Review: ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Goes Upside Down In “Saints Of Imperfection”

“Saints of Imperfection”

Star Trek: Discovery Season 2, Episode 5 – Debuted Thursday, February 14th
Written by Kirsten Beyer
Directed by David Barrett


In one of the stronger entries of the improved second season, “Saints of Imperfection” turns a rescue mission into a spooky, thrilling exploration of character and science. The season’s main arc gets mostly put on hold, giving the episode time to answer some important questions that have lingered since the first season. While sometimes lacking subtlety, Kirsten Beyer’s script deftly weaves the main plot with various subplots, delivering a cohesive story that feels more whole than most Discovery episodes. Strong performances from Mary Wiseman, Anthony Rapp and a guest star or two carry the episode emotionally, while Anson Mount’s Captain Pike steps up for the action, paced well by director David Barrett.  “Saints of Imperfection” feels like a solid closing of the first act of this second season, opening the door to really dive into the big mystery and themes introduced in these first five episodes.

“Saints of Imperfection” — Episode #205 — Pictured (l-r): Mary Wiseman as Tilly; Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham; Bahia Watson as May; Anthony Rapp as Stamets (CBS)



Inside Out

The episode picks up after the cliffhanger of “An Obol for Charon,” with Michael Burnham in agony over the uncertainty of Tilly’s fate after Tilly disappeared inside the cocoon created by May, the spore creature from the mycelial network. Michael’s voice-over reminds us of the season’s theme by saying, “I want to have faith, but in its absence, only duty remains.”

It doesn’t take long to snap her into action as the search for Spock kicks into high gear with the USS Discovery in hot pursuit of the shuttle he stole from Starbase 5. Even after Pike reaches out with a personal plea to his former science officer, the shuttle is not stopping, and conveniently there is always a nebula around to hide in and pull off the old blind-the-sensors-by-igniting-the-gas routine.

TorpedoCam is Starfleet’s most popular live streaming channel

After Pike does some cowboy diplomacy with a photon torpedo, the shuttle is captured, but if you thought that was the end of Discovery’s long Spock tease, the writers also have a wormhole to sell you. “Captain” Phillipa Georgiou surprises the crew, emerging from the shuttle, and the only person who doesn’t seem to want to drop her guard—or her phaser—is the woman responsible for bringing the former Terran Emperor into this universe.

In another case of Star Trek’s often small galaxy, it turns out that Pike and Georgiou knew each other at the Academy, where he was impressed with her ability to drink heavily and stick to procedures. It’s clear he is no fan of her new, more cavalier approach, nor of the explanation that she is on a classified mission for Section 31. Burnham is even less happy to hear Georgiou is now a secret agent tasked to “hunt down” her brother Spock.

There is nothing covert about what I am sensing now

The galaxy gets even smaller when Leland holocalls in and we learn Pike knows him, too. They may be old pals, but things escalate fast as the head of Section 31 starts throwing veiled threats around. Leland’s sales pitch “We do what we do, so you can do what you do” lands with a thud, but Pike agrees to release Georgiou. This is Alan Van Sprang’s first real acting challenge and he rises to the occasion, going toe-to-toe with Anson Mount, who is also in top form in this episode.

I can grant you three evil wishes

It was also revealed that Pike is not in the loop on the whole Mirror Universe thing, so he thinks this Georgiou is the real and now “retired” Captain Georgiou. Which means, pretty much everyone on board this ship is keeping a pretty big secret from their captain, although it is also clear he knows there is something else going on and Burnham asks for his trust for the time being, implying she might violate orders and spill the Terran beans.

While Georgiou is free to go, the Discovery is assigned a new Section 31 liaison, who turns out to be Tyler, formerly the Klingon Voq, who happened to murder Dr. Culber in season one. Strangely, the people who seem to have the biggest problem with this are newbies Pike and his security chief Nhan, who is watching Tyler like Robert De Niro staring down a Focker. Michael twists herself as she simplifies the complicated season one moral quandary, saying “Voq murdered an officer, Ash Tyler is a good man.”

For his part, Tyler says he has Burnham’s back and will protect Spock from Emperor Georgiou, vowing he will never go back to Qo’noS, which is probably best as the Chancellor just bluffed the High Council with his fake severed head. He even tries to sell her on his new home, saying “everyone at 31 thinks of it as a place where they make sense,” like it’s a covert Cheers, where everyone knows your code-name.

While Burnham is having a nice reconnection with Tyler, her reunion with Georgiou is icy. With each appearance, Michelle Yeoh’s portrayal of the exiled Emperor slips closer and closer to Evil Queen territory, right down to her snacking on an apple. There is also an all too obvious serpent in the Garden of Eden vibe here with the mention of Section 31 as a “snake pit” and Yeoh literally hissing. For an episode with so many characters asking for each other’s trust, the writers should trust the audience to pick up on their allegories without being hit over the head with them.

An apple a day keeps the dictator away

Upside Down

While Pike and Burnham have been dealing with the new ominous organization weaseling its way onto the ship, Stamets has been busy using old-school science to work out Tilly is not dead. He hatches a “very bold, deeply insane” plan to track her down in the mycelial network by using the GPS on the organic transporter cocoon May left behind. To rescue her all they have to do is partially spore jump the USS Discovery into the mycelial network, or, to run it through the PikeFolksyAnalogizer, “use this ship as a doorstop.”

And to ramp up the tension, they are given a one-hour window before the network totally dissolves the ship. But this is Sylvia Tilly and the ship just wouldn’t be the same without that brilliantly adorkable Ensign, so with a bit of nice speechifying from Pike, they wedge themselves into the Upside Down — sorry, the mycelial network. Everyone on board except for Stamets and Burnham heads to the starboard safe side of the ship.

