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As is my custom, I started a rewatch of Star Trek as things at work wound down towards the start of the holiday season.  Going in chronological order, I just got to Star Trek: Discovery's first episode last night.  

I have to say that it might actually be worse the second time around... and that's kind of impressive in its own right.

One thing that really struck me this time was how very much Michael Burnham comes off as having a REALLY bad case of chuunibyou.  Her establishing character moment at the very start of the series when she and Captain Georgiou are on that desert planet is her pretending to possess the same uncannily accurate predictive abilities and obsession with precision that was a signature trait of Vulcan characters like Spock, Tuvok, and T'Pol, and elevated to a high art (and running joke) by Data.  She clearly believes she's a Chosen Hero of Destiny and The Only One Who Can Save Us as the episode drags on.  After nearly dying from radiation damage she interrupts the treatment of her injuries to go running off to the bridge to immediately tell everyone it's the Klingons... a fact that they would have known fifteen seconds later without her input.  Then she convinces herself that she has superior insight into the Klingons motives and uses that as an excuse to try to take over the ship to (in her mind) valiantly save her captain from fatally misjudging the situation.

She's even more obnoxious in the second episode, when we see her in a flashback trying really hard to pass for Vulcan... by being incredibly arrogant and condescending towards Captain Georgiou.  She tries to overrule Georgiou about dealing with T'Kuvma's ship, and when that goes pear-shaped she tries to claim credit for the entire war at her court martial because she's deluded enough to believe that she really was the sole cause of the war.

Once you notice that, the rest of the flaws in the opening two-parter feel kind of trivial.  Burnham is just flat-out delusional and it's actually kind of weird that nobody notices or comments on it.  Especially when she first showed up and was acting like she was Vulcan.  It kind of brings to mind that TNG episode "Hero Worship", where the orphaned kid from the Vico starts imitating Data as a really unhealthy coping strategy for his parents deaths.

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And my rewatch of Star Trek: Discovery's first two seasons draws to a close tonight with "Such Sweet Sorrow, Part II"...

On my first go-round, my initial reaction was that season two of Star Trek: Discovery was a marked but short-lived improvement over season one.  I have to reverse myself on that one.  Season two of Discovery is actually the worse of the two, for one important reason.  In Discovery's first season, its protagonist Michael Burnham is an arrogant know-nothing know-it-all who sincerely believes everything is always about her and always has to be right.  In Discovery's second season, everything really is all about Burnham.  It's obnoxious, really.  She immediately gets into a dick-measuring contest with Pike's science officer that ends up getting him killed.  She has to be rescued and becomes the first person to see the Red Angel after getting left behind on the Hiawatha.  She has to involve herself in Spock's disappearance because he's HER brother and his psychological baggage is her fault.  She has to be the one to take him to Talos IV to recover his lost marbles and reveal her shameful secret.  Her dead parents invented the suit that the Red Angel wears and she takes up a new one to become the Red Angel and close a time loop, making even the episodes that weren't strictly about her into episodes about her.  Even Control lampshades that everything is about her.

The Mary Sue-ness of it all is just... off-putting.  It was bad enough when she only believed she was the center of the universe.  When the writers decided to establish it as fact that she actually was... that was just a terrible idea all around.

 

Though the events of Discovery's most recent episode "Su'Kal" may well go down in history as the worst, most setting-breaking garbage in the Star Trek franchise's history.

Spoiler

The true cause of "the Burn" was a Kelpien radioactive mutant named Su'Kal who developed psychic powers as a result of magical space radiation and being around lots of dilithium on the planet his mother's ship crashed on.  His psychic powers made the dilithium throughout the galaxy briefly go inert when he got scared by a holographic monster in the holographic environment he lives in.

This show is just the Grand Central Station of disappointments.

Edited by Seto Kaiba
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49 minutes ago, Seto Kaiba said:

a radioactive mutant named Su'Kal who developed psychic powers as a result of magical space radiation

I'm always happy when Star Trek acknowledges its roots in the '60s (be it Orions, Andorians, or the Guardian of Forever), but Marvel comic science from the '60s?  That's a bridge too far.  :unsure:

55 minutes ago, Seto Kaiba said:

This show is just the Grand Central Station of disappointments.

And yet, still considerably less so than Star Trek: Picard... <_<

I dare you to try and rewatch that! :spiteful:

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1 hour ago, Seto Kaiba said:

And my rewatch of Star Trek: Discovery's first two seasons draws to a close tonight with "Such Sweet Sorrow, Part II"...

On my first go-round, my initial reaction was that season two of Star Trek: Discovery was a marked but short-lived improvement over season one.  I have to reverse myself on that one.  Season two of Discovery is actually the worse of the two, for one important reason.  In Discovery's first season, its protagonist Michael Burnham is an arrogant know-nothing know-it-all who sincerely believes everything is always about her and always has to be right.  In Discovery's second season, everything really is all about Burnham.  It's obnoxious, really.  She immediately gets into a dick-measuring contest with Pike's science officer that ends up getting him killed.  She has to be rescued and becomes the first person to see the Red Angel after getting left behind on the Hiawatha.  She has to involve herself in Spock's disappearance because he's HER brother and his psychological baggage is her fault.  She has to be the one to take him to Talos IV to recover his lost marbles and reveal her shameful secret.  Her dead parents invented the suit that the Red Angel wears and she takes up a new one to become the Red Angel and close a time loop, making even the episodes that weren't strictly about her into episodes about her.  Even Control lampshades that everything is about her.

The Mary Sue-ness of it all is just... off-putting.  It was bad enough when she only believed she was the center of the universe.  When the writers decided to establish it as fact that she actually was... that was just a terrible idea all around.

 

Though the events of Discovery's most recent episode "Su'Kal" may well go down in history as the worst, most setting-breaking garbage in the Star Trek franchise's history.

  Hide contents

The true cause of "the Burn" was a Kelpien radioactive mutant named Su'Kal who developed psychic powers as a result of magical space radiation and being around lots of dilithium on the planet his mother's ship crashed on.  His psychic powers made the dilithium throughout the galaxy briefly go inert when he got scared by a holographic monster in the holographic environment he lives in.

This show is just the Grand Central Station of disappointments.

"Briefly go inert"? So... EVERYONE using Warp Drive that depended on Dilithium just assumed all of it was bad and not just "temporarily out of order" for a few centuries?

As for Burnham: the should have just named her Mary Sue Burnham and been done with it.

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13 hours ago, tekering said:

I'm always happy when Star Trek acknowledges its roots in the '60s (be it Orions, Andorians, or the Guardian of Forever), but Marvel comic science from the '60s?  That's a bridge too far.  :unsure:

IMO, the best part of this is that this statement could be sincere or sarcastic with literally no change. :D

It's just so bloody ridiculous that the origin of "the Burn" - the catastrophe that caused the deaths of millions if not billions and effectively ended interstellar civilization in the galaxy - was caused by a Kelpien manchild's fear of a holographic fairytale creature known only as "the Kelp monster".

In a way, it's the perfect microcosm of Star Trek: Discovery.  Poorly thought-out drama that builds to an unsatisfying conclusion where everything revolves around an emotionally and mentally underdeveloped character whose ego must be appeased at all costs to save the universe.

 

13 hours ago, tekering said:

And yet, still considerably less so than Star Trek: Picard... <_<

I dare you to try and rewatch that! :spiteful:

We'll get there. :vava:

Started season one of Star Trek: the Original Series earlier today.

 

12 hours ago, pengbuzz said:

"Briefly go inert"? So... EVERYONE using Warp Drive that depended on Dilithium just assumed all of it was bad and not just "temporarily out of order" for a few centuries?

As for Burnham: the should have just named her Mary Sue Burnham and been done with it.

There's a related "did not do research" plot hole in Discovery's third season where it's indicated that the galaxy was running out of dilithium in the 31st century somehow.  Discovery's writers seem to have missed that the Federation developed a method to recrystalize refined dilithium back in 2286 (Star Trek IV: the Voyage Home), making dilithium an infinitely recyclable resource almost 800 years before "the Burn".  It's an even more glaring oversight given that Discovery's own writers wrote TWO stories that involved dilithium recrystalization technology 30 years before Star Trek IV... one of which was the climax of the show's second season!

