Review: ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Explores Divine Intervention In “New Eden”

“New Eden”

Star Trek: Discovery Season 2, Episode 2 – Debuted Thursday, January 24th
Teleplay by Vaunn Wilmott & Sean Cochran; Story by Akiva Goldsman & Sean Cochran
Directed by Jonathan Frakes


The second episode of Discovery’s second season moves the action into a classic Star Trek story of the exploration of a strange new world. With the show trying to cram a bit too much into the time allotted, director Jonathan Frakes is still able to keep up the pace set in the season opener. Strong performances all around help add new dimensions to both leading characters and some who are emerging from the background. “New Eden” carries the main arc of the season and the mystery of the seven bursts forward, perhaps at the expense of some of the world-building we have come to expect from traditional Trek visits to new planets. The episode is a solid and entertaining hour of Star Trek and keeps the momentum going following the improvements seen in the season premiere.

“New Eden” — Ep #202 – Pictured: (l-r): Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham; Anson Mount as Captain Pike; Oyin Oladejo as Joann Owosekun of the CBS All Access series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. Photo Cr: Russ Martin/CBS © 2018 CBS Interactive. All Rights Reserved.



Crazy like a Spock

The second episode kicks off where “Brother” ended, with a nice quiet moment between the three focal characters of the show’s second season: Pike, Burnham and the off-screen Spock. In Pike’s homey new ready room, Burnham shares Spock’s map of the seven bursts, and the captain surprises her with the news that her estranged foster brother Spock has checked himself into a Starfleet psychiatric facility. The Sarek family dysfunction was on full display as Pike reveals Spock didn’t want them to be told and Burnham admitting she is the last person Spock would want to see, even if he could be the key to solving the seven bursts mystery of the season.

I can do this with one hand tied behind my back

Heading Out to (New) Eden

After this too-brief moment of character development, the arc plot alert siren sounds with the news that one of the seven red bursts is again bursting. This time it is so far away – specifically 51,450 light years deep into the Beta Quadrant – they have no choice but to dust off the spore drive and stick Lt. Stamets back into his navigation chamber, which apparently no one is worried is going to eventually kill him anymore. After Pike winks at the audience, quipping about how he will just take it on faith that the ship can “skip across the universe on a highway made of mushrooms,” it’s Black Alert time once again on the Disco.

Like their last adventure, upon arrival at the location of the burst, there is no red signal to be found. However, there is a lovely Class M planet with a classic Trek mystery, it is populated with humans from the World War III era before warp drive was even a gleam in Zefram Cochrane’s eye. To investigate an ancient distress call coming from a church, Pike assembles a landing party joined by Burnham and Owosekun, who becomes the first Discovery bridge officer to get to join the cool kids on a mission thanks to her background as someone raised in a Luddite community, helpful for keeping their Prime Directive cover when visiting a pre-warp culture.

Lieutenant, if that church moves so much as an inch, hit it right in the steeple

After dropping references to Shakespeare and Arthur C. Clarke, both delving into the “science versus faith” theme of the season, the team is on the planet we learn is called Terralysium (translation: Earth Paradise), discovering its forefathers were transported off old Earth during the war by … wait for it… a red angel, just like the one Michael saw in her vision in “Brother.” The seeming miracle of a church delivered to safety away from nuclear annihilation inspired this “New Eden” community to form a new faith and scrapbook a new scripture, based on seven of Earth’s main religions. Oh yeah, that seven is surely not a coincidence either.

Is that Flash? DC/Star Trek crossover confirmed?

As so often is the case, they also discover there is some trouble in this paradise. While most have acquiesced to live as Space Amish, some hold on to the memory of science, including Jacob, whose family set up the distress call decades before in hopes of rescue from more advanced humans. He quickly susses out the landing party, locking them in the church and stealing their technology to prove to the community that they have been saved. But the “All Mother” leader and remaining members of the community aren’t buying it. Things get even worse after Owosekun MacGyvers the team’s escape with a magnet, only to have Pike seriously injured saving a young girl who was never taught to not play with a loaded phaser.

These people think streaming from the cloud means a light rain, please get me off this backward rock

They see dead people

The B-plot for “New Eden” focuses on the scientific dynamic duo of Stamets and Tilly, with Anthony Rapp and Mary Wiseman continuing to show some of the best character chemistry for the series. Tilly is overly excited (which perhaps is her normal setting) that the spore drive gives Stamets a reason to stay on the ship. However, Paul – still clearly in pain – is concerned he could get lost again in the mycelial network, revealing he thinks his dead partner Hugh still exists in there in some form. The young ensign takes it upon herself to do some mad science with the giant floating rock of dark matter captured in “Brother,” but this attempt to find an alternative form of spore navigation literally blows up in her face, sending her to sickbay.

The moment you realize these new shades are not a good look for you

Saru is in no way amused by Tilly’s reckless behavior but is impressed by her ingenuity. In a touching scene played beautifully by Doug Jones, we see what may be the start of a mentorship of Tilly for the Command Training Program, with Saru stepping in for the distracted Michael as Tilly’s new life coach.

Speaking of new relationships, Tilly spends the rest of the episode mostly talking to a new character named May, who helps her work out various problems to help save the day. May is fun and friendly with Tilly, showing an established friendship. There is only one small little problem, that takes Tilly a bit too long to figure out: May has never been a member of the crew. Oh yeah, and she is supposed to be dead. A big clue as to what is probably going on here is when May says “your mind is so much fun,” indicating Tilly has picked up a little passenger, probably when she was playing with that crazy asteroid in the shuttle bay. This could also relate to that little bit of spore that landed on her should in season one. But this possession plotline will have to wait for the next episodes as there is no time to waste.

I’m your imaginary friend and even I think you need to dial it back a bit

The Fast and the Furious: Starfleet Drift

While Pike and Burnham are visiting New Eden, Saru and the crew face the main ticking clock jeopardy of the episode, with one of the planet’s rings about to shower deadly radiation on the surface, killing everyone. Once again, with transporters and shuttles incapable of saving the day, it’s time to get creative with a mix of Star Trek tech and racing video game stunts. This time Detmer, Tilly and Stamets come together to plan some crazy maneuvers involving the spore drive, tractoring the dark matter asteroid behind the ship and having the USS Discovery “drifting” as it scoops up the dangerous radioactive debris falling towards the planet. But the show may be pushing the more casual and relatable dialogue with assessments like, “Bad.” “Bad?” “Really bad.” And I bet you never thought you would hear “initiating donut maneuver” in Star Trek.

All that aside, the season continues to go out of its way to add dimensions to members of the bridge crew and to show that things happen in Starfleet through teamwork and ingenuity. And in another action-packed sequence, we see what the USS Discovery can really do, making the ship herself another character that is getting some much-needed growth and attention. The visual effects are top notch and Jeff Russo’s more aggressive music for this season pick up on the premiere’s ambitions to make the show more cinematic.

If it is dark matter, how come we can see it?

But with all this teamwork, one has to wonder: where is Jett Reno? Not only was Tig Notaro’s acerbic engineer a delightful addition to the season premiere, she was also shown to be an ingenious problem solver. Perhaps it was one too many techie cooks in the kitchen, but the USS Discovery should not be reliant on last-minute Tilly and/or Stamets “eureka” moments of technobabble. Or if that is the plan, at least leave an console open on the bridge for them to use after they burst in dramatically.

Nailing the classic Star Trek bridge lean 

Seeing the light

The episode wraps up with Pike returned to the Discovery to be healed by Dr. Pollard, who got a first name last week and shows some sass in episode two, giving her a bit more personality instead of just being a walking medical tricorder. After some more debate with Burnham over faith and the Prime Directive, Pike is convinced to bend the rules and reveal the truth to Jacob, and to trade a power cell for a recording of the moment when the New Eden church was saved during World War III.

Burnham also reveals to Pike how she saw the Red Angel when she was injured on the asteroid in the season opener. And now Pike sees it too, revealed in the recording Jacob gave Pike. The game is afoot.

A battery for a mint-condition piece of World War III memorabilia? Jacob, you got robbed


Let us pray?

Hinted at in the season opener, this episode dove headlong into the theme for the new season of science versus faith. While issues of belief and faith have been explored in Star Trek before, particularly on Deep Space Nine, this season appears to reveal more about how faith is perceived in the 23rd century of Star Trek’s Federation. The episode was replete with religious terminology with talk of “angels,” “revelation,” “salvation” and even the character named Jacob is a biblical reference to the patriarch of the Israelites, who wrestled with an angel. There are even specific shoutouts to seven Earth religions – Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddism, Shinto, and Wicca – mostly mentioned for the first time in the franchise.

While Pike and Burnham are showing good chemistry and a growing trust not seen with Lorca, the show is also setting up a dichotomy between the pair in line with the theme of faith and science. This second episode strips away some of the action-movie heroics of the season two opener for both, revealing some of their nuances and even flaws. Pike is shown to be fluent in the language of belief, if not a believer himself, being raised as by a professor of comparative religions. Burnham reminds us she grew up on Vulcan and her strict adherence to logic and science borders on the intolerant, as she shows a lack of compassion for the faithful of New Eden, dismissing their beliefs as just a pack of lies.

Science vs. Faith? – a bit on the nose

The debate over the nature of the red angel is reminiscent of the same debate over Bajor’s Prophets, seen as “wormhole aliens” to members of Starfleet. But this season promises to go deeper into this debate and how religion and faith are perceived in the Federation of the future. As for the big mystery itself, “New Eden” didn’t provide any answers yet, but there are hints that the red bursts may be part of some kind of galactic morality test. While it is a minefield, so far this entire foray into the issue of faith remains intriguing and hopefully can avoid some of the heavy-handedness the series dabbled in the first season when dealing with some hot topics.

I will be a bit more in focus each episode

General Order One is actually quite specific

“New Eden” is another in a long tradition of Star Trek episodes that wrestled with Starfleet’s first commandment, General Order One, better known as the Prime Directive. With the Discovery breaking out of local space and doing some far frontier exploring this was bound to come up, with the interesting twist that even with humans from Earth, rules are rules and pre-warp means no-interference. Captain Pike leads the way, showing he is very much of a by-the-book kind of leader, perhaps even showing he may be rigid to a fault.

The debate between him and Michael also offered some opportunities for character development. Burnham showed how she has learned her lesson about following orders, after the disastrous consequences from “The Vulcan Hello.” And Pike shows some flexibility here, as Burnham was able to convince Pike to bend the rules enough, in the name of the mission. Although after already getting spotted beaming up to the ship, the damage may have been done.  These kinds of debates over the Prime Directive are nothing new, but with regards to how it was handled by Pike’s landing party, “New Eden” was able to keep it fresh.

Welcome to the New Eden canon St. Joann, St. Christopher and St. Michael

However, things were a bit different on board the USS Discovery. Once it became clear that the planet’s inhabitants were in danger from what seemed like a natural phenomenon, the crew did not hesitate in the decision to save them all, with Saru explicitly saying they were responsible for “every living being” on the planet. While it showed character growth for Saru to keep his ganglia in check when informed of the “extinction level event,” he seems to have forgotten the Prime Directive. Pike was clear before he left the ship that the Prime Directive applied and even after learning the inhabitants were from Earth he was undeterred and stuck to the regulations. But Saru, even without that info, decided without debate to intervene.

And this gets to something that was also seen in the first moments of the pilot for the series (“The Vulcan Hello”), when Burnham and Georgiou save the pre-warp Crepusculan civilization from a draught that would have caused their extinction. Here, as in that episode, the writers seem to treat the Prime Directive as just a rule about getting caught interfering, when the rule is about the interfering itself. There is a bit of handwaving about how those on the planet are not even aware of the danger, but does that really change the rules? Even the often-derided Star Trek Into Darkness got this right, with Kirk’s attempt to cover up not just how they were seen, but the entire attempt to save the planet Nibiru from a super-volcano. Jean Luc-Picard made this very clear in episodes like “Homeward,” “Who Watches the Watchers,” and “The Masterpiece Society” that it isn’t Starfleet’s job to run around to interfere, even when it is humans involved. Of course, things play a bit more fast and loose in the TOS era, and maybe Saru understands the importance of bending the rules as Georgiou did for him in Short Treks “The Brightest Star.” But there should at least have been some debate about it on the bridge.

