Star Trek: Discovery

"Rosetta"

2 stars

Air date: 3/3/2022
Written by Terri Hughes Burton
Directed by Jeff Byrd & Jen McGowan

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

Discovery, over the last two seasons under showrunner Michelle Paradise, has turned into the Star Trek workplace drama that's all about not only the respectful workplace, but the respectful workplace where we talk openly about our feelings. I'm all for the first thing, considerably less about the second thing, but that's just me. It's interesting to see how the show, which was once a breathless throw-everything-at-the-wall free-for-all sensation-generating action series (albeit sometimes more exciting than what it has become), has gradually developed a kind of overarching guiding philosophy that's more in line with a Trekkian ethos.

Unfortunately, focusing on these components so unrelentingly makes them lose their impact. I rolled my eyes at the ship being unable to make it through the day without a pep talk in "Stormy Weather," because, yeah, it's a goddamn starship, and at a certain point I'd like to see people (and computers) get through the day and punch the clock so I can watch some procedural spacefaring professionalism. But at this point, everyone being so emotional and sharing all the time has become this series' mission statement and biggest cliché.

Now we have "Rosetta," a true science-fiction episode that uses emotions as a key component of its sci-fi properties and thematic approach. It's an intellectually interesting concept (I'm reminded of, although by no means comparing this to, the way Interstellar wove together sci-fi and love/emotion so crucially). Unfortunately, "Rosetta" is just too dull and prolonged as a sci-fi experience to get the job done. There's endless talk about what our characters find and experience on their away mission, and at a certain point it becomes clear, like last week, that we are spinning our wheels. You probably could've taken last week's and this week's episodes and combined them into one hell of a single exploration journey. But taken individually, they're a slog.

The leisurely pace of the dialogue and away mission and Weighty Michael Burnham Speeches is completely incongruous with the Countdown to Disaster Plot™ happening off-screen as the DMA approaches Earth and Ni'Var, where gravity and debris will begin causing catastrophe within 29 hours, tick-tock. I mean, I don't understand why Discovery feels the need to do this. Every. Damn. Season. The DMA just being out there and being a potentially existential threat was plenty enough to justify this first-contact mission. Hell, you could've said we have a month, even a year, to complete this mission and it would've been enough. But when you grind the gears and say, oh, now it's 29 hours — well, it makes everyone look stupid to be biding their time and talking about their feelings when billions of lives hang in the balance. (Not to mention the absurd convenience of the timing; good thing all of these events happened to line up a single day before our planets are destroyed!) It's a completely unforced error by the writers.

There are good things to find here, like the away mission taking place on a dead world that feels truly alien and harsh and barren. Having the crew in their EV suits helps sell the idea and lends an exploration aesthetic to the proceedings that's often missing on Star Trek on the account of all the M-class worlds. The whole point of the away mission smartly seeks to identify context that will aid in the first-contact effort. And the idea of these ancient dust particles that can transmit feelings and experiences from a millennium ago and help our team understand their discoveries — it's the kind of sci-fi exploration that's at the core of Star Trek. And this episode finds what feels like a somewhat fresh spin on it ... well, if not for it all landing back on our characters' personal feelings (including Detmer's PTSD) in a way that just comes off as being soooo Discovery.

There's also an out-of-left-field subplot involving Rillak asking Dr. Hirai (Hiro Kanagawa) to use more tact in dealing with the diplomats on board. (His big sin was saying, of the mission, "Don't screw it up," which would be a laugh line if it came from Han Solo.) Again, this feels hopelessly out of scale with the impending galactic Armageddon, unless the theme of your episode is Respectful Starship Workplace, which, well, okay. Discovery. It's the theme of the season. It's a pretty boring and predictably forced one at this point, but okay.

Meanwhile, Book and Tarka decide to tether their ship to Discovery, so they can hitch a ride into Species 10-C's protective field when Discovery enters it herself. In order to do this, they must sneak aboard the ship and rig something in engineering so they aren't detectable. In the process, Book makes a secret agreement with Earth's delegate, General Ndoye (Phumzile Sitole), so she'll feed him information on the progress of the first-contact mission. He agrees to wait until first contact fails before taking action to try to destroy the DMA's power core from inside 10-C's space.

But really, shouldn't Book and Tarka's Plan A be Discovery's Plan B anyway? (By the end of the episode it's Book's Plan B as well, although my guess is it's still Tarka's Plan A, because these two are rarely on the same page.) As Burnham herself says, what if Species 10-C is aware that their DMA is doing all this planet-destroying damage and they simply don't care? Then what? (My follow-up question: If they aren't aware, how are they so stupid?)

We have two episodes left. I hope Discovery can turn things around and make this first contact with 10-C truly worthwhile. But I'm skeptical. The big problem with these season-long arcs is they become eggs-in-one-basket propositions. Blow it, and it feels like you've blown the season. And that would be too bad considering this season has felt like the most true-to-Trek season of Discovery yet.

"Well, that's relativity, folks":

  • I'm still not clear on why the EV suits wouldn't protect against the dust by default. Because reasons, I guess.
  • Just when I was wondering where she's been for so long this season, Reno turns up for more than just a cameo, and ends up finding Tarka hiding in engineering trying to make his modifications. So Tarka takes her hostage back to Book's ship (somehow) where she will undoubtedly snark her way through being a captive next week.
  • The always gunshy Adira idolizes Detmer and her confidence, and hopes to get to know her better. Reno, always the straight-shooting mensch, gives Adira some advice on striking up a conversation: "Pro tip: Don't start with ‘I want to be you.' It's kinda creepy."
  • Speaking of, Detmer gets the "supporting background bridge crew spotlight" this week, going on the away mission and getting a bunch of lines. Good for her!
  • Culber: "Good to see the laws of physics still apply outside our galaxy!" Is there a reason to assume they wouldn't?
  • Culber getting brain-scrambled by the alien dust just made it all the more clear to him that he is not mentally okay in general. The interim counselor needs a counselor. Hell, everyone needs a counselor. Why don't they have a dedicated counselor instead of making Culber do it? What they really need is to get more spore drives onto more ships so Discovery doesn't have to shoulder all the (emotional) burden of everything. (Never mind — they were trying to do that until Tarka stole the prototype.)
  • Did I miss something about the Dyson rings surrounding 10-C's star? Are they abandoned? Is it implied 10-C built them and lived there after their planet was destroyed, but have since moved into the region of space protected by the energy field?

