Star Trek: Discovery

“Red Directive”

2 stars.

Air date: 4/4/2024
Written by Michelle Paradise
Directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi

Review Text

Discovery wants so badly to have my attention. It seems, at times, to forget that it's Star Trek, and that the people who watch it are already willing to grant it their full attention. "Red Directive" opens with the tiredest of 21st-century streaming-TV cold-open clichés, as we join Captain Burnham in the middle of an unfolding context-free action sequence before the episode flashes back to "four hours earlier." It's as if the episode needs its own in-episode promo reel to prove to us that the Amazing Action Sequences are coming. Way to go, Discovery — only 30 seconds into the first episode in two years, and you already have me rolling my eyes.

If the action were any good, that might mitigate its pointlessness, but the two set pieces in "Red Directive" are pretty lame. The first is the one previewed in the teaser, in which Burnham rides atop a fleeing alien vessel at warp speed (in defiance of the laws of physics) while trying to disable the ship with her hand phaser (or something). The second involves a pursuit on speeding hoverbikes on a desert planet that feels lifted out of the Star Wars discount bin, ultimately ending with a mountainside rockslide.

Both sequences are prolonged beyond all reason and filled with implausibly delivered exposition and side-banter shouted at high volumes over the action-noise. Both feature elaborate but ultimately excessive and unconvincing B-movie CGI effects. Both had me zoned completely out of the episode and waiting for the writers to get on with it already. Yet, the story treats these scenes as the big showcases, as if Star Trek has something to prove to Marvel and Star Wars. Well, it's not proving anything, and it's boring me in the process.

"Red Directive" alternates patience-straining sequences like this against far more engaging intrigue and mystery scenes that should really be what this is all about. Dr. Kovich and Admiral Vance assign Burnham and the Discovery to a top-priority, top-secret "red directive" mission where not even Burnham is provided with the true objectives. What's so important? It involves mysterious cargo on an 800-year-old Romulan vessel that must be retrieved at all costs. But an adventurous thrill-seeking couple — a human named Moll (Eve Harlow) and a man of unidentified species named L'ak (Elias Toufexis) — are a step ahead, and they obtain the mystery cargo from the Romulan vessel first and escape. The chase is on, and the action sequences grow from there.

When Moll and L'ak slip through Discovery's grasp, Burnham convinces Starfleet to let her bring Booker into the mission, given his connections and experience as a courier and tracker. Book's sentence is basically extended community service and he must go wherever the Federation sends him, so this mission brings him back into Burnham's orbit after a long time of the two not talking. There's clearly unfinished business here, though the two (maybe) officially call it quits by the end of the episode. It's difficult for me to be too terribly invested in this relationship, because the Burnham/Book romance was never something that ever clicked.

Book's research trail leads to a backwater desert planet where an artifact dealer named Fred (a centuries-old android inspired by the Soong model line) unlocks the mysterious artifact and finds inside it the diary of the long-dead Romulan. Moll and L'ak escape again, this time on hoverbikes, leading to the aforementioned hoverbike desert sequence.

There are things here to like, such as J. Adam Brown's quirky but also familiar take on the Fred android character. And there's interest to be found in the investigative details and the mystery surrounding the long-dead Romulan scientist. There's also a new major character introduced for the season, the no-nonsense Captain Rayner (Callum Keith Rennie, previously seen on Battlestar Galactica), who has strong opinions and disagrees frequently with Burnham on tactics, including how to capture Moll and L'ak, who cause the massive rockslide during their escape attempt.

Kovich is finally forced to show his cards when Tilly does some digging through the databases and discovers the identity of the Romulan scientist. He was Dr. Vellek, and was present at the revelation at the end of TNG's "The Chase" — which revealed the seeding of the building blocks of humanoid life across the galaxy by an ancient civilization (here dubbed the "Progenitors") billions of years ago — and he put all his subsequent research on the matter into his diary, which is now in Moll's and L'ak's possession. (The diary functions like the Holy Grail diary in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, guiding — and driving — us through the initial plot points.) Vellek apparently had found the location of the ancient civilization's advanced technology used to design "life itself," and put the clues in his book. It goes without saying that such technology in the wrong hands could unleash catastrophe.

Season five comes billed as a "galactic treasure hunt," and it's an open question whether such a formula can be sustained for 10 episodes without falling apart. "The Chase," was an entertaining lark, despite its larger-than-life pretentions that would be unwise to take seriously. But "'The Chase' for an entire season" is a risky prospect when you consider "The Chase" was only 45 minutes — and built up to a revelation that had a Klingon character mock it as an anticlimax, as if to head off one possible reaction by the audience. I'm not sure what more we can milk out of this premise aside from a bunch of detours of clues leading to clues.