If only the dinosaurs had had a guardian angel like the USS Discovery

Just stopping by strange new worlds

A lot of fans were excited when previews for “New Eden” were released earlier this week, revealing a classic exploration storyline. And to be sure, writers Vaunn Wilmott, Sean Cochran and Akiva Goldsman cooked up some intriguing new spins on the old premise. The concept of this World War III-era community living for 200 years on their own deep in the Beta Quadrant raises so many questions. Alas, we came away with very few answers as there was only a surface level exploration of this society. Even the only two characters from the planet who get any exploration – Jacob and the All Mother – seemed to be proxies for Michael Burnham and Captain Pike, acting as extensions for their discussions over science and faith.

And this gets into the fundamental difference with Discovery. It is a highly serialized series, with multiple plates spinning on plot arcs and character arcs. It derives most of its conflict within the main cast and so even when the USS Discovery explores a strange new world like in “New Eden” or last season’s “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum,” the strange new world is more of a stage for our known characters to act out their continuing drama. As noted before, the episode gives good attention to main and minor recurring characters, and that comes at the expense of the single-episode characters.

With “New Eden” returning to the more standard 43-minute runtime, there simply isn’t enough time being given to allow for the kind of world-building you would expect for an exploration episode of Star Trek. This could by some be considered a shortcoming, however, it simply is part of the nature of this show. Discovery is designed for the binge era and the ongoing arcs take precedence over making each episode feel like a total and complete standalone story. The USS Discovery has places to go and angels to see, which means a bit of speed dating with the planet of the week.

We came, we saw, we lit the place up

Keep it up, but mellow out

“New Eden” was a solid second episode for what continues to be a promising second season of Star Trek: Discovery. However, the show could relax a bit and not feel the need to keep up a relentless pace in order to maintain the audience’s interest. Excitement is fun, but Discovery should not forget to stop and smell the alien roses along the way.

On the left side of the starship, you will see a lovely view of yet another nebula

Random thoughts, connections, easter eggs, and more screen caps

  • Tilly is the youngest person ever to get into the Starfleet Command Training Program.
  • Pike again uses “hit it,” making it his signature catchphrase, but probably won’t catch on like Picard’s “engage.”
  • Saru ability watch: speaks 90 languages.
  • English is considered “Federation standard.”
  • Detmer reveals she has had a pilot’s license since age 12.
  • Pike quotes Shakespeare’s Hamlet, which has been referenced multiple times in Trek history starting with TOS “The Conscience of the King.” The play is even available in Klingon, or “the original Klingon” if you prefer.
  • Tilly’s to-do list including important things such as “Do some light ‘working on myself'” and “Research Starfleet’s favorite opera.”
  • Tilly went to Musk Junior High, a reference to entrepreneur and Tesla/Space-X CEO Elon Musk. This is his second shoutout in the series.
  • The episode dropped a lot of science and tech referenced before on Trek including Metreon particles and dark matter.
  • Pike’s ready room is bigger than Lorca’s and has a southwestern feel to it, befitting his Mojave upbringing.
  • Bringing the spore drive back so soon is not a surprise, and it was strongly hinted at by the former showrunners long before production even started on the season, but it brings back the problem of finding a way to explain why it was never heard from or used again. Captain Janeway is someone who would have especially appreciated its capabilities.
  • The second season continues to tap more into the wide range of the Star Trek sound library, such as Pike’s ready room door chime coming from Voyager and the TNG movies. The old beacon Jacob uses has some TOS “garbled message” sounds mixed in as well.
  • Wilson Cruz does not appear in this episode.

The chaos of Tilly’s todo list explains a lot


Star Trek: Discovery is available exclusively in the USA on CBS All Access. It airs in Canada on Space and streams on CraveTV. It is available on Netflix everywhere else. The second season debuted on All Access and Space on Thursday, January 17th, 2019, and on Netflix January 18, 2019.

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

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I thought this episode was a fantastic return to what makes Star Trek. I’m also fascinated with Pike’s background on the science vs religion debate and look forward to seeing how the develop this theme in the show. Overall, I’d give the whole thing a 9 out of 10.

I give it a 5/10. It was good, but pretty average, which i’ll admit was refreshing, after a season and premiere of “big” stories.

But the same reason most loved this is why I didn’t: the TOS vibe. It boasted a tired story, the “Long Lost Earth Society” mixed with another overused trope of “Luddite Colonists in Distress.” It didn’t explore the colony enough to make it interesting in its own right, and the part that WAS interesting (Jacob) got mere minutes on screen. Would have liked to see more about the division between the luddites and those like Jacob who were looking for the truth. More of the disagreement in philosophy between Burnham and Pike on what to do. Additionally, given that Jacob knew about space travel, couldn’t they have offered to take him away, as Georgiou did Saru? Overall, the story felt rushed.

Which is odd, because B-story with the planetary cataclysm* felt like filler, and the C story of Tilly’s ghost-pal made the episode feel overstuffed– which is a shame considering it had a shorter than average run time.

*speaking of, given that this was a pre-warp civilization that invoked the Prime Directive, shouldn’t they have let the cataclysm play out and destroy the planet as it was meant to?

I agree that a lot of the show did feel rushed. Seemed like they could have used a little more time for certain aspects of it to sink in. And at 44 minutes they had a lot of extra time to do just that.

And regarding saving them from the ship…. Yes. That was brought up in the review.

The runtime could have been longer, but cut out the Tully C story, and you’ve got another 10 minutes to explore life on the surface.

True but I have a feeling that might be relevant to the season long story arc, unfortunately.

Agreed, but that’s where they could have improved the writing. Maybe seed some of that story in the previous episode, follow it up here for one scene, and pay it off in the next episode. Or keep Tilly on the bridge and incorporate the hallucination into the B-story– perhaps the hallucination isn’t a deceased friend, but Saru himself, and the reveal at the end is that Saru was incapacitated in sickbay during the crisis.

I don’t know, lots of different ways to play it, they just chose one that overstuffed the episode and detracted from the “A” story.

DSC needs better writing period.

It doesn’t explore these ideas in the depth of past shows. Itsxmire like, this is cool, that is sweet and let’s put them in.

Substance replaced by spectacle.

“Substance replaced by spectacle.”

Well said.

I think you exaggerate. There is plenty of substance and good writing, but like anything else it’s not perfect and has weak spots.

I agree with your assertion about the Jacob getting short shrift in the story. He was the most interesting character on the planet. I can also understand the idea of the episode seeming overfilled. But by the same token, it’s 45 minutes of show. I’m watching it with the commercials, so its taking up the full 60 minute slot, from my perspective. I’ve been rewatching some of favorite episodes from previous series (…as well as seasons 1 and 2 of Enterprise) and I have to say that, accounting for ad time, the pacing of last night’s episode is fairly similar to episodes of other series. I agree, it can seem rushed, but i think that’s just the nature of the “60 minutes with commericals” format. In the age of GOT/big cable tentpole shows with NO commercials, CBSAA format may feel like it chafes the viewership experience a bit. Just my opinion…..

It was only a 45 minute show because they decided it was. To M31’s point, they could have made this a 55min or 62min episode. Or longer. I know it airs on TV in some territories, but they’ve played with longer run times before.

Discovery Season 1 goes all out on something different – “No that’s not Star Trek! It’s too extreme and different!”
Discovery Season 2 tries a classic Star Trek plot device – “Tired story! Overused trope!”

I’m just ribbing you, but even so, it does feel like sometimes the show just can’t win.

Except that I never said Season 1 was too extreme and different. I loved Season 1. I loved the Season 2 premiere. I adore and embrace new and different. There’s also a big difference between being “more classic” and using a tired trope.

For example, tone and themes can contribute to a classic trek feel, but still feature a new, different story and new and different characters. This episode simply felt like a remake of a TOS episode.

Which i’m not against, and I didn’t hate this episode, I just found it rushed and overstuffed, which didn’t help distract me from the copycat feel. Prior to airing i had commented “I hope there’s an interesting new twist on this tired old trope.”

There wasn’t, and that was the problem. Use of an old idea needs something new to keep it fresh.

Yeah, they COMPLETELY blew the prime directive here. When meeting a pre-warp civilization you NEVER even reveal your presence to them, let alone try to actually make contact. I like the show and its ‘vibe’ is smoothing out. But they need to get their trek lore down or it really will turn into some other sci-fi show, and not be trek at all. I’m rootin’ for ’em!

Um, they’ve got their lore down. They didn’t blow it any more than any other episode where they broke the prime directive. My issue was how cavalierly they broke it, with very little debate or discussion.

I think this whole mushroom drive thing is way too realistic and limiting the writers possibilities. Why do not say: “This is the machine that goes ‘bing'”. They push a button, it goes “bing” and away they go where ever they want to.

I’d suggest watching the series before making such judgements.

It wasn’t a judgement but a suggestion.

I see a criticism of the spore drive, and no suggestions in your post.

I was kinda bored. It reminded me of all those lame TOS episodes. I was more interested in what was going on with Tilly and her cute friend.

I enjoyed the second episode. Not as much as the first, but it was still quite good. I think both the A and B stories worked well together. I look forward to seeing more of the dynamics between Pike and Burnham. Also, I had a feeling that Tilly’s new friend was not whom she seems from the beginning. It always felt like they just appeared out of nowhere.

Yeah, I also felt “She’s not real” from the first time Mae opened her mouth; I think we were supposed to realize that. Though maybe not quite so early. :-)

I didn’t pick up on it until it mentioned how fun her mind was. Then it was obvious.

She’s Tilly’s Tinkerbell.

It’s funny so many people are applauding the rather Trek-like A & B story format. I happened to come across a quote from Ron Moore this morning where he griped about the mandate for A & B stories:

“Joe Menosky and I wrote ‘In Theory’, the Data romance, and we had to come up with some stupid subspace anomaly that the Enterprise had to be battling at the same time. It was annoying storytelling, but that was built in to the structure of the show. While you were downstairs with Data, you always kind of wondered what the ship was doing”

I’m not picking on the format, as often times it works very well, particularly when they become connected in the climax, but an interesting coincidence to come upon this quote today.

It’s funny so many people are applauding the rather Trek-like A & B story format. I happened to come across a quote from Ron Moore this morning where he griped about the mandate for A & B stories:

“Joe Menosky and I wrote ‘In Theory’, the Data romance, and we had to come up with some stoopid subspace anomaly that the Enterprise had to be battling at the same time. It was annoyng storytelling, but that was built in to the structure of the show. While you were downstairs with Data, you always kind of wondered what the ship was doing”

I’m not picking on the format, as often times it works very well, particularly when they become connected in the climax, but an interesting coincidence to come upon this quote today.

Gene Roddenberry was a well-known atheist, so I’m always suspicious when Star Trek tries to talk about faith. As far as I’m concerned, Kirk said it all in “Who Mourns for Adonais” when he said, “Mankind has no need for gods.” I really hope that we’re NOT going to have Kurtzman’s religion shoved down our throats.

You’re missing a part of that line though. Kirk continues on to say “We find the one quite adequate.”

Supposedly that extra bit is Gene Coon’s doing, but regardless, canonically there was some concept of a Judeo-Christian God in TOS. Not that I’m keen on it. But there ya go.

With regards to Kurtzman, he didn’t write the season really, the season was mapped out by Harberts starting in early 2018, and especially the first 5 episodes or so are still very much in Harberts’ and Berg’s court. So these are their ideas of science versus faith. So if you want critique someone, it’s primarily Harberts and Berg.

Oh, I know that Kirk goes on; I just found the first half of his statement enough. :-)

I had heard that it was the network censors who insisted that “We find the one quite sufficient” be added, but I have no idea how true that is.

Religion has its pluses and minuses; I’m not saying that it’s all bad. But it has quite a stranglehold on American culture — in a way that it doesn’t have in most of Western Europe — and I found Star Trek to be refreshing in being a low-religion zone. I’m feeling anxious about having that undermined and hope that we’ll end up in a truly Trekkian place at the end of the season.

I did like it that if they had to have religion that at least the local religion included seven major Earth religions, including Wicca.

So far, the red angels have led the Discovery to save humans twice. I hope that they can save Vulcans or Andorians or Tellarites in the weeks to come, that it’s Federation peoples that they save and not just Earth people.

I’m feeling anxious about having that undermined and hope that we’ll end up in a truly Trekkian place at the end of the season.

I agree, I think many of us are a little leery of how this will play out. Hoping for the best.

I think we’re safe. Pike did say in the episode something along the lines of “Aliens with advance technology would be indistinguishable from God”. The modified Arthur C. quote.

Except that’s not what Kirk said, which was, “We find the one quite sufficient.” This was 1968, after all.

Please see my reply to Matt Wright.

