Star Trek: Discovery


2 stars

Air date: 11/25/2021
Written by Anne Cofell Saunders & Glenise Mullins
Directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

As I was watching "Anomaly," I realized we've reached the Hallmark Greeting Card stage of the Trekkian technobabble episode. This episode is overly earnest Touchy Feely Trek taken to a level of near self-parody. It wants so badly to engage on an emotional level that it does so to the point of extreme pushiness, while failing to engage on the level I really wanted to meet it on, which was pseudo-intellectual. I wanted to understand what this anomaly was and how it kinda-sorta works, but that's beyond the scope of this episode, which is more about how everyone feels about everything that's happening.

Oh, sure, it pretends like it's all about the data and the research and the science of it all, but is it really? At one point, the anomaly causes all artificial gravity to go haywire and makes everyone float above their stations before being slammed back to the deck. That's a kinda cool visual, but most of the episode is the usual camera-shaking and sparks exploding that we've come to expect in Star Trek jeopardy shows for decades, and this episode pummels us with it relentlessly.

This is also a story that at one point, I think, alleges that black holes are not detectable, making the heading of this 5-light-year-across behemoth impossible to predict, which seems to fly in the face of both science and fiction. I could be misunderstanding what was actually said here, but that's precisely my point: This show bulldozes through the details so quickly to get to the next personal/emotional crisis (amid the camera shaking) that it can't be bothered to describe the supposedly important mechanics of the anomaly at hand. In the TNG days, the anomaly would've been explained in a conversation where the crew all talked it over, and we might even have gotten a nifty Okudagram. I miss those days. Now everyone is too busy dealing with their (and everyone else's) baggage to deal with the task at hand.

We've been moving in this direction for years with Discovery, and "Anomaly" pushes it into melodramatic and arty pretentiousness. This is the most sentimental hour of this series since Burnham said interminable goodbyes to her parents and Ash Freaking Tyler in "Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1." Most of the soul-searching is focused on Book. And, yes, he has a pretty good case for being emotionally compromised, what with his brother and nephew and homeworld being destroyed by the anomaly. But after about the third time Book was haunted by the image of his little nephew running through the corridor of his ship, I had reached my eye-roll breaking point.

This isn't awful so much as excessive. Or, I don't know, maybe it's kinda awful. I could get behind the idea of Stamets trying to connect with Book, and this tying back to their shared duties of piloting the spore drive, but some of this is so ham-handed that it becomes downright corny. There used to be a time when I wanted Star Trek shows to deal with their characters more. Now I just want them to deal with the sci-fi problems more. That might not be the case if the emotional journey weren't constantly explored in the middle of a crisis in such a contrived and superficial manner, while the music swells and the episode acts like the very universe hangs in the balance of these people's shattered lives.

Come to think of it, it might. If Book can't pull it together and navigate his ship out of danger and return with the all-important data that explains the galacticataclysmic anomaly, all will be lost. After all, Burnham announces at the outset that Discovery will study the anomaly and will figure something out, such that the fate of Kwejian doesn't happen ever again. After all, We Are Starfleet and We're Here to Help. Because, sure, maybe in the face of a tornado we can simply will the tornado out of existence with our good intentions — or at least study the tornado enough to invent an enhanced warning system that can save the lives of hundreds of townsfolk and allow Helen Hunt to finally get over the loss of her dad.

I know. I'm being mean. It's more fun at the moment than wading through this dirge-like exercise in earnestness, something which proves self-defeating because the characters stop being relatable and feel like avatars for the script's self-importance. After the lengths the crew goes through to retrieve the data, they learn that it won't help them predict where it's going, because it simply changes direction on a whim, against all known laws of physics. So, mission not accomplished. Not yet, anyway.