Everyone was a bit gunshy about going back to using dilithium since nobody knew if the stuff would just spontaneously stop working again the way it apparently had during "the Burn", but it was also (nonsensically) much harder to come by which is why there are multiple plot points in the third season that involve dilithium scarcity.  (The Orion pirate organization "The Emerald Chain" wants the Discovery because their dilithium stockpiles are drying up... apparently because the writers forgot that dilithium was a catalyst not a fuel.)

 

11 hours ago, JB0 said:

Two words: Gary Mitchell.

Gary Mitchell, Elizabeth Dehner, and the other nine Enterprise crew who were affected by the energies of the galactic barrier were so affected because they were already documented powerful espers (by human standards) before encountering the barrier... and even then it still killed nine of the eleven people exposed to it.  His personnel file in the episode "Where No Man Has Gone Before" showed that documented esper abilities went back at least six generations in his family and that his were good enough for him to carry on prolonged telepathic conversations.

(Various Star Trek novels have suggested that Gary Mitchell's incredible powers weren't actually his... but that he was taken over by some higher dimensional entity, in one case an injured Q.)

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44 minutes ago, Seto Kaiba said:

There's a related "did not do research" plot hole in Discovery's third season where it's indicated that the galaxy was running out of dilithium in the 31st century somehow.  Discovery's writers seem to have missed that the Federation developed a method to recrystalize refined dilithium back in 2286 (Star Trek IV: the Voyage Home), making dilithium an infinitely recyclable resource almost 800 years before "the Burn".  It's an even more glaring oversight given that Discovery's own writers wrote TWO stories that involved dilithium recrystalization technology 30 years before Star Trek IV... one of which was the climax of the show's second season!

Everyone was a bit gunshy about going back to using dilithium since nobody knew if the stuff would just spontaneously stop working again the way it apparently had during "the Burn", but it was also (nonsensically) much harder to come by which is why there are multiple plot points in the third season that involve dilithium scarcity.  (The Orion pirate organization "The Emerald Chain" wants the Discovery because their dilithium stockpiles are drying up... apparently because the writers forgot that dilithium was a catalyst not a fuel.)

It sounds to me like they ran into another element that is ruining Star Trek: Bullshitium. They probably store it right next to the Explodium....

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35 minutes ago, pengbuzz said:

It sounds to me like they ran into another element that is ruining Star Trek: Bullshitium. They probably store it right next to the Explodium....

Eh... that was always around in at least limited quantities.  That's how the writers of previous Star Trek shows gave us gems like "Spock's Brain", "The Practical Joker", "Code of Honor", "Profit and Lace", "The Omega Directive", and "Regeneration". 

Apart from Voyager's "The Omega Directive", the glaringly stupid episodes never really had any consequences that lasted beyond the end of the episode or outside the scope of the planet/ship of the week.  This nonsense about a guy whose psychic powers cause him to emit radiation that specifically makes dilithium inert AND NOTHING ELSE wouldn't be at all outside the spectrum of usual bad episode BS for Star Trek if it wasn't the crux of an entire season-long serialized story arc that impacted the entire galaxy.  The inconsistency WRT dilithium recrystalization wouldn't be so glaring if Discovery's seasons weren't less than half as long as the seasons of previous shows either, I guess.

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1 hour ago, Seto Kaiba said:

Eh... that was always around in at least limited quantities.  That's how the writers of previous Star Trek shows gave us gems like "Spock's Brain", "The Practical Joker", "Code of Honor", "Profit and Lace", "The Omega Directive", and "Regeneration". 

Apart from Voyager's "The Omega Directive", the glaringly stupid episodes never really had any consequences that lasted beyond the end of the episode or outside the scope of the planet/ship of the week.  This nonsense about a guy whose psychic powers cause him to emit radiation that specifically makes dilithium inert AND NOTHING ELSE wouldn't be at all outside the spectrum of usual bad episode BS for Star Trek if it wasn't the crux of an entire season-long serialized story arc that impacted the entire galaxy.  The inconsistency WRT dilithium recrystalization wouldn't be so glaring if Discovery's seasons weren't less than half as long as the seasons of previous shows either, I guess.

Yeah, but DSC managed to hit the motherlode with this stupidity.

Too bad they couldn't make this guy emit radiation that made Picard inert...

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8 hours ago, pengbuzz said:

Yeah, but DSC managed to hit the motherlode with this stupidity.

Granted, Star Trek: Discovery's writing leaves a lot to be desired... more so with each new season's fresh batch of poorly thought-out gimmicks and token attempts to convince the audience that it's "real" Star Trek.

We're nearly at the end of the show's third season, and Star Trek: Discovery still feels like it doesn't really have a sense of what it wants to be or where it wants to go.  The first season tried to go for nostalgia by having the pre-TOS Federation be at war with the Klingon Empire, but that ended up being so relentlessly grimdark that the morally ambiguous crew of the Discovery ended up looking scarcely less villainous than the Klingons did.  So relentlessly grimdark, in fact, that the series itself seemed to quickly tire of it and switched gears to an equally grimdark plot involving the Mirror Universe in a bid to make the Discovery's crew look more heroic (or at least less villainous).  Its second season tried to be more optimistic but its bait-and-switch with Captain Pike, Spock, and the Enterprise ended up devolving into an ill-considered ripoff of Terminator halfway through and its overwhelming focus on Burnham as Great Value John Connor meant that the rest of the cast still hasn't been properly developed.  Now they're almost to the end of season three, they've jumped nine and a half centuries into the future to get away from the criticisms of their playing fast and loose with canon, they've once again fallen back on grimdarkness as a substitute for depth, and most of the cast still isn't developed because our new attempt to show that this show is drama is that Michael Burnham cries A LOT.

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To be honest, as we near the end of season three it really feels like a big part of the show's problem is that it never took the time to develop the rest of the cast.  The ensemble cast that was the heart and soul of Star Trek for decades just isn't present in the writing of Star Trek: Discovery.  Much of the bridge crew didn't even have names until the second season... something lampshaded rather cleverly by Harry Mudd in "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad".  Mirror!Georgiou was more a vehicle for various catty one-liners than a character, and has now departed the show after being visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past (whose name is apparently Carl).  Saru and Tilly got an episode each in season two but haven't had anything meaningful since then.  Only Michael Burnham is a fully-developed character, and she's an awful Mary Sue precisely because as the only fully developed character she has to do EVERYTHING herself in order to move the story along.  We've had practically nothing for the rest of the crew... to the point that it was an obvious death flag when the show suddenly started developing Airiam.  They're trying to make Sonequa Martin-Green carry this entire show and neither she nor the writers are up to the job.

Now that the Discovery has found the incredibly lame source of "the Burn" and then been hijacked by Orion pirates who seem to be fixing to attack Starfleet Headquarters, they've got just two episodes to wrap this turd up and it feels like it's going to be a pretty rushed affair.  Five'll get you twenty Starfleet Headquarters gets blown up and they hail Burnham as a hero anyway.

 

8 hours ago, pengbuzz said:

Too bad they couldn't make this guy emit radiation that made Picard inert...

He can't get much more inert than he already is... he's dead, and has been replaced by a replicant.

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The problem with "Su'kal the marooned Kelpien psychically caused the Burn" are twofold, IMHO:

  • Dilithium has never been attested to have psychic properties.
  • Lack of thematic consequentiality.

Trek invents new technobabble and new properties thereof all the time, but "dilithium can mutate Kelpiens into sympathetic resonance" had no groundwork this season -- not "Discovery's 32cen refit includes novel uses of dilithium" or "Book's nature-empathic powers are amplified by dilithium" or "Saru reads about Kelpien cultural development in the past 900 years." (It's almost Macross fold quartz and biological fold waves -- if Su'kal had triggered the Burn while singing rather than terrified, I'd have to call foul.)

The Burn isn't an attack, environmental terrorism, scientific hubris, industrial overdevelopment, or a cosmic natural disaster that spacegoing civilizations have to deal with every few millennia (a "great filter"). The only possible connection is to Saru, as in "oops, I'm embarrassed on behalf of my species' accidental culpability" -- and Saru's not even the show's main character. (There's general agreement that "main character" is a bad fit for Trek, but if you're gonna do it, do it right.)

