Star Trek: Discovery

"Unification III"

2.5 stars

Air date: 11/26/2020
Written by Kirsten Beyer
Directed by Jon Dudkowski

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

Naming your episode "Unification III" is a risky gambit, because it declares it's a sequel to TNG's "Unification" parts I and II, in which Spock famously crossed over from TOS and appeared on TNG in an effort to bring the Vulcan and Romulan people together. On the other hand, given how average "Unification" itself ended up being, with its hype far exceeding what it actually accomplished as a story (which was, frankly, not much), maybe "Unification III" didn't have that high a bar to clear.

I gotta say, I liked this episode, up to a point. There are things I genuinely admired about it. It manages to blend a completely personal story (Burnham's crisis of self-identity, forcing her to confront herself) with a major Star Trek mythology piece (the status of the Vulcans and Romulans in the 32nd century) and also tie that into the season arcs involving the state of the Federation and the mystery of the Burn. This is accomplished with what may also be the most ambitiously dialogue-heavy episode of the series, which plays like a high-wire tightrope act threading the needle's eye of intellectualism and emotionalism. A lot of things come together in some deft scenes of dialogue. At times, I found this compelling. Will it walk the tightrope or fall off?

But this episode also requires the viewer to suspend logic far too often. For one — and this is not the first time I've thought this during this season — a story like this really makes you wonder if setting this season 800 years past the TNG era was simply too far. Everything about this season feels like it would've made more sense if you were maybe 200 or 300 years out. But 800? That's a really long time, to the point where things should start to be unrecognizable, especially when you're going to re-encounter the pieces of the Federation we're familiar with and then catch up on old times. This story should really be "Unification XV," because so much has happened in the past eight centuries. (But probably even more should've happened.)

The Vulcans and Romulans, centuries after Spock's 24th-century reunification efforts, officially merged centuries ago to become the joint Vulcan/Romulan homeworld of Ni'Var. Furthermore, they created a mysterious project called SB-19 about a century ago which may include data on the Burn (in fact, the Vulcans believe this project caused the Burn, and it also roughly coincided with their withdrawal from the Federation). Admiral Vance hopes the Vulcans, who won't share their data with the Federation, might be willing to grant a special favor to the sister of the famous Spock who pioneered Unification. Meanwhile, Burnham questions whether she's right for the job because she's contemplating leaving Starfleet.

There are a lotta ins, lotta outs, lotta what-have-yous in this episode. I haven't even gotten to the part where Burnham invokes an ancient Vulcan philosophical ritual of dissertation defense that forces the Ni'Var president to give her a full hearing after initially turning her away. Or that Burnham's mother Gabrielle (Sonja Sohn) turns out to be on Ni'Var serving as a practicing member of the Romulan Qowat Milat (see Picard's "Absolute Candor"), which ties into all of this too.

So, yes, this is a messy episode. Not only do we have to question how much the Vulcans would really care about Michael Burnham considering she was basically erased from 23rd-century history, we also have to accept the coincidence that her mother ended up on Ni'Var. But as the dialogue fencing begins, the episode starts to get good, especially as the walls close in on Michael's lack of "absolute candor" and the script cleverly sets her up for a big moment of the Truth Will Set You Free. By mercilessly attacking Michael's arguments and lack of forthrightness, Gabrielle goads her into collapsing and revealing her true doubts about her role with Starfleet, which serves simultaneously as the big character breakthrough and what the Vulcan president needs to hear to feel comfortable sharing her information.

Does that make sense? No? Maybe? It sure felt like it did while watching it.

Meanwhile, the political situation on Ni'Var is interesting: Unification is hanging by a thread with unrest on both sides threatening to unleash long-simmering tensions over the two people and their opposing views over leaving the Federation. Politics, as always, serves as an impediment to moving things forward.

The main plot resembles an emotionally intense chess match, one that I thought played out satisfyingly, if somewhat murkily in its specifics. What sells me here is the story's conviction that this all holds together. This is despite the fact Burnham's supposed evidence that the Burn did not originate on Ni'Var, as the Vulcans and Romulans believe, is based on an unfathomably detectably precise timing separated by millionths of microseconds. I'm wondering how any measurement, even with 32nd-century computers, could be that precise when spanning multiple data systems across light-years of space. Couldn't the writers have said it was, say, 57 seconds, or even three minutes, and still establish the same levels of conviction in Burnham's belief of her theory and the Vulcans' skepticism about it — and without it sounding completely ridiculous?

Then there's the Tilly situation in the B-plot, which is a very clear example of the show begging us, "Just go with it, okay?" In reality the situation makes no practical sense. Even the show goes to pains to acknowledge it makes no sense. Having demoted Burnham and now needing a replacement, Saru tells Tilly that she has the job of acting first officer if she wants it. (The first words out of my mouth were "She's an ensign!" and then Tilly says, "I'm an ensign!" and she spends the rest of the episode doubting that this is sane. At least we're on the same wavelength.)

Okay. I get what Saru needs, especially after the whole Burnham debacle, is someone he can trust. But Tilly's character up to this point has been the resident goofball genius who is uncertain of herself and her social skills. How is she a realistic command choice? "You've traveled 930 years through a wormhole," Saru tells her. Yeah, well so has everyone else.

The simple fact is this choice was clearly made because she's one of very few available cast members in the opening credits; everyone else's character is either already the captain, the now-demoted former first officer, or has another role in the show that would make them equally implausible. Tilly wins by process of elimination. Yeah, yeah, I understand this is a TV show and you have to use your regular cast, and we've traveled through a wormhole so choices are scarce, etc. But this runs so far afield of common sense that it feels random. I guess this is what happens when you have such a small cast. (Maybe this is where you should bring in someone from the outside, like last season did with Captain Pike?)

Discovery is pretty good at selling its ideas, even when they're bonkers. They almost sell the idea of First Officer Tilly here, with all the earnestness and cheer (the entire engineering deck rouses her into accepting the job, showing that they're ready to embrace her as a leader — c'mon even Reno?), but sometimes there's a logical component you can't just hand-wave away — especially when someone with no experience or skill in leadership is supposed to now be giving orders in life-or-death situations. I hope they do some good stories around this sudden change, but for now this just feels really contrived.

So I dunno. "Unification III" was an episode that really worked for me in the moment (well, except the whole Tilly thing), but upon closer examination I realize it's all hanging by a thread. Still, I have to credit this episode for building itself upon mountains of dialogue and a densely packed array of characterization and Trekkian history (even if it's annoying that it keeps having to remind us how significant Michael is to the universe's history for being Spock's sister). Call it an A for effort, but closer to a C for the end result.

Previous episode: Scavengers
Next episode: The Sanctuary

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210 comments on this post

Tim C
Thu, Nov 26, 2020, 5:02am (UTC -5)
I'm going to get my biggest problem with this episode out front, and it's with the B-story. Saru making Tilly his first officer is completely and utterly absurd, and I hate it for multiple reasons. It breaks the reality of the show, makes Saru look stupid, and glaringly highlights its decision not to develop the supporting cast.

I realise it's just a TV show, but past iterations of Trek (and Disco itself!) have always done reasonably well at depicting how the chain of command and rank structures work, and this is *not* how it works, *ever*. I'm in the military myself, so I feel confident in speaking with authority on the subject: whilst you [should] always treat someone in an appointed position with the professionalism and respect that position entitles, if they are of a lower rank than you, they cannot tell you what to do and you are in fact fully within your rights to tell *them* what to do. Like, I have occasionally had to step into a role that's usually the domain of a higher rank, but only when someone of a higher rank is simply unavailable for it.

Maybe Saru will promote Tilly to Lieutenant in coming episodes and do away with that objection. But that then highlights a second issue: does the show really expect us to believe that *none* of the other lieutenants on that bridge have command ambitions of their own, or are not capable of stepping up? I don't buy it, and it makes Saru look like a shitty leader to leapfrog a favourite of his above the others. Perhaps if we'd had more time to get to know those other lieutenants this decision might make some shred of sense, but we haven't and it really highlights the show's failure to develop them, and this feels like a huge missed opportunity to actually do that.

Whew! With that out of the way...

Good episode! Burnham was *really* annoying me in the beginning of the episode with her indecisiveness and constant speaking out of turn, but the script and SMG (along with the ever-reliable Sonja Sohn) did a bang-up job of convincing me that she really was just at a personal loss and coming to a big decision point. Will the writers now commit to making Burnham more at ease existing within a chain of command and less contrarian? I sure hope so, because otherwise it will make a mockery of her apparent self-discovery here.

I also appreciated the worldbuilding here. Unification finally happening in the wake of the Romulans becoming homeless makes perfect sense, as does it still being a rocky process centuries in the making. Seeing Leonard Nimoy again was just the icing on the cake. This was also a clever usage of Disco's original weird decision to make Burnham a member of Spock's family. I liked how it drew together elements from TOS, TNG *and* PIC, and made Disco's world feel like it really was part of a bigger Star Trek universe.

And heavens to betsy, we have a new Star Trek episode that centered on a philosophical and scientific debate! I'm genuinely surprised and pleased. The actual debate itself was not exactly on the level of some of TNG's best iterations, but I certainly appreciate the effort.
SlackerInc
Thu, Nov 26, 2020, 8:12am (UTC -5)
They teased us with the prospect that Burnham might be leaving the Federation. But instead, she is once again the center of everything. SIGH

So Vulcans have now abandoned utilitarianism??

Wait, what? The stakes are so much higher now? Higher than all sentient life in the universe?

Making an ensign first officer is risible. C’mon, people.

So all in all, a big step back from the quality of last week’s episode. And yet this still might be slightly above average for the series overall? That’s not really a compliment to the episode so much as an indictment of the series thus far.
Cody B
Thu, Nov 26, 2020, 8:41am (UTC -5)
At first I cringed hard at Tilly being “number 1”. BUT this could be a huge opportunity for Tilly to have a revamped character. One with a backbone that can be respected. I don’t know about Mary Wiseman’s acting chops I only know her as Tilly but I hope to see a big change from Tilly which is one of the things Discovery needs. I still think Hugh would have been a much better choice but I don’t think medical staff is eligible. So I guess Burnham’s mom just happened to land in the exact same time as Michael. Yeah okay. And she seems to be some sort of samurai space nun?
AMA
Thu, Nov 26, 2020, 8:42am (UTC -5)
A good but not great episode. Appreciate the tie to past Star Trek and seeing the fruits of Spock's 'cowboy diplomacy,' Saru's continuing growth as a diplomat, and Burnham's compromise to keep the peace between the Vulcans and Romulans.

Inserting Burnham's mother into the story felt like an unnecessary twist and, to echo the sentiments of others, the promotion of Tilly to first officer strains credulity. Tilly is an intelligent and capable member of the crew, but she has rarely, if ever, shown the confidence or assertiveness necessary for the position of first officer. Moreover, Saru's reasoning for the move, tied to the jump in time, equally applies to most every other member of the crew. Tilly will clearly be well supported in her growth into the position, but the move, in universe, makes little sense. Suggestively, someone from Starfleet headquarters ought to have been inserted. In that way, at the very least, the crew of the Discovery would not be constantly uninformed on current events and the state of the universe.
Yanks
Thu, Nov 26, 2020, 8:56am (UTC -5)
Tim C,

You've seen this episode just as I have.

There were 2 big questions/discussions this week on social media. Who will be the new #1? and was Michael going to leave?

The first one always had a comment from someone that Saru should choose Tilly. That comment was universally shot down for all the reasons Tilly clearly communicated to Saru when he offered the position to her. I've loved the Tilly character and Mary Wiseman's acting from the start. Sometimes she comes across as "to Tilly" but that is what it is. But this choice by Captain Saru and the ultimate acceptance by the crew just reenforces that this writing staff really doesn't understand military structure and rank. It's all about feelings. (family, togetherness) It's not like Saru doesn't have any options. Discovery isn't alone anymore. There has to be a commander in Star Fleet that could have served. That was my druthers. I thought bringing someone from outside the crew was probably the right choice now that Nhan was gone and Reno was basically the only choice left. An LT IMO was too junior for the #1 position, but I would have accepted the choice LONG before choosing Tilly. This is making me root for some redemption arc with Michael so she can earn back the #1 position. I guess the only light at the end of the tunnel here is that Saru asked her to be "acting" 1st officer until be can find a replacement.

Ni'var... interesting (kind of expected with the episode title). The Vulcans and Romulans have "united". One wonders if it happened as Spock foresaw, or it was kicked into gear with the destruction of Romulus. I might side with the latter as it seems Navar has many different strongly opinionated factions.

I have to admit, I was not expecting to see Michael's mother here. I liked it though. Michael probably isn't successful in gaining the SP19 data without her. I have to admit, I choked up when Michael brought up Spock speaking about his reunification efforts. This "A" story was a very good one. No technobabble answer. A real "come to Jesus" moment for Michael. I was surprised when she put the well=being of Ni'Var ahead of the needs of the Federation. I thought it played well and was in keeping with some of the finest Star Trek we have.

I'm glad she is staying on Discovery instead of making this search out on her own. I'm also glad it appears that Book will be remaining onboard.

One sad note that is we didn't gain any insight into Georgiou's situtation.

How does one rate this episode? We have both ends of the spectrum here... an outstanding "A" story flanked by the incomprehensibly stupid Tilly promotion.

I guess I'll give some credit for the good story and give this one 2.5 stars. This could have easily been 3.5-4 stars.
Frank
Thu, Nov 26, 2020, 9:02am (UTC -5)
Burnhams mother must have landed many years before Burnham or Discovery did for her to be trained as a “space nun”. So I don’t think she landed in the same time as Burnham.

Very good episode , I enjoyed it I enjoyed it immensely.
Yanks
Thu, Nov 26, 2020, 10:24am (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc

"They teased us with the prospect that Burnham might be leaving the Federation. But instead, she is once again the center of everything. SIGH"

Well, she IS the show's protagonist so it's not a surprise really.

"So Vulcans have now abandoned utilitarianism??"

A lot can happen over 900+ years. I'm sure it has something to do with the presence of the Romulans.

"Wait, what? The stakes are so much higher now? Higher than all sentient life in the universe?"

Yeah, I caught that too... sigh...
HaveGun_WillRiker
Thu, Nov 26, 2020, 11:31am (UTC -5)
@Yanks

"Well, she IS the show's protagonist so it's not a surprise really."

Yeah I always find these comments grating. It's like saying "God why do they keep focusing on Picard?" I can understand not liking her but she's the protagonist, thats the way its gonna be.

@SlackerInc


"So Vulcans have now abandoned utilitarianism??"

Frankly I've always found Vulcan talk about logic as much of a farce as Klingons talking about honor. They're both used as talking points and yet seem suspiciously lacking, constantly. Vulcan logic so much of the time is just a smug feeling of racial superiority and extreme pride disguised as facts. "The Vulcan Science Directorate has determined that time travel is impossible," no, you chucklefucks just didn't figure it out and are embarrassed someone else got to it first. Just like Klingons are full of treachery over honor, Vulcans have always held pride over logic. They just both are careful to drive any action through those lenses.
Jason R.
Thu, Nov 26, 2020, 12:37pm (UTC -5)
@Havegun your view of Vulcan logic will vary considerably depending on which series you are watching. Based on TNG, Voyager, DS9 and TOS I would say the Vulcans did sincerely follow logical paths, albeit imperfectly at times.

In Enterprise I would say it's debatable but to be fair (spoiler alert) we discover towards the end the series that the Vulcan High Command was a) corrupt and b) under the influence of Romulans, not to mention the rediscovery of Surak's teachings which revolutionized Vulcan society. So even Enterprise doesn't actually retcon the Vulcans so much as show them behaving in a certain way in that time period for specific reasons.

The Klingons of course were always dishonorable assholes mind you :)

Regarding Michael Burnham being the show's protagonist, yes that is true as long as the showrunners wish it to be. Even Kevin Spacey got the heaveho from House of Cards and he was a major celebrity and A-lister.

SMG is not exactly a superstar in the first place so I can't imagine it would be impossible to renegotiate her contract to sideline her if the showrunners felt it was for the good of the show. Obviously they don't but many here think they do.

Claiming they can't because she is the protagonist, as if that is set in stone, is a copout.
Norvo
Thu, Nov 26, 2020, 12:57pm (UTC -5)
Tilly as Saru's Number One is... Well. It's so Discovery of him, you can't help but congratulate the writers for staying true to form.

Also true to form: the show being an ongoing love letter to all things Michael. When the president of Ni'var openly wondered what wonderful influence Burnham had on her brother Spock I actually yelled expletives at the screen. Christ on a crutch, we get it... she's the best, ever!

One tiny thing though: why would Ni'var care about Michael Burnham at all? Her existence had been purged from history 900+ years ago, right?

Oh, and seeing Leonard Nimoy was wonderful, like a hug from a long lost friend.
SlackerInc
Thu, Nov 26, 2020, 1:53pm (UTC -5)
@Norvo: Yeah, the continuing retconning of Spock's sister that he never mentioned being central to everything he is...pretty nausea-inducing.

@HaveGunWillRiker: That show is called PICARD. Comes with the territory. This show is not called BURNHAM, it's called DISCOVERY. Why does she have to be such a dominant protagonist? Why can't it be more like TOS, where Kirk, Spock, and McCoy were pretty equally central? I suppose Kirk a little more than the others, but he was the captain unlike Burnham.

@Jason R: "SMG is not exactly a superstar in the first place so I can't imagine it would be impossible to renegotiate her contract to sideline her if the showrunners felt it was for the good of the show. Obviously they don't but many here think they do."

There's also a huge middle ground between her being central to every plot, and sidelining her. Why couldn't she be on a roughly equal footing, in terms of screen time and centrality to the plot, with Saru and Tilly?
Nick
Thu, Nov 26, 2020, 2:43pm (UTC -5)
Couple of notes:

- I liked the “courtroom” style A plot. It was an interesting way to do some world-building and also help to resolve Burnham’s uncertainty about whether she belongs in Starfleet.

- Tilly’s promotion to first officer was an absurd plot development. It would have been better if Saru better explained what it was about Tilly that made him want to promote her, it wasn’t clear to me at all.

- The Vulcan president made a comment about whether or not the Federation can be trusted which clearly seemed like foreshadowing to me. The Federation knows more than it’s letting on.

- Inserting Burnham’s mother was a bit ackward, but I’m willing to overlook it given that she was used pretty effectively in the A plot.
Yanks
Thu, Nov 26, 2020, 6:00pm (UTC -5)
Jason R,

"Regarding Michael Burnham being the show's protagonist, yes that is true as long as the showrunners wish it to be. Even Kevin Spacey got the heaveho from House of Cards and he was a major celebrity and A-lister.

SMG is not exactly a superstar in the first place so I can't imagine it would be impossible to renegotiate her contract to sideline her if the showrunners felt it was for the good of the show. Obviously they don't but many here think they do."

Well, I don't see pedophilia in SMG's future or past so I'm not sure this is a valid comparison. I also heard that season 6 of House of Cards was always supposed to be all about Claire.

They won't do it because they don't think they've done anything wrong.

SlackerInc,

"There's also a huge middle ground between her being central to every plot, and sidelining her. Why couldn't she be on a roughly equal footing, in terms of screen time and centrality to the plot, with Saru and Tilly?"

...or Stamets, Culber, or any of the others.

This makes more sense to me. They could make big headway with her character by letting some other characters save the day sometimes. They sort of did this in season 2 with the incorporation of Spock and Pike.

Hell, if they could just stop the whispering I'd be happy.
Chris Lopes
Thu, Nov 26, 2020, 6:26pm (UTC -5)
As others have noted, Tilly as number one is just plain stupid. In fact, it almost qualifies as a jump the shark moment. That no one in actual line for the job seems to object makes it even dumber.

I also didn't buy the turn around on S19. The "you can trust us, because we trust you" argument sounds less than persuasive. It wasn't (to coin a phrase) logical.

So Michael comes back to Star Fleet, again. I really think they should have let her go off with Booker, where her rogue attitude would work best. At least they got rid of the whole "will they or won't they" thing.
Quincy
Thu, Nov 26, 2020, 6:47pm (UTC -5)
I enjoyed this episode. I didn't think I was going to like it in the beginning, but all the cylinders slowly rolled into place as the episode went on. The Burn information explained why Vance has been looking cagey whenever Burnham brought up the Burn. Did Starfleet cause the Burn? Find out as we cross the midpoint of the season.

I groaned and laughed when I saw her mother standing there. The episode made perfect sense to have Burnham front and center for obvious reasons, much to the chagrin of disgruntled onlookers. But inserting her mother here? Not the way I would've introduced her into the story. I loved the Qowat Milat callback to Picard, however, I didn't see her mother fitting in there.