Previous episode: The Galactic Barrier
Next episode: Species Ten-C

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45 comments on this post

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Winde
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 5:50am (UTC -5)
Thank you. No, thank you. No, thank YOU. THANK YOU.
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Norvo
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 6:18am (UTC -5)
For the first time in four seasons I skipped through an episode of Discovery. 5 seconds ahead. Another 10 seconds. Go on, let's try 15.

Saved me a lot of time and aggravation watching the away team stumble across a dimly lit green screen planet looking for this week's MacGuffin.

Even speeding through 'Rosetta', I still got the gist. It's all about emotions. We knew Burnham and company would find something useful about the 10-C. And this being Discovery, of course it would have to do with emotions. We now know emotions are universal and 10-C have feelings too! But do they even care about us?

The glacial pacing of the arc continues to undermine the sense of imminent urgency the writers are trying to convey. You just don't feel that Earth or Ni'Var are a day away from destruction. Not when there's plenty of time for Adira's newly developed puppy love for Detmer or Michael calling in Hugh for a chat and a drink. The clock is ticking, but the Federation president is telling a scientist to be nicer to Burnham and more respectful of people's feelings? Painful.

Kinda looking forward to next week's episode. Reno will make an interesting hostage/damsel in distress. Though something tells me that we will never meet the 10-C. Once the hyperfield goes down, we find they have all died out and now all that's left is their technology running out of control. That will allow plenty of screentime for the inevitable Burnham/Book whisper-matches without having to, y'know, actually meet a new species.

Also: steamed bananas. That is all.
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Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 8:33am (UTC -5)
I somehow managed to fit in both this and Picard's premier between waking up and work starting. I was ready to be underwhelmed by this, because Picard's opening is so awesome.

This episode indeed isn't as good, but I still feel like it's one of the better outings for Discovery this season.

Most of my enjoyment boils down to the fact we finally get a "strange new world." One of the core elements of Discovery which has changed little from Season 1 onwards is we seldom get off ship, and when we do, it's often a pretty uninspired "gravel pit" planet. There were actually some real attempts at creativity here when it came to setting and the species design of 10-C. The idea of a species that lives in a gas giant and uses chemicals to communicate was, if not completely original, out of the box for Star Trek. Furthermore, we actually get to discover some things about Species 10-C, meaning the plot of the season finally has some level of forward movement. The only major flaw with this element of the episode is the idiotic idea that EV suits would only filter out known chemicals. Isn't the whole point of a spacesuit to be airtight? Still, Trek plays fast and loose with science (and even logic) frequently, so I can overlook it. The episode also gave Emily Couts more to do as Detmer - even arguably something of a character arc. I'm starting to wonder if they'll upgrade her to main cast next season - they're giving her a lot more lines (and coverage in the media) than the other former bridge furniture.

I was less interested with the goings on aboard the ship, which were pretty generic Discovery fare. Political dignitaries in mild conflict with one another, people taking about their feelings, and Book and Tarka skulking around on the ship. None of the dialogue was bad here - I felt it was less laden with exposition than last week, because people were discussing positions, rather than stating facts aloud. But none of it was particularly interesting either. I suppose the "conspiracy" involving Book, Tarka, and the woman from United Earth may amount to something in the last two episodes - we'll have to wait and see.

Lots of "someone feels a feeling" - but that's what Discovery does, so I'll roll with it.

Glad Reno was taken hostage. I felt sure when we cut away Tarka was gonna kill her off camera. He sort of needs a crowning moment of villainy after the last episode.

Was Stamets even in this episode? I don't recall seeing him.
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Norvo
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 9:02am (UTC -5)
@Karl Zimmerman:

Stamets' one contribution to the episode was analyzing the data Burnham brought back from the planet. Right before president Rillak chided the language expert for not being encouraging enough.
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Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 9:08am (UTC -5)
@ Norvo.

Thanks. I was distracted for a few scenes near the end when I got into the office, so I guess I just missed it.

They seem to be having issues with finding anything of interest to do with Stamets these days. All he seems to do is spit out occasional technobabble, pretend to be Adira's father, and hang out with Culber.
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Jeffrey's Tube
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 11:12am (UTC -5)
In which Burnham & co. go down to a planet, trip on some dead aliens and talk about their feelings, then talk about the feelings they felt while they were tripping, then return to Discovery so everyone there can tell them the feelings they have about what they discovered on the planet.

Fuck me.

Oh and don't worry, while they're on the planet, back on the ship Adira expresses her feelings about Detmer, Rillak reprimands the doctorguy for hurting Michael's feelings, and Book makes an emotional appeal to the ambassador of Earth to betray the mission. Let's not forget ending with Book looking longingly at Michael from where he's hiding behind a panel and Adira doing their best "Tilly dialogue" impression in the mess hall with Detmer, or Culber confessing his emotional fragility to Burnham in her ready room.

Sometimes I think the complaints about this stuff are overblown. Sometimes I think it's a minor irritant. Sometimes it gets under my skin and exasperates and frustrates me. This? This was on an entirely different level, even for Discovery. Even the goddamn music was maudlin. No, scratch that. It was maudlin-on-steroids.