Did you call an Uber?

As for Tilly, she is having a meltdown as she finds herself kidnapped into the mycelial network, fighting off JahSepp fireflies trying to decompose her. She defiantly refuses to listen to May who finally reveals her plan, saying her “former paradise” has been corrupted by its own serpent. For some reason, she needs Tilly to help save them from this “monster” before it kills them all.

Tilly’s Stockholm Syndrome kicks in fast as she jumps on board #TeamMushroom to save the network. She and May start roaming the ship, heavily armed and in search of prey. Mary Wiseman fails wonderfully with her Clint Eastwood moment when she warns the shadowy figure that’s approaching her: “I’m holding a Type 3 phaser rifle and it is more powerful and generally larger than the Type 1 or Type 2, which is why I guess they call it a 3.”

Wonder Twin Powers Activate! Form of, Fungus Nerd!

Reunited with Stamets and Burnham, the quartet continues the monster hunt as May expositions all about how this fearsome creature is indescribable. The direction, cinematography and production design skillfully transform the USS Discovery into a terrifying dissolving hellscape, helped along by ominous music and terrifying sound design which include the wails of the monster. In a twist you may have seen coming, this monster turns out to be Dr. Hugh Culber, who looks pretty disheveled but not too bad for someone who is supposed to be dead.

Here is where things get really weird, but isn’t that always the case when Star Trek resurrects someone? This Dr. Hugh Culber is “real” and has been reconstituted by the network, based on his energy which flowed into the network through Stamets who was still partially connected to it in his semi-fugue state when he held Culber as he was dying in season one’s “The Wolf Inside.” Got it?

Anthony Rapp and Wilson Cruz remind us what amazing chemistry they have when Stamets touchingly draws Culber out of his shell as he cowers in their quarters. Using memories of their life together as a lifeline, Stamets drags his partner back to reality, telling him, “I knew everything about you in that moment.” None of this matters to May, who just wants this Culber-creature dead to stop him from poisoning them. But the Discovery team flips the script, dropping the truth bomb on May that to Culber, the JahSepp are the monsters, and he has only been protecting himself with the inedible tree bark because, as the detritivores of the spore network, they seemed compelled to try and decompose him.

Are you melting or just happy to see me?

While all these stranger things are happening in one half the USS Discovery, Pike and the bridge crew are struggling to keep the rest of the ship from being sucked in and turned into mycelial goo. Consoles explode, actors flail around, bridge banter includes fretting over hull integrity… it’s all wonderful Star Trek fun. As things go from bad to worse, Pike doesn’t even have time to contemplate what he is hearing about the resurrection of Culber. More than any episode of the season, at least since the season opener, Anson Mount seems fully in command of this ship, as he finally has some real captaining to do.

Just when things seem bleakest and they run out of time, the mysterious Section 31 ship reveals it has been there observing the whole time—but it takes a plea from Tyler to get them to offer up some help. Pike is suitably pissed. He doesn’t like Tyler, he doesn’t like Captain Leland, it is not cool that this ship has been sitting around watching them slowly slip into the soup, but he will take any help he can get, which arrives in the form of some cool tractor pod things. Section 31 gets all the best toys, some of which are a next generation ahead of their time. Georgiou even lends a hand on board the Section 31 ship, buying the Disco some more time with a few tricks of her own. This all adds up to some of the best bridge action and visual effects on the series to date.

I’m sorry Discovery, but your policy does not cover free towing

Back on the port side of the ship, we get another heartbreaking scene as they try to take Culber through to the safety of the reaction chamber but his mycelial-constructed body can’t cross over. We just got him back but this healer readies himself to protect the network and let it absorb him, giving us two weeks in a row when a major character on this show resigned himself to death. But before you reach for the tissues, Tilly comes through with some science, pointing out they can mushroom-beam him using the cocoon and that will turn him back into a real boy.

The price to be paid here is cutting off the only link between May’s and Tilly’s worlds, leading to more hugging and crying. Tilly has really been drinking the mycelial Kool-Aid as these two are now total besties. The tension that has been building up all episode abates as Culber emerges from the cocoon, super naked, like a lovable slimy Terminator. Space boos reunited.

This thing can resurrect me and transport me from another plane of existence, but couldn’t even cook up some tighty whities?

Round And Round

With the rescue of Tilly (plus a Culber bonus) a success, the main story and emotional arc of the episode are complete, but there is still a bit of a coda happening over on the Section 31 ship, with another return. Admiral Katrina Cornwell appears out of nowhere to chide Leland and Pike for not getting along. Much more hardened—even with her having condoned genocide to wrap up season one—the admiral puts everyone back on task to the season long arc of that whole seven bursts and Red Angel thing. Remember that? There was a poster and everything.

Turns out after the USS Discovery left the scene of the signal in the first episode of the season, some other Starfleet ship—and apparently one with better sensors and/or a more competent crew—discovered levels of tachyon radiation. Tachyons are familiar to Trek fans and open up a lot of possibilities, including time travel. So, it’s time to get back to the on again off again search for Spock and exploring this mystery, or as Cornwell says: “come on fellas, cut the manlier-than-thou bullshit.” Katrina has gone cold as ice in the post-war era and the boys wither and bury their space hatchets.

