Star Trek: Discovery

“Lagrange Point”

3 stars.

Air date: 5/23/2024
Written by Sean Cochran & Ari Friedman
Directed by Jonathan Frakes

Review Text

Barring some sort of major revelation in the finale that is brilliant beyond my wildest calculations, "Lagrange Point," which is a competent and effective hour of fairly standard-issue action plotting, represents one of the better examples of what this season has become — a 10-episode retelling of "The Chase" (with a bunch of episodic stops along the way) that manages not to be any more elaborate, compelling, or incisive than that single episode, but simply a lot longer, and somehow with even fewer players. It's Discovery's serial modus operandi in a nutshell, applied for the fifth of five seasons.

At this point, I'm resigned to success for this show just being the telling of competent action yarns rather than doing anything interesting or thoughtful. "Lagrange Point" is efficient in its simplicity and well-paced. Discovery reaches the location of the Progenitor tech (henceforth TECH, since that's how the characters refer to it). The system contains binary black holes (nicely rendered with some impressive visuals) and within the Lagrange Point between the two black holes' gravitational forces floats a cylindrical structure that was placed there by the clue-makers, and which looks like a big barrel. Surely, inside is the TECH.

Before Discovery can obtain the cylinder, however, the Breen ship appears out of nowhere and tractors it in. For some reason (who am I kidding, it's the Plot Gods) the Breen have somehow managed to arrive here through a convenient transwarp tunnel shortcut, and they aren't subject to the same technobabble disability that keeps Discovery from somehow scooping it up first. (It's the battle damage or whatever.) As usual, Discovery's advantage is pointless in the face of a superior adversary that is only superior long enough to be thwarted by plotted cleverness.

About that plotted cleverness: It's essentially a heist film, where our characters have to get in undetected (conveniently, they can beam in through a weak point in the shields near an exhaust point) and accomplish some plot things (which are made waaaaaay easier by the fact that all the Breen wear helmets all the time and take orders from their superiors without question, so all you have to do is act like a superior and you're frickin' golden).

In this case, Team A (Adira and Rhys) must make it to the bridge and disable the shields while Team B (Burnham and Book) heads to the cargo hold where the TECH cylinder is, where they must put a transponder on it for transport. This involves sneaking around undercover, acting the part of Breen soldiers, and getting into fistfights with the guards. It's straightforward, lightweight, and kind of fun in its simpleminded action/adventure way. The costumes and production design on the Breen ship are solid.

Of course, there's plenty of stupidity to go along with this, but it kind of comes with the territory. The security is of course too easily infiltrated despite all this technology (none of this would fly in even the 21st century, let alone the 32nd) and everything of course centers on Moll (she being the only villain who has a face), who now controls everything and everyone and is the only one available to thwart the plans in motion.

On the other hand, we have the cylinder, which is a cool tech mystery in itself. Turns out it doesn't contain the TECH, but is a portal to wherever the TECH might actually be. The Breen attempt to send in a scout to see where this ominous portal might go, and it's a scene worthy of Indiana Jones. You're meddling with powers you can't possibly comprehend.

In the B-plot, I simply wrote "Saru!!!" in my notes. Doug Jones finally returns from whatever kept him off the show for the past five episodes, and is quickly dropped into a diplomatic quagmire: In the wake of Primarch Ruhn's death, Primarch Tahal (the one who oversaw the occupation of Kellerun and the death of Rayner's family) has surfaced as the one who intends to take control of all the Breen factions.

In light of this political maneuver, the Federation wants to get ahead of whatever might come next and opens communications with Tahal. Tahal ignores all such overtures. So Rillak and T'Rina decide to force the issue by planning to send a shuttle to intercept Tahal's ship — something that will not be seen as a military confrontation but can't be simply ignored. Saru volunteers. The resulting scene between Saru and T'Rina (who, of course, isn't thrilled that Saru will be going on this mission, but might have ordered him on it anyway as a matter of duty) hits all the right notes in its rational Vulcan arguments. It's an understated reminder of why Saru as a diplomat was a smart idea while also underlining the crime of it being wasted because of whatever scheduling snafu sent Doug Jones off this show for the bulk of the season.

The episode ends on some very Star Trek-y action, with Discovery opening fire on the Breen ship and lots of camera-shaking, phasers, and photon torpedoes. It plays like a greatest hits album, and works. And Rayner's command on the bridge is enjoyable to watch. The character finally feels like he's properly written — no-nonsense and competent. He tries to stall by mostly using the truth. His grumpy reaction to Tilly's goofy response upon being named first officer under his command was great — so much conveyed with just a look. And I liked the detail that he never sits down on the bridge and paces around. And when Tilly tries to over-analyze the reason for that, he shuts her down. It took until Episode 9, but they finally figured this guy out.

The episode ends with Moll and Burnham both having stepped through the portal, followed by the portal being sucked into space and exploded. This means the end of the season will likely come down to the franchise's most infallible hero facing off against the galaxy's most obnoxious would-be villain, wherever they ended up. Hopefully the episode will find some useful sci-fi discoveries in the process.

Some other thoughts:

  • How does Burnham have so much intelligence on the Breen ship and its weaknesses? She devises the heist based on information that she has conveniently received directly from the script.
  • There's one last secret clue that only Burnham knows about: "Build the shape of the one between the many." If history is a guide, I expect Moll will learn this clue from Burnham before the game is over, and then use it against everyone.
  • In the time-honored spirit of inserting a personal storyline into the mechanics of the plot, Burnham keeps eyeing Book and thinking about giving their relationship a second chance. I wish I could say this was worth more than a yawn, but I can't.

