Star Trek: Discovery

"The Galactic Barrier"

2 stars

Air date: 2/24/2022
Written by Anne Cofell Saunders
Directed by Deborah Kampmeier

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

The barrier in "The Galactic Barrier" is an arbitrary technobabble device whose sole purpose is to impede our characters' progress in getting from A to 10-C. If it were a compelling and interesting technobabble device, I could forgive that, but the fact that this episode feels so dramatically inert makes this a pretty tough sell.

This is a bridge episode between last week's big development where the isolytic weapon was deployed and a future installment where we get our eventual first contact with 10-C. But when a bridge episode feels specifically like we're being slowed down because there are too many episodes left in the season to unveil the Big Thing right now, it becomes filler.

Granted, there's some decent material in here, mostly involving Tarka and the insights into his past that get us closer to understanding what makes him tick beneath the assholic narcissism-projecting defense mechanisms. Really, Tarka is shaping up to be the most unexpectedly interesting thing about this season of Discovery. We get an entire flashback structure that shows us the relationship between Tarka and his only friend during his years of incarceration by the Emerald Chain — a fellow scientist named Oros (Osric Chau), whom Tarka was assigned by the Chain to work with in an effort to develop a dilithium alternative.

The two became cell mates (and I suppose soul mates) during their years of forced labor where they had no one else to talk to. They also secretly developed a transporter capable of beaming to alternative universes, but which they never had the energy to power in order to escape. When Tarka finally broke free, Oros was left behind, and his fate remains a mystery, but with signs indicating he escaped with the alt-universe transporter. Tarka returns to the prison facility regularly to look for signs of Oros' whereabouts. As worthwhile as some of this is, even it suffers from being too earnest and prolonged.

We're to that point of the season where so much has been built up about 10-C and the urgency of contacting them that we just want to get there already. But instead we get roadblocks and detours — most notably the inexplicable presence of the Galactic Barrier, which I guess is like a (naturally occurring?) perimeter fence at the edge of the galaxy. (This is not to be confused with Star Trek V's Great Barrier, which was a perimeter fence around the center of the galaxy.) The barrier is visually depicted as a dark strip of energy which the ship should just be able to fly over or under. (Why is this not depicted as an infinite wall in every direction? Two-dimensional thinking, indeed.)

Before going through the barrier, Burnham has to make an emotional address to the entire crew about the risks and the Importance of What We Do (especially in light of the news that the DMA has now moved to an area of space that will soon threaten Earth and Ni'Var with its Armageddon-causing gravitational forces). Sigh. Yeah, I get that we're going Where No One Has Gone Before, but the pomp and circumstance plays as an obligatory cloying exercise (especially after we've already made a Big Huge Deal about how we're leaving for this Big First-Contact Mission, possibly never to return). And the resulting arbitrary technobabble jeopardy feels far too routine as these sort of Trekkian Trek things go. Sorry, but the titular "Galactic Barrier" did very little for me. What takes an entire episode should've been compressed into one act.

President Rillak is also aboard for the mission, saying her background as a diplomat means she should be present for first contact with 10-C. It's not an unreasonable idea, I suppose, but the resulting quarrels over turf infringement feel like they're just in the way for the purpose of being in the way, with Rillak putting in her two cents on the bridge and then Burnham feeling annoyed about it.

There are some other character things going on along the edges here (Saru asks T'Rina out to dinner, and her response here is ambiguously not reassuring, but also happens in the middle of a life-and-death crisis, so who knows). But these aren't compelling enough to overcome the overwrought, sluggish pace and the general sense of pretentious import. My patience is wearing thin. Can we move all of this along, please?

"What does God need with a starship?":

  • After having gotten this big backstory dump on Tarka and Oros, and because there's this big mystery surrounding the whereabouts of Oros, I'm very concerned about how this might play into the wrap-up of the season arc with the DMA and 10-C. (Please don't let this be another Sukal situation, where we find out Oros is really the mastermind or indirect, unintended cause behind the DMA for contrived reasons.)
  • Bryce disembarks prior to Discovery leaving on its mission, and he gets the most lines in his farewell with Saru than in any (and probably all combined) scenes he has been in during the series to date. My wife literally asked, "Who is that?" I said, "That's Bryce. He's on the bridge every week." But here's the thing: I probably wouldn't know who Bryce was either if I didn't write these reviews every week, because the show has done such a poor job of doing anything with this character (and many of the bridge characters, who are placeholders more than characters). Bryce is easily swapped out with Lt. Christopher (Orville Cummings) and no one misses a beat.
  • Adira returns to the ship, sans Grey, who remains on Trill. Reno is nowhere to be seen. Last week Nhan returned for a (one-off, I guess?) guest spot. See above regarding Bryce, and I have no idea if we'll ever see Tilly again (although the line was she was not being permanently written off the show when she left the ship). I honestly have no idea what this show is doing with its supporting players, but it's a disjointed mess. I hesitate to suggest it does this so frequently so we can pack in more "emotional" goodbye and reuniting scenes.
  • Stamets really needs to get over all the awkward wannabe-Dad weirdness regarding Adira. It's just unprofessional.
  • Of course Earth and Ni'Var had to be endangered before the season's end. Gotta have stakes!

Previous episode: Rubicon
Next episode: Rosetta

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52 comments on this post

Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Feb 24, 2022, 7:46am (UTC -5)
Yet another fine, but not spectacular episode. The discovery writers clearly just spinning their wheels in an attempt to delay the endgame of the season. So the question we need to ask ourselves is if it's worthwhile.

Generally speaking, I found the A plot of this episode - the crossing of the galactic barrier - to be weaker.

There were aspects of it I liked. As much as I have complained about the lack of tension in recent episodes, the decision to put an end to the cattiness between Michael and President Rillak was the right one, as it signaled growth on the part of both characters. I also think actually making the DMA a tangible threat again (even if it happened offscreen) was needed in order to have some urgency. We know that Earth/Ni'Var probably won't be destroyed, but it's not about our reaction, it's about that of the characters. And the "debate" between Rillak and Michael regarding whether to tell the crew or not was well-played and mature, as there were merits to both sides.

But the tension around - and the time taken - to actually cross the barrier was unconvincing and unneeded. We know as viewers they're going to make it, so the threat is more about what it reveals regarding the characters. In this case, it didn't reveal much because everyone was too busy reacting and spitting out technobabble. More broadly I just cannot stand the way Discovery does expository dialogue, and there's just way too much telling instead of showing here, from the opening conference room shot (really, a conference room?) to every cutback to the bridge.

But the B plot with Tarka and his...erm..."friend" was compelling stuff. Honestly, maybe the first time since Forget Me Not that I've been surprised in a good way by story turn in Discovery. Like that episode it's a love story between two characters - one we just met, and the other we barely know. While this story episode doesn't make it 100% crystal clear that Tarka and dude had a romantic relationship, there can be no doubt that it's a deep and abiding love - one which is still felt so strongly for Tarka he's willing to do anything to be reunited. While the whole setup is something we've seen many times before, it makes him a much better, and more understandable, antagonist. I wish the entire episode was from his POV in some ways. Now this is how to waste time in style!

Looping back to odds and ends, The Saru/T'Rina stuff...developed a tiny bit I guess? Saru's awkwardness is cute, but they're really stringing us along here. And Adira is back, though they had no story purpose here other than to inform us they're totally fine with their boyfriend being written off the show. I don't mind this stuff - I used to love "Piller filler" back in the day after all. But at the same time I have to note that pretty much all the supporting cast gets now is filler scenes (and occasional technobabble in the case of Stamets).
Thu, Feb 24, 2022, 8:03am (UTC -5)
Star Trek: Discovery season 4 episode 10

The Galactic Barrier

“If only we could enjoy it -”

- Saru

“- But we have a job to do.”

- Michael Burnham, killjoy

* * 1/2 (out of 4)

Competent filler. But filler nonetheless.