Come the fuck on, writers. Do you even read this shit after you've finished writing it? You can slip one or two of these scenes in an episode--you always do--but holy shit, do you not realize the cumulative effect when they're just one after another after another? This was not entertainment. This was torture.

Zero fucking stars.

Oh and the writers are clearly bumping up against the storytelling limits of having a sentient computer with the ship as its body. No way Book and Tarka get aboard like that.

Just terrible.
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AMA
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 12:51pm (UTC -5)
Although, like @Karl Zimmerman, I found the away mission and exposition about 10-C to be generally intriguing, I also felt, with this episode, that the season is trudging its way to the finale. As @Norvo suggested, it's a bit of an odd dichotomy for the season to both situate entire planets in peril and have an away team take their time to expound upon their emotions. This is not a critique on the focus of emotions in this episode or the series more broadly, but a comment on the mixed tenor that the season has engendered.

This episode also had me thinking again, 'It would be really nice for the universe not to be in existential peril for a change.' In another time, a quaint b-story would have involved some engineer dealing with steamed bananas. Sigh.
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Andy G
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 12:59pm (UTC -5)
I was bored and had to fight my way through an episode for the second week in a row. I'm all for story, characters, and world building but eventually you have to get somewhere. All I got was "feelings good" for the 20th episode in a row. Feelings are a good thing but we get it. At this point just who are the 10-C? What are their motivations? Do I even care at this point? Sadly no. I haven't missed a weekly airing of Star Trek in over 30 years but this is trying my patience and my streak.

1/4*
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Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 1:16pm (UTC -5)
Discovery juxtaposing high-octane action and overly-long melodrama isn't a new thing. Even Season 2 did it several times. I'm thinking of when Michael had that heartfelt goodbye with her mother in the middle of an active shooting situation, or said goodbye to Spock in the season finale while they were both just hanging out on an asteroid and everyone else could have used their help.

I'm way more concerned with how everyone has more or less become plot irrelevant now. Saru's major arc this season is trying to get a date! Adira's boyfriend was put on a bus, and how they have no function but to be awkward. Stamets should be integral to the show, but he mostly acts like a creepy dad to Adira and a doting husband to Culber. Tilly is gone. Grey is gone. What the hell are they doing?

Good episodes of TV are constructed by creating a scenario and then figuring out how the characters will respond - or even creating a scenario to get a particular response out of a main character. I feel like they constructed the plots this season first with Michael/Book in mind, and then realized they needed to have the rest of the cast do something at the last minute.
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modulum
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 1:40pm (UTC -5)
discovery will have a similar legacy to andromeda ironically - 2 seasons of rocky but ambitious wildness and then afterwards a lot of gray sludge
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Joseph B
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 5:09pm (UTC -5)
@ Norvo

Just for the record, they're not using "green screens" anymore. They've graduated to "AR Walls" which helps to cut back on post-production time.

https://comicbook.com/startrek/news/star-trek-discovery-offers-behind-the-scenes-look-at-the-new-ar-wall/

Look: I'm a fan of this series, end even I have to admit that this was a (mostly) boring episode this week. There were some good scenes in the planet exploration; but other than that I wasn't having much fun. They need to step up their game for the final two episodes of the season. 1 1/2 *
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The Queen
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 7:01pm (UTC -5)
I'm a child of the 60's, and during that time, people said "Man" a lot. A common whine was, "Awww, Mannnn!" when you were badly disappointed. And that's what I'm saying now. Listen for the rising tone: Aww, Mannnn! This was unbelievable. As a half hour, it would have been fairly good. The pheromone dust was not that bad an idea, and I thought Detmer's mini-bio was introduced much more naturally than a lot of the others' have been. And Jett Reno is always a plus. But the second half of the eppy was completely useless! We thought last week was filler? We didn't know what filler was.

And people, you forgot Stamets' other contribution to the eppy: rolling his eyes at T'rina and Saru.

The whispering was so bad in this one, I couldn't even hear them in some places. I wanted to applaud when General Ndo spoke in a normal voice. I'm going to like her just for that.

Jeffrey's Tube, I agree about Zora "not noticing" the patch. Bah humbug! She's a super-super AI whose whole purpose is to run the ship. I'd give her about 10 thousandths of a second to notice.

Holy cow, writers! What's wrong with you?
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Leif
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 8:31pm (UTC -5)
WAAITNQUESRION dodnt amyoem else yhink BOOK NOT COMING FORWARD TO.MICHAEL WAS WAY OUT OF CHARACTER?? Surely he feels guilty about last week and would not be sneakimg aboard anywhere..Does anyone agree?
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Rahul
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 9:42pm (UTC -5)
I'd say this was slightly better filler than "The Galactic Barrier" - but filler nonetheless as yet another episode goes by without meeting Species 10-C -- and of course it's all about emotions with how to communicate using them. What else would it be on DSC ffs?

And for the bridge crew, now it's Detmer's turn in the spotlight. She proves to be a useful member on the away team, gets emotional, apologizes to Burnham for it and Michael tells her to go ahead and be emotional or be demoted. That's DSC in a nutshell.

The Book/Tarka manually installing a patch was also filler, though I had to LOL when Reno finds Tarka. This was a good use of Reno overall -- but her use on DSC is bizarre -- just sort of showing up for an episode here or there.

DSC just loves to make a huge big deal out of everything. The old Asian dude (wtf is his name?) gets his head handed to him by Rillak for not exercising tact. Now why would DSC make him act like an asshole in the first place...

But I will say, for a little while, I liked the exploring on the planet and there was some originality / decent sci-fi to conceiving what the 10-C might have been and what they had to do -- existing in what was a gas giant is intriguing...

I like that the United Earth general is quite direct and her meeting with Book played out as it should -- she's very dominant and suspicious. But her idea of going directly into the hypersphere seems stupid in retrospect after the away mission picked up all the emotional dust samples.

