wench as
    - 1a: a young woman
    - 1b: a female servant.
    - 2: a prostitute.
    Why would a man being the "side wench" in other words a sexual partner of a gay man be either a young woman, a female servant or a prostitute in your mind?
    Are gay men women for you, servants or even prostitutes?

    One could also asked why a man is screwed as a partner of a gay man. Why would that be? Let us think about that.
    Merriam Webster defines your usage of the word screwed as:
    - 4a1: to mistreat or exploit through extortion, trickery, or unfair actions
    - 4a2: to treat so as to bring about injury or loss (as to a person's reputation)
    - 4b: to extract by pressure or threat
    - 5: vulgar : to copulate with

    Is Pike as a heterosexual man forced to have sex with a gay man? Are you insinuating that Pike is bisexual but it is still bad to be the "side-wench" of a gay man? In your mind it certainly must be something bad to be the sexual partner of a gay man.

    And why side-wench? Is it because you perceive homosexuals as sexually deviant, incapable of monogamy?
    As Enron asked so many years ago:

    In your post you also call me: retarded, constipated, intolerant and a hypocrite.
    You use the word hypocrite wrong. Here is the Merriam Webster link:
    Let's be honest. You wont look it up.
    1 : a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion
    2 : a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings

    I'm neither of those things but even if I were you wouldn't know. Kind of strange accusation. We don't know each other. You have no deeper understanding of my personality and are therefor incapable of judging if I am in fact a hypocrite.

    And why retarded. I know. I know. it is a metaphor. You want to say that I'm stupid because retarded people are stupid in your view.
    Kind of inappropriate, though.

    By the way sweetheart I just pointed out comments that you made which metaphor or not are homophobic and misogynistic. But I agree pointing out your intolerance was very intolerant of me.
    Man, your thinking is so complex you certainly play a lot of 3D chess in your basement/insane asylum.
    I also want to thank you. I was at the dentist and it was a nightmare and you really took my mind off of it. Good job my little tooth fairy.

    And now my dear I can only say

    Mertov said:

    "By the way, did you/anyone see the next episode's teaser? I have a feeling that in terms of TOS lovers wanting it to remain untouched and resenting DSC for not doing so... there are only three days left before they blow a gasket :)"

    Personally I didn't say I wanted TOS to remain "untouched". I said that if we are going there, then the writing needs to step up to the challenge, which I don't think Discovery is doing.

    Anyway, I do not watch Discovery teasers but as I said, they can do whatever they want. The season is very much about them milking everything they can from old Trek so it stands to reason this trend will continue. Like I said, because the show looks and feels so different than any Trek before it, both production-wise and tonally, I have no problem separating it from canon in my mind and watching it as a separate entity, and when it goes full TOS, i simply view it as a high-budget fan fiction.

    Considering it as non-official Trek will also make it easier to stop watching it after this season ends. Because you are not missing anything by not watching it. Nothing they are doing here will change what's already been made. They are just adding a superfluous layer to it.

    Anyone else seen the still of Ethan Peck as Spock without the beard and in a blue Enterprise style uniform?

    If it's the one I'm thinking of, it's a digital composite, not a real photo from production.

    I did get his name right. He's as phony as a frakking skinjob, cylon!

    Sorry, not sorry. Just binge watched Battlestar Galactica.


    That has nothing to do with anything I said. I was speaking informally, although, I know it helps you in your fake outrage to lie to yourself that I wasn’t. I made a simple metaphor that apparently triggered you. And now you’re butthurt over your own deliberate misinterpretation. You might as well borrow a pain stick from Worf and beat yourself into a coma. Sucks to be you, I know, but that’s a personal problem.

    Since you asked, a man would be a side-wench if he was a piece of ass on the side for some other person, male or female, in a committed relationship. The proper term going around is side-bitch. I went with wench. As the urban dictionary states: wench a slightly less offensive term similar in meaning to "bitch."

    What’s a side-bitch? Side bitch: When one person in a committed relationship suspects the other is being unfaithful to HIM/HER, by cheating with someone else secretly on the side.
    Regan: "I know Meredith is cheating on me. He's been acting weird lately." 
    Holden: "Weirder than usual? It could be all in your head." 
    Regan: "No, no, no. He definitely has a side bitch--and that side bitch is CASSIDY."

    In the context in which I used the term it was simply a play on words between getting screwed, meaning getting a raw deal (that we all know Pike is going to get), and getting screwed, meaning having sex. It literally could’ve been sex with anybody. It’s very similar to when we’ve all heard somebody say after getting a raw deal, “If you’re going to screw me, buy me dinner first!” Only a moron would suddenly think that the person was serious about dinner and a screw, or had some over-abiding agenda (the hatred of women) beyond his comment. I very nearly said, “he couldn’t be any more screwed if he was Georgiou’s side-bitch!” But Georgiou isn’t in a committed relationship, so I went with Stamets. Too bad I can’t take a trip back in time to see what other silly argument you would’ve come up with if I had used Georgiou. Of course, Pike’s not actually Stamets’s side piece, nor was I suggesting he was, nor do I have any beliefs concerning gay people, nor do I have any agendas concerning gay people. It was literally wholly and solely a play on words and nothing else but what's actually on the page. EVERYBODY saw that except you. Like I said. Sucks to be you.

    He’s getting screwed because he’s literally being screwed by somebody. That’s literally the case. This is not rocket science. It’s plain English, even if it’s informal. Urban Dictionary says exactly what I meant: screwed a more subtle substitute for the word "fucked" 

    1. describes someone WHO JUST HAD SEX 

    2. the position that is a result of a problem or bad situation that seems impossible to solve/get out of
    1. "Dude, I think Sean screwed her last night." 

    2. "We have our exam TODAY?! Dammit, I'm so SCREWED!"