The episode starts promisingly enough. I’ve been rewatching Caprica lately, so imagine my surprise when Dr. Graystone’s second-in-command, played by Hiro Kanagawa, shows up in an actually hilarious opening! But alas, he has no role for the rest of the episode. I suppose he’ll be key next week for first contact with species TenCent.

That is kind of my point: the rest of this episode is basically filler till we get there.

We follow an A/B story format. In the A-story, Michael leads Discovery through the barrier. Which. Takes. Forever.

The first time Star Trek encountered the galactic barrier was 56 years ago in the third TOS episode "Where No Man Has Gone Before.” The whole scene back then took less than 3 minutes,

This week, the Discovery reaches the galactic barrier 15 minutes into the episode. We finally break through almost half an hour later. “Six seconds to spare,” Detmer says. You could have fooled me.

Part of the reason it takes so much screen time to get through the barrier, is because we cut back and forth with the B-story.

Tarka and Book are looking for programmable anti-matter to modify their shields so they too can make it through the galactic barrier. This plot is largely an excuse to show us Tarka’s back story. You may recall, we learned Tarka’s backstory in “But to connect.”

In fact, I can’t think of anything major we learn in this week’s episode that we didn’t already know,

TARKA: My new home. It's far. Another universe, in fact.

BOOK: The mirror universe?

TARKA: You say that like it's the only other option. There are countless parallel universes, each with its own quantum signature. He knew of one. No war, no Burn. No Emerald Chain. A place where we could be free and at peace.

BOOK: Who’s "we”?

TARKA: A friend. A scientist, like me. We were held in the same lab. Osyraa had us working on dilithium alternatives for years. But he was relentlessly optimistic. Eventually, it rubbed off on me. And we had a plan. We knew exactly how much power we needed to cross the gap between universes.

BOOK: What happened?

TARKA: I escaped, he didn't. Or maybe he did. Maybe he's there. We said that if we ever got separated, that's where we'd meet.

And that’s pretty much how the B-story plays out this week.

As decently done as the B-story is (and I must agree whole-heartedly with @Karl Zimmerman, it is decently done), this Tarka has none of that wonderfully crackling wit we got back in “The Examples.” This is a super serious version of Tarka. Neither the pairing with Book nor the paring with his friend is particularly "fun."

Instead of more witty lines (like we get from David Cronenberg in the opening), what we’re given instead are lots of scenes where people discuss their feelings.

Saru broaches his feelings for the Nevar president. And gets the chance to talk about it later with Culber. Okay, not bad.

The Federation President gets a chance to express her appreciation for Admiral Vance. This is well done, I admit. Not Adama/Roslyn levels of well done. But then, this is Discovery, not BSG. Obviously they have a great working relationship. And it is good to see.

Less appealing is the bonding and feelings exchanged between Michael and the President. You see the DMA is heading for Earth and Nevar. Debris will reach Earth in 71 hours. Dum, dum, dum!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There are long excruciating scenes between Michael and the President on whether they should share that information with the crew. On and on and on they go. There is even a scene where each member of the bridge crew tells us what they’ll do when they go back to Earth - Hawaii, Switzerland, Hawaii again. As if we’re supposed to FEEL oh my god, these poor people have NO IDEA.

I longed for the efficiency with which the danger to Earth was conveyed in “Best of Both Worlds,”

"The Borg have entered section 0-0-1." That’s it. Clear for anyone onboard to hear.

Of course the crew of TNG were professionals. Not over-emotional children whose feelings have to be cushioned at all times.

Stamets has feelings about the return of Tal. Rhys has feelings about the galactic barrier.

In a way, I almost wish they had started the season with the Galactic Barrier. In TOS, the barrier gave Gary Mitchell super ESP. At least that could have been an in-universe explanation for this overflowing of emotional asides.

@Trek fan has been re-watching Andromeda. And so I’m reminded of what happened in DROM after RHW left that show. Each episode had to have some ridiculous quota of mindless action. @Jammer wrote at the time, "The endless action scenes are, as usual, pointless and laughable.”

In Discovery, each episode has to have some ridiculous quota of characters sharing their feelings. Endless. Pointless. Laughable.

When the President of the Federation reacts to another long speech by Michael, not by telling her to shut the fuck up, but instead she holds her hand to chest and says, “I’m grateful we had the chance to connect,” all I could wish for was the absolute power granted to Gary Mitchell when he touched the galactic barrier.

Because, by god, I want to smite someone!

I really miss the old sweeps weeks. At least under that system we got several high-water marks in a season. Now all they want is for people to renew their subscription. So they stuff anything momentous into the finale.

And since that finale is next week, we will finally get first contact with species TenCent. All resolutions will be provided to this season-long DMA arc. It will run about an hour.

My prediction: however it ends, Michael will give a speech about it, in which she will share her feelings.
Colin Lindsly
Thu, Feb 24, 2022, 8:30am (UTC -5)

The finale might not be next week. I have heard conflicting reports on the number of episodes this season. We could be looking at 3 more episodes.

Only one person mentioned Hawaii - Detmer.
The blonde spore drive operator wants to go to Astoria, on the Oregon Coast.
Lt. Christopher wants to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, which is in California, Oregon, and Washington.

About the 71 hours, both Ni'Var and Earth are on that timetable. The debris caused by the DMA's "churning of space" will be carried on gravitational waves which will impact both planets.
Thu, Feb 24, 2022, 10:08am (UTC -5)
With the exception of the neat visuals surrounding the galactic barrier, and a few quips by Stamets, I found the episode to be rather dull; 'filler,' as @Mal described.

There was not any need to raise tensions any further by having the anomaly appear in the Alpha quadrant, and, as previously noted, Tarka's backstory was a reiteration of what he already revealed to Book. Yes, both added some further texture to the larger story line, but not much, in my estimation.

This episode also had me thinking that this season may have been a one- or two-parter in years gone by. Not much of a penultimate episode, should it be one.
Thu, Feb 24, 2022, 10:46am (UTC -5)
@Colin Lindsly said, "We could be looking at 3 more episodes."

Jumping gigawatts, are you saying we're going to have 3 weeks of overlapping Discovery & Picard episodes?!? How the hell are we supposed to find time to watch all that?

"Only one person mentioned Hawaii - Detmer."

And Owo is going with her. NTTAWWT ;)
The Queen
Thu, Feb 24, 2022, 10:56am (UTC -5)
There are three more episodes to come. It seems to me they'd want to introduce 10-C before the very last minute, but of course they're obviously not on my page of what makes an involving show. According to Wikipedia, Covid protocols gave them "more time for writing" last year, but they haven't used it very effectively IMHO. There should never, ever be an episode where the words "I feel your pain" are uttered without sarcasm. Also, what was described as "the very definition of win-win" was not the definition of win-win.

In my personal rating system I ended up giving this a +/- score. Mal is right that none of the Tarka backstory was new, but I thought it was handled well (I like character stuff). The rest of the episode was weaker. I mean, do these people who left behind everything 900 years ago - by choice, all of them - really need a pep talk before trying to broach the galactic barrier?

I'm a boomer, so I grew up on episodic TV and will never need serialization to enjoy it. I do understand that its primary justification is to tell a more interesting and complex story. I loved Babylon 5 (never saw BSG or lots of the others mentioned here). But I think Disco's producers have failed in that key ingredient. I think it's because they're TOO committed to their overall storyline. If they moved these episodes at a better pace, they'd run out of plot before their 10-13 units were up. So they create filler, imagining that they're fleshing out their universe but really telling us nothing. They spend too much time on special effects, imagining that they're wowing us but really boring and confusing us. They try to address social issues, but in such a shallow and inauthentic (to the story) way that we get nauseous.