Some other thoughts:

  • This show often feels too overproduced to feel lived-in and real. Consider the ancient Romulan ship, with all its excessive, kewl flashy lights and slick contours. This feels like a hopelessly staged environment to provide an action-movie setting or amusement-park ride, not a plausible wreck of a derelict ship.
  • Culber, always being a good mental health doc, wants to know how Book is doing, not what he's doing.
  • Stamets frets over his purpose and legacy, with the goal of developing more spore drives abandoned by Starfleet in favor of a different drive program.
  • I can't decide if I want to laugh or cringe (maybe both?) at Tilly and her attempts to chat up a guy after he walks her back from the social. Her series of weird faces after the nonplussed guy leaves her quarters is either comic gold or unmitigated embarrassment. Ah, Tilly. You're a strange one.
  • We get at least one Olatunde Osunsanmi Orbit (OOO), endlessly circling Stamets and Adira around a console for no good reason other than to draw needless attention to the (bad) cinematography. Some things never change.

Previous episode: Coming Home
Next episode: Under the Twin Moons

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49 comments on this post

    I said I wouldn't be back on Disco unless Jammer's reviews indicated some kind of massive turnaround... yet here I am. I guess I really am a sucker!

    Based on this premiere, though, I don't think I'm going to be commenting a whole lot on this season. The show just isn't engaging me anymore the way it did in its early days, when flashy Epic Action Trek was a shiny novelty that felt different. For me we were way past "diminishing returns" on that front by the end of season 3; by the end of season 4, the show felt bankrupt. It hadn't invested enough in the character development of its core cast and the action stuff felt increasingly rote and unable to make up for the repetitiveness of the plots.

    But despite the obvious myriad problems with the show, the biggest one stood out again in this premiere: Burnham. As one of only three characters the show has maintained an ongoing interest in (the others being Book and Saru), it's essential that Burnham be able to hold the audience, and I just don't think she's up to it anymore.

    In the early days I actually found her character quite interesting, and Sonequa Martin-Green was doing interesting things with her portrayal. A human raised amongst Vulcans, trained to think logically but not able to repress her emotions in the same way. A Starfleet scientist who went too far outside the rules and had to regain the trust of her colleagues. I think that's what has been lost over the course of season 3 and 4, and I think it's what finally did the show in. Over the course of these two episodes, there's almost no trace left of those interesting dynamics, the character is increasingly ill-defined by the writers and I've just lost all interest.

    I'll still be watching the rest of this final season, I think. It's not unwatchably bad. Yet. And there's not much else good on TV right now that's really competing for my time. But if I'm going to feeling any strong emotions throughout I have the suspicion it's going to be disappointment. Disappointment that this show which arrived with such a bang and re-launched Star Trek on TV, didn't manage to take the route of all the other shows and get better with time, instead gradually losing its edge and fading away.

    Tim C - instead of watching, why don't you just beat yourself over the head with a mallet? It'll save a lot of time. And maybe Jammer will show a clip of it at his upcoming confab.

    A review for The Red Directive only - won't be able to watch Under the Twin Moons till later today:

    A good episode, and likely the best season opener for Discovery. I just wish they had avoided a few crucial mistakes which really hampered my enjoyment.

    On the good side, this was a well-paced action adventure with good utilization of most of the characters. The showrunner (Michelle Paradise) seemed to get the message that last season was too much of a downer, with the energy ticked up firmly into "romp" territory. Yet there's still plenty of focus on character, with every member of the main cast (and some of the extended cast) given a chance to shine. I also like they both introduced antagonists who seem a bit more complicated (Moll and L'ak - at least they love one another) and an ally they are clearly in conflict with (Captain Raynar). Finally, the little touches of continuity with the rest of Star Trek (first Picard Season 1, and then eventually TNG) is much appreciated. For the first time they're not just inventing a new threat out of whole cloth, but building on something that came before. And the idea of a simpler, archeological mystery plotline is pretty refreshing.

    That said, some of the choices made here really took me out of the story.

    The biggest one by far was having Michael and Book essentially break up off camera. Now, this isn't the fault of this episode per-se. I think the idea of them breaking up (or at least hitting a rocky patch) makes for good drama. However, last season one of the key themes seemed to be the undying love and trust between the two. Even when Book turned his back on the Federation and joined up with the closest thing the season had to a villain, Michael still didn't give up on him, and they ended the season rock solid. Now a few months of not returning calls, and they have 'issues?' This speaks to the major problem in Discovery with long-term character arcs. They don't plan enough from season to season. Really, it's Season 4's fault for having that consequence-free finale, but perhaps they believed the show was going to be canceled and wanted a happy ending? Regardless, this choice was so artificial it took me right out of the story.

    A few of the scenes just didn't work either. The introduction of Captain Rayner as a disembodied voice over comms was just dumb, as it introduced a conflict without us know anything about him as a character. And while Saru's discussion with T'Rina about mortality near the end of the episode was mostly lovely, the argument that the settlement almost dying spurred it just didn't work for me, as he was not part of the away mission, the civilians were just tiny dots on the surface, and he's undoubtedly been in dozens of similar circumstances.