But it turned out to be the best part of the episode. Her mother savaged Burnham. Her words cut her to her quick. That priceless look on Burnham's face was like, "wtf are you doing, mama?!?" I could see the white meat after the slashes and Burnham's blood dripping from her mother's sharp tongue. And I'm not a Burnham hater by any means. That's my girl. But damn that was vicious. All that was missing was the Mortal Kombat voice saying, "BRUTALITY! Finish her!"

It didn't bother me that Tilly got the first officer position. I figured she would get it despite being an Ensign, which she'll probably be till the day she dies or at least until she's promoted off screen post series continuity. She is OFFICIALLY the Ensign Kim of Discovery now. I really dislike the character, but with all other DSC excesses she's also been reigned in somewhat. Thus her character has become a tad bit tolerable. Nhan would've made a better first officer. No one else in the cast fits that position or is well known enough to insert. I don't want them to introduce another character. And I really don't want them to insert that Lieutenant Willa that accompanied them in Die Trying. Perhaps, Nhan will complete her mission and rejoin the crew as the permanent first officer before the end of the season or maybe next season.

The new showrunner has done a good job of reigning in DSC's excess, but they still need to reign in the Burnham wank I have to admit. It's going way beyond the prior standard Kirk wank now. I lol'd with "headline, Michael Burnham is coming" line. (I can see the Burnham haters boiling in their own blood. That alone gives me true joy and made the comment worth the putridity.) However, the inner cringe was strong with this one with that callback to Burnham being the source of the man Spock became. If only I could summon Mjölnir to aid me in beating to death and dismemberment the person or persons responsible for inserting that nonsense into the end of last season and daring to remind us of it this season.

I shook my head at that comment about science being inseparable "from cultural and political context." Sure, the history of the absolutely crap stained relationship between science, politics, and culture is no secret. However, we'd better learn to separate it, at some point in our future, or else we're not going to be capable of solving the hard problems we need to survive this century. Because real answers to the necessary questions will always be at the beck and call of the current aholes in power, their cronies, and the useful masses. The universe doesn't care about your sociopolitical leanings and it absolutely will find brand new (and golden oldie) ways to delete you. Might be a pipedream, but no more so than any of the other hopeful outlooks Star Trek represents.

I don't know if it's true that there were a ton of reshoots, or not, but the theory does explain why Saru seems more passive about some of Burnham's improvisation in some scenes than his position as Captain warrants. And it would also explain the disjointed narrative of a couple of the other episodes.

Saru 'bout to get some Vulcanic cougar STRANGE! That's my boy right there. That's what I'm talking about. (Do Vulcan women go through Pon farr?)

On a side note, I've got my fingers crossed that we'll see the reintroduction of the phase cloak. If the Ni'Varans join the Federation there shouldn't be any impediment to it. And it should be perfected by now. And please let somebody raise the issue of dark matter replacement of dilithium and antimatter for warp drive. You can't replicate Discovery. It's too dangerous. Some idiot added that lore about the mycelial network being critical to the survival of the multiverse, so now we're stuck with it. Too many people get ahold of it and something's bound to go wrong. They should either solve the dilithium deficient warp drive problem with 1) a superconductor dilithium substitute, 2) wormhole technology, or 3) dark matter.

Solid 3 stars for me. I didn't like the last episode. I agree with Jammer's rating of it. However, we've had a couple of really solid episodes. Discovery's finding its path. If they finish the season strong, I can see the 4th season being the one that puts DSC on solid Star Trek footing to silence all the naysayers.
Quincy
Thu, Nov 26, 2020, 6:59pm (UTC -5)
Almost forgot, happy Thanksgiving people.
Steve Jobs
Thu, Nov 26, 2020, 7:36pm (UTC -5)
Imagine being a decorated officer with years of service and you get promoted over by an Ensign. Must be great for crew morale.
Robert M.
Thu, Nov 26, 2020, 8:30pm (UTC -5)
Tilly being First officer seems weird at first but I think it makes sense. She pretty much faked being a full Captain under Lorca in the mirror fleet. Saru has dealt with leading a displaced crew that would probably be spending lots of downtime in therapy IRL. Tilly was the one that helped everyone during the staff dinner. Saru is a fabulous captain but he obviously sucks at the emotional side of leadership. Tilly fills that spot and it may not be permanent.
Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Nov 26, 2020, 8:35pm (UTC -5)
Better than last week, but similar to last week (and the week before) a mixture of good elements and awful ones.

As is normal, I'll start with the good:
I give this episode props for having coherent character arcs, particularly for Michael. She starts the episode conflicted and doubtful regarding her place on Discovery, but has her "faith" restored by the end.

I really appreciated that we another action-less episode of Discovery (lacking even a 30-second fight scene like Forget Me Not). It's been a long time since we had a courtroom drama episode in Trek (Lower Decks excepted) so this was a welcome change of pace.

Some of the individual character moments were great. I liked Michael's scenes with Book, and enjoyed seeing Mama Burnham actually act a bit like a mother this season, and not just an exposition fairy.

I appreciated that a bit of worldbuilding went into imagining future Vulcan/Romulan society, although I do wish we actually go to go to Vulcan. I understand that not every episode can have a true away mission.

Was it just me, or were Saru and the Vulcan President flirting a bit at the end of the episode?
Now, for the bad:
Tilly being promoted to "acting" XO is just dumb. Tilly is unprepared/unsuited for command, Oddly, the writers seem to understand this, given Tilly herself raises all of the issues, and Saru just waves them away. This is all being pretty transparently driven by Mary Wiseman being a main cast member, while all the likely candidates who outrank her are still only slightly jumped-up extras. Tilly made sense in the original conception early in Section 1 - as Michael's roomie to show how much she is really starting from the bottom. But ever since the "lower decks' conceit was dropped, I feel like the writers have struggled to find a way to make her relevant from week to week. This is just sort of the culmination of this - kicking her upwards to finally get rid of the issue of how a "lowly" ensign is always at the center of things. To be honest, I'd have no issue with this happening...eventually. But this is another case of something being unearned. Sure, she has played integral roles in solving various problems onboard the ship, but so have others such as Stamets. She should have had an arc where her leadership skills were put to the test, and she was shown to have grown before getting this promotion. If I viewed things from a within-show perspective, the decision here would really make me lose confidence in Saru's captaincy, but of course I can see the stitch-up job the writer's room did, so I won't blame him directly.

Secondary to this, the ending of the arc - the big group hug - was all wrong. I'm not in the "Starfleet is the military" camp, but it's a very military-like situation. Lieutenants and Lieutenant Commanders have every reason to be resentful of an ensign jumping to the front of the line. A group hug just seems wildly inappropriate. Now that she's XO, she's their fricking supervisor. Indeed, the job of the XO is typically to be more of a hardass with the crew than the captain himself. It's totally ruining her sense of authority to seem this vulnerable and unsure in front of everyone, and it's also really weird to see literally everyone beaming and saying "no really Tilly, I'm so happy you got this instead of me!"

The initial premise was really contrived, insofar as Admiral Vance pivots from his hostility to Burnham in the last episode to "we need you" at the drop of a hat. I honestly moved past this pretty quickly, but again, the show was showing its stitching.

They were so close to ending Michael's character arc in this episode in a smart way, and then they totally blew it. When Michael actually stepped back from her monomania regarding The Burn and said "you know what, I don't think it's worth it to cause a civil war in order to get the data, you keep it" I thought it was a tremendous step forward for her. Probably the most concrete one I have seen yet, because she seemed to finally realize just because she wants something to happen doesn't mean it's actually the best course of action, and that her duty to the Federation outweighed her messiah complex. Then the writers had to ruin it with the Vulcan President passing the data along to Mama Burnham anyway. This basically negates the character arc, because it means that Michael sacrificed absolutely nothing and got everything she wanted regardless.
More generally speaking, I still remain really hesitant regarding the season arc.

The show has done basically nothing to really sell to be that the Burn is actually worth all of this investigation. I honestly think the season would be better without this half-assed questline and just sticking to episodic adventures with character development.

Maybe 2.5 stars. If the Tilly stuff was excised, I would give the episode 3 stars, but it brings it down so much.
Andy in NoVA
Thu, Nov 26, 2020, 8:42pm (UTC -5)
FWIW -- Ni'Var (written then as Ni Var) was the title of a short story in one of the the earliest collections of non-canon Star Trek fiction. Star Trek: The New Voyages, published by Bantam Books in 1976.

Written by Claire Gabriel, that story was about Spock being split into two halves, one Vulcan and logical, the other Human and emotional sort of like The Enemy Within.

A fitting name for a half Romulan/ half Vulcan planet. And quite the long distance call out 44 years later.
MidshipmanNorris
Thu, Nov 26, 2020, 10:16pm (UTC -5)
I give it 4 stars for heart, and subtract 1.5 stars for ... well, I'll just say, bad writing.

This episode is very much a love letter to classic Star Trek in all its permutations. To see the next chapter in a two-part TNG episode play out 800+ years later is quite a thing. Michael's Mom showing up could have been poorly handled but wasn't, and it's nice to have that kind of completion to a character arc that is actually one of the few things that feels like it organically is part of her character. And btw, for those saying SMG is "not that big a star", I was just on a Thanksgiving Zoom call with some of my non-Trekker family members, and SMG is someone they only know (and love) from The Walking Dead. So remember; there are those simply watching this show for her, and they aren't necessarily fans of the previous Trek shows.

Promoting Ensign Tilly to XO seems weird, but unless I'm wrong, none of the other senior staff besides Michael were in the Command Training Program prior to this. It still does strike me as stretching believability quite a bit, and I'll go as far as to say that it feels like a mistake on Saru's part. I don't think it's going to work.

Perhaps that will be the ultimate result of the promotion; to show that promoting someone before they are ready is a bad idea. In that case, it actually presents a good storytelling opportunity. But I don't know if I'm ready to give this show's writing room that much credit. We'll see.

Still, it feels rushed. 2.5 stars.
Rahul
Thu, Nov 26, 2020, 10:49pm (UTC -5)
The Kristin Beyer episode was due to hit at some point and sure enough it's the worst of the season for me, but not as bad as PIC's "Stardust City Rag". Star Trek should move away from this hack ASAP.

There's just too much here to not like, although a Burnham character examination isn't a bad idea other than the fact that the character is not a well-conceived or well-written one. It's fine for her to bring her doubts about where she belongs and, of course, by the end of the show, she'll have figured out that being on Discovery is her calling. Her demotion to something far less important means nothing as Vance now wants her to represent the Federation in front of the Vulcans/Romulans.

The whole quorum with the 3 Vulcan/Romulan reps was a mess, not just reflecting the troubles the world still faces after unification, but just how the whole process is supposed to be conducted. Found it ridiculous that it is so illogical as to come down to Burnham opening up about her true feelings while the 3 reps have their own takes and ultimately the President gives Burnham the SB19 data. It's just such BS.

But even before all this, Burnham's mom is now one of those Romulan absolute candor space ninjas?!?! And chosen to be her advocate?? Give me a break. What are the chances?

Found the B-plot to be highly idiotic with Saru nominating Tilly as his acting 1st officer? This is so unrealistic. What about other higher ranking officers. She's an ensign FFS! This would not happen in "real" life Trek. And then the scene where all the bridge officers encourage her to accept the promotion? Just found this cringe.

I guess a DSC episode can't go to production unless there's plenty of hugging and crying and sappy vapid emotional stuff. Enough already with this shit.

I liked the scenes with Saru and the president of the planet -- Saru scenes are truly the best in this series. They are intelligent and professional.

1.5 stars for "Unification III" -- just too much stupidity to drown out a potentially interesting narrative about how the unified Vulcans/Romulans left the Federation and the Burn, which mostly came from Saru and the president discussions. Burnham's existential doubts are reasonable given what she's been through but how its divulgation leads to getting the SB19 data makes no sense to me. The quorum scenes were all over the map and didn't seem like any kind of sensible examination of facts and pursuit of truth. DSC S3 has exceeded my low expectations thus far, but "Unification III" is a dud.
The Queen
Thu, Nov 26, 2020, 11:37pm (UTC -5)
Well, that was something. At first I was very high on this episode because of the takedown of Burnham by her mother, the human Qowat Milat. That was very necessary and satisfying, and persuaded me that the writers do have an actual vision of this character. Unfortunately, first impressions matter, and it will take more than one epiphany by Burnham about how duty is joy before I'm convinced that she's growing up. However, in the excellent and revealing "Ready Room" for this episode Sonequa Martin-Green went into great depth about the character, assuring Wil Wheaton that she has had many discussions with the writers about Burnham's past and present. I highly recommend watching it if you haven't already.

But as others have mentioned, making Tilly Acting First Officer seems like a mistake. I can see from past scenes, especially this season, that Tilly has been maturing fast, but still it was obviously done for cast purposes, not logic. I would not be in favor of introducing a new character - we have too many unknowns already - but surely someone else could have been chosen. Detmer? Unlike other people, I am getting less and less confident in Saru's competence as captain.

Not only did I love the clip from Unification 2, I thought it was actually needed. I did not think the clips of Spock's childhood were needed.

Although Burnham cries far too much, in this eppy I actually wanted her, at some point, to break down about Spock and say, "I miss him so much!" THAT would have been appropriate.

Overall, this one worked for me despite its faults.
MidshipmanNorris
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 12:08am (UTC -5)
Now that Michael has had a chance to look up the Historical Documents of Spock's life after she space wedgie'd into the farflung future, I have some questions...

- Does Burnham stan Kirk?

- What did she think of TOS Season 3?

- Has she learned yet about Spock's near-passing-out-of-existence in 2285-86?

- What is the meaning of this attack?

- Has it occurred to you that this crew is due to stand down in 3 months? We've done our bit for king and country.

- Does Burnham think Star Trek 5 was as horrible as the rest of us do?

- Captain Kirk is climbing a mountain. Why is he climbing the mountain?

- Why don't you watch where you're going, ya DUMB ASS?!

^_^
Artymiss
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 3:31am (UTC -5)
Detested this episode (apart from brief clip of Nimoy's Spock which left me with a tear in my eye) but seem to be in a minority. So fed up of Burnham in so many ways. Just wish she'd sod off with Book and Grudge.

Saru's choice is weak and has made me lose respect for him, seems he has chosen someone as First Officer who will be compliant, passive and malleable ie the complete opposite of the troublesome Burnham. People's reactions to her promotion - apart from Stamet's initial WTF response - are totally unbelievable. This is like the new office junior getting promoted to assistant manager over the heads of all her seniors, most people will hate her for it and seek to undermine her not be applauding her on. That's just human psychology. Anyway Starfleet has a chain of command and this promotion just breaks it. Can we imagine Ensign Crusher promoted to number one?! Crazy.

And where is Georgiou this episode? Lying down in her room afflicted by flashbacks? Found this intriguing last episode so was irritated she disappeared, but suppose she wasn't necessary as surrogate mom with the (totally ridiculous) reappearance of Burnham's real mom.

One star.
Luis Dantas
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 6:03am (UTC -5)
I love this season of Discovery. The writers and producers really found their footing. The episodes are very, very sound from an anthropological perspective.

This episode was just about perfect. We see the consequences of Michael's recklessness for herself and those around her, we see the sincere effort of so many characters. This is shaping up to be perhaps the best Trek series ever.

The main plot was interesting as well. The Ni'var situation was presented in both a concise and believable way, and gave us a few new exciting characters to boot.
Booming
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 7:24am (UTC -5)
Ok 11 min review. So far I could not get past that point. Burnham is kicking me out of the show. I cannot stand her anymore. Every time she talks like her meds are failing and then kicking in again. She is so extremely emotional all the time I would not let her drive a bus in Siberia. Her hair looks nice, though.

Maybe later I can make it through the rest but this is just too much.
Artymiss
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 7:31am (UTC -5)
@Booming
Admission - I had to fast forward thru many of the Burnham scenes they were annoying me so much. Found her unbearable this episode.
Booming
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 7:56am (UTC -5)
@Artymiss
yeah, in earlier episode is was kind of ok but here... no. Just no. All the bad emoting came together.
Keiren
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 7:58am (UTC -5)
Tilly being chosen as 1st officer is insane, as many have said. It highlights two problems. First, the lack of any other characters who could possibly be considered for this position shows the weaknesses in the shows cast/characters or writing, whichever you prefer.

Secondly, it could be that the writers are trying to do an arc with Saru making a bad choice and Tilly learning a hard lesson. Unfortunately after 2 years of bad writing, no one is willing to trust the writers can or able to do this. With that trust missing, it becomes so hard to take risks or develop interesting story ideas. Trust is a fundamental must between viewer and writer. You can roll with writing mistakes sometimes because everyone is human, but it's very hard to believe in this show at this point.

Lastly, I enjoyed the courtroom scenes without really understanding them. I liked the genuine intensity rather than faked emotion, i liked that it seemed to be grounded discussion. But I'm not sure I followed how the whole discussion played out and the various elements tied together. I felt like the scenes had more to say and more thematic material to develop but never quite got there. A similar example is the dinner scene in The Undiscovered Country with the Klingons, well acted and intense, but falling short of full impact and meaning.

I can't tell if this is the show or perhaps I wasn't paying enough attention, perhaps because I'm bored by these characters etc...

2.5 stars out of 4 for me
Keiren
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 8:04am (UTC -5)
Ohhh... I forgot to add...

Yet another episode where everyone comes together at the end to get really emotional! Clapping and tears this time because one or the other isn't enough lol
johnnylt
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 8:06am (UTC -5)
This show is so dumb.

Did Picard secretly record all his conversations like Nixon?
Artymiss
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 8:07am (UTC -5)
Who do people think could've/should've been made number one? In all other TV incarnations of ST there are so many bridge characters who I can see in the role, because they are ensemble shows full of well developed characters whereas Discovery...isn't. There is so much focus on Burnham. Most of the other 'characters' just seem like blanks to me.

Maybe the Admiral could've suggested someone from his HQ staff...

Tilly is so pathetic she has to ask her colleagues if it's okay for her to take on the role, will she be any good etc. Doesn't bode well!
Mertov
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 8:28am (UTC -5)
Came to leave a few comments but a few of the feedbacks up at the very top (Tim C, Yanks, Nick, Frank) stole my thunder since they covered what I wanted to point out much better than I ever could.

No action at all in this episode, in-depth courtroom scene and philosophical-personal debates instead. I prefer at least a bit of action mixed in myself.

The A story worked very well for me too, Burnham having genuine moments of self-discovery with input from Saru and her mother. I equally enjoyed Saru's talks with the Vulcan contact and the courtroom scenes (the Vulcan purist sold his position well, good acting on that guy's part). But the B story is a fail as many said before (Tim C's point about Saru is spot on). Tilly is nowhere near ready to be Number One and any of the bridge crew would have been a better fit, heck even Jett Reno would have been more intriguing.

On a separate note, no Jett Reno, no Georgiou, no Culber in this episode. I believe Burnham, Saru, and Detmer remain the only ones to have appeared in every single episode. Still waiting for Detmer's PTSD issue to be developed/resolved.

Barely three stars because of the B story and zero action, but a strong A story (and a wonderful nod to Spock from "Unification II"). Overall, I'm in the same boat as SlackerInc in terms of this being a notch below the previous episode.
Chrome
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 8:49am (UTC -5)
So this is a sequel to TNG's Unification I & II and I tried to engage it on that level. The idea that Spock's plan to reunite Vulcans and Romulans would win out in the end is heartening, It's the type of worldbuilding that this show has been afraid to do until now and furthermore it gives us a happy epilogue to the Romulan storyline that haunted much of TNG and ST: PIC. Although I find it dubious that of all the people in all the places, Michael's mom would become a nun of the Qowat Milat, and an important one at that, invoking the Qowat Milat itself serves as a continuity nod from PIC. Such gestures make us feel like the writers actually care about long-term impact of the stories they write rather than them being concepts of the week that are soon forgotten. It's also engaging to see how the Romulans and Vulcans have developed over the centuries with each other. We can see some of the grudges still exist, but not quite in the way we might expect.

Also good was Burnham getting ripped to shreds in a court-like episode, which more or less proves that her bullish methods are not always correct and can be challenged. If the show insists on being All About Burnham, it's important that it's critical of her decisions. The hot tension between Burnham and the Vulcans made for a great contrast with what was going behind the scenes with the real leaders, There were some excellent exchanges between Saru and President T'Rina that reminded me of the good old TNG days when the Federation was about brokering peace. In some ways this works better than TNG to the extent that there is no simplistic path of peace. Rather, it looks like the Vulcans and the Federation will be struggling to work together, which feels like a more natural outcome of the events of this episode (and of Unification II).

Of course we have the B plot with Tilly becoming Number One leading to a crew which functions more like a democracy than an actual military. Much of this is pretty painful to watch, though I'll concede that if we dispense with military tradition, Tilly has been positioned as an important leader in the series.