    It was a juxtaposition of definitions of the word screwed and went no farther than that. I can’t believe I have to parse the English for you, but here we are. All that nonsense you posted was literally nowhere else but your imagination.

    I believe I’ve said this to you before, during another one of your fake outrage events. I’ve never in my life referred to a mentally disabled person as “retarded.” A person with a mental disability is simply moving at the speed god gave him or her to move at. Therefore, it’s incorrect to say they’re retarded. So-called normal people, however, who should be able to put 2 and 2 together, who somehow can’t crunch the numbers are indeed moving much slower than they should be and can rightfully be referred to as “retarded.”

    In actuality, though, I didn’t call you retarded. I called your post retarded. And I also never called you constipated. I asked if you were basing your flawed interpretation on some level of constipation. It helps to be precise, during arguments.

    You most certainly are 1 : a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue. That’s actually what you’re doing right now: virtue signaling. It’s easy to recognize, because I’ve seen it before. It’s the favorite pastime of self-styled SJWs, one of the newest religions on the scene. Move over Scientology! You’re saying look at me; I stand up against bigotry (nonexistent homophobia, eww! Scary!) and oppression (imaginary misogynistic “microaggressions”)! I’m a good boy! Meanwhile, you’re as phony as a three dollar bill, or you’d be out fighting real battles (poverty, child abuse, child molestation, famine, war), instead of harassing folks, who use colorful words you don’t like, on the Internet.

    Intolerance? (never understood why people cradle that word. What exactly am I supposed to be tolerating? If no one is bothering me, there’s absolutely nothing to be tolerant of. Just live and let live. Gay people aren’t bothering me, so there’s quite literally (I know I keep using that word, but for extra thick skulls, you gotta drive the point home) NOTHING to tolerate about gay people, who aren’t engaged in screwing (?!?) on my front lawn.) Finding “intolerance” where non exists, so you can pretend to be outraged is most certainly the work of an intolerant fool. SJWs like you are every bit as intolerant as those people who faked all that outrage over Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem. You should all go get a room together and drive each other up a wall for all eternity.

    "And now my dear I can only say..."


    @OmicronThetaDeltaPhi @Tim C @Paul M

    Thanks for your detailed answers. I enjoyed reading them and I am sure others did as well, and I'm sure they will be helpful.


    Yes, I did see the next week teaser and the brief shot of the enterprise. I rather liked it, as I have written in a detailed comment above (I am happy it comes somewhat close, the attempt of the art department seems sincere here). My personal grouse with Discovery is not that it is different art wise, not that they are breaking continuity, not that they are messing with nostalgia; but that the philosophical bent is completely absent.


    Cool biology class; thanks for the info! I agree that new molecules do not a new person make (and I did refer to the ship of Theseus above, so I do understand the basics of the debate). The situation here is possibly somewhat different. Molecules did not change places a small percentage at a time. An entire new body was created first, and a mind was then transferred into it. How do we know this will have the exact same results as the original Culber? More importantly, will *Culber* be able to believe that he is actually the same person?

    The procedure that brought Culber back was an experimental shroom-magic once-in-a-Federation event; so no one can know where on the spectrum of perfect reconstruction: (a) just a teleport, (b) Thomas Riker, (c) Ezri Dax or (d) Tyler/Voq; Culber actually lies.

    If the heads of CBS streaming have any sense, they'll drop the planned Georgiou spinoff and replace it with a Pike / Spock spinoff. I worry for next season when Anson Mount is no longer around.


    "Can I have a time crystal?"
    "I'm not leaving without one."
    "Oh, all right then!"

    It was poorly written but the future scene was compelling. I don't see why Pike can't change his future if he takes a time crystal. He just needs to be wary and avoid those circumstances on that day. Assuming he can figure it out. In regards to the show, would it be so bad if he managed to change that event and stick around? It would be an alternative timeline and that would be okay.

    "By the way, did you/anyone see the next episode's teaser? I have a feeling that in terms of TOS lovers wanting it to remain untouched and resenting DSC for not doing so... there are only three days left before they blow a gasket :) "

    Nah... they can't do anything worse than what they've already done in the past two years, can they?

    Those TOS lovers you speak of either ain't watching (like myself) or pertending that Discovery is some strange alternate universe (like Lynos). Either way, we have no reason to be upset just because DSC does what it always does for the the billionth time. It's old news by now.

    "I agree that new molecules do not a new person make (and I did refer to the ship of Theseus above, so I do understand the basics of the debate). The situation here is possibly somewhat different. Molecules did not change places a small percentage at a time. An entire new body was created first, and a mind was then transferred into it. "

    A mind transferred into a body. Interesting. How would that work? Because it implies the mind is not of the material body or part of it. Is the mind always on a sort of cloud that is not made of matter? Where are the thoughts and feelings we experience? Are they in a separate reality from the body and the world?

    @ Quincy
    I'm sorry man I didn't read your post (but maybe I will later ;) ). Several people here and some in private have asked me not to engage you so.

    Yeah, writing my nick wrong was the insult that really stung. I guess that is what therapy is for...

    @ daya
    Good point. The sudden replacement is a significant point. I mostly wrote about it because I find that whole body replacement thing interesting and a little freaky. :)

    If you go small enough everything is energy. Matter is just a state of energy that we perceive as solid but in the end it is just different amounts of electrons (and other core stuff) with a certain amount of energy in that system (movement/heat). So technically it would be possible to transfer the brain patterns if you had a complete scan of a brain. That is how the transporter in Star Trek (theoretically) works.

    "If you go small enough everything is energy. Matter is just a state of energy that we perceive as solid but in the end it is just different amounts of electrons (and other core stuff) with a certain amount of energy in that system (movement/heat). So technically it would be possible to transfer the brain patterns if you had a complete scan of a brain. That is how the transporter in Star Trek (theoretically) works. "

    No arguments there. What I'm getting at is that if everything is energy, then the body would contain the brain patterns that is what modern science would have us believe is mind. If Culber's body was fully reconstituted as the episode would have us believe, then the mind would essentially be "in it". So what is there that is independent of the body to be transferred into it?