That wasn't much about the actual episode, was it? Maybe because there wasn't a whole lot there.
Andy G
Thu, Feb 24, 2022, 12:24pm (UTC -5)
FWIW. IMDB only has one more episode listed. In any event, my patience with this show hit 0 at the end of last season. I just can't get invested in the DMA/10-C plot. There have been some nice moments this season with Zora and Book/Tarka but otherwise this is getting painful to watch. The writers need to find a way to tell a compelling story or end this show. Seasons 1 and 2, while clunky at times, at least had my attention. This is just aimless and boring at this point.
Thu, Feb 24, 2022, 12:26pm (UTC -5)
When you watch an episode called 'The Galactic Barrier', you'd expect to finally meet or catch a glimpse of species 10-C. What we wound up with is the writers injecting 10 CC's of filler to bloat up half a plot and Tarka's flashback.

Still, the opening minutes got my blood pressure up when Doctor Hirai got to rant about confirmation bias. "... We tend to look for and find what's familiar to us. Since we know nothing about the 10-C, it's naive to assume the translator would even work."

I'm sure this sounded clever in the writers room, but did they all miss the tag line of the entire franchise? It's "TO SEEK OUT NEW LIFE AND NEW CIVILIZATIONS." not "To go out and look what we already know".

And that was just the start of 50 minutes of sound and fury signifying next to nothing.

Some highlights? Bryce apparently left the show, a departure that would have gone unnoticed if Saru hadn't bumped into him.

The unavoidable yet unnecessary Michael Burnham speech that always claims the stakes have never been higher while always failing to inspire. Her butting heads with the president and coming out on top (naturally). The crew's completely unprofessional behavior... Who discusses vacation trips when they're all about to die?

And now Tal is back, but no sign of Jett Reno? During a crisis that calls for a brilliant jury rigger who has the engineering skills to overcome unknown odds and accomplish the impossible? That's kind of what Reno does, right? COVID restrictions really hamstring this season: you get the feeling there are about 4 people in engineering.

Getting back to Tal (and not because I want to), what is it with Stamets feeling he's a father to them? It so comes out of nowhere and feels forced and a little icky. The characters haven't really earned the intimacy the writers tell us they have.

The president's partner is male? I was genuinely surprised. It feels a bit uncommon in this new, diverse Trek world. Luckily, Tarka's ambiguously intimate friendship with his fellow prisoner balanced it all out neatly.

And there's the 'cute' Gilligan's Island reference. Are we to believe a corny sitcom from the late 20th century is still topical over 1300 years later? Sure, it came from the ever quirky Kovich. But who even gets that 'three hour tour' line?

Oh, one laugh out loud moment? Michael fighting back tears as she declares Earth and Ni'var were "the only homes she's ever known." Really? Two whole planets? Most of us just have one.

If it's really 3 more episodes to go before the end of the season... Let's hope the next two won't be riddled with filler and pointless macguffin searches before we rush through an unfulfilling finale. Seeing as next week we're getting a fact finding mission on a nearby planet, don't hold your breath.
Eric Jensen
Thu, Feb 24, 2022, 12:44pm (UTC -5)
Getting very impatient with the non-reveal of 10C. A good character episode, not much in terms of the plot going forward. A clue would be that the UNIVERSAL translator might be useless. This reminds me of Macrocosm TakTak nonverbal communication on Voyager

The introduction of the semiotics expert is telling, pun intended
I seriously hope this new species will be worth it. Will they be aliens like in Arrival? In terms of language?

Indeed, was it a platonic love story for Tarka? It was well shown and told. The A plot seems too plodding, the B plot was better, C plot with Saru is getting more interesting...

The stakes are now getting higher with the DMA heading towards... but it does not feel that way.
Thu, Feb 24, 2022, 1:35pm (UTC -5)
@Andy G "IMDB only has one more episode listed."

IMDB is not a very reliable source with these upcoming tv episodes. It is indeed a 13-episode season, as you (and everyone else) can see here
Andy G
Thu, Feb 24, 2022, 3:13pm (UTC -5)
Well I hope it's only one episode. In any event, it's probably either a misunderstanding or a ridiculous technobabble solution. I'd hope for something more creative and thoughtful, but I know better at this point.
Thu, Feb 24, 2022, 3:30pm (UTC -5)
I'd been cultivating a theory about Tarka's fellow "scientist, like me" and for a while this week, it looked like I might have been right... That it would turn out to be anti-matter universe (as in TOS "Alternative Factor") Tarka. The other scientist knew of other universes, and this week's talk of negative particles, anti-matter, the TOS vibe of the galactic barrier really had me going ... plus who else could this smug prick Tarka love other than himself? But no, it's a random forehead alien dude... who I presume is in the hyperfield and working with 10C on the DMA, siphoning some of the energy produced and still futzing around trying to get "home."
Nothing but the Tears
Thu, Feb 24, 2022, 4:36pm (UTC -5)
To preface this:
- I've seen Discovery S1 through S3
- I have not seen S4 and I'm not intending to
- I've been keeping up-to-date with Jammer's reviews as I enjoy reading them, whether I've seen an episode or not
- The list below is not intended as a comment on Discovery's quality or merits, just something I found interesting and have been wanting to put together

The numbers below are from IMDB. I've included:
- The total rating for each episode
- The US rating
- The non-US rating
- The percentage of 10/10s
- The percentage of 1/10s.

Please note that I've only included S4 through episode 9 ("Rubicon") since there were only 60 or so ratings for episode 10.

I've shortened some of the titles for formatting purposes. Though, frankly, I have no idea how this will come out once it's been posted. Finally, see below the numbers for a few observations on my part.

# Title Total US Non-US % 10s %1s
1 "The Vulcan Hello" 7.1 6.9 7.2 18.2 9.7
2 "Battle at the Binary Stars" 7.4 7.2 7.4 20.4 9.8
3 "Context Is for Kings" 7.6 7.5 7.6 21.7 9.3
4 "The Butcher's Knife [...]" 7.0 7.1 7.0 17.6 10.7
5 "Choose Your Pain" 7.2 7.3 7.2 18.4 10.9
6 "Lethe" 7.2 7.3 7.1 18.6 10.7
7 "Magic to Make the [...]" 7.4 7.5 7.3 21.8 11.2
8 "Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum" 6.7 6.8 6.7 15.5 12.0
9 "Into the Forest I Go" 7.8 7.8 7.8 24.9 10.6
10 "Despite Yourself" 7.7 7.8 7.7 25.2 10.6
11 "The Wolf Inside" 7.6 7.8 7.6 23.2 10.4
12 "Vaulting Ambition" 7.9 8.0 8.0 29.6 10.0
13 "What's Past Is Prologue" 7.9 8.0 7.9 29.4 10.5
14 "The War Without, [...]" 7.3 7.5 7.3 19.2 11.8
15 "Will You Take My Hand?" 6.9 7.1 6.9 19.1 14.5

Avg 7.4 7.4 7.4 21.5 10.8

# Title Total US Non-US % 10s %1s
1 "Brother" 7.3 7.5 7.2 19.0 9.6
2 "New Eden" 7.7 7.8 7.6 22.5 8.4
3 "Point of Light" 6.4 6.6 6.3 14.5 12.6
4 "An Obol for Charon" 7.1 7.5 7.0 18.5 10.2
5 "Saints of Imperfection" 6.4 6.8 6.2 15.0 13.7
6 "The Sound of Thunder" 7.5 7.8 7.4 20.7 9.8
7 "Light and Shadows" 7.1 7.5 7.0 16.4 10.1
8 "If Memory Serves" 8.1 8.3 8.0 30.8 8.2
9 "Project Daedalus" 7.8 8.1 7.7 24.1 9.0
10 "The Red Angel" 7.0 7.3 6.9 18.3 11.9
11 "Perpetual Infinity" 7.1 7.4 6.9 17.4 10.9
12 "Through the Valley [...]" 7.4 7.7 7.3 19.9 10.0
13 "Such Sweet Sorrow" 7.2 7.6 6.9 21.5 11.1
14 "Such Sweet Sorrow, Pt. 2" 8.1 8.3 8.0 40.3 8.5