We thought you was a toad:

  • Saru's back, and he takes the place as Burnham's first officer. Fine and good.
  • I love how everything shakes and the bass rumbles amid the crisis, except when we slow down for Really Important Heartfelt Dialogue, like when Burnham speaks to Book while inside her privacy chamber (LOL, eye-roll). Then everything gets deathly quiet, and the seconds the characters supposedly have to react stretch into decades.
  • The initial shot of the anomaly is a major disappointment. Everyone looks at it in serious, amazed, hushed tones, but it's a bunch of white sparkly things with no context for scale or whatever the hell we're supposed to be looking at. The final pull-back, fortunately, is much more impressive and ominous — although it hints at an Armageddon scale that this show frankly doesn't need to be repeating, especially if it's all filtered through the characters' emotional journeys anyway.
  • I did laugh at Tilly's awkward mood-breaker after asking for Saru's professional ear. The show needs more self-awareness like this to break through its ever-seriousness.
  • The fact the anomaly moves at apparent random apart from any sort of sensible physics — and the fact it has an energy cloud around it that sensors can't penetrate — definitely has me suspecting some sort of intelligent superbeing lies at its center, not unlike V'Ger in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
  • Color me impatient with Gray's quest for a synthetic body, mostly because the show still hasn't bothered to explain what Gray actually is, and Gray himself is pretty lame/annoying as a would-be character so far, as evidenced by his concern over a mole on his synthetic body's hand. Is Gray merely a piece of Adira's psyche/symbiont, or an actual lifeform that somehow exists separately? (If the latter, then how?) Culber says he will be able to transfer Gray's consciousness into a synthetic body, and he even name-drops the sister-show example of Picard doing it 900 years earlier, but it's not exactly the same thing, is it? Picard was actually a living person in a living body. Whatever.

Previous episode: Kobayashi Maru

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35 comments on this post

Thu, Nov 25, 2021, 3:52pm (UTC -6)
It's episode 2 of season 4 and Discovery is doing what Discovery does best... and it ain't great.

Burnham whispered her way through most of the episode. And, of course, she ultimately proved instrumental in saving the day (and her lover and all that vital data).

But what's with the whispering when she's in her own quarters or having a one on one conversation? Speak up, be demonstrative... you run this ship, you call the shots. Don't talk like you're a stowaway on your own vessel.

The lip service paid to the season 1 finale of Picard and the obligatory explanation why not everyone is using android bodies is... well, it's there. The whole "Let's get Gray another body" and having them adjust it to their specifications is like being caught in a metaphore avalanche. Transitioning, we get it!

Tilly is now larger than Culber and Saru... and she gets to comment on Saru's size? Goodness.

Saru thinks it's an honor to serve under Michael. Of course he does. "Mr. Saru" is a nice touch tho.

This season's planet munching anomaly is 5 light years across. "That's huge" according to the Federation president.
Tim C
Thu, Nov 25, 2021, 4:26pm (UTC -6)
Liked this one a lot better than the premiere. Saru's return is contrived as hell, but I'll allow it because Doug Jones is so good in the part. What's his arc for the season going to be though? I sure hope it's better than last year, where the writers constantly undermined his leadership in order to railroad Burnham into the chair.

With a single, strong character thread running throughout the episode - how does Book cope with the apocalypse that has just befallen him? - there was enough emotional content to latch onto amidst the technobabble investigation plot that they both enhanced one another.

Speaking of the technobabble, I actually liked it! It almost sounded plausible. I have no idea if it actually was, but it was light-years ahead of some of the show's previous efforts. I'm interested to learn more about whatever the hell this anomaly is. My hope (always a dangerous thing to have with this show) is that it's truly just a force of nature that serves as a catalyst for political and personal drama, rather than some alien superweapon or some shit.

It feels like SMG is still trying to find her gear playing the Captain. I'm looking forward to see how her performance grows to fit the new role without the constant conflict of butting heads with her superiors. She did a good job of portraying Burnham's conflict over whether to risk the ship to stay tethered to Book, and I felt for her.

I liked Tilly becoming the mentor rather than mentee, and her own recognition that she was sounding like Stamets, which made me laugh because it rang true. We all unconsciously take on characteristics of our teachers, if they did their jobs well.

I still don't understand what the hell is going on with Gray: what *is* he? From what I remember of that awful season three finale, it was never explained just what it is that makes him different from Adira's previous hosts that they're going to be able to transfer him into a new body.

