Star Trek: Discovery "Will You Take My Hand?"

Previously on Star Trek: Discovery: The Discovery traveled to the Mirror Universe and lost a captain but gained an empress, and Mirror Georgiou made no secret of how she considered Saru’s race to be nothing more than chattel. Tyler was Voq and tried to kill Burnham. Or maybe Voq was Tyler? I’ll let you know when I figure it out. Georgiou said that to defeat the Klingon Empire, they had to destroy them at the “source”, aka their homeworld of Qon’os. In exchange for this info, she was allowed to impersonate Prime Universe Georgiou and take command of the Discovery.

Also, this time around, the actor who says “Previously on Star Trek: Discovery” is Mary Chieffo, who plays L’Rell, and she says it in Klingon. Why? Because that’s funny, I guess? I think this pretty much sums up the whole series thus far: nobody knows what they’re doing and so they’re just trying whatever.

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But this episode is a testament to the skills of whoever edited together the preview trailer that aired last week. That preview gave the impression this would be an action-packed season finale, when it reality it’s almost entirely people standing around talking, along with a couple of dumb comedy bits (mostly involving Tilly getting stoned, if you can believe that). And as expected, that shot of Qo’nos being blown up in the trailer was a total bait and switch, but even I’m aghast at how shameless the episode is about it.

And the cherry on top is that even with all the plot threads that needed to be resolved here, this episode is only 37 minutes long, officially making it the shortest live-action Star Trek episode ever (beating the previous record of 38 minutes, also set by Discovery). So buckle up, kids, season one (and especially the Klingon War arc) is about to get the rushed, half-assed wrap-up it deserves.

There’s a shot of Klingon ships entering Earth’s solar system that zooms in on Earth, which then cuts to Qo’nos and a zoom out reveals Discovery entering the Klingon star system. Burnham gives a voiceover (we’ll find out later this is a speech she’s giving) that’s full of pretentious nonsense about how to identify and defeat fear.

On the bridge, Georgiou is impersonating Captain Georgiou, and doing a completely shitty job of it, upbraiding the Nameless Bridge Crew for inconsequential perceived slights, like referring to Qo’nos as a “homeworld”, which according to Georgiou is showing the Klingons too much “respect”, because they’re just “animals”.

Georgiou says that Saru seems afraid and adds, “Where I’m from, there’s a saying: a scared Kelpien makes for a tough Kelpien.” Wow, could she be any worse at maintaining her cover? So Burnham calls her out in front of the whole NBC, asking where exactly she’s “from”, and they have a tense verbal standoff, and somehow, the entire bridge crew still doesn’t catch on that Georgiou is actually Mirror Georgiou, and that includes the one crewmember who served under Georgiou on the Shenzhou.

Georgiou asks to speak to Burnham in private and warns her never to try to expose her again. She’s also read up on the Prime Universe Burnham and says, “You know your problem? No follow-through.” But enough about season one of Discovery. She says that Burnham should have taken her mutiny one step further and murdered her captain and attacked the Klingons. And she actually does have a point; if the Shenzhou had destroyed the Klingon Ship of the Dead before it sent out that beacon, the war never would have started in the first place. I’m not so sure about the murdering part though.

Georgiou says the Federation is losing the war, and the Klingons are about to launch an attack on Earth. Then there’s obvious dubbing where Georgiou says, “My knowledge is giving you a fighting chance,” while Michelle Yeoh’s lips say, “My knowledge is giving them a fighting chance,” Not sure why; it’s pretty obvious from the context that the “them” she’s referring to is the Federation/Earth.

They pay a visit to L’Rell down in the brig, who’s stunned to see Georgiou alive, because as you might recall, L’Rell and Voq actually ate her brain. Georgiou says she’s a different Georgiou, and L’Rell quips that regardless, “you require seasoning.” Groan.

Georgiou pulls up a holographic representation of Qo’nos, and demands to know the ideal cavern for Discovery to jump into. L’Rell refuses to talk, so Georgiou goes into her cell and starts beating her ass, and she does so easily, even though we’ve been told numerous times in this series that Klingons are so powerful that it’s nearly impossible for humans to fight them.

Eventually, Burnham calls a stop to this pointless violence and says there’s another way. And that other way is Ash Tyler, who has all of Voq’s memories. They go to his quarters and Georgiou has a dim view of Tyler/Voq, calling him a “half-breed” and also referring to him as “it”. She also scoffs at him “playing with string”, but Tyler says he’s tying a “bowline”, which is something he learned as a kid. “It’s the first thing that made me, me.” From all indications, you aren’t you. I mean, that’s literally what Dr. Culber told him right before Tyler killed him, but whatever.

