Star Trek: Discovery
"Terra Firma, Part 2"
Air date: 12/17/2020
Teleplay by Kalinda Vazquez
Story by Bo Yeon Kim & Erika Lippoldt & Alan McElroy
Directed by Chloe Domont
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
When you have the audacity to connect your story to a piece of Trekkian lore as iconic as the Guardian of Forever, the device at the center of "The City on the Edge of Forever," one of the most heralded episodes in the entire canon, you're probably asking for trouble. You'd better put up or shut up.
They probably should've shut up. Or just not used the Guardian of Forever.
I'll give them this: They tried. They put a character dilemma front and center and played it all the way through. But in the end this is oh-so-earnest, and overplayed, and frankly unearned. But we'll get there.
I said at the outset this worked best when viewed as the universe teaching Georgiou a lesson. "Terra Firma, Part 2" confirms that as explicitly as possible, and not without interest. Georgiou desperately wants to find a way through this particular episode without killing Michael, but what's it going to take? Apparently, weeks of torture to break her subject are the only tools available. In the Terran universe, people are programmed to respond only to strength, so Philippa brings the hammer. She does it out love, kinda, I guess, but that doesn't make the technique any less dramatically redundant.
Burnham is thrown in a cell, then put in the agonizer booth, where she is zapped. Then back to the cell. Rinse and repeat. (Admittedly, Tilly/Killy's theatrical frown before she pushes the button after Burnham refuses to submit is one of the bigger laughs of the episode.) Eventually, Burnham breaks and swears newfound allegiance to her "mother." Can she be trusted? Doubtful, but Georgiou is determined to try.
Part one felt big and operatic. This feels small and claustrophobic, despite all the knife/sword/phaser fights. (Why do people continue to bring knives to a gunfight? I guess out of some martial tradition, but it seems obsolete.) I guess the more intimate feeling is by design, because this is really about Georgiou's need to change an unchangeable fate. In the meantime, she has some worthwhile conversations with Saru (who I guess is a nameless slave in this universe) about Kelpiens and their potential (and tips him off that the vahar'ai is not fatal), and what she has seen and why she must find another way. There's value here.
But some destinies are out of our control. Burnham is destined to betray Georgiou, and that's all there is to it. There's no hope for rehabilitation, because this damaged person set her course long ago and can't change it. History repeats itself; Georgiou is only able to delay it for a while. Eventually there's another mutiny attempt, a big action scene, and Georgiou has to run Burnham through with her sword while taking a knife herself to the shoulder/neck. Georgiou dies and then wakes up back where she started, on the other side of the door.
"Carl" explains that, essentially, what she experienced was one scenario out of the multiverse of possibilities, which she was allowed to play through for her own self-growth. This is not totally unlike what Picard experienced thanks to Q in "All Good Things," but boy do I not want to compare this episode to that one. Carl then reveals himself to actually be the Guardian of Forever, a piece of continuity that ties back to a classic TOS episode. But the reason this doesn't work is because this story isn't worthy of the callback. "The City on the Edge of Forever" was about nothing less than saving history and humanity itself. "Terra Firma" is about saving a character that up until this two-parter was mostly known for being an insult factory. Thematically, the link just isn't here and thus comes across as trying to pass off this episode as more significant than its subject matter actually warrants. They'd have been better off just having Carl be a new creation rather than bringing the baggage with him.
This experience has not cured Georgiou of her deadly condition, but it does provide her the personal growth necessary for Carl to grant her passage to another century where she will not be torn apart molecule by molecule and can take her learnings and apply them. (The episode leaves her destination completely open-ended as she steps through the time portal, which means she's available for the announced but still-in-development — and thus still cancelable — Section 31 series, should that actually move forward.)
But this all falls to a thud in the last act, which drowns in unearned sentimental excess. Not only do we get an extended goodbye on the planet surface between Burnham and Georgiou — which lays things on thick enough with each of them saying personally validating things to the other and getting all teary-eyed (including Georgiou saying that Burnham belongs in the captain's chair, no less), we then get an extended farewell toast in the mess hall, where the entire crew remembers Georgiou (whom Burnham and Saru simply pass off as "deceased" to keep the timeline shenanigans under wraps) and says kind words about her. Like I said, this series never passes up the schmaltz.
The problem with this scene — and the entire retconning of Georgiou from obstinate sociopath to lovable coworker — is that the series hasn't put in the work. Up until this two-parter Georgiou has often bordered on unbearable. Sure, she's been a useful ass-kicker when needed, but not a team player deserving of this kind of fake send-off. She herself would probably be embarrassed by it, rolling her eyes more than me. Maybe it's just the Starfleet way to say nice things about a fallen colleague. But this just feels forced and unearned, and yet it didn't have to be this way. Clearly the producers love Michelle Yeoh; they had plenty of time where they could've rehabilitated Georgiou since joining the crew, believably and over time.
Or I guess maybe the point here is that this transformation actually happened, but just internally? She was all bark and no bite, overcompensating for what she probably saw as having lost her "edge" all along? But still, wouldn't this sentiment have worked a lot better if Georgiou hadn't been a complete asshat to everyone for the previous eight episodes? I'm glad the writers tried to do something at the eleventh hour when writing her out, but they should've started the process long before this (they knew what was coming). Now they've grossly overplayed their hand.
Anyway, the items below work better than traditional Terran knives and swords (because, you know, they're bullets; eventually, I'm going to stop explaining how this joke works):
- I feel like the Temporal Accords — an unbreakable commitment of the highest order, forbidding time travel under all circumstances, designed to keep the peace after the temporal wars — were invented solely to provide an excuse for why Discovery can't return to its own century. Then again, I suppose when time-travel becomes something anyone can easily do with technology, it'd be prudent to strongly regulate it so you're not accidentally (or purposely) wiping out civilization every week.
- Why does Carl obscure his true identity only to reveal it at the end? To create a Dramatic Reveal for the audience, yes, but there's no real reason for it within the story itself.
- The updates to the Guardian of Forever are well done — appropriately modernized to replace cheap 1960s props and FX, but without altering the spirit of the original design.
- Evil Insane Burnham is fun to watch. Of all the people on the Terran side of the looking glass, she's the most genuinely fearsome.
- Less fearsome, however, because it's just so effing excessive — Burnham making a big showy deal about all the traitors she's killed by throwing their insignia pins across the table in Awesome Super CGI Slow Mo.
- The structure of this two-parter is kind of interesting. It's basically two episodes, with one episode (the Burn mystery investigation) occupying the first half of part one and the second half of part two, and the other episode (Georgiou in the Terran universe) sandwiched in the middle.
- Speaking of the plot about the Burn, this story continues to advance it reasonably well, but because the episode is so consumed with the Georgiou stuff, it kind of gets lost. I'm not getting into the details, mostly because I don't remember them offhand, but: Book finds usefulness; Stamets doesn't say thank you; Reno is snarky; Vance questions Saru's impartiality; technobabble clue something.
Previous episode: Terra Firma, Part 1
Next episode: Su'Kal
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174 comments on this post
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 3:09am (UTC -5)
The biggest problem I had is no Lorca cameo. The way they kept bringing his name up over and over made me so confident he was going to appear on screen. It was a huge letdown not delivering on that.
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 3:24am (UTC -5)
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 3:31am (UTC -5)
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 4:32am (UTC -5)
One of the most interesting aspects of Kelvin is that is far more technologically advanced than the Prime Universe at the same point in time thanks to its exposure to the Narmada. It would be fascinating to see the ripple effects of this going forward. She could also meet Kelvin Burnham.
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 4:40am (UTC -5)
But why, oh Guardian of Forever, do we keep getting these overly long, emotional farewells on this show???? There's been like 47 since episode 1. Not one of them has ever been earned, including this one.
Also not teasing the audience at the end of where Georgiou ended up after passing through the portal is total BS. Do they not want us excited about whatever her potential spin-off show is?
Or are the rumors true and all of these show may be getting cancelled if CBS can't dump them off on Netflix? If that's the case and I was a Netflix exec, I'd only take them if CBS canned Kurtzman and the other 57 producers, lest they'd be endorsing total hackery.
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 4:49am (UTC -5)
Star Trek: Discovery season 3 episode 10
Mal’s review before Jammers’
“You can still make a different choice Michael. Please”
“Please?! What happened to you?!”
- Emperor Georgiou & Captain Burnham
3 stars (out of 4)
Discovery finds a way to resurrect torture porn from Season 1 and mix it with a sad and dreary version of “Tapestry," this time for a dismal Georgiou instead of a life-affirming Picard, and yet it did not suck.
I might not enjoy the brooding mood or the lesbian bondage - sorry mother/daughter jail cell - allusions, but the show did two things quite well:
(1) it provided a conclusion that maintained the same level of quality as Terra Firma part I, and
(2) it provided an adequate (if ridiculously over-the-top final scene) send off to one of my personal favorite people on this show.
Fine, maybe I just liked the picture of mirror-slave-Saru combing Emperor Georgiou’s hair a little too much. Emperor Palpatine could never pull off a golden bedroom robe.
One serious drawback of the episode is everything happens by-the-numbers (as @Nick says). No single scene surprised me. Not even Michael stabbing Detmer. The violence was predictable on an almost Andromeda level.
In fact, the episode reminded me of nothing so much as the Andromeda episode "The Unconquerable Man” in which we see the entire series if Rhade had been captain (instead of Dylan), and it ends with the fight scene between Rhade and Dylan on the bridge - the same fight scene that started the entire show. And once again Dylan kills Rhade.
The only difference here is, we never saw Emperor Georgiou kill Burnham the first time - we only heard about it, or saw flashes. So the impact of watching her do it all over again is pretty much lost on us. Plus who here likes Burnham? Don’t we all kind of want her impaled with a giant sword?
Finally, the Guardian of Forever sends Georgiou back in time to launch a Section 31 spin-off. What do I think? Well, if it means Discovery never happened, I’m all for it ;)
The biggest difference between a legendary episode like “City on the Edge of Tomorrow” and a mediocre episode like “Terra Firma” is consequences.
In “City” we knew that failure to embark on an atomic age would mean no Star Fleet in the future. For that to happen, Kirk had to let his girlfriend die.
In “Terra part II” failure to kill Michael would have resulted in… that's right, we have no idea. Go back and re-watch "Mirror, Mirror." There is no hint that this episode of Discovery made any difference whatsoever (as @AMA points out).
Not great. Not bad.
Competent, if uninspired and inconsequential. With good production values.
I guess that’s where Discovery lives.
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 4:58am (UTC -5)
No Lorca! WTF?! I accidentally read your comment in the comment thread, glad I did or otherwise I'd have spent the entire episode waiting for him to show up. What a let down. Did they keep saying his name on purpose to generate an air of suspense and lure people into watching?! I thought Issacs wanted to return. BAH HUMBUG!!!
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 5:20am (UTC -5)
Fun, kinda. Not boring at least which is about thing you can say about DSC in general. When it's boring it goes down to 1 star or below.
Shame the only other good actor on the show has left. We're down to a single decent actor now. Maybe Doug will win an Emmy just for looking so outstanding next to these incompetents.
They had a great opportunity to kill off every version of Burnham here and start again with a new crew. Mix in some people from 3100 etc.. it's near the end of the season. Who knows.
Also kill off Stamets now, he serves no useful purpose. Everyone can do engineering: Adira is obviously amazing at it, Tilly, Burnham (obviously). Even Book said he was an engineer last week. And I'm tired of seeing Stamets pull the constipated face anyway.
Kill off Bryce now too. They gave him a few lines now. Detmer has had mini plot line. Stab her too.
I can't remember anyone else's name. Kill one of them off at random though (obviously not the doctor: we still need him to pronounce them dead).
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 5:24am (UTC -5)
Well, "when" has finally arrived, and not only did it actually manage to sell me on the idea that this brutal genocidal maniac has been genuinely changed by her time in the Prime, but it also sold me on Burnham continuing to put up with her for as long as she has. We know that Burnham has never gotten over the guilt of betraying Prime Georgiou, and letting her accompany the Mirror version on this final journey felt like a nice way of putting a bow on one of the show's longest-running character threads.
Just like when Saru invited her to dinner, though, I do find it massively improbable that the crew would gather to toast her farewell with jokes and good vibes rather than sheer relief that she was finally, finally no longer their problem. Oh well, at least we won't be putting up with that narrative dissonance any longer.
In a way this is exactly the storyline that I felt that season 1 was lacking. Season 1 gave us Lorca, an MU imposter, who upon his return to the MU showed he hadn't been changed one bit by his time in a kinder, gentler place. It felt like a huge missed opportunity and cheapened his exit from the show.
Final thought: I got a kick out of the Guardian of Forever tie-in with the Temporal War stuff. Makes perfect sense that that particular one-off uber-powerful Star Trek technology that was never mentioned again since its introduction would have been a terrific prize to any faction in a time war, as does it deciding for itself to bugger off somewhere else.
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 5:33am (UTC -5)
But still a good episode. The writers came up with an elegant way to write her off this show and return her to a time when she can join that Section 31 spinoff, while credibly reforming her character so as not to be too evil for Starfleet.
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 6:14am (UTC -5)
I was unimpressed with the resolution of this.
While it *is* cool to have the Guardian of Forever show back up, at the same time, this episode wastes a HUGE chunk of its time on the MU drama that unfolds, and all of it feels cheaply written and overtheatrical (and imminently predictable), when all I'm thinking is "yeah, get it over with, please, move along, come on come on (she'll fly apart) FLYHERAPARTHEN!" And yammering on about Lorca and offscreen happenings for eternities of minutes at a time, while not SHOWING them, is a violation of one of the main edicts of storytelling, which they teach children learning it in school: SHOW, DON'T TELL.
So, we finally get back to the Prime Universe and find out that the Guardian of Forever has sequestered itself on this remote planet because it had been being used in the Temporal Wars, and "Carl" wasn't terribly happy about it.
So the Guardian is a sentient and self-determining being then? ... That's possibly the longest-delayed and most unusual bit of character development I've seen in Star Trek.
It still doesn't save this episode from committing the cardinal sin of any dramatic presentation; almost nothing happens, AND it fails to make me care.
It used almost an hour of my time, for 1 major event to happen; Georgiou (which I am tired of typing btw) ends up revealing to Mirror Saru that the Vaharai is a molting process, not a terminal illness, and this warm-hearted act ends up making a huge difference in ... I guess whatever new Alternate Pocket Dimension the Guardian saw fit to create in this way. The show makes it a point that there were consequences to her sojourn on the other side, and this was why the Guardian deemed her fit to live and get thrown into another time when the MU and PU are closer together... presumably for the Section 31 Show that is still in development.
Forgive me if this bit of 'character development' doesn't strike me as being as novel as the Guardian's... More looks into the deeper person behind Mirror Georgiou (maybe the last time I'll have to type it) during the 3 seasons she's been on Discovery would have made this feel less like a sudden decision by the writers who needed to remake her character for a new series. Once again, Discovery's writing room has failed to understand that dramatic turning points for characters have to be *earned.* All the pomp and circumstance around it serves only to make the episode feel more poorly written, instead of achieving its desired effect of making it ceremonial. I'm sorry, but the scales of this plot were not balanced properly.
3 seasons in, and I'm going to call it, that nobody is driving the writing truck here. Nice try, Season 3. You almost got me interested in Star Trek again.
1 and 1/2 stars... Please don't waste my time. I am gonna be 40 next year. I literally do not have time for this nonsense.
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 8:00am (UTC -5)
The beginning section which took place in the MU was honestly great. Plotwise it was a foreordained conclusion of course - everyone other than Georgiou (including the viewer) could see the second betrayal coming a mile away. But it was set up as a dramatic tragedy in miniature, harkening back to the Greeks and Shakespeare. Tragedy is not a dramatic form we get to see often in Trek because the protagonists - by nature of the structure of the series - have to win.