Now, the idea that "exploding dilithium can cause a subspace shockwave" has precedent -- viz., Star Trek 6, the Klingon moon Praxis, and the wave that hit Excelsior.

(Disclaimer: Due to the holiday, I've thus far only skimmed the episode and reviews thereof.)

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10 hours ago, Lexomatic said:

The problem with "Su'kal the marooned Kelpien psychically caused the Burn" are twofold, IMHO:

  • Dilithium has never been attested to have psychic properties.
  • Lack of thematic consequentiality.

Yeah, Su'Kal's psychic powers being the origin of the Burn didn't have any established precedent anywhere.

Various forms of psychic powers - telepathy, empathy, telekinesis, and precognition - were known and tested-for by Starfleet and the Federation even in the 23rd century.  Gary Mitchell's personnel file in TOS included his aptitude scores in various psychic disciplines and notes about a history of psychic ability running in his family.  You'd think that if Saru's people had any innate psychic ability it would've showed up when he was screened for that kind of thing during his application to Starfleet.  His people's history doesn't include anything like evolving into energy beings or anything that might explain a Kelpien suddenly developing powers that could cause havoc on a galactic scale.

There's never been anything to suggest dilithium had any unusual properties in interaction with life forms.  Apart from being used in antimatter reactor cores, the one thing we've seen it used for is jewelry on planets that didn't understand its value in more engineering-oriented applications.

 

10 hours ago, Lexomatic said:

Now, the idea that "exploding dilithium can cause a subspace shockwave" has precedent -- viz., Star Trek 6, the Klingon moon Praxis, and the wave that hit Excelsior.

They never actually attributed the subspace shockwave or the destruction of Praxis to dilithium.  Praxis was just identified as [the/a] key energy production facility in the Klingon Empire.  The one time they've commented on what was actually going on there, it was described as a geothermal power station tapping the moon's core for energy and a separate mining operation for unspecified mineral resources.  

(There have been a few stories that've discussed dilithium as a potentially volatile material, like "Pen Pals", or a few expanded universe stories where the stuff can be straight-up ignited like what happened to Coridan during the Earth-Romulan War.)

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I think I'm more confused how a localized psychic phenomenon could cause a chain reaction throughout the entirety of subspace that detonated all dilithium everywhere at once (or was it a gradual wave-like thing that spread?  I haven't watched it myself.).  Like.. if that kind of thing was possible, that has vast implications for subspace-based travel, if some sort of signal can suddenly be everywhere at the same time.

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45 minutes ago, Chronocidal said:

I think I'm more confused how a localized psychic phenomenon could cause a chain reaction throughout the entirety of subspace that detonated all dilithium everywhere at once (or was it a gradual wave-like thing that spread?  I haven't watched it myself.).

I've never known psychic phenomenon to be affected by physical properties like distance; Thanos' snap, for instance, was supposed to have wiped out half the population of the universe at once (even though it took several minutes of Infinity War to dramatize).  Nonetheless, the Burn was traced to Su'Kal thanks to an algorithm that analyzed a fraction of a millisecond's difference in data points, so apparently it was a gradual wave-like thing that appeared to have been instantaneous, but technically wasn't.

1 hour ago, Chronocidal said:

Like.. if that kind of thing was possible, that has vast implications for subspace-based travel, if some sort of signal can suddenly be everywhere at the same time.

You've obviously put more thought into this than the writers did. <_<

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50 minutes ago, Chronocidal said:

I think I'm more confused how a localized psychic phenomenon could cause a chain reaction throughout the entirety of subspace that detonated all dilithium everywhere at once (or was it a gradual wave-like thing that spread?  I haven't watched it myself.).  Like.. if that kind of thing was possible, that has vast implications for subspace-based travel, if some sort of signal can suddenly be everywhere at the same time.

"The Burn" spread gradually across space from its origin point, albeit at incredible speeds faster than any faster-than-light stardrive.  That it was a gradual phenomenon was what allowed the Discovery's crew to triangulate its point of origin using data from the "black box" data recorders of Starfleet ships that were destroyed as a result of it and a sensor network erected by a Vulcan experimental stardrive project.  

It didn't detonate dilithium, it made dilithium go inert temporarily.  This meant that any ship powered by a matter/antimatter reactor that used dilithium to moderate the reaction between the matter and antimatter suffered an immediate catastrophic warp core breach when the reaction was suddenly uncontrolled.

(We HAVE seen one technology that used subspace to teleport anywhere instantaneously... the coaxial warp drive from Star Trek: Voyager.)

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8 hours ago, Seto Kaiba said:

"The Burn" spread gradually across space from its origin point, albeit at incredible speeds faster than any faster-than-light stardrive.  That it was a gradual phenomenon was what allowed the Discovery's crew to triangulate its point of origin using data from the "black box" data recorders of Starfleet ships that were destroyed as a result of it and a sensor network erected by a Vulcan experimental stardrive project.  

It didn't detonate dilithium, it made dilithium go inert temporarily.  This meant that any ship powered by a matter/antimatter reactor that used dilithium to moderate the reaction between the matter and antimatter suffered an immediate catastrophic warp core breach when the reaction was suddenly uncontrolled.

(We HAVE seen one technology that used subspace to teleport anywhere instantaneously... the coaxial warp drive from Star Trek: Voyager.)

The way they explain Dilithium in the ST:TNG Tech Manual is:
 

Quote

 

The Role of Dilithium

The key element in the efficient use of M/A Reactions is the dilithium crystal. This is the only material known to Federation science to be nonreactive with antimatter when subjected to a high-frequency electromagnetic (EM) field in the megawatt range, rendering it "porous" to antihydrogen. Dilithium permits the antihydrogen to pass directly through it through its' crystalline structure without actually touching it, owing to the field dynamo effects in the added iron atoms.

 

(Page 60, Star Trek The Next Generation Technical Manual, Rick Sternbach and Michael Okuda, Pocket Books, 1991.)

Basically, the Burn would have had to disrupt the EM field specifically within the dilithium. Shouldn't something as large as the Burn have disrupted ALL EM fields PERIOD? Why just dilithium? Since it's the crystalline structure exposed to EM fields that allows it to regulate M/A reactions, how would that go "inert" unless the EM field was deactivated?

(Just questions posed to the stupidity of DSC, not you Seto. :) )

 

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7 hours ago, pengbuzz said:

The way they explain Dilithium in the ST:TNG Tech Manual is:
 

(Page 60, Star Trek The Next Generation Technical Manual, Rick Sternbach and Michael Okuda, Pocket Books, 1991.)

Basically, the Burn would have had to disrupt the EM field specifically within the dilithium. Shouldn't something as large as the Burn have disrupted ALL EM fields PERIOD? Why just dilithium? Since it's the crystalline structure exposed to EM fields that allows it to regulate M/A reactions, how would that go "inert" unless the EM field was deactivated?

(Just questions posed to the stupidity of DSC, not you Seto. :) )

 

You've literally just gone and done more research than the Disco production team did! ;)

To be honest, I think the Disco writers are approaching the series wrong.  They appear to be writing it one episode at a time (like Trek has traditionally been done), but should be approaching it like J.K. Rowling (or any other great author) does: write the ending FIRST, then sketch out the plot backwards to the beginning.

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9 hours ago, pengbuzz said:

The way they explain Dilithium in the ST:TNG Tech Manual is:
 

(Page 60, Star Trek The Next Generation Technical Manual, Rick Sternbach and Michael Okuda, Pocket Books, 1991.)

Basically, the Burn would have had to disrupt the EM field specifically within the dilithium. Shouldn't something as large as the Burn have disrupted ALL EM fields PERIOD? Why just dilithium? Since it's the crystalline structure exposed to EM fields that allows it to regulate M/A reactions, how would that go "inert" unless the EM field was deactivated?

Like @sketchley said, with that one reference you've officially put significantly more thought into this than the writers of Star Trek: Discovery did.

If we were being really charitable - and I mean REALLY charitable - we could hypothesize that they were drawing on take that some Star Trek novels from the 90's that started in a book called Prime Directive that asserted that dilithium crystals had higher-dimensional properties and could be compromised by a sort of subspace pulse.

