Star Trek: Discovery

"Su'Kal"

2 stars

Air date: 12/24/2020
Written by Anne Cofell Saunders
Directed by Norma Bailey

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Su'Kal" would be a reasonably okay sci-fi story in the standalone tradition of Star Trek if the circumstances were different. This is an alien contact within a holographic simulation that has some things to recommend, including notable atmosphere and characters trying to use psychology and storytelling to communicate with someone who has endured a lifetime of isolation. The problem is, this is tied into the season's central mystery of the Burn in a way that's crushingly disappointing. (At least, so far. Specifics are not yet revealed, although I can't imagine any technobabble explanation could salvage this general idea.)

I'm reminded of DS9's "Extreme Measures," in which a big piece of the fate of the Dominion War was riding on a virtual-reality probe to explore the mind of Section 31 operative Sloan, but the device was mostly used as an excuse to give O'Brien and Bashir one last buddy adventure. The idea of one last buddy adventure was fine, but the vehicle was inappropriate and the timing was terrible.

Same thing here. This is episode 11 in a 13-episode season that has revealed itself to be about a whole lot less than what we probably imagined going in. We're spinning our wheels with the mirror universe and now elaborate holodeck simulations, while the 32nd-century Federation continues to be a microscopic nonentity. All the world-building that seemed like it would be mandatory when the season started has barely happened. The Federation has been reduced to a single set and one admiral. (Granted, that admiral continues to be one of the best depictions of an admiral in Star Trek, but still.) We've seen precious few new worlds and gotten very little understanding of the larger political landscape. Probably the best world-building came with the Vulcans and Romulans in "Unification III," and that was catching up with familiar faces who were no longer even part of the Federation. The only new element we've really dealt with at all is the Emerald Chain (which we'll discuss momentarily).

The season's other larger arc has been focusing on following the breadcrumb trail of clues to this episode's Verubin Nebula and the apparent source of the mysterious Burn. That has actually been done competently in a series of investigative B-stories, but it has taken most of the season and now, here we are, approaching the end and … well, sigh. One would think a sci-fi mystery that led to the destruction of most of the galaxy's dilithium and the collapse of the Federation would reveal some sort of large-scale event that held some intrigue or major secret or something that would at the very least not be an arbitrary one-off concoction.

Nope. Apparently, the whole thing was an accident caused by the title character of the episode for reasons having nothing to do with anything else. Su'Kal is a Kelpien who has lived isolated in a protected bubble on a planet rich with dilithium within the Verubin Nebula. He's not even aware of the true nature of his world because he has lived his entire life in a holographic simulation built by his parents, who were stranded when their ship crashed on the planet while he was still in the womb. They died of radiation exposure, but were first able to build this holo-world to give their son a place to live until he might eventually be rescued. He has lived there for more than a century, but has experienced the limits of the computer's programming, which have not allowed him to socially develop beyond that of a child.

There are some decent ideas here having to do with trying to communicate on this Kelpien's limited terms within a framework he can understand (and this uses some of the core ideas of Star Trek), and trying to incorporate the communication efforts into this bizarre fantasy novel of a setting (replete with stone staircases and strange creatures). This doesn't explain, however, why the kid's parents would concoct such a strange setting in the first place when presumably they would want to prepare him for whatever his real life afterward would look like.

Most distressingly, at one point he gets really upset, and his emotions somehow destabilize the planet's dilithium, and beyond. It becomes clear that he's somehow connected to the planet in a way we don't yet fully understand but that this connection is what somehow caused the cataclysmic Burn, and that a second Burn is certainly possible. I'll reserve judgment until the conclusion's further explanations, but this revelation is the sort of unfortunate small-world thinking that is all too typical on this series. We once again reduce a massive galactic crisis down to a one-character play, which feels way out of scale compared to the consequences.

In a similar vein, we have Osyraa giving Tilly and Discovery a hard time amid all this. Naturally, the entire Emerald Chain — presumably the Big Bad standing against the Federation this season — has been reduced to this one ship and character, since less is more, except, of course, as is too often the case with this series, when less is less, on the account of inadequate story development. Osyraa has tracked Discovery to the nebula and arrived on the scene to make the usual threats and claim the dilithium planet for her own. Tilly, despite her earlier reservations about taking command, actually shows a decent amount of poker-faced competence through the standoff and is able to stand toe-to-toe with Osyraa better than what should be expected given the lack of adequately setting her up with this level of command confidence.

Following a series of events, the episode ends with the ship being boarded and commandeered by Osyraa and her ship's forces. This could be good fodder for next week's action plot where we have to re-seize control of the ship after having had it seized by the villains (see also: Voyager's "Basics"), but we'll have to deal with that then. For now, I can't help but feel like this episode has reduced the Burn to the shakiest of payoffs while having Discovery defeated by the blandest of villains. A season of initial promise seems to be disintegrating before our eyes, just as crunch time has arrived.

Okay, let's go ahead and shoot up the place:

  • Maybe I haven't paid enough attention this season to the arbitrary technobabble around the dilithium shortage, but it seems like the issue is that everyone is too slow when it comes to traveling at warp, when it really should be range — not speed/time — that is the limiting factor. I could be completely misunderstanding how dilithium fuel works, but it goes back to the typical MO of Discovery that they haven't made the rules of How Things Work easily understood and well explained the way previous Trek series would have.
  • I know this was way back in "Unification III" and I'm nitpicking, but the ridiculously arbitrary nature of all dilithium exploding at the exact same time across light-years of space, down to the fraction of a microsecond, is just so, so dumb, especially as we see Su'Kal freak out and a visible shockwave of energy emits from him, in a way that would definitely not affect everything simultaneously, even if it was within 100 yards.
  • The holographic program disguises the visiting Discovery away team in a way that Su'Kal would better understand them, and makes Saru a human rather than a Kelpien. This gives Doug Jones a chance to appear on this series without his prosthetics, but why would the Kelpien programmers of this environment, designing for their Kelpien child, not incorporate Kelpiens into the program? This does not add up.
  • The whole character arc with Adira and Gray is going nowhere. It basically has gone: Adira sees the dead Gray, which unsettles Adira. Then Gray vanishes, which unsettles Adira. Now Gray appears once again, confusing Adira. Adira notes this to Stamets, who is a good friend. The friendship between Stamets and Adira has been one of the season's brighter character points, but this whole thing with Gray has stretched well beyond its usefulness and is now bordering on pointlessness. This is not a character arc that's telling a story; it's a plot point on a loop.
  • The framing of Saru as having "lost objectivity" and Burnham having to basically tell him that he needs to stay behind while she returns to Discovery to help Tilly take on Osyraa is just too much. I understand Burnham is the star of the show, but Saru is the captain, so why can't we have him act like it rather than having Burnham step in to make all the decisions?

Previous episode: Terra Firma, Part 2
Next episode: There Is a Tide...

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237 comments on this post

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Nick
Thu, Dec 24, 2020, 3:32am (UTC -5)
Uhh, what? Not really sure what to say about this episode. Nothing about it made any sense. Discovery was able to detect a lifesign despite being half a galaxy away? I guess Kelpians live for a really long time (at least 200 years)? The burn was caused by the emotional distress of the child when his mother died? A child whose emotions are somehow linked to a dilitium planet which is somehow able to send shockwaves across the entire galaxy? Osyraa was able to track Discovery somehow and use a transwarp conduit to find them? Book says nobody in their right mind would use it but it seemed fine for them to use. Why bother conducting military exercises near the Kelpian home world to draw Discovery out if they could track them this whole time? If Osyraa was able to beam through Discovery's shields so fast, why didn't she do so right away, particularly since she was expecting them to jump away? Or why didn't she do it in the previous episode? Why did the Federation not update Discovery's shields for this? Also, why would the holoprogram convert two humans to other species and then convert Saru to human? Are humans within the parameters of the program or not? And why would the mother create this scary monster in the holo program, seems totally unnecessary and a bit cruel? The whole holo program is a really odd environment to want to raise your kid in, really dark and uninviting.

This is by far the worst episode of the season with a very unsatisfying reveal to a season long mystery box. 0 stars.
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AMA
Thu, Dec 24, 2020, 4:21am (UTC -5)
It is a bit difficult to provide an accurate judgment of this episode as it appears to be the first part in a trilogy to close out the season. With that said, the inhospitable nature of the terrain in the holoprogram did seem to be an odd choice; Osyraa again was a bit cartoonish and ineffective; and the reveal of the source of the burn was, at least to this point, underwhelming. I'm hoping something more is said and/or made of Su'Kal's tie to the burn, but I'm not certain as much will come. I did enjoy Burnham's turn as/taking on the role of a holocharacter. And given that Saru and Culber have been my favourite characters this season, I'm looking forward to seeing what becomes of their further interactions with Su'Kal.
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dangerismymiddlename
Thu, Dec 24, 2020, 6:15am (UTC -5)
uggggg!!!!!!! why! such drivel!
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Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Dec 24, 2020, 9:28am (UTC -5)
I didn't think this was a great episode, but looking around here and elsewhere, I think my reaction is a bit more measured than most.

There were aspects of the episode I enjoyed. There were lots of decent emotional moments - particularly in the first half of the episode. I was genuinely surprised by it turning into a "holodeck episode" as well - overall in a pleasant way. It was nice to see Doug Jones outside of his regular makeup, and seeing how he still was clearly in character as Saru. If you looked at the episode in isolation, I'd say it was fine, if a little heavy on the technobabble in a TNG sorta way.

People are hating on the origin of the Burn, but I am a bit more sanguine on it. As I said before, I always felt like there was no way to end this except with a damp squib, which is exactly what happened. I had hoped for something which at least built into some themes, but at the very least it didn't turn out to be some deliberate action from some antagonistic power, which would have been much more cliche. However, that means Osyraa is actually the antagonist of the season, which is incredibly underwhelming. I've been calling her discount Seska, but that might be an insult to Martha Hackett. She's strictly bush-league as villains go however.

I do not like what they are doing with Saru. They have been making it clear for several episodes he is unfit for command due to his emotional connection to his people. I believe now his choice of Tilly as his XO is also meant to showcase his incompetence. Hopefully he is being set up to fail in order to show character growth, not to make way for Michael.

It is pretty clear the way the dialogue was framed when Osyraa came in that there is a mole who has given away Discovery's position. I suppose it could be at Starfleet HQ, but unless it was Vance it wouldn't be good dramatically - since the turncoat wouldn't be someone we know. The way the episode was structured it made us believe the betrayer was Book, When Tilly was talking about how Osyraa could have possibly known, it cut to Book's face. Also, he was conveniently off the ship when the attack happened. And he installed Emerald Chain devices on the ship two episodes ago. It seems like a very long con might have been played here...or that Osyraa flipped Book for a price while he was imprisoned. It doesn't make much sense because the trailer for next week's episode shows him fighting the Emerald Chain, but they may be holding off the reveal until the end of that episode. We will see.

Another out-there prediction: Since Adira went down to the holo-simulation, Saru and Culber will be able to see Grey. Further, they'll find some technobabble way to have Grey survive as an independent holo-program so he can interact with the rest of the crew next season. I mean he said right at the start of the episode he was having a hard time not interacting with anyone but them. We will see I suppose.
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Eric Jensen
Thu, Dec 24, 2020, 2:27pm (UTC -5)
I thought it was exciting this episode. Because it's unclear and that makes it a mystery. We need to work out why there's a musical melody. Who is the kelpian? How did he cause the burn? May need to watch a 2nd time.
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Peter G.
Thu, Dec 24, 2020, 2:40pm (UTC -5)
"It is a bit difficult to provide an accurate judgment of this episode as it appears to be the first part in a trilogy to close out the season. "

"It doesn't make much sense because the trailer for next week's episode shows him fighting the Emerald Chain, but they may be holding off the reveal until the end of that episode. We will see."

"I thought it was exciting this episode. Because it's unclear and that makes it a mystery."

Forgive my grim humor, but for a while people's reviews of this show have been reading like battered wife syndrome. It's all going to be worth it in end; they hurt us because they love us; don't judge it yet, maybe things will change; there is a reason for all of this. I am not entirely against the mystery box format, as I did enjoy LOST and Fringe believe it or not. But failing to make sense, and deliver the goods with each episode, seems to me to make reviewing difficult if not impossible despite the viewer's feelings being more or less clear. You can post a film review of the 1st 1/10 of a film if you really felt like it, but you'd think you were being hasty even if you clearly liked or didn't like what you saw so far. For a serialized show this seems like a baked-in recipe, as many have mentioned, for keeping viewers on the hook regardless of exactly how good or bad each episode is. I am quite happy to know that a blip in a show's quality shouldn't affect viewership, so long as the average result is quality TV. But it's quite noticeable to me (having not yet seen any of this season) that the prefaces of it being difficult to judge tend to waylay negative criticism in particular. I don't think I've noticed many people refraining from making positive comments on the grounds that they can't judge yet.
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Eric Jensen
Thu, Dec 24, 2020, 2:50pm (UTC -5)
Reno is under utilised. Just to make one comment? There had better be more next episode. Could there be a mole on Discovery?
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Mike C
Thu, Dec 24, 2020, 3:05pm (UTC -5)
I was a little confused coming here because this episode is called Su’Kal. For some reason, Jammer’s using a title from an older press release.
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Eric Jensen
Thu, Dec 24, 2020, 3:05pm (UTC -5)
Why has Saru been emotionally compromised to such an extent? It's understandable though. It's like Basics in Voyager. Will we see Kaminar soon?
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The Queen
Thu, Dec 24, 2020, 3:14pm (UTC -5)
Well. I have to agree with most of Nick's questions. The fragility of the shields is something that really should be over with by now. Also, when the Chain troops are in the spore room, Tilly says something like, "What's going on down there?" Meaning that they don't have automatic visuals in every public area? Didn't even Archer's Enterprise have those?

As far as why that exact type of holoprogram, that doesn't bother me. Humans have scary fairy tales too, and it seems like Su'kal has modified his a little bit.

Also, I'm sure most of the audience figured out long before Saur and Culber that it was a holoprogram! Dense, they were.

However, having done all that agreeing, I have to say, the performances in this episode were wonderful, especially SMG's and Su'Kal. Burnham slotting herself into the program and acknowledging the cues from the child as to how to behave was brilliant. And the child was entirely believable. Not to mention Doug Jones "maintaining" Saru even in human form. I also thought Osyra was better this time, though still a little bland.

A couple of things that bothered me: I really don't like where they're going with Saru's captaincy. He really doesn't seem up to it. I'm not even sure he really wants it. Also, season-ending cliffhangers are getting old.

Are there two more episodes or only one?
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AMA
Thu, Dec 24, 2020, 5:25pm (UTC -5)
@ Peter G.

Fair enough. It was a mediocre episode.
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Peter G.
Thu, Dec 24, 2020, 5:35pm (UTC -5)
@ AMA,

What is the average airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?
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Katharine Weber
Thu, Dec 24, 2020, 7:03pm (UTC -5)
I loved seeing Doug Jones’s true face!
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Austin
Thu, Dec 24, 2020, 8:31pm (UTC -5)
@Eric Jensen
“ Reno is under utilised. Just to make one comment? There had better be more next episode. Could there be a mole on Discovery?”

I heard Tig Notaro’s interview on Star Trek: The Pod Directive podcast (it’s co-hosted Paul F. Tomkins, one of my all time faves), and she said that Kurtzman was a personal friend and fan who said basically “whatever you can do for us in for, we’ll take it.” She’s busy with her own stuff and Just pops in for a few lines when she’s available. All in all, not a bad gig.

As far as the episode, I actually quite enjoyed it. I think Peter G. is correct and it is like battered-wife syndrome, the analogy actually fits. Discovery always promises me it’s learned it’s lesson and it’ll be better this time. Then it goes right back and does the same thing. But you know what other show made me feel like that? Voyager. And there are many things about Voyager I look back fondly on. But man was it frustrating watching it the first time.

I’d give this episode 3, maybe even 3.5 stars. Burnham didn’t cry, the ship is in legitimate danger, Doug Jones acting was off the charts, and it advanced the plot, albeit towards a semi-ridiculous conclusion. BTW Vance is in on it. He’s gotta be. He’s tried to separate Discovery from her crew from day one, and Osyrra just so happens to track them down when only Vance and the crew know the captain will be off the ship. And I’m sure they’re monitoring for outgoing signals, so who does that leave? Vance. He probably gave her Tilly’s Starfleet record.
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Lodged Morphedo
Thu, Dec 24, 2020, 9:14pm (UTC -5)
An absolutely compelling hour of DSC television. Finally hitting their stride!
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Rahul
Thu, Dec 24, 2020, 10:45pm (UTC -5)
I think there's enough to like about this episode which appears to be the 1st part of the grand finale, but it's weighed down by the usual DSC stupidity like excessive emoting, a poorly realized/characterized villain, Tilly as acting captain, and some farfetched action. As for resolving what the burn could be, so far it seems intriguing. I also liked Saru's role here (as is usually the case) although it showed a different side of the character embracing his culture and being more empathetic and less pragmatic.

The idea of a holo-world created to bring up the Kelpian child is a decent one and how it alters the appearances of Burnham, Saru, Culber to be consistent with the program was neat. That it's been going for 100 years is a bit of a stretch. I actually liked how Burnham tried to use this to her advantage to find out about the burn but the Kelpien child didn't like how the program (thinking Burnham is just another holo-character) was acting.

I suppose there's some symbolism -- perhaps not unlike in classic Trek -- with the monster attacking the Kelpien kid / facing fears as being responsible for the burn and getting a small taste of it wreaking havoc on the Discovery hints at what might have happened in the actual burn. So far this is at least half-decent.

But Osyraa sucks. It just brings down the IQ of the show with her and Tilly sniping at each other. Trying to think of how she could possibly command an empire and then I'm reminded of the terrible ENT episode "Bound" where the females are actually in charge despite being bought/sold as slaves. So maybe she's a product of that dynamic taken to the nth degree centuries later. In any case, the scenes with Osyraa just don't work if the show aspires to be more intelligent. Need a more complex villain here.

I have to take issue with the scenes leading up to the 3 going on the dangerous away mission -- just cut out this excessive emoting: Burnham encouraging Tilly as she steps into the captain's chair and the hugs etc. Then there's Stamets fretting about Culber etc. Every episode DSC does this kind of thing and it adds nothing.

Couple of other minor things annoyed me like Book's ship flying thru the asteroid field or whatever and morphing into all kinds of shapes. And then Osyraa's ship extending tentacles around the Discovery -- this is just excessive and ridiculous.

Barely 3 stars for "The Citadel" -- the positives outweigh the negatives here for me and we actually have a good episode after 4 weak-to-OK efforts. There's some creativity here, Saru's role is an interesting one, and nothing of significance is decidedly idiotic. What's more interesting is what kind of sci-fi and allegory might be behind the burn as opposed to dealing with Osyraa. I'm cautiously optimistic for the conclusion but won't be surprised to be unsatisfied after all is said and done.
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Artymiss
Fri, Dec 25, 2020, 4:21am (UTC -5)
Awful.

The only thing I enjoyed about this was the look on Vance's face when Saru told him Tilly would be in charge while he was away on the planet.

Oh and Grudge breaking the fourth wall by looking into the camera for a few seconds. That amused me. Miaow!
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Booming
Fri, Dec 25, 2020, 5:46am (UTC -5)
Ok, so I have mostly tuned out of this show but when Burnham said that she doesn't think that Saru is objective enough to be captain I laughed out loud.

There are so many stupid things in this episode. Burnham calling Booker Book on the bridge, I'm waiting for her to call him sugar tush. Stamets arguing with Culber trying to forbid him to go on a mission for all to see. That is a conversation to have in private. There are so many scenes on Discovery were people are just plain unprofessional. It reminds me of "another life" but on that show the people are all teenagers.

Oh and I was right. Killy is Kaptain now and they even discuss it which makes this all so much worse. Tilly almost breaking into tears was the only time on this show were it felt appropriate. I would cry, too. So now Tilly is commanding the ship in a life or death situation. Sure. why not...

Lots of exposition dumps. Did the mother hate her child or is what looks like a nightmare to us really comforting to Kelpians?

