Star Trek: Discovery


3 stars.

Air date: 5/16/2024
Written by Lauren Wilkinson & Eric J. Robbins
Directed by Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour

Review Text

"Labyrinths" is a nicely balanced episode that works pretty well on its various levels, and ends up being the most involving episode of the season so far. It moves the plot forward toward the endgame, gives us some worthwhile character insights, and manages to turn the heat up with the Breen threat in an adequately gripping way. It still has its share of contrived moments and obnoxiously overstated characters, but I guess you can't have everything. On balance, the problems aren't too detrimental to the experience.

Our search for the final clue brings us to the Eternal Gallery and Archive, an ancient library within the Badlands documenting all the participating cultures of the Alpha and Beta quadrants. Discovery is greeted by the chipper archivist Hy'Rell (Elena Juatco), who greets them upon arriving at the Badlands and helps guide them through the violent plasma storms into the eye of the hurricane where the archive sits. The archive itself is impressively depicted in its large scale but straightforward simplicity: a series of towers of endless floors upon floors of shelves with old-fashioned books. (The use of physical books and artifacts is a tactile way to show the preservation of arts and culture, and the production design is notably handsome. Still, one hopes all this knowledge has also been digitized and backed up off-site as a matter of prudence.)

Also impressively rendered is the interior of the Breen ship, whose army of Breen soldiers chant while banging their staff-guns on the floor in unison as the (virtual) camera sweeps through the crowd. Moll, a prisoner with a few bargaining chips, promises to the Breen to resurrect L'ak, their dead scion. Meanwhile, the excessively hostile and aggressive Primarch Ruhn promises domination through the powerful Progenitor technology (if and when he attains it), regardless of whatever destruction that may entail. Could he be on a collision course with our heroes, perhaps? (Weak laugh.)

Burnham, Book, and Rayner beam onto the archive to inspect Labyrinths of the Mind, the ancient Betazoid text where the clue is hidden. Book is invited on the away mission to identify a Kwejian artifact from his destroyed homeworld, in what is a transparent but appropriate excuse to get him aboard the archive for the main story. (I'm not sure why Rayner is here and not on the bridge for the ensuing standoff with the Breen, which is inexplicably put in the hands of a bunch of noobs.)

Inside the book is a device that, when activated, pulls Burnham into a "mindscape" featuring an interactive program that creates a simulation of the archive and an avatar guide who looks exactly like Book. To unlock the final clue, Burnham must solve a mystery. But, naturally, the mystery isn't simply to come up with the solution, but to determine what must be solved in the first place. Burnham's first two guesses, involving hunting through records of the Dominion War, and then trying to find the exit through a literal maze that leads out of the library, are red herrings. The real problem to be solved involves a psychological reckoning with herself, which she only faces once she realizes time is running out and she's approaching imminent death. In a way, this is Burnham's Kobayashi Maru moment, dealt with more honestly than in season four's opening and closing episodes.

Through this device, the writers successfully depict an interesting analysis of Burnham. It's a take on the character that this series might have benefited from showing more often — namely, vulnerability concerning her fears and insecurities. Burnham confesses to the avatar that she's normally so consumed with projecting perfection and covering for how insecure she actually sometimes feels that it has mentally worn her down. Of course, this admission is what allows her to pass the Betazoid scientist's challenge, since the test wasn't one of math or history, but of character and humility. Yes, it's a fairly obvious story construction, but it works nonetheless.

Noteworthy is Sonequa Martin-Green's performance. It's genuine and effective, and reveals a range to the character that we don't often get to see. One wonders if the writers were self-aware enough to recognize that the series' single-minded mission of showing Burnham as a bulletproof hero has been paid for in missed opportunities for a more complex and compelling character portrayal. It might be too little and too late, but it's a worthwhile endeavor, and I'm glad we got to see it play out here.

Meanwhile, the whole Breen situation is a ticking time bomb. Primarch Ruhn is a completely unreasonable, hard-headed asshole, and that ratchets up the tension and makes us want him dead. Unfortunately, we want him dead for the wrong reasons — mostly because we can't stand him anymore and are done with the one-note obstinacy of the character. In the course of this episode, Ruhn nearly strangles Moll to death, makes absurd demands of the chipper librarian (which she, to her credit, promptly denies), threatens everyone he talks to, sends troops into a civilian facility full of innocent librarians, opens fire on that same facility (which contains the invaluable history of countless cultures) as a gutless way of coercing Burnham into turning over all the clues, and then breaks the blood oath he just swore to Burnham so he can carry out the threat he just vowed to halt. And for what? To prove his awfulness?

It's too brutal even for Moll and the other Breen, who turn on Ruhn and reluctantly agree to follow her when she shoots Ruhn dead. (I think he's dead, anyway; it's hard to tell what's going on under all the helmets.) I get the idea of having a nasty villain, but Ruhn proves to be so inflexible, hubristic, mean, dishonorable, and shortsighted that he all but masterminds his own defeat. It's one thing to enjoy hating a villain. It's another to get restless because the excessive nature of the dude is just pissing you off.

Do I believe the Breen would just fall in line and accept Moll as their leader after all this? Not really. The writers kinda-sorta start to set this up by showing some hesitancy in the Breen second-in-command and his awkward shared pauses with Moll, but they don't quite follow through and sell it. This probably would've been easier to convey if all the Breen weren't under helmets and had performances you could read.

Still, this plays out with some tactical excitement and urgency, and stakes that are properly modulated for the material. Discovery has to save the library at great cost (turning over all the clues after decoding the map and saving a copy, and taking enough damage to make it appear they have been destroyed), meaning this race will go down to the wire. Discovery makes a jump close to the Progenitors' system, but the spore drive malfunctions and is offline, as is the warp core, meaning even with Discovery's head start the Breen can catch up. (But Burnham has one last unrevealed ace in the hole...)

I guess one thing the architects of this elaborate breadcrumb trail didn't think of: that the puzzle would be solved by people smart and worthy enough to solve it, but then immediately stolen by people dumb enough to realize all their worst fears. I only wish the competitors in this race were more worthy than the ones we ended up with.

Previous episode: Erigah
Next episode: Lagrange Point

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65 comments on this post

    What a dumb, cartoon "villain". This season, though flashy and beautiful, is really challenging me to keep watching, even with only two episodes left.

    Imagine a season that was actually ABOUT The Progenitors, learning about them along the way instead of... whatever this is.

    I don't blame any of the actors. This is a vision and writing problem, which has always been Disco's main problem.

    This season has been about learning who Burnham is. Like every other season.

    I headed straight to the ending. The ending told me what I needed to know. I didn't miss watching the whole episode. Now, only if there was a way to jump ahead to the end of the season to see how this series ends.

    I'm half way through. It's so boring. Maybe I should do what Colin did....