    Re Spock photo. The one I saw was posted yesterday on the main Star Trek FB page as part of an ad for Nathan Peck being a guest on that ST cruise thing. It was almost immediately removed and I've read it was accidently posted. Looked like official Season 3 Spock perhaps certainly not a composite. He looked great!

    Technically for this to make sense the mind would have to be created with the body not separate. That would just complicate the process. What we perceive as the self is in essence just electric charges and chemical imbalance. (If per chance we have a neurologist here he or she can maybe shine a clearer light on this)

    If they recreated him from his DNA, like a growing a clone, but very fast, then him having the memories of the original template would not make sense. Then he should be a blank slate.

    Sorry no link to photo of Spock as when I went back to have another goggle at him the CBS FB post had mysteriously disappeared!


    The "materialism vs dualism" debate is interesting in the context of Culber. Let us agree for the sake of argument that the mind has a physical basis in the body (exact arrangement, connections of neurons maybe, ...). There is still an *emergent* phenomenon that may be labeled "mind". Thus dualism has a role to play even in a materialistic viewpoint. To explain with an analogy, computer engineers will often speak of "the hardware" and "the software", even though everyone understands that there is no physical reality to software, it is bits of magnetic orientation / electric charge. (There was a whole discussion on Jammer's board about "teleporting a computer" in the Culber rebirth episode, which I would invite you to review, because it is very relevant to what you just wrote to Booming.)

    To answer your question to Booming, the Culber rebirth episode specifically said that the body was *not* fully reconstituted. The body was *recreated* from two pieces of information, the DNA, and the brain patterns. Only these two pieces of information existed in the spore world, the original exact arrangement did not. The episode specifically says that the body will be recrafted from DNA and the mind will be transferred in it. This is sci-fi, so it is pointless to argue if this is feasible. When a hypothetical situation is presented, we are invited to contemplate the consequences, not the feasibility of the situation itself. Hence:

    If this is really what did happen, there would be a lot of information (that biologists call the phenotype) that would be missing. Because a human being is much more than the information sum of DNA and thought patterns. These missing phenotypical gaps (some scars are obvious examples, but for example the exact activation of hormones, protein pathways, gut bacteria are all phenotypical, do have a large effect on our lives) may be enough to view Culber as not himself. He may feel it as "I just don't feel like myself". Or him being a doctor, he may feel it in exactly the words above. In fact, the above thoughts may all be Culber's thoughts triggered due to PTSD and the missing scars; and maybe Culber is suffering from psycho-hypochondria because somehow the spore world did get all the phenotypical information right as well (except for the scars), but Culber is going to be eternally worried that he is not himself, even though he actually is.


    "So my sincere question to you is: you are an ardent fan of both TOS and Disco. How? How do you overcome this feeling that many of us have? How do you not feel "did they really have to do that to my memory of Spock?", etc.?"

    Fair questions.

    My memories of watching TOS or say Spock don't disappear just because I'm exposed to a new interpretation of him. They didn't disappear when I read Trek comics. They didn't disappear when I read wildly different approaches in the Trek novels I read (Try reading Strangers from the Sky and How Much for Just the planet back to back). They didn't disappear when I enjoyed watching The Big City Improv in Toronto's comedy Stage shows of Mirror, Mirror, Those Crazy Klingons and the Khan Saga. And they didn't disappear when I watched the Kelvinverse movies. And they don't when I watch Disco.

    None of this to me is subtractive. Its all additive. A new interpretation of something I love doesn't destroy anything, instead it offers me new ways of appreciating it. And getting to have a new way to appreciate something I love is like getting to enjoy it for the first time all over again.

    @Artymiss (and anyone else who's interested)

    Found it. Not sure if it's a digital comp or not, but I think I can get behind Peck on this.

    SC said:
    "I don't see why Pike can't change his future if he takes a time crystal. He just needs to be wary and avoid those circumstances on that day. Assuming he can figure it out."

    This is the old question of determinism vs. free will, and the rabbit hole and/or paradox every time travel story goes into. Perhaps the most famous example is the Terminator franchise. At the end of T2, Sarah Connor explicitly says that "there is no fate but what we make for ourselves", saying in no uncertain terms that Cameron believes in free will. The sequels then work against that and lean more towards determinism. The reason being that if free will is allowed to exist in the Terminator universe there will be no more reason to make more sequels, because humanity will be able to avoid destruction by making the right choices.

    I'm not sure what the Discovery writers believe in. But if their aim is to tie this to TOS then the answer is obvious. But Trek over the years always leaned more towards free will then determinism, and had many time travel stories where disasters could be averted through the implementation of knowledge and choice.

    There are only two ways this can go: either Pike believes in determinism and accepts his fate, which will tie this to original TOS but will probably turn him into a more morose, melancholic character, or he believes in free will and will be able to change his fate, which will mean this is an alternate universe.

    Either way, Discovery just opened a can of worms so we'll see how they deal with it, but I'm not holding my hopes up.


    The question of whether or not Pike can change his future isn't particularly relevent even though we've seen every other person who tried to do that fail spectacularly. Harry Mudd ended up forced back into the arms of the woman he wanted to escape and Dr. Burnham is trapped in time travel hell. They specifically sought to deny their futures with the use of the crystals and ended up getting trapped in them.

    The real question is will he choose to. And to answer that question one needs to look at the man Christopher Pike is. He's the man who ordered Burnham to sacrifice him in the first ep he was introduced. He was the man who threw himself on a phaser about to fire. He's the man who told Tyler and Cornwell that he feels he was denied being able to fight in the war. And he convinces the guardian of the crystals to hand over a crystal by reafirming that he would accept such a sacrifice he saw in his future as that was what he believes being a Star Fleet officer is about.