In a briefing room, the three discuss the plan, which is to jump into a cavern and release a “mapping drone” to identify targets for future attacks. Tyler points out an area on a holographic map of Qo’nos that was given to the Orions, and says they built an “embassy outpost” over the ruins of various shrines. Georgiou notes that in her universe, the Orions are pirates and slave traders, and Burnham says it’s pretty much the same deal here. And it wouldn’t be Star Trek fanwank without Orion slave girls, would it? Apparently nobody learned their lesson from that terrible Enterprise episode.

Georgiou wants to bring Tyler and Burnham along on an away party to this Orion territory, along with one other person: Tilly, of course. She opens the door and Tilly is just standing there, and she still thinks this is the Prime Universe Georgiou, until Georgiou starts talking how about how she and Tilly “subjugat[ed] the Betazoids” together and wiped out the Mintakans (meaning, the alien race from “Who Watches the Watchers” who were basically just coming out of the Stone Age? Quite an accomplishment, Your Highness). Tilly quickly figures out she’s the “mirror emperor” and even starts to give the Terran salute until Burnham stops her. Okay, that was funny.

Cut to the four of them dressed in black leather, and Michelle Yeoh in particular is working this outfit. Down in Engineering, Stamets gets his one minute of screen time this week as he straps himself into the spore chamber and jumps Discovery into an underground cave on Qo’nos. And in an oddly suspense-free moment, it works.

The away party beams down, or beams up I guess, to the surface. And the Orion controlled part of the planet basically looks like Chinatown from Blade Runner, and we even see street vendors cooking up some of those mind-controlling ear worms from Wrath of Khan. Also, there’s a shot of some random guy peeing against a wall and he seems to have two streams of urine flowing out of him. Hilarious, no?

And despite being told last episode that no human has set foot on Qo’nos since Archer and the gang, nobody seems that surprised to see four humans strolling around in the open. They quickly make a deal with a random Orion woman to sell her “Nausicaan disruptor pistols” (shout-out to another obscure TNG race) so they can get money to bribe the locals into getting the info they need.

Tilly pulls Burnham aside as they buy some unidentified food from a street vendor. Tilly spits it out when Tyler says it’s “space whale”, AKA a gormagander like the one they brought aboard the ship in the “Harry Mudd, serial killer” episode.

They enter a seedy establishment where scantily clad Orion men and women are doing an erotic dance routine. Georgiou tells the others to start spreading money around so they can find a particular shrine they’re looking for. Georgiou then pays for some private time with the male dancer and one of his female companions.

Burnham and Tyler enter another area where men are gambling on a craps-like Klingon game called “t’Sang”. Tyler joins in and everyone’s stunned at the existence of a human who speaks Klingon. As they shit-talk each other, Burnham gets all stressed out and leaves.

Meanwhile, Tilly enters another area where she encounters an Orion played by special guest star Clint Howard. Being a prolific character actor, he’s of course appeared on Star Trek a few times before, most notably as Balok in “The Corbomite Maneuver” when he was a little kid. He persuades Tilly to inhale some smoke which immediately causes her to get high and pass out.

In what appears to be a tattoo shop, Tyler finds Burnham and wants to know why she ran off. She finally reveals to him how her parents died. She says they were living on the human/Vulcan colony of Doctari Alpha, and they were supposed to take a vacation to Mars, but little Michael made them stay a few extra days so she could watch a star go supernova, which of course gives her a totally unnecessary added extra layer of guilt.

She says the Klingons attacked the colony, and killed her parents while she hid in a cabinet. And then after they killed her parents, she heard them casually sit down and eat her family’s dinner (Klingons eating human food? I seriously doubt it) while talking and laughing, and the scene around the gambling board reminded her of that. And yet, she still feels sympathy for the people living on this world, because once they identify those targets, things are about to get a whole lot worse for everybody.

Cut to Georgiou in bed with those Orions, and all three of them have apparently just finished having a great time. Because if there’s anything I’ve learned from previous Mirror Universe episodes, it’s that the more evil you are, the more bisexual you are. Then Georgiou pulls a weapon on them and demands to know the location of the “Shrine of Molor”.

Tilly wakes up to find Clint Howard trying to saw off the case handcuffed to her arm, the one that supposedly contains the mapping drone. She stops him, and then he says something that makes Tilly realize the volcano where they plan to drop the mapping drone is still an active volcano. She opens up the case and shouts, “Oh shit, that is not a drone!”

She gets on her communicator and tells Burnham that it’s a “hydro bomb”. A second later, Georgiou pops up out of nowhere and knocks Tilly out and presumably steals the bomb.