You guys think you have it rough, my ex was replaced with a psycho from a parallel universe  

After another quick call with Georgiou, and another quick cry with Tilly, Burnham returns to voice-over mode to remind us of the theme of this season. After witnessing what some would consider the miraculous, she wavers in her rigid Vulcan point of view, now open to possibilities. Gathered with her new family on the bridge of a starship headed into the unknown, her message is one all of us Trek fans may be feeling about this episode, this season and this expanding franchise: “If there is a greater hand leading us into an uncertain future. I can only hope it guides us well.”

Is there a Klingon-turned-human behind me?


Truth and consequences

Culber returning is something we knew would happen literally since the day his character was killed off. So concerned over being accused of using the “bury your gays” trope, the usually secretive producers revealed on After Trek, and in many subsequent interviews and appearances, that Culber was not dead and Cruz would be back. It’s good they didn’t rush it, dropping in some visions and a flashback to hold over fans until this episode, and the method he was resurrected with was deeply entwined into something key to this show—and Stamets—the mycelial network.

Importantly, the show didn’t create a new loophole which negated death itself. I doubt anyone will wonder why they don’t use this method again. It is also promising that Anthony Rapp has stated that this resurrection “has to have consequences,” and hopefully the consequences go beyond May losing her connection to regular space. Culber has just gone through a very traumatic experience, and it should be something that he carries with him. Also, having his murderer on board should lead to something more than just awkward looks. Culber should simply not be the same. This could take the form of some interesting sci-fi stuff and/or acknowledge what nine months in a nightmare would do to someone.

Discovery has a mixed record when it comes to consequences for these characters. Of course, much of the first season obsessed over Burnham’s redemption arc for her mutiny in season one, but other cases of character consequences seem to have been dropped or forgotten. In just this episode we see Admiral Cornwell, who arguably is guilty of attempting a war crime (along with Sarek and other high ups in the Federation), but she seems to have landed on her feet. Saru went through a radical transformation in the previous episode but seems mostly fine now, and everyone seemed pretty cool with his insubordination on Pahvo last season.

And then there is the issue of death itself. One of the stated goals of Discovery was to play with the big boys like Game of Thrones and be willing to go there when it came to killing off characters, which it did in a big way in the two-part pilot. However, since then, the show has been tame when it has come to casualties, never even making the war with the Klingons feel like it had consequences. And when they do get around to killing off a character, too often the show either pulls a fake out where they don’t die or when they kill them off, or they ensure the audience hates them like Lorca and Landry in season one and Connolly in the season two opener.

Discovery should not be afraid to take more risks, to truly depict the danger inherent in exploring the final frontier. They should trust the audience and be willing to live in the grey areas with their characters. These are not only lessons from peak TV but Trek history itself.

He looks so peaceful, perhaps it’s best to wait to tell him you know who is on board

Welcome to Section 31, brought to you by the fine people at Starfleet

Our review of the third episode of the season—which introduced the Section 31 storyline—noted that it was unclear exactly what Section 31 was within Discovery. This episode cleared up all ambiguities. Not only do Section 31 agents walk around with badges that everyone recognizes, but it is clearly stated that the organization is part of Starfleet Intellig ence and part of the chain of command, taking orders from Starfleet admirals. Cornwell describes Section 31 as “a critical intelligence division.” This is a not-so-secret secret organization, and very different than the extremely covert one introduced in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, which may have claimed to work in the shadows on behalf of Federation interests but was entirely a rogue operation unaccountable to anyone.

So, this is a violation of canon and another example of Discovery twisting a piece of Trek history, right? Well, not so fast. Speaking to Digital Spy and other media outlets at the TCA event a couple of weeks ago, showrunner Alex Kurtzman said the conflicting portrayals of Section 31 isn’t a bug, it’s a feature. Kurtzman states:

If you know Section 31, you know that by the time Deep Space Nine comes around they’ve gone underground and they are this mysterious organization—but there’s nothing official about it. In the promos [for season 2] that you’ve seen so far, Section 31 has a badge. There’s a ship and all these different things, so the question is: how do they get from here to there? What happened in that window of time between those two pivot points in Section 31’s evolution?

It looks like they are giving Section 31 as an organization its own arc. At some point they go from a known part of Starfleet Intelligence to something known to only a handful, and run outside of Starfleet. But what about Enterprise you say? Well, that is a good question and something hopefully we can ask episode writer and “keeper of the canon” Kirsten Beyer about. I suspect it could be noted that Enterprise takes place before the establishment of the Federation. Also, while Enterprise depicted Section 31 as a very secret organization, it was never clearly stated that it was not part of Starfleet Intelligence. In fact, Section 31 agent Malcolm Reed (who was a by-the-book Starfleet officer) referred to his handler, Harris, as “sir” and told Captain Archer his obligation to Section 31 was greater than his obligation to the ship.

For now, like so many characters implored each other in “Saints of Imperfection,” the producers want us to trust them and their motives when it comes to Section 31, or as Georgiou said to Michael in the episode, “have a little faith.”

Of course! We’re one big happy fleet!

Patience of the saints

“Saints of Imperfection” continued the trend seen in the first four episodes of the second season, both in terms of general improvements to the show as well as addressing issues left over from the first season. While finding some moments for levity, the episode brought in a horror element, which has always been part of Trek from its very first episode aired (TOS “The Man Trap”).

Even though previous episodes this season have downplayed the mycelial network or even joked about it, this episode leans in. Kirsten Beyer deserves credit for remembering that the spore drive was a core part of the USS Discovery. There are still some open questions, but “Saints of Imperfection” added a lot to the lore that has been the heart of Discovery. As she is considered one of the bigger Trekkies in the writers’ room, Beyer knows how to pepper things with just enough references and a few deep Trek cuts without turning to the ham-fisted fan service that has plagued the show. However, she still relies too much on voice-over and exposition when she could be showing and not just saying. The audience should also be respected enough to pick up on the themes and allegories without using metaphorical spotlights.