That's never been referenced by any Star Trek TV series or movie though.  

It sounds like whatever Su'Kal did caused the dilithium's properties to temporarily change, preventing it from reacting with the EM field.

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6 hours ago, sketchley said:

You've literally just gone and done more research than the Disco production team did! ;)

To be honest, I think the Disco writers are approaching the series wrong.  They appear to be writing it one episode at a time (like Trek has traditionally been done), but should be approaching it like J.K. Rowling (or any other great author) does: write the ending FIRST, then sketch out the plot backwards to the beginning.

 

4 hours ago, Seto Kaiba said:

Like @sketchley said, with that one reference you've officially put significantly more thought into this than the writers of Star Trek: Discovery did.

If we were being really charitable - and I mean REALLY charitable - we could hypothesize that they were drawing on take that some Star Trek novels from the 90's that started in a book called Prime Directive that asserted that dilithium crystals had higher-dimensional properties and could be compromised by a sort of subspace pulse.

That's never been referenced by any Star Trek TV series or movie though.  

It sounds like whatever Su'Kal did caused the dilithium's properties to temporarily change, preventing it from reacting with the EM field.

LOL yeah... guess they couldn't be bothered to even consult Memory Alpha, huh?

And that would be charitable, as ships would be constantly "popping" from subspace pulses, given that subspace isn't exactly inert. As for Su'Kal: this guy should probably be in the Q Continuum, given that range of powers.

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1 hour ago, pengbuzz said:

LOL yeah... guess they couldn't be bothered to even consult Memory Alpha, huh?

Apparently not... and not just because of how dilithium works.  They've got enough egg on their faces to make omelettes to feed an army after declaring that nobody could make a warp drive without dilithium and following it up by revealing the Romulans were members of the Federation for centuries before the Burn.  

 

1 hour ago, pengbuzz said:

And that would be charitable, as ships would be constantly "popping" from subspace pulses, given that subspace isn't exactly inert. As for Su'Kal: this guy should probably be in the Q Continuum, given that range of powers.

The subspace pulse in Prime Directive didn't destroy the Enterprise either... it just messed the ship's engines up something fierce.

Hell, the Burn would've made a lot more sense if it HAD been a prank by Q or some other higher-dimensional lifeform.  If it weren't for the death toll, it'd be exactly the kind of thing Q might've done to troll Picard or Janeway.  

It doesn't even really make sense that they're still using conventional warp drives in the 31st or 32nd century.  

USS Voyager brought back an enormous amount of data on Borg and Voth transwarp drives, Borg transwarp conduits, quantum slipstream, and coaxial warp drive in 2378... all of which are faster and more efficient than conventional warp drive and none of which need a dilithium-based warp core.  Starfleet was already adopting quantum slipstream as its next-generation FTL system in the late 24th and early 25th century, and based on remarks by designer Doug Drexler about the Enterprise-J design, Starfleet's engineers had developed a production version of coaxial warp drive (space fold) technology by the 26th century.  

That the Federation and every other major power in the galaxy was entirely dependent on dilithium-based matter/antimatter reactors to power conventional warp drives instead of the more advanced and capable alternative technologies over eight centuries after Voyager returned with its goldmine of alternative propulsion designs from the Delta Quadrant.

They never even address the fact that Booker mentions his humble little courier ship has a quantum slipstream drive.  Why is anyone faffing about with conventional warp drive that tops out around 5,100c (Warp 9.975, based on the TNG-era warp factor speed formula) when you could be getting places at ~2,630,000c (derived from "Hope and Fear" that put slipstream at approx. 300ly/hr).

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Alright cool episode, and how about that answer for the Burn right?! :shok:


Wow, so the Progenitor race seen in TNG actually had a base on that dilithium planet and it went working quietly away all on its own for millennia or more, and then an asteroid struck the planet. Blew it pretty much into ragged bits, but enough of the ancient system still remained and went haywire. So that's what made all that dilithium all across the known galaxy go inert, thus causing all the warp cores to breach. And now the Wicked Witch wants control of it, seeing how the Emerald Chain were able to do what the Federation could not, and made an alternative to the dilithium system, freeing their ships up from the need of that dwindling resource. And now if they have the ancient Progenitor tech at their disposal, they would be able to do another Burn, thereby finally killing off the Federation and every other galactic contender and become the rulers of the galaxy at large.

I tell you, I'm on pins and needles to find out how they stop the Witch from using the device. Can't wait until next week! :D


Oh wait, yes I can, as all of that was in my head... :angry:


So, the Burn was caused by a child having a tantrum? And Saru can't keep his act together, despite having done so on numerous occasions before. And Tilly proves why you don't put an untested 'officer' in the big chair, rather than someone with experience of not just the job, but the stresses and the dangers that can hit you like a bat out of left field.

I'll say this, the crew of Discovery is governed more by luck than know-how, and are the most dysfunctional mess in the history of all of Star Trek. When they win, just by chance and tears of course, the Admiral had better sh*t-can the entire crew and put more dependable, professional people in charge.

Dammit, where is Pike..?

Edited by Thom
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7 hours ago, Thom said:

Oh wait, yes I can, as all of that was in my head... :angry:

Why are literally all of us better writers than the people actually writing for Star Trek: Discovery?

 

7 hours ago, Thom said:

So, the Burn was caused by a child having a tantrum? And Saru can't keep his act together, despite having done so on numerous occasions before.

Yup... at this point, Saru seems to be playing to the reverse of every Vulcan trope.  Instead of being the one who's always on an even keel and is consistently immune to whatever the weird space condition of the day is, he's the one who's always losing his cool and being affected while the rest of the crew is fine.

 

7 hours ago, Thom said:

And Tilly proves why you don't put an untested 'officer' in the big chair, rather than someone with experience of not just the job, but the stresses and the dangers that can hit you like a bat out of left field.

Tilly's... "performance"... as Discovery's first officer is a very strong argument for why the chain of command exists in the first place.

Sylvia Tilly is the least experienced officer on Discovery.  Full stop.  No ifs, ands, or buts.  She didn't even finish her training at the academy.  She got a commission to the rank of ensign as a reward for her at-best peripheral involvement in the events which ended the Klingon War.  She rates herself as the top student in her year at theoretical engineering, but we have no reason to believe this is anything other than her exaggerated opinion of herself (and all her knowledge is now 900+ years out of date).  Her only noted skill on her Memory Alpha profile?  A proficiency at beer pong.  She entered the command training program but was only in it for a few months at most.  

If Saru actually followed Starfleet regulations, Tilly would literally be the last person in line for the big chair.  

Burnham disqualified herself based on her own egregious displays of incompetence and disregard for orders, but there's still (in rough order of rank):

  • Commander Nhan (Chief of Security)
  • Commander Reno (Chief Engineer?)
  • Lt. Commander Stamets (Deputy Chief Engineer?)
  • Lieutenant Rhys (Tactical)
  • Lieutenant Detmer (Helmsman)
  • Lieutenant Haj (Helmsman)
  • Lieutenant Nilsson (Spore Drive specialist)
  • Lieutenant (JG) Bryce (Communications)
  • Lieutenant (JG) Owosekun (Operations)
  • Lieutenant (JG) Linus (Science)

... and a number of other officers who are not named, but serve as second or third-shift bridge officers and relief bridge officers.

The only named characters on the show who wouldn't be ahead of her would be Dr. Culber and Dr. Pollard, who are not part of the normal chain of command as shipboard physicians.

Basically, the way it should have worked is as per this quote from O'Brien and Nog in DS9 "Behind the Lines":

Quote

It's an old naval tradition. Whoever's in command of a ship, regardless of rank, is referred to as 'captain.' "
"You mean if I had to take command, I would be called 'captain,' too?"
"Cadet, by the time you took command, there'd be nobody left to call you anything."
"Good point."

- O'Brien and Nog

The only way Sylvia Tilly should ever have become First Officer is if every other commissioned officer on Discovery was dead or missing except for herself and Saru.

The one thing we can say with certainty is that, now that Tilly's incompetence is directly responsible for the Emerald Chain seizing control of the Discovery and likely using it to stage an attack on Starfleet Headquarters, her mother's statement that allowing her into the command training program was a terrible mistake will be triumphantly vindicated after 900 years.