Avg 7.3 7.6 7.2 21.4 10.3

# Title Total US Non-US % 10s %1s
1 "That Hope Is You, Part 1" 7.2 7.5 6.9 19.1 10.1
2 "Far from Home" 7.1 7.6 6.8 16.3 10.1
3 "People of Earth" 7.1 7.6 6.9 16.7 10.3
4 "Forget Me Not" 6.2 6.7 6.0 16.1 16.2
5 "Die Trying" 7.2 7.6 7.0 17.8 10.3
6 "Scavengers" 6.4 6.9 6.3 12.7 13.0
7 "Unification III" 6.3 7.0 6.0 16.0 16.1
8 "The Sanctuary" 5.6 6.1 5.5 11.2 21.0
9 "Terra Firma, Part 1" 6.3 6.8 6.0 13.5 13.9
10 "Terra Firma, Part 2" 6.2 6.8 6.0 14.9 14.8
11 "Su'Kal" 6.0 6.5 5.8 12.7 17.4
12 "There Is a Tide..." 6.6 7.0 6.4 16.2 14.8
13 "That Hope Is You, Part 2" 6.3 6.6 6.0 19.2 17.5

Avg 6.5 7.0 6.3 15.6 14.3

# Title Total US Non-US % 10s %1s
1"Kobayashi Maru" 5.6 6.5 5.2 14.4 20.3
2 "Anomaly" 5.1 6.0 4.7 11.8 23.3
3 "Choose to Live" 5.2 6.3 4.8 12.9 23.8
4 "All Is Possible" 4.8 5.7 4.4 13.1 27.8
5 "The Examples" 5.7 6.5 5.6 14.0 21.0
6 "Stormy Weather" 5.2 6.0 5.0 13.0 25.6
7 "...But to Connect" 5.6 6.3 5.6 16.0 24.2
8 "All In" 5.5 6.3 5.0 14.4 20.4
9 "Rubicon" 5.7 6.7 5.2 15.1 20.9

Avg 5.4 6.3 5.1 13.9 23.0

So, what got me interested here was that S4 seemed to have gone off a cliff on IMDB. At the same time, Jammer's reviews as well as the comments didn't seem to indicate a profound shift in how viewers rate the show.

My theory, then, was that it might be linked to the fact that the show got yanked from Netflix, which had served the non-US market, just days before the S4 release. So I wanted to see if there was a marked difference between how users from the US and users from outside the US rated the show.

Some numbers (parenthesis indicates change compared to previous season) :
- Avg. rating: 7.4
- US & non-US avg. ratings: 7.4
- Discrepancy US and non-US avg. ratings: 0.0

- Total rating: 7.3 (-0.1)
- US avg. rating: 7.6 (+0.2)
- Non-US avg. rating: 7.2 (-0.2)
- Discrepancy US and non-US avg. ratings: 0.4 (+0.4)

- Total rating: 6.5 (-0.8)
- US avg. rating: 7.0 (-0.6)
- Non-US avg. rating: 6.3 (-0.9)
- Discrepancy US and non-US avg. ratings: 0.7 (+0.3)

- Total rating: 5.4 (-1.1)
- US avg. rating: 6.3 (-0.7)
- Non-US avg. rating: 5.1 (-1.2)
- Discrepancy US and non-US avg. ratings: 1.2 (+0.5)

One thing that did surprise me was that US and non-US ratings had already started to drift apart, especially come season 3 where you've got a difference of 0.7. However, in season 4 that number increases markedly to push the difference to over 1 full star.

The other thing I looked at was % of 1/10s and 10/10s (again, parenthesis indicates change compared to previous season):

- 10/10s: 21.5%
- 1/10s: 10.8%
- 10/10s : 1/10s: 1.99x

- 10/10s: 21.4% (-0.1%)
- 1/10s: 10.3% (-0.5%)
- 10/10s : 1/10s: 2.08x (+0.09)

- 10/10s: 15.6%
- 1/10s: 14.3%
- 10/10s : 1/10s: 1.1x (-1.07)

- 10/10s: 13.9%
- 1/10s: 20.9%
- 10/10s : 1/10s: 0.67x (-0.43)

Season 1 and 2 aren't too far apart, with season 2 boasting a slightly better ration of 10/10s to 1/10s. Again, I was surprised to see a significant change come season 3 where the ratio is almost on par, though still slightly in favor of 10/10s.

The drop from season 3 to 4 is actually smaller than from 2 to 3. It's still significant, though. And it's large enough to reverse the ratio between 10/10s and 1/10s.

It'll be interesting to see if the rest of S4 brings about any kind of change. After all, there are still a couple of episodes left. However, I assume it's going to be pretty much the same.

So, did pulling Discovery from Netflix without other legal means of seeing the show outside the US impact user ratings? I'm inclined to say it did. However, I'll concede that what's here isn't conclusive, especially since one way of looking at it is a downwards trend that started with S3.

Finally, a comment. Removing Discovery from Netflix the way they did just seems so obviously dumb that I still can't quite believe they actually went through with it. It seems like a great way to burn lots of goodwill for no good reason. Why they couldn't wait for Paramount+ to be up and running before moving Discovery to another platform is beyond me.
Thu, Feb 24, 2022, 6:00pm (UTC -5)
I’m a long time lurker. This episode was truly bad. Star Trek: The Soap Opera. Nothing earned, just all D- dialogue about characters that have had 0 development over the years, mixed with a soundtrack designed to give unearned feels.

Hypothesis on the IMDb drop vs what you see here: the subset of people who are willing to write reviews and engage is different composition than overall viewers. I see that on Reddit too — there are populations that love it, particularly the (over)woke representation.

Anyways, people have different tastes, but one has to admit that this is a huge departure from the Star Trek franchise we knew.
Thu, Feb 24, 2022, 6:38pm (UTC -5)
I said it before and I'll say it again: the cutsey music when Stamets is talking to Adira needs to GO. It's out of place, insults the characters and is borderline yucky. How is that creative choice making it through to the final product?
Thu, Feb 24, 2022, 8:59pm (UTC -5)
I liked most of the recent episodes but didn’t like this one. Clear filler and not at all interesting. We all know they are going to cross the barrier, absolutely nothing of substance to the plot. I also didn’t like the special effects for the galactic barrier, looked terrible.

The only redeeming thing was Tarkas backstory which was at least somewhat engaging.

Overall this was the worst episode of S4. 1.5 stars.
Thu, Feb 24, 2022, 10:44pm (UTC -5)
I think this episode is really a mixed bag -- thought the Tarka/Book subplot was the best part of it as these 2 characters and actors are very good together, and the galactic barrier could have had some really cool sci-fi, but it turned into arbitrary problem solving. Unfortunately there was the return of excessive Maudlin, which DSC reminds us will always be one of its calling cards. The writers seem to keep pushing off contact with Species 10-C so I'm starting to fear it will be rushed and a major letdown. There's a chance to do something somewhat original and impressive with the 10-C, so we'll see...

Getting the background on Tarka was well done with the flashbacks. It seems as if he's not a total asshole with the friendship he develops with the alien scientist as a prisoner of the Emerald Chain (golden ratio etc.) So I liked seeing that aspect of his personality. He's got his tunnel vision to join the scientist -- fair enough. It's his motivation and Book's along for the ride as long as their objectives have some commonality.

As for the A-subplot, Rillak is getting annoying -- but it again serves to be a foil to Burnham and I think that is one of the aspects of this season that keeps coming up. It's as if the writers are trying to show how good Burnham can be in dealing with superiors now -- or something about some maturity/development in her character.

I believe the episode made it out to be the first time a Federation ship will reach the galactic barrier, which is BS -- what about "Where No Man Has Gone Before" and "By Any Other Name"?? I take it nobody on DSC has ESP...

The whole idea with the spatial cells, negative energy etc. wasn't anything special or particularly interesting. It just felt like filler. The Book/Tarka subplot was far more interesting.