Cut to Burnham and Tyler meeting up with Tilly as she explains that a “hydro bomb”, when dropped into an active volcano, will cause a reaction that will make Qo’nos “uninhabitable”. We then see Georgiou dropping the bomb into a well, while Burnham realizes that this was Starfleet’s plan all along.

Then we get footage of Qo’nos being destroyed, after which a message appears over the planet saying “End Simulation”. Yes, it seems this was a holographic simulation that Burnham created to have something interesting to put in the previews… er, I mean, to graphically demonstrate to Admiral Cornwell what’s about to happen.

On Discovery’s bridge, Burnham argues with Cornwell (who’s here via holographic communicator), saying that total planetary destruction is not what Starfleet stands for. She threatens another mutiny to stop this plan, and everybody in the Nameless Bridge Crew stands up in solidarity with Burnham.

So Cornwell backs down, and Burnham beams down to the shrine to convince Georgiou to deactivate the bomb. After some rather unconvincing arguments, Georgiou agrees to turn over the detonator. And then it turns out L’Rell and Tyler beamed down too, and Burnham hands the detonator over to L’Rell. The idea is that L’Rell is going to use the hydro bomb as leverage to take over and unify the Klingon Empire, and Voq/Tyler is here to convince L’Rell that she can do it.

In some random location on the surface of Qo’nos, Tyler tells Burnham that he’s decided to stay with L’Rell. He realizes that he’s pretty useless now as a Starfleet officer, but he might be able to help broker the peace between the Klingons and the Federation. He gives Burnham a farewell kiss and leaves that “bowline” in her hands. Take care, Voq/Tyler, I sure won’t miss the vague nature of your Klingon/human existence or your constant gruesome PTSD flashbacks.

There’s one last Klingon-subtitled scene as L’Rell addresses all the Klingon houses, and says she should be the one to lead them. Initially, they all respond with laughter, until she reveals the detonator that could wipe out their homeworld, which immediately shuts them all up. So she’s basically blackmailing her race into unifying under threat of genocide? I guess it makes sense if you’re Klingon.

Cut to Earth, where several gathered Klingon ships immediately pull away. Just like that. Though I’m mostly amazed that Earth has no planetary defenses and no starships were deployed to confront the Klingons as soon as they entered the solar system. We zoom in on the Earth, and fly down through future Paris as Burnham continues her pretentious voiceover about defeating fear.

She meets up with her adopted mother Amanda Grayson, and also Sarek, who admits he played some part in the decision to destroy the Klingon homeworld. But it’s all good, because Burnham found another way, so he’s totally not a war criminal. He then reveals that Burnham has been pardoned by the president of the Federation, and he pulls out a Starfleet badge and affixes it to Burnham’s uniform, and says her rank of commander has been fully restored. Just like that. “Anticlimactic” doesn’t even begin to describe it. I think this episode spent more time on Tilly getting high than it did on Burnham getting absolved of her mutiny charges.

As I mentioned earlier, Burnham’s voiceover is really a speech she’s giving at a Starfleet ceremony, where all the members of Discovery’s crew are being awarded medals of honor. Cornwell, who’s also totally not a war criminal, reads off the list of commendations and promotions.

Tilly has now been made an ensign, and has also been accepted into the “Command Training Program”. Stamets gets a medal and is also holding a posthumous medal awarded to Dr. Culber. And then there’s Saru, who’s “the first Kelpien to receive the medal of honor”. And I guess this is all supposed to feel very inspiring, but mostly it just seems like a big rip-off of the ending of Star Wars.

Oh, and the best part is how the Nameless Bridge Crew, while all receiving medals of honor, remain nameless.

The Discovery is soon on its way to Vulcan to pick up their new captain, whoever that may be. But along the way, they get a distress call. And for some reason, Saru is very insistent on knowing who the call is coming from. A screen slowly starts to reveal the registry number of the other ship, and it starts with “NCC-17…” Someone finally identifies the call as coming from Captain Pike, and Burnham says it’s the USS Enterprise.

Sure enough, the Enterprise comes into view, while not looking terribly in distress, and the familiar TOS fanfare plays. Roll credits to what sounds like a brand new recording of the TOS theme song. Because when all else fails—and I think pretty much all else did fail in this episode—you might as well go for pure nostalgia.

And that’s the end of season one. To be completely fair to everyone involved, this season of Discovery was nowhere near as boring as the first season of Enterprise, or Voyager, or hell, the first season of any Star Trek show that’s not the original. But unfortunately, most of it was hollow spectacle, with admittedly fantastic visuals serving a shallow story.

