Review: Tilly Grows Up Fast In ‘Star Trek: Short Treks’ “Runaway”

“Runaway”

Star Trek: Short Treks Episode 1 – Debuted Thursday, October 4th
Written by Jenny Lumet & Alex Kurtzman
Directed by Maja Vrvilo

SPOILER-FREE REVIEW

The first installment of Short Treks delivers on its promise to bring us brief and small character studies that add some needed depth to Star Trek: Discovery. Mary Wiseman shines as Sylvia Tilly, who finds herself tested by her critical mother and an unusual alien who ends up having a lot of things in common with the newly-minted ensign. While the story feels rushed and overly reliant on familiar tropes, “Runaway” still satisfies as a tasty morsel as we await the return of Discovery in January.

Mary Wiseman in “Runaway”

RECAP

[SPOILERS BELOW]

Just another day on the Disco

After eight months away from the season one finale, we return to the USS Discovery in what seems to be a routine day in space, with the announcement of the 5th shift ending as the ship brings in some new cargo. It’s a nice glimpse into the everyday logistics of how the starship operates, starting Short Treks off with some of the very few effects shots to be seen during the mini-episode.

If this worker bee doesn’t move any faster it’s going to blow the whole budget

But of course, there is more than meets the eye, as one of these Starfleet cargo pods mysteriously opens after everyone has bolted out of the cargo bay, following what might as well have been called “budget alert.” “Runaway” then takes a more ominous and spooky tone, helped along by composer Jeff Russo’s score, as a translucent alien arm snakes its way out of the pod, only to get cut on a crack, resulting in some glowing alien blood…creepy.

Scary hand is scary

We find Ensign Tilly in her quarters, without her roommate Michael Burnham. She is talking to her mother, a major figure in her life who was often referenced in the first season but never seen. Mrs. Tilly is as overbearing as you might imagine, and perhaps too much of the stereotypical berating mother, with no clear redeeming qualities. Her daughter just helped end a devastating war, graduated to ensign, won a Starfeet award and is set on a path to command…so maybe cut her some slack. Mimi Kuzyk does a fine job even though we never actually get a good look at her. This seems to be an interesting choice made by director Maja Vrvilo, who leans into the holographic nature of this conversation to almost make it appear like young Tilly is being haunted by this ghostly apparition of her mother, questioning her life choices, specifically about joining Starfleet Command’s Training Program, something we know from season one was important to her.

Nothing as low as being judged by a hologram

Food fight!

After signing off with mom and having a nice scream into a pillow, Tilly seeks solace in the mess hall, where she meets her eternal adversary, the USS Discovery food dispenser. Defying her mother’s concern about over-caffeination, Tilly wants a quadruple espresso, but the artificial intelligence in charge of producing nutrition sides with mom, calling the order “ill-advised.”  Eventually, this electronic truculence is overcome, but you know Tilly’s food battle royale will continue and Discovery producers are missing an opportunity if we don’t see her do some creative reprogramming in the mess hall during season two.

You may have won this round Tilly, but the food dispenser will have its revenge, served cold of course

Once again things get tense as the cloaked alien from the cargo hold breaks up Tilly’s little mantras to help center herself with a caffeine beverage –and then the food replicators start shooting food all over the mess hall, calling out each meal as it flies across the room. Everything about this scene borrows too much from Predator, from the sound design of the alien’s chitterings to the shimmerings of her personal cloak, but perhaps with only 15 minutes, using familiar elements saves time.

The Predator? More like The Petulantor

The alien is soon revealed as a scared, yet defiant teenager from the newly warp-capable planet of Xahea. She is skittish, injured, and hungry, and instead of playing it by the book, Tilly decides to quietly bring Me Hani Ika Hali Ka Po – okay, let’s just call her Po – to her quarters. Earlier, Tilly’s mom had recalled a story of young Sylvia running away to break her spirit and so we can see why she now takes pity on Po, who probably would have been flushed out the closest airlock back in the Captain Lorca days.

Hopefully, Roomba technology has evolved to clean up this mess

Girl talk

Continuing what is essentially a two-woman show that seems designed to pass the Bechdel Test with an A+, Tilly starts to dig into Po’s story and we learn more about this interesting new Star Trek alien race. The Xaheans are nicely portrayed as truly alien, both physically and culturally, although actress Yadira Guevara-Prip transitions too quickly here to almost seeming too much like your average human rebellious teen. The big reveal is that Xahea is rich in dilithium, the often-cited rare mineral that literally keeps Star Trek warping, and Po has figured out a way to incubate and recrystallize it, as a “gift” to her planet, which she sees as her twin. Discovery is set decades before Scotty and Spock figure out how to recrystallize dilithium (in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home), so Tilly is suitably impressed.