My CBS All-Access free month ends this week and I was considering quitting watching this until PIC Season 2. This episode gives me some hope for this series, so I'll probably keep watching this (somehow).
Chrome
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 9:22am (UTC -5)
MidshipmanNorris wrote:

"Has it occurred to you that this crew is due to stand down in 3 months? We've done our bit for king and country."

I see what you did there. ;-)
grey cat
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 9:31am (UTC -5)
Not sure I can even make it through this one.

Last week was unoriginal action with 1 good scene at least (no idea how anyone gave it over 1.5 stars).

This is gonna be a 0.5 star at best.. unless it dramatically improves in the final 20 odd minutes.

I shall try again tonight. I fell asleep trying to watch it last night. OMG Burnham is just so annoying. Like really really annoying.
Frank
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 9:49am (UTC -5)
Re Tilly as first officer: in the previous episode she told Suru to tell the admiral that Burnham was missing and he told her that was an astute thing to say. That impressed him.

Starfleet is more scientific then a military organization so they really don’t have to follow military organization exactly. This said, Saru should promote Tilly to Lt.
Henson
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 11:39am (UTC -5)
@Chrome

...T'Rina? Her name is T'Rina?

Okay, imma just call her President Trina from now on.
Chris L
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 11:49am (UTC -5)
Tilley makes no sense. She is due for a promotion and has been maturing, but it’s a bit like promoting the busboy to the assistant chef at a Michelin star restaurant. The fact that she needed the full support of the crew to even accept it is a big red flag. I really hope this backfires, but as others have said, the faith in the writing staff is pretty much nil.

As for the A plot, I really really enjoyed seeing Burnham getting taken down a peg and called out on her hubris and obsession over something that isn’t even her business. She made the right call when she withdew her request upon seeing the chaos she was causing, and it was a good growth moment for her. And then they gave her the data anyhow?!?! Seriously, wtf? She should have been denied, and/or refused it if she was offered it by any of the factions. The growth she showed was just retconned out in the same damn episode. The comment from T’rina about how she must have been a big influence on Spock after she witnessed a whole thirty minute debate with her in it was nauseating and ruined a lot of the good groundwork the episode had laid.

2/4. Would have been better, and had a lot of quality moments, but it couldn’t really overcome its weaker and more boneheaded elements.

Not sure where the season is going at this point, and I am starting to lose interest. It is still worlds better than previous seasons, but it has many of the same weaknesses, just toned down a bit.
Booming
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 12:00pm (UTC -5)
Ok people I'm going back in.
minute 11. second try.
Booming
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 1:14pm (UTC -5)
-Min 12. Burnham is crying and they dragged Leonard Nimoy into this.
- min 13 And there it is, Tilly is first officer.... or acting first officer. I guess CBS will run a few focus groups to find out how people like it. For the ship itself it is a terrible decision. Making an ensign first officer, as some have pointed out, is terrible for moral. First Burnham jumps around the ranks like nothing, now Tilly becomes some kind of brevet commander. If I was Lt I would be so pissed. The second terrible thing about this is the "acting" part. Why not just promote one of the senior officers. Saru has served with these people for years, as a captain he should know who could fill that role. I'm saying it, Saru is the worst captain ever!
- Minute 18 Just noticed that Burnham is still commander. So she only lost the position but wasn't demoted to Lt.?! Ok...
- Min 20 And there it is STP x STD croosover. The warrior nuns are here. In comes the Trek cinematic universe. I can almost see the sweat on the foreheads of a thousand bean-counters and hear their hushed voices saying:"We are going to be rich.".
- min 22 oh they dragged Kima from the Wire into this.
- min 27 it's official. The Federation knew that they would run out of dilithium and still could not find a new potent enough energy source. So why is Burnham looking into the Burn then? Do I hear Deus Ex Machina mystery box?!
- min 31 ok now Tilly is actually discussing with Stamets the stupidity of her becoming first officer and they even say in position only not rank. WHAT??? And Stamets reaction is the only reasonable one. Bafflement. Of course this scene is a set up. Later he will tell her how awesome she would be.
-min 36 Is Burnham ever in control of her emotions. Literally everybody is less emotional than her and that after her Vulcan training. I had to think of this scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQm7wRA28PA&ab_channel=NBCSportsChicago
- min 37 wow, now Burnham is giving a speech how everybody owes her a debt for saving them. Man, can we switch Burnham and Ma Burnham.
- min 38 Burnham crying Again
- correction she only teared up!
- min 43 Burnham crying 3.0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9b9LqkbBbWY&ab_channel=Anon_X
We I guess seeing you mother is at least an understandable reason...
- min 45 Tilly is crying. I guess that proves that she is the right choice to replace Burnham. Burnham is of course also crying.
- aaaaaaaaaand it is over. I think I will cry now
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vny4hMF-hS8&ab_channel=HarryChicken

Ok, this episode made me long for mindless action NuTrek. While there were a few interesting pieces buried under 5000 megatonnes of schmaltz I could not focus on them because the rest was just awful.

Worst episode of the season. Normally I don't gives ratings but here I feel I need too.

1 star.
Say No!
John
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 1:48pm (UTC -5)
I think I'm beginning to get a better understanding of why the newer Trek incarnations aren't as good or enjoyable for me.

In the "old days", in TOS or TNG, this episode would have been a straightforward debate between a senior crewmember and an adversary. It would have been mostly philosophical and impersonal. There would be very little "you" or "me" involved in the discussion. It wasn't about Spock or Data or Kirk.

For some reason Discovery feels the need to make it personal, with everything coming to revolve around the feelings, thoughts or life events of one person (usually Burnham). So here we find the resolution of the debate in Michael's regret, behavior, trust.

Maybe this is engaging and relatable for some people, but I find it drops the scale from the galactic or epic to the individual level. But that scale was what set the old Star Trek apart, and why I watched it. It wasn't about individuals, at the smallest scale it was about a crew, and at best about much larger, wider issues. There have been tiny glimpses of this in Discovery but as long as it feels the need to make everything personal, to bring everything back to identifying with a specific character, it will fail to live up to the old days.
Skye Francis-maidstone
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 2:12pm (UTC -5)
@John

I totally agree John.

DSC keeps telling us the crew are a family and are working together etc but it's ultimate just about Burnham. We had 2 seasons of that so I'm not sure why this should be any different.

@Chris L

I'm finding this season really hard to get through now and all my initial enthusiasm for DSC has now gone.

As for this episode...

@Booming covered pretty much everything I would have said actually.
And much as a like Saru as a character (and the actor). He is proving to be a terrible captain.

Maybe they somehow fiddled with Georgiou and she's going to become this universe's Georgiou? She could then become captain. She seemed a pretty good captain until... well Burnham.... Saru back to First Officer. Tilly becomes Science Officer (and promoted to Lt). Burnham can go off with Book and emote.

It's less ridiculous than bringing the doctor back from the mushroom realm.

1 star from me. Not sure why it even deserves that though actually. It's just not quite a "Shades of Grey" or "The Way to Eden". "Threshold" is more entertaining than this one was.
Booming
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 2:15pm (UTC -5)
@Jonnylt
"Did Picard secretly record all his conversations like Nixon?"
Good catch! I guess Picard was holding a camera in front of Spock's face. :D
Booming
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 2:19pm (UTC -5)
I have to share this review from IMDB
"It's continuing mission: to explore strange new whispers, to seek out new whispers and new whisperisations, to boldly go where no whisper has gone before."
hahaha
Maq
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 3:06pm (UTC -5)
I still like it, intresting episode.

To all those who are disturbed regarding Tillys promotion. I my professional life i experienced a similar situation when a younger female overtook a bunch of more senior men and was placed in a similar XO position. It worked ok. So if it is possible in the reality, why would it not be in Star Trek? The spore drive seems to be accepted ;-).
SlackerInc
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 3:10pm (UTC -5)
I wonder if that very saccharine personal/emotional approach is something they have found via focus group (as alluded to upthread) resonates with today's audiences? Or is it just the predilection of this writing staff?

@Luis Dantes: "This is shaping up to be perhaps the best Trek series ever."

WHOA flaming hot take!!
Booming
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 3:20pm (UTC -5)
@Maq
And when the very young XO messes up, does that mean that people get killed?
MarkG
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 3:26pm (UTC -5)
The writers put in Tilly as acting XO just to keep the seat warm until Burnham’s arc of redemption and truly finding her place in Starfleet is complete. And then she will be XO again. It’s the only logical explanation I can think of.
John
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 3:40pm (UTC -5)
Exactly my thoughts Booming.

Discovery in a crisis:
Saru: Options, number 1?
Tilly: Umm...
Science officer: Sir, the ship is about to be destroyed. We have 30 seconds.
Saru: Number 1? I need options, now.
Tilly: Okay! I'm thinking...
Science officer: 10 seconds to destruction and counting...

So how does the rest of the crew feel about this? An XO without any training putting all of them at risk...
Richard Webb
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 3:47pm (UTC -5)
In many ways this could have been a compelling, courtroom episode of Star Trek - but it’s so middling, inoffensive and not particularly engaging that it lacks the bite of previous episodes. Tilly being promoted to first officer is just the icing on a cake of the absurd. Michael’a mother being the the ‘surprise guest’ is a close second.

I’m fine with Michael Burhan being a protagonist, but a protagnist doesn’t mean you have to solve every problem, be successful at everything and ‘save the world’ as they’ve done with her character. I’d hoped they’d be making her a bit more nuanced in this series (early indicators this was the case) but now we’re back to same old Discovery.

Not terrible, but Bunham remains the least interesting character and every episode that focuses on her is by its nature less than stellar.
Richard Webb
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 3:52pm (UTC -5)
Incidentally @John has hit the nail on the head
John
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 3:53pm (UTC -5)
Also, did you notice there was no actual tackling of the problem? Stamets goes from "it's a little insane" to "SAY YES!" in the space of an hour, with half the crew behind him.
Yair
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 4:01pm (UTC -5)
There are good ideas behind the episode, and plenty of ambition in tying directly to TNG. The execution isn't as good as it can be though. I'd rate this higher than the previous episode, but this episode should have been two episodes not one.

It makes perfect sense for Romulans to end up on Vulcan after all that happened, and the idea of tensions is reasonable as well. But we are never given any idea for why these tensions are so politically relevant centuries later. Why is there so much dissension among Vulcano-Romulans (those in the middle)? No idea. This is a pity, since the scenes which focus on the Vulcans are intriguing (Saru being an effective diplomat is another highlight), and there could have been more exploration of the Vulcans/Romulans.

Also, I'd have expected the Spore Drive will be mentioned during the trial scenes. 'You are worried we will misuse SB-19 data. The Federation already has a drive technology which will avoid dilithium, yet did not use it due to risk to the universe*. If that's how we act with a complete working drive, SB-19 will be safe with us'. They lug this absurd fantasy tech around and don't mention it the one time it's actually very relevant? Sigh.

The problem is that A-plot is focused on Burnham to the detriment of other considerations. Burnham deserves what she gets, but she isn't as engaging, and I'm not entirely convinced by her confession (her mom telling us she tells the truth is a case of 'show not tell'. Frankly that witness is very unreliable). Two episodes would have allowed us to focus on the Vulcans more without dropping the Burnham plotline.

As for the B-Plot, promoting Tilly is well telegraphed (she was 'Killy' in S1) yet still absurd and unearned. She was uncertain of herself as late as 'Far from home'! The most obvious thing would have been to send some 32nd Starfleet officer to serve as XO. This would have avoided all those exposition scenes. From the cast, Reno would have been the better choice.
Austin
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 4:31pm (UTC -5)
@Quincy ENT has established Vulcan women do go into Pon Farr. Lucky Saru!

@Booming covered my biggest gripe with this series. TOO. MANY. BURNHAM. TEARS. Dear Lord, can someone do a CBC (Crying Burnham Count) this season, I think she’s broken down into tears in just about every episode. It’s lazy writing to try and make you empathize with a poorly written character.

I did like the courtroom drama (ST has been long overdo for some), but unlike the all time greats i.e. TNG’s The Drumhead or VOY’s Death Wish, it just didn’t challenge me intellectually. And the more I watch PIC and DIS I realize they aren’t trying to challenge me intellectually, only viscerally. So I guess I’m the one that needs to change with the times, instead of insisting that Trek gotta be Trek. But we saw what we don’t really see often in most courtroom dramas, which is our protagonist actually loses the argument. Good job not taking the easy out.

Re: Burnham’s mother.... Why? I mean really for what purpose at this juncture? Introducing Nimoy’s Spock and the Qowat Milat was a great idea to effectively bridge DIS thru TOS, into TNG and straight out to PIC, why do you have to cram her mother into it? It’s worse than (SPOILERS)making Rey a Palpatine.

Re: Tilly... Why are everyone’s panties in a twist? It’s *acting* No. 1 until he finds an adequate substitute. I see no problem with having someone you trust hold that spot until you make you’re final decision. If she fails, you’re not fight Klingons and universe-ending AI, so it’s not too critical. And if she thrives, well you already have the crew behind her. I see this as a non-issue. In the realm of Discovery’s bad ideas, this is definitely not near the top of my list.
Red D
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 4:32pm (UTC -5)
I think I'm finally done with Discovery. Watching this is becoming a chore, and not an enjoyable one either. This season really has plummeted to new depths of cringe and lameness. Awful.
Tommy D.
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 4:46pm (UTC -5)
I wont be too torn up about Saru choosing Tilly as a temporary XO as this is the same universe in which Wesley Crusher is at the helm during wartime in BOBW, on the flagship of the Federation no less.

I'm guessing most often it would have been Nhan chosen, if she were still aboard.

As for the episode, another 2.5 stars. I feel like they've hit a slight rut in the middle here and gone back to some old habits.
Booming
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 5:39pm (UTC -5)
@Tommy D
"Wesley Crusher is at the helm during wartime in BOBW, on the flagship of the Federation no less."
The officer at the helm is normally the lowest bridge officer while the XO is the highest. Even on Star Trek. The problem is that the first officer not only commands the ship when the captain is not on the bridge, the XO also has to take over when the captain is incapacitated. The it's captain Tilly. For Wesley to actually command the ship, the navigator, the tactical officer, the science officer, the communications officer and the first officer would have to be incapacitated. A first officer normally would go through all these roles to understand what these entail. Promoting ensign Tilly who hasn't served in any of these roles she is now supposed to command is just plain lunacy.
Tommy D.
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 5:58pm (UTC -5)
@Booming

At the very least, Tilly is an actual Starfleet officer, who has been through the academy and has at least some training. Wesley Crusher has little to none, and yet is on screen engaging evasive maneuvers vs. The Borg and towards the end being asked to engage a suicide maneuver. This is on a Galaxy class ship with likely hundreds of officers. Being the lowest officer on the bridge is still being considered in the top 1% of crew members. Its very silly in retrospect, even though it takes nothing away from the enjoyment of the story or episode.

That said, Tilly wouldn't be my number one choice either, I'm just not going to do any hand wringing over it in a a universe where the plot dictates these actions more than logic.
Alienatbar
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 6:02pm (UTC -5)
Say No.

Say ‘No’ to emotional wide eye reveals.
Wha? Vulcans and Romulans living on Vulvar! Brother Spock’s legacy! Note to address my time management. Maybe less time spagging on about Burn data and chasing snarfles on Capsicum III with Bookend. Remember when.... ;) Perhaps some time spent learning about my brother’s exploits was in order?

Say ‘No’ to emotional wet eyed say ‘yes’ sessions.
Whoa! Saru wants me to be numero uno? Fuck!! (edgy language is cool) Does he need those ganglia back or what? Whoa! My crew mates. I think? Who’s that guy? Say yes? How do I tell them I was going to join the Jupiter 2? And where’s Mibuzzchael? She’s never around. Do we actually spend any time together? Is she really my friend at all? Makes me sad?

Say Yes.

Say ‘Yes’ to haiviews (ie ie)

Michael had a cry
She gonna make Tilly cry
Bad Discovery

I missed things... last year
All those plot lines... lost... in time
Oh well... time to cry
NKhan
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 7:09pm (UTC -5)
Okay only my second ever comment on this forum. Always love reading everyone's analysis and comments etc etc. Most of what I am about to comment has more or less been said by everyone else but this is me getting this this rant out of my system. Also I know this is supposed to be about the 7th episode but as I said I don't usually comment, so this is me getting it all out.

About 6 weeks ago we finally got Amazon Prime here in the UK and finally watched Picard. Watched the whole show in about 10 days and then went straight into the 3rd season of Discovery. Picard had its issues and faults but oh my it was just so much better in many ways to Discovery. The acting was so much better, I am not talking about Patrick Stewart, off course he can act, but everyone else as well. After one season of Picard I knew more about the backgrounds of the assemble cast than I know about the Discovery crew in 2 and half seasons. This was a show called Picard but it gave the supporting cast just enough time for us to care about them. If in the next episode most of the bridge crew in Discovery got blown up I wouldn't give a crap.

Why?

Because of the show's f******* obsession with St Michael of Burnham. What can I say that hasn't been already said? Can she stop crying and whispering every other line. I don't watch the Walking Dead but when it has been mentioned by people who watch both shows its been in the context 'well we know Sonequa Martin-Green can act but why is she so rubbish in Disco?'

When a character cries or gets emotional I assume the audience is supposed to feel their pain or anguish. When St Michael cries I just roll my eyes and think here she goes again and feel nothing.

As already said by others I can't believe the show seems to be going towards the plot that Discovery, its crew and especially St Michael will be the ones to find out the cause of the Burn. Because no one else in this galaxy of billions had the brains to figure it out. Oh no we had to wait for the messiah to come, to travel through time to solve the problem. Maybe in the last ever episode of the whole series we will have a voiceover telling us that St Michael was all part of 'All God's Plan' as she suddenly disappears while Tilly is speaking to her.

I cringed and cringed when St M. told the Star Fleet Admiral at the end of Scavengers something along the lines of how the Federation could never truly be itself or reform unless they found out the cause of the burn. Really Einstein...duh... no one else on Star Fleet thought of this?

On TNG the crew of the Enterprise were among the best that Star Fleet had but it was always shown that they were all replaceable. Star Fleet had other captains, officers, Chief Engineers as good as Geordi. But there is only one St Michael!! Its a wonder Star Fleet or the Federation survived up until the burn with St M not being there to save them.

Most people like Saru as Captain, I just think he is missing an edge, a certain toughness to be captain. He comes across as naïve and idealistic, especially about the Federation. This can be explained by his background and how the Federation gave him a home but he comes across as weak sometimes. Take his decision to take only Tilly with him in the second episode, why because she creates a good first impression - idealistic and naïve. You are on a planet where you don't know how the locals with react and you take only Tilly who is useless in a combat situation. No you take Tilly for the first impression and you take a security officer in case the locals are hostile. That's like Picard taking only Troi down to an unknown because she looks less hostile than Worf. Although Troi could at least use her telepathic skills to sense if someone has hostile motives.

Picard could pull off the whole speech about the ideals of Federation and what it means but when Saru speaks it sounds so naïve. He needs a hint of cynicism.

I actually liked the second episode until St M. showed up to save the day.

In the 4th episode Forget Me Not, the doc was supposed to go to the Trill home world with Adira , but oh no we couldn't have someone else from the crew save the day or have a crucial role, it had to be St M.

In Die Trying I didn't care Nhan decided to stay Tikhov because we have absolutely have had no emotional investment in her.

Overall I liked the story of Unification III. I did wonder where the Vulcans were in all this, they were a founding member of the Federation. It did seem silly that St M didn't inquire about Vulcan as soon as they found Star Fleet headquarters. But off course the big problem with this episode was St M. crying, and whispering again and being centre of attention again. There was one scene during the court room saga where something was said and the camera focused on Sonequa Martin-Green's face only and her attempt at looking surprised and shocked was basically starry eyed and her mouth gawping. A better actor could convey these feelings with more subtlety but of course we have to get the over the top emotional St M.

Tilly as first officer....seriously? We have already established she is useless in a bar fight (episode 2). Actually can Saru actually appoint a first officer? Wouldn't Star Fleet headquarters appoint someone? Oh but I forgot it has to be someone from the the special Discovery crew and not someone who could outshine St M. in the role. I know Star Fleet agreed to keep the Discovery crew together but you would think some of the crew would be sent on 2-3 weeks assignments to other ships and vice versa? Having a non-Discovery first officer would be good to get the ship and its crew more integrated into the current rules and regulations. Or has this something to do with the need to keep the spore drive secret?

Finally I find it a bit conceited of the show to imply that the universe has gone to pot because the mighty Federation is no longer a force. Without the Federation bad things are happening in the universe.
Thiago S
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 8:50pm (UTC -5)
I remember that on TNG reviews we had "time until the first meeting". We could very well have "time until the first tear".
BK
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 9:39pm (UTC -5)
Like many, I’m enjoying the season, yet the group hug scene was a real Galaxy Quest moment.
Alienatbar
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 9:53pm (UTC -5)
And stop watches at the ready....