Roddenberry might have been an atheist, but he certainly wasn’t as dogmatic about it as you make him to be. And at no point do I see any form of religious belief “shoved down our throats” in that specific episode. As a matter of fact even the kind of religion SHOWN in that episode is as holistic as it gets and the bit of discussion taking place in the episode is that of an atheist vs. an agnostic, if anything. But both characters, Burnham and Pike, are portrayed as skeptics in their own way – at least that’s what I took away from it (it may still turn into a “Scully vs. Mulder”-thing at some point).
So I think it’s fair to ask the question: Have you actually watched the episode?

Yeah yeah, Thing is faith and religion has been mentioned multiple times in every Star Trek.

DS9 dealt with at least three or four different species’ religions in grand detail. :)

I agree – I thought some of the lines from Pike were odd. Arthur C Clarke being “reimagined” to say that aliens are gods was clunky at best. (I’m paraphrasing heavily). If this turns out that Michael gets converted to Christianity at the end of the season, then I’ll be most vexed, but in a show that has had Q in various guises, I’m really fine with omnipotent beings portraying themselves as false gods.

And everything else was great. Even the shots of the ship are so much better this season and the crew are all much more interesting.

So yeah, I’m enjoying this a lot. Just slightly worried about where it might be heading. :-)

I thought the ACC line was great because it showed an evolution of philosophy, something we rarely see in Trek. Most philosophy in Trek has been rooted in the present or past.

LOL I don’t think anyone is getting converted. And they made it pretty clear in this episode there wasn’t a basis of any one religion but a combination of all of them which I thought was clever. They were only in a church because that transported with them along with the rest of the town. And he was saying others have changed that line to mean alien. And its not really as stretch most people think of alien technology when compared to our technology today.


That reinterpretation of Clarke’s Third Law is a real life fact. Meaning the show didn’t make that up.

The line didn’t say “aliens are gods,” it said “beings we may meet that seem like gods might indeed just be sufficiently advanced aliens.”

I took that modified quote as foreshadowing of where the season might be going, and one of many potential solutions to all the seemingly supernatural events we are witnessing. It seems like this season we’re going to be dealing a lot with unexplainable events which are indistinguishable from magic, so it seems like that modified ACC quote is a highly relevant argument for our explorer/scientist characters (and audience) to hold in mind.

I am not comfortable with contemporary religion into Trek.

Bajoran faith commented on the power of faith without being too obvious on our faiths

And on DSC it is just not as layered. DSC does not make me think or invite debate that past shows did

Trek always invited debate, to discuss the issues. However, DSC is kind of telling you which way to go, not as invested in the debates and neither are the writers.

Is that because you’re religious and you fear they might say something that will offend your sincerely held beliefs?

No, I am not religious at all.

Well then I would say that Trek has a history of being heavy handed on social and moral matters, and a history of making a judgement on them, or “telling you which way to go” as you put it.

Not really. 90s/2000s Trek as well as the movies was always gave pros/cons to religion.

This episode was great and very Star Trek! Loved it!

When it was revealed that Tilly’s old schoolmate wasn’t really there, I immediately thought it was the Talosians creating the illusion just like with the fortune cookie fortune that Pike finds. Could they be helping the Discovery crew?

Also the red angel still looks very similar to the Iconians in Star Trek Online. Can’t wait to find out more about it.

Mae coaching Tilly on how to save New Eden really makes me think this was another manifestation of the Red Angel.

Me too, also the silhouette of the red angel often seemed to me to have a giant Talosian head!

I like the episode a lot. I though more about the Metrons then the Telosian. Both do like to make test their subjects. Can’t wait to see the Klingons comes into play.

@Andre I think the reason a lot of us think it’s the talosions is because Kurtzman has pretty much confirmed that they’re appearing this season. I kind of wish he hadn’t, last year he casually mentioned we’d been visiting the mirror universe and that one off hand comment pretty much signposted how the hole season was going to play out.

Wasn’t it Johnathan Frakes who spoiled the bit about that mirror universe? In any case yeah, perhaps it would have had more impact if it was kept silent.

Yeah that was totally Frakes lol. His words hit warp speed around the internet including here.

@alphantrion ah yes I think you could be right!

I try to avoid anything with spoilers previous to the start of movies and TV series. I often don’t go to movies because the trailers had showed too much. That said, the Telosians fit with Pike and Spock timing together. The Metrons did come only with Kirk at the helm.

Kurtzman may have been kidding/trolling about that.

I’m hoping the Red Angels are the Preservers. It’s not like humans haven’t been rescued before by some advanced alien species.

@sisko No it’s not, I was actually hoping for a connection to the preservers while I was watching the episode. However, didn’t they typically leave identifying technology close to the settlements they seeded? Specifically an asteroid deflector!

Without cheating and going to Memory Alpha, I’m trying to remember how many episodes we had of the Preservers… And if it was only that one, then, yeah, the asteroid deflector.

I am Kirok!!

Maybe – but I hope not. We don’t need the Talosians.

There the iconians look at the painted windows of the church

Plus in the trailers you see one trying to grab saru

@Sisko @Jack You know, thinking about it maybe you’re both actually right. There’s certainly valid reasons for speculating on both the iconians and the preservers. Obviously the iconians ability to travel anywhere in the blink of an eye would be very easy to link to the mycellial network and whoever transported the church all the way to the beta quadrant was ceratainly behaving like a preserver. Might it be possible that we’re seeing a story unfold that links some of the classic ancient races? Maybe the Talosians are actually the last surviving members of the Preservers and their menagerie a scaled down version of their previous conservation efforts. Red’s not the most angelic of colours but the Iconians were also known as “demons of air and darkness” and maybe they just happen to have been enemies of the Preservers.

Nice review. Pike is just fantastic. Anson Mount is absolutely Crushing this part.
Loved the Pike, Burnham and Saru roundtable. Great discourse there.
Very interesting take on the Prime Directive, nice tension build throughout. I actually enjoyed the space shots of Discovery in this episode too (except the momentary upside down part).
“Initiating donut maneuver.” Excellent, subtle humor. And Tilly has a guardian
angel? An imaginary friend? A resident ghost? Compelling. What a thoughtful episode.
Very impressed, best Star Trek episode I’ve seen in a couple of DECADES. The difference
between this season and last so far is night and day. Thank you to Jonathan Frakes for this one, too.
This, is an excellent point about using the spore drive – “…but it brings back the problem of finding a way to explain why it was never heard from or used again.” Which again speaks to the prequel problem. The only way I see to rectify it if they’re going to keep on using it is at the end of the series, something happens to Discovery which wipes its existence from the timeline, and from the memories of all our classic characters who encounter her?

To be fair Pike didn’t seem as though he was aware of the spore drive and it does kind of make sense that the one weapon that kept the Klingons at bay would be classified. The Voyager question does have the potential to be a plot hole but Anthony might have actually answered his own question in his review. Starfleet were a little more fast and loose with the rules in the 23rd century, this was clear in TOS, also the movies and it’s been cemented in Discovery. Reg Barclay and the rest of the Pathfinder team may very well have considered the sporedrive but it may have been dismissed out of hand because they hadn’t found a way to use it without genetically altering a human or enslaving a member of a sentient tardigrade species.

That episode was actually… pretty good, I’d say. In fact, I’d almost go as far as to say that it was probably the show’s one episode that I have enjoyed most thoroughly so far. It’s starting to feel more and more like DISCO just completely changed course after S1, very much akin to the changes between TNG’s first and second seasons (even though in TNG, as we all know, S2 was still the “not quite there yet”-season) – this episode even featured an extended TNG-style briefing scene, wouldcha believe it! And YET (hey, what else would you expect?) some of the earlier weaknesses still keep popping up – and again, they’re really more “conceptual” in nature, rather than just ONE writer’s or producer’s fault. For example, once again, the episode was just a fair bit too short! The A- and B-plots were at the same time clearly separate but still so intermingled (which in itself is definitely not a bad thing) that the entire episode lacked that certain bit of focus – I for one would’ve just loved to see a little more of New Eden and the people living there, which doesn’t mean that the Tilly-subplot wasn’t interesting (which, IMO, sets it apart from “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum”, the example named in the review – since that one had three concurrent plot threads going and all of them were merely brushed, so that there was no real way to get invested in any particular one)! Then there was the expository monologue delivered by the lady in New Eden (I can’t remember whether she was named, so I’m gonna call her Mrs. Exposition), which felt way too expansive and heavy-handed – are we supposed to believe that people from “the North” live in such isolation that they know literally nothing about the history of (presumably) the entire planet’s human society? Thirdly, I couldn’t quite figure out whether the inclusion of Owosekun in the landing party was just a wasted opportunity or actually meant as a bit of a joke, since Burnham suggests bringing her along on the grounds that she had presumably grown up within a religious community, but a minute after they beam down it turns out she had no religious upbringing at all. And lastly there was this instance of total implausibility that really ground my gears: So, as I understood, Discovery or the Discovery’s tractor beams did not have enough power to pull away that radioactive debris, but it was enough to pull that super-dense asteroid they carried around in their shuttle bay, that had so much mass that it could alter the course of the debris thanks to its gravitational pull? And without any sort of “anti-gravity-field” (which was presumably how they managed to transport it in the first place) sorrounding it? Nothing against a bit of tech-magic – it’s science-FICTION after all – but it really needs to adhere to its own in-universe laws, otherwise it becomes just the laziest of plot-devices. Returning to the point about conceptual problems though, there’s also a distinct conceptual improvement in S2. As writers and actors alike have already pointed out, the red bursts (or red angels) are a simple, but really effective vehicle to have the story evolve in a rather episodic fashion, but not forget about the big picture. And there was just a lot else to love in that episode, like the little bits of characterisation that we were fed on the fly and that led to some neat character interaction, like Burnham being a rather strict atheist thanks to her Vulcanian upbringing and Pike being more on the agnostic side (with a sci-fi spin on it, basically: “I know there’s stuff I can’t understand, but maybe highly advanced aliens can”). I know some of the faith vs. science stuff was very much on-the-nose, but whenever those issues came up during character interaction (rather than exposition, that is) it was really well done! The Saru/Tilly-interaction on the other hand struck a less cerebral and much more heartwarming note. And even though their closeness came a little bit out of the blue, the characters’ motivations were very clear and Saru came across as the experienced, considerate and competent officer he was always supposed to be! Tilly herself on the other hand … is starting to get a bit too “Wesley”, even though she got a little damper to her ambition this time around. Oh and I also quite liked how the “Mae”-character became more mysterious everytime she showed up – albeit not entirely unpredictably – until you just KNEW that something wasn’t quite right (or quite human, for that matter) about her , starting with her having that childlike voice and ultimately doing little else besides reflecting Tilly’s thoughts right back at her – it was… Read more »

Owosekun was brought because she grew up in a Luddite community that would have rejected technology – so closer to the community in New Eden. Nothing to do with religious beliefs

Ah yes, you’re right. Luddites aren’t implicitly religious. I guess I just heard “Luddite” and immediately thought “Amish”.

And still did nothing with this idea. She never talked about it in the episode and just brought up to get her there.

Luddite community in the 23rd Century, writers please tell me more.

Yeah I don’t get the point of saying specifically the character came from a Luddite community to join the away team and yet did absolutely nothing with it once they got there. Clearly they were just looking for some excuse to have the character there but I think they could’ve just said she has the most experience of the crew going undercover on pre-warp away team missions and left it at that (especially since Discovery is really a science vessel and not a exploratory one).

And whats even odder was they weren’t Luddites at all. THey simply didn’t have the resources or people to develop more modern technology. I didn’t get a sense it was some kind of way of life for them, it was just out of circumstances.

If they could effectively “tow” that space debris in such a manner, then why just make a circle? Why not tow it further out of the planet’s gravity well and dump it?

Also, if the asteroid is so dense that a pebble of it crushed a metallic table, then how did Burnham pick up and hold a larger segment of it while beaming up from the Hiawatha site? And how did the Hiawatha and all its inhabitants not get crushed on the asteroid’s surface along with the landing party when they arrived?

And in further thought, the gravitational pull of that asteroid would affect relative time elapsed. Eleven months to those inside the Hiawatha would have been decades to those beyond it.

Oh geez, pandora’s box right there. Time for the MST3K mantra, I guess – “It’s just a show. I should really just relax…”

After having rewatched the episode, I gotta walk back that one grievance I have uttered: “Mrs. Exposition’s” (well, they call her the “All-Mother”, this time around I’ve actually memorised it) monologue actually had some justification in that it was presumably a kind of sermon for the Harvest Moon ceremony they’re witnessing. It still gets somewhat heavy-handed when Burnham gets into that slight spat with her, but it also serves the function to show us that even though New Eden’s belief-system (and by extension presumably Terralysium’s, since she talks about “pilgrimages” to New Eden), although being made up of multiple faiths and therefore being “holistic” as far as religion can be, it’s still very dogmatic.