The return of Wilson Cruz has been long anticipated and brings back another core element of this show: the relationship between his Dr. Culber and Anthony Rapp’s Paul Stamets, with both actors bringing back all the feels. The episode also featured a strong performance from Mary Wiseman, whose Tilly continues to grow and is finally toning it down a bit. Michelle Yeoh usually elevates episodes she is in, however, her turn as agent Georgiou is now entering the realm of cartoonish.

Turning what was essentially a bottle show on the USS Discovery (and the Section 31 ship) into a compelling and creepy adventure, director David Barrett (who also helmed the fun season one episode “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad”) was able to seamlessly weave all the story elements happening around the ships together, making this episode feel the most whole of any season two outing since the premiere. This effort was helped by top-notch work by the production design, music, editing, and visual effects.

The first act of this season now feels complete. “Saints of Imperfection” has hopefully set the final pieces into place for the main arc of the season to return to the fore.

Airiam 2.0 may need to upgrade her parking algorithm

Random thoughts, connections, easter eggs, and more

  • The episode title plays off a quote from director Guillermo del Toro: “Monsters are patron saints of imperfection.”
  • The episode featured an inordinate number of “walk and talk” and other scenes set in corridors, showcasing the newly elongated corridor set.
  • Pike says last time he saw Leland was dealing with alligators on Cestus III, the planet that will be attacked by the lizard-like Gorn in TOS “Arena.”
  • Stamets’ mention of Lavoisier refers to 18th-century French chemist Antoine Lavoisier who is considered the father of modern chemistry; his “Lavoisier’s Law” states “nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed.”
  • Adding on to a number of things he has said in previous episodes, Pike’s mention of attending church with his cousin and his “path” seems to cement his position as a person of faith, which is one of the themes for the season.
  • Burnham and Stamets refer to “twisted” bodies found on the USS Glenn, which was the sister ship to the USS Discovery seen in the third episode of the series, that had a catastrophic accident during a spore drive test, killing the crew.
  • With the “intruder” Dr. Culber removed from the mycelial network, the threat to the JahSepp may have been abated. It’s not entirely clear how much damage if any the Discovery is doing to the network when it jumps, but there is no indication that they will stop using it in the short term. This brings back the longer-term issue of explaining why the technology didn’t survive into the TOS-era and beyond.
  • Stamets recalls visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art with Culber to see paintings by abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning. Perhaps his most prominent work at the Met is “Easter Monday” which is described as depicting the “simultaneous processes of creation and destruction, a perpetual state of both realization and erasure that finds some analogy in the continuous growth and decay of nature,” not unlike how this episode describes the mycelial network.
  • To intimidate Leland, Georgiou threatens to expose a secret from a mission he conducted on Deneva, an inhabited planet affiliated with the Federation which first appeared in TOS “Operation Annihilate.” In the IDW 2018 Star Trek: Discovery Annual (which Kirsten Beyer co-wrote), Deneva was where Stamets first worked on his mycelial network theories and where he first met Dr. Hugh Culber.
  • The “class 5” torpedo launched by the Discovery was more of the round missile shape like the spatial torpedoes used by the NX-01 before the introduction to the more eyeglass case style photonic and later photon torpedoes.
  • The USS Discovery hull is described as being made from tritanium, which is also used in Starfleet ships in the 22nd through to the 24th centuries.
  • The reference to article 14 of the Starfleet Charter has previously been established to be where Section 31 gets its authority to take extreme measures in times of extraordinary threat.
  • The Section 31 ship has some kind of active camouflage system, possibly using the same technology as the Romulan ‘Flea’ drone ship from Enterprise.
  • While Pike ordered the holographic communication system removed from the USS Enterprise in the previous episode, the system remains in place on the USS Discovery.
  • Both Leland and Georgiou appeared as holograms from the Section 31 ship before people on USS Discovery even entered their rooms to activate their displays, possibly indicating Section 31 can remotely trigger the systems (which is why you need to put tape over your camera and emitters people!).
  • Section 31’s black badges also work as communicators, which is tech doesn’t become standard for regular Starfleet until the 24th century.
  • How Admiral Cornwell ended up on the Section 31 ship is a mystery. Was she always there? Did she arrive on another ship? In season one, Cornwell had her own cruiser, but we have yet to see this elusive ship. People beaming in from—or out to—unknown and unseen places is a recurring thing on Discovery.

This is Voq Fandango, can you hear me?

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.

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

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Section 31 has all good toys.

This is the part that clashes with credibility due to the “reimagining” of Section 31 as being so out in the open, so well-known and being a proper part of Starfleet Intelligence. It only serves as “keeping an edge” if they operate undercover and are mostly unknown to the rest of Starfleet. But like this, it just makes them an elite organization being favored above Starfleet. Why would technology like the communicator not be shared with the rest of Starfleet for 100 years? That’s not potentially politically problematic technology like the cloaking device. It seems to go completely against the philosophy of the Federation and Starfleet to protect viable technology like this that could safe lives on all Starfleet ships.

Then you don’t know about USA CIA then

However the CIA is not a part of the military. Section 31 seems to be.

The CIA doesn’t have to be ,they do what they want.

Out of curiosity, have you spent any time at all in the foreign policy/national security community? CIA is, ultimately, subject to congressional oversight and appropriations, like any other government agency. There are times when it perhaps oversteps these bounds, but it is not free of them.