And someone should tell the set designers that the new flamethrowers they've installed on the bridge look *incredibly* silly. They don't look like the ship is taking damage; they look like some Starfleet engineer was on smack.
Jeffrey's Tube
Thu, Nov 25, 2021, 4:42pm (UTC -6)
Not a good episode. In fact, maybe Discovery's worst to date. I understand the show has to get through some necessary plot, and it has to show the aftermath of Book's great loss on him, but the episode was just . . . limp. We all knew he'd by flying out of that anomaly, and there were no surprises in there. The episode was just characters walking through the motions, marking time until the end of it, really. Pretty disappointing. Especially after last week's premiere. Well, onto next week.

. . .

I understand some viewers may not be particularly interested in transgender stories but future technology is likely to have significant impact on the people who identify as such. It's also a salient social issue of our times. Star Trek should explore it, as Star Trek always has with the salient issues of its time in other eras.

. . .

Just as an observation, Tilly's really gotten big. I'm not trying to be mean, I'm just commenting on it because it doesn't seem likely a Starfleet officer would be in the physical condition she is in given all the technology they have in the future, including replicating all meals and completely customizing nutrition, etc. An argument can be made that "in the future, people won't care what kind of physical shape you're in," just like Roddenberry said about Picard being bald, but it doesn't hold water. Being bald doesn't affect your health or your ability to carry out your duties as a Starfleet officer (well, I guess he does lose a bit more body heat through his head on chilly away missions than Riker, buuuuuuuut . . . ). Tilly's body type does. If it were really the future, she would have addressed and corrected it by now, and it probably wouldn't have even been hard. Mary Wiseman is big enough now that it really stands out and is kind of breaking my immersion in the setting somewhat.

(And before anyone says anything about the producers casting Tilly to make an intentional point about plus-sized bodied people in the future, go check out Tilly in her first appearance, episode 1x03. She was slim.)

I know I'm being unkind here, but my view is, when you're an actress, maintaining your physical condition to appropriately inhabit your role is part of your job. You're literally paid for it. I know it's not easy. I know people can really, really struggle. But you're purposefully given the resources to accomplish it, because it is literally your job.

. . .

Not sure how I feel about Saru's new role. He seemed . . . beaten down, a bit of a doormat in this episode. I get the feeling Doug Jones might be feeling a little lost in what his character's journey from here is and so not sure how to play it? Me, too. I think I would have probably gotten him back on Discovery as a civilian, in an ambassador role. But then that isn't much useful chasing a giant space anomaly, I guess.

There's precedent for another Captain-by-rank serving as an XO under another captain, in Kirk & Spock in ST:V-VI. But Decker got temporarily busted down to Commander in TMP when Kirk took over and relegated him to the same. It's a thousand years in the future, anyway. If Discovery wants to say Saru can still be a captain in rank while serving as XO under another captain, it doesn't really bother me much.
Jeffrey's Tube
Thu, Nov 25, 2021, 5:00pm (UTC -6)
I wrote my comment before seeing either of the two that proceeded it, and I find it really interesting that we all essentially commented on the same things about the episode. Ha!

@ Tim C

They haven't really explained what makes Gray different, because they don't really know. It has something to do with the way he died, that Tal is now joined to a human host rather than a new Trill host, and that the new human host was his lover, Adira, giving them an intense emotional connection and engagement. It seems Gray's entire consciousness was preserved with Tal, rather than just fading away into memories like it is supposed to shortly after death. It's made clear that the Trill have never seen anything like it before and they don't really understand it, and that it isn't supposed to happen.

Speaking of Adira, it would be great if they started acting a little bit more like a joined being. There's been no indication that Tal's personality is anywhere present as a part of the Adira we see. That's wrong on the part of the writers. A Trill is not just a repository of memories and experiences. A joined Trill is a essentially a new personality created by the blending of the two parties. I guess Adira is human, which might change things, but it seemed in last season's episode set on Trill that the issues preventing a proper joining were resolved. Is Tal just a silent hostage held inside Adira?
Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Nov 25, 2021, 8:16pm (UTC -6)
This episode didn't quite do it for me, though it had some good points.