Wow, the Tilly Osyra conversation reaches new levels of awful.

First mission for Tilly, ship successfully boarded by the enemies of the Federation while also providing them with all they need to jump to headquarters and destroy the Federation. Good job everybody.
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Norvo
Fri, Dec 25, 2020, 6:05am (UTC -5)
I second Nick's analysis. This episode exemplifies all of Discovery's flaws and further proves my feelings towards the show. They should just rechristen the ship USS Insubordination and be done with it. No one follows the chain of command anymore anyway.

The plot is mostly there to have the characters justify temper tantrums unbecoming of Starfleet officers.

Stamets refusing to let Hugh go on an away mission? Hugh only wanting to go on the mission for himself? Burnham actively questioning Saru's fitness for command? Adira doing whatever they darn well please? The only one acting like a proper, selfless Starfleet officier is Book... and he's supposed to be the hard nosed, out for himself courier!

Osyraa is a cardboard cut-out villain with the depth of one. And the cause for the Burn is mind baffingly random nonsense. Kudos for the actor playing Su'kal though, his performance was very believable.
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Booming
Fri, Dec 25, 2020, 6:26am (UTC -5)
Oh the Burn, I forgot. Did I get that right, a child exploded every ship in the galaxy by feeling too much?
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Eric Jensen
Fri, Dec 25, 2020, 8:13am (UTC -5)
And people forget the caretaker in Voyager... the idea that child kelpian destroying all dilithium isn't far fetched... though I suspect there is another reason though
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Eric Jensen
Fri, Dec 25, 2020, 8:26am (UTC -5)
I meant making dilithium inert.
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MidshipmanNorris
Fri, Dec 25, 2020, 10:18am (UTC -5)
"The Citadel" is not the listed name of the episode on CBS.com for me...

It's "Su'Kal."

And in any case, Merry Christmas :)

I'unno, it's a Star Trek Ep
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Austin
Fri, Dec 25, 2020, 11:10am (UTC -5)
I would also like to point out that the actor playing Gray
is terrible. He strikes me as some YouTuber who makes reaction videos and acts like a teenager way past his prime. It’s hard to watch and hard to listen to.
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Dave in MN
Fri, Dec 25, 2020, 11:12am (UTC -5)
Who had the bright idea to title an episode that could be easily misread as "Suck All"?

Man, this episode was just awful. It's just one WTF moment after another with this show.

Why are they portraying Saru as ineffectual? The actor is great and deserves better material. I do like Tilly (the actress is endearing) but she is NOT captain (or first officer) material.

THAT'S how The Burn happened?! A Kelpian got emotional?! Give me a fucking break. Yes, I chuckled, but this explanation is colossally idiotic. There's no science here, and since DIS has no internal logic, it can't even be classified as fantasy. It's lunacy.

This show would be better off if they bought an Edgar Wallace Plot Wheel and gave it a spin for every 10 minutes of airtime.

I want to give this four cringe stars because I did roll my eyes and laugh at least once a minute (which is a better ratio than most comedies) but the little Trekkie voice in the back of my head won't allow that. He's screaming ONE STAR!!!

So ⭐⭐. Wall-to-wall camp tempered by the sadness of watching a franchise I enjoy wither away.
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Daya
Fri, Dec 25, 2020, 11:54am (UTC -5)
I am a TOS fan, and usually find Discovery hard to watch. This episode was the first Discovery episode that seemed to fit within the TOS ethos (by which I mean neither the mythology set up by TOS, nor the supposed positive vision of the future).

Coming closest to the TOS episode "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky", I am happy that the similarities are not trivial enough for everyone to notice. TOS had many episodes where no one was the enemy, but there were strange, exciting, sometimes grave consequences. Can two space entities merge into one to unintentionally destructive consequences? ("The Changeling" / TMP) How will children be like without adult supervision ("Miri")? Can we tell a child's behavior apart from that of a malevolant entity? ("The Squire of Gothos") How do we deal with a child unaware of their own power? ("Charlie X").

Su'Kal recalls these awesome TOS episodes without copying any of them. Burnham's moving seamlessly into a holo-character is also straight out of Capt. Kirk's playbook -- quickly understanding the alien entity's world view and speaking to it in language it would understand ("Miri", "The Return of the Archons", "I, Mudd", "Metamorphosis", "The Changeling", TMP ...). I loved that they did this without too much exposition, like they did in TOS, placing trust in the viewer.

= = = =

I loved the idea of a holodeck desperately trying to keep a child alive while failing itself, and loved its attempts at sentient communication through the limitations of the holocharacters. Well imagined, and thoughtfully executed. The dark tone of the holo-novel the child is stuck in seems to convey the dysfunctional relationship of an aging parent and a child who cannot grow up. Clearly, the Kelpian mother would not have started off with such a gruesome world to stick her child in, but no one can imagine what happens when programming which is supposed to last the duration between a distress call and a rescue has to adapt and last for a hundred years. Kudos, Discovery, for making me think. This is Star Trek. (At least for me.)
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Maq
Fri, Dec 25, 2020, 3:04pm (UTC -5)
I still prefer single self standing episodes. This was quite Crazy, like some TOS stories.

But I must admit that I did find it thrilling. A programed holodeck to let the child survive. Yes we have seen it already. Infact the very first episode "the Cage" plays on a similar theme. Mean guys (or gal in this case) taking over the ship. That has also been made. That is the good side.

Acting, Burnham reading the situation ... good. Culber good. Saru yes ok. Tilly, a very good try but I did not buy it all. Still she managed to bring the difference between playing the thoug captain and then showing her stress and neurvosness when Osyraa was away. This was what they wanted to show. The fact that she lost the ship did not bother me.

She is there to demonstrate the conflict between beieing the junior that gets (too) much resposnibility in relation to her experience. I am quite fond of this approach.

Hikaru Sulus "challenge me and you will be obliviated" in "Into the Darkness" when he first to the con was definetly more prompt.

It is no episode you just sit down enjoying rewatching.

Summary, Accepatable plot, annoying having a long story againg splitted over two , or did someone even say three episodes. I disslike cliffangers.
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Red D
Fri, Dec 25, 2020, 3:35pm (UTC -5)
Do Discovery writers get paid for this drivel, or are they just there on school work experience? As with every big Discovery reveal over the past 3 seasons, I knew the cause of the Burn would be something anticlimactic but I never imagined it was caused by a tantrum from a man child!
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Chris W
Fri, Dec 25, 2020, 5:06pm (UTC -5)
@ Booming

"Ok, so I have mostly tuned out of this show but when Burnham said that she doesn't think that Saru is objective enough to be captain I laughed out loud."

Seriously, I did the exact same thing!!! 🤣🤣🤣 The writers are so tone deaf they didn't see any irony in that line whatsoever. Brutal.

One thing that caught my eye: why was it that in some space shots the Discovery looked like the old, copper color, warp nacelles attached Discovery, and in other shots it looked like the new, silver/blue with LED lighting, nacelles detached Discovery? 🤔🤔 Especially when the "tentacles" from Osyraa's ship approached them, it really looked like the old, non-retrofitted ship. Just seemed odd.
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Tim C
Fri, Dec 25, 2020, 5:19pm (UTC -5)
I'll wait and see where this is all going, but my initial thoughts are mixed:

* I liked the malfunctioning holodeck conceit taken to the Nth degree here.

* As Booming noted, Burnham being concerned about someone else's objectivity was genuinely hilarious. I don't think that's what the writers were going for.

* I still hate Tilly being in charge because it just reminds me of how underdeveloped the rest of the bridge crew has been, but I also think she's doing well in the role and enjoy Mary Wiseman's performance. Her banter with Discount Seska (thanks, Karl Zimmerman! 😂) was actually super entertaining to me.

* Nick brought this up in the first comment: WTF is going on with beaming through shields nowadays? Are we just not bothering with that idea anymore? Because if that's no longer a thing, as this episode repeatedly demonstrated, it's universe-breaking. Voyager played especially fast and loose with that particular Star Trek Rule in its later days, but Disco seems to have just forgotten about it entirely. If you can just beam whereever you want, whenever you want, and if the tech has been miniaturised into a badge that everyone carries, then no ship should ever allow an enemy ship into transporter range of itself ever again lest they get boarded and pantsed the way the Disco crew was here.

* The Burn just being an accident is actually fine by me. Disco season 3 has successfully been operating with lower stakes for its mystery arc than prior years, such that even if the Burn plotline ends unsatisfactorily, it's not going to retroactively make the whole season worse for me the way that it has in the past.
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Dreubarik
Fri, Dec 25, 2020, 7:04pm (UTC -5)
It's funny, there were a number of things that I appreciated in this episode, most of them stemming from Norma Bailey's direction.

- For the first time that I can remember in an STD episode, there are finally decent exterior shots of the starships that allow the viewers to understand what is going on. There is even a simple tracking shot of the Discovery that doesn't include other crap in the screen. I don't remember any previous episode ever following this route, rather than following up on the J. J. Abrams school of half-showing parts of the titular ship in between lens flares and lasers and thousands of moving objects. Finally.

- Similarly, the camera frames people in the bridge in coherent ways that allowed me to understand what was going on. A combination of wide shots and close-ups was effective at conveying where the captain was, where everyone else was and what each officer was expected to accomplish (of course, all of those characters are irrelevant ciphers, but that's not this episode's fault). I also can't remember many previous STD episodes doing this, rather than framing the bridge like a chaotic night club dance floor. It may be a small feat, but one that came as a big relief nonetheless.

- Some more universe building when it comes to the Kelpians, which I believe at this point are the only semi-reasonably developed species on this show.

- It placed characters other than Michael Burnham in situations in which they had goals to accomplish on their own rather than being simple spectators of whatever Michael Burnham was doing (even if Michael Burnham was still the only one to complete them successfully). We get to watch Tilly's strengths and weaknesses as a captain rather than having the characters or the technobabble explaining them to us. Adira finally does something.

- The villains are ridiculous carboards (the The Wicked Witch of The West is particularly dreadful) but at least they have an understandable motivation here: capture the Spore Drive, which should be a piece of technology that everyone in this post-warp century should be trying to study and replicate. The big question remains, of course, why isn't Starfleet doing just that.

- The concept of an alien child growing up alone protected by simulations is at least somewhat interesting, even if lifted from TNG's "Future Imperfect".

Don't get me wrong, the end result was a bad episode, because the script is just plain horrible. And I'd swear SMG's acting is getting worse as the show progresses. It has gotten to a ludicrous point. This is still one of the worst shows on television at the moment. I'm just glad this episode wasn't directed by a pseudo-random generator algorithm.
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Saru's ganglia
Fri, Dec 25, 2020, 9:26pm (UTC -5)
An enjoyable hour of Star Trek. Mission to a ship on an unknown planet, unexpected circumstances involving some high-concept sci-fi elements allowing the show to take advantage of its visual dexterity, with surprises such as three crew members in changed appearances. Doug Jones was a notable highlight even in his natural self. I also liked seeing the crew working together, using kooky technotalk and collaboration to solve problems, including a holodeck that is deteriorating and malfunctioning (who knew that would occur in Trek, LOL). Some interesting scenes with Saru talking to the elder, Michael attempting to connect with Su’Kal, and Michael and Saru’s talk about him staying which made sense. Nice reference to the Short Treks episodes on Kaminar. The actor playing Su’Kal was good and the interactions with glitchy holodeck characters were amusing. I can understand why the cause of the Burn may seem underwhelming, but I am not sure if we heard the end of that. Plus, from my point of view, the Burn has not been the center piece of the season, episodes have in general had other bottle storylines. I am glad not every episode was focused on the Burn. The balance between serialized arc and individual stories has been more balanced this year. As for the last two episodes of the season still to come, I am more intrigued by the storylines centering on Saru, Vance, Adira, and Book and Discovery's adaptation period to the new time period than the Burn or anything else.

My one complaint is the cloying banter between Tilly and Osyraa while Stamets and the engineering section were getting compromised. That could have been handled in a more engaging way, with more organic intensity.

Looking forward to the continuation next week. Solid outing overall, 3,5 stars.
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Luis Dantas
Fri, Dec 25, 2020, 9:49pm (UTC -5)
Color me conflicted. This is one episode that confuses me utterly.

Much of it was a joy to behold, particularly the Michael / Su'Kal interactions. The actress did a superb job interpreting a holoprogram in those scenes, and the writing was fine as well.

I also liked that Stamets did not see any need to hide his emotions from other crew members. That hints at an aspect of Starfleet (or Federation) society that I find particularly pleasing: a better acceptance of human nature and less interest in ritual and protocols that attempt to deny it. Adira's scene with the radiation pills was comparable, but more ambiguous.

Vance keeps being a reasonable authority figure, despite a lot of insistence from many to perceive him otherwise.

But the plot was also lacking or confusing at times. While I do ultimately like the results, the decision to have Tilly as Acting Captain was unconvincing at best. And it is still far from clear how Su'Kal can ignite dilithium, or how he can have avoided doing that a second time after so many years.

Osyra is starting to look reckless, unless I am failing to understand her actual travel capabilities. Three episodes ago Michael implied that the Transwarp travel that Osyra apparently used here is incredibly dangerous. Osyra won't remain an unchallenged leader for any time at all if she keeps risking valuable war vessels with such displays of daring.

I sort of hope that there is a mole, but logically that would have to be either Ryn or Booker. It would also make sense for spies to be present at the Federation hub, but somehow I doubt it, if only because we have not seen much of those people.

The cliffhanger was fairly well-handled. I honestly don't know how I feel about it. Discovery has been going through so many risks that it almost feels like it deserves to be lost.
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MidshipmanNorris
Fri, Dec 25, 2020, 10:04pm (UTC -5)
As for a straight-up review of mine:

- This is a totally beautiful episode, not just the cgi special effects (of which there are many) but the set design, cinematography, lighting, make up, costuming, blocking, etc are all top-of-the-line. This thing is gorgeous to look at.

- This is a moronic episode, as was Terra Firma before it. Just when things were starting to get interesting, Discovery has to go all Discovery on us. Dangit. @Dreubarik said, "lifted from TNG's 'Future Imperfect'," and I had the exact same thought, except that Birash was the one orchestrating the whole thing in that ep, and here, the titular Su'Kal is just sort of unaware that anything outside of him exists. I don't know if it's just that his mom didn't have time to get the holomatrix functioning properly, but clearly his education has been done wrong. This is actually, I think, kind of a riff on the "spoiled prince" trope of days gone by. One of these became King of England once and caused the war that led to my country's founding in fact. You know, the American Revolution. Anyway, the way to have made this plot work would have been to make Su'Kal a lot more in control of things than he seems to be... It is hard to hate him, but also hard to like him. I would have preferred they go either/or.

- This episode was not as unbearably loud compared between the SFX/Dialog, for whatever reason. It might have been that I was wearing headphones. I don't remember. Maybe my TV speakers are just crap.

- I have another confession to make to you all. Up until this episode, I have refrained from commenting on male-on-male kissing between Stamets and Culber, out of respect for the marginalized communities that have been villified for thousands of years, and gone largely unrepresented in TV up to now. I'm a heterosexual male raised Christian, so it *did* kind of bug me at first, but I was also raised a Democrat so I kept my mouth shut. It stopped bugging me (anymore than kissing characters on screen always bug me...geez get a room you two) as of today, so I guess I've been normalized about this by Disco. Honestly, I think it's a good thing. Why should that bother me? It shouldn't. I just was conditioned a certain way. And now I'm over it.

- Michael Burnham is the most annoying ST Protagonist I have ever seen. Full stop. What is this soccer mom bullshit coming out of her mouth at every turn? You wasted a character and wasted a series. SMG seems like a cool and nice person. Michael Burnham sucks, and this whole story sucks.

- I will reiterate to the Discovery Staff: GET A REAL SCIENCE FICTION WRITER. This shit is getting tiresome.

- The Burn being caused by the tantrum of an abandoned spoiled prince at the heart of a Too Much Interference Nebula should not have taken Starfleet 200 years to figure out, dilithium or no dilithium. Why was this a mystery? Because they didn't have gas to put in the galactic gas tank? Just because the plot you wrote is logically sort-of-consistent with itself doesn't mean it's good. That is a dramatic brick drop. That's really really dumb, and it lands with a total thud. You fucked up.
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Vulcan Soul
Fri, Dec 25, 2020, 10:58pm (UTC -5)
Joining the discussion here after years of lurking - Merry Christmas everyone!

As many I'm not hot on the idea of a child's emotional outbursts causing a galaxy wide calamity with history-altering effects (to put it mildly), if that is where they are going for, but to play Devil's Advocate, I will say this: my best of Trek, TNG had an episode where a omnipotent Douwd was wiping out an entire species in an instant out of grief for losing his wife to attackers to this species, and we could see this construct in that light. I still don't like it because in TNG that was just about one alien species of the week, one planet, one episode and not an event changing all of Trek, but that's the bigger issue of Discovery with its over-reliance on (bad) serialization and mixing emotional melodrama and fantasy instead of the hard level-headed scifi many of us crave for.
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Dave in MN
Fri, Dec 25, 2020, 11:12pm (UTC -5)
@ all commenters

I gotta hand it to everyone in this review thread. There's at least one line in every comment that made me laugh out loud. Soecial props fot Discount Seska! I can never remember her name anyways. 🤣😅
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theBgt
Fri, Dec 25, 2020, 11:20pm (UTC -5)
First to introduce myself a bit, I am struggling trying to like Discovery, with not much success so far. I don't hate watching it, just patiently waiting for the day it will make me like it. In vain? Well, it is the word "Star Trek" in the title that causes all this to me, but the show being really mediocre TV doesn't help. And Burnham being one of the most annoying and badly written lead characters in TV history doesn't help either.
(also plz pardon my English, since it is not my first language)

Anyway, back to the episode:

-- I didn't mind the "Burn" explanation so far, I prefer it than some grand scheme or conspiracy.
I didn't quite get the story about the holodeck and the monster, but I didn't mind much.

-- I really liked Doug Jones playing without make up. I wouldn't mind if they manage somehow to make this permanent, wouldn't miss that horrible make up.

-- Are they "cooking" Captain-Burnham instead of Saru?
Cause they "telegraph" Saru's replacement way too much.
I do not think it will make any difference for DSC, they could place Book's cat as the captain and nothing would change really. My main concern is what they will do with Saru? Cause he is the only interesting and likable character.

-- Burnham criticizing Saru? Really? I literally LOLed.

-- Buenham didn't cry, but she was still whispering every other phrase. Is this some kind of acting method? cause to me looks more like the behavior of an unstable person.

-- Can we start a petition so they stop cutting to the Bridge's crew reactions every time something happens? These people are just like a part of the decoration, with their only job to dictate to the audience how they must feel : this is a scene we feel surprised, now we feel satisfied, now we feel scared, etc. You know like those animators (or however they call them) telling audience how to react while filming live shows.
I mean the writing in this show is bad, but hell, we are not lobotomized we can get when a scene creates tense.

-- Talking about the Crew-decoration-live-tiles, can they please also stop reminding us that "they are part of the DSC family"? None of this is earned through the story.

-- Adira's boyfriend..... It is not an interesting relationship so we can care about them (more bad writing alert) plus Gray (sp?) acts like if he plays in a teenagers' soap opera.

-- That Green-villain lady is so "meh". Her dialogue with Tilly was cringey ..
If there is not a mole in the Federation then Ossyra is a psychic or something.

-- Tilly as XO... when everyone feels the need to constantly encourage you, I think it is a sign you shouldn't have taken this job..
Still, I wonder when "Captain-Burnham" happens, will she remain as her no 2?

-- Book is one of the most Starfleet characters in the show. It would make a much better XO than Tilly. Hmm.. well maybe if his gf becomes captain... after all, Federation protocols don't really matter in the DSC universe :)

Overall so far, I am still not impressed with DSC, although I have to admit that the jump in the future made the show a tad more interesting. Not that the writers really know what to do with it. They instantly fell to the "let's save the universe/federation" trope again, instead of spend a season with the crew trying to adjust to the situation.

