Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

"Subspace Rhapsody"

3.5 stars

Air date: 8/3/2023
Written by Dana Horgan & Bill Wolkoff
Directed by Dermott Downs

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

Well, that was delightful.

Let it be said that the idea of Star Trek: The Musical was not an automatic winner in my book. I figured this had an even chance of being an embarrassingly goofy misfire. But "Subspace Rhapsody" is a swing for the fences that connects (as sure as Uhura's concluding effort to bring the crew of the Enterprise together in song), and it runs an emotional gamut I was not expecting.

I mean, sure, the plot is completely absurd and the opening minutes had me fearing the possibility of a show that would collapse under the weight of its own conceit. But as the setting took hold, the episode managed to build more and more emotional resonance and tie into the characters in very specific ways.

As a framing device to set up the excuse for everyone breaking into song, the "subspace fold" that results in a universe-shifting "improbability field" — in this case, one that improbably makes everyone break into song — is about as solidly rooted in Trek technobabble as I could've realistically hoped for. The musical numbers are spread throughout the episode and interspersed with dialogue scenes that embed the premise into a standard Trek story. This gives the episode just enough structure to remain adequately grounded.

Beyond that, we have the musical numbers:

  • "Status Report," where the confused crew realizes they're breaking into song and try to figure out what they're dealing with.
  • "Connect to Your Truth," where Una sings to Jim Kirk about the importance of a commander connecting with their crew, something that took her too long to learn herself.
  • "How Would That Feel," a devastatingly emotional character study where La'an examines her outwardly cool and controlled persona, which is at war with her inner desires to do, and express, more — especially with regard to Kirk. This song makes La'an also realize, "When people sing, they are confessing highly personal emotional information" — which she notes is a security threat.
  • "Private Conversation," where Pike and Batel — after an earlier setup where an (again) evasive Pike says he wants to put a pin in the planning around an upcoming romantic getaway — comically argue about their relationship in front of the entire bridge.
  • "Keeping Secrets," where Una sings to La'an — again speaking from experience — about the emotional toll of keeping things to yourself instead of opening up to others. (I enjoyed the acknowledgement with their glances that they can hear the music start before they start singing.)
  • "I'm Ready," in which Chapel victoriously celebrates her hard work paying off in attaining a prestigious fellowship under Dr. Roger Korby (which we know will lead to something even more significant) — and where Spock painfully realizes exactly where he stands.
  • "I'm the X," where Spock sings about being dumped and blames himself for abandoning reason in pursuing the relationship with Chapel.
  • "Keep Us Connected," where Uhura recognizes the key patterns to solve the sci-fi mystery, and realizes the entire crew of the ship must sing together to collapse the subspace fold and save the galaxy — and where Celia Rose Gooding absolutely brings the house down.
  • "We Are One," in which the entire ship joins together to bring it all home. This goes full song-and-dance number on the bridge, and if the dance choreography lands in the "nice try" category and the earnestness of the sentimentality edges close to camp, the message is absolutely on-target. Bruce Horak (Hemmer) makes an appearance as a Klingon captain on a ship that hilariously breaks out into K-pop. (Una earlier had said, "The last thing anyone wants is singing Klingons.")

Obviously, some of these songs are better than others, and your mileage will vary when it comes to ranking them, but what I appreciated about this episode were the thematic character threads running through it, and the way nearly every character got their due. Granted, some get more to do than others, but it's spread around generously. (Ortegas and M'Benga were the most clearly short-changed here, and it's perhaps noteworthy that Ortegas has been the character to get the least spotlight and substance all season.)

Uhura is the heart of the episode, starting with her at the beginning being the glue that holds the ship's communications together as she serves as switchboard operator in the absence of automation that's been disabled by the anomaly's interference, and continuing through to the end where she puts the pieces together and unites the ship in song.

But the emotional core of the story is La'an's, whose personal crisis is the most emotionally affecting. Her confession to Kirk, where she reveals how she met a version of him in "Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow," is touching, all the more so because of Christina Chong's vulnerable performance. I wasn't a big fan of "Tomorrow," but this payoff almost makes that episode worth it. (As it turns out, Kirk is in the "on-again" stage of his on-again/off-again relationship with Carol Marcus, and as it happens, she's currently pregnant, making Kirk, well, unavailable. It's a smart way to tie this story into the pre-TOS timeline.) I may never see Paul Wesley as fitting the Kirk mold, but that doesn't make his performance here any less solid.

This episode is all the more effective because it chooses not to simply be a lightweight romp. It explores the feelings of the characters and ties into their personal stories that have been playing out all season. Like I said, it runs the gamut, from the rousing and victorious to the somber and reflective.

I'm by no means an expert on musicals, and I rarely go out of my way to watch them (the last musical I saw was Hamilton in Chicago in 2019), but the cast here seemed to acquit themselves nicely, with Gooding (especially) and Chong and Romijn being the standouts. I'd imagine an off-format episode like this is difficult to make on a TV production schedule (Tom Polce and Kay Hanley were brought in to write the songs). They went for broke here and they pulled off a beauty.

Previous episode: Under the Cloak of War
Next episode: Hegemony

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267 comments on this post

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voxymandias
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 2:19am (UTC -5)
This is absolutely not my cup of tea usually, but I thoroughly enjoyed this. I was worried this sort of format wouldn't work, but given the framing, it really did for me.
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Leif
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 2:30am (UTC -5)
A STUNNING SUBSPACE FOLD!! FRAK YES ! I just wanted more ALIENS and maybe MUSICAL ALIENS! But this is much better than last week's alien -free, anomaly-free, new-world free dirge-fest...
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Jeffrey's Tube
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 2:33am (UTC -5)
Four stars. Yes, really. The show took a Really Big Swing, it went for it and Tried Something, and it completely pulled it off as far as I'm concerned.

"Hail the Klingons, Uhura." I had to pause the playback for several minutes I was laughing so hard.

If you didn't like this because you can't get over how "it's not Star Trek," then, well, you're a sourpuss who doesn't like fun. End of.

. . .

That said, this is something that works because you only do it once.
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Visitor1982
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 2:37am (UTC -5)
'There's... Klingons on starboard side, starboard side, starboard side...'
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Jeffrey's Tube
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 2:41am (UTC -5)
The universe, being so vast, should be full of wonder and strange, improbable things. A ship exploring that universe should come across the "just plain weird" sometimes. Like a giant space Amoeba, or a planet that's an exact copy of Earth down to the landmasses except only children survive, or a planet full of 1920s gangsters . . . you get it. This fits in that spirit. I love it.

(Once.)
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Jeffrey's Tube
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 2:54am (UTC -5)
Another thing I really liked is that they didn't lean too hard into the humor and they resisted going camp. Despite the absurdity of what is happening with them all bursting out into song and dance at inopportune times that reveal feelings they would otherwise keep hidden from each other, it IS a crisis they are in and it is treated as such. The crew approach resolving it with Starfleet professionalism.

They could have, for example, had La'an phasering herself (on stun) to stop herself from having to sing, or written a song for Spock that was all catchphrases with a refrain of him singing "most illogical," or other things like that. They didn't. They avoided the temptation, and they made the musical anomaly a threat that actually had stakes. They gave the unfolding situation real teeth.
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AMA
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 3:04am (UTC -5)
A charming episode overall, with emotional, character insights and implications aplenty (e.g., receiving personally bad news via collective, gleeful song would certainly cause most anyone, be it Vulcan or otherwise, to shut themselves out from their emotions and others).

Viewers mileage with this episode may vary - I'm not particularly a fan of musicals, and found some of the numbers to be a bit cringey - but I will give the writers and staff great credit for taking the leap, and possibly creating an episode that may hit a note, pun intended, with a new or different audience.

And, finally, props to Celia Rose Gooding. What an incredible performance. She's sneakily 'stealing the show' this season. Love her work and what she's added to the character of Uhura.
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Andrew
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 3:41am (UTC -5)
Coulda been an absolute knockout (and it was looking like it mighta been), but goddamn did they overdo that finale. And maybe a couple less songs of people standing around in rooms would have helped. Still a solid 7/10
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UESPA_Sputnik
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 4:23am (UTC -5)
Loved it. I was most surprised that the whole cast all had such beautiful singing voices.

La'an's song touched me the most because I'm someone who also doesn't really dare to do the things I'd like to do.

A bit sad that we didn't get a Klingon opera but the alternative was ... well, interesting too. 😄 Also, I kinda hope that Spock solving diplomatic crises with the Klingons by drinking excessive amounts of blood wine will become a running gag.
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Ness667
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 4:45am (UTC -5)
Loved it to pieces, but the episode made Chapel look like a stone cold biotch.
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B-Boy
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 5:37am (UTC -5)
A fabulous episode. Perhaps the best of the series to date. Perhaps a *tad* overlong, but fabulous nonetheless with a genuine Trekkian spirit.
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Gorn girl
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 5:39am (UTC -5)
LOL...People wondering about the chapel and spock break up thing? well that is what you get when you have a star trek show do a riverdale love arc like the spock/chapel/tpring stuff.
the couple don't last for up to 3 episodes.

Also I think this show has been very disrespectful to spock and to chapel characters. jess bush chapel is nothing like the tos version, not even close and in this episode, that really showed in a way that hurt chapel character.
SNW wanted to apologise to chapel for been a laughing stock in tos by turning her into this sexy confident action chick but that is not the character and in this episode it showed.
jess bush could have been a new character and nothing would have been lost.

laslty the spock/chapel stuff should never have happened because it started it crap writing and went no where. their story line was poor.
when all is over spock/chapel will be one of the worst trek couples ever. their 60s dynamic was better.

this is what happens when extreme feminist take over star trek stories, they make it worse.
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MidshipmanNorris
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 5:42am (UTC -5)
Made it 18 minutes and 12 seconds in...yeah no

I got nothin', I can't watch this, I can't analyze it, I dunno what to say...I detest musical theatre and this changes nothing
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DogFace
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 6:32am (UTC -5)
I loathe musicals…

But this was actually good. No, I don’t want another musical episode. But as one-time experiment, it was a success. At no point, did I find myself cringing. OK, maybe when the Klingons went all Bollywood. In general, there wasn’t a weak singer in the mix. Nobody who made me want to hit mute.

As for the story, sure it was an excuse to force everyone to sing. But it actually worked, both advancing storylines and giving us insight to characters.

Boy, I feel really bad for Spock and La’an. I half expected to see them sitting at the bar commiserating. Although I guess he did plenty of drinking with the Klingons. I do think the episode made Chapel look bad. We know she’s ambitious, but it does seem like she was too quick to discard a relationship that she initiated. And to the person above who complained about “extreme feminism”, whatever that means, it’s 2023, not 1950.

Overall, this one episode was more fun than 4 seasons of Discovery and 2 seasons of Picard. I applaud the show runners for daring to take chances.
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Joseph B
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 7:56am (UTC -5)
Here are my initial impressions:

* THE DARN THING WORKS!!!!!

* The Science Fiction behind the singing was actually presented in a logical fashion. Just ask “The X”! (Spock in a solo.)

* The entire experience was absolutely delightful!! EVEN THE SINGING KLINGONS!!!

* I counted 10 original songs — and it started with, appropriately, the classic “Anything Goes”!

* I really believe Chapel acts so “cold” to Spock due to the events she learned in “Those Old Scientists”. As she indicated in “Charades”, the last thing she would ever want to do is remove Spock’s Vulcan side. And Boimler’s unintended disclosure made her feel as though she was doing just that — just by being in the relationship.

Overall, a Very Successful and Unique Episode!!!
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Visitor1982
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 8:10am (UTC -5)
They pulled it off!

It seems this stellar cast can do anything!

* * * *
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DogFace
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 8:11am (UTC -5)
@Joseph B

Excellent point about Chapel’s conversation with Boimler. Because it happened during a light-hearted episode, it was easy to downplay the seriousness of that revelation. If she knows that Spock is eventually going to embrace his Vulcan side and therefore this relationship is probably doomed, then why string Spock along? It does feel like a self-fulfilling prophecy though. Does the breakup cause Spock to reject his human side? I hope this is addressed in the next episode.
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Galadriel
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 8:15am (UTC -5)
I just wondered what Boimler would say if Lucsly and Dulmur ask him whether it was a predistination paradox.
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John
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 8:15am (UTC -5)
Hard to believe we've only got one episode left until what will likely be a very long break.

Next week has to be about the Gorn, so that doesn't bode well for Batel and her Priority One mission.

In Amok Time Spock made that observation about the difference between wanting and having. I don't think that's actually true about Chapel, but to Spock it could sure look that way.
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Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 8:40am (UTC -5)
Man, I can't believe they pulled it off. Not every choice made in the episode was my cup of tea, but my hats go off to them.

I'm not really a musical fan - I wouldn't say I'm a musical hater by any means, but they're not something I go out of my way to look for. But the songs were serviceable to certified bangers, and it turns out everyone on the cast can sing (aside from maybe Babs - M'Benga singing little here makes sense, though. Otherwise, he would have confessed to being a murderer. The penultimate song - the solo by Uhura - was fantastic, though I know Celia Rose Gooding actually has a musical theatre background, so they were saving the best for last. The inclusion of Pelia here was a bit weird to me because she contributed nothing to either the plot or really the singing (I wouldn't expect Carol Kane to have a golden singing voice).

The emotional beats worked well for the characters also. We got a culmination of several character arcs built up across the show to date, with Spock/Chapel and La'an's internal turmoil around Kirk. Also, Uhura getting to reflect upon her own pain. I didn't find the Pike/Batel stuff very convincing, but it seems like they're just setting up Batel to die horribly in the finale anyway, so whatever.

The plot was, of course, total nonsense, but there's no way that a "musical episode" could have a sensical plot. It was either this or something like "a Q did it." All of that is completely forgiven.

Still, even though they hit it out of the park in terms of executing what they wanted to do, some of it didn't work for me. I felt a few of the songs just dragged a bit too long, particularly Una's song to La'an, and La'an's solo. I found myself drifting out of focusing on the episode, reflecting on how different the storytelling is for a musical than a regular drama. Musicals don't show, they tell - the characters just directly say what they're feeling, which you can't get away with in books/movies/TV. This makes sense as shorthand within a musical because things have to move quickly, and that's actually how we get to know the inner voice of the characters. But...the songs here basically told us stuff we already knew about the characters. Yes, there was drama related to the other characters finding out, but from a narrative perspective, we didn't really need the songs to understand what was going on between the characters ourselves. They were just there for fun, which is why - once they made their point - I thought a few overstayed their welcome.

Final thought: The Klingon "boy band" scene was possibly the funniest thing I've ever seen in Trek and will live rent-free in my head for the rest of my life.
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Skylar
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 8:49am (UTC -5)
I haven't enjoyed this show. The powers that be could have told the Pike/Una/Spock story without including Uhura, MBenga, Kirk, or Chapel. But the writers didn't do that, and we now have retcon after retcon for a large number of characters. And these actors are mostly all great, but none fully capture the original character except maybe Pike and Una who have the benefit of only really being in one produced episode.

With those gripes aside, this was great and worth watching. They should never try this again. But Peck's delivery of the opening line in the first song had me in stitches.
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Eric Jensen
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 9:10am (UTC -5)
Don't try this again, but it was really good
Even though the opening credits/theme music was so good.
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Eric Jensen
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 9:12am (UTC -5)
Even Robert Picardo had help with his opera singing on Voyager... so don't be surprised if the cast members had some help
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Lt. Broccoli
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 9:39am (UTC -5)
@Gorn girl

"this is what happens when extreme feminist take over star trek stories, they make it worse."

Ah, it's always fun when it's someone's very first time watching Star Trek, ever, in their entire lives. Welcome to the fandom!
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Scott
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 9:44am (UTC -5)
Nurse Chapel is way too hot on this show. I hate to say it but she won't age well
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AP
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 9:54am (UTC -5)
@DogFace

"Does the breakup cause Spock to reject his human side?"

But Spock NEVER fully rejects his human side. Think of his dying words in WoK, he first says to Kirk "Ship out of danger?" And then Kirk asks him WHY he did it and he gives the very logical consequentialist justification "the needs of the many..." but then a beat goes by (about the Kobayashi Mary) and he reaches out to Kirk emotionally, a human response, "I have been and always shall be...YOUR friend." And this shows his humanity and genuine feeling for his best friend. It's a moment in the movies that shaped my entire life, seeing that men could genuinely love each other and openly express that love and not ashamed or afraid of it (whether it is a platonic love or romantic). Spock's human side is always just under check and sometimes gets through the cracks. It is what made Nimoy's iconic performance so wonderfully powerful.
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Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 9:55am (UTC -5)
@ Scott,

Not that there's anything wrong with Jess Bush, but I just don't understand the attention she's gotten. Out of all the female cast members, I'd probably rank her the least attractive. Not that she's ugly by any means (and I don't want to nitpick her), but she looks similar to any number of people I've known in real life and isn't a total stunner in terms of either face/body (admittedly, when it comes to the latter, the completely unflattering white jumpsuit doesn't help things).
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Undesirable Element
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 10:10am (UTC -5)
Even as someone who really likes musical theatre, I had my doubts going into this episode. I was thinking, "Surely, this is a bridge too far." I didn't get how they could believably set this up.

And then they did it. I'm impressed!

And honestly, even if it had flopped, I've got tremendous respect for this show and the massive swings that it's willing to take sometimes. One of the things that eventually got really tiresome in Second Wave Trek (TNG - ENT) was the constant sameness in tone. Take DS9's "Rivals," which also played around with this same concept of improbability run amok but ended up not taking the big risks that would have made that episode work. It's by no means a *bad* episode, but it's not all that memorable (I even had to look up the title myself... and I LOVE DS9).

Now on the flip side, Third Wave Trek (Disco and beyond) sometimes goes way too earnest... especially Disco and Picard. This show, however, consistently strikes that right balance of serious, earnest, insightful, lighthearted, and occasionally just plain goofy that the best of Trek can be. It's also surprising. I would have never expected something like this to work, and yet it does.

Part of this might be the cast, which is just consistently impressive, with Christina Chong, Jess Bush, and Babs Olusanmokun being particular standouts. But the entire ensemble really gels together, with characters constantly interacting with everyone else and finding their chemistry in unique ways. It really FEELS like an ensemble show, as opposed to some of the others which can feel like "Burnham and Friends" or "Picard and Friends."

There's also a focus on character when high concepts get rolled out. "Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow" is a ridiculous premise but it focuses on La'an's loneliness. "Charades" has a ludicrous conceit but finds real depth in Spock and Amanda's relationship. "Those Old Scientists" and this episode might have the most insane setups of all and seem like they should fall flat, but they ended up saying so much about who these characters are and the journeys that they might be on.

This is minor, but this show also really uses the graphics and special effects to enhance the storylines. I thought this was really noticeable in this episode in particular. The screen displays are really clear, help explain the plot, and still look really cool, futuristic, and realistic. The exterior shots are impressive and help to establish what's going on, but they don't usually go over the top without purpose. (The ships all spinning in time to the finale at the end... that's musicals, baby!)

This is a bit more of a review of the show as a whole, but God knows... anything goes!
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Mal01
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 10:26am (UTC -5)
Lmao @Skylar complaining about not liking the show, yet being another one of these clowns whining endlessly while consistently watching the show after midnight the day it releases.

“I hate it so much and something something retcons (as if the precision of the backstories of these characters actually matters that much) but I’ll stay up past midnight to watch it every week.

Can’t make you people up. Lmfao
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Gorn with the Wind
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 10:44am (UTC -5)
@Lt. Broccoli

The woke mind virus has infected Star Trek to such a degree that they cast a woman as Number One!
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theBgt
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 11:00am (UTC -5)
I am not into musicals much and I need them to have strong songs/numbers in order to captivate me and I can't say this episode's songs were anything special, I found them rather boring musically, at some point I had the subs on and mute on.
BUT, I did enjoy the short Klingon Rap and at least this episode was indeed about a Strange New World! Which makes it 3 out of 9 so far?
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StarMan
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 11:03am (UTC -5)
I say this without exaggeration: I nearly fell out of my chair from laughter at the Eurovision Klingons. I was not remotely prepared for it.

Mad bastards.
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Chase
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 11:20am (UTC -5)
I loved the Klingon boy band, but I think the funniest thing for me was Anson Mount being unable to hide his Tennessee accent when he sings.
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David M. Roberts
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 11:37am (UTC -5)
"I broke my own heart" !?!

and April "in a surprisingly rich baritone" !!!

The whole thing was absolutely brilliant... from plot mechanics to character arcs.

and did I miss a line somewhere or do we now have what the opening and closing scenes were about ?.... Instant subspace communication.
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AP
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 11:38am (UTC -5)
@Chase

It only sounds like a Tennesse (Appalachian) accent to us in the 21st Century, by the late 22nd/early 23rd century that is what folks from Montana (like Chris Pike) will sound like.
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DogFace
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 11:44am (UTC -5)
@Karl Zimmerman

“Not that there's anything wrong with Jess Bush, but I just don't understand the attention she's gotten. Out of all the female cast members, I'd probably rank her the least attractive. Not that she's ugly by any means (and I don't want to nitpick her), but she looks similar to any number of people I've known in real life and isn't a total stunner in terms of either face/body (admittedly, when it comes to the latter, the completely unflattering white jumpsuit doesn't help things).”

Boy you can tell who the young people are around here. Us older guys understand that attractiveness isn’t just about looks. A lot of it is personality. That’s what really comes through in Bush’s performance. But I get it. Star Trek fans are notorious for being fixated on looks, hence why we got characters like Seven and T’Pol. Sounds like some folks are just upset that Bush doesn’t look like a Barbie doll.

@Gorn with the wind

“The woke mind virus has infected Star Trek to such a degree that they cast a woman as Number One!”

Is this supposed to be a parody of Rhonda Santis or Elon X?
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Gorn girl
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 12:12pm (UTC -5)
@Karl Zimmerman

jess bush chapel is the perfect example of white supremacy and white privilege. she is getting the attention because even though she is a generic blonde hot chick, society has always held that has the best standard of beauty.

the actress is not all that in face. Zoe Saldana's Uhura is the best looking girlfriend spock had. you can see how pretty zoe is when she is in blue or green (avatar/gotg movies)

to be honest I find laan to be the prettiest but she barely gets attention because she is asian.

i dont find uhura attractive at all and this is because the hair does not do the actress features justice and also I think she is one of those actresses were loosing weight enhances her looK. although I have always side eye the uhura casting.

uhura is meant to be very beautiful and sexually appealing to men even by vulcan standard, I find it convenient the show did not cast an actress who even looked like the goregous nichelle nichols as uhura when they wanted to push a spock/chapel romance...cant have uhura be a threat huh?

SNW Uhura is not the beauty of TOS or JJ Abrams Uhura

ortega hair is so bad and make her look ugly, I am sure the actress is pretty in real life but you cannot tell.

jess bish chapel is overrated and now i am glad people will see her as a mean girl not to mention the story between her and spock makes no sense based on tos.
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Tony Dunkelwelt
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 12:14pm (UTC -5)
If you hated this you hate life itself.

All the stars.
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Eric Jensen
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 12:49pm (UTC -5)
"The woke mind virus has infected Star Trek to such a degree that they cast a woman as Number One!"

Yeah, forget Captain Janeway!
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Gilligan's Starship
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 12:57pm (UTC -5)
George Lucas has often referred to Star Wars as a space opera, but this episode literally WAS a space opera! Rather than just "singing songs" they were singing the story. I felt like I was watching something like "Jesus Christ Superstar". I thoroughly enjoyed this-- but if you don't like musicals, you'll probably want to pass.