I haven’t loved Section 31 stories, but I am glad they finally established that Sec. 31 is part of Starfleet Intelligence and thus Starfleet command and control. “Agencies that answer to no-one” are fine for Stalinst Russia. They’re not fine for democratic countries in real life, and they’re certainly not fine for the Federation.

I didn’t know the USA CIA is using technology 50-100 years ahead indeed! Those rumours about flying saucers at Area 51 must be true then :P

Though this is a minor example, the US government had high speed internet in the late 90s that even then far exceeded what the average high-speed fiber optic connections consumers use in 2019.

And tha’ts the tip of the iceberg. Government agencies absolutely do keep more advanced tech for themselves.

But how about the fact that Star trek always mirrors what going on in the times we live in.The TOS did it with stories, all the series hit on what was going on in the real world at those times. Disco is no different. Section 31 is no different then our own CIA,NSA,FBI, they also do things right out in the open these days, some thinks that are horrible and political in nature. Like our modern wars going on. You really think it’s to help people in those countries?. No it’s just to put the leader we want in there for our interests in there. Section 31 is no different. So I like what this series is doing. Were lucky we have any Star Trek at all.

So whose payroll are you on, Putin’s or Maduro’s?

Seeing the black badges used like the 24th century communicators brought a smile to me! :)

LOVE stuff like that!

See, for me it made zero sense and only created yet another canon violation.

Since we know nothing at all about S31 in the mid 23rd century prime universe, there can be no violation of canon. Everything we know OF S31 stems from events/accounts as far apart in time as the War of 1812 and Episode IX.

It’s a canon violation when they use tech that we KNOW doesn’t exist yet.

Except we know it exists because we just saw it in this episode. Pike’s reaction gave us all the information we need: the technology exists, but hasn’t been rolled out to the public. That’s now what we know, and it’s actually pretty clever.

Exactly. There’s never been an indication of exactly when the badge communicator came into general use. Discovery DOES get to contribute to canon, people!

We know it wasn’t in use by the time the events of ST:TUC roll around. That’s not for another 35 years. Therefore, it’s like giving a smartphone to someone in 1975.

Because simply the writers didn’t think of that back then.They also play off the tech of today with the series of today. How about Star Trek 5 where they had to view the hostage tape. Tape?!! Really? Didn’t the writers know we had discs at the time of that movie. Come on man your cherry picking.

I would note that in “Yesterday’s Enterprise,” the Enterprise-C crew used the monster maroon insignia as communicators.

You remember, in 1965, when Gene Roddenberry wrote “The Cage” and there were Starfleet officers using things like flip phones to communicate with their ship?

Roddenberry consulted a great deal with RAND Corporation to get a feel for upcoming technology.

Now we have watches that allow us to communicate. It won’t surprise me to see “commbadges” in the next couple of decades.

Well bloody said… just beceause it was never see. Pre TNG does not mean it did not exist.

Dave your dealing with people here that are anal about the dumbest things about Star Trek.They want things one way , there way and anything out of there narrow minds lights the hair on fire. Ive been a Star Trek fan since TOS and i’ll tell you ,these people are full of crap.

Well put! What gets me is these guys bitch when there is no Star Trek movies or TV shows but then bitch about it when there is shows. You can’t have it both ways people get over it. Star Trek lives. You watch when the ”Picard”show airs later in the year ,they will find something to bitch about with that show.These are sad people with no lives.

Except it won’t be “rolled out” for military use for at least another 35 years. Unlikely it existed in that time frame. Logic dictates it’s an anachronism or canon violation.

Or, you could just be being a bit arbitrary about the whole thing.

No, he isn’t arbitrary. As I’ve outlined before technology and design follow timelines of innovation and while there are setbacks in between such as after the Fall of the Roman Empire, there is no such indication (and no time) of a dark age conveniently placed after Discovery and before the other series. Discovery isn’t “special” and got to play by the rules as everyone else. Even secret services don’t have tech that requires fundamental innovation that is 50 to 100 years ahead, you can think back 50 to 100 years to see that it’s not true.

So just because you guys like to operate on fantasy, this is not how science and technology works in reality.

Its also fair to say there are technologies that exist that will never see the light of day because it was not mean’t for us. So it’s not a big deal that section 31 has technology we never seen in past series.In reality Discovery is a modern series with a modern audience. You guys want Star Trek one way, your way and anything other then that is trash in your view.Its possible The writers just might be smarter the you.

just curious, how can you you know or be sure of the tech that the “Secret Service”has or does not have?

Your wrong what else do the writers have to go on. The CIA has technology way beyond what we buy at Best Buy.Ever hear of the patriot act? Can you buy that technology to spy on your friends, nope and never will. Just because it’s not rolled out doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. So section 31 would have access to that tech where normal Star fleet wouldn’t.

Yeah and why I’m not too bothered by it. I think this is why Section 31 can get away with showing advance tech in a way Discovery can’t because everything is simply marked down as classified or use for clandestine operations that later gets rolled into normal Starfleet use and society. And this happens in the real world as well. Its no secret a lot of technology we have today started out as secret military projects first from computers to satellites that is passed down to intelligence agencies like the NSA and CIA before ultimately becoming part of civilian use later on.

For example DARPA is a division of the Department of Defense who had a hand in shaping a lot of this technology that the average citizen had no idea was being worked on. What’s crazy is a lot of its research in the 60s is stuff that are in things like computers and smartphones we now take for granted today. The way we are talking to each other now is partly because of the innovation from agencies like that. But in Star Trek, since there is no military it all comes solely from their intelligence and science units.