    As human beings we make a lot of questionable decisions because that is who we are. We can do one thing, but we choose another because it is a choice which makes the most sense to us.

    So think about the Christopher Pike you have seen in this series and think about, based on what you have seen him do and say, assert and believe. Because that should be the basis of what he does do and nothing else.

    '[...] will probably turn him into a more morose, melancholic character'

    Rather like Jeffrey Hunter's characterisation of Pike in 'The Cage', in fact.

    The way his character was written, he was already morose, tired, and thinking of resigning his commission because he was tired of all the responsibility. And this is years before Discovery.

    Presumably, his experiences on Talos IV somehow motivated him to stay on, and become the Pile shown now, but morose and melancholic are pretty accurate keywords for his personality in 'The Cage'.


    Sure Trek has leaned towards free will over determinism. But there are plenty of instances, even using time travel, that the writers have chosen determinism.

    For anyone paying attention, Pikes actions weren't about him accepting his fate. They were about him choosing who he is and will be. And he is a man who at the end of the day sees the willingness to sacrifice for his cause as honoring what he thinks being a Star Fleet officer is about. He's not Kirk. He's not Picard. And that's fine. They are great characters in Star Trek mythos. And by being himself, IMHO, is he.

    @Alan Roi

    Thank you. I think that is a great answer, and I hope everyone reads it.

    @Lynos @SC

    Pike's proclivities regarding belief systems ("It's a church Burnham. It's OK to call it a church.") have been hinted at throughout the season. The title of this episode itself is a religious reference. Regardless of whether fate is sealed or free will exists in the actual Star Trek universe, Pike will view that question filtered through his own beliefs. And if he believes in fate, he will accept his fate and not look for ways to run away from it, thus making the accident a literal self-fulfilling prophecy. An amazing story line can be created from here to Pike's accident (or aversion thereof). We'll (probably not) see.

    Thanks for clarifying. So he is build up through his genetic code then there is an even more pressing question then a scar here and there. He shouldn't have a functioning immune system. Every little bacteria or virus could mean death for Culber. He should be quarantined for weeks, maybe month. Having him run around the ship, sitting in the mess hall and even having him treat people in SICK BAY seems extremely irresponsible. Are they trying to kill him again?!
    As you mentioned bacteria in his digestive system would have to be developed too. He should be incapable of processing food. What was he doing in the mess hall. Just enjoying a completely bland protein shake? So many questions.

    Lynos, Alan Roi
    My take on the whole thing is a little different. Maybe Tenavik didn't mean that if he takes the crystal his future was set in a deterministic way, just that taking the crystal would lead to this particular outcome which Tenavik would know because he knows the future.

    One could argue that Pike could just avoid training exercises but on one hand we don't know how much Pike actually remembers. We have seen it all clearly but for Pike it was a fast and horrific experience. On the other hand maybe having the knowledge of the incident creates the situation in the first place. So maybe this is less about free will vs determinism but about how a certain person deals with information of that kind.

    @ MadManMUC

    Everything that happened in The Cage is supposed to have taken place before Discovery's events, so I don't see how this makes sense. In any case, as portrayed in Discovery he is quite upbeat, albeit a little too passive. He seems to have no control over his ship, his crew and ultimately his fate.

    @ Alan Roi

    "The question of whether or not Pike can change his future isn't particularly relevent even though we've seen every other person who tried to do that fail spectacularly."

    Yes, because Discovery takes place in a more deterministic universe. Many characters in Trek, from Data to The Doctor to Seven of Nine to yes, Spock,, have managed to go beyond their limitations and by incorporating free will, change their fate.

    "So think about the Christopher Pike you have seen in this series and think about, based on what you have seen him do and say, assert and believe. Because that should be the basis of what he does do and nothing else."

    That is fine. He is presented as a passive character that upholds honor and duty above all else. Does it make him a more interesting character? I don't know. Discovery writers allow themselves to handle Pike this way because he is essentially a blank slate, we don't know much about him and only saw him in this one episode. But is it a Trekkian way to handle his character? Was this the captain that Spock admired so much? Admired to a degree where he was ready to risk serious consequences in order to help him? Why?

    Because we hardly see any scenes between Pike and Spock. Like, just the two of them. Spock spends most of his time with Burnham. If you are going there, if you seem to care so much about Pike, then show me the camaraderie between these two men. Show me their friendship.


    The Star Trek Univers hasn't changed from one series to another where it comes to determinism. Time travel and its related effects, however, has messed with free will in past Trek series as well as Discovery. What's going on here is nothing new for the franchise.

    As for Pike, I think we've seen enough for him to know who he is. And what is A 'Trekkian way' to handle a character. Trek has all kinds of characters and the series had many different ways of handling characters.

    Free will is not an absolute in Trek, or in our own reality (that is, if your belief system includes free will), and the free will of characters always faced challenges and hurdles. Benjamin Sisco for example did not want to be the Emissary. He resisted it for a long time. Eventually he embraced it. Was his free will compromised? Did he succumb to the pressure? I still feel like he eventually did make a choice.

    It's true that Trek had many characters and it handled them in different ways, but I feel that in the grand scheme of things the Trek ethos is built on the possibility of Utopian society and the allowance of free will, while Discovery seems to exist in a harsher universe where things are much more predetermined and, for lack of a better word, strict, so I don't like it that they are forcing Pike to make this choice (which is not really a choice at all), but we'll see where it goes.


    "So my sincere question to you is: you are an ardent fan of both TOS and Disco. How? How do you overcome this feeling that many of us have? How do you not feel "did they really have to do that to my memory of Spock?", etc.?"