‘Time is the fire in which we burn...ham’. Is Soran behind all these shenanigans?

We hit the spore drive through this episode. Brought back a little bit of our dignity from the dead.
dave
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 2:46am (UTC -5)
@alienatbar

Funny you mentioned Soran. I read somewhere recently that by the years and what was said about the Nexus Ribbon in Generations, the current year for Discovery is only a year off from the Ribbons next visit to this galaxy. Maybe just funny trivia, but what if the writers......
Archer22
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 2:53am (UTC -5)
It's interesting to see all the criticism of SMG on this site. After ENTERPRISE made clear Archer was the most important human in the history of Starfleet, after DEEP SPACE NINE literally a prophet, after TNG dragged Picard through history as the focal point. I don't see the difference.
Archer22
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 2:55am (UTC -5)
It's interesting to see all the criticism of SMG on this site. After ENTERPRISE made clear Archer was the most important human in the history of Starfleet, after DEEP SPACE NINE made Sisko literally a prophet, after TNG dragged Picard through history as the focal point. I don't see the difference.
Mertov
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 3:13am (UTC -5)
Archer22, great point. It's quite alarming actually.

On top of what you mentioned there is also -- ironically -- Unification Parts 1 and 2 which contain one of the biggest Federation-figure worships of all Trek, with Picard playing Mr. Federation, assisting the forever-long Vulcan-Romulan dissent, receiving plenty of enamored praises from Spock, not to mention the privilege of having mind-melded with both Sarek and Spock, and him playing the bridge between two of the greatest figures of Vulcan history, let alone father and son by "allowing" Spock to share the memories of his father through HIM so that father-son can connect thanks to the Picard brain, and yet I have not read one word about how he is the be-all and end-all in that. And yet, Michael gets slammed for being at the center of a courtroom drama where it made complete sense for her to be present and in that position, and one in which she gets scolded pretty badly.
Harpohara
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 3:18am (UTC -5)
This episode made me angry.

I really like Discovery. I can put up with Burnham puking her emotions. I can put up with Tilly being a twat.

I really thought the thing that would bother me most is Tilly being made first officer.

But no. Burnhams mother showing up was just plain fking contrived, stupid and unnecessary on so many levels.
Booming
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 3:34am (UTC -5)
@Archer22
The problem is that Avery Brooks and Patrick Stewart were used appropriately, I also think that they are both better actors. I admit that I found Scott Bakula pretty annoying but I only saw a few episodes of Enterprise. I found him annoying because he often behaved like a spoiled brat. This attitude of "I want to do this now. Damn those Vulcans!"Kind of like the USA EU dynamic after 9/11.

Burnham often acts like a 12 year old. I find her portrayal borderline sexist. That she is not ever in control of her emotions. I see the problem with her more in the directing department. On the Walking Dead she was ok and there she played the role more subdued which for an average actor like her is often the better choice. On Discovery she jumps from mental breakdown to mental breakdown. It is the opposite of subtle. It feels like being hit in the face with a baseball bat of emotions. To name a character I adore who also has better eye make up by the way is Drummer from the Expanse. I really like that eye shadow... She is so cool in general. Played really well from start to finish. Smart, nuanced, just the right actor for the right role. I had hoped for a while that they would tune Burnhams emotional episodes down but it seems that season again gave me maybe two good episodes around the midpoint and then just jumped off a cliff.

@Tommy D
True, Wesley flying the ship seems irresponsible and smells of nepotism. I guess we should be happy that Geordie is so unsuccessful with the ladies or who knows what position his offspring would fill. Still that is far more rational, as dumb as it is, then making an ensign first officer. If I was the admiral I would relieve Saru of command. It is so baffling especially considering that Saru wants to win the trust of Starfleet. I would love to see when the admiral hears that. It is a "look up from a pad and say:"He did what?!!"" moment but as some have pointed out, on the stupid Discovery list it is maybe #528.
Artymiss
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 4:18am (UTC -5)
@Archer22
They were - in my opinion - better actors, the scripts were stronger, these earlier ST series had a strong ensemble aspect with other bridge crew getting plenty of focus and story lines. My irritation with Discovery, amongst several irritations, is this constant emphasis on Burnham. Hardly anyone else gets a look in. It could be sooooo much better than it is, it's frustrating.

Also as Booming says she's an emotional wreck, really unstable.
Dogcat
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 5:03am (UTC -5)
@Archer22 I do get the point, but it was also extremely annoying in Enterprise that this one small crew seemed to have invented everything that was important centuries later (phasers, red alert, etc). I also think the portrayal of Picard as a superhuman who was an expert in nearly everything got extremely silly by the end of TNG.

The difference with the other shows is that there were many, many episodes that focused almost entirely on someone other than Archer, Picard, or Sisko. Has there been a single episode of Discovery this season where Burnham wasn't the key to the solution? The saloon bar episode came close, but ruined in the last 5 min.

Imagine if Discovery had escaped the ice by itself then, if Culber had helped Adira through the pool, and if Nahn had talked down the depressed seed man. It would really have fleshed out these other characters, and there would have been a lot less groaning at Burnham being front and centre this week.
Latex Zebra
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 5:43am (UTC -5)
@Dogcat - Much as I am enjoying this season I totally agree with you. One of the good things about the other Treks is much as they had their main focus on the Captain, everyone got at least an episode a season. I appreciate they had double the amount of episodes to work with and we got a lot of filler as a result but we also learned about the characters. That they focused on bit part players like O'Brien so that when he joined DS9 he was already a character you knew. No reason, like you say that some of these characters couldn't do a bit of the heavy lifting now and then.

So as for the episode. I liked it. I think the Tilly decision whilst definitely odd was actually handled well. The main story was a lot better, especially seeing Burnham get publicly shamed pretty much. I tuned out early on season 2 so not sure what the deal with her Mum is.
Cody B
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 7:08am (UTC -5)
@JohnnyIt

“Was Picard secretly recording his conversations like Nixon?”

Hahahahaha that made me laugh. He must have wanted some blackmail in case Spock ran for office. How Tilly got ahold of The Picard Tapes we will never know. Maybe she met with Deepthroat.
Dogcat
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 7:28am (UTC -5)
As much as I enjoyed Burnham's mum having a go at her, isn't this basically a retread of snarky Spock doing the same thing last season? It's almost like the producers know what is annoying about her character, but overestimate its interest.

I did enjoy the courtroom scene... but why exactly did Burnham's feelings about her family become relevant to the case? They are deciding whether to trust the federation... so they base the decision entirely on how devoted one person who is 800 years behind on Federation events is? It would be like some Protestants deciding to trust the Catholic Church based on the emotional state of a disobedient Catholic monk from 1150. I just don't see the logic!

Thoroughly enjoyed the walk and talk between Saru and the president though -- "we have evolved beyond slogans" or similar, a very layered conversation.

About Tilly, I guess her promotion doesn't compare well with Riker's behaviour in Best of Both Worlds. He made Shelby XO, despite disliking her, because he knew he needed her experience and knowledge and command ability during a crisis. This was meant to show that he is ready for command. Saru's decision to elevate Tilly (instead of asking Starfleet to assign an XO) doesn't look good in comparison.
Dogcat
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 7:30am (UTC -5)
@Latex Zebra good points! And I don't think the length of the seasons is relevant, because Culber/Nahn etc were already heavily involved in those episodes. Avoiding Burnham taking over at the last minute might even have *saved* time, by cutting out the speeches about why she is special and needs to do the job.
Brandon
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 8:36am (UTC -5)
Wow Discovery gets more ridiculous by the episode! I'm trying REALLY hard to get into Discovery but its painful. Tilly should NOT be a first officer. Like are you kidding me? She has panic attacks and gets super nervous! LOL. There are so many other qualified people. Not to mention her crew would hate her for jumping so many ranks. Wtf? IRL if someone gets passed over at work... not a good look. These writers are literally out of touch with the rest of the world I swear. In their own bubble.
Brandon
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 9:28am (UTC -5)
The entire say yes thing is so ridiculously unplausible that I was cringing the whole time in disbelief. Its almost over the top so far from reality lovey dovey of a show. Its like they are just a bunch of random civilians on a ship with no structure like a bunch of hippies or something in a drum circle talking about science lol. I dont know how to describe it.

There is no sense of ship, no sense of a crew like with TNG or VOY you felt like you were actually on the ship with them.

This show feels like youre just watching a bunch of random people do random things. The atmosphere is wack.
Jason R.
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 10:47am (UTC -5)
"and yet I have not read one word about how he is the be-all and end-all in that. And yet, Michael gets slammed for being at the center of a courtroom drama where it made complete sense for her to be present and in that position, and one in which she gets scolded pretty badly."

Umm because Patrick Stewart is a AAA actor and SMG isn't?

Incidentally I would note that Michelle Yeoh had alot of potential in the Gieorgiou role. I might have bought her as the heart of a new Star Trek franchise. Too bad they axed her in the series premiere in favour of Ms. Mutiny.
Dave in MN
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 10:56am (UTC -5)
This episode was batshit insane! I think I laughed more than I did watching "Sub Rosa" OR Lower Decks.

Kirsten Beyer writes decent Trek novels so I don't understand how her scripts can be so awful. The mediums aren't THAT different.

Anyways, I'm not even going to bother nitpicking this. This is some of the best unintentional comedy I've seen in ages.

All aboard the USS Feelings!

⭐⭐⭐
Robert
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 11:16am (UTC -5)
This has got to be a difficult episode for Jammer to review. I wonder if he’ll break out his old VHS tapes of “Unification” from season 5 TNG and really dig into it.
Booming
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 11:31am (UTC -5)
yeah this is interesting. Kirsten Beyer has many editor or creator credits but only two writing credits: Stardust City Rags. Probably the worst NuTrek episode. For anybody who doesn't remember that is the STP episode where they start by ripping the eye out and end with Seven killing her former lesbian lover in cold blood. And now this one which is probably a close second. Amazing.
Mertov
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 12:40pm (UTC -5)
Jason R.:
"and yet I have not read one word about how he is the be-all and end-all in that. And yet, Michael gets slammed for being at the center of a courtroom drama where it made complete sense for her to be present and in that position, and one in which she gets scolded pretty badly."

Umm because Patrick Stewart is a AAA actor and SMG isn't?"

You don't have to "ummmm" it, I think anyone would agree with that, as do I. But if you read the vitriol, that isn't the main reason why she Michael is slammed.

------

On a separate note: Beyer also wrote "Si Vis Pacem" of the first season, which I felt had also the same problem as this one, great A story, dismal B story.

But I thought we had to accord everything shitty to Kurtzman and Kurtman only, not to individual writers or anyone else. If anything good happens, then we must attribute it to Chabon, Paradise, or the individual writers, remember?
John
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 12:55pm (UTC -5)
@Jason R.:
"and yet I have not read one word about how he is the be-all and end-all in that. And yet, Michael gets slammed for being at the center of a courtroom drama where it made complete sense for her to be present and in that position, and one in which she gets scolded pretty badly."

Wait a second. Are you referring to the fact she's Spock's stepbrother? Emotionally, yes, it makes sense. Logically? I can't see any logical reason that should make one bit of difference. The Vulcans should be really saying "ok, you're related (by law) to Spock: so what?". Instead they grant an appeal on the basis of being part of the extended family of their national hero whom they all now worship as a god.

We're told constantly throughout the episode about the Vulcan's famed logic, so why don't we see it or hear it in action? The best we get is the guy in the middle doing all the Spock mannerisms, eyebrow raises and facial expressions.
Paul M.
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 1:01pm (UTC -5)
Okay, whenever I see acronym SMG, I think of submachine guns. This is becoming a real problem.
Mertov
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 1:05pm (UTC -5)
John,
Jason was copy/pasting what I said there.

We'll have to disagree, it was explained in the episode (and made sense in every way) why Michael was best positioned to be make the contact (I mean, to contact Ni'Var, the courtroom was only requested afterward, in accordance with Vulcan traditions).
AdmiralKirk
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 1:42pm (UTC -5)
I feel so alone and baffled. That was the worst episode of Star Trek I have ever seen. It totally repudiates everything that the original series, VOY, TNG, ENT were about.

And then I read most of the comments here and people are saying “Yeah, a pretty good episode”.

What on earth is going on. Am I totally crazy??!!!
Henson
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 1:54pm (UTC -5)
@AdmiralKirk

Well, perhaps you could elaborate: in what way did you feel this episode repudiates what past Trek series were about?
AdmiralKirk
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 3:22pm (UTC -5)
@Henson. My friend, if you have to ask, after that show, then I really don’t think I can explain it. But, I’m good faith, let me say some things.

- Ensign Tilly being promoted to 1st officer is a slap in the face of the professionalism and meritocracy that defined Star Trek. Have a look at the TNG episode where Data has to have a talk with Worf about insubordination, https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vMKtKNZw4Bo . The difference is striking. One is an adult show with skilled professionals doing their best to solve problems. The other is just... sad.

- the “interrogation ceremony” held by the Vulcans/Romulans to establish “truth and facts” totally repudiated everything we know about Vulcan culture. Instead of a scientific discussion where the facts are paramount, the ceremony, right from the first sentence, is nothing about science but everything about power. It shouts to us, the audience, that “you have your facts and we have ours. Who has the power has the truth. The motive of why someone says something is more important than the facts of what they say”. This is so against what Spock and Vulcan stood for that I cannot stomach any more of it.

I am out.
Asdf
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 3:30pm (UTC -5)
Finally, the actors are figuring out that they can leave their personal biases off-camera instead of throwing the story too far off-balance.

And I loved watching Sonja Sohn in this one. They could probably have thrown in some technobabble explanation, like “quantum entanglement between family members” instead of spending time on some other scenes, but I really did love how Sohn spoke truth.
Maq
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 3:50pm (UTC -5)
@Booming

"@Maq
And when the very young XO messes up, does that mean that people get killed?
"
Yes
Ralf
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 4:44pm (UTC -5)
No one commented on the continuing presence of Book aboard Discovery. In NuTrek, can anyone just park their ship in the shuttle bay (a bay which, hilariously, has no doors, just a force field. I wonder what happens in case of a power failure) and get along for the ride? Or do you get a special pass if you are shagging a bridge officer?
SlackerInc
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 4:45pm (UTC -5)
Welcome, @NKhan!

@Jason R: “ Incidentally I would note that Michelle Yeoh had alot of potential in the Gieorgiou role. I might have bought her as the heart of a new Star Trek franchise. Too bad they axed her in the series premiere in favour of Ms. Mutiny.”

Completely agree!

On Picard vs. Burnham: I don’t think Picard is so central to every plot, and he definitely didn’t weep every episode despite being raised on Vulcan!
Cynic
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 4:48pm (UTC -5)
Re: The Nixon-esque tape recording of Spock from "Unification II," Data was present for that conversation. There's little doubt he recorded everything and per PIC, all you need is one engram to get the whole thing.
Bob
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 7:22pm (UTC -5)
Just imagine the conversion Saru has with the admiral.

"So who's your new First Officer?"
"Tilly, she's an ensign, she joined Starfleet recently"
"Is she the only officer on the ship"
"No, we have a dozen at least, maybe more"
"You guys are totally boning."
grey cat
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 7:45pm (UTC -5)
@AdmiralKirk

I'm with you. It's baffling to me that anyone could give this more than half a star but it's all subjective I guess.

The A plot was utter drivel and, as you said, a massive slap in the face to Vulcans and Spock (Burnham getting yet more credit for Spock made me want to smash something. SMG's acting in this one was far worse than anything Shatner or Brooks ever did. Just dire.. that pained look with her mom at the end was so ridiculous she must have burst out laughing after the scene.

The B plot with Tilly was probably in the top 5 stupidest things to happen in Star Trek. Are they TRYING to make Saru look like a bad captain? I mean just get rid of the ranks entirely. Experience and rank count for nothing apparently.

The only decent scenes were Saru and the vulcan.

Everything else about it was bad. Weird pacing, Stupid sound (whisper than blare or music), awkward dialogue, horrible acting, crying, more crying.

PIC hasn't had an episode close to this bad yet. I thoroughly enjoyed its first season and rewatched it too. I still have only rewatched 1 DSC episode. The other series all had their 0 stars but they all had 100+ episodes so its hardly fair to compare.

Not sure I can make it to the end of this season. Michael has crossing into new levels of annoying and she's clearly going to bring the federation back together while fixing 120 years of shit because no one else is as awesome as her.

Please turn evil Goergioi into original Georgiou and make her captain before Saru is turned into a joke.

Oh. 0 stars.
Lt Jack
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 7:53pm (UTC -5)
@Bob

Haha yeah my thoughts exactly.

@grey

Definitely one of the worst Star Trek Episodes ever. Stupid and boring. Bad combination. The mindless action of last week was preferable kinda.

The writing and script is just so bad in this show. So much budget, such a waste.

I flicked to a cheap Netflix show after watching DSC. Some Channel 4 Production from the UK. The acting and script from mostly unknown actors (teenagers too) was vastly superior to DSC - it's just embarrassing.

0.5 stars for Saru's scenes. The rest can be erased from my mind with some year 3000+ tech.
Skye Francis-maidstone
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 8:00pm (UTC -5)
@Paul M

I think of Sarah Michelle Gellar. Buffy was a big thing when I was a teen.

Sarah would be an improvement on SMG's Michael. But that isn't saying much.

I don't want to hate on her. SMG is actually ok when she's doing normal scenes and acting more like a 21st century person would. But when she has to do a vaguely emotional scene she just hits it with a shovel. No subtley. I never minded when Avery Brooks or Shatner chewed the scenery a bit personally. But she takes it to a whole new level.

Sub Machine Gun works too though. Ok.. back to CoD on the PS5...
MidshipmanNorris
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 9:12pm (UTC -5)
@Cynic

"Re: The Nixon-esque tape recording of Spock from "Unification II," Data was present for that conversation. There's little doubt he recorded everything and per PIC, all you need is one engram to get the whole thing. "

I do think you're forgetting that [SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT]

...


...


...


... Picard is an android now.
MidshipmanNorris
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 9:15pm (UTC -5)
@PaulM

"Okay, whenever I see acronym SMG, I think of submachine guns. This is becoming a real problem. "

I just finished replaying a certain fan-translated version of Metal Gear for the MSX and I am having this issue as well. It uses that abbreviation for SubMachine Gun.

Perhaps we could call her deuSubMachina Gun.
The Queen
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 11:27pm (UTC -5)
Picking up on some various comments -

I did have the thought, doesn't Book have any couriering to do any more?

I can't see Jett Reno as First Officer at all. She strikes me as a loner, or at least far more comfortable in a reactive than proactive mode.

I deal with Burnham's tears and whispers by keeping her on mute all the time. ALL the time. You never know when she will strike.

I actually was hoping to see Gabrielle again, but this seemed way too soon.

The emotionalism of the "debate" could be partly attributed to the fact that Romulans are now in the society. Still, that doesn't explain everything.

For me, the most frustrating part of this whole show is that, through interviews in the Ready Room, I get the impression that quite a lot of thought has gone into Burnham especially, and the plot in general, BUT IT DOESN'T COME OUT ON THE SCREEN. The writers just clearly aren't up to their task. I haven't done a lot of research on the Star Trek writers in general, but I do remember reading that the TOS writers at least had what I would call a deeper background in "real" science fiction. The other series had some great writers too, of course. And this was even though many episodes did fail, but overall the quality was there.

I don't know enough about the nuts and bolts of TV production to know how much the directors and various producers affect the quality of the show. I don't even understand why TV shows have so many producers. Doesn't this one have about 12?

I wonder if the age of the franchise is showing. It must be challenging to write a show that has so many prior constraints on it. And every new Star Trek series adds more. They're obviously trying to do fan service, but is that a good idea? I don't remember that Next Generation and DS9 made such an issue of it (I haven't watched Voyager in decades).

I also wonder if the current fad of comic-book and fantasy shows all over the place is part of what's drawing the show away from the old-time Star Trek feel. I haven't watched any of those shows - nothing since Babylon 5 and Firefly - but it seems like everything is about superheroes now. So Michael Burnham has to be one too, or they think people won't watch.

Kurtzman, I think it was, clearly said that Discovery would be action-oriented and Picard would be character-oriented, apparently to clearly differentiate them. I don't really understand why he thought that was necessary, but it sure explains the weakness of this show.

Both shows were always intended to be "fully serialized" along the lines of Babylon 5, but it doesn't seem to be working well for Discovery. The writing is rushed, as if they're trying to accomplish too much. They wanted to make a show that focused on a character who wasn't the captain, but face it, she IS the captain in all but name. All the other Treks had lead characters with more, and more varied, acting experience, and all but Bakula had even done Shakespeare. (I may be wrong about Bakula; I just quickly researched this stuff.)