You probably remember that when the series started, I was optimistic about it; it seemed to be making some bold choices to avoid the same traps that previous Trek spin-offs fell into. For the first time, someone other than the captain was the main character, and the actual captain was someone who was morally compromised in numerous ways. But it seems like the game plan was totally revised when original showrunner Bryan Fuller left the project due to creative difference with CBS. My guess is Discovery was originally meant to focus almost entirely on Burnham occupying low-level positions as she worked her way back up the ranks after a tremendous fall from grace, perhaps all culminating with her becoming an officer who has to face off against Captain Lorca.

Case in point: the presence of Cadet Tilly in almost every episode. When Burnham had no rank, it made sense that the people she’d be working with would be on the bottom rung of the Starfleet ladder. But then the character proved popular, and suddenly Tilly was everywhere: in Engineering, on the bridge, even in Sickbay, doing all the things you would expect the ship’s Chief Engineer to be doing, and she was only a cadet! Again, this is all idle speculation, but I have to wonder if the show’s central cast was supposed to change over time as Burnham got promoted, because the current configuration of main characters makes no sense.

Unfortunately, that’s only one of many elements about this show that makes no sense. The whole Tyler/Voq thing is total convoluted nonsense at this point. The same goes for an entire starship crew crossing over to the Mirror Universe, and somehow no one has heard of the place ten years later, even though the Terran emperor is now free to roam around the galaxy. And the series has yet to offer any sort of explanation for what happens to spore drive technology between now and TOS. In fact, I’d say the most confusing thing about this show is why they made it a TOS prequel in the first place, especially if they had no intention of sticking with the established canon.

And of course, there’s Captain Lorca and the utterly disappointing twist that he was an impostor from the Mirror Universe. I have a tough time believing this was planned out from the start. Why did we see Lorca so determined to win the war against the Klingons, if all he was doing was looking for a way to get back to his own universe? Again, it feels like Bryan Fuller probably intended Lorca to be exactly who appeared to be in those early episodes: a seriously flawed captain with a total lack of Starfleet ethics.

As far as I can tell, the original premise of Star Trek: Discovery was a disgraced Starfleet officer looking for redemption, while dealing with a morally compromised captain. But with Burnham having already earned a full pardon, and with Captain Lorca dead, I honestly have no idea what the premise of this show is now. At this point, Discovery is a total blank slate that can pretty much start season two like season one never even happened. I can’t say it was a complete waste of time—there were a few moments of entertainment, but I’m still wondering just what the point of this whole season was. I’m curious to see where things go in season two (currently set to premiere in 2019), but I’m definitely not optimistic anymore.

TV Show: Star Trek: Discovery

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  • Kradeiz

    I thought this in the third episode when Michael was quoting Alice in Wonderland and I thought it again here when she was quoting…that thing about the general in her speech: Using important or intelligent-sounding prose to make your narrative sound dramatic only works when you’ve earned it and when it fits with the situation. It isn’t something you do just to sound smart or exciting, because then it sounds pretentious and manipulative.

  • William Wehrs

    Ok, now that the show is over, is it the worst Trek season of all time? Other Trek seasons had worse episodes sure, but they were one-offs. They could be easily skipped. Here, it is one big story and is just horribly told at every turn.

    As for the episode itself, here are some of the major problems. The whole first 25 minutes were stunningly tensionless. Sure, earth is in danger of being invaded, but let’s go to a strip club, have bad drug jokes, and get into a bar fight. Really? Can you imagine if in the middle of Best of Both Worlds, Riker decided to go to a strip club?

    Then, all Admiral Cornwall needs to change her mind is a little chat with Burnham. Really? It’s that easy? Well, if that is the case, then are really supposed to believe that no one else in Starfleet, including famed diplomat Sarek, had a problem with this plan. That is just insulting.

    Then L’Rell decides to end the war for no reason. This woman who was devoted to TuKivma and the idea of Klingon dominance suddenly decides to declare peace? Why? Furthermore, why do the Klingons cow to this threat? They are about to conquer the Federation. Wouldn’t their deaths be honorable? Or, why don’t they just shoot L’Rell?

    • Kradeiz

      And I thought the idea of giving L’Rell the bomb made about as much sense as making Empress Georgiou captain. Putting the fate of an entire race and planet in the hands of a militant religious zealot/former torturer? How can we possibly lose?

    • Kali

      Please remind me again: did the series ever explain why the Klingons don’t look like Klingons?

      • William Wehrs

        Well, to be fair the Klingons have looked different in almost every iteration of Star Trek. My problem is that the makeup is awful as it prevents the actors from emoting.

        • Kali

          That’s certainly true.