2.5 stars for "Rosetta" -- the series is definitely dragging since mid-season break. Various little interactions like Adira/Detmer, T'Rina/Saru are really starting to feel like padding. The various moving parts have potential, but it's taking forever to realize it and the season overall is getting bogged down by having to show everybody's emotional baggage all the time.
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Bryan
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 12:47am (UTC -5)
It's episodes like this that make me hate DISC so very much.

The first big problem are the flagrant logical leaps that we can attribute to lazy writing:

- Tarka and Book deciding that the best way to the DMA is to stealthily follow Discovery, but if they have to physically board the ship in order to do that, doesn't that defeat the purpose of stealth? They might be able to mask their signatures, but I don't think the ship AI is so stupid that it ignores traditional visual modes of detection. The plan is so ill-conceived that they need to hide under consoles, lol. I was half-expecting them to stumble upon one of those silly AI-bots things and would have to 'kill' it before it escaped... with Book cradling the dead husk of the bot in arms, tears streaming down his cheeks as he gives an accusatory glare up at Tarka, "Look at what you made me do!"

- The whole part about how the spacesuits don't block unknown substances until they're known, making them kind of useless since unknown substances are exactly what you'd expect to encounter and ward against when exploring an alien world in Star Trek. Just what are these suits made out of, programmable Swiss cheese?

- "If they prioritize children, they value life." If they want their children to survive, they haven't yet earned themselves a Darwin Award...and that's about all we can infer from that.

- Detmer attributes her not having a meltdown, unlike everyone else, to her PTSD therapy...which, I don't believe that's how it works since she doesn't seem to feel anything unusual at all and her therapy would have helped her notice and manage her emotions, not nuke them into non-existence. What makes this all the more hilarious is three minutes later, she does have an emotional meltdown and feels the need to apologize for it. The writers might simply be telling us that Detmer was mistaken, but then why the dubious advertisement for PTSD therapy? And what accounted for her initial immunity?

The most problematic logical trespass, though concerns Burnham and the way her hunch about this random alien world belonging to 10C escalates from a shot in the dark to her being absolutely certain that the two are linked, even PROMISING the admiral that she will find results there because they don't have time to spare. By this point her only info is that a nearby structure is made out of a rare material found in the DMA. Of course this is her first time stepping outside the galaxy, so for all she knows, this material is a lot more common out here than inside the galaxy, but despite that, this is still pretty circumstantial evidence.

Even worse, having found interesting remains of aliens on the planet, Burnham jumps to the conclusion that these aliens must be the 10C aliens, despite there being no new evidence to suggest this. Burnham's confirmation bias (a cognitive distortion that she was just warned about in the previous episode when they discussed first contact scenarios) likely has not only cost everyone valuable time, jeopardizing the endangered worlds, but also has made her worse than unprepared for her eventual first contact with 10C -- she thinks she knows stuff about them that only applies to some other random extinct alien.

The sheer recklessness of Burnham following her hunches with absolute certainty also shows when she deliberately exposes herself to unknown, untested chemical substances, which luckily turned out alright for her, but any number of catastrophic things could have happened instead. If Picard or Janeway did this, we would conclude that they must be high or otherwise out of their minds.

Then there's all the unbounded emotionality, which is a staple of DISC, I know, but here, it taints almost everything to unprecedented extremes. There's only a few episodes where it's been this bad. Other people have already drawn attention to the many instances, so I won't, but one indication an all new paradigm of emotional logic has taken hold is the scene where the General says "Just one thing: don't screw this up", which sounded like a typical Top Brass thing to say that is ultimately meant tongue-in-cheek, so I overlooked it. I actually needed to replay the episode to find out what the hell Rillak was admonishing him for because I was truly baffled what "inappropriate treatment" she was referring to, or why this deserved its own separate scene. But I guess the writers just wanted to be make it clear that the apocalypse at the center of THIS season of DISC will be different than all the others, for it will be a lovingly supportive apocalypse this time around.

Also, what's up with Adira having a crush on Detmer all of a sudden? It feels like we're verging on another gratuitous "now kiss!" moment on the part of the writers, but it's made all the more jarring when you consider Adira's transcendent bond with Grey is a mere afterthought the moment he goes on vacation. Or maybe I'm reading too much into it. I'm still irked about that totally un-established and spontaneous lesbian hand-holding moment at the end of Picard season 1 so I keep expecting the writers to repeat the same mistakes.

With that, I give this episode FOUR groans out of four.
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mosley
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 2:21am (UTC -5)
Waaaah! The entire universe is at risk! Yes, again!

We have mere hours before earth and vulc I mean Navar are going to be destroyed!

As always, Burnham, You're our only chance!

Okay, let's go down to that planet and talk about our feelings for one hour. But not more! We've got a mission after all, folks, and also, d ont forget that 1/3rd of each episode is reserved for people saying thank you to me for random reasons.

Boy oh boy, you can't make this shite up. Zero stars. Even after just having watched Picard, I'd give it negative 4 stars. What an effing stinker of an episode. And seeing that same one facial expression that SMG calls acting, I am so so so over it. Make it stop. The silly helmets are a start. Can they be forced to wear them all the time on the bridge please.

How can this and the new Picard episode be done by largely the same people?
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Winde
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 4:27am (UTC -5)
Remember way way back to last week... when we ALL KNEW that the mere mention of a nearby planet meant that this week would be another hour spent doing nothing? Good times.

I think the most telling thing here is that Jammer had a review up for new Picard same day, while Disco reviews have been taking a full week. Because they're so much more... complex? ...fun? ...nuanced? ...exciting? I don't envy having to produce a cogent word salad for a thing like Disco that, inexplicably, keeps getting worse.