I guess what I'm saying is that all of what should be the pillars of a good show seem weak here. Producers and writers who are more in tune with comic books than real science fiction. Directors some of whom aren't even familiar with the franchise. A lead actor with less than stellar experience (say what you will about Shatner, he'd done some Shakespeare and plenty of other TV work and was fairly well respected). All trying to function in a fiercely loved fictional world that literally inspired millions of fans. It's not surprising that they're having trouble.

So I keep watching, agreeing about the many flaws, but hoping they can pull it off. But I sure miss D.C. Fontana.
Tommy D.
Sun, Nov 29, 2020, 12:32am (UTC -5)
@MidshipmanNorris

"I just finished replaying a certain fan-translated version of Metal Gear for the MSX"

Off topic but I'm curious about this if you don't mind sharing.
Ralf
Sun, Nov 29, 2020, 2:23am (UTC -5)
The selection of Tilly as "Number One" (I won't call it a promotion, since her rank didn't change) is just one of the many baffling rank/heirarchy/duty inconsistencies in this series - albeit the most high profile.

What duty has been assigned to Cmdr. Reno, an engineer, working with (under?) scientist Lt. Cmdr. Stamets? Does the ship have a chief engineer?

Now that Cmdr. Nhan has left (without either saying goodbye to her comrades, or packing a suitcase or even just her toothbrush), who is the chief of security? Does anybody on Discovery care? Do we?

Cmdr. Georgiou was recruited to help in the war against the Klingons and then (with her current rank) in Section 31. What's her job on this ship? Does she report for duty every morning at 07:00?

This is just a small sample of the many (many, many) things, big and little that distract me while watching an average episode of this series. My suspension of disbelief is repeatedly interrupted and I am constantly reminded that I am indeed watching a bunch of actors akwardly reciting a poor script.

Funnily enough, its low quality turned watching STD into a little family event: we gather each week to make fun of the series, instead of to have fun with it, constantly pausing and commenting instead of being sucked into the story and forgetting that we are together on the couch.
Booming
Sun, Nov 29, 2020, 3:16am (UTC -5)
@Maq
What are you? a pirate?? Wouldn't it be nice if women could finally get into the pirate business. Maybe even have there own ships. Sure pirates already are well dressed but still, it would be nice.

@The Queen
"I don't even understand why TV shows have so many producers. Doesn't this one have about 12?"
Make that 20. Why that is needed, no idea. Maybe they thought too many cooks spoil the broth so if they have more than too many producers then it has to work.

"I wonder if the age of the franchise is showing."
I don't think producers research the fan service stuff but creating a cinematic universe is the golden goose. The problem with this is that so far NuTrek hasn't created anything fans really liked so dropping the warrior nuns into Discovery feels weird. Also the Marvel movies always winked a little at their own silliness, so when you have something like Hydra people chuckle. NuTrek on the other hand thinks that it is extremely relevant and important. Sadly, it seems that the writers are horribly out of touch with actual issues or are incompetent. Take your pick.

"I don't really understand why he thought that was necessary, but it sure explains the weakness of this show."
Kurtzman is the classic hollywood phenomenon. Hollywood is about continuously fabricating success but nobody really knows what makes something work and another thing flop. That is were Kurtzman comes in. He had two or three successful movies and one or two shows at the beginning of his career (Transformer movies mostly, shows pretty lowbrow) and he is riding that wave to retirement. Because they always think "the next one could be successful again".

"she IS the captain in all but name. All the other Treks had lead characters with more, and more varied, acting experience, "
Agreed on both points but I think choosing Martin-Greene who is not a good actor but very good looking is not a mistake in their view. Her acting in Discovery is telenovela level bad. I think it could be aimed at teenagers who want no subtly but clarity. Say what you will but her acting is so obvious in what it wants to convey. One always knows: "Burnham is hurt, Burnham is sad, Burnham is happy." There is never a moment were she is subtle or nuanced. The audience always knows 100% what her emotional state is and after three seasons I think that this is by design. The show is obvious and doesn't challenge the audience. It is fast food, easy to consume. The only memorable things for me are the really stupid parts, like Pike watching an antimatter explosion through a window.

For a short moment (again) I had hope for this show but it fell back into its condescending self. This show doesn't respect it's audience.

I really disliked Picard because it basically destroyed Star Trek and will therefore not watch season 2.

I gave them one last chance because I was interested what they would do with the new setting. The new tech is laughable, by he way. Programmable matter, I remember were I first saw that. In a Transformer movie. (I watched the forth or fifth one because at that point these movies are parodies of themselves)

I never had to stop an episode of Star Trek because I was so appalled by it, STP (stardust city rag) and STD's earlier seasons came close a few times but now the bow broke...

Maybe the last 3 episodes of season 3 will be amazing but if that is not the case then I will not watch season 4.

Luckily I can say that I'm not bitter about it.
It is not for me.
MarkG
Sun, Nov 29, 2020, 6:05am (UTC -5)
@Ralf

Book has a) provided support to Starfleet by helping Burnham survive for a year and look for the source of the Burn, and his ship saved Discovery in the second episode of this season. And then b) provided more intel on the Burn (the “black box”).

So I think he has earned his shuttle bay docking privileges. ;)
MarkG
Sun, Nov 29, 2020, 6:15am (UTC -5)
A note about Vulcans in Discovery and logic

These are not the TOS or TNG Vulcans. They are now a mix of Vulcans and Romulans, with 3 factions (as shown in the episode) that are trying to find a balance. Romulans were never about “all logic” so there will be differences. The first priority of these “NuVulcans” seem to be to maintain the unification of their originating peoples.
Tomalak
Sun, Nov 29, 2020, 10:22am (UTC -5)
Pro tip for the Discovery writers. The word momentarily means "for a moment" not "in a moment", as they apparently think. If I momentarily distract you it means that I do it for a second or so, not that I will do it in a second or so from now.
Mike C
Sun, Nov 29, 2020, 10:50am (UTC -5)
“The word momentarily means "for a moment" not "in a moment", as they apparently think. If I momentarily distract you it means that I do it for a second or so, not that I will do it in a second or so from now.”

Both uses are acceptable.
Dogcat
Sun, Nov 29, 2020, 12:12pm (UTC -5)
@Tomalak come on man, read a dictionary or something.
MidshipmanNorris
Sun, Nov 29, 2020, 12:27pm (UTC -5)
@Tommy D.

"Off topic but I'm curious about this if you don't mind sharing. "

Metal Gear came out on the MSX computer in 1987, but was only released at that time in Japan. It had a European Version that did have English as a selectable language, but it was very "off."

The Modern Version (which came out in some kind of collection on the PS2 a long time ago) is available for cheap at GOG.com (https://www.gog.com/game/metal_gear). It has a re-done font and a re-written script (which I don't like). I picked that up (so I wouldn't be pirate-y, arr), then located and played through a fan-translated version that is just a patch that goes over the MSX version, mostly because I don't much care for the newly re-written version.

Writing snob, yeah, guilty ;) Hehe.

But if you mean about Metal Gear in general, it's about a nuclear-equipped walking battle tank that enables first strike capability for whoever happens to be in possession of it, and a Special Forces Unit called Fox Hound that sends in a lone operative to infiltrate, locate captured POWs, and destroy Metal Gear.

That operative, Solid Snake, is heavily based off of Kurt Russel's character, Snake Plisken, from John Carpenter's "Escape From New York."
Dave in MN
Sun, Nov 29, 2020, 12:45pm (UTC -5)
Both usages are valid:

The lightning flashed, casting a glow over the room momentarily.

I'll be with with you momentarily.

One definition implies a brief singular period of time that has passed, the other implies a short duration UNTIL something happens.
Dave in MN
Sun, Nov 29, 2020, 12:47pm (UTC -5)
Also, adverbs are weeds in the garden of language. Pluck out as many as possible!
Red D
Sun, Nov 29, 2020, 1:56pm (UTC -5)
Brandon - I feel the same, no sense of "shipness" at all. Does anyone really imagine themselves wanting to serve on Discovery the way we did with the Enterprise in TNG or Voyager? The crew does not inspire you at all.
Tommy D.
Sun, Nov 29, 2020, 4:41pm (UTC -5)
@MidshipmanNorris

I should have written that I'm very familiar with Metal Gear, its probably one of my favorite franchises in gaming. I used to have every series 1 McFarlane figure (and all variants) and I think I still have close to the full set of comics from IDW.

I have the MSX version on multiple platforms, I was just curious as to whether the fan version you had played was more of a "definitive" sort.
The Queen
Sun, Nov 29, 2020, 8:40pm (UTC -5)
Booming -

Picard destroyed Star Trek for you by . . . . . . .?

If you mean by making him an android, then yeah. I'm going to watch the new season to see what they plan to do with that, but it worries me.
Zulu
Sun, Nov 29, 2020, 8:50pm (UTC -5)
Picard's android body spoiled Star Trek for you? I feel for you, but that's just silly. Does his original body have some amazing, special power that a mechanical body doesn't? Does yours? I don't know about your body but mine is basically just a machine.
Trent
Sun, Nov 29, 2020, 8:58pm (UTC -5)
This episode was written by Kirsten Beyer, who wrote the worst episode of "Picard", was responsible for shoehorning into that show several of its worst ideas (7of9 et al), and writes amateurish Trek novels which read like bad fan-fiction.

No surprise, then, that this episode resurrects everything wrong with season 1 and 2 of Discovery. And so we get:

1. A wildly emotional Michael Burnham, who's constantly crying, whining, pleading and over-emoting.

2. Awful dialogue in which characters talk past one another, speak in stilted or unnatural ways, over-explain things for the audience, or clunkily use speech to make explicit the inner psychology of themselves or others.

3. A complete absence of subtlety or nuance, everything laid on thick, and then over-scored with heavy-handed music. There's no showing instead of telling here.

4. Constant reminders that Michael is related to Spock, is related to the Red Angel, has repeatedly saved the universe and is generally the Center of the Universe.

Stop reminding us of bad writing! Season 3 has mostly allowed us to pretend that we've witnessed a clean break from the past, but such illusions come crashing down with this episode. Scenes in which Vulcans orgasm at the name Michael Burnham, or where Michael weeps over holovids of Spock, or in which Michael reminds everyone that she's saved all biological life, are particularly cringey.

5. Shock character walk-ons, typified here by the sudden appearance of Michael's mother. To make matters worse, she's a Space Ninja who belongs to the Absolute Candor (a ridiculous phrase) movement, and so spends all of this episode walking around in a silly ninja outfit and carrying a sword. Even worse, Michael's mother - a woman who surely owes her troubled daughter some semblance of a childhood, not to mention a mother - cynically disappears once the episode is over.

6. Call backs as a substitute for good writing. This episode mentions Picard, brings back Leonard Nimoy, flashes back to young bearded Spock, reminds us of the Qowat Milat, brings back Michael's Mom, references Unification, wishes to be the new Amok Time, references JJ Trek etc etc. This kind of thing - self-satisfied and overly proud of its fanboy knowledge - is typical of bad writing, and the kinds of novels Beyer writes.

7. Incessant info-dumping, in which exposition is not just used to further plot, but to "psychoanalyse" and "explain" Michael's behavior. None of this psychoanalysis is believable, natural, and even if it were, serves only to retroactively justify bad writing in season's 1 or 2.

It doesn't matter what "motivates" Michael to punch Mirror Universe villains, or start a war with the Klingons, or fly an Iron Man suit. These things are stupid. You can't add depth to stupid. You can't "textualize" and add "psychological nuance" to stupid tropes. Stop bringing that stuff up. Sweep it under the carpet and forget about it, which is what show-runner Michelle Paradise had been doing up to this point.

8. Wildly sentimental and saccharine scenes, such as those in which the crew once again huddle, hug and cheer Tilly, or where Saru tells Tilly how special she is, or where Stamets tells Tilly how special she is, or where Detmers and Bryce tell Tilly how special she is. And then they all cry. And then Michael arrives and they cry some more. And then cry some more.

It's too much. Every episode seems to have such hysterics.

9. Silly Villain-of-the-Week caricatures, in this case a trio of Romulans and Vulcans who spar with Michael, act all mean and combative, until they're magically swayed by Michael's emotional honesty. Scenes in which their faces soften with warmth and pride, as Michael bares her soul, are particularly cringey.

10. Nonsensical world-building, like having Stamets still be needed for the Spore Jumps, when 800 years prior it was said a supercomputer could calculate the jumps, it's just slower (the technology doesn't exist now, in the year 3188, for a computer to take over?).

Or like by having Tilly made Number One, when clearly this was decided because none of the actors with major speaking rules could be ripped from their positions (Stamets needs to be in engineering, Culber in sickbay, Detmers at the helm etc). The show literally had no other major character to turn to other than Evil Phillipa. And so like everything else in this episode, the text retroactively exists to justify decisions that have already been made. Connect-the-dot art.

11. Bad buzz words, most notably "The Burn", which is fine when spoken by the Federation or slang-talking mercenaries in the middle of nowhere. But Romulan and Vulcan officials and scientists saying "The Burn" is just unintentionally hilarious. They'd have other, more local phrases.

12. Constant fawning over the Federation. Did TNG, the most idealistic Trek series, gush over the Federation as much as "Discovery" does? The Federation of Michael's era, and even Kirk's era, was not a beacon of light sufficient enough to warrant Michael's constant passionate speechifying. All Michael knows is war, death, abandonment, Mirror Universes, Control and Federation missions to plant WMDs under planets. Why's she always crying like a religious fundamentalist over the Federation's sweet sweet ideals?

I would say this is a really bad and contrived episode. First, Michael is the "only one" brave enough to find the Burn data. Then Michael is the "only one" who can go and convince the Vulcans. Then Michael is the "only one" who can pull a deus-ex-machina ritual out of her butt. Then when all hope is lost, Michael's the "only one" who's mom just happens to turn up. And Michael's mom is the "only one" who can remind the Vulcans that her daughter was the one who saved the universe. And then Michael's the "only one" who can seduce the Burn data away from the Vulcans - an emotionally repressed race - by being the "only one" who can melt their hearts with her crying and sobbing.

Imagine this episode as a episode of TNG:

PICARD: We need your Burn data, and wish to compare it to ours.
VULCAN: We don't trust the Federation. Go away.
PICARD: I propose we set up an independent committee, composed entirely of Vulcan personnel, and 1 Federation scientist, who will examine both sets of data under your watchful supervision. Our scientist will remain with you, under house arrest, for as long as you deem fit. For their whole lives, if necessary. Whether they share subsequent findings with us is entirely up to you. We wish only the opportunity to convince you.
VULCAN: That is logical. Proceed.
PICARD: I also prepared a little emotional breakdown and-
VULCAN: PROCEED!
Skye Francis-maidstone
Sun, Nov 29, 2020, 9:03pm (UTC -5)
Whatever PIC or did not do it assembled a far superior collection of actors for the crew. Kind or unknowns can work of course but it isn't for DSC. I've only seen SMG in The Walking Dead as a semi main character (she was ok).

And, as characters, even though they weren't even all Star Fleet I'd personally far rather join them than the DSC crew.

Most of the bridge crew are lucky to get a line person episode ("Ay!" "Say yes!") so maybe its a little unfair to rate their acting. Stamets is dreadful, SMG is beyond unbearable now. Saru is a shining beacon. Culber is doing soapy acting. Tilly flits between acting like a child but is ok when not. Georgiou is a wasted actress playing a cartoon character.

It's not like VOY, TNG, DS9 and ENT had a full roster of stellar actors but they were a cut above DSCs cast. But who knows.. maybe its the scripts or the 37 producers.
Skye Francis-maidstone
Sun, Nov 29, 2020, 9:10pm (UTC -5)
@trent

That was a good read. Agree entirely.

How many stars? Out of curiosity. People often rip DSC a new one then end with 2 out of 4 stars. Rather odd.
Trent
Sun, Nov 29, 2020, 9:36pm (UTC -5)
Slacker said: "I wonder if that very saccharine personal/emotional approach is something they have found via focus group (as alluded to upthread) resonates with today's audiences? Or is it just the predilection of this writing staff?"

I think "Discovery's" writers just aren't familiar with nautical fiction, and none have actually served in the military.

TOS had a lot of ex military men on the writing team, TNG strove hard to feel like a professional ship-of-the-line, and Ira Behr's a big war/history buff.

This lent those past shows a bedrock of realism and professionalism. I mean, Kirk finds Abe Lincoln floating through space, and barely batted an eyelid. If Michael saw that, she'd have a mental breakdown.


Skye-Francis said: "I'm finding this season really hard to get through now and all my initial enthusiasm for DSC has now gone."

All the bad writers are gone now. Kurtzman (pilot) and Kirsten Beyer (this episode) were the worst writers in this season's line up. It's now decent writers from here to the end. And two more episodes will be directed by Frakes.
Tom
Sun, Nov 29, 2020, 10:33pm (UTC -5)
I think the difference between DSC and the older incarnations like TOS, TNG and DS9 is the shift away from any pretense of intellectualism, towards emotional impact. For better or worse, in TOS or TNG this episode (a typical "trial" setting) would have hinged upon certain issues which are solved in a rational, logical and impersonal way.

Here, there is talk ABOUT logic with very little of it employed in the trial. The situation is resolved because essentially the Vulcans/Romulans resonate emotionally with Michael's plight. Whether this is intentional to cater to more modern tastes or a matter of the writers not having the skill to navigate intellectual issues, I do not know.

However, the producers/writers are mistaken if they equate the intellectualism of past Treks with lack of emotional resonance or accessibility to modern audiences.
Booming
Mon, Nov 30, 2020, 3:26am (UTC -5)
@The Queen
"Picard destroyed Star Trek for you by . . . . . . .?

If you mean by making him an android, then yeah. I'm going to watch the new season to see what they plan to do with that, but it worries me."

Oh no. Picard being an android was just the icing on the cake of darkness. On a philosophical level, or maybe thematically, I still dislike STP more than Discovery. Even though Discovery is the worse show from a pure cinematic standpoint. STP destroyed Star Trek. And I don't mean the horribly botched storylines like the Romulans who were the refugee stand-ins being the villains or the androids who represented persecuted minorities trying to commit galaxy wide genocide. No, that was terrible but what was more world smashing was that they showed us that in the span of 30? years the Federation turned from basically the most positive version of humanity into a realm full of racist xenophobes, with classism, drug abuse and Fox News. Almost like a bizarro version of the Federation. I even read a comment from a producer or writer (don't remember which) "that what we saw in TNG was only one side of the coin and that all those horrible things we see on STP were always there". Kind of like this
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rObSWkQA7og&ab_channel=Ferrybad77

So yeah TNG or TOS were just pleasure cruises for the upper class. While the rest of the Federation was dealing with shitty replicators, unfulfilling jobs and pollution. And for what? To get their shitty streaming service going.

@Trent
"I mean, Kirk finds Abe Lincoln floating through space, and barely batted an eyelid. If Michael saw that, she'd have a mental breakdown."
Hahahaha, ok you successfully outbitched me. :D

@Tom
"Whether this is intentional to cater to more modern tastes or a matter of the writers not having the skill to navigate intellectual issues, I do not know."
This is by design, I think. It is far easier to connect with a show emotionally than intellectually. Star Trek was always had it's emotional beats, even the more emotional episodes had their intellectual parts sprinkled in. That seems to be gone for the most part. Many people are insecure about their intellectual capabilities. If you reduce the intellectual content then people will have less "I don't understand this" moments. That is why I wrote in another post that NuTrek doesn't respect it's audience. They will never challenge the audience intellectually. I at least cannot remember when they have done that.
wanderer2575
Mon, Nov 30, 2020, 11:36am (UTC -5)
Guess we're gonna have to rethink all those times Harry Kim was in command during night shifts.
Booming
Mon, Nov 30, 2020, 12:07pm (UTC -5)
@wanderer2575
Not really. Some people complained that Kim stayed ensign the entire time but that is actually accurate. A captain cannot promote somebody. To an acting position maybe but then Janeway would have to promote everybody to some form of acting. If it would have been possible to promote him, he would have, at the end of voyager, probably been Lt. senior grade which is sufficient for a night shift command post. Especially considering the manpower shortage. So having him command the ship is understandable.
sjan
Mon, Nov 30, 2020, 12:58pm (UTC -5)
This show is such a disgrace to the patient storytelling of shows like TNG or Deep Space Nine. The emotions are fake, the stories are melodramatic, and there is no sense that these are real people carrying out their lives in deep space. Science fiction uniquely allows us to broaden our thinking: there is no imagination in this show, no sense of real drama or stakes. It's a wonder that a show about a drug dealer making meth in barren Albequerque New Mexico is more transportive and optimistic about human potential than a show set among the stars.
The Queen
Mon, Nov 30, 2020, 1:48pm (UTC -5)
Zulu - The Android Picard didn't turn me off from that show. I can still be persuaded if they come up with a good second season. I was asking Booming if that was what he disliked about it.