When we end up back on the snowy planet with Carl, I was really worried for a little bit about the two-parter. The reveal Carl was the Guardian of Forever was cheesy and entirely unnecessary. But my real concern was that Georgiou was back in the 32nd century. Having a two-parter to see her off the show into her own series is self-indulgent, but not pulling the trigger and using the two parter solely for her own character growth (with an exit to come later) would have been inexcusable. Thankfully it shifted again, with Carl being vague enough that the Section 31 show could be set anywhere from the 20th century to the 27th. I'd say that while Georgiou's goodbye with Michael was a bit overwritten and overwrought, it actually mostly felt earned this time - because the two parter succeeded in making me actually feel for Georgiou for the first time. Indeed, I wasn't sad at all for Michael, I was sad for Georgiou, who just realized that her idealized adoptive daughter never existed except in her head, and she had to leave behind someone who was actually much closer to what she really wanted.
Once we get back on the ship, it's just rote, generic Discovery - which is fine. It is interesting to me they found an excuse to put everyone recurring who couldn't appear in the MU side of the episode (Stamets cause he died in the first episode, Book, Adira, Reno, and Vance) in this short section of the episode. At first I was really confused why Michael let everyone think Georgiou was dead, and then I realized that the writers wanted an excuse for a maudlin "funeral" scene where everyone toasts how awesome she was. While the scene with Michael and Georgiou on the planet was fine, this didn't ring true to me, and felt totally unnecessary. The writers (who obviously love the character) may have sold me on the character finally, but it stretches credulity that everyone onboard sincerely misses someone who largely hurled insults at them.
Still, the flaws of the episode were relatively minor. Three stars again I would say. Back to generic Discovery next week it seems.
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 8:33am (UTC -5)
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 8:41am (UTC -5)
(This is the real reason Burnham didn't mention it to Saru.)
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 8:52am (UTC -5)
The way the end of Season 2 was set up, the Sphere data means they can never return, because Control. Or, at least Discovery cannot return. I suppose they all could individually.
Yes, it's stupid, but it's best to move on and not consider the mistakes made in earlier seasons.
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 11:40am (UTC -5)
Tim C's Lorca comparison is spot on. While Georgiou's character was heavy-handed this season, her send off worked well. And while Lorca's character was intriguing in the first season, his send off reduced him to a cartoon villain. A similar concept would have worked well for him too.
Great scenes though in the first half of Part 1 and the latter half of Part II (except the final "drink for Philippa" scene, the one with Michael in the snow was earned, the rest of the crew, I don't think so). I also loved the the tie-in with the Guardian of Forever and good work by actor Paul Guilfoyle playing Carl. Happy for Booker, and Admiral Vance (Oded Fehr) is killing it this season. The growth in he and Saru's professional relationship has been one of the pleasant surprises of this season.
Chrome, can Carl make it such that the whole spaceship goes through the gate? Feel free to tell me it's a stupid question if that's so :))
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 11:49am (UTC -5)
Maybe, like Jammer, I've mellowed out two because I couldn't get through ENT at all when it aired. I Watched "In a Mirror Darkly" (ENT's MU 2 parter) the other night (since Netflix told me to) and I'm struck by how vastly better acted the whole show is . Ok maybe not Mayweather.. but at least the characters are something like people. And this is in an over-the-top MU 2 parter. Way better than DSC's MU 2 parter anyway.
Plenty of people keep saying "show, don't tell" about DSC. Which is very true and also makes no sense. They have enough budget to show almost anything. In 90s Trek era they often had to just do a "fire phasers" *sound effect* "ship disabled captain, they're hailing us" to save costs. And that was fine. If they couldn't get Lorca then shut up about him tbh.
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 12:04pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 12:17pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 12:28pm (UTC -5)
I really should be used to it after 3 seasons but it only becomes more painful to see everything is always about Michael. She's the best and the bravest of everyone in either universe. The whole reason Guardian Carl had Georgiou go through that entire Mirror Universe song & dance was her Michael.
It's just obnoxious and ridiculous at this point, and having Philippa foreshadow Michael's captaincy is baffling, same as those heartfelt farewells by the crew... The Emperor hasn't said one kind thing to any of them and was always one mood swing from killing everyone and now it's "Ahhh, we gonna miss the lil scamp!"?
I pray we're done with the Mirror Universe on Discovery now. It's all inconsequential fluff and an unnecessary distraction from the show's actual premise: discovering the 31st century. Here's hoping the final 3 episodes of the season will deliver.
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 1:18pm (UTC -5)
She could have flown around the sun for example.
3 episodes left of this slightly less dire than the previous 2 season. I have low hopes.
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 1:32pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 1:42pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 3:03pm (UTC -5)
Usual bollocks this week, but it seems obvious why, in universe, Georgiou's actual fate is being kept secret: Time travel is illegal, and the Temporal Accords can't be violated, as Cronenberg helpfully reminded us last week. Vance is losing his shit over Booker's hacking tools, imagine how he would react if Saru reported to him, "Well, what happened was, the cure was a time portal we found on Shithole 5, and she went back in time." Can't have that. Best to keep Saru and the rest of the Discovery crew in the dark. The sphere data knew that the nature of this information would be problematic, hence the lack of specifics when it insisted the only possible solution was on that planet.
Doesn't make the bizarre wake at the end any more palatable.
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 3:31pm (UTC -5)
Man, they really could have epically screwed that up and they didn't. I think they played "The Guardian of Forever" very well.
Of course, this is all about Georgiou, and I like how she obviously had changed and attempted to change everything when back in the seat of power. Her moments with Saru were touching and well played by both. The timeline has changed though, our buddy Carl said that she was breathing her dying last breaths back in the mirror universe. I guess she could have survived and allowed the timeline as we know it to unfold. Maybe Carl's comments were just a metaphor.
When Georgiou "goes back" to Dannes V and we see her with Michael and Carl I thought it was all REALLY well done. My only little gripe would be is - it sounded like they didn't use the audio "I am the Guardian of Forever" from 'The City on the Edge of Forever'. Maybe they did, but it didn't sound like it to me. The exchanges between Georgiou and Michael, for the first time in this series, came off as genuine and heartfelt without one side trying to put down or shun the other. I was a little disappointed we didn't see where Georgiou ended up. We are all guessing the 23rd century with Ash and Section 31, but I guess we'll have to wait and see.
Reno makes an appearance... I wasn't sure she was there anymore. Guess she's been converting techno blah, blah. We learn that lickerish isn't food. Book uses 32nd century 'Emerald Chain'/currier technology to help Stamets and Adira link into that Kelpian ship in that nebula. Next week we'll see what they find.
I also enjoyed the meeting between ADM Vance and Saru at the end of the episode. Vance called Saru out on hold back information. I'm glad this was said and while Saru didn't really own up to being nefarious about it, I think he understood he was in error.
Everyone toasting the loss of a friend was also done well, even Michael.
I thought this was an outstanding Star Trek episode, not just Discovery. I honestly didn't think they could pull off the Carl thing, but they did. I also thought the Georgiou scenario had to somehow link to The Burn, but I'm glad it didn't.
I'm giving it 4 stars.
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 3:55pm (UTC -5)
"Everyone toasting the loss of a friend was also done well, even Michael."
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 4:13pm (UTC -5)
>Michael was reinstated in the final episode of season 1. Remember, when she and the others were rewarded at the end of the Klingon War and she gave this big, passionate "WE ARE STARFLEET" speech?
Thanks. I don't remember that but then again I don't remember most of Discovery and Picard. I put it down to their style being less episodic either that or my memory is getting worse.
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 4:40pm (UTC -5)
"Okay, I'll spot the obvious plothole. Why doesn't The Discovery crew use the Guardian of Forever to return to their own time period?
(This is the real reason Burnham didn't mention it to Saru.)"
Na, they are in the 32nd century to protect the Sphere Data.
Yeah, maybe the wrong characterization.
Probably "shipmate" would have been a better word.
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 4:49pm (UTC -5)
Not as cool as changing the music too as 'Enterprise' did, but pretty cool.
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 6:01pm (UTC -5)
Side note, any guesses on when the PU and MU split? I’ve heard theories that it was WWII, but during WWIII would strike me as more likely. If they did a spin-off, I would enjoy seeing the universes split during the Eugenic wars. But we’ve already seen how current Trek handles Khan, so maybe I should be careful what I wish for.
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 9:09pm (UTC -5)
1. This show is aimed at teenagers and adults, not children. I won't go much into further detail, but that's obviously who they're aiming for primarily, what with all the blood, and the killing, and the swearing, and the bing bang BIPP-ITY... BAP
2. This show is dramatically playing up inclusion of people from all cultures, races, gender identities, et al. However, it is being extremely light on philosophy. This strikes me as an odd choice. If you have all these people from all these various cultures, why don't you say something about that, and have a non-relevant discussion about interesting philosophical queries? It's like the setup is there but they never get to the punchline with it... so to speak.
3. This show is a special effects YEOWZAfest. This is starting to bug me a little bit. I feel like too much of the budget is being spent on the special effects and CGI, and it's not leaving enough budget for the shooting schedule to be extended in case someone wants to rewrite something, or push an episode or plot development back in the season, etc, restructure things. You're making a show that you can't spend hardly any time editing the story for. I may be just venting drive plasma over here, but it sure seems that way to me. Again and again, I notice line readings where I'm like "You couldn't have recut that or used a better take?"
Bad camera shots too sometimes, lately. :thinking face:
4. And this is really the kicker here of all things:
Discovery is a show that capital "S", Stars Sonequa Martin-Greene. I am not commenting on her as a person or saying anything about her personal character or moral quality, so I don't mean this as any kind of attack against her as an actress or a human being. I'm sure she's lovely.
But the show is, one way or another, Michael Burnham's show.
This is a problem, because it has drastically altered the dynamics of how Star Trek as a show operates. You can only spend so much time before cutting back to Michael in any episode.
However, she is not the Captain of the ship she is on. I don't know why this choice was made in particular, but if it was to liven things up, it seems to have done so, but not in the way that one would have hoped. By the very idea of a Captain holding Command over a ship, the way the plot treats that character becomes different.
I am not entirely sure exactly how this affects the way the plot can be constructed, but it doesn't seem like the way it has been done has been consistent across seasons or even episodes sometimes.
5. Former Star Trek shows did not go emotionally nuts or have such a ...let me call it "sass mouthy" sense of humor. Less is more, and you're supposed to have the emotion, not show the emotion...in addition, this show's "sass" kinda rubs me the wrong way at times.
In fact, this show ...It's starting to seem cute. It's weird when you think about it, how gory it is, how raunchy at times, and how progressive, and at times fairly enlivened it is... It doesn't end up making the stories automatically good. There's just so much going on in it...
6. Is it just me, or have Star Trek shows on CBS become unbelievably LOUD, but the voices in them are a lot quieter? Since Season 1, Episode 1, I haven't had an easy time making out what anyone is saying. I'm pretty sure I'm not going deaf. So what is it?
And there's always, always some kind of background noise, whether it's the humming of the ship or the background swelly music musics, it just never shuts the heck up and lets the actors act. It's really LOUD and FLASHY, and...
Uneven. I think the word I'm looking for that describes all six of my points, is that there is an unevenness to Discovery. There's a lot of shaky consistency and talking and plots and dialogue that really snaps, but fails to say a whole lot due to its utter brevity...
There's a lot about Star Trek: Discovery that I would describe as "uneven," in fact. It just feels kind of lame, like ... "Star Trek Lite". I guess that would make Lower Decks shit, because I refuse to say anything about Lower Decks except that Lower Decks is shit.
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 10:06pm (UTC -5)
The best part about this episode is that it was all about character development and Michelle Yeou is so phenomenal that most of the episode works based solely on the strength of her acting, all other issues aside. The problem with Discovery is a lack of acting talent, basically all they have now is Saru, Vance, Book and Culber with Burnham, Tilly and Reno as the second tier. Everyone else is below average. They need better characters.
The other problem is that SMG is not a strong enough actress and Burham is not an interesting enough character to be the lead. I think she would be fine as a supporting character but having her front and center in every episode puts a ceiling on the potential of the series. I would contrast this with Anson Mount / Captain Pike who can definitely be the lead.
It's interesting, season 2 had much better actors (Pike, Spock, #1, Leland) but suffered from poor writing and uninteresting storylines. By contrast I think the writing in season 3 has noticeably improved, but there isn't enough acting talent to execute.
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 10:24pm (UTC -5)
While the number of producers in the opening credits seems a bit...excessive, in previous ST series those lists of producers would carry into the actual episode, accompanied by the guest stars and technical talent.
What does feel like not only a missed opportunity but...kinda LAZY, was the fact that all they did to modify the opening sequence was flip the images and invert the colors.
Enterprise completely re-did its opening with a bold new orchestral theme and a nice riff on the usual exploratory credits by showing scenes of Terran history, which is a history of war.
By comparison, the flip-and-invert feels so half-assed, I wonder why they even bothered.
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 10:39pm (UTC -5)
Like Georgiou telling Burnham she's not as great and awesome as she could be—she could be GREATER!!!—and Burnham bursting into tears for the 36th straight episode—it felt oversentimental, overindulgent, and unearned.
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 10:57pm (UTC -5)
Still, while we're waiting for DIS to come up with an original idea of its own, you could hardly pick a better show to.. erm.. "borrow" from.
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 11:02pm (UTC -5)
Interesting, I guess to each his own. I find Emily Coutts to be more than capable and find her to perform very well when she is given a scene. I think she is underused if anything at all, considering she is the only one other than Michael and Saru to appear in every episode (except this season's opener).
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 11:19pm (UTC -5)
I'm not sure why she keeps doing the over the top emoting. Clearly everyone is sick of it. Is it the writing or the directing? I really don't get why they think it's a good idea. Star Trek isn't a soap opera.
Thinking back to previous TV series, Picard and Sisko definitely overacted and overemoted at times, but it wasn't in every damn scene. It has a time and a place. A good example of when it works very well is for the Mirror Burnham character, another example is when she was high early in the season. But most of the time it doesn't work.
I just wish SMG had better range, either conveying emotion subtilty (like Tuvok on Voyager) or being more animated but not overdoing it (like the Doctor on Voyager). Instead, she dials up every emotional scene to a 12 out of 10 and it just doesn't come across as genuine.
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 11:32pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 12:01am (UTC -5)
Special effects are of no interest to me at all, probably because of my age. I saw the original series as a young adult, and at that time you just had to accept that what you saw on the screen was only the best they could do. So having flashing lights and whirling cameras everywhere is nothing but distracting to me.
The lack of philosophical overlay I think probably relates to the "action show" constraints. So does, of course, the lack of character development, which makes the inclusiveness you mention seem so poorly done, except with the Stamets-Culber couple. And I suppose that's also why Burnham is so heavily featured - what is she but a superhero? Yeah, I did snort this time when Georgiou told her she could be even GREATER! Like we need that.
I've never particularly noticed the loudness you mention, but I always have the CC on (got used to it when I had a Deaf partner in the past). CC also lets me mute Burnham's constant whispering.
I've just accepted that this is the way they want the show to be, and if I'm going to keep watching it I have to put up with it. I do think the scripts are getting better. I've liked most of the episodes this season, and this one really excited me. I'm not a big fan of the mirror universe, but I thought this was the best it's been dealt with in any Star Trek show. I loved that the writers tried to inject a little more realism into it, with Georgiou's statement that "Even Genghis Khan knew that your subjects need . . . something to live for." Sure, I expected her to be betrayed, but I thought it would be by Tilly. So I did not see a lot of those events coming, and when it turned out to be a test, and Carl explained who/what he really was and why he was there, I was impressed. I don't think it could have been done better. I don't plan to watch Section 31 so I didn't care where she went exactly.
The one flaw was the final scene, which was unrealistic and mawkish, but even with that, this was a high point for me.
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 12:13am (UTC -5)
It’s cool to see how Georgiou plants the seed of an anti Terran galaxy here. ST:E and ST:D went a long way to justify the anti Terran views we glimpsed in DS9.