    @Colin, that's been my plan. The serialized NuTrek / Disco storytelling model is well-established at this point:

    Action-packed kick off, one or two episodes of serviceable quality sprinkled in early-to-mid season before boredom and / or frustration set in, as the writers find unfulfilling ways to kick the can down the road until - finally - the penultimate episode, where All Is Revealed™, culminating in a whizz-bang finale where Burnham Saves All The Things, Olatunde Osunsanmi faints from all the spinning, and any glaring plot points papered over by 'splosions, bombastic music telling you what to feel, unearned dramatic beats and lastly, but certainly not least, HUGS - and maybe crying (happy crying, sad crying - it doesn't matter; eyeballs will be moist). The Universe once again reconfigures itself to ensure Burnham Is Right™, with no lessons learned along the way.

    I watched episode 1 (after THREE attempts) and happily tapped out. Next week, I'll rely on the recap to get me up to speed.

    Good episode. Maybe the best episode of the season in sheer competence. Decently high on entertainment value, as well.

    Some thoughts:

    Book is totally going to plant that seed on New Qwejian. This show wouldn't . . . resurrect the entire planet using the Progenitor tech, would it? Who am I kidding. It would. WILL it, though? I think they might have made more of Book missing Qwejian this season if they were planning that, but stay tuned.

    . . .

    As someone with a passion for books, who collects them, I might expect a 32nd century book archive to look more advanced as a library for the preservation of fragile artifacts such as ancient books. The method of storage of a standard library is terrible for preservation of rare texts. Ever seen a photo of the inside of the Vatican Secret Archives? It's nothing like a library. Temperature control, sealed airtight argon chambers, not standing books upright to avoid stress on the spines, etc. This facility looks pretty much just like a regular old library.

    Then I realized, any sufficiently advanced preservation technology can be utilized and arranged so the space presents just like a comfortable, old, nostalgic, familiar user friendly library if it wants to. Maybe each book's berth has an individual stasis field that is broken when the book is removed from the shelf and springs back into existence when it is replaced. Maybe the texts are treated with very thin polymer layers that prevent hand oils from transferring to the pages. Maybe there's a micro antigravity field in each book's berth instead of a book shoe. Or any number of other things. Would have been neat if the writers had thought to include any of these things, but that's a lot to ask just to satisfy a very small set of book nerds.

    There's no excuse for the physical card catalogue that was in the library, but to be fair, that was encountered inside Michael's head. It might not be there in the real version.

    (Wait, was the library card from last week THAT kind of library card?)

    . . .

    Quantum shield tunneling is cool. Neat new technology.

    . . .

    It occurs to me this kind of episode is illustrative of the weakness of Discovery's chosen format. If this were a TNG episode, this episode might have been given to, say, Geordi. One of the ensemble, who would have made a meal of the premise. But since this is Discovery, aka The Michael Burnham Show, in an episode structured like this Burnham has to be the one who goes into the mind labyrinth. Burnham has to be the one to solve the puzzle. Burnham has to be the one who is the best and the greatest and the savioriest of everythingest. All the time. It destroys the character and weakens the plausibility/immersion of the show. Just weakens the show in more ways than I care to enumerate right now.

    For a minute I really enjoyed Burnham suggesting to "Book" that "therapy" was the answer--accepting, loving, forgiving, and that crap--and "Book" responding with "Uh, no. You need a real solution to this puzzle, sorry."

    But PSYCH! Then she cries and he gives it to her. "You know yourself, yay!" Star Trek: Self-Discovery, as Jammer puts it, could never resist that opening to hammer home its message, could it? No, never.

    . . .

    Enjoyed Rhys getting time in the command chair. Especially because Tilly was reporting to him. Especially because it means they didn't put Tilly in that chair. Did they come to their senses and realize she's ridiculous in that seat?

    . . .

    So Moll just took over the entire Breen faction. Gee that was easy. Those xenophobic Breen, they don't REALLY mean of that, do they. Gullible and suggestible, ready to follow whoever at the drop of a hat, that's our Breen!

    . . .

    Let's all just pretend that whatever adventures Saru, Owo, and Detmer are having, they are far more interesting than this.

    Calling it now, we won't see any of them until the last episode, and maybe not until the tag scene that was filmed belatedly and inserted into that last episode to close out the series.

    About the weaknesses of the Discovery writers, they had a chance to make the Breen distinctive as a species. Yet, in all the ways that we have seen of them, there is nothing that sets them apart. They are a species with an honor code - other species have this. They are a species who believe in their own superiority - other species share this belief. They are a species who view the values of the Federation with contempt - other species share this belief. They are a species in transition, moving from one kind of existence to another - other species have done the same thing. So, what sets them apart? Nothing.

    I will say that Discovery had one success. They did create an unique species, the exotic aliens from the fourth season. They were truly unique.

    There is a reason why the library looks the way it does - they filmed the scenes at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library in Toronto.

    I will always wonder what this series could have been if Bryan Fuller hadn’t left after 3 episodes in season 1. I loved the original concept for the series and the characters, but the people who followed him made a total mess of things.

    Is it just me or is the scale of the CGI in the opening sequence completely off? I guess it's hard to say without any meaningful points of reference but that Breen ship seemed to be 10 different sizes at once on the inside.

    “What was Bryan Fuller's original concept for the series?”

    What he came up with in the first 3 episodes. Burnham learning to embrace her humanity. Stammets being somewhat antisocial. Lorca being more ambiguous. They pretty much backed away from that starting with episode 4 and it became the feelings show.

    It was also supposed to be an anthology series.

    Man, this was so disappointing. This season as a whole has been so disappointing.

    Starting with the worst aspect first, the Breen Primarch was fucking awful. Absolute Gargamel/Dr. Claw level villain. Every one of the scenes on the Breen ship felt like an AI upscaled version of a Saturday morning cartoon, with zero nuance and cheesy, expository dialogue. I can't even complain about the complete insanity that Moll shanked him and seemingly is the "new Primarch," because at least I don't have to deal with that one-dimensional pile of crap again. Any interesting aspects of the Breen introduced in mirrors are absent - they're just Season 1 Klingon expys in masks now.

    Turning to the library, I thought it was a good concept, with a bad execution. Part of this was down to some of the production choices. Making the library look so similar to a recognizable 21st century Earth library, and having the librarian talk like a customer service representative was a...a choice. I don't think it was a good one though. It highlighted to me the stagey aspects of the show, which made it hard to suspend disbelief.