 

7 hours ago, Thom said:

I'll say this, the crew of Discovery is governed more by luck than know-how, and are the most dysfunctional mess in the history of all of Star Trek. When they win, just by chance and tears of course, the Admiral had better sh*t-can the entire crew and put more dependable, professional people in charge.

THAT'S ANOTHER QUESTION.

Why is the Discovery still apparently crewed exclusively by 23rd century Starfleet officers?

The USS Discovery is this dismal 32nd century Starfleet's most important and versatile ship due to its spore drive allowing it to instantly teleport anywhere the way that any Starfleet ship should have been capable of for six hundred years if the showrunners had done their homework.  She was even upgraded with 32nd century Federation technology during a refit at Starfleet Headquarters.  Her crew's scientific, technical, and situational knowledge is NINE HUNDRED YEARS out of date, and none of its crew are qualified on the new 32nd century systems.  Even if Starfleet were going to charitably allow the 23rd century crew to remain aboard, the Discovery didn't even have a full crew complement.  She went into the future with a skeleton crew of about eighty.  It's insane that Starfleet didn't assign a 32nd century Starfleet captain to the ship to replace acting captain Saru and make sure the crew followed orders and fill out the crew with 32nd century Starfleet officers who could retrain the 23rd century ones on all the new tech that'd been incorporated into the ship.

 

Actually, that raises further questions.

Why is the Sphere Data AI still present?  The USS Discovery's systems were all upgraded with 32nd century technology.  The only system that didn't get replaced wholesale was the spore drive.  How is the sphere data AI still around if the ship's computer cores were replaced with 32nd century ones? 

You can't tell me that the Federation made no advances in computer technology in those 900 years, because we know that's not true via other Star Trek shows.  The USS Discovery had duotronic computer systems, a technology introduced in 2243 which lasted about eighty years before being replaced by isolinear optical systems in the 2320s.  Bio-neural circuitry was introduced in 2371, and by the 31st century Starfleet ships had organic circuitry.

 

7 hours ago, Thom said:

Dammit, where is Pike..?

On the wrong side of the grave on Talos IV for about the last eight hundred and fifty years... also, waiting for filming to start on his own show.

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2 hours ago, Seto Kaiba said:

On the wrong side of the grave on Talos IV for about the last eight hundred and fifty years... also, waiting for filming to start on his own show.

Can we petition the Guardian of Forever to borrow him so there's an adult around in the future' future?

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6 hours ago, JB0 said:

Can we petition the Guardian of Forever to borrow him so there's an adult around in the future' future?

Probably not... the way the Guardian of Forever worked in previous episodes, the only way to bring him to the 32nd century using it without massively screwing up the timeline would be to send someone to 23rd century Talos IV and collect him after he'd been cripplied in that training accident and left there to live out the remainder of his life.  Not to mention using the Guardian of Forever would probably be considered a violation of the Temporal Accord and the subsequent ban on time travel.  The Guardian of Forever itself went into hiding during the Temporal Cold War and wouldn't let anyone use it without them passing its secret test of character.

(Talk about an insane arbitrary rule... how do you even enforce a ban on time travel?  Whatever agreement banned it seems to have involved dismantling or destroying all temporal technologies.  How do you enforce a ban like that when you no longer have all the infrastructure to monitor and police the timeline and protect yourself from unauthorized changes to it?  Moreover, it wouldn't exactly stop factions from the past from traveling into the future to interfere there either.  It smacks of a really badly thought-out idea intended to work around the existence of 31st century institutions like the Federation Temporal Agency who could've potentially solved "the Burn" and made it un-happen without the intervention of Discovery.) 

I'd imagine 32nd century Starfleet could drum up a few good men, women, and/or beings of no, other, indeterminate, or multiple gender to babysit Saru and the Discovery crew without having to resort to abducting capable officers from the past.

Edited by Seto Kaiba
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And no liaison officer. They  had that one woman who came aboard to acclimate the crew to the new tech, but they also needed someone onboard to be a living touchstone with this new era. I would have preferred that than Adira as the new-era character.

It's just like they write in all the problems by consciously making the mistakes before-hand, even as they are glaringly obvious.

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5 hours ago, Seto Kaiba said:

Probably not... the way the Guardian of Forever worked in previous episodes, the only way to bring him to the 32nd century using it without massively screwing up the timeline would be to send someone to 23rd century Talos IV and collect him after he'd been cripplied in that training accident and left there to live out the remainder of his life.  Not to mention using the Guardian of Forever would probably be considered a violation of the Temporal Accord and the subsequent ban on time travel.  The Guardian of Forever itself went into hiding during the Temporal Cold War and wouldn't let anyone use it without them passing its secret test of character.

(Talk about an insane arbitrary rule... how do you even enforce a ban on time travel?  Whatever agreement banned it seems to have involved dismantling or destroying all temporal technologies.  How do you enforce a ban like that when you no longer have all the infrastructure to monitor and police the timeline and protect yourself from unauthorized changes to it?  Moreover, it wouldn't exactly stop factions from the past from traveling into the future to interfere there either.  It smacks of a really badly thought-out idea intended to work around the existence of 31st century institutions like the Federation Temporal Agency who could've potentially solved "the Burn" and made it un-happen without the intervention of Discovery.) 

I'd imagine 32nd century Starfleet could drum up a few good men, women, and/or beings of no, other, indeterminate, or multiple gender to babysit Saru and the Discovery crew without having to resort to abducting capable officers from the past.

Not to mention Puke himself wouldn't want to go, for several reasons. One being that unless they could heal him of the damage done to him, he'd be pretty much useless.

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7 hours ago, Thom said:

And no liaison officer. They  had that one woman who came aboard to acclimate the crew to the new tech, but they also needed someone onboard to be a living touchstone with this new era. I would have preferred that than Adira as the new-era character.

Really, they should have flooded the damn ship with 32nd century Starfleet officers for precisely that reason... to keep the 23rd century crew from screwing things up by approaching every problem from a 23rd century angle.

 

5 hours ago, pengbuzz said:

Not to mention Puke himself wouldn't want to go, for several reasons. One being that unless they could heal him of the damage done to him, he'd be pretty much useless.

*incensed beeping on the behalf of the Temporal Prime Directive*

 

7 hours ago, Thom said:

It's just like they write in all the problems by consciously making the mistakes before-hand, even as they are glaringly obvious.

... yeah, and the penultimate episode of Discovery's third season isn't making it any better.

The season's big bad, Osyrra, has a brief moment where she's actually more competent and sane than any of the main characters.  She hijacked the Discovery to go to Starfleet headquarters and propose an alliance between the Federation and Emerald Chain.  One that would have forced her to make significant concessions and basically have ended the conflict in the series in a way that did literally nothing but benefit the Federation AND the people living under the Emerald Chain.  Negotiations break down when it becomes apparent Starfleet is hung up on wanting Osyrra to stand trial for her various acts of piracy.  It comes freighted with an absolutely terrible attempt at a quip involving waste recycling on starships where replicated food (despite its structure being identical or nearly identical to the genuine article depending on the replicator's mode) is repeatedly compared to (and acknowledged to be technically made from) biological waste.

Burnham and Booker come to the rescue and it seems we're ending this season by doing Die Hard on a Starship.  Stamets is the latest casualty of Burnham's sociopathic tendencies, since he wants to go back to the nebula to rescue everyone who was left behind with Su'Kal, and Burnham spaces him to keep him out of the Emerald Chain's hands.  (Yeah, he's rescued immediately but she doesn't even have the kindness to use an airlock.  She traps him on one side of a force field with an overloading phaser.

All in all, a flat, boring, and lifeless episode where the writers seemingly forgot the Sphere Data AI can't be deleted... because Osyrra seems to have a special Fonzarelli touch that can, and forces the AI to take shelter in a bunch of those anachronistic repair robots that Discovery shouldn't have had in the 23rd century.

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So... since I'm in kind of a foul mood and can't sleep, I figured I'd get cracking on my retrospectives for this steaming turd of a season Star Trek: Discovery is nearly done evacuating from the bowls of CBS All Access.