  • Kradeiz

    The way this season ended just makes me wonder what the point was, or why we should even care moving forward. The consequences of Michael’s mutiny were set up as something she would (and should) have to live with for the rest of her life and would affect how everyone saw her from that point on. But one quick speech from the Empress about “no second chances” or whatever and suddenly she forgives herself and everyone else does, and she’s back to being a Commander with no hassle whatsoever. And with Lorca dead and Tyler and Georgiou no longer on the Discovery, there’s next to nothing left tying back to her struggle this season.

    If all of this was going to amount to so little, why not start with whatever the second season is going to be about and reveal her past gradually? It would make it more mysterious and probably more interesting, which would be a plus given Michael’s character is rather dull.

  • mamba

    This show really has a lot of good ideas, and no idea how to implement them! The motivations, characters, and basic plot changes week to week! If you’re going to do it that way, don’t make it a serialized show, make it a series of stand-alones. Of course you’d need a dynamic of characters to do that, and we barely know the ones they decided to keep!

    Ways to fix the ending few episodes quickly?

    -Swap Lorca with Georgiou. For one, as much as I honestly like Georgio, she’s not a part of the show. Sure she had a great 2 episodes at first, but she was a plot device. When they went to evil world, it was fun but still basically irrelevant. You really need someone EVIL to tell you that blowing up the homeworld of Klingons would help your war? Like the thought never occurred to them? she should have stayed in the mirror world, because she CLEARLY does not fit in this one.

    Lorca on the other hand…forget this “evil” Lorca, just have him stay Lorca. HIM we saw right from the start, and he’s EXACTLY the kind of guy who’d consider the plan reasonably, AND he’s the kind of guy who’d actually have a chance of being talked out of it with real tension. He was the most nuanced interesting character they had…they they excused it all (not really him) and killed him. Lame!

    -Give VOK/TYLER the bomb and let HIM make the speech with L’Rell. It gives him a chance to (a) use his Klingon knowledge and experience practically as he can talk to them literally and figuratively, (b) gives him a genuine chance to prove what side he really is on and/or create tension later on when he changes his mind, and (c) Lets the Klingons know that humans are calling the shots and the threat is real. After all, if HE blows up the planet, it’s not his home, but did ANYONE actually think L’rell would do it when it’s all she’s got left? empty bluff from her, but not him!

    -Give discovery a purpose!!! We start with “inventing spore drive tech” then it’s working (mostly). Then it’s “redeem burnham” but that was easily done. Then it’s “win the war” but that’s too easy now. Frankly, what ARE they going to do next, just roam like all other Trek shows? Here’s a thought they should have gone with…spore jump goes wrong again, but this time they have NO IDEA where they are, but can still jump. Think SLIDERS with Star Trek…now they are alone and actually have to discover things, while still trying to get home. I know, this is Voyager, but again, Lorca’s still captain in my scenario. So it’s like Voyager with a morally dubious captain…like a series focused entirely when Janeway met the other captain that was capturing aliens for fuel. Also it solves the continuity problem…they just remain lost explorers forever…hence no records of mirror universe nor spore drive.

    -Kill the emperor, or hire her and guard her. Her walking free is dumb on every possible level. They declared knowledge of the mirror world classified and punishable heavily, hey the EMPEROR of that world walks freely to talk to whoever she wishes? HA!

    Good show ideas, needs an actual vision. This season seemed like one huge experiment in tone, shows styles, ANYTHING. (even the harry mudd episode was a test to see if a stand-alone show could work)

    • Kradeiz

      Lorca was without a doubt the most wasted character so far. He was complex, engaging, conniving, and all that got tossed away for “Oh, he’s just a typical evil Mirror Universe guy.”

      And the worst part is that even that twist could’ve worked if they’d tried. Imagine a Mirror Lorca who hated his universe and his people, living in a place where you always had to watch your back, then finding himself accidentally transported to the Federation’s universe. Where people are treated fairly and you don’t have to be afraid, only for that to be threatened by the Klingons. And Lorca would fight tooth and nail to save his Federation from the same kind of xenophobic violence that ruled the Mirror Empire, even if it meant resorting to tactics that would’ve been more acceptable in that Empire.

      (Of course, for that to make sense, Mirror Lorca would have to have crossed over quite a bit earlier than he did in canon. Certainly before he became a captain, maybe before he joined Star Fleet at all.)

      • William Wehrs

        Damn. That sounds like a great idea for the character. The show’s insistence that Lorca was just pure evil was especially odd when one compares it to the show’s treatment of Michelle Yeoh’s character who gets to go free and is treated as if she a rogue character like Han Solo. She isn’t that type though. She destroys entire planets without a second’s thought, beats people for information, and eats sentient beings.

        • Kradeiz

          Not to mention that after “the twist” he was suddenly evil, Evil, EVIL, with all of the ambiguity we had seen up to that point gone. Before that he could be duplicitous and manipulative, sure, but he seemed to truly believe that he was doing the right thing for the Federation. Whatever his morals, that is way more interesting than “I do bad things because Bad Guy.”