    While I love the idea of The Chase being followed up on, I'm also a bit wary here. The whole point of that TNG episode was that the major powers believed they were on the hunt for a superweapon, but really, it was just a message from the ancient humanoids (apparently now called the progenitors). Now we hear that they actually had tech which could be a superweapon all along? Any conclusion to this may be troubling. If it's a red herring, they just retell The Chase a second time in longer form. If there really is some sort of superweapon, it completely undercuts the message of that episode.

    Despite having three times as much to say about flaws/concerns, I did really like it. It's just got some major record scratches that make me see the seams.

    Didn't post my last name before (stupid Chrome autocomplete). Since I use it here, might as well include it with an addendum.

    It was noted on another forum that this season seems to be eschewing a mystery box format, and thinking further, I have to concur, and I'm grateful. This is probably a big portion of why the pacing feels right.

    I'm sure there will be later reveals, but it's refreshing that we know exactly why the initial McGuffin was important by the end of the episode. There's still some hints as to terrible awful things to come, but at least the initial hush-hush is dealt with.

    I just saw Red Directive and liked it. It seemed to have a little too much Discovery sentimentality but the end reveal and the connection to “The Chase” improved the episode greatly. Looking forward to the rest of the season.

    After five seasons I guess I should have accepted that Discovery is never going to be the Trek show I hoped it would be. Accepting diversity is actually a lesson that fits well with the franchise and this series in particular.

    But it's been two years since I last visited Discovery and I'd forgotten just how many frustrating quirks and tics this show has. Admirals blatantly ignoring Starfleet protocols because they're curious. The endless, never-as-funny-as-the-writers-believe-it-is chattering of Tilly. Stamets always being a second away from self pity, Burnham miraculously having the right answer because she's Burnham... Oh, it's all back and it's in fine form.

    The action sequences looked gorgeous, the special effects team did their usual bang up job... But I skipped through most of them. From the space chase to the Dune pastiche without the worms, it's beautiful to look at, but it's empty filler all the same.

    As for this season's threat... The Progenitors make a comeback. Or, well, their tech at least. The technology they used to seed the primordeal soup of dozens of worlds with life. Not quite sure how this is any more of a threat than the Genesis device or simple genetic engineering, but we still got 8 episodes to see how it works out.

    The good:

    - Doctor Kovich is always a welcome addition
    - Fred the early old Soong type android, the actor did a great job.
    - Never saw two spaceships crash and use their shields as a bulwark

    The meh:

    - Still not sold on the Book/Burnham relationship
    - L'ak and Moll lack a lot: chemistry, charm, convincing cunning

    Came into the episodes not expecting much, even their release: for the first time in a long time, did not realize when the season was starting. With that said, I found both to be fairly enjoyable, in part due to some great visuals/alien worlds, and them being something of an homage to a past episode I quite like. Part of me also thought some version of these episodes would have made for a great introduction to the series. But, that's not what these episode are, and, by now, for me, the series carries with it a lot of baggage, most of which is not good. I like some of the characters - Burnham, Culber, Book, and the newest addition, Captain Rayner - just fine, but that's all. No real favourites. Consequently, I'll approach the season much like Grudge does a holographic mouse, with faint interest.

    Somewhat relatedly, I am not looking forward to the new offshoots from the series: the Section 31 movie, and the academy series. Will likely and initially skip both.

    Nothing particularly bad here, but nothing, for me, to get excited over either.

    I haven't watched. I'm not sure I should, given my bias. In the past it was entertaining to tear it a new one each season.

    Don't even know if it's available in my region, truth be told. But tell me:

    - Is a mystery of galactic import revealed?

    - Is the episode well-budgeted for a kinetic action sequence replete with quippy one-liners?

    - Was there overly bombastic music playing over soppy, melodramatic character moments?

    I must know.

    @Karl Zimmerman

    "It was noted on another forum that this season seems to be eschewing a mystery box format, and thinking further, I have to concur, and I'm grateful. This is probably a big portion of why the pacing feels right."

    Good gravy - really?

    @ Tim C

    One option is:

    - Watch the premiere (as you have).

    - Find some decent shows to catch up on over the next several weeks.

    - Return to Disco for the penultimate episode and pay attention to the recap.

    Sorted. Going by past performance, we're only a couple of episodes away from mid-season malaise. They'll continue to drag it out & push it two-or-so episodes past it's expiry before the penultimate episode Big Reveal and whizz-bang season finale.

    Going by past performance, that is. I mean last season we had Monty Python "get on with it" memes circulating.

    I watched the first episode not expecting much but actually it was quite enjoyable, except Tilly is surely the most annoying Star Trek character ever. Just horrendous. Her high speed gabbling waffle is so annoying. Imagine her teaching people which apparently is what she's going to be doing, horrific.