**Aye, There Be Spoilers Ahead**

I didn't know how (or if) they were going to pull this one off, but the fact that they made the singing/rhyming/dancing part of the sci-fi plot and all the characters were very much aware of their bizarre behaviour really helped to make this work for me. And the music & songs were actually terrific--I was surprised at how much thought was put into this, as it had the potential to be just a gimmick.

I was also happy to see they confronted the La'an/Kirk situation head-on. And the mention of Carol Marcus was a nice touch. Paul Wesley is starting to dial in that side of Kirk where he lets down his guard to be more impish/charming that Shatner did so well. (BTW, his scene where he danced with Una sooo reminded me of the dancing sequence in "I Mudd")

The singing Klingons were fan-f*cking-tastic and their in-universe reaction of embarrassment & dishonor tracked perfectly. (I also love the quick shot of the blood-wine tipsy Spock coming out of the turbo-lift toward the end)

The use of the main Star Trek theme after the Grand Finale was a nice tough as well. I almost wish they would've save this for the season finale, it would've have been wonderful to wrap up on such a "high note".

FYI: I live in Los Angeles and years ago saw Nichelle Nichols perform at local venues a couple of times. She loved singing and I can only imagine how much fun she would have had with an episode like this that would've really allowed to her to show her singing chops to the audience.
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Cody B
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 1:13pm (UTC -5)
Oh boy. So my immediate thought was they made a episode into a musical? Oh no no no. But then I started realizing this was a clever gimmick to explore some of the loose-end ongoing plots. It would have been much more boring to have la’an and Kirk ,Pike and his wife, and spock and chapel just talking about their issues and feelings for an entire episode. Not to mention ds9 and tng have their fair share of gimmicky “fun” episodes. Ultimately I had to ask myself if this episode entertained me. The answer is yes. The “everyone sing together in harmony and together we solve the problem” was a bit on the nose and silly. I do think another interesting angle would have been if Spock was unable to sing because his emotions weren’t strong enough and ultimately having to “let go” and sing to save the ship but the whole Spock examining his human side has been done enough before. Decent episode. Missed opportunity to have a more true to character Klingon musical scene. That abomination little 20 second dance routine and rap they had the Klingons do was the only real miss and embarrassment of this episode. Side note I have thought this before but this episode really underlined it- Christina Chong as La’an is easily the most talented actor of the series. Every time she has a scene the show just goes into a different gear.
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HaveGun_WillRiker
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 1:19pm (UTC -5)
This worked a lot better than I expected, my only gripe is that the showtunes themselves were kinda generic. Woulda loved to hear various Star Trek leitmotifs sprinkled in or something to spice them up a bit.
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Gilligan's Starship
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 1:32pm (UTC -5)
@HaveGun_WillRiker

I'll bet that was discussed. There are SO many iconic musical themes from Trek that could have been amazing as well. I'm thinking of Klingons doing a war chant to Jerry Goldsmith's music from their intro in ST:TMP or a scene with the the classic TOS "fight" music--or even throw in some of that crazy repetitious stuff we heard on ST:TAS.
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Calth
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 2:03pm (UTC -5)
Bruce Horak as the Klingon captain was a welcome surprise.
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C.T. Phipps
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 2:11pm (UTC -5)
This episode had an incredibly stupid premise even in-universe (they needed a Trelane-esque being to justify it) but it was something I forgive a lot of flaws due to the emotional development.

Some random thoughts:

* Jess Bush is fantastically sexy in her number. It needs to be said. However, the big thing is it is a woman choosing her career over a man. You still don’t see that very often in media.

* In the words of Friends with Kirk and La’an, “It could have been worse. He could have shot her.”

* Speaking of which, actually addressing Carol Marcus is something I’m glad they did.

* Spock’s breakup depression song is a math so chef’s kiss.

* Uhura is lonely despite being the center of everyone else’s drama. It makes me wonder if they’re going to do her and Spock.

* Captain Batel couldn’t be throwing up more death flags than if she was two weeks from retirement on her ship the USS Immortal.

* The Klingon Boy Band thing was hilarious but I now have to wonder if Klingons have boy bands or if the Federation DID infect them (in which case destroying the Federation was justified)

* I really expected Pelia to have more comments on this. “Oh, yeah, I wrote that song.”
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Jack2211
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 2:38pm (UTC -5)
I’m betting Gorn Girl the same person who’s been posting the awful anti-Uhura stuff here lately under various names.

This worked far better than I’d expected. Before this episode, the La’an pining after Kirk stuff seemed a little overwrought (she knew him for less than a week in that other timeline), but this did a good job of putting it in context.

Even if the whole thing hadn’t worked, it eould have been worth it for that Klingon scene.
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Anonymius
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 3:00pm (UTC -5)
Forget those old scientists, THIS was the funniest episode of season 2!
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Pike’s Hair
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 3:08pm (UTC -5)
@Gorn girl

You aren’t fooling anyone in here when you cry about feminism.
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AP
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 3:08pm (UTC -5)
@Cody B.

"I do think another interesting angle would have been if Spock was unable to sing because his emotions weren’t strong enough."

I don't if you've ever watched ST:Enterprise all the way through, but one thing that series did exceedingly well was it's exploration of Vulcan culture, character, and philosophy. And one very clear recurring motor in speeches by Soval, Surak, and T'pol is that Vulcan emotions are far deeper and more destructive than human emotions.
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Pike’s Hair
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 3:12pm (UTC -5)
@Gorn girl

Oh lol. This is now the fourth account you’ve commented the exact same garbage. I remember the first time I noticed it, you commented as “boy”. Really, you aren’t fooling anyone no matter how many different names you use to make it seem like you’re many people that all have the same takeaway.

No one at all in the world is genuinely hung up on Nurse Chapels looks the way you are. Get over it.
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Cody B
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 3:20pm (UTC -5)
@gorn girl

You are reaching so hard. La’an and uhura both get more screen time than chapel. If you paid attention to this episode it looks like chapel is leaving anyway so go ahead and start searching for your next non issue to complain about
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Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 3:23pm (UTC -5)
@DogFace

Nice try, I'm 44.

To be clear, I don't think there's anything wrong with Jess Bush per se. But in terms of her face, she has that tiny receding chin that people of British descent often have. And in terms of the rest of her, she's just...thin, basically. I mean, I'm not 14, and I don't need to gawk over T&A, but the other actresses on the show have...curves, at least.

None of this is to denigrate Bush; it's more just befuddlement that she's the only one that people seem to notice.

FWIW, the hottest regular character for me back in the day was Ezri Dax. I was very much a guy into the whole "manic pixie dream girl" type when I was young, not a stereotypical "hot woman."

@ Gorn Girl,

Other than the choice of hair, I think Celia Rose Gooding looks much more like Nichelle than Zoe Saldana ever did. More similar skin tones, more similar body types, etc. Saldana is a beautiful woman, but in a much more "deracinated" way, for a lack of a better way to explain it.

I'd actually argue that, for the most part, Uhura wasn't sexualized at all on TOS (other than that uniform in Mirror Mirror and a few other cases). One of the defining aspects of Uhura as a character is that she doesn't seem to have any lasting romantic attachments, which this episode explicitly references.
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Gilligan's Starship
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 3:31pm (UTC -5)
Speaking of romances:

I'm curious if Roger Korby is going to be mentioned in name only or if he will actually be introduced on the show?

I'm glad they mentioned Carol Marcus, but for a split-second I was wondering if Ruth was going to be the woman Kirk was involved with.
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Elise
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 3:59pm (UTC -5)
Oh my goodness I have so much to say. They really hit it out of the park.

Firstly, while I'm sure we'll be hearing for decades that Paul Wesley isn't the best choice to play Kirk in a Star Trek series. This episode makes it so abundantly clear that, whatever your views, he is the perfect choice to play Kirk in a musical. Given how long musical episodes take to write and produce, I wouldn't be surprised if he got the part based on his singing ability and the charisma he radiates while singing. If they were already working on this, they'd surely need to plan on finding a singing Kirk, and wow they really, really did.

Christina Chong definitely had the best number, and I love how the musical theme and its tendency to force reveals created the setup for her to tell Kirk in a regular conversation, one which was almost as well written as her song.

Seriously, there were so many times my brain was a beat ahead of the music, thinking "ok, to really make this pop they should end the next line with such and such a word" and they would then sing it. I think the music really got my brain into its world.

Jess Bush- really the commentary on her here has been so sexist, and I really dislike the obsession over her body as a piece of meat... I do have to admit though that "I'm Ready" was, imo, the sexiest moment the franchise has ever had- just the pride and joy she radiates and the joyous sensuality of the dance- when we first saw the lounge set did anyone think it would be used in such a fantastic way? This scene is where the lipsynching was at its worst, but honestly no worse than usual audio-visual drift when streaming tv.

As always, I want more Ortegas, and as always, I am disappointed. I was very glad to see them up the physical cues and body language from Navia though- she really seemed to be communicating a big-sisterly sort of understanding for a lot of the other cast members, and I hope she gets a chance to play off them more rather than just quips and interaction with guest stars as we've mostly seen from her.

Celia Gooding was phenomenal- this really feels like the Uhura study I've been waiting for. Firstly her voice is terrific- as expected from someone who sings professionally- but the writing really "gave her something to sing about" which I felt defined her better in and of herself rather than in relation to others. I'll think more about it and rewatch, but this is a solid addition to the character

Brace yourselves because I'm about to utter a once-impossible sentence that shall ne'er again be written and should never be spoken:

If there was a weak link, it was Anson Mount.

-cue all 5 Varon-T disruptor blasts shredding your humble correspondent-

Just as a singer, mind you- his acting remains impeccable as ever, and I thought he danced well, so I'm inclined to overlook it.

So, did the show justify itself as a musical?- yes. It created the circumstances wherein Chapel was compelled to disclose something in a way that hurt Spock, La'an was compelled to divulge her secret to Kirk in a way that minimized potential damage, AND we got a first rate character analysis of Uhura spelled out, none of which could have been done in this way without the musical conceit.

Now, the second question- is it a worthy spiritual successor to Buffy's "Once More With Feeling"? Again, the answer is an overwhelming yes, first for the same reason as above- the knowledge that they were in a musical compelled the characters to act uncharacteristically in ways that necessarily advanced the plot, while being spectacularly entertaining. However, one must also appreciate the subtle tributes- a) bunnies being mentioned in the first analysis scene, b) "I've got a theory" being uttered later in the show, and c) two women embracing while they levitate- honestly this parallel alone makes me ship La'an and Una, even though I really want Ortegas to come out already!

Glad they called the mekleths mekleths, rather than renaming such an iconic prop- after they retconned the Ktinga into already existing at this point, I was worried. Honestly, that may be my biggest complaint, which should drive home how amazing this episode is.
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Jeffrey's Tube
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 4:45pm (UTC -5)
@ Jack

"I’m betting Gorn Girl the same person who’s been posting the awful anti-Uhura stuff here lately under various names."

Quite transparently. Nobody feed the troll, k?

@ Elise

"-cue all 5 Varon-T disruptor blasts shredding your humble correspondent-"

Wow that's a deep reference. Gave me a good chuckle.

"after they retconned the Ktinga into already existing at this point, I was worried."

Yeah, it should have been a D7. Although, to be fair, we don't know that K'Tinga's DIDN'T exist at this time. There may only be a few of them like there are only a few Constitutions while D7s and lesser classes are the "workhorses" of the fleet like lesser classes of ships than Constitutions are for Starfleet. We're about 15 years before ST:TMP at the moment in SNW so this is feasible.

. . .

Also you can put me in the "I think it's beneath us to be discussing the anatomy of the female cast members" camp. They're all sexy as hell and I'm sure the men are too. Let's move on.
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Jeffrey's Tube
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 4:49pm (UTC -5)
Ah hell, I just remembered a scene in Discovery where L'Rell is looking over the plans for the brand new D7 class warship, "the most advanced class of warship we've ever designed" or something like that. Yeah, it's a goof. K'Tingas probably shouldn't exist yet.

"D7" isn't a very Klingon sounding name and "K'Tinga" is so maybe somebody thought "eh let's just go with that one."
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John
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 4:53pm (UTC -5)
One thing the episode hammered home is that Spock and Chapel are really, really bad at communicating with each other. A lot of the drama of the past couple of episodes could have been handled much more maturely if they had just sat down and had an honest conversation. Heck, they even could have done a mind meld - we've seen melds with humans can be a two-way street when the Vulcan wants it to be.
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SlackerInc
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 4:53pm (UTC -5)
I'm halfway through this episode, and La'an has knocked it out of the park, including in her brief portion of the opening ensemble song. Una wasn't bad. But some of the others have been borderline excruciating, to the point where I actually fast-forwarded, not typically something I would do (as opposed to just bailing out of the show).

I'll try to finish it later this evening.
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Tim C
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 5:14pm (UTC -5)
This episode made me really appreciate the X-Factor that SNW has, that so many Trek shows have lacked since DS9. It's self-confidence, baby!*

It's the same feeling I had watching "Quality Of Mercy" last year. Only a cast, writer's room, and production team that were supremely self-assured would have been able to pull this off successfully, and although I don't think they knocked "Once More With Feeling" off the genre-musical perch, they took their absolute best shot at the premise and we the viewers were the winners.

Someone above pointed out that improbabilities running rampant is a concept that's been done before in Trek, in DS9's "Rivals", which was squandered on a bunch of silly inanities. *This* is where you should go with such a concept.

Count me as surprised also at just how many good singers this cast has. The lip-syncing was a bit obvious at times, but that's always a problem you run into with musical numbers in TV and movies.

It's too bad they set the entire thing onboard the ship; it seemed to hamper some of the numbers, which could have really taken it to the next level with some location shooting or more elaborate settings. Still, that's a minor gripe.

Bullet points:

* I really liked Number One getting a lot more screen time in this one, as a mentor figure to both Kirk and La'an, and the callback to her love of Gilbert and Sullivan from "Short Treks".

* I had actually completely forgotten about Carol Marcus when contemplating how they would deal with the La'an/Kirk subplot. It's a nifty way of using canon to solve the story and a good reminder that this younger Kirk is a version of the character we actually haven't met before.

* Nice close up on M'Benga when they're singing about keeping secrets. Seems the writers are not just going to forget last week's dark revelations.

* The cutaway to the dancing Klingons was just bloody hilarious.

It sucks that this season is only one episode away from being over. And we'll probably be waiting awhile for season 3 thanks to the AMPTP assholes.
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Harpohara
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 5:42pm (UTC -5)
I’ve watched that Klingon scene a dozen times and I’m still laughing. The subtlety of them returning to character at the last moment and the combination of confusion and shame was just wonderful.

It’s an episode I’ll only ever watch once but fair play to a brilliantly original idea and execution.

I’ll never watch that episode in full again…. But I might rewatch that Klingon Boy Band scene a few more times. Really funny
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Cynic
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 5:49pm (UTC -5)
Still deciding how I really feel about this one, but I do wish they had fully committed a totally a cappella rendering of the SNW theme in the opening credits a la Perpetuum Jazzile. See for instance https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjbpwlqp5Qw (skip to about 1:50)
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Gecko
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 5:49pm (UTC -5)
Watch the pre-credit scenes and you've watched the whole offer.
Too bad. There's nothing here to feed an hour.
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F
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 5:51pm (UTC -5)
Good execution —for a one-time thing on a Trek show—, although the final song didn't felt climatic enough. Spock's and La'An's solos were my favourites.

Now, this Spock-Chapel relationship, eh? So based on nothing that it was crumbling an episode after it's beginning, and now it's already finished. But I think they actually did a good job in terms of consistency with TOS: Chapel will still feel something for Spock, and Spock being cold with her because of she coldly abandoning him.

But overall It doesn't feel like these guys know how to write actual stories... It's not even "telling" instead of showing anymore, I guess, when the "story" can be FULLY exposed on the "previously on..." segment.
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Brandon Adams
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 5:52pm (UTC -5)
I'm forever scarred by the Klingon boy band, and I think I mean that in a good way.
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DogFace
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 6:45pm (UTC -5)
@C.T. Phipps

There’s still a double standard in our culture when it comes to ambition. A man can prioritize his career and be respected. But if a woman does it, she’s considered selfish. I can totally understand Chapel’s decision. It’s not like she and Spock were married or in a serious relationship. My problem is that the writers didn’t make use of what was already established. Maybe Spock breaks up with Chapel after realizing she covered for M’Benga. Maybe Chapel breaks up with Spock because she can’t handle his more intense Vulcan emotions. Maybe Chapel breaks up with Spock because of what she learned from Boimler. Any of these would’ve been more interesting than what we got here.

@Karl Zimmerman

That’s sad. You’re 44 and picking apart a 31 year old woman’s looks?

@Elise

Sexism among Star Trek fans? I’m shocked. But you’re right. It was a sexy moment. That’s because Bush knew how to sell it. This is what I tried to explain above. Attractiveness and sex appeal isn’t just about looks. It’s also about personality. As for the lip syncing, yes it was pretty noticeable, which is too bad because it made me wonder if it was Bush singing or whether they had to “fix” her voice in post production.
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Caloceptri
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 7:08pm (UTC -5)
Maybe gorn girl will break out into song about the actresses’ respective physiognomies:

“Una Chin.. She can’t win… She can’t grin… her face is just….and why must… She has such a squat nose….like CE-LI-a Rose!

…In the end... I won’t bend…… The secret to beauty and success… is to be.. just like white blonde Jess!”


(Suggested extra lyric.. “And if you don’t agree with me…. I will go back to Cestus 3!”

Spouting mindless garbage is a parlor game-too damn easy. Just sprinkle allegations of racism and sexism and voila - instant s*it, ready to serve for breakfast

Good grief.
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A. Franco
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 7:24pm (UTC -5)
Boy, it has worked. Like everyone I was really skeptically worried. Nice stunt. My favorite singer and character, at whatever order, is La'an. Who would say? She seemed to be poorly written at the beginnings of the show and now she is a star. Literally. Thumbs up.
I just thought Jammer would make a review in sonnet format. Thankfully not. LOL
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Dean M Dent
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 7:36pm (UTC -5)
W....T....F did I just watch????
😱😱😱

I admit, they get an A+ for all of the work and effort they put into this episode but......it was PAINFUL to watch, especially the Klingons busting out in song!!!!!!!!
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MidshipmanNorris
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 7:49pm (UTC -5)
I mean, part of my revulsion for Musical Theatre is that it's about as far away from gritty, down-to-earth folk-blues-rock stuff as you can get...

And that's the kind of music I play and sing
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Scott
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 7:57pm (UTC -5)
Glad Jammer liked the episode.

The rest of you who disliked it (I'm seeing similar comments here and on reddit about some people "fast forwarding" the songs)...which is bizarre to me because why even watch it in the first place?

Some of you need to lighten up. You can tell how much the cast and crew loved making this episode. I know most people here are middle age adults on their way to becoming senior citizens, but having nice fun and light hearted episodes for a new generation of fans is fantastic.
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Chris L.
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 8:06pm (UTC -5)
Well... Okay.

I am not a big fan of musicals. I don't exactly hate them, but I'd never go out of my way to watch one (Blues Brothers notwithstanding).

So I was fully prepared to just slog through this one without enjoying it at all. I wasn't sure how they were going to do it without it being ridiculously campy. But they did. My hat is off.

They really effectively used song to wrap up a lot of the loose emotional threads running through the series. It had a lot of feels in it, and it might be the most "nuTrek" episode of all "nuTrek", but it might also be one of the best executed.

I also noticed that one of the early songs when the camera focused on M'Benga briefly, the lyrics said something about "feel the knife". I expect that there will be more on M'Benga's story, and hopefully some consequence. I liked the episode last week, but I can't really fully judge that episode until I know the end of M'Benga's story. We know he is still on Enterprise during TOS, but that doesn't mean that there aren't serious consequences for him. In fact, there kind of have to be. McCoy taking over as CMO kind of implies he at least gets a demotion at some point, and maybe that is tied up in this story.

Anyway, kind of hard to judge this one, too, given how different it is from anything else in Trek canon. But I enjoyed it and it worked, so I'll go 3/4.
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Rich
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 8:32pm (UTC -5)
I was worried but hoped more for a Buffy style musical than a cringy worthy effort for the heck of it. Hope springs eternal and thank God it sprung here. Fantastic and enjoyable episode. I love the Klingon boy-band, I’ll never be able to unsee that lol.

Cheers to the cast. They truly have some amazing pipes.
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Elise
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 8:40pm (UTC -5)
@DogFace, Idk, i'm bad at recognizing that sort of stuff, but given how complex the choreography of that scene was i bet it was just natural drift and they went with the best they had because the dance was so intricate.

You're right- tying the breakup to one of the things you mention would make sense, but I think her making a career choice is going to be easier to turn into regret later. Clearly, original Chapel regrets not being with Spock, and he resents her for some reason, so making it over something as little as 1 90 day separation makes a kind of sense in my book.
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Elise
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 9:05pm (UTC -5)
What are everyone's favorite Gilbert and Sullivan shows? Personally I would love to see Rebecca Romijin as Lady Sophy in Utopia
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Fish
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 9:07pm (UTC -5)
When you’re reading a comments section where everyone allegedly values the progressive, enlightened values preached by these series and there’s a discussion ranking relative hotness of the women and dissecting their physical features.

Y’all need to grow the fuck up.
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Harry Kim Eats Worms
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 9:22pm (UTC -5)
When I think musical, I think Seth McFarland. That is all.
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Rahul
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 10:13pm (UTC -5)
Very enjoyable episode though it was probably the longest of the season and could / should really have been tightened up. But what I like is that it added meaningful development to all the romantic relationships as well as provided insightful character analysis (La'an, Uhura), in addition to having a Trekkian problem to solve. I think it does a good job of exemplifying classic Trek with the kinds of things that tend to drive nu-Trek.

Obviously a lot of ground covered here and in TNG style, there's a technobabble problem to solve - but that isn't really what the episode is about. I appreciated how this episode really moved the pieces toward where TOS begins with Chapel accepting the Dr. Korby fellowship (and really ending it with Spock), and Kirk taking the next steps toward getting his captaincy. Uhura's humming at the very end was terrific -- just like she did on TOS.

I think an episode like this goes a long way toward making one appreciate the SNW cast and connect to the characters. For me personally, I love music and I appreciated the more classical style of singing/dancing instead of being the more modern version (though the Klingons provided a bit of that!).

Was the cast lip-synching? I think they were, though they did an excellent job of it. Some of the singing went on for too long but when it first started, I thought it was great. The ending resolution of the whole ship having to sing was pushing it as it seemed that people only sang when driven by emotion but then Uhura can whip them all up to sing in unison -- we'll have to give the episode a mulligan there.

Uhura's the key character here and Gooding did much better in this type of role than in "Lost in Translation" -- also she had the classic Trek line of the odds of all of them being on the Enterprise at this point in time...

For the series overall though, I think the balance is way off with far too many light-hearted episodes. And coming after the very heavy "Under the Cloak of War", which itself came after another light-hearted episode -- it's not clear what to expect from SNW. So I do think this series needs to take itself more seriously -- and put a lot more focus on Pike who is supposed to be the star of the show.

3 stars for "Subspace Rhapsody" -- a clever, original way to advance various subplots and come up with the type of problem-solving episode that is pure Trek. What this SNW cast does best is the light-hearted stuff, but I'd like to see more meaty stuff. Sure, there's a bunch of arbitrary stuff here, but as long as an enjoyable end product is achieved and a decent story told, it works.
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castlerook
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 10:23pm (UTC -5)
I was simultaneously looking forward to and dreading this episode. I'm a professional musician myself, and so while I love this stuff, I also have very high standards for it.