I generally work 6 days a week and my day off is Thursday. So new episodes coming out on Thursdays meant I looked forward to sleeping in, making a big coffee and starting my day with something new. But this season of Disco has been so stagnant and UNentertaining that now I just get around to it during the day. Whenever. It's a constant turgid downer that just injects boredom and frustration. Exactly what I DON'T want with my coffee on my day off. I can see myself skipping next season until it's all released then a binge where I expect to actively skip skip skip skip. If it's anything like this season, I'll be through it in 2 1/2 hours (one third of that being commercials).

With two episodes left, I'm just here at the racetrack for the car wreck. It has all become so uninteresting that I really just want to see how badly Disco faceplants the end.
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Dreubarik
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 4:45am (UTC -5)
Oh my god, SMG's acting. How can a VOICEOVER be so incredibly overacted? I still believe a good actress could make this script sound considerably less silly (though admittedly it is pretty silly). She might honestly be the worst lead actor in a TV show at the moment, and I'm sorry to keep bringing it up because she seems like a nice person.

Apart from that, I agree that the notion this detour based on Michael's hunch is worth it days away from Earth's annihilation is just too stupid for the episode to hold up, and another example of bad decisionmaking by leaders never being brought to task in this show. My main thought, however, was that ripping off Mass Effect is getting to a whole new level. I know DIS has always done this, but everything about this episode seemed out of that videogame series, it's just unbelievable.
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Jammer
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 10:55am (UTC -5)
Review now posted.
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Jeffrey's Tube
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 11:52am (UTC -5)
@ Rahul

"emotional dust samples"

Stop. Please. You'll kill me, hahahahaha. Oh good god.
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The Queen
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 2:46pm (UTC -5)
Jammer, great review, very very well said. I'm glad you mentioned the "laws of physics" remark. I decided to take it as sarcasm, although I'm sure it wasn't intended that way. But otherwise I would have had to smack something.
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Jessica
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 2:57pm (UTC -5)
Jammer saying about the last two episodes not having enough plot, gave me the startings of a structural change.

We still have an episode quota, so what if this episode and the previous one were combined, we did the big explody blowout in the second to last episode of the season, then spent the finale on a calmer episode dealing with the aftermath of What Just Happened?

Thinking of how Game of Thrones would normally kill everyone in episode 9, then use episode 10 to recover and set up the next season.

What would be the practicality of doing this on a TV show? This is me just asking a question, anyway.
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Cynic
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 6:52pm (UTC -5)
@Norvo may have it right: "Though something tells me that we will never meet the 10-C. Once the hyperfield goes down, we find they have all died out and now all that's left is their technology running out of control. "

Yeah, we find this out next week. Then the following week's season finale is Burnam talking the computer into destroying itself ala Kirk in TOS, only it's the whole episode rather than 90 seconds. And everyone contributes their feels to the effort including Zora.
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MidshipmanNorris
Sat, Mar 5, 2022, 12:10am (UTC -5)
Discovery is much better paced now, and the dialogue is much better written; it has way too many core conceits for me to deal with. There are too many rules for how it works; I feel this is a good way of summarizing what makes the show feel weird to me.

A jazz improvisation is beautiful because while it knows the rules, it also knows how to bend them, make them jump, dance, and twirl, and yes, when to break them.

Discovery has too much devotion to its formula, whether it's:

- The unsubtly constant (and somewhat transparent) reminders of how the writers are trying to highlight how Some Things Are Okay That You Don't Think Are Okay and Some Things You Think Are Okay Are Not Okay,

- Its devotion to Burnham just being the sole being with agency in its entire plotline,

- The constant quippiness of its humor style that kind of comes off as freeze-dried most of the time,

or

- The mystery box writing that we all already didn't think was good from the time it began to be used in shows,

...DISCO has way too much affection for the various parameters it has established for itself. It is closer to being Trek-Like; it is still kind of a wonky experimental version of Trek that is, I'm afraid, just doomed to be confined to the time in which it was released and made. This is all very grand, yes...but in 2 years after it stops making new episodes, the world will have moved on. I think the writers are trying too hard to be topical; the best Star Trek episodes were always about an intellectual idea or dillema. Discovery seems to largely be mostly about itself.

... It is (and so is, by parodical extension, Lower Decks) kind of a "Star Trek Show About Star Trek," in ways that not even Prodigy is, even though that's exactly what Prodigy is. Prodigy is just more honest about it. Discovery is too essay-like for me. It's bordering on cultish religious dogma in its devotion to making every episode espouse the classic "Rodenberry-esque Utopian Worldview."

It's a problem, and I am afraid I am past the breaking point on it. It just doesn't back off this stance, and I've grown weary of it.

Improved, but Picard S2:E1 has it swinging by its toes. That's Star Trek. This ain't, but it is ST's biggest fan. It's charming, but also not a show in its own right, for that reason.
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Dr. Andre
Sat, Mar 5, 2022, 8:31am (UTC -5)
OKay. I am officially calling it. The writers of this show do not understand how real human beings interact. They do not understand emotions. They do not understand people. This is not how people resolve emotional conflict. THis is not how emotions are conveyed or dealt with. This is not an emotionally healthy workplace where each moment is spent over sharing emotional traumas with co-workers DURING TIMES OF EXTREME DANGER. THis is not healthy.

To all of you who actually like this show and appreciate the emotional dimension of it, I am genuinely worried about your emotional maturity if youre an adult, and your emotional growth if youre a child. This is not reality. It wont ever be reality. I really am sorry. You also dont want this to be reality.

Take for instance the derision the president gives the scientist about being too honest. In a work place where lives are at stake, it is imperative to get the truth, even if it tussles feathers. In fact, persons are trained to handle hard truths in the military, intelligence services, police, medicine, etc.

To those who make the asinine claim that this is the only star trek that deals with emotional stability- you just havent watched enough star trek.. Enterprise is quite adept at managing emotional crises, focus on Trip's emotional journey in season 3 with the loss of his sister, and season 4 with the complexities of his relationship with Tpol. These are challenging emotional scenes, with outbursts, tears and resolutions, all in a relatable, human manner.