They make a big deal about telling or not telling the crew about the DMA approaching Vulcan and Earth -- this eventually leads to some Maudlin between Burnham and Rillak.
Burnham: You're my president too.
Rillak: I'm grateful.

And Adira is back and so Stamets has to talk to her about being away from Gray and he acts like a father figure or something like that.

The Saru / T'Rina parts at least had some class but I'm starting to think it feels a bit out of place and a distraction to what else is going on.

2.5 stars for "The Galactic Barrier" -- think there is some padding here with dealing with the barrier and some touchy-feely stuff. I did like the opening where they have a task force for first contact with 10-C and Kovich's involvement. Not a bad episode but some fat could have been trimmed and I'm disappointed there were no references to TOS experiences with the barrier.

So next Thurs. it's PIC S2 E1 and DSC S4 E11 -- nu Trek just cranking out episodes now.
Thu, Feb 24, 2022, 11:21pm (UTC -5)
I loved watching Tarka and his friend shack up like Bert & Ernie. While it's nothing we don't already know, showing the backstory is distinct from telling it and lends credence to Tarka's complexity that we could only guess at before. This is significant when cynical storytelling from previous seasons eroded the viewer's trust that what you're told is what you're actually gonna get.

Take Lorca for instance, who stirred up optimism for the viewer with his inspiring Trek-like speeches, only for that to be completely undone when his lies and twisted motives were revealed. At least this seems to demonstrate that Tarka is not just another Lorca.

But then again, you never know. With this being Discovery, the writers could still pull the rug right out from under us within the few remaining episodes...
Fri, Feb 25, 2022, 7:03am (UTC -5)
Thanks for putting all that info together 'Nothing but the tears'. I'm not sure why leaving NETFLIX would affect ratings, my guess is that the quality of season 4 is affecting ratings.

I really didn't think much of this episode. It just kind of was there.

I can understand why the President might feel her services are required on this mission. But is it too much to ask for us to meet the Vice President? (a female I'm guessing)

The writers were limited by the "galactic barrier" thing from Trek's past. One wonders how they ever came up with that stupid thing... I could see such a thing maybe at the edge of the ever expanding universe, but not at the edge of a gravity bound galaxy. The way they depicted it was pretty cool though.

So, no mycelial network outside the galaxy? Interesting. Is the network different in a different galaxy? What happens when two galaxies merge/collide?

So we learn about Tarka's background in order to get to know what's been driving him for ten years. All we learn is that he is a self-centered prick that doesn't give a shit about anyone else. He used Book and his trauma for one purpose - to gain a power source to find his only friend. Screw the rest of the galaxy and it's inhabitants. ... and Book is accepting this as justification for what he did? This justifies not waiting a week? This is supposed to be more of a loss that losing one's planet and everyone on it? What crap. Book should incapacitate him, take this power source and leave.

So our favorite VADM sends a message that the President receives. This is really the first misstep our President has made IMO. Why tell Burham? Her opinion was to keep this from the crew, why even bring Michael into the picture? More self imposed mandatory Discovery drama, that's why. The ONLY decision here is to keep this a secret; the crew knowing this doesn't enhance their ability nor is required to complete their mission. You'd think the crew has enough to worry about, adding more stress to the pot is stupid - before or after making it through the barrier.

Is it possible to draw out the Saru/President relationship any further? Come on, this is getting old.

The first real misstep this season for Discovery.

1.5 stars.
Fri, Feb 25, 2022, 7:24am (UTC -5)
@Nothing but the Tears

That data is interesting but there's too many stray factors to pull any strong conclusions. For starters, Star Trek hasn't been removed from *every* Netflix package as I believe some countries like Germany have different deals that are still in place.

Second, and I think this kills IMDB data, is that people will vote negatively on season 4 even if they didn't watch the show because they're upset over the Netflix loss. Consumers on ratings sites hold grudges (I've seen this on many app store apps where companies that had a scandal suddenly took severe ratings hits on perfectly good apps.) That's the problem with anonymous opinion-based statistics versus ratings curated by (ex. Nielsen), the numbers just don't bear solid results.

Note: I didn't watch this season and have no opinion on its quality.
Fri, Feb 25, 2022, 2:54pm (UTC -5)
Genuinely surprised at some of the comments above. I found this episode to be compelling all around (okay, except the Adira-Stamets bits, yawn).

Ruon Tarka's backstory was well-written and acted, and a great bit of character background for him. And this was also reflected in Book's attitude with him. Tarka is definitely a multi-layered character and this season is better with him in it. Characters need motivations and he has more than enough of it in wanting to join Oros, the only true friend (and more apparently) that he ever had, by his own admission.

The other main plot with Discovery was quite interesting too, with dialogues between Admiral Vance, President Rillak and Michael having a meaningful purpose. Visuals are always an asset of this show and the representation of this new area of space with the bubbles worked well for me. The urgency of the DMA moving quicker than expected heading for earth and Ni'var is a neat twist that raises the stakes for the delegates and Discovery crew, again adding to character motivation.

I'm going with 3.5 stars. We even got to see Kovich smile!!
Nothing but the Tears
Fri, Feb 25, 2022, 6:30pm (UTC -5)
@Yanks: It was fun putting the data together. The reason I was thinking that pulling the show from Netflix could result in bad IMDB scores and reviews is simply because of how it was done, really notice and no alternative streaming option in sight. I know that had I still been watching the show and looking forward to the nee season, I’d have been really pissed of.

@Chrome: To the best of my knowledge, it was pulled from Netflix everywhere. Germany I know for a fact. And all the reporting I’ve seen seemed to indicate it’s not on Netflix, period (e.g. here
Regarding your second point, that’s exactly what I was looking for. Basically:
- I noticed the drop in user ratings on IMDB
- A quick comparison between US and non-US user seemed to indicate a fairly substantial discrepancy
- Hence my theory that pissed off Netflix viewers from outside the US who had the fourth season snatched away from them at such short notice were airing their grievances by essentially review bombing the season
- I dug through all the data since I wanted to know if my initial impression regarding US vs non-US was correct

To be clear, I agree that there are many factors in play, and IMDB is also just one outlet.

Regardless, I feel like they really shot themselves in the foot here by pulling the show the way they did (short notice, no alternative streaming option). And for what? Sure, if Paramount+ were up and running outside the US. But it’s not and, to my understanding, it won’t be for some time.
Fri, Feb 25, 2022, 7:43pm (UTC -5)

"To the best of my knowledge, it was pulled from Netflix everywhere."

Sorry, I read the article on this months back so I wasn't quite sure of the details. But it looks like only Discovery of the new shows is becoming Paramount-only. Picard and Lower Decks are still going to be on Amazon outside NA and Canada can watch Star Trek on its Sci-Fi channel.

"Regarding your second point, that’s exactly what I was looking for."

In that case, I agree with your conclusion. Pulling any show off a popular subscription service is likely to lower its ratings on IMDB.

"Regardless, I feel like they really shot themselves in the foot here by pulling the show the way they did (short notice, no alternative streaming option)."

Yes, it does seem like a consumer-unfriendly move and I totally sympathize. We don't have Paramount's internal data, but we can imagine that Paramount thinks it's a good long-term move. Star Trek is a popular show and people are probably willing to pay for it no matter where it is.

I suppose the silver lining is competition among streaming services tends to keep the prices competitive. Netflix can't just jack up its prices in Europe now or else Paramount and others will have its lunch.
Jeffrey's Tube
Fri, Feb 25, 2022, 9:10pm (UTC -5)
There was a moment, a terrible moment, at the start of this episode where they set up the plot of going through the galactic barrier and then the scene shifted to Book and Tarka, and Tarka says "we will need programable antimatter to get through the galactic barrier. Discovery will need it too." And oh my god, for that moment--for that horrible moment!--I thought we weren't actually going to get a trip through the galactic barrier this episode, but Casino Planet Pt. II.

So after that moment passed, anything this episode did was going to be better in my mind than deserved, probably, because of what it might have been instead.