Recrystallized dilithium? We’re all going to be rich!

Now, the mini-episode just starts jamming way too much too fast as we literally see Tilly grow up and learn lessons on empathy, leadership, and responsibility. She even comes to understand her mother a bit more as she has to emotionally wrestle with this kid who is literally fading in and out as she tries to reach her. On top of that, we get allegorical environmental messages and ethical dilemmas about the cost of progress. There is also the theme about following your heart and accepting how things have to grow, evolve and change. This is all very familiar and all very Star Trek, but all a bit too crammed into a three-minute scene.

On a very special Short Treks, Po learns a lesson

Undercover Queen

With everyone a bit smarter, wiser, and confident, it’s time for Po to leave. Cadet Tilly continues to shepherd this alien – who is critically important to the Federation – around the ship all on her own, although when Po finally reveals that she is actually about to become Queen, Tilly does seem to realize how far out on a limb she has gone. It certainly seems unusual that Cadet-now-Ensign Tilly didn’t report an alien intruder to her current commanding officer, but at this point, she has gone too far to turn back. Po is leaving the old-fashioned way, via the transporter room. However, it isn’t clear where Tilly is sending her exactly or how she got control of a transporter room on her own, but we simply don’t have enough time to worry about these kinds of things.

Your 15 minutes are up, time to go

Things wrap up with a nice little bit of bonding between Po and Tilly. They talk about keeping in touch, so maybe this isn’t the last we have heard of this new alien. Po also gives Tilly a dilithium crystal as a nice souvenir. It all feels rushed but the clock is ticking as she has a coronation to go to and this is, after all, Short Treks.

Oh right, I’m the absolute ruler of my twin planet

ANALYSIS

Wisman carries the day

It was nice to finally get a bit of new Star Trek after the long hiatus, even if it was in this shortened form. However, once you get past the excitement of seeing new content in your CBS All Access app, which may not be easy, as many versions of the app hide Short Treks inexplicably under “Clips,” we are left with a story that feels overly rushed and too reliant on tropes. That being said, the introduction of a well-defined new alien species is always good Star Trek and sadly a rarity on Discovery, at least in season one.

The highlight for “Runaway” is by far the performance of Mary Wiseman. She is able to take what she is given and really work it, allowing her to show a bit more range, both dramatically and comedically. The mini-episode feels right for her character and gives us a deeper understanding of her, bridging the gap as Tilly goes from cadet to officer, and gets a little older and wiser along the way. Even the now obligatory Tilly cursing feels organic and Wiseman makes it sort of delightful.

For such a short episode, it is full of fun only-Tilly moments and memorable lines, from giving the food dispenser an epic evil eye, to Tilly’s improvised explanation to her fellow crew members that a hormonal rabbit is on the loose as the reason the mess hall is, well…  a mess. Wiseman’s Julliard training shows as she makes these beats her own as they even feel improvised.

If you believe that story, I’ve got a stable wormhole to sell you

Thrifty Trek

One noticeable thing about “Runaway” is that while using the sets and production design of Star Trek: Discovery, these mini-episodes are clearly set for a more modest budget. Visual effects are very limited, and the casting cost is also kept at a minimum. What’s good is that the episode doesn’t try to push itself, and overly expose these budgetary limitations.

Sorry guys, this episode can only afford you for 15 seconds

This all makes for an odd sensation, with Tilly seemingly working on a mostly-abandoned USS Discovery. There is some handwaving dialog about shift changes, but in the end, it doesn’t matter because “Runaway” works with what they have and the almost ghost-ship atmosphere even weaves into a theme of isolation and feeling invisible that both Tilly and Po are facing.

Where is everyone?

Fitting it all together

These Short Treks are part of canon continuity, but each of the four episodes stands on its own, and based on the descriptions, have no connections to each other and take place in various time frames. In the case of “Runaway,” it actually isn’t exactly clear when it is set. We do know that it is after Tilly has been promoted from Cadet to Ensign and has been awarded the Starfleet Medal of Honor, which happened close to the end of the season one finale.

As the second season premiere apparently picks up immediately after the season one cliffhanger with the arrival of the USS Enterprise, “Runaway” is likely set sometime later during the second season. The only other possibility is for it to be set during the season one finale after the medal ceremony scene but before the Discovery warped away from Earth, which doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Can you see the Starfleet award mom? Maybe cut me some slack.