Merry Xmas to everyone celebrating! :)
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Frank A. Booze
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 12:09am (UTC -5)
A few thoughts

1. Is there any difference between evil green Orion lady and evil Romulan sister from Star Trek Picard?Remember a time when we used to have interesting villains like Khan, Q, Dukat or Weyoun?

2. If there was a drinking game for every time Michael Burnham goes on an away mission, we would all be passed out on the floor. I really hate how she needs to be the focus for every episode. Remember a time when we would get individual TNG episodes that focused on Picard, Riker, Geordi, Data, Troi, Crusher and Worf? Burnham is too overexposed.

3. I found it ridiculous with Michael criticizing Saru before the mission (he is too emotionally compromised). This coming from the person who is continuously insubordinate. Yet I have a feeling she will be sitting in the captain’s chair at the end of the season.

Discovery sucks. Every season seems to have a good start, and then just turns into complete garbage after the midpoint. I’m going to cross my fingers that Star Trek: Strange New Worlds will be good, because Discovery and Picard certainly have not.
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Frank A. Booze
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 12:15am (UTC -5)
Sorry for the double post, but just one more thought.

4. The dialogue between Tilly and evil green Orion lady was embarrassing . Remember when we used to have good dialogue between Picard and Tomalak?
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Booming
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 3:19am (UTC -5)
Two things

- Everytime the name Ossyra is spoken I hear Ken Watanabe say: Gojira.

- So the child killed probably billions of people by feeling sad. Bummer. I still wonder what funny little explanation we will get for how all Dilithium is connected so that feelings made it go boom everywhere in the galaxy almost at the same time but only when used in an active warp drive. Discovery makes me write the silliest things. :D

Ok one more thing.

- The badges are holoprojectors, communicators and can beam you anywhere you want. Is it like a small mega reactor? If it breaks apart does it cause a 50 MT explosion?

Yeah... my mind starts to wander during episodes.
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Richard Webb
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 3:50am (UTC -5)
I thought this was a pretty decent episode and had some nice world-building with the Kelpians and I liked the ‘child raised by holograms’ conceit. The fact that it ended with more of a classic Star Trek ship takeover rather than a silly battle was a positive.

Some people don’t appear to like the explanation for the Burn - but let’s remember this is no more crazy than caretaker in Voyager or the prophets in DS9.

Honestly, this episode reminds me of Star Trek Voyager more than any other - if the Emerald Chain is playing the Kazon role who want the ship ‘because of its technology’ and the mystery on the planet is connected to a force they don’t understand (e.g a caretaker role).

Tilly in charge is still silly and makes very little sense - but I’m happy to say everything else did.

3/4
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CaptainMercer
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 7:38am (UTC -5)
I just miss when star trek had tension, wit, charm, and a sense of adventure. Like.. will the Romulans break the treaty. or.. should we interfere with the society's development. Now they are just ramming current hot-button political identify politics down our throat.. and not even through the use of arms-length allegory the older shows did so well.. and the whole thing is being wrapped in a wet blanket of crying and melodrama.. and the bow is a mary sue that can do anything and always expects to get her way

this travesty can continue is that it so "correct" in its inclusivity and it pleases all the blue check marks. People that criticize the storytelling can just be called racists, misogynist, or bigots just because the show has protected itself from any attacks

And why is this show so ugly. Like serious.. dark purple is the ugliest color for storytelling in history. The sets, the shadows and the uniforms are all dark purple.. and they go into the future and even the people on earth are wearing that same color. they go to a holodeck unbound by the limits of the imagination and we see how limited the imaginations of the writers are. And the Emerald Chain villain cannot act act.. her aunt argot Kidder was one of the greats.. but this lady got acting lessons from blocks of wood
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Chrome
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 7:45am (UTC -5)
I tuned out while watching this halfway through but I agree with Booming's take on it. The only things that I liked were Tilly's deadpan snark and the cliffhanger ending.

Mainly I'm disappointed AMA hasn't answered Peter G.'s question.
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CaptainMercer
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 8:19am (UTC -5)
@Chrome

I guess the answer would depend on whether or not the swallow was in fact African or if it was European?
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MidshipmanNorris
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 8:23am (UTC -5)
@Chrome

You get to know these things when you're a King
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CaptainMercer
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 8:52am (UTC -5)
What is the difference between Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man, REALLY?
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Dreubarik
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 9:05am (UTC -5)
@theBgt You make a key point about Adira's relationship with Grey being uninteresting. And I do believe Adira was the most promising character this season and that "Forget Me Not" was the only good episode. But when Grey started appearing to her, I made the (I believe, logical) assumption that the writers would use that to explore Adira's own difficulty as a teenager coping with the multiplicity of adult trill lives within their consciousness.

Instead, it seems that they have opted to treat Adira-Grey as a regular relationship, with the only difference being that Grey can choose to disappear. This is a baffling decision by the writers, because the viewers can't possibly care about a relationship that is just a memory. Are they going to move in together? Break up? Eventually have children? What possible investment can viewers have in a relationship that can't move forward because it's made up? It is as if, in DS9's "Field of Fire", the focus of the episode had been in Ezri's relationship with Joran rather than Ezri's struggle with herself. It would have made no sense.

Perhaps I'm wrong and we will get some real development out of Adira yet. But the writers' belief that being a trill equals talking to dead people, rather than becoming a whole new person, is just exasperating. It clearly comes from having watched the two DS9 episodes in which that storytelling device was used ("Facets" and "Field of Fire") without understanding what the point was.
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Nick
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 9:30am (UTC -5)
After reading through everyone’s comments I have a few more thoughts:

- I’m not opposed to the concept of the burn being caused by a very powerful childlike creature, if a decent in-universe explanation is given. Right now, there isn’t enough to make sense of it. I’m hoping we get more in Part II. It’s like a cliffhanger, but you’re left wondering about the quality of the writing instead of an actual plot point. If you’re going to spend an entire season making people wonder about this, at least go through the trouble of fleshing this out and giving detail so it feels like there’s payoff. Right now, I feel cheated and I think not giving more detail in this episode was a poor writing decision.

- I am hoping we find out that there’s a mole in Starfleet that gave away Discovery’s position and allowed Osyrra to beam through their shields (maybe she had their frequencies). In retrospect, the fact that Osyrra transmitted Federation response codes is a pretty strong clue which I didn’t pick up initially. That would address some of the other issues I had with the episode. My money is on Vance’s female LT. I don't think it's Vance or Book (at least I hope not cause both those characters are great).

- Agreed with the others that Oysrra is basic as far as villains go (@Karl, Discount Seska hits the nail on the head, if you don’t mind, I’m going to use this name too).

- A minor quibble, but I think it would have made more sense if the holopgram just converted Saru to human and left Burham and Culber as is. That would have accomplished the goal of seeing Doug Jones without makeup while making more sense (maybe it was programmed to hide other Kelipains for some reason instead of programmed to change all races).

- I like Tilly as a character but seeing her in command is ridiculous from a story standpoint and a TV standpoint. She’s just too young and doesn’t have that commanding presence that gives real weight to the scenes.

- I actually liked Burnham this episode. Her scenes with Book were good and I really liked when she pretended to be part of the holo program. It’s times like this when I question the source of SMG’s overemoting. Maybe it’s the directors? She’s a skilled actress but not used the right way.

- It’s clear the writers are having Saru make a bunch of mistakes so Burnham can be captain later, which IMO is a terrible writing decision. Saru being captain is one of the only things this show has going for it.

- Adira is not a very interesting character and the person who plays Gray is awful. I really hope they move on from this or at least get rid of Gray and have Adira be in a relationship with someone else. To be entirely honest I think they are prioritizing their diversity agenda above the quality of the show which is unfortunate. I’m all for hiring a trans actor, if a good one is available. If not, drop that checkbox instead of compromising the quality of the acting.

- They need to stop using space tentacles. It didn’t in work in Star Trek Picard and it doesn’t work here. Just looks dumb.
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Saru's ganglia
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 9:54am (UTC -5)
"this travesty can continue is that it so "correct" in its inclusivity and it pleases all the blue check marks. People that criticize the storytelling can just be called racists, misogynist, or bigots just because the show has protected itself from any attacks."

You continue to watch a show that you call a travesty?
My husband (white, male) quit watching after the first few episodes, he doesn't like it. He even criticized it in a facebook group back then, but he's never been accused of any of the above. But he does this weird activity which involves not wasting time hate-watching it since season 1 and incessantly talking about how much he hates it. Funny minor distinction.
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Chris Lopes
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 10:19am (UTC -5)
"You continue to watch a show that you call a travesty?"

Perhaps the poster is hoping it will get better and is continually amazed that it isn't. In any case, the poster has the right to comment on their ongoing disappointment without the usual snarky "why are you watching a show you don't like" response. The poster is simply pointing out what they think are the show's weaknesses. If you disagree with the poster's points, feel free to explain where they are incorrect. Just don't question their right to criticize in the first place.
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Nick
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 10:37am (UTC -5)
I agree, and that idea that people don’t or shouldn’t watch low quality TV is ridiculous. I watch plenty shows that are crap for various reasons.
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Booming
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 10:41am (UTC -5)
@ Chris Lopes
He is mostly criticizing the forum or people who discuss this in general. Lots of people have at numerous occasions voiced their displeasure with the show (me included) and the last time somebody was called racist or sexist or whatever for it happened a month or more ago by one person which makes the basis of his argument very shaky.

The show is bad and it was always bad. Didn't matter if it had a white captain, black captain or Kelpian captain.
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Saru's ganglia
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 10:45am (UTC -5)
@Chris Lopes
It's one thing to hope that a show will get better because you keep noticing a good episode or two here and there and see some chunks of good writing and therefore keep watching, it's another to have already formed an opinion and passed conclusive judgment repetitively on how badly a show sucks over a long period of time. It's silly to expect to suddenly begin liking it in the case of the latter. The writers helming the show and the actors they learned to hate will still be there, good luck with that.
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Nick
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 11:06am (UTC -5)
One thing I want to point out is that Star Trek shows have a tradition of improving in later seasons. DS9, VOY, and ENT all vastly improved in the fourth season. I’m not saying that it’s going to happen here but it’s worth considering.
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Chris Lopes
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 11:43am (UTC -5)
The criticism the show faces on this forum is primarily of the bad writing/acting variety. The critics are usually met with agreement or reasoned disagreement. So no, this forum is not labeling people to protect a bad show.

On the other hand, I don't think it is unreasonable to expect the writing and acting to improve over time, as the folks in charge get feedback from the audience. If despite the audience reaction, things don't improve, it is reasonable to assume the folks in charge are not listening for whatever reason. Given the woke pronouncements of these folks, it is reasonable to conclude that they are labeling their critics in an effort to excuse their own failures in story telling.
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SlackerInc
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 12:10pm (UTC -5)
Hugh figuring out and explaining the purpose of the simulation long after it should have been blindingly obvious. :eyeroll: It’s another illustration of something I often complained about in S1, that the show is often written as though it were being aimed at kids. Which would be fine, I guess, except that it is rated TV–MA. Neither fish nor fowl.

And only a child, or someone who has been on a desert island all their lives without access to TV or movies, could possibly find the whole “you cannot escape the maze/prison until you face your fears” scenario remotely fresh or interesting.

Also, someone living and developing with holographic teachers for all those years would be an oddball, but not “still a child”.
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Saru's ganglia
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 12:10pm (UTC -5)
@Nick
"One thing I want to point out is that Star Trek shows have a tradition of improving in later seasons. DS9, VOY, and ENT all vastly improved in the fourth season. I’m not saying that it’s going to happen here but it’s worth considering."

I think that improvement has been there all through the three season for Discovery. But if I thought every week that the show sucked throughout the three seasons (not that I would have watched the show for three seasons in that case, one season at best and I'm done with it) and I keep watching it, then all I'm doing after is wasting time to confirm my dislike of the show on a weekly basis. I'd argue that there is nothing productive about that behavior.

As for your earlier post, I don't disagree, but that was not what I was referring to. I watch silly or low-quality shows occasionally too, if nothing but for commenting on it and laughing with my husband or our friends. Only for that purpose. But a show that I hate or that I conclusively decided it sucked really bad (which is what I referred to) after a bunch of episodes over a season, or two, or three? No way. I'd never make it to more than one season, or the end of a season, period. There are plenty of other choices for my entertainment instead of using that time to get disappointed and confirm my dislike of a show at regular intervals.
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Yair
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 12:25pm (UTC -5)
You are a malfunctioning computer running an holodeck simulation for decades to raise a child. Finally, a rescue crew arrives to take your charge. Do you:

A) Turn off the holodeck, brief the rescuers, say goodbye, and let them beam off with your charge.
B) Pass them via a possibly life-threatening experience to try to teach the child something, despite them being far more qualified to handle his wellbeing? (them or at least whatever Kelpien community receives him soon later)

That was a trick question. This is Star Trek. The holodeck can never be turned off. A similar reason forbids having CCTV anywhere on the ship under pain of death.

Back to the episode, we have a typical plot structure. The main plot has Saru, Michael and Culbar beam away to an holodeck to rescue a Kelpien child, which somehow has caused the Burn (??). Somehow only the crew characters are affected by radiation, so they're on a time limit. The computer won't let them go unless they teach the child to face his fears...

As holodeck jeopardy plots go, this isn't bad. The acting was mostly fine and the idea is decent (a computer trying to raise a child has been done elsewhere, but a different take would have been welcome). But there are very few good holodeck jeopardy plots, and this isn't one of them either. I just didn't feel the payoff was earned compared to (for example) 'Forget Me Not'. Adira had some dialog and flashbacks to justify her growth, the child just not enough.

Ah, and there's the other plot. Tilly and the rest of the ship face off against Ossyra. They figure out the important thing in advance (Ossyra wants the ship whole), which is why they think of no protection against the obvious boarding play. That would require us knowing who the security chief is, and we can't have that in DIS. So Ossyra somehow boards the ship (transportation via shields?) and takes over.

All in all, this is an OK episode weighted down by typical DIS factors, like Burnham centrism (questioning Saru's objectivity is rich from her), fantasy storytelling rather than sci-fi storytelling (a child causing the Burn would work in some other settings like Star Wars far more easily), plot railroading, etc.
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Booming
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 12:27pm (UTC -5)
Yeah I'm most likely out after this season. I was interested what they would do with the time jump but I think they did the worst possible thing. Keeping this broken Federation, not a good choice. Either have a galaxy spanning Federation that is so incredible that you could play around in it for several seasons or get rid of the Federation altogether (by a not stupid reason) and then see how the crew survives in a completely new environment with new races and stories. They chose the least imaginative and safest road. You can do fan service with Vulcans and all the other things and mess around. This season so far had two good episodes and didn't do anything interesting. I will watch the last two episodes but after that NuTrek will be dead to me. It is what it is and I don't like it. I would also like to mention that even the weakest seasons of DS9 were better than the strongest of NuTrek.
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Burke
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 12:50pm (UTC -5)
@Booming

I get the feeling that the writers don't like the idea of the federation as it was presented on what we may as well now call "Peak Trek" (from TNG to ENT).

And i must confess that season 2 was the breaking point for me. I'm skipping through some parts of some episodes just to keep up with the posts here, which are far more interesting than the show itself.
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Nick
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 1:50pm (UTC -5)
@Saru's ganglia

I get what your saying but I think the difference here is this is a Star Trek show, which comes with an enormous amount of baggage, myself included. If you're going to use the "Star Trek" name, you're going to bring in people from a different era of Trek who may watch out of nostalgia or some other reason. While I wouldn't characterize Discovery as a complete disaster, I certainly wouldn't be watching it if it didn't have "Star Trek" in the title.
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Burke
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 2:15pm (UTC -5)
@Nick

I guess the question is: where Discovery not part of the Trek franchise, would so many of us be watching? Better yet, would it have reached a third (and supposed fourth) season? I believe the answer is no.
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SlackerInc
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 3:11pm (UTC -5)
Anyone notice how Burnham just assigned the other two to go find the Kelpian while she stayed to fight the monster? Not even a nod to the actual chain of command.

@Rahul: "the positives outweigh the negatives here for me and we actually have a good episode after 4 weak-to-OK efforts"

Wow, really? I thought two of the best episodes of the series were (IIRC) among those four, while this one was not very good albeit not among the very worst.

"THAT'S how The Burn happened?! A Kelpian got emotional?! Give me a fucking break. Yes, I chuckled, but this explanation is colossally idiotic. There's no science here, and since DIS has no internal logic, it can't even be classified as fantasy. It's lunacy."

I agree. Something like this is what made me bail out of watching FRINGE.

@theBgt: Welcome! I largely agree with your post.

@Saru's ganglia: "It's one thing to hope that a show will get better because you keep noticing a good episode or two here and there and see some chunks of good writing and therefore keep watching, it's another to have already formed an opinion and passed conclusive judgment repetitively on how badly a show sucks over a long period of time."

Yeah, this is a fair point. I have found that the occasional bright spots, plus my enjoyment of chatting with people on this site, have combined to just barely keep me watching. It's frustrating though.
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Saru's ganglia
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 3:53pm (UTC -5)
@Nick

"I get what your saying but I think the difference here is this is a Star Trek show, which comes with an enormous amount of baggage, myself included. If you're going to use the "Star Trek" name, you're going to bring in people from a different era of Trek who may watch out of nostalgia or some other reason."

This is even more strange to read. If I disliked a show that much, it would be even further reason for me not to watch it (a Trek show crashing "my view" of Star Trek). Me watching it and getting mad about it would be absurd because it sounds like contributing to the very thing that I am wishing did not exist.
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Booming
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 4:11pm (UTC -5)
@Saru's ganglia
None of this is logical. Some people here just hope that Discovery will become something it never even remotely was. Lots of fond memories about Star Trek and melancholic lessons about how all things end and nothing brings them back.
(I'm watching a great history doc series which makes me very depressed:)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2lJUOv0hLA&ab_channel=FallofCivilizations
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Rahul
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 4:54pm (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc

" @Rahul: "the positives outweigh the negatives here for me and we actually have a good episode after 4 weak-to-OK efforts"

Wow, really? I thought two of the best episodes of the series were (IIRC) among those four, while this one was not very good albeit not among the very worst. "

There's no question there were a lot of little annoying negative things about this episode but the bulk of the story being the holodeck child-rearing program and how Burnham, Saru, Culber deal with it was pretty good. There is some intelligence and creativity here which I am acknowledging. There's not a lot the DSC writers get right, but they got the majority of this episode right.

As for the 4 immediately preceding episodes, there's no question in my mind that they are inferior to this one "Su'Kal". If you go by Jammer's rating, 2 of the 4 are the weakest of the season (2*), while a third (2.5* for "Unification III") might also be considered one of the season's weakest.
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dave
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 5:08pm (UTC -5)
Adira

I liked the character and liked the actor. I thought the "I can only see you" vision with Gray was interesting. I would have hoped they had enough writing chops to make it something where Adira could see visions of all the prior hosts as they teach things. Being a human, not trained in this, should have made for an emotional train wreck and the past hosts could have helped work through it. What we have is a couple of teenagers pretending they don't love each other and having hissy fits and it has become meaningless. And the actor playing Gray is not very good from what i can tell, Blu can act circles around this guy and it's very noticeable bad writing or not.

Green Lady (I love the Wicked Witch of the West comment one of the comments said)

What the heck are they doing here? She is absolutely ridiculous. Why bother? We have seen enough decent writing in parts of this show to know these writers can do better than that. They have just been awful writing for women on this show and after seeing Mando Season 2 and how they casted and portrayed the women (both heroes and villians) , it's Citizen Kane compared to some of this. The only woman who seems to be natural is Reno and that is only because they signed a well known comic and allowed the comic to be herself on the show. I can't imagine if they gave Tig some of this awful material and asked her to act it. Hell, they should have just wrote her to be on the bridge that the moment Green Lady shows up and have her bury her with some quips and burns that she ad libs while the cameras are shooting.


Stay tuned next week and Burnham rescues Discovery, gets betrayed by Book, unseats Saru as captain, saves the people on the planet and the Kelpian "child", and STOPS THE BURN HAPPENING A 2ND TIME AT THE LAST POSSIBLE SECOND trying to talk the child down from blowing it all up, and then gets the Federation to occupy this nebula to start harvesting all this dilithium and she will be the hero as worlds flock to rejoin the Fed.
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theBgt
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 6:32pm (UTC -5)
@Dreubarik

About Adira.
I honestly do not believe they have thought of it as much as you have.
The writers of this show gimme the impression they have a checklist on a white board and having a non-binary/trans person was just an item of the list.