    Your use of the collective "our" presupposes that "your side" is correct in its assessment of Discovery's faults, and that others must be put to explain to "overcome" your feelings; those other humans apparently (indeed, actually) have made "illogical decisions."

    This is a subtle form of censorship in which you are engaging - consciously or not. You are deeming certain thoughts to be more proper than the others ("Not good enough, dammit, not good enough"), and claiming you are on the side of the angels and those who disagree don't understand "the meaning of all this."

    One might argue your are subtly trying to "impose a Set of Commandments" on what is Proper Trek and What is Not.

    Although you "have the right" to "wage war" in this fashion, and "can [apparently] live with it," and your attitude with respect to Discovery may stem from a fervent belief that with respect to TOS, "Don't Let the Memories Die," I respectfully admit that no one on this post - and I'm going to have to going to have to remind myself of this every day - should have "come out here to play God," with respect to matters of opinion.

    Cloaking oneself in righteousness is a dangerous game: ""With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censured, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably."

    We come from a tradition of tolerance, freedom, and justice.

    Perhaps you think, with respect to your attempting to dictate what is good Trek and what is not, that your patronization "was not deliberate, I assure you."

    It never is.


    Thank you for your point of view. Unfortunately, the English language does not have varying clusivities for the pronoun "we" ( and some of the subtlety of what I mean is thus lost. I already apologized for this same mistake above; please look it up: I did not mean to set up any dichotomy between Disco lovers and haters. (Furthermore, please look up my past comments, I myself am not (at all) a Discovery hater.)

    My question was very sincere. Many people, thankfully, took it to be sincere, and replied in good spirit, and I got to learn a lot from their replies. I have thanked each one of them (please see above), and feigned no comebacks. Since you also seem to be an ardent fan of Discovery, I sincerely request you as well to answer the question and forgive me my grammatical sins.


    Sisko was created by the wormhole aliens as a tool with a purpose, secretly. And then he was manipulated into being what they needed him to be. And then once he had fulfilled his purpose, he was put in a cupboard. Not exactly what I would call agency there. An illusion of agency sure, but he had less control over what he was going to be than Bashir had of whether or not he was going to be an augmented human being or not. All those choices were made by the consent of others not by Sisko or Bashir as two examples.

    Christopher Pike however chose the man he wanted to be. We have no evidence that any bit of who he is was imposed on him as it was on Sisko or Bashir. And his choice to take the crystal wasn't forced on him. He was told he could walk away. But walking away would be antithetical to the man he had chosen to be.

    You can feel whatever you want, but the evidence suggests otherwise.


    Daya asked a question, and its a fair question because in my experience many people view 'new' versions of something they enjoyed younger are a violation of their nostalgic memories and view that what is 'new' is a threat to those memories. And these people do not understand how accepting the 'new' isn't some kind of betrayal of what they hold dear. And they form communities of like minded people who believe the same thing. Whether you view this POV right or wrong, there's no denial that this community is easily large enough for any like minded people to reasonably talk about it as 'we' and 'us'.

    Honestly, I think that anyone asking a question should be respected for making that leap, as asking questions is the antithesis of attempting imposting a vewpoint. It suggests an openness to different points view and a desire for growth.

    @ Alan Roi

    Fair enough. I admit it's been a long time since I watched DS9 and I remember the details only in broad strokes, so I don't feel like I'm in any position to discuss Sisko's character in depth.

    But I still don't feel like Pike really had a choice, or let's just say I didn't feel any suspense with regard to his choice, because the plot seemed to be pushing him to one direction. Seriously, what would he do? Say no and let All Sentient Life in the Galaxy Be Destroyed? Maybe if the choice was more personal in nature, smaller in scope, it would be easier for me to buy it as a genuine character moment, but when the galaxy's fate is at stake? Would Burnham act differently? Or Spock? Or Saru? Or even freakin' Tilly?
    It rang hollow to me.

    Just my two cents.

    @Paul M.

    Ah ha!! How thick of me to not get it. It was you, wasn't it? :D


    Nothing that a few dozen inoculations and a fecal transplant from Stamets couldn't solve. (Maybe that's what Stamets is really angry about. "I gave him my gut (bacteria). And what does the &%#@ do?") :)


    I think you missed the entire point of that scene. It wasn't about the suspense of whether or not he would make the choice. Its about how and why he makes that choice.


    Way to twist Picard's words from "the Drumhead".

    Nobody here is "censoring" anything. People are having a discussion and they are voicing their opinions. A discussion, by the way, which you contributed absolutely nothing to.

    I also want to point out that Daya is probably the most respectful participant here.

    Sure, they have space medicine and Stamets intestines.
    But a few month back I saw Seinfeld again and wouldn't it be nice if Discovery had it's own bubble boy. *sigh* That's a missed opportunity right there!

    Good review, Jammer!
    You are correct on all counts. I sometimes wonder, if Kurtzman still has the ability to cringe repeatedly - like we do all the time at the other side of the screen? It is my observation, that successful media people often have no shame at all (or can quickly overcome this pesky feeling).

    I wonder if this season is falling into the same trap as Season 1. The closer we're getting to the end, the more heavily serialized the season becomes, and the crazy factor starts heating up towards overdrive.

    Agreed on almost everything, Jammer, except Tig Notaro; Jett Reno reminds me of some of the funniest people I've ever worked with. Maybe I'm just a sucker for snide assholes. (I also liked Stamets in season 1.)

    Paul M, I don't think season 1's issue was necessarily the serialisation so much as the pacing and the ideas. Those last two episodes of S1 had a lot of heavy lifting to do, and some of the ideas that we were asked to accept were just dumb (Starfleet are OK with blowing up planets, the Klingons are on Earth's doorstep but turn around at the drop of a hat, L'Rell is able to take over the Empire with an iPad, etc). It also rendered the Disco crew's heroics in "Into The Forest I Go" meaningless to the big picture.