I have no idea if the writers are taking their inspiration from things like this with S31 but since so much of Star Trek does actually come from real world events, societies and organizations I wouldn’t be surprised they were at some level.

Tiger, tech reserved for military use is different from the general public. If Sec 31 has it, then you bet your ass the Star Fleet has it. Maybe not joe civilian of Alpha Centuri, however. Not for a while.

Yes, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they will all get it now either because we still don’t fully understand how S31 works within Starfleet hierarchy. Literally until yesterday we didn’t even know Section 31 was an official an arm of Starfleet. And eventually they DID get the communicator which of course is the debate, we’re just arguing how long would it take to happen?

And who knows, maybe we will see some of Starfleet given the badges to use and why it was shown in the first place. But we really still don’t know how it all works yet. Maybe S31 only gets to use its own toys or still doesn’t trust Starfleet with some of it.

But look, I’m just trying to be more positive and have a wider outlook this season because I am enjoying it a lot more even if its still flawed. Part of me agrees with you, its just another retcon in a loooooong line of them when it comes to Discovery and prequels in general. But I also believe we should wait and see, especially with regards to S31 since we really know very little about them in general.

To me it just was another thing to take the audience out of the time frame they say it is set in. And given the world they created it is not surprising that they think badge communictors are a thing 100 years before an audience saw them in use. The only thing we can conclude about them is that they came to be some time AFTER the events of TUC. But not in the Discovery universe. They have it 10 years before Kirk ever sat in a Captain’s chair.

I want to be positive. The first two episodes WERE positive. But the last 3 haven’t helped the show’s case. It’s still better than last year. For now. But I fear for the final episodes at this point….

Tell you what write the show , cast the actors, direct the show and see how it turns out. Ive seen fan made Star tRek on you tube most are horrible.

I think we shouldn’t argue about the communicator as the most pressing problem actually because the level of innovation from the handheld device (which for all we know may actually not have that big electronics inside) to the badge is not that big. But how about all that post-24th century magic like personal holographic camouflage, killer drones and all the other crazy stuff we have seen them using already (no doubt they will escalate further in future seasons and the 31 spin-off).

The tech level of 23rd century Section 31 is virtually indistinguishable from late 24th century Starfleet which is 150 years apart.

The thing is, they released pandora from the box and there’s no way they gonna put it back in now.

All shows are flawed what does that even mean.What ,Star Trek doesn’t get a pass but other shows do.Star Trek has always been flawed ,any series you talk about. So what, enjoy and don’t listen to the cherry pickers that have all kinds of time on there hands to nit picking tv shows.What a waste of life.

@ML31 Personally I’ve always considered the TNG comm badges to be more of a stylistic choice than a technological breakthrough. It seems almost inconceivable in this day and age that it would take another century from the time of TOS to make communicators small enough to fit in a badge. Let’s be realistic, we could pretty much make a phone like that now it’s just that nobody would buy it because it doesn’t support Snapchat and Candy Crush.

Well Corinthian7, the way I see it is the only reason to have it in the badge is to have something on you at all times so you could be reached. One would think that given the changes that Discovery has it seems reasonable that there be communicators in the badges in their world, sure. The thing is, their world does not match the world we have seen that era to be. So again, if you want to amp up the tech, putting the show in that era is out. Sorry to sound like a broken record but they sorta did this to themselves.

No need to apologise ML31, I can understand your point of view I just look at it differently. Extrapolating from what you said about the comm badges I would suggest that it goes beyond being contactable at all times and leans more towards being tracked at all times. The clandestine nature of Section 31’s work and the type of individuals that they recruit might account for them choosing a type of communicator that allows for a greater degree of surveillance of their personnel.

So are you saying you want a Star Trek show just like the ones we had before, boring man and why Star Trek has never reached that level of appeal of say Star Wars. And I lean Star Trek.Look it’s a business ,right. They do what they think will appeal to today, it’s a risk ,yes but to stay in business and get ratings they have to do something and if it misses the ”Canon”bullshit ,that’s what they do ,get over it enjoy what you have and have a good day. End of the day nobody really cares.

Agree here Corinthain7,

Oddly enough one of the reasons why I don’t like it being a prequel is because they have to ‘dumb down’ a lot of the tech which we know just looks outdated to today’s eyes. The biggest one actually being the communicator. I remember watching the 09 film and them using those antiquated communicators while I had my iphone in my pocket which can do about 100 things more than those things but it was suppose to be 300 years in the future. If you see everything you can do with a smartphone today, it seems crazy a communication device you rely on to guide you on foreign planets would be nothing more than a phone, language translator and a GPS locator that far in the future. It would be an all purpose tool like we have literally right now.

But of course, its the TOS era so they figure some things they have to keep to the period, but the TOS era communicator is one of the most outdated looking thing, especially if you were born in the age of smart devices.

To me, since Discovery already has super advance looking hardware, why not just update the communicator to look and act like a real tool as well? Its done for nostalgia obviously but its very unrealistic.

Tiger, the fact of the matter is your iphone does not have interplanetary subspace communications capabilities ;)

But it’s true by now the writers have decided they want to have it both ways. They want to write prequels and they want to get to play with all the toys of the late 24th century and beyond!

(My apologies that the discussion thread got completely messed up by now! Below reply was meant to go with your “trying to stay positive” post)

Its 300 years into the future, that seem like the LEAST of what a communicator in the Trek universe would be able to do by then, not the ONLY thing. That’s the issue. I can’t even guess what a smartphone will be able do in the next 30 years much less the next 300.