@CaptainMercer
"People that criticize the storytelling can just be called racists, misogynist, or bigots just because the show has protected itself from any attacks"

Exactly. If you say you do not like Burham, you get the same insults/accusations in the comments of the official Star Trek Facebook Page or prestigious (lol) Trek Forums.


@Booming
"I will watch the last two episodes but after that NuTrek will be dead to me."

Are you sure?
I have been "quitting" Discovery since the 1st half of season 1.
And I keep waiting for it to get better. Hopeless :D
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theBgt
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 6:45pm (UTC -5)
@ Saru's ganglia
If I disliked a show that much, it would be even further reason for me not to watch it (a Trek show crashing "my view" of Star Trek). Me watching it and getting mad about it would be absurd because it sounds like contributing to the very thing that I am wishing did not exist.

I want so much to keep liking Star Trek and I want so much for the new Trek to be successful and keep the franchise alive.
But on the other hand, DSC is so badly made that you do not wish for something so average to the be the beacon of the new ST era.
So I keep watching hopping it will get better.. or could be that I hope the creators will finally pay attention to our objections and suggestions and improve the damn thing.
Or maybe I am just a masochist :)
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Andy
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 7:04pm (UTC -5)
I want to like Discovery, I really do. It's too bad I'm such a Trek addict I can't quit this show. During the episode I was literally looking at the clock and hoping it would end. Quite frankly it was boring and nonsensical. Next week looks a rehash of Voyager's Basics which itself was predictable and mediocre and they had the Doctor and Suder to make it watchable. Just make it stop and show some creativity.
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Booming
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 7:30pm (UTC -5)
@TheBgt
Hey, you do you. :) For me the third season was important because it finally made me accept that this will never be what I want it to be. It is time to move on. No hard feelings.

Hopefully I can enjoy the last two episodes in some way.
I must admit that I enjoyed the discussions here.

11 down, 2 to go. :D
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBGEG21CGo0
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Chris Lopes
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 7:32pm (UTC -5)
"I want so much to keep liking Star Trek and I want so much for the new Trek to be successful and keep the franchise alive."

^^^This^^^. I honestly don't think those complaining about this show are doing it out of malice. They are Trek fans who want it to continue. They want Discovery to be good. They want to like it. They are hoping (perhaps foolishly) that TPTB will understand that they are failing as story tellers and correct what is broken.

My fear is that they are too busy checking boxes to engage in actual story telling. They are using their wokeness (which has always been a part of Trek to some degree) as a shield to protect them from genuine constructive criticism. We may indeed be wasting our time watching this show, but some of us love Trek too much to give up hope.
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JTEsteban
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 8:10pm (UTC -5)
This is a first comment for me on a Jammer board besides enjoying his reviews for many years. The current show runners for DISC/PIC are fully intent on preaching and ramming the so-called virtues of a woke utopian (dystopian in my view) universe down the audience's throat. The explanation for the Burn fits completely in this paradigm. The message of the Burn is simply : "Don't ever trigger anyone because it will bring my universe to an end." It is nothing more than an Anti-triggering , anti-microaggression, anti-free speech message. While Star Trek has always been unrealistically utopian in its ideals (Roddenberry himself made statements to that effect), this incarnation is clearly nothing more than a commercial for woke philosophy, as flawed as that ultimately is in my view.

Chris Lopes is right; they are far too interested in checking the woke checkboxes to do really daring or even mildly bold storytelling. And you see, the problem is, that the more woke society becomes, the more bland it becomes in all its aspects, especially its art forms. Discovery is living proof.
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Dave in MN
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 8:26pm (UTC -5)
I think you'd all have a lot more fun with Discovery if you just embrace the failure.

There is a decent chance Michael may end up in the Captain's chair by the end of this season. If/when that happens, I'd rather be laughing my ass off than gritting my teeth.

Maybe we'll get "lucky" and Discount Seska will join the crew!
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Matt
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 8:51pm (UTC -5)
That would be such a brilliant tagline if they used that.

"Star Trek: Discovery. Embrace the Failure."
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MidshipmanNorris
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 10:01pm (UTC -5)
What I hope, is that Star Trek gets taken away from its current foster parents, who have spent the last 15 years abusing it, and gets adopted by a decent set of Science Fiction writers.

Star Trek is way too big to just disappear. The only event which could possibly make the concept of Trek obsolete, would be nothing less than the human race making first contact with people from another planet. At that point, we would be able to look back at Trek thru the lens of firsthand experience.

Until then, Trek is going to be around in some form or another. But if I were in charge of it right now, I would be reevaluating the command structure of this ship.

Dismissed.
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Vulcan Soul
Sun, Dec 27, 2020, 1:53am (UTC -5)
"What I hope, is that Star Trek gets taken away from its current foster parents, who have spent the last 15 years abusing it, and gets adopted by a decent set of Science Fiction writers."

MSN, your analogy is most interesting since I'm thinking of an abusive relationship too, but not just between Colonel Kurtz & Gang and Trek, but with us (Classic Trek) fans! We are just staying and watching now based on past nostalgia and memories, the emotional connection with Trek built over decades, suffering through all that this abusive spouse is inflicting on us (and Trek), eternally hoping the present will ever be as glorious as that sweet past again. But I agree: that will never happen without a change of leadership because these leaders do not understand and value Trek on the same level as us, they want to turn it, and are turning it into something entirely different: low-calorie fantasy, soap opera, melodrama.
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Booming
Sun, Dec 27, 2020, 3:25am (UTC -5)
Hey people, I know the Christmas feast has clogged up a few blood vessels but watching NuTrek is not like being a battered housewife. Maybe tone down the self-victimization a little.

Also making so called woke politics responsible for the downfall of western culture. How original. It is not wealth inequality, failure of social systems, imperial overreach or an ancient political system. No, it is the tranny in Star Trek.
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Dreubarik
Sun, Dec 27, 2020, 4:45am (UTC -5)
I would add two other reasons to watch this show even if you think it's bad:

- To understand the current dynamics of television production and franchise management. Kurtzman Star Trek is a very interesting (if soul destroying) case study of this, and studying its progression (how the show tries and fails to pivot, for example) is quite fascinating.

- To get a better grasp of mainstream Hollywood progressivism nowadays and how those ideas are evolving. There is a very clear evolution from an anti-colonial "Prime Directive" as conceptualized in the 60s and 80s to Picard taking out a "Romulans Only" sign at a bar run by poor refugees.
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Peter Swinkels
Sun, Dec 27, 2020, 6:41am (UTC -5)
I hate being negative, but I was mostly like wtf is the episode about?
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Ralf
Sun, Dec 27, 2020, 8:01am (UTC -5)
Isn´t it fitting that in this cringey soap opera the Burn was not caused by science or technobabble, but rather by EMOTIONS?
Fortunately DSC has this side of things well covered: Burnham will cry the dilithium back into existence.
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Karl Zimmerman
Sun, Dec 27, 2020, 10:47am (UTC -5)
There's a strange symmetry to the arc of writing over the course of Discovery, because it has gotten much, much better in some important ways, but significantly worse in the only ways which it was strong to begin with.

Basically, when Discovery started, the show was incredibly weak on characterization. In the first season, no characters ever even had discussions with anyone other than Michael unless it was to advance the plot. But the underlying concepts - although often flawed in execution - were at least big and bold. Say what you want, but the idea of a friggin network of fungus connecting every point in the multiverse is at least creative.

In contrast, the character writing on Discovery is now pretty good, all things considered. Even the secondary characters and former bridge furniture feel like genuine people. Even the mediocre episodes generally have one or two nice character moments which help lift the episode considerably. The interactions between Stamets and Adira, for example, have been a high note this season.

But conceptually, the show is now incredibly risk averse. Every single major plot point is something we've seen dozens of times over in Berman Trek. It plays it safe relentlessly, which is frustrating given the 32nd century allows for wide new avenues of storytelling. This is the reason I have said it now highly reminds me of Voyager - an original premise squandered in order to attempt to alienate as few viewers as possible after two highly divisive seasons.

I do think having some higher-concept sci-fi writers in the room would help - because it's clearly the story concepts, not the scripts themselves - which are lackluster. But it really seems like the lesson CBS learned from the mixed reaction to the first two seasons is that Trek fans desire familiar comfort food - not bold new storytelling concepts.
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Chrome
Sun, Dec 27, 2020, 12:21pm (UTC -5)
@Karl Zimmerman

"This is the reason I have said it now highly reminds me of Voyager - an original premise squandered in order to attempt to alienate as few viewers as possible"

This whole season feels like Voyager. Lots of high concepts with bad execution, hard-headed aliens-of-the-week, action scenes used as a crutch for weak writing, the oddly magical self-aggrandizing starship that can do anything, etc.

From what I gather, there are Trek fans who love this kind of stuff. Personally, I prefer the more philosophical side of Trek so this will probably be my last season of DSC. I still like PIC and LD is surprisingly good at doing what it wants to do.
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Austin
Sun, Dec 27, 2020, 12:58pm (UTC -5)
@Dave in MN
“ I think you'd all have a lot more fun with Discovery if you just embrace the failure.”

I wish I could. But frankly I don’t find it bad enough to laugh at MST3K style, but it’s not good enough to take seriously.

@Saru’s ganglia
I see tons of people who hate-read on Fox News boards just to say how much they hate Trump. And I see tons of people hate-read CNN articles just to say how much they hate Biden or Obama. (Yes I follow both and try to find the truth somewhere in between). My point is, hate-watching is common, and why judge someone for that? Maybe they want to identify as a hate-watcher. The other main camp, which I’m a part of, desperately would like to see some good Trek on TV and despite moments of promise (like this episode), are repeatedly let down. Read through the Enterprise comments, this is nothing new. Still others may simply watch because they’ve invested many hours, if not years or decades already in not just Disco but all of Trek, and even others watch only to have a discourse on these message boards (even if they hate it), and even others might just be completionists and want to see every episode (even if they hate it). I don’t understand why you feel the need to repeatedly defend your position that haters should just shut up and stop watching, but for someone who harps on people for wasting their time, you’re REALLY wasting your time.
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Skye Francis-maidstone
Sun, Dec 27, 2020, 1:09pm (UTC -5)
My god. How did this even make it to air? Truly horrible.

The good:

- Seeing Saru's real face although IMDB could have done that.
- limited crying. Tilly may have snuck a tear out when I got bored and checked my phone.

The idiotic

- Michael constantly questioning Saru. She's not 1st Officer anymore. STFU. Thanks. Tilly was finally allowed in a meeting with the Admiral. He seemed suitably impressed.
- No security on DSC at all. No even one of the many bridge officers had a phaser. You'd the 3100 tech would having anti boarding party AI andriods or phaser canons or something.
- The race/clothes change when they beamed down. Why?
- The reason for the burn.
- Anti stress "button" on the captains chair. If it really becomes too stressful stab yourself. Don't do anything sensible like deep breaths etc.
- Why are they letting the only spore drive go anywhere until they've made at least another one of them.

The Bad

- The pre-landing party conversations were badly acted, badly scripted and completely pointless.
- Grey manages to stand out as a particularly bad actor in a show of bad acting. Probably transphobic to comment on their acting though.
- Tilly's conversations with green alien. All of them were embarrassing.
- Michael questioning Saru's judgement on anything. At all. She committed mutiny and recently been demoted from first officer. Not the ideal person to take advice on such matters from.

The Really Really Bad

- Michael will clearly be captain by the end of this season.

I can barely drag myself to the end off this awfulness. 2 to go.

This one was an out and out zero star stinker.
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Skye Francis-maidstone
Sun, Dec 27, 2020, 1:23pm (UTC -5)
Btw I'd love Trek to return to the quality of the DS9 era btw. I don't hate watch - I'm just a loyalist. I will probably skip s4 of DSC though.

PIC was enjoyable enough for me to give season 2 a look at least.

Maybe since The Expanse's team will be done soonish with season 6 (the final season) maybe some of them to come in and "save" Star trek.

On the whole woke/box checking subject: Many shows do the whole box checking/unrealistically diverse cast thing but still manage to maintain a decent quality of acting and story telling. The two don't have to be mutually exclusive. If people want to see themselves represented on screen then fine and good. It's not what I watch movies and TV for but to each their own. I don't any characters on DSC that would be inspiring anyone of any race.

Uhura and Sulu had way more to do than the bridge crew of DSC. They're just for reaction shots and generic lines that literally anyone could say.

Why wasn't there a scene when Lt Nielsen (blonde girl) sat down in the chair and got smiles of approval from the other female cast? Poor girl.
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Naomi
Sun, Dec 27, 2020, 5:24pm (UTC -5)
I want to like Discovery so bad. But like... what is NuTrek even doing? I just... it's so schmaltzy and inorganic. None of the dialogue feels real. None of the funny moments make me even smile. Watching Discovery back-to-back with Mandalorian has been brutal. The writing quality, innovation, and use of canon that went into that show versus this one...
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Nick
Sun, Dec 27, 2020, 5:26pm (UTC -5)
@Karl I think your observations on the show are spot on and might be attributable to Michelle Paradise taking over as show runner. I read some of her interviews and she seems to place characterization front and center which is a good thing but I also get the sense she isn’t really interested in science fiction or technology. She also doesn’t have a science fiction background. She also said in an interview that (and I’m paraphrasing here) having a show in the science fiction genre means they have to deliver good special effects, so I’m not really sure she understands how to make a good science fiction show.

So yeah, better character development this season (I now know what Detmer does, and remember her name). But most of the technological developments this season (personal transporters, holo com badges, programmable matter, etc.) are pretty much there to deliver special effects and nothing else. Even the burn was caused by feelings instead of a technological concept.

It’s too bad because jumping to the 31st century was a perfect opportunity to introduce some bold, high concept science fiction. But alas, nothing so far. What a wasted opportunity.
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grey cat
Sun, Dec 27, 2020, 6:38pm (UTC -5)
So the sci-fi is now even worse and we have some seriously pathetic character development.

I don't see any overall improvement over S2 personally. Although mostly s2 was saved by Pike/Mount for me.

As for this episode: Not sure how this can even be even worse than the last few (or any this season to be honest) but somehow they managed it.

Such sloppy, lazy writing combined with terrible script and embarrassing acting makes it almost unwatchable. They don't even stick to their own rules let alone any of Star Trek's. A new low for DSC. 0 stars.
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Chris Lopes
Sun, Dec 27, 2020, 7:01pm (UTC -5)
"On the whole woke/box checking subject: Many shows do the whole box checking/unrealistically diverse cast thing but still manage to maintain a decent quality of acting and story telling."

As others have pointed out, Mandalorian is perfect example of that. The last episode featured a practically all woman rescue team with not a peep from anyone about "wokeness". That's because they did the homework of showing these characters as genuine badasses in previous episodes. So they weren't "female badasses", they were badasses who happen to be female. It's called story telling.
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Chris L.
Sun, Dec 27, 2020, 8:04pm (UTC -5)
@Chris Lopes-

Exactly this.

I don’t mind having a trans/non-binary character. Or a female protagonist. Or any other character race/gender in any role. But if it doesn’t also come with good characterization and groundwork, then it can come off as “Look at us! We put in someone of background xyz in an important role!” I don’t think they intend it that way, because honestly, so many of the characters on this show are poorly written.

But any character whom we know well and is well written and isn’t primarily defined by their race or gendered status is fine by me. If the writers haven’t cleared that (very low) hurdle, that is kinda on them. Why should I like any random character that is poorly written, regardless of race, gender, etc? Am I supposed to like them just because of that trait? Because that is kinda weird.
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brian
Sun, Dec 27, 2020, 8:19pm (UTC -5)
".....The Burn just being an accident is actually fine by me. Disco season 3 has successfully been operating with lower stakes for its mystery arc than prior years, such that even if the Burn plotline ends unsatisfactorily, it's not going to retroactively make the whole season worse for me the way that it has in the past...."

but aren't you pissed off at all the time they wasted, especially early in the season, on it? All that time could've been spent world-building or character-building.
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brian
Sun, Dec 27, 2020, 8:25pm (UTC -5)
"On the whole woke/box checking subject: Many shows do the whole box checking/unrealistically diverse cast thing but still manage to maintain a decent quality of acting and story telling."

The Expanse does this well. The anti-hero protagonist is a really white skinny guy, but there are women all over the place, black, indian, asian, etc. And you don't notice. It just makes sense that in the future ethnicity just wouldn't be a big deal. It never feels like checking a box because every single character is written well.

The only reason it even comes up with Star Trek is because the characters aren't written well.
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Chris L.
Sun, Dec 27, 2020, 8:58pm (UTC -5)
@brian-

Watching the new episodes of the Expanse and then Disco back to back was a thoroughly depressing thing to do. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” indeed. I don’t want my Star Trek universe to be more like the Expanse’s, but I do want my characters to be as well thought out and engaging.

My least favorite character on The Expanse is actually the skinny white guy protagonist. He’s just not that interesting. But everyone else is, so it works.
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MidshipmanNorris
Sun, Dec 27, 2020, 9:59pm (UTC -5)
If the metaphor was insensitive I apologize. Writers have a tendency to think of works as "their children" in a certain way and I (a writer) sometimes feel this way about my own work. However I recognize that this is an obsessive tendency of writers and it is in and of itself a mistake for professional writers to think this way, in the first place.

I did go a bit far. Sorry about that.

I still think this franchise isn't gonna get better until it changes significant placements in its creative team, to be perfectly blunt and non-metaphorical about it. I don't care for the show, is all.
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MidshipmanNorris
Sun, Dec 27, 2020, 10:16pm (UTC -5)
And to be clear, I know that I didn't write any of Star Trek, but I have had it around since I was a child and learning to write, so I feel involved in some way. I am very familiar with it and there's a reason that word contains the word "Family".

Also, I might be barking up the wrong tree, for all I know. Maybe in the next ep it will all start to flow more, and make this ep retroactively better. I am not judging a complete narrative here. But Disco has done this to me before, so I can scarcely be thought delusional to think it might be doing it again.

I was not impressed with the season wrapups of Seasons 1 or 2. Maudlin is the word I would use, and it applies here too. This show is very cute, smarmy and maudlin. It's very very weird to have that in a show with pg-13 rated swears and Klingon Nipples, ok? Something about it all just feels off. It's not that it's different from previous Trek shows, it's that the dissonance is getting to me. The show isn't balanced.

Look at the first two seasons of Cobra Kai. There's a lot going on in that show, but somehow, by choosing to examine its characters properly, and frame stories around important aspects of the source materials ideas and concepts, all while at the same time spinning the alternate plate of a couple other genre threads running through it (teen soap opera, kung fu anime, 80s retrospective, Kurosawa Film and LA rich-vs-poor dynamics are not typical bedfellows). That is a crafted, designed, **writ ten** show.

Discovery feels like the ... well, like they've lost thruster control here.
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Dave in MN
Sun, Dec 27, 2020, 10:56pm (UTC -5)
@ Chris Lopes

I 100% agree with your point about the Mandalorian. 👍

Just to build on it for a moment:

The characters on MAND aren't just convincing badasses, but they all have their flaws and blind spots. They have internal struggles that conflict with their stated goals. This adds veracity. (I wasn't thinking about their gender or race watching any of this. I felt like I was truly watching real people coping with bad circumstances).

It really helps that the writers are wise to not have the characters behave outwardly over-emotional. Nothing evaporates audience goodwill quicker than immature protagonists who whisper-cry themselves into a nervous breakdown a half dozen times a season. These repetitive juvenile tantrums can quickly become tedious (as we see on DSC).

On MAND, the actors and actresses are also well-casted and skilfully performed (which makes a difference). You get the sense that the performers (and crew/directors/writers) care about this particular job and it is not just a paycheck. That sense of connection to the material comes across on screen.