    The core concept of having Michael in a sort of "mental prison" which she had to puzzle out a solution to reminded me most of the DS9 episode Move Along Home. I don't think that episode is the nadir of DS9 like some do, but that's still...not a good thing to be reminded of. Worse is unlike that episode (or other similar ones, like VOY's The Thaw) Michael is stuck in there alone, with only the AI which happens to look like Book for company. I recognize that the Trek formula often requires actors to tell rather than show, but it comes across as much more awkward when she's essentially monologuing for the convenience of the viewer. The climax, where Michael admits her insecurities, was so close to being an amazing scene, but because she was admitting it to a non-sentient pile of data, it just didn't land.

    The B plot involving everyone outside of Michael's mind trying to fend off the Breen was...fine. I was really confused about why Rayner bothered to transport over and get stranded, given the XO should stay on the ship if the Captain is on an away mission, but it gave Rhys a chance to sit in the big chair, which I'm happy with. I'd rather we saw more of Owo or Detmer, but at least one of the few remaining bridge crew from Season 1 is still getting lines.

    Can anyone explain to me what the hell Book was apologizing for to Michael at the start of the episode? Can anyone explain how the Discovery didn't know how to navigate the Badlands, given there's 800+ years of experience by now?

    Oh, and the absolute dumbest of dumb shit - Michael giving the Breen Primarch the map to the...whatever it's going to be! Yeah, she had a double-cross planned, but still, with a Red Directive mission, and understanding the stakes (that Federation HQ, and possibly much more, will die if the Breen get there first) she should have triaged the library, and it's thousands of staff, to save millions/billions. That's what you do in command - make difficult choices. I mean, I had been wondering up until this episode how the hell Moll was going to stay in the game, with Discovery having all the clues, and the answer is just because Michael hands them all over to create artificial tension for another two episodes. ARRGH!

    There were a few sections I liked. It was nice to see Rhys in command, as I noted. David Ajala was acting his heart out when he got the world tree root cutting. Rayner was great here too as well. But structurally, and in terms of execution, so, so much was either boring or actively bad here.

    Even if the final two episodes are good, this is absolutely going to go down as my least favorite Discovery season now.

    Bryan Fuller's original concept for Discovery was that we'd only follow Michael & co for the first season. It would be a pseudo-anthology, where Discovery would jump to another time period by the end of the first season, and a new ship/cast would be followed in Season 2. CBS hated the idea, likely because production costs would be so high due to the repeated need for new sets, so it was scrapped early.

    We know very little still about Fuller's vision for Season 1 that came close to fruition, but I think only the first two episodes really include some of his ideas. We know some snippets. We know that he wanted the tardigrade to be a member of the bridge crew. We know that it was Berg/Harberts idea to make Lorca from the MU - Fuller just wanted him to be a grizzled, more militaristic captain. We also know the original plan was to jump into the MU quite early in the season, which would have probably been better, considering how the end of the season was rushed. We don't know that much else beyond it.

    My understanding is in 2027 whatever NDA they made him sign will have expired, and he can talk freely.

    Karl Zimmerman, how do we know all those things? Is there an interview that can be accessed? I'd like to read it. Personally I loathed the first couple of episodes, but I always like to know where writers are coming from.

    I liked this episode in a low-key way, decent script for Disco although a little workmanlike. But without the fine acting and fun of seeing David Ajala as essentially a new character it wouldn't have been much. The idea that just "knowing yourself" ensures you're a good person deserving of godlike powers is a lot shallower than Disco thinks it is. I'm pretty annoyed about the silent disappearance of Owo, Detmer, and Saru, but that's not unique to this particular episode.

    @The Queen,

    Most of the information comes from some early interviews with Berg and Harberts. Fuller has been tight-lipped about his original intention, but they had no issue talking about some of the changes they decided to make to the press when Season 1 was out.

    I think it's important to note that even the first two episodes of DIS don't reflect Fuller's vision. They reflect some of his writing, but he was fired before a single shot was filmed. He did do a lot of preproduction work that got into the show though, and some of his questionable decisions (like having on-location shooting in Jordan for a 5-minute scene in the first episode) managed to end up onscreen regardless.

    This is nothing but supposition, but some of the weirdness of even the first few episodes of Discovery suggests to me there were a lot of reshoots which muddled the original themes. The script tells us, for example, that Michael "mutined" and somehow caused the war, while all we see onscreen is her giving Georgiou the Vulcan neck pinch and trying to fire first - something which actually would have stopped the war, based upon T'Kuvma's monologue. To me, it seems he originally wanted to position Michael as having done something far, far worse than what showed up onscreen, and CBS flipped, and it got dialed back once he was gone.

    Thanks for answering my question about the original concept.

    Though I might be wrong, and I am basing this on what I saw, I feel there is another element wrong in Burnham's plan. Once they arrived at their destination, they should have informed FedHQ of the location and requested additional help. She could have sent a message, which is why I might be wrong. The Discovery might have the advantage in that the Breen will not be expecting them to arrive, as they believed them to be destroyed, but it is not much of an advantage as the Discovery is shown to be vastly inferior to the dreadnaught in weaponry and shielding/armor.

    I am already worried about next week. The Discovery lands somewhere they don't have information about. As this location was known to 24th century scientists, wouldn't there be information about this location in star charts available to 32nd century Starfleet personnel? If this information was lost, couldn't the Starfleet crew used their advanced sensors to scan the area and get an idea of what they are landing into? I know these questions are premature, but it feels to me that the crew of Discovery didn't do this as they are surprised by what they discover.

    Oh goodie, it's an hour of Michael Burnham talking to herself.

    This one is so skippable, even the writers didn't bother to think things through. Why else would characters continue to make bizarre leaps of logic? Saying absolute nonsense with conviction doesn't make them true. And yet, Burnham was convinced the Archive picked Book as its representative because she hadn't resolved her argumen with him yet?


    Isn't it infinitely more obvious that it picked Book because he's a loved one she'd recently been in contact with?

    We're also supposed to blindly accept that the Breen are coming. How? They didn't know the next clue was at the Archive. At least establish how they're able to track Discovery's jump trail across lord knows how many lightyears. It's a sign of bad writing when you stretch logic like Son'a skin to fit the story you're trying to tell.

    And can we talk about Michael Burnham deciding to give up the clues to save the Archive... I'm sure it was intended as her Big Dilemma moment. Like Janeway deciding to blow up the Array to protect the Ocampa. But this one is even dumber: she's willing to hand over the road map to a power source that can reshape reality (and undo death itself).

    But why? To save a 1000 lives and some archival records that aren't worth spit once the Breen start reshaping time and space with the Progenitor tech? She should have jumped the second they returned to Discovery. Let the Breen blast the archive to bits, we'll be back to rebuild.

    As nice as it was to see Rhys in command, having no Owo, Detmer, Linus or Saru isn't doing the show any favors. Adira and Reno had little more than a technobabble cameo and the archive was a whole lot of empty space with 1 jarringly chipper librarian. Everything in these last few episodes reeks of budget cuts and the producers scrambling to tell a big story with as few people as possible.