          • William Wehrs

            Oh definitely. To make matters worse, the show is left with no one with Jason Issac’s combination of acting ability and raw sex appeal. Doug Jones does fine, but he is isn’t a particularly exciting character. Stamets always looks like he torn between bewilderment and crying, and Tilly is annoying and overused. As for Burnham, she either delivers every line in an overly articulated way or she tilts her head, bulges her eyes, and speaks softly. The latter typically comes during the big “emotional scenes.” If you ever watch the show again, pay attention to that. It gets annoying really quickly. Also, Burnham is not interesting, and the constant use of characters congratulating her on how amazing she is, Voq/Tyler’s line “It was your incredible capacity to love” was incredibly bad, gets incredibly grating. I think that’s why the show brought in Pike because the writers must have realized their current ensemble is easily the worst ensemble in Trek history.

          • Kradeiz

            I don’t know if you’ve ever watched SF Debris’s reviews, but he’s gone over the first few episodes of Discovery and something he think would’ve improved things was to have the series start right after Burnham’s court martial. This would’ve not only made her character more interesting (with us wondering what she did) but also would’ve kept Burnham from taking too much focus away from the rest of the cast, since the first two episodes focussed almost exclusively on her, establishing her as THE main character instead of A main character.

            I’m guessing in Season Two they’ll try and cover the rest of the cast, since they went and wrapped up Burnham’s entire arc in far too little time, but at this point I really don’t care. With Lorca dead I’m not invested in any of these characters. The best I can hope for is that the writers will hear our problems and try to fix things (TNG certainly worked out well considering a pretty weak start), but again I’m not hopeful.

          • William Wehrs

            As much as I like the idea of Burnahm’s backstory being a mystery, if they had done what SF debris suggested it would have been yet another thing for the show to tell us, other examples include the war, Tyler/Voq’s being cured by love, the Klingons fearing the loss of their culture, rather than showing us which I think might have been a problem. Also, it’s clear the writers wanted Burnham to have be THE main character, so they could brag that Discovery was the first show to have an African American woman lead character, and according some idiotic publications first show to have an African American, rather than actually think about how to make her a compelling character in her own right.

            Hope springs eternal for season 2. What I really would like to see would be a NEW star trek species that is well fleshed out. We really haven’t got that since the Dominion.

            “The best I can hope for is that the writers will hear our problems and try to fix things.” Unfortunately, I think they are already trying and failing at doing that. I mean the end of this episode pretty much wiped the slate clean and was one of the worst examples of a reset button I’ve ever seen. All the emotional effect of a bloody war? Gone. A character struggling with his identity? Get him off the show. Sarek, Burnahm’s father, plotted genocide? It’s ok, you were having a hard time. This use of the reset button is what puzzles me when people praise this show for at least pushing the envelope. It’s not. Discovery is much more akin to Voyager than DS9.

          • Kradeiz

            Yeah, I don’t know what the deal was with that ending. Were they so unhappy with Bryan Fuller’s ideas that they wanted to wrap them all up so they could do their own? Did they think there was only going to be one season so they wanted to resolve everything? (Given CBS using Discovery to promote their All Access site, I find that doubtful.) I mean, if they felt they had to conclude everything with Michael and the war by the end of the season, I get that could make for some bumpy storytelling. But it still could’ve been a lot better and more natural than what we got.

  • Somehow, “A Night in Sickbay” seems less of a turd now.

    • Kradeiz

      At least that one was riffable. So much of Discovery is too meh to make it fun.

  • Kradeiz

    I think making Discovery more serialized is another thing that worked against it. Up until now, Star Trek has always been a more episodic franchise. Even when there were overarching stories, like the Dominion war in DS9 or the Xindi war in Enterprise, they were generally used more as framing devices rather than being what an entire season or series was about. And while that could make them a bit forgetful about continuity sometimes, one big bonus is that when an episode doesn’t work, the writers (and the audience) can usually just forget about it and move on. But with a serialized story it’s much harder to do that since everything all weaves together, you can’t ignore a lesser episode without parts of the story no longer making sense.

  • Kradeiz

    Honestly, as derivative as it was, I think the episode I enjoyed the most was the time loop episode, if for no other reason than watching Jason Isaac and Rainn Wilson bounce off each other was a lot of fun. (Too bad we had to sit through the Burnham/Tyler stuff along the way.)

    In fact, that was one of the biggest things missing from this show: Fun. I know it’s wartime, but both DS9 and Enterprise managed to have lots of lighter moments during their war arcs without it seeming too out of place. But Discovery seemed to think that just having Tilly be bubbly and say something awkward here and there was enough.