All of these aspects play a hand in the audience seeing the players as actual people vs. tokens.
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Matt
Sun, Dec 27, 2020, 11:37pm (UTC -5)
The whole setup of Discovery won't allow for what people are asking of it. Telling the writers the characters are too emotional or it isn't sci-fi enough isn't going to fix things. It's just going to, at best, result in the type of reaction we've already been seeing - the viewers don't feel it's Trek enough? Let's bring in the Enterprise and Spock. Not futuristic enough? Let's go 900 years to the future. Someone on a message board said there are no trans characters? Quick, bring one in. The writers of The Expanse and The Mandalorian have no doubt already planned out the whole thing, from start to finish. In comparison Discovery is always going to feel half-assed, flitting from one plotline to another with never a chance to develop it beyond the bare bones of a vague idea. That's what you get when you have no other M.O., no vision other than to try to please everyone.
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Dave in MN
Mon, Dec 28, 2020, 12:05am (UTC -5)
@ Matt

CBS/Paramount doesn't really understand their franchise. That's the problem.

If I ran things, I'd put people in charge that understand and truly CARE about the 1966-2005 programs. Emulating the vibe and ethos of those shows would be paramount (no pun intended).

Show me a crew of professionals exploring the galaxy. How is this difficult to understand? It is literally in the title of the franchise.

There would be a directive to collaborate with Nebula-award winning sci-fi writers (especially the short story authors) on standalone episodes. No more seasonal arcs being the sole focus. In fact, maybe no seasonal arcs for a few years.

But hey, if some CBS lackey reads the comments/ reviews here and all they take away is "They want less whisper-crying", at least that would be a tangible improvement.
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dave
Mon, Dec 28, 2020, 1:28am (UTC -5)
Well, I think we need a Jon Favreau style intervention into Trek at some point. He has resurrected Star Wars in a magnificent way. Trek will need something like that because they are losing their core fans respect in droves and most are just watching to be completionists. I can't see this attracting a ton of new fans when there is so much out there to consume.
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Paulus Marius Rex
Mon, Dec 28, 2020, 2:47am (UTC -5)
Give me this over that Mirror Universe pointlessness any day. I agree with the comments above that say this episode fits more with a TOS ethos, with a Star Trek ethos, than much of what we've seen in the past few episodes. I don't come to Trek for mindless fighting and endless action sequences. I was entertained enough by the mystery and imagination in this episode to not want to expend energy dissecting its flaws. With the Mirror Universe episodes, all I could see were the flaws. Judging by the polarization of opinions here - and indeed on most Discovery episodes - I'd say the show does a good job of pushing different Trek buttons for different Trek people, rarely pushing all the right buttons for everyone. I had hoped that might happen this season, and the first few episodes seemed promising. Although my hopes have faded, I'm still entertained enough and it still feels like Trek every one out of three episodes or so. Which, you know, is a nice thing.
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Booming
Mon, Dec 28, 2020, 4:03am (UTC -5)
@Paulus Marius Rex
I don't see much polarization the closer we get to the season end. People gave Discovery's writers the benefit of the doubt for two season which both ended while making no sense. Anybody remember Terralysium. Every season the stakes are galactic. First season the Klingons almost destroy the Federation, second season a computer almost destroys the galaxy, season three an explosion destroys almost every ship in the galaxy and the Federation. Same goes for Picard. I do not care anymore. You can only so often create a galaxy wide event that is then solved by the crew.

It is a little sad when people speculate about how this show could be better which implies that it fails in what it is supposed to do. It could achieve what CBS wants. More subscribers. Who knows. Considering that the show really didn't change that much one could certainly think that it is doing fine.

People also write about the better fleshed out characters this season. Yeah from no character to characters who are a little bit recognizable. For example I now know Detmer now. She likes to fly ships which is good because she is the pilot and she had mental problems which were solved by being a pilot. Nice. That is it. Detmer season 3 (Pilot; character: likes to fly) We still don't know why she has a robot eye, do we? Can you even imagine how it would have been if for three seasons they had never talked about Geordie's visor? In season 4 they will flash out Lt. Nillson, she probably likes safety which is good because she is chief of security...I think. Maybe she is only on the bridge because Saru likes her shiny hair.

Oh and poor Saru. Burnham mutiny 3.0? She has already started to undermine him. I mean what is this? A pirate ship?!

Point being. If you don't like it at this point then you probably never will.
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Vulcan Soul
Mon, Dec 28, 2020, 5:27am (UTC -5)
@Booming It is not the "tranny in Discovery" that is causing the downfall of the West, but rather this curious narrative choice in Trek, as mirror and microcosm of society, is indicative of the myopic focus of the Establishment on the first world problems (such as "pronouns") of the queer little tree - when the whole damn forest is burning! That's how Brexit and Trump got missed, and now this pandemic is being bungled. Too much energy and attention sapped away by the intentional division of society into marginalized victims and privileged perpetrators, by these inane cultural wars and the complete unwillingness to compromise.

But we do agree that Discovery is mostly unwatchable now, and I have pretty much tuned out already :)
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Nick
Mon, Dec 28, 2020, 6:12am (UTC -5)
@Booming, you make a good point on the character development, it might have improved this season, but only because it went from a 1 in previous seasons to maybe a 3 or a 4 this season (on a scale of 10). It's still below average. As you noted, we still don't know that much about Detmer. There's also a black guy, a black woman, an Asian guy, and a white woman with blond hair on the crew who have collectively spoken maybe 5 lines this season. I don't know any of their names or what they do and they don't seem very interesting. Commander Nhan (or Officer Yum) showed flashes of a personality but she's gone now.

They do have some interesting characters, I like Vance, Saru, Book, Tilly (when she's not XO), Burnham (when she's not overemoting), Culber, and Reno. Adira has potential but they need to jettison the whole Gray thing. Samets is OK.

Maybe they have too many characters, I'm not sure. I will say though, one of the things that really frustrated me this season was how, up until Terra Firma, they completely wasted Michelle Yeoh's talents. This is an actress who, in my opinion, is in a completely different league compared to everyone else (except maybe Oded Fehr and Wilson Cruz). Meanwhile they are still giving lines to Ian Alexander who should have been jettisoned after that first episode. Character development is meaningless if you aren't going to capitalize on the acting talent you have.
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Booming
Mon, Dec 28, 2020, 6:47am (UTC -5)
Long somewhat confusing and unstructured political ramblings.

@Vulcan Soul
In Germany we have far less problems and are more accepting towards all those so called "culture wars" issues. Abortion is legal and barely anybody is disputing that, the military actively recruits transpeople, gay marriage was legalized by an overwhelming majority in parliament, universities are free, healthcare for everybody, a healthy middle class, the right to an apartment and so and so on. Even the pandemic is going better for us. We have far less dead (now 30.000 even though our population is older) then the USA even though we basically messed up the second wave.

The elites in the USA just use minorities and demonization so that nobody tackles the always growing power of the oligarchs, the conservatives by demonizing minorities, therefore getting the majority of the white vote and the liberals by giving minorities just enough to not lose them as a voting block. The system works. Biden plays that game very nicely. He has all the minorities (not trans obviously, too new) and now the progressives have to start every critique of the political views of a candidate with a 15 min declaration that they have nothing against this or that minority. Simple but smart. And the conservatives can spent the next few years talking about the radical lefts/minority threat to children (rap music, trannies, war on religion, freeeeedom) and how they keep "low income families" out of the suburbs. While the rich get richer and this is what this is all about.

Trump was the first time the centrist system failed. He still lowered taxes, stuffed the courts, ballooned the military budget and persecuted minorities. But he also started trade wars and rocked a political system that so far almost exclusively helps the rich. That is why Biden swam in an ocean of money. The majority of the oligarchs wanted him.

Bottom line, cultural problems are more easily usable to fire up the base, liberals have basically giving up on transforming the economy therefore only "culture war" questions remain. The conservatives on the other hand push an agenda that is not economically beneficial for many of the people who vote for them. That is why they need the culture war. Problem with culture wars is that at some point the populace is so radicalized that they want the real stuff, not the watered down centrist version. While the liberals could so far fight off actual leftists for 50 years , the centrist conservatives were since the late 1980s slowly replaced by the hard right and right wing radicals. One problem is of course that the US political system is far more right wing then that of all the other western countries. So going further to the left would mean Germany and even further Sweden, while going further to the right means "illiberal democracy" (political science term) and further right would mean right wing dictatorship or military junta for which Trump has now finally pushed open the door. The next hard right president just has to get the military on his side enough to overthrow the system. Just keep in mind approval for congress is now at 15%. 15% approval for the central democratic institution, sooner or later this will lead to a coup, very likely right wing (the military tilts to the right). The USA are already framing every societal debate or conflict as a war... political debates in the USA are now basically "the enemy within" debates. A system like this will turn on itself sooner or later.
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Booming
Mon, Dec 28, 2020, 6:50am (UTC -5)
@Nick
True, the whole Adira Gray thing is not working. As others have said it would have been better if she had constant visions of any of the former hosts. This all feels like cringy teen drama.
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Wainscoting
Mon, Dec 28, 2020, 10:14am (UTC -5)
Although I don't really watch this show anymore I still religiously come to read Jammer's excellent reviews and to read the comments (which frequently compel me to at least skim through the relevant episode and gather context).

@Booming
The political lens is perfectly valid when thinking about Star Trek (to a point of course). I agree with what you're saying; the American empire as we know it continues its discomforting, gradual decline, as history seems to indicate all empires must. The main prerogative of the presidential office leading up to and it seems also in the wake of Trump is to serve as a gentle caretaker for this decline - to ensure that the military industrial complex keeps chugging along, that the people currently making bank continue to do so unfettered and that there's continuation of American triumphalism propagated through meaningless ideological conflicts in foreign lands. The reality is expressed, however, in the undisguised dismantling of the middle class, who either join the working class as industry darkens in once thriving towns or become members of the hideously overproduced elite, both of whom in a sense find just cause to be bitter about their station and yet unjustly direct their fury at the other. In his often repulsive, megalomaniacal way Trump claimed to offer an alternative to this peaceful decline and although obviously he failed to deliver, he did enough to see the the Bush-era Republican neocons abandon their protracted facade and scurry away to advance the Democrat agenda, which now better represented their true interests. With Trump arousing awareness of a zeitgeist believed suppressed, the more convincing sovereigns of America play their hand more than ever before. The most important thing is not to dispel people's anger, but rather to magnify, misdirect and thereby in a sense contain the fury. The grievance focused, dogmatic, almost theological notion of 'wokeness' is wonderful in this regard, rewarding narcissism and the colouring of every issue by issues of identity. Submerge people in endless diatribes about race, gender and sexual orientation, make it harder for ordinary people with so much in common to communicate meaningfully without a lengthy preamble and above all, keep people MAD.

This American modernity as I've come to see it is expressed in Discovery. The reluctance to grapple with any kind of real uncertainty, a propensity to deafeningly tick diversity boxes, the expectation that the creators can endlessly repeat a small array of tactics designed to emotionally manipulate their audience without laying any kind of groundwork. It's really a product of its time.
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Booming
Mon, Dec 28, 2020, 10:49am (UTC -5)
@Wainscotting
My personal main problem with the way inclusion is handled on Discovery is that it sometimes feels self-congratulatory and shallow. A few episodes back Stamets and Culber had the "they talks" which felt so inorganic. I have a pretty high bar but even I was a little annoyed. It was one level above Sesame Street. "This is a non binary person and now we show you how to talk about them."

They also don't do anything interesting with it. If you want to be the inclusion show, then go all in. Apart from 3 lines Adira never stated how it is to be trans or that maybe it caused problems on earth and Culber and Stamets are just a couple (we all remember how they almost did the "kill your gays" thing). Let them have 5 children and deal with that. Somebody said that he/she has now no problem with men kissing anymore, that is progress, I guess.

While I actually like Stamets and Culber because they have something bordering on a character I wonder how these two are the only ones who are allowed to live together. Does nobody else have a spouse? I guess in season 6 we will find out that Detmer's husband works in engineering. I would like it even more if the asian and black background guys are gay and Owo and Detmer lesbians. Make them all gay. That would be awesome. :D

And then there is Burnham. Martin-Green acts her little heart out every episode but this character is just bad and for most of the run was unlikable, bad or good acting.

So while this show does quite a bit of inclusion, it doesn't handle it very well.
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Drea
Mon, Dec 28, 2020, 11:42am (UTC -5)
@Jammer:

Above, Booming used a slur for transgender people. The "t___ in Star Trek." I hope you will respond as you would with use of a slur for other groups.
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Yanks
Mon, Dec 28, 2020, 12:16pm (UTC -5)
Alright Booming.... what are "right wing radicals"?

... and don't say the "KKK" or "white supremacists". They aren't condoned by the "right" and their numbers are so insignificant they don't matter anyway.
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Nick
Mon, Dec 28, 2020, 12:37pm (UTC -5)
@Booming, I couldn't agree more and it's an unfortunate by-product of a mentality promoted by things like Twitter. It feels so rushed, like they were trying to get their point across in 140 characters or less. This would have been so much more meaningful if they did a deep dive in the issue. I am genuinely interested in what it's like to be a non-binary person but have no idea, because the show gives no detail. It's annoying because this type of storytelling (deep dives) is such a big part of how Star Trek used to tell stories (and highly effective), but completely disregarded now in favor a checklist approach. Maybe it's a generational thing, I'm not sure.
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Booming
Mon, Dec 28, 2020, 1:01pm (UTC -5)
@Drea
I was making a point about certain peoples attitude here. Don't worry, I'm nothing but supportive of the trans community.

@Yanks
Do you want to know specific groups? The alt right, the freedom caucus, parts of the tea party movement, parts of the militia movement, certain nativist movements to name a few. The first QAnon congress people will start their terms soon. These and others are in this range of right wing radicalism, arch conservatism and right wing populism.

@Nick
Twitter activism is easy to do and doesn't cost anything. That makes it great for people who want to feel good about themselves but not actually do anything.

The capitalistic side of that was exemplified when one of the Kardashians/Jenner kids made this Pepsi protest video. It backfired but only because it was so shameless. I always wonder when people rave about woke politics and all, that they don't realize that these multi billion dollar companies aren't leftist entities. They just try to repurpose everything into a commodity to make money with it. These companies think that pushing an inclusion message will bring them more success and I will not fault minorities for trying to use that in their fight for equality.
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Yanks
Mon, Dec 28, 2020, 1:11pm (UTC -5)
As for this episode...

I'll just put some bullets together as we'll see how this all pans out in the last 2 episodes.

- Good lord, how much work do they have to do in an attempt to justify the lunacy of the Tilly to #1 selection? Seriously... are they setting her up for failure or is this designed to make Saru look like he's incompetent? This is all making Vance look like an idiot as well. He should have installed a Captain and #1 when Saru chose Tilly. (neither should have been Michael)

- I'm about done with the Stamets/Culber thing. They are both commanders acting like folks that don't have any Star Fleet training. Suck it up for gods sake. No one else going on dangerous missions get the blubber fest these two give us.

- The Adira/Gray thing is wearing thin as well. Blu del Barrio's acting is getting worse and Gray can't figure out what? He was a trill for gods sake.

- Ossarya actually has now come across as a bass ass. How the hell did she know where Discovery was? hmmm... did her boy Ryn place beacon on board, or is he a beacon? This should prove interesting. So Discovery's new shields couldn't prevent them from beaming aboard?

- Tilly just got her ass handed to her. Yes, sitting in that chair is more than acting like "Killy".

- Burnham has to go to keep our Captain objective? Good lord, someone fire him. It was proven she DID need to be there too.

- Pretty cool, the species change thing... A good shooting day for Doug Jones I'm sure.

- Michaels performance and insight dealing with the child was outstanding and I found it to be touching as well.

- So, the child had a tantrum and all the active dilithium in the galaxy went inert? Really???? I certainly hope this isn't the explanation we've spent all season waiting for. More please.

- The visuals continue to be amazing.

They've got a lot of work to do to make sense out of all this. I guess we'll see how it pans out. It will be action packed and full of tears I'm sure.

2.5 stars, at least the Emerald Chain seemed more than formidable this time.

Hope everyone is having an enjoyable and safe holiday season!
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Karl Zimmerman
Mon, Dec 28, 2020, 1:44pm (UTC -5)
I actually feel that while it's pretty likely they'll once again fail to stick the landing, at least it's a step up from the first two seasons.

Season 1 failed when they seemingly lost the thread of the plot because they were so enamored with the MU, and then only remembered in the final episodes the themes the season was supposed to be about.

Season 2 failed because they apparently scrapped the original season arc once Berg/Harberts were fired, pulled Control out of their butt, and spent way too long trying to tie the first half of the season together somehow into a narrative which no longer made a lick of sense.

If Season 3's arc fails it will just be because it's underwhelming. The Burn being caused because a Kelpien child has a sad is...dumb. But if it's really solved in the third to the last episode it was never the season arc to begin with. Hell, the first half of the season was spent trying to find the Federation, so this has only been the "quest" since around the sixth episode. The storytelling isn't ambitious, but it's at least a pretty cohesive, point-a-to-point-b narrative. It's just that if we really end on "must defend Starfleet HQ against Osyraa" they basically did in a season what could have been done with a mediocre Voyager two-parter.
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J-Dogg
Mon, Dec 28, 2020, 3:01pm (UTC -5)
I think the message of the episode was: Don't say anything that might offend someone because it might trigger them which can lead to really bad things.

DSC found a way to be a whole new terrible.

-0.5 stars.
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Drea
Mon, Dec 28, 2020, 3:05pm (UTC -5)
@Booming

I did see the context in which you used the slur.

Do you believe that White people may mock racist attitudes of other Whites by referring to their distress at the n-word on DS9?

If you are as supportive of the trans community as you claim, don't use slurs, even when your intentions are good.
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Booming
Mon, Dec 28, 2020, 3:15pm (UTC -5)
@J-dogg
Well, thanks buddy for clearing that up. Move your head away from the microwave now.

@Drea
I don't understand the question and to your advice,
thanks but I will continue to make my own decisions. :)
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Dave in MN
Mon, Dec 28, 2020, 6:30pm (UTC -5)
How did the user commentary on " The Sanctuary" go 300+ comments without personal drama derailing the conversation, yet this discussion is falling apart so quickly?

IAnyways, I'm not defending Booming, but English is not her first language. I would say (@ Booming) that there's been a lot of change in what words are acceptable over the last 2 decades. This is now two times (in the last month) you've used phrasing that is no longer used in polite company: you might want to refresh your knowledge base. At this point, it's on you to educate yourself.

@ The offended (Drea, etc)

If you're offended, calling it out is perfectly acceptable ... but demanding Jammer get involved with punitive action is a drastic overreaction.

I am curious about your selective focus: JerJer has been making perverted/sexist/racist/ homophobic comments on this site for years and I never see any of you clucking your disapproval at him. Just an observation.

Oh, and since I'm typing anyways, I might as well add that it's ironic that Booming was offended by Midshipman Norris's totally acceptable analogy when she is often the one being overly provocative. Seems to me that's a wee bit hypocritical.
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Jason R.
Mon, Dec 28, 2020, 6:49pm (UTC -5)
"Above, Booming used a slur for transgender people. The "t___ in Star Trek." I hope you will respond as you would with use of a slur for other groups."

Fuck off.

Saved Jammer the trouble.
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J-Dogg
Mon, Dec 28, 2020, 7:01pm (UTC -5)
@Booming ahh was that the hidden meaning in this awful mess of an episode? Move your head away from the microwave oven or you might cause The Burn.

That sounds equally plausible unfortunately.
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grey cat
Mon, Dec 28, 2020, 7:33pm (UTC -5)
Is it time for Booming's Drama of The Week already?
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Dave in MN
Mon, Dec 28, 2020, 7:54pm (UTC -5)
@ grey cat

New episodes seem to drop on nights and weekends, German Time.
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Drea
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 12:40am (UTC -5)
@Jammer

Booming has doubled down on his decision to use slurs in this forum.

This is not a conversation for me or other visitors to have with him further, but for the owner of the forum to act on appropriately.