Trent - Loved the TNG episode Unification III. You should write for Disco.

Sjan - "Patient" storytelling, Yes! That's what's missing.

Since several people have mentioned that SMG was "good" or "okay" in The Walking Dead, I watched a few episodes last night as I've never seen that show. And I agree, she was fine. But her role was really minor and I was surprised that she was picked to go directly from that to a lead role. She did have her whispering quirk even in that show, but not nearly as noticeable.

I only watched eppies from the fifth season, because all the gore would never be enjoyable for me, but I was impressed by the quality of the show. Both the acting and the writing were uniformly good. The directing seemed uniformly good; I especially liked that there were often scenes with no dialogue at all, and no music either. You could just watch without being told how you should feel. And there was none of the intrusive camera work that both ST: Picard and Discovery have - SUCH a relief. I also greatly enjoyed the ensemble style.

So I have a couple of questions for people familiar with that show: Which is more typical of fantasy/scifi television these days, TWD or Disco? As far as the overall production style/camera work/treatment of characters? And, does SMG have a bigger role in later seasons, or is the 5th season typical?

I don't mean to get off the track, but from what I saw it seems like SMG was always going to be over her head in the Michael Burnham role, and she's obviously getting no help from directing.
Z
Mon, Nov 30, 2020, 1:48pm (UTC -5)
Wow! Well that was bad. Talk about nose diving off a cliff. I thought this season was starting strong, but so many facepalm moments in the past three episodes. Then this gem of an episode has sealed the deal and my most feared synopsis: The writers have learned nothing from their previous mistakes and are actively dismantling Trek.

Horrible writing. Even worse is when you watch Discovery then Mandalorian the next day, you are reminded just how bad the Trek universe is right now. We need new creative direction, please Disney buy Trek!
dave
Mon, Nov 30, 2020, 2:16pm (UTC -5)
One point I would like to say about the writing.

They are not writing this show with "us" in mind. The old Trek fans who go back 10,20,30+ years. They are trying to write for an 18-34 type of demo that doesn't have the reverence for Trek and its way of telling stories. They put in all the links to past Treks to keep the old fans on board, but they really want to target something new.

Picard was an absolute clear example of that, and why it was such a mess for anyone seeking TNG style. Discovery seems to have recognized this and looked for a hybrid between the two and so I would say season 3 is far and away their best so far.

I like SMG to be honest; a lot of the heat she gets is the material she is given more than anything else, and that the show writes her as the cause and solution to everything. In saying that, Rosario Dawson just put on an acting clininc in the Mandalorian this past week so I don't think it is fair to compare SMG to her at all. Would have been nice to have her on the series of course!
Booming
Mon, Nov 30, 2020, 2:23pm (UTC -5)
@ The Queen
That really depends on what you mean with typical. Milking a show to death TWD certainly did that. I think I jumped ship in season 6 or 7 which was far later than I planed. In what way these shows are typical I cannot really judge though.

If you like silent scenes then TWD has a great one. No gore. season 3 ep 10 the beginning. I really love it. It is so sweet. It is great visual storytelling.

---- spoiler ---- explanation for what that scene means:
Rick lost his wife in a very gruesome way and under very bad circumstances and is starting to lose it because of that. In that episode he is running around seeing his dead wife and he even openly, almost jokingly admits to the others that somebody else has to lead because he is seeing things.
Red D
Mon, Nov 30, 2020, 4:43pm (UTC -5)
@trent - I am literally applauding your breakdown of this episode. A superb summary of this godawful episode!
Tommy D.
Tue, Dec 1, 2020, 12:08am (UTC -5)
@dave

Personally, I prefer that the writers don't write for "us". Writing for "us" eventually sank the Trek ship the first time.

@Booming

TWD best season is 2. Yes. Darabont's vision :)

@Skye Francis-maidstone

"People often rip DSC a new one then end with 2 out of 4 stars. Rather odd."

Criticism is probably the cheapest and most effective commodity on the Internet. I think people are actually more uncomfortable with pointing out things they liked vs being critical, which I find somewhat odd, but not unsurprising.
Booming
Tue, Dec 1, 2020, 3:32am (UTC -5)
@Tommy D
I don't remember when the quality really started to dip. Maybe with the arrival of Negan. In season 4 or 5 the went into this holding pattern and just flew gory circles.

". I think people are actually more uncomfortable with pointing out things they liked vs being critical, which I find somewhat odd, but not unsurprising."
Three questions. Why do you think that? Why do you find that odd? And why does that not surprise you?
MarkG
Tue, Dec 1, 2020, 4:40am (UTC -5)
@Booming
Just to add to what you wrote:
regarding the rank of Harry Kim via Memory Alpha
>> In the Voyager relaunch book series, Kim gets back together with Libby and is promoted to full lieutenant (like many of his crewmates, Kim is promoted two steps in rank, to make up for the time spent in the Delta Quadrant where he could not normally receive promotions).
Booming
Tue, Dec 1, 2020, 5:37am (UTC -5)
@Mark G
Nice to see that at least in the Star Trek apocrypha they understand how an organization like Starfleet works. People lose it about Tilly but there were quite a few instances were the writers already showed that they have no idea how an hierarchical organization like Starfleet would work.

- First case was Burnham's reinstatement from dishonorably discharged back to commander. That made zero minus a million sense. She got discharged for a mutiny and then basically as a private citizen/prisoner willfully unravels Starfleet's plans (planting a bomb) and for that gets her rank back and is reinstated as first officer. She gets demoted for disobeying order and then gets reinstated for basically doing the same.

- The second thing was Admiral Clancy (and now the new admiral) being a five star admiral. Because the writer cannot fathom that a (quasi) military organization differentiates between rank and position or they thought that the audience was too stupid to understand that or too lazy too find out themselves. You can be head of Starfleet which gives you certain rights and duties but you don't need a higher rank for that than other four star admirals. Having only one person with that rank who gets that rank because of the position makes no sense. I guess most people will not understand or care about this but I find it vexing because it shows me that the writers just don't care or understand why modern militarys have five star/marshal ranks, normally to signify that these officers are supreme when commanding allied troops.

So promoting Tilly is just another peak in the complete lack of understanding how these kinds of organizations work. This time it is just so gratuitous that most call BS on it but the signs were there long before.
Chris L.
Tue, Dec 1, 2020, 12:13pm (UTC -5)
@trent -

I think you are the first to mention it, but I am glad I am not alone in finding the "invocation of ancient point of order requiring a response" thing was a bit jarring.

I immediately started thinking: What academic or procedural traditions do we have that have been around, relatively unchanged for 800+ years? Almost none. Why should we believe they would have even heard about that procedural thing?

Traditions and bureaucratic procedures tend to evolve rather quickly with the times unless they have a religious quality to them. Some religious ceremonies (like communion, or a bar mitzvah, for example) are relatively steady, but they are the rare exception. Even then, I can't imagine going into a Catholic church for a service circa 1100 AD would be the same experience as it is today, even if it would be recognizable.

I was willing to let it slide because I was happy to get a 'courtroom' style show. But yeah, I have to agree with most of your criticisms. Still, seeing Burnham get chewed out and called out for all her selfish nonsense made it worth watching and got a couple stars from me for that alone. Even though nothing about the rest of it made any sense, including the very illogical decision to give her the data.
grey cat
Tue, Dec 1, 2020, 12:31pm (UTC -5)
@Booming

Burnham's mutiny and then getting released to be science officer for Lorca was weird but I saw it as a rather messy and rushed redemption. Since she was supposed to be so amazing at everything being, Spock's sister an was unable to save the universe... it sort of made sense (ok it didn't but she's the main character) so I kind of let it slide. And Lorca was shadey anyway.

Her repeatedly disobeying orders and doing her own thing is deeply annoying but again she's stopped a war and saved all life in the universe.

Now Tilly however is: inexperienced, low ranked, hasn't saved the universe and isn't the sister of someone revered AND isn't meant to be particularly brilliant anything we know of (Science or engineering but then she's not Burnham or Stamets).

So yeah zero sense minus a large imaginary number.

The rest of the crew better try and get on another ship asap if they want any realistic career progression. In 2020 everyone would hate her now. But I guess they're from the 23rd century and are above being that petty.
Booming
Tue, Dec 1, 2020, 1:27pm (UTC -5)
@grey cat
I sometimes wonder if they do all these things to create conflict to stay relevant. Maybe they didn't have a white punani loving guy in the cast this season because of that, maybe they encouraged Mary Weissman to gain weight and now this. Maybe it is on purpose so that people argue about it.

I share your point though. Burnham's thing was pretty nonsensical but Tilly's was lunacy. Will they top it in some way? Make Adira captain maybe? Tilly becomes head of starfleet, of course.
And yes, the crew should get out quick. All these group hugs sooner or later will lead to some nasty space corona infection.
John Harmon
Tue, Dec 1, 2020, 2:49pm (UTC -5)
“Burnham's mutiny and then getting released to be science officer for Lorca was weird but I saw it as a rather messy and rushed redemption.”

Well...yeah. That’s the entire point of the criticism. It was rushed and messy and nonsensical. Like...that is the critique. It’s poor writing.
grey cat
Tue, Dec 1, 2020, 3:52pm (UTC -5)
@john harmon

I agree about the writing. I was making the point that I found the Tilly promotion the worse of the 2 evils.
zanki
Wed, Dec 2, 2020, 8:17am (UTC -5)
@Tom
''For better or worse, in TOS or TNG this episode (a typical "trial" setting) would have hinged upon certain issues which are solved in a rational, logical and impersonal way.

Here, there is talk ABOUT logic with very little of it employed in the trial. The situation is resolved because essentially the Vulcans/Romulans resonate emotionally with Michael's plight. Whether this is intentional to cater to more modern tastes or a matter of the writers not having the skill to navigate intellectual issues, I do not know.''

I'm glad someone noticed this , after I would say 3 strong episodes , this one just falls flat. Once again Disco falls back into Kurtzman logic , Tilly gets promoted to acting commander that has Garrett Wang on suicide watch . Everything must start and end with Burnham , a plot concept that is rather hurting the show and diminishing every other character and story arcs .....as they did with Spock's implication in Unification , all of a sudden Burhnam seems like the master architect of Unification, because she told Spock '' how to think and see the Universe'' . That trial scene was everything but logical , felt like a plastic set up for instant '' drama '' , no build up or pivotal rebuttal like in the Drumhead or Mesure of a Man .

At this point Im rather interested in how Saru is handling his duties as captain, the eventual problem with Georgiu , I don't mind the engineering crew , hell i'll settle for an episode of Tilly screwing up command and learning from it. Safe to say I'm nauseated by '' Micheal Burham Controls the Universe '' (sorry Andy Richter) .
Yair
Wed, Dec 2, 2020, 12:04pm (UTC -5)
@Booming,

"You can be head of Starfleet which gives you certain rights and duties but you don't need a higher rank for that than other four star admirals... Having only one person with that rank who gets that rank because of the position makes no sense..."

It's uncommon, but this can exist in real military organizations. e.g. The Israeli CDS is the only active Rav Aluf. Singapore's Chief of Defence Force is the only active Lieutenant-General. These are small armies (which is why the 'highest' rank is a 3-star) but still.

Tilly as XO of course makes no sense, but I don't think this episode or Kirsten Beyer should be blamed for it. That promotion must have been dictated by the showrunners themselves, not just a whim of Beyer. How can a writer possibly make *that* look remotely convincing - and within the timelimit of the B-Plot of a single episode? The writer was forced to do something stupid, and having a script which highlights the absurdity was the best of it, which still isn't much.

DIS's serialization and cast choices tend to bring it down, and apparently Paradise didn't fix it all. One may still hope the season doesn't collapse into a silly plot like S2 did.
Booming
Wed, Dec 2, 2020, 1:37pm (UTC -5)
@Yair
Ok, the Israeli case is special because for a strongly militarized society it is very important to have strong emotional connection to the leader of the armed forces. Especially signifying this is understandable even though I wonder how they deal with the successor problem or is the officer who is Rav Aluf that until he reaches the retirement age and then replaced by another Rav Aluf? I guess as long as they are not part of any international military alliances that is only an organizational problem (The Rav Aluf could become something like Nato commander which would mean that there are several active duty generals with three stars). It is of course also a risk to give the highest military leader such a high profile in a democratic society. But I think you agree that it is an extreme oddity for democratic states to have such a position. I really don't know anything about Singapore.

" but I don't think this episode or Kirsten Beyer should be blamed for it."
Blaming Kirsten Beyer is just so much easier, considering she already wrote the awful Stardust city rag. Who wants to write Kurtzman all the time?

"One may still hope the season doesn't collapse into a silly plot like S2 did."
Well switch on your detached nacelles, heat up the programmable matter and let's see. :)
MidshipmanNorris
Wed, Dec 2, 2020, 1:43pm (UTC -5)
I wonder if the pacing of the show has to do with how much more commercials are going to air alongside it than back when TNG, DS9, VOY were on the air?

Think about it. Every second counts in a show...That's why they're called moving pictures. You can pause it but the shows are by nature designed to run without stopping until the show is over, however. A lot more time is devoted to ads that will play in between the show... Even now. You can purchase the ability to disable ads, but if you don't, then you have to watch them (even if like me you just mute them).

... Now feel free to correct me if I'm wrong but there are more and longer commercials that waste tons of airtime with things like the warning fine print on pharmeceuticals and large chain promotionals these days, than there were in the days of the previous shows.

Due to that, and due to the new show generally not debuting to quite as much fanfare as the previous installments in the series (let's all remember for a second that CBS essentially has strong-armed people into subscribing to their service on the strength of *this particular show), I wonder if the two things combine to not only make the show less confident in its ability to retain its fanbase, but also have less time to do things in, than previous Star Trek shows.

If you think about it, doing a serialized show such as this, in this day and age, has a lot of logistical problems that previous shows weren't quite so necessarily dealing with, and it was intended to reach a certain percentage of the possible audience that CBS has no doubt done countless studies on prior to greenlighting the series (we want to carve out this much of so-and-so-streaming company's market and transfer them to ours, etc etc timeframes and spreadsheets, all the spreadsheets), as opposed to the days of broadcast TV's dominance, when it was generally aimed at "whoever is watching TV tonight," which, let's face it is a very big audience to play to.

Thusly, ST:DISCO has a problem that is rather Gordian in nature... How do you take something based on a show for the general audience of "everybody", and shape it into something that will aim for the specific needs of this show, as defined by an entirely different set of rules?

The tl;dr thing is that overthinking things in the entertainment industry today is way more rampant than you or I or anyone would think, I bet.

Star Trek originally was a procedural show not unlike detective dramas that Gene Roddenberry once wrote for. These two genres have widely diverged in the meantime: Sci-Fi very much went its own way, but it seems like ST:DISCO is still bearing some of the trappings of those kinds of dramas, and it's needlessly devoting itself to their tropes and anchors (sorry for the, uh, nautical pun), and sort of kneecapping itself from the get-go.
Frank A. Booze
Wed, Dec 2, 2020, 6:12pm (UTC -5)
What is more unbelievable? Tilly from ensign to first officer? Or Kelvin universe Kirk from cadet to captain?
Stacy
Wed, Dec 2, 2020, 10:13pm (UTC -5)
Long-time reader of Jammer’s site (Jammer I used to follow you on Twitter long time ago, but you are not active anymore) and reviews and I rarely post anything, but the male snark over Michael’s crying has reached such ridiculous proportions that I decided to post this time, I am positive it will NOT be welcome, since this board appears to be dominated by male views. I have reservations about any of the regular posters here being women, if there are any, I am going to guess that they rarely say write, since it has turned into a very unpleasant message board for a woman to read. The blatant prejudice toward Michael as a character and Sonequa Martin-Green as an actor is completely overboard. Talk about crying, and I am not referring to Michael when I say that. Avery Brooks’s acting was overboard to the Nth degree and while there are some criticisms of his acting in the DS9 episodes’ boards, it has not come close to the vitriol Michael or Sonequa Martin-Green receives here.
Get over it, Gentlemen! Strong characters cry, strong women also cry. Not every main character has to live up to your mighty James Kirk, Steve Austin, or James Bond.

Now, let's look at what all the “crying about crying” is about, because I just binged the last three episodes before watching Ep8 coming up in less than 24 hours. Below are the times Michael cries:

Ep5:
Once. At the end when she is leaving Nhan behind and it comes at the heels of one of the best separation dialogues between two friends who may never see each other again. It was warranted and a fabulous scene. I cried too, not that any of the males here would approve. So Michael crying was a problem there? Really Misters?

Ep6:
Once. At the end in another well-written dialogue, Saru conveys his feelings about being betrayed by Michael as he demotes her rank. Again, it’s very warranted, she felt the weight of Saru’s disappointment in her. It bothers people on this site? Really?

Ep7:
Twice. First when she talks to her mother to say goobye again following the hearing. Again, it’s warranted. She found her after almost two years in her time, after thinking that she may never see her again, ever! And following a charged hearing she has to say goodbye to her again. That deserves the incessant snarks? Really Sirs?
Second, when Tilly is welcomed by the rest of the crew as Number One and Michael observes her happiness and cries after Tilly expresses her appreciation of what Michael has done for her. Not one of my favorite scenes, for sure, but Michael’s crying is once again warranted in that situation, knowing her good friend has achieved comething she has dreamed of all her life. Criticize the writing of the scene, but mocking Michael’s crying? Really?

So that’s it? Four scenes in four episodes of Michael crying and men here are all crying about her crying? Talk about irony.

Moreover, as a woman, I’d defend the opinion that she held back too much when she realized what Spock has achieved and observed his old self speak in the projection. I would have cried my eyes out right then. Again, when her mother appears for the first time and they hug. She just clinches her eyes in happiness, but no tears? I lost my mother twelve years ago and I still get tears in my eyes when I think deeply about our good memories. Tears would have been coming down my face the moment my mother appeared if I was in her shoes at that moment. But what do I know, as a woman, huh? There are enough male experts on this board who make it clear that I would only receive snarks and mockery if I did. Glad I get to watch Star Trek with a man at home who is apparently exceptional and thinks nothing of the sort. What was the title of Flannery O’Connor’s book?
Artymiss
Wed, Dec 2, 2020, 10:52pm (UTC -5)
@Stacy
Well, I'm definitely not male and can only tell you that the character of Michael Burnham does my bloody head in. I just do not like the character. I do not think this is because she's female but because of how she's written. I have no particular opinions about the actor beyond she's working with the script and direction she's given.

Okay so you are female and emotional, would openly weep etc. Please do not imply all occupants of female bodies are like this as I am not. Also plenty of men would be openly emotional in the situations you describe. It depends on the person. It isn't just gender.
JohnTY
Wed, Dec 2, 2020, 11:18pm (UTC -5)
@Frank A. Booze

Nice comparison.
Mertov
Wed, Dec 2, 2020, 11:24pm (UTC -5)
Dear Stacy,
With all due respect to artymiss, I think your post is spot on. Thank you for your insight. Count me in as an emotional white male, because I also agree that each time Michael cried - the grandiose number of four times in four episodes as you describe - it was justified as you so well explained in your post.
Artymiss, you point out that it is because how she is written, but I believe Stacy's criticism extends well beyond the few people who strictly criticize the character based on writing. There is enough (extreme) snark, as Stacy describes, directed straight at the character the actor herself via the act of crying, not via writing, to justify her post.
Jammer
Wed, Dec 2, 2020, 11:28pm (UTC -5)
Review now posted.
Sen-Sors
Wed, Dec 2, 2020, 11:30pm (UTC -5)
Stacy, I'm pretty sure the most prolific poster on this site (Booming) is a woman. Top 3 at least. It's the internet so you never know, but I generally take people at their word.

Micheal isn't a bad character because she's a woman. It's not even because she cries too much, even though she does; you listed four episodes in a row where she cries, and that's far from the total number of times she's cried over 3 seasons. Has any character in Trek even come close? It doesn't bother me because she's a woman or because crying makes me disgusted because "I'm a man." I cry twice a year at least, I don't give a fuck. It bothers me because having characters constantly crying and hugging and affirming the deep bond they've acquired with people who have had almost zero screen time let alone character development is cheap, lazy and insulting. When did Nahn and Micheal ever bond on-screen? What did we learn about the cyborg woman in any episode other than the one where Micheal spaced her while making the face? The problem isn't that the show tries to have moments of great emotion, the problem is that these moments feel so unearned compared to the soaring music.

Micheal isn't bad because SMG a terrible actress. I'm a fan of TWD and she's fine. She's not particularly stand-out in the roles I've seen, but she is competent.