    I still have hope that season 2 manages to stick the landing. I think they've done alright so far, and unlike season 1, they're not abruptly changing gears from another universe and another time with only two episodes to go.

    As Jammer says, though, this feels like it's dragged on long enough. I still think a better idea for the third season might be smaller arcs, like Enterprise S4 or Agents of Shield's season 4.

    @Daya, "It feels like someone added a glass skyscraper in the middle of the Taj Mahal."

    That phrase captures why I think so many fans are frustrated with our current era of reboots and remakes. It's not just that fans are hopelessly mired in nostalgia and need to grow up. There's something to be said for treating these shows and movies as works of art and pieces of culture that deserve to be preserved. It's one thing to make a sequel or another piece of art that pays homage (or, to use the analogy, build a replica of the Taj Mahal somewhere else), but it's another to try to change what that original story meant.

    Now, I know the analogy isn't perfect because of course we can always watch TOS in its original form and pretend Discovery doesn't exist. But I also know for me - and probably others - disappointment with Discovery has reduced my enthusiasm for this franchise because it's more difficult to watch the older shows without thinking about how far the franchise has fallen. It's also made me question my fandom. I thought Star Trek fandom was about at least in part celebrating a liberal humanist vision of the future, celebrating science and intellectualism. Discovery - and its embrace by so many fans - makes me worry it was just about space battles and action scenes all along.

    @ Dom
    "Discovery - and its embrace by so many fans - makes me worry it was just about space battles and action scenes all along." Why does that make you worry?

    Interesting rumors:

    Nothing to do with the rest of season 2, but with the future of Discoprise / S31 / Picard.

    @Tim C
    "As Jammer says, though, this feels like it's dragged on long enough. I still think a better idea for the third season might be smaller arcs, like Enterprise S4 or Agents of Shield's season 4."

    I was never really a fan of the whole multiple mini-arcs thing. It segments the story into these strange independent chunks that have nothing to do with each other. But if that's the case, why not simply revert to the good old episodic thing and tell a bunch of solid stories?

    I think the main problem with Disco's overarching narrative is that it's too simple. Yeah, you heard that right! :) The whole thing can be summed up in a couple of sentences about AIs, future, and all that jazz. That's why the writers, in order to prolong the narrative, resort to various soapy bits and plot twists. That wouldn't be nearly as evident, had the season-long storyline been constructed with more relevant moving pieces (not too many though!), better fleshed out motivations of various antagonists and side players, and a stronger focus on the wider world and worldbuilding in general. This way the season could have been structured around several plot-relevant high points along the way, which would in turn help with the feeling that the entire season is just a stalling tactic until the episode count runs out.

    Again, this from someone who actually likes the season quite a bit, but isn't blind to its obvious shortcomings.


    I wouldn't believe anything he is saying. Him and his followers clearly hate the show and call it 'childish STD.' They don't want a season 3 or a new Picard series to be made. Man babies, all of them. If they don't like it, no one is allowed to enjoy it.

    If you listen to Armin Shimmerman without his Quark makeup (say, in the Seinfeld episode "The Caddy", you will notice a difference in the clarity of his voice.

    But *despite* the fact his nose was smushed under a Ferengi nose, he still managed to emote and create a distinctive voice for Quark. He never sounded like he was struggling to talk, that's just the way Quark talked.

    It was the same with Rom, Zek, Brunt, and Nog. The makeup affected their voices, but not to the point of distraction.

    They made it work.

    Mary Chieffo isn't making it work.

    That's not her fault; she probably has little say in the structure or process of her make-up beyond telling them when its intolerable uncomfortable or painful.

    But if you're going to make a conscious effort to make the Klingons "more alien", to the point it seems like they have blue skin, well...there were probably better ways to do it! Ways that didn't make it so hard for the actor to move and talk that they don't seem alien at all...they seem like an actor in uncomfortable makeup. Which means they failed!

    What's so frustrating is that they *didn't* fail with Saru, who arguably has just as much makeup on his face.

    I'm just not sure what went wrong with L'Rell but it's inconceivable the producers listened to her talk in full Klingon makeup and said "Okay, that's good, let's go with that!" And yet apparently that's just what happened!

    @Dom, I agree completely. And the current strip-mining of beloved classic works for remakes and reboots goes way beyond just sci-fi franchises. One of my worst recent cinema experiences was Mary Poppins Returns, essentially an updated remake of the original. A true "uncanny valley" film - technically magnificent and impeccably produced, yet completely mechanical and soulless, with a slavish attitude to the original and no magic of its own, and a plot that bore no scrutiny on its own terms. The whole film was just ticking boxes and going through the motions - I spent two hours in the cinema being audiovisually bludgeoned by one elaborate song and dance number after the other (and I normally really like musicals!) yet felt absolutely nothing.


    You are exactly right, I wouldn't believe a word either (and they are mostly false or based on innuendo). I'll disagree with you on one detail though, they secretly do want DSC to continue, because they need the clicks by producing more of their nonsense that is solely designed to appeal to the hatred that some fans harbor for Kurtzman or DSC (not all of those swallow their codswallop either, but enough do). I am fairly certain they are already drooling over the prospect of shooting down Picard and S31 series too so they can keep their click counts up.


    Another great review. You touched on the solid parts of the episode while underlining the overall nonsense tendencies of the show (making things up just because "plot needs one," repeated patterns in each episode, etc). The last few episodes have been increasingly plot-oriented (more than the earlier episodes) which has led to the quality of the storytelling to somewhat fizzle out since "Project Daedalus." If I had to rank the top 4 episodes of this season, they would all come from the earlier ones ("If Memory Serves," "New Eden," etc.) and ones that went 50 minutes or longer to flesh out the events.

    Let's see what the two-part finale (since that is how the writing room refers to them) brings.

