Shuttle Pod At The Disco 2: “Context Is For Kings”

Kayla and Jared jump on the Shuttle Pod for a look into the newest episode of Star Trek: Discovery, “Context Is For Kings.”

Star Trek: Discovery Season 1, Episode 3 – Debuted Sunday October 1st

Written by Gretchen J. Berg & Aaron Harberts & Craig Sweeny
Story Bryan Fuller & Gretchen J. Berg & Aaron Harberts
Directed by Akiva Goldsman

At The Disco 2: “Context Is For Kings”

With the third episode of Discovery now out there, in the wild, it feels like we are finally settling into our new home. I’m talking, of course, about the USS Discovery. The two-part pilot episode, which we talked about on the podcast last week, felt more like the prologue to our story. In a traditional sense, episode 3 was our real pilot. We are introduced to the characters (the ones that will be sticking around for the rest of the season), we are shown our new home (The Discovery), and we learn about the story arc that will carry us through the remainder of the season.

It’s still very early days for Discovery, and despite the episode’s title, it feels like we are missing the context necessary to really get sink teeth into what this story will evolve into. But, that’s part of the mystery and intrigue isn’t it?

Listen as Kayla and Jared break down the episode and discuss what worked, what didn’t, and how Discovery its taking its place within Star Trek canon.

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The Shuttle Pod being piloted by a skeleton crew this time? But wait, shuttlepods on TNG couldn’t really accomodate more than two people in the first place, could they? Anyway, an enormously fun listen as always (and I’m very glad that I found the time to listen to it almost immediately)!
I’m just gonna add my two cents – really just two tiny thoughts this time round. Firstly, the Gorn skeleton dilemma: It’s not really a problem, is it? It’s a skeleton after all. Starfleet could’ve found it anywhere, said “Oh look, a reptoid!”, and into the files it went, not to be heard of again until “Arena” when they could finally give it a name.

I still have a wayyy greater problem with the universally available holographic communication (and I think it’s not just your classic high-maintenance fandom nitpick).
So far, I fail to see rationale behind it (other than the production team saying: “because we can”) and it bugs me for an entirely different reason apart from bending canon:
Now, if I think of images associated with the Trek-franchise that might be deeply ingrained in collective pop-cultural memory, I think the image of Kirk or Picard talking to someone via viewscreen might rank pretty high. At least I would guess so.
But people talking to fuzzy holograms… well, that’s the OTHER “Star”-franchise, isn’t it? I mean that’s just another way of making it LESS recognisable as “Trek”.

Re: skeleton crew

Good point about TNG shuttlepods being 2 seaters :-D

But seriously, the idea with our coverage for DSC is that this needs a fast turnaround (it isn’t our normal planned out bi-weekly podcast), so we made the decision that we record the next day after an episode is released, we just need at least two folks to chat about the episode. So in the coming weeks it may be any configuration of the crew :-)

Speaking to the canon discussion that is part of this podcast,
With me, its story and character first canon second.
I know others disagree with me, but like I said, thats just me.

I agree 100% with you.

I also agree. My panties don’t get in a bunch over a few canon violations. Discovery is 95% faithful. That’s enough.

I’m glad Kayla brought up the challenges with setting the series farther ahead, and I totally agree. There are ways that it could be done, but I’m not sure they’d be very satisfying, like deliberately setting the Federation back somehow. There’s just a lot of treknology to write around in a post-TNG series, and even in TNG+ they had to ignore some of the capabilities that were actually available, for the sake of advancing the plot. And that’s where canon and the advanced tech that they have become big problems in storytelling. I feel like Star Trek should be rebooted one way or another from time to time, not just to keep up appearances with how the real world has progressed, but also to keep the stories set within a time where humanity still has room to grow and has challenges to overcome, while still showing us a real potential and optimistic future. And yes, I know, one could argue that the darker tone of the show currently isn’t particularly optimistic, but consider the fact that something like Starfleet even exists and that humans are out amongst the stars, dealing with the unknown… that in itself is optimistic compared to where our species is now…

A point about the holograms… I think people need to accept that they’re taking some artistic license here, and understand their purpose in that context. Holographic communication is a lot more dynamic in terms of cinematography and is better suited for situations where a viewscreen isn’t always available. The Klingon ship for example, didn’t have a viewscreen that we saw, so holographic communication was preferable there. It also allowed for the Klingon holograms to seem large and imposing, especially compared to T’Kuvma, who as they pointed out at first was a nobody. It’s also more engaging than just staring ahead at a big screen. I think it works well, regardless of whether it’s canon or not.

I have never understood this fascination with the idea of setting up Trek in some kind of messed up future.