As this is a character story, it would be good to know when this occurred, in order to keep it in context for Tilly’s arc during season two. Speaking to TrekMovie at San Diego Comic-Con, Wiseman said Tilly’s ambition for command is “going to be a huge part of her arc in season two,” and in this episode we see her fight through the seeds of doubt about her path planted by her mother.

There is also the possibility that elements of this episode may be referenced during the second season, including Po and/or Xahea popping up. And it would not be surprising if that dilithium crystal given to Tilly may play some role in a do-or-die situation in the upcoming season.

You never know when you might need a dilithium crystal

Bigger and wider

“Runaways” also gives us an advance look at some of the visual changes we can expect for the second season. One new element was the larger mess hall set. This was one of a few changes production designer Tamara Deverell told us were made for the second season. She also noted there were changes in sickbay, which will be featured in next month’s Short Treks episode “Calypso.”

Discovery mess hall now available for weddings and bar mitzvahs

The biggest new esthetic change in Short Treks is a different aspect ratio. The first season of Discovery was presented in a 2:1 ratio, which is used by a number of premium television shows, particularly favored for Netflix originals. However, “Runaway” is presented in the widescreen 2:39:1 ratio (often called CinemaScope) traditionally used for feature films. This wider ratio was also seen in the season two First Look trailer released at San Diego Comic-Con, indicating it is the new normal for Discovery. This certainly leans into the show’s avowed cinematic ambition, although for Short Treks it is a bit of a disconnect, as these are smaller and more personal stories.

Discovery gets wider

Hungry for the next bite

While the story was a mixed bag and the episode had some issues with pacing and odd tonal shifts, the strong performances, nice character development and a bit of Trek world-building makes “Runaway” worth watching and proves Short Treks as a concept.

Short Treks was touted by executive producer Alex Kurtzman as something to tide fans over while we wait for the second season. In that sense, “Runaway” certainly satisfied the craving for more Trek as it was a solid snack. However, it is still not a full meal and having to wait a whole month for the next morsel may be too much to justify a monthly subscription to All Access if you are not watching other content on the streaming service.

Look ma, I got my own mini-episode!

TRAILER


Star Trek: Discovery is available in the USA on CBS All Access. It airs in Canada on Space and streams on CraveTV. It is available on Netflix everywhere else.

Star Trek: Short Treks will be available in the USA on CBS All Access. It will air in Canada on Space and stream on CraveTV.

Keep up with all the Star Trek: Discovery news at TrekMovie.

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Syvok

Yeah the transition from ice-cream licking predator to emo teen was really jarring. I wish they made the decision to keep her more “alien.” Wanted more Darmok or Enemy Mine, less Elaan.

Marcelo

Or at the very least pick one and go with it.

Brian B

Ahh, when CBS said they wanted Trek to be on TV all year round, what they meant was that they want people to not cancel their All Access subscription after a free binge. I don’t see how this will help their business objectives. If anything it screams standing sets paid for by netflix and fame hungry secondary actors people only tolerate in the first place.
I feel as if they have also Incorporated a complete misunderstanding as to the fandom’s fondness of Orville too.

Mathew

are they in orbit of xahea or did we transport across the galaxy again, like in STID?

Admiral TJ

Same question. That is a main point of canon in the prime universe. Orbital range of the transporter and always breaking down. Lets hope no one is beaming from obit of Earth to Vulcan in season 2

Danpaine

That would truly be a ‘jump the shark’ moment.

CmdrR

Glad I’m not the only one confused on that point. I think they were in orbit, because we saw a shuttle leave. But, we SHOULD have seen an orbital shot, or a planet out the window, or something, and maybe see the cargo carrier come into the shuttle bay. I also had to listen twice to hear the bit about dilithium recrystallization. Tilly made a big deal about it being huge, but no one says why it is. It took me a moment to hear Scotty’s voice saying ‘We can’t do that, even in the 23rd century’ and I just don’t think new fans will understand what’s going on here.

albatrosity

If they were in orbit I think Tilly would’ve been less surprised to find out where she’s from. Her dialogue about the girl’s planet recently becoming warp-capable sounds like she’s recalling things that aren’t immediately apparent, which I think would be if they were orbiting the planet

jay

it’s killy Tilly. she beams people into space. ;)

CmdrR

Knew it!

Victorinox

IMHO the most relevant part of the Short Treks is that CBS just showed fan productions that you can tell a meaningful story within the constraints established by the recently published guidelines.