She's just poorly written, and it's because she's the center of the universe for no reason.
Artymiss
Wed, Dec 2, 2020, 11:35pm (UTC -5)
@Mertov
I actually agree about the snark and don't engage in it.

I really just wanted to point out in my response to @Stacy that I thought the expression of emotion doesn't necessarily relate to gender. @Stacy's post seemed to me to be implying that to be openly emotional was a girl thing. I tend to keep my emotions to myself but have known plenty of emotional men.
Joe
Wed, Dec 2, 2020, 11:41pm (UTC -5)
Hell, when it comes to Tilly, I'm still not sure how there are even fatasses in Starfleet at all, at least among people younger than Admiral age.
Stacy
Wed, Dec 2, 2020, 11:44pm (UTC -5)
I forgot to include that in Ep4 she doesn't cry at all (ha! shocker huh?), thus my count of four in four episodes.

@Artymiss
I respect your view as a woman, but it is not going to change my opinion that this board is largely dominated by male views. The bias is blatant. You blame it on the writing, which is again an opinion I respect but not necessarily share, and I can live with that. However, many snarks I read are not based on writing like Mertov says above. It appears to have turned into a pleasant exercise for some posters to just mock her crying for the sake of it, and that's not fair.
Mertov
Wed, Dec 2, 2020, 11:54pm (UTC -5)
Artymiss, I agree with you that being emotional doesn't relate to gender, although I do believe women in general are more comfortable in showing their emotions, something that men are more reluctant to outwardly show (not me, but that is my observation of men in general). Nonetheless, the constant characterization of Michael as a cry-baby is ridiculous. Sen-Sors for example just used above the expression"constantly crying." I'd assume he didn't mean anything bad by it, but no, she doesn't constantly cry. She cries when it's warranted, and it's not even every episode (episode 4, if I'm to take Stacy at her word, she didn't cry, and I doubt she cried in episode 2 since she was barely in it, I would have to rewatch episodes 1 and 3 to know). There is nothing excessive about her crying, in those scenes, taken in context, they are all justified, that is the most valid point taken from Stacy's post, at least for me.
Dave in MN
Thu, Dec 3, 2020, 12:00am (UTC -5)
I have never personally known a female over the age of 5 who cries as much as Michael does.

Burnham's meltdowns even more ludicrous when you consider she spent much of her childhood in Vulcan and is (supposedly) trained in their methods of logic and emotiional control.

Her overt emoting is incongruous with her backstory. It stands out because it makes no sense .... and it makes less sense every time she does it.

She behaves like she was raised Lwaxana Troi, not Sarek.
Mertov
Thu, Dec 3, 2020, 12:04am (UTC -5)
Jammer,

Another great review. You touch on so many great nuances, one of your best reviews I read (not that your other ones are bad by any means. obviously).

I especially appreciated reading these two parts to find out that I wasn't the only one who thought those:

1) "Couldn't the writers have said it was, say, 57 seconds, or even three minutes, and still establish the same levels of conviction in Burnham's belief of her theory and the Vulcans' skepticism about it — and without it sounding completely ridiculous?"

2) "But as the dialogue fencing begins, the episode starts to get good, especially as the walls close in on Michael's lack of "absolute candor" and the script cleverly sets her up for a big moment of the Truth Will Set You Free."

Thanks again for a fine review.
SlackerInc
Thu, Dec 3, 2020, 12:33am (UTC -5)
@Jammer, good review. Just in the nick of time this week!

I agree that it would make more sense for this to be 200 or 300 years in the future instead of 1,000. But I suppose they wanted to get it far clear of anything happening in STP, and they figure most people won't think it through quantitatively like you did: if it's far enough in the future that everyone they know, and all the children and grandchildren of everyone they know, is dead...then they are like "whatever".

"Yeah, well so has everyone else." Right?

@Trent 11/29 8:58pm: great post once again! And I'm relieved to hear better writers are on the horizon.

@Stacy: I have been wondering for a while if anyone was going to chime in to complain that the criticism of Burnham's crying was gendered. I'm glad you did, as I think it's valuable to have that perspective represented.

However, that doesn't mean I share your predilections. I love my wife, but I find quite often I don't love the things she loves: Oprah Winfrey soft focus interviews, Instagram, scented candles, pics of cats and dogs in costumes, "The Crown", "The Great British Bakeoff". And she's not overly fond of all my sci-fi/superhero stuff, "Breaking Bad"/"Better Call Saul", NFL on all day on Sunday, etc. It's a continuum and there are men and women on both sides of it, but if you look at the "meat" of the bell curve, there is a lot of "Mars" and "Venus" out there. And that's fine! But I'm from Mars and I prefer the shows I watch to not so much be from Venus. I don't think this preference is fundamentally sexist any more than it's sexist for my wife to not be interested in football podcasts or TV shows about male antiheroes.
Artymiss
Thu, Dec 3, 2020, 1:00am (UTC -5)
@Stacy
I agree, it is dominated by male views and it's good to read your perspective.

Possibly on a par with your thoughts about the crying criticism I do get irritated by comments on an actor's appearance, and these do seem to revolve around the female characters Michael and Tilly. There's a nasty one about Tilly a few posts above this one.

Michael's emotionalism doesn't really make much sense to me for her character. Expressing emotion in itself isn't wrong but as Dave in MN points out she was raised on Vulcan and trained in NOT expressing emotion, and also trained in controlling impulses.
Chris L.
Thu, Dec 3, 2020, 1:28am (UTC -5)
@stacy -

White male here. I cry. I have cried during movies and TV shows.

My chief criticism of Burnham is not that she cries a lot. It’s that her crying is used to convey moments of deep emotional weight in a kind of lazy way. You are right that the moments she has cried are warranted for her as a character, or at least should be. A crew member and friend leaves the ship and she might never see or hear from them again? I might cry myself! The only problem is we’ve never before seen any real companionship between Naha and Burnham before. As a viewer, it is barely clear that they even know each other.

And that is the crux of most of the criticism, I think. I can’t speak for everyone, but it is certainly that way for me. To me, it appears that whenever the writers end something that should have emotional weight, but doesn’t because of their previous failures as writers, they just have Burnham cry to remind us all that we are supposed to feel something.

I actually think SMG is a pretty good actress, but has been given a shiat character and is doing the best she can.
Leif
Thu, Dec 3, 2020, 2:47am (UTC -5)
Jammer. Why do yiu say here Unification was just average when youbsaid itnwas good and ambitious and gave it 3 stars in your review..
Booming
Thu, Dec 3, 2020, 3:51am (UTC -5)
Hey Stacy! Coming out strong. I like it.

I have to agree with artymiss, though. To me Burnham as a character makes no sense. She was trained as a Vulcan, so should be far less open with her emotions, like she was portrayed in season 1... I think... who can remember anything from the beforetime (pre 2020). Sadly that made her unlikable as Vulcans often come across as smug and cold. So they changed that completely during this season. And while here crying stood out in this episode and I was pretty snarky about it, I believe I also pointed out that it showed the general lack of subtlety. Her emotional state is so obvious all the time now, even the Dalai Lama is more reserved. It is just not how people behave, especially highly trained professionals. And if Burnham has experienced something that made her this emotional during the year away from Discovery then the show still hasn't shown us. Another problem is that Martin-Greene is just an average actor. She can barely carry these scenes. Brooks is a better actor. He had a tendency to overact but when he did he went all in which many here bemoaned but I really liked. The main problem with how emotions are depicted on this show is in my opinion that it feels insincere, unearned or sometimes even manipulative. Like bringing her mother in. That reminded me of the one NuTrek movie were they shoot Kirk into an ice moon/planet? and he immediately walks into a cave with Spock in it. It is just nonsense and if the set up for a scene is nonsensical then I cannot get into the scene itself because then I think about how the highly paid writers of a multi billion dollar company sat in a room and argued how they could make this scene more impactful. Even Meryl Streep could not save such a scene.

But again that is just my opinion. If it works for you, fine.
Some of the criticism made here is barely cloaked misogyny but I do not share your gendered view on open displays of emotions. That seems to have become far more fluid during the last few decades but I'm not up to date on the science there. And I always bore the people here with long explanations of sociological phenomenons so I will not write one now about gender specific behaviors in Western Cultures. :)

Ok I want to mention one aspect. Several studies seem to indicate that people in general tend to interpret written online communication more negative then it is often intended because it lacks clear emotional signals and strangers on the internet are normally seen as out-group. I will end it here because I feel a three page essay growing in my fingertips. ahhhh don't do it Booming, click on submit comment. Clicking!!! :D
Mike
Thu, Dec 3, 2020, 3:56am (UTC -5)
I don't really care if she cries or doesn't. I'd like some genuine emotion in the show. I can't recall whether Picard cried during "The Inner Light" but it wouldn't have changed how emotional I felt at the end of the episode. Like someone said earlier, including crying scenes without the necessary emotional build-up just seems lazy and cheap.
H
Thu, Dec 3, 2020, 4:35am (UTC -5)
Yeah it drives me nuts how our characters keep being shocked over this or that development happening in the last 800 years. Like did they honestly expect to rock up that far in the future with everything being more or less the same?

Anyway, I was interested in the ins and outs of the reunification here, but considerably less so with pretty much everything else. 2 stars from me.
MidshipmanNorris
Thu, Dec 3, 2020, 5:58am (UTC -5)
@Stacy
@Artymiss

... I just got that your name was a pun...

I actually don't quite comment on this particular aspect of the show, because it makes me sound like Worf: "Human bonding rituals often involve a great deal of ...talking ...and dancing, and... crying."

But if you were to ask me this is something I would've even called BS on back when we were debating STID, which I tried to defend, btw. And that was Benedict Cumberbatch, Zachary Quinto et al.

My objection to people crying in Star Trek lately, is not that I object to crying at all. It is that I don't think the depiction of *A single teardrop in a pickup shot* is as good a depiction of how and when people cry and for how long, when stuff gets to them. I can tell you that I do not often have a single teardrop fall from my otherwise still face. But when I bawl, I bawl like a complete baby and over things that would often make very little sense to someone else, and all of you do too and shut the heck up about it please because this is naturally as far as any of us wants to take THAT conversation.

However, I feel like showing someone shedding a tear once in a pickup shot is getting to be a bit of a theme running through Trek lately and that's ueehm...

That's not really how people cry in real life.

I didn't much care for Picard's scene in Generations, but that wasn't for the same reason. He spends his time alone, crying to himself, listening to Opera way too loudly.

That's really kind of a more realistic portrayal. It wasn't so pleasant to watch, but Patrick Stewart carried off the performance well. The problem is, TV shows with time slots to fill (that have to pack as much stuff going on into one show as Star Trek usually does) are always going to have pacing problems compared with a feature film which is guaranteed to run uninterrupted.

I find it as troublesome as anyone and would gladly accept a badly paced commercial break in place of a "hook" to try to keep someone from turning the channel, but this is why they pace shows the way they do.
NKhan
Thu, Dec 3, 2020, 7:10am (UTC -5)
@Stacy
I came across this site years back while looking at reviews for Battlestar Galactica while it was airing. Since then I have been reading the reviews and have loved looking back at the old reviews and comments for TNG, DS9 and Voyager.

(particularly great to read back in April, May & June when we had a very tough lockdown here in the UK and I was and still am working from home)

I have never felt this site had problems with strong women. Battlestar Galactica had a female Starbuck while keeping all the personality traits of the original male character. That was back in 2004 and a lot of people found it difficult to accept this. But the character was well written, Katee Sackoff is a great actor and was given good material by the writers and so was able to overcome most of the criticisms and prejudices. That show had a lot of other strong female characters played by great actors. Star Trek as a whole has strong female characters who are very much part of the story and I have never felt that any of the comments have had anti-female bias.

I myself am a Muslim and female. The only time I found myself uncomfortable at reading the comments on this site were in the comments section for a TNG episode with Ensign Ro and Bajor's occupation by the Cardassions. There was a comparison with the Palestinian situation and remarks were made about Islam, terrorism etc. Another commentator did hit back at the original comment which kinda made me feel slightly better. Up until that point I had for some reason always assumed that Sci-Fi loving people on these websites were all liberal and tolerant, mainly I suppose these were the ideals of the Federation and the show we all loved. But I realised that was an assumption on my part. Therefore despite the fact that I have said above I don't think criticisms of Burnham have an anti-female bias and ST has always had strong female characters I will admit we don't know what sub-conscious bias people may have. And yes most people on this site are probably are white males...or is that another assumption on my part.
Tomalak
Thu, Dec 3, 2020, 7:15am (UTC -5)
The fact Space Jesus (arguably?) cries a lot is the least of the character's/show's problems I would say. She's a superhero movie protagonist dropped into the Star Trek universe and it doesn't work.
Jason R.
Thu, Dec 3, 2020, 7:51am (UTC -5)
"I don't think criticisms of Burnham have an anti-female bias and ST has always had strong female characters I will admit we don't know what sub-conscious bias people may have. And yes most people on this site are probably are white males...or is that another assumption on my part."

Yes it's an assumption as is the implication that if someone is white, they must have a "subconscious bias".

Or to put it another way, everyone has subconscious bias and it is impossible to what that is unless you are a Betazoid - so in a civilized discussion it is both logical and beneficial to check one's assumptions at the door.

That's the first step to achieving true tolerance.
Booming
Thu, Dec 3, 2020, 8:28am (UTC -5)
@Jason
"Yes it's an assumption as is the implication that if someone is white, they must have a "subconscious bias"."
and that leads to this sentence
"Or to put it another way, everyone has subconscious bias"
That is not really putting it in another way, that is saying the opposite.

"and it is impossible to (know) what that is unless you are a Betazoid."
Or a psychologist or a sociologist, political scientist to name a few. For example to find antisemitic bias you ask stuff like:" Do you think that Jews have too much influence in international finance?" and if somebody chooses a) strongly agree then this person very likely has a bias. Telepathy would be useful but is not necessary. :)
David Staum
Thu, Dec 3, 2020, 8:31am (UTC -5)
Here's my succinct analysis of the problems with DSC:

The plots? Sometimes strong, sometimes weak, could use more world building.

The character interactions? Mostly cloying and contrived with cringeworthy dialogue.
Jason R.
Thu, Dec 3, 2020, 8:32am (UTC -5)
"Or a psychologist or a sociologist, political scientist to name a few. For example to find antisemitic bias you ask stuff like:" Do you think that Jews have too much influence in international finance?" and if somebody chooses a) strongly agree then this person very likely has a bias. Telepathy would be useful but is not necessary. :)"

If someone states that Jews have too much influence, then the evidence of their bias is *what they said* not the fact of them being Jewish, non-Jewish, black or white.
Chrome
Thu, Dec 3, 2020, 9:03am (UTC -5)
Great review, Jammer. There's definitely some good philosophical material here along with the stupid, so that makes it above average Discovery for me.
Booming
Thu, Dec 3, 2020, 9:19am (UTC -5)
@Jason
"If someone states that Jews have too much influence, then the evidence of their bias is *what they said* not the fact of them being Jewish, non-Jewish, black or white."
Yeah, of course. Do you mean that NKhan implied sexist bias in white men? I don't think NKhan implied that. She actually said the opposite if I'm not mistaken.
Mertov
Thu, Dec 3, 2020, 10:38am (UTC -5)
Artymiss: "Michael's emotionalism doesn't really make much sense to me for her character. Expressing emotion in itself isn't wrong but as Dave in MN points out she was raised on Vulcan and trained in NOT expressing emotion, and also trained in controlling impulses."

Artymiss, I don't believe this argument holds water. She has been back with humans for over a decade by now, and her shifting back to her human nature has been addressed in passing before. After the type of experiences she had during the two years on board Discovery, and the year she spent alone before Discovery arrived to the future, I would expect her to be back to full-human mode, which is her natural constitution anyway. But more importantly, this issue is fully addressed in this episode (Jammer's reference in his review to 'truth will set you free'). It's at the very center of the climactic moment in the hearing when her mother exposes the fact that she is fully human yet trying to hide behind the curtain of being raised by Vulcans -- she literally says it.
Maq
Thu, Dec 3, 2020, 4:00pm (UTC -5)
@Booming

@Maq
What are you? a pirate?? Wouldn't it be nice if women could finally get into the pirate business. Maybe even have there own ships. Sure pirates already are well dressed but still, it would be nice.
"

It is a television serie, not really real life. Yes I agree completely with evreyone who finds it silly. But In order to enjoy it on the bigger scale I have personally decided to not get irritated on silly things.

The most silly thing that happens is that the sometime only get 2 or 4 hours time to quick quit save the universe or part of it. Ok they can jump in zero seconds but all the preparations, disckussions, putting things together .... will take more the very short time.

Such details irritates me more than the Tilly fairy tail promotion.
Booming
Thu, Dec 3, 2020, 4:13pm (UTC -5)
@Maq
"Such details irritates me more than the Tilly fairy tail promotion."
No disagreement there.

With Tilly it is for some here maybe as we say In Germany "the drop that makes the barrel overflow".
Sen-Sors
Thu, Dec 3, 2020, 6:33pm (UTC -5)
@Mertov

I said "characters constantly crying" not just Micheal. It is true that Micheal cries exponentially more than any other Trek character but there's been more than one teary-eyed group-hug scene in this show, which points to the writers believing they can just turn on the waterworks for a cheap, manipulative emotional punch without earning it.

I feel like I did a decent job articulating why I have a problem with this show's reliance on cloying, saccharine moments that are devoid of substance. If some people choose to ignore all that and pin my opinion on simple misogyny then whatever. "You're a man, and you don't like it because they're women." Oh ok.
grey cat
Thu, Dec 3, 2020, 7:27pm (UTC -5)
Nicely written review as usual J-dogg but you obviously like something I'm not seeing in DSC.

This was a 1 star at best in my eyes. Horrible ideas, written horribly, unbelievably idiotic B plot, badly paced, edited and acted. It didn't even look nice which is usually DSC 1 redeeming feature.

They whispered a lot too. Maybe that adds a star.
Yanks
Thu, Dec 3, 2020, 7:55pm (UTC -5)
@ Jammer,

"Not only do we have to question how much the Vulcans would really care about Michael Burnham considering she was basically erased from 23rd-century history"

I don't think this is true Jammer. I think the direction was to erase her (and Discovery) from Star Fleet's history (data banks). She still should be remembered on Vulcan (now Ni'Var) as the daughter of Surak and brother of Spock and someone that attended the Vulcan Science Academy.

"Does that make sense? No? Maybe? It sure felt like it did while watching it."

I feel this way lots of times watching Discovery.

Great review as always.
grey cat
Thu, Dec 3, 2020, 7:55pm (UTC -5)
And look out someone played the misogyny card. I've seen noi evidence of that? SMG is an ok actor. The character is badly written. In fact, very badly. Nothing whatsoever to do with her gender or race.

4 time was the count? Probably true but sounds low, I'm probably including all the times she's pulled the "brink of tears" face.

Hoshi, Dax(x2), Kira, Troi, Uhura, Janeway, Yar, Torres and err well.. 7 and T'pol (ridiculous to include those 2 I know).. all female. Various races (if someone has a race card ready). None of them cried 4 episodes in a row. Michael seems on the point of a breakdown. Maybe that's what they're going for. We still don't know what happen in her year.
Susie R.
Thu, Dec 3, 2020, 9:21pm (UTC -5)
@Stacy
Stacy, your post conclusively resonates with me. I’ve been reading Jammer’s forever myself without writing, mostly to read his reviews. The one time I did to seek honest advice few months ago in the replies on watching a Trek show with our late teenager twins, I was welcomed with a reference to our family behaving a like a cult, then my kids’ independence came into question and it was asked just what kind of parent would watch a TV show with their kids! I sadly observed that hardly anyone objected to that kind of attack. It told me all I needed to know about participating in discussions. I received one or two honest advices on my initial question, I left one last message and never stopped by that particular board again. You are right Stacy, the message threads tend to get unbearably dominated by the skewed male point of view. I would not consider writing again, I will tell below why I did this time. The last couple of episodes comments’ section, just from what I have seen, I too, like you, felt uncomfortable to read as a woman. You’d think that people who hate Michael Burnham, Tilly, or the show that much, would simply stop watching it or use their time for another activity than write long texts driven by vitriol. I appreciate Jammer’s reviews so I still stop by to read them, but reading the full list of replies to his reviews is no longer an option for me. I stopped doing it by choice, just like haters of Michael or Discovery seemingly continue to hate-watch by choice.