    I loved Fred and thought that character had great potential. I haven't watched the second epsiode yet but looking at the comments above it looks like Discovery hasn't developed that, what a surprise - not!

    The two episodes were fine. Nothing great. Entertaining but never really rising above that. There’s plenty of heart-to-hearts (with crying, of course) while they are in a hurry and in a crisis, so not to worry.

    They had the usual “National Treasure”-like movie tropes. Jungle temple with boobie traps, a puzzle with missing pieces that can only be found through a scavenger hunt. A team of experts can’t figure out puzzles, but Book and Burnham can figure them out instantly.

    Moll looks like an extra from “Blade Runner”. Lak looks like…can’t put my finger on it, but maybe an amalgamation of several characters?

    Why is the dead Romulan scientist so well preserved?

    Self-sealing stem bolts! Ha!!

    Fred was good to see. Interesting character who was offed too soon. Maybe he’s resuscitated later in the series?

    That may have been the longest lasting landslide I have ever seen.

    Why do the starships have to crash into the ground to deploy their shields to save the village?

    Why do I struggle with the names of the bridge crew but care more for peripheral characters such as Vance and T’Rina?

    The CGI action sequences whiz along quickly, but have that cartoonish sort of feel and lack of physicality that plagues a lot of CGI.

    Tilly is back with a worse haircut than before. I guess she is there for all awkward females to relate to and all, but to me, she continues to be emotionally unfit to be an officer, much less a teacher. Her awkward bumbling goofy schtick is wearisome. It’s simply poor writing.

    I like that they are following up on the Progenitors. Finally!! I hope they don’t make this awful.

    Starman - that's genius. This way Tim can pay for Paramount Plus and not watch the majority of the show.

    If he's so desperate to get his nu-Trek fix, then I suggest he buy a bottle of vodka, watch the show for free on some Russian site, and shout insults at the show in some drunken hybridized version of Klingon and Yiddish.

    [[This season also comes with some of the more interesting vil­lains of Trek v3. They are introduced as not exactly evil, but daring and cocky, and a lot of fun to watch. When Ho­ney Bun­ny murdered Fred mercilessly, I got unsure of what to think of them, but the re­ve­la­tion at the clos­ing of Ep. 2 con­vin­ces me that she will get the Jurati treatment in the end. Still, that sounds bet­ter than al­most all we had before in Trek v3, with the Diviner from PRO perhaps being the best (in no small part because of John Noble).]]


    Eh, they only started blasting when Fred tried to stop them from leaving with his goon squad. It's not exactly self-defense but it's not exactly not self-defense either. It's the kind of thing Mal Reynolds would do if Badger tried to rip off their score.

    Well, I saw the episode was available in my region (on our free-to-air streaming service). I thought what the hell, I'm not paying (well I suppose I am via my taxes) - one episode won't hurt, right?

    Dear lord, what a mission. It took three attempts to finish the episode (the first check out was after “saxophone lessons”).

    And I'm only referring to the first episode. Once the credits rolled after "let's fly", I couldn't have switched it off faster. Call it hyperbole if you want, but I had zero desire to watch the next episode.

    That was bad – but so quintessentially Discovery.

    Any glimmer of hope for this show’s improvement faded away somewhere in season 3. Yet, here I am, unable to resist checking in on its final stretch.

    Olatunde Osunsanmi returns to direct, their trademark style in full force. This show tries so hard to be cool, yet despite its efforts - and those neck-breaking camera angles - it ends up being all style and no substance.

    What's a Red Directive? Dunno. But apparently, it’s super-duper-important, except no one seems to take it seriously. Orders are disregarded as if they're just suggestions. What matters is that Michael Burnham must know the stakes and the reasons behind it all. She simply can't accept that it’s important, highly classified, and her job to execute it - a job she fails at least twice in one episode. No doubt a reprimand will be forthcoming – oh, what's that, Kovich? Yes, of course, she should spearhead the team. Silly me.

    Perhaps you might be conjuring up a precedent set by some other Starfleet officer to render the above critique null and void. Sure, you could reference any number of episodes from the canon. But no matter which past episode you choose, were they ever this... obnoxious about it all?

    The problem with Burnham in this episode is the same as every other – she's boring and ofttimes unlikeable.

    Oh yes, her and Book started their little private little remember when … bit again. That’s always fun.

    At least there’s Strange New Worlds. While watching this episode’s splendiferous CGI sequences, I couldn’t help but wonder how many extra episodes we could’ve squeezed out of SNW S2 if they’d just Batgirl’d (or Prodigy’d) this season. More SNW is the only Trek I have a shred of interest these days. They’ve only managed to get one live-action project right (apologies to Picard S3 fans) - just do that exclusively for a bit and give it all the damn money.

    I went in with low expectations. Normally I get something out of Disco's whiz bang openers, airheaded as they typically are. But this time round, it did nothing for me.