    @Booming, "Why does that make you worry?"

    Because I thought Star Trek was better. I thought the vision of a better humanity was important, not just to Gene Roddenberry, but also to my fellow fans. Because I do worry, both in pop culture and in our real world, that people are giving into cynicism too easily. And, of course, because it means there's less incentive for CBS to do the extra work and hire the smart writers to tell intellectually challenging sci-fi stories in Star Trek.

    Great review, Jammer. You keep bringing up that you don't understand points of the story and I wonder if this is because you think the writers aren't doing a very good job, or that you don't have time to go back and rewatch for the details?

    The time crystal thing is truly convoluted, though. I tried typing the motive for needing them and well - it just doesn't add up. The best I can summarize is that they came up with a method to destroy the Control data last episode using the time crystal and now that it's gone they need another one. But, they can just self-destruct the ship so...(head explodes)

    @Chrome: "I wonder if this is because you think the writers aren't doing a very good job, or that you don't have time to go back and rewatch for the details?"

    I lean to the former in some of these cases like the whole need for the time crystal (which I suspect has a purpose yet to be revealed, but I don't know what Pike expects to do with it now), but leave open the possibility of the latter. A well-motivated, clear plot wouldn't need to have every minor detail scrutinized. But when very specific rules or technobabble or flimsy explanations are needed to answer basic plot questions, then the writing is on shakier ground. If I don't catch it the first time, that's the way it goes. Watching it twice is not in the cards. I'll do my best and admit when I'm confused.

    I'm a socialist and I always think of Bob Eisner's famous words when franchises turn bad or how culture is created in capitalism in general "We have no obligation to make history. We have no obligation to make art. We have no obligation to make a statement. To make money is our only objective."
    In the end that is true for every company. If it wants to or not.

    And because of my socialistic cynicism when it comes to multi-billion dollar companies I always kind of thought: "Thanks Gene for sneaking a little extra for the nerds into your space show."
    Have you ever heard of the word "Weltschmerz"... because that is what you are experiencing right now.
    That Discovery is so dark is also my biggest complaint. I can watch it as an entertaining action whatever but I don't think that I will ever rewatch it.
    But sooner or later and I would assume that it is sooner people will get sick of cynical and dark and terrible and want their hopeful star trek, their west wing, their believe that things can get better.
    Don't give up, buddy! :)

    Oh I combined Michael Eisner's and Bob Iger's names into a super Disney boss called :BOB EISNER.
    (I meant Michael Eisner)

    Time crystals are getting a little...or much too mystical and not science based for Star Trek...btw Pike was never portrayed as a person of "faith", at all, before by not like this contrivance...but this was still decent, nice tos connections

    @ Booming "That Discovery is so dark is also my biggest complaint."

    Mine too. It's disappointing to see this remarked upon again for Season 2. I have yet to watch Season 2, the little bit of free time I have for TV has gone to The Orville and my Game of Thrones rewatch, and reading comments along these lines further discourages me from devoting my scant free time to STD.

    I don't mind dark television -- hard to beat GoT in the "dark" department -- but it's antithetical to Star Trek. The whole point of Star Trek is to imagine a better future for humanity. I really hope the production with Picard takes this lesson to heart, I'm going to give that a chance because Patrick Stewart, but I'm skeptical. Hope for the best but steel yourself for the worst.....

    SC wrote:
    "I wouldn't believe anything he is saying. Him and his followers clearly hate the show and call it 'childish STD.' They don't want a season 3 or a new Picard series to be made. Man babies, all of them. If they don't like it, no one is allowed to enjoy it."

    I thought about that for a moment and perhaps you are right. But then, if you placed a keyboard with but two buttons in front of me, one says "I LOVE STD" and the other "I HATE STD", I could not, for the life of me, push the "LOVE" button.

    In season 2, the good news is that they put in more light, so that you can better see what’s going on. The bad news is, that you can better see what’s going on.
    And what is going on in STD, is, that an idiot god descends from heaven in every episode, making everybody as stupid as possible to make sure Mary Sue Burnham seems smart by comparison.

    (I borrowed that from another review, but it expresses my own view very well.)

    Oh Booming, if only you knew more about Roddenberry, for example the way he enriched himself by screwing over Alexander Courage.

    @ Glom,

    "if only you knew more about Roddenberry, for example the way he enriched himself by screwing over Alexander Courage."

    Are you talking about the royalty thing that was defined in their contract? (I just looked it up)

    It is a little as with the DC movies. They confused dark with deep. I must admit though that I watch 70-80 % comedy to manipulate my brain chemistry.
    I always thought that Patrick Stewart is somebody who understands life and is at peace with himself. So maybe the execs thought he is the one to helm the positive ST show. That is the one good thing about the ST wave. One of them must be positive. And maybe season 3 will be more positive. If it isn't then I'm out.

    He probably never had the opportunity to donate it to the Vietcong. It is certainly a smear campaign because he was a pinko. I mean come on Alexander Courage?! That is not a real name. :D

    @Booming: "I always thought that Patrick Stewart is somebody who understands life and is at peace with himself."

    I would concur 110% with both of those statements. Sadly I'm not convinced that he actually understands that made the character of Jean-Luc Picard great. The TNG movies from First Contact onward essentially made him into an action hero. Gone was the intellectualism, commitment to duty, and concern for his crew.

    You can blame most of that on the writers but he -- the one actor on the cast with enough gravitas to push back -- went along with them. The commentary track for Nemesis reveals that the dune buggy chase -- the worst part of the worst movie in the entire franchise -- was his idea, inserted because he loves to drive and wanted a car chase in a Star Trek movie.

    Keeping my fingers crossed, I never expected to like The Orville as much as I do, and Sir Patrick Stewart can't be casually dismissed....