Previous episode: Labyrinths
Next episode: Life, Itself

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58 comments on this post

    I never thought I'd say this about a Star Trek show, ever, but I'm glad this one is ending. What a mess, good grief. Contrivance after contrivance after nonsensical behavior after improperly timed Big Emotional Moment ™.

    I've tried so hard to keep an open mind about this show its whole run, but this is just ... Bad TV. The actors, crew and viewers deserve better. Thank God it's ending.

    Just for everyone who wanted to skip to the end of the season so that they could wait for the main plot to actually begin to move with appropriate momentum, this episode begins with a handy, lengthy expository recap of everything that has happened so far and where things stand. Saru is back, you see, and he needs a briefing at Federation HQ to be caught up. Heh. I'm pretty sure this is unintentional hilarity, yet I'm just a little suspicious the writers actually know how thin they've stretched this season-long plot and that they may have exasperated people into tuning out, who are only just now tuning back in.

    Good episode overall though, with few complaints. Even if, as an episode of television, it had very little to say, and is not entertainment of much particular interest or engagement. The bar for Discovery is much lower than such lofty ambitions, so this episode handily clears it.

    . . .

    Breen security is apparently just as bad as Starfleet security. Hey, at least the rival cultures are consistent so we can believe they're evenly matched.

    . . .

    Did Moll say to L'ak's corpse "I *WON'T* bring you back" when she put him in the pattern buffer? I listened to it twice, and I can swear she did. So . . . she doesn't want to resurrect him? Or she won't bring him back to the Breen to be the Scion? Because it really, really seems like she is saying the former. I guess we'll find out what the hell is up with that in a week.

    . . .


    . . .

    The beginning of the episode with the black holes was cool, and an intriguing setup. There's some actual science considered in how to solve a problem, not just Trek science. Tilly starts talking about interesting stuff, like they're "primordial" black holes and that the Progenitors might have put them there, and that they're older than the galaxy (those two things don't track together, but whatever). For just a minute I got a phantom charge of interest, that something cool might happen, that Discovery might have made an attempt at a cool new sci-fi premise. Are we getting a "concept" episode? Is Discovery going to have to work out how to escape the accretion disc of a binary black hole system while damaged, are the crew going to be running around trying ideas to keep them just past the point of no return or the point of crush without being able to make any real progress towards escape, until they figure something out about the Progenitors, the nature of the black holes, and the where the tech is, and use it to escape, as one final challenge or puzzle to be solved?

    No, dummy. Michael Burnham and Book are going to sneak onto the Breen ship so they can shoot phasers and throw punches, duh.

    Okay, but really. Discovery isn't ever going to be that show. I know that. We all, painfully, know that by now. So at least the Breen infiltration was fun. Burnham using cultural knowledge to talk her way past the Breen is fun. Book's go-to move being flirting with a guard--an utterly ridiculous prospect on the face of it given those suits and the mechanical language they speak, yet it hilariously working with details about some kind of oil bath ritual--is fun. Rhys getting to do something? Fun. Adira not being useless? Fun.

    Discovery sending a cloaked shuttle up the exhaust port of the Breen ship, that can only survive long enough to beam our heroes aboard before being destroyed by said exhaust? Fun. Discovery ramming itself into the shuttlebay of the Breen ship to extract Burnham and Book when things go sideways? Fun. Hey, listen you Breen. You build a ridiculously massive ship, these are the things that can happen. Your exhaust ports are too large and entire starships can swoop into your shuttlebay and steal things. Be more practical next time, okay?

    . . .

    Every time the new bridge people get lines and start talking, I just can't help thinking that, without Owo and Detmer and Bryce and Saru and Nilsson on that bridge, it just doesn't feel like Starfleet sent their A team on this mission to retrieve the Progenitor tech. And if it doesn't feel like Starfleet thought it was important enough to make sure their entire A team is on it, it just undermines how important and pressing and threatening this whole season-long plot arc is, doesn't it. It's totally a small thing, that the feel is off, and yet, it matters.

    . . .

    All that money the show (very painfully and very obviously) didn't spend in the middle of the season? They spent some of it here. And yet, it just felt like an adequate amount of money was being spent, didn't it? It didn't feel like they were spending big. There wasn't really any "wow," despite the cool shot of Discovery attacking the Breen shuttlebay, then ramming it, with the nacelles latched onto the top of the struts rather than at the end of them where they're usually kept. Changing up the model like that cost a few extra dollars, for sure.

    I expect we'll see even more money spent next week than this week, or at least I seriously hope so. I hope they were given it to spend. We need to see some real stakes or this arc is going to be a complete and total bust. I mean, that's where it is now, but much depends on how you stick the landing.

    . . .

    Burnham pulling Book aside to talk about her feelings while they're in the middle of infiltrating a Breen ship and they are seriously exposed and time is of paramount concern and of the greatest essence. Of course that's going to happen. It's Discovery's go-to move. They literally can't not. And of course every viewer groaned and rolled their eyes at that point. Right? Right.

    But before diving in, Burnham actually gives a self-aware "Now's not an ideal time, but--" line right after the requisite "There's something I need to tell you" line and pulling Book aside for The Chat, and I swear, I SWEAR, she looks right at the camera for just the moment she's delivering it.