Claiming Georgiou is dead was a convenient way of not bringing up the all powerful sentient time machine being used by a time traveling crew long after time manipulation has been outlawed.
Without someone to go along with her schemes, I expect Burnham to become more “by the book” too, and get back into Disco’s upper command.
Stamens is being overshadowed by everyone that works for him. I didn’t enjoy him when I started watching but I hope we see more of his leadership and mentoring. Others there’s no reason to see him unless he’s with Culber.
I’m hoping we can see more of the ship evolving as a sentient being and wrap up the burn though. Mirror universe is always fun for me, but Enterprise did it best with its own opening theme. These 2 eps seemed like a step back.
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 2:17am (UTC -5)
Yes, Star Trek/Babylon 5 was glorious back in its day (if somewhat hokey). And while she may yet have a few great episodes left in her, the bottom line is, TPTB simply aren't in the game any more, and should probably be put out of their misery.
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 2:42am (UTC -5)
Discovery has become my least fav of them all. And these last 2 episodes were 2 of my least favs so far.
What ST Discovery is absolutely brilliant at, besides looking amazing, is casting and broad ideas for characters. The writers rely on a fanbase of people who embrace seeing diversity and they coast on the goodwill of it. Georgiou was a good example. There just wasn't much redeemable about her, but Michelle Yeoh is great AND a non-white woman over 40. Trek fans (like me) are all great people who say "Yes! this is a person I want to see represented more on screen!". And the writers and casting have done this down the line. Tilly isn't built like 7 of 9! Stammets and Dr guy are gay! Non-Binary person! This is all great. But it doesn't add up to such a good show. It's more of a collection of ideas for character types from a checklist. I also feel like the show is in love with itself because it is so inclusive and open. I get that those great qualities are what Trek and the Federation and Starfleet etc are built on, but it just feels so forced and contrived on this iteration of Trek.
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 3:26am (UTC -5)
You've done a good job breaking down and doing a level 5 diagnostic of Discovery. I agree with just about all of your analyses.
1. I really think this may be the original sin of Discovery's failure when they first developed the dark tone of the show. It's hard to ever change that once it's been established from the get go. There is absolutely nothing in Discovery (or Picard, for that matter) that a kid could grab onto. There's no inspiration. There's thousands of engineers, scientists, doctors, etc. who have cited Star Trek as a main motivator of why they chose to work in their field. There will not be 1 single person in the future who cites Discovery as the reason why they work at NASA. I have absolutely no clue why Kurtzman and CBS decided to go this route. Did they think edgy would get cool people to like ST?
2. Yes, you hit on this one too. I don't think many on here or even the vast majority of viewers object to any of the myriad of identities and representations on the show. I certainly don't and it's in the one thing in Discovery that you could point to that's traditionally Trek. But they way they do it just feels off, like a kind of tokenism. There have been great opportunities to evolve and explore characters backgrounds - like Adira wanting to be referred to as "they", which could have been an entire episode about their Trill identity. But no. It just lands with a dull thud. Instead, we only explore Michael's identity, which still makes absolutely no sense to me. A human, raised by Vulcans, who we're told off the bat is one of the most cold and logical Starfleet has ever seen, yet who we only see weeping from scene to scene for the past 3 years. Huh?
3. The special effects, while well done and expensive looking, don't really add much to the story without any soul or imagination. What new piece of technology on Discovery has been interesting or worthy of great special effects? What has sparked inspiration? Mushroom engines? Sorry, but honestly Mario Kart has inspired more culturally with mushroom engines than Discovery ever could.
I think 4 and 5 are both victims of the same stupidity - treating Star Trek as if it is a superhero story. It steals all of the same story and emotional beats from your average Marvel movie. And Michael is our Iron Man. These writers just wish they were making some comic book hero vs. villain story, and I place the blame of that solely on Alex Kurtzman. It's all he knows and the only story he's ever done. He has no imagination beyond it. He was and always will be the wrong choice to ever spearhead ST. He's even tarnished the reputations of great literary scribes like Michael Chabon. Please show him the door, Paramount!
6. Despite an entire essay worth of complaints about Discovery, I think I honestly hate the incessantly cloying and over-sentimental score in EVERY SINGLE SCENE to be the thing I hate most about the show. Just give it a f'ing rest for 1 goddamn minute, Jeff Russo!
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 4:09am (UTC -5)
I actually liked alot in S5 of Babylon 5, but assuming its weak reputation is deserved, you are missing one important component: a fantastic series finale. Like Season 7 of TNG Babylon 5's fifth season didn't impress fans but it knocked it out of the park with the series finale (Sleeping in Light) which is a fan favourite.
Do you really expect Discovery to knock ot out of the park at *any* point? Remind me, how many 4 star classics have we seen from Disc in 3 seasons?
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 4:19am (UTC -5)
But I digress. I haven't followed Discovery after about halfway through season 1. But I have followed Jammer's reviews religiously. I also watch all of the dreadful Picard, which nobody can accuse me of not having an open mind about (I once said they'd have my subscription if it was just Patrick Stewart sitting in his office filling out his tax returns in a Starfleet uniform).
There was not one, not one memorable episode, not one classic. And Jammer's reviews seem to corroborate that.
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 5:28am (UTC -5)
Who could say otherwise.
Really, it was the first half of season 5 that has the terrible reputation on Babylon 5. The entire Byron arc was a tragedy (pun intended!). Once we get back to Londo's arc and the Centauri war, the show really gets back to where it was going.
To speak to your point, of course we all know that Sleeping in Light was filmed during season 4, and was simply held back to the end of season 5. So let's not give season 5 too much credit here.
But more than that, if we take seasons 1 & 2 of Discovery and Picard as the first half of season 5 of Babylon 5 (Byron's arc), then do I have hope for Discovery going forward?
Has Discovery had a standout episode this season?
I am on record ( https://www.jammersreviews.com/st-dsc/s3/forget-me-not.php ) calling "Forget me Not" - just a few weeks ago - "the best episode of Star Trek in 16 years".
Of course I fear that Discovery & Picard will never rise to the level of even season 5 of Babylon 5. They are forever hugging each other in empty shows of over-the-top unearned EMOTIONAL scenes.
Compare that to the sublime scene where Delenn hugs Londo in season 5,
But there is always hope. I for one think Michelle Yeoh's upcoming Section 31 spin off has at least as much chance of being awesome as Crusade ;-)
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 6:21am (UTC -5)
I think finally now that MU Philippa is "dead", or gone, now it's both of them gone. They still have memories of the Prime Philippa, remember she died and now this one has "died" as well...
And no, the toasting was not unusual.
They share some things in common...
I think it's the direction. Some of us care about Georgiou now...
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 6:56am (UTC -5)
But as you noted, the telepath drama, while a significant part of the season, is what? 1/4 of the season? You still have the Minbari civil war which is good, the Centauri War and the end of Londo's story and his final parting with G'Kar (which is the climax of the entire series as far as I am concerned) and even a one-off episode like Day of the Dead, which is one of my favorites of the whole series.
And yes Sleeping in Light was filmed in season 4 (I forgot about that) but nevertheless, it is still Season 5.
You named one episode of Discovery / Picard you considered a Classic. That's over nearly three seasons of Discovery and a full season of Picard. I rest my case.
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 7:52am (UTC -5)
Another episode I had to stop after 10 min. For a different reason. 10 min of torture scenes. Star Trek in 2020.
It reminded me of Stardust City Rags. I don't enjoy torture scenes.
This is all so messed up. The surrogate mother torturing her daughter to break her into a "better" person. Then she sends her off to commit mass murder. Then she sends her off to kill her former lover.
The obvious betrayal happens and everybody fights. The whole Geogriou Burnham "This is not you" is idiotic. Most of the MU bridge crew gets killed very graphically. Then we watch MU Burnham die for a minute, spitting blood.
This show really is the ultimate anti Star Trek.
Then after 2/3 of the episode a new story starts or an old one from last episode.
It boils down to this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cn4fW0EInqw
Nice that we wasted two episodes to jumpstart the section 31 show that will probably be torture porn from start to finish.
And what an ending... *sigh* I guess Stockholm syndrome is setting in. They changed a genocidal maniac into a mass murdering torturer. Mission accomplished.
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 8:08am (UTC -5)
Parts I and II actually have different directors and it really shows. Part I had some great camera work, often emphasizing Georgiou/Yeoh’s point of view to let us empathize with her. The violence was there, but it seemed complementary to the Mirror story. This time, however, it felt like raucous action was the focus of the show. Indeed, one can almost read this story as the build up to ultimate fighting showdown between Georgiou and Burnham. Tsunkatse!?
As for the story in Part II, was it really necessary for us to see Burnham betray Georgiou once again? That’s three times Burnham has betrayed Georgiou in this series! It felt like that subject was amply explored enough in Part I alone. So, it seems like there was time to develop another MU plot this episode. Given Isaacs would likely overshadow Yeoh, I think Lorca would’ve been a bit too much, but still it feels like there wasn’t enough material to justify a two-parter.
That all said Terra Firma II was *okay*. There’s an interesting twist in how the drama seems to hinge so much on Mirror Michael’s betrayal, and yet it turns out Saru was Edith Keeler the whole time. And it was therapeutic to see Georgiou as the good guy in a show full of bad guys. That, I gather, is the mission statement for any sort of Section 31 show.
I’ll give 3 stars to Part I and 2 to Part II.
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 8:50am (UTC -5)
The goodbye Philippa scene at the end didn't bother me, it didn't seem particularly tear stained (apart from Michael). I think whoever posted the thought that they were saying a final goodbye to both PU and MU versions was right. I think the audience has seen the last of her as well as I don't think the 'Section 31' series will ever be made. I suppose she could turn up in the Pike one...
It does annoy me Lorca didn't show as they teased the audience so much with it and that's an act of bad faith from the writers.
Kelpians with guns just don't look right.
For whoever it was who wondered, that was the voice of the original Guardian announcing its identity (with the actor playing Carl's voice underlaying it).
Anyone else notice the 'spying machine' in Philippa's quarters is very similar to the one in MU Kirk's in Mirror, Mirror. Nice touch!
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 8:53am (UTC -5)
You mean other than that voice and that hair ;-)
In all seriousness, the problem is the telepath arc completely broke the momentum of the show. Had it started with "The Corps is Mother, The Corps in Father" (half-way into the season) I think we would have seen a lot less backlash by the fans.
FWIW, I love what the Byron arc did for Lyta's character, and what that in turn did for Garibaldi (ho-ly fuck). But because it seemed to do zero for Bester, I think it was largely still a waste of time. If you read the telepath trilogy by J. Gregory Keyes, you'll see that Byron is basically a non-event.
Of course I'm sure you know that Claudia Christian (Ivanova) was supposed to be the telepath that Byron turns, which would have been epic. But I hear from Mac & Bo that she left for more money :D
Season 5 was a mess for many reasons. The Byron arc bore most of the brunt of that.
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 8:53am (UTC -5)
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 9:12am (UTC -5)
"The Guardian of Forever is now an in-your-face exposition machine for bad franchise plots."
And he's certainly softened over the ages. He used to get his laughs talking down to Spock but now he's just an average bloke you wouldn't mind sharing a pint with.
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 9:17am (UTC -5)
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 9:20am (UTC -5)
"And what is the next item in the showcase Guardian? *portal shimmers and fog clears...* A NEW CAR!!
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 9:22am (UTC -5)
That was about the only redeeming feature of this episode. I too don't buy the whole "Georgiou is redeemed" storyline. Is she now the MU member who can summon the future by changing the present, as J. Tiberious Kirk once suggested?
She was much more fun as an implacable villain. I'm not excited by the prospect of a Mission: Impossible-style ST: Section 31. That kind of espionage show made sense in a real-world setting, but how does that work when it's all make believe?
Seems the writers are so in love with Phillipa Georgiou that they just assumed everyone else was too. Instead, we get throw-away "it was all a dream" type moments in the MU and now a teary farewell for somebody who was all treachery all the time not too many episodes ago.
Discovery has really become Millennial Trek, a show designed to allow the characters to constantly emote, to tolerate breakdowns in discipline to allow for feelings to predominate over command structue and to endlessly preach inclusion, tolerance and the notion that deep down, everyone is really a good person.
I'm not opposed to these goals, but damn... why do they have to constantly hit everyone over the head with them? Can't the viewers be trusted to absorb these social justice lessons in service to a greater story? Please?
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 10:07am (UTC -5)
LOL, I guess this is a fair point...but then don't they need to be doing these toasts to a helluva lot more people? They did it more like "she just died, it's sad that she couldn't get better". Really, it's more like someone they knew who was dying went off to a faraway place, and they won't get to see her anymore, but they also know she was cured and will potentially have a long life going forward that they won't be a part of.
@Chrome: "Why doesn't The Discovery crew use the Guardian of Forever to return to their own time period?"
It's a good question. I think they could have discussed it, but then decided it wouldn't be fair to change history or whatever (Trek has been wildly inconsistent, as we've discussed, about whether time travel changes the timeline you come from or just splits off a new one).
@Karl Zimmerman: "Or, at least Discovery cannot return. I suppose they all could individually."
Yeah, did they ever explain why Discovery couldn't be sent through the wormhole unoccupied, or if that was too risky, with just one crewmember aboard?
"Yes, it's stupid, but it's best to move on and not consider the mistakes made in earlier seasons."
@Cynic: "Cool to see pre- or non-cyber Airiam."
I heard them say her name, but I didn't spot her. She must have looked too different. Can someone tell me an approximate time stamp?
Also, how come no one in the MU has cybernetic augmentation?
"it seems obvious why, in universe, Georgiou's actual fate is being kept secret: Time travel is illegal, and the Temporal Accords can't be violated, as Cronenberg helpfully reminded us last week."
Oh, right, good point.
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 10:10am (UTC -5)
(snip) "Like Season 7 of TNG Babylon 5's fifth season didn't impress fans but it knocked it out of the park with the series finale (Sleeping in Light) which is a fan favourite."
Well, that episode was made to be the season closer at the end of season 4. ... and yes it was great but I never really consider it a part of that dreadful season 5.
"Do you really expect Discovery to knock ot out of the park at *any* point? Remind me, how many 4 star classics have we seen from Disc in 3 seasons?"
Let's take a deep breath for a second.
Discovery through the end of Season 2 has had 29 episodes. For argument purposes, let's equate that to the first season of any of the Star Trek spin-offs.
Did any of these series "knock it out of the park" in their season 1?
TNG? You might be able to find 1 or 2 episodes you might give 4 stars to... 11001001 maybe? A "Trek Classic"? Ah, no. The ball barely has made it to home plate.
DS9? I ranked two season 1 episodes 4-stars. 'Duet' and 'Captive Pursuit' Are any of these "trek classics"? I might say 'Duet', but the season graded the worst of any trek.
VOY? 'Eye of the Needle' and 'State of Flux' received 4-star marks from me and I'm pretty sure neither of them would be considered "classics" by the masses.
ENT? 'Cold Front', 'Dear Doctor', and 'Shockwave part 1' were 4-star achievers in my book. Are any of those considered "Trek Classics"? I think not.... maybe 'Dear Doctor'?
So let's look back at Discovery. Everyone's mileage will vary of course, but I'm a 45+ year trek fan so...
Over the first two seasons, I've rated 'Magic to make the Sanest Man go Wild', 'Into the Forest I Go', 'What's Past Is Prologue', 'An Obol for Charon', 'If Memory Serves' 4-stars.
The argument is out on whether any of these will be considered "Trek classics" but I might put 'If Memory Serves' up there one day.
So, under this pretty fair comparison, Discovery is holding up well if not producing better quality than the other Trek's with close to the same number of episodes.
Will Discovery "knock it out of the park" at any time? Well, time will tell but it's hard to argue that Discovery hasn't improved each year. It will be hard because of how they chose to write Burnham, but she's improved quite a bit this season so I think they CAN end up getting it right at some point. If this last episode and the overall quality of season 3 is any sort of indicator, I think they certainly can.