“Runaway” was an entertaining work, perfectly consistent with the guidelines (other than the fact that 1 actor had previously worked on a Trek show, for obvious reasons).

I had no problem with the “empty” Discovery, as we have seen similar situations in all Enterprises before, plus they did sprinkle people through the mini episode (in the cargo bay, or entering the mess hall). My only issue was transporting Po away with no clear destination. My headcanon now includes a Xahea ship nearby (perhaps from which the worker bees were taking cargo from).

Now, quit the whining a go do some great 15 min fan Trek.

slider

Yep, as usual I can’t see a thing. Somebody turn up the friggin lights!

DIGINON

If you can’t see a thing there’s something wrong with either your screen or your eyes. While the exterior space shot was still darker than previous Treks the interiors were sufficiently lit. Not overly bright but not very dark, either.

DataMat

I’m sure Ron Moore would have loved the lighting. He wanted the whole of Next Gen to be lit like ‘Yesterdays Enterprise’.

Marja

They haven’t readjusted it from Mirror Lorca’s prescribed settings

Brian B

The exterior shot was just the USSTD’s “2nd pilot” reveal played backwards, and without that OTT tractor beam. This was very low budget, even by CBS’s standard of having Netflix pay for it all.

slider

Terrible lighting as usual with Discovery.

Eric

I’m going to take a guess and propose that their is a nice, subtle uniform edition. In opening scene the last two crew members to leave the shuttlebay are wearing jumpsuits with black panels instead of metallic ones. I’m wondering if these are used to denote enslisted members, distinguishing them from commissioned officers. That was always something from TOS and TNG that annoyed me. TWOK fixed that problem with a dudtincted enlisted/cadet uniform with particular colors. And DS9 finally gave O’Brien his rank ensignia as Chief Petty Officer, thoughno one else has them.

I hope this is a nice upgrade for believability and clarity.

Brian B

I don’t think redshirts being made blackshirts will do much for it’s reputation.

Eric

I’m not talking about redshirts, aka cannon fodder. I’m talking about clearly distinguishing between officers and the enlisted.

http://www.ussalbion.co.uk/q.html

Brian B

No, you’re talking about senior staff and junior staff. At this point in Trek’s history everyone should be wearing the same uniforms. I suspect it eats too far into the budget to produce intricate uniforms for every extra on the set, which is a bit odd considering the massive budget they are working with.

Overall I think this was very weak, trying to make it a bit more like The Orville and not doing that right either. If it’s any indication of season 2 I don’t think it’s going to change anyone’s mind about the series.

From the looks of it those two people are in the tactical uniform without the vest. The tactical uniform is a simplified version of the standard uni without all the bling. It has black side panels, no shoulder decorations, and a normal (symmetrical) collar.

They likely threw some background actors into them since they had them available.

I don’t think it was thought out. I agree that it would be nice if they had thought about non-com folks. Lots of Trek productions forget about enlisted and kind of add something later, as you pointed out poor Chief O’Brien was all over the place (some times an ensign, sometimes a lieutenant, they even gave him a single open pip for a while) before they made him a CPO rank pin.

I enjoyed the episode! I agree with some of the criticisms here, the rush of themes and info dumped between the two in Tilly’s quarters for example, but Wiseman’s charm overcomes any shortcomings in the short for me. Her, and that we get any forward momentum on new DSC episodes that don’t seem like a waste of time is enough to make me happy.

By the way, I noticed the review calls Tilly out as still a cadet. But she’s not wearing the cadet badge anymore, so I assume this takes place after the Medal of Honor ceremony.

Marja

It does, Frank. You can see two picture frames on Tilly’s desk [?] … one has a pic of her and Michael Burnham, and the other holds her medal of honor. As you say, no more cadet badge, now she’s sporting the officer insignia.

Holy Craft dick, Batman!

Curious Cadet

If the entire 2nd Season is presented in 2.39:1, I think I have a problem with that. This is a TV show, meant to be streamed on TVs and mobile devices. While 65” and larger TVs are becoming more common, we’re still a lot of years away from the 85-100” OLED TV becoming standard, which is really the only way 2.39:1 makes sense for a weekly TV show on a regular basis. If they’re somehow planning for the future, then they should also be shooting in 4K too.

MattR

I thought the new aspect ratio looked great on my 65″ TV. I’m not sure what the difference is for a TV show, if you’re fine watching movies on your TV in that aspect ratio.

Stephen O'Donnell

Many new phones are in a 21:9 ratio which is close yo that and stuff looks great.

I like tv shows trying to be more cinematic. The new series of Doctor Who is also in 2.39:1.