    Mrs. Moll kills the Breen leader, takes over command and not a single soldier or officer goes *buzz-buzz now waittaminute here, missy *buzz-buzz*? Utterly unbelievable...

    And finally: Of course Burnham's mind puzzle put her in a library... It's the one place whispering is encouraged!

    I miss the old days of VOY, DS9, ENT and TNG
    This new Star Trek is just different.
    Not entirely bad but it is completely different.
    For example, I wish the future was like TNG or VOY, but do I want a future that is DIS? I dunno
    The story is good, my opinion, but the execution feels too short. There should have been a group effort, obviously focusing on Michael but it didnt feel like a group effort.

    Well, the baddie did take an oath and he went back on his word, so I understand why they listened to Moll

    If Bryan Fuller had been allowed to make his vision, Discovery undoubtedly would have been a better show than what we ended up getting, but I feel really confident saying it probably would have wrecked the Star Trek franchise as a whole.

    This was a more passable hour but still filled with ludicrous contrivances. Burnham's crying session was more watchable this time IMO. More nuance and restraint from SMG. I for one enjoyed the use of silence and darkness to generate atmosphere in the library, and the use of the peppy but gumptious Efrosian. Sometimes simple things are best.

    Ajala had a great acting moment with his discovery of the tree root, and I appreciated the library's willingness to release it to him.

    I enjoyed the under-utilized Rhys getting the command chair as well, but believe it or not, I still think it should have been given to Tilly given her prior experience. Her previous stint was a mixed bag, not a total failure, and it could have been interesting to see her command again after her growth from her Academy days.

    The script tried to make Moll's takeover of the Breen faction credible, but it didn't get there.

    Nor did I buy the final five minutes at all. The mindscape had no sooner finished testing Burnham to see if she was worthy of protecting the Progenitors' secrets, and the first thing she does is beam the clues over to A BREEN DREADNOUGHT to protect an archive whose value is nothing close to the Progenitors' tech. The script tosses in an "extra clue" that only Burnham knows in order to justify her decision, but the risk is still unacceptable for her to take. We know it won't eliminate the Breen from the chase, because there's two more episodes left! :)

    Not to mention - had Discovery simply immediately jumped out of the Badlands with the final clue to begin with, the Breen probably would have abandoned their assault on the archive anyway. I actually rewatched the last segment to make sure I had the order of events right. Burnham has a hell of a way of rewarding Faux-Book's faith in her.

    What a useless show. In the real world, the Breen would be ruling the galaxy right now, Progenitors' tech in hand and cackling maniacally, while Burnham wound up at the center of some red supergiant somewhere out of sheer stupidity.

    I still don't know what happened with Bryan Fuller, but remember around the time he was fired from Discovery, he was also fired from American Gods, a planned reboot of Amazing Stories, and a vampire show he was scheduled to be involved with. He dropped of the face of the earth, only beginning work again as a documentarian in 2022, though he does have a new movie in post production.

    I presume that he had a major mental health episode, a substance abuse issue, or a combination of both. Regardless, he went from a Hollywood darling to blacklisted essentially overnight. One of the quickest career implosions I've ever seen.

    @ Karl

    re: Fuller

    It's nothing so scandalous. He's simply not able to get the trains to the station on time. People lose money on him because he cannot deliver a project on time and on budget, so they've stopped hiring him.

    On top of that his projects, historically, when they have materialized, are high quality and highly acclaimed, but little watched. Again, people lose money.

    Re the Bryan Fuller rabbit hole:

    Karl Zimmerman and Jeffrey's Tube, thanks for the bio-bits.

    I got curious so looked him up on Wikipedia, and he struck me as flighty. He's worked on a lot of things for short periods of time. He may think he likes "sci-fi" but he seems to me to mostly do horror or stories about death (he created "Pushing Daisies"). They can be very good, but they're depressing over the long haul. He cowrote two episodes of DS9 which were good but creepy. He wrote about a dozen and a half episodes for Voyager, all but one with others. The one he wrote all by himself was terrible. His best one IMO was "Living Witness" in the 4th season, which avoided his usual focus on death and the pointlessness of everything. He cowrote the 6th season episode "Barge of the Dead." And also "Bride of Chaotica," so there's that.

    Wasn't he the person I heard about who was verbally attacking the other writers in Disco's early 1st season? And that was why he was fired?

    The only Bryan Fuller show I've watched is Hannibal, which is the best show I'll never watch again. It was a very artfully created monstrosity that probably made me a worse person for having seen it. It was memorable in all the good and bad ways at once. I sometimes think of trying to watch it again, and then I wake up sweating and acknowledge the thought as a fever dream.

    I like libraries so this episode gets a bonus star from me, even if the actual storytelling is kinda silly. "Labyrinths" is also the title of the story collection in which you can find Jorge Luis Borges' "Library of Babel", which is the source of the inspiration for the design of the sprawling Archives in case one couldn't tell by looking at it.

    One's appreciation for the episode has a lot to do with how much one likes Burnham and her navel-gazing. If not, those people will be rolling their eyes as she gets rewarded for doing just that. It only takes all of 15 minutes in a maze before Burnham is practically having a mental breakdown. But of course that is all part of the solution to the puzzle. How very Discovery.

    Isn't it possible that someone unworthy of this great power could also practice the same sort of soul-searching and self-awareness about their fears? Oh well. At least this is the most introspective that those who seek the clues have had to be, which seems to match the intention behind the whole quest unlike the other set pieces and hoops they've raced through to get closer to the Holy Tech.


    - Mol is just told that no one else can beam down to the Archives and she's immediately like "Oh, in that case, send me!" Huh??

    - Mol's like "Don't destroy Discovery! That could start a war!" as if everything the Breen did before wasn't tantamount to an act of war.

    - What does the Primarch possibly think he'd gain by blowing up the Archive after he already has what he wants and Discovery is gone? This guy just makes one dumb move after another making me wonder how it is he's been in charge this whole time.

    - As dumb as the idea of the Primarch as Primarch doesn't make much sense, Mol leading them in his place doesn't make a whole lot of sense either. As if they'd listen to a human.

    Now let's review Burnham's track record on this super important mission so far:

    It's imperative L'ak must live at all costs. What does she do? She mortally wounds him, leading to the circumstances in which he dies. Then she's directly told by Vance that the Breen must not become aware of their quest for the Holy Tech. Whoops, that didn't go so well. Now she seems to think it's a good idea to hand over all the clues, and the location of the Tech to the Breen. Because random innocent lives are threatened by terrorists? Newsflash: that's their job, it's what they do. And we see why you don't make deals with such people as they turn out not to be so trustworthy. If the Progenitors were watching, they would only shake their heads in dismay.