    I mean, she's got a helmet on so it's hardly definitively breaking the fourth wall, but I just wonder if this is a little nod from SMG about the absurdity of this. Like her way of saying "Listen, I don't write it, they pay me to say this shit."

    Okay, probably not. But at least the writers threw in that self-aware line for Burnham about how ridiculous and inappropriate a situation by all the rules of drama that they were choosing to insert that moment into. On some level, it shows that they know what they're doing ain't great writing or storytelling.

    . . .

    Some callbacks and paying off of season-long character arcs in this episode, thin as they were. Adira gets the confidence to Do Something. Tilly and Rayner banter about how she's the only one annoying enough to him to be his first officer (that is what he said, right? It's what I heard, anyway). Stamets and Culber get a marriage moment as Adira goes off to college on the Breen ship. Saru gets to leverage all the Important Things he was allegedly doing off screen all season into being selected to get on a shuttle that will allow him to be with Discovery for the final episode of the season.

    . . .

    So there's one episode left. And then we will all be left to wax poetical about what we think the legacy of Discovery will be in the decades to come. Let's resist the temptation to jump in with our thoughts about that now, although I'm aware that by writing this I may have prompted such a discussion. We can see the show out first. It's just one more week to wait.

    StarMan's log, Stardate 50893.5. The moment I have dreaded for seven weeks has finally arrived. Discovery, the final season, is airing its penultimate episode. And this time, I have to watch.

    The recap did not cover everything I hoped it would. Still, I managed to follow along easily enough.

    *Some* moments had their charm (a few scenes when in disguise as the Breen).

    Rayner? I like.

    Unfortunately, the bulk of the episode is classic penultimate episode territory; lots of expositional blather that I checked out of fairly quickly. It wasn't particularly engaging watching them jump from one close call to the next, either.

    Also, the actress playing Moll (if that is her name) didn't impress.

    I haven't got the rest of the season to compare it to. I didn't hate it, but it was nowhere near what qualifies as good in my books. It was as 'Discovery' I would expect.

    Just a big ol' nothingburger. At the very least, watching this episode vindicated my decision to skip the season.

    As a side: I always like to watch something entertaining / engaging with my dinner. Tonight, I didn't do that. Tonight, I watched Star Trek Discovery.

    Tomorrow, episode 5 of Shogun.

    I will enjoy dinner tomorrow, I think.

    Next week, the final finale ever of Star Trek Discovery.

    I think I can watch it.

    I CAN watch it.. ?

    After a few underwhelming episodes, this one exceeded my expectations - likely in part due to Jonathan Frakes's direction. There was still stuff here that I was mixed on, though - with one exception - that had to do with the status of the story within the greater arc, not the episode itself.

    The opening scene with Saru essentially getting briefed by T'Rina and Rillak was a bit confusing to me. First, because of the strange within-universe contrivance to allow Saru to be incommunicado in an era where there's instant subspace communication pretty much everywhere (somehow, Discovery apparently reported back to Federation HQ between episodes, after all). But more than that was the comment that Primarch Ruhn had been killed by Moll. How the hell did would they know that? No one but Breen soldiers were witness to it, and the Breen are not known for open communication with the Federation. I can just about believe that maybe the Breen ship got out word that Primarch Ruhn was dead, but not that it was explicitly by Moll's hand, as that would be something that would weaken the faction's position.

    I think the "twist" of the Breen getting to MacGuffin first was a great one that could have punched a big emotional punch. One of the central issues with this episode is Discovery never really felt behind the ball when it came to the "amazing race" and here, finally, they seem to have lost. Unfortunately, the promotional material (trailers, episode synopses, advance photos, etc.) completely gave this away, which spoiled things.

    The episode then shifts into heist mode for most of its runtime (until the big bombastic ending). I thought this stuff was legitimately great. It had the classic heist trope where the leader (in this case Michael) goes through the plan in detail, and thankfully, the plan does go awry (this is a key rule in storytelling - only explain the plan when it doesn't work). I liked that Rhys (the last of the O.G. bridge crew) was given a role on this away mission. I liked they decided to touch back on Stamets paternal feelings towards Adira. I loved seeing Rayner in command of Discovery in Michael's absence (and rebuffing Tilly's pep talk). I didn't even mind the heart-to-heart between Book and Michael - it was short, and not really overwrought.

    What I didn't like, however, was the Breen were reduced to bumbling Imperial stormtroopers - more comic relief than anything resembling an impediment to Michael, Book, Adira, and Rhys. I don't think I've seen a case where an antagonist has been defanged this quickly. It also didn't help that they continue to be deferential to Moll, who remains one note - a woman in her mid 30s (or at least, an actor of that age) written like a sullen teenager. The episode seems to realize that neither Moll nor her Breen minions convey any threat at all, as it introduces the prospect of a new threat - some other Primarch, who will be intimidating for reals. I don't think every story needs a "villain" at all, but it's been hard all season to be invested in the stakes because the forces arrayed against our heroes just don't seem...all that.