    A properly bad episode, but so very Disco - like they've taken the essence of the show and concentrated it into something even more ... Disco-ish. **shudder**

    A thoroughly deserved 1 / 5

    The way I viewed the scene at Fred's villa (or whatever) is that L'ak freaked out after Fred shot Moll in the shoulder. He then shot Fred multiple times in a fit of rage. Moll was unhappy that he did this (she was only mildly wounded) but finished Fred off to ensure that no witnesses were left behind.

    Thus the entire scene was meant to showcase they were not irredeemably evil. La'k is a more hesitant character (he wanted to abandon the big find), but he loves Moll deeply and will do anything to protect her. Moll is more ruthless, but she didn't kill just for evil's sake, but to tie up a loose end (I dunno what happened to the armed guards, presumably we're meant to believe they died in the firefight and there was no reason to check).

    @CT Phipps

    Watch the scene again (33:45): The couple gets rid of the goons, and L’ak wounds Fred in a rage. Fred lies on the floor. Then Moll turns her wea­pon on him, says “I hope it was pain­ful”, and both fire at him while he is help­less. The scene cuts in the very mo­ment when their pha­sers dis­charge (34:44).

    I am not saying Fred was anything less than a dick, but they exe­cut­ed him cold-bloodedly.

    I'd say "Red Directive" is a shallow action-adventure with a couple of relationship stories thrown in for some depth. Overall found it disappointing as it's basically like a couple of acts from "The Chase". There's just nothing new, imaginative or even interesting here.

    I suppose some seeds are planted for what the main characters will be doing next, but who really cares. Tilly's brought into the mix and she's still annoying, not funny (but I think there's an audience for her schtick). What I did like is Dr. Kovich -- interesting dynamic on DSC to see him put Burnham on her heels with "make sure this mission succeeds" and Burnham gives him that look like "don't you tell me what to do white man." In addition to "The Chase", had to think of "Gambit" with most of the episode being about chasing 2 mercenaries for an ancient artifact.

    The Antares captain lent a bit of needed pragmatism and pushback to Burnham, so at least the episode wasn't all-out Burnham glorification. And of course they have to have their back-and-forth at warp speed and while on the sand motorcycles. Also had to think -- why are the respective ship captains doing this kind of stuff? Because it's television.

    I liked the Saru / T'Rina courtship scenes. T'Rina wants to "codify" their mutual commitment. Saru's innocence in this whole thing is kind of refreshing.

    Burnham and Booker have good chemistry -- they try and squeeze in some meaningful conversation whenever they can, even as L'Ak and Moll get away from the dusty planet and the Antares captain takes off. Just felt unprofessional seeing them chatting there given the urgency of the situation...

    The bit about the 2 ships nosediving into the sand and extending their shields to stop an avalanche...ridiculous. As was Burnham in her super-suit in a warp bubble (though Trip did it without a special suit in "Divergence"). I guess she had zero effect on the mercenary ship's engines.

    2 stars for "Red Directive" -- not a promising start to DSC S5. And thankfully this is DSC's final season. What's the main priority for Burnham here? Mend the relationship with Book, be heroic again but maybe in a more collaborative way? Hopefully we get a bit more intelligence to these episodes and less superficial action scenes. Be Trek, not Star Wars.

    Not as bad as I expected but still full of the Discovery tropes that have made this show borderline unwatchable. My partner and I discussed doing a re-watch to prep for the new season and both agreed we could not bear to slog through the last four seasons. Not a problem we've had with SNW or any other current production television show we watch. :(

    S1 = Ugh, this is Star Trek now?!
    S2 = Good to excellent.
    S3 = Possibly the biggest letdown to a story arc since Game of Thrones.
    S4 = Actually enjoyable Star Trek, tied with S2 for best of Disco.

    We have pretty low expectations for this season and will simply be happy if the characters we care about (Saru, Stamets, Grudge) get a satisfying end to their respective arcs.

    Incidentally, not sure how I feel about building an entire season on TNG's "The Chase". That was a decent enough episode (we re-watched it after the first Disco episode) that explained why there are so many humanoids in the Star Trek universe but as a foundation for Yet Another Mystery Box™ plot? Color me cynical, there's no way these show runners can pay this off; it'll be the "Kid has a temper tantrum and destroys galactic civilization" nonsense all over again. Wrath of Khan did the "creation of life, not death" thing already, in two hours, not ten, and there's no way this will be half as good. :(

    @ Starman "Orders are disregarded as if they're just suggestions."

    My USN veteran partner SCREAMED this at the television despite the instances you can point to in prior canon. Another entry in the long list of complaints we have that could have been avoided by having ONE veteran in the writer's room. Can't wait for the inevitable "highly trained Starfleet crew members cowering in fear so the audience knows how scary it is" scenes we'll get towards the middle of the season. :(

    "But no matter which past episode you choose, were they ever this... obnoxious about it all?"