    • William Wehrs

      To be fair this show’s idea of light scenes were beer pong, raves, and strip clubs, so maybe it’s good we avoided any lighter moments(:

      • Kradeiz

        I think the writers were so intent on being dark and serious that those were the only kinds of levity they’d allow.

  • Greenhornet

    The Marissa stories seem more coherent and plausible.

  • Grumpy

    Haven’t watched the show, but I’ve followed various recaps/reviews. This is the first one to make me sad for the show. Literally feel sick. A simulation? Space dope?? A shrine to Molor, the Klingon Hitler??? (Though there might be interesting symbolism or backstory there.)
    Yet the part that really nags me is waiting to see a supernova. Kid, you can skip it today and then fly 1 light-year away next year. It’ll look pretty much the same from anywhere on this side of the galaxy.

  • Will113

    I think I’d be fonder of this show if it stuck to it’s guns and was consistent through out. But no, I guess they chickened out.

  • Steven5812
  • oohhboy

    They should have glassed the planet. But nope got to hit that reset button to “respect” the timeline as they desperately try to sell this as a legitimate Prime universe show.

    The Empress’s plan was right and made infinitely more sense that whatever that hand waving was. I thought to myself how the hell could you map out a planet with one drone? Multiple jump scan? Stametes looks healthy. The higher ups were looking blatantly shifty last episode so no surprise they went with the Empress.

    What about Starfleet Intelligence? Paying people off and recruiting people is one of the best ways to get intimate information far better than any scan. 100 years without bothering to ask anyone anything.

    Every Starbase gone, fleet down 90%, the economy dust but who cares! Give out medals and shove in the Enterprise in the most self congratulatory way possible. Young Kirk is going to show isn’t he and we are going to see Pike get put into his chair.

    Michaels has to be the pretentious character ever, every word that comes out is garbage.

  • Kali

    STD. Now isn’t THAT acronym so incredibly appropriate? Just like how we refer to SyFy as the Venereal Disease Network. Now we have a Venereal Disease Star Trek.

    Now, admittedly, my only real knowledge of Discovery comes from these excellent recaps, but from what I’ve seen, there seems to be no one with a clue what to do with the series, and now they’re throwing anything against the transporter room and hoping something sticks. So, they fall back yet again on what worked before: the Mirror Universe (which has now become a wish fulfillment plot device: allow the regulars to play bad guys, take the extreme actions you could never get away with in the regular universe, then leave and forget anything ever happened); and, of course, bring back OG characters without the slightest clue what made the characters work in the first place. The character of Harry Mudd was a ridiculous fool who should have been renamed immediately if anyone had ever actually seen Roger Carmel in the part.

    And now, they end the season with nostalgia for the past STD spent 15 episodes throwing shyt all over. I said before, this is NOT Star Trek, and we continue to question whether they WANTED to do Star Trek. They’re just doing their own thing and attaching the Star Trek name on it to grab a built-in audience. Sorry, guys, but all you’re doing is convincing us the only real Star Trek is the original series, maybe NextGen, and definitely DS9.

    As far as those behind Discovery and the movies are concerned, Star Trek began in 2009, and anything else can be utterly dismissed. Well, we still remember, and we will NOT watch this abomination when it returns.

    • William Wehrs

      I agree with some of this, but I hesitate to call anything not Star Trek. I think Star Trek should be whatever someone wants it be. Also, there are plenty of problems one can discuss regarding the show without stooping to calling it not Trek. Finally, I would consider it Trek. There is optimism about humanity, there is a sense of exploration, and there are strong liberal values. Is it bad Trek though? Yes.

      • Kali

        Yeah, I guess, but it’s like I said in my condemnation of the Abrams-verse: Star Trek is the Human Adventure, and it’s the human element that is severely lacking. When the human characters are unbelievable, how can there be optimism about humanity?
        And, I guess I can’t see that sense of exploration when STD is boldly going where too many have gone before a lot better.

        Maybe when they consider the second season, but I am simply unconvinced.

        • William Wehrs

          I understand your position, but I think the magic mushroom drive offers a sense of exploration. Saru is a classic star trek character in how despite his being the most alien, he is the most warm and empathetic.

          I would also make the argument that Discovery’s biggest weakness is trying to fit into Trek. Think about it. A morally grey captain? Nah, that won’t fit in Star Trek. Let’s just make him pure evil. A destructive war? Nah, let’s indulge in nostalgia and go to the mirror universe for a while. A difficult choice that may end the war but be morally wrong? Nah, let’s do something else instead? A character who is torn between being human and being Klingon? Nah, let’s write him off the show. Dealing with the emotional repercussions of war? Nah, let’s just claim everything is hunky dory. Getting a show through the eyes of a woman is not a perfect person and has made some huge mistakes? Nah, let’s just pretend as if she is the perfect person that we should all aspire to be. Do you see the problem. The show is constantly bending over backwards to please Star Trek fans that it is killing any of its potentially interesting ideas.