    Turning back for a second to the B plot aboard Federation HQ, I thought these scenes were...fine. I'm glad that we spend more time with these characters (I'm surprised Vance and Kovich aren't around as well), and that we get to see T'Rina and Saru sort of fumble about a bit as a couple again. This is the first confirmation I've seen that T'Rina is Vulcan, right? I think earlier episodes made it unclear if she was Vulcan or Romulan, though the name would suggest the former. I don't know how I feel about Saru going to meet another Breen Primarch in the finale, because it's clearly going to be a B (if not C) plot, and it's hard to see how there will be any stakes whatsoever conveyed with an antagonist given ten minutes of screen time.

    Still, a good episode. It's just...not something that should have happened with the penultimate episode. Better suited for an episode 8 or even 7 of a serialized season.

    Michael couldn't you at least try to walk like a Breen instead of sashying along?!

    And why didn't Discovery stick a tractor beam on the artifact the moment they located it?! Instead they stand there yapping about the artifact and oh what a surprise (not!!!) when the Breen turned up and took it instead...

    Yeah I don't know how Federation HQ know Moll killed Bruhn but these plots have more holes in them than a string vest. I do tend to fast forward when Moll turns up as she's so annoying so I might've missed something.

    @Karl Zimmerman - good observation re: penultimate episode. I also thought it seemed an odd one leading into the finale.

    Particularly a series finale. It will be interesting to see what additional scenes were filmed and how well they integrate with what they had. Perhaps it's going to be something brief at the end, rather than woven into the finale itself. I suppose there was only so much that could be done with limited funds after primary filming had wrapped.

    For people who thought Voyager jumped the warpcore with Unimatrix Zero, here comes Discovery... The scheme to recover the artifact by is dangerously farfetched. And of course it all goes off without a hitch, because of course it does.

    And why did they need that plan in the first place? Like Artymiss said: it makes no sense that the Breen (trans)warp in and have the artifact in a tractor beam in less than two seconds. It's plot convenience that only happens so the episode can happen.

    At this stage in the game, I don't even know what the point of having Saru around is anymore. And will we see Detmer and Owo again before the series is done? Will they be flying the ISS Enterprise with the rest of the fleet to fight off Tarul... Who we're told is on her way, but clearly not as fast as Moll's Breen.

    And how will Discovery end next week? Well... As some us have jokingly foretold here recently: chances are Michael Burnham will lovingly sacrifice herself to take over as the original Progenitor and become the mother of us all.

    God help us.

    It was enjoyable but the cerebral element of Star Trek is mostly all gone.
    Action is fine but it is too much

    Rayner was excellent. The start was excellent with the black holes.
    For example, I would not have imagined that it started with TNG The Chase and it becoming this...
    I would have been nice and "full circle" to include some connection to the Cardassians, Klingons and the Romulans

    To all you that don't like the show: don't watch the ending. Walk away from it. You'll find it helps. Sincerely the 24th Century Deconditioning Bureau.

    The most competent and blunder-free episode of the season. It's mostly action but is decent well-paced action, no doubt owing to the steady and experienced hand of Jonathan Frakes. And nothing feels gratuitous and tacked-on unlike some previous episodes. It gives the sense that maybe they should've been aiming for a lean 45 minute experience every time, like former episodic Trek.

    Random thoughts:

    - It's amusing that it appears as if Burnham and crew spend so much time geeking out about the Progenitor Tech that's right in front of them that they still manage to lose the race to the Breen...but actually it's not right in front of them, but ~60,000 km out, which is out of range.

    - On second thought, would it really have taken them so long to reach it at that distance? According to the Voyager Technical Manual, full impulse is 74,770 km/s so maybe they really did squander precious time chatting.

    - I'm glad they didn't put too fine a point on Raynor not taking the captain's if someone with his experience would have cold feet about captaining. The actor certainly show no hesitancy or reluctance in how Raynor's portrayed.

    - that's why the Breen ship is so ridiculously huge: it's so that Discovery could pull that crazy stunt with the needlessly massive shuttle bay.

    - Why would Burnham suddenly, recklessly jump inside the portal..? What's to be gained? She knows the Tech is as good as Discovery's now so why take the risk of insta-death? A good Starfleet officer does the science first before they leap. Even if she's vindicated in her belief that everyone who already jumped is just safely chilling in there, she knows that none of them have the final clue but her. At that point, it would have been much wiser to at least include a security detail (especially since it's now 2 Breen and Mol vs her) ...but naturally it's always gotta be Burnham and Burnham alone who crosses the finish line.

    I thought last week’s episode, “Labyrinths”, was one of the better episodes this season. This episode continues that trend. My hopes for the finale are a bit higher than they were a month ago.

    [1] Good pacing and action with a focus on the mission.
    [2] As far as B-plots go, Rayner has made for an excellent B-plot this season.
    [3] I loved hearing Rayner say to Tilly, “I wouldn’t kill you… unless you gave me more of that warm and fuzzy encouragement that I don’t need.”
    [4] The Breen flirting and oil bath was pretty funny!
    [5] I continue to love seeing Saru’s and T’Rina’s lovers’ dialogues. I think it’s one of the few things Discovery has done well in the second half of the series.

    [a] On the penultimate episode, I think I’ve made my peace that every Discovery episode will have inappropriately-timed emotional talks.

    [i] Is everyone used to everyone else transporting in unannounced? Why does anyone even walk around the hallways anymore?

    @Jeffrey’s Tube: “Did Moll say to L'ak's corpse "I *WON'T* bring you back" when she put him in the pattern buffer?”
    → Subtitles say Moll used the word “will” and not “won’t”.