Thankfully, those standards were met. Well done.

My only (slight) criticism is that this owes a LOT, in both form and function, to Buffy's "Once More, With Feeling."
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DogFace
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 10:33pm (UTC -5)
@Elise,

It’s the regret part I take issue with. In TOS, Chapel was a pathetic woman pining away for a man who had zero interest in her. Now we discover she actually had a relationship with that man, but threw it away. This only makes the character look even more pathetic. “I had a good thing with Spock, I effed it up, and now he won’t take me back. I’m such an idiot.” I also think this makes it easier for fans to hate Chapel in a way they didn’t before. Because now they can look at how TOS Spock treats her and say she deserves it after how she treated him, which is exactly the reaction I’ve seen from people on this and other forums.

Imagine, instead, that the writers chose to break up Spock and Chapel because his Vulcan emotions became too intense for her to handle. Fast forward to TOS. Chapel doesn’t look quite as pathetic anymore. We would know why she loves him, that she tried to make it work, but couldn’t. We would also know why he’s so cold to her. Not due to a lack of interest or because she dumped him, but because he remembers what happened when did let himself experience emotions.
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Bryan
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 11:03pm (UTC -5)
SNW continues its winning streak in the latter half of the second season with just the sort episode we needed to diffuse the tension from last week. The exuberance is so contagious that it's easy forget that an unrepentant M'Benga just got away with murdering a Starfleet Ambassador as he sings and dances his away from that uncomfortable truth. Meanwhile, even the uncomfortably awkward and reclusive Sam Kirk seems to be blending in and having a great time.

"Subspace Rhapsody" is so effective that I worry that the showrunners have finally found their true calling: why fuss with any the science fiction at all, when the stars have so clearly aligned for them to make High School Musical 5! Still, I have to say that the Star Trek elements blend strangely well with the musical stuff in interesting and amusing ways, with "Private Conversation" in particular epitomizing the amusing irony of both relishing and lampshading this bizarre situation. Even if we ignored the necessity of the rooting the music in the plot and existing themes, the songs themselves are catchy with and well-written which is no small feat.

Did the entire cast sing their own parts? It sure looks like they did. But they're all so good (with the exception of Anson Mount who is a bit shaky (and yes, I know, Mount-defenders: HE JUST GAVE BIRTH)) that you'd think there must have been vocal competition included in the regular auditions for them to get their roles. I never imagined that a Star Trek musical like this could seem like it was always MEANT TO BE with this or any other series in the franchise, and it is truly an original premise after a long slew of recycled ones that weren't even executed too well. I'm actually kinda surprised this hasn't been tried on any previous Trek, but I guess TNG, DS9 and even VOY hadn't yet reached the nadirs of Nu-Trek that they would risk jumping the shark with embarrassing repercussions. Still, it woulda been pretty satisfying to watch either of those classic ensemble casts spontaneously break into song and dance in this no-holds-barred manner.

Other thoughts:

- If with their current communication it takes "weeks" to get a message across, how come long distance communication has been always been portrayed as instantaneous like a normal video-call?

- The on-and-off thing with Carol, who he knows he got pregnant, certainly puts Kirk's future philandering in an interesting light... at least compared to him finding it shocking that have a son together so many years later...

- I thought there was a special place for song in Klingon culture, but man...those guys weren't kidding when they said they had suffered a great dishonor

- Who else thought that Spock was about to start doing flips and cartwheels when he ran to join the others toward the end of their "grand finale"?

- The official results are in:
Best Song: "I'm Ready"
Best Singer: Uhura
Highest Note: Uhura
Lowest Note: Spock
Most Inventive Way to Break a Heart: Chapel (leaving Kirk in a dust)


M'Benga: "What will do I do without you for three months?"
Chapel: "Find another alibi?"
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Fortyseven
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 11:06pm (UTC -5)
Shame something so light and fun is bringing out the absolute asshats...
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Chris W
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 11:31pm (UTC -5)
I usually preach flexibility and patience when encountering those that I feel reflexively spout discontent. I find myself needing to take my own advice.

I love musicals. I generally loved the musical numbers and how they built a sci-fi story around it while still making meaningful progress to SNW, which in this case comes in the form of Chapel’s, La’An’s, and Spock’s character development. I agree with Jammer’s overall view of it. Nevertheless, I’m beginning to have some strong gripes.

• This episode, along with “Those Old Scientists”, are what I would consider ‘outlier’ episodes. They’re so far off the beaten path. I couldn’t help but wonder why the producers/showrunners would put these episodes nearly back-to-back. Wouldn’t they better serve the show by spacing them out across seasons? I find myself pulled out of the story of Enterprise exploring through the universe and feeling like I’m watching just another TV show. They are amazing episodes on their own merit but airing them so close together takes some of the magic away.
• Only a few episodes ago I spoke against those that found Pike to be less than. I’m now finding myself leaning into that camp and wishing for more of a stern Captain. He’s great when he’s casual, funny, and down-to-earth in off-duty and other conversational or relationship-building situations, but he seems to maintain that when he’s leading the crew. The writers would never allow the crew to get too relaxed with such a character leading them, but it’s very hard to believe that would translate over to our world, let alone a military unit. Why does he choose Uhura to be the person to rally the ship? Just because she’s a communications officer she sees the connections between everyone? If there’s anyone that is to be responsible for rallying the crew, it’s the Captain. He _IS_ the connection to every officer. Everyone looks to him as an example and for leadership. So, yes, Pike needs to be more Captain-y and do more leading. But perhaps I’ll get my wish since the Gorn story arc is likely to be launched next week and will probably carry throughout next season…?
• Is it just me or do our characters develop very quickly? I’m amazed at how the La’An/Kirk storyline seems to conclude here and how the Spock/Chapel love relationship is seemingly near its completion. It would be nice to have seen these drawn out a bit more.

Some other nitpicks:
• I’m surprised the Klingons had to sing in such Earthly boy band fashion. No Vulcan music or Klingon operas?
• I’ll need to go back and watch Star Trek II: TWoK. I thought Kirk didn’t know he had a son with Carol, so I was surprised to see SNW’s Kirk mention that.
• Kirk seems to be exhibiting some of those womanizing vibes. Hopefully TOS loyalists are warming up to Wesley.
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Elise
Thu, Aug 3, 2023, 11:59pm (UTC -5)
@Chris Kirk knew in WoK. As soon as they're alone, he says to Carol "I stayed away from him, like you asked"
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Jeremy A
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 12:25am (UTC -5)
First-time poster, long-time lurker here. I loved this episode, but I also love musicals. I can understand why those who don’t might cringe at this episode, but I’d encourage them to give it a fair shot and take it in the fun and light-hearted spirit in which it’s intended.

A few thoughts in response to some of the comments here:

* As for the D-7 vs. the K’Tinga class Klingon ships, could it be that they’re actually the same class ship? Maybe Starfleet and the IKS just have different terminology for the same design. If I remember correctly, the K’Tingas in TMP were basically the same design as the D-7s in TOS, just with a bit of a facelift (not unlike the Klingons themselves in that film).

* In TWOK, Kirk already knew he had a son by Carol Marcus. When they were in the tunnels on the asteroid, he specifically said to her, “I did what you wanted. I stayed away.” I thought the revelation in this episode was a great way to tie things into the greater Trek-continuity. Plus, this episode takes place in 2259 and TWOK in 2285, so the timing works out pretty well. David seems about mid-20s in TWOK (actor Merritt Butrick was 23 when the film came out), so he likely would’ve been born sometime around 2260.
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The Queen
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 12:28am (UTC -5)
So, who else heard "improbability field" and thought immediately of Zaphod Beeblebrox and the Heart of Gold?

That's not a nitpick, by the way. It's one more thing on the list of why I loved this episode.
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Rich
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 12:41am (UTC -5)
Diversity and infinite combinatioo!Diversity and infinite combination
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Fortyseven
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 1:15am (UTC -5)
Big fan of "Once More With Feeling", and it's obvious that is going to be the benchmark by which this episode is measured.

I felt Subspace Rhapsody was well done but, for me, isn't on the same level. Each number in OMWF was, surprisingly, a stand-alone hit. And they all had different vibes and styles, yet held an interconnected theme between them -- even literally, towards the end, as the elements from the different songs blended together towards the climax with Sweet. (I love that Buffy and friends actually lost against him. Their unearthed misery his reward.)

I felt none of that depth and weight with Subspace Rhapsody.

Yes, each SNW cast member belted their numbers out well, and they worked in the current story themes well enough, but it all just felt fairly... generic?

Exceptions with Chapel's brutal, throaty kick to Spock's naive heart and the angry Klingon crew's brief, but hilarious number being the only real stand-outs for me.

The rest just felt kind of by-the-numbers. Competent, well-performed, a ton of effort on display... but generally uninspiring.

Of course, I may discover a fondness for it over time. I'm open to that. And, of course, the impact of this on each viewer will vary, and that's absolutely fair.

OMWF is an extremely high bar. That this even approaches that bar is something I'll happily give it credit for.
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Jack2211
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 3:45am (UTC -5)
“Big fan of "Once More With Feeling", and it's obvious that is going to be the benchmark by which this episode is measured.”

Not by me. I don’t think I ever got through the whole thing (I thought Buffy was repetitive and overrated).

But fair enough; this episode can’t be everything for everyone.

Also @Karl Z. etc: Not thrilled with anyone rating/ranking women’s physical attractiveness, especially in a Trek thread in 2023.
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Jeff R
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 6:18am (UTC -5)
Ranks with the worse Star Trek episodes ever !
AWFULLLLLLLL
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jc
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 6:25am (UTC -5)
Just because I feel like quibbling about best musical episode in any (normally non-musical) show - for me the best episode was "The Bitter Suite" from Xena but I grant that was more of a minority offering than Buffy.
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The Bitter Gus
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 6:59am (UTC -5)
Perhaps... the worst Star Trek episode EVER.

Much worse than Spock's Brain. And that is the gold standard of horribleness.
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DogFace
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 7:06am (UTC -5)
@Chris W

“Is it just me or do our characters develop very quickly? I’m amazed at how the La’An/Kirk storyline seems to conclude here and how the Spock/Chapel love relationship is seemingly near its completion. It would be nice to have seen these drawn out a bit more.”

It isn’t just you. This is the problem with having seasons that are only 10 episodes long. It’s too many for one story arc, but it’s too few for a character arc. There’s no rule that says a character arc can only last one season. But that’s exactly the rule the writers have imposed on themselves. I wish I understood why. Are they worried fans will lose interest between seasons? Are they worried the show won’t get renewed and they have to make sure loose ends are tied up? Just imagine what the writers could’ve done with the Spock/Chapel relationship if they had 26 episodes to really develop it.
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Bok R'Mor
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 8:20am (UTC -5)
Here I am, a day later than everyone else as usual.

Well, the love watchers are going to absolutely LOVE that episode, aren't they? A bold re-imagining of Trek, FOUR STARS, I'm here for it, etc etc.

Me? I thought it was a crescendo of absolute thermonuclear cringe from start to finish. A stoned writer's room gimmick stretched out to a whole episode in lieu of an actual idea. I find Disney-level musicals and young adult romance completely, intrinsically unengaging and uninteresting.

The self-realising Uhura worship was particularly grating. Pike in his apron serving food yet again. Best friends FOREVER level emotion. No, no, no.

Two things I did like though:
-La'an saying the crew's emotions were a security threat. Nice meta take on NuTrek writing there.
-The unexpected return of the hammy Tellarite extra in the bar scene.
-The cast seemed to veer between having a great time and being utterly terrified, and it was quite fun to try and work out which cast members were enjoying themselves and which ones were dying inside of cringe.

Next!
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Corey
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 8:24am (UTC -5)
And the winner is… Christina Chong! Best number in the show.
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Greg
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 8:50am (UTC -5)
Didn't expect to love this, but I did. It was just really, really well done. I actually laughed out loud when the crew sang their status reports to Pike in the teaser, none of which answered his question "then whyyy are we singing"--- cut to opening credits.

Chalk me up as someone who appreciates the Spock: the Early Years approach between him and Chapel. Very fitting. This is the kind of stuff that happens in people's daily lives in between the huge milestones that we know them for. Good shit IMO, and Ethan Peck plays it so well.

If this marks the beginning of the end of Spock/Chapel then I think it's appropriate given what we know about them. Besides the obvious prequel reasons, the relationship was likely doomed to begin with given Chapel's tendency to keep distance from her flings (frustrating them, like that one ensign on the starbase). Insisting Spock keep the relationship a secret and then semi-ghosting him during life-changing news feels in character.

The La'an/Kirk thing was well handled too (not to mention the Carol Marcus reference). Despite the unfortunate outcome for La'an, this is a milestone for her. That said, I don't blame La'an for reading Kirk wrong. We've already seen Kirk go out of his way to help Uhura, and she originally thought he was coming on to her (so did I). He's just like that. But it's hard for me to see Kirk mentioning the drink La'an owes him (more than once) as something other than "let's go on a date".

Pike's evasiveness with Captain Batel is also in character. The one thing I felt was left out was a follow-up lover's spat duet between the two of them (in private this time).

K-pop (Klingon-pop). Lmao. And Spock's hungover wobble coming off the lift. This is without a doubt the sharpest, low-key funniest Trek series.

I know it's a relatively low bar, but SNW's opening volley of 20 episodes easily stacks up with any of 90s Trek's first seasons, and is honestly probably better and more consistent with its strong character writing and serialized elements. (This is with the assumption that next week's finale will be excellent. I would be truly surprised if it isn't at this rate, tbh.)
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SlackerInc
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 8:59am (UTC -5)
I finished the episode. 1.5 stars. (I couldn't stay aligned with Jammer forever.)

@Rahul: "I do think this series needs to take itself more seriously -- and put a lot more focus on Pike who is supposed to be the star of the show."

I wouldn't hold your breath, especially after this episode. The captain would be the obvious choice for the inspiring speech to rally the entire crew into song, right? (As @Chris W observed, "If there’s anyone that is to be responsible for rallying the crew, it’s the Captain.") To have Uhura do it instead is so blatant in the nuTrek mode, to "center Black women's voices" instead of those of white men. [eyeroll]

It's clearer and clearer that this is what's behind having Pike recede more and more into the background behind his apron. Of course, they groomed the Black woman on DSC to emerge as the leader as well, but there was no canonical reason she couldn't become Captain (other than the absurdity of someone who committed all those crimes ascending to that level of authority), so here it looks even more shoehorned.

@Karl Zimmerman: "Not that there's anything wrong with Jess Bush, but I just don't understand the attention she's gotten. Out of all the female cast members, I'd probably rank her the least attractive. Not that she's ugly by any means (and I don't want to nitpick her), but she looks similar to any number of people I've known in real life and isn't a total stunner in terms of either face/body (admittedly, when it comes to the latter, the completely unflattering white jumpsuit doesn't help things)."

Agreed. I think some people just really get mesmerized by blondes, even blatant "bottle blondes". As you say, Jess Bush is perfectly fine looking, like three stars out of four on a Jammer-esque attractiveness scale, but people are going nuts about her in a way that doesn't make sense to me.

@Jack2211: "I’m betting Gorn Girl the same person who’s been posting the awful anti-Uhura stuff here lately under various names."

Ya think?

@Elise: "Christina Chong definitely had the best number"

Glad I'm not the only one who saw it that way. I was not nearly as impressed as you were by Kirk's singing though.

@Tim C: "And we'll probably be waiting awhile for season 3 thanks to the AMPTP assholes."

Takes two to tango. Some of the writers' demands strike me as unreasonable. I tend to historically be a strong supporter of unions when they are sticking up for exploited blue collar workers to be able to get a living wage, a safe workplace, and health and retirement benefits. But according to Variety, the minimum guild pay for a writer-producer is over eight grand a week; for staff writers (the lowest peg on the totem pole) it's as follows: "[T]he median staff writer on a network show works 29 weeks for a wage of $131,834, while the median staff writer on a streaming show works 20 weeks for $90,920." These are not coal miners with black lung we're talking about.

In particular, insisting that even someone like Taylor Sheridan would have to hire a full writers' room to twiddle their thumbs while he writes all the scripts himself lightning-fast (boy does the union hate him for making them look bad) just plays into stereotypes of the worst impulses of organized labor. It's reminiscent of the Sopranos and the "no-work" and "no-show" jobs they used their corrupt control of the construction union to get.

@Scott: "The rest of you who disliked it (I'm seeing similar comments here and on reddit about some people 'fast forwarding' the songs)...which is bizarre to me because why even watch it in the first place?"

Because I watch the show and like talking about it online. And I only fast-forwarded the bad songs, which was about sixty percent of them.

"Some of you need to lighten up. You can tell how much the cast and crew loved making this episode. I know most people here are middle age adults on their way to becoming senior citizens, but having nice fun and light hearted episodes for a new generation of fans is fantastic."

I have no beef with that as a general concept. But even the most ardent lover of musical theatre doesn't love every production they see. Some are better than others, including some that are truly dire. This one was VERY uneven, with one showstopper (La'an's), a couple other decent ones, and then...the ones I fast-forwarded.

@Bryan: "If with their current communication it takes "weeks" to get a message across, how come long distance communication has been always been portrayed as instantaneous like a normal video-call?"

Great question.

@Chris W: "The writers would never allow the crew to get too relaxed with such a character leading them, but it’s very hard to believe that would translate over to our world, let alone a military unit."

I agree (and I note with some satisfaction that even @Jeffrey's Tube no longer seems to be trying to sell the notion that Starfleet's not "really" the military--pretty hard to argue after last week's episode).

@Jack2211: "Not thrilled with anyone rating/ranking women’s physical attractiveness, especially in a Trek thread in 2023."

I think it crosses a line when anyone is calling Uhura fat and ugly (neither of which are remotely true, but if they were, it would be cruel to say so). But when a bunch of people have been falling all over themselves to say how gorgeous Chapel is, I don't see a problem with pushing back and saying calm down, she's merely a moderately attractive woman and not "all that" by Hollywood standards. It's silly for us to collectively agree to pretend like they just cast actors based on their acting ability and suitability for a certain role, as if physical attractiveness plays no part.

@Bok R'Mor: "The unexpected return of the hammy Tellarite extra in the bar scene."

Oh, I missed that! A casualty of my fast-forwarding. I'll have to rewatch (on mute).

@Corey: "And the winner is… Christina Chong! Best number in the show."

100%. It's still stuck in my head.

@Greg: "But it's hard for me to see Kirk mentioning the drink La'an owes him (more than once) as something other than 'let's go on a date'."

Yeah, that's a fair point.
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J Fedora
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 9:07am (UTC -5)
For me, this episode encapsulates and uniquely expresses both the Star Trek ethos and "Star Trek" itself. It could be critiqued here and there, but none of that is substantive, in my book. Instant classic.

****
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J Fedora
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 9:21am (UTC -5)
@Bryan

"- If with their current communication it takes "weeks" to get a message across, how come long distance communication has been always been portrayed as instantaneous like a normal video-call?"

The basic answer is that communications in Star Trek, like propulsion, move at the speed of plot.

In at least the TOS era, though, subspace communication was spotty. Most episodes portray Starfleet Command as at least hours away in terms of comms, which is why Kirk is so often empowered to act on his own, a la "Nelson at sea." The further away one is from or out on the subspace relay network, which was obviously smaller in the TOS era than in TNG+, the greater the delay in comms.
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J Fedora
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 9:22am (UTC -5)
Sorry. ETA to add: E9 clearly says (in Uhura's voiceover) that the Enterprise is on the edge of the Alpha Quadrant.
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Bok R'Mor
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 9:24am (UTC -5)
@J Fedora
'For me, this episode encapsulates and uniquely expresses both the Star Trek ethos and "Star Trek" itself.'

How exactly? Until this episode, Star Trek hasn't been a musical.
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Chris W
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 9:28am (UTC -5)
@Elise, @Jeremy A – Ah, yes, thanks for the reminder in TWoK!

@Fortyseven – I was a big Buffy fan, too. Yes, this episode immediately reminded me of their musical.

@DogFace – ah, great to know I’m not the only one that feels the character stories are rushed.

@Bok R'Mor – I also loved the La’An ‘security threat’ realization. That was a great touch.

“How exactly? Until this episode, Star Trek hasn't been a musical.”

I’m guessing @J Fedora is going with the “Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations” wisdom, i.e., introducing new ideas and concepts to explore.

--
• At the end of Pike’s “Private Conversation” number at 24:30, he stumbles with embarrassment. I think a confident guy like him that was comfortable showing the Discovery crew how he once received a failing grade at the Academy would have had a different reaction… maybe something like allowing his body to express exasperated relief before turning to La’An saying, “Christ, thanks for that. Security threat assessment well-noted.”

• I also didn’t expect the Klingons to react with embarrassment and shyness at the end of their number. I think a more fun scene would allow us to watch them react in anger, “AAAARRGGHH!!! We did it again!” and then see the Klingon Captain take a bat’leth to his chair, knocking out the communications feed.

• I was re-thinking my earlier critique of Pike and his lack of being Captain-y, particularly with delegating Uhura to be the motivator for the crew. I wonder if the writers had accidentally written themselves into a corner: They knew the story they wanted to tell but couldn’t get Mount to lead the finale because his singing chops aren’t on the same level as Gooding’s.
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Yanks
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 9:50am (UTC -5)
@Jack2211

"I’m betting Gorn Girl the same person who’s been posting the awful anti-Uhura stuff here lately under various names."

My thoughts exactly. Just ignore.

@John

"One thing the episode hammered home is that Spock and Chapel are really, really bad at communicating with each other. A lot of the drama of the past couple of episodes could have been handled much more maturely if they had just sat down and had an honest conversation. Heck, they even could have done a mind meld - we've seen melds with humans can be a two-way street when the Vulcan wants it to be."

I personally think the mind meld thing has been done too much in trek. I don't think it's out of character that these two don't communicate well. I think Spock's immaturity with relationships is to be expected (even though the effort is obviously there) and I've always taken Chapel as a leap first - just do it kind of gal when it comes to relationships. While it was written as emotional when she found out that she wasn't going to be in Spock's life in the future, I'm not really surprised that she could move on pretty quickly. I actually think this has been pretty good writing for Spock as he will undoubtedly grow a thicker skin and develop into the Spock we all know and love. They also have given reason for T'Pring to refuse Spock in Amok Time. (although I'm sure we will see more)


@Bryan

""Subspace Rhapsody" is so effective that I worry that the showrunners have finally found their true calling: why fuss with any the science fiction at all, when the stars have so clearly aligned for them to make High School Musical 5!"

I think this is something that only needs and should be done once.

@Chris W

"Some other nitpicks:
• I’m surprised the Klingons had to sing in such Earthly boy band fashion. No Vulcan music or Klingon operas?"

Had they sung some of Worf's favorite Klingon Opera I don't think that would have been viewed as dishonorable by the Klingons. They probably would have broken out a barrel of 2309.

"• I’ll need to go back and watch Star Trek II: TWoK. I thought Kirk didn’t know he had a son with Carol, so I was surprised to see SNW’s Kirk mention that."

He knew. Carol did what he wanted and kept the fact that his dad was Kirk a secret from his son.

"• Kirk seems to be exhibiting some of those womanizing vibes. Hopefully TOS loyalists are warming up to Wesley."

Peter Wesley has been killing it with the character.

I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. I never felt if was campy (which I feared going in) and the fact they knew this was happening to them and couldn’t do anything about it really made it work.

Great review Jammer.

