Star Trek: Discovery

"...But to Connect"

3.5 stars

Air date: 12/30/2021
Written by Terri Hughes Burton & Carlos Cisco
Directed by Lee Rose

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

I struggled quite a bit with the idea of the ship unable to carry out key functions as a result of a crippling emotional crisis in "Stormy Weather." At the end of the day, it just seemed ridiculous, even wrong, that a computer that's supposed to simply do what it's instructed to do would fail in this particular way, on a show that's always constantly mired in the emotions of its human characters. It was an annoying complication in a straightforward anomaly/mystery/jeopardy story that otherwise seemed to be on solid footing.

But with "But to Connect," I see everything now regarding Zora in a much larger and more impressive scope. This episode finally fully explores what I had hoped would be explored when the sphere data merged with the ship way back in the second season (and something the show has been hinting about ever since but without really committing the time to deal with the full implications): Zora as an artificial lifeform that has reached a level of sentience that can no longer be brushed aside by the plot. This episode started to win me over when it had Stamets arguing the same viewpoint I held — that having everyone's lives depend on an emotional computer that could shut off the life support if it's having a bad day is, well, a very bad and dangerous and untenable thing. (I was fully on #TeamStamets with his argument that they simply could not let this stand.) But what's even more impressive is how the argument keeps going and introduces other points of view from the other characters, and how this episode persuaded me with these arguments while its characters were persuading Stamets. Good stuff.

This is like Discovery's version of "The Measure of a Man." Of course, this being Discovery, there's no escaping a certain amount of overly earnest schmaltz to these proceedings, even in a mostly cerebral, dialogue-driven episode. But maybe I should just cave in and accept that as a feature of this show rather than a bug. Even if a part of me wants to roll my eyes when the music swells with such pushy bombast and the camera dissolves so earnestly between two scenes — as if I couldn't mentally make the thematic connections without these devices hammering them home for me — I have to admit that the writing here is actually very good, that the speeches are woven together appropriately, and the thematic link has not only been made but also earned.

This is an episode that has a true curiosity about what Zora is, what it means if she is a new sentient artificial lifeform, and how to move forward with the issues she presents. The questions around these issues are prompted by the fact she knows, from the sphere data knowledge, where the mysterious beyond-the-galaxy species that created the DMA might live (referred to here simply as "Species 10-C"), but flat-out refuses to divulge that information because she concludes Starfleet's actions with the knowledge are likely to end in self-defeating disaster. But it's not her decision alone to make, thus the conflict. The ensuing discussions around Zora, much to this episode's credit and benefit to our fascination, are less about this information so much as what she is and represents, and what rights and responsibilities she might have as an AI. Very nicely done.

In the equally important parallel plot (and indeed more important to the season's serial storyline), the Federation has called a conference of all 60 of its member worlds as well as its non-Federation neighbors (including Earth) to talk about how to deal with the DMA and Species 10-C, operating under the assumption Starfleet will gain 10-C's origins from Zora's database. The question of what to do becomes a difficult binary choice when Tarka unveils to the assembly a risky plan to potentially collapse the anomaly by attacking its power core with an "isolytic burst," a method banned for centuries because of the dangers it poses to subspace. Worse, the use of such technology could be interpreted by Species 10-C as a hostile act, resulting in retaliatory measures that could be devastating. Tarka admits the plan carries significant risk, but so does doing nothing.

The other choice is to investigate the origins of 10-C and try to open diplomatic channels. This is the classic, cool-headed Starfleet way and it's the avenue Rillak, T'Rina, and Burnham want to pursue. Making this even more interesting and challenging and personal for the characters is the fact Booker and Tarka are on the same page and have made an agreement to support each other in the assembly. This all leads to a pair of opposing speeches to the council, one given by Booker ... and the other by Burnham. What's great about this is that it involves difficult ideological choices where both have pros and cons, and both viewpoints are represented by main characters who sit on opposite sides of the issue. For Burnham and Booker, it has every indication of being an impasse that could sink the future of their relationship.

Ultimately, the council members submit their votes, choosing the Starfleet way of caution, deliberation, and investigation. It's a win for diplomacy and a setback to the risky possibility of a quick fix to end the DMA. But even then, the issue is not settled, because Tarka and Booker seem poised to take matters into their own hands.

The result is Discovery's best episode since it arrived in the 32nd century.

"You're a plague, and we are the cure":

  • This is at least the third episode this season where someone (in this case Zora) mentions they are glad they are finally "being seen." The notion is nice and all, but the repetition of the phrase really risks watering it down into a corny cliché.
  • I'm still at a loss as to why the decision was made last season to reveal Earth left the Federation prior to Discovery's arrival in this century. It doesn't strike me as very well thought out (mostly just trying to demonstrate how much things had changed by this century), and it remains incongruous with how human-centric Starfleet remains.
  • Kovich continues to be this season's all-around utility player, here basically mediating the discussion on Zora's existence. I still don't know what this guy's official Starfleet title or job is, but his appearances in these episodes are working, so I'm not going to argue.
  • While the idea of making Zora an official Starfleet officer is cool, I still feel like there should be some sort of attempt to separate Zora from the ship's operations. It's not like firing weapons or maintaining life support is crucial to her personality and couldn't be handled by a lower-level system separate from her autonomy. No one person or entity should have that full level of control over the ship, probably not even the captain.
  • Saru gives T'Rina a plant. They're totally gonna go out on a date.
  • Learning here that Gray is apparently leaving the ship (at least for now) to train on Trill with Xi to be a Guardian, I realized that this series has more main characters who have entered and exited the show than probably any other Trek show. And based on the preview, it appears that a character who left last season will be returning after the January hiatus.
  • Which, speaking of: Discovery will be off until Feb. 10, with Prodigy filling the nearly complete year-round Trekkian schedule on Paramount+ until then. I will post weekly Prodigy discussion threads for those interested (and hopefully brief reviews at some point, but we'll see when I can find the time).

Previous episode: Stormy Weather
Next episode: All In

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163 comments on this post

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Jeffrey's Tube
Thu, Dec 30, 2021, 3:05am (UTC -5)
At the risk of coming off like a hyperbolic cheerleader for this show . . . you know what, the hell with it: this was another GREAT episode. That's two in a row.

Our characters just stand around and talk and argue two moral dilemmas. No one shoots a phaser. No one even THINKS of shooting a phaser! Burnham doesn't have to beam down to a planet that's about to be destroyed to break into a prison fjust so she has some security drones to shoot phasers at. Not that that's such a cardinal sin, but still. I'm just sayin'.

I would venture to suggest that most Star Trek fans do not care if a phaser goes off. We are not watching the show for phasers going off. Is it fun if a phaser goes off, if the plot reasonably calls for a phaser going off? Sure, no doubt. But we do not walk away from an episode feeling disappointed and cheated if the characters stood around and talked and no phasers went off. I am glad Discovery has finally learned this lesson.

. . .

. . . which it no doubt has partly due to budget constraints. I think we can safely say at this point by what we're seeing on screen that Discovery is having budget constraints. As to why, it's probably any number of things. A somewhat slashed budget? Maybe. Added COVID filming expenses not delivering the same bang for the same buck? Probably. And then there's the fact that shows get more expensive in their fourth year as that's when contractual salary bumps for talent kick in.

Regardless, it's heavily working in the show's favor. Makes me wonder just how often budget constraints have been a secret friend to Star Trek in the past (we can all name times it has been an enemy).

. . .

So Burnham has to give a Picard speech. She doesn't have the presence . . . the gravitas . . . that Picard does. She doesn't exude the moral authority that shames and incites people to remember their better selves. Kirk, Sisko, Janeway . . . they all did it better too. Not Archer. Burnham probably did it better than Archer, to be honest. But hey.

But Picard rarely had someone as eloquently and persuasively arguing the other side from an equally as well-reasoned perspective as Burnham had to face against Book. If we're being honest, a big part of why Picard came off with such moral authority--other than that he was right--is because he wasn't challenged in the moment in the same way.

. . .

Why did Burnham get a vote? I'm going to pretend she cast Starfleet's vote. Vance wasn't there, after all. Why did Starfleet get a vote? Starfleet is a service, not a society. Not a . . . okay wait. I'm remembering that the Federation President said she couldn't cast any vote. She brought the conference together and had to be, herself, seen as neutral to maintain her personal diplomatic influence and ability to gather delegates together. But surely the Federation gets a vote. So I guess Michael cast the Federation's vote . . . but wait. The individual Federation members, like Ni'Var, were each voting. Each member world, and each non-member world but prospective member world, got an equal vote.

Why did Burnham get a vote?

. . .

We know why Book got a vote. He got Kwejian's vote. They're gone, but the Federation would definitely give them a vote.

. . .

Okay, onto the more interesting Zora plot.

Felt kind of crappy to have to have Stamets arguing against Zora. Or at least in favor of the murder button. I don't know that it really felt true to the character. Still, someone had to do it . . . and of all the possibilities, if not him, then who? Well, I guess Jett could have done it convincingly, but Tig probably couldn't be on set. I think I remember reading she was there for the filming of the final four episodes, and they shot scenes to insert into earlier episodes retroactively. We'll see.

I'm glad nearly everyone immediately realized the murder button was morally a no-go.

I'm glad the Federation seems to have remembered the lessons it learned from Data.

I'm glad they pointed out that "yeah, it's been 930 years, we know how to get sphere data out of computers now."

I really liked that they (are going to) swear Zora into Starfleet. Zora didn't ask for THIS life, after all. She was born into it. And a bunch of little curious meat puppets are running around using her body however they see fit, even against her will. But now she's going to choose it. It's important. That's important, morally.

She's still a teenager as far as the maturity of her conscience is concerned, really. And we all know teenagers do a few things . . . 1) risk-taking behavior, 2) try to distance themselves from their parents as a means of discovering and establishing their own identity, and 3) throw tantrums. The "teenage" phase of a developing consciousness is the scariest prospect of the inevitable birth of artificial superintelligences, as far as I'm concerned.

It MIGHT turn out fine. People do! It also might NOT turn out fine. People also do.

And many people also reach maturity, look back over their teenage years and wonder "what the hell was I thinking, why did I do THAT?" There's every reason to believe an artificial consciousness would do the same. It's what the THAT might be that terrifies me.

You still can't have any kind of meaningful, honest, engaging relationship with a person when you have a gun to their head. It says a lot about the person who would give you that gun to hold to hold to their own head, though.

It says you don't need the gun. At least that's how I feel about it.

. . .

How exactly are you going to transfer Stamets off Discovery though, eh, Kovich? One of the two people who can activate the spore drive? Didn't think that one through, did you? Bit of an empty threat there.

(Heck, Starfleet would probably decide Discovery didn't need the spore drive anymore. Transfer Stamets to the USS Janeway and install the spore drive there. Ha!)

. . .

Listen, I'm sorry to see Gray go. I was liking the version of the character we were seeing in this episode and the last one. And Discovery could use a more "civilian diplomat" focused character. They're slotting various different characters into that role in every episode this season, it seems like. There's a place for one.

. . .

So now the show takes a month off until February 10th so that Paramount+ gets an extra month of subscriptions out of everyone. Not cool, not cool. But business be business.
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Jeffrey's Tube
Thu, Dec 30, 2021, 3:19am (UTC -5)
Okay, I've thought about it some more, and I think "the Federation" as an entity separate from its member worlds did get a vote.

The reason is, there are a lot of citizens of the Federation right now--including a lot of members of Starfleet--who are not otherwise citizens of any member worlds. They must have a voice. Their voice is the Federation President, who gave her vote by proxy to Burnham, for the reasons discussed above.

. . .

Still really bothers me that Earth isn't back in the Federation yet. Makes logical sense. But it hurts, not gonna lie. I find it a really sad thought.
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AMA
Thu, Dec 30, 2021, 3:26am (UTC -5)
Best episode of the season, in my opinion.

One plot raised an intriguing moral dilemma that pitted the safety and values of the Federation against one another. I appreciated Burnham's continual resolve, particularly in the face of the simmering divide that grew between her and Book as the episode went along. Her speeches were great, though, as @Jeffrey's Tube's argued, not at the same level of most any from Picard. Book's trauma diminished rather than strengthened my perception of his argument, as I viewed his position to be grounded in retribution more so than in the well-being of others. Tarka's reasoning, alternatively, was far more underwhelming, and, perhaps not surprisingly, self-centred. With that said, I liked the sound of the mirror universe he described: it would have made for a nice follow-up to The Original Series and The Next Generation.

The other plot, centring on Zora, is also what I had been hoping for for a couple of weeks now: the crew members got together, literally stood around, and attempted to learn and resolve what to make of a new life. On the surface, a very boring concept, but this is my kind of Star Trek. It reminded me of The Next Generation's Pen Pals where Picard called everyone together; Geordi enjoyed a sandwich (if memory serves); and the crew hashed out an issue. Love it. I did laugh lightly when Adira and Gray came running in to the room out of the blue, and I found the dream-sequence to be a bit hokey, but that story line was tremendous overall.

My only real complaint regarding the episode is I wish the two stories had been told separately (i.e., been given their own dedicated episodes). Perhaps the writers didn't feel confident that both stories could hold their own, and maybe that would ultimately be true, but I think I would have appreciated a more focused pair of episodes. Still, lots to like.
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Joseph B
Thu, Dec 30, 2021, 7:51am (UTC -5)
This was just “average” Trek from my perspective; but even average Trek can be entertaining. The concept of a sentient ship’s computer refusing orders because “she” doesn’t want to put the crew in danger was … “fascinating”.

And the argument regarding negotiation or pre-emptive strike would make Picard proud.

In the end the two main narratives *do* intersect as they both involve “first contact” with new species.

This was all brilliantly conceived and executed — but just “average” Trek.
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Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Dec 30, 2021, 10:17am (UTC -5)
As is usually the case this season, I liked the episode, but it feels like I have a bit more nitpicks than most people.

I do very much appreciate that the Discovery writers felt confident enough in their storytelling that they allowed an entire episode - complete with A plot and B plot - to roll forward with zero action at all. While I felt that last episode was a bit too talky in a bad way, here I thought it worked quite well. While the writers were in no way even-handed when it came to the moral quandaries offered in both of the plots of this episode, at least they gave the "bad" side somewhat of a fair shake - extensive arguments as to why a first strike was needed, and why Zora could be a threat.

But..there are still issues here. One is I simply don't think the VFX team is up to skiff when it comes to creative solutions. Like at the beginning of the episode, when they showed a galaxy map with target sites, even though the script made it clear the responsible race came from outside of the Galaxy. Or how Zora's "subconscious" exclusively has clips from Discovery's past few seasons. Another is the idea that a meeting of more or less all known races in the galaxy could really be swayed by a single speech (though I understand the needs of drama require this to work). But mostly, it's that once again they decided to make Stamets into a jackass - making him fear Zora and wanting her shut down despite there being absolutely nothing in his established character suggesting he would do this. At least they did the legwork with Book making him into a foil, but nothing of the sort was done with Paul...though it got much more tolerable at the end of the episode.

Three stars I would say.
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Norvo
Thu, Dec 30, 2021, 11:29am (UTC -5)
The production values are top notch. The actors are trying so hard. It all looks wonderful, so why did this episode have me going "... OW FOR F*CK'S SAKE?!" every 3 to 5 minutes?

The question of AI/sentient life is classic Trek. From TNG's Measure of a Man to VOY's storyline on holographic rights. Starfleet is out to meet new lifeforms.

But what's with this melodrama over Zora? Simply yank it out off the ship and install her in a new environment she can customize to her own liking. That's what we have programmable matter for now. She can turn into a replica of Discovery, that's all fine and dady. But having her reside in the one ship in the fleet with a sporedrive is just bad tactics. In fact, having the sphere archive stuck in there is also a bad call. Remove and store for safe keeping.

Loved the Federation Council scenes. It's good to have the feeling the show is truly part of a galactic community. And what a truly diverse grouping it was: apart from Tarka there wasn't a single caucasian male seen (without prosthetics). Doesn't matter, in the end they made the right call: simply attacking a species you believe is destroying is what got the Xindi stuck with Jonathan Archer for a whole season.