I know that managing this site, especially when you added comments, is a lot of work for you. Thank you for doing it!
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dave
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 1:23am (UTC -5)
I miss what this site used to be :( Its being hijacked by bullshit arguments now. Take it to twitter, you are making these discussion threads look like a twitter feed.
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Artymiss
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 2:59am (UTC -5)
Drea you sound like that annoying child at school: Please Sir Booming used a naughty word!

If this is "not a conversation for me or other visitors to have with with him further" why have you raised it twice already?! If you feel so strongly about it email Jammer directly and complain.

Context is everything and if you read what Booming wrote it is quite clear (to me at least) that this isn't a term Booming condones or uses but it was written in a list of other words as an example of what some conservatives might use/be up in arms about.
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Nick
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 3:48am (UTC -5)
@Drea, Jammer does not need to get involved at this point, you can handle this yourself by explaining to Booming that it's an offensive term (someone pointed out that English is not her first language so she may not have understood this). I'll be honest, English is my first language and I didn't realize that term was on the same level as the "n" word, thankfully I don't use the word but it's not something I really thought about before.

If it continues (meaning that Booming continues to use the word), then that's a different situation but we aren't at that point yet and constantly asking Jammer to intervene comes across as immature. This seems like a simple misunderstanding and is being blown out of proportion.
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Dave in MN
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 4:09am (UTC -5)
@ Drea

You can also self-police and not read Booming's comments.

Demanding she be censured is completely over-the-top.

Frankly, I gotta agree with my fellow commenters: you're giving off a tattletale vibe.
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Jason R.
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 4:15am (UTC -5)
" I'll be honest, English is my first language and I didn't realize that term was on the same level as the "n" word, thankfully I don't use the word but it's not something I really thought about before."

This is Dec 2020 not Jan 2020.

Radical far right hate speakers like you and your pal Booming won't be free to do further violence so better get with the times.
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Booming
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 4:16am (UTC -5)
@Dave in MN
" I would say (@ Booming) that there's been a lot of change in what words are acceptable over the last 2 decades. This is now two times (in the last month) you've used phrasing that is no longer used in polite company: you might want to refresh your knowledge base. At this point, it's on you to educate yourself."
Oh man, sorry. I didn't know that the USA had decided that this word cannot be used anymore. I'll inform the world.

beep bapp boop boop beep boop.

Yes, hello world, the USA has decided. Yes, the word ----- can no longer be used. No, I don't think T-word is ok but I will ask... ... No, it can also not be used to make a pro trans point. yeah... ... ... I know. Oh, while we are talking I heard that the word hubris should no longer be used when talking about the USA but they haven't decided anything definitive yet. Ok... yeah... ok, sure... I let you know... Bye.

aaaaaaaaaand scene. :)

By the way. Mr. Dave if that is your real name, I have definitive proof which I will reveal at a later date that you were a member of the communist party from 1938 to 1946 and that you are to this day a member of 27 organizations that promote the international communist agenda! There is also one eye witness from this very forum (you) that has proof that you are a homosexual and others allege (North Dakota) that you dream of Joseph Stalin every night! ... You guessed right I'm reading a Joseph McCarthy biography! :)
So be careful people, I know all the dirty tricks now! :D
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Dave in MN
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 4:38am (UTC -5)
@ Booming

I thought you might want to know that terms that were freely bandied about in the 60s and 70s are now passé (and for a good reason, a lot of them have pejorative connotations).

It's also a bit like slang: some terminologies have a built-in shelf life and then they expire ...such as your totally untubular word choice. Like, gag me with a spoon!

I can't believe I'm about to defend the far left, but to your long-winded point about the "USA" deciding what words are kosher: America doesn't own progressive ideology.

And, yeah, crying to the moderator is very childish, but Drea DOES have a point.

Why should words that were used for comedic or painful effect continue to be in common use? I'm all for free speech (and people being a jerk if that's what they choose), but there's nothing wrong with trying to convince people to retire some words.

As far as that last paragraph you wrote, I'm not why you're cracking "jokes" about my sexuality and where I live. I'm not going to call for your exile, but I feel a bit foolish for defending you.

Hopefully you're just drunk-posting again, because otherwise you are an asshole.

(Apologies to anyone triggered by the A-word.)
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Dave in MN
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 4:58am (UTC -5)
@ Jammer

I know you (rightfully) don't like the personal insults. I don't either, this place is usually above all that and I kinda broke the silent code.

I'm really sorry about that, I reacted without thinking when I read the snark about my personal life.
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Nick
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 5:29am (UTC -5)
@Jason R, haha, I wouldn't say I'm totally woke yet and be the first to admit I fully deserve to be cancelled :)

My point is that it's unfair to expect everyone to automatically know all the terms people are offended by these days (particularly when those people live in other countries). I'm happy Drea brought this up (because as I mentioned previously, I was unaware of how offensive that word was). I was curious and did a quick Google search and there seems to be some debate back in 2014 as to whether the word should generally be considered offensive (though maybe there's more consensus now). Any debate aside, the fact that some people find the word offensive is enough for me not to use it, because I don't want to offend anyone.

But for Christ sake, this is a community and we are all (for the most part) reasonable people. This can all be resolved by engaging with each other. For example, Dave in MN directly engaged with Booming by calling her an asshole, and now Booming knows Dave is offended by her weird jokes about communism. It's working!
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Booming
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 5:58am (UTC -5)
@Comrade Dave in MN
I'm on a diet and that makes me a little woozy and borderline delusional. No alcohol involved. I'm actually reading a McCarthy biography and as you might know he hunted not only communists but also homosexuals. So no I don't think that you were a member of the communist party in the lat 1930s or that you dream of Stalin. it was a totally not weird joke. which brings me to
@Nick
it was not a weird joke, it was a great joke. The silent majority found it very funny!
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Paul M.
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 6:28am (UTC -5)
Americans getting offended over something again, what a surprise. Is there some hitherto unknown correlation between guns per capita and getting offended?
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Burke
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 7:31am (UTC -5)
C'mon people... everybody has different opinions on different topics. If it doesn't involve STAR TREK, how about just ignore the post you disagree with?

Jammer's comments section is the only Trek "forum" I frequent precisely because every other place is either absolute love for the new shows or absolute hate. We have healthy discussions here, but every time someone brings up politics, it gets derailed.
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MidshipmanNorris
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 7:32am (UTC -5)
@Drea

Booming has failed to explain the point he was making, instead choosing to get offended and be angry and rude about it. That reminds me of the very type of strawman people he is railing against. He meant, people who are angry about LBGTQ+ rights, are being misled. They ought to be angry about all the crap that the Right is using it as a scapegoat to distract from, instead of getting bogged down in what is clearly a diversionary tactic by them.

Really, Booming. Your logic is pretty easy to circumvent, for someone who's watched Star Trek. You don't complain about people getting righteously outraged over what you deem to be insignificant things, then immediately turn around and get righteously outraged cuz someone asks that you not use a word they find offensive. It's "Transgender Person." Say you're sorry, move on...is that really so bloody hard? It doesn't affect your right to a free press and right to assemble peaceably for a redress of grievances, so can the Freedom of Speech talk. Otherwise you are ceding the very ground you're standing on. You've nullified the point you're making, that people **shouldn't be so quick to get righteously outraged.** Presumably, you understand that you are negating the point you just made, by becoming flustered about someone getting upset with you for using that word. Otherwise you ought to have said

"Also making so called woke politics responsible for the downfall of western culture. How original. It is not wealth inequality, failure of social systems, imperial overreach or an ancient political system. No, it is the t___y in Star Trek. But none of this applies to me, I can get mad and be rude to whoever I want for whatever reason, cuz I'm woke and privileged."

In fact, I think the proper solution would be for us all to adjust our priorities in terms of what we will and will not use as a reason to get righteously outraged. Adjust them to where, you ask? I don't care really... just raise the bar higher. It happens WAY too often for my taste.
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Booming
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 9:06am (UTC -5)
@Midshipman Norris
1. artymiss understood my point and explained it for anybody who didn't.
2. This may blow your mind but only because something is an insult in the United States of America (or wherever you live) doesn't mean that it is one everywhere else. The transpeople I know have no problem with the word, some actually used it with pride. And here comes another mindblower. Ever heard of a diminutive... in Germany we also call diminutives the cuteness form.
3. I'm a member of a trans rights organization for almost 10 years now.
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zanki
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 10:17am (UTC -5)
for me this episode single handedly sank the season (for some that happened ions ago) . Not sure what the ''allegory'' is supposed to be here or the social commentary, something I can take out of almost any trek episode. Unfortunately in all my stupidity , I understood the Galaxy is now deprived of dilithium because of a child's tantrum.....

Also like many, I gave a perplexed look at the tv when Burhnam said Saru was out of line, disco writing in a nutshell '' they just forgot'' who was saying it....

As for Tilly , I can't really blame her because heck Saru decided to put an inexperienced ensign in the chair....
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Frank A. Booze
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 10:48am (UTC -5)
I really hope that the “mole” who gave away Discovery’s position to Evil Green Orion Lady/Discount Seska/Same Character as Evil Romulan Sister from Picard is either Bryce, Nilsson or Rhys. When asked why, they could just say “I am tired of not being able to talk, do anything, go on any away missions, and having Tilly put in command over me”.

In all likelihood, there is no “mole” and green lady showed up because the plot demanded it.

I agree with a point somebody else made here. If the show didn’t have Star Trek attached to it, I wouldn’t be watching it. It would just be a crappy Science Fiction TV show.

I am surprised with the number of people who don’t mind Jett Reno. Don’t you find her to be incredibly one dimensional? As in all she does is make sassy comments?
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Chris Lopes
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 10:52am (UTC -5)
"If it doesn't involve STAR TREK, how about just ignore the post you disagree with?"

That's an idea so crazy, it just might work.
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Artymiss
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 10:55am (UTC -5)
@Frank

"I am surprised with the number of people who don’t mind Jett Reno. Don’t you find her to be incredibly one dimensional? "

I find nearly all of the characters one dimensional! I do like Reno, she doesn't take herself seriously, doesn't cry, always has a quip. She's like a breath of fresh air when she turns up.
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Nick
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 11:02am (UTC -5)
Yeah I second liking Reno. The actress is a comedian by trade and I think she's talented. I always smile after she says her lines. I'm fine with having some comic relief in the show as long as it's not excessive.
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Austin
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 11:06am (UTC -5)
I say for a bunch of people who complain about the excess crying in Discovery, there sure is some excess crying in your posts.
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Rahul
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 11:46am (UTC -5)
My issue with Reno is she doesn't come across as somebody who would realistically be in Star Fleet or some kind of engineer. It's fine for each individual to have their own sense of humor but her excessive snark doesn't feel right for Star Trek. Thus, it doesn't surprise me DSC is using Tig Notaro for cheap giggles. Much better, for example, is VOY's holographic doctor.
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grey cat
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 1:15pm (UTC -5)
@Rahul I agree about Reno no seeming like anyone who would be in Star Fleet. Personally I think that applies to Tilly and Stamets too.

Both of the conversations those 2 had before the ridiculous landing party sequence started just seemed like soap opera characters rather than military professionals.

I mean TNG had Barclay but he was on the verge of being transferred into oblivion due to his awkwardness/lateness/addiction problems etc. He was clearly meant to be a rare case in Star Fleet though.

ENT's crew seem so professional they're almost dull at times and that is set before DSC so it makes little sense.
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Nick
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 1:55pm (UTC -5)
@Booming

You're nowhere near as funny as you think you are. I think tedious is a more accurate description.
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Booming
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 2:02pm (UTC -5)
@Nick
You cannot please everybody. :)
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Drea
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 3:17pm (UTC -5)
There's a fairly simple social rule:

Don't use slurs for minorities or subordinated groups to which you do not belong. Even if you think your intentions are good.

Spaces that allow the breaking of this rule inherently create a hostile environment for the groups targeted. They also become hostile to other groups who know they could be targeted next.

The appropriate people for enforcing that rule are the owners or managers of the space. Leaving the response to those targeted, along with condoning an environment where alerting the appropriate person is labeled as "immature," "childish," or "crying to the mod," is functionally nearly identical to saying that slurs are allowed.

Booming was told that the term was a slur and responded by rebuffing requests not to use it or slurs in general.

When he sees this conversation, Jammer is going to have some decisions, probably to his aggravation, about what kind of ship he is running here.
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Bob
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 3:45pm (UTC -5)
The only things worse than modern Trek, are Trek fans. There isn't a site on the web where you can find decent Trek discussions.

Fan 1: "I'm perpetually offended!"

Fan 2: "I'm intentionally offensive!"

Fan 3: "I hate everything!"

Fan 4: "I'll watch anything!"
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Nick
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 3:53pm (UTC -5)
Now that you mention it, looking back on my life, I realized every conversion I've had would have benefited from someone else who could have created a structured environment for me to converse. Damn it, I've been doing it wrong this whole time.
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Jammer
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 4:01pm (UTC -5)
Oh, for crying out loud already.

*** The wrong way to handle things ***

Person 1: Makes point, uses offensive term.

Person 2: Cries foul, asks moderator to step in.

Person 1: Clarifies actual intent, but doubles down on right to use offensive term, on the account that offensive term is allegedly limited to USA boundaries (which apparently doesn't matter despite this site's audience being mostly from there), argues self-righteously.

*** A better way to handle things ***

Person 1: Makes point, uses offensive term.

Person 2: Objects that the term is offensive, and asks Person 1 to refrain from future usage. Doesn't immediately appeal to the moderator.

Person 1: Clarifies actual intent, but apologizes for use of offensive term in the interest of fostering community rather than scoring rhetorical points. Agrees to not use offensive term going forward.

Person 2: Accepts apology, moves on.

****

Things would be so much better around here if people would de-escalate rather than digging in and doubling down and assuming the worst of everyone else and launching personal attacks.

Here are the rules once again, recently updated. Considering I now make you check a box that you agree to these rules, it would be nice if you actually read and followed them.
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Dave in MN
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 4:03pm (UTC -5)
There are plenty of "healthy" discussions on this site. We don't need someone holding our hands.

I can only do my part, but I'll try to avoid falling for obvious bait in the future. Trolling is only successful if it's given attention.
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Dave in MN
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 4:05pm (UTC -5)
That was @ Bob, not Jammer.
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Booming
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 4:06pm (UTC -5)
woah ok despite the fact that I was actually making a point about transphobes. Fine. I will no longer use the term in this environment. It was not my intent to insult transpeople, if I have nonetheless, then I apologize.
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Jammer
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 4:21pm (UTC -5)
@Booming, it's not even just the term itself. It's the attitude around how you respond to others who might object. Yes, I get the rhetorical context/point you were making. Most probably did. But at a certain point, isn't it worth respecting your fellow posters and considering they might not like your conduct rather than digging in and telling everyone that they have no right to challenge you?

I'd like to go one week around here without people acting like jerks to each other simply to win the rhetorical day. It'd be refreshing.
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Chris Lopes
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 4:46pm (UTC -5)
I think that interpersonal conflicts are arising because (until Jammer posts his own review) we've actually run out of constructive things to say about this episode. It's strengths and weaknesses have been pointed out, points of view have been attacked and defended, and all we have left (at the moment) are those petty differences our species is known to fight over. Just humans being human.
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Frank A. Booze
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 5:47pm (UTC -5)
Well, if we have discussed everything, then maybe we should go back to questioning how the window on the blast door of the Enterprise is indestructible.
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grey cat
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 5:51pm (UTC -5)
We could discuss how the doctor was reborn via the mushroom world.

No. Let's not.
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Frank A. Booze
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 6:12pm (UTC -5)
Actually, that is worth discussing, because it shows a couple of really stupid decisions from season 1.

Killing characters just for the sake of “shock” value is bad writing. Yes, Game of Thrones (or a song of ice and fire book series) does this, but certain deaths in those books advance the plot.

Ash Tyler killing Culber was just done for shock value. Tyler could have killed that chief medical officer lady instead of killing one of the few good characters on the show. Yes, he was brought back, but under non-sensical circumstances.

I also think killing Georgiou in the pilot was a mistake. Yes, that death does move the plot forward as it weighs heavily on Burnham. But if the writers so badly wanted Michelle Yeoh to be on the show, why would you kill her immediately? Then we had to suffer through three seasons of Mirror Georgiou, arguably one of the worst Star Trek recurring characters (who is worse? Lawaxana Troi, or Mirror Georgiou?)
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MidshipmanNorris
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 6:35pm (UTC -5)
Wait so Booming is a lady person?

Huh. Whoops. ...Sorry
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grey cat
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 7:11pm (UTC -5)
@Frank A. Booze

Yes Indeed. I love normal universe Georgiou for the couple of episodes we get her for. I think she'd have made a great captain. Burnham's actions resulting ultimately in her death (and the war etc) made the character almost irredeemable. MU Georgiou is such a complete waste.

I know she's saved the universe (twice maybe, probably about to be a 3rd) but I just can't get past that. It's not like she served 10 years in prison. She was almost immediately released and put into a vital role. I guess she's supposed to be THAT brilliant but it just doesn't work for me.

I'd have happily watched a show with normal Georgiou as captain with a toned-down Burnham in the "Spock" role. Exploring strange new worlds or stuck on a station full of brilliantly written characters.
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Chris L.
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 8:09pm (UTC -5)
@grey cat

I think Burnham is poorly written in kind of the same way Jadzia Dax was. She is supposed to be this nearly unparalleled superhuman in terms of her abilities. But they do a poor job conveying that very well at all. Or even at all. She comes across as an emotional mess, whose insubordination is often unjustified and also unpunished. I get why you might be hesitant to punish an Einstein on your crew that breeches chain of command more than the others, but they really don’t convey that she is anything special.

I liked Jadzia Dax as a character in the end, but she was never particularly well written. She had her moments though, which ended up working just enough (at least for me) to not be completely annoyed by her in nearly every episode. Burnham doesn’t meet that standard...
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Kyle
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 8:19pm (UTC -5)
Awful. Abysmal episode. So the poor child raised by a malfunctioning holodeck caused the Burn with his nightmares and loneliness? What? Makes no sense at all. And Osyrra and Tilly's snarky exchange over the view screen reminded me of two high school mean girls getting catty with each other in homeroom. This is who Saru picked as his first officer? And speaking of Saru, what are they doing with him? Such a character assassination. I was so happy when he became captain, but now it appears Burnham is getting ready to lead another mutiny against her captain. Would TNG have portrayed Picard or TOS have portrayed Kirk as emotionally compromised or not able to be objective? Would Beverly have told Riker basically "I have no confidence in our captain, he can't make the hard calls, I'll have to keep an eye on him,"? Or would McCoy have told Spock that about Kirk? Travesty.
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Kyle
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 8:28pm (UTC -5)
One more thing: If Kurtzman had any talent or respect for continuity he could have mined Voyager's Omega Directive for source material and made Omega the source of the Burn. But no, let's have a mystery box that we drag out the whole season and make the focus of the show, when Trek veterans are sitting there since October saying "It's Omega!" Kurtzman could have made it easier on himself and not reinvented the wheel. Omega would have still been new to our heroes, and the DISCO crew could have spent the season trying to repair the damage and put the Federation back together again. We could have also seen more of the Federation and the political and social ramifications of an event equal to the Fall of the Roman or Han or Byzantine Empire. We saw a bit of it with Reunification part 3 which was a great idea and had it's moments. But we didn't need to see the DISCO crew, or rather Burnham, playing detective all season.
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Frank A. Booze
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 8:50pm (UTC -5)
@Chris

The thing with Jadzia is that she was only the focus character for a few episodes a season. So despite not being written well, she was mainly there to support other characters (often a good sounding board for Sisko).

Burnham is the focus EVERY SINGLE episode (except episode 2 this season, which may be the best episode of the season simply just by not having her in it...until the end when of course she saves the day). This is something I really hate about this show. She is overexposed.