I think the meaningful character development that was melded into each of the crew's songs just worked incredibly well.

My personal favorite was when Una and Kirk were together.

The funniest line by a member of the crew was M'benga when he said at the table, "...and I do not sing..." ... lol

Ending with the entire crew joining in was fantastic.

Gooding obviously has an incredible pipes, but when she was singing her solo song I kept thinking "Disney princess". Wonderfully performed, but missed the mark for me.

Chong once again nails it. Not only her solo but with her conversation with Kirk. I really liked the song with her and Una, but the Mary Poppins bit didn't work that well.

Even Ethan Peck held his own. "X" .. lol

My only real bummer in this entry was, again, the lack of Ortegas. She has a good voice too... I wish they could have given her a solo and taken this opportunity to develop her character a little more.

What a wonderful cast we are blessed with.

I've watched every hour of trek ever produced many times and I haven't come close to laughing as hard as I did when the Klingons broke out in the boy band performance. OMG I was in tears... dishonorable indeed! ... lol I felt even better when I learned that Bruce Horak was the Klingon captain.

I was optimistic going in. "Q&A" was my favorite short trek and we already knew that Gooding could sing. I wasn't really prepared for how well this was written and put together.

A 4-star entry in my book.

Oh, I get the impression that the folks on the internet think this doesn’t rise to the level of Buffy's musical episode. I haven't seen that episode so I searched on YT and found a 3-minute performance by Sarah Michelle Gellar. I wasn't really impressed.
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Rahul
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 10:01am (UTC -5)
@J Fedora

"For me, this episode encapsulates and uniquely expresses both the Star Trek ethos and "Star Trek" itself."

Yes, that's why it rates quite well for me also. Initially, I was leery of a ST musical. I'm not a fan of musicals even if I'm a fan of music. But the idea of a musical is just another take on ideas like in "The Naked Time", something like "Fascination" (albeit that was a terrible episode due to the premise) and "Dramatis Personae", etc. There are a number of other episodes where a characters emotions / inner feelings surface in different ways -- this musical way was just something original and very enjoyable to watch. And it tied into a technobabble sci-fi problem.

@SlackerInc, @Chris W,

"I wouldn't hold your breath, especially after this episode. The captain would be the obvious choice for the inspiring speech to rally the entire crew into song, right? (As @Chris W observed, "If there’s anyone that is to be responsible for rallying the crew, it’s the Captain.") To have Uhura do it instead is so blatant in the nuTrek mode, to "center Black women's voices" instead of those of white men. [eyeroll]"

Yes, another example of Uhura stealing Pike's thunder. Think back to "Lost in Translation" where she basically gives the order to destroy the refining station and the wet noodle that Pike is immediately complies. This was ridiculous from Pike. But with nu-Trek's woke sensibilities, of course when the black woman gives the straight white man an order, he must immediately comply. The character assassination of Pike in S2 has been a huge disappointment to witness -- consistently outshined by his subordinates. Who is really running the Enterprise?

The S2 finale better be a Pike-heavy episode. So far this season's balance has been off -- not just with the ratio of light-hearted episodes -- but with who has gotten the most character time - folks like Uhura and Chapel, who are meant to be 2ndary characters. But I will say that I like how these 2 characters have developed, even if it doesn't jive (Chapel in particular) with who they are on TOS.
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Bok R'Mor
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 10:30am (UTC -5)
One thing I will say in this episode's favour: like in 'Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow' I really do admire and enjoy watching Chong's portrayal of La'an's side of the La'an/NuKirk nomance, even though I don't find their actual relationship to be particularly plausible or interesting in and of itself.
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DogFace
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 10:41am (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc

“It's clearer and clearer that this is what's behind having Pike recede more and more into the background behind his apron. Of course, they groomed the Black woman on DSC to emerge as the leader as well, but there was no canonical reason she couldn't become Captain (other than the absurdity of someone who committed all those crimes ascending to that level of authority), so here it looks even more shoehorned.”

Your insecurity could not be more transparent. Why is it so many white guys feel so threatened by women and people of color? You remind me of the people who watched DS9 and referred to Sisko as “the affirmative action captain”. The creators of Discovery always intended to have Burnham rise to the rank of captain, not because she’s black, but because she’s the main character and this was the arc they planned out for her. But people like you see a black person in charge and immediately think it was because of their race. As for why Uhura lead the final scene instead of the captain, that should’ve been obvious. Anson Mount didn’t have a great singing voice, making him unsuited to lead the big ensemble performance. Also, the episode was about Uhura. She’s the one managing intraship communication at the start of the episode, she’s the one who figures out how the spatial rift, and she’s the one who comes up the solution. So naturally she has to be the one who leads the final plan. I bet if Uhura had been white, you would not be complaining. How many times did white guy Spock save the crew on TOS or white guy Data save the crew on TNG? Did you complain that they both upstaged the captain then?
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Chris L.
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 11:20am (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc-
"Takes two to tango. Some of the writers' demands strike me as unreasonable. I tend to historically be a strong supporter of unions when they are sticking up for exploited blue collar workers to be able to get a living wage, a safe workplace, and health and retirement benefits. But according to Variety, the minimum guild pay for a writer-producer is over eight grand a week; for staff writers (the lowest peg on the totem pole) it's as follows: "[T]he median staff writer on a network show works 29 weeks for a wage of $131,834, while the median staff writer on a streaming show works 20 weeks for $90,920." These are not coal miners with black lung we're talking about."

I am not at all in tune with the industry. And $90k in the LA area is livable, but not exactly a good living. I've done it on less in the same area, although it was over ten years ago.

But the main point I wanted to raise is that those are reported median wages. By definition, that means that half the workers make or work less than that, possibly significantly less. I think the union is not fighting for the upper half of their writer members, but the lower half that are trying to start their careers. Not all new writers are entitled to a fancy lifestyle, obviously, but it has to be enough to survive while you climb the ranks, and some assurances you won't be fired and replaced with ChatGPT after you've done a basic plot outline seems reasonable.

As for asking for some unreasonable things... Maybe they are, I haven't really followed closely. But I'd also grant them that indulgence if they did, so long as it was mostly a bargaining chip. That's just negotiation 101, always ask for more than you want or expect and negotiate it away to get what you really do want.
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Yanks
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 11:35am (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc

"I finished the episode. 1.5 stars. (I couldn't stay aligned with Jammer forever.)"

Yikes. they should get two stars just for the writing and character development.

"@Rahul: "I do think this series needs to take itself more seriously -- and put a lot more focus on Pike who is supposed to be the star of the show."

I wouldn't hold your breath, especially after this episode. The captain would be the obvious choice for the inspiring speech to rally the entire crew into song, right? (As @Chris W observed, "If there’s anyone that is to be responsible for rallying the crew, it’s the Captain.") To have Uhura do it instead is so blatant in the nuTrek mode, to "center Black women's voices" instead of those of white men. [eyeroll]

It's clearer and clearer that this is what's behind having Pike recede more and more into the background behind his apron. Of course, they groomed the Black woman on DSC to emerge as the leader as well, but there was no canonical reason she couldn't become Captain (other than the absurdity of someone who committed all those crimes ascending to that level of authority), so here it looks even more shoehorned."

I agree here. Uhura even started out her little motivational speech with "most of you probably don't know me" ... they REALLY backseat Pike more and more as the series progresses. I'm not going to knock this episode or Gooding’s performance because of it here though.

@Bryan: "If with their current communication it takes "weeks" to get a message across, how come long distance communication has been always been portrayed as instantaneous like a normal video-call?"

What Uhura was referencing was the time it takes to get a message across the quadrant.

"it takes weeks to send a message across the quadrant."

I don't remember distances like that being instantaneous. I remember communication relay buoys deployed and days for message to reach Star Fleet. Regardless, 3 times faster is pretty significant.
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Dirk
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 12:15pm (UTC -5)
After last week's episode, this has to be the most tone-deaf pivot I've ever encountered. Pre-credits with the murderer doctor singing would only have worked if he was singing something appropriate. I secretly hoped that he would sing Another One Bites the Dust, or maybe Murder by Numbers.

Although unlikely, I even had some hope of a Pink Floyd song or two, to reflect on last week. (If they had performed The Wall in its entirety, I would have died of happiness and wouldn't be writing this at all.) But instead, it's back to Dawson's Creek or whatever this show is trying to be instead of Star Trek.

Dr M'Benga and Chapel sing "We can confirm there are no injuries" that's a joke...I guess? (Maybe they should have left the chalk lines around the corpse.)

Improbability field? Okay that's Spinal Tap level humour. Except this isn't supposed to be a mockery of Starfleet.

I fast forwarded through just about every song, they were all way too long, and this should have been a short episode. I already knew that Christina Chong could sing - she's great, she's a pro, and I hope she stops wasting her time on this silly series.

The excitement of TNG was in part because of the enthusiasm of the characters for science*. This whole relationship-Trek nonsense belongs on the Lifetime cable channel, or wherever they show facile teen melodramas. The scientific explanation was incomplete - it absolutely didn't work for me.

I get the impression that nuTrek writers are more willing to write about their lives than to imagine a science fiction story. I was pretty impressed last year, but had I known that SNW was a Discovery spin-off, honestly I probably wouldn't have touched it. It seems like any potential plot is drowned out by a lot of contrived interpersonal issues. The lack of concept of command hierarchy is a bug, not a feature.

@SlackerInc
@Bok R'Mor
I agree wholeheartedly with your comments. I am posting just for you, not to upset any fragile viewers.


*
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_opera

George Lucas did not invent the Space Opera any more than Steve Jobs invented the MP3. I'm sure they would both like you to believe so, but that's rubbish.
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Bryan
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 12:56pm (UTC -5)
Before things get really polemical on the subject of Uhura displacing Pike from the spotlight, I think both sides raise valid points and there is no need to get all ad hominem-y. Dogface is right that this is properly Uhura's episode to shine and there are good in-world reasons for this. However, it seems that over the entire course of SNW Uhura has been granted a disproportion number of episodes that are designed to be "hers" compared to any other member of the ensemble cast. And was it not only a few weeks ago that it was again "her" episode, both from her POV and to save the day, culminating in her being the one to say "fire torpedos!" and relegating Pike to giving only a little nod of confirmation?

I'm not saying that this is a bad thing necessarily. I just think that being open and honest about what we observe without being subject to personal attack for stating those observations would be a good starting point. My own take on the matter is that it's for a variety of reasons that Pike is often relegated to the sidelines -- even in those situations that would call upon his responsibility and leadership as Captain. One reason is that, even with "legacy armor", in the Nu-Trek era a straight white male captain must learn to share the spotlight and equitably allow diverse voices to weigh in to his judgments while showing equanimity when a few of those voices speak louder than others or occasionally overstep -- or else he's not going to make it very far. This power sharing arrangement hangs in delicate balance but it's a compromise that Pike (and by extension, Mount) have graciously accepted and deftly performed.

I differ somewhat with the explanation that it's a broadly a matter of "Black voices de-centering white ones". It's actually just making up for TOS Uhura being relegated to the sidelines, so her re-centering will appear to some as an "over-correction" as SNW seems to be making up for lost time...and this is why this one particular marginalized voice is being disproportionately centered above any other member of the ensemble cast. This is an argument that even the more progressive people were making during season one, so I don't see why it wouldn't continue to be valid through season two. Again, I'm not judging this as either a really bad or a really good thing -- it's just how it is and we first need to be transparent about what we see before we can make any arguments about it.
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Denny
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 1:03pm (UTC -5)
Love it, they pulled it off and wrapped up a few TOS issues. Sadly Captain Marie Batel will be redshirted, it's too obvious, poor Pike can't catch a break. 4 stars from me.
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AP
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 1:19pm (UTC -5)
@Bryan

Also when have a Grammy winner in the cast, and you are doing a musical episode, making her the centerpiece is a fait accompli. It would have been dumb not to focus on her in that genre of episode.
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Bryan
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 1:25pm (UTC -5)
I also concur about that too and should have been explicit in my agreement on that point.
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Bok R'Mor
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 1:28pm (UTC -5)
@Bryan

Good points.

I think there are two separate processes at work regarding Uhura and Pike, and I think there's a danger of getting sidetracked if we link the two.

Uhura:
I've been quite disappointed by her portrayal in S2. Contrary to S1, Uhura in S2 has been written into a corner as either an eye-rolling, one-note sidekick or the extremely important™️ 'inspiration' who everyone else nevertheless needs to build up (which is particularly extreme in this episode). I felt that in S1 Uhura was a much more rounded character than she is in S2, rather than lurching between these two extremes.

Pike:
Pike has spent more time cooking in S2 than he has in the captain's chair. It's beyond parody. As I said in an earlier thread, if the writers and producers don't want Pike doing captain-like things, that's fine by me: they should simply give his responsibilities to Una and turn him into Neelix ('morale officer') full time, instead of the half and half approach they're trying in S2.

It's worth remembering that one of the reasons we have SNW at all is because there was such a positive fan reaction to Mount's Pike when he appeared in DSC. I therefore find it bizarre that Pike's being increasingly written as ineffective. In the same way, Peck's Spock is consistently portrayed as the butt of jokes and Una (until the last couple of episodes) was entirely sidelined.

It's not clear what the writers and producers are trying to do with all of the characters above.
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Rahul
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 1:53pm (UTC -5)
"in the Nu-Trek era a straight white male captain must learn to share the spotlight and equitably allow diverse voices to weigh in to his judgments while showing equanimity when a few of those voices speak louder than others or occasionally overstep"

Let's also remember that running the ship is not a democracy (as Janeway says in "Initiations"). And Pike has shared the spotlight so much that he's been surpassed by 2ndary characters this season -- I don't think that can be allowed to happen. And this has nothing to do with race/sex. It's all about the captain is supposed to be the star of the show.

And how does the above quote apply to Michael Burnham as captain? Instead, this character hogs the spotlight, figures out the right solution, implements it and comes out looking like a champ on a weekly basis. (Or if she goes wrong, she gets a fantastic redemption arc.) The DSC writers would never allow a straight white male 2ndary character to outshine the great Michael Burnham. In fact the SWM character would likely die a slow, painful death on DSC.

Even if Pike has been outshined by 2ndary characters, his own character has also been kneecapped repeatedly. How many times have we seen this joke of a captain cooking for others? S2 is an exercise in Pike character assassination. But I am holding my breath for its finale...
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Dirk
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 2:06pm (UTC -5)
The Corbomite Maneuver
Stardate: 1512.2
Original Airdate: 10 Nov, 1966

BAILEY: Sir, we going to just let it hold us here? We've got phaser weapons. I vote we blast it.
KIRK: I'll keep that in mind, Mister Bailey, when this becomes a democracy.
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Lynos
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 2:06pm (UTC -5)
The "special musical episode" thing isn't a new concept, but SNW's, ah... rendition of it here is nothing short of stellar.

Clever and fun premise, focus on character and maturing of several story lines, a ticking clock, it has everything. Even singing Klingons. I laughed. I guffawed. I rolled my eyes (in a good way). I was sad for Spock and happy for Uhura, And the songs are pretty catchy. The ending is epic. By far the best episode of the season. I was concerned this will be a wash but it proved me wrong. It was superbly executed and I loved it!
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Gilligan’s Starship
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 2:21pm (UTC -5)
@Bryan
Valid points. Not siding one way or the other, but just for historical anecdotal context:

When TNG premiered, a lot of my friends looked at Picard as a “weak” captain . Instead of a single captain’s chair, we’ve got 3 chairs, and he keeps asking advice from his Kirk Wanna-Be “Number One” & his “Counsleor”! Constantly holding conference room meetings —can’t this old bald guy make a decision? It evolved, tho. 😊

It WAS a stark contrast to those of us who had grown up with our fearless leader, James T. Kirk. But if you read Marc Cushman’s books on the making of TOS, you can also see the network’s notes INSISTING that the Star of the show, Shatner, be put front & center in the stories. That was tv production from almost 60 yrs ago—times have changed, and TNG reflected them.

All that being said, Pike started out one way, and has evolved (or devolved) differently. AND: we already had a Captain who loved to cook, Sisko! & we had Kirk tooling around in the kitchen in ST:Generations, so it’s a bit of a tired trope. Give Pike a different hobby already. Maybe set him up with a pottery wheel or something, and let him sculpt while he lectures his crew.
EOT.🖖
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Lynos
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 2:29pm (UTC -5)
@Bryan

"The exuberance is so contagious that it's easy forget that an unrepentant M'Benga just got away with murdering a Starfleet Ambassador as he sings and dances his away from that uncomfortable truth."

I know! I had the same thoughts, but I got so swept away by the episode I let it go. (I think towards the end, when Una sings about secrets, we get a telling close-up on M'Benga and he's NOT singing).
Still standing by my evaluation of the previous episode. No amount of singing can let M'Benga off the hook.
It's interesting to note that he was a very, very small part of this episode. As if the writers know they can't have him singing and dancing after last episode. So they just "sprinkle" him to show he's there.

Smart move.
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Rahul
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 2:38pm (UTC -5)
M'Benga not singing was notable -- maybe the actor can't sing (or lip-synch). But I think the episode was already very long and was meant to focus on other characters since M'Benga was the focus in the prior week's show.

But maybe M'Benga could have sung a little "Bohemian Rhapsody" to Pike like:

Chris Pike, just killed a Klingon
Put my knife against his chest, pushed it in and now he's dead
Chris Pike, doc life had just begun
But now I've gone and thrown it all away

Chris Pike, ooooohh, didn't mean to make you cry
If I'm not back again this time tomorrow
Carry on, carry on as if nothing really matters
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Jeffrey's Tube
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 2:50pm (UTC -5)
Anyone complaining why Uhura was written to lead the crew in the grand finale instead of Pike does not understand story structure.

Or maybe this is not a complaint anyone would have if they hadn't been sensitized to it by the lack of Pike doing traditional captain things all season, including just sitting in the chair doing bridge things, which I agree has started to stand out.

My take on the Pike thing is, it's probably a case of a bunch of individual parts adding up to a whole the writers lost sight of. In other words, they don't realize. They made decisions for the individual stories they wanted to tell and didn't realize that it means all season we've had nothing for Pike like, for example, Memento Mori from last season. Ten episodes is so few that this can happen.

We don't know yet what is going to happen next week, and the writers may realize and course-correct next season. I think there has certainly been enough feedback to this effect that the writers have to notice the discussion around it.

Let us remember that seasons one and two of SNW were filmed before season one had even premiered. Season three will be the first chance the writers have to take reception to the show and feedback from fans into account. That includes steering into things we like and steering away from things we don't like. All the Star Trek series have done this. It's a pretty unusual situation that SNW has not yet the opportunity.

. . .

Interestingly, after season two of DS9, this was what the show's research found:

"At the end of season 2, the producers were alerted to the fact that feedback from the fans was not especially encouraging. In particular, young male viewers felt that DS9 didn't match up to TNG in terms of action and excitement. As well as this, many fans felt that there wasn't enough interaction with alien species and there wasn't enough traveling. Quark and Odo were the most popular characters, while Sisko was well-liked but seen as a very low-key character without much presence. Generally, episodes which dealt with religion and politics, such as "In the Hands of the Prophets" from the first season and "The Collaborator" from the second were unpopular. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (pp. 157-158))"

I agree with that characterization of Sisko. How great was he in Emissary? Fantastic, right? But then after that, he was just kind of flat and uninteresting while likable for the first two years. This kind of also fits Pike, no? Awesome on Discovery, then likable but kind of flat since. How awesome did Sisko get from season 3 (and especially season 4) on, once the writers were aware of the problem? Yeah.

I can assure you Paramount is doing similar research on SNW. We will see what the results are, and what tweaks there are, next season. The good news is they only need to be small, but small does not mean they will not be significant.
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AP
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 2:54pm (UTC -5)
Am I the only one who finds laughable that so many oh so cultured despisers of DISCO lamented endlessly on this forum and elsewhere that the show was TOO FOCUSED on Burnham, to the point of not telling us much of anything about the rest of the DISCObridge crew; and now many of these same voices are complaining that SNW is TOO FOCUSED on the ensemble, to the point of not giving Pike and Chin-Riley enough to do? Do you want an ensemble or not? There were PLENTY of TNG episodes where Picard barely appeared, and plenty of DS9 episodes where Sisco barely appeared. Of course, there were more episodes overall, but you can't have modern Trek production values (which I effin LOVE) whole making 22 episodes a season.
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Patrick D
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 2:57pm (UTC -5)
I was DESPERATELY hoping Pike and the crew would stand together in a row in front of the audience holding their neighbor's hand and begin singing "Where Do We Go From Here".
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Tim C
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 2:57pm (UTC -5)
@Rahul - lol! four stars.

In all seriousness, if I'd written this episode, I probably wouldn't have put M'Benga in the spotlight either. Every character sang about the big things that were going on in their lives, and if *he* starts singing about his secrets, well... the episode goes from fun to GRIM very quickly.
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blazzano
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 3:10pm (UTC -5)
Sometimes I have trouble suppressing my nitpicker's gene, and can't help pointing out that it takes a lot of tone adjustment (autotune or similar software) to get a cast like this to sound decent in a musical episode. And yes, not every song pushed the boundaries of musical creativity.

I often can't help comparing episodes like these to something like "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog," which was made during another writer's strike. Dr. Horrible was...unusually good considering what it is, and it's really unfair of me to try and compare this episode to that film.

But overall, the episode made me smile. A lot. And some songs/performances were above average, for sure.
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SlackerInc
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 3:42pm (UTC -5)
@AP: The nuTrek PTB are quite consistent: center Black women at every opportunity (remember President Stacey Abrams?) and sideline straight white men to the degree possible (no white guys were visible, other than ones established to be gay, even in the wide shot showing dozens--scores?--of Federation luminaries gathered in the end of DSC season 1). As someone noted upthread, Pike initially appeared to have "legacy armor", but they have used an apron and a super laid-back "leadership style" to impressively erode even that armor.

I think many activists would see this as a feature, not a bug. That's a valid stance to argue the merits of, whether you agree with it or not, so can we just first acknowledge it's what is happening rather than engaging in gaslighting to handwave it away as happenstance?

It seems clear to me that they had explicit conversations in the writers' room about how to get around the fact that they were stuck with a straight* white guy in the captain's chair. (Part of the answer: take him out of the chair as much as possible.)

*Despite his having appeared so little in TOS, they couldn't even make Pike gay because of the woman he was "caged" with.
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Bok R'Mor
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 4:41pm (UTC -5)
@AP
'Do you want an ensemble or not?'

It's not either/or. There is no such thing as a perfect Trek ensemble show: TNG focused more and more on the Picard/Data dynamic as time went on, for example, and VOY famously became the Seven show. DS9 probably managed it best. It's not a simple mathematical formula.

With regards SNW, few would disagree that Una was sidelined until the past couple of episodes (she was even sidelined in her own focus episode). Ortegas has been completely sidelined as well (she hasn't even had a focus episode so far this season) - which I don't actually mind, since the writers and producers treat Ortegas as little more than a quip and snark bot. Uhura, 'Chapel', M'Benga, La'an and Spock have all been given about the same amount of screentime, I would say, and they've all received a fair amount of character development within reasonably compelling and interlinked storylines. Pelia is largely an irrelevance.

But the issue with Pike is specifically about his odd Neelixification, not the quantity of his screentime.
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theBgt
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 4:54pm (UTC -5)
@Scott
"The rest of you who disliked it (I'm seeing similar comments here and on reddit about some people "fast forwarding" the songs)...which is bizarre to me because why even watch it in the first place?"
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
We Fast forwarded because the songs where mediocre (to say the least), the numbers' execution was uninspired and reminded me of a School production instead of a good TV show. Well actually, I did not exactly fast forwarded, I muted the sound and read the subtitles during the songs so I won't miss anything important, plotwise.