I felt similarly to what Kayla said in this good podcast. I was thinking that if I wanted to see people being mean to each other as their dominant form of relating, I have so many options today. I could read the news or I could watch any science fiction dystopian show on television these days. I could even read the TrekMovie message boards and read how people disparage each other with such disrespect. I don’t need another option, like watching how Star Trek Discovery has been so far.
Kayla had some good points. But I was thinking how sad it is that the “positivity” for Star Trek that she found in Context is for Kings is now that the central character, Burnham, doesn’t wish herself dead anymore. How inspiring. That is quite a descent from The hopeful vision of humanity shown in previous Treks.
I am going to keep watching because I am hoping that the point of all this is to show how humanity starts to get its act together. But this is only 10 years before Kirk and Spock. There’s no way humanity went from how people treat each other on Discovery to how they treat each other on the Enterprise in ten years. I don’t mind Star trek getting darker and more nuanced. But in my opinion, no matter where they end up going, they have seriously misunderstood Star Trek by going this dark, even as a starting point. Instead of feeling hopeful and inspired about what we could become as a people, I feel like depressed and sad when I watch the show. And honestly, I don’t feel that angry anymore about how disappointed I am in Discovery. I know a lot of people really like it. I just feel sad for what I feel has been already lost.

The terms of civilization evolve over time (mostly for the better) but human nature doesn’t change. The more realistic character interactions on the show are refreshing. However, I was *very* disappointed by how the prisoners were treated. That didn’t show the values of the Federation in a good light.

Was the episode “The Raven”? Where Data starts having vivid surreal dreams?

Also, did anyone else see the Easter Egg in the shot of the “Moons of Andoria” where in the background a Preserver [asteroid deflector?]Obelisk can clearly be seen, looking exactly the same as the one on the AmerInd planet in TOS “Paradise Syndrome”

ok, just reached the 51:00 mark in the Shuttlepodcast where Kayla mentions it, sorry.

Starbase 11 is there too (I double-checked). Looks like it, anyhow.

The Preserver Obelisk is the most conspicuous one but there’s also Starbase 11 and the Janus VI mining colony. Memory Alpha even has some screenshots:
comment image/revision/latest?cb=20171002230812&path-prefix=en
comment image/revision/latest?cb=20171002174526&path-prefix=en

Pretty sure that “the Raven” was a Voyager episode.
The Data Dream episode with the peptide cake was “Phantasms”.

There were two “Data Dreams”-episodes. The first was Birthright, Part I in which it was a subplot – but that’s the one in which he dreams of a bird and turning into a bird (I think it was raven or a crow). The second one was indeed “Phantasms”.
But “The Raven” was one of the first Seven of Nine-centered Voyager episodes in which it’s explained that Seven’s (or rather Annika Hansen’s) family were civilian explorers on a ship called ‘Raven’, who actually were the first to investigate the Borg (and get assimilated in the process). Of course that was a big fat retcon, considering the whole Hansen-story was set way before TNG and in that episode it’s stated that they were following “rumours” of a cybernetically enhanced race which pretty much contradicts everything that happens in “Q Who”.

So, I’m going to comment as I listen – somewhat unorthodox, but I can’t help it…
First comment: Landry is sort of the female version of Malcolm Reed, and I love it!!

I wouldn’t really compare the two, except superficially. I think she’s an interesting character though. You see this mean tough person on the surface, but her performance has been a bit nuanced so far, and if you pay attention there’s a bit more there. I thought her comment “Vulcans should stick to logic” was rather amusing, and she smirked too, showing she has a humorous and playful nature. You can tell she’s pandering to Lorca and wants his approval, and in that sense she’s an extension of him, but I’ll be curious to see how she’ll end up being her own person. You can notice how she observes Burnham, and maybe even likes her, but we have yet to see if that’s her personal observations or not.

I’d guess that Landry could whip Reed’s ass in a fair fight. She didn’t seem all that impressed by Burnham’s martial arts skills (“Vulcans should stick to logic”), even though she easily won the day.

I really enjoyed the Disco Pod this week – compared to the previous podcast, this week’s edition felt more optimistic with regards to Discovery. I am really enjoying the show, so I guess I just want the podcast to enjoy it as well!

Under the heading of “fanservice” or “canonicity,” I was surprised Kayla and Jared didn’t discuss the data storage and control surfaces in Stamets’ lab, all of which had a very TOS feel – the yellow data cartridge Stamets gives to Burnham looked like an upgraded-for-HD version of the data tapes used on the original Enterprise bridge. The lab managed to integrate physical buttons and switches with touchscreen surfaces and holographic displays in a way that felt organic, like how the TOS bridge looks in my imagination.