Like please, PLEASE give an episode that focuses on other characters who get very little screen. Remember how “Lower Decks” was one of the best TNG episodes? Develop the damn bridge crew!
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Banned4less
Wed, Dec 30, 2020, 1:42am (UTC -5)
Funny , booming and the coffee crew causing continuous problems as always and that jamboned now makes you agree
To terms and puts a Kookie on your computer and invades your privacy and loads even more ads now. Year after banning me for less. You funny jamboneyed
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Dave in MN
Wed, Dec 30, 2020, 2:28am (UTC -5)
Oh please, Jammer is just a guy who likes scifi, not some nefarious mastermind. 🙄
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Chrome
Wed, Dec 30, 2020, 2:34am (UTC -5)
The privacy got updated as well, so it’s not like there’s anything going on that we don’t know about. It’s all there in black and white. Clear as crystal. YOU STOLE FIZZY LIFTING DRINKS!!
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MidshipmanNorris
Wed, Dec 30, 2020, 5:32am (UTC -5)
MUMBLER
Seriously you've just got to stop mumbling because I can't understand a word that you're saying
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Nick
Wed, Dec 30, 2020, 7:42am (UTC -5)
Speaking of Voyager, I just re-watched two episodes, "Night" and "Drone" in season 5. When Voyager ran, I thought it was a mostly average show with some really good episodes sprinkled in, but after the re-watch, I'm amazing at how much better this series is compared to Discovery. For one thing, you know all the crew members and what they do on the ship, and each one has a defined personality. And they all get some screen time and the show rotates who is focused on. Kate Mulgrew, Tim Russ, Jeri Ryan, Roxann Dawson, and Robert Picardo acting talent blow all the Discovery actors out of the water. The plots on Voyager were never that compelling, but at least they are rooted in science fiction concepts and pretty entertaining.

The best thing, there's no overemoting. As an example, there was an emotional scene at the end of the episode which the actor was able to convey without shedding a single tear. The scene was excellent and very touching and would have been much worse if the character just broke down crying.
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Burke
Wed, Dec 30, 2020, 10:24am (UTC -5)
@Nick

All these debates about the current season of DIS made go back and rewatch Enterprise. I never hated the show as some fans do, and found myself enjoying it quite a bit. Maybe it's because it follows the old Trek formula: we have the caption, the crew and the ship on a mission of exploration. Especially liked how they made the Vulcans the antagonists, I thought it worked quite well.

The triad of Archer-T'Pol-Trip is good and Phlox is a far more interesting doctor than Beverley Crusher. Hoshi and Reed could have been better developed. Mayweather was just there, with nothing to do.


Shame it got cancelled, as it was clearly improving towards the end of the fourth season.
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Nick
Wed, Dec 30, 2020, 11:18am (UTC -5)
@Burke, I was thinking about re-watching Enterprise. I mostly thought S1 & S2 were terrible. S3 was an improvement with the Xindi arc but still not great. I did really like S4 (sans the finale which was awful). Besides a noticeable improvement in the storylines, it did a great job divvying up the season into 2-3 episode mini arcs, a format that I thought worked really well and I'm surprised it's not used more.

I think Discovery could really benefit from this format, mainly because their storylines aren't compelling enough to keep interest throughout an entire season. IMO the burn mystery box would have been way better if they wrapped it up in 3 episodes, and then moved on to a 3 episode arc on the Emerald Chain, etc. For some reason the showrunners seem fixated on stretching things out through the entire season which is not necessary. The only time that really worked in Star Trek was on DS9 and I don't think anyone is going to re-create the success of that show anytime soon.
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Burke
Wed, Dec 30, 2020, 12:17pm (UTC -5)
@Nick

Definitely not a perfect show, but enjoyable. The bad episodes are on the same level of bad VOY. Some are ok, others you can just skip when rewatching.

And best of all, if you just want to take a break from all this over-the-top drama, ENT will satisfy you.
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Dave in MN
Wed, Dec 30, 2020, 1:40pm (UTC -5)
^

The back half of Season 3 and all of Season 4. The first couple seasons of ENT has some frustrating qualities.
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Booming
Wed, Dec 30, 2020, 3:57pm (UTC -5)
IMDB scores for the season so far
1. 7.3
2. 7.2
3. 7.3
4. 6.3
5. 7.5 (my personal favorite, too. Downhill from here)
6. 6.6 !!!
7. 6.4
8. 5.7
9. 6.3
10. 6.3
11. 6.2
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It's me
Wed, Dec 30, 2020, 4:25pm (UTC -5)
I have to say, this is the first episode of Discovery across all three seasons where I finally tuned out as the story progressed. Was it the rubbernecking moment where Burnham questions Saru's ability to remain impartial?

The approach of Discount Seska and the fact that 10 seconds in it was obvious that she would take Discovery?

That a child's tantrum on some strange planet in some strange nebula triggered the Burn? (Why couldn't it have been the final act of the Temporal Wars instead of a mystery box that is so lame that it triggers contempt rather than marvel)?

How about letting acting captain Tilly taking charge of the most important Federation vessel would be a very foolish decision that no character seems even to acknowledge? Again, it triggers contempt in the audience.

I am a fan of progressive elements being woven into a story framework to bring about a more tolerant society. I am NOT a fan of these elements being written so inorganically that they distract from the story, and BECOME the story itself, distracting people who view the episode, and consequently any review of the episode posted on sites such as this one.

In a brainless way, I like DISC. I like the MU stuff, I liked S2, and I enjoyed S3 until it hit this brick wall. I doubt the writers' ability to salvage the season after this trainwreck...
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Dave in MN
Wed, Dec 30, 2020, 4:43pm (UTC -5)
I wonder, is there a way they could salvage this at this point? I doubt if even Herman Mankiewicz himself could script a satisfying conclusion to this season.
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Frank A. Booze
Wed, Dec 30, 2020, 7:05pm (UTC -5)
There is only one way to salvage this season. Write Michael Burnham off the show. How amazing would that be?
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Yanks
Wed, Dec 30, 2020, 7:06pm (UTC -5)
I can't believe I forgot to mention this...

Why didn't Tilly jump away? All Discovery needs is a point to jump to, and they had it. (inside the nebula). She decided to stay and "protect the away team", but how would anyone else even know there was an away team if your not there to give it away? Tilly deduced that it was Ossyra, good on her, that's when she should have jumped away, finished repairing the shields, and then jumped into the nebula to retrieve the away team.

This is what happens when you put someone in the #1 position that has NO tactical experience.
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grey cat
Wed, Dec 30, 2020, 8:09pm (UTC -5)
and when Discovery is inevitably recovered the Admiral will ask Saru to step down.Burnham (having solved The Burn and saved Star Fleet) will be promoted. Saru will be happy back in the science officer role with Tilly as First Officer. Cue crying and hugging. Smiles from Detmer and Owo and reaction shots from Token Asian/Black bridge crew and beaming smile from the pretty blonde.

I hope I'm wrong.

I can't imagine what could save this season/series.

Book and Adira have proved largely pointless since, yet again, they haven't developed them at all. (Why do we need so many engineers again? Reno the one joke snark machine included).

As @Nick said above. VOY's characters seem much more like real (and professional) people by the end of season 1. I'm enjoying a bit of a VOY and ENT rewatch right now myself.
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Greenboots_
Wed, Dec 30, 2020, 9:16pm (UTC -5)
Didn't hate this episode in a vacuum, but we're leading into the finale of the season and there are ZERO stakes to the story they've been building up. The "one plotline per season" structure just does not gel with the huge scale of stories these writers seem fetishistically drawn to, it makes everything seem so weightless and unimportant.

Why was Adira added to the crew? Why was Book? Why did they devote so much runtime to fucking Admiral Spacehitler without developing her character in the slightest? Why are the showrunners seemingly unable to differentiate their affection and admiration for their actors with what the characters should think and feel about one another? Why has Vance done nothing but Marge Simpson murmur at Discovery all season? Why is the villain just now, two minutes before the finale, taking an interest in our protagonists? Why am I still watching this show?
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Greenboots_
Wed, Dec 30, 2020, 9:28pm (UTC -5)
@Nick
Even DS9 never really did season-long story arcs, aside from maybe the Klingon war subplot. The writers instead established characters, organizations, and conflicts early on and checked in on them as it seemed natural to do so. Most plotlines on DS9 were given multiple seasons (or even the whole length of the show) to breathe and develop, so it never felt like they were speeding through plot points in order to set up a big Avengers-style climax at the end of the season, which has been NuTrek's problem from the beginning.
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Luke
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 12:53am (UTC -5)
It's episodes like these that make me depressed thinking about what could have been if CBS hadn't ran off Bryan Fuller.

What a mess! I hope someone comes in to save this franchise for TV, because right now it is on a downward spiral.
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Jammer
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 2:13am (UTC -5)
Review now posted.
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Chris
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 2:34am (UTC -5)
"A season of initial promise seems to be disintegrating before our eyes, just as crunch time has arrived."
Just like season 1 and 2. And just like Picard did. I can't stop watching but it hurts.
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SlackerInc
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 2:50am (UTC -5)
@Jammer, good review. Normally I can find something in your review to nitpick, but that was all just very well said.

@grey cat: "I'd have happily watched a show with normal Georgiou as captain with a toned-down Burnham in the "Spock" role. Exploring strange new worlds or stuck on a station full of brilliantly written characters."

Cosigned!

@Nick and @Burke: I never got on the bandwagon of hate for either VOY or ENT, so I appreciate your comments!
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Booming
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 3:32am (UTC -5)
I guess Discovery finally broke Jammer...
Reading his summary of what caused the burn let's my brain grasp for straws. Can it be this dumb? Ok, we have seen season 1 and 2 but still it seems incomprehensible.

Jammer mentioning the emo wave, that we see in this episode, highlights again how little thought is put into all of this. Either this wave was a different kind of wave because it was faaaaar to slow to hit everything in the galaxy almost simultaneously or they never really thought about the central mystery of the season or worse they didn't think that anybody would notice.

Another aspect Jammer didn't mention. Why is this Dilithium planet even important or what is gained by knowing what caused the burn. Ok, they now have one planet made out of Dilithium, how long will one fairly small planet of dilithium last. A galaxy full of ships will eat that planet up in no time. Remember they had already used up ALL OF THE DILITHIUM IN THE GALAXY.
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Booming
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 3:53am (UTC -5)
Great, now my brain is finding flaw after flaw in this nonsensical plot. The galaxy was running out of Dilithium. One would assume that everybody was looking for new sources but apart from this one ship nobody every thought to look into this nebula which somehow... formed a planet made out of the stuff everybody needed. It is not hard to explore if shields are up so why did only one ship ever explore it?!! The one place with a giant amount of Dilithium in it!!!!
WAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
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Paul M.
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 4:08am (UTC -5)
I don't know what the problem is with these writers, but it's remarkable how every season followed the exact same trajectory. It started solid enough, showed some early promise, then started going downhill around midpoint only to crash and burn at the end. When this happens three times in a row, I have to wonder if the powers that be wanted it this way. Or are Kurtzman and co really that clueless? Even this I have trouble accepting because surely a bunch of professionals have certain basic competence. Baffling.
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CaptainMercer
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 4:25am (UTC -5)
@Jammer from your review
"Maybe I haven't paid enough attention this season to the arbitrary technobabble around the dilithium shortage, but it seems like the issue is that everyone is too slow when it comes to traveling at warp, when it really should be range — not speed/time — that is the limiting factor."
In Trek, these are basically the same, no?
Space is so fast that you need warp to get anywhere. The faster you are the more things that are in range

Did I just miss the obvious? what are you saying with this bulletpoint?
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CaptainMercer
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 5:40am (UTC -5)
I meant "space is so vast"
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Nick
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 6:11am (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc, I think part of the hate for VOY and ENT was because they came right after TNG and DS9, two best series in the franchise by a mile, so expectations were really high going in (and probably unfairly high). VOY wasn't nearly as good as those two shows, but still a very enjoyable series in its own right. I do wonder what could have been with ENT, as it was cancelled just as it was getting good.

@Booming, agree with what you said. One thing to add is that planet had a freaking distress signal on it for 100 years! So it's either the worst distress signal in the history of distress signals, or everyone is incompetent. The only thing I can think of is that maybe everyone went into survival mode after the burn and maybe that nebula is out in the middle of nowhere, so nobody bothered to explore it. Still, there seemed to be some knowledge of a "dilitium nursery" in that nebula (I think someone in Starfleet mentioned that), which you would think would have peaked someone's interest. These types of obvious plot holes cheapen the payoff of the mystery box. I can forgive this kind of stuff if it's contained within a single episode, but this got stretched out over an entire season, so in theory they devoted the most amount of time to this story and this is the best they could do? Really sad.

@Paul M, I think its a competence issue. These writers clearly don't have what it takes to write series long sci-fi story arcs. For seasons 1 and 2 I think part of the issue was the leadership changing mid-way through the season. For season 3 I think the obvious answer is that Michelle Paradise is not qualified to run this show. Her claim to fame before this was work on the Originals which is a teen soap opera about vampires. The stuff they did this season might be fine on a show like the Originals where plots don't matter and holes can be explained away by the "fantasy" aspect of the show, but that kind of stuff is not going to cut it on a sci-fi show. From reading some of her interviews, she failed to acknowledge that the sci-fi genre is any different at all, other than the audience having higher expectations on special effects. So it's clear to me she doesn't know what she's doing. It might be fine if Kurtsman knew what he was doing and could mentor her, but he's just as clueless (though in different ways).
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Booming
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 6:31am (UTC -5)
@Nick
yeah this must be incompetence.

"One thing to add is that planet had a freaking distress signal on it for 100 years!"
Oh right... phew. Almost forgot that. I can add one more thing.

The one and only ship they ever send there was also the only one that could cause the burn.

I wish this show would have ended this year then we could have filed it under 2020 and moved on.

I agree with people who like the Admiral. I also know why they like him. He acts like somebody in a Star Trek show, sadly he is the only one.
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Paul M.
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 7:36am (UTC -5)
@Nick, following on your comments about Michelle Paradise, I also came across an interview she gave. Here's an excerpt:

"In the room, we don’t start any episode by talking about genre. We always start with our characters. The genre stuff always feels like that’s the fun, and of course our audience expects that, so we want to make sure that we are delivering all the super-cool VFX that they want to see, and all of our teams that do that are absolutely incredible. But it always comes back to character and story, what does someone want, and what gets in their way. Those things transcend genre."

Unless I'm missing something, Discovery showrunner is equating genre (meaning sci-fi) with special effects, as if that's all "genre" is. Double-Picard facepalm.
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Booming
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 8:29am (UTC -5)
In Germany on this day we say "Guten Rutsch" which literally means good gliding but actually comes from the Jewish "Rosch ha schana" (it is debated in science, though). So yeah, have a good beginning!

I have a nice bottle of wine from a village close to La Barre.
I hope you do, too.
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The Queen
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 9:29am (UTC -5)
Paul M, can you give directions to that interview, please? I've found a few but none with that quote, and would love to read the whole thing.
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Yanks
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 9:55am (UTC -5)
@Jammer,

"Maybe I haven't paid enough attention this season to the arbitrary technobabble around the dilithium shortage, but it seems like the issue is that everyone is too slow when it comes to traveling at warp, when it really should be range — not speed/time — that is the limiting factor. I could be completely misunderstanding how dilithium fuel works, but it goes back to the typical MO of Discovery that they haven't made the rules of How Things Work easily understood and well explained the way previous Trek series would have."

Dilithium isn't a fuel, it regulates the matter/antimatter reaction in the Star Trek universe. While not elaborating very much, they actually got this correct in this episode when Stamets reacts to our little tantrum reaction.

***There's some kind of disturbance from the surface. And it's increasing.***

STAMETS: The warp core!

Lock down the magnetic constrictors.

Adira, purge the dilithium chamber.

TILLY: Stamets, what's happening?

STAMETS: "Something is destabilizing the dilithium in the core.

It'll cause a chain reaction."

"but why would the Kelpien programmers of this environment, designing for their Kelpien child, not incorporate Kelpiens into the program? This does not add up."

My EXACT thoughts when it was explained why the program changed their races.
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Yanks
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 9:56am (UTC -5)
Oh, and great review as always Jammer.
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Yanks
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 9:59am (UTC -5)
@The Queen

Here you go: http://buzzymag.com/exclusive-interview-star-trek-discovery-michelle-paradise/
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Paul M.
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 10:12am (UTC -5)
That quote betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of what genre means. While story and characters absolutely *are* important, no doubt about it, there's a reason for genre and subgenre distinctions in art. It's something that, for example, Mandalorian showrunners get and the reason that show is so good. It includes themes, atmosphere, mood, story beats and character types one might expect, narrative structure, the way to direct and edit a scene, etc, etc...

I don't know, but I constantly feel like I'm missing something. Because if I, a random guy who happens to like science fiction and fantasy, is aware of some of these things, it's unfathomable to me how these people with countless years of experience in TV storytelling don't get it. But of course they *get it*. They aren't morons, most of them are undoubtedly creative and smart people. Which brings me back to "I must be missing something". What is the thought process behind all these decisions?
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Nick
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 10:13am (UTC -5)
@Paul M, that's the same interview I was reading. @The Queen, http://buzzymag.com/exclusive-interview-star-trek-discovery-michelle-paradise/

Here's another one: https://trekmovie.com/2019/04/25/interview-michelle-paradise-on-star-trek-discovery-season-2-finale-and-going-beyond-canon-in-season-3/

Some other notes from that interview:

- In terms of managing the writers room, she kept saying the most important thing was to create "a safe space" where everyone feels heard and contributions are valued, etc. Now, I'll admit I have no idea how a good writer's room works, and maybe this is just something you are supposed to say, but I would think if you are just trying to appease everyone in the writers room that things may not stay on track and focused and you might end up with some convoluted storylines that try (unsuccessfully) to blend together a lot of different stuff (and we have seen this lack of focus many times in S2 and S3).

- I haven't heard her talk very much about legacy Trek other than it being a vehicle to deliver commentary on diversity, optimism, and that if we come together we can overcome anything. She mentioned the need to respect canon and said they have a "Trekspert" on the writing staff, but didn't seem very interested in it herself. I wouldn't be surprised if she hasn't watched most of legacy Trek.

- In terms what inspires her, she talks about the human condition and character dilemma, but again nothing really about legacy Trek or science fiction in general. She also said she is inspired by science and reads Wired magazine (she's referenced reading Wired magazine in two separate interviews, so that seems to be her go to response when asked about anything science fiction).

However, I say all this with the caveat that I'm speculating quite a bit. I've only read a couple of interview transcripts and I am by no means an expert on her and I also have no idea how to make a TV show. So it's possible I'm being unfair. I'm also not saying she's a bad showrunner, it just doesn't seem like she's a good fit for a Star Trek show.
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Booming
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 10:42am (UTC -5)
Don't read these stupid interviews. They are as informative as an interview with 99% of politicians. I wouldn't be surprised if PR people tell them exactly what the very narrowly defined guardrails are.
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Paul M.
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 11:31am (UTC -5)
@Nick "I've only read a couple of interview transcripts and I am by no means an expert on her and I also have no idea how to make a TV show. So it's possible I'm being unfair. I'm also not saying she's a bad showrunner, it just doesn't seem like she's a good fit for a Star Trek show."

@Booming "Don't read these stupid interviews. They are as informative as an interview with 99% of politicians. I wouldn't be surprised if PR people tell them exactly what the very narrowly defined guardrails are."

Actually, these interviews can be very informative in a roundabout sort of way, by noticing what is absent as much as what is in there. I will also note that I don't know much about Michelle Paradise, but several of her interviews that I did read were all very vacuous, pleasant-sounding and without much of a substance. You can get some general notions, but almost nothing that would really dive deep beneath the surface. It's a rather common occurrence with a lot of entertainment industry insiders. You can easily compare this to interviews and other sorts of media appearances of people that are... better regarded, shall we say. While they obviously won't spoil the game ahead of time, you can get a much better sense of what they're trying to accomplish and why, what's important to convey... It's pretty easy to spot people who are artists and storytellers first and who approach their show from the Watsonian in-world perspective as opposed to those who are businessmen and execs first and who favor the Doylist out-of-fiction perspective.
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Booming
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 11:45am (UTC -5)
@Paul M.
I'm sure all these people have a line in their contracts that forbids ... (sorry I#m confused by listening to a 10 second per song supercut of all famous 90s music!!!) What I mean is that Michelle Paradise is not so famous enough to risk telling the truth in an interview.
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William B
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 12:21pm (UTC -5)
Re the "safe space" line, it could mean a few things:

1. It could mean a place where people are free to discuss "what they want" to without criticism, or unpleasant ideas. This is the one that could lead to the mushy effects people are maybe describing (haven't watched the season). There are advantages to this, but the disadvantages also mean some self-censorship to avoid harming others, which can hurt the final product. It could also mean:

2. A place where people are genuinely free to say what they want with the trust that everyone will know it is for the story. In Ron Moore's famous interview about Voyager, he talked about how the TNG and DS9 writer's rooms had huge arguments, but there was a trust within the room that everyone could say what they wanted, that they might get argued with, but that what happened in the room wouldn't seep out, and that everyone knew that everyone was trying to make the best product without carrying grudges from outside. I think that kind of "safety" to say what one really thinks is very important in an honest collaborative endeavor, especially (though not exclusively) artistic.