Speaking of Tarka: that has to be the dullest mid-season cliffhanger in the history of the medium. And he's from the/a mirror universe now? And Kovich didn't notice like when he singled out Georgiou? Huh?

One final point: I so wish they'd try and stop making Grudge a thing. We know she's an uncaring diva... She's a cat. Still, Grudge give us the best laugh out loud Michael Burnham meta moment of the season:

"I'm gonna win her over. Just you wait."
- You're making progress
"By progress you mean I've earned her utter indifference"
- Just think: aloof disdain is next.

Heh :-) I'll be here when the show continues on February 10th. New episodes of Discovery AND Picard dropping in the same week, it's almost like the 90s with back to back VOY/DS9 again.
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Booming
Thu, Dec 30, 2021, 1:00pm (UTC -5)
Ok, half time. Let's kick off the rumor mill. So far Discovery was always been renewed shortly after or when the first episode of the season premiered. This time it seems to be different. Thoughts?

Star Trek Picard has already been renewed for season 3.
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Henson
Thu, Dec 30, 2021, 1:09pm (UTC -5)
@Norvo

I've not been following events too closely, but is it possible to remove Zora from Discovery? Or is the artificial intelligence dependent on the hardware?

I mean, I would think that intelligence is dependent on a substantially complex "brain", but ST: Picard let us transfer human consciousness into android bodies, so maybe they have that capacity in abundance.
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Nick
Thu, Dec 30, 2021, 1:11pm (UTC -5)
This was the best episode of Discovery in S4 and S3. You would have to go back to S2's "If Memory Serves" to find a better episode IMO.

The thing I liked best about this episode is both the A and B plot (destroy the DMA vs. make first contact and keep Zora in Discovery vs. extract her) presented choices that are not so clear cut in terms of which choice is the right one. This is evidenced by posters arguing different sides of each choice (e.g. Norvo argues for extracting Zora above) and makes for a much more engaging and thought provoking story.

Sometimes writers will make these situations ridiculously obvious which choice is correct (e.g. making one side cartoonishly evil). Voyager did that a lot, when it happens it feels insulting to my intelligence as a viewer. It's nice that it didn't happen here.
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modulum
Thu, Dec 30, 2021, 5:05pm (UTC -5)
the first genuinely exciting and new-feeling episode of Discovery since Forget Me Not back in S3, and the closest to what I imagined the post-jump show would be - real knotty political intrigue and galactic- level worldbuilding. excellent work, more of this please.
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Eric Jensen
Thu, Dec 30, 2021, 5:51pm (UTC -5)
Interesting episode.
I liked the conflict, the argument for and against the destruction of the DMA and Zora's recognition as a new life-form.
I am intrigued about this new species. Was it deliberate? Is it an error?
I was hoping Zora would give a compromise about those coordinates. I thought Zora would not give an exact one but in the region of... hahhaha
Cannot wait for the next episode to see Booker and Tarka along with the crew. No other bridge members in the episode.
This is somewhat definitely unlike VOY, TNG or DS9, but only slightly similar
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Triv
Thu, Dec 30, 2021, 6:06pm (UTC -5)
If Rowling wants to express her transphobic bigotry, no one can stop her. But we CAN criticise her.
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MidshipmanNorris
Thu, Dec 30, 2021, 6:56pm (UTC -5)
"I'm sorry, Captain... I will not."

I'm still watching the Intro.

HAL 9000!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHH
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MidshipmanNorris
Thu, Dec 30, 2021, 7:48pm (UTC -5)
So the first half of the season is over, and I'm gonna pedal back on my previous comments a bit.

This is okay Star Trek. Not Great Star Trek, but overall, this half of the season blows the previous seasons of Disco out of the stars (RIP Chris Plummer).

What it also is, is pretty good Science Fiction. With the exception of "Choose To Live" which I find to be a bit of a stinker largely because it hangs on a plot reveal that makes brain cells commit apoplepsy, most of this 1/2 season of Disco has been quite intriguing. However, it's still beholden to the conventions of this show, in that Burnham is the center of everything and is rewarded for things that would have gotten Jean-Luc Picard reprimanded by Admiral Nechayev (Watch "Descent Part 1" if you wanna see it happen).

I remember distinctly saying to myself after this episode was over, "The touchy-feely garbage is really getting on my nerves." This isn't how you construct drama. You are not offering me the tea (polite), nor suggesting that I drink my tea (less polite), nor even demanding that I drink my tea (very impolite). You are forcing open my mouth and pouring the tea down my throat (not the least bit polite). Stop, please, or I will have to phaser you.

However, the plot construction of this 1/2 season is a big highlight. As sugary as it is, we are getting plots that involve more characters who've been sidelined up to this point, and those plots have real consequences for those characters, that the actors manage to carry off quite nicely.

This show is improving, and I'm for it. But improve more, and stop pouring your Touchy-Feely Tea down my throat. Subtlety is the name of the game with that stuff.
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The Queen
Thu, Dec 30, 2021, 7:51pm (UTC -5)
Jeffrey's Tube said: "And we all know teenagers do a few things . . . 1) risk-taking behavior, 2) try to distance themselves from their parents as a means of discovering and establishing their own identity, and 3) throw tantrums."

That describes Michael Burnham to a T (OK, not the parents bit, but authority in general).

But anyway, I did really like this episode. The whole episode could have been great, but it was undermined by mawkishness as usual. In this case, there was enough great stuff going on that the mawkishness wasn't primary, but still I was disappointed in a few places.

The first offputting place was the applause for Booker's speech. There should have been just silence except for Tarka and maybe a couple of other individuals, with the rest looking uncomfortable. You don't applaud that kind of speech.

In the investigation and resolution of Zora's sentience, why weren't Asimov's Three Laws mentioned? Otherwise, the whole thing was intelligently and interestingly done, with only Adira & Gray's forced inclusion striking a wrong note. I loved Kovich's admission at the end that he was testing Stamets as well as Zora. I love a character who always surprises you.

I'm delighted to see Gray go away, and with a reasonable explanation too. Not happy to see Booker go, but at this point I assume he'll be back (except his leaving Grudge worries me). And it seems totally in character for him. I like Tarka as an upset-the-applecart figure. The surprise about the "next generation spore drive that doesn't require a navigator" was exciting, although IMO it could have had at least a bit of foreshadowing. Also, please remind me why we actually need something faster than Warp?

One minor complaint is the camera work. Whirling around and around makes me nauseous, please stop it. Also, the quick cutting back and forth between the two plots at the end didn't seem useful to me.

This is the very first episode of Discovery which I've finished thinking, wow, that was impressive. Ya know? Always before, I've thought at best, well, they're trying, some of it was pretty good. This was better than that.

The ending was a great set of
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The Queen
Thu, Dec 30, 2021, 7:53pm (UTC -5)
Oops, ignore that last semi-sentence. should have been deleted. The ending was a great cliffhanger, was what it was.
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philadlj
Thu, Dec 30, 2021, 8:53pm (UTC -5)
This was great stuff. Not one but two parallel plots involving zero action and all dialogue. Nary a beam fired nor a punch thrown. It felt super stripped down. Michael was at her usual best, and won the day with a speech, only to lose the man she loved, maybe for good.

What a wonderful, earned development for Book, who like Tarka has a very personal debt to repay. I also enjoyed the talk aboard the Disco about What To Do About Zora. It was a great combination of characters. The idea of Zora as a fellow Starfleet officer seems absurd, but only if you haven't watched Farscape, whose central ship was an ancient lifeform with its own free will, with whom the motley crew had to built trust.

I'm also reminded of course of Romy from Gene's Andromeda, though I've only watched a bit of the first season when it aired.

One might say (and they'd be right) this episode only expanded the area of threat from galaxy to multiverse, but by doing so in such a comparatively compact episode, those concepts feel less ridiculous and more wondrous. Can't wait to see what's in store for part two.

3 1/2 Stars.
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Quincy
Thu, Dec 30, 2021, 9:44pm (UTC -5)
Definitely the best episode of the season.

This dude, Tarka, wasn't quite what I thought he was going to be. It was interesting to watch him manipulating Booker. However, unless he's lying about his motivations or twisting the truth a bit, it's a downgrade from what I was hoping. I thought he was up to something far more sinister. But we'll have to wait and see.

In any case, I don't see how blowing up the device and collapsing the anomaly would give him access to the power source. Why wouldn't it also be destroyed or be beyond reach at the other end of the wormhole? Previously, the dark matter asteroid in the second season was said to be an incredible power source. The anomaly is powered apparently by dark matter. Why doesn't he just go look for some dark matter? In Voyager sensors could be reconfigured to directly search for dark matter. This wasn't so in Discovery's original time, but with 32nd century technology this should be a piece of cake.

Some nitpicks. Who the hell came up with "Ten-C" as a name for the alien creators of the DMA? That person needs to have somebody break a shoe off in their behinds. Jesus Christ on a crucifix.

I'm not sure how I feel about them defining Zora as something beyond an A.I. that's equivalent to redefining A.I.'s as not a new life form. That's completely contrary to everything from Data to the Doctor to Picard. New life? "There it sits!"

I really didn't get how they failed to mention that they're dealing with a race of beings that can create a power source equivalent to that of a hypergiant star, which is 100 solar masses. You might not want to piss them off. Nobody even brought that up. I'm staring at my computer screen like, "wtf?!?" And then during the previews President Rillak is screaming about how powerful and dangerous the aliens are. Really? Don't you think the best time for somebody to say that would've been during the conference when you're deciding whether or not to drop a nuke or offer a handshake?

Well, I'm off to watch The Expanse.
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Rahul
Thu, Dec 30, 2021, 10:32pm (UTC -5)
This was riveting from start to finish and, for me, the best nu-Trek episode to date. In terms of structure, plot mechanics and story, depth/intelligence, dialog, suspense it really had it all. And it didn't have the crap that typically weighs down DSC episodes (woke BS, excessive emoting -- and no straight white human males got killed or demeaned).

The two subplots worked in tandem beautifully. And that part where Burnham and Stamets were providing their arguments and cutting back and forth was fantastic -- not the first time nu-Trek did this technique (done in PIC).

What for me totally did not work in "Stormy Weather" with Zora being an emotional basket-case turned into terrific sci-fi here. Here DSC came up with what felt like an original idea on how to create a new sentient artificial life that has adopted the crew as family and is trying to protect them. And it dealt really well with Zora not being part of the chain of command which could also be potentially highly problematic. I thought the writing for Stamets to be extremely skeptical was pretty much perfect. Kovich's role was also perfect in that he is coming from the standpoint of evaluating Zora and trying to ensure she's not violating some principle on AI integration. It all felt like everybody's point of view was sensible and reasonable.

The other supblot making Book and Burnham at odds with each other was also an excellent choice and how it was built up also made a lot of sense. The only thing I'm a bit foggy on and which may be a bit weak is the bond between Tarka and the Emerald Chain / Mirror Universe. But it's great seeing Book and Tarka interact -- not sure what the thing on the back of Tarka's neck is. But it is something significant as the camera did focus on it. It's well-crafted how there's a good debate for using diplomacy and Tarka's aggressive action. Good suspense with the vote tally after both Burnham (Federation ideals, preventing irreparable damage to subspace) and Book gave convincing closing arguments.

And as a mid-season finale, it ends on an appropriate note with Book's cat left with Burnham, a love note while he and Tarka take off with Tarka's device to neutralize the DMA's power source (and capture it so Tarka can return to the MU).

4 stars for "...But to Connect" -- really can't say enough about how well this episode was conceived, written, structured, and acted. There was a ton of excellent dialog and that element of danger, original sci-fi. You just don't come across episodes like these every week to be fair. Really think this is shaping up to be DSC's best season though sticking the landing is always an issue. Who Species 10-C be is super-intriguing -- for now as things stand, it's pretty great stuff I have to say.
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Mal
Fri, Dec 31, 2021, 12:54am (UTC -5)
Star Trek: Discovery
Season 4 Episode 7

… But to Connect


‘“Beautifully expressed, Commander.”

“Living with a therapist, you pick up a thing or two."

- Captain Saru praising Stamets, Stamets praising Dr. Culber.


3 1/2 stars (out of 4)


Here we have a crescendo for the path Discovery has been following all season. Let’s call it a Season of Feelings.

While my reviews have hopefully made it perfectly clear that I am in no way the target demo for this type of telenovela story telling, at least this mid-season finale orgy of group therapy is well earned. And more importantly, well executed.

I agree with @modulum that this is the best episode since "Forget Me Not”.

We have two parallel groups struggling to come to grips with a collective decision they must each take.

One group is facilitated by the impressive President Rillak, and is trying to decide whether to bomb the DMA or make first contact with its creators.

The other group is facilitated by the equally impressive David Cronenberg, and is trying to decide wether to kick Zora off the ship or, as we learn right near the end, kick Stamets off the ship. These tight A/B parallel stories serve Discovery so much better than last week’s single story focus.

First politics. For the second time this season, we see President Rillak using Michael to make political arguments she favors but is constrained by diplomacy from expressing. It worked wonders in "All Is Possible”, and works equally well here.

Tarka is back, and he’s great again. The actor was of course a politician in The Expanse, but I had forgotten that he was also in House of Cards, the great political drama of the decade. I really like how Tarka looked around after Book’s speech, saw complete silence, and @The Queen, decided to force the audience to clap. Pick your moment, indeed.

No points for guessing what the delegates actually vote for. First contact. An inevitable Trek result. But it was nice to see just tad of realism here in the form of personal perspectives. Book has survivor guilt laced with enhanced by visions of his dead father calling out for vengeance, so he obviously wants to bomb. Tarka wants to bomb too, but for personal reasons: he needs a large power source to get back to some parallel reality. Wasn’t that Lorca’s raison d'etre also? I guess the Discovery writing staff don’t have a whole lot of new ideas, @AMA, so they stick with what they know, even if it is, as @Quincy says, less than compelling.

Second, and probably the more classically Roddenberry of the two puzzles, is what to do with a ship that doesn’t want to obey commands? For those, like @philadlj, who have seen Andromeda, last week’s therapy session for Zora reminded me of Gabriel in “Star-Crossed” ( https://www.jammersreviews.com/andr/s1/star-crossed.php ). This week’s therapy session was closer to “The Mathematics of Tears” ( https://www.jammersreviews.com/andr/s1/mathematics.php ), especially @AMA, the dream sequence. And just as “Mathematics" was a better episode than "Star-Crossed," so too was this week’s therapy session a big improvement on “Stormy Weather”.

I fully expected them to go the ship's avatar route, as @Norvo hints. But I found myself ok with their eventual solution, Zora joining Starfleet. The ships on Andromeda were also members of the High Guard, and AIs had rights.

There are some more character beats worth mentioning as well:

- Gray is leaving for Trill, and Adira is taking some time off to go see him home. Good stuff.

- Saru and the President of Nivar continue their very welcome flirtations.

- And to complete the telenovela relationship extravaganza, Book warns Michael that some political disagreements are more important than interpersonal relationships. Holy hell if that doesn't leave us with a fantastic mid-season cliff hanger!!!

This episode works mostly because they bring in 2 adults to oversee things, President Rillak and David Cronenberg. It is shame that there are no adults on the regular cast (aside from Saru). But bravo for recognizing that lacuna, and making up for it with guest appearances. Tarka and Book - both also guests on the show, have a very interesting chemistry that really kicks things up a notch. Only Saru and Stamets from our regular crew added anything significant to the hour.

But however they did it, they did it. A talky-talky feely-feely episode, done right. As @Jeffrey's Tube points out "No one shoots a phaser. No one even THINKS of shooting a phaser!” Hallelujah! As @Jeffrey's Tube says, thank god for budget cuts!

See you on February 10, 2022! Till then, please take care of my pussy cat ;)
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Quincy
Fri, Dec 31, 2021, 4:20am (UTC -5)
@Mal

Nice review.

Did I hear that wrong? Tarka said his "new home." I thought that Tarka was talking about a a brand new universe he'd theorized about with his friend (I think that handicapped guy Aurellio).