Anyone notice the casual special effects budget seems to be back? We got a shot of Saru and Culber walking down the corridor that pulled out through one of the windows, and another that swung around to the ship to the bridge and entered through the viewscreen. Nice. Listen, these things aren't important, really. They make up for absolutely nothing. But I still like to see them. The show did things like this all the time in past seasons, so to me, they've been notable by their absence this season. And I can only think it's a matter of budget.

. . .

I'm glad the final decision was to tell the crew about the DMA threatening Earth and Ni'Var. To me, it feels like what Roddenberry would have done. An argument can be made that telling the crew will distract them, make them nervous and jumpy. Desperate. Perhaps cause them to fire on the 10-C without orders if they think they see an opportunity. I think Bill Adama would have made the call not to tell them. I think many modern military commanders would make the same call. I think that Gene Roddenberry believed, to the very core of his soul, that such news would cause the humans of the future to pull together, step up to the very top of their game and focus on doing their part to accomplish the task at hand. It's a difference of philosophy, and I appreciate that the show chose the "Star Trek" perspective rather than the "edgy" or even "more realistic" (if you're so inclined) one.

. . .

I don't have much else to say. What's up with Bryce? Is it simply that the show doesn't want a bridge crew full of grizzled Commanders? It wants an Ensign or Lieutenant around as well? Because they're writing him off the bridge, but not off the show, because he keeps turning up? And he's had spotlight moments this season, too. Hmmm.

. . .

Is Tarka human? Has it ever been said? The name isn't very human, and he has a forehead tattoo, but the tattoo could mean a non-human culture or it could just be because he thinks it's cool. Who knows?

The show did a really good job of getting me invested in a character relationship that got about twelve minutes of screentime (maybe) when it hasn't always managed that over entire seasons. See? You CAN do it, Discovery. It isn't that hard.

I don't think this show can tell a story about such a close male relationship without making it gay. I don't care one way or the other, I'm just remarking that I don't think the show can do it. Or even just leave it ambiguous. We'll see.

Is it even the show's fault? Twitterati 'shippers will have their way.

. . .

Listen, *I'm* excited about Picard S2 next week. Fresh story. Fresh chance to get things right they got wrong before. Give it a chance, yeah?
Sat, Feb 26, 2022, 4:57am (UTC -5)
@Jeffreys' Tube - he's Risian. Was mentioned in an earlier episode in a chat with him and Book. I think the tattoo is similar to ones Risian's had in DS9 and ENT.
Jeffrey's Tube
Sat, Feb 26, 2022, 6:17am (UTC -5)

Oh yeah! i remember now. Thanks!
Latex Zebra
Sat, Feb 26, 2022, 11:10am (UTC -5)
@Nothing but the Tears

As a UK viewer I relied on Netflix and much as it's not always great. It was something to stick on for an hour on a Friday evening. When they moved it, I agree, they burned a lot of goodwill. They made it available on some weird channel over here but I've got to set that up on the TV, I'm not watching shit on my laptop, and I genuinely can't be arsed as I'm not even sure I can just watch it when I want.

I'll watch Picard and Lower Decks while they remain on Amazon but that is it.
Sat, Feb 26, 2022, 3:22pm (UTC -5)
lol Tarka got more of a backstory than the other "main characters". How many episodes are left? Nothing happened in this episode!!! This show is getting on my nerves! I can't believe they got a 5th season tbh. This show could be sooooooo good, but they are just blowing up all their budget on CGI instead of investing it on writting a good story with well developed characters.
Sat, Feb 26, 2022, 6:07pm (UTC -5)
Fine episode - another 3-star, I'd say, but my GOD does this show get heavy-handed. All the bridge officers, most of whom are lieutenant commanders, blurting out their favorite place on Earth in the middle of a crisis? SO cringe...
Sat, Feb 26, 2022, 10:20pm (UTC -5)
This episode succumbed to a particularly insidious flaw that's been with Discovery since the beginning. It tries to do too much all at once and ends up being all over the place. A good cutting room edit and some reshoots could have fixed this episode and made it far more focused. However, you need a great director to make this happen. I'm afraid Discovery doesn't have that.

Someone stated a few episodes back that the maudlin emotional displays that often litter Discovery episodes were a sign of the times we live in that we would look back on and laugh at, just like we look back on other eras for their quirks. I can only hope that's true, but I've noticed trends don't fade out the way they used to. They persist for decades. I recall sagging pants were just coming into fashion when I was in high school. That never did fade away like Jerry curls or tight @$$ bell bottoms did. It just kept hanging around for decades and is still persisting to this day. I think this "trend" is here to stay too.

This episode needed better direction. It really irked me that they introduced an entirely different character as Tarka's friend. I really thought it was going to be that heavyset handicapped dude from season 3, but perhaps he was killed off or something. I'm not sure. The new guy was just annoying. His voice was annoying. His makeup was annoying. I was too annoyed throughout the flashback to enjoy any of it.

They keep introducing new people, like that brother that replaced Bryce. I was just getting used to Bryce and they get rid of him. WTF?!? Why? It doesn't make any sense. I celebrated when they got rid of Tilly. But unfortunately, they didn't get rid of her because they learned a lesson. They got rid of her because that's what they keep doing with every other character that's not a main character. If they kept Bryce, brought back Nahn, and focused on the better known characters, we'd have a recognizable core bridge crew to compliment the main characters. We'd have more of what we had with the other series. It doesn't make any sense. Somebody smoked some magic mushrooms and assigned the job of episode casting to their mushroom supplier.

It also annoyed me that Tarka brought up programmable anti-matter. This was annoying for a couple of reasons. Anti-matter, programmable or otherwise, will not help defend against negative energy, even should we discover the existence of negative energy in the future. As I understand it, negative energy or negative mass appears in almost all of the theoretical formulations of superluminal phenomenon that I've read about.

The tachyon has imaginary rest mass and accelerates as it loses energy, until at its lowest (most negative) energy level it appears everywhere along its flight path at once. Wormholes can be held open by exotic matter which exhibits negative energy density. The same with Krasnikov tubes. The Alcubierre Warp Metric utilizes a metric crap ton of negative energy, except apparently for White's reformulation of it. I haven't read the paper on it, so I'm not sure about that. Anti-matter, according to the current understanding ,would respond to negative energy the same way normal matter responds to it. According to what I've read if exotic matter of this type came into contact with normal matter they don't annihilate like matter and anti-matter, they just cease to exist, so would anti-matter.

I could be wrong, so I suppose there's enough wiggle room in the science to let that slide. However, that brings me to the second thing that annoyed me about "programmable anti-matter" and in fact since they introduced programmable matter in the first place. Programmable matter as a concept has been around in science fiction circles for quite some time. I believe it's considered a form of nanotechnolgy, but it's different than what we think of as nanites or molecular machines.

Probably the most elaborate depiction of it that I'm aware of is Wil McCathy's Wellstone that was based on quantum dots. You have this modular nanoscale device; it's main function is to imitate the chemical, mechanical, optical, etc properties of other forms of matter: elements, compounds, composites, etc. It can respond to input and execute instructions. Hence, the term "programmable matter" or sometimes "digital matter." You can actually construct your nanites out of programmable matter to get more bang for you buck. Not only can your nanites construct a house for you, they can BECOME your house for you.

Dilithium, meanwhile, in the Star Trek universe is used to mediate the matter/anti-matter reaction. Considering that so much has been made about a search for an alternative to dilithium, this automatically begs the question that if you can make programmable anti-matter that obeys instructions and imitates other forms of matter in both form, chemical, mechanical, electrical, etc attributes, and function, WTF would you ever need dilithium again?