That Hope is You, Part 1

Spoiler

As ways to introduce the new season go, I'm not sure a monotonous montage of an Indian gentleman repeatedly waking up and brushing his teeth in the world's most bland and uninspiring one room apartment was the way to do it... unless the goal was to hammer home how incredibly monotonous this season was going to be.  Sure, Aditya Sahil is immaculately groomed but like the room he occupies he seems completely sterile and lifeless at the outset.  The toothbrushing scene where he's letting some kind of lasers clean his teeth just makes him look like a bad mannequin.

The cut to the chase in space drew a line under how little imagination went into this series from the outset.  That we first see it through a destroyed Starfleet ship's damaged saucer section is depressing enough, but then we see that this sterile vision of the future apparently loves knocking off Star Wars.  Booker's ship, which some notes have said bears the uninspiring name Nautilus, looks like Dash Render's Outrider from Shadows of the Empire as interpreted by the early-1990s 3D model builder who designed Musk's cybertruck.  The ship that's chasing him appears to be a centrifuge... like 80% of the ship's mass is spinning unnecessarily ALL THE TIME.  The "programmable matter" control surfaces don't look cool or futuristic... it looks for all the world like he's wearing magnetic gloves and waving his hands over a pinscreen.  The same goes for the viewscreen's three-dimensional effect.  It looks like something from a 90's 3D movie, just presented in 2D.

Then Burnham comes out of the wormhole and gets REKT... which is surprisingly satisfying.  Sadly we don't get to see a second impact of her getting pasted onto that saucer section, and she makes planetfall in more or less one piece while yelling commands at her suit and making noises that I think are supposed to be panic but sound more like a person regretting their life choices on the toilet after having some REALLY spicy curry the night before.  (TL;DR: Sonequa Martin-Green is not a very good actress.)

After the crash, we see Burnham slowly excavate herself from the ground her impact buried her under.  This scene could have been perfect if we'd had a Starfleet officer with a broom handle pushing her back down while gently whispering "No, no, you stay there".  I have to question why this completely barren hillside is now on fire where she landed, though "she's in hell" would be an acceptable answer.  She also keeps briefly hyperventilating in fits and starts like she can't remember she's supposed to be winded.  Between that and the ridiculous faces she keeps making, about the first 1/4 of the episode is just Sonequa Martin-Green acting like she's auditioning for a revival of The Exorcist.

Fortunately, after one really badly-acted sequence where she programs the Red Angel suit to go back in time to make the final signal and then self-destruct, we're done with Control's story arc... and then we have to watch her cry for a bit because that's how this works now.  (I'd question why the equipment kit in the suit included a Starfleet badge back when the badge was nothing more than an inert piece of metal, and why it appears to contain either hearing aid batteries of birth control pills... but whatever.  Also, I'd wonder why her Starfleet serial number includes the abbreviated name of a starship... especially when that ship no longer exists.)

The fight scene choreography is some of the worst in the series, a close second to that fight at the very start where Burnham takes on three other convicts one-handed in the mess hall that looked so fake it was actually funny.  Lots of karate posing stops in mid-fight like the in-flight movie between seasons was The Karate Kid.

The one kind of interesting detail is the list of FTL systems Booker rattles off once he takes Burnham into the vaguely 1970s-esque interior of his ship.  He mentions he can't use conventional warp drive because his dilithium recrystallizer is cracked.  It's weird and anachronistic that that system is somehow separate from the warp core given that even 24th century Starfleet ships could recrystallize their dilithium without removing it from the reaction chamber.  He mentions a tachyon solar sail. which the replica light ship Ben Sisko made in DS9 used to travel from Bajor to Cardassia.  He also mentions not having benamite to run a quantum slipstream drive, which is odd given that even B'Elanna was able to synthesize benamite crystals for a slipstream drive using nothing but the tech aboard Voyager in the late 24th century.  Then there's something which isn't clear involving trilithium.

Then we meet the cat, Grudge, who is the one character on this show that's difficult to hate.

Booker is quite possibly the densest man to be on the show in quite a while, apparently not realizing that the woman who t-boned his ship after coming out of a wormhole, menacing him with a millennia-old phaser pistol and offering a similarly old tricorder for trade while wearing a millennia-old Starfleet badge and knowing nothing about the world might not be from this time period.

It also still feels really disingenuous whenever Burnham suddenly starts talking about Federation values and morals like she isn't literally the first person to throw that all away when she wants something.  She narrowly avoids a second crying fit during this sequence too.  

It's also curious - and incredibly wrong - that the Andorians are now being painted as a race of supreme stoic fun police.  The Andorians in previous Star Trek media were the polar opposite of that, a race of extremely passionate hotheads who were disliked and distrusted by the Vulcans because they had hair-trigger tempers and volatile emotions.

I feel like this episode is basically just "Sonequa Martin-Green makes stupid faces at the camera" for huge swaths of its runtime.  

Can I just briefly say I hate these new phasers?  It's like someone stuck one of those overpriced Dyson room fans on the end of their sleeve or like someone on the design team really wants to design a Megaman cosplay.  (Never mind when Book dusts off something that looks vaguely like the Autobot Matrix of Leadership and uses it to toss dudes down a hallway.)

It's also rather odd that the dilithium everyone is fighting over is tiny little rocks that look like they were pilfered from some grade school rock collection.  Warp cores have always needed rather large crystals about the size of a football before.

The chase sequence is really badly done, like one of the apparition-heavy battles in the Harry Potter movies or that film Jumper.  

 

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Far From Home

Spoiler

Y'know, when this episode first came out I had the briefest, most fleeting moment of hope at the very beginning when it looked like the writers had killed off the entire cast and were going to replace them.  Didn't last, sadly.  Then I got my hopes up when it looked like they were all going to die in a fatal crash like the one in Voyager's "Timeless".  Also a letdown.

Kinda looked like we were about to do a do-over of "Timeless" there for a second too, TBH, with the high velocity ice landing.

As always, Mirror!Georgiou is there to make every scene into utterly tasteless accidental self-parody.  Walking around the ship casually with bits of Leland's corpse on her shoes and all, like that's safe or hygenic.  The only thing that makes the scene tolerable is that Saru shuts her down and leaves her to stew.  It's really obnoxious having her around, as she's only good for one thing and that's dispensing catty remarks about how the rest of the crew suck.  (That fact that what she's saying doesn't make her any less obnoxious...)

Come to that, Jett Reno's caustic attitude seems to be up to 11 as well.  Season two had the crew being marginally less unpleasant to each other than season one did, but for a brief while season three seemed to be on a mission to top season one's unpleasantness quotient.

(Watching Saru try to shore up Tilly's self-confidence is pretty laughable though... especially knowing what happened later.  Hell, given Tilly's uselessness in practically every situation it's kind of laughable that anyone tries to persuade her she isn't The Load.)

The scene where Zareh shoots Kal is stupidly drawn out and gratuitous.  Who thought it was a good idea to have the audience watch this guy get shot for like twenty continuous seconds.  This is 32nd century tech that's WAY less efficient than 23rd century tech.  Of course, it's a setup for them to be able to shoot Georgiou a few times before she gets to show off that she knows kung fu and beat them up.  Someone at CBS should be ashamed of themselves, hiring a renowned actress and forcing her to play a stereotypical asian dominatrix dragon lady like this.

 

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People of Earth

Spoiler

This, my friends, is the episode where the writers came completely unglued in the opening narration.

Burnham records an automated transmission explaining The Burn, which includes such amazingly stupid points as galactic dilithium supplies "drying up" c.2958 and the claim that the Federation was unable to develop an alternative warp drive design which didn't use dilithium.  Someone missed a few dozen memos.  FFS, she was one of the few people who knew that it was possible to recrystalize dilithium back in 2258 and by 2286 Starfleet had already perfected at least one method to recrystalize dilithium that was adaptable enough to even work with more primitive Klingon technology.  Unless they were building trillions of new starships, there's no explanation for dilithium supplies "drying up" when there were entire sectors like Drema where dilithium was present in such abundance that it actually had negative consequences for the geological stability of entire planets BEFORE it was ever mined.  The idea that Starfleet wasn't able to find an alternative to matter/antimatter powered warp is equally silly, since the writers later establish the Romulans have been a part of the Federation for centuries by this point and we know they perfected the forced quantum singularity-based warp core to power their warp drives and had built their entire fleet around singularity core-powered warp drive technology within a century of Discovery leaving for the 32nd century.  Moreover, we know Starfleet had more capable alternatives to conventional warp drive and conventional warp cores hundreds of years before "the Burn" because we actually watched the previous shows.