And I’ve also noticed we actually got a bit of non-instant in-universe trivia from that episode: We know now that Tilly must have been born around 2236, since she obviously attended junior high school with May Ahearn (that’s how the subtitles spell it – not “Mae”), who was born in that year. It’s also quite interesting, since this makes Tilly 21 years old (22 at at a max), whereas Mary Wiseman is actually just a few months younger than Sonequa Martin-Green, and almost 4 years older than Emily Coutts, who portrays her superior officer, Lt. Detmer).

I agree with you about ‘All Mother’. I felt the same way originally that her original scene explaining the Red Angel was heavy handed in the exposition and set up. But then I read somewhere else that church is considered sacred (being where the Red Angel originally appeared) and its part of a ceremony people come from all over to visit the church and hear the story. So its not as bad as I originally felt it was. And I also agree its a bit heavy handed with the Burnham exchange with Jacob but in that context its not too bad.

I do wish we could’ve saw more of the town though and get a sense of how life worked there. We got to hear about their beliefs, but little else in terms of their actual lives and how their religion plays a part of it.

Yeah, so my original point still stands: Discovery’s biggest weakness lies in expository dialogue.
However, it’s nowhere near as bad as the first minutes of “The Vulcan Hello”: “Hey Captain Philippa Georgiou, with whom I have a very cordial relationship, may I explain our mission to you, even though we have been on it for several hours by now?” – “Of course, ambitious Commander Michael Burnham, who has been serving under me for seven years now. I’d appreciate if you’d also reiterate the purpose of Starfleet for me (since it’s not a “peacekeeping and humanitarian Armada”, as that other guy once said in a different universe).”

LOL I actually forgot just how bad that first scene was in the Vulcan Hello. Yeah, awful set up. I get they were doing it for the newbies new to Star Trek but I still don’t understand why not just do it in the form of a captain’s log? I mean that was the entire point of them, to explain the mission without having the characters repeating it to all the officers who should know why they are there.

Hopefully it will improve more this season.

“(that’s how the subtitles spell it – not “Mae”)”

On re-watching, the end-credits list the actress playing “Teen May Hologram” as well.

How did Saru violate the Prime Directive? He did not interfere with the people or interfere with their development. In STID Star Fleet had no problem stopping the volcano from exploding to save that world, they just didn’t want him to take the ship in to save Spock.

Saru took a direct action to stop their extinction. See also “Pen Pals” and “Homeward.” Both were considered violations of the Prime Directive. The PD is about not interfering in a planet’s natural history, which includes natural disasters. And Kirk got in trouble not just for being seen in STID, he was there to survey the planet. He took matters into his own hands and violated the prime directive when he realized a volcano would kill them all.

There’s a nice list of things that are prohibited by the PD based on what’s been said in the TV shows and movies on Memory-Alpha:

I disagree with this. First, in “Pen Pals,” the issue seemed to be Data’s contact with Sarjenka, not the research on whatever geological phenomenon was causing the earthquakes. Indeed Wesley headed up some kind of science team to investigate the phenomenon, and Picard referenced this research in “Family.” In “Paradise Syndrome” (and IIRC, “For the World Is Hollow”) Kirk’s crew was also willing to save a pre-warp civilization from asteroid strikes. Then there is Georgiou in “The Vulcan Hello.” There are probably other examples out there.

Picard in “Homeward” was the real outlier, which is something the online TNG reviewers note in their reviews.

A debate between Saru and another officer about the PD would have been nice. Maybe Saru says “we’re not saving the colony, we’re saving our officers” as a way of skirting the directive.

I don’t understand…
not the research on whatever geological phenomenon was causing the earthquakes.

Where did I ever say it wasn’t okay to do the research? The geological survey of the solar system is fine. That’s not the violation, as you said, it starts with Data making contact. The biggest violation is that they then interfere with the planet to help the tectonic activity subside. The research part has nothing to do with it.

Kirk’s crew was also willing to save a pre-warp civilization from asteroid strikes.
Well that’s Kirk being Kirk, he fudges the PD all the time. Also that’s a bit of different case, there was already alien tech on the surface intended to protect the population. He fixed it.

Did you actualy read the review? Anthony called out the “The Vulcan Hello” as being dubious, and I agree, it’s not a solid example to use. The PD is not about “do whatever you like, just don’t get seen”. It’s about not playing god with lower developed civilizations.

@Matt Wright — I don’t think we can dismiss Kirk “as being Kirk” in PS. I think Kirk is emblematic of the early Starfleet establishing their policies. I’d further argue that Georgiou, Pike and others are also unclear on exactly what represents a Prime Directive violation. Further, it’s clear Starfleet was a little more cowboy in TOS and earlier years, while TNG was more refined and disciplined. The PD was much more clearly defined, and Picard much more practiced in his position. So this action, falls more into line with what I would expect from the leadership in this era.

Considering Kirk is basically all we’ve seen of 23rd century captains making PD decisions prior to Discovery, the only thing we can speak to is what Kirk did, so I used the shorthand phrasing of “Kirk being Kirk.”

But yes I think the 23rd century idea of the PD is either less defined or at least less strictly followed. But the point remains, they’re still violations of the basic tenant which is: “don’t interfere with less advanced civilizations.”

@Matt Wright — I agree with respect to deciding to expose themselves to the Jacob. I don’t really agree with the assessment in the article about Saru. I’d argue that especially because it was Saru, who served with Georgiou, and he might have already made up his mind about how to handle an extinction level event for all time. So why waste screen time to retread this debate? Moreover they couldn’t reach Pike, and I rather got the feeling that in order to save Pike and crew stranded on the planet, they would have to stop this event as well. So there was no real debate to be had given that it was the Captain deciding it, and no one to really challenge him, in an era where the PD was not as well defined. I really didn’t have a problem with it.

The PD is already well-defined, quoted in fact during TOS. And it reaches back in time to what you’re seeing on DSC, because in B&C, they are quoting it, and Kirk is then later applying it to Merrick in conversation, noting that what happened to his oath is obvious — and Merrick’s ship is lost right around current DSC time, since it is like 7 years bafore B&C takes place. Shoot, even the guy running things down there in B&C even knows about it, and scoffs about how they are all supposed to die rather than violate the prime directive. And between Capt Tracy in OMEGA GLORY and Merrick, I think you can get the idea that PD violations can be pretty extreme indeed. And you have B&C written by GR and by Coon, so that is about as definitive as you could imagine, given this is Trek’s father and godfather taking credit for it.

The one part with B&C that would let it skate is that Merrick isn’t a Starfleet captain, he is some kind of merchant marine. Yet he is treated like he broke the oath, which suggests that the PD is Federation rather than Starfleet (which is what I believed up until TNG era.) Otherwise, you can have Harry Mudds running around everywhere doing free prime directive violations everywhere and there’s nothing Starfleet can do to prevent that short of picket service in every star system with an exploitable population, which would be more than a fulltime job for the Federation.

I was going to say the same thing. Completely agree.

I just pretty much said the same thing without reading further down the thread and seeing you’d already made this point so yeah, I agree too CC!

Not to nitpick Matt but all the examples that you give are from events that happened a hundred plus years after this episode or in a reality where events had unfolded differently and Starfleet had developed along another trajectory. As far as I’m aware there’s nothing in canon that states that general order one has remained constant throughout the Federation’s history. There’s a certain amount of logic in assuming that the prime directive of Picard’s time was shaped by the missteps of past Starfleet crews.

I also feel that the application of the rule in this scenario was not so clear cut with the society being composed of the descendants of abducted humans. Pike seemed to admire the society that they had formed whereas Burnham just viewed them as displaced humans that deserved the opportunity to see their people’s real place in the Galaxy. Saru had a quick decision to make and he deduced that the signal had brought them there to save this young civilisation. They could have had a discussion about the prime directive but every single person on that bridge had stood together against the Starfleet leadership in the final days of the Klingon war so it’s not far fetched to assume they’d back heir first officers call to save the people on the planet. The team behind Discovery have spoke several times about how passionately they debate canon so I’d bet there were some there that felt like you do that this should have at least been addressed on screen but I’m going to give them a pass here because I think I think there was enough wiggle room to have took the path they did.

I totally get where Saru is coming from. Saru and the bridge crew were all inspired by Pike’s speech in the last episode about not leaving anyone behind. And Saru specifically has a unique perspective about all this since he had to leave his old life behind, and also was the beneficiary of the fudging of the PD himself (as we learned in his Short Treks episode).

I do wish they’d stopped for a sec and talked it through. Those kinds of things are sometimes more for the audience than the characters, to show thoughtfulness and point out the ethical issues around it. The episode was only 43 minutes long, they certainly had the time to spare.

You know I’m not sure they actually did have the time to spare. This incredibly frustrating policy of sticking dogmatically to a 43 min format makes me think this is more than just an artistic choice. Whether it’s to keep the Space network happy or to make it easier to syndicate on traditional TV channels at some future point I don’t know but I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t see another hour long episode until the premiere of season 3. I really enjoyed tonight’s episode so like I said I can be quite forgiving of a prime directive oversight especially considering the time it’s set.

But talk can be boggy. How often does long speech in a 2-hour movie leave you inspired? Great moments like coach Boone’s meeting with the team (Remember the Titans) or Andy’s hope in horrid circumstances (Shawshank Redemption) are rare indeed.

@Allenburch — I agree. I’d much rather they just get on with it, rather than get into a debate about fictional details which have previously been debated. TNG’s liberal use of technobabble was an example of this kind of thing going wrong. I think Kurtzman’s group are much more do-ers than debaters. They’re trained in an era where less is more in dialogue and storytelling. They could have spared a little bit more time to address it without getting mired in a boring discussion, but in the end, I don’t really think anything suffered. The people who care about the minutia of whether an extinction level event could be stopped without violating the PD are debating it here. For everyone else, it wasn’t really germane to the story.

Actually they very much had a problem with Kirk attempting to save the civilization to begin with. Kirk acted where he ought not to have and Pike was chewing him out for it. They knew the volcano would erupt. I can only guess they were investigating the civilization and then leave them to their fate. Kirk decided to alter that. Remember the conversation? “Let’s hope it doesn’t.” “Something tells me it won’t”. It wasn’t about Kirk rescuing Spock. It was about altering the natural development of an entire planet. Saru pretty much did the same thing when he saved them from space. Except, I personally do not believe the prime directive applies in this case. So for my money Saru did not violate it.

I read it not so much as about saving the planet, but letting the native population see the Enterprise in the process.

I saw that as yet another mistake on top of the original one.

The debate is that by stopping the event is interfering with natural development of a race.

No, the problem was indeed stopping the volcano.

I liked the themes they touched on. I liked the Prime Directive debate where I thought Pike was on the wrong side of. Tilly was still irritating as ever. Wish they gave her revelations to Reno. But she’s permanently here so the audience is forced to put up with her. The B story I found to be lacking, to be honest. A lot of it probably could be traced to the Tilly-centric nature of it. But I found the goings on on the planet surface far more interesting.

Not much came out of the episode except to cement the science and faith aspect. It is nice to see them deliver on what they said would be a theme of the show this time. I really didn’t believe them after the season one fiasco. Overall I the episode felt like a filler episode. Didn’t seem to direct the overall story much. So I hope we learn different later on.

And was very unhappy at the return to the standard 44 minute over the air TV style of the episode. I just expect something different from standard TV when I am PAYING for the service above and beyond standard TV fare.

Agreed about the show length, ML. If they’d gone the full 60 minutes that extra time would have served the story better, too I think. It did feel like a rip-off in that respect.

Single ‘Trek episodes have never been 60 mins though (apart from ‘Brother’)…

Always the sign of anything good I guess: you are always left wanting more!

I was not unhappy it was short, I was unhappy the story felt rushed and over-stuffed. Cut the fat, or extend the run time.

The run time is issue is definitely where I agree. It felt a little rushed still fine for me.

Was unhappy about the running time too. The episode certainly could’ve used another 10 minutes to flesh everything out.

I agree that Tilly was the weakest link of the show yet again, and I get the distinct impression they made her even more weirdly acting in comparison to season 1, where she was quite capable of professional behaviour. But Tilly storming in her non-uniform onto the bridge trying to convince “the adults” how she solved everything, then miraculously saving the day – that is pure Wesley!