    "It can't be allowed to fall into enemy hands, fine, but what would the good guys do with it that would allow for more show? It'd make them gods. It's tough to see any fate for it beyond it being destroyed somehow by the end of the season."

    I wouldn't be surprised if Kovich heel-turned to villainy once he gets his hands on it, with Jewishness no longer considered one of the protected group-identities in these progressive circles. But never mind that, I would actually love to see Cronenberg be all like "Now it is finally mine.. absolute power!"

    @Brandon Adams "I've never heard of an avalanche crossing ten miles of level desert floor before."

    Living in the shadow of Mount Saint Helens brought that landslide (largest in recorded history) to mind, so I didn't find it THAT objectionable. The scene leading up to it however, +1 to everything you say; that scene could have ended with: "Burnham to Discovery, they're 500 meters in front of my position. Beam them into a holding cell."

    We recently did our annual rewatch of the pre-JJ Star Trek movies, ending with Nemesis, and I found the Dune Buggy chase as insufferable today as it was when it premiered. Is there anything more out of place in the Trek universe than a car chase?

    Good luck to those of you still able to get through an episode - let alone two! - of this show. Even the addition of a Cylon isn't nearly enough for me.

    If they were really going to riff of TNG, at least make some effort to emulate Captain Benjamin Maxwell's gravitas. "The Wounded" Leoben doth shout too much.

    What's really sad is that the best scenes were those with ZERO cast members. When the whole Data-as-pawn-shop dealer scene was on, I was actually hooked. Moll, La'k, and especially J. Adam Brown (from "The Expanse") as the synth Fred - fun stuff. But my interest was short-lived.

    All interest died the moment the regular cast came back on screen.

    Even the usually fantastic Admiral Vance was blah at best.

    Madam President too was a let down. Must be some issue with the directorial choices - the usually wonderful Chelah Horsdal (of "Man in the High Castle" fame), was... boring.

    No point nit picking. Like how the fuck can Tilly break security codes that are 800 years more advanced? Who cares?

    Not me.

    In a world where people are telling fascinating stories with shows like Shogun and 3 Body Problem, it is basically criminal to waste your time with this crap.

    The very concept of this season is ill-conceived for me. The Chase was, first and foremost, an allegory. Yes, it was fairly interesting as a surface-level plot idea (and succinctly explained why so many of the Trek races were physiologically similar), but this was incidental to its real purpose, which is what it was telling US about OURSELVES. This is (or should be) the elemental, overriding purpose of all stories. 90s Trek had no interest in expanding on the idea of the Progenitors or investigating the in-universe implications therein. It didn't NEED to and the decision to use it as the basis for this season's arc represents yet another example of how NuTrek continually misunderstands the franchise on a fundamental philosophical level. At the risk of sounding elitist, I really do think the true magic of Trek is lost on many of the people who currently create and consume it. Indeed, I think the true magic of storytelling is lost on many people.

    Sorry for the double post:

    All great stories are essentially arguments. A writer will sit down with a 'premise' (originally defined by Hungarian-American playwright Lajos Egri as "a thematic truth") in mind. They have something to say, a point of view to share, an argument to make. They create characters, putting them through a series of narrative events that flow from one to the next, all of which serve as evidence for a conclusion that's revealed or elucidated (sometimes quite didactically) at the end. The reader/viewer either agrees with and (ideally) internalises that conclusion or disagrees with and dismisses it (leaving room for a counter-argument). This sums up the dramaturgical structure of classic episodic Trek (as well as Strange New Worlds and, to a lesser extent, Lower Decks), which the heavily serialised Discovery and Picard (season 3 slightly less so) eschews with their endless non-sequiturs and broad, vague themes (predominantly encompassing 'identity, 'trauma', and 'connection').

    "Season five comes billed as a "galactic treasure hunt," and it's an open question whether such a formula can be sustained for 10 episodes without falling apart."

    I predict molasses impact in approx. 3 episodes.

    The personal reaction of a viewer is always valid.

    Hell, I know people who somehow ADORE Season 2 of 'Picard' and we're still, despite this, good friends. From them, I enjoy hearing a differing view, especially one with reasonable, supporting details about what made them feel that way.

    But then there's times where I can't help but wonder if we even saw the same thing.

    Is that a tumbleweed lazily drifting thru the comments section?

    Olatunde Osunsanmi Orbit? Nicely done, Jammer.

    There was also that "why??" 180º camera spin when they were reviewing the files on the two scavengers.


    "Living in the shadow of Mount Saint Helens brought that landslide (largest in recorded history) to mind, so I didn't find it THAT objectionable."

    Sure, but if we're gonna good-heartedly nitpick, that was a pyroclastic ejection. (I'm from the Tacoma area myself.)