The weird martial arts montage over narration feels like something from a 90's video game intro.  Who thought this incredibly phony-looking display was a good idea?  This show is costing nine million dollars an episode, and we're getting content that feels like it belongs in an amateur theater company's musical adaptation of a Jackie Chan movie.

More funny faces too.  Do the directors really not realize that having Sonequa Martin-Green make faces like a dog trying to get whipped cream off its nose is impossible to take seriously no matter what the dialog or narration is?

The reunion scene rings as false as a wooden coin.  None of these characters, except Tilly, have genuinely liked Burnham in the past two seasons.  Most of them loathed her, or at best grudgingly tolerated her presence.  Now they're all teary eyes and hugs?  This is every bit as insincere as that episode of Macross Delta where everyone gathered to tearfully eulogize Messer Ihlefeld like a dear friend, when he'd done literally nothing in the show except avoid and verbally abuse his coworkers.  What's more, some of these characters have basically never interacted with her at all like Airiam's replacement Nilsson.  At least there was Georgiou there to make it awkward by creepily staring.

It's interesting that Stamets is the only one who bothers to point out that "the Burn" doesn't make sense, but he's quickly shut down by automated quip dispenser Georgiou who makes a (richly deseved) snide remark about how stupid the entire idea behind the spore drive is.

Burnham's broken clock is finally right for once when she turns down the center seat and tells Saru it's his and always has been.  You can practically feel the relief the rest of the crew (esp. Stamets) feel about that.  

It's interesting that the crew chooses to adopt, as their cover story, that they were a Starfleet ship stranded by the burn limping home on impulse power.  That, in and of itself, would be a paper thin disguise given that Discovery is a thousand years old and far older and more outdated than any ship in the fleet when the burn happened.  

As Tilly goes through her little spiel about how she's just coming to terms with how her family and friends have all been dead for centuries I can't help but think to myself that Starfleet looked at the report of her death and thought loudly "dodged a bullet there, didn't we?".  I'm glad she realizes it herself.  As dense as she can be sometimes I was worried we were headed for an "Everybody's dead, Dave".  Stop trying to make Tilly happen, guys.  Tilly's never going to happen.  She's the same bad character as Wesley.

Come to that, guys... stop trying to make Georgiou happen.  The constant cattiness and blatant racial stereotyping isn't clever.  It isn't funny.  It's just sad.  It oscillates between "Code of Honor" sad and "Lorca is Space Trump" sad, but it's never not pathetic.  

When they get to Earth and the orbital shield goes live, I get the feeling this is a recycled effect from Star Trek: Picard just with the color changed from Romulan green to Federation blue.

This episode devolves into dystopian fetish material pretty quick as Earth, the most idealistic and central member of the Federation, reveals that it quit a century ago for an incredibly contrived reason.

The cattiness extends to the Earth inspection crew too, with Discovery being mocked as a museum ship by a sixteen year old agent.  Is nobody on this show ever personable or professional?

Burnham, of course, is immediately back to flouting regulations and the chain of command the minute things go pear-shaped... immediately putting Saru on the spot and further damaging an already fraught negotiation with Earth.  She takes off with all of Discovery's dilithium and Saru ends up fighting with the representative from Earth instead of dealing with the actual crisis.  Even Detmer, who is barely a character, seems to realize how completely insane things have gotten and tries to talk Saru out of trying to tank hits from Earth's quantum torpedo batteries.  (Mind you, Earth's quantum torpedoes must be pretty weaksauce for two of them to only collapse Discovery's shields.  Normally just one quantum torpedo was enough to destroy an entire 24th century ship.

I would give real money for that United Earth commander to slap Georgiou.  I really would.  She really seems to want to, and it would make me ever so happy, but Georgiou is as much a Mary Stu as Burnham at this point so it'd never be allowed.

The obnoxious teenage girl Adira turns out to be the admiral they were looking for, introducing yet another incredibly obnoxious character the audience has no reason to like or even tolerate.

Saru and Burnham have their fourth?  Fifth?  "I can't trust you" moment.  These two have absolutely terrible pattern recognition and it only keeps getting worse.

 

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Forget Me Not

Spoiler

Actually, we'd like to forget you at our earliest opportunity, Star Trek: Discovery.

Both the recaps and the episodes themselves keep hinting that something is untoward about Detmer... but they never actually get around to exploring it in the course of any episode so far.

This whole episode is basically a distant sequel to TNG's "The Host", as set up by last episode where the writers correctly remembered that the Federation had no knowledge of symbionts or joined Trill until 2367 when Ambassador Odan died during a diplomatic mission and the Enterprise-D medical crew discovered the existence of the symbiont and unsuccessfully joined it to Will Riker.  Adira Tal seems to be a more successful joining than Will Riker's, but she can't access most of the memories from Tal's previous hosts.

On balance, the opening of this episode is something I would call one of the few well-written moments this season has.  Dr. Culber is doing the rounds to check up on the crew and see how they're holding up, psychologically, to the stresses of having jumped 930 years into the future.  The tense way it's presented and the way that the crew are transparently clinging to "when we find the Federation" to keep themselves going are a moment of fairly compelling characterization in an otherwise totally flat, boring, and lifeless season.  (As often as the concept is mocked by fans and even a few times in-universe, it really makes you understand why Starfleet started doing things like mandating that ships on long missions take a psychiatrist along and in some cases started allowing families to live aboard ship in the mid-24th century once hostilities with the Klingons officially ended and the Romulans went into isolation.)

In a second "shown your work" moment, Dr. Pollard DOESN'T know that 24th century Starfleet Commander William T. Riker was briefly host to a Trill symbiont, because the sphere died before that point and they have no access to Starfleet records yet.  That said, I'd imagine that the Tal symbiont is probably a tiny bit peeved that its host keeps referring to it as a squid.  It's a big damn symbiont too, way bigger than the ones we saw in TNG or DS9, and it's only on its seventh host.  It seems to run the length of Senna's torso.

When the Discovery gets to Trill is when things start to go off the rails a bit.

Y'know how Star Wars fans once made a big to-do out of how there was probably a massive holocaust on Endor as a result of a moon-sized battle station blowing up in orbit and that all the Ewoks who bravely helped the Rebels probably died when enormous chunks of blown-up Death Star started pelting their planet's surface?  Yeah, this is a similar moment for Star Trek and the Trill, but the showrunners didn't speak up to deny that it happened.  It's kind of a Fridge Horror moment that doesn't really pop unless you've seen Deep Space Nine.  The Trill commissioner mentions that the symbiont population was decimated by the burn.  It later comes out that there are now not enough hosts available for the remaining symbionts.  Trill originally maintained that only a tiny fraction of its population was suitable for joining, and if that's all you know this statement would seem innocuous enough.  A rare minority in Trill society got rarer as a result of a galactic holocaust, tragic but expected.  The problem is that we know from Deep Space Nine that the Trill Symbiosis Commission was lying about the compatibility of the population for joining in order to protect the symbionts... claiming that only 0.1% of Trill's population were able to be joined when the true percentage was almost 50%.  Back in the 24th century, about 500 symbionts were free for joining per year.  The burn decimated the symbiont and host population alike, so now they can't muster enough hosts for the decimated pool of symbionts.  This implies the Trill are probably close to extinction if they can't muster 500 new adults ready for joining in a year.

Dr. Culber shows some spectacularly poor judgment by inviting Burnham to take the all-important Trill admiral to the surface of Trill.  Every time you involve her in something it blows up and someone ends up getting shot.  Sometimes both of those clauses are literal.

Incidentally, Shuttlecraft Thirty-One?!  The Crossfield-class isn't THAT much bigger than the Constitution-class, and the Constitution-class had a complement of FOUR shuttles.  How in blazes does Discovery have OVER THIRTY?!