Absolutely. Wesley Crusher on steroids.

I like Tilly, but her part in this episode was a bit too much.

Excellent structure and visual style. A proper return to Star Trek with a story arc for the season. But could’ve been less B story and developed the family dialogue more. The key scene with the phaser on overload seemed rushed.

The mother said “Jacob and Rose have been trying to fix….” etc, etc, in the general dialogue.

But we don’t see any evidence of the girl’s technical ability or why she’d be trusted around the phaser. I have a feeling dialogue or scenes were cut for time that would have fleshed this out.

I sense a lot of deleted scenes being shown around this time next year for Season 2.

Am I right???

I loved it. Its about time that Trek tackled human spirituality. We’ve been given ample doses of Bajoran, Klingon, Vulcan and many others but Trek has always shied away from dealing with humanity’s (One notable exception is TOS’s Bread and Circuses). Its like its assumed that by the 23rd century every single human has become an atheist or agnostic humanist. I can assure you that will never happen. Just look whats happened in post atheist Soviet Russia.

Love Anson Mount’s Pike. Give him his own show!

Trekker, thanks! I agree totally with what you said about the 23rd century. It would be sad to me, with Disco’s praiseworthy concern for human diversity, if we see no signs of religious and cultural diversity among Starfleet’s human crew members.

Mount is excellent as Pike! No question. Of course, he’s being given good material to play and the contrast with the darkness of Lorca makes him seem even more luminous in comparison. IMHO, I’d rather let the writers continue to paint on a broad multi-season canvas and develop Disco’s characters than curtail this with a Pike spinoff.

As an atheist myself I have to agree with this. I love Star Trek because religion isn’t the guiding force on the planet like today and that humans now embrace science above all else (which again I always think its funny when conservatives show up here and say Star Trek is a conservative viewpoint lol. Have they not watched the show?). BUT same time I don’t have a problem with people being religious NOR do I think people would just give up religion entirely. But as I also say I don’t pretend Star Trek is the real world. I been watching it since the early 80s, its not suppose to be our life, its just one persons view of the future, which is mostly a good view, but 90% of it is totally unrealistic lol.

And this is one of them. People go on about how the no money thing works or how replicators are stupid, well so is an entire planet suddenly not believing in God. It’s, ironically, just make believe. And in this case you either decide to believe in Roddenberry’s vision or you don’t. Most of us have and while I like the no religion thing in Trek, its not reality in the slightest, especially when 95% of the world believe in some form of God today and we have been pretty advanced for 400 years now since the induction of modern science. I don’t believe in 300 years it would all just die out.

Thanks, Tiger! Seems reasonable. I’d just add that religion and culture are so intertwined that religious traditions also evolve as cultures do or they atrophy. That’s why I found the “religion” of New Eden to be a bit jarring, as I posted above. I’d expect Earth religions to undergo a major metamorphosis after “first contact” and I saw no sign of that in New Eden.

First contact hasn’t happened yet. The original founders of New Eden are people who had just escaped WWIII as it was raining nukes all around them. They were taken in 2053. First contact with the Vulcans doesn’t happen until in 2063 after WWIII had ended.

Ah, that’s right! Thanks, Matt!

Well Matt pointed it out already but they were taken before first contact. To them they probably do see the Red Angel an angel in the biblical sense. At least some of them. People like Jacob may just see him as an alien but you’re now dealing with centuries of tradition just like we do on this planet. And as you said a lot of culture is wrapped up in religion.

Given that we have 3D printers already, it would be more than a little short-sighted to dismiss replicators. Which brings us back to the line: any tech sufficiently advanced appears as magic. Which is why this episode cut right to the core of Star Trek and its “magical tech”.

As for religion, it is important to remember that up until 200 years ago even scientists would be fiercely religious (to a level we mostly only see in certain monotheistic religions today) and regularly intermingle science and faith. It wasn’t a contradiction for them. So given how the age of Enlightenment (and Reformation beforehand) severely changed Christianity, it is not at all unrealistic to assume the near-extinction level event of WW3 and then First Contact could alter the planet’s view of religion more than anything in the past few centuries. You know what is unrealistic? When they try to pass off humans of the 23rd or even 24th century as exactly like 20th century humans to make them “more relatable”. Just compare 18th century humans to 21st century ones and you know that is ridiculous. That they tried in this episode to show a plausible evolution of thought for once by contrasting the crew with a society that is very close to ours (in time), and thus, to us the viewers, is certainly commendable.

Wow VS, even you defended the episode this week. We’re all drinkng crazy juice now lol!

I have no issues with the replicator personally, I’m talking to people who thinks that idea is too magical but transferring humans from matter to pure energy and back again is totally plausible and realistic. I don’t compartmentalize this stuff, never have. Some is plausible, others mostly magical hokum, who cares? Yes there are theories on how some of it is possible, there are also theories on how we are actually living in a matrix. Until something is tangible like your example, its just fun make believe, leave it at that.

As for your point about about WW 3 changing people’s perspectives on religion, I mean, sure, that’s possible. But we had a lot of mass tragedies through history and if anything religion seems to tie people closer together. As an atheist, I never understood it but I won’t go into that huge rant and get banned lol. But for whatever reason it seems to pull a lot of people closer to God. For example, did you know after 911 there was a big church boom in attendance? Now first contact with alien will probably change a lot of things for sure. Religion will definitely be impacted but not every religion believes only humans exist or the most important thing EVER which is another long rant but I’ll save that too. ;)

But we don’t disagree that much. I just find it hard to believe it would completely die out in every country and with thousands of beliefs thats been around since man has.

I enjoyed the episode. I’d like to add one more Random Thought to your list.

In two episodes, Burnham says it’s been years since she last spoke to Spock. This conflicts with the first DSC tie-in book, “Desperate Hours”, which I figured it would as I begrudgingly finished the book, assuming future DSC episodes would confirm my fears. :(

On a side note though, while I’ve avoided giving the other tie-in books a try, I do want to read “The Enterprise War”. The timeframe was specifically referenced in “Brother” and I assume there’s been time to coordinate the book’s story with the showrunners to make for a less distracting reading experience.

“Desperate Hours” takes place in 2255, DSC S2 in 2257. So technically it’s been about 2 years.

But seriously, the books are not canon, the plot of the show comes first. They do try to coordinate with them, but being realistic “Desperate Hours” was the very first Disco book to be written and it was being written simultaneous to the writing and production of the first season, so everything was still being formed.

Acknowledged. LOL But I had thought I’d read enough information beforehand to lead me to think the coordination between the author and the showrunners would be closer. I don’t know if it was this article but this interview with the author includes the kind of stuff that made me think this. Again, I agree with you, I shouldn’t have held my breath and expected it to be canon.

They did work closely, a Trek book writer is on the writing staff if Discovery, but the books can be overwritten at any time.

As has been pointed out any amount of time longer than 2 years can be referred to as “years”, it is technically correct and so has not contradicted the book yet. Just as a certain Admiral in TSFS was correct when he said the Enterprise was more than 20 years old.

He said ‘is 20 years old’ not ‘more than.’ That’s Harve Bennett not paying attention to the fact the ship is closer to 40, or wanting it to tie into to viewer memory of TOS first broadcast. Dumb either way, but for a guy writing a movie where the heroes beam down to a dying planet instead of to a neighboring, almost empty spaceship, smarts are not often being deployed.

Funny how you can excuse that error as simly “Bennett not paying attention” while DSC’s critics call errors ‘unforgivable’ and accuse producers of not caring about continuity.

I’m not excusing the error, I’m exorciating him over that and just about every other creative decision in that mess of a movie. Funny how you can think I’m excusing something when the whole post is tearing him a new one. Are DSC’s devotees so sensitive that they have to attack things that aren’t even aimed at them?

Funny how you think that was an attack on you when I very specifically (and intentionally) did not call you out as a critic of DSC. Mehtinks you doth protest too much.

Look at your phraseology. Starting a sentence with ‘Funny how you can … ‘ is about as pointed an indicator of something skewed with your POV as when a person goes after another with ‘are you still beating your wife?’ I know, because when I use it it is for deliberate and insulting effect, like when holding somebody accountable for hypocrisy.

BTW, why’d you drop out of the discussion of mousepads in the other thread (think it has trailer for ep2 in title)? Some reasonable questions were asked of you — and you left us hanging.

Because after a certain point I stop checking other threads. Plus i’m not interested in arguing about silly outdated computer accessories.

But hey, nice deflection. 11/10 would recommend.

What am I deflecting on? I call you on your malarkey in this thread, then in a separate post right afterward, bring up a point you ducked out on in another — which is obvious to anybody looking at this thread.

Going by the frequency of your posts and the number of times you respond and/or antagonize within a thread, it doesn’t look like you give up on a thing unless it isn’t going in your favor. (and you did respond in that thread without addressing my points, so you were in avoidance mode even while you were still there, suggesting your eventual disappearance had to do with, again, ducking out.)

Yours for accuracy in reporting …

So you call me a coward? How mature!

Yes, I responded once you brought it up. I’m not going to be drawn into an irrelevant argument on outdated tech accessories. This is a Star Trek website, not Mashable.

That’s two red bursts that have lead the Discovery to two different groups of humans needing assistance, with the first giving them something to help with the next. I wonder who the next burst will lead to.

2019 Earth.

Ha! Nice. And very true.

Good one!

Wow you’re right. I didn’t think about that. Obviously with New Eden but didn’t think about the first episode. Oddly enough its feeling like the show Manifest if you watch that and that humans are being directed to help other humans by some unknown force but they don’t know why.

I’m really liking where this is going though.

This was a fantastic episode and I right now I feel it is the best of the series.

However, as stated in the review, there wasn’t enough time, and while Frakes did a Captain’s job of handling the constraints, what’s the fear of running over? This could have easily run 10 more minutes on the planet and left out some of the holes there and with zero effects the cost would be just a few hours of filming at most. I don’t understand why so many episodes clock in at 45 minutes or less. Go 50 minutes or an hour. I thought the point of this was that it was not running on commercial tv. And if it needs to down the road, make a 43 minute cut as well.

I would expect there is likely a few minutes here that was actually shot and just not in what we saw.

After these two outstanding episodes I am not quite ready for Georgiou yet. I am only slightly optimistic that we may be moving toward a Spock reveal with Amanda coming up in #3. I’d rather see Amanda and Spock and get some more Pike and Reno before we get back to Phillipa

I’d be happy not to see Phillipa again. Her character is shit and comic book esque.

You must be REALLY thrilled they are building an entire series around her ;-)

Loved it! I watched it twice yesterday and I might watch it again if I have time today. Like a lot of people I think this was easily the best episode to date. I really loved last week as well but this one just felt like classic Trek in a way I haven’t felt since the 90s. It felt very familiar but yet still different enough to feel fresh. Of course thats due to its intriguing story line and that the plot for this episode was built into its overall mystery.

But I can’t say enough about the characters which are really starting to gel and feel more like a family. We’re learning so much about the bridge crew now and actually see some personality. I didn’t really like Detmer last season, but now I’m coming around to her. The fact I actually remember her name now is another big plus lol. I never had a big issue with Burnham as others have but I am enjoying her a little more as well. Her and Pike work well together. And yes I can’t say enough about Pike. This guy has become a huge fan favorite in little time. Mount is just amazing in this role. I really want him to stay on the ship now…but yeah.

On my second viewing though I did notice the cracks a bit more this time though. First starting off with the exposition. I’m usually not a big stickler on it and just accept they have to get the story out at some point but this has been DIS weak point in general and this episode was another example. It was also a bit TOO much Tilly but I did like her story line with the dead friend. I’m curious to see where that goes.

May I add that they are also approaching the gold standard for serialized Trek here. There IS a separate story for the week with a conclusion, yet it still all ties into the bigger mystery. This is so much better than the “different chapters of a book” approach where they just arbitrarily cut the inter-episode-story with a dozen character arc and storylines into episode-shaped pieces.

The radio sound effect for the New Eden distress signal sounded very much one TOS, maybe from “Where No Man Has Gone Before”.

NitpicK: Tilly’s not a cadet anymore, she’s an Ensign.

To me, I thought it sounded like Spocks electronics in City.

I thought some of the sound effects sounded like The Cage but maybe I was imagining it

On the faith vs. science debate: since a main feature of Trek is the human yearning to explore, then it only makes sense that our hunger to seek the meaning of existence itself has to be considered. It’s part of the human condition and always will be while as long as we’re human.