If so, that reminds me of a book I read called "Paths to Otherwhere" by James P. Hogan. The main characters develop a technology that's capable of sending your consciousness to any quantum reality where you have a double. If your quantum double died or never existed, you can't go into that reality. If you do get sent to another reality, the entity that exists while you're there is an amalgamation of yourself and the double you transferred into. You have twice the experience perfectly melded together and you can almost instantly become a mentally more capable person.

The characters theorized that in an infinity of quantum realities, since each quantum reality differed by varying degrees, there must be a quantum reality where there is world peace and global prosperity, where people the world over are completely relaxed, full of life and liberty, and the future is so bright you need shades. They start down this path because their world is falling apart socially and politically. They find that world and make a plan to leave their world behind.

I bring this up because that's the sense I got from Tarka's explanation. It was an ideal universe that his friend had discovered. Neither one of them had actually been there. I could be wrong, however.
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Mal
Fri, Dec 31, 2021, 8:12am (UTC -5)
Thanks @Quincy. You may very well be right. What Tarka says is,

"The power source that controls the device, I need it to go home."

"You said you were from Risa"

"My new home."

So it is quite possible that Tarka has never been to his new home since he's never had a power source large enough to get him there.

Fascinating to think of "Home" as a place you've never been.

Reminds me of when Fred died on Angel,

https://youtu.be/E_Alkfe7gBE

Someday I'll go where there ain't no rain or snow
'Til then, I travel alone
And I make my bed with the stars above my head
And dream of a place called home
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Skylar
Fri, Dec 31, 2021, 8:16am (UTC -5)
I know Jammer and many of the commenters don't love the Zora plot, but I think it is the best of the series. And this week was a huge leap forward in this plot that has been simmering in the background for a long time. So many Star Trek aliens are played by humans with silicone prosthetics and colorful makeup, but Zora "embodies" something truly alien. My favorite part is the declaration that she is a new species. I always assumed all AIs would be considered to be the same species. This episode reveals that AIs are a type of life, but not a single species. A very fascinating concept rich for future stories.

The Federation meeting is less effective for me. They meet on a multi level platform without security preventing attendees from beaming place to place without warning? And who is there? And what qualifies you to vote? And why do so few people speak? It's all too vague. And where are the Klingons? They even get mentioned in relation to the 23rd century plot.
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Quincy
Fri, Dec 31, 2021, 12:32pm (UTC -5)
@Mal

lol. That takes me back. I totally forgot about that show. I used to love Buffy, but I never really got into Angel. I only watched it when they had crossovers.

However, that song and montage are perfect for the sentiment we're talking about. Thanks for that. I'll have to make a ringtone out of it.
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Nick
Fri, Dec 31, 2021, 12:51pm (UTC -5)
@ Skylar,

I wasn't a huge fan of the Zora plot in last week's episode but I loved it in this episode. Night and day in terms of how they handled it.
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Triv
Fri, Dec 31, 2021, 2:14pm (UTC -5)
White supremacy infects everything, as this board just shows. Some of you make me sick.
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Maq
Fri, Dec 31, 2021, 4:01pm (UTC -5)
I need to reflect a little bit more of this episode that basicallay just showed people talking.

I did understand what happned. I did found both themes quite intresting and well made. But I could have listned to it on the radio.

Perhaps a balance to those episodes that where visual but without a context.
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Quincy
Fri, Dec 31, 2021, 4:26pm (UTC -5)
This Triv dude has to be trolling. First he makes a comment about J.K. Rowling who nobody even mentioned this episode. Then he's talking nonsense. Hilarious how far out in the woods his one or two sentence comments are. He's got to be trolling.
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The Queen
Fri, Dec 31, 2021, 4:29pm (UTC -5)
Skylar, you brought up a question that's been building in my mind -

Where are the Klingons?? I need to know.
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Jeffrey's Tube
Fri, Dec 31, 2021, 6:09pm (UTC -5)
@ The Queen

I expect the show to stay away from the Klingons for the remainder of its run. That way it doesn't have to deal with the question of what they look like in the 32nd century.

How the show handled them in the first two seasons was a source of major controversy and conflict between it and fans, and the show has made large strides in clawing back some of the goodwill it had lost with those decisions (among other decisions from the first season). On the one hand, they don't want to be internally inconsistent with how they portray them by changing it from what they had done previously, and on the other, why stir up the whole mess again? So I expect them to really just avoid the topic altogether. We'll see.

I agree their absence, and indeed the absence of any mention, is a bit conspicuous, however.

Was Qo'nos namechecked in a previous episode this or last season? I feel like it might have been, but I forget the particulars.
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Booming
Fri, Dec 31, 2021, 6:37pm (UTC -5)
It is pretty obvious why there are no Klingons anymore. It goes like this.

Interstellar travel stops aka the BURN, replicators start to fail, some cannibalism, then lots of cannibalism. Now there are maybe half a million Klingons left eating animals and each other. And they lived happily ever after. The End.
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Jason R.
Fri, Dec 31, 2021, 7:04pm (UTC -5)
"Where are the Klingons?? I need to know."

They went back to hell with the other cenobites.
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mosley
Fri, Dec 31, 2021, 7:31pm (UTC -5)
Easily the best DSC episode since forever. The whole council thing was actual trek. Two episodes in a row with no pew pew pew. Nice!

Thumbs up for :. Diplomacy. Universe building. Larger canvas, many worlds.

But this wouldn't be discovery if it didn't also do... Well... Discovery things. The computer still has the feels, and the show is doubling down on it as if it were a question of "will burnam save the universe today".

I agree that in principle this would be a trekkian concept. But oh my, the execution... 2001 this ain't. More like a "talk to counselor troi" plot, and mind you, didn't like those either, ever.

So thumbs down for the completely silly execution of that part. Yay, let's make the ship a...... member of starfleet. So that it follows orders and stuff!

This is just ridiculous. So, thumbs down for that as well as... Booker holds a convincing speech. Buuut, will burnam hold AN EVEN MORE CONVINCING speech?

Well, of course she will. The way the entire council at the end is reduced to a "booker argues with burnam, and of course burnam is right" schtick is just awful. Also, what an effing insult to the guy who plays booker, such a great actor.

But still. A lot better than usual. I don't care about the budget restraints. If the budget restraints result in more trekkian story telling, by all means, reduce their budget even more 😄
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Jeff C
Fri, Dec 31, 2021, 11:16pm (UTC -5)
First time commenting here, though I have read the reviews for years. Discovery is something of a conundrum to me. The episodes are always well produced and an enjoyable watch, but as a series it just takes itself too damn seriously. Unlike it's predecessors, it has absolutely no whimsy. There isn't a lighthearted episode to be found. And every episode seems to be incomplete without its emotionally wrought moment accompanied by the swelling string soundtrack. Can I just get one episode that isn't the bastard love child of SyFy and the Hallmark Channel?

And Zora? Lordamercy. When first introduced, I knew immediately they were building towards the "sentient computer goes rogue" moment. It is just so contrived and cliche. Now, with this episode, which doubles down on the schmaltz by including the self-aware computer in the group affirmation, it seems clear the writers intend Zora to fill out the empty chair at the cold reading that was previously occupied by Mary Wiseman. You don't need the cast to always be a round number. Seriously, just leave the spot empty. Or, if you absolutely have to add someone to make the numbers work, do more with Jett Reno for crying out loud. It is borderline criminal how little they are using Tig Notaro. But, I guess if you think you are creating haute culture, a character that adds some levity gets in the way. And don't get me started on how little they use Grudge.

I mean, I get that Star Trek has always been about social commentary and utopian aspirations. I take no issue with that. It is just that Discovery is so heavy handed about it. It is almost as if they don't trust their audience to get it unless they layer it on with a trowel.

Okay, I guess I really didn't like this episode at all.
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Mal
Fri, Dec 31, 2021, 11:55pm (UTC -5)
"It is pretty obvious why there are no Klingons anymore. It goes like this.
Interstellar travel stops aka the BURN, replicators start to fail, some cannibalism, then lots of cannibalism."


That makes no sense - then why would the Khitomer Accords still be in effect this episode?

https://youtu.be/CvjqBBUnqWY

As usual, I suspect folks are commenting without even bothering to watch. All sound and fury, signifying nothing.

https://youtu.be/5bJFkVArHWI?t=117

During the Cultural Revolution, the CPC would sentence heretics to live in rural areas and work blue-collar jobs to reconnect with The People,

ALIXUS: You won't give a millimeter, will you? Look at you, still in your uniform, wanting so badly to get back to your station with its artificial gravity and sterilized air. You are so disconnected from your core identity, Ben. There is a better way. How can we help you to see it? Perhaps good hard work is the answer. Vinod!
VINOD: Yes, mother?
ALIXUS: Ben will be standing watch tonight.

If we could sentence some folks here to actually going back and watch 3 years of TOS, and read the many years of comments on those episodes - I suspect it would do wonders eliminating the blowhards.

https://youtu.be/0jk9UIN9GC0

Long live the revolution.

https://youtu.be/EeYUZuqc8No?t=50
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Mesut
Sat, Jan 1, 2022, 1:43am (UTC -5)
What a great hour of Trek! I will take a half point off however, unlike I did for last week's "Stormy Weather" that I much enjoyed watching, because I prefer some action mixed in and this one did not have any. 3.5 stars for this one, still I was glued to the screen.

I would also join Skylar in saying that the Zora plot has me enthralled and the way they handled it in this episode was fascinating, with Kovich, Stamets and Zora herself prividing intriguing input as to the pros and cons of a new lifeform being in control of the ship and yet feeling fully integrated with the crew in terms comradery. Well done Discovery. ​

One other thought: Unlike many here, I am for the crew exploring their feelings and emotions, I certainly don't want a wooden crew with little feelings and zero trauma after all that they have been through. For that, a Trek show featuring a Vulcan ship may be more suitable, or some episodes of TNG or Voyager where the crew members and the ship went through inordinate amount of violence and trauma and came back the next episode pristine and ready to go for the next mission. I guess what some mention as a negative, "feels" etc., I actually see it as a strength of the show, and I am glad the writing room is tackling those. As for getting bothered by white heterosexual men not being the heroes or minorities dominating the storylines (I see it repeatedly mentioned by a commenter through the episodes), it never bothered me because I never thought of it that way in the same way that I never thought of that through decades of mostly white male heroes being featured in movies and series in main roles. Just enjoy the ride.

Tarka is a great guest character addition and this hour gave some depth into his cause. Quincy explained it beautifully above. It appears that the guy is basically a dreamer and wants peace and harmony for the rest of his life in the long term no matter what the cost in the short term.

I am not missing Tilly but that is not necessarily because I did not like her character. I love Admiral Vance and he has been missing too. So I guess a great hour of Trek works no matter who stars in the entry. I am looking forward to when the show comes back.
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mosley
Sat, Jan 1, 2022, 6:53am (UTC -5)
A fascinating phenomenon that I have noticed around DSC is this:

Across countless fan groups and now also this site, I have read complaints about oh, all those people complaining that the captains chair isn't run by a white male.

Yet those aren't exactly easy to find, to put it mildly. Usually, all you can find is the spiel where criticism of SMGs acting is reinterpreted to "oh, that's what you really mean, don't you, you pig".

Which strikes me as kind of weird, considering that the last 4 captains in trek were a black man, a white woman, a white man, and now a black woman, and of those, I would say that the Archer character easily was the worst (and also treated and critiziced as such, right to the moment when enterprise was canceled early).

Overall, this whole thing strikes me as a rather convenient strawman mechanism.

But just to be on the safe side, I will happily state that Burnam is not nearly as bad as Archer. I will take a Marvel ish Character that saves the universe on a daily basis over the uninspired Archer Cowboy whose primary activity was to get caught and be thrown into some alien jail cell on a daily basis. And be it only because the latter makes for less interesting storytelling :)

But a Sisko or Janeway or Picard, she ain't.
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Engineering
Sat, Jan 1, 2022, 2:06pm (UTC -5)
"But a Sisko or Janeway or Picard, she ain't."

I couldn't stand Sisko's (Brooks) acting and I'd take both Archer and SMG any day over his incessant deep breaths between each syllable and the excessively ecxagerated trembling lips and twitching jaw muscles. And this is coming from someone holding DS9 as his favorite show. Thank God Brooks's surrounding cast made up for his shenanigans (and no, I don't care about his wonderful CV as an actor, it does not change the hig-emabrrassment factor of watching him deliver some of his lines). I remember him taking several seconds just to get "Isnt.... IT?" out of his mouth during the interrogation where he had to represent Worf and it was excruciating to listen to. His subpar acting glared badly in "Waltz" when he had to be one-on-one with Dukat played by Alaimo. Talk about a contrast between first-rate acting with Alaimo and a theatrical one, in the dismal sense.
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Jeffrey’s Tube
Sat, Jan 1, 2022, 4:37pm (UTC -5)
re: The lack or treatment of heterosexual white males on Discovery at the moment . . .

It’s really just one commenter (Rahul) who keeps bringing it up. Even then, I get the impression from his comments that it’s something he’s noticed and is now sticking out to him in every episode like a sore thumb, like something stuck in his brain that he can’t un-notice, and it’s irritating him rather than something that legitimately outrages him.

Although he does seem to think the show is making deliberate choices to that effect rather than things simply shaking out that way. So perhaps I am too much trying to see the better side of his complaints and giving him the benefit of the doubt. Still, it remains my impression the tenor of his comments are, for the most part, observational more than venomous.
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Rahul
Sat, Jan 1, 2022, 6:23pm (UTC -5)
@Jeffrey's Tube,

You did a pretty good job characterizing my thoughts on the treatment of heterosexual white males on DSC. Yes, I have repeatedly brought it up -- it is no coincidence, the show knows what it's doing. And yes, I can't un-notice it.

In my write-up for "Stormy Weather" I actually didn't mention that the one person who got sucked into space before Zora could seal the hull breach was -- you guessed it, a human white male (presumably straight).

The reason I find it irritating, as you say, is this is not what Trek is supposed to stand for in terms of diversity/inclusivity. No one type of human should be consistently portrayed so poorly.

I'm not sure why people would get bothered by me repeatedly bringing this up -- they can do their own "research" and see for themselves. It is "observational" and not "venomous" as you say. Combine that with the fact that a lot of people involved in creating DSC are either not straight or support BLM, it should come as no surprise why straight white human male characters are portrayed as they are.

All this being said, this one complaint of mine re. DSC doesn't take away from the fact that they're doing a pretty good job with S4 thus far. I find the over-emoting far more problematic to the story-telling than the treatment of straight white human male characters. Let's hope they don't screw up the conclusion.
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Booming
Sat, Jan 1, 2022, 7:04pm (UTC -5)
"Combine that with the fact that a lot of people involved in creating DSC are either not straight or support BLM, it should come as no surprise why straight white human male characters are portrayed as they are."
Another sentence for the scrapbook.
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Mal
Sat, Jan 1, 2022, 9:09pm (UTC -5)
"In my write-up for "Stormy Weather" I actually didn't mention that the one person who got sucked into space before Zora could seal the hull breach was -- you guessed it, a human white male (presumably straight).

The reason I find it irritating, as you say, is this is not what Trek is supposed to stand for in terms of diversity/inclusivity. No one type of human should be consistently portrayed so poorly."


@Rahul, I don't understand what you're getting at. In the history of Trek, I can't even remember a Red Shirt of the Week being anything other than a man.

That's just how Trek - and the world - works.

One of the things in TOS' episode "By any other Name" that was so shocking, is that they actually killed a pretty white woman and let the black man live!!

Of course I disagreed with you in that thread as well. So maybe we just see the world, and Trek, differently?
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dave
Sat, Jan 1, 2022, 10:35pm (UTC -5)
I give them wonderful credit for working to re connect with Trek fans these last two seasons. I was so put off by the first 2 that I was only watching the show to be a "completionist", you know?

I feel like I am watching a Star Trek series again. I am not putting it up on a pedestal or saying it is better than my favorites, but they have moved a long way from where this series started to how they are presenting it now.

I like the long term story arc, with regular self contained character development stories, and more deep thinking questions than just trying to get the modern video game crowd to think Star Trek is cool.

Highly encouraged about where this is headed this season and into S5. The feedback is overwhelmingly positive on Season 4 so I would have to think they will continue this style.