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 10:41am (UTC -5)
I think there is a difference between a high-rated episode and a "Trek classic." The latter needs to be not only good quality but something ineffably Trek, which comes into your mind at random times making you think. Something you'd call an important part of your life. I'll give you an example: I love TNG's The Nth Degree. For me this is a 4-star episode, simply perfect. But it is not a Trek classic because my concept of Trek, of our enlightened future, and of my sense of the Trek universe, is not shaped by this episode. It happens to be 4-star for me because I enjoy it that much, but it is not sitting in my consciousness as the soul of Trek. Episodes that fulfill that criterion include Duet, Chain of Command, BoBW, Improbable Cause, In the Pale Moonlight, All Good Things. And some others.
You're right that 1st seasons (other than TOS, which is the best series anyhow) rarely have multiple home runs. DS9 definitely has Duet. In the Hands of the Prophets is excellent but not a classic. TNG S1 has zero classics, I think, and neither does VOY or ENT. But it's also not fair to call DSC S1-2 as equivalent to another show's 1st season purely due to the number of episodes. Everything changes when you need to fill 25 hours of airtime; filler gets put in, guest writers, other stuff. In a mystery box show that is compact, in the format of the HBO 10-hour season (like Game of Thrones), there is no excuse to have a single episode of filler. In fact there's no excuse to even have a scene of filler. So I would count each DSC season as a full season for our purposes. So far I don't think, based on crowd reaction, DSC has had a classic Trek episode yet. Even the best (which seem to be in S3) are not quite hailed as being immaculate, although the consensus seems to be there was a lot of improvement.
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 10:50am (UTC -5)
The trouble is that we’ll likely never have another series that runs as many eps as TNG. Probably not even half that. The new shows don’t have 60 episodes to figure this stuff out, just as TOS didn’t.
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 10:51am (UTC -5)
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 11:13am (UTC -5)
"@Todd: "To those who don't understand why Georgiou is treated as if she is dead is because she is...she traveled back in time to the 23rd century, so in Discovery's time she is long dead, along with Spock, Pike, Kirk, etc etc etc. It's 900 years later."
LOL, I guess this is a fair point"
I enjoyed that answer @Todd!
Reminds me of the Angels on Doctor Who:
"Fascinating race, the Weeping Angels. The only psychopaths in the universe to kill you nicely. No mess, no fuss. They just zap you into the past and let you live to death."
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 11:44am (UTC -5)
I have made my point about the pros and cons of serialized writing in another thread so I won't belabor the point. But suffice it to say, Jammer's reviews reflect the flattening of the curve we see from a show like TNG with big highs and big lows (even in otherwise well regarded seasons like season 3) versus Discovery and Picard, which almost never escape the gravity of that 2 1/2 star baseline.
And you know I also agree with Peter G. that there is no excuse for this. We have seen how modern serialized tv drama can give us those incredible moments. Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Stranger Things, Game of Thrones - this kind of television can reach incredible heights with the right cast and writing. Certainly season 1 of Picard (which I will refer to because I watched it completely) doesn't even come close to anything resembling a great episode.
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 11:53am (UTC -5)
Yanks I co-sign all that you said, in particular, I also "If Memory Serves" to be a fantastic episode, I'd also rate "Into the Forest I Go" and "New Eden" up there.
Peter your first paragraph especially was a refreshing read. Everyone's expectations vary a bit or a lot. the example you give with "Nth Degree" is the way I feel about "Civil Defense" of DS9. For me, that's a four-star episode too, I loved the escalating disaster-like circumstances mixed with subtle humor, but it is not a Trek classic by any means.
Thanks to both for your inputs!
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 2:44pm (UTC -5)
The plot in the Mirror Universe was stupid and predictable. All the crap with Mirror Burnham getting tortured, pretending to acquiesce to Georgiou, then betraying her, then the big fight etc. It went on for too long.
The other problem is why was Georgiou so uncharacteristically "nice" here?? This makes no sense given how she acts in the Prime Universe on-board the Discovery. She should only know 1 way -- just as Mirror Burnham says, it's something like the iron fist or death (whatever that line was). I just did not buy at all what these writers were trying to sell. Really just a waste of time.
And ultimately what did it accomplish? She comes back through the Guardian of Forever (which was a cool feature to introduce here as a way of sending her back to the MU for good). So she saved Saru in the MU and got him through his vahar'ai and so what?
And of course plenty of lengthy goodbyes and a eulogy -- the Mirror Georgiou character wasn't a total waste on DSC but her schtick had run thin. I thought she was useful earlier in the season but her bit gets tiring quickly. There was definitely some validity to the "pain in the ass" that Burnham describes her as.
I suppose a bit of a goodbye is in order given how much Mirror Georgiou and Burnham have gone thru -- their love/hate relationship hasn't been really good viewing but DSC has put a lot of effort into forcing it upon us.
As for the more meaningful stuff, seemed a tad farfetched to me that Book with his Emerald Chain device can just pop up and get the data from Kelpien ship. But hopefully the next episode can get on with the story and put these distractions behind us. So is he now on the Discovery for good but not Star Fleet?
1.5 stars for "Terra Firma, Part 2" -- Georgiou's send off had to be all about her trying to do the right thing although it made too little sense and wasn't a good watch with all the nonsense/torture/violence in the MU. DSC loves the MU as a tool to satisfy the ADD generation, giving it mindless action -- but the cupboard is bare here. A major character has been sent off and that's notable. Part 2 had less meaningful progress than Part 1 as far as figuring out the burn goes but I liked the opening with what I guess was the Mirror Universe animation in dark blue -- "In a Mirror, Darkly" did it much better though.
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 2:52pm (UTC -5)
But the episode did not bring us much further and the scene with Charles Vance was disturbing.
@Peter G, you mention some episodes that you found, "real star trek". Most of them are DS9 and some TNG. I agree with you that they are good and have this extra that you want. But when you look on the TOS there was a lot of quite medicre but still entertaing episodes. In my opinion "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad" is the only DSC episode that fulfills a real TOS episode requirement. I dont find it fantastic but still quite entertainaing.
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 3:29pm (UTC -5)
"you mention some episodes that you found, "real star trek". Most of them are DS9 and some TNG."
It's true I avoided TOS episodes because I thought many people might not know them so I left them out. You could include Journey to Babel, Balance of Terror, Mirror Mirror, Space Seed, Doomsday Machine, City on the Edge of Forever, and Trouble with Tribbles as among the all-time greats.
For ENT I honestly do not think there is a single episode in the series that rises to the level of a classic, although S4 did raise the bar on overall quality level.
For VOY there are a few I could have included but tbh it is controversial. There is no episode of VOY like The Visitor or The Inner Light, that have unqualified awed reactions by all audience members, new and old. I personally think Scorpion is the best VOY episode, but I think it's not as universally accepted as BoBW is. Some people swear by Living Witness, which I think is good but not amazing, and others by Author Author, which I find annoying. And certainly I have never seen any consensus that they really define VOY or Trek in general. Living Witness maybe comes closest. Distant Origin occasionally gets hailed, but both Jammer and I think it's simply quite good and no better. So for VOY it seems tough to pick out individual episodes that are clearly just classic Trek without qualification. Most of the 4-star VOY episodes among Jammer's ratings are ones I would say are interesting or fun (Author Author, Projections, Pathfinder, Timeless) are sort of goofy or high concept episodes that might be excellent (like Nth Degree is for me) but not classics in any interesting sense. No one sits around reminiscing about that time they saw Projections for the first time, even if it's a good one.
Hope that explained by comment a bit better :)
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 3:30pm (UTC -5)
Oh no, hang on, that's from that story that actually tried to be ridiculous, rather than this story which tries not to but just is.
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 3:58pm (UTC -5)
At least this is the last we'll see of her on Discovery. An absolutely ludicrous, cartoonish character that added nothing except cringe value. Good riddance!
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 4:19pm (UTC -5)
"@John, I think we can safely think of Discovery & Picard as something like Season 5 of Babylon 5. "
They really couldn't be further apart. If Picard was able to achieve that level of resolution, the deepening of its characters, the reflecting on what came before combined with a few new elements thrown in, and the gentle and mature winding down towards a beautiful conclusion, I would have been thrilled. It wouldn't have needed to be perfect, as long as it was made with love. We got the tiniest of glimpses in the Picard/Data scene of what that might have looked like, but precious little else.
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 4:25pm (UTC -5)
If they want to make a section 31 show (I hope they don't), then why did they make Georgiou soft and peace loving? Those are not the character traits for a S31 operative ...
Georgiou should have given her live for the crew in some kind of disaster. This would have earned them the last scene.
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 4:50pm (UTC -5)
My guess is they will glorify S31, make it out to be some kind of anti hero rugged protagonists who do the things no one else can for the good of the Federation or some such. Mirror Georgiou is a perfect fit because the values of the showrunners are right about on par with MU / S31 values. Basically the showrunners would turn Terran in a second for the right cause like if there were some racists or something.
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 4:53pm (UTC -5)
I find it a little odd that people say that Georgiou is good now. She tortured her daughter for weeks and afterwards ordered her supposedly broken daughter to kill maybe thousands of people or was the whole conspiracy just five people strong? In my view she changed from mega evil to very evil which is an improvement, sure. Still pretty far away from good.
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 5:15pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 5:41pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 6:32pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 6:39pm (UTC -5)
Thanks Jam Man for the early review. Feels like old times again.
Almost like you're operating in... bullet time ;)
Wishing everyone here a Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.
Peace, love & happiness, y'all
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 6:44pm (UTC -5)
That's why I decided to stop watching after Season 1 of Disco and Picard. These new Trek shows just don't seem to know what they want to be about. Was Season 1 of Disco supposed to be about the war with the Klingons? Or the Mirror Universe? Or the ethics of war? And was Picard supposed to be about learning to accept people who are different? AI? Growing old?
A lot of people have compared Star Wars and Star Trek's current shows. The Mandalorian isn't perfect, but one thing it has going for it is that it's confident about what it wants to be. It's not always the most ambitious or challenging storytelling, but it's got a goal and moves toward it with gusto.
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 6:52pm (UTC -5)
“Discovery through the end of Season 2 has had 29 episodes. For argument purposes, let's equate that to the first season of any of the Star Trek spin-offs.”
I will say I have higher expectations from a season that is half as long. When you’re cranking out 26 episode seasons there’s gonna be some filler in there, but with a shorter season, every episode counts that much more. Maybe Stranger Things and The Mandalorian have me spoiled, but they managed to have very few clunkers, with Stranger Things being highly serialized, and Mandalorian being highly episodic. Discovery aims for both, but achieves neither. The beginning of Season 3 was actually a big improvement, but all the cliches and predictable tropes have really left me wondering what the showrunners are thinking. I will say this much: after this season I will almost assuredly be canceling my CBSAA subscription. I’m not saying I’ll stop watching forever, but I certainly don’t think Disco or Picard are particularly worth paying money for.
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 7:33pm (UTC -5)
It'll never be cerebral or realistic. It can't follow through with any season-long arc without digressing to where it literally "loses the plot". Overacting seems to be encouraged. Relying on editors to stitch together scenes so everything looks like a movie trailer is counterproductive. Killing offf characters just to shock is predictable. Every episode featuring at least one "cry scene". Every villian has a family member seeking revenge. Don't even get me started on the odious soundtrack....
.... however, it's hilarious in it's wrong-headedness. I just sit back and laugh. It's just SO bad that I can't pull my eyes away. You couldn't do worse if you tried.
Anyone remember that old sitcom Soap? DSC is like that show, except no one in the production seems to be aware of it.
So much epic campiness!
Just one example: anything anyone in the MU wears Do they honestly expect the viewers to take a character wearing a sun lawn ornament seriously? Georgiou looked like an Etsy ad, not an Empress. It's just so dumb and silly that I can't help but giggle.
And the death scenes! Am I supposed to be laughing? The dialogue, the staging, the pacing .... it feels like a parody of Trek written by someone who's never watched it. The fact that CBS is seemingly unaware of the cataclysmic failure they're producing just amuses me more.
Until they figure it out, we get Camp Trek. Such is life.
Judging it on that scale, I deem this episode worthy of a cheesy ⭐⭐⭐s.
(I'm saving that elusive 4th Camp Star for a true WTF episode).
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 7:50pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 7:53pm (UTC -5)
"But the reason this doesn't work is because this story isn't worthy of the callback. "The City on the Edge of Forever" was about nothing less than saving history and humanity itself. "Terra Firma" is about saving a character that up until this two-parter was mostly known for being an insult factory. Thematically, the link just isn't here and thus comes across as trying to pass off this episode as more significant than its subject matter actually warrants. They'd have been better off just having Carl be a new creation rather than bringing the baggage with him."
Exactly. This callback is pretty much an epic failure because even attempting any thematic comparison between this and City is intellectually empty. So, why reference City at all besides the obvious reason that you want to pull the heartstrings of a few diehard Trek fans who eat this up. At least "If Memory Serves" built up an in-universe reason to reference "The Menagerie" with several worldbuilding episodes leading up to it.
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 11:12pm (UTC -5)
This episode sucks.
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 11:55pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Dec 19, 2020, 12:52am (UTC -5)
Sat, Dec 19, 2020, 1:27am (UTC -5)
Sat, Dec 19, 2020, 1:58am (UTC -5)
@Rahul: "The other problem is why was Georgiou so uncharacteristically "nice" here?? This makes no sense given how she acts in the Prime Universe on-board the Discovery."
Wow, I couldn't disagree more strongly. And I think I have established my bonafides in having disparaged the writing and plotting of this show in very harsh terms, as well as joining the chorus finding Georgiou generally intolerable for most of her time on the show. But I thought this was, at last, pitch perfect. She has been very "mean" on the Discovery, sure: but it has been a defensive mode, to keep anyone from thinking she has gone soft. It actually reminds me of what my wife tells me about her students (she is a high school special education teacher), who act all tough but slowly but surely she can tell that she has melted their hearts a bit even if they don't want to show it.
Once she is back in the MU and doesn't have the luxury of going around being an insult comic without it truly having life-or-death consequences, she is confronted with stuff like eating Kelpians and realizes "whoa, I liked to give Saru shit, but that is actually really fucked up". She has had her perspective changed. I completely buy it, 100%, and I think it's some of the sharpest characterization we've seen on this show. And if you had told me a couple weeks ago that I'd be saying that about this character of all people, I'd have laughed in your face.
@Peter G: "I avoided TOS episodes because I thought many people might not know them so I left them out."
Really? If that's true, I find it kind of sad, verging on alarming. But if people know TNS, then they must know the TOS movies, which would make me think they would have watched TOS reruns if they are posting on a site like this. I mean, I am only in my forties and I have seen all the TOS episodes, most more than once, starting with afterschool reruns when I was eight years old. Yet I've only seen maybe a couple dozen TNG episodes, along with most of Voyager and DS9, and all of Enterprise.
Classic Voyager episodes, for me, would include "Meld", "Death Wish", "Remember", "Unity", "Distant Origin", "Drone", and "Latent Image". Interesting that each of us listed seven episodes, but only one ("Distant Origin") overlapped!
@Jammer, I agree that the last act "drowns in unearned sentimental excess", but I felt the episode before that was so good, this didn't ruin it for me. A bad ending can ruin a movie or TV episode, but only if that conclusion is integral to the story. For me, this was a good (shorter) episode with a nauseatingly treacly appendix tacked on the end, which I can surgically detach from the rest.
"I guess maybe the point here is that this transformation actually happened, but just internally? She was all bark and no bite, overcompensating for what she probably saw as having lost her 'edge' all along?"
Yes, exactly this. What you skeptically wrote here is along the same lines as what I wrote above in response to Rahul.
"Why does Carl obscure his true identity only to reveal it at the end? To create a Dramatic Reveal for the audience, yes, but there's no real reason for it within the story itself."
I can think of two reasons.