    Also, have any of these characters actually watched the "tape" of the Progenitor's speech? I believe they only said that they guided the evolution of the humanoids, not created life from scratch or brought anyone back from the dead. It could all turn out to be a wild goose chase.

    The writers are ret conning what the technology actually does. The Progenitors were not the creators of life in the galaxy.

    In TNG it was specifically said they seeded the early life (lets say single cell or bacterial) on various planets so it would develop a sentient species that resembled them (humanoid form as we know it) to preserve their dying species in some way. It didn't create life or bring anyone back from the dead, and they obviously didn't use it on every planet since we have many non humanoid species. It was some sort of advanced genetic manipulation or DNA technology. Objectively, it is the complete oppositive of what the Prime Directive is so people in Starfleet should probably not be holding them in such high regard.

    It was a nifty little story in TNG to explain why so many Trek species looked very similar (bumpy head alien of the week) , and why so many could pro create together. They could have still done this story but they are making it something it was not.

    We will see how it plays out. I imagine there will be some twisting ending with Our Lord and Savior becoming the guardian of this tech or jumping through time or something to launch the Section 31 movie. Who knows. But I think this ends with Burnham being the God of the Galaxy :) Hopefully I am wrong on this of course.

    They must have set the record for most Commanders in one bridge crew, right? Where did they get them all and why are you putting Commanders in your two helm spots.

    Not sure I get the writing on that one.

    ELSEWHERE, this season, (not) on Star Trek: Discovery . . .

    Episode 4: While Discovery is trapped in its own history by a time bug weapon, Saru is contacted by the Iconian survivors. They have just built a gateway to the Andromeda galaxy; on the other side is a sentient black hole, and it wishes to join the Federation.

    Episode 5: While Burnham and Book and Moll and L'ak shoot phasers/entreaties alternatingly at each other onboard the ISS Enterprise trapped inside a Space Sphincter anomaly, Saru beams down to make first contact with an apparently advanced planet filled with strange crystalline structures, whose unique properties have the unforseen consequence of splitting his transporter beam into seven, causing seven identical copies of himself to materialize in various places on the planet. Six of these copies are hunted down and killed by the primitive savage race that inhabits all the lands outside of the gleaming citadel where the advanced race resides, but one makes it to the gates. In a TWIST this one never learns that there were six other copies of himself created in the transporter accident or that they all died. He does not allow the planet to join the Federation. Meanwhile, Owo and Detmer are trapped in the holodeck in their quarters because Professor Moriarty escaped the Daystrom Institute and snuck into Discovery's computers because he was curious about Zora, but they accidentally exposed him when they requested their surfing program be populated with "the most dangerous competitors in your memory banks," and he was not amused to be materialized wearing swimming trunks.

    Episode 6: While Burnham and Discovery are busy ripping the Prime Directive to shreds, Owo and Detmer aboard the ISS Enterprise on their way back to Starfleet HQ receive a distress call from Saru, whose shuttlecraft was eaten by a duranium-consuming interstellar microbe after passing through a strange nebula, but not before he managed to construct a cocoon out of one of the Kelpian trees he keeps aboard, which can only shield him from the rigors of space for a few hours at best. After beaming Saru aboard, the three of them are attacked by an awakened Mirror Kirk, who faked his death at the hands of Mirror Spock and put himself into stasis in a hidden compartment on the Enterprise next to the Tantalus field device, but did not intend to be there for so long. He was awakened when Owo and Detmer diverted all power to the engines to try to make it to Saru in time, which also cut the power to his stasis pod.

    Episode 7: While Discovery allows the Breen to find out about the Progenitor tech, the ISS Enterprise is thrown back in time to when the Progenitors originally seeded Earth. Saru, Owo, and Detmer meet the Progenitors and learn all about their fascinating culture and history, and how much they are like us in surprising ways and not like us in surprising ways, and the Progenitors learn their mission will be a success and the wonderful legacy they will leave. They offer our heroes their technology, telling them to just forget about that silly treasure hunt and that they really don't think their technology should be hidden away from their descendants, and Saru tells them no, because "that would be cheating, and Michael would be mad she didn't get to win by herself."

    Episode 8: While Michael Burnham cries in a space library to acquire the final clue, aboard the ISS Enterprise Saru, Owo, and Detmer get really obsessed with backgammon. Hey listen, you know you'd rather watch this.

    So yup. That's what was going on elsewhere during these episodes, the "other half" of this season's story we didn't get to see. More, or less interesting than the season we did get to see? I'll let you decide.

    Solid episode.

    This and Face the Strange have been the best of the season so far.


    "There is a reason why the library looks the way it does - they filmed the scenes at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library in Toronto."

    It's so weird seeing all these places I've been to now that they're filming in Toronto!

    Fisher is also apparently the inspiration for the library in The Name of the Rose. Umberto Eco used to work there.

    I think this is marginally the best episode of the season but it's not great Trek by any stretch. Some workable elements, like Burnham's admitting her fear of failure, how fear drives her etc., and how some tough dynamic decision-making is set up. At least there's no Moll/L'ak BS romance weighing things down. Hard to have any frame of reference for how a Breen primarch should/could act -- but what it set up is a bit unfathomable (that the Breen would be following Moll...) So the episode is weighed down by the hard-headedness of the Breen primarch -- as if he's to be such an idiot that the Breen would follow a human.

    As for the archive, wonder if they could have used Memory Alpha for a nod to canon? The Badlands just gave the show its excuse for tiresome CGI, explosions, ship-shaking sequences.

    Burnham’s self analysis is well-acted and this is some of the better acting SMG has done. I did like how the episode took its time on this scene with her thinking out loud while not-Book just observed. But passing the test by just being honest with oneself? I suppose if you frustrate somebody and give them long enough to just ponder things they might come to this point...

    Another weakness is just how hard-headed the Breen primarch is. Reminds me of the VOY hard-headed alien of the week. We don’t know much about Breen values. Does the wife of a dead scion command power / respect? Do the Breen have some kind of respect for agreements? And how much latitude was Moll given by the primarch in the first place? He doesn't have the Progenitors' power yet but he thinks he does. And he thinks Discovery was destroyed with the old venting plasma trick. Idiot.

    Rayner is now a fully integrated member of the crew -- all the hiccups have been ironed out. He's a good character and was prepared to ditch the final clue if it meant they'd all be killed.

    2.5 stars for "Labyrinths" -- still would like to see something with more depth but I think that ship has sailed. Would like to see something intelligent about Breen culture other than basically being cardboard villains. And of course Burnham has to have a little secret on what to do at the final destination since all the pieces of the puzzle have been obtained.

    Jeffrey's Tube, will you marry me? Please please please? I love you so much.