Picard Season 1 was atrocious to me. I now have hopes that they also listened for that one and we may very well get the Jean Luc Picard we know and love!
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dave
Sat, Jan 1, 2022, 10:37pm (UTC -5)
And hey, the dorks going on about JK Rowling and White Supremacy; come on. Let's not ruin a good website that many of us have visited for over a quarter century (gosh, that is a long time! Hail Jammer!).
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mosley
Sat, Jan 1, 2022, 11:42pm (UTC -5)
@engineering / Avery brooks comments

Hmmm...you know, I do know what you're pointing to. But I still disagree. Yes, from time to time, he made some rather weird acting choices.

But to me, this all is pushed into the background by his portrayal of a loving father / son relationship. It was heartfelt, realistic, nuanced, and convincing, from start to finish. And this is stuff that usually ends up being cringey AF. Not here. Not a single time.

For me, what the two actors (and certainly to some extent the writers) pulled off here is a true masterpiece. Sorry to say that, but at least to me, this kind of depth and nuance seems completely out of reach for SMG or DSC as a whole. And while I explained that away for a while with the 10 episodes vs 24 episodes difference, I eventually realized that Brooks and Lofton had basically nailed this right at the end of the first episode and then just kept it up there.

But maybe my perception is a bit warped, I will happily admit that. It's just that this particular type of relationship is rarely showed (and as said above, when attempted but not acted as masterfully as here, usually ends up in the cringe drawer). So, yeah, I see your point, but still refuse to take these two off the pedestal that I put them on ;-)
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Quincy
Sat, Jan 1, 2022, 11:52pm (UTC -5)
@Rahul
Sat, Jan 1, 2022, 6:23pm (UTC -6)

"In my write-up for "Stormy Weather" I actually didn't mention that the one person who got sucked into space before Zora could seal the hull breach was -- you guessed it, a human white male (presumably straight)."

This whole sentence is hilarious. You mean to tell me you got pissed that a random white dude was blown out of the ship? He was that week's red shirt. What else is new?

I guess I should've been ticked off when TNG sneakily slid Ensign Haskell's behind into Wesley's chair right after a commercial break just so they could treat him like a chocolate covered stepchild: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JUmWmMFaT4

And was that red shirt of the week even considered white? It was Ivan Lopez, who played Ensign Cortez, who got his behind blown to where no Hispanic man has been blown before. I've seen too many white people fail to claim their south of the border brethren to just accept it that easily.

Honest question, isn't Oded Fehr, who plays Admiral Vance, Jewish? Don't most Jews identify as white? Do you consider him more or less "white" than our fair skinned Hispanic brother that you complained about above? Dude was born in Tel Aviv. Pretty sure it's not in the left's playbook to look kindly on Israel very often. If their goal is so premeditated as you claim, why would they let this casting choice slip by and put an Israeli born Jew in a such a positive role?
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Rahul
Sun, Jan 2, 2022, 8:37am (UTC -5)
@Mal,

I looked up what you said in "By Any Other Name" and whatever disagreement you had with me there had nothing to do with the red shirt death, so I'm not sure why you are bringing that up here.

Yes, the red shirts on TOS were pretty much always men and BAON stands out as an exception. But we can tell DSC has some kind of female/non-hetero/woke empowerment vibe about it which TOS did not.

I'm not going to rehash all the examples I've previously provided in other threads of the DSC deaths / characters portrayed in negative lights being straight white human males -- this is systematic on DSC's part and no coincidence. Please do the "research" yourself to see or look up what I wrote in prior DSC seasons.

I don't necessarily think we see Trek differently, but if it is supposed to stand for diversity/inclusion, then DSC is doing a piss poor job of it as it relates to inclusion regarding straight white human male characters.

@Quincy

"I guess I should've been ticked off when TNG sneakily slid Ensign Haskell's behind into Wesley's chair"

You can be ticked off about whatever you want. That's not my problem. I'm not commenting on TNG here and I don't ever recall complaining about some Ensign Cortez -- maybe you can substantiate your accusation a bit better?

I had no idea what ethnicity Oded Fehr is. So thanks for informing me. I don't consider him white and I believe that would be the general consensus. Hope I answered your "What else is new?" in my comment to Mal.
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Mal
Sun, Jan 2, 2022, 9:47am (UTC -5)
@Rahul, seems like an odd fetish to fixate on SWM, especially when DSC certainly has more and higher profile than say DS9.

DISC has had two relevant captains. Maybe you don't like Loca's portrayal. But Pike was as good they come - so good they gave him a spin-off. DS9 had none.

DISC had Spock, a good guy. DISC had Michael's dad (maybe you've heard of him, a guy named Sarak), also on balance a decent chap.

Compare that to DS9. Sure DS9 had Rene - hidden behind prosthetics, like Saru. And Miles, who was not even an officer - by the end of things, even Nog outranked him!

The only other relevant fellow in your calculus on DS9 was Eddington, a traitor.

Now on DISC we have Tarka. Before that we had the the very cool Kenneth Mitchell in not one but several roles - Kol and others Klingons, and then Aurellio.

I suspect Aurellio is the friend Tarka talks about in this episode.

I can't believe you have reduced Star Trek to counting bodies.

What are you going to complain about later in 2022 when DISC is at and end, and all we have left is Picard - a SWM - and Strange New Worlds, with of course Pike in the big chair?

You won't have DISC nixon to kick around any more.
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defor
Sun, Jan 2, 2022, 9:55am (UTC -5)
Rahul:
"I'm not going to rehash all the examples I've previously provided in other threads of the DSC deaths / characters portrayed in negative lights being straight white human males -- this is systematic on DSC's part and no coincidence"

Is this a bad thing?? That a Trek series is trying to put minorities and non-heterosexuals in the forefront?

Did you have a problem with 60 years of TV and films where all the protagonist-heroes were white heterosexual males and any race or gender beyond that was always represented in a negative light or as a subordinate of that protagonist to the point where you felt a need to comment on it after each movie or series you saw over the years?
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Rahul
Sun, Jan 2, 2022, 10:22am (UTC -5)
@defor

"Is this a bad thing?? That a Trek series is trying to put minorities and non-heterosexuals in the forefront?"

It is not a bad thing to put minorities and non-heteros in the forefront. It comes down to how you do it. Do you do it with a certain amount of class/dignity or do you do it in a mean-minded or disingenuous way? I have no problem with DSC's entire bridge crew not featuring a single straight white male character. But when straight white males characters are overwhelmingly the bad guys / get killed etc. then it really stands out as the show pushing an agenda.

Classic Trek had that certain amount of dignity -- that is why I love it. nu-Trek lacks that kind of class.
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Rahul
Sun, Jan 2, 2022, 10:29am (UTC -5)
@Mal

I'm not talking about straight white male actors. I'm talking about straight white male characters. There's a big difference. It's the portrayal that matters. Don't mis-characterize what I'm saying and then start trolling. There's enough of that on this board and I would hope you'd not descend to that depth.

And it's "Sarek" not "Sarak". And yes, he is a decent chap.
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Booming
Sun, Jan 2, 2022, 11:48am (UTC -5)
Rahul means straight white male Humans. (Presumably) straight white male is not enough.

And think about Asian women. They have it the worst. There was good Georgiou who was killed off immediately. Then there was the security chief Landry. She was evil in our and the mirror universe. Man, she was evil even on BSG. Least and certainly worst is evil Georgiou. A mass-murdering, cannibalistic psychopath. Chinese embassy on line 1! :)
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Quincy
Sun, Jan 2, 2022, 1:44pm (UTC -5)
Rahul
Sun, Jan 2, 2022, 8:37am (UTC -6)

"You can be ticked off about whatever you want. That's not my problem. I'm not commenting on TNG here and I don't ever recall complaining about some Ensign Cortez -- maybe you can substantiate your accusation a bit better?

I had no idea what ethnicity Oded Fehr is. So thanks for informing me. I don't consider him white and I believe that would be the general consensus. Hope I answered your "What else is new?" in my comment to Mal."



Didn't you write this?

"In my write-up for "Stormy Weather" I actually didn't mention that the one person who got sucked into space before Zora could seal the hull breach was -- you guessed it, a human white male (presumably straight)."

Who are you referring to that got sucked out into space?

The only person I saw in episode "Stormy Weather" who got sucked out into space was Ensign Cortez at time stamp 22:22 (without commercials). Here's a screen shot: https://imgur.com/860QmwS

He runs into to the forcefield and then gets sucked out into the void.

If that's not the man you're talking about, could you give a time stamp or a description, because that's the only man I can find blown out of the ship in that episode. But perhaps I missed the white man you were talking about and he was shown floating by a window or something. Please point me to him.
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Jason R.
Sun, Jan 2, 2022, 2:23pm (UTC -5)
"But when straight white males characters are overwhelmingly the bad guys / get killed etc. then it really stands out as the show pushing an agenda."

To be fair the series features one of the most notorious criminals / arch villains of the franchise, who shot her commanding officer in the back and then murdered a foreign head of state (sparking an interstellar war) all in the pilot. And that was a black woman. I'd say white men got off easy.
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Quincy
Sun, Jan 2, 2022, 3:20pm (UTC -5)
@Jason R.
Sun, Jan 2, 2022, 2:23pm (UTC -6)

"who shot her commanding officer in the back and then murdered a foreign head of state (sparking an interstellar war) all in the pilot."



lol. Self-defense isn't murder.
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Jason R.
Sun, Jan 2, 2022, 3:53pm (UTC -5)
"lol. Self-defense isn't murder."

Haha watch the scene again. She wasn't defending herself.
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Nick
Sun, Jan 2, 2022, 4:24pm (UTC -5)
Oh man, the fireworks in here are gonna be great if Tarka ends up being the villain.
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I Am Nomad
Sun, Jan 2, 2022, 5:03pm (UTC -5)
Not to get into it but to clarify, Ensign Cortez is the guy in Stormy Weather (DSC) who was blown out of the hull breach before Zora sealed it off. Unclear whether he was white or straight, but maybe we can just not know, right :)?
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Mal
Sun, Jan 2, 2022, 7:41pm (UTC -5)
"Rahul means straight white male Humans."

Holy crap, @Rahul has achieved the one thing I thought impossible - make me agree with @... ugh, I can't even type the name :-)

Because as far as I can tell, Star Trek has never had any "straight white male characters." They've all been pink-skins!

https://youtu.be/QGtraJnZLfc?t=18

@Rahul, I have to say, you haven't been very consistent with this tenant, that, "@Mal I'm not talking about straight white male actors. I'm talking about straight white male characters."

Just a couple weeks ago when I was complaining how despicable it was for Michael to dress down the Magistrate in "The Examples," you put it this way:

"Here you have a black woman humiliating a white man."

It didn't seem to matter that this was not a white character - a white actor seemed to be enough.

I'd love if we could conclude this topic in in this thread once and for all. Racism is silly. So let this thread be your last battlefield.

https://youtu.be/vi7QQ5pO7_A?t=147
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Rahul
Sun, Jan 2, 2022, 8:14pm (UTC -5)
@Mal

I think you get confused very easily. I gotta say you've written a number of really stupid comments aimed at me. Very hard to take such nonsense from you seriously.

And I think you mean "tenet" not "tenant". I know you have trouble with these things -- there was that time you confused "oligarchy" with "oligopoly"...

How can you say the character Burnham dressed down in "The Examples" was not white?? What color was his skin then? I'm sorry this whole thing is too confusing for you but I will keep beating the drum on this one. And it is not racist, but I can see how a dimwit might think it is.
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Booming
Sun, Jan 2, 2022, 8:45pm (UTC -5)
Let me get this straight. A male Akaali magistrate (not Human) is representing straight white males but Spock who is half Human is not.
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Mal
Sun, Jan 2, 2022, 9:39pm (UTC -5)
"Let me get this straight. A male Akaali magistrate (not Human) is representing straight white males but Spock who is half Human is not."

Stop making so much sense! We need to go back to enemy status - LOL

Also Ensign Cortez portrayed by Ivan Lopez, a white male?? WTF is all this shit???

That's why I love firefly. All the straight white males,

https://youtu.be/6ZQbSaN8R_o?t=57

Best show ever.
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The Queen
Sun, Jan 2, 2022, 9:59pm (UTC -5)
@ Jeffrey's Tube - I just rewatched the Klingon episodes in season 2, and IMO there'd be no problem with the new Klingons if they just gave them hair. Which would be entirely possible, because wasn't the idea that the ones we saw were only from one house composed of religious fanatics? Which had obviously changed even by Warf's time.

If all these other species have supposedly changed their looks, why haven't humans changed? Why aren't we seeing Quaddies, at least? Even on ST: Enterprise, there were humans who basically lived in space. Or an episode about clone-sets like in LeGuin's "Nine Lives" would be interesting.

I know, I'm a dreamer.
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Mal
Sun, Jan 2, 2022, 11:43pm (UTC -5)
@The Queen, how do you know there weren't any Klingons at the conference? Maybe you just didn't recognize them,

https://youtu.be/Xka6IYCpj4E
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Quincy
Sun, Jan 2, 2022, 11:59pm (UTC -5)
@The Queen


Don't know what a Quaddie is, but you must have been looking for something like Foundation's Spacers:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGJM03cOmTg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXLjZMmY4b4


(•_•)

( •_•)>⌐■-■

(⌐■_■)

YEEEEAAAAHHHH!!!!!
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Booming
Mon, Jan 3, 2022, 4:48am (UTC -5)
@Mal
"Stop making so much sense! We need to go back to enemy status - LOL"
The Matrix has you... ;)

And the whole oligopoly oligarchy thing. How did Rahul even remember that?! Is he some kind of J. Edgar Hoover of spelling?? Has he files on all of us?
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Jeffrey's Tube
Mon, Jan 3, 2022, 5:52am (UTC -5)
@ Queen

The hair helped, but there were other things. Like the number of fingers on each hand, I think. The weird gray & blue skin tones (not such a hard thing to get past because surely other species have ethnicities, and yet that's all we saw in those seasons, no "traditional" Klingons). And Lorca straight up says at one point that humans can't have sex with Klingons because they have two penises and two vaginas and we don't "have the right equipment." Well, we know that's all kinds of untrue in other Treks.

In my head, the Klingons we see on Discovery in season 1 and 2 are not what Klingons are "supposed to" look like. Klingons are "supposed to" look how they look on TNG / the movies, which is also how they look earlier in the timeline on Enterprise before the augment virus turns them into human-looking Klingons from TOS. That much was all canon pre-Discovery. So, in my head, the Klingons on Discovery are genetically engineered to be "more" Klingon than they're "supposed" to be because it's the only way to resist the augment virus. A large amount of their society got infected and got the smooth foreheads, and the remainder did this Discovery-look to themselves to avoid being infected. Later, the Klingons cured the augment virus (as evidenced by Kor, Kang, and Koloth, who got their forehead bumps back by the time of DS9), and so they stopped doing the Discovery augmenting thing too, and went back to how they're supposed to look.

Their entire slogan during the Klingon War on Discovery was "Remain Klingon." It fits.

. . .

@ Rahul

While I'm certain the show is making a deliberate effort to include non-white, non-heterosexual, and gender non-conforming characters in prominent leading roles, I'm also certain it's not making a deliberate effort to dis-include or otherwise portray white heterosexual males poorly. Things have maybe just been shaking out that way of late (which, personally, I'm both not convinced of and never would have paid attention to if not for you . . . and I think that's probably the case for 99% of viewers). At any rate, it inarguably hasn't been that way in the past, and I'm sure it won't be that way again in the future.

If you REALLY think the writers are sitting around saying "okay, we need to kill the shuttle pilot in this episode, so let's make him a white heterosexual male because fuck those evil guys amiright?" then I really don't know what to say to you except human beings generally don't operate that way. It would be many, many standard deviations away from normal human behavior to have the entire writers' room of Discovery operating that way. The worst you can accuse them of that doesn't cross the line into extreme (absurd) unlikeliness is not paying particular attention to if/how they're including white heterosexual males like they are with non-white, non-heterosexual, and gender non-conforming persons.