          • Kali

            I see your point. Okay. Let’s see what happens in season 2.

          • oohhboy

            What are you even on about? Mashing the reset button isn’t what Trek is about. The thing with Trek is that you know Trek when you see it even though you will have trouble defining it. STD is definitely not Trek.

            The Orville is the prime example, it’s not Trek but it is Trek. It didn’t need the branding. If STD did not have the branding would you even entertain the idea it had anything to do with Trek? DS9 showed how far and then some what Trek can be.

            The stupidest thing the writers did with the show is insisting 110% it is the “Prime” universe, the second is the existence of Michaels. They might have gotten away with a lot of crap if they didn’t try to carry the baggage.

            At the end of the day it is a bad, bad, bad show no matter what the branding and is 200% not Trek.

          • William Wehrs

            Can you explain to me why DIscovery is not Trek? I am legitimately curious. You say you know Trek when you see it, well I’ve seen a lot of Trek and Star Trek can take many different forms. TOS is different from TNG which is different from DS9. There are overriding principles that are the same, but the tone of each series is quite different.

            Now with that being said, I agree with you it is a bad bad bad bad show.

          • oohhboy

            Trek most certainly isn’t about name dropping, twin nacelles, the badge, fake intellectualism, happy endings, forced pompous speeches on black and white morality something Michaels really likes doing. Nor is it liberal values, exploration or optimism.

            Trek is defined by a collective consciousness, a collective soul if you will. Why is Orville considered Trek, a love letter even but not STD? Why is STD’s Trek credentials being questioned if it is Trek? It’s because STD isn’t Trek. It doesn’t have the collective acceptance, instead it is seen for what it is, a cynical cash in on the name.

            The writers didn’t “Bend over” and limit their ideas trying to please Trek fans, getting so many tiny details wrong showed how little they cared. They knew they didn’t have Trek and so did everyone else. So they skinned it, shoved 3 midgets into the bloody mess insisting its Trek in a fresh murder scene knife in hand.

            They should have glassed the planet, at least it would have broken the delusion they had anything Trek or competency.

          • TOS: Was Trek, Obviously.

            TNG: Was a refined version where Roddenberry wanted to expand on his ideas on the future of humanity.

            DS9: Kind of anti-Trek, really putting the TNG idealism to the test.

            VOY: Mostly Trek, in the same way Dread Pirate Roberts was “mostly dead” but had it’s moments.

            ENT: Trying to have it’s Trek cake and eat it, basically.

            STD: Pretty much Firefly with a swooshy logo.

          • oohhboy

            STD wishes it was firefly, a good show.

            William you never did answer the question of what is STD without the branding. Would have people even entertained the thought there is a link between STD and Trek without the name? You call it Trek because the writers have the IP license to call it Trek.

            Once a show goes out it belongs to the viewers not the author. It’s the viewers that determine the credentials. If STD was just a bad show people would just call it bad Trek, but the question keeps being raise beyond its quality, before release is as to what does STD have to do with Trek? “What does god need with a starship”?

            The jokes are good in Orville. Glass planets, commit genocide, kill m/billions, start an intergalactic war, call them agonizer booths, but no sex jokes please.

          • William Wehrs

            I have explained why I consider Discovery Trek in the comments above. It has various themes in common with Star Trek. Now you argue those themes don’t make something Star Trek, but rather that there is a collective soul. Could you perhaps explain what you mean by this?

          • William Wehrs

            Well, here’s the thing I’m not really sure what a collective soul means, but let’s look at the Orville. Do I think Orville is Trekian? Yes I do. However, I don’t appreciate the amount of puerile jokes in the show, and I could probably make the argument that those jokes make it not Star Trek. I don’t think that would be a good argument though because it does have Star Trekian themes. Therefore, in my opinion a better argument would be the Orville is a Star Trekian show with some unfortunate lapses in the humor department. I think Discovery’s star trek credentials are being questioned because fans don’t like it and correctly so in my humble opinion. Because they don’t like it, then they don’t want it associated with things they do love, thus the argument that it is not Star Trek. I would also say that there are some who do not consider DS9, arguably the best Star Trek show of all time, not Star Trek.

  • Prediction: ST:D (and doesn’t that just say it all?) will insipre a letter-writing campaign to cancel the show before the canon is completely fucked.