    Why did you get thrown off the Discovery writers' staff so that your name would never be mentioned? . . . Oh . . . I know . . . because your ideas were so much better than the other people's, and they all banded together and exiled you.

    You had me at "sentient black hole," and I laughed out loud at "obsessed with backgammon." I'm pretty sure Detmer would be winning, unless she purposely cheated to be nice to the other two.

    Posted again in the right thread. Sorry Jammer, you can delete the one in Erigah if you want.

    @Jammer said, "L'ak will be resurrected"

    I said it before he was even dead. No doubt. Hell, now that we have an old root from Kwejian I can see a restoral here too. Lots of tears coming for sure.

    One thing I learned and really impressed me was that library was a real place! Wow, I want to visit it someday.

    It had to be Book in the mind maze thing. How could it be anyone different?

    No references to the 'Inner Light' here? I kept thinking of it every time I saw Culver tending to Michael.

    Nice to see Ryhs get some chair time! It seemed to fit well.

    So when Book closes the book and tells Michael she has passed the test, my first thought was "what did she do"? I don't think they landed that very well. Michael's "come to Michael" speech just didn't work for me. How did she fail Book?

    The ending on the Breen ship was WAY too mustache-twirling for me... Why blow up the library? What does that prove to anyone? I think it would have worked better had Moll passed that spear-looking Breen stick thing to the Breen guy who should be in charge now after she killed Snidely Whiplash. But no, a woman must lead, this IS Discovery you know.

    I really enjoyed Hy'Rell though... I half expected the library to have some trick to hold the Breen at bay. Kind of funny that in the 32nd century she has to "go get" information for Rayner. Hell, Culber had a biobed at his fingertips.

    Still no Saru or Owo... Not sure how you write Saru out of the last season... I hear he was doing other work, but I'm sure he went looking after he knew he was written out.

    I like the two that replaced Owo and Detmer, but couldn't one have been male?

    How did Moll and the Breen know to go to the library?

    This episode just predictably went along... blah, blah I found myself wanting to get to the end of the test we all knew Michael was going to pass.

    2 stars from me.

    Just an overall observation about the comments. The comments for the first three seasons of Discovery for all the episodes were all over 100 (in many cases well over 100) with more total comments on Discovery in the first two seasons than Strange New Worlds if you want to compare with season 2 to be of particular interest. Starting in season 4, the comments here on Discovery starting dramatically falling off with only six episodes making it to 100. This Season the comments have fallen to new lows with, so far, no episodes reaching 100 comments. Is this important information? No, just thought it was interesting information at least to me. Any reasons?

    My own view of Discovery is not particularly important as I’m not a fan as I found it to be poorly written series and gave up after season 2.

    I think the decline in comment activity here is part of the same trend within a variety of other factors the past couple years that are all pointing to the same conclusion -- namely, that the renaissance of Trek 3.0 is over. It was a boom for a few years, but now we are in the contraction stage. It will be interesting to see where things go from here with all these shows ending.

    @Mike, the last few seasons has revealed the show to be hollow. There's little to discuss in terms of ethics. As a morality play it has the depth of a saturday morning cartoon. Character development, like in this episode, is often completely introverted: *Burnham* introduced the dramatic conflict with Book by dumping him in episode 1, only to resolve it by talking to *herself* in this episode. Terrible pacing, no interesting villain, no compelling external pressure. It's like a self-licking ice-cream cone of melodrama. The audience is bored.

    Here is an article on ratings.

    It seems to be gaining popularity?

    Honestly, I'm only watching this season because I just have to watch all new trek.

    It hasn't been bad per say, but it just can't get over itself.

    Much like SMG while being interviewed. If you took it at her word, this is the greatest Star Trek every made.

    Usually, I'm opposed to creativity by committee and running things by focus groups. But I can't think of a show that could have used some thoughtful, considered input from its fans than that of "Discovery."

    The best thing I can say about it as someone who just caught up to it last year is it's not been the Dumpster Fire some people described (especially the homophobic crowd). But boy did it miss the mark in so many ways.

    As for this particular episode, one of the better ones of the season. But I just can't get past the tedium and awkwardness and never-ending counseling sessions of Michael Burnham. Her best scenes have usually been with Saru. And he's unfortunately not been around.

    I don’t understand why Discovery was almost destroyed going through the Badlands while following instructions, while the Breen gigantic ship had seemingly no damage while going through against orders.

    The planet with the last clue must be darn close to the badlands if it’s only going to take the Breen ship 6 hours to warp there. Or all places in the galaxy where Disco would lose its spore drive advantage!

    I think Moll has time-bending abilities. Crowds just wait for her to act. In sick bay everyone stood there dumb as Moll gave up the secret of the progenitor tech. Then an entire army of Breen with stick guns stood there as she shot the main bad guy (I forgot his name). It pays to be decisive!

    [Once in a creative writing class I had a short story workshopped and I was criticized for having three characters whose name started with ‘P’. The students felt it was hard to tell the characters apart. I wonder if anyone in this seasons writing staff took a creative writing class. No one thought “If we make all of the green look and sound exactly the same, the audience won’t know who is who.]

    I liked the joke from the archivist about having a Book come to visit her. Besides seeing someone else in the captains chair in an emergency [can’t remember his name either] it was my favorite part of the episode.

    I CAN remember Detmer’s name, but I guess she got written out because she had an inkling of a personality, though I only base that on the fact that she was making out with someone in that episode where Dwight Schrute killed Captain Lorca 100 times. Which, in retrospect, will probably be the only episode of this series I would ever watch a second time, bc it told a story you can watch from beginning to end without having to watch a whole season.

    More lazy writing. We literally laughed out loud at the ending on the Breen ship.

    Prediction: The story ends with Michael getting the tech and sending it into the future because we can’t be trusted with this kind of power.

    Source of said prediction: The 1990s TNG video games, Future’s Past and A Final Unity, both of which told this story (quest for ancient unspeakable power) better, and both of which I’m reasonably sure were ripped off — err, Paid Homage To™ — by the Discovery writing team.

    Also, @Jammer and others, I think the decline in comment activity is solely about Discovery’s suckitude more than Trek 3.0. We couldn’t even be bothered to watch until today.

    TBD when SNW comes back, but thus far, that’s actually enjoyable. It’s a pity streaming services don’t release viewership numbers; I’d wager Discovery’s sank like the Titanic after SNW came out and that’s the real reason for the cancellation.

    Hi Jammers,

    I've loved reading your reviews. I share your high estimation of Deep Space Nine.

    For me, Discovery is disappointing on many levels, perhaps most in the confusing and overly dramatic characterizations.

    I wonder if you would ever consider reviewing the YouTube episodes of Star Trek Continues. Do you have any idea how those episodes were allowed to be made? Seems a copyright violation. I am not necessarily a fan, but I am curious if the plots tie up OS loose threads.