But yes, the communicator would’ve been the one thing I WOULD have upgraded in Discovery because its pretty silly those things aren’t packed with a lot more vital technology. They just come off so ridiculously simple and outdated when you can’t even do a simple video call on them which we all now take for granted today.

“Its 300 years into the future, that seem like the LEAST of what a communicator in the Trek universe would be able to do by then, not the ONLY thing. That’s the issue. I can’t even guess what a smartphone will be able do in the next 30 years much less the next 300.”

My point is, they already established in canon not just for TOS, but all of the TOS movies that the communicator is a bigger hand-held device. Unlike others I don’t find it unbelievable that subspace technology could not be miniaturized to a badge size at that point of history, even 300 years hence (we don’t have subspace technology at all now so I don’t think that is unreasonable). So I just expected them to go by these constraints for the 23rd century and leave the few technologies we associate with the 24th century (commbadge, holodeck, replicators) in that timeframe.
Or to use an analogy, why would we go back to those big 1980s Motorola bricks now that we have touch phones (Discovery vs TOS)? And did the CIA really have touch phones in the 1980s when everyone else was using Motorola bricks (Section 31 vs Starfleet)?

I get what you’re saying but clearly we’re pass that now. Discovery and the Kelvin movies are not trying to emulate hardware of TOS with the EXCEPTION of the communicator for some reason. They no longer have big boxy computers like TOS, there are no analog instruments everywhere and Starfleet officers no longer write notes and memos with a pen device.

So why is everything else actually upgraded to today’s aesthetics but they still have the same boxy limited communicators? It just feels ridiculous to me. You now have holographic communication as part of your ship but yet you are still corresponding to people on alien planets with basically a 23rd century walkie-talkie? Its kind of absurd.

We all know Discovery isn’t trying to emulate 23rd century tech and hardware. Nothing about this show is in line with TOS look and feel. You’re talking about a show that uses holographic controls to pilot vessels, so updating a communicator to actually feel and look like it has real usage for that ship wouldn’t look any less out of place than most things on it now. It doesn’t have to be a com badge but it shouldn’t be something that feels primitive to a BlackBerry phone either.

Agreed, I would have zero problem with the writers showing us new tricks that can be done with the communicators. Things we’ve not seen before that we can assume were always there in TOS as well.

I agree but like you said to be Star Trek somethings that are out dated by today’s standards have to remain. It’s a movie a TV show .When they talk about new Star Trek shows I always hope for a show beyond Voyager,but we never so far get it. I read a piece like 4 years ago where they have what they call a DNA computer which is more attached to our bodies then a laptop on a desk. Sounds like the Borg to me.Another words all commutation is part of our bodies we carry around in us. Kind of implants. But it’s a real thing there working on. Don’t know if I like that idea ,but it’s a interesting thing they could use in a Star Trek show.

And they didn’t have any idea back then of what was to come with technology.Even old James Bond films are laughable today but back then it was cool.

Tiger, one problem. Research does not equate actual working technology! There is no way even the most secret of secret services had smartphone technology in the 1960s. The basic ingredients hadn’t been invented yet. By anyone.

And I think you are giving the writers too much credits. They have the urge to show crazy “magic” technology and they justify it to canon by saying its classified Section 31 tech yadda yadda (which is why they never should have gone the prequel route! They know they don’t have the discipline for that). But that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea and increasing the credibility of the show as serious science fiction (which I guess it is not).

Its not a direct analogy, I’m only making the point not everything that gets invented is automatically shared to the world, especially if its technology that is meant to be for defense or intelligence. In S31 case, we know they are a more secretive group. Yes we know (now) they have a closer working relationship with Starfleet, but I’ll say it again, we still don’t know HOW close that relationship is nor do we know if Section 31 keeps its toys to itself. That’s all I’m saying, its been one episode, we just don’t know enough to draw any conclusions right now. Can’t we give it a few more episodes before we declare it a canon violation?

But if you think its silly to have something this advance this soon, I’m not really arguing with that, but is anyone really surprised at this point? They have already shown tech we assumed got invented much later like holograms. At least with S31 you can tell yourself they invented stuff that they classified and why its not everywhere.

And I’m the guy that didn’t want a prequel for this VERY reason but same time if they are at least trying to find a way to explain it instead of all this advanced stuff just existing decades before and we’re not suppose to even question it, I’ll take the former at least.

And I just love having those communicators back. ;)

Well put on the money. Another thing is did we have any talk about a discovery type star ship in any other series? Because I don’t recall. I guess the whole show isn’t canon lol. These canon guys are so full of it ,it’s funny.

NSA and CIA are civilian intelligence agencies. You’re thinking of DIA.

I knew an Army sergeant who worked at the NSA. Go figure.

Glad you mentioned DARPA. They work on some really far-out stuff, and it’s thanks to them, in part, that we have the internet. And some of their research is chilling, like the idea of “supersoldiers” — this ain’t just X-Files stuff.

Two problems:
– Starfleet is not “the public”
– Why does something so straight forward as a miniaturized communicator in a badge need to be rolled over ONE HUNDRED years? This is like saying that the CIA in the 1950s already had smartphones while “the public” (such as the Airforce) still had to make do with electron tube computers. Makes zero sense!

As I said VS, we don’t know if they actually waited that long. And S31 may not share their technology with Starfleet. I’ll say it again, we don’t know how that relationship works yet. They been in two episodes, and this is literally the first time we seen them work directly with Starfleet in the 20 years since they been around. They aren’t going anywhere obviously, so lets just see it play out a little before we yell its a canon violation and Discovery is a sham.