I am not quite into musicals, but I have to say even Xena did that much much better.

I just realized that I am trying to like this show cause it is Star Trek, as I did with Disco.
I still believe the short number of the episodes didn't help any of the two shows, cause their writers suck and among other things they keep trying to shove down our throats character development without earning it.

This show is called "STRANGE NEW WORLDS".
How many of those we have visited so far? In both seasons?
We probably have more episodes around Spock's love/family life.
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theBgt
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 5:08pm (UTC -5)
As for Pike this season...
Pike is the lead character. And Mount a terrific actor.
If you can't have him around because he wants to spend time with this newborn, that is a problem. Postpone the season.. till he is ready...
I really dunno what a show can do when its lead prefers his family life instead of his role. I do not blame the actor, that doesn't change the fact that reducing your lead's presence in a 10 episodes season is not good.
Imagine TNG's 2nd season with Picard appearing as much as a guest.

Maybe Paramount should think of having less ST shows but more episodes and let them breath and evolve.
It is hard to get 20+ anymore, but maybe 16 or so?
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Matt B.
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 5:15pm (UTC -5)
That was one of the worst episodes ever, easily. I fast forwarded the songs too, and between them we got cannon issues (K'tinga class, subspace taking weeks, etc.). Awful. It is is up there with Threshold, These are the Voyages, and...well...any episode of Disco.
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Bok R'Mor
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 5:18pm (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc
Just pointing out here that Paul Wesley's NuKirk is a 'straight white male' who has conspicuously *not* been sidelined in SNW. In fact, NuKirk has been granted a far greater role and variety in the show than Ortegas.
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Norvo
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 5:53pm (UTC -5)
I can appreciate the writers for coming up with a reasonable sci fi premise to explain the singing shtick... But musicals leave me totally cold, so this one was largely wasted on me.

With only 10 episodes a season, I don't see why we needed another gimmick episodes after the Lower Decks crossover. This premise would have worked fine in late season 3 as well.

Also, it's getting a little comical how they keep coming up with new ways to explain why the Farragut's first officer is on the Enterprise. He gets to do a lot of the things you'd expect a captain to do... But Pike continues to largely serve as a supporting player this season.

He's there to help his crew shine, you can count on Chris for some advice, a kind word or a home cooked meal. Let's hope Hegemony has a more meaty part for him in store... Though with the Gorn involved, chances are it'll mostly be a La'an story.
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Bok R'Mor
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 5:55pm (UTC -5)
@Dirk
'I get the impression that nuTrek writers are more willing to write about their lives than to imagine a science fiction story. [...] It seems like any potential plot is drowned out by a lot of contrived interpersonal issues.'

Sorry I didn't follow this excellent point up earlier.

Yes, I fully agree. You can easily see the fingerprints of young adult romance writing all over SNW. This forced 'young Starfleet officers in love' starting point tends to relegate the science fiction.

So far we've had La'an/NuKirk; Spock/'Chapel'; Pike/Batel*. I'm surprised the writers have actually held off a Pike/Una unrequited romance as that was actually nearly canon from Gene's time.

*Yes, you would be right to say this isn't unprecented in Trek, given the virtually simultaneous Worf/Jadzia, Sisko/Kasidy, Kira/Odo, Leeta/Rom, O'Brien/Keiko romances in DS9. But I didn't find those romances particularly interesting either (except Worf/Jadzia and Sisko/Kasidy).
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Leif
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 5:57pm (UTC -5)
I didn't know Bruce Horak was the Klingon captain..Did anyone else know besides Jammer?? And WHEN IS HEMMER COMING BACK FOR GOD'S SAKE..And didn't anyone else want the episode to explore more about the sci-fi properties of the subspace fold and maybe any life forms that live there--Maybe even a song about them--or the fold itself--An Ode to the Fold perhaps??
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Bryan
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 6:05pm (UTC -5)
@Bok R'Mor

"It's worth remembering that one of the reasons we have SNW at all is because there was such a positive fan reaction to Mount's Pike when he appeared in DSC. I therefore find it bizarre that Pike's being increasingly written as ineffective."

It's all part of the deal that I alluded to, which I don't find all that odd. The audience loved Pike. The showrunners liked him too but only on the condition that he plays second fiddle to Burnham. Now he gets a show of his 'own' which pleases the audience but the same sort of conditions as before still apply. Just replace "Michael Burnham" with "Uhura". There is more nuance to it that than as well as some relevant differences but even with those considered, I can't say I'm terribly surprised, nor even disappointed, that a simple transplantation of the previous power relations would happen.

@Ruhul @Dirk

"Let's also remember that running the ship is not a democracy."

I never called it a democracy in the strict sense where the Captain must cede to majority opinion. It may not always 'feel' this way, but I never got the sense that Pike doesn't have final say, or can't overrule the loudest voice.

But let me be clear that what we have witnessed in any and all Nu-Trek series is nothing short of a paradigm shift where some of the old standards and expectations may no longer apply: It's Nu Trek, so there are Nu Rules. Even when it comes to prequels since even futuristic fiction must inevitably echo the concerns and realities of the present day. There's no getting around that even if the showrunners hypothetically tried to run away as far as they could from that into the future.

@AP

"and now many of these same voices are complaining that SNW is TOO FOCUSED on the ensemble"

Agreed that the bona fide ensemble-style storytelling is a feature that can be appreciated in comparison to DISC often tending use its ensemble more as window dressing. I also think it's a good thing that "everyone get their own episode", just as it was on TNG. Still, I think there is room to appreciate this while simultaneously wondering why a one particular character might, seemingly arbitrarily, get a little more than their proportionate share, while the Captain seems to get much less. Not merely in terms of screen time, but in how much weight or importance the audience or the crew is supposed to ascribe to his presence or function.

In TNG, even with all those episodes that highlight a different POV character other than Picard, I never really got the sense that Picard was on 'staycation' and should be left alone to sip his Earl Grey while everyone else makes all the tough calls. Just because it's "Data's Day" doesn't mean that Picard is gonna backpeddle and say "...well actually, this is YOUR day, Data, so what do you think?"

@Lynos

"It's interesting to note that [M'Benga] was a very, very small part of this episode. As if the writers know they can't have him singing and dancing after last episode."

When M'Benga says "...and I don't sing" I believe it slyly references that the actor himself is probably not very comfortable with singing and dancing and so the writers are not gonna have him do a ton of what he's not very good at.
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Narissa's Bath Water
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 6:21pm (UTC -5)
I count at least four instances so far in this thread where people suggest that ANYONE (!) expressing a negative opinion must lack a critical element of understanding, and thus, is by nature deficient and can be disregarded. Their opinion is deficient because THEY are.

Tolerance and appreciation of diverse though are part of Star Trek's DNA, aren't they? One would hope that fans could accept a differing opinion without requiring a full audit of the cognitive heuristics that generated it. I'm starting to wonder if opinions serve a para-social function for these people, i.e., their own self-perceptions are influenced by the perceived difference between the popular forum opinion and their own. For such people, a challenge to the popular opinion, even a lone challenge, amounts to a challenge to the self.

FWIW, I neither watch nor comment on SNW S2, because it clearly has moved in a YA direction. I'm not the intended audience, and probably worse, I'm not even familiar enough with YA tropes and styles to evaluate it against other YA sci-fi. Against traditional, adult-themed Trek, SNW doesn't compare well, but in fairness, it isn't intended for that audience.
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Kyle
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 6:48pm (UTC -5)
I enjoyed it and while I wanted a Klingon war chant like poi Kahless... This was hilarious.

I don't get the chapel break up though. It's three months and they have technology to stay in contact. If they had more episodes of them not being on the same page or drifting apart, maybe.

On the other hand I'm glad for some reason it is Chapel breaking up with Spock and not the other way around.
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The River Temarc
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 6:58pm (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc: "The captain would be the obvious choice for the inspiring speech to rally the entire crew into song, right? (As @Chris W observed, "If there’s anyone that is to be responsible for rallying the crew, it’s the Captain.") To have Uhura do it instead is so blatant in the nuTrek mode, to "center Black women's voices" instead of those of white men. [eyeroll]"

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

I think you're reading waaaaay too much politics into this episode. Celia Rose-Gooding, as well as Christina Chong and Jess Bush, can sing, and sing beautifully. Anson Mount and Ethan Peck can't.

The job should go to the most qualified person, no?
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Leif
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 7:32pm (UTC -5)
I 'm confused--when did this episode state that Chapel broke up withSpock?? And why would she--they just got together and she just kissed him 2 episodes ago--does this make any sense?? I don't care much about romance in general but would like to understand,,
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The River Temarc
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 7:38pm (UTC -5)
@Gilligan's Starship: "AND: we already had a Captain who loved to cook, Sisko! & we had Kirk tooling around in the kitchen in ST:Generations"

I don't have a problem with Pike loving to cook -- Riker and Sisko do, too -- or that he invites his crew to dinner. The problem is that he seems to do nothing *other* than cook.
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The River Temarc
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 7:42pm (UTC -5)
"...so many oh so cultured despisers of DISCO lamented endlessly on this forum and elsewhere that the show was TOO FOCUSED on Burnham,...and now many of these same voices are complaining that SNW is TOO FOCUSED on the ensemble"

It's almost as if the Goldilocks parable never existed.
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grey cat
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 8:05pm (UTC -5)
Sadly it seems Picard season 3 was the pleasant blip in between the utter dreck that DSC rapidly became and the semi-promising start that SNW made.

I'm fine with Lower Deck's being parody/comedy Star Trek and I even enjoy it sometimes but what on earth is this garbage?
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Chuck AzEee
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 8:26pm (UTC -5)
This episode was by far the best of the season, quite entertaining, even my non-Trek hating wife loved the episode.
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Harry Kim Eats Worms
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 10:23pm (UTC -5)
I can’t make it through it.
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Harry Kim Eats Worms
Fri, Aug 4, 2023, 10:29pm (UTC -5)
@Midshipman Norris
I saw your comment later. I tapped out 15:35 during the kirk musical
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Booming
Sat, Aug 5, 2023, 2:15am (UTC -5)
Guys in their 40s and 50s finding out that they love musicals. Broadway awaits!
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Lynos
Sat, Aug 5, 2023, 2:21am (UTC -5)
@theBgt

"This show is called "STRANGE NEW WORLDS".
How many of those we have visited so far".

I would consider an "improbability field" that turns the entire universe into a "musical reality "a pretty strange new world, is it not?

@Leif
"And didn't anyone else want the episode to explore more about the sci-fi properties of the subspace fold and maybe any life forms that live there".

It would've been nice I guess but I think the episode kept its focus on the characters. The Sci Fi thing was just the excuse. Delving more into it would probably hurt the tone and balance of the story, or at least be about something totally different then intended.

Many people in the thread say they don't like/hate musicals. Some of them loved the episode in spite of it and others didn't, to the point where they fast forwarded or muted.
I like musicals, but good musicals. Just like I like horror movies, but the good ones. I have no stated opinion against any genre as long as its well made and has substance.

Your milege regarding trhe quality of the songs may vary - music, like humor, is a very subjetive thing - but I think the brilliant thing the episode does is that it actually incorporates the tenents of the genre itself into the plot, as the characters try and anticipate when they might break uncontrolably into song, they realize that in musicals (the good ones!) song is used to express emotions that are too powerful or embarrasing to express in mere words.

Once La'an realizes this, she also realizes the risks it may hold. So in her job as a security officer she never forgets her duty even in the face of singing, thus raising the stakes of the episode.
This could've been utter fluff. The fact they manage to mine if for character development is very impressive in my eyes.

Also, the more I think about it, the more I realize that a musical episode probably could not have been done with any other crew otheer than the SNW one.
There is something about the tone of the show and the relationship between the characters that allows this. Can you imagine the TNG characters break into a song and dance? Horrible. Kirk's crew? No way. A massive dance out all around DS 9? Please don't.

Every Star Trek show has its silly, comedic episode, but none one went that far.
There is just something about SNW that allowed this to be made and be made successfully. I can even excuse them for softening Pike so much just so he could participate.
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Bok R'Mor
Sat, Aug 5, 2023, 4:01am (UTC -5)
@Narissa's Bath Water
'I count at least four instances so far in this thread where people suggest that ANYONE (!) expressing a negative opinion must lack a critical element of understanding, and thus, is by nature deficient and can be disregarded. Their opinion is deficient because THEY are.

Tolerance and appreciation of diverse though are part of Star Trek's DNA, aren't they? One would hope that fans could accept a differing opinion without requiring a full audit of the cognitive heuristics that generated it. I'm starting to wonder if opinions serve a para-social function for these people, i.e., their own self-perceptions are influenced by the perceived difference between the popular forum opinion and their own. For such people, a challenge to the popular opinion, even a lone challenge, amounts to a challenge to the self.'

Fair points and this has become one of the hazards of even engaging in the NuTrek threads. Reading the minority of 'any criticism is a hate crime' posts, I swear I can nearly hear their whelps of anguish from here: to them, even seeing a differing opinion is like them suddenly stepping on their Lego.

I genuinely cannot fathom why you would come to a discussion thread and be enraged when you don't find 100% conformity to your own opinions.There's a self-appointed authoritarianism to it that's baffling.

Even if you like an episode, they'll still have a dig at you on autopilot because you can never like it as much as they do; far too much personal investment there.

By the way, we aren't the first people in the comments to have picked up on all this, see here:
https://www.jammersreviews.com/comments/?id=96705
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Daniel W
Sat, Aug 5, 2023, 4:18am (UTC -5)
Not gonna like soon as I saw the Klingon's breaking out in song I was expecting something on the line of "BAT'LETH'S BACK. ALRIGHT!!!"
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Chris W
Sat, Aug 5, 2023, 7:02am (UTC -5)
@Dirk (cc: @Bok R'Mor)
-----
“The excitement of TNG was in part because of the enthusiasm of the characters for science*. This whole relationship-Trek nonsense belongs on the Lifetime cable channel, or wherever they show facile teen melodramas. The scientific explanation was incomplete - it absolutely didn't work for me.”

→ I can’t help but wonder that the reason this is happening is because we’re starting to hit the limit of how non-scientist writers use known science in a creative, fictional way. Using the tardigrade for Discovery was ingenious (and also controversial, if I recall), but also not something found in Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time”. 😆
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Bok R'Mor
Sat, Aug 5, 2023, 7:24am (UTC -5)
@Chris W
'I can’t help but wonder that the reason this is happening is because we’re starting to hit the limit of how non-scientist writers use known science in a creative, fictional way. Using the tardigrade for Discovery was ingenious (and also controversial, if I recall), but also not something found in Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time”.'

TNG, DS9, VOY and ENT had a paid science consultant.

NuTrek has Spock saying 'I like science' and an awkward pause for an audience cheer.
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Dom
Sat, Aug 5, 2023, 8:33am (UTC -5)
This musical episode was a bold choice and the writers, actors, and everyone involved absolutely nailed it. It's a sign of the show's confidence and the strength of these characters that SNW trusts the audience to remain invested in the drama despite the silliness of the premise.

This episode and the previous one cemented SNW for me as a worthy heir to 90s Trek. Is it as good as DS9 or post-season 3 TNG? Nope, not yet. But it's finding its identity in a way the other new Trek shows haven't. It's got the episodic format of 90s Trek with the richer character development of 21st century TV. A few stinkers aside, it's storytelling is tight and entertaining.

I wouldn't rate any episode of SNW as among the top 20 all-time Trek greats, but wouldn't be surprised if SNW manages to pull off at least one great before it's all over.
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theBgt
Sat, Aug 5, 2023, 8:52am (UTC -5)
@Lynos
"I would consider an "improbability field" that turns the entire universe into a "musical reality "a pretty strange new world, is it not?"

Right. And I also give you the aliens communicating through Uhura and the ones who turned Spock into human.

1st season we have the comet one, the entity that made Enterprise a Fairytale. There are also the creatures in Illyria and the little kid sacrificed for the shake of the planet, but both these planets where already known.
So season one: 2 to 4 episodes out of 10
Season two: 3 out of 10 (I take the last one will be about the Gorn).
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Sigh2000
Sat, Aug 5, 2023, 10:13am (UTC -5)
@Bok R'Mor
"Even if you like an episode, they'll still have a dig at you on autopilot because you can never like it as much as they do; far too much personal investment there."

Thanks for this statement.
What it brings to my mind is that something may be fine for what it is, but it may not match people's expectations for what an evening's immersion in Trek should have been.
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Dirk
Sat, Aug 5, 2023, 11:43am (UTC -5)
"TNG, DS9, VOY and ENT had a paid science consultant."

@Bok R'Mor
In my pages of unposted comments, I've written about this a few times.

Peck might as well be saying "science bitch!" He's he's no more Spock than Breaking Bad is Star Trek, but it doesn't matter. I've accepted that nuTrek isn't related to the Star Trek I love. The only way the show could improve is if they changed the names of all the characters. For all its faults, The Orville did it better.

Right now the only relationship is the character assassination of Spock. After the bacon eating, nothing would surprise me. I expect him to be wearing thigh highs and cat ears any time now.

Contagious enthusiasm for science and for knowledge in general is a theme that finds no place in nuTrek. It's all about self-discovery by histrionic overgrown children of inadequate parents, or aimed specifically at very young viewers who have yet to develop standards.
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JohnR
Sat, Aug 5, 2023, 11:59am (UTC -5)
I don't know how anybody could watch this episode and not think "Buffy" the entire way through, unless they missed out on Buffy.

But I think this one may have even been better. If nothing else, it had superior production values. But the songs were pretty darned good, too, as were the emotional moments.
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Matthew L. Martin
Sat, Aug 5, 2023, 12:12pm (UTC -5)
I didn't hate it and occasionally quite liked it but it was no Once More With Feeling. Buffy's musical remains the gold standard, not just because the songs were great and the choreography was top notch but also because the songs advanced the plot and character arcs.

Most shows liek this use songs either for the sake of it or, as in this one, just to comment on the situation, making them feel a little redundant.
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Bok R'Mor
Sat, Aug 5, 2023, 12:37pm (UTC -5)
@Dirk
'Contagious enthusiasm for science and for knowledge in general is a theme that finds no place in nuTrek. It's all about self-discovery by histrionic overgrown children of inadequate parents, or aimed specifically at very young viewers who have yet to develop standards.'

Seconded. No matter how accomplished SNW gets within the low-expectation parameters NuTrek sets for itself, even SNW - which is, let' s face it, as good as NuTrek gets - is never going to inspire viewers, male and female, to become scientists, engineers or mathematicians the way e.g. TNG famously did.

At best, SNW might inspire a handful of its more overly enthusiastic viewers to embark on a young adult (fan) fiction writing hobby. If they don't move on to another franchise and 'ship' the arse out of that first, of course.

Episodes like this one are simply condescending, silly, twee, franchise-bloating rubbish. *In my opinion*.
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Bryan
Sat, Aug 5, 2023, 12:51pm (UTC -5)
I dunno, I don't see why it needs to be judged against an episode from a completely unrelated show from decades ago, except to say that it is reminiscent for those people who happened to watch Buffy.
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Bok R'Mor
Sat, Aug 5, 2023, 1:14pm (UTC -5)
I haven't seen the Buffy episode in question but it is no surprise whatsoever that the marquee concept for this episode is swiped.
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Jax
Sat, Aug 5, 2023, 2:42pm (UTC -5)
So a space anomaly compelled the crew to this...sounds like the Day-O scene from Beetlejuice.
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Cynic
Sat, Aug 5, 2023, 3:09pm (UTC -5)
Are we in nitpick mode yet? If so, and the anomaly requires an emotional trigger to set off singing, then what is the emotional trigger for the initial "Status Report" number?

If it matters, I largely enjoyed the episode. The last musical I saw (outside of my kids in Les Mis) was "Jagged Little Pill" albeit not with the original cast (which it seems included Gooding and got more Tonys than southern Italy).

I'm guessing next week is even grimmer and darker than last week... with Batel as the Gorn queen, implanted and SOL on the view screen. I've been cultivating a Gorn theory that could maybe make this Gorn crap work with canon. We'll see.
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HarryH
Sat, Aug 5, 2023, 3:57pm (UTC -5)
Pure joy.
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Midge
Sat, Aug 5, 2023, 3:58pm (UTC -5)
Loved it. Super fun. This might be the first episode of any of the new shows I would watch more than once. It made Star-Treky sense as an episode in the ‘goofy’ tradition. A few quibbles: Jim Kirk doesn’t really need to be there; La’an could’ve romanticized without him present. Pike having Uhura give the rousing speech at the end kind of works, since the episode started with her, but I would have liked him to step up and be ‘captain-y’ there. And why didn’t the Klingons sing opera at the end?
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Warrior4Jah
Sat, Aug 5, 2023, 4:36pm (UTC -5)
Most songs worked very nicely in my opinion. I really liked the La'an song as it had (in a good way) a bit of Disney princess vibe.
I think it worked beautifully and it was original also. But to keep it special they should probably not retry this. I also liked the singing voices of Ethan Peck and Celia Rose Gooding. But I have to say that all cast members sang very nice.
And I was eagerly awaiting for the Klingons to sing, which did not disappoint.

Kudos that they could pull off something new, having seem almost all episodes from all Star Trek series (apart from Discovery season 4 & 5) I thought almost everything which would or would not fit in the Startrek universe would have been tried by now.

Musically it was nice also; I will play the songs occasionally via Spotify :).
Would give this 4.5 stars. Reserving the 5 star shows for the deeply ethical drama's with realistic and believable stakes.
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Warrior4Jah
Sat, Aug 5, 2023, 4:36pm (UTC -5)
Hmm 3.5 out of 4.. I got the scoring system mixed up :).
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Lynos
Sat, Aug 5, 2023, 5:18pm (UTC -5)
@Bryan

"I dunno, I don't see why it needs to be judged against an episode from a completely unrelated show from decades ago, except to say that it is reminiscent for those people who happened to watch Buffy."

I think it can't be helped. Buffy was the first show which did a "musical episode", and an episode that is considered classic. Tidbit: Once More with Feeling is the only Buffy episode I ever watched in my life. I liked it without having a clue who the characters are. :-) It was just kind of bonkers.

@Cynic
"Are we in nitpick mode yet? If so, and the anomaly requires an emotional trigger to set off singing, then what is the emotional trigger for the initial "Status Report" number?"

In musicals, many times the opening tune would be to establish the setting, characters and even conflict. Examples: "Good morning Baltimore" in Hairspray, the "Prologue" in West Side Story, "Skid Row" in Little Shop of Horros.
It's not borne out of emotional outburst necesserilly, but it does follow the rules of a sudden onset of musical reality. :-)

"I'm guessing next week is even grimmer and darker than last week... with Batel as the Gorn queen, implanted and SOL on the view screen."