Anyway, what about Kovich? Where does he count?
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Sigh2000
Mon, Jan 3, 2022, 5:54am (UTC -5)
@ Booming
"Is he some kind of J. Edgar Hoover of spelling??"
Funny !

By coincidence: I had just read before your comment, that J. Edgar Hoover started out (1917) in the U.S. Justice Department collecting data on half a million Americans in an effort to identify pro-German sympathizers. What a guy...already at age 22. Where would scifi be without him? He inspired so much dystopic stuff.
Precursor to Psi Corps.

Please forgive me. I really tried to spell everything correctly. : ) maybe "half-a-million" is more correct?
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Quincy
Mon, Jan 3, 2022, 8:30am (UTC -5)
@Jason R.
Sun, Jan 2, 2022, 3:53pm (UTC -6)
"Haha watch the scene again. She wasn't defending herself."

Nope. You watch the actual sequence of events again.

The war starts here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HsPsPIQATU

This is clearly self-defense in any rational court system.

The Federation-Klingon War that has already begun heats up here at the Battle of the Binary Stars:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CyRxk7gr-DM

Here they are trying to stop the war that the Klingons started:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYOIF9JzyFQ

There is a slim to none chance of doing so.

They fail to STOP the war. Burnham abandons her slim to none chance of stopping the war and kills T'Kuvma in defense of Georgiou. She suspects but doesn't know Georgiou is really dead until Saru informs her. Try and convict somebody of murder in any sane court who shot somebody who was in the act of stabbing and killing somebody else.

Anybody claiming that this is where the war started wasn't paying attention to the Battle of the Binary Stars that already took place when T'Kuvma was rightfully phasered. He had every megajoule of that phaser beam coming.
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Rahul
Mon, Jan 3, 2022, 8:39am (UTC -5)
@Jeffrey's Tube,

"I'm also certain it's not making a deliberate effort to dis-include or otherwise portray white heterosexual males poorly. Things have maybe just been shaking out that way of late"

It is not "of late" -- it goes back to the start of the series. Consider Lorca, Harry Mudd, etc. The portrayal of straight white male human characters (or even very similar to human, for that matter) has overwhelmingly been very negative. But that's not to say every single one has been treated that way. Pike is one exception. Kovich may be another but I actually have wondered, given that this is DSC, if he is supposed to be a straight character -- he's very mysterious. I know that sounds like an odd thing to say and it really is a moot point.

As for the creative staff (writers, producers, and even actors), generally yes you would not expect them to have an agenda against a certain segment of the human population. But I truly wonder when I see so many of them openly supporting BLM on social media. How can so many people openly support a violent far-left extremist movement and not have it influence their lives, work at all? I'm fairly sure this creative staff all think the same way.

Given how this discussion has gone with others descending into trolling, immaturity etc., I would also like to thank you for at least trying to do things the Trek way. I liked your initial attempt at surmising what I was getting at (whether you agree or not is not the issue) and that you are first willing to give the benefit of the doubt rather than go in all guns blazing. It's not unlike trying to use diplomacy with the aliens who created the DMA rather than Tarka's attack approach!
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Jason R.
Mon, Jan 3, 2022, 9:00am (UTC -5)
@Quincy bah fine agreed it is not "murder". Still what an idiot. She just finished telling Georgiou 5 minutes before that killing this one Klingon would make the war worse and kill millions and they need to capture NOT kill him and she *chooses* to change her phaser from stun to kill and to shoot the guy dead! She could have stunned him and probably saved Georgiou too - just stun and 3 to beam to sickbay... ugggh!!!

This isn't like Vengeance Factor where the writing just flubbed - you can see the color of the phaser change. They knew about the stun setting and consciously wrote her as switching to kill.

No I am never letting this go, Michael is the worst Starfleet officer ever!!!!@@
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mosley
Mon, Jan 3, 2022, 9:04am (UTC -5)
I was kind of tempted to agree that there's at least a subtle statistical tendency to have the bad guy be a white male (across all genres, actually), not so much because of some particular agenda, but simply because it's an accepted trope and therefore "playing it safe". (also, let's not forget one could argue its certainly historically accurate due centuries that were politically dominated by men only).

Whatever the reasons and reasoning, as a writer you know that no eyebrows are raised when the antagonist/idiot/are is white and male, while whenever you make it something other than that, you risk opening a can of worms and stir up a debate where you only just needed an random antagonist for your plot :-D

So, this little statistical tendency is likely due to pragmatism more than anything else, but yes, it does have an (albeit mild) effect on storytelling effectiveness (I. E. In the sense that these days, if a woman and man fight, you usually can predict that the woman will almost certainly kick the man's ass, because empowerment and stuff. Which is an honorable motivation and fine and really not much more than a mild loss of suspension in storytelling. Where at most one would say "ok, but isn't it time for the storytelling zeitgeist to move on and have the man win, just because it goes against the expectations". All no big deal.

But when you tie this to your personal assessment of BLM as 100% a violent far left extremist movement and apparently 0% a heartfelt plea for systemic discrimination to be seen, I really don't want to be associated with that at all.

That's a really extreme extrapolation that says more about the person that says it than about the thing he is trying to describe.
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Mal
Mon, Jan 3, 2022, 9:13am (UTC -5)
@Rahul said, "I'm fairly sure this creative staff all think the same way."

I'm fairly sure they don't.

Take for example "Forget Me Not," the best Discovery episode, and frankly the best Star Trek episode in 20 years. Written by Alan B. McElroy. His previous work includes such #BLM propaganda peaces [sic] as The Left Behind christian movies! Yeah, total woke conformist that one.

Far from a one-off script, Alan B. McElroy has already worked on several Discovery episodes, and this season he is also a co-executive producer.
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Rahul
Mon, Jan 3, 2022, 9:38am (UTC -5)
@Mal

Fair enough. I should not have been so absolute in my statement. I should have added a "generally" in there.

I used to think "Forget Me Not" was the best nu-Trek Star Trek episode but this latest one is a bit better. I would go so far as to say it is best Trek episode since ENT's best episode "Regeneration".


@mosley

Most people assume BLM is trying to do something positive for blacks and racism but that's not how the movement plays out. It is based in Marxism -- the co-founder Patrice Cullers is a Marxist. Apparently she owned several mansions. There are far better ways for people to advocate against racism than supporting BLM. I do believe some people are fooled into believing BLM is something benevolent but those people are slowly wising up. I think there are movements like All Black Lives Matter or Black Lives Still Matter or something like that.
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Quincy
Mon, Jan 3, 2022, 9:51am (UTC -5)
Well, in other news... been waiting for season 2 of Picard:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUhBOmtFYr8

Not sure I like the focus of the season. I don't see how something that happened that far back wouldn't change things so the current crew were never born, but I suppose that with his cosmic awareness Q could find something or cause something with exactly that result.

It's probably due to budget cuts they chose this setting anyway. It's the word of the day. Let's see where it goes.

Really bummed out The Expanse only has two more episodes. That's not a proper send off for such a great show. I would love for someone like Netflix or Apple to pic it up, but that's not going to happen under the current climate. Bummer.

Let's hope Discovery finishes strong this time. They fumbled the ball at the end of last season. Got my fingers crossed.
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Booming
Mon, Jan 3, 2022, 9:53am (UTC -5)
@mosley
"So, this little statistical tendency is likely due to pragmatism more than anything else, but yes, it does have an (albeit mild) effect on storytelling effectiveness (I. E. In the sense that these days, if a woman and man fight, you usually can predict that the woman will almost certainly kick the man's ass, because empowerment and stuff."
Can we really talk about a statistically verifiable trend? In this show we had at least Georgiou getting beaten and killed by T'Kuvma in a fight. Do you mean Marvel movies because they obviously allow women to succeed in fights because superpowers and whatnot. Could you mention a few examples?

Rahul writes:
"It is not "of late" -- it goes back to the start of the series. Consider Lorca, Harry Mudd, etc. The portrayal of straight white male human characters (or even very similar to human, for that matter) has overwhelmingly been very negative. But that's not to say every single one has been treated that way."
This is almost like a case study in confirmation bias. He is convinced, according to his own words that BLM supporter are against white men (but not women) and gays are against straight people (which is homophobia, by the way) and therefor straight white men are all portrayed negatively, though gay white men are ok for some reason.

Still, there are Pike, Spock, Sarek, Trill guardian Xi (who helped Discovery against the wishes of the black female leader), Kovich, Vance. So he comes up with definitions to fit is hypothesis. Spock and Sarek are white heterosexual men but either not Human or half Human arguing that character not actor is important, same goes for the Trill guy, even though in other cases where the portrayal is negative it doesn't matter. For Kovich he already imagines some reason like Kovich being gay because he is mysterious. Then there is Charles Vance who has the whitest of names but Vance is not white enough when it comes to skin pigmentation. Making the data fit the desired results is often happening when confirmation bias is the guiding force.
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Booming
Mon, Jan 3, 2022, 10:00am (UTC -5)
@Quincy
The Expanse season 6 has only 6 episodes not 10?! I have already seen three...
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mosley
Mon, Jan 3, 2022, 10:04am (UTC -5)
@Rahul

Well, I guess it is safe to say that we can leave this assessment to the people affected by it, now? A movement is only ever what the majority of the movement makes of it. If we applied the rule of a movement only being judged by motivations or particular details or viewpoints of their founders, boy or boy would that result I chaos.

Like, a healthy 70 perfect of political parties around the world wound stand on the opposite side of the political spectrum from one day to the next.

That's clearly not how things work currently, nor would it be particularly practical. So I for one have absolutely no problem with having the affected people decide this for themselves, or for example in the case of kneeling football players, I would listen to their statements of why they do that, and if they say "to make a point about institutional racism", I will take their word for it and not to "naaaah, I know better than you what you want, and it is actually Marxism".

Or, if they ever endee up saying "you know what, it's indeed Marxism, got me there 😄", I'm fine with assessing that new situation when it happens (as with all political statements).

Or imagine Greta thunberg pulling off a mask scooby doo style tomorrow and say that her actual agenda is and always was the consumption of puppies.
The Fridays for future movements reaction would not be "ok, let's all eat puppies then!" but much more likely still be about climate change plus maybe a bit of added opposition to their original founders eating habits of late :-)
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mosley
Mon, Jan 3, 2022, 10:17am (UTC -5)
@booming,

No, I guess i can't really give more examples. I really have no horse in this race whatsoever (as staged before, if at all, I only have an opinion about it in the politics free sense that I want plots to always be as unpredictable as possible)

It's really just a vague impression I got over the last couple years. That whenever a women fights a man, it likely will end with the woman being victorious. I'm not even sure if the motivations behind that are only empowerment (which I would welcome) or maybe also things like a woman being beaten around by a man is (rightfully) a super triggering sight that you can't just throw into your popcorn entertainment action scene unless you dial in a lot of context parameters (unrealistic super hero fights being one option).

So I cant really offer more than a vague impression. But I also do not see any agenda there. It's much more likely just a mix of countless factors, the main one being "not opening *that* can of worms" pragmatism. And another possible factor of course could be a psychological "I am always standing in the cue that takes longer" confirmation bias effect. You know, where ever since I first got this impression, my brain is only counting the confirming cases not the counter examples 😄

So please understand that to me at least, at most this is random thoughts about maybe, *if* this tendency exists, it would be good plot writing to break with expectations and have some prominent woman / man fight where everybody expects the woman to kick the man's ass end up in the unexpected way, only because it makes for good drama.

But picturing this and thinking about the potentially triggering aspect, maybe this should really be limited to fantasy / superhero genres.

To which DSC arguably at least partially belongs. Hey look, now this post is only 99% off topic 😄
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Sigh2000
Mon, Jan 3, 2022, 10:28am (UTC -5)
@Jason R. "No I am never letting this go, Michael is the worst Starfleet officer ever!!!!@@"

What about Ron Tracey? He has to be, bar none, the absolute worst.
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Booming
Mon, Jan 3, 2022, 10:35am (UTC -5)
@mosley
Ah ok thanks. I was just curious. Your impression could be true. Maybe the "Girls get it done" narrative has become more prominent. The soulless boardroom beings certainly think a lot about how to appeal to as many people as possible.

Were there any fights between males and females on Discovery apart from Georgiou and T'Kuvma??
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Quincy
Mon, Jan 3, 2022, 10:38am (UTC -5)
@Booming

Yeah. Bummer. I really hate that. Amazon doesn't want to spend the money in the current climate: https://winteriscoming.net/2021/12/13/the-expanse-bosses-explain-why-final-season-only-six-episodes-long/

The 4th episode, you haven't watched it? Is there a delay in your region?
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mosley
Mon, Jan 3, 2022, 10:48am (UTC -5)
@booming

Again, I certainly can't point to particular episodes, but I do believe there's a fair share of fighting where *of course* the woman has awesome karate skills or something and therefore kicks some dudes ass - except when it's about tilly, whose "she's the awkward funny one" treatment I still find shitty and not nearly as progressive as the show likes to portay itself.

The "girls get it done" slogan is a good point of reference, didn't think about that. I am generally 100% for that, but also nerd enough to say "ok, but this is quite the opportunity for a shocking moment where the unexpected happens".

Like, one could complain "boohoo, overpowered Burnam wins every first fight" (and I do believe that the overpowering of Burman sometimes borders on the absurd), but of course one could also just look at this from a positive angle and say "this is an investment so that when finally some antagonist really badly kicks her ass, it's a bigger shock tm the audience".

Very much how I loved all moments where they made their heroes fail in last trek. Sisko making a really questionable decision in his half personal rage against the maquis. Off the rails Picard needing a reality check in final contact. Data being used as rare "if this antagonist is even stronger than data, we have a real problem on our hands" plot vehicle (as opposed to worlf being overused for that same dynamic every other episode, to the point where it became a "is there anyone who does *not* kick that guys ass?" meme)

(allthough that stuff was so funny that I would miss it if it hadn't happened too 😄 - especially the one where they cut all context off possessed Deanna Troi throwing him around the bridge 😄)
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Booming
Mon, Jan 3, 2022, 10:51am (UTC -5)
@Quincy
Oh, they cut a Prax storyline. His was one of the best side stories. It gave depth to Pierre Mao, to Amos and was also one of the positive outcomes that I really loved.

"The 4th episode, you haven't watched it? Is there a delay in your region?"
I always wait until I can watch three episodes at once like a long movie. :)
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Jason R.
Mon, Jan 3, 2022, 10:56am (UTC -5)
I'd say that up until maybe 20 years ago you wouldn't have had regular women fighting men hand to hand in most movies at all since, well, it would have been silly (and still is if you have any common sense about human beings living here on earth). Even Sarah Connor and Ellen Ripley weren't king fu / fist fighting men because that would have been ridiculous.

Today it does seem to be more common, although generally it's mostly in the scifi / fantasy / superhero genres where reality is kind of whatever anyway. Who is to say females in a "Galaxy far far away" aren't great street fighters?

Anyway I actually doubt that there is much bias towards women beating up men even in the aforementioned genres except in the sense that for whatever reason the random thugs tend to be exclusively male - and of course they are there to be beaten up by any superhero, male or female.

Regarding Discovery, fwiw I think if you did the math you would probably not he able to prove much bias against white hetero males, or if so, it would be a small one. But as noted, I was too busy noticing the shit writing to worry myself with such things. And I wasn't joking about Burnham - her characterization is a far worse than anything done to white hetero men.
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mosley
Mon, Jan 3, 2022, 11:08am (UTC -5)
@jason

Largely agree with everything you said, but the smart-ass within me forces me to point out that indeed, Sarah Connor did kick some ass.

But the difference here is, this happened in a clearly spelled out context of her overall character arc, to the point where Cameron made sure to include to show her doing pull ups (or is that push ups? Non native speaker here) in prison before her escape.

To me, thats a completely different matter than random characters turning out to be super badass MMA fighters out of nowhere. One is deserved, the other is not.

(from a "good plot writing" standpoint I mean)
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Sigh2000
Mon, Jan 3, 2022, 12:32pm (UTC -5)
@mosley
"...Cameron made sure to include to show her doing pull ups (or is that push ups? Non native speaker here) in prison before her escape."