DIGINON

Watching stuff on your phone doesn’t really go together with being “cinematic”. On a big screen, though, the 2.39:1 makes it look more cinematic just because that aspect ration is usually reserved to movies.

Living Raktajino

I guess art has nothing to do with it…?

albatrosity

Are they not shooting in 4K? I’m pretty sure Discovery is meant to last a long, long time for CBS and I’m assuming they’re thinking ahead. Look at how expensive the TNG upgrades cost them — and now we’re stuck with SD DS9 and VOY. So if they aren’t shooting in 4K, they’re throwing away a lot of money and potential. 4K will be the minimum standard for essentially the end of time, which is how long CBS probably wants people watching Discovery.

Captain Dunsel

Great review and I laughed out loud at your hysterical captions, Tony! Doesn’t the bridge get a warning when someone beams on or off the ship? Maybe now-ensign Tilly did some cover-your-tracks-rerouting-of-the-primary-realtime-transporter-log-generation-subroutine magic. Looking forward to the next Short Trek.

Jemini

that dilithium crystal looks like a Vokaya crystal. You sure Tilly didn’t get a tracking device?

CmdrR

OK. Here we go. There are a number of strengths and some weaknesses to unpack here. On the plus side, I am sure younger audiences will appreciate the storyline and the focus on Tilly. That said, it would have been oh-so-nice to have more interaction with another major character. Part of the awkwardness of youth is the inability to get grups to listen. The two women SAID that, but the story does not SHOW that. Also not shown: Xahea or a Xahean ship. Even something on the transporter screen to indicate either woulda been sweet. I seriously wondered whether Tilly was transporting Po into space. The whole Mom’s a jerk scene felt off. I wanted to see the woman’s face, or hear her voice without a filter. I kept wondering whether that was Marina, but of course it wasn’t. While the production values were fine — nice, slow fly-by for Disco — the lack of incidental characters brought everything else down a few notches. This is not ‘Waiting for Godot.’ It would have been good to see Po pull away from the grups and then turn to Tilly. In fact, this story would have played far better as a b-plot. Ah, well! It is good that the producers are offering tid-bits to build up our appetite for January.

Brian B

CBS is producing these on next to no budget. Just paying actors and crew. Standing sets are paid for, VFX is stock assets, costuming is virtually nothing, mess hall food is a bit of a waste, but never mind.

Denny C

Entertaining but also illustrates one of the drawbacks of a serialized format for Star Trek. The shorts are now the only outlet for standalone Star Trek stories.

Reign1701A

I agree mostly with the review. It was a charming story and Wiseman is fantastic as always, but there’s too much story/plot crammed into too short of a time frame, lending to a rushed feeling. This would’ve been better served if it was closer to a half hour in length. Hopefully the writers/creators get more comfortable with the format as they go along.

julianna

I didn’t see it, as I live in Germany and it is not being shown outside the US and Canada. However, I couldn’t resist getting a Discovery fix.. Glad that people enjoyed it, despite some shortcomings due to the format. Fingers crossed we will eventually see them here too.

Rick Gold

I have to say I was disappointed I’m afraid. Though it was masterfully acted by Mary Wiseman and Yaridra Guevara-Prip, it has a wonderfully creative alien, some great lines and moments… the plot holes were large enough to steer a galaxy class starship though. Too many things I couldn’t ignore that could have been solved with some simple edits or even just effects. 1) Instead of having Disco in open space, render her in orbit of Xahea picking up dilithium.. have the cargo pod coming from a barge in space by them… this shows a plausible way for Po to get on board. 2) I’m willing to overlook how she hauls backside (beating a group of hungry 5th shift officers) and even why she would go to the mess hall in the first place. BUT.. the silly whipping past Tilly and jumping from the roof was to much. At least have her whip past as a distraction to steal food off a plate Tilly could have had. This would have set up a nice haunted scene where she could perhaps startle Po, causing her to crash into some chairs while cloaked.. this would have achieved the haunting the writers wanted. 3) It was established she has the ability to control computer systems.. but telekinesis as well? The food flying scene was fun, but a little too far out… why not have her use her powers to set the food slots to produce a bunch of food that she then throws… Read more »

Brian B

The shot of disco was just it’s opening shot from the 2nd pilot run backwards, and they removed the tractor beam which was pulling in Mikey Spock’s shuttle. I had assumed we’re beyond the point of using stock shots due to the relatively low cost to do these days.