First the positive - everything relating to Book here. It's always enjoyable on those rare occasions where Discovery decides to allow a non-Michael character to be the focus of the episode, and he clearly is here, with a coherent character arc explored over the course of the episode. David Ajala does amazing work with what's given, and (in a rarity for Discovery) a lot of his pain is explained through visuals and physical action, rather than just telling us about his pain. Pairing him with Stamets was also a great move, in that we see two characters together who have heretofore interacted very little, giving us a new character dynamic which lets some sparks fly.

The problem is everything else other than these character beats is mediocre. The first half of the episode is dripping with expository dialogue, with the writers continually telling rather than showing. This isn't a new sin of Trek, but it really made me not enjoy the first half of the episode at all, because (similar some earlier episodes, like parts of Season 2) it felt like the medicine the writers were giving us in order to get to whatever they consider "the good stuff" later.

The second issue is the character beats outside of the Book/Stamets interactions are kinda one-note and sappy. I don't mind some melodrama, but it's fairly one-note, because so many of the dialogues boil down to "character A confides something/is vulnerable, character B acts as a perfect, understanding friend." I don't want everything to be Marvel-style quipping, but it's just boring seeing conversations between Michael/Book, Michael/Saru, Tilly/Culber, Stamets/Culber, and Adira/Gray all with the exact same dynamics. It makes it feel like it's the voice of a single writer who doesn't understand the differences between the individual characters very much. They're all just there to be an inclusive, supportive team.

Two stars. I really wish they focused more solely on the POV of Book here - and maybe added a good deal more regarding Stamets - because the episode would have been greatly improved if all the other crap was tossed out the airlock.
Thu, Nov 25, 2021, 10:21pm (UTC -6)
This was certainly an episode. Although the reasons for Saru being first officer felt kind of contrived, I think his dynamic with Burnham is already better here than it was last season, when Burnham was first officer and Saru was captain.

Burnham's speech "Not on our watch" coupled with what the president said last week makes me think she's being set up for a big fall at some point this season.

I like that the Captain can now have a cone of silence whenever they need to make a private call.

I think it's amusing that even in the 32nd century, there are still exploding rocks everywhere when the ship gets hit. And those control panels must run on natural gas considering all the flames that shoot out of them.

I can't really improve on what Karl Zimmerman said above, but I agree. The character interactions were all very similar to each other and a little tedious.

It felt kind of weird to me that they were already joking about Burnham firing Stamets out of the airlock last season because it felt like they were building up to having a little tension between the two, but maybe they'll come back to that later.

Even though this episode had explosions and crying scenes, it still felt slower paced than past episodes, which I appreciate. One of my problems with the show in previous years has been the pacing. When everything is always moving at a breakneck speed, it can get exhausting. I like that this episode slowed down at least a little bit.

I like that they acknowledged Picard turning into an android and are going to use that as the template for turning Gray into an android. It's cool that they're reusing something they already established in another series like that.

I don't know, I guess I'd give this something like 2 stars. It was fine. Some stuff I liked. Some stuff I didn't.
Thu, Nov 25, 2021, 10:42pm (UTC -6)
Found this episode to be insufferable -- one of the things DSC likes to do is to overdo the emotions characters feel and it just felt like this kept happening over and over again. It was boring, annoying and hard to keep my interest. The plot and some of the arbitrary happenings, combined with technobabble were pretty poor. Have to say, this was one of the worst DSC experiences for me.

Perhaps the one good thing in the episode was Ajala's acting for Book -- being disconnected, emotionally unstable. Good facial expressions and I liked how he initially dealt with Burnham and Stamets.

So now Saru comes on board and is only too willing to be Burnham's No. 1. So now the DSC writers have their cake and are eating it as well -- all is now as it was supposed to be. Found this to be ridiculous. But maybe it's a Kelpian thing that Saru would turn down a command and work under someone he has been critical of before in Burnham?

Burnham makes her grandiose speech on heading off to deal with the anomaly. Ugh. The pacing was initially way too slow -- the first part of the episode was uber-boring. Just took forever to figure out how to manage Book's ship's mission. And how long is this tether??