Even better, check out the Expanse season 5 and espeically 6, how the characters cope with the loss of family members, crew members, inter personal conflict and team building. This is how you reflect humanity emotionally, not this ...i dont even know what to call discovery.

Let me stress, not the actors- God knows theyre doing the best with what they have been given, this is a writing issue. On to my next rant.....
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Dr. Andre
Sat, Mar 5, 2022, 8:41am (UTC -5)
The writers do not know science... any.

Okay. THe galactic barrier is nonsense. Yes whatever its from the original series but so are buttons and periscope on the enterprise- discovery was happy to drop those and it should have dropped the barrier. Silly idea. This can be overlooked for continuity reasons.

But really think about the premise of this week''s show- creatures living in a gas giant whose atmosphere was blown off by asteroid impacts. What. THe. Hell.

Lets take a 'small' gas giant like Uranus. Any 'asteroid' capable of blowing off allllll its gas layers would have to be the size of a planet. Fine, this may just be a terminology issue. Okay.

But if the original planet was a gas giant, and these creatures lived in its thick gaseous layers, how on earth (well how on that planet) did the asteriod leave a CRATER ON THE ROCKY CORE OF THE PLANET? In 1995 a massive asteriod hit jupiter, we have the images of this, and the rock exploded in the atmosphere, and did not penetrate anywhere near the potential rocky core Jupiter may or may not have.

Furthermore, even Venus doesnt have too many large craters because its thick atmosphere disintegrates even large asteriods. additionally, at sufficient pressures, the thick atmosphere of gas planets turn to liquid and eventually a rare form of metallic Hydrogen. SO HOw did an asteriod penetrate thousand of km of gas, liquid and metal hydrogen to impact the core?

Also also, if these creatures FLOAT IN THE GAS, how the fk did they dig tunnels in the rocky core of the planet?!!!!! Did they do it after the atmosphere was blasted off? if so, wouldnt they be dead already? if before, how would creatures who float in gas survive the pressure of liquid or metallic hydrogen to dig those caverns, and how would those caverns remain stable under that pressure?
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Mal
Sat, Mar 5, 2022, 11:19am (UTC -5)
@Jammer, perfect review for a decidedly substandard episode. I appreciate you cranking these puppies out quickly - punctuality is key given the brake-neck pace with which episodes are landing.

In any case, since I agree whole-heartedly with your review, I'm going to forego my usual review this week.

How does that make you feel???
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Alienatbar
Sat, Mar 5, 2022, 7:10pm (UTC -5)
It wouldn’t have have surprised me if all the characters had suddenly burst into a rendition of “I’ve got hurt feelings…. I’ve got hurt feelings” from Flight of the Choncords. It would have been more entertaining for a start.

Culbers laws of physics line was borderline straight to camera, Austin Powers style.

Absolutely, Michael’s voice over was so over the top I couldn’t help go back and ridicule it. (I’ve got hurt feelings…. Apologies Michael)

Slo mo walk to the shuttle bay for our 4 heroes was hilarious. Was definitely a ‘slo no’.

Car wreck indeed.
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Leif
Sat, Mar 5, 2022, 10:15pm (UTC -5)
@Mal QUESTION Don't you think this episode had several VERY ORIGINAL AND CREATIVE SCI FI CONCEPTS esepcially the dust and a barren gas giant and a large mastodon like creature that uses dist and swims through a gas giant?? I've never seen anytbing like that in anyothwr sci fi book or movie, especially the dust idea...has anyone else seen anything like that anywhere else??

@Jammer same question to you..and to what "somewhat fresh spin" were you referring to, I'm really curious? Becaise I thought the whole episode was fresh sci fi. Hope to hear from you.
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Ferdinand Cesarano
Sun, Mar 6, 2022, 11:43am (UTC -5)
Some of these takes are nothing short of bizarre.

It's true that in other episodes there has been an incongruous pausing to tend to personal matters while in the midst of a crisis. But in this episode, the excursion to the ruins of the gas giant planet was framed as a calculated risk: it was a use of scarce time in an effort to gain information that would ultimately be useful. What's more, other characters raised the very objection of the use of time, to which Burnham responded with the clear explanation that she was sure that first contact would go disastrously if the crew went into the meeting with the new species having absolutely no prior knowledge or context about it.

Also, Rillak's act of admonishing Hirai was completely appropriate. When you have just joined a team, you do not insult your new colleagues by saying "don't screw up". Stamets or Reno could make such a comment, which from one of them would be accepted as tension-breaking irreverence. But the new guy has not earned the status within the team to say this, and he was rightfully called out for his demoralising and counterproductive comment. Hirai's error in judgment was comparable to Pulaski saying "I picked the wrong time to join this crew" during her first mission on the Enterprise.

Regarding the EV suits, their being airtight would not necessarily preclude certain unanticipated particles from somehow penetrating by, let's say, evading the atomic bonds of the suit's material. I do wish that a line or two of dialogue had been devoted to some sort of explanation of the mechanism by which the unknown particles got through the suits; but the idea itself is sound.

Overall, I found this episode to be very well done; the commenters who said that they skipped through are just spiting themselves. And I am pleased with the pace of the season; while I would fundamentally prefer an episodic approach over a season-long arc, a season long-arc is what we have; and so to call for the resolution of this arc with three episodes yet to go in the season is rather ridiculous.

That does not mean that I have no quibbles. First, there should be no way for Zora to fail to notice Book's and Tarka's presence on the ship. As has been already pointed out, even if Zora could not detect the intruders' bio-signs, she (it?) should still be able to see their physical bodies on cameras.