    Can this be over? I'm a completist and I'm really trying but this is way worse than the bad moments of Voyager or Enterprise. Season 2 of Picard which was abysmal is even more watchable. The plot is incoherent. One minute Discovery and the Federation as a whole are no match for the Breen and the next they can go toe to toe. While I'm used to the emotional nature of Discovery, the moments are just inappropriately placed. Rayner, who might be the best addition this season is chided by Tilly during a crisis? Why? Michael and Book share a "moment" in deep cover when time is of the essence. Why, just why? I understand suspension of disbelief, but everything about this show has generated in to pure disbelief. Can I hope for a passable ending? I probably know better than to take that bet


    When they found the structure, why didn’t they immediately try to engage a tractor beam, or try to beam it in, or start moving the ship closer instead of talking?

    Why did Stamets and Culber walk Adira to the shuttle, only to have them just beam away?

    Why did Moll wait until now to preserve Lak’s body?

    Why did Michael pause this important mission to chat with her ex?

    Why did Rhys insist on a few minutes of combat before asking Discovery for a beam out?

    This could be the worst outing of the season (thankfully it was the shortest I think) -- just devoid of anything intelligent, more empty action scenes and bad Trek. "Lagrange Point" is a pretty dumb title as well -- just because the structure with the Progenitors' tech was found between 2 black holes...

    Maybe the somewhat barely redeeming features are that Saru is back and he steps up, has a half-decent conversation with his bride-to-be about logic/duty over emotion, lives of service (reminded me a bit of "Journey to Babel" with Spock/Sarek -- though I feel ashamed of sullying that TOS classic by mentioning it amid this DSC garbage).

    Realizing more and more that Moll is a terrible character played by a weak actress. Any scene with her in it just falls flat.

    And Tilly was super-annoying here again. If Rayner wants to pace and not sit in the captain's chair, who is she to tell him what to do? And then she's expressing her doubts about his daring plan -- which seemed to make sense. But Rayner has to praise her, of course.

    Burnham's plan to board the Breen warship etc. is the kind of crap that's been concocted many many times and it plays out predictably with the customary fisticuffs, shenanigans, deception, wise cracks. The only thing is if anything interesting comes from going through the portal...

    1.5 stars for "Lagrange Point" -- nowhere near good enough in terms of story told or any kind of themes, ideas etc. Can happen in a serialized season where one episode gets shortchanged and for me that's what happened here. There's just nothing here pretty much from the start as compared with prior episodes that started much more promisingly.

    @Dirty Dancer: "To all you that don't like the show: don't watch the ending. Walk away from it. You'll find it helps. Sincerely the 24th Century Deconditioning Bureau."

    I skipped the rest of the season; I'm not even allowed to check in at the end to ensure the door hits its ass on the way out?

    There's no winning with some people.

    Starman - I couldn't care less what you do with yourself. But if you do watch, the door will be hitting you on the way out.

    Did I miss something or did Tilly imply the progenitors tech had been out there a really long time ago, but then later in the same scene say it was 800 years old?

    @Klanky - I think Tilly meant the two black holes had been out here a very long time, not the tech.

    I rewatched the scene where Discovery punches through the shields when entering the Breen shuttle bay. There's a cool CGI effect where the Discovery nacelles move in towards the center of the ship. I thought that was a nice detail to add!

    It's a trope as old as time that henchmen and baddies are a dim-witted so to allow the protagonists can go about their plans.
    But it's a wonder the Breen weren't walking into walls and shooting themselves in the face.

    Apologies, me write English good

    It's a trope as old as time that henchmen and baddies are dim-witted, allowing the protagonists to go about their plans. But it's a wonder the Breen weren't walking into walls and shooting themselves in the face.

    Back to the frantic all-over-the-place action and plot. Any reason the Breen just didn't warp right out of there? Any? Don't recall hearing it.

    Whatever. We're almost done.

    The Progenitors morphed from "We seeded the primordial oceans" -- something I always thought of as something as simple as a sneeze, e.g., they left some bacterium behind -- into "We created all life in the galaxy with something scarier than Genesis. If you get your hands on this TECH, you'll be able to instantly comprehend it, then use it to conquer the galaxy, even though it's basically the same as giving Julius Caesar a thermonuclear device. Watch as Ancient Rome figures out both nuclear theory and practical engineering in an afternoon! All they needed was some TECH!"

    Oh hey, 'member Genesis? There's no way the payoff to this adolescent treasure hunt is going to be half as good as that scene on the bridge, "I feel young."

    Speaking of adolescent treasure hunts, I'm gonna go watch The Goonies; they told this story better. ;-)

    Yawn. At least it's almost over.

    Oh Discovery. Why do you create these situations where there should be this massive sense of urgency, then squander them with pointless chatting. Not since the second Abrams Trek film with Uhura and Spock do I remember so much "let's stop what we're doing and just chat!". At least in that scene, they did it while flying in a shuttle, so they were making progress towards their mission.

    That doesn't happen in Discovery, where all personal matters and opportunities to tell your truth and grow as a person is of great weight than whatever the mission. CONTROL is about to take control of the galaxy or whatever and wipe out all sentient life? Sure, but can it wait for a protracted goodbye scene? We're infiltrating a hostile Breen ship, but let's stop and speak of our relationship! The TECH is right in front of us, but let's stop and just talk about it for a few, it'll wait.