Let that sink in for a moment. You can just program your anti-matter to react with matter in a well behaved fashion or program either your anti-matter or your programmable matter or BOTH to imitate dilithium/anti-dilithium. It should go something like this. You throw your programmable matter/anti-matter into the reactor chamber and shout, "NOW, BEHAVE YOURSELVES!" You now have your warp plasma with no actual dilithium needed. If somebody doesn't bring this up before the end of this season, I'm personally going to go find the Star Trek show runners and break my raggediest pair of old worn boots off in their behinds. I'll send them directly to the ER with a bad case of athlete's butt cheeks.

My idea that the 10C aliens are dark matter entities and that all of this turmoil is a simple consequence of the ignorance barrier between baryonic and dark matter lifeforms is growing less possible. That barrier is stated quite simply as "I don't even know you exist, so if I destroy you, what business is it of mine?" (That's a more optimistic paraphrasing of the Three-Body Problem's related theme. God forbid it end up as "You're an ant, so if I destroy you, what business is it of YOURS?")

I imagined that the solution to this thorny issue would be something as simple as ants trying to get the farmer's attention. Perhaps the ants gather together by the thousand and spell out at the farmer's feet the sentence: "Hey! You Beverly Hilly Billy sonofabitch! We're living down here and you keep rolling your combine over our ant hills!" Perhaps Discovery crew needs to send out such a signal utilizing negative energy or gravitational waves to get their attention. In any case, I just hope they come up with something interesting and not fumble the ball at the goal line, like they did last season.
Sat, Feb 26, 2022, 10:37pm (UTC -5)
@Latex Zebra

Doesn't your laptop have an HDMI slot? My TV is 11 years old and it has an HDMI slot. I have a few terabytes of movies on my laptop. Any time company comes over and they want to watch a movie, I just plug it into my laptop and share my screen to the TV. Takes all of 60 seconds to set up. Not that you should buy Paramount's crappy streaming service, because you shouldn't. But I'm just saying.
Sun, Feb 27, 2022, 6:59am (UTC -5)
Very interesting read Quincy. Thanks for sharing.
Sun, Feb 27, 2022, 7:57am (UTC -5)
@Quincy and the bunch
Guys, complaining about NuTrek not being interested in science/treating science like magic is something that was true from the very beginning, even in the movies. I would just recommend that you accept that aspect of NuTrek. Does nobody remember the magic wand thing from ST:Picard that creates what you think of or that they used "cold fusion" to cool a volcano in one of the movies. That was NuTrek openly saying:"Yes, we don't care about science. Deal with it."
Nothing but the Tears
Sun, Feb 27, 2022, 5:39pm (UTC -5)
@Latex Zebra

Yeah, I couldn’t believe they pulled a stunt like that. I was kinda lucky in the sense that I’d already decided to stop watching after S3. But I was still pretty stunned. I mean, sure, shows and movies come and go on streaming services. But all of TOS, TNG, DS9, VOY, and ENT have been on Netflix for years now. So it was easy to assume the same would be true for Discovery.

As for regular TV, we haven’t had it for years now. I just can’t deal with the advertising anymore. It just drives me up the wall.

Finally, I’m sad to say that out of Discovery, Picard, and Lower Decks, the latter is the only one I’m interested in. Picard, in particular, I wanted so badly to enjoy but simply did not. :-(
Sun, Feb 27, 2022, 7:48pm (UTC -5)

Glad you appreciated it.


It's not that I haven't accepted it. It's just that I still reserve the right to be publicly annoyed by it. And it's not like I do so all that often. With all the haters on this board who have specifically declared they're here to do nothing but hate on "NuTrek," you can't even put me anywhere in the zip code of the bottom of that list.

And this is not even something exclusive to "NuTrek." Trek in general of any era played fast and lose with the science. Somebody mentioned the episode, "Alternative Factor," of TOS where there was a guy who was switching places with an antimatter twin. If they ever existed in the same universe at the same time the entire universe would be destroyed. Who smoked what when they wrote this?
Mon, Feb 28, 2022, 2:17am (UTC -5)
"It's not that I haven't accepted it. It's just that I still reserve the right to be publicly annoyed by it. "
Ok, that made me laugh. :D

"And this is not even something exclusive to "NuTrek." Trek in general of any era played fast and lose with the science."
Sure sometimes but there is one fundamental difference between NuTrek and what came before. NuTrek ignores science you can look up in three seconds on Wikipedia and sometimes even reaches idiot levels. Cold fusion isn't actually "cold" and using a cold fusion bomb to cool a volcano...

and a sun, apart from the fact that the romulan sun was a star like our sun that cannot go supernova, would need an extremely long time to go supernova.

TNG made sure that most things that happened were at least based on scientific theory. NuTrek is often actively ignoring basic science. Science that most Trekkies would recognize as false. That's what is so baffling about it. Why would they do that??
Welsh Rat
Mon, Feb 28, 2022, 2:01pm (UTC -5)
I think this episode kind of showed the trouble I sometimes have with Discovery. I like the show. But...

I'm also rewatching Enterprise Season 3 and I noted how differently the handle season arcs.

Enterprise season 3 had some great episodes as well as a few poor ones like Carpenter Street and The Hatchery but almost three quarters of the series added something to the season arc. They discover a sphere. The importance of that sphere doesn't become clear until later in the season. The episode wasn't about the discovery of the sphere, it was about the ship being attacked and having to reclaim their stuff.
In Carpenter Street, T'Pol's finally convinced of time travel by doing it to stop a Xindi Reptilian plot about a bio weapon in Earth's past (we later find out that the Xindi Council had banned the Reptilians from making a bio-weapon). We don't know how the Xindi got there until later in the series. It's a character study for T'Pol and Archer. The Hatchery has Archer infected by the Insectoids in a hatchery ship. They gain an Insectoid Shuttle. The Episode's not about that. It's a study of the senior crew and how far they can be pushed before they rise up against their Captain's orders. Everything adds to the season plot.

But none of the episodes are ABOUT the Season Plot. They're character driven dramas that advance the season plot.

DISCOVERY is plot driven through and through and neglects Character development. 4 seasons in and we know near nothing about any of the crew who aren't Burnham, Saru, Stamets or Culber. Everything's about the plot. And sometimes that shows. The galactic Barrier is, indeed, a barrier. But I can't think of any of the previous shows that would have thought to make the WHOLE EPISODE - well, half of it - about getting through it. We only learn that the Bridge crew have holiday plans because we know the danger those plans are in. That's kinda effective but it's a cheap shot. When Discovery goes for a filler episode, it REALLY goes for a filler episode. And yet we learn little about the characters we don't already know.

And that's a problem. Saru's great. So are Stamets and Culber. Burnham's... fine if, annoyingly, still always right and the most important person in - or out now - of the Galaxy but the show needs to stop trying to destroy the galaxy every year and just let us get to know the characters!
Welsh Rat
Mon, Feb 28, 2022, 2:04pm (UTC -5)
To correct my above, Carpenter Street IS about the season arc. But it's still a study of the characters out of their comfort zone.
Mon, Feb 28, 2022, 8:37pm (UTC -5)

I am 100% with you. Geez, nothing has really happened since the season started. The current status of the season feels like something that could have been 3 episodes on any of the old shows.

This show just makes me roll my eyes constantly because it has lots of potential to be good, but they are just doing things like they have no idea what they are doing. As I have mentioned before, I am shocked that they are going for another season. I have the same complaints that I know nothing about any of the characters and we are in the end of season 4. Lt Barclay and Ensing Suder had more of a story than any bridge crew member of DSC.

Honestly, I feel that with the new Star Trek shows (Discovery, Picard, Strange New Worlds) they are trying to create something similar to a Marvel Universe situation and go for cheap writting and lots of CGI and constantly have some "new material" to shove down people's throats.
Peter G.
Tue, Mar 1, 2022, 2:51pm (UTC -5)
@ Jammer,

"Sigh. Yeah, I get that we're going Where No One Has Gone Before, but the pomp and circumstance plays as an obligatory cloying exercise (especially after we've already made a Big Huge Deal about how we're leaving for this Big First-Contact Mission, possibly never to return)."