Pulls ups. (or chin ups)
Push ups are the ones done on the floor.
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mosley
Mon, Jan 3, 2022, 3:38pm (UTC -5)
Thanks! :-D
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Sigh2000
Mon, Jan 3, 2022, 4:00pm (UTC -5)
Correction: 'pull ups' I have to slow down. : )
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Jason R.
Mon, Jan 3, 2022, 6:51pm (UTC -5)
"But the difference here is, this happened in a clearly spelled out context of her overall character arc, to the point where Cameron made sure to include to show her doing pull ups (or is that push ups? Non native speaker here) in prison before her escape."

Sarah didn't just overpower male characters in a kung fu / fist fight. She either used guns or in the case of the orderlies at the asylum she used the element of surprise plus a night stick / syringe of paint. It wouldn't be realistic even for a beefed up woman to beat men in a straight fight unless she's some kind of trained mma fighter or something.

Marvel kind of skirts the line into absurdity when a 5'2 120 pound woman can beat up a horde of 200 lbs muscled street thugs in a fight - but then again this is the same series where a guy can move a Dyson sphere around a neutron star with a good steel chain and a runabout sized pod ship.

It's a bit silly to get hung up on this stuff in fantasy scifi movies that aren't meant to be halfway realistic anyway.
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Sigh2000
Mon, Jan 3, 2022, 7:04pm (UTC -5)
Syringe of drain cleaner, I think....
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Jason R.
Mon, Jan 3, 2022, 7:28pm (UTC -5)
I should add that my chief objection to, say, Daisy Ridley beating up 4 thugs at once wasn't the fact that Daisy Ridley is probably 120 lbs soaking wet but mainly that it rendered Finn pretty well useless to the film, a theme that repeated itself throughout The Force Awakens and the rest of the new trilogy. It was a symptom of bad writing rather than the cause.

Which brings me back to the original point that good story is pretty much everything. Generally a well written story will respect basic elements of reality even in a scifi fantasy context so in the case of Sarah Connor, even after having established that she's pretty ripped for someone living in an asylum, she isn't beating up grown men bare handed like Captain America - because with James Cameron's stuff he only meddles with reality sparingly and doesn't let anything happen that doesn't ring true.

But I digress. Getting back to the issue, I think Rahul is probably off base but even if he wasn't he'd be complaining about a symptom of the problem, not the cause.
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Peter G.
Mon, Jan 3, 2022, 7:56pm (UTC -5)
@ Jason R & Rahul,

I think what we see in certain media isn't really anything about white people, but a very directed and overt display of inclusionary casting. Now you can call that a virtue signal, or you can call it finally giving minorities a chance. Either way if the effort to sell the show as being 'with it' (and let's face it, this is about $$ for the network, not about morality) is too over-enthusiastic then by sheer overcrowding the amount of diversity casting will necessarily squeeze out white male characters, ironically creating a non-representative cast of a different type. So it's completely possible to identify, say, a lack of positive white male role models in DISC but without the reason for that being any negative statement made about white males. It may just be that their interest or or attention to white males was absent, but without any particular malice. Most social media material I see about inclusion has little to say about white people; that's just not its focus. On a rare extremist personality posts the "death to white people" stuff. Mostly it's softie "hey look at how progressive we are!" positive vibes stuff.
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Jason R.
Mon, Jan 3, 2022, 8:34pm (UTC -5)
Ya Peter agreed. I never got the sense with Discovery and many other shows of that type that they were out to get white men - it was more that they were focused on really ticking the diversity boxes.
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Mal
Mon, Jan 3, 2022, 9:30pm (UTC -5)
@Booming said, "The Matrix has you... ;)"

By the way, Red Letter Media has a great review of the new Matrix movie,

https://youtu.be/rpSo4fu1rgM


@Jason R. said, "Michael is the worst Starfleet officer ever!!!!@@"

Worse than Captain Ransom from Equinox?
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Peter G.
Tue, Jan 4, 2022, 12:37am (UTC -5)
@ Mal,

"Worse than Captain Ransom from Equinox?"

I think Captain Ransom is portrayed as being a regular guy, like what would happen to any ship in Voyager's situation not guided by the shining Federation principles. I don't think he's meant to be particularly monstrous, just someone who finally succumbed to using any means necessary to survive in the DQ. Rather than being a condemnation of Ransom per se, I interpret Equinox as being a giant pat on the back about just how special and unusual Voyager is.
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Booming
Tue, Jan 4, 2022, 4:21am (UTC -5)
@Mal
Yeah, I have seen that review. Before I had no interest in the Matrix movie but now I kind of do. For example Warner Brother said to Lana Wachowski that they will make the movie with or without her and she put that line into the movie. Hahaha. That's amazing.
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Dreubarik
Tue, Jan 4, 2022, 4:47am (UTC -5)
I feel somewhere in the middle here. Obviously a lot of people completely overblow the extent to which straight white males get demeaned on this show (the guy who was blown out into space was a white dude? Come on, who even had time to notice that?). Still, I do think that the producers tend to cast white men for the negative roles, mostly because they are very careful to almost never have women or black people be in the wrong. In the abstract it doesn't bother me too much: Hollywood has been casting people of color to represent bad stereotypes for ages, and I don't mind if us white dudes get the short end of the stick for a while. Perhaps it is an overcorrection, but that may be warranted too.

That being said, it is true that on occasion this does end up being reflected in bad writing. A glaring example was the premiere of season 2 of Discovery, in which a mansplainer was killed for laughs with the obvious aim of having Tumblr posts gush over it (as it did indeed happen). That was bad, not because a white mansplainer was killed, but because the value of lives shouldn't be taken lightly on Star Trek (as it can be, for example, on Star Wars). The writers damaged the core values of the show at the expense of some cheap Internet approval, and that's a mistake. I also think that some of the blame on how horrible the character of Michael Burnham is can be attributed to this "we can't have a black woman ever be wrong" mentality that is fuelled by online praise and criticism. Which is of course self-defeating, because flawed heroes will ultimately tend to be much more beloved by the audience.

So in short: Are the anti-SJW types imagining this? Not completely, the pendulum has indeed swung to an extent, and it was about time. Is this a problem? No, as long as it doesn't lead writers to pander to the audience at the expense of good scripts and characters.
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Mal
Tue, Jan 4, 2022, 5:59am (UTC -5)
@Peter G., really? To wit:

CHAKOTAY: This man betrayed Starfleet, he broke the Prime Directive, dishonoured everything you believe in, and threw Voyager to the wolves.

JANEWAY: Borg, Hirogen, Malon. We've run into our share of bad guys. Ransom's no different.

CHAKOTAY: Yes, he is. You said it yourself. He's human. I don't blame you for being angry, but you can't compromise the safety of this ship to satisfy some personal vendetta.

JANEWAY: I appreciate your candour. Now let me be just as blunt. You're right, I am angry. I'm damned angry. He's a Starfleet Captain, and he's decided to abandon everything this uniform stands for. He's out there right now, torturing and murdering innocent lifeforms just to get home a little quicker. I'm not going to stand for it. I'm going to hunt him down no matter how long it takes, no matter what the cost.

-

@Peter G., I'm not sure it was a pat on the back for Voyager so much as a chance for Janeway to one-up Sisko as Javert. For that to work, Ransom had to be the worst of the worst. Worse than Eddington. Worse than the Borg. Worse than the Hirogen.

Picard may have hunted down Captain Maxwell, but he had all the respect in the world for him. Janeway had none for Ransom.

I'd say that makes Ransom worse than Michael.
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Sigh2000
Tue, Jan 4, 2022, 6:17am (UTC -5)
@Mal
Ransom is pretty awful (won't judge Michael)....he shows how negative circumstances are a test of character and he valued survival over principles, including the prime directive....but we're really talking about his humanity. He finally regains that...there is contrition.

However, I'm compelled to stick to my guns on the worst Starfleet captain laurels going to (the apparently forgotten) Ron Tracey in the Omega Glory. Bad set of circumstances, he loses his entire crew yes, but he doesn't mourn for them because in the process he has a shot at the secret of longevity for sheer profit. So he screws over Kirk, wounds Spock, phasers "thousands" of (white) Yangs, and then calls Kirk the Devil. No honor & No contrition.
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Booming
Tue, Jan 4, 2022, 7:01am (UTC -5)
@dreubarik
". Still, I do think that the producers tend to cast white men for the negative roles, mostly because they are very careful to almost never have women or black people be in the wrong."
The last two movies I have seen: In Dune the bad and the good guy are white men.

--- Spoiler ---

At the end the good guy kills a black man who questions his admission.

---Spoiler---

The movie before that was the new suicide squad and there the main villain was a black woman.
And in the Expanse the main villain is an eyeliner wearing LatinoPersian guy and his second in command is a white woman.

Could you name movies or shows that show this trend?

For Discovery itself it might be true to some degree but I would not call that a trend. Even this show had 3 (technically 4; Landry twice) female villains (evil Georgiou, Orion Lady, Landry) and they are all non white women.
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Sigh2000
Tue, Jan 4, 2022, 8:50am (UTC -5)
Analytically, within the Star Trek visual idiom, the death of a character (call it 'red-shirting') has nothing to do with virtue. Example from TOS: that so-and-so who stepped on a rock that functioned like a landmine on Vaal's planet -Gamma Trianguli VI- might've been a nice person, obliteration occurred regardless). I am told that this is a theodicy issue.

So, an individual getting "blown out of an air-lock" or unceremoniously jettisoned into a spatial void, must first be analyzed as simple fodder intended to elicit a viewer reaction (I call it "rag-dolling"). The thinking is that viewers want to suffer visual trauma while digesting their entertainment, so time to tear the ragdoll apart. The level of trauma deemed acceptable can vary from person to person. My tolerance for it is low. I need my eyes for other things.

Trauma to the viewer can be very specific, and the pigmentation of the victim is one device in the arsenal used by the showrunners to heighten trauma.

The same can be said for the pigmentation of characters assigned good and evil.
Skin of a particular chroma (in the Munsell color identification system) may signal different things to different people. The object on the part of the showrunners is to elicit reaction and discussion about right and wrong, justice/injustice, political bias and similar 'hot' issues.
Excuse any misspellings. I always have some, even after two edits, especially when I use my phone. : )
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Memberroddenberrys
Tue, Jan 4, 2022, 9:45am (UTC -5)
Remember when this used to be a good place to discuss Star Trek?
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Top Hat
Tue, Jan 4, 2022, 9:52am (UTC -5)
As I’ve said before, it is: just not for new episodes.
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Dreubarik
Tue, Jan 4, 2022, 9:57am (UTC -5)
@Booming That's a bad example, Paul Atreides is not really a good guy and Jamis' murder is meant to be the event that precipitates his evolution into a tyrant. Jamis is quite clearly a sympathetic character in the movie (more so than in the book).

I will agree that The Expanse is great and very natural about all of this and manages to introduce diversity in a totally seamless way (which IMO is much more effective at creating hegemony). I'm not saying every modern movie or show does this, but it seems quite present in NuTrek as well as some other shows I've been watching lately such as Foundation. Or if we go to the popular franchises, Marvel and Star Wars have had clear feminist-pandering themes of late that have been conveyed through overly flawless female protagonists beating evil white guys (my issue being with the flawlessness, not the feminism).

Note that even in the cases of Discovery female villains you mention, the show hasn't been able to stop gushing over them, primarily Georgiou. She is Space Hitler, and yet the show insisted that we all must like her because she is awesome. I can't see this happening if the character had been a white man. There is some very basic "yas queen" Internet meme pandering that bad writers have latched onto. And to reiterate: I don't consider it a problem in of itself, the problem is the bad writing. Bad writing takes different forms and it sometimes is manifested in this one too.
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Booming
Tue, Jan 4, 2022, 10:54am (UTC -5)
@Dreubarik
I haven't read the books. Paul Atreides may become a villain but in the first movie he has the classic hero's journey. In Star Trek:Picard Picard has the classic Jesus journey. Raffi on the other hand is an alcoholic and a drug addict who destroyed her family. The female admiral is pretty nasty and also wrong. Apart from Picard who saves the galaxy in the end? Riker and Soong jr.

You are right about Georgiou. That storyline is awful. Maybe with a several season long redemption arc it could have worked. Maybe.

I wasn't really looking for an argument, I was just interested if you had examples to maybe readjust my own opinion. Haven't seen foundations.
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Peter G.
Tue, Jan 4, 2022, 11:02am (UTC -5)
@ Booming,

"I haven't read the books. Paul Atreides may become a villain but in the first movie he has the classic hero's journey. In Star Trek:Picard Picard has the classic Jesus journey. Raffi on the other hand is an alcoholic and a drug addict who destroyed her family. The female admiral is pretty nasty and also wrong. Apart from Picard who saves the galaxy in the end? Riker and Soong jr."

Dune is a bad example to bring into the argument because it's not original material. Other than a female Dr, Kynes they stuck to the source material on the casting, so there is little to no room for an agenda there. And having done casting many times myself I sympathize with asking whether it's possible to find more roles for women in the project. I have gender bent the odd role to try to get casting more equal.

As for JL in Picard, it's not enough to say he's space Jesus, what matters is how that was framed. He only earned the right to be reborn with a clean slate when he finally buckled under the pressure and admitted he had been wrong about everything he believed in, and admitted (to the minority cast members, if you want to put it that way) that they were right. So if you were intent on framing PIC along racial lines, I think it might be reasonable to frame it as the white man redeeming himself by admitting his faults and adopting the cause and the worldview of the minorities (from an American standpoint). So that's actually the opposite of the 'classic' Jesus journey. Unlike Jesus, JL was wrong about everything and needed the approval of others to be validated into his new life.
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Dreubarik
Tue, Jan 4, 2022, 11:03am (UTC -5)
@Booming Oops, sorry for the spoiler.

Picard is constantly demeaned on Star Trek: Picard in what is quite clearly an attack on white male privilege (which could be interesting but isn't done well because we aren't given any good reasons for why he deserves the backlash). Perhaps Raffi and Seven are more flawed, but IMO it is still done in a cliched "badass woman" way that was designed to extract some "kewl!" reactions from the audience. Ultimately Soji is the real protagonist of the story.

Anyway, it is all debatable and it doesn't bother me, but I still try to be honest when people I disagree with raise the point. I do think it's somewhat of a mini-trend, probably because of an attempt to pander to reviewers at online publications. And it sometimes exacerbates bad writing. Of course, it has been a much bigger trend for ages to cast minorities in demeaning, badly written roles for a laugh, so all in all the shift is a net gain.
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mosley
Tue, Jan 4, 2022, 11:59am (UTC -5)
On picard, I must say that it really annoyed me.

Not because of the principle itself. I very much welcome this principle and believe it is a story that needs to be told many times.

But in Picard, the execution was so clunky that it ended up being counterproductive. So many mistakes were made :

- the accusations against Picard from Raffi were pretty much of the "you serious?" category. She blamed him for thing that were not under his control. And she basically blamed him for essentially not saving her, which takes away agency from *her*
- the narrative ran parallel to a sequence of events where Picard is ultimately the only protagonist with 100% commendable motivations. It simply doesn't work that way. Here you have the guy who just wants to save someone, and he's being lectured by people who either effed up completely themselves on various fronts, are only in it for the money, committed effing *murder* mid season, or are totally corrupt to begin with.
- of all the established white male characters that you would want to tell this story with, Picard is about the worst you could choose. A character whose whole raison d'être for 7 seasons and 4 movies was to solve things diplomatically, always consider all sides, always de escalate, always feel empathy especially for minorities... *that's* the guy you want to tell your privileged selfish blind white male story with?

That simply does not compute, and it showed on the screen. Didn't work at all.

I will again happily take the completely removed genre piece "Anne with an E" as a counter example. That story is full with exactly this narrative. Countless moments show exactly this mechanism play through, male characters recognizing their privilege (in face of Anne pointing it out) and changing over time.

It worked every single time. I loved that show.
So why then did it make my eyes roll when the same was attempted in Picard? Sorry, that's not about the viewers, not about oldtrek vs nutrek (picard as a series is a pure fan service dream come true, let's not forget that) - it's simply badly written and not well thought out.