Land O'Calrissian

While it was fun to finally see some new Star Trek, this was just a “meh” story, in my view. It was bizarre to see the ship so empty (a necessity for budgetary reasons, I know, but bizarre nonetheless), and the character of Po became annoying the moment she started speaking. It’s a shame, as I honestly though it was going to like it up to that point.

AJinMoscow

It seemed like a “Trek for Teens” Saturday morning mini-show. Ultimately disposable. Though, Mary Wiseman lives and breathes Tilly through-and-through. Can’t wait to see her when the show comes back full-force in January.

albatrosity

Maybe this is a test-bed for some teen drama Trek that could be in the works as one of the many potential upcoming spinoff shows

El Chup

I wish this had been a full episode. This was better than almost anything in the first season. A new alien. A character piece. A discussion of not judging people based on superficialities. It felt more Trek like than anything the first season offered up. This is what I want from Season Two. You can keep your Pike and Spock, just give me some fleshed out stories like this.

Tiger2

Agreed El Chup!

It wasn’t perfect but I liked that the story felt like a Trek story with two characters trying to understand each other. It also felt very TNG in how it was presented. I don’t disagree with some of the problems people had with the story but it’s minor for me and if this is small sign of the type of stories we will get in season two then it’s a promising one IMO.

Michael Hall

To each, his own, I guess — I thought this was weaker than just about everything they did last year, with the possible exception of the last couple of episodes.

Tiger2

I guess for me it was just nice to have a story about meeting an alien and building on that relationship, which is what Star Trek USUALLY does, but DIS didn’t do at all outside of the Phavo episode and that was just for a war strategy.

But don’t get me wrong its not a perfect story by far, I agree. I’m just not going to over think it considering what it is. But yes I WILL say one of the things that bothered me was how interesting and alien-like Po was when we couldn’t understand her but then the second she spoke English it felt like it reverted to an episode of Gossip Girl in the 23rd century. She came off TOO much like a human teenager after that. But I still liked her overall.

At the very least it gives me hope we will get these type of stories in season 2 like we got on the other shows and it’s not just all war stuff, spatial anomalies and covert operations. But with just 13 episodes yeah its probably not easy.

Corylea

Tilly is one of my favorite Discovery characters, and Mary Wiseman is always wonderful.

I thought Po’s transformation was much too fast, so it didn’t ring true for me. I mean, I know they only had 15 minutes to play with, but if something couldn’t realistically happen within 15 minutes, maybe that’s a sign you should write something else, y’know?

Anyway, I love the idea of the Short Treks and am a big fan of Mary Wiseman’s work. I hope she gets better writing in the main season, though.

albatrosity

Agreed!!! If the writers know the limitations of the medium, is 15 minutes too short for a story like this? Uh probably!

Michael Hall

If this were 1968, I’m sure there would have been a Bob Justman memo that said something to the effect of, “I know we only have fifteen minutes to tell this particular story, but can’t we trim a line or two of dialogue to give Tilly an opportunity to explain to the audience that she isn’t just beaming the future Queen of this planet right into space?”

That there are apparently still no producers — a.k.a. adults in the room — to exercise such basic standards of quality control does not exactly fill me with anticipation for Discovery‘s second season. Mr. Pascale, with all due respect, I think you were entirely too kind.

Corylea

Ah, Bob Justman! What a treasure he was, and how I wish we still had him!

Marja

“Thank you for the flowers. They were delicious, and not filling at all.”

Michael Hall

Justman did snark before snark was cool, and he did it to perfection. 😋

MysticalDigtial

Why would the audience assume that Po is being beamed into space? There is nothing to suggest that other than there’s no shot of a planet, but it’s not in Tilly’s character to just outright beam someone into space, and context of the discussion clearly says she’s going home.

How much do some people need to be lead by the hand to infer things? It’s like all the people who said there wasn’t any morality issues in Season 1, mostly because they didn’t bet you over the head like say, The Drumhead, or Let that Be Your Last Battlefield.

Michael Hall

I can see that Justman-style sarcasm isn’t your thing. Fair enough. But that still doesn’t justify not tying-down such an obvious plot point. If Tilly wasn’t sending the future queen to a nasty death from explosive decompression (which she obviously wasn’t, for Kahless’ sake), exactly where WAS she sending her? It’s not “leading an audience by the nose” to provide essential information in telling the story, sorry.

Brian B

She shouldn’t be beaming anyone anywhere. We’ve got her sneaking an alien security breach around the ship, she’s done no scanning whatsoever to make sure it’s not bringing any lethal virus on board, she’s supposed to be on the command training program yet sneaks around and reports nothing to no one, then makes unauthorised use of the transporter.