And I do not buy Ndoye's willingness to indulge Book's secret plan — even as a plan B. Ndoye voted against Burnham's plan, and she is critical of some of Burnham's strategies. This is all legitimate. But agreeing to undermine the plan that she is on board expressly to carry out, that is mutinous. More in keeping with a realistic depiction of her character would be if she had called security immediately upon encountering Book.

Another person who would surely have made an immediate call to security is Reno, when she found Tarka hiding behind a console. While her quip about the surprise party was very entertaining, in that second she would more realistically have said "intruder alert", thereby setting off a shipwide alarm. And even after Reno's wisecrack, she still had the drop on Tarka; she could presumably have detained him where he stood (crouched) by imprisoning him in a force field. How Tarka subdued Reno is just left unexplained. We should have seen a scene in which Tarka stunned or somehow knocked out Reno before immediately beaming the two of them back to Book's ship (another thing, incidentally, which Zora should have noticed).

Still, despite these critiques, I rate this episode as one of the best of the season. And I am very pleased at the overall storytelling in Discovery. This is a show that is continually getting better and better. I hated it during its first two seasons, though less so during the second season. As of the start of the third season, it became the type of show that I had wanted from the beginning; and the current season is easily its best so far. This season's story has me fully engaged; and I am excitedly looking forward to the next two episodes.
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Alienatbar
Sun, Mar 6, 2022, 9:27pm (UTC -5)
Hirai’s comment was hardly an insult. To say that Stamet’s or Reno could make that comment wouldn’t wash in front of Starfleet HR. If there is a code of conduct that they are all supposed to abide by then it doesn’t matter who says it, the new guy or the seasoned veteran.

Glad your enjoying this show but other peoples takes may not be as bizarre as you think as you had your own critiques that made sense to me. It comes down to tolerance levels and the issues with this show, for me, outweigh any good. That’s the Trouble with Quibbles.
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dave
Sun, Mar 6, 2022, 10:11pm (UTC -5)
I think we are all getting frustrated at the delays in MEETING 10C

This was a fine episode as was the last one, but it does seem slow and drawn out for this great reveal.

Anyone getting a vibe from that movie called Arrival? These massively tall long legged multi legged creatures that communicate by making symbols with some sort of ink? here its dust that sends different emotions and the alien fossil sure seemed like they are tall massive creatures.

show us the damn 10C!
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mosley
Sun, Mar 6, 2022, 10:36pm (UTC -5)
It's not that they went to the planet. It's that they then spent *time on the planet*talking about their last traumas and giving eacj other space suit hugs for it.

And it didn't even have to be a problem, had it not been for the writers cheap "earth in danger! 24 hours or something!" impulse to introduce an even louder ticking clock.

Yes, on the "awful" enterprise, they dealt with problems too. But the time given was proportionate to the estimated time left until the xibdo launch the earth destroying macguffin du jour, and when it got close, the focus appropriately shifted to just this and anything else had to take a step back, including a freshly traumatized Hoshi, where it was a story point that her personal trauma will have to wait.

And even then it was still bad, because it still was such a clichee "aaaah, earth in danger" schtick.

Look at me. DSC is making me list enterprise as an example of how to do things better or at least not quite as bad 🙈
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mosley
Sun, Mar 6, 2022, 10:38pm (UTC -5)
Oh my, never type this on a mobile phone. I was talking about the (awful) enterprise, not the "awful" enterprise, and of course the xindis launch of the weapon.
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PM
Mon, Mar 7, 2022, 1:13am (UTC -5)
From their "corpses" in this episode, anyone else assume Species 10C are these oldies-but-goodies? https://images.app.goo.gl/gBPi6TG9au7WTSsF7
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Dahj’s Digital Ghost
Mon, Mar 7, 2022, 5:37pm (UTC -5)
I find the comment about 10C knowing, but not caring, about the damage they are doing to be interesting, possibly even a bit of foreshadowing. Could the season finale be Discovery’s Best of Both Worlds pt. I?
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dave
Mon, Mar 7, 2022, 5:56pm (UTC -5)
@Dahj

I think its an interesting concept that they are so advanced and/or so indifferent to anything outside of their own needs that they don't care what happens.

However, this seems to all be heading to the "feelings" moment where they communicate with the feeling dust and somehow come to an understanding wrap it up in a bow. Tarka ends up with this soulmate and Book somehow is on his own or back on Enterprise for next season. It all seems to be heading to a happy ending just like the burn turned out to be a disturbed person they could help heal and deal with his feelings while finding a planet full of so much dilithium the problems are solved.

I would love a hard ass swerve here but with all the focus on peoples feelings this season and this communication dust being about emotions, it looks like a happy " we are all special" ending is coming.
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Leif
Tue, Mar 8, 2022, 11:52pm (UTC -5)
@Winde you work six days a week at what if I may ask?

@Rahul so eluld tou agre this episodes was mostly very original and imaginative sci fi??

@Everyone else wasnt thebdust hydrlcarbon thing very original?
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Winde
Wed, Mar 9, 2022, 7:15am (UTC -5)
@Leif I work in a very busy bakery, lol.

And I don't disagree that Dyson Rings, Desiccated Pheromone Communication and Sphere Data are neat, novel ideas. But the slow/slower/slowest pace of the show combined with its finger-wag lecturing has sucked away any sense of fun. Plus, constantly over-explaining everything treats the viewer like they're *unable* to understand the story, which shouldn't be the case in the fourth season of ANY show, not just a Trek.

I don't need Star Trek to be one-liners and space battles. Some of the strongest episodes in all series lack those things. I've recently been re-watching the first season of TNG. Even then there were many examples of characters managing traumas, how those experiences manifest in a workplace, and crew finding the help they need. The effusively self-congratulatory way Discovery handles trauma feels quite phony which undermines the seriousness of its message.

There seems to be some ubiquitous need these days to make everybody seek support. Yes, I understand that the Emotional Journey of exploration and finding new lives, worlds, viewpoints is a critical part of what drives Star Trek in general. But Discovery's tunnel-vision on how that Journey traumatizes its crew is frustrating and - for me at least - not entertaining in the slightest.