    @John - Not sure how they have got around but there have been quite a few fan fiction versions of Trek. Many involving people who've starred on the show.
    I think a blind eye is turned as they're not being made for profit.
    Star Trek Continues is very well done. Gene Roddenberry's son Rod considers them canon.

    "Burnham confesses to the avatar that she's normally so consumed with projecting perfection and covering for how insecure she actually sometimes feels that it has mentally worn her down. "

    Is that it? The idea that she could not express her emotion seems completely and utterly ridiculous. She's been non-stop crying for four seasons. Every time she does so it's an admission of failure of a crisis and impending doom to somebody somewhere.

    And she lied about Book as well. She didn't push him away! She shoved him away because he was written as a traitor who wanted to attack an innocent species and was killed because of it!

    But even so, why is articulating her behavior passing a test? It's not like she told all the people that she presumably mistreated that she is wrong and that she needs to apologize. It's not like she told Book that she was sorry and should never have pushed him away.

    All she did was admit her inability to express an emotion or something. And that's why she gets the clue? That's why she gets the key to the ultimate technology in the universe that can destroy everything?

    Are we saying that an evil person could not do this as well?

    Well since none of us are much interested in discussing Discovery . . .

    Holly Hunter has been cast as the lead in Starfleet Academy.

    "Hunter will star as the captain and chancellor of Starfleet Academy, where we’ll meet a “young group of cadets who come together to pursue a common dream of hope and optimism,” according to the series’ official synopsis. “Under the watchful and demanding eyes of their instructors, they discover what it takes to become Starfleet officers as they navigate blossoming friendships, explosive rivalries, first loves and a new enemy that threatens both the Academy and the Federation itself.”

    “It feels like we’ve spent our entire lives watching Holly Hunter be a stone-cold genius,” said co-showrunners Alex Kurtzman and Noga Landau. “To have her extraordinary authenticity, fearlessness, sense of humor, and across the board brilliance leading the charge on ‘Starfleet Academy’ is a gift to all of us, and to the enduring legacy of ‘Star Trek.'”

    “Starfleet Academy” will begin shooting in Toronto later this summer, featuring the largest contiguous set ever constructed for a “Star Trek” series, a central academic atrium that will span two stories and include an amphitheater, classrooms, a mess hall, and a idyllic walkway lined with trees.

    With its focus on higher education — from the throes of budding romance to the pressures of academic achievement to the angst of painful self-discovery — “Starfleet Academy” is part of a wider strategy to expand what a “Star Trek” show can look like.

    “These are kids who’ve never had a red alert before,” Landau told Variety in a March 27 cover story about the future of “Star Trek.” “They never had to operate a transporter or be in a phaser fight.”

    Kurtzman and Landau serve as co-showrunners and executive produce “Starfleet Academy.” Gaia Violo, Aaron Baiers, Olatunde Onsunsamni, Jenny Lumet, Rod Roddenberry, Trevor Roth, Frank Siracusa, and John Weber also executive produce. The series premiere episode was written by Violo. CBS Studios produces in association with Secret Hideout and Roddenberry Entertainment. The series is distributed by Paramount Global Content Distribution.

    “Starfleet Academy” is the latest addition to the “Star Trek” TV universe at Paramount. Next year, “Section 31” will explore Starfleet’s cloak-and-dagger black ops division in the first “Star Trek” streaming movie, starring recent Oscar winner Michelle Yeoh (reprising her role from “Discovery”). Elsewhere, “Lower Decks,” the first “Star Trek” animated comedy, will conclude its run after five seasons in the fall, while “Discovery” — the flagship show of the revamped “Star Trek” TV projects — will end its run after five seasons on May 30. The popular series “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” has been renewed for a fourth season ahead of the third season premiere.

    . . .

    Holly Hunter is awesome but the rest of the details of this project just don't inspire confidence. Why does there need to be an overarching threat that "not only threatens the Academy but the Federation itself?" Is there not enough drama inherent in the premise of students being students learning at the Academy? They can't go on episodic adventures? These students need to save the entire universe from Voldemort too? It's like they learned nothing from the failures of Discovery.

    "...from the throes of budding romance to the pressures of academic achievement to the angst of painful self-discovery..."

    Sounds like everything Discovery was trying to be from the start. Too bad it took them 5 seasons to realize that this sort of teen-aged melodrama was better suited to a school.

    There's also news on the film side about Simon Kinberg being in talks to join a project in active development.

    "The project Kinberg would step into is already in very active development. Toby Haynes, who directed episodes of of the Star Wars series Andor, is on board to direct the new feature, with Seth Grahame-Smith writing the script. The project is said to be set decades before the events of the 2009 movie that was directed J.J. Abrams, likely around modern times. It is said to involve the creation of the Starfleet and humankind’s first contact with alien life."

    However, we can take this with a grain of salt as most movies at this stage of development never get made, and even moreso with Star Trek film projects.

    Goes without saying they're not on the right track here. The direction they want to take the project is all wrong, yes--just the complete wrong story idea that won't give people what they want from a Star Trek film and therefore destined to bomb at the box office--but also Simon Kinberg has a resume full of projects that mostly underwhelm while not being outright failures, Seth Grahame-Smith is a terrible screenwriter (much less for a cerebral sci-fi franchise), and a no-name television director who has never done a feature before? Let's all hope this one ends up in a black hole (which I am all but certain it will).

    "Seth Grahame-Smith is a terrible screenwriter (much less for a cerebral sci-fi franchise), and a no-name television director who has never done a feature before..."

    ...and a novelist of questionable taste and the epitome of the word "derivative". Perhaps the movie will be called "Trials and Tribble-ations and Trolls".

    Star Trek fans who have never once asked or shown any interest in a Starfleet Academy Series "Please can we have Star Trek Legacy"

    TPTB "Here, have that Starfleet Academy series none of you asked for or have ever shown any interest in."

    Star Trek fans didn't ask for Lower Decks or Prodigy either and both turned out all right. Would Legacy be both better and preferred? Yes, unquestionably. But this isn't grounds to automatically write off Starfleet Academy. If the showrunners truly have an inspired vision, then there are no bad concepts, really. Well, so long as it also remains respectful of and congruous with the source material.

    Even if the thought of having to sit through more Tilly in my Star Trek physically pains me.

    "I wonder if you would ever consider reviewing the YouTube episodes of Star Trek Continues. Do you have any idea how those episodes were allowed to be made? Seems a copyright violation. I am not necessarily a fan, but I am curious if the plots tie up OS loose threads."

    I've been asked this before, and no, I don't review the fan projects. I stick to the official professionally-made canon.