I don’t find a single bit of this short remotely entertaining. All I can say is that I’m glad I didn’t pay to watch it…

DIGINON

There’s even some dialogue about Po not being contagious. Pay better attention next time.

albatrosity

You’re right Brian, what Tilly did in this episode could easily have gotten her kicked out of the program or demoted or anything, cuz she broke the rules for no reason

Just Another Salt Vampire

The bit with the food replicator shooting out menu items at high speed while reciting them was funny. The adversarial relationship of Tilly and the replicator is a good character bit.

Tilly started out as a very annoying character (perhaps intentionally) but has become quite lovable and interesting. I despised the early episodes of Discovery because there were no likable or relatable characters. Maybe this is getting fixed.

Michael Hall

To be honest I’m not certain I get all the fuss over having characters that are likable or relatable . If that were the sole criteria for what makes a great show, Saved by the Bell would be in its thirtieth year and the participants would be running out of room to store their Emmys and Golden Globes. Meanwhile, likable and relatable characters on shows like Deadwood, The Sopranos, and Breaking Bad were few and far between at best. I get that you ultimately want a functional and likable crew, comprised of people who can rely on each other, on a Star Trek series, but I honestly also don’t see the harm in depicting the process of developing that level of trust between individuals, particularly when they’ve been suddenly thrust into life-or-death situations that no level of training can prepare you for.

Tiger2

I get what he means though because Star Trek has ALWAYS had likable characters. The shows you pointed out are true but the difference is those are shows with grey to immoral characters from the beginning, so your POV of how you percieve them is different versus starfeet officers who are (for the most part) upstanding and noble people.

And I also think because Star Trek presents it’s crews like a family. They aren’t like other shows where you see them interact with others outside of their primarily work circle. I mean an ex-boyfriend, Academy ex-roommate or a relative will show up for an episode but the people they interact with 95% of the time are other crew mates. Obviously that’s true of Voyager. So it’s a bit different in that regard.

That said DS9 and Voyager DID have a more dysfunctional crew and there were more division in the beginning on purpose, mostly because the writers got sick of TNG’s lovey dovey approach to everyone getting along (although that was pared down a lot after third season) but even they all came together after awhile.

And why I’m not TOO bothered about DIS. Many did come off unlikable but my guess is like all of Star Trek we will see them gel more as a family in season two if that trailer is to believe and one of the reasons why I am more excited about next season.

Just Another Salt Vampire

Thanks for that analysis, Tiger. You captured exactly what I was thinking.

Tiger2

No worries! :)

Marja

Trek crews always come to feel like family. Some dysfunction, but mostly friendly and professional people who become closer after their adventures. At first, they may not get along so well, but after a while they’re “family.” And it’s nice to have family over once a week.

As opposed to “Better Call Saul,” which features brothers from a dysfunctional family who are STILL dysfunctional, and are at opposite ends of the professional spectrum. Opposite dimensions? And there are not any truly “likeable” characters, though I find myself rooting for Jimmy and Mike Ehrmantraut.

Nachum

I think Bashir was originally written as annoying and then grew. He and O’Brien even joke about it at one point.

On the other hand, Bakula decided early on that Archer was a jerk and, unfortunately, played him like that.

albatrosity

Can’t blame Bakula for that. He didn’t write his lines.

Nachum

True, but sometimes actors can change a portrayal through their acting or through more active lobbying of writers.

Jack

Apparently, I wasn’t paying close enough attention, but I still didn’t really follow what the whole issue was — she’s queen *and* she invented a dilthium cystalizer that, er, Starfleet wants? Or was it money-grubbers on her planet?

But if she’s queen, why does it matter? (ie. nobody can just take the thing away from her, can they?). And the whole bit about the planet being her twin and the need to protect the environment was rushed — so the dilithium recrystalizer eliminates/reduces the need for mining on a mining planet?

And all it took was a couple of lines from Tilley to save the day?

Who cares

The device she created would destroy the economy of her planet, and its strategic value, if the technology got out. From what I got those who feared that killed her brother the King, probably tried to kill her too. While she kept her invention now only in her head she still feared being a target, and being young she ran. She handled it a bit better than Hathaway’s runaway Princess. Lol, as a father of 3 daughter’s I’ve seen a lot of princess movies, of course my daughters count Wonder Woman as a princess movie.

Nachum

Yeah, I was pretty confused too. Why is the heir to the throne working in the mines? (It looked like she had some scars too.) If the recrystalizer is a threat, why would she keep it in her head? Etc. etc.