I also wanted to comment on the ship design issue that you brought up, the “doughnut” saucer section and bridge. My headcanon explanation for this design is that it is a security measure meant to isolate the bridge from the mad science experiments going on in other sections. What was the term in the episode – “black alert?” Perhaps a physical separation from the rest of the ship shields the bridge from the extranormal effects we see in other areas.

One last thing, which I would love to hear discussed in a future episode: as we know that Stamets’ “spore-p drive” is eventually going to fail (I’m betting by the end of this season, given what happened to the Glenn), what will Stamets’ role be after that point? What need does the ship/series have for an astromycologist when the ship is back to using standard dilithium? Will he have to retrain in a different specialization? Stamets the black-badge security officer? Stamets the morale officer, growing space mushrooms to use in his leola root stew? Or more likely, Stamets the all-around science officer learning better social skills under Captain Saru. What do you think?

We don’t know if it’ll fail that soon, or at all. Pure speculation. For example, it could fail much later on (after the show) if it’s the basis of the ‘great experiment’ of transwarp drive. Or, maybe it doesn’t fail at all and the ship (along with all it’s research) disappears.

I got vibes of Section 31 with this crew and with the experiments.

While I don’t think Saru is the Jar-Jar Binks of Star Trek I don’t currently like his character. However that could change as the series goes on. I have also bought Desperate Hours and the reviews have said it gives his character some much needed context. Right now he seems too judgemental and cowardly. So it’s interesting to hear that there is at the very least other opinions out there as I hear a lot about people loving him.

I think of Saru as cautious not cowardly.
I have no doubt that he would sacrifice his life for the crew of the Discovery, without hesitation.

The thing with the Alice in Wonderland quotes. She was using it as a mental exercise to keep her on task. To keep distractions out. If you listen to the quotes it also kinda describes the situation she is in.

Good point! Vulcans do use sayings as a form of meditation.

I live this podcast, but I was disappointed you mentioned Jonathan Frakes’s spoiler. I’ve been trying to avoid that one.

Enjoyed this. Now I’m going to go back and listen to the Ep 1 and 2 podcast. Kayla made some interesting points RE: the Saru – Burnham interactions. One small bit which wasn’t mentioned here was Saru offering berries to Michael – a nice moment, I thought.

Isaacs, unlike Pine, has the gravitas needed to make a credible captain. Lorca will be a force to be reckoned with. Martin – Green has the chops to compete at his level. It will be very interesting to see their relationship unfold. Discovery is so exciting and involving!

As for the podcast…it’s a pleasure to hear the various perspectives. It’s remindfull to me of how every TOS syndication ep was dissected and discussed in my high school cafeteria the day after they aired. Love it!

I think this discussion hits all the right notes for what I like in a show like this. It’s a tough nut to crack, particularly for star trek, because it requires not only an extensive knowledge of treks history but also a sense of openmindedness and an ability to engage with the material thematically. I particularly appreciate that you talk about character, tone, and the “trekiness” of it without descending into pedantics about what red alert klaxon is right for the era or other such nonsense. As always, you’re both very pleasant people. Anyways, I don’t have much else to say, but I thought it was interesting and enjoyable and I will keep listening.

I vote for the podcast’s name to be changed to Shuttle Pod Disco 1!

Why can’t the spore drive/gate work? Maybe it does. How do we know this isn’t how the iconian gateway works. Maybe it does work and in the end its proved to be so dangerous that the technology is buried. I think you aren’t giving the writers enough credit and you’re going to the obvious reason why we don’t see starfleet using the technology in the future. There could be an interesting one. As for canon breaking propulsion what about the Xindi ships in Enterprise?

Most of the time I really enjoy these pod casts but it just seems like ye are looking for things to hate about Discovery but at the same time promoting Orville. Best to my knowledge Orville hasn’t been released in Ireland so what I say next is based off the clips I’ve seen on this site. .i.e its subject to being completely wrong. Orville seems just as far removed from TNG as Discovery. Characters turn to drinking in tough situations. The helmsman is drunk(ish) flying the captain to the Orville for the first time. Why?? because he’s nervous and drink driving is funny?? The security officer takes a shot before going onto the bridge because its her first time being in command?? I won’t go into the humor of the show but it seems to have fallen from the Ted/Family Guy tree. Can’t watch Discovery with my kid either which is a bit of a bummer but I can’t watch the Orville either. I just saw a clip of the Orville’s first officer getting physically beaten. Point being I really wish would would stop comparing the two. Would you compare TNG to Seaquest DSV?

You don’t like the Micheal Burnham character. That fair enough, thats the risk of having a single character as the main focus. Is she a Mary Sue? No. I haven’t seen her do anything that I haven’t seen Kirk or Spock to 100 times. Seven of Nine is far more of a Mary Sue character.

Anyhow listening to this while being in a bad mood was not a good idea. I love the work and content you guys put out. I look forward to the next podcast.