    Thanks for the reminder of the dune buggy chase. I can hear Mr. Plinkett now. It's good to remember that Berman-era Trek, too, had its share of jaw-dropping miscalculations. If only Kurtzman-trek didn't outpace it by triple in that department.

    @ Brandon

    There was a landslide immediately preceding the eruption. Most of it wound up in the river valley and is distinct from the pyroclastic deposits. You can (or could, before last year's washout/mudslide) see a lot of it from SR-504. :)

    Berman era Trek had a lot of disappointments but still got the overall 'vibe' right. That's my biggest disappointment with Kurtzman-trek. It's dark and "gritty" for the sake of being dark and gritty. Nemesis was at least a one off. Kurtzman-trek takes the darkness of Nemesis and expands it to the entire universe. :(

    “Aye, Mr. Saru.” Like nails on a chalkboard.

    Whoever is in command of the ship is called CAPTAIN by the crew, regardless of rank. They wouldn’t respond to orders with their commanding officer’s name, especially in crunch time. “Aye, Sir,” sure. But not “Aye, Mr. Saru.”

    A nitpick, sure, but one more sign the writer(s) have either never seen Star Trek or don’t care. Probably both.

    Also I dearly want to know what dirt Olatunde Osunsanmi has on the producers, because he keeps getting episodes to direct despite the fact he’s a talentless hack whose one move seems to be spinning the camera around characters five times in a scene until the viewers are dizzy.

    Also wouldnt Dr. Culber in his capacity as CMO insist that Captain Burnham have her bleeding head wounds treated ASAP? Judging by how SMG was acting, it seemed like she’d suffered a concussion during the dumbass podrace scene…

    QUESTION CONCERN isn't anyone else worried they buried the lead or the BIG MUSTERYBis a NON STARTER since we ALREADY KNOW who the Proegenitors were and what their technology did..the previews billed the big mystery as the treasure for a mysterious technology ..bit we were just told what the technology WHAT MYSTERY is there LEFT? WLand WHY were there NO NEW STRANGE ALIENS or STRANGE ENW WORLDS OR ANOMALIES this week. Why waste the planet on Star Wars knock off drones and we learned nothing about the Promelians despite being in their necropolis..WHY NOT? We better meet LOTS of NEW ALIENS and new WORLDS this season or Inwill be very disappointed. And there better be some new treasure or technology thst does something NEW and ORIGIbewides seed life like in ThebChase since we already KNOW about that one!


    We have yet to see any of the original Progenitor technology so the extent of what it's capable of remains a mystery. Everything that was discovered about the Progenitors in "The Chase" was only what the Progenitors wanted them to find out, having left a trail of breadcrumbs to their holographic Hallmark greeting card.

    An actual piece of Progenitor hardware is expected to have profound applications if even just their code, when finding its way into a tricorder, can spontaneously reprogram it do things that tricorders can't normally do.

    I wasn’t too impressed by the first two episodes. There were some good parts in it – most notably the actor who played Fred – and I liked the more upbeat tone compared to previous seasons. But ultimately it felt like watching Star Wars. I was bored by the prolonged action sequences in both episodes. They are just a showcase for the talent of the VFX people but the scenes feel empty and meaningless.

    I’ll keep watching but only because I know it’s the final season. There are just too many of the same old Disco tropes for me to really enjoy this show. A prime example was the scene aboard the Romulan ship: Burnham beams over with Rhys and Owo…only for them to be incapacitated so that the main character can continue on her own. I know, I know, Disco is not meant to be an ensemble show and that’s okay. But it just doesn’t work for me.

    Burnham tumbling through space right into the bridge of Discovery and onto the captain's chair is one of the dumbest things I've seen in Star Trek. Also two starships crashing into the desert to stop an avalanche without taking major damage. Seriously, there's no sense of realism of plausibility in these shows. It doesn't seem like the writers care if viewers suspend their disbelief or about world-building.

    I somehow missed the hilarity of the macguffin they were chasing in the first episode being a literal mystery box. Which they then promptly opened. Do we think the show is aware of all the criticisms and did that on purpose? Nah . . . right?

    Can add me to the list of people who don't think we need a follow-up to The Chase. Didn't think it was a particularly strong TNG episode, just a little *wink wink* for the fans to why most of the aliens in the Star Trek universe look like humans in forehead and ear makeup, when the real reason is, of course, the reality of television production and also how that convention lends itself to telling allegorical stories about our world and what it means to be a human being. But, that's fine--it's not in and of itself a barrier to this story. Story points get repurposed all the time in service of other stories; what matters is whether those other stories are themselves worth telling. Here, I just don't know. It feels weak. The show acts like we, the audience, should "obviously" understand the major import of finding the technology of a species that several billion years ago designed and dropped some amino acids into some primordial pools. But what exactly could they discover with this so-called Progenitor tech that the Starfleet of the 32nd century doesn't already know or could do on their own? Kirk's Starfleet could do that shit themselves. I hope the show has some kind of clear idea that is believable within the rules and history of the universe they have established. But I'm not holding my breath.