I only hope the subject is not handled superficially by treating “faith” and “science” as binary categories. They’re not polar opposites. Faith is not believing something with disregard for evidence and science requires “leaps of faith” when confronted by mystery.

I hope Pike’s comparative religions prof father is a writing consultant. Since all these human transplants seem to have been rescued as a Christian congregation — church and all! — it doesn’t make sense they’d evolve an amalgam of Earth’s major religious traditions. Far more likely they’d double down on notions of “rapture” found in some Christian circles than suddenly embrace East Asian religions. Unless they were already into syncretism before they were “saved.” Also, they weren’t Luddites in the sense of rejecting technology. They just had no means to repair or manufacture or develop more.

Anyway, a really enjoyable episode and I’m looking forward to the next ones.

RE: runtimes
I would guess that if anything, CBS is dictating runtimes, in that there may be specific time allotments for commercials. Those decisions probably get made while the episode is in editing and then the production team has to make that work within the CBS framework. I don’t work in the business, so I would not be suprised if I was wrong. But it seems a logical explanation.

As to having been rescued as a Christian congretation, I thought about this and don’t think so. I believe they were a random group of people seeking shelter in the Church from the apocalypse.

BTW… There was no “ready room” on the Enterprise. Why was Pike whining about that room on Discovery? Perhaps he ought to be happy to have one?

I think if I was suddenly given a lounge, I’d probably ask for a chair to sit in, too.

Perhaps he could add a line of, “nice to have an offce/ready room but…” I guess the creators probably retconned one on the old Enterprise anyway. ‘It was always there. Kirk just never used it.’

To be fair, Kirk wasn’t really the lounging type.

@Afterburn — There’s nothing in canon that suggests Kirk didn’t have a ready room. Just because he never used it, or we were never shown him using it, doesn’t mean there wasn’t one for him on the Enterprise. And yeah, Kirk wasn’t really the lounging type.

Agreed. And it wouldn’t be inconsistent with his character if they said he had one and never used it. Or perhaps he had it converted for an alternative use.

@Afterburn — or, some of the scenes we saw in TOS in the briefing room, or his quarters, actually took p[lace in his ready room, but they didn’t have the budget to build yet another set, or Roddenberry simply hadn’t yet thought of it. The idea of limiting a fictional story to only those things which have been originally established, with no ability to stretch those constraints to accommodate future ideas, concepts and technologies is really silly. As long as they don’t expressly contradict something established then all’s fair, and even then, that may not be such a bad thing to correct conceptual mistakes, or accommodate changes in social mores.

“As long as they don’t expressly contradict something established then all’s fair, ”

That is amazingly foolish. Using that same logic we can say that Scotty set up an ice cream parlor in some unseen corner of Engineering so he could make a few extra credits. Even if something is not directly contradicting what we have seen, one still must use logic and reason. Therefore, all is NOT fair when it comes to such things.

According to the Enterprise blueprints my uncle had when I was a kid there was a ready room, next to the bathroom.

Actually, if you watch The Cage, the officers are all sitting in a room discussing what action to take on the surface. Seems pretty much the “ready room” idea to me.

That’s the early version of the briefing room set (it gets a new paint job for “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” and then gets significantly revamped when TOS is picked up for series). Which we’ve seen many times on TOS.

What we see on the Discovery is more like Pike’s personal office, there’s a desk in the center of the room, and it’s filled with his own artifacts.

clearly they just retcon the idea from TNG on. Not even the movies did we see Kirk have a separate office nor has it ever been implied he does. Yeah its a retcon, its not the end of the world either. We don’t have to bend ourselves into pretzels over every little thing everyone knows never existed in the first place.

Oh I agree. Doesn’t bother me at all, I was just pointing out facts about the sets in my previous comment.
The Disco is a different ship, it’s newer (and massive). It can have a ready room.

Yeah and I really like it. And as you said that ship is huge, you have the space so add one.

@Matt Wright — and so can the Enterprise. Just because we never saw Kirk use it, doesn’t mean it’s not there and always was — or he did use it and some scenes we think of as being in his quarters or the briefingroom actually were in his ready room. After all Archer had a Ready Room on the NX-01, so it’s logical to assume at a minimum it was there, whether we infer he used it or not.

Yes you can imagine ANYTHING in fiction to fill in later story telling: Chekhov was part of the crew of the Enterprise when Khan came aboard, Spock had both a brother and a sister the whole time, Enterprise looked like the Discovery version the whole time, etc, etc. You can infer basically anything you want, that’s how retcons work in the first place.

But for some people, they don’t love this idea you are retroactively changing things to fit later canon although some is just trying to explain something that didn’t make sense. Kirk having a Ready Room doesn’t really matter since it doesn’t change the story in any way so yeah you can just buy it. It wasn’t an actual room in terms of sets, artist renderings or dialogue references but if you want to tell yourself it was there nothing stops people from doing that either.

And, I KNOW you are going to hate me, but the exact same reason why you can say Section 31 completely existed at this time as well. But you have brought them up saying because we never saw or heard about them in this period it doesn’t make sense to have them. Well you just made the point why they are completely valid. Because once you accept one retcon then you HAVE to accept them all, right?

I only bring it up because not everyone is gong to like it, even if you can justify it, from Spock’s sister to Section 31. But that’s how retcons work and prequels especially build on retcons. You accept it or you don’t.

Retconning, like it or not, is important to any fictional universe that has existed as long as Trek. Marvel and DC have done it since the 60s, Trek since the 80s. To tell even stories into the future you’re going to have to retcon things in the past to create compelling stories.

TNG made plenty of retcons of TOS, as did the earlier movies.

Such things don’t really take me out of the story. But there were some things done in TNG that I never really embraced. The “ready room” I felt was silly. TOS had a Briefing Room. The Ready Room was merely the Captain’s Office more than anything else. Yes, it’s a nit to pick. And again, it’s not a big deal. But still not a fan. And certainly not a fan of going back and saying Kirk’s Enterprise had one when it appeared it didn’t. Yes, they never said there wasn’t one. But be realistic. Over the course of 70+ episodes there was NEVER a moment when Kirk could have used an office for a conversation that drove the plot? I don’t think the NCC-1701 had one and I think it safe to conclude that such things did not appear on Federation Star Ships until after Kirk’s ‘death’.

Finally we have a ST:D episode that is actual, proper Star Trek. This episode was better than all of season 1 combined. Not perfect, but MUCH better.

Funny, I thought it was perhaps the weakest of the series, last season’s premiere and finale notwithstanding.

Kid, the show is not called ST:D any more than Voyager was called ST:V.

Hear hear! FINALLY a return to form and I couldn’t be happier.

Count me among those very pleased with this episode.

I don’t agree. All the episodes have been great.

I’m pretty sure that’s not Pike’s ready room but his quarters. The room is larger and after they’re called to the bridge, it looks like they are emerging from the turbolift.

That’s what they’re calling it, at least off screen. The first season ready room set was repurposed into a science lab for later in the season.

That’s not his quarters, there’s no bed for one. And we know that it’s a new set that was built for the express purpose of giving Pike a new meeting room. So it may not be directly connected to the bridge, but this new meeting room takes the place of the old ready room for talking to his officers.

There’s no bed, its definitely not his quarters.

Maybe Pike sleeps on the couch ;-)

Loving this season so far. The show feels like it has found its groove, the writing is assured, performances are excellent as always. Really hoping Anson Mount sticks around after this season. Agree that the episode would have benefitted with an extra 5-10 mins runtime, as the planet storyline felt a little rushed. Otherwise, excellent ep.

I actually thought they spent plenty of time on that planet. The more time you spend on a pre-warp world the more the danger of contamination. Speaking of time, here is an example of how I think Discovery would work even better if it was only a streaming show and they did not have to factor in that it’s on broadcast TV in Canada the commercial breaks and all because I prefer the long runtime of last week’s episode. Otherwise enjoyed the classic Star Trek feel of this episode and I love the dynamic forming between Burnham and Pike.

From the review: “Burnham reminds us she grew up on Vulcan and her strict adherence to logic and science borders on the intolerant, as she shows a lack of compassion for the faithful of New Eden, dismissing their beliefs as just a pack of lies.” What “compassion” should someone show someone who believes in an invisible magic man in the clouds? How is it “intolerant” to simply say that religious delusion is not evidence-based and a pack of lies? Religion is made up fiction and absurd. Talking snakes? Please. Being alive in the sky after dying? Just dumb. Religion is primitive poison. I’m with Gene Roddenberry in the feeling that religion holds humanity back and is something that belongs in the trash bin of history.

It’s true Roddenberry had no use for God, but only because he didn’t want competition. ;-)

Who hurt you, Luke?

The problem with season 2 so far is Alex Kurtzman. He has made this into JJ Abrams fast action all the time star trek. no plot to the story.

@drij — so you didn’t watch the episode then?

LOL yeah, other then the asteroid scene this was a very talky episode, which is why I loved it!

Really? It’s Star Trek to me


“From a fable you once heard in childhood.” The Talosian says this when she is “burning” Pike in hell in The Cage. Note the use of the word “fable” in the very first pilot of Trek. That’s all the Bible is… fake stories known as fables. Trek got it right in 1964. Interesting note… maybe Pike heard this hell fable from his professor father and his teaching of comparative religion. Nice tie in by the writers.

I realize you’re fond of being provocative, Luke, but fables are by definition stories told to make ethical points or impart wisdom for a balanced life. Do you also call Aesop’s Fables “fake” and therefore presumably of no value? What about Shakespeare’s plays? Are they also “fake” because they are not transcripts of historical events? Yes, the Bible contains fables. It also contains poetry, musical lyrics, law codes, “history” (as understood by ancient peoples), letters, laments, proverbs, and other literary forms spanning a millennium. So?

Yes. By definition stories that are not historically accurate are fiction. Dictionaries are fun! Also, in addition to the poetry and musical lyrics you mention in this bible book, I can’t help but notice that it also contains directives to murder gay people with rocks, sets the conditions for kidnapping and using people as slaves and then gives you directions on how to beat those slaves, sets the price in silver for a rapist to pay the father of his victim to then marry her… and even has a talking snake to make it all believable! Fun stuff this bible! (And I thought the only fun fiction book with a talking snake was Harry Potter!)

I guess I’m not getting the point you’re trying to make, Luke. That anything not historically or empirically verifiable is useless? That the law codes in the Bible originated in patriarchal, homophobic societies in which slavery was taken for granted? (Of course, but there are also laws to release slaves after specified years, that require crops be left unharvested for the poor, that limit what damages can be demanded for an injury, and that call for all debts to be annulled every 50 years.) It seems to me that an unavoidable question is what presuppositions — whether favorable or critical — folks bring to their reading of a text and what principles of interpretation guide their reading.

Isn’t your real critique against people today who choose to give any religious tradition any role in their own lives? You seem to say that anyone who gives any weight to anything not empirically demonstrable is irrational. Is it really all that simple? Ever hear of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle?

(And if you’ll pardon my mixing animal metaphors, your closing joke about the talking snake is really a red herring!) Thanks.

Yes, it’s really all that simple… religion is just absurd. People who believe in invisible magic cloud people are sadly silly. Santa is not real. Neither is/are any god(s). Not complicated. Painfully obvious. Not even worthy of a debate among adults. You can have the “be kind to your neighbour” stuff minus the “murder the gays with rocks” and talking snake junk so why hold onto these poorly written violent rants as something sacred? Any book that commands people to enslave and sell other people, has rules for making the rape of women OK and, again, killing LGBT people with rocks, is just not worth keeping. Toss the Bible, Quran and Torrah in the recycling bin and start over minus all the abracadabra stuff. :)

Well, Luke, I agree that the position you’re voicing is indeed simple. You’ll pardon me for saying that to all intents and purposes it appears as doctrinaire and closed-minded as the most fundamentalist religious zealot. And here’s the danger: by mocking those you describe as childish, those who see value in texts you judge as poorly written, those whose views you distort as magical thinking, you risk sliding down the slippery slope (as history shows) that would throw such human beings into the same “recycling bin” to which you would consign their texts and views in order to “start over” with new and improved people. Dogmatism, whether inspired by blind faith in religion or other human endeavors, tends to destroy, not create, imho. Not a future I’d want, nor consistent with the Trek vision, as PJays, Vulcan Soul, and others have remarked. Thanks.

I appreciate your insight Elrond. I wish there was more open mindedness and tolerance in the world today.

I sometimes wonder what will happen to the world if we find out we’re not alone. Some may have problems with that, but I wonder if that realization would be unifying.