Could they have made a side arc where maybe *Riker* experiences this? That already would have worked a lot better simply because the Riker character is closer to a trope that would deserve this treatment.

But with Picard, even if they had done everything perfectly, I don't think it would have ever worked. Picard is simply the wrong target. He would have had to turn into some grumpy old self centric caricature of himself to justify this, and while it's clear that they flirted with exactly this idea (even literally had it stated by that admiral, who OTOH was the worst choice for this to be said for other reasons), but ultimately, they didn't have the courage to go through with this, cause Picard is still their hero, and they wanted to tell a story about his heoric quest to save X Y and Z.

Can't have it both ways. But that's what they tried. Well, they failed.
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Booming
Tue, Jan 4, 2022, 12:22pm (UTC -5)
@Peter
"Unlike Jesus, JL was wrong about everything and needed the approval of others to be validated into his new life."
In what way was Picard wrong? He wanted to save the Romulans and was against the Android ban. He also wanted to save Soji and when Starfleet wouldn't help, he organized a rescue mission and saved her and the galaxy.

As far as I remember he was humiliated four times but every time the anger was completely misplaced. He wasn't responsible for Raffi's downfall (I guess he could have called but so could she). Still Starfleet fired her for some (stupid) reason. He wasn't responsible for the stop of the romulan refugee mission, he did what he could for the refugees. Admiral potty-mouth was just unreasonable, Picard is asking for a small ship to find Data, Clancy could have just said no + Picard was right. And the forth time was the interview and here the black female journalist was just plain racist and Picard was justified in saying that abandoning the refugees was wrong.

"when he finally buckled under the pressure and admitted he had been wrong about everything he believed in"
I don't remember that but during the later parts of season 1 I was starting to tune out.

@dreubarik
"Perhaps Raffi and Seven are more flawed, but IMO it is still done in a cliched "badass woman" way that was designed to extract some "kewl!" reactions from the audience."
Ok Seven sure. She was almost Clinda Eastwood but what did Raffi do that was badass? Do I have NuTrek PTSD? Did I block all that out??

"Ultimately Soji is the real protagonist of the story."
I would say that Picard is the protagonist. He drives the story forward. Soji is not doing much and has no real personal agenda until they reach the android planet.
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Booming
Tue, Jan 4, 2022, 12:29pm (UTC -5)
@mosley
Agreed ST:Picard season 1 is in my opinion the worst season of all Star Trek. It is a complete failure.
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Peter G.
Tue, Jan 4, 2022, 1:11pm (UTC -5)
@ Booming,

You have to look at the overarching motifs of the season, rather than individual instances and trying to mitigate them. The general animus against Picard is about his ivory tower 'ethics' and moral position, which it's stated runs counter to the need to help people and be empathetic. So his moral outrage at Starfleet in resigning was cowardice, not because he didn't live up to his own morals, but because his morals were about *him* rather than about listening to suffering people. The season didn't get into this, but this type of argument would no doubt also accuse him of some of his TNG decisions re: Prime Directive, in choosing to let people suffer rather than help them, on principle. The show's M.O. is similar to DISC, in that emotional outpouring, caring for others, and throwing away abstract reasoning is how to become a better person. Once JL uses his gifts in service to these goals he could be redeemed, but not before. I think the ultimate repudiation against his TNG persona comes in the worst episode of the season, where he tells Seven not to become a murderer and when she does she's portrayed as being a go-get-'em hero while Picard looks like a useless relic. But this pattern appears again and again in the series. Yes, he finally does save the day in the season closer, but it's only because by this time he had come around to the correct way of thinking. In the pilot he wasn't in a position to save anyone, and was universally reviled, because he was sticking by his moral guns from the TNG era (at least the showrunner's vision of them - note that all of this is from the POV of this series, not my own).
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Jan 4, 2022, 6:08pm (UTC -5)
Well, I gotta say that Rahul's plan for cleaning up this place of all the pesky identity politics stuff is proceeding nicely. Such peace and quiet... [/sarcasm]
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Jason R.
Tue, Jan 4, 2022, 7:14pm (UTC -5)
"I would say that Picard is the protagonist. He drives the story forward. Soji is not doing much and has no real personal agenda until they reach the android planet."

To be fair this is more about the weakness in the writing than anything else. Soji was probably intended to be a critical protagonist for the story but every aspect of her back story was just botched due to slipshod ADD writing where major plod threads just evaporate from episode to episode and where it seems like the last half of the season retconns the first half or was written by people who didn't watch the first half.

She has no memory of herself or her situation (for no reason), has a fake family (for no reason) is on a mission sent by Maddox? (for no reason) chasing Maddox who is on the run for some reason (that turns out to be no reason) who then pivots toward destroying the universe because teenaged angst? It is hard to care about a protagonist whose back story fundamentally makes zero sense and is just a series of scenarios unconnected with any overarching purpose or arc who learns nothing useful except making kneejerk emotional decisions.

Does her being an android even make a difference in the end other than giving her some king fu fighting skills? Is she an android or some kind of replicant? Who cares? If it weren't for the Romulan secret police chasing her (for truly idiotic reasons) she could have just lived like another human. She is as far from Data (her father I guess) as you can imagine so why does it even matter that she's his "daughter" anyway except as a plot hook to get Picard involved?
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Mal
Tue, Jan 4, 2022, 7:37pm (UTC -5)
@Booming said, "Haven't seen foundations."

The New York Times had a hilarious article by Paul Krugman that read,

"Pretending that this series has anything to do with the “Foundation” novels is fraudulent marketing, and I’ve stopped watching."

Amen.

@Peter G. said, "The show's M.O. is similar to DISC, in that emotional outpouring, caring for others, and throwing away abstract reasoning is how to become a better person. Once JL uses his gifts in service to these goals he could be redeemed."

The new Matrix movie ("Resurrections") has an amazing take by Neil Patrick Harris on this. Worth watching the movie for that angle alone.
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Tom
Tue, Jan 4, 2022, 8:44pm (UTC -5)
I watched 10 minutes of Foundation and had to check whether it was really based on the Asimov novels, as it certainly wasn't like anything I remember from them. And I remember pondering all those years ago while reading them what a TV show would be like.

Disappointing.
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Quincy
Tue, Jan 4, 2022, 8:49pm (UTC -5)
I'm sorry, but The Matrix 4 was so miscast it was ridiculous. Neil Patrick Harris was not imposing as a villain at all. The guy they got to play the other main villain was incredibly lame by comparison to the original movie. Half the casting choices they made were awful.
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Jeffrey's Tube
Tue, Jan 4, 2022, 9:04pm (UTC -5)
I don't know that I want to contribute to the Picard-ing derailment of the thread away from Discovery, but I think you guys are missing some context: he's a very old man at the end of his life, looking back on his greatest failures and seeing his greatest accomplishments start to crumble, and having some unfinished business left concerning his greatest regret, and knowing he has one last chance to do something if he wants to. And wondering if any of it, any of it at all, was even worth it. Perhaps he should have just stayed in France growing grapes his entire life.

It's a hard perspective to empathize with and inhabit as a viewer, because most of us aren't there and won't get there for a really long time, if we ever do. But it's a real stage men like him go through if they get old enough.

I think the story was mostly about that. Rather I think that's what it wanted to be about. Execution was shaky.

I'll still take it over Nemesis being the end of TNG.
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Mal
Tue, Jan 4, 2022, 9:44pm (UTC -5)
@Quincy, I've only ever seen Neil Patrick Harris as a villain in Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog - which I loved. His character in Matrix 4 isn't any more or less imposing.

https://youtu.be/Of9kHpCv1ts?t=205
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Booming
Wed, Jan 5, 2022, 2:41am (UTC -5)
@Peter
Wow, I didn't see it like that at all. Maybe I was too baffled by the nonsense. To me it seemed more like that his values were right but his main mistake (if you follow the reasoning of the show) was his inaction after Starfleet refused to help.
He should have just done something like this.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbW8PIuqiQI&ab_channel=danius30

@Jason
There is no disagreement that Picard is an epic writing failure. I had forgotten all those stupid plotpoints that went nowhere.

@Mal
Paul Krugman is writing movie reviews now?! Good for him. I suspected that this whole economy thing would go nowhere. Maybe he should return his fake nobel prize (There is no economics nobel prize) to make the change final.

@Quincy
So far I have only seen the redlettermedia review but everything not working in Matrix 4 could be intentional. It seems to be a meta movie like Gremlins 2.
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Booming
Wed, Jan 5, 2022, 2:46am (UTC -5)
@Peter
Sorry forgot to add. To me the message seemed to be more about "try to do something when institutions fail, even if it seems hopeless"
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Quincy
Wed, Jan 5, 2022, 3:06pm (UTC -5)
@Booming

It was definitely meta as hell. The first part of the movie is a big middle finger to the studio. When I saw it, I didn't know any of the backstory to how this movie got made, so it just annoyed me. Had I known I probably would've gotten some enjoyment out of it. Overall, I still wouldn't like the movie.
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Tim C
Wed, Jan 5, 2022, 6:38pm (UTC -5)
I've had an insanely busy Christmas holiday period and thus missed the last several episodes of Disco. Finally took the time to catch up yesterday and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this run of episodes. I'm still not as jazzed to see the season unfold as I have been in previous years - I think the novelty of new Star Trek on TV has finally worn off for me - but I am happy with the direction the story is going.

Will season 4 be the season when Disco *finally* sticks the landing? God I hope so!
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Jammer
Wed, Jan 5, 2022, 10:14pm (UTC -5)
Review now posted.
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dave
Thu, Jan 6, 2022, 12:04am (UTC -5)
@ everyone who is critical of ST Picard

I agree their first season was the worst 1st season in ST history. TNG season 1 blows it out of the water and that is saying something

Seeing the change in Discovery this year I REALLY hope they got the message and changed Picard as well. Their 1st season was an abomination and I honestly hate to even think of it as canon.
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Dreubarik
Thu, Jan 6, 2022, 2:59am (UTC -5)
@dave It may be the worst show I have ever seen.
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Jeffrey's Tube
Thu, Jan 6, 2022, 3:26am (UTC -5)
@ Jammer

I really don't want to throw grenades into the discussion here, but I also don't want to not share my thoughts. So . . . oh god, what am I doing . . .

I think Earth not being in the Federation was a reaction to the mood of America in the recent past and an expression of the great disappointment and dispirit-ment a lot of Americans felt about America (and maybe humanity) while Trump was in charge of the country.

Say what you want about his politics and policies (actually, please don't), but he governed with meanness and pettiness and not a little bit of fearmongering. He certainly did not conduct himself according to the better angels of human nature as concerns disposition, co-operation, and communication that Star Trek has always tried to show we have the capacity to achieve if we only have the self-awareness to make the deliberate choice to earnestly try.

He presided over an administration that withdrew the country from the Paris Climate Accord, the WHO, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, to name three. His reasoning was "America will go its own way." (And don't anyone dare debate the merits of these withdrawals--that's irrelevant here. Just leave that out and stuff it. The fact is--ONLY--that he withdrew America from pan-globalist organizations, which are easily allegoricalized as being like the Federation. Just allegorically! Okay?)

It seemed to fit the mood that at a time when a lot of Americans seemingly wanted to take their ball and go home from the world stage while yelling "me me me me ME!!" that Earth would want to, too. (And yes, this is just a perception, and this is not one of the cases where perception = reality, but it was a prevalent perception, so therefore: a mood.)

So I absolutely think Discovery arriving in the future to find Earth was no longer in the Federation was done as commentary on the mood of the times. Somewhat petty commentary, at that.

And I hate it. I hate it. The Discovery writers should have resisted the temptation to take that swipe and presented Earth as still being the better place we all want to believe it will be and said "No, you know what? We will get through this. We will do better in the future. We won't only gaze inward and will have concern for our neighbors again. This will pass."

Because I think many of us wanted to hear that particularly at that moment. Needed that, particularly, at that moment. And, for those of us who didn't particularly need to hear it at that moment, well, we all of us still always want to aspire to and imagine a future where we can afford the luxury to be like that, yes? We still wish the world could be like that, even if we believe it's a math equation that could never square with reality for any number of reasons, including but not necessarily including human nature.

God that's a lot of words and my Nyquil is kicking in and I am DROWSY. I hope I got them right. I'm sure I'll find out in the morning!

. . .

Also, Earth was the capital of a galactic "empire" for over a thousand years. London was the capital of a British Empire for . . . 150 years? And look what a drastic effect that had on the city and its demographics. I really wonder how "human" earth even is anymore. It has to be thoroughly cosmopolitan with all kinds of non-human species and multi-species individuals who have been there for generations and are every bit as "of Earth" and its society and culture as humans. Especially when the "empire" Earth was capital of was one with the values of the Federation.

I don't think it's weird that Starfleet is still so "human-centric" when Earth isn't in the Federation. Think of all the humans across the galaxy who have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Earth that must be out there by now. A thousand years is a LONG time and migration is an indelible force that moves faster than you think.

It's not totally dissimilar to being surprised a Black man was the 44th President of the United States when Africa isn't a part of the USA.

(And Starfleet was, at its start, primarily a human thing and still was even at the time of Kirk. Institutional legacy carries and changes slower than you think, even while migration marches on at a brisk clip.)

So, Discovery, here's an idea for you: when you finally show the President of Earth at the signing ceremony to have Earth rejoin the Federation, maybe make her an Andorian, yeah? Because the mood has shifted. And your attempt at commentary really sucked, so here's your chance to turn it.

(Or maybe make him a white heterosexual human male just for Rahul! Haha. It's funny because while I don't countenance what he's postulating about a pattern on the show re: their treatment, we ALL OF US know they won't do this. Hahahaha.)

. . .

Thought experiment: if I yank you out of your body and put you in a new body that's identical to your old one, so that people can take your old body and march it all over the place and stick mustaches on it or whatever, maybe clumsily trip and dump it down a flight or stairs? Or are you cool with it because hey, you've got a body?
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Jeffrey's Tube
Thu, Jan 6, 2022, 3:30am (UTC -5)
I'm missing the sentence "Do you care?" as the second-to-last sentence of my previous post. Nyquil!
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Colin
Thu, Jan 6, 2022, 6:24am (UTC -5)
Every time Zora speaks I am reminded of Gideon, the AI on that goofy show Legends of Tomorrow. Do all computers have a British accent?
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StarMan
Thu, Jan 6, 2022, 7:10am (UTC -5)
"But maybe I should just cave in and accept that as a feature of this show rather than a bug."

Please don't.

Honestly, this show has done so little right it would've taken a knock out season to pull it back from the precipice. Speaking for myself, there simplt isn't enough of substance in the good column to give the earnest schmaltz a pass.

Anyhoo, we'll see how we're tracking coming episode 11 - about when we should be due for the jaw dropping / groan inducing mystery box reveal.
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StevenA
Thu, Jan 6, 2022, 7:15am (UTC -5)
@Jeffrey's Tube - agree with what you think of as the writers motivations for having Earth outside the Federation. As a UK viewer (Scotland to be specific), I also saw parallels with the travesty that was Brexit.

I don't have your issues though with them showing this but I do hope we will see Earth rejoin in future.

PS - they already referred to the Earth president as "she" in this episode so that will have some people annoyed :) . No mention of her species, however, I do remember in the people of earth episode from last year, one of the EDF people that beamed aboard was a Tellerite. So it's already shown that Earth isn't just humans.
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Rahul
Thu, Jan 6, 2022, 8:37am (UTC -5)
I was always curious as to how Jammer would rate this episode, which I think is phenomenal. I think what detracts from it being a 4* episode for him seems to be bigger issues with DSC in general and not so much anything that this episode "did wrong". The main thing comes down to the writing and it's good to see Jammer really acknowledge the excellent writing here -- the writing has been one of DSC's biggest weaknesses all along. I am aware some folks just want to hate DSC and read about others hating DSC, but I really hope they can watch this episode. Too bad DSC isn't more widely available for S4. Credit where credit is due here -- especially since I've been one to be very critical of DSC for various things.