The ongoing Adira/Gray thing is vomit-inducing for me. What is the point of this?? I thought nobody else was supposed to be able to see Gray but now Dr. Culber can see him and is making a body for him like Picard got at the end of PIC S1? Could not care less about this.

The whole data from the anomaly seems to be a red herring -- how is Stamets supposed to know how much time he needs to get it all? It is whatever is needed to cause Book's ship to be untethered and forced to ride some gravitation waves with Burnham guiding Book as a partner and not as captain. More contrivances.

And when all's said and done, everybody has to thank each other and get super-emotional. Stamets thanks Book. Tilly thanks Culber. Burnham and Book grieve together. Everybody is there for everybody... just so annoying in how DSC tries to make a mountain out of a mole hill.

I also have an issue with this episode having the exact same title as ENT S3 E2 (which was a vastly superior episode). Definitely some similarities in how anomalies affect the ship in unpredictable ways. But I think DSC should have called this episode "The Anomaly" -- kind of like "The Emissary" or "The Muse". Can't have 2 Star Trek episodes with the same title.

1.5 stars for "Anomaly" -- DSC went back to one of its major flaws, which were absent from "Kobayashi Maru." Just a painful episode to get through for all the wrong reasons - weak plot, too much arbitrary happenings, and characters (other than Book) being excessively emotional and annoying -- what a bunch of sissies.
Fri, Nov 26, 2021, 12:00am (UTC -6)
With this episode I’m done. This show has devolved from mediocre trek to whiny dialogue and never ending raised stakes. Even Enterprise at it’s worst with the Xindi was significantly better than this. Burnham is simply not believable anymore (rolls the dice every single time with no repercussions) and bringing Saru back so clumsily only made the juxtaposition harder to fathom.

Also somehow this show has way too main primary characters and yet many of the bridge crew just live aimlessly in the background. Honestly don’t even know their names 3+ seasons in.

One star for this one (entirely for the cool first no gravity scene) and maybe 1.5 for the opener. One final complaint - why does this show get movie theater loud during some scenes then communicate in freaking whispers a minute later? Bye bye DISCO.
Fri, Nov 26, 2021, 11:46am (UTC -6)
I’m genuinely surprised by the reactions this far. I loved the episode. I’m still digesting it and will post more soon. Initial highlights include:

-Book’s grief.
-Book and Michael’s relationship.
-Convincing technobabble.
-Ensemble feel.
-Stamets Stamets Stamets!

I was really sour when I learned season 4 was going to be another Michael must save the universe plot, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised thus far.
Fri, Nov 26, 2021, 1:17pm (UTC -6)
Two steps forward one step back after last weeks opener.

By the numbers for the most part with some interesting bits and pieces (will the new holo thing be a plot point in future?).

Struggling to care about the main plot if I’m being honest.
Joseph B
Fri, Nov 26, 2021, 3:30pm (UTC -6)
While this episode wasn’t as strong as the Season 4 premiere, I found it entertaining.

* Zero gravity scenes on the Bridge. Cool effects!!
* Book & Stamets both put on show.
* Loved the interactions between Burnham and Saru. It seems at this point that Saru is now a combination of Spock and McCoy.
* To me, this was the first episode in which Burnham really takes on the mantle of Captain. And with the lead actor now “the Captain on the Bridge” everything seems much more organic.

* A few scenes tilted over into maudlin territory, but it wasn’t as bad as previous seasons.

Overall, I really enjoyed the ep and give it three stars out of four.
Fri, Nov 26, 2021, 5:32pm (UTC -6)
I am usually in the position of dissenting with those who didn't like things, but today I was in a really bad mood, I guess.