Thanks, Captain! I wonder the same thing. It’s sort of like the response of Zefrem Cochrane to the Vulcan first contact with Earth. Will he extend a handshake (as in “ST: First Contact”) or a gun (as in “In a Mirror Darkly)?” A pivotal choice. But more likely the first discovery we’re not alone would be that of microscopic life or fossils on Mars or somewhere. Not as dramatic as intelligent contact, but still monumental. What effect would that have?

To me it would be huge, I would hope it would cause more interest in space exploration and accelerate it’s growth, not to mention more wonder as to what intelligent life might be out there.

Yes, Cap, I have the exact same thoughts. I hope that the discovery of any kind of extraterrestrial life from microbial to intelligent happens in my lifetime. What a momentous event that would be for humanity.

And your comment is highly offensive to those who do believe. Then again fortunately I believe everyone is entitled to an opinion and can be tolerant.

Though I will add I once felt the same way… then I survived an accident that should have killed me. That made me question whether there was something more. Then my family escaped a fire that destroyed my home with no injuries despite the fact that the fire ravaged our home before we even awoke.

I will personally chose to remain absurd and believe.

Yeah, that’s a pretty absurd conclusion.

Well, since William didn’t say much about what he concluded other than he felt “there was something more,” who are you to judge, Afterburn, how someone makes sense of surviving the trauma of what sound like two near-death experiences? Isn’t it more absurd to be unkind? You might have concluded if you had the same experiences that you and your family had beaten the odds. Fine. But a scientist of no less caliber than Einstein rejected the idea of a God who “played dice with the universe.” Why can’t William decide similarly without that decision being ridiculed?

I’m atheist but you are the fascist atheist Luke. Who cares if they worship a god. Is it hurting you if they do.

@NCC Lincoln 1785 — depends on what their “god” is telling them to do.

One thing Star Trek and the Bible have in common then. They love them some fables.

Luke you sound like a jihad atheist and its frightening that you don’t see the irony.

The new season ist just better than the first one so far. Characters are relatable, writing is better, pace is good, stories interesting. It is more entertaining, and feels more rounded overall.

I agree with some people here, I also I did not see Saru’s actions as a violation of the prime directive. That definition, not allowing you to prevent natural disasters from happening, just seems odd and based on some form of belief in “fate”. No, the prime directive is not meant to protect some hidden structure in the universe, even if whole civilizations have to perish. The prime directive is meant to protect those very societies in their social and cultural developments. (And is the result of some post-colonial reflection in science fiction.) Of course you can divert a space rock that might otherwise endanger their homeworld. (I know canon is inconsistent on this, but I blame plot-serving arbitrariness.)

I’m already bracing myself for which main characters have died as of this episode. I’m guessing two, with Tilly channeling spirits.

Here’s a random useless question: What happens if Star Trek survives another 35 years? Will they have to retcon WWIII? The Third World War, breaking the warp barrier, and first contact seemed far in the future when Star Trek First Contact came out in 1996, but now they seem too close for comfort. I don’t see humanity achieving warp travel 44 years from now and I certainly don’t like the idea of global thermonuclear war within my lifetime.

For me, the Star Trek franchise serves as a hopeful window into humanity’s future. Although TOS writers made some missteps in predicting the how the 20th Century would end (see: Eugenics Wars, DY-100 Sleeper Ships, and NOMAD), I’ve always been able to explain that away as some dating error made by Starfleet (especially when it’s been contradicted in later series like DS9 – sorry Greg Cox, I love your books though). Now, the writers seem to be doubling down on a timeline created over 20 years ago. My concern is that this timeline seems less and less realistic as the present moves further into Star Trek’s “past.”

Some may prefer to see Star Trek as an alternate timeline, but I believe that kills some of the beauty of the franchise. Star Wars, BSG, and other SciFi properties are wonderful and capture the imagination, but none feel like OUR future. I don’t want Star Trek to lose that.

What are your thoughts?

Oh, no! Star Trek canon is not infallible! Seriously, Gorbs, fwiw, I really like your comment about a hopeful future (no, WW3, please), and really, really agree with your insight about wanting that optimistic view to be OUR future, even if incorrect on some details. Thanks!

My thought is this, when it comes to Star Trek I prefer to use my imagination rather than base everything on reality. It is a fable that shows a potential future I think.

I agree that there was no need to specifically refer to exact dates regarding WW3 and so on. They are almost overdoing the adherence to Canon in that regard. They don’t really have to retcon WW3, they can just leave the timeframe somewhat vague by placing it in “the late 21st century” (and the timeframe was only really fixed in First Contact; as of TNG’s pilot, it was still set around 2078 which would have been a more comfortable date for us now).

So I guess you believe WW3 is inevitable?
I hope for mankind that we could possibly make it towards a Star Trek future without the need for a nuclear winter and 600 mill dead.

Pretend its fiction?


It’s a television show that was created 50 years ago get over yourself

Suspension of disbelief.

So… no one remembers that Pike said “Engage” in “The Cage”?

“What are we running here, a cadet ship, Number One? Are we ready or not?”
“All decks show ready, sir.”

– Pike and Number One, as the Enterprise prepares to leave Talos IV

Picard wasn’t the first. I mean, I understand why Kelvin Pike says “Punch it” and Discovery Pike says “Hit it” rather than “Engage”, but he still said it 23 years before Picard was ever created. (Well, two possibilities why he doesn’t say it: these creators/writers forgot a tiny line in “The Cage”; they know the line but don’t want to be seen copying Picard.)

Only read the thread title, but does this mean they’re flirting with SPACE 1999 s1 stuff? I read a book on the show that explained that season actually has an arc and makes sense if you watch the eps in the right order (something I never knew while spending decades making fun of it.) Where I lived the ARKADIA ep was like the 4th run, not the season-ender.

Dear Space Lawyers,
Does the Prime Directive even apply to New Eden, since they are not indigenous to the planet but are humans taken there by some outside force, and are only at 19th century tech level due to lack of resources?

I bet the Federation will look into the colony after the report is filed and debate it. But without the Spore Drive they are 100+ years from earth IIRC.

Yes and after the Starfleet “follow up” team gets back from checking on New Eden, the next scheduled stop is to check on Ceti Alpha V.

Yes, because it applies to pre-warp civilizations. Humans at the point of WWIII were pre-warp.

@Ben Adams — It’s interesting that ORVILLE just had a first contact episode in which they responded merely to a radio message asking if anyone else was “out there?”. It raises the question about a civilization who becomes aware of the existence of life on other planets without necessarily developing warp capability. Certainly when the Vulcans landed on Earth, few if any even realized the warp barrier had been broken, much less that it heralded the arrival of alien life, yet the Vulcans just plopped down and barged into an alien culture without any real understanding of what they were walking into. It was a very dramatic cinematic moment, but hardly realistic in the scope of things.

That’s actually why I loved the episode First Contact itself. It was a more realistic portrayal of probably what the Federation does when making first contact with a new world by researching them and get a sense how well they would be able handle the idea of meeting a new species. And first contact isn’t made with a shuttle landing on the capitol’s lawn alerting the world at once but by meeting the leaders first and disseminating the idea through them before the public knows. I can’t remember how long the process takes but it sounded like years and much more methodical.

Until then I don’t think we ever knew how first contact was actually handled other than knowing they make it when a species becomes warp capable.

As Commander Burnham’s other brother, Spocko would say… Now that’s a Star Trek!
It seems like they spent all the gimmick budget on s02e01, so all that’s left is good storytelling. What I particularly appreciate about this episode is that the behavior and dialogues of the characters make sense. There is no “mystery for the sake of mystery”, they are really trying to solve this puzzle. They hesitantly get back to using the spore drive and decide to make an exception to General Order 1. We have Tilly acting reckless like in the Short Trek, and Stamets discussing meeting Culber in the mycelial space with both due skepticism and emotional weight.
On the downside, the magic dark matter/non-baryonic matter mycelial-energy asteroid is a bit too much. So now it’s metreon-charged. They forgot to connect it to the omega particle and red matter.

I will start by saying I like the episode. That being said, I know the religion vs science debate will continue on here. I have wrote this twice trying to get my thoughts out knowing it can be a hot topic.

Personally, I think religion needs to be represented in Trek. While I don’t consider myself highly religious, I still believe it should have some representation. Why have Trek represent everyone from race, sexuality, sexual orientation and backgrounds from all over the world but if you are religious, Trek is not for you. That don’t seem right.

I liked the episode where is brings all religions together. I’m not saying ram it down your throat but why not have a mix of religious beliefs working together getting along. Isn’t that what Trek is about, diversity working together.

Just my 2 cents. I apologize if I offended anyone. Just trying to say, there is room for everyone.

Beautifully eloquent, PJays. Thank you.

Very well said.

“Why have Trek represent everyone from race, sexuality, sexual orientation and backgrounds from all over the world but if you are religious, Trek is not for you.”

Because largely, Trek has portrayed an agnostic worldview, and has depicted a future of human society that has at the very least minimized religion.

That said, Voyager had a religious first officer, and of course as has been mentioned, DS9 represented alien religions as metaphors for our own.

Agreed, Aftergurn. Looks like Disco is going to tackle the topic less indirectly. I wonder if Burnham and Spock are going to represent (respectively, ironically) the empirical and transcendent aspects, though not in extreme forms. We know that Spock will decades later conclude something like “Logic is the beginning of wisdom, not its end.” Maybe we’re about to see the start of that personal journey for him.

Oops. Sorry for the typo, Afterburn.

I was raised by devoutly Christian Star Trek fans. Not once in my life did I ever hear them even suggest that Trek was “anti-religion”.

Great thoughts!

The slanted tablet device Tilly was using with the blocky clear yellow memory card was very TOS, I thought.

Yes! i noticed it but didnt recognize the call back until now.

I was thinking the other day about the stuff in Trek which leads to our life and thought about the PADDs and the iPad or Kindle. Then I remembered about JLP at one point was researching something (probably archeology) and he had like 20 or more PADDs on his desk. Even at the time I thought that’s dumb, when we have that technology, why would you have more than one, or maybe two. Clearly those don’t just have one document each on them.

LOL I noticed that too. That was the KIND of stuff I thought we would see more of before Discovery just basically ignored the era completely. But little things like that is cool and updated. I can totally buy it.

Yep similar memory cards have shown up in season one as well. Lorca had a memory card holder with a few of them in it on his standing desk. Burnham carries one in “Context is For Kings”, and they show up a few other places in the background throughout the season.

Just a USB flash drive or SD card of their era?

Have to disagree with the reinterpretation of Clarke’s 3rd Law.
Or, as Jean Luc said to Q, “You are not God. … The universe is not so badly designed.” Trek captains never believe aliens who call themselves gods.

Trek fans one day will visit the asteroid belt and be sooo disappointed.

Smiles on the bridge! YES!!!

That reinterpretation is a real life thing CmdrR.

The most “Star Trek” episode to date – and everything the season opener was not. While that latter was “like a movie”, it was like an Abramstrek movie, full of flashy set pieces with a story built around them, garish attempts at humour, a severely out of character Pike and everyone just acting emotional for the sake of it.

Here we have the exact opposite in many ways: Pike is the thoughtful, level-headed commander who we not just remember from, but who clearly appears shaped by his experience in The Cage in not dismissing anything at first hand; a justification for tech (spore drive) that is rooted in the story rather than the other way round; a mystery that speaks to us in ways beyond just adding lore to this fictitious universe.

And I don’t think we have to fear them abandoning a scientific outlook at life in the series just yet, as Pikes’ quote represents their post-First Contact advancement in philosophy: Any extraterrestrial being sufficiently advanced will appear as God.

Vulcan Soul, I really like your description of Pike. Thanks! It’s going to be an interesting ride. I also wonder if Clarke’s modified Third Law, which others have also commented on, is actually the core around which the season’s whole religion-science theme will be built. Pike’s expression of it may have come from Wikipedia: “Any sufficiently advanced extraterrestrial intelligence is indistinguishable from God.” That word “indistinguishable” is key, methinks. Thanks, too, to CmdrR for that great Picard quote.

Something the reviewer didn’t touch on. Pike clearly showed why he will end up permanently disabled saving lives. He didn’t hesitate in the slightest to throw himself on that phaser.

I liked that bit, and it was yet another example of rushed storytelling. His example of self-sacrifice and his injury were about 30 seconds to a minute long. It would have been stronger to linger on that, have a back-and-forth between Burnham and Saru while Pike is in surgery, and his recovery is in doubt. Maybe even make the audience wonder if Pike will pull through, as today’s TV allows for that possibility.