    As far as how Star Trek Continues was able to operate, CBS took a very hands-off approach to the fan productions for a long time, so long as the shows were *not* made for profit. I'm pretty sure that all changed, however, around the time Discovery was in development and CBS had a plan to bring Trek back to TV/streaming in a major way. They sued, for example, the makers of "Axanar" and came out with a whole list of what you could or could not do as a fan production. Under those rules, Star Trek Continues could almost certainly not be made today.

    One other thing about copyright: Star Trek Continues is probably 100 percent copyright violation. I mean, to me there is no doubt. CBS just chose to turn a blind eye and not sue it out of existence. To be honest, I'm still not sure why that is. Perhaps because they thought the goodwill of not going after it was worth it?

    The general rule is that if you don't protect your copyrights you could potentially lose them. So it's amazing to me they let these fan productions happen at all. It's not surprising to me that they decided to clamp down once they got back into the Trek TV business, as the YouTube productions could be seen as competition.

    "a whole list of what you could or could not do as a fan production."

    Thou Shall Not create a Star Trek fan production unless you recycle everything from your Star Wars fan productions...

    @Jammer I am not familiar with the STC product but there's at least some argument that permitting this kind of thing builds fan engagement and good will for the brand, which benefits the copyright holder.


    "One other thing about copyright: Star Trek Continues is probably 100 percent copyright violation. I mean, to me there is no doubt. CBS just chose to turn a blind eye and not sue it out of existence. To be honest, I'm still not sure why that is. Perhaps because they thought the goodwill of not going after it was worth it?"

    As the only fan art to get CBS up in a fit was Axanar, I'm convinced that was because they did a better job with the Klingon War than Discovery did. Timing is everything and Axanar was coming out right before Discovery hit the streets.

    Everything I hear about Starfleet Academy so far is tellling me this will be the first Trek show ever that I have no interest in at all. Violo only has three credits on IMDB, and the ratings go down chronologically for each one.

    0/4 stars

    This episode made me yell out “oh my god!” in utter exasperation at least 4 times. I watched this at 1.5x speed and still felt like I wasted my time.

    OMG #1 - Not only is Moll allowed to be on a pedestal in front of all the Breen crew, she is then allowed to address all of them. Really?

    OMG #2 - Of course the solution to the last puzzle piece is something only Michael can do! And of course the answer to the puzzle is *shock* coming to terms with her own feelings! Are they even trying?

    OMG # 3 - Burnham risks the fate of the lives of the ENTIRE galaxy because the Breen holds about a thousand randos hostage in a nebula.

    OMG # 4&5 - The Breen commander shoots his own man for dawdling for 5 seconds, but allows Moll to scream insults and accusations at him repeatedly. THEN after Moll kills TWO of their leaders, they elevate this outsider to be in charge of them.

    This might be the worst hour of Trek I’ve ever watched. My OCD won’t let me stop watching because I’ve literally watched every other episode of Star Trek, so I’m not purposefully hate watching this. But I can’t wait for it to end. Now I’ll know better not even to watch the trailers of the Starfleet Academy show so maybe I can trick my brain into thinking it doesn’t exist.

    @ Austin “My OCD won’t let me stop watching because I’ve literally watched every other episode of Star Trek, so I’m not purposefully hate watching this. But I can’t wait for it to end.”

    Same. I’ve seen every live action episode and movie.

    My partner and I are 1/3 of the way through TNG’s Season 2 on our rewatch. Most S1 and S2 episodes have more going on than this entire season of Discovery. I thought it’d be difficult to get through them but have somewhat surprisingly found them to be refreshing.

    Doubt I’ll ever rewatch Discovery or Picard. 🤷🏻‍♂️

    “ One wonders if the writers were self-aware enough to recognize that the series' single-minded mission of showing Burnham as a bulletproof hero has been paid for in missed opportunities for a more complex and compelling character portrayal. It might be too little and too late, but it's a worthwhile endeavor, and I'm glad we got to see it play out here.”
    The whole Burnham therapy scene was fantastic but really just uncovered subtext that had always been there, if you think it was just writers pulling shit outta their ass idk what to tell you

    @Tim: I remember reallly disliking the first 2 seasons of TNG and DS9. Going back on a rewatch, I like them a lot more than I remembered. Maybe it’s because I see them in a new light after watching NüTrek, appreciating cheesy acting over overly-emotional acting, and silly plots over stupid plots. If you listen to podcasts, there is one I think you’d really like called Star Trek: The Next Conversation. They go through TNG and DS9, making rewatches a lot more fun. It started off amateurish and silly, but after 7 years, I’m happy to say it has in no way improved. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


    @Jeffrey's Tube re Star Trek Academy

    You had me at "Holly Hunter".

    Then you lost me at "Alex Kurtzman".

    BTW nice commentary all. I haven't watched anything NuTrek for a few years now but it's nice to come here and read all the insights and debate.

    @Jeffrey's Tube

    "... If the showrunners truly have an inspired vision, then there are no bad concepts, really. Well, so long as it also remains respectful of and congruous with the source material."

    They've already cast a female chancellor. Same bunch... I'm sure it will be a tear fest.

    "Even if the thought of having to sit through more Tilly in my Star Trek physically pains me."

    I was hoping she would give up.

    “These are the voyages of the Starship Discovery. Her five-minute attention span….”

    Kudos to this episode for maintaining some focus on the season arc and sticking with the Breen thread from the last episode. I don’t think I could have handled another boring detour to a padded, pointless one-episode story. The plotting is slightly more coherent than usual for the series.

    On the other hand, this episode feels like reheated spam, remixing so many familiar Trekkian themes without holding its own as a compelling story. The cultural library spitting Burnham into another reality reminded me vaguely of TOS’ All Yesteryears and TNG’s The Inner Light, with a touch of Memory Alpha. The problem is that Burnham is just so boring; the character lost the few shreds of her renegade edge, complexity, and fallibility when she became Captain. She also misses the anchoring contrast and critique that her character got from Saru, who is again glaringly absent from the episode. The dive into her conscience here doesn’t “hit” in the way it could have by coming from her relationships with others; it feels solipsistic and inaccessible.

    Finally, although I enjoyed the Breen subplot, my enjoyment was lessened this time by the longer period they spent offscreen. They seem more simplistic this time out, and Moll’s takeover of their empire merits more of a shrug than genuine awe. It’s the sort of unmotivated, inexplicable power shift that this series does every few episodes for no particular reason. It does build some tension toward the end, but that’s after a long stretch of repetitive boredom with Burnham in the library. So this one is 2 1/2 stars for me, down a notch from last week. It’s roughly half engaging, half dull.

    Late on my viewing, but really enjoyed this one, including Martin-Green's performance -- as Jammer also said -- and the way the library was depicted on screen. As for the rest, Jammer's review - as always for me -- is as accurate as it gets. A lot to enjoy and chew in this hour.

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