(1) He has become skittish about revealing his nature to Federation types after the way they abused his portal during the Time Wars.
(2) It amuses him. He turns out to be more of a mischievous scamp, a la Q, than we realized.
"Evil Insane Burnham is fun to watch. Of all the people on the Terran side of the looking glass, she's the most genuinely fearsome."
Yes! SMG's acting as PU Burnham is often cringeworthy, but she was fun to watch here for sure.
@Booming: "In my view she changed from mega evil to very evil which is an improvement, sure. Still pretty far away from good."
I agree--and in fact, the people you are referring to are a great illustration of the "it's all relative" notion, which explains how she can be "good" in MU terms while not breaking continuity with the acid-tongued persona she sported on Discovery.
@Austin: "Maybe Stranger Things and The Mandalorian have me spoiled, but they managed to have very few clunkers"
Disagree about Stranger Things, but then I've long felt this is one of the most bizarrely overrated shows on TV. It's not flat out bad, but it's mostly pretty meh IMO, with occasional standout moments. But talk about mythology that makes zero sense!
Sat, Dec 19, 2020, 3:18am (UTC -5)
If you enjoy horrible cinematic failures then you have to watch Another life. It features Katee Sackhoff. That sci fi show is the gift that keeps on giving.
Sat, Dec 19, 2020, 3:42am (UTC -5)
I just finished re-watching BSG and am currently re-watching the Expanse and after that it’s really hard to come back and watch some of these Discovery episodes. I’m not as critical on Discovery as others, I find it entertaining enough, but I feel like a Discovery episode’s ceiling in terms of quality is being slightly above average. I don’t think Discovery is a terrible show, but at the same time it’s never been very remarkable either. The writing is unimaginative and the characters are (mostly) not very interesting. It entertains but it’s not inspiring.
Sat, Dec 19, 2020, 6:02am (UTC -5)
OK, that was an OK end to a needless story told because the writers put themselves in the position of having to write out a character who they've decided to give her own show (that we're not even sure we want) rather than develop her ongoing on the show. It wasn't awful, The Guardian of Forever thing didn't bother me.
I'm just glad this is out of the way and we can get back to the story I am interested in.
Sat, Dec 19, 2020, 9:47am (UTC -5)
Airiam is the Communications officer seen around 25:30 - 26:00. Has a couple of lines and is addressed by name. Based on the credits she was in Part 1 as well, I assume at that "party" in the mess hall or whatever that was.
Sat, Dec 19, 2020, 11:03am (UTC -5)
Thanks for the recommendation! I Googled it and "Another Life" definitely sounds incredibly cheesy and over-the-top. I love it when people are unaware they're creating something atrocious and this show sounds like it fills the bill. (I like Bo Katan's actress so that helps).
But why oh why couldn't they make "Bismati Blues" a series?! 🤣😂😅
Sat, Dec 19, 2020, 11:12am (UTC -5)
You are one click away from a wondrous voyage into the depth of absurdity. :)
Uh the rumors were true, renewed for another season. I wonder if they can beat that 5.0 rating on imdb for season 1.
Sat, Dec 19, 2020, 11:19am (UTC -5)
"One of the dumbest shows I've seen."
"Millennial's Go To Space"
"It's really a frustrating, viewer insulting waste."
"It's bad but I can't stop watching this dumpster fire!"
"I cringed so hard, barely made it through episode one"
"Truly one of the worst Sci-Fi shows ever!"
"Imagine a future where only the cheesy survive..."
"Unstable Drama Queens In Space"
"Actually this is what led people to commit suicide in the movie Bird Box!!!"
Sat, Dec 19, 2020, 3:02pm (UTC -5)
"Did they think edgy would get cool people to like ST?"
Maybe therin lies the source of all Modern Trek's shortcomings...they're chasing popularity rather than trying to make a good show. The problem is, our society has changed.
There isn't really any sort of stratification of "what's cool" and "what's dorky" anymore. Not unless you're 15 years old, I guess? Idk, it's been a long time since I was.
But it seems to me like a lot of what used to make someone see a person and read "Dork" is now just stuff everybody is familiar with. Comics. Anime. Computers. Video Games. Internet Stuff.
... Our culture has homogenized a bit, in this way. However, Star Trek Discovery and Star Trek Picard think that this stratification is as solid as it used to be (it's really not), and are trying to get, as you said "cool people" to like Star Trek.
If I had to take a guess, I'd say that it's because *in a place like Los Angeles, California,* they still think that they need to be "cool" to win the popularity contest. I lived in an entertainment industry town for a long time, and I can confirm that it ends up being a bit like a never-ending high school experience, where everyone is trying to out-popular each other.
Star Trek thought it needed better special effects and a bigger variety of token minorities to stay "relevant..."
It didn't, it needed better writers willing to make challenging choices. ST:D and ST:P are very by-the-numbers. Very safe.
And it's boring me.
Sat, Dec 19, 2020, 3:24pm (UTC -5)
But I agree strongly with Jammer that the schmaltz was silly for all the reasons he gives. Even the schmaltz around Mirror Detmer's death was a bit much. This is a character who has had few lines in our universe. Why would we feel anything about her evil counterpart dying?
I also really didn't like the idea that Georgiou was a "badass" - even said in a jokey way by the bridge crew in our universe. It just doesn't work within the Star Trek universe that the crew would admire a cruel mass murderer and slave owner who constantly talked about butchering people.
Note that it wasn't that they admired her despite these things, or thought that she used to be evil but had changed. No, they think those things mean she was a "bad-ass". It's a bit like saying Dr Mengele or the leader of ISIS or someone is a "bad-ass". If that comparison seems ridiculous, it's only because Georgiou is more like a Marvel villain than a real life evil human being - not something that would have happened back in the days when Star Trek took itself seriously.
Sat, Dec 19, 2020, 4:03pm (UTC -5)
I see things that I like about Discovery. That's characters like Saru, Culber, Stamets, Detmer, and Adira. It's the fact that the relevance of science is clearly stressed, even if it's just the statement itself. It's being bold enough to jump hundreds of years ahead. It's also the production design. There are also topics in here that are worthy of stories.
But I they so very rarely get the depth and attention they deserve. Things are one thing at one moment, then something different at another, because the show says so. Georgiou's a great example. Consider:
- She's a ruthless, sadistic, genocidal, comic book character one moment.
- Then she's a member of the Discovery crew for reasons which are never explained. During this time, nobody contests or really challenges what she was or seems concerned that she might just set out and kill everyone. Why?
- Then she literally starts falling apart, and the Guardian of Forever sees fit to give her another chance. Again, why? What's she done to earn that?
- Then, after months for her but maybe a few hours for the crew, Georgiou's gone, and everyone's mourning her loss. I was shocked for a moment when the Admiral extended his condolences to Saru. Why? Because I thought the other shoe was going to drop and we'd finally find out the Admiral was evil and had prepared a trap for Saru (or something along those lines). It took me a moment to understand he was referring to Georgiou.
As others have said, the previous shows that have featured the mirror universe always kept it firmly routed on the other side. That made it easy to see it as a sort of comic book version of Trek, seen through a mirror. For the life of me, I cannot understand why the writer insist on taking it so seriously and expect viewers to do the same. I still baffles me that they made it part of the show to begin with. At the risk of repeating myself, why? In my view, at least, the original episode was great, and I thought DS9's first outing was also very strong. But it was diminishing returns after that.
What's frustrating about all of this, at least to me, is that I was really excited about the jump forward in time. The first few episodes seemed to indicate that we were actually going in a different direction. Call me naïve for thinking that, but it actually appeared that way to me. The show seemed more focused, a bit more at ease with itself and, generally speaking, less bonkers.
Looking back, I just wish they'd never taken Georgiou along for the ride. There was an opportunity to just leave her behind, and I can't stress enough how much I wish they'd done that.
For me, it's like looking at an assortment of different stories you could tell, and the writers keep gravitating to the least interesting ones. Also, if you think about it, a lot of times they're also the least obvious. Don't get me wrong, it's great to be surprising every now and then. But it's also okay to grab onto the stuff that's there and that's substantial.
Looking back at the season so far, I'd say I was really on board for the first five episodes. "Forget Me Not" was probably my favorite. I think it just felt like it really took the time to tell a story and allow characters to develop. "Die Trying" was probably second. Things that bothered me at that point were the Western setting early on (seemed unimaginative) and not allowing Discovery's crew to rescue itself (a missed opportunity, IMHO).
Starting with "Scavengers", things just seemed to get less interesting. I honestly don't care about the Emerald Chain or their leader. Convincing Vulcans through a show of emotion rather than logic and facts seemed to fly in the face of everything I knew about them. I'd honestly say the same about Romulans. Sure, hundreds of years have passed. But then we'd need Discovery to show us how they've changed and why this works. And the moment we set foot in the mirror universe again, I was just bored because I don't care about it or Georgiou.
I'm going to watch the last three episodes because, why not? I just really don't expect all that much.
I honestly wish I were as excited about Star Trek right now as I am about the new season of "The Expanse" (haven't started yet but can't wait). It's the same number of episodes per season, but they just seem to get SO much more mileage out of it. The stories deal with complex issues, but they're easy to follow. There's a sizeable number of characters, but I care about every single one of them. And I can see how they develop over time, how their relationship develop.
At the end of the day, that's what I'd love to experience in a modern Star Trek show.
Sun, Dec 20, 2020, 3:04am (UTC -5)
It is funny, if you want to nitpick the MU (which I understand is maybe being a joykill), how you have divergences like that, where "our" Airyam was a cyborg who died as a result, yet her counterpart is still on the alt-Discovery. Whereas if people are so different in the two universes, their parents and grandparents should have made different choices long ago that took them along different paths, and there should be no possible way for the crews to be this similar (or, even, for a "Discovery" to exist in both universes at all).
@Tomalak (and @NBTT), it's true that lightheartedly seeing Georgiou as a "badass" is jarring if you think about all the people she slaughtered, how she had relished eating Kelpian, etc. But I suppose they also grade her on a curve because she is a product of her society/universe, and they know there are also evil versions of themselves in that universe.
Sun, Dec 20, 2020, 3:35am (UTC -5)
Yes I mostly agree with you. I do think that because Discovery is mostly made and written by Hollywood insiders, it suffers from all the pitfalls that brings. And yes, while there is a competitive aspect of it (and absolutely a serious gossip culture), a strange thing about modern Hollywood that many people might not be aware of - everyone (at least in the creative realm) is nice now. Too nice. As in, so nice that nobody really gives honest opinions anymore for fear of being pegged an asshole.
This could have something to do with the problem - everyone constantly congratulation one another about substandard work without ever challenging one another in the writers room. I've heard tale from Trek days of yore, and while Rick Berman was probably an asshole, he did seem to draw some good material out of those writers.
But at the same time, you have to have talent to begin with. Alex Kurtzman is a deeply untalented man, and as they say, failure starts at the top. There is no vision for this show whatsoever. Nothing. It is a void. It has no voice. No originality.
Sun, Dec 20, 2020, 3:42am (UTC -5)
My rewrite of season 3 pitch would be the crew of Discovery is still flung 1000 years in the future. But when they get there, they can't find Michael at all. They find her dumb angel suit, but not her. The entire season arc is the search for Michael. Not only would this mean we wouldn't have Michael be in the show (a huge plus) except for maybe the last episode or 2, we'd get to see the crew act like a crew for once.
On top of that, the other mystery is that the only other intelligent life they can find in this future are pre-warp technology civilizations. No sign of the Federation, Starfleet, Klingons, Vulcans, etc. What happened to everyone else in that 1000 years? How can they figure that out, investigate and find Michael all while trying to hold onto the Prime Directive interacting with those other pre-warp races? Maybe they still find Adira, who has a Trill symbiont with deep memories they need to access, but with deep repercussions to Adira and their society.
Just spitballing here!
Sun, Dec 20, 2020, 7:02am (UTC -5)
Happy holidays, all. Stay safe.
Sun, Dec 20, 2020, 11:35am (UTC -5)
This is a 20min racap of the first four seasons.
Sun, Dec 20, 2020, 1:02pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Dec 20, 2020, 1:14pm (UTC -5)
It was meant for people who have already seen the show and only need a little fresh up.
Sun, Dec 20, 2020, 1:44pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Dec 20, 2020, 2:28pm (UTC -5)
A contingent of fans had problems with the first half of the first season, complaining about the slow start and unengaging story, but that certainly wasn't my experience. I felt the show's grip on me from the very first episode, but hey, if it doesn't appeal to you from the word go, give a couple episodes. You won't regret it.
Sun, Dec 20, 2020, 5:57pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Dec 20, 2020, 6:02pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Dec 20, 2020, 6:08pm (UTC -5)
Am I speaking Swahili?
Only watch the vid if you have seen the first four seasons and don't want to rewatch them before season 5.
Sun, Dec 20, 2020, 10:31pm (UTC -5)
"Does anyone else think Jammer was too hard in the episode? And wasn't the use of the Guardian consistent with his purpose and nature in The city on the edge? Or am I wrong ?"
I tend to agree with you, although I do think a case could be made that the Guardian changed in some ways. I thought those ways (different planet, "weighing" the person, etc.) were adequately explained, but these things are a matter of opinion after all. We all have our own individual takes on how far it's okay to stray from past versions.
Most people who are objecting to these latest two episodes are objecting to their very existence, and only to a lesser extent to their actual quality. (I know some people may say I'm wrong, but note how many times people say they're just completely sick of the MU.) And I think that's a fair point of view. In the Enterprise series, I loathed the whole idea of the Time Wars, the Nazi episodes, and a couple of Xindi episodes I thought were pointless distractions. It's hard to separate out the actual quality of the how the episode is done when you'd rather not see it at all (for instance, talking about the great special effects or great fight scenes leaves me cold and I literally can't rate them).
I never was impressed by the Mirror Universe even in TOS. I thought it was cartoonish. Even in the DS9 episodes, the characters were still unrealistically over-the-top. I couldn't relate to them and didn't think there was any useful message to be learned from the episodes. But Discovery, to me - and this is simply my opinion - has integrated the MU episodes into the general plot of the show better than the other series. I'm not saying it's been completely successful. The Lorca arc was interesting while it was going on, but in the end, what was the point of it? It was just a nice little mystery about the character. Nevertheless, Lorca came across as an actual person who was more than one-dimensional (MOSTLY evil no doubt, but entirely? I would say no).
The same goes for Georgiou, who is an expanded version of Lorca. Again, she is mostly Evil Emperor, but we see that she actually does have softer feelings which she hides (and good reasons for hiding them). When people questioned why she came along with Discovery at the end of Season 1, I was mystified that they couldn't understand that there could be only one reason - love for Burnham.
Now, the way this was handled was far from the best, as others have made clear. But I'm impressed that the writers tried to do it at all. They took a concept - the MU - which started out as a cartoonish, simplistic way of exploring the good and bad in people and attempted to create real people with some subtlety. Not enough! but at least some. And in this last episode, I especially liked that Georgiou's attempts to alter her universe failed, which I thought was realistic.
I also think that this may be another example of the new showrunner trying to get rid of a previous poorly thought-out storyline in a reasonably graceful way.
So as for Jammer being too hard, I think this is where some of that comes from - Star Trek isn't really supposed to be "about" the Mirror Universe at all. I am more than ready to forget all about it and investigate the Burn, and talk about issues surrounding the spore drive, and go explore some planets.
Mon, Dec 21, 2020, 12:22am (UTC -5)
but i cant help it - its all pretty "meh". i keep wondering if its something about the series, if its just me having lost the possibility to get as involved in a show as i used to, or a combination of both.
its probably both, but i still believe its more about the show itself. so many things.