    You know, it occurs to me that just the quest for more knowledge should be enough. Just the quest for more knowledge about where we all come from should warrant all this great import and effort by the characters and by Starfleet. There doesn't need to be a threat posed by what they're chasing. There can still be plenty of danger along the way while they chase. It's not like dangers along the way are going to put Starfleet off the chase if they don't have the reason of stopping some kind of threat compelling them to continue. They're Starfleet. Risk in pursuit of knowledge is what they do. Risk is their business. That's what their starship is all about. That's why they're aboard her. Remember that, Discovery writers? For Star Trek, the pursuit of knowledge in and of itself is enough. Or it should be, if you're writing Star Trek correctly.

    I liked both episodes, though it’s really STINO (Star Trek in name only) at this point, and I’m fine with that. I agree with the comparisons to Star Wars, and I’d say this stacks up pretty well against most of the Star Wars Disney + series.

    I doubt they can sustain the momentum of "The Chase" and why borrow the story from TNG, there were many unsolved mysteries to explore, the Iconians would be new and more interesting. I did like the addition of the decendant of Data - may he can be repaired/reprogrammed and join the crew?

    We will know soon how this season turns on, but I have tempered my expectations

    My favorite bit of "Red Directive" is the tribble's struggle to climb a wall, failing, and scurrying away. A complete story there. No emoting. no exposition dump, no 10-episode season.


    I checked out of Disco S4 before the end cuz I got fed up…this isn’t promising.

    I think it’s time to put it to bed, Discovery has played out as a show in search of an identity, because its creators (and I’m guessing moreso its creators’ Meddling Executive Superiors) cannot just allow it to be a Star Trek show.

    I could swear it just sounds like there are too many people trying to all fight for the right to write, on this show.

    It’d have been better to just hand the keys to Nick Meyer and have done with it. This show has just been a mess, even at the times that I’ve tried to engage with it, it’s just been a mess.

    It’s too bad really. I’m just not gonna go for it again. I’m outtie.

    Can’t wait to see the next episode of Strange New Worlds, though! Loving it!

    5 seasons and still the same old problems - the insistence by writers to rinse and repeat is baffling considering they haven't grown the fanbase which was clearly the goal with the shift from "old/boring" Trek. The character of Saru will likely be the only legacy this show has, I wonder how popular disco panels are at cons.

    I had to laugh at Burnham's typical overearnest log (writers can't help themselves) about the purpose of life. She saved the galaxy 4 seasons, now she's also going to find the origin and meaning of life while saving the galaxy again (I assume based on Kovichs grave warnings). She must be the most accomplished person in Starfleet history. I kind of hope she takes over as fleet admiral or prez in finale at this point.

    Raynor actually is a good addition because he amazingly acts like a professional in Starfleet and not an impulsive overly emotional kid. But we'll see how long that lasts.

    Watching this episode on my iPad but keep clicking on notifications. So it has not really grabbed my attention.
    I will give it another chance but I remember being glued to every DS9 and VOY episode. Somehow, Discovery has made me not care.

    How this show was approved for 5 seasons Is beyond me. I’m curious to see how they will try to stretch out an entire season to rehash a TNG plot that efficiently told the story in 45 minutes. But hey, Picard did the same thing with All Good Things, and that turned out greeeeaaaat.

    My major gripes: Riding a starship going warp speed is actually feasible because she’d be in the warp bubble. However, while inertial dampeners would prevent damage to the ship, her being outside the ship would result in Burnham getting obliterated. Which would be a real gift. She makes some pretty terrible decisions which results in her being removed from the mission. How does she get back on? By threatening to withhold vital information unless she’s added back on. An act she is both commended and rewarded for. Also, her and Raynor are grilled for a landslide they didn’t cause (you can get in trouble for maybe giving someone an idea???), which shouldn’t matter anyways because Kovich gave them explicit instructions that the artifact should be recovered regardless of collateral damage. Also Booker and Burnham broke up! How I wish I could muster a s**t to give.

    SMG’s overacting takes me out of every scene she’s in, which is a shame, because episode 2 was much better. BUT I did like Tilly ina comedic role, and Saru was brilliant as always. Raynor is my new favorite character on the show, so he’ll probably die soon.

    Also, everyone can stop watching the show now because I already know how it will end. The Progenitors will have a device that will allow humanoids to ascend like The Ancient in Stargate or the Q. Michael will find and use this device to ascend into an omnipotent, omniscient being who will be worshipped by all. Ahh, who am I kidding? Michael is ALREADY an omnipotent, omniscient being who is worshiped by all. ALL HAIL MICHAEL!

    As always I will give it a chanse.

    I did understand what it was about.
    I was entertained.

    But, this is not star trek. Still I hope I will be able to enjoy and understand the following episodes for what they are.

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