Also, re. which S1 was better: PIC or TNG? No question in my mind that PIC had a much better S1 than TNG did. We know with TNG, there were a lot of issues behind the scenes with Roddenberry, a new direction etc. that just weren't pinned down. This is all detailed in the documentary series "The Center Seat - 55 Years of Star Trek", for example. So we know TNG S1 wasn't exactly going to get off to a good start. And when all's said and done (and we look at things objectively and not with the fondness of its foundational role), I can't see any very strong episodes. I think "Heart of Glory" is TNG S1's best outing -- and that's only a 7/10 episode for me. Whereas, at least with PIC, we got "Nepenthe" and a couple of other reasonably strong episodes -- and no absolute turkeys like "Code of Honour" or "Angel One".
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Booming
Thu, Jan 6, 2022, 9:13am (UTC -5)
*cough* Stardust city rag *cough*
At least the worst NuTrek episode. Endless eye ripping scene; Picard, the one-eyed french Loon. The rest of the episode I have repressed.
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Nick
Thu, Jan 6, 2022, 12:34pm (UTC -5)
Great review Jammer! I also agree with Rahul. I've been very critical of Discovery but I want to give credit where credit is due. This was an excellent episode with excellent writing, a huge improvement over what we have previously seen.

I liked Earth not being a part of the Federation. In the past the Federation has been very human centric because of the simple reality that this is a TV show made for an audience on planet Earth, but in a reality a Federation with hundreds of planets probably wouldn't be so Earth centric (particularly as more time passes) and it's ideals are transcendent so I thought the divorce was interesting. I didn't read into it as a commentary on Trump the way @Jeffery's Tube did but that's certainly possible.

I also agree with Rahul on Picard S1. It wasn't great but some of the episodes were good. Saying it's worse than TNG S1 is a little extreme IMO.
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Mesut
Thu, Jan 6, 2022, 1:31pm (UTC -5)
Great review Jammer. 3.5 stars is also what I rated this episode (see my thoughts much much earlier in the board). I am noticing that nobody mentioned the great job by the costume and makeup department did for this episode. Some of the aliens looked original and..... fascinating!

Oh and, Picard's first season is several levels better in every way than TNG's dismal series of filler, dismal episodes in its first season.
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modulum
Thu, Jan 6, 2022, 4:37pm (UTC -5)
picard's worst sin as a show is honestly just being really homogenous and lacking in identity. i think i read once that paramount execs described PIC as being ST's entry into the "adult drama" genre of TV and i kinda see that reflected in the entire approach to the show now in retrospect.

it's my least favorite season of nutrek, just barely beating out S3 of discovery, but i do think it's still better than S1 of TNG, which never had moments as sublime as "nepenthe" or the picard-data conversation in the finale which i do genuinely think was so ridiculously good it justified the entire series
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Booming
Thu, Jan 6, 2022, 5:04pm (UTC -5)
Why do people love Nepenthe so much? It was pure fanservice and soapy. Riker makes pizza and Troy says that Picard doesn't know how to deal with a teenager even though Picard had two children already. Not to forget, it started with the scene where the Romulan women were committing mass suicide in a pretty gruesome way. It also featured the Romulan lady gunning down the xBs and then killing Hugh just 2 minutes after saying that he is protected by his Federation citizenship. Then there is the Elnor Narissa fight in which it is revealed that the warrior nuns and super super secret Zhat Vash have established fighting rules. The cherry on top is the child (Thad) who died because the Federation banned positronic matrices... nice too see that the Federation has it's priorities. They couldn't have a positronic matrix in a box somewhere so that god knows how many children don't have to die?!
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Louis Brantmeyer
Thu, Jan 6, 2022, 7:12pm (UTC -5)
"You're a plague, and we are the cure"

Dude, don't tease like that - you realize there's a fourth Matrix film out and you haven't reviewed it yet right? ;)
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mosley
Thu, Jan 6, 2022, 8:32pm (UTC -5)
i for one, while respecting that this is easily DSCs most trekkian episode since forever, could come up with a rather easy reason for it to only be 3,5 stars (for me, it would certainly not be above 3 stars, and thats already not an absolute rating but a rating relative to DSCs overall, er, quality).

so here we have an entire starship. thanks to its spore drive, arguably one of the most important of the fleet. we have an AI that is likely problematic. we have one of the (supposedly) most influential figures of starfleet come aboard to judge the situation.

and then he changes his mind because of...two almost random people just storming the room, one an ensign (if at all), the other a civilian trill. wait, make that a civilian trill *mind* that was put into an android body.

and those two then determine what to do with one of the most important vessels of starfleet, a vessel on which potentially the survival of the known universe depends.

i am all for empowering narratives, but thats just ridiculous. they should have gotten a "who are you? theres the door" treatment. not because i need those characters to be treated that way, but simply because the way this happens basically breaks any suspension of disbelief, and also robs the Kovich character of any larger-than-life importance.

like, the series tries to make him a big deal. but if hes just a guy where some random ensign can walk up to him, rant a bit about this and that, and he goes "uh huh - convinced. lets do what you just said", well, then hes simply not a big deal anymore, and he now isnt.
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Jeffrey's Tube
Thu, Jan 6, 2022, 9:09pm (UTC -5)
@ StevenA

As an American, I only thought about America and Americans, because that's what Americans do. :p

But you're right. It wasn't a uniquely American mood. It did kind of sweep the world.

Thanks for pointing out the Tellarite. I'd forgotten that, but remembered it when you said it. And heck, Gray and Adira were citizens of Earth too, and Gray was a Trill. DSC had this angle covered from the start.
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Sen-Sors
Fri, Jan 7, 2022, 7:12pm (UTC -5)
"Why do people love Nepenthe so much? It was pure fanservice and soapy."

If you look at the comments section for Nepenthe the vast majority of praise boils down to "I saw Riker and Troi and Picard together and I started crying". The writing and plot was just as bad as any other episode, but throw in some legacy characters and a heavy dollop of schmaltz (They're hugging, OMG) and a good portion of the fans will weep openly and grant 5 stars.
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Nick
Sat, Jan 8, 2022, 2:03am (UTC -5)
On Star Trek Picard, I barely remember Nepenthe. My favorite part was the finale. Particularly Picards convo with Data and Rikers dialogue with Oh.

The stupid space tentacles did ruin it a bit though.
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The Queen
Tue, Jan 11, 2022, 11:57pm (UTC -5)
@Mal - "how do you know there weren't any Klingons at the conference? Maybe you just didn't recognize them,

https://youtu.be/Xka6IYCpj4E"

Yeah yeah, I know. But that's old history. Sooooo old.

@ Quincy - Quaddies are featured in Lois McMaster Bujold's early book Falling Free. They are humans genetically engineered to have four arms and no legs, with other enhancements so they could live healthily in space. They were legally nonhuman and were used as slaves. The book won a Nebula in 1988.

I'm one of those who are less than totally thrilled with "Nepenthe" and " If Memory Serves." I think the nostalgia factor overwhelms the fact that really, the writing in both episodes is only somewhat better than usual. "Nepenthe" barely even has a point other than that. "If Memory Serves" at least moves the plot along in a clunky way, and does tell a little more about young Spock. Not to say that I didn't enjoy both of them, but they weren't the magical moments for me that they seem to have been for most people. But I've gotten grumpier in my old age.
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Latex Zebra
Wed, Jan 19, 2022, 3:01am (UTC -5)
Everything has been renewed it seems.
Lower Decks, Strange New Worlds, Discovery.

We can't post memes so just imagine Dave Chapelle saying

"Y'all got anymore seasons of Star Trek?"
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Booming
Wed, Jan 19, 2022, 3:09am (UTC -5)
Man, these suits must function on a different level. Strange New World renewed even though the show will not debut for another four month. And Picard season 2 and 3 filmed back to back.
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StevenA
Wed, Jan 19, 2022, 6:21am (UTC -5)
My guess is the filming of Picard S2 and 3 back to back is more to do with the age of the star than anything else.
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Gorn with the Wind
Wed, Jan 19, 2022, 1:22pm (UTC -5)
Star Trek is the loss leader for Paramount+. The second the streaming service becomes profitable on its own merits, you better believe DISCO is going to the glue factory.
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Booming
Wed, Jan 19, 2022, 1:36pm (UTC -5)
@Gorn
How did you come to the conclusion that Star Trek creates a loss for CBS?
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Gorn with the Wind
Wed, Jan 19, 2022, 2:20pm (UTC -5)
Everything I’ve seen points to DISCO having abysmal ratings:

https://www.giantfreakinrobot.com/ent/star-trek-discovery-ratings.html

Picard too:

https://www.giantfreakinrobot.com/ent/star-trek-picard-ratings.html

That said, CBS will never release the real numbers, so we can’t know for sure.
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Jammer
Wed, Jan 19, 2022, 2:32pm (UTC -5)
Currently: Episodes of Prodigy through S1E10
Feb. 10: Discovery S2, E8-13
March 3: Picard S2
March 10: Orville S3
May 5: Strange New Worlds S1

In short: FML
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Gorn with the Wind
Wed, Jan 19, 2022, 7:18pm (UTC -5)
Jammer: You could save yourself some time by simply posting a GIF of Jay Sherman saying “It stinks!” for every Picard episode.
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PM
Thu, Jan 20, 2022, 1:52am (UTC -5)
OK, based on some of the comments RE this episode here, I think I finally get where some commenters on this site are coming from. That's not a compliment, FYI.

For me, this episode was the first Star Trek episode I actually fast-forwarded through parts of, in hopes of finding the parts that weren't so awkward they were unwatchable.

Also, it was boring.
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Yanks
Thu, Jan 20, 2022, 6:44am (UTC -5)
I didn't know 'The Orville' air date. Thanks Jammer.
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Yanks
Thu, Jan 20, 2022, 6:51am (UTC -5)
@ Booming

"Man, these suits must function on a different level. Strange New World renewed even though the show will not debut for another four month. And Picard season 2 and 3 filmed back to back."

No issues with SNW here, the more the merrier... I believe they filmed Picard season's 2 & 3 together because of Patrick's age. I think he's about done. We probably won't get a season 4.
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Booming
Thu, Jan 20, 2022, 8:16am (UTC -5)
@Yanks
"No issues with SNW here, the more the merrier... I believe they filmed Picard season's 2 & 3 together because of Patrick's age. I think he's about done. We probably won't get a season 4."
How can you say that? We have no idea if it is good?! Filming is going to start in feb. 2022?!! This is all sounds very strange to me.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LV0wTtiJygY&ab_channel=SlapnutsMcGurk

And about Lord Patrick, they put him the ghoul body for a reason. He will be recast and they probably bet on people still watching because it has the label Picard and Star Trek.
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Yanks
Thu, Jan 20, 2022, 11:47am (UTC -5)
@Booming
"How can you say that? We have no idea if it is good?! Filming is going to start in feb. 2022?!! This is all sounds very strange to me."

We've already seen the 3 mains for an entire season. They should schedule 5 seasons.

"And about Lord Patrick, they put him the ghoul body for a reason. He will be recast and they probably bet on people still watching because it has the label Picard and Star Trek."

I doubt this. I believe Sir Patrick's contract was for no ore than 3 years. I can't see a recast that would work.
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Quincy
Thu, Jan 20, 2022, 11:53am (UTC -5)
@Gorn with the Wind

https://tvline.com/2022/01/18/star-trek-discovery-renewed-season-5-picard-season-2-premiere-date/ - Star Trek: Discovery Renewed For Season 5 — Plus, Picard Season 2 Premiere Date Is Set


Let the hatred continue for yet another season. All is as it should be.
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Gorn with the Wind
Thu, Jan 20, 2022, 12:16pm (UTC -5)
@Quincy

If DISCO had identical ratings but without “Star Trek” in the name it would be long gone to the great TV station in the sky.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad it was renewed. (Picard too). I hope both shows improve into something remotely watchable.

Lots of Trek is better than no Trek.
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modulum
Thu, Jan 20, 2022, 5:33pm (UTC -5)
also never been crazy about "if memory serves," it's a good plot-mover episode but i also don't see what makes it a 4-starer. imo the truly great nuTrek episodes so far are "into the forest i go," "the sound of thunder," and maybe "forget me not" on a good day. "remembrance" sort of works well as a season premiere but it didn't pay off unfortunately
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SlackerInc
Thu, Jan 27, 2022, 4:48am (UTC -5)
I tapped out of this show a few minutes into the season premiere. But I checked back periodically to see if Jammer would report a sudden shift toward higher quality. This rating obviously qualifies, but I also skimmed the comments to see if others in this community agree. It appeared most of them did, so I watched this (without catching up on what I missed*), and I would tend to agree. Surprisingly good!

The Federation president did however trigger a pet peeve:

"The protocols of this assembly are not something you may flaunt for your own benefit."

The word she was looking for there was "flout". Since so many people mix these up, of course, it's entirely plausible that 1300 years from now the definition will have changed. But then there should be a lot more change than that! So let's face it: the writers just don't know what "flaunt" means.

I was very confused by the way the vote played out at the end. It looked like most of the people they showed raised their hands, but I then the image of which parties voted for what indicated, I thought, that the non-hand raisers were actually the majority.

But hang on, what does "against action" mean? Based on what Book subsequently did, I guess he was actually on the "against action" side even though he clearly advocated a very aggressive action? So...the "action" was to try diplocmacy? Very murky wording there.

*It wasn't too hard to jump back in. One thing I did apparently miss, though: where's Tilly?
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Bryan
Sat, Jan 29, 2022, 11:15pm (UTC -5)
Some classic Trekkian ethical debates in this episode, which was good to see for a change. This was also the strongest DISC season finale yet, even though they kind of cheated this time. By ending on a cliffhanger, chopping the number of episodes in half, and postponing the remaining episodes til next season, this one was more like the episode just prior to a finale. And such episodes have always been more compelling than the actual finales.

- Looks like Book interrupted Burnham's speech to low-key break up with her. Nice.

- LOL @ the elaborate voting software we get to look forward to 900 years from now. Never again will anyone need to manually count a hand. But what if an alien species doesn't have a hand to target-track?

- Whoa, the idea of a Starfleet ship enrolling in Starfleet Academy just blew my mind.

- I suspect that Kovich wears so many hats and seems to prosper in service of them all is because he was once a director of some repute in another life.

- "If you had decided that you weren't going to immediately trust this new unpredictable emotional AI, I would have re-assigned you to another ship." Harsh, man, harsh. But then Stamets is like "touché." ..WTF?

- Adira tells Gray, "Go on, go home." If even Adira is finished with Gray then it seems it's curtains for him. Oh well...

- Looks like I called it. Tarka is set to be a primary antagonist going into next season. But unless he's hiding something, he's a more sympathetic figure than that earlier episode led us to believe.

- Also, I guess this explains why the show-runners put Book through all that contrived nonsense to make him a secondary spore drive pilot.
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Bryan
Sun, Jan 30, 2022, 12:08am (UTC -5)
Oops, I guess I missed the part where the remaining episodes are still considered part of Season 4.
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Trek fan
Wed, Feb 2, 2022, 11:07pm (UTC -5)
More boring, bland, humorless, and pretentious posturing in this episode. It talks endlessly and hardly anyone smiles; even Voyager found time for humor in a desperate scenario. This earnest nonsense takes itself way too seriously. Two stars.

And yet the more boring it becomes, the more highly Jammer rates it. Go figure.

This episode felt again like a completely different series from what we saw in the first few seasons. New regulars and semi regulars eat up so much screen time in this one; the supporting bridge crew doesn’t even appear. Only Saru, Burnham, Culber and Stamets from the long timers get equal time here.

This series started as wild, erratic, and with a certain sense of roller coaster-style adventurous fun. Now it’s a turgid mess. All this AI ship stuff feels like a prelude to Zora turning into the Andromeda hologram and/or android avatar from the Kevin Sorbo show based on Gene Roddenberry’s notes. I hope it doesn’t.

Good riddance to Grey, who was turning into another Tilly without any clear role on the ship. I think it’s unfortunate that they revived this character only to dump it. The whole thing worked better as the story of Adira’s personal tragedy and loss in Grey’s introductory episode; resurrection has only cheapened it and created another cast member who needs to be shunted off.

This show is still circling the drain. It feels directionless and unmotivated. Time to cancel it at the end of this season, I think.

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