- burnam emotion orgies are back to full cringe level. its absolutely unbearable. shes the center of the universe, everything is tragic, she has to be the one who gets to be at the center of absolutely anything...its getting to a point where i flat out hate the character and breathe a sigh of relief whenever shes NOT in a scene and we get to see normal people who might be trans, connected to a spore driven, returned from the dead, reformed kelpian or whatever, but at least theyre not THE ONE TO SAVE THE DAY WHO IS VERY EMOTIONAL ABOUT IT ALL
- the universe building aspect of discovery just sucks. it really does. even next generation, famous for 2 especially shitty freshman seasons, was a LOT further ahead in universe building than this mess is. its clear that there is absolutely no master plan, and as a result, there is no sense of scale whatsoever. the federation is two rooms and a couple of people. threats have been a computer program last season and a completely random face that weve seen during a video call for all of 2 minutes maybe. despite 284768973263924 CGI orgies and production values the old shows could only dream of, every discovery episode feels like a bottle show.
- and somehow they manage that even with a smaller ensemble (which adds to the lack of scale and universe building in all the worst ways), i still have no idea who these people are. this is a very clear difference. older shows took the time to have episodes that focused on individual characters. in discovery, characters other than burnam THE ONE TO SAVE THE UNIVERSE TIME AND AGAIN, can be happy if they get some breadcrumbs within a fraction of a B plot.
no wonder that almost all dialogue is completely exchangable and any line could be pretty much said by anyone. imagine a next generation where worf, deanna troi, crusher or data could exchange lines at random. its absolutely unthinkable and makes clear how big this difference really is.
at the end of the day, i guess its just that pretty much all of the characters are nothing to write home about.
burnam is just cringe.
tilly had some ambivalence and thus potential, but like all characters has been reduced to one character trait and that will be repeated until the end of times (in her case, "im awkward")
saru is a highlight by discovery standards. but just compare this to previous captains. he aint a picard. not a sisko. not a janeway. not even a captain archer! its in a completely different league.
that pilot lady is...the pilot. that other lady is...i dont even know what she does. shes the pilot ladys friend.
tech dude and doctor are gay. actually, i do think that tech dude has some potential. if only the show would not try to reduce him as well to this "one character trait must be enough" status. i liked his interactions with the new trill, the actor was able to channel empathy and well meaning intention to understand in a very traditional trekkian sense. nice. but next scene, hes back to gay tech dude "who cant say thank you"? WTF.
georgiu, as jammer has said, was another unbearable one trick pony. im glad shes gone.
i dont know what it is. it cant be the number of episodes. id understand if you wouldnt manage a comparable amount of universe building in 10 episodes per season vs 24 - its something that has made it more difficult in other well done shows like expanse as well.
but discovery is more in the 15 episode per season area or something, is it not?
theyre clearly doing something wrong. a lot, actually. still glad that they left completely unfitting prequel burden behind...but boy oh boy, did i expect more excitement and sense of scale from a "post federation 31st century" setup. it still feels like all ive gotten is a close up on burnam being emotional. it needs to stop. someone tell them that their main lead is not as engaging as they think she is. i dont care how much about that is the actual acting or the way the character is written, but the show is clearly way too much in love with its lead. less emo-cringe please. also, get rid of the equally emo-cringe voiceovers that she still reads in this unbearable IM DICTATING THE MOST IMPORTANT INSIGHT OF THE UNIVERSE EVER tone. its absolutely amazing that they seem to be completely blind to this.
Mon, Dec 21, 2020, 12:31am (UTC -5)
the show clearly lacks a "fish out of water" type character that at this point seems to me to be a more essential star trek trope than i ever imagined (and i did always believe it was important, just maybe not crucial)
this show clearly has no spock (back when vulcans were alien enough to fill that role), no data, no odo, no hologram doctor, just nothing of the sort.
enterprise didnt have that either, and suffered immensely as a result. yet, even as someone who never particularly liked enterprise, it still feels so much more rooted in the universe building that is the absolut foundation of the star trek appeal.
come to think of it, picard has a similar problem. even with some inclusions like borg, life on earth, some familiar faces and of course picard himself...it just doesnt click with that established universe the way the old shows did even in their worst form (clearly enterprise).
they should do a thourough research about why it doesnt. an established universe like the trek universe could be such an incredible asset in todays binge streaming world (think game of thrones etc), yet it constantly looks like they arent aware of this. very weird. should be really obvious, id like to believe, but apparently not.
Mon, Dec 21, 2020, 12:48am (UTC -5)
“Let’s throw a bone to the TOS fanboys and put in the Guardien of Forever so they get all excited and forget for a moment how we are playing fast and loose with canon and don’t really understand or care about it anyway.” No other reason to put the Guardian in here. And where was the howling wind and broken down columns and buildings showing the ruins of a vanished civilization. They can’t even get the pandering right.
Sorry to say, but Kurtzman and company don’t know how to do a serialized show. Look at how great Madalrian breaking bad, stranger things, game of thrones are done and compare it to how these guys run DISCO and PIC. It pains me to say that since I love ST and I wanted these shows to be good and bring Trek into the 21st century.
Now a good episode would have incorporated the temporal wars so the temporal Cold War fron ENT now makes sense and becomes relevant, kind of like how Clone Wars made the lousy prequels sensible and relevant for Star Wars. Which the writers did. But then they could have investigated how the Guardian was an Iconian gateway, an inter3sting concept from TNG that was dropped.
Mon, Dec 21, 2020, 5:58am (UTC -5)
That's a really good point @mosley.
In TOS, you could never imagine a McCoy line said by Spock, or a Kirk line said by Scotty. Those characters had distinct voices, distinct characters. It added deep layers to the show.
But you're right @mosley, you could give, for example, all of Michael's lines to Hugh - it would probably improve the show! Is there any line that Reese says that Owo couldn't say in exactly the same manner? There is not a single line that Stamets says that Jett Reno couldn't say instead.
Maybe that's why I appreciated Philippa Georgiou. For her many, many flaws, she was one distinct voice. Maybe Admiral Vance is another.
@mosley also said, "that pilot lady is...the pilot. that other lady is...i dont even know what she does. shes the pilot ladys friend."
I completely agree. Compare that with say Paris & Harry on Voyager. For all of VOY's faults - and there are no end to VOY's faults! - at least we knew who Paris was. He had character and a voice. And sure, Harry was his friend, but I'll tell you, that friendship was really enjoyable to watch. Maybe not quite up there with O'Brien and Bashir, but something real.
In 3 seasons of Discovery, have we seen any part of Owo and Detmer's "friendship" other than a couple supporting words - and a hug (but then, everyone is hugging everyone on this show, so that's not really as big a deal).
At this point I would be happy if we could just see Owo and Detmer drinking some cheap wine, painting their nails, and watching some old crappy sitcom on a Friday night. Don't the writers watch anything else on TV?
Even "Two Broke Girls" has better bonding than Discovery.
@mosley said, "the show is clearly way too much in love with its lead."
Yeah. I don't think TNG focused this much on Picard, or VOY on Seven, or DS9 on Sisko. TPTB behind Discovery are ridiculous with their SMG-fest, week after week.
Good post, @mosley, I enjoyed all of it, though I do have to disagree with your take on Phillipa. What can I say, I am totally partial towards her ;)
Mon, Dec 21, 2020, 7:28am (UTC -5)
After almost three seasons I don't know half of the people on the bridge. I know Saru and Burnham, Tilly to a far lesser degree (what is her story actually before Discovery?). In one episode Owo said that she is from a Luddite colony and with that one piece of information from the beginning of season 2 I know more about her than about most of the others on the bridge. Not that they did anything with that info.
And if you really think about it, what do we really know about Burnham's or Saru's motivation. Burnham has a savior complex which isn't helped by the fact that she is the savior of everything. First she was vulcan-ish now she is very emotional for some reason. We still don't know what made her change so radically.
Saru is pro Starfleet values because Starfleet rescued him and he had his violent puberty. He also prefers the soft approach. Why? Who knows.
So the characters are extremely weak. They are either nonexistent, vague or inconsistent.
The Expanse not only has far more interesting and 3-dimensional characters with nuance, contradictions and actual arcs, it is also much better in world building.
For that it uses long establishing shots were you see the various bases, cities or ships to understand quite a bit about them. Are they tall and shiny or small and dirty. It also looks like something that could exist. In Discovery everything looks artificial. Not only the establishing shoots but also the sets. It is the Star Wars prequel problem. Your brain somehow knows that something looks unreal. The Expanse uses sets and CGI far better. It always gives you little glimpses here and there that there is still an entire world happening while our protagonists do their thing. Discovery never accomplishes that. The visit to Earth is a good example. We get one shot of San Francisco from pretty far away, then we go to this park with the tree. I don't think that we see a single person apart from the crew. For all we know San Francisco could be a ghost town.
In essence the world-building is terrible. One of the worst I have ever seen which has become even more obvious because we now jump to new planets more often. I only remember two instances were we saw more than half a dozen people and two or three bland looking sets when they went to a planet. Interestingly enough it's the first was settlement on shady planet in episode 1 and the second is the prison in episode I don't know. The only two places with actual people in them are terrible places.
My last point is the tech. The show has completely given up on how or why. Detached nacelles, megaman guns. Did we ever get an explanation why these are a good thing? The beam badges are useful but how does it know where I want to go? Does it read my mind?? The show never tells you. Or programmable matter which is just matter that can do everything. It is lazy nonsense. The creator of Star Trek were smart. They understood that they could never foresee how tech would look like in 400 years, so they came up with stuff that could become a reality in maybe 50 years or so. It was interesting but also something that we could understand.
There are all these faults and they seem unwilling to change them which means that it is on purpose.
My emotional connection to this stuff is cut for good, I believe. It is a bland uncreative action show. It doesn't care about it's character, the world it exists in or science and everybody knows how terrible the season arcs were so far.
It fails across the board.
I'm thankful for season 3. People say it is significantly better but I think it is pretty much as bad as season 2. If this season would have been somewhat good or at least above average it may have dragged me along for another season but no.
Mon, Dec 21, 2020, 11:11am (UTC -5)
I loved the world building in season 1. And the tech! There is a scene where Miller figures out the trajectory of Julie Mao's ship and is explaining it to his ex-partner. That interface is just amazing. I get what you're saying about the tech on Discovery being so unrelatable. I love the phones on The Expanse. I can totally see them coming to market in a few decades.
I haven't enjoyed The Expanse as much after Miller was lost. I do enjoy Avasarala, and some of the others. But without Anderson Dawes (Mad Men) or Fred Johnson (The Wire) or some of the other big names, the cast is starting to seem a bit light. Even Bobbie in her civies doesn't have quite the weight she used to.
So how is Season 5 working out? Are we still in the churn?
Mon, Dec 21, 2020, 11:30am (UTC -5)
Maybe it only shines so bright in comparison to NuTrek. Whatever it may be it works. I even thought that acting Maelstrom James Holden is a little better. All of them improved over the course of the show in my opinion.
I think Amazon upped their budget. Many expensive shots. I wasn't a big fan of season 4. It all seemed to become a little unfocused. Mars turning into this mess in a very short time felt off and the stories on the new planet were a little cookie cutter. Season 5 has trimmed some of that fat. They took a little more time to show were the pieces are now. It seems more focused again. That is really all I can say after three episodes without spoilers.
This stupid weekly release thing is fairly annoying. I guess their social media guy thought that this weekly release would create positive buzz for longer. I will probably watch it in 3 episode intervals or wait until the season is over and then binge it.
Mon, Dec 21, 2020, 2:36pm (UTC -5)
"After almost three seasons I don't know half of the people on the bridge. I know Saru and Burnham, Tilly to a far lesser degree (what is her story actually before Discovery?). In one episode Owo said that she is from a Luddite colony and with that one piece of information from the beginning of season 2 I know more about her than about most of the others on the bridge. Not that they did anything with that info."
I don't understand why they can't stick to the same way the other shows were. ie TNG has a Data episode or a Geordi episode, Crusher etc (with varying results). They usually had a b plot. DS9 did the same kind of thing. VOY turned into the trio of Janeway/7of9/Doctor show and of course ToS was the holy trinity of kirk/spock/bones. Even so you always knew the names of the other people (scotty, sulu, wesley, neelix etc etc).
I just don't think it works having the whole show based around 1 character. SMG may or may not be a good enough actress to carry this show alone. I mean Andrew Lincoln did a damn fine job carrying The Walking Dead in early seasons and I can barely remember the other characters. So I guess it CAN work. It could just literally be down to the awful writing and weak other cast members.
As someone said way up there somewhere.. you look at a scene sometimes and think "They seriously looked at that and thought: Yep that's fine, we don't need to do another take of that.". It's not like they have to produce 24 of them a year.
I can just about name most of the DSC crew I guess but I nothing about any of them or care about them at all.
Not to harp on about The Expanse but even the lesser characters are fleshed out so well (Drummer for example) that you really care about them and they seem real.
Mon, Dec 21, 2020, 3:18pm (UTC -5)
I even remember quite a few of the characters from earlier season of the walking dead. Glenn, Hershel, Carol, Carl, Andrea, Shane, Daryl, Michonne, Maggie and I watched those first seasons 8-9 years ago and I still know the names and personalities of half a dozen or more people besides the protagonist. They weren't all great characters but still memorable enough that remember them.
And you are correct. The characters in the Expanse, even the lesser ones, are interesting. Even characters like Miller who were somewhat 2 dimensional became more realistic over time.
The three really/somewhat fleshed out characters on Discovery are just not great or interesting. Saru was beloved because he was pretty trekky but they kind of damaged him in this season. Then there is Burnham whose character is all over the place and Georgiou who was just awful as a character. After three seasons. The writers seem so disinterested in their own creations. It is baffling. And even in the supposedly better season 3 were Detmer got a little PTSD arc (which is solved by violence/the power of friendship) what did that mini arc really tell us about her as a person. Nothing. Everybody can get PTSD. The craziest thing is that after two or three scenes they have completely dismissed the whole "we have lost anybody we ever knew" situation. Again baffling.
I'm posting a vid here about the show Sherlock which has some of the problems of this show. Sherlock is god, nonsense season long arcs and the show is overproduced, while also not understanding the source material.
Mon, Dec 21, 2020, 4:59pm (UTC -5)
I want to second those urging Jammer to review The Expanse. Jammer missed out on B5 while it was airing, and so that classic show will probably never be reviewed on this site (90s Jammer probably would have loved it). But it's not too late to get in on The Expanse. I don't want to pretend it's the greatest show ever, but it's smart, serialized sci-fi, some of the best since BSG. Definitely worth your time.
Mon, Dec 21, 2020, 5:21pm (UTC -5)
That's not to dismiss a ton of wasted and confusing writing opportunities. I knew more about the cast of the other shows by the end of the first half of the first season than I do the majority of Discovery's crew now after two rewatches.
Mon, Dec 21, 2020, 5:22pm (UTC -5)
I agree with many above who voiced concerns regarding Discovery worldbuilding, especially after having seen the phenomenal job The Expanse did in this regard. And honestly, it's not that difficult to see where the issues are.
In Discovery Season 3, we are transported into the far future where the Federation is much diminished with many species apparently holding some kind of grudge against it. Yet after 10 episodes, although finding the cause of the Burn and rebuilding the Federation are ostensibly the main objectives of the seasonal arc with various people going on constantly about the good old days when Federation banner flew high, we STILL haven't seen a single Federation homeworld and/or species, and what's more, our entire interaction with both the Federation and Starfleet amounts to one small set and two people - the admiral and David Cronenberg. That's not myopic; that's total blindness! We have no intellectual or emotional connection to this new world because we nothing about it!
EXPANSE SPOILERS!!!!! YOU'VE BEEN WARNED!!!!!!!!
Contrast this with the Expanse Season 1. The show invented the entire Earth-based subplot, which didn't take all that much time, only a couple of scenes per episode, in order to bring Avasarala into the show from the get-go. To do it, aside from Avasarala (UN assistant undersecretary) as the focus of the subplot, the show introduced us to her husband, grandson, UN Undersecretary, top UN Navy admiral, UN ambassador to Mars and his husband, CEO of a huge Earth corporation, and several other bit players.