I have to say, some of us don't watch trailers or "next week on". I'm not watching the show on Paramount + so I have no access to all this promotional material. I'm not watching trailers and I'm not watching any post-show contect. Just the episodes as they drop. I don't even read the synopsis. I would rather not know the final episode has the Gorn in it or that Batel is the Gorn queen (???) but I guess that's the risk I take when I scroll here....
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SlackerInc
Sat, Aug 5, 2023, 7:21pm (UTC -5)
I also do not watch trailers/promos and wish people would not talk about them. We are clearly not alone, as one fairly popular TV podcast I listen to (Decoding TV) always promises right in the first thirty seconds that they won't talk about upcoming episodes "including 'next time on...' previews".
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Bryan
Sat, Aug 5, 2023, 7:47pm (UTC -5)
Indeed, and it borders on rule-breaking here to say things like "next week we know that x will happen due to what was revealed in the trailer" even if it's more like an educated guess. I don't think this includes noting generalities like "it will feature Uhura (again)" or "it will be musical."
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DogFace
Sat, Aug 5, 2023, 8:34pm (UTC -5)
The simplest explanation tends to be the right one. Why have the writers sidelined Pike? For the same reason they haven’t given Ortegas her own episode. Cause they don’t know what to do with the character. Last season, Pike’s knowledge of his future hung over the character. But by episode 10, he’d come to terms with it. It’s as if the writers didn’t know where to go after that. I don’t think the writers sit down and say “this week we’re doing an episode about La’an.” I think they start with the idea(s) they want to explore and figure out which character(s) best allow them to do that. When it came time to do a musical, they correctly realized they had to build it around the actors who could sing. Again, this favored Uhura over Pike. The only good thing about the writers strike is that it’ll give the writers of this show time to think how to better serve some of these characters they’ve neglected.
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Bryan
Sat, Aug 5, 2023, 9:14pm (UTC -5)
I don't think people are generally asking for more Pike POV episodes in the way that some people are asking "Why haven't we gotten a proper Ortegas POV episode?" So it could very well be that the writers don't know quite what to do with Ortegas, and maybe they don't have a ton of ideas for what to do with Pike either, but I don't think this is what is bothering people. The complaints don't really have to do with "fresh ideas for Pike" but rather just observing him doing his job in the more typical and ordinary ways that they have observed of the other great Captains of Star Trek past. They want to see what kind of Captain he really is when he is put in difficult or no-win scenarios, when his values and principles are tested to the limit.. when he has no choice but to take a stand and not just casually go with the flow when the correct course of action seems obvious or his crew members have already reached a decision in unison. This is a test that every Starfleet Captain must face at various points in their career regardless of what their personality is like, even if they're not very interesting on the surface... so "I don't know what else to do with him" is neither a valid excuse, nor an applicable explanation.

It could very well be that the writers don't sit down and say "lets do a La'an episode" (though maybe they do -- there's no way to be sure either way) but I absolutely get the sense that the writers proactively ponder and put deal of time and effort into envisioning every possible way they can touch on the theme of "communication", or have it be of some great importance to the plot so that Uhura can swoop in and save the day once again because, other than singing and other musical stuff, that's the one thing that she's sure to excel at. And they could totally do the same thing with Ortegas too. Piloting is her one great strength so they could keep on making episodes that call for impeccable starship navigation but they just choose not to because it would get old fast.
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SlackerInc
Sat, Aug 5, 2023, 9:36pm (UTC -5)
@Bryan: "The complaints don't really have to do with "fresh ideas for Pike" but rather just observing him doing his job in the more typical and ordinary ways that they have observed of the other great Captains of Star Trek past."

100% correct. I would actually prefer fewer POV stories in general, especially those involving a character's Tragic Backstory (TM). TOS is still my favorite Trek series, and I recall very little of that sort of thing on that show.

But yeah, let's see Pike in the captain's chair, acting like a captain.

I really think people are in denial, or are just naive, when they say it's all a coincidence rather than recognizing that the nuTrek PTB are allergic to having a straight white dude in command, acting in a commanding manner, ordering others around including women and POC. (Despite what some may assume, I also don't believe this is what we should be constantly portraying on Trek, one reason I welcomed DS9 and Voyager; but I also don't think we should forever ban straight white dudes from the captain's chair or Nerf them as has been done with Pike.)

By the same token, they are decidedly NOT allergic to elevating Black women at every possible turn--even when the strictures involved in making a prequel mean, as Bryan noted, they have to tie themselves in knots making everything about "communication" because "communication officer" was the only canonical role played by a Black woman on the ship and time period they have used for this show's setting.
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DogFace
Sat, Aug 5, 2023, 10:28pm (UTC -5)
@Bryan

I don’t think the writers know what kind of captain Pike is. That’s the problem. They found themselves with a likable actor whose character had a tragic future story, but couldn’t really define him beyond that. If you don’t have a good grasp of the character, then naturally you’ll struggle to write for him.

@SlackerInc

We’re not in denial. We just don’t all see the world through the prism of race. Why is it that when you watch Discovery or SNW and see a black woman being given a prominent role, your first thought goes to race? If the NuTrek PTB are, as you say, allergic to having a straight white dude in command, then why did they kill off the Asian woman captain at the start of season 1 and replace her with a straight white dude? Why did they replace him with another straight white dude in season 2? Why did they green light a new show, built entirely off that same white dude? Why did they make yet another white dude, even if he’s hidden under makeup, the captain of Discovery in season 3? Why was the black woman made first officer in season 3 and then demoted? Why has season 2 of SNW given more screen time to straight white dude Kirk than it has to Ortegas? Why has the straight white dude science officer been given more to do than the woman who’s his superior officer? Your theory has so many holes I’d be laughing if I wasn’t so disgusted by the obvious subtext. Lemme guess. This is the part where you tell us Trek has become too “woke”, whatever that means.
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Bryan
Sat, Aug 5, 2023, 10:36pm (UTC -5)
@Dogface

I wouldn't go that far. There was a really revealing episode last season where the command styles of Pike and Kirk were contrasted -- where the two even had a debate with each other about what the best course of action was. That tells me that the writers, at the very least, understand the difference in captaining styles between Pike and Kirk and they could lean into that divergence more if they wanted to.
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SlackerInc
Sat, Aug 5, 2023, 11:54pm (UTC -5)
@Dogface: "If the NuTrek PTB are, as you say, allergic to having a straight white dude in command, then why did they kill off the Asian woman captain at the start of season 1 and replace her with a straight white dude?"

Who was secretly a Trump-esque villain. You kind of forgot to mention that part. As I noted, at the end of the season after he was defeated, the wide view of the Starfleet brass showed a crowd so "diverse" it managed to lack that particular aspect of diversity (almost certainly the single largest demographic group among Star Trek fans).

"Why did they replace him with another straight white dude in season 2?"

They did not. They replaced him with an alien (and not just the de minimus kind with a couple extra bumps on the ridge of his nose: the character's not white any more than Worf was Black), who then got written out in a pretty obvious way to clear the way for the Black woman captain they quite clearly wanted all along. Which is fine: we had a Black male captain, then a white woman got her turn, all things I approve of. But let's not pretend that's not what they are doing.

And no, I'm definitely not a fan of wokeness. Neither, however, am I a fan of DeSantis-style anti-wokeness. Although I have always voted only for Democrats, I prefer moderate Dems like Eric Adams; had there ever been a presidential election where my choice was between Bernie Sanders and Mitt Romney, I would have pulled the lever for a Republican for the first time and gone with Mitt. It doesn't look like we'll get any Republican choices that reasonable anytime soon, but it doesn't mean I celebrate the toxic wokeness and cancel culture that has so infected the Democratic Party, not to mention the news media, academia, the entertainment industry, and corporate America more broadly.
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Jeffrey's Tube
Sun, Aug 6, 2023, 1:19am (UTC -5)
@ SlackerInc

"I really think people are in denial, or are just naive, when they say it's all a coincidence rather than recognizing that the nuTrek PTB are allergic to having a straight white dude in command, acting in a commanding manner, ordering others around including women and POC."

That's right, we don't see any conspiracy. Sorry bro.

P.S. Lee Harvey Oswald shot JFK.

"Who was secretly a Trump-esque villain."

Wait, what? Lorca was a much different kind of villain than Trump is. Interested to hear how you see parallels here.

Also, they replaced him with Pike. THEN Saru. And then Mary Sue Burnham.
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SlackerInc
Sun, Aug 6, 2023, 1:47am (UTC -5)
"That's right, we don't see any conspiracy. Sorry bro."

It's not a conspiracy. It's just what they are openly doing.

"P.S. Lee Harvey Oswald shot JFK."

If he did, he certainly wasn't alone--as the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded in the 1970's, after doing a proper investigation rather than the sweep-it-under-the-rug job the Warren Commission did (not really a "coverup", as I don't think they really knew what happened but just wanted to avoid panicking the public with anything that wasn't pat and simple).

I really hate BTW how some people treat this conclusion, which is again the one Congress came to after careful study, as emblematic of "crazy conspiracy theories". The Earth is not flat, the moon landing was not faked, and 9/11 was not an inside job. But Oswald was also not a lone gunman. And this is not a fringe belief. As this article points out, for decades more than three-quarters of Americans believed he did not act alone, and even today it's 61-33 percent in favor of that view: https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/jfk-assassination-files/one-thing-all-americans-agree-jfk-conspiracy-n815371

"Lorca was a much different kind of villain than Trump is. Interested to hear how you see parallels here."

You've got to be kidding. Here are excerpts from his speech in "What's Past Is Prologue":

"I’ve watched for years; you’ve let alien races spill over the borders, flourish in our backyard, then have the gall to incite rebellion. The Terrans need a leader who will preserve our way of life, our race."

"We together will make the empire glorious again!"

But if that's not crystal clear for you (not sure how it wasn't), here's a quote on set from the actor who played Lorca:

"I wanted to say something about Trump. They've done Star Trek brilliantly. The only reason to do it again was to tell a story that has some modern resonance. It's such a horribly, unbelievably decisive time — to be part of a story that explores that makes it a very unusual experience."

Or how about executive producer Aaron Harberts: "The Terrans [are] authoritarian, xenophobic. You get ahead by stabbing people in the back. Relationships are all about what you get out of them and nothing more. It has everything to do with, I think, where a certain faction of our country is right now."

Source for above quotes: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/adambvary/star-trek-discovery-trumpism-lorca

SMH, JT. No wonder you have a tough time seeing the producers' agenda if you can't see this one they made so obvious and also were quite open about.
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SlackerInc
Sun, Aug 6, 2023, 1:50am (UTC -5)
Oops, neglected to properly tag @Jeffrey's Tube in the comment above.
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SlackerInc
Sun, Aug 6, 2023, 1:57am (UTC -5)
In the world of @Jeffrey's Tube, Starfleet is not the military, and Lorca was not a stand-in for Trump. Also, Oswald (who defected to the USSR and then back, in the height of the Cold War, without running into any trouble from American authorities or even being constantly surveilled) fired the magic bullet all by himself. And it's a pure coincidence that Jack Ruby had underworld connections: he really just went to the police station to immediately silence Oswald because he loved Jackie Kennedy so much. What color is the sky there, JT? Might be a "strange new world" for @Leif to check out. ;-)
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Lynos
Sun, Aug 6, 2023, 2:10am (UTC -5)
I agree with everything Bryan said regarding Pike, but there is another point to consider.
Strange New Worlds is touted as an episodic series, but I would label it as semi-episodic at best. Eeach episode we get a "previously on" segment simply because the show has certain story and character arcs that continue from episode to episode.
In that regard it's not that different from Discovery, which also has a semi-episodic structure. There were ongoing story threads but many episodes featured a one-and-done crisis/adventure (at least in the first 2 seasons, I haven't watched past that).

It will be harder to just watch a random episode of SNW and be totally in line with it like you would do with TOS or TNG. If you don't know, or don't remember what happened to character X two episodes before, you might scratch your head as to what's going on.

This appraoch makes it harder to write truly episodic adventures that feature the crew just solving a problem with no extra stuff on the side. You need these kinds of episodes to have Pike be the Captain and run the ship. Because if you don't, and your focus is strictly character and relationships, then yeah, you would only see Pike if it's a "Pike episodes" and in other times he would be sidelined.

Honeslty I don't care about Pike and Batel on again off again drama. I really don't. Will they or won't they? I could care less. I just want Pike to be captain Pike. Show me why he had a two-parter classic TOS episode devoted to him, show me why he's revered by Spock, show me Captain Pike of the Enterprise.
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Booming
Sun, Aug 6, 2023, 2:15am (UTC -5)
Finally, another race debate about how the writers want to humiliate/ignore straight white men and love blacks and minorities. Add the word Jewish somewhere and we have a copy of a 1930s Nazi narrative.

I must admit SlackerInc is interesting. He seems to have accepted a lot of right wing and some right wing extremist viewpoints but then argues that this is ok because he puts a centrist veneer on it. He says that he is pro blue collar workers but would prefer the union buster, pro tax cuts for the rich, pro privatizing unemployment insurance Romney over pro union, tax the rich (jewish) Sanders. I guess not being woke trumps all for him.

With race it is the same. SlackerInc believes that Blacks are genetically predisposed to have significantly lower intelligence, based on the Bell Curve book. I explained to him several times that the science in that book is just plain bad, because I actually understand it, but he rather believes that I'm too woke or whatever. Different from the book, and in his mind probably his saving grace, he argues not to lower spending on mostly black neighborhoods but an increase to help our unfortunate black brothers and sister overcoming their mental shortcomings. I always wonder how he sees Jammer. Probably as some kind of black Albert Einstein. Really far above the below average black stock.
So his focus on the topic of race follows a certain pattern. Instead of evaluating the numerous other explanations why the cast is as it is, he is already convinced that the writer view the casting only through the lens of race/gender/lgbtq as he does and he even demands of others to accept that framing. For him Uhura is a black, heterosexual, woman first not an individual with certain qualities and a distinct personality.

Here is my explanation which could be wrong of course. The show is supposed to attract a younger audience with different sensibilities than the mostly 40-70+ year old audience of the older shows. They have a different view on race, gender and hierarchies.

So guys, could we just go back to older men embracing their love for musical theater.
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SlackerInc
Sun, Aug 6, 2023, 2:49am (UTC -5)
@Booming: "Here is my explanation which could be wrong of course. The show is supposed to attract a younger audience with different sensibilities than the mostly 40-70+ year old audience of the older shows. They have a different view on race, gender and hierarchies."

You got a lot wrong (sometimes VERY wrong) in that comment,* but this part is spot on. It's exactly what they are doing. I wish we could all acknowledge that, and then we could move on to discussing whether this is what we WANT Star Trek to be doing. The denial that it is even happening is frustrating, and gets in the way of debating the merits of the approach.

*For just one of several examples within a short comment, I have zero issue with any politician being Jewish as long as they are not an ultra-Orthodox fanatic: Chuck Schumer seems totally fine. It's Bernie's kooky Soviet-style socialism (not even updated a la AOC--not that I would vote for her to be president either) I can't abide.
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Bryan
Sun, Aug 6, 2023, 2:51am (UTC -5)
Well... to be fair, Nu-Trek has gotten a whole lot better about what SlackerInc is alluding to and everyone is saying never happened. I think it's telling that one needs to reach all the way back to Discovery seasons one through three in order to have enough ammunition to compellingly make that argument. If our memories were somehow mercifully wiped of those much uglier and sketchier years of Nu-Trek, there may still be the occasional brief and more subtle signs of it here and there; mere vestigial remains in ST:Picard and SNW of those tendencies that the showrunners have wisely turned away from for the most part. But I don't think there would be enough evidence to connect the dots in that way and it would go unnoticed. And so to continue to harp on about how the blacks are stealing the spotlight (btw, this was never -my- complaint) or that the white/male characters who don't have a solid legacy reason for being there seem to be singled out for the unflattering one-dimensional portrayals unlike any other identity group...this, I believe, is to miss the forest for the trees. Because there's now a lot more significant things going on -- even some positive things too -- than this, to be debated and discussed in these later stages of Nu-Trek
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SlackerInc
Sun, Aug 6, 2023, 2:59am (UTC -5)
@Bryan: Sure there are positive things! I've only awarded fewer than three stars to three of the nine episodes this season, and only three of ten in S1. So that's roughly seventy percent of all episodes in the series I have graded positively, not too shabby at all.
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Booming
Sun, Aug 6, 2023, 4:14am (UTC -5)
Kooky soviet style socialism. Haha. Oh boy.
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Booming
Sun, Aug 6, 2023, 4:21am (UTC -5)
And to explain what I mean with different sensibilities. For younger people it less important if somebody is black or white, gay or straight, man or woman. They also encounter flatter hierarchies in business and schools than the stricter ones that were common a few decades ago.
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SlackerInc
Sun, Aug 6, 2023, 4:37am (UTC -5)
Sure it's important to younger people. There's a woke hierarchy, and Uhura is near the top (she'd be higher if she were gay or trans) and Pike is at the bottom.
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SlackerInc
Sun, Aug 6, 2023, 4:46am (UTC -5)
"Not seeing race" or being "colorblind" is actually heavily frowned upon by today's progressives:

https://www.edweek.org/teaching-learning/opinion-saying-i-dont-see-color-denies-the-racial-identity-of-students/2020/02

Even the very mainstream Oprah's website cautions against this and preaches "anti-racism" (essentially, reverse racism) instead:

https://www.oprahdaily.com/life/relationships-love/a32824297/color-blind-myth-racism/
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Bok R'Mor
Sun, Aug 6, 2023, 6:08am (UTC -5)
@Lynos
‘I have to say, some of us don't watch trailers or "next week on". I'm not watching the show on Paramount + so I have no access to all this promotional material. I'm not watching trailers and I'm not watching any post-show contect. Just the episodes as they drop. I don't even read the synopsis. I would rather not know the final episode has the Gorn in it or that Batel is the Gorn queen (???) but I guess that's the risk I take when I scroll here....’

Same here. I assiduously avoid trailers and spoilers where I can. For example, because the latest episode of SNW is for some reason not released until a day later than the US, I avoid the Comment Stream here on Thursdays and Fridays – it’s *my* responsibility to limit inadvertent exposure, not other commenters’ responsibility to not engage in discussion). But it’s an uphill struggle in the algorithmic age: twice this season YouTube has recommended to me videos that have full episode spoilers in their thumbnails and/or titles.

I haven’t ready any spoilers about the final episode but it was reasonable to assume some tragedy would befall Batel to give an even more tragic backstory to Pike, and because their rather tedious relationship has once again been receiving recent airtime. As someone wrote in an earlier episode thread, it’s obvious Batel is being set up to be redshirted (or perhaps ‘fridged’ would be a better description)…

@Dogface
‘Why have the writers sidelined Pike? For the same reason they haven’t given Ortegas her own episode. Cause they don’t know what to do with the character. ‘

If we use Occam’s Razor here as you seem to suggest, the answer would then be that the writers and producers have made a deliberate decision to leave Ortegas as an undeveloped embodiment of quip and snark – not that they don’t know what to do with her.

(Now, the odds are that the final episode is going to feature Ortegas heavily, as she’s the only regular character who hasn’t had a focus episode. Maybe her piloting skills and war experience will save the day, no doubt after her tragic backstory is revealed and she’s given some motivational speeches by the crew.)

I find it interesting that even the writers and producers seem to have realised they have created an annoyingly one-note character in Ortegas. For most of S1 and half of S2, Ortegas was firing out cringeworthy one-liners and being the resident purveyor of 21st century slang. Then, suddenly, a few episodes ago, all that abruptly stopped. I understand that S1 and S2 were written and filmed back to back so even the writers and producers must have gotten sick of how they were writing her.

@DogFace
‘The only good thing about the writers strike is that it’ll give the writers of this show time to think how to better serve some of these characters they’ve neglected.’

I admire your sense of hope here but I think it’s unlikely that the writers’ strike will inspire anything new for SNW. I would imagine writers are more focused on immediate issues of economic concern. They might be thinking of side projects but I doubt they’re rolling up their sleeves to be fairer to neglected characters.

@Bryan
‘The complaints don't really have to do with "fresh ideas for Pike" but rather just observing him doing his job in the more typical and ordinary ways that they have observed of the other great Captains of Star Trek past.’

This is it. We saw classic, fascinating captains and captaining styles in Kirk, Picard, Sisko, Janeway* and even Archer. We’ve not seen much comparable captaining from Pike – yet.

There’s a Christopher Pike Medal of Valour (Sisko was awarded it) – what did he get it for – consensus-building? Gourmet cookery courses under fire? I hope it’s not just for saving those cadets and being kept somewhat whole by an energy field afterward. I’d like to think Pike had a more varied and inspirational career as captain than one event.

*Yes, I know some people think Janeway was a psychopath and a bad captain. I’m not one of them.

@DogFace
‘Why has season 2 of SNW given more screen time to straight white dude Kirk than it has to Ortegas? ‘

I don’t really want to get involved in a proxy debate about US race relations via Trek but since I believe I was the one to raise this particular example (NuKirk v Ortegas) I would argue that the reason NuKirk has been shoehorned into SNW is very simply because of the JJ Trek films. There is no doubt that the JJ Trek films are the TOS that the producers have in mind when creating SNW – even though the JJ films take place in a different timeline, pretty much everything else matches aesthetically and tonally. It’s logical enough: most of the younger non-Trek audience will only have seen the JJ films and associate them with ‘what Trek is’. For them, Trek is Kirk and Spock (and probably Uhura), so Kirk and Spock is what they expect and what they get.

My point here is that NuKirk in SNW is really an outlier; his shoehorning into SNW is simply because franchise name recognition purposes – I say name recognition because Paul Wesley genuinely resembles Jim Carrey more than William Shatner or Chris Pine – and IP concerns outweighed the colour of his skin, or his sex, or his age in this specific instance. The inclusion of NuKirk is thus not representative of the influence (or lack of influence) of identity politics on character selection or casting overall on the show.

@SlackerInc
‘the character's [Lorca’s] not white any more than Worf was Black’

This is an interesting point, because during TOS, TNG, DS9, VOY and ENT I certainly didn’t perceive characters’ race, sex and age the way they are perceived now. Worf is a particularly good example because I never perceived him to be black or white or mixed race or whatever – I perceived him to be a Klingon. (It was the same with Kurn, Martok, Gowron etc.). Likewise, I didn’t perceive Picard to be an ‘old white man’ captain, or Sisko to be a ‘black male’ captain’, or Janeway to be a ‘white woman’ captain (I suppose today Janeway would be dismissed as a ‘space Karen’, sadly).
I perceived them as the characters they were meant to be (it was only really when I saw ‘Far Beyond the Stars’, perhaps, that Sisko’s race ever became something I was consciously aware of, and it did so in a meaningful way). I didn’t judge characters based on their appearance, but on their character and their actions, and for the most part I liked and admired them all. I was inspired by them, and I could definitely criticise them all – based on their character and their actions, not because they were ‘like me’ or ‘not like me’ (I don’t watch escapist entertainment to be reminded of myself, and I was more likely as a child and young person to be inspired by someone who was *not* like me in any way than someone who was).

I find it demoralising that in the current era there appears to be an implicit idea that people can only be inspired by those who belong to the same boxes that they do. That to me, actually, is the antithesis of what Trek represents. To me, Sisko and LaForge inspired white viewers, for example; Janeway and Kira inspired male viewers; Picard inspired young viewers; etc.

@Lynos
‘Honeslty I don't care about Pike and Batel on again off again drama. I really don't. Will they or won't they? I could care less. I just want Pike to be captain Pike. ‘

I couldn’t care less about Pike and Batel either. I’m not particularly interested in Trek romances, and I don’t think this one is especially convincing in terms of chemistry or premise. (An aside: I’m rewatching S7 of DS9 at the moment and I had forgotten how utterly cringeworthy the Kira/Odo romance was. I hated it.)