    I will never comprehend this show's writing. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if some vampire out of a YA novel appears in the final episode and we have a whole 20 minute side plot where the vampire and Tilly explore their angst over some coffee. It's like they can't help themselves with extremely uneven pacing, WB/UPN/CW network level dialogue, and scores of unused and underdeveloped characters to make way for Burnham. And Book may as well be a commander himself now as in every episode he's a superior choice to whatever Starfleet officer on Discovery that should be fulfilling that job with professional training. At least in this episode there was a conference room scene where people could bring their ideas before Burnham's magic and infallible insight came up with a way to get the TECH back.

    It doesn't matter. I watched it because it was Star Trek, but man, this was a chore. Thank heavens for Saru, the only other character that's got some development (maybe Tilly as well--I liked her character in the first couple of seasons before she got too over the top).

    At least Strange New Worlds realizes there is a larger crew than four people.

    @ Mark “Why do you create these situations where there should be this massive sense of urgency, then squander them with pointless chatting.”

    Because they don’t have nearly enough story to stretch out for 10 hours.

    Think of every Discovery season to date and imagine the core story condensed down to a two’ish hour movie. With a competent director (Frakes) it would work great.

    Conversely, think of the best Trek movies, Khan, Voyage Home, and First Contact, then imagine them stretched out into a 10 hour long miniseries. I doubt we would remember them as fondly. And Discovery ain’t even a true miniseries, like Roots, or The Winds of War; I don’t recall them leaning on faux-cliffhangers to keep the audience coming back.

    I do not understand why TPTB are so stubbornly fixated on this form of storytelling. My supposition is they had a mandate to copy the Netflix model. How well is that working out for them? Paramount will soon cease to exist as an independent concern. 🙁

    "Build the shape of the one between the many"

    I wonder if this refers to Kurlan naiskos -- the ceramic figurine statue from TNG The Chase that Galen gifted to Picard. It was one person/figure with several smaller figures inside it.

    2/4 stars… probably the best of the season. It was a fairly entertaining high stakes infiltration episode as long as you don’t think too hard about it. The plot was kind of like Ocean’s Eleven if it was written by an 8-year old with fetal alcohol syndrome.

    Here’s the real problem: When you are creating a main villain, it should either be
    (1) Someone whose motivations are mysterious or unknowable begging you want more (The Joker, Hannibal Lecter), or
    (2) Someone who has complex motivations that you might even be able to relate to (Khan, Magneto, Ozymandias)

    It’s why Thor was so great and Thor 2 sucked. Unfortunately, they made a thoroughly unlikable villain with boring motivations, and who is so one-note (the angstiest note), that we don’t really want to know any more about her. This episode has some great concepts and great direction, but I think the show has already lost most of its goodwill many episodes, if not seasons, ago. Let’s get on to next week and finally bury this show!

    Discovery: Where the black holes are binary, but the cast isn’t.

    It was fine for a standard action-based ep, when that spinning shot popped up in opening I thought we had an Osunsanmi ep but looks like Frakes has been getting inspiration - finale will be Osunsanmi, I expect ridiculous shots galore to go out with a bang.

    Book-burnham convo midheist was so very dumb, at least it was counterbalanced with Rayner's reply to Tilly and his competence on the bridge, if nothing else at least this season gave us Rayner. I admit the silly Book-breen flirting had me grin, actor sold it well.

    Finale is titled Life, Itself. With a title like that, I expect the most Discoiest of Disco eps.

    Apropos of nothing, I just watched the latest Doctor Who episode (73 Yards), and THAT'S the kind of ambition Star Trek needs to get back in its storytelling.

    I have nothing more to add. Jammer said it all. He said it was stupid. But why he gave it three stars I don't know. I would probably give it one and a half or two stars or something?

    It's not funny enough to be an action comedy. In the episodes spends half the time not even trying. And it's too stupid to be a serious drama. Moll is unwatchable.

    Jammer's ratings long ago jumped the shark. His reviews are generally thoughtful but his ratings of DISC and Picard are inflated nonsense. He claims that each show has its own bell curve of sorts -- that a 3 star rating for TNG does not equate to a 3 star rating for DISC. That's a contrivance that renders his scale useless as a means of comparing the relative worth of shows.

    @Dirty Dancer

    I prefer ratings upon a 10 point scale and absolute to all shows not just Voyager or Discovery. I think Jammer came up with his rating system back in 1994 or 1995 and it would be difficult to change it now.

    What, because Discovery is subjectively worse than your favorite 3 star episode of DS9, suddenly the system is wrong? Get over yourself.

    Discovery has its fans and they deserve some sort of intelligent scale to judge the value of one episode of Discovery from another.

    This show is literally "aggressively mediocre". It's doing nothing to make itself memorable but boy is it loud and pushy in doing so.

    @ dw “Jammer said it all. He said it was stupid. But why he gave it three stars I don't know.”

    He says it pretty plainly: “At this point, I'm resigned to success for this show just being the telling of competent action yarns rather than doing anything interesting or thoughtful.”

    Discovery gets the benefit of low expectations. 🤷🏻‍♂️

    We need to see Rayner on some better Star Trek series. He is head and shoulders better than the rest of the cast on Discovery--and like Anson Mount in season 2--just takes over the screen. I wonder if they could put him into Strange New Worlds, playing an ancestor of the Disco Rayner.

    P.S. No offense to Saru. He is good, too. And I'll say until the day I die that he would have been a far better captain than Michael cry-whisper-nonsensical- backstory Burnham.