This is an adequate episode, maybe 2 stars. But if I have to listen to Michael Burnham make one more grinny, faux-inspiring, shittily-written speech, I swear to whatever God we believe in that I'm going to tear my hair out and throw it at the screen.
Fri, Nov 26, 2021, 8:06pm (UTC -6)
QUESTION VOYAGER COMPARISON ALERT..Did anyone else think this Anomaly was a litle too similar to Chaotic Space in Voyager's The Fight episode. Since it moves randomly and is big..Chakotay even says in that episode how can something so massive move so fast?? Bit at least the magnetic part is different and it's much bigger I think than chaotic space.
Jeffrey's Tube
Fri, Nov 26, 2021, 8:53pm (UTC -6)
@ Leif

I just read your comment in my head as "Chakotic Space." Which, you know, I guess isn't entirely all wrong! Haha.

If you can pay attention to that episode long enough to try to figure out what is going on, you're a better viewer than I. Threshold is worse in my estimation because of its aggressive and malignant idiocy that sticks in your brain and annoys you long after the episode has concluded, but The Fight doesn't even pass muster as something that meets the basic metrics to be considered an episode of television. Thankfully, though, if I hadn't just rewatched Voyager last year, I wouldn't have remembered it existed! I'd forgotten again until you mentioned it just now.

. . .

Voyager was always running across large space anomalies. The one from the first season that was alive. The one that gave everyone what they wanted except Seven (actually, that one was alive too). The one that sucked all the ships in and Janeway had to forge an alliance out of pirate factions using Federation principles to escape (you know, that plot could have been a great two-parter, but in one episode, it can off kind of pat). The one that swallowed that Old Earth astronaut's space capsule so that it could end up in the Delta Quadrant. The one that blocked all the starlight from the empty expanse of space where they first met the Malons. And I bet I'm forgetting a bunch of other ones, too.
Jeffrey's Tube
Fri, Nov 26, 2021, 8:59pm (UTC -6)
* came off kind of pat.

The one from the first season is the one where Janeway decides to pick B'Elanna over Joe Carey for Chief Engineer. There's some time bending thing going on as Voyager exits.

Also Chakotay got his consciousness kicked out of his body by some aliens that one time and needed Indian dream totems to get back into himself, but I think that was in a nebula, not an anomaly. (It was . . . an anomalous nebula, certainly!)
Fri, Nov 26, 2021, 9:44pm (UTC -6)
It's hilarious reading people's reactions. The first episode was weird, disjointed, way too frenetic, and full of failed cheesy humor, along with bad CGI. I don't see how anybody could rate that better than this episode.

Man, Book was shook! Dude was cut to his quick. He got the "New Trek" Spock treatment and I felt every bit of it. The death flags were all over this and the last episode with Burnham and Book all smiles and roses. You just knew something terrible was coming down the pike. I didn't expect Book to lose his whole damn world, though. That was rough, but I enjoyed this episode. Stamets shed a lot of his annoying habits in this one and I appreciated his respectful promise to Book after they got out of the anomaly. Tilly was even bearable if you can believe that.

As someone else mentioned, it looks like they're setting Burnham up for a big fall. Entitling the first episode Kobayashi Maru indicates that she's going to have to face that again and she's going to fail hard like Kirk did when he lost his son trying to get Spock back. This episode leads me to believe she's going to have to sacrifice Book or Book is going to sacrifice himself.

I also noticed they mentioned Voyager and then run into a spatial anomaly. Voyager was MADE out of spatial anomalies. Chaotic Space is one, but the one I was thinking about was, "Twisted," the one in the second season where some life form or crew of lifeforms inhabiting a spatial anomaly was collapsing space, contorting and crushing the ship, and even scrambling the brains of Janeway at one point. They got out of it and at the end the lifeform downloaded 20 million gigaquads of information directly into their computers. There was an Apocryphal novel written about it where the information was a call for help and Voyager had to seek them out.

Pretty sure the name dropping of Voyager is an Easter egg signifying that they're pulling from Voyager's spatial anomaly lore. God knows which one. I just hope they get it right. Finger's crossed.
Sat, Nov 27, 2021, 6:02pm (UTC -6)
Nowhere else to post this, but Jammer, do you have any plans to ever add sections for "The Expanse," "Foundation," or the new Dune movie? Sorry for the off topic post.
Gilad at Tinagra
Sun, Nov 28, 2021, 9:23am (UTC -6)
I second the commenter above in that I too found this episode better than the first (even though I happened to like the first).