Speaking of which, there's another Galactic Barrier encountered in TOS' Where No MAN Has Gone Before. That one was at the edge of the galaxy too. Small world.
Tue, Mar 1, 2022, 4:31pm (UTC -5)
Also, yeah, I agree that shuffling the minor characters on and off the ship is getting really awkward and clumsy by this point, especially with all the needless fanfare and sentimentality. I get that they there are likely budgetary constraints that would necessitate swapping their onscreen presence but this is nothing new to Star Trek and has been handled better in the past. When Barkley reappeared after months or years of absence, it's generally understood that he's always been there, just keeping out of the spotlight.

Perhaps one reason why we wonder "Where's Reno?" but not "Where's Barkley?" is because many possible locations were established where Barkley could be, and he was also shown to have a personal life. Reno is only ever in engineering and only appears when an engineering problem needs to be solved (that the three other characters with engineering backgrounds apparently aren't sufficient for.)

TNG also had more random extras seen in various locations around the ship, including the bridge crew, so it feels like nothing out of the ordinary if a regular doesn't appear in a few episodes. Someone else is always filling that spot so the absence is less noticeable.
Tue, Mar 1, 2022, 4:46pm (UTC -5)
I have a theory as to why Season 4 is at the same time the best season of Discovery (at least in my opinion) and still the worst rated: it's stuck in no man's land.

Yes, the writers have kept some of the show's staples, such as serialized storytelling, big galactic threats and loads of emotional conversations, but they have also tried to steer closer to a more trekkian feel: the episodes are less kinetic, more focused on problem solving and moral dilemmas, the captain is the main character and (unless we are being misdirected) the antagonist is unlikely to be a cardboard villain and more of a Trek-style alien that will be addressed using at least some amount of diplomacy. So the core audience of the show so far, which by necessity liked the nonsensical constant swerves of the previous seasons, is feeling bored and slowly dropping out. As for old Trek fans, this show is still a badly written affront to science with doubtful messages, dumb moral dilemmas and bland unprofessional characters. I mean, I find it the best season of Discovery and I still feel this way.

It is ironic, because arguably this is the first season in which Discovery has settled into a defined identity: it is a show that embraces building a better future through therapy sessions, sharing of emotions and individual acknowledgement, while still preserving a trekkian commitment to treating the unknown with respect and holding on to the action scenes and intellectually undemanding serialized storytelling of earlier seasons. Unfortunately for Discovery, this is a combination very few people want to watch. I don't think I'm one of them.
Tue, Mar 1, 2022, 5:56pm (UTC -5)
Dreubarik, I agree with everything you stated but I have my own theory as to why this season is rated lower than all the others.

I for the most part have enjoyed this season, but I fail to really enjoy it even though it's the closest Discovery has ever come to "real trek".

I think it's because Michael is in the Captain Chair. She hasn't earned it, she hasn't ever thought anything she has ever done was wrong, etc, etc. I find it hard to give my heart to Discovery knowing this. I keep hoping that a member of the crew will pull the same crap she did. I think in the previous seasons it didn't matter as much because she wasn't in the center seat.

If I were to rate this season, it would rate lower just because Michael Burnham is the Captain.
Tue, Mar 1, 2022, 6:05pm (UTC -5)
Nice review Jammer.
David F
Tue, Mar 1, 2022, 8:58pm (UTC -5)
I believe I may be the only person that really enjoyed this episode. It felt like old school TOS (I do feel the effects team should have made the Galactic Barrier go in all directions....

Thus far, to me, this is the best season of Discovery. I am actually enjoying this season quite a bit. Tarka and Book are two of the best characters on the show and I hope they both come back for season 5.

Finally, did Bryce leave the ship for good? Did the actor quit? I feel the only scenario that made sense was the actor quit when he realized his role was never going to go anywhere so the writers were actually nice and wrote him a quick goodbye season with Saru. I must say this show goes through actors and characters almost as quick as Dynasty.
Wed, Mar 2, 2022, 8:48am (UTC -5)
I would echo those who say S4 feels (thus far) like it's DSC's best season yet. Though to provide some context, it's like saying S4 is the nicest house in a bad neighborhood. And of course, it has to stick the landing and that has proven challenging historically for DSC.

FWIW, for the prior 3 seasons my avg. season rating has been lower than Jammer's, but so far in S4, it's equal to his. So taking Jammer as some kind of a baseline, I think I'm enjoying S4 relatively more.

I'd also add that "...But to Connect" was the first nu-Trek episode that I felt truly deserved a 4* rating -- so just to get that is saying something. There's been a definite improvement with DSC this season despite all its lingering and fundamental flaws.
Uncle Floyd
Wed, Mar 2, 2022, 8:50am (UTC -5)
Discovery is easily the worst show in the franchise. I find myself consistently bored and unable to even pay attention to what's happening.

I loved the series in the first two years (though it started losing me toward the end of the second). Season 3-4 have been horrible.

I'm getting to the point where I'm asking myself why I keep watching it.
Wed, Mar 2, 2022, 11:07am (UTC -5)
Jammer’s review is tough but very fair. I too am impatient with the 10-C reveal and this was very much stalling for time, but I also know when this season is over I will miss it, for all its flaws.
Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 11:59am (UTC -5)
Season 4 really isn't that different from Season 3 to me, with one notable exception - the absence of Georgiou. At the time I found her distracting, as she was this campy, bitchy character who didn't seem like she belonged on the show. But now that she's gone, every character is written exactly the same (emotionally vulnerable, damaged, a good friend/listener) which is part of why the show can come across as so boring. None of the characters have any real arcs because they all exist in the same eternal state, and no matter what two characters are paired in an interaction, the conversation (unless it's plot relevant) will have identical dynamics.
Trek fan
Sat, Mar 12, 2022, 7:57am (UTC -5)
Being in the 32nd century now, Discovery can pilfer from every previous Trek series without worrying about continuity. I approve. This is where it should have started, not as a prequel. Please cancel Strange New Words asap to spare us more awkwardness.

The Galactic Barrier came up a lot in TOS, where it was generally exciting. Here it’s not so much. This is another dull, underplotted season 4 Discovery slog. Cancel it.
Thu, Sep 8, 2022, 1:27pm (UTC -5)
I don’t have a problem with the galactic barrier stuff… yea it’s silly and not scientific, but it’s been established in this universe for the past nearly 60 years so I don’t have an issue with it.

What I do have an issue with is the slow pacing and the musical chairs of the supporting cast. But I guess at this point is like changing the curtains from a royal blue to an ocean blue… nobody cares except the people having the curtains. 1 star from me. This bored me to death, and know the writers are gonna set up for this big, galaxy ending climax that will happen in the last 15 minutes if the last episode like every other season, but even that will probably bore me. I’ve got Discovery-fatigue… yeah yeah, the galaxy is coming to an end…. again…. good thing we’ve got the indestructible, infallible Michael Burnham there to save it all over again. Yawwwwwwwn
Thu, Feb 23, 2023, 2:45am (UTC -5)
Is it petty of me to be annoyed with the dialogue in this episode referencing nostalgic landmarks on Earth, when our heroes are worried about the destruction thereof, and literally every single one is on the West Coast of the United States?

Is there not ONE person in the Discovery writer's room that has traveled beyond the West Coast? How can they be so obsessed with DEI but fail to catch the very obvious bias here?

"I'm going to visit Astoria, on Earth's Oregon Coast!"

Cool, let's check out the Goonies House while we're there. I hope the 10-C didn't destroy it, humanity would never recover from the loss of such a priceless cultural treasure. 😏

Oh well, at least Star Trek finally has the Goonies House, that makes three landmarks that survived the Eugenics Wars/WWIII/Post-Atomic Horror:

1. The Golden Gate Bridge
2. The Eiffel Tower
3. Astoria, on Earth's Oregon Coast

The Parthenon, Taj Mahal, Great Barrier Reef, and Machu Picchu are all MIA, but we got Astoria!

(No offense to my friends in Astoria, lol)

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