In the end, I'm paying Paramount for entertainment. As I suspect most people are because it's unlikely that their target demographic is people that don't understand the need for mental health.

Discovery has some really great actors and it looks completely fantastic. (Though sometimes the scoring is a bit odd). I was a big fan of the first season. As tough as this season has been I'm actually looking forward to the last couple of episodes. Mainly because there are so many things that need to happen before the end of the season. Fingers crossed!

*end random diversion*
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Rahul
Wed, Mar 9, 2022, 8:29am (UTC -5)
@Leif,

"so eluld tou agre this episodes was mostly very original and imaginative sci fi??"

I wouldn't say "mostly" -- I originally said: "there was some originality / decent sci-fi to conceiving what the 10-C might have been"

I liked the exploration on the dead planet and felt that was the best part of this episode. It was reasonably good stuff and while our anticipation for meeting species 10-C got put off another week (which might make some feel like exploring the dead planet was pure padding), I think it makes sense to spend some time trying gain any understanding possible of what might have been for the 10-C. Contrast this with what Gen. Ndoye wanted to do which was just go straight to the hypersphere -- and I think that would/should be foolhardy.

The emotional dust was certainly very original -- only DSC could come up with that!
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Yanks
Wed, Mar 9, 2022, 3:38pm (UTC -5)
Only on Discovery can pixie dust found on a dead planet lead to 16 emotional levels of ... I give up...

Ugh...

Sorry Jammer, this episode was an unremarkable bore.

.5 stars for the visuals.
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Tim C
Fri, Mar 11, 2022, 6:17pm (UTC -5)
I really used to enjoy analysing Disco back in those first two seasons. Batshit-Crazy Go-For-Broke Epic Action Trek was always a refreshing watch after the zombie-like stupor of the final years of the Berman era.

I now find myself struggling to care enough to actually watch the latest episode. There are a lot of other, better shows on offer - some of them also with Star Trek branding.

Actually this brief window when Picard and Disco are airing side-by-side reminds of the the days when VOY and DS9 were doing the same, and it did the weaker VOY absolutely no favours by inviting direct comparisons in quality on a weekly basis. PIC season two has burst out of the gate in excellent form and Disco feels like it is flatlining.

It's also a bad sign when the ostensible children's show has been churning out better plots and more interesting character interactions than your flagship.

Anyways. To go on-topic: this episode was pretty boring and Burnham is not turning to be as good a Captain as I'd hoped. Onwards to the finale, shuffling slowly. I wonder if they'll stage a big action climax in the magical turbolift shafts again.

I don't believe I'll be back for season 5, unless Jammer's Reviews indicate an amazing turnaround.
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Maq
Sat, Mar 12, 2022, 2:54pm (UTC -5)
Somhow it almost felt embarrasing to watch this episode. They tried a lot of things that did not really work. Still some of the acting was ok. But more felt construckted and it did not really fit together. The new spacesuits look cool but the transparent part for belly was missing. When donig navel-gazing it should be done properly.
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Seyms
Thu, Mar 24, 2022, 4:44am (UTC -5)
Dr. Culber drinks Mavi! I appreciated the reference to Mavi, a tree bark-based drink grown, and widely consumed, in the Caribbean. In other parts of the Caribbean, the drink is known as Mauby. I know it as Mauby, as part of my family comes from Barbados.
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Robert
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 1:39pm (UTC -5)
More overbearing emotional crap.

I skip every scene with Adira now. An annoyingly pointless character and terrible, flat actor. All she does is run around being awkward and needy, with implied contribution to the professional workings of the ship that we barely see because they are all overshadowed by her childish neediness. Even Wesley Crusher knew when to give it a rest. She represents the epitome of the current young generation. Feelings are facts so let's talk about them all the time, even in the middle of a galactic level crisis!

I find myself fast forwarding through emotional hand holding scenes now. The pacing is so jarring. We go from overbearing sentimentality to fast paced, edge of your seat, count-down drama. The writers have no sense of proportion.

On the one hand you have delegates from Earth and Ni'Var on the ship totally flipping their shit because their planets are about to be destroyed. Then you have emotional basketcases for Starfleet officers taking their sweet time hashing out their emotional dramas. In reality, these people would never pass a psych test to enter Starfleet. Yet they're all Lieutenant Commanders and Commanders now, capable of commanding entire ships. Like honestly... there is no sense of proportion. They have the most whiny little bitches (male and female alike) as the people at the helm of saving the galaxy. It's just not believable. And if they're really so unhinged from the past 3 seasons that they can't get a grip? Then that's when you replace their crew with a different crew.

The President of the Federation shows the most professionalism and grit, even as she admits she has family on Earth who are at imminent risk of being obliterated. IMO this character is one of the only ones worth watching. She holds the metaphorical ship together. Though I must say, her correcting Dr. Hirai over his comment was a bit much. These are Starfleet officers and they've been through hell and back. I think they can handle an undiplomatic turd in their midst. But of course, woke script writing needs womansplaining and condescension toward men inserted, even in the 11th hour of doom.

The writing is all about "feelings" and one-sidedness, and I'm so over it. They could cut down the schmaltzy scenes and replace them with more plot driving functions that evenly pace the show and demonstrate more of the professionalism we want to see. They've given us a doomsday scenario and although I do care how everyone feels about it, I don't need so much exposition about it. SHOW us the intensity don't DESCRIBE it to us. God damn.

Man... what a script writing mess. I was happy to see a whole new world and species concept this week though. FINALLY. Of course, Burnham has to be at the center of it and be the one who has the "aha!" moment about what's going on with the dust. I really miss the days when the Captain rarely went on away missions. I'm tired of this one character being the focus of the entire universe.

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