    @Booming, good to know I'm not alone. I'm not naive enough to think that those running the Star Trek franchise are interested purely in art for art's sake. But I guess I haven't given up hope that good stories can still sneak through the studio system. Logan, War for Planet of the Apes, Blade Runner 2049, and even Star Wars: The Last Jedi, are all big budget franchise films that also had something to say. Not to mention TV shows like Game of Thrones, Westworld, etc that, while not perfect, do feel like the product of storytellers rather than a corporate marketing department. I get that it's difficult, I'm just more frustrated that Discovery doesn't even seem to be trying to engage with the part of Trek that engaged with big ideas and ethical dilemmas. I was never much of a fan of Enterprise, but at least it tried.

    @Tim, agreed. In TNG, Stewart kept pushing for Picard to have more sex and action scenes. Hence episodes like "Captain's Holiday." I love Stewart as an actor and a human being, but he's not Picard and many other people, including the writers, are responsible for making Picard such an icon.

    @Dom: Agreed.

    Picard's speech to Tomalak in "The Defector" commands respect. Perfectly normal tone of voice, "Are you prepared to die today, Tomalak?" "Shall we die together?"

    The action shlock in the movies, or the few episodes that "went there," yawn. Some of it is entertaining, in the way a popcorn flick is entertaining, but it's out of character for Jean-Luc Picard.

    @Daya & Alan Roi

    To both, while I realize this is the wrong place to be making this argument, I’ll just say that simpler is usually better in storytelling, especially in science fiction which tends to gravitate to grandiose thinking. “Saving all sentient life in thr galaxy” is much less interesting than a simple act of throwing someone out of a “burning building” because it’s something we could actually do.

    @ Dom
    Yeah, Logan one of the very, very few comic book movies I really enjoyed.
    Let's hope it is financially beneficial( in the minds of a few execs) to produce a positive and deep ST show *fingers crossed*

    @Dom & Tim
    That is actually what I mean. I loves life. We need that. Who could have played "the inner light" if not somebody who loves live. ;) He is no director, he is no writer but actors can sometimes create that certain something that transforms good into memorable and I mean that in a general sense.

    ok. This is very embarrassing but I meant "He loves life". Sorry my mind right now is often somewhere else. A very dear friend just good really bad news from the doctor. You all know Freud. Brain and stuff.

    @Booming, I hear you. He brings a passion to his work. I feel the same about a lot of the Battlestar Galactica actors, like Eddie James Olmos. He gave it his all.

    @Another Michael

    I don't think science fiction in particular and a whole lot of fiction in general would exist if all people wanted to read/watch was things they themselves could do.


    What's wrong with a Captain of a starship getting laid and enjoy himself once in a while? Why does it bother you that Captain Picard has sex once in a while? Is he supposed to be a eunuch in your eyes?

    Why is Captain Pike leaving the show? Has that been confirmed? Why don't they keep him wouldn't violate continuity would it since The Menagerie wheelchair incident does happen for another ten or so tears right? Or they could retconn it with time travel or some such maybe..

    @Alan Roi, rewatch TNG's "Lessons" for a great exploration of why Picard as a character is so reluctant to let his guard down.

    The review's description of Tenavik being characterized as a The Lord of the Rings character is spot on. The review's lack of any criticism towards the absurdity and the ad hoc-ness of the "time crystals that magically settle down one's future for no reason" also tells a whole lot.

    After all, this is the very can of worms that ST-DS9 opened up two decades ago - to Jammer's high praise: that of transforming Star Trek more and more into scientific fantasy instead of scientific fiction. After all, the very idea of a time crystal that magically settle down one's future is not only cringe-inducing, but a distinctive example of magic-technobabble that looses only to DS9's worst.

    A terrible shame, amidst some good narrative and a nice play with Pike's known-to-be future.


    I saw Lessons when it first aired, thank.

    Picard supresses his emotions instead of ever having come to terms with them, that's, IMO, why he falls apart in Lessons. Its also why Sarek in 'Sarek' is able to use Picard's supression after their mind meld, because its that solid a mental construct and compatible with Vulcan emotion suppression techniques that have failed him. This also helps explain why Picard's attempts to 'correct' how is younger self behaved in 'Tapestry' turned into such a clusterf*ck. Of course, YMMV.

    Tenavik is a Romulan name.

    sheesh, these DSC writers...

    hello jammer,

    ah! ah! ah! Tenavik and presicription drug name. very funny. you are right with the criticisme of needle in burnham's eye, he is control and strong, no way burnham can stop it for 1 seconde. good action but bad story.
    the story with pike much better. he sees his future. i know this because my partner told me, i only see 'the cage' not the other episode with original star trek and pike. i also think its very funny when lrell and tyler argue strong and pike is nervous looking to them.
    its ok, not best episode. thank you for the review.


    Not as offensively bad as previous episodes, yet lacking anything fresh or noteworthy on the positive side to recommend it ...unless you're into mystical Klingons guarding their fantastical time crystals in the Mines of Moria.

    LOL @ the Klingons in this series.. the writers walked back their revisions from season one, only to fancy them now as the Masters of Time when they couldn't even wrap their head around the fundamentals of cloaking and needed Romulan hand-me-downs to catch up.

    Random observations:

    - If proximity to the time crystals makes old men out of infants that fast, then the Klingons are gonna need a large supply of replacement Time Keepers, stat!

    - I swear L'rell's head gets increasingly swollen each time we see her. She can barely manage it now, but I fear soon she won't be able to speak at all.

    - Reno has returned from her month-long bender to partake in some gay camaraderie and give relationship tips.

    - I'm looking forward to Leland's inevitable showdown with Burnham in which he reminds her that he still owes her one punch.

    And in Tyler news:

    He's mercifully absent for all but 5 minutes in which his hands are tied from doing anything of importance.

    Submit a comment

    ◄ Season Index