Then in Season 2, when the planetside plotline really gets going, we also get UN Secretary-General, several additional high ranking military personnel (new UN navy C-in-C, commander of the Jupiter fleet, science advisor to the cabinet), Avasarala's bodyguard and spy, etc.
And this only regarding one specific subplot. Not to mention the sense of place, again only regarding Earth - Avasarala's home, various governmental offices, beautiful-looking lobby of the UN building, outside shots, and even a 5 minute scene in a gorgeous underwater zoo/aquarium because why not. And establishing shots everywhere, that linger and breathe and make environment itself a character. Watching The Expanse and its characters, you can truly get a wondrous sense of scale, of time and place.
Meanwhile, in 32nd century Trek, unimaginable vastness of space consists of one smallish room that is the center of an interstellar union and several planets represented by a couple people each.
Mon, Dec 21, 2020, 8:17pm (UTC -5)
Huh? We've seen two former Federation worlds; Earth and Vulcan. Unless you mean like, current-Federation in which case you're absolutely correct. At this point I'm starting to wonder if they even have any worlds or are more like mercenaries for hire; just a fleet that contracts out to protect planets.
Mon, Dec 21, 2020, 11:02pm (UTC -5)
Given that the founding worlds seem out of the picture - Earth is out, Vulcan too, the Andorians seem to have sided with the Orions, and we’re almost done with the season, and not a Tellerite in sight - we’re probably left with a bunch of piddly bullshit planets like Kanamar that no one in Trek has ever cared about till (maybe) now.
What gets me is that we haven’t seen any of the other ships, so have no idea about the composition of those crews. And in all the high level briefings we have seen, Saru is the only one clearly non-human. Unless you’re telling me that half the people on screen were actually Betazeds, the composition of beings working at the Federation HQ is absolutely absurd.
People have very legitimately compared this with The Expanse. Even among humans on that show, there is such a huge variation on that show between Belters out in space, Martians, and humans on earth. Their features, their language, their accents, their cultures, their values. I see none of that IDIC in Discovery.
For those who haven’t yet had a chance to dive into The Expanse, remember nBSG? The twelve colonies were so distinct. There is no way anyone would have mistaken Duala for a Caprican or Baltar for a Geminon (in fact his entire origin story being from Aerilon wouldn’t have worked if the colonies hadn’t been so distinct).
On Discovery all I see is human, human, human + Saru. Poor guy, there is only so much one man - even if that man is Captain - can do to prop up a show.
Discovery is so bland and homogenized it almost doesn’t count as Star Trek.
The one decent alien - Nhan, felt so out of place with these pricks that she jumped ship to live alone with her plants - LOL! Even the fucking Trill host is human, cause god forbid you let this show have even the smallest hint of diversity.
What has Star Trek turned into?
Tue, Dec 22, 2020, 2:27am (UTC -5)
In its defence we did get rather a lot of Klingons in season 1, scenes on Qo'nos too. So it did start off not exclusively human.
I agree about the crew, and this season. There' s Linus of course but he's used as a figure of fun which I find irritating. I mean who is he, where's his home planet etc? Is he just there to be laughed at? Seems so. Not very Trekkian.
Writers seem keener on highlighting human diversity rather than exploring alien diversity.
Tue, Dec 22, 2020, 3:25am (UTC -5)
And what happened to the lonely guy from the beginning?! What was the point of him?? He was just a prop to show that the Federation is still important and give some fairly useless exposition. If find that character pretty disturbing. The guy does a useless job, as did his father and grandfather (I guess the mothers didn't factor into it). If they hadn't met him then they would have flown to earth anyways. Nothing would have changed without him. That is the quality of storytelling.
Tue, Dec 22, 2020, 4:48am (UTC -5)
Trek is just too niche for this type of endeavor. It is made for nerds, let's be honest. It has endured because of the loyal fanbase it has (the vast majority in the US). When they start adding these new elements like over-the-top drama, violence and action, they alienate the old fans like myself, while becoming lost in a myriad of much better shows.
And by now we may just face the fact that Trek just isn't special anymore. It has become a failure that has been desperately kept alive so they don't have to admit CBS All Access is a failure.
Tue, Dec 22, 2020, 7:46am (UTC -5)
Being nerdy isn't even niche anymore (look at online gaming/twitch etc - a billion dollar industry) so Star Trek would do just fine being nerdy.
I can't see this weird mishmash of sci-fi/soap working. Obviously Star Wars was always supposed to be a space opera and that works just fine but they haven't really committed to that route either.
Harping on about The Expanse yet again... the attention to detail with the trusters, burns, radiation, gravitational effects, blood (even tears not falling in one amazing scene - season 3) is very nerdy (and great). As someone above said.. all the factions and accents. It's the fiddly little nerdy details that make it an awesome show. Even the technobabble is more believable (protomolecules etc).
The Rocinante is so much cooler than the Discovery (even with its errr detachable nacelles) - purely from this nerds perspective anyway.
I guess it has 4 seasons though and that's.. something.
Tue, Dec 22, 2020, 8:47am (UTC -5)
To echo everyone's comments on the Expanse, the detail on that show is just incredible. Take for example Naomi Nagata (a belter with a typical belter accent). She tones down her accent when talking to non-belters and dials it up with talking to belters, presumably because she thinks that makes each group accept her more. There's nothing on Discovery that even remotely approaches that level of detail / thoughtfulness.
Tue, Dec 22, 2020, 9:27am (UTC -5)
If that's not this whole show in a nutshell.
Tue, Dec 22, 2020, 1:39pm (UTC -5)
Jammer, I say this with the utmost respect for your astute insight, but I think you are misinterpreting the scene. I did a rewatch to make sure I did not misinterpret myself, but everything Carl says seems to confirm what I initially thought.
The consequence of Georgiou going through the Guardian of Forever’s gate remains unknown (and unseen on screen) at this point. As Carl himself states, what Georgiou went through (while she was in the MU after walking through the ‘regular door,’ not the gate) was merely a test. That’s why it’s just a door. It was to see if Georgiou had indeed changed before he makes the final decision to send her through the actual Guardian of Forever gate (and it’s also in line with why he would not reveal that he is the Guardian of Forever at first). She dies that “test” scenario anyway, Carl says that she is taking her last dying breaths. Perhaps another timeline is created, as implied, but that is not important to Carl.
Now that she is “weighed,” he is ready to send her through the actual Guardian of Forever gate, which forms only then. This is the one that counts, and we don’t know what the future holds when she passes through. I guess that’s for the new show. I can understand if you say the “test part” where she goes through the regular door (not the GOF gate) is about saving her as a character but ultimately there is not enough information to make the kind of comparison you are making. While we know what Kirk, McCoy, and Spock going through the gate was about in the “City on the Edge of Forever” resulted in, we don’t know anything about the consequences of Georgiou going through the gate at this point. The “story” of this callback, as you refer to it in your review, is not yet written.
Tue, Dec 22, 2020, 1:57pm (UTC -5)
Another highlight of Terra Firma's two episodes together was to show Saru's continuous growth as a captain. He used to be by the book at first, but he is learning that the rules written on a paper or typed in a computer document can be bent, or even ignored, sometimes for things to fall into place in the real world.
Tue, Dec 22, 2020, 3:39pm (UTC -5)
"While we know what Kirk, McCoy, and Spock going through the gate was about in the “City on the Edge of Forever” resulted in, we don’t know anything about the consequences of Georgiou going through the gate at this point. The “story” of this callback, as you refer to it in your review, is not yet written."
That's kind of a problem with this story though, isn't it? Or at least the reason why it doesn't function as good take on City. You may be right that in some future spin-off of Star Trek, the magnitude of Georgiou's actions here will blossom into something fruitful that will make us rethink this episode. However, we viewers in the here and now only have the information we're given. It seems very likely to me that the timeline shown in this episode was hypothetical, as it was in TNG's "The Tapestry", with hypothetical consequences. Or heck, since it's Christmastime, compare it even to Scrooge visiting three time periods of his life. In all these cases, the external events don't matter as much the internal workings of the protagonist who changes because of a transcendent experience. That internal change is what was important in this episode.
This is all much different than "The City on the Edge of Forever" where McCoy's actions in the past annihilate the show's timeline for humanity as we know it. Kirk knows that his actions in the past revolving around Edith Keeler could either save or doom his future. And while one might say there is a subtle test for Kirk as he faces the choice of making a morally difficult decision that will save his timeline, the stakes of the episode seem to hinge more on saving the Federation, and the bright future of humanity. It's not McCoy or Kirk's soul that's at stake, or some inner character flaw they need to fix. The stakes are the future built out of humanity's hardship that created them. Do you see how that is different than this episode?
The other overarching problem with using the Guardian here is that you could replace it with any other Trek callback (The Organians, Q, The Traveler, The Orb of Time, etc,) and it wouldn't change the story in any significant way. Which practically begs the viewer to ask why the writers didn't just make up a new super being without the baggage of living up to the past. Out of universe, wasn't the whole reason Discovery jumped to the future designed to avoid this type of problem?
Incidentally, like Jammer, I don't think this kills the episode. It just hamstrings a potential good story with unnecessary baggage.
Tue, Dec 22, 2020, 5:20pm (UTC -5)
On the other hand,...
... Why do I not much care for City On The Edge Of Forever?
I think that the episode's much-received love is more down to its acting than its story. The story is, in and of itself, merely palatable. I have always found it hard to swallow, that two people would fall in love in their adult lives, from nothing more than a few days (tops) of spending time together. That seems like a bit of an easy out that too many episodic shows have been willing to take, especially in Trek.
I do not much care for the paltry, excuse-like nature of romance stories like this. That's a lot to concede to plot and time constraints.
That aside, COtEoF has other problems too. But I refuse to keep attacking such a cherished icon of Star Trek history.
I suppose I could be argued into accepting that as Mirror City otEo Forever, "Terra Firma" can get by on being a well-thought-out concept.
But too much of it feels very uneven and forced, and there simply aren't many consequences for anything anyone does onscreen. I do not like hand-wavey plots. Carl is a hand-wavey plot. That's a lotta hand wavey hand waving.
The audience of such a concept, did not react in the way that you thought we would.
I've seen City. This ain't City.
I might re-watch it, but it wouldn't be my first choice.
Tue, Dec 22, 2020, 7:07pm (UTC -5)
I'm not sure you understood (or maybe I didn't explain well) my initial reply to Jammer, because you're still describing Kirk and McCoy’s actions and saying how what they do is different than Georgiou’s actions in this episode, whereas in my initial reply I am saying that we know ***nothing*** of Georgiou’s actions once past through the gate of Guardian of Forever or their consequences so such comparison or parallel cannot be made. Do you know what Georgiou did once she went past the gate? I don't. If you are referring to what Georgiou does in the “test” period (Carl himself confirms that was just a test, she dies at the end of that test period anyway, and she is still dying on this side of the ordinary door), please read again my initial post where I explain why the part where she went through the ordinary door cannot be considered an equivalent to going through the actual gate of the Guardian of Forever.
Couple of more points:
You wrote: “You may be right that in some future spin-off of Star Trek, the magnitude of Georgiou's actions here will blossom into something fruitful that will make us rethink this episode.”
What “Georgiou’s actions here” are you referring to? Georgiou has taken no actions here beyond the gate of the Guardian of Forever that we see on screen, therefore there is nothing to compare here in terms of consequences of Georgiou's actions as opposed to Kirk and McCoy's actions (which we know very well). The last time we see Georgiou is when she goes through the gate and disappears. We cannot possibly comment on her actions beyond the gate and draw any parallel or comparison to Kirk and McCoy’s actions in the original series episode. That would be nothing more than wild speculation. We simply don't know her actions as of yet. Again, we know what Kirk and McCoy did once they went through the gate. But we know nothing of what Georgiou did. Moreover, chances are more likely than not that Georgiou’s future actions (that we know nothing of, not yet) are likely to have huge consequences because Carl affirms that she will be sent to a time where prime and mirror universes were still “aligned.”
2. “However, we viewers in the here and now only have the information we're given.”
Yes, exactly. And the information we viewers in the here and now have amounts to nothing at all. The only spec of info we have is what Carl affirmed at the end, that she is going back to a time where mirror and prime universes were aligned. We know absolutely nothing else. No possible critical commentary can be made on what we have no information at all or compare what we know nothing of, to something we know very well (which brings me back to my reply to Jammer). I hope I explained it well this time.
Tue, Dec 22, 2020, 7:20pm (UTC -5)
I wanted to also say this to Chrome:
Chrome, you also wrote:
"This is all much different than "The City on the Edge of Forever" where McCoy's actions in the past annihilate the show's timeline for humanity as we know it. Kirk knows that his actions in the past revolving around Edith Keeler could either save or doom his future. And while one might say there is a subtle test for Kirk as he faces the choice of making a morally difficult decision that will save his timeline, the stakes of the episode seem to hinge more on saving the Federation, and the bright future of humanity. It's not McCoy or Kirk's soul that's at stake, or some inner character flaw they need to fix. The stakes are the future built out of humanity's hardship that created them. Do you see how that is different than this episode?"
It's different only insofar as me, for example, telling you that a movie that you have seen from beginning to end (read: Kirk and McCoy go through GOF, do a series of actions, and their consequences are fully shown on screen) is different than another movie of the same genre that you've watched only the beginning two minutes (read: Georgiou goes through the gate of the GOF, and that's it!). Your logical response to me would be something like, "How do you expect me to see the difference between two movies when I have seen only one and know virtually nothing of the other?"
Tue, Dec 22, 2020, 7:32pm (UTC -5)
Why can't we make critical commentary about it? The episode is at least tempting us to compare Geogiou's actions in Terra Firma II to City. It doesn't matter if the showrunners are playing 4D chess and all answers will be revealed later. At least not for the sake of reviewing this episode.
Tue, Dec 22, 2020, 8:08pm (UTC -5)
I already explained as much as I could in my responses to Jammer and you why it does not make sense to do so, but I will try one last time by giving a variance of the two movies example I used before.
The beginning two minutes of the movie you have not seen also tempts you to make a comparison ((because it's the same genre/plot)) with the one you've seen from beginning to end, but could you make a healthy criticism of the movie you have not seen past its first two minutes based on the information you have from seeing the other movie fully?
Tue, Dec 22, 2020, 8:15pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Dec 22, 2020, 8:23pm (UTC -5)
- Picard is told beforehand that he will be experiencing a simulation. Georgiou is not.
- After his experience, Picard is offered a choice as to which path he wishes to take. Georgiou doesn't really have a choice. She can go through the vortex or she can die.
I think some of the confusion arises because we haven't seen this aspect of the GOF before.
Tue, Dec 22, 2020, 8:26pm (UTC -5)
I agree. So why not use Q? What does City do for this episode?
Tue, Dec 22, 2020, 8:48pm (UTC -5)
Why is it a blip and when did I suggest it was? It is quite a big reveal that leaves the door open for some significant consequences. Carl even implies the possibility for such consequences of magnitude when he gives the only sentence of any information on what Georgiou may face once she crosses about universes still being aligned.
"I think some of the confusion arises because we haven't seen this aspect of the GOF before."
Yes, the Queen. This is the first time we see this aspect of the GOF, the ability to use an ordinary door for a test first, prior to letting someone go throght the actual gate of the GOF. The reflexive assumption for some I guess is to assume that the sum of what Georgiou went through during the last part of TF1 and the first part of TF2 is equivalent to what Kirk and McCoy did in "The City on the Edge of Forever" therefore use one to (inaccurately in this case) grade positively or negatively the other. They are not the same, and not comparable.
Tue, Dec 22, 2020, 8:54pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Dec 22, 2020, 9:10pm (UTC -5)
Susie and The Queen, if the GoF isn't evocative of City to you then more power to you. But it's a well full of memories for quite a few Star Trek fans.
Tue, Dec 22, 2020, 10:05pm (UTC -5)
"Susie and The Queen, if the GoF isn't evocative of City to you then more power to you. But it's a well full of memories for quite a few Star Trek fans."