@Booming
‘For younger people it less important if somebody is black or white, gay or straight, man or woman. ‘

This statement is absolutely the opposite of what is the case - verging on gaslighting, actually. And I would remind you that I and many others belong to the actual non-woke left, before you continue pontificating and grandstanding simply because you can't come to terms with your own country's appalling fascist history. Ask yourself why you feel compelled to come on a Trek forum dedicated to episodes you aren't even watching (!) to tilt at the windmills of US politics all the time.
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Pike’s Hair
Sun, Aug 6, 2023, 6:09am (UTC -5)
@Lynos

If you’re gonna be anal about Trek canon and what the show is doing with Pike, at least remember simple facts about TOS.

Balance of Terror was not a two parter.
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Bok R'Mor
Sun, Aug 6, 2023, 6:12am (UTC -5)
PS: @Booming, I don't care about your feuds with other posters, I just wish to God you would regale us with your opinions about Trek, rather than your opinions about everything else under the sun instead. The reason I am directing this to you and not them is because they at least manage to discuss Trek whereas you only pop up when you can discuss anything *but* Trek. It's a real shame as you are one of the most original posters here when you do come with a Trek angle.
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SlackerInc
Sun, Aug 6, 2023, 6:23am (UTC -5)
@Bok R'Mor: You appear to have misunderstood me. Lorca was definitely white. I was talking about Saru when saying he's no more "white" than Worf was "Black". They are aliens, and aliens who look quite different from humans (Saru most of all).
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Bok R'Mor
Sun, Aug 6, 2023, 6:25am (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc
I understood you; the sentence of yours that I quoted merely gave me the opportunity to raise a point I'd meant to raise previously in other threads. No confusion intended.
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Bok R'Mor
Sun, Aug 6, 2023, 6:39am (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc
Ah, I see now I placed Lorca's name in the quote. That was incorrect and hasty editing of the original sentence on my part and misrepresents what you wrote, sorry.

My response about Worf was to the general gist of what you wrote, not that sentence specifically (your mention of Worf triggered my memory).
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Pike’s Hair
Sun, Aug 6, 2023, 6:40am (UTC -5)
@Bryan

Uhura had one episode in the sole spotlight last season. One this season, and I’d argue this week wasn’t clearly focused on solely her. Not sure where you’re getting the idea that characters are having less of a spotlight than her the whole show’s run. Let’s look at who genuinely is the clear cut focus of each episode:

S1
1. Pike
2. Uhura
3. Una
4. La’an
5. Spock
6. Pike
7. Spock
8. M’Benga
9. Ensemble, case for La’an or Uhura
10. Pike

S2
1. Ensemble, case for Spock or the doctors
2. Una
3. La’an
4. Pike
5. Spock
6. Uhura
7. Boilmer
8. M’Benga
9. Ensemble, case for La’an or Uhura, or Chock

Pike: 4
Una: 2
Spock: 3
La’an: 2
Uhura: 2
M’Benga: 2
Ortegas: 0

Next week looks to be Pike again.
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Booming
Sun, Aug 6, 2023, 6:43am (UTC -5)
Ok, so the author Larry Ferlazzo, an english and social science high school teacher from California is not the Pope of progressiveness and an opinion piece by him in an K12 education paper is not the official policy of progressives.

I also just said that race or gender aren't as important meaning that a white girl has no problem identifying with the girls on Euphoria. Be they black or trans or whatever. So you are arguing against a strawman.

"There's a woke hierarchy, and Uhura is near the top (she'd be higher if she were gay or trans) and Pike is at the bottom."
Again, I'm amazed how deeply internalized right wing believes you have. In this case reverse racism.

@Bok R'Mor
"This statement is absolutely the opposite of what is the case"
Ok, so for young people race, sexuality or gender are more important than for example young people in the 1960s? I guess the black, women and LGBT liberation movements were wrong then.

"And I would remind you that I and many others belong to the actual non-woke left, before you continue pontificating and grandstanding simply because you can't come to terms with your own country's appalling fascist history."
Well, hi there in the swedish? non woke "Hello fellow kids" leftist movement. Let's not talk about Germany's appalling history, considering Sweden's appalling reality in which it is ruled by a Conservative minority government supported by a former Neo-Nazi party. Hail Sweden!

"Ask yourself why you feel compelled to come on a Trek forum dedicated to episodes you aren't even watching (!) to tilt at the windmills of US politics all the time. "
??? I was talking about the statements of one specific person. I didn't say anything about US politics.

Well, this has been fun.
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Bok R'Mor
Sun, Aug 6, 2023, 6:47am (UTC -5)
@Booming
'Well, hi there in the swedish? non woke "Hello fellow kids" leftist movement. Let's not talk about Germany's appalling history, considering Sweden's appalling reality in which it is ruled by a Conservative minority government supported by a former Neo-Nazi party. Hail Sweden!'

I live in Norway, you absolute fool. You may be familiar with it, since it was invaded and occupied by Nazi Germany at one point? You're embarrassing yourself here, @Booming. Utterly shocking from you.
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Eric Jensen
Sun, Aug 6, 2023, 6:52am (UTC -5)
One possible factor that Anson hasn't been much so far is probably the same reason he wasn't in much of episode 1. Recently he's a father. But I am not sure...
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Booming
Sun, Aug 6, 2023, 7:32am (UTC -5)
@Bok R'Mor
I live in Norway, you absolute fool. You may be familiar with it, since it was invaded and occupied by Nazi Germany at one point?"
Vaguely. I only know that Norway has fyords. Oh and Breivik of course.
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Cynic
Sun, Aug 6, 2023, 7:36am (UTC -5)
I want to apologize to all for my spoilery comment re the season finale. It was largely speculative but was based on a released preview scene for the episode. I definitely should not have brought up anything related to that on this post.
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John
Sun, Aug 6, 2023, 8:04am (UTC -5)
@Lynos

"Honeslty I don't care about Pike and Batel on again off again drama. I really don't. Will they or won't they? I could care less. I just want Pike to be captain Pike. Show me why he had a two-parter classic TOS episode devoted to him, show me why he's revered by Spock, show me Captain Pike of the Enterprise. "

Why did Pike have a classic two part TOS episode devoted to him? Money. They wanted to use the footage from the Cage and couldn't get Jeffrey Hunter back, so they did a workaround. That's it, not some grand love for the character.

Plus we've already seen why Pike is so important to Spock. Spock knows Pike is taking a bullet for him, even if he doesn't know the specifics. It's also very clear that Pike is like a surrogate dad to him (teaching him how to cook, hosting his engagement dinner, etc.), which is all the more important because he's not talking to his actual dad. Unfortunately for Spock, Pike is pretty bad at romantic relationships, so he won't be getting much good advice there.
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theBgt
Sun, Aug 6, 2023, 9:53am (UTC -5)
In 2022, 599 scripted series produced. 599!!
There are simply not enough writers.
Not just good writers, not even enough average writers.
IMHO SNW writers are below average, trapped in their own idea of using TOS characters that they think they should develop/expand more for the shake of the fans, when the real reason is their limited writing talent.
And instead of Strange New World encounters, we must endure their "vision"/version of Spock, Kirk, Uhura...etc..and event's and stories we already know that happened.

Why on earth should we bother as much with Spock's wife? Why Kirk should appear so much? Because these people don't dare/know how to write something new and they are just dancing around the old characters.

I also believe with such a small season, they should only write ensemble episodes and having a Strange New World Interaction case of the week.
You can't just follow a TNG recipe and devote whole episodes to one character. TNG had 22+ episodes.
But these people can't have any decent sci-fi ideas, so recycling old stuff it is the only way they can follow.

It is a shame, cause SNW's cast is really good and all this looks like a wasted opportunity.
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Jammer
Sun, Aug 6, 2023, 10:10am (UTC -5)
All right, folks, let's keep it civil and maybe stop the spiraling. Personal attacks will be deleted.
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Bryan
Sun, Aug 6, 2023, 11:17am (UTC -5)
@Pike's Hair

Thanks tallying out all the POV episodes -- I had hoped that someone would get around to doing that. I'd have to re-watch everything to see if I'd characterize them the same as you, as most are obvious but as you note, a few are more subjective. But for sake of argument, I'll take your word for it that the POV episodes are relatively evenly distributed...save for poor Ortegas. My own sense in watching SNW was never "Pike has no too view POV episodes while Uhura has too many." I had tried to explain earlier why I think quantity of POV episodes is besides the point. It was just by that by the time we got to this episodes, I think there's a line where they literally said "Uhura saves the day!" and I had to smile, because I feel like that has become a trope through the show. And not just in her own POV episodes.

Mind you, it isn't really a complaint. This isn't Michael Burnham, our Lord and Savior all over again. It's just a simple acknowledgement.
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Bryan
Sun, Aug 6, 2023, 11:22am (UTC -5)
Oops..

*SNW was never "Pike has too few POV episodes..."
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SJU
Sun, Aug 6, 2023, 1:26pm (UTC -5)
I stopped it.
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SlackerInc
Sun, Aug 6, 2023, 4:58pm (UTC -5)
@Cynic That's cool, I appreciate your mea culpa.
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Lmo
Sun, Aug 6, 2023, 10:30pm (UTC -5)
I love musicals and I loved this episode. The best song was I’m the X” by Spock.
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Pike’s Hair
Mon, Aug 7, 2023, 7:40am (UTC -5)
@Bryan

Gotcha, yeah I don’t know if you’re right but I can’t say if you’re wrong on that. Would have to dig deeper than surface level for sure. Maybe I’ll do that one day, tally every major positive impact each character has in each episode to see who makes the most difference.
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Bryan
Mon, Aug 7, 2023, 12:24pm (UTC -5)
Another way that Uhura is elevated or imbued with a little something extra is the tendency to use her as an "emotional touchstone" character, particularly when there's no plot-specific reason for her to be there. An example of this is her presence during Chapel's "I'm Ready" song when she's the only one to show some concern about what impact this is having on Spock. The scene wouldn't work as well without the camera cutting to Uhura to display this concern because, as much fun as everyone is having at Spock's expense, this is still a crushing moment for Spock and a rather pivotal one for his overall story line that shouldn't be entirely glossed over by song and dance. Without Uhuha there the plot would unfold exactly the same, but the audience may not be sure if they're meant to be laughing at Spock.

So an emotional touchstone character serves an essential function in the storytelling but the question remains as to why this person is often Uhura. One alternative to the theories that have already been put forward is that it could be that her actress has, or is thought to have, a more charismatic or empathetic stage presence than the rest of the cast and thereby serves as the most appropriate vessel by which to nudge the audience's reactions.
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zanki
Mon, Aug 7, 2023, 3:54pm (UTC -5)
I get where the episode was going, assuming the Nebula thing interpreted musicals as the optimal easy form of communication . But the Klingon boy band / K pop thing was a huge wtf moment for me . If it were Klingon opera they could of sold it better.
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Mephyve
Mon, Aug 7, 2023, 4:45pm (UTC -5)
Well that was a quick watch. Every time someone burst into song I had to skip 10 minutes forward. So I got that Una would not fit as Kirk's first officer. Kirk knocked up Carol. Spock got his heart broken and that's about it.
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Mephyve
Mon, Aug 7, 2023, 4:58pm (UTC -5)
@Scott
"Why even watch it in the first place."
1. Didn't know it was going to be a musical.
2. Despite the annoying singing, stuff still happens.
3. What do you mean by lighten up? All II did was fast forward past he lunacy.
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Lynos
Mon, Aug 7, 2023, 4:59pm (UTC -5)
@Pike’s Hair

"If you’re gonna be anal about Trek canon and what the show is doing with Pike, at least remember simple facts about TOS. Balance of Terror was not a two parter"

I was referring to The Menagerie.

@John
Yes, I am well aware for the practical reasons behind The Menagerie, but the fact remains the episode is an important part of TOS, independent of why it was produced. Sometimes great thinbgs come out of practical necessity (like Indiana Jones shooting sword-guy in Raiders because Harrison Ford was too sick that day).

The Menagerie is also SNW's raison d'être. Without this episode there would be no Strange New Worlds and Pike wouldn't be a character worth tailoring a series around.
So I feel like it's a wasted opportunity showing Pike 80 percent of the time cook, joke with his crew or have inane romances. How many shared scenes of substance did he and Spock have this season? I can't even think of one. Spock has spent most of season 2 around nurse Chapel. Even on the away mission in "Among the Lotus Eaters" hima nd Pike were separated.

We need more away missions on this show and more away missions with Pike and Spock. I want to see how they work together.

The Mengerie clearly shows Spock's unnerving commitment to his former captain. He didn't do what he did in order it to save Pike's life, per se, nor did he do it to save the galaxy. He stole the enterprise and was ready to destroy his entire career for this man just so Pike can have a good life on Talos IV.

That is one heck of a sacrifice.
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Akkal
Mon, Aug 7, 2023, 4:59pm (UTC -5)
https://www.jammersreviews.com/st-snw/s2/subspace-rhapsody.php#comment-109788

Any trained musical ear can tell that most, if not all of the cast had gone through excessive manipulation in terms of pitch correction. This made the episode a lot less enjoyable for me - why the hell would you do a musical episode when you barely have one cast member that can actually sing somewhat in tune?

Other than that, it «works». But seriously though, don’t make a musical episode if it means you have to run all of the singers through autotune manipulation. Just…don’t. Hope they never try that again.
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Cynic
Mon, Aug 7, 2023, 5:37pm (UTC -5)
@Akkal

It didn' t take a trained ear to pick up the autotune, "excessive" is in the ear of the beholder though. Seemed to me that M'Benga, Pike, Pelia, Ortegas, Batel were heavily tuned 100% of the time that they sang lead (or where their voice could be distinguished from the ensemble). Chapel, Spock, Una, Kirk somewhat less. La'an, Uhura minimally. Naturally the amount of singing required of each character in the book largely reflected this.

Just for laughs, I ran this episode by my two daughters the other day, to assess it as a musical. Both of them participate in musicals and also attend way more than I do. Neither has seen any Star Trek at all (save for my younger one, who saw a 40th anniversary screening of TWOK with me last year (and bawled like a baby when you-know-what happened despite having no prior exposure to those characters at all)).

They had no qualms with the singing, but really respected the effort of all the cast, despite some of their struggles and obvious enhancements. They correctly intuited that Gooding and Chong were the ones with real experience at it. Their only real qualms with the show understandably were with the book, with lyrics being stilted and tortured at times. But they thought it was cool and laughed their asses off at the Klingon scene.
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Andy in NoVa
Mon, Aug 7, 2023, 6:16pm (UTC -5)
Ugh.

Sorry. Cranky old guy here. I can't stand the time wasted on these excursions into silliness.

Two season in, 19 episodes aired. I have sat through Spock Amok, Serene Squall (which I liked), Charades, Those Old Scientists and now this.

That's a quarter of SNW's episodes going for laughs over substance.

If Discovery's flaw is that it takes itself so seriously it's sanctimonious, SNW fails to take itself seriously enough.
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OverOcean
Mon, Aug 7, 2023, 9:32pm (UTC -5)
Generally liked it, but I'm in the minority on the closing number (lyrically trite, but if course Gooding was amazing and carried it anyway). Just a few points to add... How warm-blanket comforting Una's "everything's fine" refrain was, and how Kirk first thought that everyone on the ship was f#&cking with him by singing rather than under an improbability field influence.
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Bok R'Mor
Tue, Aug 8, 2023, 12:14am (UTC -5)
@Akkal
'why the hell would you do a musical episode when you barely have one cast member that can actually sing somewhat in tune?'

For the sheer gimmick and novelty value of it, apparently.

@Andy in NoVa
'That's a quarter of SNW's episodes going for laughs over substance.'

Agreed. People often emphasise how few episodes SNW has to play with compared to, say, TNG and DS9, and how SNW can't do everything a normal Trek show should do - yet it seems to me that they're actually struggling to find content or things to say when they resort to gimmick or comedy episodes so frequently.
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dave
Tue, Aug 8, 2023, 12:56am (UTC -5)
what started off as a fun comments section sure got derailed fast. Sad to see

I am posting this just after reading the garbage post ripping every woman's looks on the show. Who are you to be deciding what is attractive and why is this tiggering you.

Then I keep scrolling and WTF is going on here.

Very disappointed with many of you. not that you would care what a random guy named dave has to say, but what a way to pollute yet another thread on this wonderful space on the internet.
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dave
Tue, Aug 8, 2023, 1:01am (UTC -5)
Oh, and I guess @gorn girl is the same one who was calling Uhura fat and ugly in another episode thread (another username). I wish Jammer could do IP bans although a multi account troll would just switch VPN servers.

Disgraceful behavior. Can't imagine what you are in the real world.
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SlackerInc
Tue, Aug 8, 2023, 1:35am (UTC -5)
Hey, @Jeffrey's Tube: I watched that Voyager episode you sort of anti-recommended, "11:59". Definitely different. Go see that episode's comment thread for my specific thoughts.
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artymiss
Tue, Aug 8, 2023, 5:52am (UTC -5)
@dave

I care! Thank you for calling it out.
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Lynos
Tue, Aug 8, 2023, 8:20am (UTC -5)
@dave

My magic formula: I simply skip any post that doesn't deal with the episode, with Star Trek, or with relevant discussions to the show. I'm not here for politics. I got enough of that in my country.
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Sadar
Tue, Aug 8, 2023, 11:21am (UTC -5)
@Bryan

Yes, at first it was kind was off that uhura is the only one there when spock is all emotional about been dumped. usually I will say maybe Mbgena or Ortega would have been there since they feel closer to chapel than uhura

However maybe the show is sowing the seeds for a spock/uhura romance in the coming seasons.

There seems to be a some kind of forshadowing, because Uhura jokes ...she has head of this kind of romances before when spock tells her that she and chapel were a thing. ironic she says that because in the kelvin film she and spock are a couple that was more trekkie than the soap opera of spock/chapel/tpring in snw.
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Bryan
Tue, Aug 8, 2023, 11:58am (UTC -5)
@Sadar

I was referring to what I thought was a trend throughout all of SNW, using the Spock example from this episode only because it's still fresh in mind. As for this episode in particular, you can kinda argue it both ways -- why does Uhura need to enter the lounge just in time to watch Chapel break up with Spock, and then be the only one to notice the effect it's having on Spock? So she can confront him later about it and hear Spock sing "I'm the Ex." Which would only amplify the pity she feels...and might be the starting point for a budding romance but hopefully it's based on more than that. You also just reminded me of the Kelvin Timeline which certainly normalized that idea...but I kinda wish I could forget about those movies altogether since I like them even less than SNW, and it is the latter where I am holding out the most hope.

Alternatively, one could argue that it has nothing to do with romance, but just a friendly but unnecessary check-in. After all, La'an didn't need anyone else to be there when she sung her own sad song, "How would that feel". It could be that as communications officer, Uhura regularly takes it upon herself to go above the call of duty to "connect with the crew" during her off duty hours, which would serve as an in-world rationale for the out-of-world reason I gave earlier.
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Mitty
Tue, Aug 8, 2023, 4:26pm (UTC -5)
My biggest regret about this episode was that I accidentally found out it was coming. I would much rather have gone in having no idea it was going to be a musical. However this is a small critique and not the fault of the episode.

I found myself grinning like an idiot when Spock started singing (I'm so glad the first one to sing was him). I just sat thing thinking "this is really happening... it's just going to build to something magnificent" and it did. I have had "Status Report" on constant loop, I now know it word for word. I have no doubt that the songs will be performed at cons, on cruises etc (probably badly) by fans. But who cares.

"Keep Us Connected"... wow. Celia Gooding is absolutely amazing. And I can't help but think it's so sad that Nichelle Nichols didn't get to see this, I would hope that she would have loved it and been so proud of this character growth for Uhura.

The K-Pop Klingons were just fabulous, if completely absurd, but fit the narrative.

All in all it was just absolutely wonderful. Completely different and unlike anything we've ever had. This is right up there with "The Inner Light", "In the Cards", and "Tuvix" as one of my favourite episodes ever, all for completely different reasons. It just made me so damn happy, which is no mean feat in this day and age. I hope it made you happy too.
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Trek fan
Tue, Aug 8, 2023, 7:41pm (UTC -5)
This one is a weak 3 stars for me. It’s one of the better “light and fun” efforts on this series so far and works pretty well as a standalone. It also brings up some problems with the series.

Playing with genres is a Trek staple that goes back to TOD doing western, horror, Roman, Greek, and other episodes. I’m actually surprised the franchise waited this long to throw a “Trek musical” into the mix: God knows the earlier shows had enough song and dance hams in Shatner, Spiner, Brooks, Picardo, et al to pull it off. So I found this one fairly watchable as a well-staged albeit generic musical version of the show.

I do think the episode goes on too long and overplays some of the musical numbers. My mind wandered. Also, this story underscores the wild tonal swings of this show from turgid to glib, suggesting a lack of confidence in committing to a coherent setting and style. While TOS threw in some “fun” shows from season 1, it worked a bit harder than SNW to establish its universe without resorting to constant story gimmicks.

The episode reminded me a bit of Voyager’s “gimmick of the week” style as it tried to keep the United Paramount Network (UPN) afloat each week. “Look, a professional wrestling episode!” Etc. This story smells faintly of similar desperation as Trek continues to bear the burden of sustaining the Paramount+ streaming platform.

Also, I can’t repeat enough how the Chapel-Uhura dynamics don’t fit established dialogue and characterizations in TOS. Quite simply, there was ever any love triangle between Spock, Chapel, and the Vulcan fiancée. Nor did Spock ever have or admit to any interest in Chapel. This is a recurring distraction that no amount of retconning can square for me. And why does it exist? There’s nothing wrong with one character having unrequited feelings for another; the whole relationship dynamic here in SNW feels more like Picard’s impossible romances in TNG. It just doesn’t work or make sense for Spock and Chapel as Majel Barrett and Leonard Nimoy played them.
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Bok R'Mor
Wed, Aug 9, 2023, 12:07am (UTC -5)
@Trek fan
'The episode reminded me a bit of Voyager’s “gimmick of the week” style as it tried to keep the United Paramount Network (UPN) afloat each week. “Look, a professional wrestling episode!” Etc. This story smells faintly of similar desperation as Trek continues to bear the burden of sustaining the Paramount+ streaming platform.'

Excellent point.
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MidshipmanNorris
Wed, Aug 9, 2023, 1:13am (UTC -5)
@Mitty

“I hope it made you happy too.”

It didn’t, but I’m happy that you’re happy. So that counts I guess. I don’t have to be made happy by everything, but at least some people were.

It was inoffensive and no doubt stunningly directed and choreographed. I just find the whole medium yawn-inducing. It’s not this ep’s fault.
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HarryH
Wed, Aug 9, 2023, 4:42am (UTC -5)
@slackerinc

Complaining about Star Trek being too diverse and egalitarian is like complaining that Law and Order is spending too much time on crime and court cases.
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Bok R'Mor
Wed, Aug 9, 2023, 4:49am (UTC -5)
@MidshipmanNorris
'It was inoffensive and no doubt stunningly directed and choreographed. I just find the whole medium yawn-inducing. It’s not this ep’s fault.'

This is my view as well. I can’t stand musicals as a genre, so it's hardly a shock that I really didn't like a Trek musical episode either.

It's clear that the people who liked this episode loved it, and that's perfectly fine, fair play to them. We can't all like the same things all the time, and nor should we.
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SlackerInc
Wed, Aug 9, 2023, 9:32am (UTC -5)
@HarryH: "Complaining about Star Trek being too diverse and egalitarian is like complaining that Law and Order is spending too much time on crime and court cases."

Good thing I didn't complain about it being too diverse and egalitarian, then--just the opposite. Black women make up about seven percent of the US population, and Asian women about three percent, with non-Hispanic white men representing about three times the numbers of both those groups combined. I would absolutely welcome the egalitarian representation of those groups in their proportional demographic ratios, even though it would still fall well short of representing demographics of the Star Trek fan base. (If you remove the characters with "legacy armor", the skew becomes even more stark.)

