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Subj: Star Trek Discovery Season One
Posted: Tue Feb 26, 2019 at 04:38:25 pm CST (Viewed 281 times)
I saw the first episode for free on CBS back when it aired and it did not convince me to pay for All Access to see the rest. I thought it was kind of terrible. My friend just lent me the first season so I finally got to see it. I realize I am far behind. I just went through all of Reverend Meteor's and Paste Pot Pete's episodic posts to read the reactions as they came. Mine were pretty similar.
I really wish they had skipped episodes 1 and 2 entirely. Not just started with 3 and then shown 1 & 2 later as flashbacks or something, but just skipped them entirely.
Episode 3 had a great beginning; a prison ship, a disgraced Starfleet officer, a second chance aboard a black-ops ship on the edge of space operating with impunity in a time of war, a secretive captain. You wouldn't really know if Burnham was as bad as her reputation, as she says, "don't believe everything you hear." But when you've seen the first two episodes you know the story and it's just sad.
The first episode tells us that Georgiou and Burnham have served together as Captain and First Officer for seven years. So you imagine Picard and Riker, Sisko and Kira, Janeway and Chakotay, and you can't imagine one of them breaking the trust or going against each other the way Burnham does to Georgiou. Either she should have obeyed Georgiou or Georgiou should have come around to her way of thinking. But Burnham knocks her out with a Vulcan nerve pinch which Georgiou simply shakes off 30 seconds later. Since when can you shake off a nerve pinch? I suppose we're supposed to think that Burnham didn't do it right because she's just a human.
So Burnham is accused of starting the war with the Klingons, a blame she seems to accept for the rest of the season. But she doesn't even accomplish anything with her mutiny. Her suggestion was to fire on the Klingons first, which Sarek suggests might have prevented the war. That's what she tries to do, but she doesn't get to do it, because Georgiou wakes up and throws her in the brig. In the second episode Georgiou wants to kill T'Kuvma to keep him from uniting the Klingons. Burnham offers another suggestion, capture him alive. This will humiliate him and the Klingons won't want to follow him. Kill him and you make him a martyr. So what happens? They end up killing him. The ultimate conclusion is that everything that happened was what Georgiou ordered, and nothing Burnham suggested was done. So everything would have happened the exact same way if Burnham hadn't been there. Well, except Georgiou would not have boarded the Klingon funeral ship and wouldn't have died. Burnham can feel guilty about that, I suppose.
Anyway then we get Lorca and things pick up. They obviously had something in mind for him from the beginning with the light sensitivity but I wonder if it was an open-ended clue that they would just fill in later. I'm not sure the explanation that he was from the Mirror Universe made sense. He seemed way too nice for that. Don't get me wrong, he had a very stern demeanor but if you look at his decision making, he was never as cruel as I expected for a character shrouded in mysterious doings as he was. When they decide to free the Tardigrade because being plugged into the spore drive was harming it, he doesn't object. You'd think someone from the Terran Empire wouldn't give a damn. There are other examples I'm not remembering right now where I expected him to be more cruel and he wasn't. He reminded me of Snape from Harry Potter, he had all the trappings of the usual villain so that the switcheroo is that he's actually the hero of the story. Then they reveal that he was just a Mirror Universe thug with no real motivation beyond getting home and saving his own skin and possibly getting revenge on the Emperor?
Where is Prime Lorca? Did Cornwall ever know him or just the Mirror version? She says something about Prime Lorca being dead because he "wouldn't last a minute in the Terran Empire" or something. Are we supposed to think he crossed over at the same time Mirror Lorca did? Because both Discoveries crossed over at the same time, and both of Kirk's landing parties did too. But that's not how it worked on DS9. Do I assume that Lorca's speech about how he mercy-killed his whole crew (and no one at Starfleet cared) was probably a cover that he killed them because they found out he was a Mirror?
And then there's the spore drive. There's one in each universe, there has to be I guess just so that Mirror Stamets can explain how it works to Prime Stamets. But if Mirror Stamets was using the spore drive to jump his ship, then Mirror Lorca should know all about it and how it works probably, and then the whole season of Discovery doesn't make sense because it's all about how his crew is trying to make it work and he doesn't know how to tell them what to do. So instead the Mirror Universe spore drive is just a very powerful engine to run the Emperor's city-ship and doesn't have anything to do with displacement. Even though Mirror Stamets knows all about the mycelial network and stuff. And since the MU spore drive doesn't jump anywhere let alone to parallel universe, Mirror Lorca just came to the prime universe because of some energy storm. In really felt like they were making this stuff up as they went. Like whatever they had in mind for Lorca before the midseason break just got chucked.
Having said that, I mostly liked the Mirror episodes. Good to see Michelle Yeoh back although I'm not sure I like her as much as the villain. With all the fights she gets into I was expecting some more Wing Chun style fighting but I guess it's a bit much to expect she'd be as spry as she was back then.
The midseason break also felt like they chucked whatever they had in mind for Ash Tyler. The revelation that he's actually Voq just crushed down into a human body was sort of ... interesting, I guess. Again I wondered about the timing. Voq was the albino that the Klingons left for dead on the wreck of the Shenzhou, wasn't he? When did L'Rell have time to convert him to Tyler? I felt like Lorca had already rescued Tyler by then. Anyway, he's a Klingon modified to a human, I guess we saw that before with Arne Darvin on TOS. Gives you new perspective on him. I guess if he underwent that painful procedure in order to poison a grain shipment, I could understand why he'd be mad at being outed by a Tribble. Mad enough to hold a grudge for 80 years. He aged well, though.