    Jammer - "At this point, I'm resigned to success for this show just being the telling of competent action yarns rather than doing anything interesting or thoughtful."

    This struck me as having a similar tone to the reviews you were writing of Voyager in its later seasons. Not specifically the part about action yarns; just the resigned acknowledgement that the show would never be better than this.

    "the telling of competent action yarns rather than doing anything interesting or thoughtful."

    To me this is pretty much the definition of a 2* episode (even if it marks success for DSC S5).

    But then you add in some Tilly stupidity, how the awful Moll character can now be running a Breen warship, Burnham and Book with attempts to sort out their relationship while infiltrating the Breen -- it just outweighed some good moments for Rayner + some honest Trek dialog between Saru & T'Rina. Fell just shy of 2* for me.

    Given talk of the veracity of Jammer's rating, I thought I'd have a quick scan of some episodes for comparison:

    3-star episodes:
    - The Offspring (TNG)
    - Family (TNG)
    - For The Uniform (DS9)

    3-½ star episodes:
    - The Drumhead (TNG)
    - Call To Arms (DS9)

    All I can say is, the idea that 'Lagrange Point' is of comparable quality to the first three episodes, and just shy of the second two, is a tough pill to swallow.

    Was Andromeda on a bell curve?

    The Topic That Never Dies: Jammer's star ratings.

    I've said my piece on this many times. Do with the star ratings what you will. Ignore them entirely if you wish. If I enjoy an episode well enough, I will recommend it.

    Three stars is a range (arguably too broad) that includes all kinds of things, enjoyed on all different levels. Star Trek does all kinds of different things. An absolute scale along those lines would be both impossible and useless.

    And, as I said, I genuinely enjoyed "Lagrange Point" for what it was, even as I poked fun at its stupid elements and weaknesses. At the end of they day, I have to make a call. The call is what it was. So there we are.

    I look at the star ratings as "this episode is better/worse than these other episodes from the same season." They're useful for that.

    I still probably wouldn't have given any episode from this season greater than two stars, but I recognize that a four star system for relative rankings is useless if you don't use two of the stars.

    If you won’t like the star rating assigned, come up with your own and defend it. Create your own website and assign each episode on a scale beginning with negative one going all the way down to negative one thousand. For nearly 30 years, Jammer’s star system has worked for me, in allowing me to pick, relatively speaking, which are the turkeys, which are so-so, which are good, very good, and which are outstanding. Not that I am suggesting Jammer works with such logic or not, but there is simply nothing wrong with a system that allows for grading using a generic approach- how good is something for what it is or it tends to do? Without a system that has this play in the joints, the only reviews that would exist be those pronouncing Everything Everywhere All At Once to be objectively better than Interstellar (or vice v eras) we’d be in a world where critical orthodoxy has positive normative values- where some genres and tales within them are inherently better than others simply because of subject matter. Zzzz

    Re star ratings: keep doing what you do, Jammer. I'm willing to bet most of your readership finds them helpful (I sure do.) It's just the malcontents who feel like brining it up.

    I am sooooooo sick of Moll. At least L'ak had the courtesy to die.

    The only reason the Breen worked is that they were a mystery and third-tear bad guys behind the Dominion and Cardassians. Putting them front and center betrays how uninteresting they are, and the fact they're OK with a human commanding them just because her dead lover is their scion is laughable. On a ship that size there would be several attempts to challenge her or take her out.

    I love how little ST:D cares about the bridge crew that they'd swap out Oso and Detmer and replace them with new crew members without any comment.

    All these complaints aside, Frakes is a pro at crafting an exciting and entertaining episode of television, and that's no different here. I can't complain with the three-star rating. In fact, I don't see the finale topping it, since it has a lot of work to do tying a bow around another season-long meandering mess.

    Rayner is great in a Jellico/Shaw and I agree that he's finally achieved his ideal form this week, especially when he finally sits down in the chair.

    @ philadjl “Frakes is a pro at crafting an exciting and entertaining episode of television, and that's no different here.”

    No argument with this. I suspect it’s one reason the installment was 40’ish minutes long.

    Fun anecdote, learned a few weeks ago that a colleague worked with Frakes on a project pre pandemic. He says Frakes personally served lunch to the entire crew each day of the shoot. Class act of the best kind.

    If the Picard movie does happen I hope he’s the one directing it.

    @Leif, couldn’t have said it better myself ;)

    @Rahul offers the only praise I could think of for this episode, "thankfully it was the shortest I think”.

    @Dirty Dancer hits the nail on the head, "Jammer's ratings long ago jumped the shark. His reviews are generally thoughtful but his ratings of DISC and Picard are inflated nonsense.”

    Inflated nonsense. @Jammer, dude, what’s going on? 3 stars for the second-to-last episode of DS9 “The Dogs of War” and 3 stars for this second-to-last episode of ST:D?!? Name one scene in “Lagrange Point” that rises to the level of Quark’s epic play on Picard’s famous words:

    Who is the operatic Damar in “Lagrange Point”? Moll???

    In “The Dogs of War” Odo learns that Section 31 infected him. A scene so epic you chose it as the opening quote to your review:

    "Interesting, isn't it? The Federation claims to abhor Section 31's tactics, but when they need the dirtywork done, they look the other way. It's a tidy little arrangement, wouldn't you say?”

    What do we get that comes even close in “Lagrange Point”? Book asking some Breen dude out to the prom?