This second episode had better pacing, centered on a main plot, with a clear B story (no C, D, and E stories, and all mixed in a somewhat disjointed way like the premiere). Both stories contained human conflict, either within oneself like Book dealing with grief, or a conflicting dynamic between two people like Burnham and the newly introduced president. David Ajala was great in this hour.

The episode also had adequate science technobabble and coordination and comradery among the main crew to solve problems, with each member seemingly more comfortable in their roles. We are finally getting episodes featuring just the Discovery crew and the main characters without extra seasonal characters taking up considerable time. I'm all for that. The dialogues featuring Saru, Michael, the Admiral, the President, Book, Stamets all had a purpose and motivation.

3.5 stars for me, hit the right notes except for Gray's character who seems to appear and disappear at will, with no explanation of how he could possible come alive in any shape or form (I did however like the nod to ST: Picard).
Sun, Nov 28, 2021, 10:13am (UTC -6)
Jammer, I second Quincy's comments. Even if you don't write reviews about The Expanse, you owe it to yourself to watch "The Expanse." It's easily the best sci-fi show since BSG. It's got some of the best plotting I've ever seen in genre TV.

The new Dune movie is also great. The Foundation show doesn't work for me and it deviates way too much from the books.
Karl Zimmerman
Sun, Nov 28, 2021, 11:00am (UTC -6)
Like BSG, The Expanse at least has a Trek tie-in as well, as it was made by a TNG alum (Naren Shankar instead of Ron Moore).

That said, I get the idea that Jammer is pressed for time these days between work and family, thus I would never try and pester him to review something.
Mon, Nov 29, 2021, 1:08am (UTC -6)
I wanted to say too, that the whole "Transplant your mind into a synth body" did not in fact originate with Picard vis-a-vis Trek in General.

For that, you want the episode "I, Mudd" from Season 2 of the Original Series.
Mon, Nov 29, 2021, 9:57am (UTC -6)
I haven't read all the comments, so i don't know if anyone else has noticed this, but every time the Discovey is hit or suffers damage, there's some rock concert flamethrower pirotechnics hapening on the background. They seem to be programmed to go off every few seconds. I know this is a very minor pet peeve, but that throws me off the action completelly. I can only see that, since it started on the first episode.
That said, the show continues to be half assed at best. Discovery sounds to me like a sci-fi version of Greys Anatomy.
Peter Howie
Mon, Nov 29, 2021, 10:33am (UTC -6)
This show/series needs to slow down. It is too action and plot heavy and the action and the plot aren't that good.
Mon, Nov 29, 2021, 11:33am (UTC -6)
A previous comment hit the nail on the head, "never ending raised stakes". It seems like every episode is always about saving the entire universe from a thing that's even worse than the previous thing. It's a well that has gone dry. I no longer believe or care that their universe might end.

Discovery is at its worst when it's diving deep into the season's Big Bad Mystery. So much of the tension of the plot is between everyone and the anomaly. There's nothing interesting there. It's inevitable that as the season goes on we'll understand more about the Big Bad Mystery, have some minor plot points about how to unite to defeat it, and then in the last episode it will be defeated\resolved.

Star Trek is at its most interesting when its not predictable. Not clean-cut. DS9 is a great example. In DS9 the choices weren't always clear cut. Characters were conflicted mixtures of good and evil. Choices had drawbacks.

With Discovery it's basically everyone vs. the Big Bad Mystery. Much of the show's substance has been replaced with CGI BS. The ship is apparently just a large hollow space for turbolifts to go through. The ship bends and spins like a pizza cutter when they go to black alert. The started off with what's possible with CGI instead of starting off with a plot and using CGI to tell it. It's like no one cares about what should be believable or true within the universe. If the people making the show don't care, why should I?