Who cares

1. Her culture teaches that they are a symbiotic organism with their planet. They also seem to be a Theocratic Monarchy (Priest Kings). In light of this its not unreasonable that she would spend some time in the mines.

2. Have you ever tried to delete an idea from your mind? She created the tech, it only exists as information in her mind, she can’t just erase it. It will only be another 20 or 30 years until Montgomery Scott & Spock make the same discovery (several centuries in the past), as we know from TNG’s Relics 24th century warp tech incorporates fracturing and recrystallizing dilithium.

3. Despite how easily Po manipulates Federation tech their people are closer to Archer’s era in tech. Their planet’s vast Dilithium deposits (much like another young Queen Kirk will meet in a few more years) have made them extremely strategically valuable in a time of war. While this is post war think of how even some good people may have been so afraid of losing everything, and worse, becoming a target of those trying to steal that tech, to have risked Regicide to stop it.

Nachum

Thanks! That does make sense. My line about keeping it in her head was because someone here commented that her planet may *not* want it getting out, as they’d lose business. So her best bet would be to publish it, no?

Mullet Man

Great review! Really enjoyed your sense of humour :D

Luke Montgomery

Did anyone else notice the push in shot through the window into Tilly’s quarters? Well, there is no window on that wall by the entrance door. When it cuts to the reverse shot you see now do on that wall, which on the other side is the ships interior corridor. Boo for this avoidable mistake. I suspect they that had the long push in shot and decided later to make it more interesting with the window… but it really spoiled a solid episode for me.

Penguin44

Can you repeat this in English please?

Luke Montgomery

They added a window in Tilly’s room. The camera moves through it from the outside of the ship. But there is no square window in her room next to the entrance door or anywhere. The reverse angle shows no window. The wall where the window was supposed to be never had a window and is a wall with the corridor on the other side, not space.

DIGINON

The funny thing is: The camera starts to slightly pull out again but it doesn’t pass through the window again.

GQMF

“Girl talk
Continuing what is essentially a two-woman show that seems designed to pass the Bechdel Test with an A+”

“Girl talk” and “designed to pass the Bechdel Test” are a bit patronising. It’s literally just two people talking. Would you title a regular scene between Data and Picard as boy talk, designed to show the importance of male characters? While I understand you want to highlight the the Bechdel test, it can be argued that this wouldn’t fully qualify anyway as they discuss Po’s brother (the women must talk about something other than a man).

Danpaine

That was actually my favorite line of the review. And it made me look up ‘Bechdel Test,’ which I didn’t even know was a thing. Patronizing? Not so much. A very good review.

MysticalDigtial

Two women have to talk for 5 minutes and not have the main topic be, or become, a male character. Her brother barely becomes a main topic, just a clue to her being queen, and they do a LOT of talking before that.

albatrosity

I think it’s relevant to bring up in terms of Disco’s approach toward representation. They really are trying to make it as inclusive as possible. But I agree, there wasn’t really anything girly about their talk…they’re just two women talking. And even in terms of female representation, the Bechdel test is hardly the gold standard. It’s kind of a bare minimum, and not even a particularly good metric. A lot of misogynist media has passed the test no problem.

GQMF

I have no problem with highlighting diversity, more the article wording. Even “Tilly grows up fast” sounds a little infantilizing. She’s already a grown woman and a bridge member.

Jacek

My main problem is that this episode is trying to be a story with a moral, and it feels kind of like Sesame Street, if you know what I mean. Star Trek has a tradition of being more thoughtful, bringing up an ethical dilemma, trying to show all the sides of the argument, and encouraging the viewers to consider the issue, rather than hammering a specific message into their heads. One of my favorite episodes in this regard was ENT “Cogenitor”, which really tried hard to balance the notion of equality against the prime directive and respect for the unknown. That’s the Star Trek I’d like to see, and I don’t think the 15-minute time restriction is an excuse for making the story so one-sided. One might wonder what “the other side” here is, obviously it’s terrible to suppress young talented people’s ambitions. But then why does it happen in real life? The character of Tilly’s mom should have been working on more realistic mechanics and not just serve as a strawman. And it would also be good to know a bit more about what’s going on on Xahea.

Scooter

It was mildly entertaining. Nothing special.

Gary 8.5

I thought that it was quite fun.
I am looking forward to future installments.

Thorny

I liked it. I’m not sure it is worth paying for CBS-AA if you didn’t already use it. But CBS-AA is how I watch Big Bang, Young Sheldon, Magnum, and God Friended Me. So this was just gravy.