Should I also assume that Tyler's memories of L'Rell as his torturer and rapist were out of context? His memories of sex were from when he was Voq and it was consensual, and his memories of torture were of the conversion procedure which he volunteered for? And once he was in place, and L'Rell activated his original personality, what exactly was his plan? We don't really know. The Tyler personality dominating his body is sort of like Quaid in Total Recall refusing to give Hauser's body back.
Stamets I liked, all in all. He's weird, and he starts out as a very condescending jerk. But we understand he's not really Starfleet, he was a civilian scientist whose work was stolen by Starfleet and he only signed up to make sure they didn't misuse it. He mellows out. Why wasn't Mirror Stamets more of a mad scientist like Phlox? The two Stametses seemed like besties. My question is why did the Tardigrade practically die from being in the spore drive for a couple of days but Stamets can tolerate being in there for weeks, hundreds of jumps with no apparent ill effects? And now he has a nifty time-sense like Guinan or something. I wonder if she only had that because of the time she spent in the Nexus? Hey, maybe the Nexus is just a rip in the mycelial network?
Saru was hard on Burnham, which was good. But he parroted the lie that she was responsible for the Klingon war. Not true. In fact, if they had done as she suggested, they might have prevented the war. He should only have held her responsible for mutiny and possibly for getting Georgiou killed, although he would recognize that Georgiou was in charge and made her own decision.
I got to like Sarek eventually but he just seems too warm for Sarek. When Mark Lenard played him, he had a constant scowl like he was mad at everything and just didn't like you. Same thing with Ben Cross in the movie, he was too warm, telling Spock "I married your mother because I loved her." Sarek wouldn't say that. He hated admitting his feelings, like on TNG. And in Star Trek IV when Spock says "I stand with my friends" and Sarek says "Yes ... of course" like he doesn't understand the concept of friendship. This Sarek seems like understands emotions and even values them, even if he doesn't practice them. But saying that they can now mind-meld across space because he gave Burnham a piece of his katra/soul, which he did because katras can heal physical injuries. Where do they come up with this stuff? It's all plot-driven science. Maybe it always was.
Speaking of wonky science, Harry Mudd creates a time-loop with his wristwatch thingee. Burnham says "oh, he must be using time crystals." Because time crystals are a thing now.
I could have sworn they said that the Vulcan Science Academy place or whatever it was called that blew up and orphaned Burnham was blown up by the Vulcan "logic extremists" who tried to kill Sarek. So later when Ash says Burnham won't forgive him because "your parents were killed by Klingons and then you fell in love with one" I was like wait, what? I thought her parents were killed by Vulcans. Maybe I just assumed that because the Vulcans tried to kill Sarek.
Such a weird show. Not great, not terrible, and interesting. I like wonky science. I like some shady characters and some brutality on occasion. Overall I liked the show.
Yes, I have a million nitpicks, but that's what makes it fun. Larger problems, not enough focus on the crew. As Rev and PPP pointed out, we don't even know the names of most of the bridge crew or anything about them.
Oh, Tilly, I forgot about Tilly. Well she certainly had the potential to be an extremely annoying audience-surrogate superfan. And she dropped Trek's first F-bomb. But you have to like her positivity. The bigger question is why is a cadet who is not even in Starfleet yet part of this crew? Is this a Wesley Crusher situation? I assume she's a special case like Burnham? Just someone Lorca stumbled across and realized the value in having?
The show is too Burnham-centric. Meaning even in a show like TNG where Picard is the main character, the other characters sometimes got an episode. A good example here would be the Groundhog Day episode where since Stamets was the only one who knew what was happening, he should have been the only one who could solve the crisis. But instead Burnham was still the only one who could solve the crisis, and Stamets had to explain the situation and get her confidence every single loop. What a waste of time. If Stamets was doing different things in every loop, how come it took Mudd so long to realize it?
Continuity errors like the entire Federation using the Enterprise's logo or having holo-communicators don't really bother me anymore. See, they name-checked the Enterprise mirror episode, and Enterprise name-checked First Contact with the Borg episode, and First Contact was the movie I think where Brannon Braga on the commentary says that Star Trek needed a "Crisis on Infinite Earths" to wipe out the continuity. I think that's what happened. The Borg messed up First Contact by killing a bunch of Cochrane's crew and the TNG crew had to fill in and history has never been the same.
Actually, I think it goes back to when Ed Begley Jr. on Voyager reverse-engineered Braxton's timeship and created the microchip in the 1960s which apparently never happened in the "original" TOS timeline, so they have more advanced technology in Discovery's time than we originally saw in Kirk's in TOS (Future's End, also written by Brannon Braga). And it's fair, the Mirror Universe reverse-engineered the TOS Defiant so they have advanced tech too. So by the timeframe we're seeing on Discovery both universes have technology more advanced than what we saw on TOS. That's my No-Prize attempt.
And the lovely Rekha Sharma as Lorca's original right-hand officer, Landry. Even before BSG I've seen her in stuff (John Doe comes to mind) but this role was not particularly kind to her. Kind of a one-note a-hole. How come Prime Landry and Mirror Landry both had the same attitude? When they first said Lorca was the Mirror version I thought maybe Landry was too, but then he found the Mirror Landry so I guess not. I wonder why Prime Landry was so attached to Mirror Lorca? Oh well, both of her are dead now.
Curious about season 2. Where can I watch the Short Treks? Are they available online or do I need All Access for those too?