That's not a fair representation Chrome and it's disappointing that you would posit that as my view and paint me and the Queen in opposition to other Star Trek fans (of course it evokes the City on the Edge of Forever, but it doesn't mean a blank check to compare everything in that episode to to everything in this one). It also shows that this discussion has run its course. Thanks anyway.
Tue, Dec 22, 2020, 10:13pm (UTC -5)
Indeed. they should not be compared. The writers didn't put very much thought into it so why should we? :-)
Wed, Dec 23, 2020, 5:27am (UTC -5)
With these people on the helm, I'm pretty sure that they will fail to make a decent show with the very likable Pike on Strange New Worlds, so imagine what they would do to an unbearable character like Georgiou.
I really can't tell what I dread more at this time: Section 31 Season one, or Picard Season two.
Thanks for bringing Another Life to my attention. Just watched the first episode last night, I can't believe they renewed this for a second season. No wonder Discovery is on its way for a fourth.
I have no doubt that there is far more thought put into it in this comment section than in the writer's room.
Wed, Dec 23, 2020, 5:47am (UTC -5)
Oh man if you continue you will never forget. This is the room of as a sci fi show. I rewatched the first three episodes. It is such a dense narrative. Bitchy Space Barbie is probably the greatest character to ever come out of any sci fi show. Just wait you will know who I mean.
So much great stuff. I don't want to spoil anything.
But I have to warn you, one question is never answered. Why Katee Sackhoff's hair is constantly moist.
" I can't believe they renewed this for a second season."
Me neither. I really hoped they would but I'm also fearful that they try to improve it. It is already perfect.
Wed, Dec 23, 2020, 6:56am (UTC -5)
I'll keep watching while I wait for the current season of The Expense to end before I start binging it. Thanks again.
Wed, Dec 23, 2020, 9:04am (UTC -5)
I like Michelle Yeoh and she showed what a fine actress she is here. That was about the only good thing I can come up with to say about it. Well the GoF portal looked kinda cool.
It was a complete insult to the TOS episode and what was worse I found it utterly boring from start to finish.
The points that weren't boring were too ridiculous.
Particular the mess that is now engineering. You have token trans/non-binary Adira (I'd feel insult not represent by that character so far) with the Chief Engineer who seems to now be an apprentice. Reno (Snark only) shows up from having vanished to give some pointless snark while eating candy and Book tells them that they're complete out of date since they kinda engineers from 900 years ago (well Adira isn't but whatever).
The toasts at the end were utterly bonkers. Strangely not a single male gave a toast at all. Are there any that speak on DSC (besides Saru of course).
SMG cried 3 times and her acting was all over the place. I dread to think where this show is going. Nowhere good I fear.
1 star from me.
Wed, Dec 23, 2020, 10:42pm (UTC -5)
I just finished the first episode and this show is already bonkers!
Thu, Dec 24, 2020, 1:14am (UTC -5)
For some reason, some time around nuBSG this became the sci-fi norm, and the idea of characters with different personalities was abandoned. Why is this? I yearn for the return of the Spocks, the Datas, the Roms, the Delenns. Even a Neelix-like character would be welcome, just for the contrast, and who would have thought we'd be saying that 20 years ago?
Thu, Dec 24, 2020, 1:30am (UTC -5)
Thu, Dec 24, 2020, 2:15am (UTC -5)
If you think that was crazy then strap yourself in...
Thu, Dec 24, 2020, 2:28am (UTC -5)
Thu, Dec 24, 2020, 2:49am (UTC -5)
Well, the first season of the Expanse is still a little bumpy and it is a fairly dark show which is appropriate. We people in the first world like to focus on the good stuff and frame the poor part of this planet often as a threat. The Expanse is pretty good at explaining why the rich act the way they do and the poor as well. It captures the scientific field of international relations pretty well. There is always this struggle between the three main views. (Neo-)Realism=relative gains, (Neo-)Liberalism=absolute gains and Constructivism=how we see ourselves and others and how that drives our behavior. Then there is the security dilemma which is central to international relations and also tackled in a smart way on the Expanse. Explaining why international actors act the way they do was never done as smart as this show does it.
So don't worry the characters and their motivations become far more clear and distinct over time. You slowly get to know them through the story, as it should be.
And there is James Holden who probably had "can act shirtless" on his CV. He is a weak actor, probably weaker than Martin-Greene but he is far less central.
But be warned, this show is not about escapism, it puts it's finger directly into the human wound. Why we Humans, despite all our knowledge, still have so many problems and effectively all live with guns to our heads.
About Discovery. Having them act differently is not the same as having distinct characters. I also don't think that anybody said that they are the same. My critique was more about motivations. Who are these people and what drives them? You can only emphasize with people if you understand them. Even with Burnham who is the center of almost every episode, even with her we still don't know what changed her so much before she found the Discovery. I think they just forgot.
Thu, Dec 24, 2020, 3:33am (UTC -5)
Thu, Dec 24, 2020, 2:41pm (UTC -5)
Luckily I went back to it and it just becomes more and more incredible.
As Booming commented on, we don't really know anything about any of the characters after 3 seasons. Except Michael and Saru and I guess Adira (a purely token amount). I think the lady of-color had some backstory mentioned in 1 episode in s2. That's pretty pathetic really.
Where is Tilly from? What does Stamets like to eat? Or his hobbies? What does Mushroom Doctor like to do besides brush his teeth? Bryce (is he Asian Face Reaction Shot or other guy Face Reaction shot)?
Lt L-something (Blonde girl)? Detmer? Linus? Snark engineer?
We know something about Book and his motivations and he seems more like a real person (helps that he's a good actor).
I'm expecting 3 episodes of mostly large space battles with Michael saving the day. Not much time for any character development now anyway.
These characters are so 2D they're almost non-existant.
Thu, Dec 24, 2020, 11:16pm (UTC -5)
This was definitely my experience, and the reason that although I first tried it years ago, and have tried again a couple times since, I have not gotten past those first couple episodes. But hearing stuff like you mention here makes me interested in perhaps just reading Wikipedia summaries of the early episodes and skipping to where it "gets good", as I have done with a few other series.
@Booming: "This stupid weekly release thing is fairly annoying. I guess their social media guy thought that this weekly release would create positive buzz for longer."
I'm sure it does! I much prefer weekly releases for exactly this reason. Think about a site like this one. The commenting conversation would be DESTROYED by releasing seasons all at once.
Thu, Dec 24, 2020, 11:39pm (UTC -5)
Honestly, unless you have the sheer volume of content that a Netflix has, I don't know how a streaming service can build a subscriber base unless they do weekly releases. (See also Disney+ with The Mandalorian.) Otherwise, people would subscribe for one month, binge the one show they want, then leave. With a weekly release, they are getting 3 to 4 months of subscription fees even if someone doesn't stick around beyond one show.
Fri, Dec 25, 2020, 12:07am (UTC -5)
"If Trek were released Netflix style all at once, I am not sure what my reviews would look like or if they would be happening at all. It would be a whole different ballgame."
Strangely enough, at another forum I frequent (sorry I'm a two-timer) about a particular author I found myself quite happy to post comments or observations about each chapter in the reading section just after I finished reading. And from what I've found some posters here like Elliott and others do enjoy posting episode reviews in sequence. Not that these examples reflect on what you would do or should do, and it is a different ballgame, but I have personally found that posting (or at least contemplating) reviews of previously released material is still quite rewarding. And it actually becomes a fun exercise especially if you've seen them already to filter the newest viewing (or reading) through the ability to judge what you're reading both as a presently-lived experience while also knowing how it fits into the broader structure. It's kinda cool like that.
So in conclusion, I await your re-reviews of all of TNG :)
Fri, Dec 25, 2020, 4:11am (UTC -5)
Nothing is stopping Jammer from reviewing them one per week or maybe less. In a strange way a weekly release is making Jammer to also write weekly reviews, if he wants to or not. Maybe he likes it that way, maybe it bothers him sometimes, maybe it improves quality, maybe it doesn't. I always find them insightful, so who know.
I like to binge show. In the end it just means that I wait until so many episodes are released so that I can binge them or more precisely have three or four 2+h movies to watch. 50 minutes is too short for me to get really into it.
I only subscribed for one month anyway. I figured out the time at which I needed to get a subscription to watch it all in one month and have canceled my Disney+ subscription already. The genie is out of the bottle, younger people were already used to watching it how they wanted which means binging, limiting the access again is not going to work long term. Who is this company to tell me how I'm supposed to watch a show?!
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 2:21am (UTC -5)
- Carl was named for Carl Sagan.
- The producers were looking for a way to use the Guardian of Forever long before these two episodes came into being.
The second thing annoys me. It's a perfect example of the lack of creativity that is Disco's biggest problem. No wonder they can't make a fresh Trek show when they're just picking over the bones of the old ones. They don't know the difference between the "flesh" of the shows and the spirit.
Hope I'm making sense.
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 12:25pm (UTC -5)
That's not the point. It would be impossible to have the whole fanbase gathering to speculate on what the latest developments mean for future episodes, since people would be at all different points in the season. This is not really even debatable: if you look at the discussion on Twitter, Reddit, etc. of shows that are released all at once, it is way way less than shows with a weekly release schedule.
I honestly don't understand how people can even complain about this. If it's so important to you to binge-watch a season in a short amount of time (something I personally don't enjoy, even if it is released that way), you can wait until the season has all been released and watch it that way, without ruining it for the rest of us.
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 12:31pm (UTC -5)
"f it's so important to you to binge-watch a season in a short amount of time (something I personally don't enjoy, even if it is released that way), you can wait until the season has all been released and watch it that way, without ruining it for the rest of us."
I kind of hoped that nobody would notice this flaw in my reasoning. :)
In the end it is what I'm doing.
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 4:54pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Dec 28, 2020, 5:51am (UTC -5)
Thu, Jan 21, 2021, 1:44pm (UTC -5)
Wed, May 19, 2021, 7:14pm (UTC -5)
Plot deserve 1.5 star for laziness, but well meaning actors/actresses
Nostalgia, especially Guardians reveal (which I actually did enjoy, I am not as harsh a critic or devotee of classic purity TOS) 0.50+ points more
Total average score 3.0 stars out of 4
It's a good eye candy episode, well meaning if badly plotted, and above all else, I actually enjoyed what they did with the Guardian. He should have been brought back in TNG or DS9, but wasn't
Mon, Jul 12, 2021, 12:24am (UTC -5)
- The uncomfortable reminder that Tilly is considered the best choice for commander in all universes. This makes me sad. For the multiverse.
- Georgiou telling Burnham that she should be the captain. No. Just...please, no. Don't put that idea in her head. Isn't it enough that the fate of the universe and everything else has always gotta revolve around her? Saru is an excellent captain and an important check to balance Burnham's savoir complex.
- Also Georgiou: "I wish I had learned these lessons a lot sooner." Yes, you and me both. Then you could have gracefully walked away with Tyler and joined him in development hell and spared us all the gratuitous EdgeLordery.
- I feel bad for the Guardian of Forever, once a harbinger of Momentous Things. Now thanks to the Temporal Time Directive, has been relegated to bestowing Christmas Miracles upon lesser characters and entertaining at children's birthday parties on Sunday afternoons.
- Georgiou's not-quite memorial service where everyone awkwardly musters trite and phoney speeches. "Uhh.. I liked her shoes..?" This is what you get when you're an incessant dick to everyone around you. You get a crappy funeral.
Wed, Jul 28, 2021, 1:55am (UTC -5)
Time travel technology is a genie that cannot be put back in the bottle. And especially not by passing some laws or signing a treaty against it.
Maybe they're trying to draw a parallel with nuclear weapons, where in order to time travel, you need the right resources, and those resources are exceptionally hard to come by? So-called "time crystals" = enriched uranium? It did cost Pike an awful lot to get a single one. This would make the availability of the technology easier to control, although not the knowledge of how to build them, as we already know from trying to manage the proliferation of nuclear weapons in our current era. The problem is, this is entirely at odds with how time travel has always been depicted in Star Trek. Heck, in Star Trek IV, Kirk and crew do it merely by using their engines and the gravity well of a star!
I guess I should try to just squint and not be too hard with Discovery on this one. Berman and Braga are the ones who decided there was a 29th century Federation time exploration and timeline monitoring force, and then later that there was a Temporal War. Discovery's stuck having to live with that and attempt to make sense of it. Of how any kind of a recognizable, stable universe can exist after something like that has been said to have happened. It was a terrible idea for something to try to incorporate into Star Trek from the start, so if Discovery has to do some hand waving, say it's all been outlawed and ask the audience not to think about it so closely and believe that fixes things, I suppose I should let them.
I think what I would have done, alternatively, is say that the Guardian of Forever and a group of some other similar entities "changed the rules" and made intentional time travel impossible by any of the means known to interstellar science at the moment. It used to work, but after the 30th century, it doesn't anymore and cannot be initiated. Of course it wouldn't be completely impossible so that there's a loophole for "anomalies" or circumstances our people cannot replicate, in case the writers still come up with a time travel story they really want to tell.
I realize this isn't perfect either, and would be effectively saying this group of entities changed the way the laws of physics work in the universe. Not only is this a lot to ask the viewers to accept for what is possible, it is dangerously close to magic or invoking "god" rather than keeping the setting for Star Trek more science and reality based. Well, more grounded, anyway. It's a dangerous precedent to set. Maybe I'd just say these entities are being the authority regulating time travel, and they didn't ask permission of anyone to do that, and they aren't answering to anyone but themselves. Maybe I wouldn't say they had changed the rules of the universe, just that they're omnipresent and intervening. Whenever they detect someone has done time travel (and they can always detect it), they undo it at the point of initiation, and nothing happens, as if it had failed from the start. That doesn't seem beyond the capabilities of the Guardian of Forever.
I think this would be a somewhat better track to take as for dealing with the problem of time travel and what has previously been established about it on Star Trek, albeit still a very imperfect one. I just think it would be easier to believe and more realistic than "yeah it's just that no one does it anymore because we made illegal."
Wed, Jul 28, 2021, 9:54am (UTC -5)
I agree that the time travel issues raised in ENT are ridiculous. Time travel in Trek was always a means to an end - to tell interesting character stories. They were never intended as hard sci-fi, and to the extent that certain episodes like Time's Arrow did have the time loop as a major plot point, it was more for pizazz and intrigue than to say anything about the technology or the implications of time travel. Doctor Who had the right idea, to treat it like a joke and just play around with it. Trek doesn't have room to seriously consider an issue like that. It's the stuff of a full-length novel, not an episodic TV show.
"I realize this isn't perfect either, and would be effectively saying this group of entities changed the way the laws of physics work in the universe. Not only is this a lot to ask the viewers to accept for what is possible, it is dangerously close to magic or invoking "god" rather than keeping the setting for Star Trek more science and reality based."
I actually disagree with this, especially if you consider that TOS set the precedent with the Organian peace treaty early on. Technically the reason for that was to establish why the Klingons of all people would have having a cold war rather than a hot one, so it was a contrivance designed to create a real-world parallel. But nevertheless they set the stage for advanced beings sometimes dictating how things go. And the same is true for Q in Encounter at Farpoint, and even for the wormhole aliens in DS9 to a limited extent. There are crazy entities out there, and sometimes they just dictate terms to you. I don't find that notion too foreign, and in fact a real sci-fi universe teeming with intelligent life would really be remiss in implying that humanity is the most advanced thing out there. If the issue is that these being seem like gods, I think the Arthur C. Clarke principle applies well enough that we needn't worry about it having magic or religious implications. Whether it's Organians, the Guardian of Forever, the Vorlons, or whoever else, if there's some way out godlike being out there, it only confirms what Q said about how scary space can be. I like that, as long as it's taken seriously. It was hard to take any aspect of the temporal cold war seriously IMO.
Wed, Jan 26, 2022, 9:33pm (UTC -5)
This two parter was 3 or 3.5 stars for me
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