Burnham oh-so-casually introduces Adira to the Trill head of state, a Trill religious leader, and the head of the Trill symbiosis commission and they predictably ALL lose their sh*t for extremely well-founded reasons when they discover the host and the symbiont they've been waiting for are a Human who can't access the memories of the Trill symbiont she's carrying.  You'd think the smart thing to do would be to discuss this whole situation with them before going down to the planet just in case the locals turned out to be unfriendly after all, but nope... they blunder right into a knock-down drag-out fight between the symbiosis commission and the Trill religion over the suitability of a symbiont joining with a non-Trill.

(Admittedly, the Trill government seems to have either a very bad memory or still needs some work on its honesty.  The Trill head of state calmly knocks back the symbiosis commission's complaints by claiming they've never forced a separation.  Dax would like a word.  They did it to Dax once with Joran and almost a second time with Jadzia.)

Rather predictably, the Symbiosis Commission's morals haven't improved one bit in a thousand years and they straight up attempt to mug Burnham and Tal to take the symbiont by force.  Equally predictably, Burnham's first and only reaction is to go and gun them all down (on stun this time, thankfully).  The Keepers equally predictably show up right after she finishes and don't see anything wrong with her waving a phaser around or gunning down the symbiosis commission.  Ain't politics grand?

The Sphere Data AI finally asserts itself over the Discovery's main computer in this episode, and somehow Saru doesn't seem to be troubled that the computer is now behaving COMPLETELY DIFFERENTLY.

In a surprising touch, the Caves of Mak'ala on Trill where the symbionts live between hosts is depicted as a cheesy underground spa with pools of milky white goo for water and bad CG lightning bolts shooting across it.

Saru takes a stab at social activity.  If his homeworld had had such a thing, he would have been much better off as a terribly feared headwaiter.  His efforts, though noble, seem to be failing miserably with Detmer and a few others.  The end result is a terribly awkward affair and it's really evident the crew don't like each other.  Forced conviviality followed by supreme awkwardness.  Detmer is clearly in a REAL bad way.  We're talking "impending psychotic break".  It starts getting weird when they've prevailed upon her to try to do a haiku and she keeps coming back to Stamets's blood being all over the place and only gets worse as Detmer starts ripping into him about piloting.  This is beyond awkward.  It's supposed to be an awkward scene but they go too far with it and all it does is remind the audience that the crew hate each other.  (There is a brief funny moment at the end that gets lost in the tone where Georgiou makes off with the rest of the wine.)

There is a RIDICULOUSLY bad white-eye effect they cut to when Adira and Burnham go into the pool.  Like, SyFy original horror BAD.  It got a laugh out of me when I saw it, just completely involuntarily.  The rest of the sequence is almost as bad?  It's an entirely greenscreen sequence with effects almost as bad as that amazingly awful "battle in the center of the mind" sequence where Sarek kamehamehas Burnham out of his mind.  I tried desperately to take it seriously but all I can think of, esp. as Burnham starts talking about the tendrils being part of the symbiont trying to connect to Adira, is that the symbionts must be Pastafarian.  "Touched by his noodly appendage" indeed.

The real tragedy here is that this episode's A-plot actually has a really interesting concept at its core.  How would someone who was in a relationship with a Trill adjust/cope after their partner is joined and is suddenly sharing their headspace with the memories of all the previous hosts with all the changes that brings.  I just wish it could've been done in a less goofy way than with the Flying Spaghetti Monster screaming into an autotuned microphone while digital VFX worthy of Sharknado 4 keep turning people's eyes white and making their faces glow gold.  

They try to end the episode on a tocuhy-feely moment as some of the crew attempt to patch things up, but given how much they loathe each other it comes off as kind of half-assed.

One part of the ending that really kind of worries me is that the Discovery  apparently doesn't have shuttle bay doors... just a forcefield retaining the bay's atmospheric pressure.  The crew is watching a movie in the shuttlebay, which is open to space.  One flicker in main power and the entire crew is DEAD.  Maybe they're all really confident in that system's reliability, but watching them do that is giving me anxiety.

 

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Die Trying

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Please do?  Pretty please, Discovery?

It's weird how many conversations take place in the middle of random corridors near airlocks in this show.  Especially ones that involve the Captain.  Doesn't he have a ready room for that?

For all the gravitas that actually arriving at Starfleet Headquarters should've had, they get it out of the way surprisingly early and with amazingly little fanfare.  There are a couple cheap fanservice moments that pass without any real significance like the blink-and-you'll-miss-it appearance of the Eisenberg-class USS Nog and the Voyager-J.  Everyone is visibly happy, which is the surest sign that things are about to go to sh*t immediately on the other side of the intro.

There are some other interesting blink-and-you'll miss it references including a mention of the Kazon, Neelix's homeworld of Talax, and a few other minor nods visible on displays in Starfleet HQ.

Starfleet brings Tal, Saru, and Burnham over to meet with the Starfleet C-in-C and it goes as badly as you'd expect with Burnham immediately going off half-cocked and Starfleet being intensely suspicious of a ship which should not exist based on the records showing she was destroyed in 2258 with all hands.  Burnham goes off half-cocked again and proposes stealing the logs from an alien ship to help backtrack the origin of a prion disease that's killing the alien ship's crew and Saru reams her for trying to do an end run around orders again.  He even acknowledges that she doesn't seem to ever learn her lesson.

There's an interview montage as Starfleet attempts to debrief the crew that does little besides highlight what a mess this show's plot has been and how absurd it all sounds out of context.  Culber has a conversation with the holographic debriefer that seems to be headed the way of Kryten's chat with the Red Dwarf's chief psychiatrist... you can practically see the officer thinking "can you check that your chair is still screwed down to the deckplates please?".  Tilly is oversharing and has confused her hologram into a look of bovine incomprehension, Nhan is trolling hers by refusing to state anything but her name, rank, and ID number, and Reno somehow managed to talk hers into giving her snacks.  Georgiou's interrogation is the kind of thing a writer with a bad case of chuunibyou might think was cool, giving nonsensical answers until the holograms get annoyed and somehow blinking at them until they break down... which looks exactly as stupid as it sounds.  The human interrogator who's also present is David Cronenberg.  

Also, wouldn't a 23rd century starship be the worst conceivable place for a seed vault given that 23rd century ships were even more explosion-prone than later ones and they had yet to develop the technology to deal with antimatter waste that created dangerous theta radiation that was shown to be so incredibly mutative to organic life in Voyager?  Conveniently, the crew of the seed vault ship is Barzan so Nhan will get to see her people... if the ominous 90's special effect doesn't get them first!

David Cronenberg and Georgiou take it in turns to troll each other, and it's actually rather nice to see someone get the last word talking to her.  Normally all she does is insult people but her interrogator actually gets her on the back foot by mentioning that the Terran Empire fell not long after she was deposed and that there have been no crossings from the Mirror Universe for over 500 years.  (This is a very oblique reference to the fact that the Terran Empire was defeated by the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance that appears in the DS9 mirror universe episodes.)

WHY IS THE SEED VAULT SPINNING?  Why is it needlessly spinning?  This isn't a drill that will pierce the heavens, this is a goddamn vegetable freezer.

It turns out the funky special effect is the guy who was in charge of the vault, who is partially out of phase with reality due to a transporter accident and is quite mad, trying to cure his (dead) family of some disease.  So Discovery gets him back into phase with some classic technobabble, then Burnham annoys him by talking to him until he agrees to give his family up for dead and help them access the seed vault.  Nhan decides to stay behind on the seed vault ship to look after it because the current caretaker would be alone after the death of his family otherwise.  So Discovery loses yet another character with a functioning brain and moral compass in favor of Michael Burnham.

Saru makes a historically inaccurate reference to try to make a case for Discovery making the future more optimistic, 

 

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Sigh... Discovery has managed to sink even further into stupidity than I ever thought possible. It's gotten so bad that even my concept for a Star Trek series is beginning to look promising (just need to revamp the uniforms and perhaps adjust the storyline).

Normally, I'd say Captain Kirk is due to beam onto Discovery just to slap the crew, but I think even William Shatner is hesitant to have anything to do with this dumpster fire on a trainwreck in space....

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