At the same time, there is a few people (Tim C, SlackerInc, Tommy D, Mertov, Havegun-WillRiker, Nick, Quincy, Yanks, and a couple of others I can’t remember now) whom I find enlightening to read, because I believe their comments originate from a place of honesty, and they express their takes without prejudice and with an open mind, even if I don’t always agree with what they write (I don’t think any of them are female, but neither is Jammer and I love his commentary). I don’t want to miss what they have to say. For me, the solution has been to click on “comment stream” on Jammer’s main page and when I see those appear and read their comments and skim through the replies if any are made by anyone I don’t recognize. I know it’s flawed since anyone can post under any name apparently but for me it works. I recommend you try the same and decide for yourself. It takes much less time than scrolling through the type of comments you mention and saves headaches. That is how I saw your comment, and it was a sweet surprise which compelled me to reply this one time, as well as seeing you and artymiss exchanging thoughts as two women. That may be the first time I’ve seen that in this board, but I don’t read every post like I said. Even so, I am willing to bet it doesn’t occur often. Again, thank you for a lovely read to both.

For an update to my post from months ago, my “cult” family fully enjoyed Lower Decks and we moved on to DIS (we ultimately went with it, PIC required background TNG watching), which all four of us like, two males two females, and our twins love it as much as we loved Lower Decks. ‘Tears of Burnham’ has never been an issue for us, it never even comes up in our conversations. Have a nice day.
Chris L.
Thu, Dec 3, 2020, 10:07pm (UTC -5)
@Susie R.

I am so very sorry that happened to you here. On a message board, poor actors have a way of sticking out like a sore thumb. I am sorry you won’t post more, because I like reading different perspectives. You are right that this place is a little male dominated.

I personally responded to Stacy to do just that, share a different perspective and have a discussion without animosity or judgement. Stacy has a valid point, but not everyone agrees. I come on here and am critical of the show sometimes, but not always. I gave Forget Me Not 4 stars. There are some gems in this show, and I enjoy watching it. It’s not a hate watch thing. But I don’t have to like every episode, and I can notice certain writing patterns that I find lazy or annoying when they keep popping up.

But I truly don’t want to take away anyone else’s enjoyment of any episode they like, or belittle anyone because they like or don’t like an episode I found particularly lame/awesome. I don’t speak for everyone, obviously, but I do think that most people are acting in good faith that way. I think when a couple of people really lay it on thick and other people post somewhat critical reviews right next to it, it can seem that everyone just hates the show. But I really don’t think that is true.
Stacy
Thu, Dec 3, 2020, 10:45pm (UTC -5)
@Chris L. @Artymiss @SusieR,
Thanks for your nice and engaging responses. Chris: I appreciated your feedback especially the one above to SusieR. The previous one, I don’t agree with your last sentence, but that’s okay, the sincerity in your post is ever present, thanks.

Artymiss: I agree with your “nasty” comment on the Tilly-related post but I would also add the comment from which you quote as another thinly veiled misogynist one, bit surprised you don’t see that. The first and last sentences alone manifest it. What is wrong with being raised by Lwaxana Troi (as opposed to Vulcans) since that is provided as reference to justify what is wrong with Michael? I don’t remember Deanna behaving like a female under the age of five although she was raised by Lwaxana.

Susie R: That’s kind of you, thanks for taking the time. Needless to say, I agree with you. I hadn’t considered the “comment stream” and now I will. Thank you and I can only imagine how you felt when you first engaged here, I may have been even more compelled to say something that I did for this episode if I caught that, it sounds horrible.

As for the rest of the reactions, they are what I pretty much expected, with only the snark and mockery missing in density. I expect them to reappear soon.
Inconsequential spoiler about the next episode, Michael doesn’t cry. That’s now 4 cries in 5 last episodes with two of them having none. She must be trying to graduate to the class of “females over the age of 5.”
Artymiss
Thu, Dec 3, 2020, 11:03pm (UTC -5)
@Stacy
I didn't find the comment about Lwaxana misogynistic. I read it as the poster meaning Michael behaves as if raised by the heart on sleeve, impulsive Lwaxana on Betazoid rather than by logic is all Sarek on Vulcan. I don't recall seeing her father as a character so he can't be referenced. Betazoid and Vulcan seem on opposite sides of one another hence the poster's comment.

I'm not fond of Troi as a character but she's presented as a well trained Starfleet officer, part of the crew involved in the smooth running of Enterprise. Not how Michael behaves - her impulses and what she thinks are the right things to do come first.
Booming
Thu, Dec 3, 2020, 11:36pm (UTC -5)
@Stacy
My comment about your post wasn't meant as snark. I liked that it sparked debate and would also like to point out that I was somewhat hopeful until two episodes ago (die trying) but then the season seemed to go off a cliff. Singling three people out and then say that everybody else was just mean and is hate watching, I find that a little hurtful.
Tommy D.
Fri, Dec 4, 2020, 12:13am (UTC -5)
@Booming

"Three questions. Why do you think that? Why do you find that odd? And why does that not surprise you?"

I want to answer this, but my work schedule is kicking my behind. I will try this weekend.
Booming
Fri, Dec 4, 2020, 12:31am (UTC -5)
@Susie
Ok, let me clarify a few things. The cult comment wasn't about you. You only thought so. I wrote about comments other people made.
"And what is it with people trying to bring people into Star Trek? Quite a few have said that already. What is Star Trek? A cult? And them becoming Trekkies by watching Discovery and Picard. Good luck with that."
As you say in your first comment, you haven't watched Discovery or Picard ("I don’t have the CBS streaming subscription so I haven’t seen Discovery or Picard. ). So why would I mean you?

To that you wrote:
"You seem angry. Sorry that our desire to “bring into Star Trek” our children bothered you this much. Fyi, we are not a ‘cult’, just an insignificant family of four living in an insignificant state, no need for you to worry, rest easy."
So in fact it was you who insulted me first
to which I wrote:
"I'm not angry, at least not about people bringing others into Star Trek. I just find it strange. What 18 year old teenager wants to watch 30 year old shows with mommy and daddy? I would even argue that having it so glowingly recommended makes it harder to enjoy it because it is stressful to know that a positive reaction is wanted. I guess, you know your children best. We had teachers, professors, friends and family members and whatnot here and they all sound a little like the witch in Hansel and Gretel.
Who here was initiated like that? I just watched it and liked it."
to which you wrote:
"I don't even what to say to that question. I'm sure I watched several shows with my parents when I was 18. Apparently neither my kids nor myself fit your bill. Have a good day."
to which I wrote
"Didn't mean to startle you. Just an observation about people trying to make new Trek fans. Have a good day, as well."

What you are doing is called reverse bullying, even worse it is for something that was at the beginning not even meant for you.
Tomalak
Fri, Dec 4, 2020, 6:44am (UTC -5)
Booming, two weeks ago you pledged to avoid in future the personal arguments that have swamped so many other threads on this forum, and always seemed to involve you. I wondered how it's working out so far?
Booming
Fri, Dec 4, 2020, 7:08am (UTC -5)
@tomalak
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XadNMpvhkzA
SlackerInc
Fri, Dec 4, 2020, 8:57am (UTC -5)
@Susie, thanks for the nice shout-out. I didn’t see this argument you had previously with Booming, but FWIW I think it’s totally cool to watch shows you like with your teenage kids and I have done plenty of that myself.

@Stacy, I'm disappointed you didn’t have any response to my point about it not being any more sexist for me to be uninterested in some female-skewing dramatic elements in a show than it is for my wife not to enjoy violent antihero shows or football podcasts. Do you not think this is a fair point?
Dexter
Fri, Dec 4, 2020, 10:52am (UTC -5)
Jammer is a wrestling fan?? Who knew!?!?
Stacy
Fri, Dec 4, 2020, 11:41am (UTC -5)
@SLackerInc
Hi, please understand that I don't have the wherewithal or the time to engage with every single point made and I don’t post much as I said earlier. You asked an honest question so I'll answer honestly. TBH, I didn’t respond because I did not see the connection you are trying to make with what I said. Of course, I agree with you. Of course, your wife and you enjoying different shows is fine. That is a universal statement about any two persons.

That said, if in your example, you talked about how you were constantly stopping by when your wife is sitting while she is trying to enjoy one of her favorite series that features a female protagonist, just to butt in and attack that main character about how the actor is bad, how the character is a cry-baby, mock her, repeatedly throw snarks about her, causing your wife to get irritated, then it would have related much closer to my point, and yes, I would consider that sexist.
grey cat
Fri, Dec 4, 2020, 1:23pm (UTC -5)
Being and thinking Burnham is deeply annoying (for being close to tears constantly among other many things) is misogyny. Got it.

FInding Wesley or Neelix deeply annoying is misandry.

I was a great defender of this show at first but I'm almost on the point of giving up now largely due to the Burnham character. If he were male it would make literally no difference. Come back ENT I'm so sorry I gave up on you in season 2.. you were never this bad.
SlackerInc
Fri, Dec 4, 2020, 3:21pm (UTC -5)
@grey cat makes a good point, that there have been characters in the past that Trek fans were extremely scornful of, and they were mostly male. In addition to the two he mentions, Harry Kim was also far from a fan favorite. (OTOH some of the disdain for Janeway may be gendered.)

@Stacy: “That said, if in your example, you talked about how you were constantly stopping by when your wife is sitting while she is trying to enjoy one of her favorite series that features a female protagonist, just to butt in and attack that main character about how the actor is bad, how the character is a cry-baby, mock her, repeatedly throw snarks about her, causing your wife to get irritated, then it would have related much closer to my point, and yes, I would consider that sexist.”

Okay, not a bad point, but I think you have to admit that the situation here is more muddled because this is a spinoff of a series of shows that have tended to be much more male-skewing in their appeal. Let’s say my wife had for years posted somewhere that Oprah fans discussed her various shows and ventures. Then within the past couple years Oprah started shifting the nature of her interviews, keeping some of the classic content but also adding more and more segments on how to profitably bet on NFL games, bringing handicappers on to discuss the finer points of each weekend’s matchups.

Would we expect her and other fans who had been following Oprah for years, and chatting with each other about it, to just shut up and accept this? Or might we be unsurprised if instead, they started griping to each other about how they didn’t like the changes, this isn’t what they signed up for, they wish it would go back to being more like it used to be? See what I mean?

None of which is to say that the people who create TV shows should be hostage to what a traditional fanbase demands. But the people who embrace the new wrinkles also don’t necessarily have the standing to issue moral denunciations of the old-school fans who are dismayed by the transformation.

I would also point out that I do think I am trying to be a fair arbiter here. I was one of the first to strongly object to the way people talked about Tilly, for instance. There are comments that definitely cross the line. All I’m saying is that if the Star Trek franchise has shifted the nature of its storytelling and therefore the genderedness of its appeal, which I think we both agree that it has, we shouldn’t expect all fans of the old style to embrace the changes or be quiet about them—and it doesn’t necessarily make them bad people if they instead grouse about the evolution of this more than half century old franchise.

If someone creates a newer forum that is clearly oriented toward women and others who are excited about the new direction for Star Trek, then I think your complaints would have a lot more merit if some of these older male fans came on there and kind of trolled that site about how much they hated it. The context of this site being a quarter century old, with a lot of long-established male Trek fans (which was in fact one of your complaints about it) makes a difference. Then it becomes more like you are waltzing into the barbershop complaining about the obnoxious way all the dudes in there act, which is a lot different from a couple of those dudes going into the hair salon and being disruptive, making fun of the pastel decor and the cucumber water.
Dave in MN
Fri, Dec 4, 2020, 5:53pm (UTC -5)
The whole dictating pronouns thing always bothers me.

I'm all for being nice, but I do think a line is being crossed by forcing others to keep a scorecard of everyone's preferred pronouns.

When I was in college a few years ago, it got ridiculous trying to remember a dozen different people's various linguistic preference. I did put in an effort (because I try to be accommodating), but having to memorize made-up pronouns was tedious and ridiculous.

Let's look at the linguistics:

Gendered pronouns are almost always used when discussing someone not present. When they are present, 99% of people use their name or the pronoun "you" (if they even use a firm of address, generally one knows when they're being spoken to).

I don't refer to people in the 3rd person when I'm having a discussion (and you probably don't either). So why do trans people start off a first-person conversation by finger-wagging about third-person usage they likely will never actually hear?

Would you tolerate someone telling you that they think all pronouns are dehumanizing and not to use any when referring to them? At what point does one individual's feelings trump another's right to use basic language forms?

The truth is that your offense doesn't trump someone else's freedom of speech .... and frankly, unless someone actually CHANGES their gender through surgery, their gender is defined by their body parts, not their emotions. If your ID has a gender on it, don't be upset if others use the pronoun matching your driver's license.

Also, speaking as a gay man, I'm not sure what Booming means about gay people having a hangup about bisexuality.

The only time I'm offended by any LGBT is when trans people (or their straight allies) say gender is a construct. This negates all the struggles I went through and the person I am. I can't change what I'm attracted to ... and I'm not attracted to men just because I'm uneducated in modern gender theory.

I'm gay because I'm a man who likes men. I'm not going to suddenly become attracted to women because some people think gender is only a concept. It is MUCH more than that.

Being gay is NOT a construct ... I don't accept that premise.
SlackerInc
Fri, Dec 4, 2020, 10:47pm (UTC -5)
@Dave, you contain multitudes! I didn't see that one coming.
dave
Fri, Dec 4, 2020, 11:06pm (UTC -5)
You know, I think the bottom line with all the negativity on Burnham boils down to how they have written her and how they have build every beginning and end point of every problem and plot to be about her or involving her.

Sure, people are looking for reasons why they dislike her. THey may say they don't like SMG, or maybe the crying, or the whispering, etc. But let's all be honest; it's the material and what the writers have decided to do with this character.

It is a no win scenario for any actor in this position. Sure, you have your knuckledraggers who are upset a woman is a focal point or that she is black (imagine if we had sites like this in 1993 when Avery Brooks was set to be captain, people were losing their shit over it i remember. I still personally feel that the reason they made him start as Commander was to try to dull the heat over having a black Captain unless someone can show evidence otherwise). But for MOST fans who are disliking her, it is not the fault of SMG or her gender or her skin color.

Lets be mad at the writers and how they have presented her. Same deal with Tilly. She is written to be this way and they wrote her to get a first officer spot. It's not the actor her self or anything to do with her appearance.
Dave in MN
Fri, Dec 4, 2020, 11:54pm (UTC -5)
When audiences don't like a white character, no one claims it's because of racial animus.

I think it's disingenuous and untrue to assume that the users of this website dislike Michael Burnham because of her gender or race. I see ZERO evidence of that and, if there were evidence, the community (myself included) would call it out.

I'll try to explain it to you:

MB is a contradictory character. Raised on Vulcan but more emotional than anyone raised in Earth. A supposed Starfleet prodigy with no respect for the chain of command or rules. She starts a war that kills billions yet we're supposed to empathize with her. She's shoehorned her into a legacy character's back story which, instead of strengthening her character, dilutes the other. Her uncanny ability to always save the day (that she screwed up). And so on.

There's a lot there for a Trek fan not to like and I'm just scratching the surface.

If you can't quote anyone saying what you claim (which you can't), then stop with the gender and race baiting. You're inventing enemies to knock down.

Not everyone is as obsessed with surface appearance as you. The virtuous finger-wagging seems like psychological projection (becuase, after all, your mind is the one thinking and typing racist thoughts).
Dave in MN
Sat, Dec 5, 2020, 12:23am (UTC -5)
... and sexist thoughts. Lots of projection in this thread.
SlackerInc
Sat, Dec 5, 2020, 12:34am (UTC -5)
This may be a minor distinction, and I wonder how it factors into the counts someone posted upthread of how many times Burnham "cries", but it's not that she gets teary per se that bothers me as much as the way they like to go in for extreme closeups of her eyes welling with tears or at least getting all shiny and misty. It's this particular "emotional" look she does again and again which I find really, *really* annoying, but which they apparently believe is their money shot.
Kyle
Sat, Dec 5, 2020, 12:56am (UTC -5)
My problem with michael burnham is as Tomalak said earlier, she is a marvel superhero dropped into the ST universe. That is not the fault of the actor but rather the writers who don't know or appreciate 50+ years of ST universe building and characterization. Michael Burnham could be an ok character if she was written as a ST character, not a marvel character.

Now having said all that, I can accept the marvelization of ST; I ike Mavel, I could get into another approac/take on the franchise. I even like the light comedy of ST Lower Decks. I can jsut like it for different reasons than I like TNG or DS9. BTW, a lot of people 25 years ago criticized DS9 and Avery Brooks' acting and how DS9 wasn't ST because it wasn't on a ship.

No, my biggest problem is that they gave Spock a sister. In 50 years, why add a sister now? Why couldn't she be the adopted daughter of some other Vulcan? Kind of ripping off Worf's story; massive attack, orphaned raised by humans always the outsider, blah blah blah. Been there, done that. But if you ewant to do that, why does she have to be Sarek's daughter? 50 years of word building and characterization out the window. I just can't accept DIS as canon. if she was someone else's adopted daughter I would be more tolerant of MB and DIS.
SlackerInc
Sat, Dec 5, 2020, 5:29am (UTC -5)
I agree, that retcon is really annoying and unnecessary. But as we have seen with the Star Wars franchise and others, content makers are addicted to doing this kind of thing. I don’t know whether they are right to do it in terms of what the average audiencemember wants or not, but they certainly think they have to do it.
James4
Sat, Dec 5, 2020, 9:43am (UTC -5)
It grated on me when they referred to the Burn timing difference as a millionth of a microsecond - it's a picosecond. Pico's a common prefix and they're supposed to be scientists and engineers.
Chris
Sat, Dec 5, 2020, 10:59am (UTC -5)
Jammer, you’re way too kind to this show, and the franchise as currently produced haha. I re-read your DS9 and VOY reviews while watching those old episodes when they pop up on TV and I wonder if we have gotten so far away from REAL Star Trek that we are just now “going with it” and conceding that a certain level of quality will never again return, so we might as well just try to enjoy what we have. And I mention DS9 and VOY specifically because they represent the spectrum of “quality” and “subpar” that you so effectively called out week after week 20 years ago! I’m not sure how the same guy who could spot all the flaws of VOY so astutely can just sit back and wave off the glaring idiocy of this Discovery program, or Picard for that matter haha! You’re a better man than I, dude. Thanks anyway for your reviews of course. I’ve enjoyed your content for years. Keep doing what you do!
Tomalak
Sat, Dec 5, 2020, 5:49pm (UTC -5)
Chris, I tend to agree. I would rather watch a DS9 or VOY given a 1.5 by Jammer than a Discovery he gives a 2.5 or a 3 to. I think there has been a bit of devaluation of the currency.
Skye Francis-maidstone
Sat, Dec 5, 2020, 7:01pm (UTC -5)
@Chris
agreed. I'm not even a massive VOY fan (love DS9) but I watch a 2 star VOY over any 2.5+ DSC. I'm not sure it really applies though since DSC has almost no rewatch value. It's easy to say yeah yeah it just action and effects but Marvel films are very rewatchable and are mostly action and effects. No need to say it's all subjective since this whole site is about opinions.

I haven't personally give any DSC over a 3 and only 2 episodes have a 3 for me, both season 2. This season hasn't done it for me at all and it's now become boring too.
djkazaz
Sun, Dec 6, 2020, 4:56am (UTC -5)
So far it seems STD season 3 is based on a ripoff of Andromeda, with the usual Kurtzman Trek sloppy nonsense. I have to fast forward through the episodes and honestly its just too much of an effort to put up with it. I don't have the energy anymore.
MarkG
Sun, Dec 6, 2020, 6:43am (UTC -5)
Great comment from Jammer on the 800 year jump. It’s not supported so far. The writers seem to like using big numbers (the Burn happened 100 years ago and nothing changed since then!) or very small ones (the time differences in explosions are really really tiny, aren’t you impressed?). It’s a cheap trick.
Alex
Tue, Dec 8, 2020, 2:45am (UTC -5)
@Booming: ))Burnham often acts like a 12-year-old. I find her portrayal borderline sexist. That she is not ever in control of her emotions.((
You've hit the nail on the head - but the conclusion you (implicitly) draw - that Burnham's erratic emotionality makes her appear weak - is 100% wrong.
In today's SJW society, being emotional - i.e., allowing oneself to be led by one's "fee-eelings" - and disparaging traditional patriarchal values (incl. calmness, rationality, self-discipline) are GOOD things, doncha know? It means that one is an EMPOWERED womyn!
Booming
Tue, Dec 8, 2020, 2:58am (UTC -5)
@Alex
"In today's SJW society, being emotional - i.e., allowing oneself to be led by one's "fee-eelings" - and disparaging traditional patriarchal values (incl. calmness, rationality, self-discipline) are GOOD things, doncha know? It means that one is an EMPOWERED womyn!"
Writing a very emotional post criticizing highly emotionalized content is somewhat self defeating. Or did you want to prove that you are a EMPOWERED womyn (is womyn welsh dialect? like poyntlyssnyss?)?)?

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