    If you want to watch a fun Star Trek heist episode, may I suggest Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang. Oh wait, @Jammer gave that one only 2 1/2 stars.

    @Dirty Dancer says, "He claims that each show has its own bell curve of sorts”. Yeah, I know. The soft bigotry of low expectations.

    So what review would I give for this episode? To quote a great man: "I wish I could say this was worth more than a yawn, but I can’t.”

    @Mal -- "Inflated nonsense. @Jammer, dude, what’s going on? 3 stars for the second-to-last episode of DS9 “The Dogs of War” and 3 stars for this second-to-last episode of ST:D?!? Name one scene in “Lagrange Point” that rises to the level of Quark’s epic play on Picard’s famous words"

    Allow me to chime in as a neutral observer, as I caught this sentence while scrolling through the Comment Thread having seen neither "Lagrange Point" nor "The Dogs of War" (yet).

    I suspect that Jammer rates every episode or movie on this site according to its own merits, essentially in a vacuum, as do most critics that use ranking systems. Rather than saying, "Lagrange Point belongs in the Star Trek three-star club," he's saying, "Lagrange Point is a three-star episode of television."

    At least that's what I suspect. @Jammer, correct me if I'm wrong.

    Y'all are too fixated on the star rating when there's an 11+ paragraph review to digest and discuss.

    I suspect assigning a star rating consumes less than 5% of the time Jammer spends on these reviews.

    But if the review gets three stars, how will that affect the episode's final score on JammerCritic? If it doesn't get at least 3 1/2 stars aggregated, I won't get my bonus!

    @Proud Capitalistic Pig: "I suspect that Jammer rates every episode or movie on this site according to its own merits, essentially in a vacuum, as do most critics that use ranking systems. Rather than saying, "Lagrange Point belongs in the Star Trek three-star club," he's saying, "Lagrange Point is a three-star episode of television. At least that's what I suspect. @Jammer, correct me if I'm wrong."

    I've said as much, including earlier in this very thread.

    Like I said, three stars is a range. Four stars is closer to a club, but still not even. You will note there are almost no four-star ratings in Star Trek 2017+. I handed a lot of those out in the DS9 days, and for good reason.

    I can't even believe this season has been as bad as it has. I wasn't going to even comment, but this episode got so utter ridiculous it took me right out of the story as soon as they arrive at the location. I know it's impossible to accurately depict this kind of scale of heavenly bodies on the small screen, but if you're going to pick a (highly unstable) Lagrange point between two black holes as your setting you have to do a better job of it than that.

    Black holes that close together (scale notwithstanding) should be orbiting each other at significant fractions of C not just sitting there stationary, lewdly ogling you in the background. (But maybe that level of time dilation explains the Breen arriving at the speed of plot. Nothing else does.) Accretion discs stretched between two holes should be hell itself. Just the tides alone should rip your ship to shrapnel. Such a disappointing season. They should've gone out last season on a high note.

    Three stars, I agree with the substance of Jammer’s review here. It’s a fairly decent middle-tier action Trek, well paced and well acted, which makes it an A- Disco Trek by the lowered standards of this messy series. Glad to see Saru again, and with a meaty role. I like the playful Tilly-Rayner dynamic. But it’s nothing especially meaningful or memorable.

    Some other impressions:

    *This series at the end still feels to me like a natural heir to Enterprise — a fairly boring weekly rehearsal of tired franchise elements and repetitive plot beats, with diminishing returns even as it tries harder and harder.

    *This is the first Trek series of the digital age and it feels like the first to be driven by streaming — like the studio is constantly rebooting the characters and plots to become clickbait. It reminds me of the worst excesses of Votager, which ran constant gimmicks at us (dinosaurs! Pro wrestling!) in a desperate bid to prop up the doomed UPN network.

    *This series is worse than both Voyager and Enterprise, even though it likely cost more than both put together, because of the endless rotation of producers and writers. Earlier Treks had a fairly consistent vision and arc, even though they nearly all (back to TOS) switched producing/writing teams at some point. Disco is all over the map with characters and plotting, with more loose threads than a carpetbag.

    *I’d rather rewatch TNG’s The Chase than sit through this season 5 ever again. When I was a kid, I found The Chase to be mystical and spiritual in an almost surreal way.

    *Rayner has grown on me. After starting out as an example of the Crazed Starfleet Captain trope with a dash of Captain Jellicho, he’s become more of a Captain Decker from TMP, holding his own with the series regulars in a complementarity way while advancing his own character arc. There’s some surprisingly decent writing and acting invested in this character, so kudos to the final team behind the series for that.

    *I like the core regulars on Discovery who have survived from season one: Burnham, Saru, Tilly, Stamets, and the doctor. It’s a shame that none of them seem to be growing as characters in any compelling way at the end of this series; they all seem so perfect ala TNG’s original cast that there’s no vulnerability to identify with. Burnham was only truly interesting before she became Captain, when she had an edge.

    *My biggest problem with this season it needed to be more Wrath of Khan than Motion Picture in its use of the main cast. As with TMP’s Decker and Ilia, the problem with giving the only compelling stories to guest characters (Rayner and Book) is that the regulars just sit around in the background doing less interesting things. Wrath of Khan played the likable regulars off each other more effectively, rising to its best scene (the death of Spock) without guest stars taking over. I wish Discovery treated its characters in a more interesting way.

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