This was an AWFUL episode to me. I really hope they take a break from the Big Bad Mystery to tell a story that I actually care about.
Welsh Rat
Mon, Nov 29, 2021, 2:02pm (UTC -6)
A simple pair of questions. A thousand years in the future and they've not got rid of those exploder corporation consoles? And who the hell thought things that produce FLAME JETS were a good idea on the bridge?
Mon, Nov 29, 2021, 4:53pm (UTC -6)
Review now posted.
Frank A. Booze
Mon, Nov 29, 2021, 10:36pm (UTC -6)
Jammer, interesting to see that the show is starting to break you. I think it broke me after the season finale last year. I then listened to everyone here and watched the The Expanse…all five seasons. It is SO good. As Dom said, if you haven’t watched it, you definitely owe it to yourself to watch it. It will make you feel better about Sci-Fi.
Jeffrey's Tube
Tue, Nov 30, 2021, 1:23am (UTC -6)
"Galacticataclysmic." Heh.

Of course there's something intelligent inside the anomaly, Jammer. An impersonal, faceless enemy doesn't make for good drama. ;)
Tue, Nov 30, 2021, 1:36am (UTC -6)
To those recommending "The Expanse": I hear you, and I've heard you many times over the years. I have no reason to doubt you. But reviews aren't happening. Maybe someday I will be able to go back and watch it for my own enjoyment, but I can't say if that will actually happen or not. It's certainly not happening right now.
Tue, Nov 30, 2021, 2:17am (UTC -6)
Probably a wise choice. The Expanse is a good show but even though it is not a 100% bummer show, it can be quite rough. Considering how depressing things are right now, maybe stick to something more joyful.
Positive thoughts!
Tue, Nov 30, 2021, 2:41am (UTC -6)
I didn't get around to watching this week's episode till today - what with all the family commitments. I thought of writing one of my reviews, but then I saw that @Jammer had written,

"Now everyone is too busy dealing with their (and everyone else's) baggage to deal with the task at hand.

We've been moving in this direction for years with Discovery..."

... and I couldn't have said it better myself.

What a let down. 2 stars, but just barely.
Tue, Nov 30, 2021, 9:10am (UTC -6)
Forgettable filler/exposition episode that felt entirely pointless after the twist revealed that nothing they just did mattered at all. Saru back on board is nice, as he carries most scenes he's in and elevates the material.

This Gray/Adira plot continues to feel really ham fisted especially after we went though a similar story with Stamets/Culber. Is the only way Discovery can do LGBTQ plots to have one of the characters die and then phantom haunt their lover before suddenly being able to come back alive? Hopefully there's a decent pay off to this but not holding my breath. Personally, wouldn't really mind if they accidently created some kinda Lore-type supervillian with this plan and Gray goes T2000/sleeper cylon on the Adira and the ship.

1.5/4 for me.
Karl Zimmerman
Tue, Nov 30, 2021, 11:28am (UTC -6)
I intimated this above, but ever since Michelle Paradise came on mid Season 2, Discovery has had a kinda "group therapy" vibe to it. Not only is it all about feelings, it's all about TALKING about your feelings all the time.

This is tedious for a number of reasons. One is it generally fails the show not tell rule of storytelling. If you want to get across that a character is depressed, you should just do it in their actions - or the subtext of the other things they discuss. IMHO they did enough showing with Book in this episode, but the rest, not so much.

But the worse issue is just character versatility. Where are the Worfs or the O'Briens - the characters who are immensely fucked up at times on the inside, but they mostly just repress it or trudge through things? This is also part of the human emotional experience after all. As I said, it really does feel like everyone is written as the same person - as a writer avatar and not as distinct characters.
Tue, Nov 30, 2021, 12:19pm (UTC -6)
"Not only is it all about feelings, it's all about TALKING about your feelings all the time."

"it really does feel like everyone is written as the same person - as a writer avatar and not as distinct characters."

Yes, these are very perceptive comments. I feel like these writers (Paradise, I imagine is mainly responsible) should be writing episodes of some daytime soap like Y&R or Days of Our Lives. Not that I've ever spent a second of my life watching that garbage but that's the kind of vibe I think DSC is aiming for while action scenes are interspersed. Everybody should get all emotional and cry all the damn time.

BTW, I really suffered thru this episode. Please spare me a thought. Maybe we can all share our feelings about it.
Tue, Nov 30, 2021, 12:44pm (UTC -6)
I think you just did.

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