@Afterburn — not to mention reconcile a bit better with canon as to why there was anything left of Pike, or anyone else, to save after a phaser on overload, which only a few years earlier on Talos, threatened to kill the entire landing party.

To be fair, we don’t know if it was an overload, or what setting it was on. It could have been on, say, “delayed pulse burst, minimal setting”. Shrug. That’s not quite what bothered me about that, just that there was absolutely no tension: he takes the hit, they rush him back to the ship, and then he’s better.

At the end of the day it doesn’t matter. We know Pike doesn’t die from a phaser blast. We know he won’t die on this show. So there’s no tension involved. It was however a fine show of his selflessness as Who Cares points out, which will be the case when he saves others and becomes permanently disabled by delta rays. I think Afterburn is right – the phaser was probably set on a low setting.

You and I know, but i’m sure a lot of viewers are not familiar with him and his fate. Even personally– though I know– there are still tons of TOS episodes i’ve never watched. Just never liked that series. Some Trekkies may even have forgotten how he got put in the chair.

I know on another thread, some speculated we’d see him in the chair by the end of this season, and others reminded those fans that we KNOW how he was injured from The Menegerie.

…showing my age.

Just an FYI folks, the revision of Clarke’s third law, is a real world thing.

Reading this is just too hard to handle. Either this Trek has Jumped the Shark, or the author had a nice pinchet for overstating… Oh forget it, it’s Jumped the Shark.

Ah, I see the Orville fans are out in force, as Season 2 has a 29% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. lol.

Yelp. You mean old Trek heads that won’t give this show a chance

Maybe a little less generalization on your part would be appropriate, NCC. I’ve been watching Trek since the 70’s – which I assume would make me an ‘old Trek head,’ and I’m watching Discovery.

He’s referring those spamming RT with negative reviews who aren’t even watching, and he’s right.

Ah, thanks. RT isn’t a reliable source to take the pulse of anything, imo.

Well why aren’t you fans spamming RT for positive reviews if those are apparently fake ones?

No the religious ones

Thank goodness for Discovery fans eh? You know, the ones harassing YouTube people like Doomcock and Mecha Random? Yeah, Discovery has wonderful fans. I mean WTF?!

The nature of the method in which Discovery is viewed- streaming- means that they don’t have to be constrained to 44 minute episodes and I am really confused why they did so for this episode. It was a solid episode but I really wanted to know more about Terralysium and its inhabitants besides Jacob and the All Mother (who was completely one note). I’d probably give this a 6/10.

It’s aired on TV in Canada. I think they still are targeting around a 60 run time with commercials.

First – shout out to finally showing us beautiful Discovery shots. I felt like this was the first episode where they slowed down to let us “see her.”

I enjoyed “New Eden” but am quite surprised the God question supersedes actual action, leaving us with the breezy edit/tone that is more “meta” than a straight up story. We debate it like Trek fans, with references to previous stories, rules, etc. but I wonder what viewers who have never seen Trek would think about it. Anyone out here watch it with someone like that?

If there is one scene I would have liked, it’s one where Saru is in command, trying to contact Pike and then finding himself talking to the humans who stole the gear. Then Saru would have had to experience something parallel but in reverse to what he experienced on his home planet.

And randomly: while we consider Star Trek to be against religion, what it is really against, and which there are a few defenders for, is animistic devotions. And Pike is very nice about it. He’s simply nice. He may be “by the book” but he’s trying to be empathic to the needs of others.

Darn. And I thought Mae was a Talosian illusion, as Kurtzman blurted out in NYC last year they’d be making an appearance. Heck, maybe they’re running the whole show now anyway. Of course, Pike didn’t know who they were in ‘The Cage’ (but Spock was in touch with them in Menagerie – maybe a relationship he begins in Discovery?), so it all remains to be seen.

I believe the Cage has already happened at this point in the timeline.

Yes, I think season 2 is 2257 and The Cage was in 2254?

How can “The Cage” and “The Menagerie” both be canon?

Hi, welcome to Star Trek!

What is your concern?

NC is probably focusing on the end of THE CAGE with Vina being left with the illusion of Pike being creatively recycled into a view for Kirk of Pike having an illusory mobile life with Vina.

Poster would probably have a point, except that the notion was absolutely brilliant and therefore trumps canon, much as, for Ruk, Survival transcends programming (or words to that effect.)

Yes that is the part I meant. I agree Menagerie was brilliant, but slightly different than Cage in how it ended.
My teenage son rarely ever watched TOS despite my best efforts, but once we watched both parts of Menagerie and he was riveted. Said it was the best episode of Star Trek he ever saw.

NC Trekker — actually there’s no canon violation there at all. At the end of The Cage, Vina is left with the illusion of Pike, and the illusion of her own crippled body restored. At the end of the Menagerie, they merely do not show us the last bit of what Pike originally saw (which is perfectly fine since the entire episode was abridged anyway). Instead, they show us that the real Pike has been given the illusion of perfect health and now replaces the illusion of himself Vina was originally left with.

In some respects it’s too bad they didn’t show it, as it makes a perfect book-end to the story and clearly gives Spock the idea he later has to return Pike thus bringing the story full circle. But unless they had other very different footage of that scene, they weren’t going to be able to do that in 1966. (I’m actually imagining now that they could have rolled the wheel chair into frame on Talos with the actor who played Pike, shot him from the back rising up out of the chair wearing the same uniform as Spock watches, then cut to a longer shot of Pike joining Vina, then maybe a different take of that final shot as Kirk watches on the viewscreen.)

The only mystery that remains now, is how and when did Spock get in touch with the Talosians to plan it, which presumably DISC is going to answer.

The Menagerie is Spock telling the story of The Cage, they do not contradict.

The on-the-planet stuff felt like something from an early-90s, made-in-Canada, cheapo syndicated series, complete with bad acting from Sheila MacCarthy.

Discovery feels more and more like 90s Trek, in a bad way — and I wonder if Frakes is part of the problem.

Well its only been two episodes its hard to judge either way. And I don’t think you can blame Frakes, he didn’t write the episode just directed it.

And to be honest this is just what they do in Star Trek. How many ‘parallel Earths’ that we saw in TOS that was clearly written that way so they can advantage of already standing sets or present day locations?

But of course if you didn’t like it, that’s totally your right.

I get what you’re saying about this particular story (it had a certain “Earth 2” vibe) but I don’t understand how you blanket the entire series that way. Have you watched it? This episode is probably the most different of the entire run in terms of both tone and story.


We don’t know if this is going to define the whole season or just a rare exception.

But this one seems to be the most favorite episode by fans so far by a mile. I’ve seen complete haters of this show (not here) who seems to be having a complete change of heart after this one episode. That’s a good thing. Even this board seems to have almost unanimous praise for it even if not everyone is in love with it, nearly everyone likes it at least. I didn’t think that would happen so soon if at all lol. It’s proving they DO understand the Trek spirit and is finally homing that a bit more this season. I don’t expect every episode to feel like this one but even if they manage to have just a few a year they will probably win over a lot of fans who dismissed it early on as just being dark and edgy Trek that’s more about GOT back stabbing type of stories and very little in the way of science, mystery, adventure and philosophy. This one episode captivated all of those and why the fanbase seems more positive on it.

It’s funny I’m super excited about this season now. I was always convinced I would like it more than first season at least because it at least LOOKED fun, but I didn’t expect on this level this soon. I’m completely captivated by the mystery and love discussing the moral and philosophical issues that Trek is famous for and I thought lacked a lot in the first season. This is bringing me back to Star Trek of old!

It’s probably my second least favorite, right after The Vulcan Hello. Though I liked the premiere a bit more at the time.

Yeah I know you didn’t like it too much personally but overall it does seem like a lot of people love it for some reason. The episode isn’t perfect, but I think people are reacting to the fact it just feels like classic Trek again more than anything. I said this on the other thread but if this was just a Voyager episode in season 5 or something I doubt people would be praising it AS much because its something thats been done on the others so often. But because we haven’t had a story like that in ages it felt new in its own way.

And its not a trope everyone likes in Trek. I actually wasn’t that excited about it either once I saw what it was about, but then when we got the details and its connection to Trek canon like tying it into WW 3 gets Trek fans excited lol. They are trying to make it clear Discovery is very much part of the PU.

“if this was just a Voyager episode in season 5 or something I doubt people would be praising it AS much because its something thats been done on the others so often.”

Very true. That sort of thing kind of grinds my gears. That said, anything that can bring around some of the critics to give the show a more open look is fine by me.

I enjoyed the episode, it just wasn’t a standout in my opinion.

Well I guess you can tell I’m waaaaay more happier about the show these days lol. It’s like being born again, its weird. But of course its still early, I can easily fall back into my more cynical self by episode 5 or something. But at the moment I am TOTALLY on board now. I’m super excited for this season and where its all going. I feel I’m truly watching Star Trek again and have high hopes for the show going forward.

Okay, this episode only affirms me in my previous idea: kill Burnham and put Owosekun in her place.

I’m dead serious here. Joann gets three whole sentences in a single episode and she already feels more alive than than Michael ever did. Is it a character thing, or an actor thing? I know Martin-Green is supposed to be a good actress (even though I never saw her in anything before); but in Discovery, it seems like she has only three expressions and keeps rotating them randomly.

Thanks for giving your opinion but that isn’t happening. Might as well give Trump your idea to fund the wall.

He/she gives their opinion on an episode and the first thing you do is make a negative reference to Trumpas though they’re evil? Triggered much?

Science-Fiction Oracle is that you?

I feel SMG is an excellent actor with a wide range. In this episode I consciously admired how she played the scenes of first about to tell Pike about her vision of the “Angel” and then later when she eventually did. The scene from season 1 when Tyler/Voq attacks her also sticks in my mind. Anger, disbelief, puzzlement, realization, grief, fear, resolve all at play in a span of moments. Tough to do with the overlay of having been raised in Vulcan society. I realize, of course, that such judgements are subjective.

I’m not crazy about her either, Boze, but she is most certainly here to stay.

“The second season continues to tap more into the wide range of the Star Trek sound library, such as Pike’s ready room door chime coming from Voyager and the TNG movies. The old beacon Jacob uses has some TOS “garbled message” sounds mixed in as well.”

Wow I did not notice the chime came from Voyager and the TNG films. It sounded familiar but I couldn’t place it even though I heard it more times then I can count lol. But I love little stuff like this to make it feel part of the franchise as a whole.

Can someone identify May’s accent?

Also, how does everyone here pronounce “fungi” and “Judaism”?

I believe the actress’ background is West Indian.

Ah, thanks! I was thinking Asian Indian, but that makes sense. Like Barbados or something.

Fantastic episode. I would love to see the season end with the identity of the red angel being ambiguous. Was it an angel of God or an alien being? Leave it up to the viewer. Fascinating. Looking forward to more!!!

@Trex — you think we will find out definitively what the Red Angel is?

I actually do think we will. No idea who or what though.

I’m pretty sure its going to be an alien of some kind. Fans would riot if they imply it was really an angel in biblical terms.

Really? Why would they riot? Curious.

It was a joke! But yeah I can’t see it being explained on a supernatural basis because Star Trek has always treated everything through the prism of science and aliens even when religion is tackled. Even when they have suggested other supernatural things like ghosts or possible Gods like Apollo on TOS its always comes back to more aliens lol. This could be a first but seriously doubt it.

Don’t forget Lucifer in TAS.

Got it, makes sense!

Alien iconians

A question, mein friends: How do the “Red Angel” bursts appear instantaneous when they are, in the case of the one in the New Eden episode, over 51,000 light years away? The Discovery requires the spore drive to travel that far but the light from that part of the galaxy would have taken over 51,000 years to hit their eyeballs in the Alpha Quadrant. Ach du lieber! Is anyone paying attention to Physics!!!???

Is anyone paying attention to Physics!!!???

Why start now? (facetious)

I think that the fact they did all appear at the same time is what has Starfleet curious. It makes no sense, that’s why they investigated.

Who watches the watchmen- iconians

A solid second episode but the short run time of less than 45 minutes was a disappointment after the premiere — as a result the episode felt rushed. DISCO should look to best practices of other serials like GOT, The Expanse and The Walking Dead to improve and vary its pacing. I like all of the characters on the show (except for the S1 Klingons) and have been a fan of Sonequa Martin-Green since her Walking Dead days, but I suspect Saru will become the only iconic character from the series. Doug Jones is a gem.

Nit Pick – I was excited to see the great Sheila McCarthy (as “Mother”) in this episode, but reading this review I noticed none of the actors are credited. Please, that should be required :)