I suspect Paradise maybe means something that's a bit more like the former.
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Paul M.
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 1:40pm (UTC -5)
Speaking of safe places, there was an incident a few months back in DSC writers's room, after which one of the writers, Walter Mosley, resigned. He had this to say in New York Times:

"Earlier this year, I had just finished with the Snowfall writers’ room for the season when I took a similar job on a different show at a different network. I’d been in the new room for a few weeks when I got the call from human resources. A pleasant-sounding young man said, 'Mr. Mosley, it has been reported that you used the n-word in the writers’ room'. I replied, 'I am the N-word in the writers’ room.'

I hadn’t called anyone it. I just told a story about a cop who explained to me, on the streets of Los Angeles, that he stopped all n---ers in paddy neighborhoods and all paddies in n---er neighborhoods, because they were usually up to no good. I was telling a true story as I remembered it.

There I was, a black man in America who shares with millions of others the history of racism. And more often than not, treated as subhuman. If addressed at all that history had to be rendered in words my employers regarded as acceptable.

"There I was being chastised for criticizing the word that oppressed me and mine for centuries. As far as I know the word is in the dictionary. As far as I know the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence assure me of both the freedom of speech and the pursuit of happiness.

My answer to HR was to resign and move on. I was in a writers’ room trying to be creative while at the same time being surveilled by unknown critics who would snitch on me to a disembodied voice over the phone. My every word would be scrutinized. Sooner or later I’d be fired or worse — silenced."

This incident, as well as various documented earlier incidents involving previous showrunners, reveal a troubled workplace. How and if these things influence the final product, we'll likely never know.
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Nick
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 2:12pm (UTC -5)
@Paul M, that's really interesting. So if the expectation is that the dialogue in the writer's room is that sterile (and let's be honest, a black person using the n-word is not that big of a deal), I could see it dampening creativity. Also, how do you really explore dark, serious issues if people can't even handle a little something like that? Also, would be very ironic if the person who reported him was white.

I also read into the quote you referenced as her basically saying she doesn't need to change, no adjustments need to be made on her part. So she will be drawing heavily from what matters to make good teen soap fantasy dramas, since that's her background. I think this is very apparent in the show (see Gray and Adria).

If I could totally overanalyze the Paradise interviews a little more:

"Today, it feels like we have quite a lot of divisiveness in the country. There are things going on that are very troubling. And the great thing about STAR TREK ... is that we can ... reflect that, ... if we embrace the difference between us, ... we can overcome anything. And especially today, I think that kind of message is incredibly important. Also we have an incredible, very diverse cast, and we embrace that. We embrace that storytelling, and I think today that kind of storytelling is needed.”

To her, Star Trek is nothing more than a useful vehicle to deliver these messages to a wide audience. She probably feels a moral obligation to do it, which is fine. She's absolutely right that the message is needed and she should be delivering it. But I don't think she has passion for sci-fi and wants to make the best sci-fi show she can, I think all she really cares about is making the sure the message is delivered (passing the Bechdel test, meeting quotas, etc.).
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Booming
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 2:23pm (UTC -5)
@Nick
I just want to point out that this sentence " if we embrace the difference between us, ... we can overcome anything" is nonsense that sounds nice but doesn't really mean anything. Our differences exist and will sadly persist for a reason. Saying that we should overcome them in a huggy bear kumbajah fashion is just stupid, at least very simplistic.
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Chrome
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 2:59pm (UTC -5)
It's just a rephrasing of IDIC. Roddenberry really did believe we could all join hands in peace if we embraced human diversity.
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Booming
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 3:04pm (UTC -5)
What is IDIC? Sounds dirty.

idk maybe Roddenberry thought the same thing but understood it on a different level? He took a lot of drugs...
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It's me
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 4:34pm (UTC -5)
@Paul M, that story points out why, even with the best of intentions, the policing of terms that are now acceptable (or not) to use can so easily lead societies to fall into Orwellian Newspeak. Orwell's fear was about it happening in a totalitarian regime, but liberal democracies are also susceptible to it.

Only through open and honest dialogue based on good faith can ideas be debated, and hopefully bad ideas can be exposed for the problems they possess.

Unfortunately, humans aren't great on assuming good faith in others...
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grey cat
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 4:37pm (UTC -5)
Christ on a bike how bad does DSC have to be to get less than 2 stars? Jammer praises a lot of things on their potential rather than what's in the actual show in my opinion.

Nevertheless a nicely written review anyway.
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Booming
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 5:06pm (UTC -5)
Germany made it to the other side
Happy New Year everybody!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DL7-CKirWZE&ab_channel=NewRadicalsVEVO
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Leif
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 10:43pm (UTC -5)
Guys HELP TELL ME am I wrong thar thisnepisode was derivative of Future Imperfect or at least had some similar elements?? Or was it similar but just different enough to not be derivstive? And it also reminded me of TNG's The Survivors but maybe that episode was different enough only then explosion of power was similar but other than that this episode was very different? Was anyone else reminded of this episode? I see one person here who mentioned the Dowud from that episode but no one else has I don't think..Hope you guys can respond..Was the idea of a dilothium planet in a subspace sort of cocoon govong rise tona unique Kelpian like life form who emits radiation pretty darn imaginative and original though?? Is it not? Thanks for your review Jammer and the comments
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Greenboots_
Fri, Jan 1, 2021, 12:15am (UTC -5)
@Booming Infinite diversity in Infinite Combinations. And no, Roddenberry didn't really have any great insight into what he preached, he was mostly on drugs as you said. People like Ron Moore, Ira Behr, and ESPECIALLY Michael Pillar are the ones who explored that concept in a way that has endured for thirty years now.
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SlackerInc
Fri, Jan 1, 2021, 5:36am (UTC -5)
@Nick: "I do wonder what could have been with ENT, as it was cancelled just as it was getting good."

This seems to be not only the conventional wisdom, but something close to a consensus, universally agreed-upon, opinion. Not quite, though, because although I agree that ENT was very good in the final season (other than the disappointing finale as others have noted), I also really liked it right from the beginning of the first season! (Apart from the awful theme song, of course--the opening credits are great with the volume muted, however.)
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SlackerInc
Fri, Jan 1, 2021, 5:38am (UTC -5)
I'll add that I would take the first season of ENT over the first season of any other Trek series besides TOS.
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Nick
Fri, Jan 1, 2021, 6:49am (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc, I didn't like the beginning of Enterprise as much because I didn't think the acting talent was as strong compared to Voyager. Scott Bakula was a step down from Kate Mulgrew. T'Pol wasn't as good as Tuvok / Seven. Sato and Mayweather weren't that interesting. I did like Trip and Phlox though, and Reed was OK. I thought the series got better when they brought in stronger guest stars (Jeffrey Combs, Brent Spiner, whoever played Degra, etc.). I also wasn't a huge fan of the temporal cold war storyline and the series got a lot better when they jettisoned it.
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Nick
Fri, Jan 1, 2021, 12:07pm (UTC -5)
Also, just to expand on my earlier comments on VOY and ENT, when VOY was released Trek was on a upward trajectory. Going from TNG (which was great) to DS9 (which was extraordinary), made everyone's expectations sky high for VOY when the reality was that this show marked the beginning of Trek's decline. So when your weighing VOY against DS9 and TNG, it's relatively bad, and I think that caused a lot of people to be a little too harsh when judging it. I personally enjoyed VOY and thought it was a worthy series.
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dave
Fri, Jan 1, 2021, 11:31pm (UTC -5)
@Nick

Looking back, I was not big on Voyager at the time due to having DS9 going at the same time. But now, I think Voyager ages pretty well considering what we got post Voyager. the last 2 decades. There are a ton of really good episodes in that series that seem a whole lot better when it is not being compared to DS9 week after week.
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dave
Fri, Jan 1, 2021, 11:34pm (UTC -5)
@Nick again!

I think Enterprise was the beginning of the decline. They messed with continuity, had the ridiculous cold war (at least how they wrote it), trotted out Ferengi and Borg for ratings and had to essentially reset the entire thing with the Xindi war just to try to save it. That to me was that transition point and after that got cancelled, NU TREK! was the response and here we are.
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Peter G.
Sat, Jan 2, 2021, 2:05am (UTC -5)
@ William B,

"Re the "safe space" line, it could mean a few things:

1. It could mean a place where people are free to discuss "what they want" to without criticism, or unpleasant ideas. This is the one that could lead to the mushy effects people are maybe describing (haven't watched the season). There are advantages to this, but the disadvantages also mean some self-censorship to avoid harming others, which can hurt the final product. It could also mean:
[...]
I suspect Paradise maybe means something that's a bit more like the former."

I'm a few days behind on the posts here, but I'll mention anyhow that I think you're omitting a third (and more unfortunate) option of what 'safe space' means, which is more the university-safe-space usage, meaning that not only would opposition to certain ideas be disallowed (for instance anyone critical of the manner of using diversity on the show would probably not be free to say so) but certain categories of ideas altogether would be prohibited as well. I imagine, for instance, that a Republican or conservative position being expressed in that type of space would be considered as 'unsafe'. If I'm right, it means that it's not so much that disagreement isn't allowed, but rather that only particular ideological viewpoints are welcome. Not sure if that was actually the case, but it's entirely possible. It would just imply a variation in how voices in the writer's room being muffled.

I was going to write this anyhow, but then I saw the message by Paul M:

"There I was being chastised for criticizing the word that oppressed me and mine for centuries. As far as I know the word is in the dictionary. As far as I know the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence assure me of both the freedom of speech and the pursuit of happiness."

It's a stirring account. Not sure how I feel about being semi-fired for using the N-word as a black man, which by all account in everyday American culture is more or less standard. In a sterile corporate environment I can see how that wouldn't go over well, but on the other hand I could see the ACLU getting up in arms about such an incident, which could ironically be cast as a white supremacist language mandate on a diversity-mandated show (e.g. 'only polite white people language allowed here). If they're touchy about foul language then it may be more the kind of safe space idea you mentioned, that they just don't want to be challenged or take the chance of feeling uncomfortable.

I just thought of a fourth thing it could mean, actually: "no one is allowed to challenge me on anything," aka the George Lucas effect. Once anything you say is sacrosanct all sorts of stupid ideas and lines end up in the script, to say nothing of the on-screen direction.
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Booming
Sat, Jan 2, 2021, 3:27am (UTC -5)
@Peter G
This believe that colleges have turned into left wing nurseries is a very effective narrative, like the war on religion. Easy to "prove" (Ben Shapiro disinvited by xy intolerance proven), basically impossible to disprove. Universities are always more progressive than the general population. That is why in dictatorships students are the ones that normally start the protests.
Political leanings differ more from department to department. At least at bigger universities. It is to some degree self selection. Right wing people do tend to go for departments that will be good career starters or are about heritage, for left wing people it is more about self discovery or understanding society. For example law departments tend to be fairly conservative, social science departments are more progressive. This is then maybe even strengthened by the subject. In law one deals with the shitty part of humanity, crime or disagreements mostly. In sociology you read endless statistics about how unfair society is and how your future is basically decided the moment you are born.

The USA has these small colleges (for example very religious or very liberal) but they are not the norm and these are often not very open minded but that is obviously by design.
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Booming
Sat, Jan 2, 2021, 3:31am (UTC -5)
One obvious outlier is Liberty University which is a mass university but obviously very limited in what thoughts are allowed.
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Peter G.
Sat, Jan 2, 2021, 3:47am (UTC -5)
I mentioned some other options because since I don't know Paradise's politics it's hard to know what is meant by the term. Most likely it's just a hollow euphemism for 'with it' but who knows. But it *could* be a dog whistle for various things, just thought I'd throw it out there. After all, and especially given William B's two initial suggestions, #2 is really not realistic since people intending to create a 'safe war zone' (a la DS9) would never use the term "safe space". They might indeed want it to be safe (i.e. where all opinions are able to be voiced freely without retribution) but that's not what it would be called then. "Safe" in this case sounds like a symbol for something, it's just hard to say what. As I just mentioned, it might well be a symbol of invoking symbols (i.e. using terms to show one is using terms).
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Booming
Sat, Jan 2, 2021, 3:59am (UTC -5)
The original concept of the safe space was invented for rape and abuse victims.

The writers obviously only use buzzwords and they are unwilling or unable to examine these topics in depth. In three years I never thought "this is an interesting perspective".

I'm so happy that we are almost at the end. I'm so done with this.
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MidshipmanNorris
Sat, Jan 2, 2021, 5:27am (UTC -5)
"Also we have an incredible, very diverse cast, and we embrace that."

Someone (forgot who) said that this sounds like PR has put the person giving the interview (Michelle Paradise) on very strict guardrails, and I couldn't agree more.

If I was in a casual, unrecorded conversation with this person about Trek and Disco in particular, I would then go on to ask her to define "Diverse" and "Embrace" in the context of the cast and show. You have a lot of human crew members, one or two of which have fantasy bionic implants, who are from various cultures of Earth, and one alien, and one Earthling raised by aliens. But are they really that diverse? Could I not switch out the characters in 90% of the scenes this season, and the dialogue would not necessarily have to be re-written? What have we learned about half of this cast, so far? We knew more about Sulu and Rand after watching The Man Trap, for goodness' sake (that'd be the first aired episode of Star Trek).

Also, how are you "embracing" that? Forgive me, but it doesn't seem like you are. Diversity is more than just having the character be in a position. You have to make a statement, in the story, with a scene about the character.

I don't read interviews, I don't do the whole 'behind the scenes' thing, I don't wear the ears, I don't go to conventions, I barely have read any of the Star Trek books. I just watch the show.

Hearing Paradise talk about Star Trek feels like attending an extremely boring corporate marketing meeting.

Sure is a whole lot easier to make shows when you kick all the artists out of Hollywood, to make music when you kick all the artists out of Nashville, and so on and so on.

Sure, just reduce everything to product. In 10 years your disposable crap television shows will be forgotten, and Star Trek will still be around.

We needed another Wrath of Khan moment, but I guess Nick Meyer (who was originally part of this show) wasn't willing to put up with PR's bullshit. Oh well.

To CBS Corporate: Up yer shaft.
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Sjan
Sat, Jan 2, 2021, 8:55am (UTC -5)
Star Trek was great because of the mythical nature of the characters, I.e Jean luc, worf, garak, etc. They were inspiring to me and to the context of my life, in the same way you might think of characters from Game of Thrones, or Greek myth, or the Mahabharata. They may have flaws, but they represent something essential and inspiring about humanity. Discovery not only fails in this tradition but also fails to create any semblance that these are real humans. It’s like watching a really really bad version of the Office in space. Actually I’d rather watch Michael Scott and Dwight in space rather than this trash.
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Yanks
Sun, Jan 3, 2021, 6:38pm (UTC -5)
@Nick

"Also, just to expand on my earlier comments on VOY and ENT, when VOY was released Trek was on a upward trajectory. Going from TNG (which was great) to DS9 (which was extraordinary), made everyone's expectations sky high for VOY when the reality was that this show marked the beginning of Trek's decline. So when your weighing VOY against DS9 and TNG, it's relatively bad, and I think that caused a lot of people to be a little too harsh when judging it. I personally enjoyed VOY and thought it was a worthy series."

Well, if you look at the numbers, Trek started to decline after the 5th season of TNG. So, I'm not sure I can agree with this. DS9 lost more viwers than Enterprise ever had.
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MarkG
Mon, Jan 4, 2021, 12:37pm (UTC -5)
The whole notion of Saru suddenly not acting as a captain and taking orders from Michael is alarming.
It will be highly ridiculous if we end up in season 4 with “Captain Michael”
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grey cat
Mon, Jan 4, 2021, 2:11pm (UTC -5)
@MarkG I have a horrible feeling that's where this is heading. It will probably involve some tears too.
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MarkG
Mon, Jan 4, 2021, 5:24pm (UTC -5)
The tears are an easy guess.
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Peter Swinkels
Tue, Jan 5, 2021, 2:50am (UTC -5)
Quote from the review: "We once again reduce a massive galactic crisis down to a one-character play, which feels way out of scale compared to the consequences."

There have been stories where things were presented in such a way to show the viewer a character's warped perspective on his/her reality. Sometimes this is done in a blindingly obvious way (think children's cartoons depicting a characters fantasies.) and sometimes it's done in a less obvious way (I believe DS9 and TNG did this a few times) but it is made pretty clear at the episode's onset.

I think there two general possibilites here broadly speaking, on one extreme the writers have absolutely no idea of what they are doing and presenting us with poorly written drivel. On the other extreme, they may have written a for more clever and subtle story than we expected and therefore fail to look deeper into any deeper meanings hidden in the story. The latter of course brings with it the risk of seeing things that aren't there and misinterpreting the intent behind the story. E.g., mere entertainment instead of some hidden message.

As the saying (in Dutch at least) goes, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.
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Peter Swinkels
Tue, Jan 5, 2021, 2:51am (UTC -5)
Darn spelling errors: "characters'" and "there are two".
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Nick
Tue, Jan 5, 2021, 4:38am (UTC -5)
@Yanks, I was referring to the quality of the show, not ratings. Admittedly, this is more subjective, but I think there's general consensus that TOS, TNG, and DS9 were all really good, VOY was OK but a step down from those three, and ENT was either similar to VOY or another step down.

@Slackerinc and @Dave

So I just started my re-watch of ENT beginning with S3. It was so refreshing for all the characters to have lines and scenes (they even had a scene with the MACOs and they all had lines, amazing!) The episode was enjoyable enough but there was one really bad scene where Tucker was massaging T'Pol who basically had a low key orgasm. I forgot how stupid that show could be at times.
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Bryan
Mon, Jul 12, 2021, 5:21pm (UTC -5)
Incompetence compounds upon incompetence in this episode. Just think of how many problems could have been non-issues if Discovery had a shuttlecraft of its own. It looks like they have room for one or more, hence how Book is able to stow his ship. Would it be too much to ask the Federation to supply one given the extreme importance of the main craft? Instead, they always need to wait for last possible second for Book to volunteer himself and his ship because they can't order him around.

So now, Discovery is damaged because they tried to enter an unstable nebula with the whole ship. Then, rather than simply waiting 4 hours to complete repairs, they gotta rush back in for some reason. Never mind that couple hours isn't going to make much difference to a guy who's been waiting 130 years to be rescued.

Then the whole Osyraa debacle. If the best course of action was to jump away, why didn't they do that right away, but waited for Osyraa to put two and two together, and then telegraph exactly when they were going to do it? On that note, if Osyraa could have boarded the ship all along, why didn't she do so right away? I guess because the writers thought that trading schoolyard taunts was an effective display of Tilly's command ability? The reaction shots the crew seem to frame it that way.

There are other things to critique like the hypocritical character assassination of Saru compared to Burnham (BY Burnham no less), and the WHAT WERE THEY THINKING aspects surrounding the character Su'Kal. But I have a feeling that we have hitherto seen just the tip of the iceberg of those problems.
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ZeroDave
Sat, Sep 25, 2021, 3:42am (UTC -5)
This is the worst episode of discovery in all 3 seasons for me. The revelations and unfolding of storylines are beyond disappointing. The character arcs are going nowhere. The investment of time made looks to be wasted.
Someone else said it best: emo wave. Really? This is what broke the Federation?
And I'm just so lost over why Tilly has managed to get command. Joke compounded by joke. I doubt anyone will read this but I need the catharsis.

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