@Bok R'Mor: "I can’t stand musicals as a genre, so it's hardly a shock that I really didn't like a Trek musical episode either."

That's a legitimate POV. For myself, I do actually like a really good musical. The only time this episode resembled such a musical was during La'an's song, although there were a couple others that weren't too bad. Just too low a hit rate overall.
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HarryH
Wed, Aug 9, 2023, 2:03pm (UTC -5)
@slackerinc ah. You seem to think the US represents Earth. Newsflash: it doesn’t. The humans in the Federation represent the entire Earth. Not the demographic of the United States. So your math is way off.
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SlackerInc
Wed, Aug 9, 2023, 2:25pm (UTC -5)
This SHOW is an American show, produced by an American company in North America. Everyone speaks English, generally with American accents and idioms. They don't even bother having characters like Chekov, Scotty, etc.

But even if we were trying to be representative of the world, the percentage of Black Earthans is about the same as the percentage they make up in the US. Thus it's East and South Asians who are truly underrepresented on SNW by that standard.
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HarryH
Wed, Aug 9, 2023, 4:06pm (UTC -5)
@slackerinc the majority of the population of Earth isn’t white.

But this is a ridiculous discussion.
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Valdimar
Wed, Aug 9, 2023, 5:45pm (UTC -5)
This is the episode where I went from liking the cast of Strange New Worlds, to loving the cast of Strange New World.

@HarryH and @slackerinc:
Guys, spending time arguing about race. You are missing the point of Star Trek. This is the opposite of what Roddenberry hoped for.
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SlackerInc
Wed, Aug 9, 2023, 9:27pm (UTC -5)
@Valdimar: "This is the opposite of what Roddenberry hoped for."

True, but likely not in the way you mean. Gene Roddenberry was an old-school liberal, as am I. That ideology is today considered hopelessly outmoded by young progressives, who are ascendant in the media and Hollywood (nowhere more than among the people making nuTrek) and even in many other corporations via DEI programs and initiatives.

"[C]ritical race theory questions the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and neutral principles of constitutional law."
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt9qg9h2

In fact, many who subscribe to "critical race theory" would go beyond calling Roddenberry-era liberalism old-fashioned and charge that it is a superficially racially progressive policy that conceals an underlying agenda of white supremacy:

"CRT insists that what we have always understood as liberal education is, in fact, a lie, because liberalism assumes that we are all individuals, capable of reasoning with each other as equals, where, in fact, we are mere representatives of racial constructs which are part of a permanent struggle between the oppressors (white) and oppressed (non-white)...critical race theory is committed in its foundational texts to the overthrow of liberalism."
https://andrewsullivan.substack.com/p/dont-ban-crt-expose-it-2d9

Some of these ideas were percolating in academia before Gene died, but I doubt they ever hit his radar. They have only become mainstream in the past decade.
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Projekt Kobra
Thu, Aug 10, 2023, 12:03am (UTC -5)
Star Trek ended in 1969.

Star Trek TNG, a completely different show based on themes from the vastly superior earlier show, ended in 1993.

I have NO idea what this utter rubbish DRECK...YOU PEOPLE think is “Star Trek”.

If you like this shit, you are a tasteless, hate-filled ape-clod Philistine.

My Shogunate for a time machine back to 1985 to get away from ALL you morons.
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Booming
Thu, Aug 10, 2023, 2:48am (UTC -5)
In all my years in academia I have never seen any course nor had I ever a single discussion about Critical Race Theory. Maybe it is dominant in the US but I doubt it. It reminds me of the hysteria surrounding gender studies. When people were moaning about how there are now Gender Studies professors everywhere while apparently not understanding what really matters. Financing. For comparison. My institute (social science) has far more than 100 full time employees, the GS institute has 11. Oh and when it comes to labs, the GS people have to use ours because they have essentially zero financing.

And the guy SlackerInc cites here, Andrew Sullivan, maybe not surprisingly has his own section titled "race"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Sullivan#Race

Here a quote from that section
(Sullivan) helped midwife The Bell Curve and grant flimsy race science a veneer of intellectual respectability. He still believes race is a reasonable prism through which to view the world, and that if only our racial stereotypes are "true," they are acceptable. He is therefore an unreliable and ideologically-biased guide to political and social science."

So maybe Sullivan is not the most unbiased voice when it comes to Critical Race Theory.
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Bryan
Thu, Aug 10, 2023, 4:09am (UTC -5)
Sullivan may not be the one to learn about CRT from, but I think it's fair to say that a lot people, particularly in the USA, have flattened and weaponized what ever it was that was once called "CRT" within academia at some point in time, into ammunition that played into the whole culture wars going on there. Maybe they didn't start that war, but reducing most of everything to power relations between races only seems to have inflamed those tensions. But that's neither here nor there...

When it comes to Star Trek, I think it's as clear as day that the franchise hasn't been continually "owned" by a single leftist monolith from its inception til now. Instead, there are vying factions within the left who have divergent visions of what a futuristic utopia should look like, as well as different priorities and concerns even where there is a great deal of overlap. And I think it's fairly accurate to characterize the earlier camp as "classical liberal/humanist" which gradually gave way to one that prioritizes identity politics and power relations between group identity.

There's no way that transferring the reins from one camp to the other would be a seamless transition that completely satisfied both groups and yet the common refrain from the benefactors of this transition is "this is how Star Trek has always been!" So I'm not surprised that some others may grumble about this, but what really surprises me is that these benefactors who see their brand of leftism now fully represented are not owning their victory.
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SlackerInc
Thu, Aug 10, 2023, 5:24am (UTC -5)
@Booming: What you did in that comment would be considered gross academic dishonesty in the academy. So either you are not the scholar you claim to be, or your ethics are badly out of whack.

Backing up a bit, when I saw what you posted I was shocked that Wikipedia editors would let something like that stand, as it would be a gross violation of the "neutral point of view" (NPOV) policy, one of Wikipedia's bedrock principles (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view). Which is certainly often violated in subtle ways, but I can't recall seeing such a blatant example.

Turns out it was in fact not such an example, because what you conveniently forgot to mention is that what you pasted into your comment was a quote from within the Wiki entry on Sullivan that came from the editor in chief of Current Affairs magazine, which (this is actual NPOV text from the Wikipedia Current Affairs entry) has "been described as socialist,[4] progressive[5] and broadly leftist." NB: that first cite links to a VICE story with the headline "Socialist Publication Current Affairs Fires Staff for Doing Socialism", in which I also learned that said editor in chief apparently uses a fake British accent, while I assure you Andrew Sullivan's accent is quite real.

Sullivan does not truck with leftists. He used to be on the center-right, but became a huge supporter of Barack Obama and a fierce opponent of Donald Trump. (He, more than any other single person, deserves a great deal of credit for making gay marriage a reality.)

So no, Sullivan's not an "unbiased voice" on CRT. I don't believe such a person exists. Sullivan is not a fan. But going back to the piece I linked to (which is worth reading in full), here's a bit more context on his stance:

--------
The legacy of this country’s profound racism, the deep and abiding shame of its genocidal slavocracy, the atrocities, such as Tulsa, which have been white-washed, the appalling record of lynchings and beatings, the centrality of African-Americans to the story and success of this country: all this must be better explored and understood. There is nothing wrong and a huge amount right about black scholars taking the lead in shining light on what others might miss, building on past knowledge, helping us better account for it. White scholars, like the hundreds of thousands of white citizens who gave their lives to end slavery, have a crucial role to play as well.

But we must also unequivocally insist that all of this is only possible within a liberal system — that sees the individual and reason and equality as our foundations. Liberalism can live with critical race theory; but critical race theory is committed in its foundational texts to the overthrow of liberalism. And this matters.
--------

@Bryan: Well stated. What I see is that those on the far left (like those on the far right) are allergic to crediting any advancement of their cause. They are fundamentally sour and pessimistic, and believe that any recognition of achievements will reduce the pressure for change, which in their view must be unceasing and always dialled up to 11.

This is why they make absurd statements about how "the poor are getting poorer" and that "institutional racism" makes life worse for Black people in the US than it was before the civil rights era. If they acknowledge what a victory they have won in the media (or, more narrowly, in running the Star Trek shows at Paramount), they worry that someone in charge will say "huh, okay, looks like they have gone far enough then" and not let them go any further.
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Booming
Thu, Aug 10, 2023, 6:21am (UTC -5)
@Bryan
"And I think it's fairly accurate to characterize the earlier camp as "classical liberal/humanist" which gradually gave way to one that prioritizes identity politics and power relations between group identity."
That's what I find so confusing about this entire US debate. Woke is humanism. If you really look at what those people believe then you will see that being woke just means humanism. traditional Liberals aren't leftist, they are centrists. The main leftist factions in the western world are social liberal, social democrat, post consumerist-environmentalists, democratic socialists/unionists and humanists. For reasons to complex to explain in this posts humanists have an extremely outsized influence right now. It's weakening over the last few years but it is still fairly dominant.

@SlackerInc
" What you did in that comment would be considered gross academic dishonesty in the academy."
I took a quote from a section and provided a link to that section. Plus, we are not in the academia.

Sullivan together with Marty Peretz (another person with a long wiki page) ,over the objection of the staff, posted long excerpts from the Bell Curve.

https://newrepublic.com/article/120890/responses-new-republics-bell-curve-excerpt

I want to mention here that Sullivan apparently has no statistics training or done any quantitative data analysis. That means that he does not have the knowledge to really understand the shaky math and the really awful methodological work behind the bell curve.

"He, more than any other single person, deserves a great deal of credit for making gay marriage a reality."
Ok...
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SlackerInc
Thu, Aug 10, 2023, 6:46am (UTC -5)
@Booming:

You know damn well you tried to pass off a quote from a far-left foe of Sullivan as the characterization of him by the article's prose itself. You hoped no one would check, or you would have properly acknowledged the actual source of the quote. Very unethical on your part.
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Booming
Thu, Aug 10, 2023, 6:54am (UTC -5)
Sure...
Your ability to transform speculation into strongly held convictions is impressive.
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Yanks
Thu, Aug 10, 2023, 7:05am (UTC -5)
I find myself listening to the song playlist all the time!!

All songs are catchy, well written and performed.

Not putting down any song or performance, but I found myself enjoying "Connect to your Troops" by Rebecca and Peter the most. I just love Una's voice and was impressed with Kirk's as well.

What was your favorite?
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SlackerInc
Thu, Aug 10, 2023, 7:20am (UTC -5)
La’an’s song about “my paradigm”, without a doubt.
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Yanks
Thu, Aug 10, 2023, 8:03am (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc

"La’an’s song about “my paradigm”, without a doubt."

Yup, most awesome! Man, she can really sing.

How they wrote these songs to include character progression for almost everyone was impressive.
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Bryan
Thu, Aug 10, 2023, 11:26am (UTC -5)
@Booming

I think humanism can be called "woke" in the original sense of the word since you can't have "man be the measure..." if inequality in status or perceptions means that one would have to pick and choose which man (or woman) is representative of humanity. Which means any unequal treatment that sets man apart from man is anathema to any humanist project and that "The Bell Curve", for example, would not fit very well within a truly humanist sensibility.

That said, I'm not so sure that the reverse holds as true, that "woke" is necessarily humanist especially where the broader, more commonly used meanings of "woke" are permitted. And it's for the same reasons as stated above. Wherever it is stated or implied that the white man does not belong or should not be included, or that he is irrevocably an enemy rather than an ally without ever having to listen or engage with that person since his race and gender is all that you need to know -- that, too is anathema to a genuinely humanist sensibility.

Mind you, this isn't what every self-described woke person does. But along the trenches of that longstanding culture war, it is still a common attitude to this day.
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Booming
Thu, Aug 10, 2023, 12:23pm (UTC -5)
@Bryan
"Wherever it is stated or implied that the white man does not belong or should not be included, or that he is irrevocably an enemy rather than an ally without ever having to listen or engage with that person since his race and gender is all that you need to know -- that, too is anathema to a genuinely humanist sensibility."
Surely, if white men, really anybody, were treated negatively because of their skin and gender that would just be discrimination. As far as I understand woke, then its final goal is aimed at bringing black people to the level of white people. It's about lifting up, not dragging down.

"Mind you, this isn't what every self-described woke person does. But along the trenches of that longstanding culture war, it is still a common attitude to this day. "
I think that apart from the occasional attention grabbing opinion piece and some radicals, this is not a widely held view on white men. To be honest, when I look at the people who could be called woke at my university, then many of them are white men.

It is understandable that quite a few white men feel somewhat uneasy about all this critique. Most white men are just normal people, some good, some bad and lots kind of in between. It's not fun but hey let me tell you it's a walk in the park compared to what discriminated minorities have to suffer through.
I saw a report once about white people in Africa and this one white guy, just an average schmoo, whose family lived in Africa for more than a hundred years had to suffer through quite a bit of discriminating comments. He just asked"When will people here finally accept me as African??"
And I thought:"Give it a few hundred years, honey."

In-group favoritism, out-group bias is a hard nut to crack. I also once went to a seminar about the difference between discrimination and perception of discrimination. These two concepts were until recently studied as essentially the same but are now more and more studied separately. Fascinating stuff.
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Bryan
Thu, Aug 10, 2023, 12:50pm (UTC -5)
@Booming

"As far as I understand woke, then its final goal is aimed at bringing black people to the level of white people. It's about lifting up, not dragging down."

"I think that apart from the occasional attention grabbing opinion piece and some radicals, this is not a widely held view on white men."

If only... I really wish it were only that. We can discuss what people are supposed to stand for, but I don't think that should mean having to ignore what actually happens. I really thought it would be well known what goes on but I guess you'd have be involved in or witness to the social circles and forums of discussion where that is he dominant mode of thought. I can't tell you the number of times I've seen elaborate arguments summarily dismissed with "you must be a guy / you must be white" or "you can't really be black / a woman if you believe that" simply because that person doesn't precisely toe the line. In those circles, there are narrow expectations of what each identity group is allowed to believe or say, and any deviation from that isn't believed or tolerated.

"To be honest, when I look at the people who could be called woke at my university, then many of them are white men."

I don't doubt that since white dudes who precisely toe the ideological line kowtow to the right idols, and qualify what they say with the correct privileged-checking statements, are typically granted entry. And I think because white men are under the most pressure to do just that, many of them do. Nobody wants to feel like they have a target painted on their back.
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Booming
Thu, Aug 10, 2023, 1:07pm (UTC -5)
@Bryan
Fair enough but I think at this point we are just talking about perception, yours and mine. Perception is very unreliable. I would have to see actual proof of widespread intolerance towards white men in the so vaguely defined woke subculture. In other words surveys done by at least somewhat reputable institutions. If you have any, please share.
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Bryan
Thu, Aug 10, 2023, 3:25pm (UTC -5)
@Booming

I don't know if it's equivalent to the sort of card-carrying intolerance or discrimination that a person would openly admit on a survey, or even be entirely conscious of in all cases. It could just be an unintended consequence or weakness of the ideology itself that it just doesn't know quite what to do with assertions that don't align with the group-identity of the person making the assertion (at least according to the worldview espoused by the ideology), or with people that fall in some neutral or more nuanced territory between being a byword-touting ally and a rabid bigot. It's much easier to imagine the world in more black-and-white terms. So it's not so much that they go out of their way to attack random white dudes. It's just that when they encounter one with whom they feel like must engage with, they draw upon certain baked-in expectations thanks to what have "learned" in theory. Certain television programs and other media only bolster these expectations when they portray social reality in this overly simplistic way that appeals to those who hold the same convictions. But in the real world, when Ideology teaches people one thing but reality hits them with something different, the cognitive dissonance that results can make people do strange things.
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Judge of the Change
Thu, Aug 10, 2023, 8:39pm (UTC -5)
I can see a McCoy guest appearance, but if M'Benga is replaced as CMO, you'd have to go through Mark Piper
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Judge of the Change
Thu, Aug 10, 2023, 8:57pm (UTC -5)
Sorry - I meant that comment to be in response to a comment on another episode
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BD
Fri, Aug 11, 2023, 12:02pm (UTC -5)
Listen here you little sh**s. I'm about as diehard 90s Trek as they come. This episode was pure joy, period. Grinning. It was also an excellent and cohesive episode, and a strong contribution to the characters and story of SNW and beyond. If you can't find a way to enjoy this, then you really need to take a look at your life—seriously.
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van zeSpleen
Sat, Aug 12, 2023, 6:12am (UTC -5)
Rhapsody in Space: "goofy" it is but nice (once we get over their frowning "why are we singing?!" bits).

Baring their heart in song - that's BRAVE!

And I am still hearing them earworms - La'an and Uhura belting their hearts out, "Frozen" fashion.
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Booming
Sat, Aug 12, 2023, 11:11pm (UTC -5)
@Bryan
"I don't know if it's equivalent to the sort of card-carrying intolerance or discrimination that a person would openly admit on a survey, or even be entirely conscious of in all cases."
The majority of people holding intolerant views do not perceive them as such. An Antisemite doesn't see him/herself as an antisemite or a hater. That is why in a survey about these issue you don't ask "Are you an antisemite?". You ask "Do Jews have too much power in society?" "Are you agreeing with the statement that the Holocaust wasn't as bad as it is often portrayed?" Simply put, you ask a bunch of questions that reveal the views of antisemites.

Finding out if woke people are intolerant, or as often portrayed in certain circles, a hate group, is very challenging. First hurdle would be defining the word "woke" in a way that can be operationalised. Woke is essentially a catch all word. I also read an article a while ago that it is more and more becoming an old/older people word.

Personally, I have little interest in it. The accusation of Woke in no small part seems to be aimed at students and the media. Being afraid or seeing students as too radical or whatever is almost a societal constant. To me it seems to signify normal societal shifts. What is woke now will probably be normal in a a few decades. Western societies through the forces of open society and public debate over time have become more and more intolerant towards certain groups. For example homophobes, racists and misogynists have seen huge shifts in how they are seen and dealt with over the last hundred years. These people didn't change, society did.

"Certain television programs and other media only bolster these expectations when they portray social reality in this overly simplistic way that appeals to those who hold the same convictions."
Media giants probably know/surveyed what young people believe and try to cater to that to gain new customers, yes. For older people it might seem that these for profit media conglomerates for some reason push certain political agendas when in reality these older people are just confronted with the views and believes of the next generation, or at least the marketable version media companies have distilled. That of course can cause anxiety in older generations.

I don't see cause for concern.
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Dirk
Mon, Aug 14, 2023, 8:49am (UTC -5)
I remembered some of the songs so well that I decided I would give Subspace Rhapsody another chance. And I'm glad I did. I had to get past a few things, though.

Some caveats:

My previous comments are almost absolutely in the negative regarding this episode. But I've given up on the idea that Strange New Worlds is connected to the Star Trek I grew up on. I only made it through about half of the episodes this season; and seeing Spock consume animal flesh destroyed its relationship to the actual Spock character. (There are many other things, but that one stood out the most for me.) So it's not canon if you want to use that word. I'm fine with it being an alternate universe or alternate timeline. So I had to unstick my mind from the belief that this was Star Trek.

The other issue was of my own making. I paid closer attention this time and realized that the episode was smarter than I gave it credit for. I think the Great American Songbook also threw me a bit, too. I am very familiar with jazz, and loved the Cole Porter opening, but I have never really spent much time around show tunes or musical theater.

But I was able to embrace the fiction that whatever intelligence was within the fold was replying back to them in a way that really did twist reality. I was surprised however that they thought the Enterprise had enough power to close the fold.

As for the singing, a lot of the songs were quite enjoyable, and I only skipped two. Rebecca Romijn had some beautiful moments. I really like her anyway, and have often wished she had more to do throughout the series. La'an was an absolute beast. And I mean that in the nicest way! I already knew she could sing, but she just killed it every time. Obviously, right?

I loved the serious conversation between Kirk and La'an. It's nice when nuTrek slows down so we can actually appreciate a serious moment between characters.

The Klingons didn't work for me at all. I can't believe they have Klingon boy bands who aren't hunted and killed. Seriously though, they really missed an opportunity to blast us with Klingon death metal. Also, the boy band stuff is not in the Great American Songbook, so it doesn't adhere to the logic of the episode.
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SpaceTime Hole
Thu, Aug 17, 2023, 8:46am (UTC -5)
Wonderful episode - characters are developed via great entertainment based on an unusual sci-fi premise but with a surprising twist that flips the story across genres… another dimension, as it were!

For me, this is one of my top 10 in all of Trek.
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Lorenzo
Sat, Aug 19, 2023, 8:03am (UTC -5)
Thank you, but no thank you.
I despise musicals, and this was no better.
It has been very difficult not to skip the songs.
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Tim M
Mon, Aug 21, 2023, 1:24am (UTC -5)
Skipped this one.
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JC
Sat, Aug 26, 2023, 6:53am (UTC -5)
It’s a sad that so many people don’t seem to have watched Xena’s The Bitter Suite, which was far superior to Buffy’s OMWF, yet for many seems to be their go-to point of reference. Anyone who claims to be a fan of musical episodes and doesn’t reference the Xena episode need to educate themselves.
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Austin
Tue, Aug 29, 2023, 9:38pm (UTC -5)
I was fully prepared to hate this and I actually didn’t. The songs were actually decent character studies. La’an and Uhura were the standouts, but much of the show was what I believe the kids refer to as “cringe”. But it balanced lighthearted fun with deeper relationship exploration pretty deftly. Anson Mount’s singing gave me shades of Russell Crowe in Les Misérables, meaning he committed but didn’t necessarily have the skills to pay the bills. I’d normally give it 2.5 stars but I’ll give it an extra 0.5 star for the Kling-Pop group. 👏🏽👏🏽
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Troy G
Thu, Aug 31, 2023, 8:40pm (UTC -5)
‘All my life I've awaited your coming and dreaded it.’ —Dr Zaius

I’ve yet to see this episode but I’m about to watch it. I’ll report later
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Troy G
Sat, Sep 2, 2023, 11:17pm (UTC -5)
All right , this was better than I expected
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ChristineNotChapel
Wed, Sep 6, 2023, 11:15am (UTC -5)
I've been replaying the episode and the recordings someone posted to YouTube for a solid month, and my love for the episode and songs has not waned even one little bit! I'm still entertained by Spock's "aside" comments, such as when the others in engineering confess they'll miss the singing, he says he WON'T miss singing... and when they sing that protecting the mission is their Prime Directive, he says "... not exactly." The clever lyrics paired with the catchiest of tunes has me permanently on the hook! 10 out of 10, would highly recommend forever!
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S. in Pa.
Sun, Sep 10, 2023, 2:31am (UTC -5)
Self-Respect (Ethan Peck’s)
based on “I'm the X”

This sh*t really can't be happening
I can’t believe they shot those scenes
Convinced myself it's not a canon thing
I hope it’s fanfic by a teen

You'd think the producers could
Distinguish bad from good
Writing by the lyricist
For this I set aside
My dignity and pride?
Now I'm wrecked and searching for my
Self-respect

I’ve got no one but myself to blame
I’ve had agents offer jobs to me
Pitch-bending vocals, tuned for all they're worth
Sent my proud series down the drain

They’re so dysfunctional
Woke and emotional
Quality, they can't maintain
Escaped from Discovery, pre Season Three,
Armored with Spock’s legacy
I thought that I got fair compensation
Till this crazy presentation
The very last shreds are dead or fading:
Ethan Peck’s
Self-respect…
Self-respect

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