(Holy shit, now I’m the one defending Discovery and it crazy retcons lol. What is happening to me??????)

@Tiger I’m not questioning the organizational setup as unbelievable, but the basic lineage of technology. What meaning does history and technology still have if we see the same magical level throughout centuries? There are no constraints anymore. We used to call this “lazy writing”.

LOL you’re talking to someone who has made this point time and time again. I have said on every occasion possible for all the people who complain the 24th tech is too ‘magical’ that end of the day it NEVER mattered what century these shows take place in, its simply up to the writers who want to write cool tech in a futuristic environment, which is why trying to ‘limit’ technology in a prequel is absurd in the first place. People should stop telling themselves this is a ‘grounded’ show with a TOS sensibility where the ship can destroy itself if it pushes the engines too hard. Not with a magical spore drive on board that would’ve been seen as pretty advanced even in Picard’s day.

The Kelvin films already taught us that and why there are now personal transporters that can jump to multiple systems from Earth and apparently personal communicators that can talk between the same distances (Kirk talking to Scotty from the Kligon neutral zone to Earth). Discovery has only made that point even more clearer. So I’m not surprised no more than you should be. I think at this point they have just told themselves 24th century tech (and beyond) simply exists in this century, now they are just trying to find more excuses to use it like S31.

Put the show in the 25th century they could’ve done whatever they wanted and we wouldn’t have 50 posts discussing communicators a century ahead of schedule. At this point though, I just accept it for what it is.

@Tiger2 @Vulcan Soul I think it’s fair to say that Roddenberry wanted a scientific realism with his fiction for Star Trek so I don’t think he would have wanted it to descend into some sort of steampunk parody just to placate a decreasing segment of the fanbase. If he were around today I don’t think he would have a problem with retconning the technology. Starfleet and Section 31 are two separate organisations, they have their own distinct aesthetic and can therefore make different cosmetic choices about such minutiae as communicator style. It’s unrealistic in 2019 to think that the Starfleet of the 23rd century wouldn’t have had the technological know how to put a communicator into a badge. There’s technology we associate with the 24th Century because this is when we first saw it on screen but we shouldn’t have to ignore real world progress and pretend that we know everything about this fictional technology. The design and manufacture of these devices could be as trivial and commonplace as other basic communication tools like pens and pencils by the time we get to the 23rd century.

I agree as well Corinthian7,

Which is exactly why they should’ve just rebooted it and then it could stay in this period and looked as advanced as they wanted it to look. They could’ve had 25th century based tech if they wanted and fewer complaints because you’re no longer trying to reconcile how so much advanced tech and hardware fits in with a 1960s view of the future that TOS has. That’s exactly part of the reason Roddenberry placed TNG nearly 100 years post TOS in the first place, so he didn’t have to! And that show was only 20 years removed from TOS.

Its like if Christopher Nolan decided Batman Begins would be a prequel to the 60s Batman TV show with all the modern and cool tech and style that film had but trying to somehow tell fans eventually the universe would look like an outdated and campy version of Batman. Most people would never buy it for good reason and sadly that’s the problem Discovery is having connecting to TOS for some fans.

But as I said, I just accept this is where the show is now. And Section 31 at least gives a thin veil of how some of this stuff came to fruition so much earlier. I’m almost certain the spore drive was originally suppose to be their creation too.

And Discovery is really knocking it out of the park for me this season so far, even with flaws. But its really feeling like old Star Trek again in all the right ways.

And so because of that, as Sisko famously once said, I can live with it. ;)

Yeah, but my feeling is that Sisko ultimately wouldn’t be able to live with it (I have the hardest time with his treatment of Eddington, I mean a MASSIVE problem there), that it would eventually destroy him, so ‘a prophet’s life for me’ is kind of an escape valve for his psyche.

OK kmart, we just went waaaaay off the reservation there lol.

And Sisko just felt personally betrayed by Eddington that someone he trusted and worked with could have duped him so badly all that time. And imagine if Eddington was really from the Mirror Universe and was just using Sisko to get back home. That would’ve REALLY really pissed him off. ;)

I think that if this happened with Kirk, he would go ballistic, but also, after being outfoxed and left adrift, there would be some good-humored acknowledgement of the expertise, a well-played kind of feel. Also that Spock and McCoy would be a much firmer foil than Dax, whose ‘rooting for the bad guy’ left a really sour taste in my mouth for what, in the first half hour, was going to be my favorite ds9 ever.

Personally I’m glad that they didn’t reboot and that they kept it in the prime timeline. If I’m honest I’d have rather they set the show post Nemesis but that’s more to do with the fact we could have had appearances from TNG era characters while the original actors are still (and I use this word loosely) young enough to play them. I’m not overly concerned about the technology looking more advanced. Don’t get me wrong I can be a bit of a sticker for canon and I agree there should be some attempts to keep the technology consistent but there’s plenty of room for retconning and I don’t have any issue with them taking advantage of better vfx and production design. Enterprise clearly looked more advanced than TOS but the stories still presented the technology as inferior. I know I’m in the minority here but I’m one of about 3 people on the planet that supported Lucas enhancing the special effects in his original trilogy. I didn’t necessarily agree with every creative choice but I was happy with the philosophy of updating the look. I felt the same with TOS and if I’m honest they didn’t go far enough with the remasters for me! So I think that makes me a little bit more receptive with what they’ve tried to do with DSC. that being said I still think they made some huge missteps in season one with things like the overuse of holocommunicators and nobody will ever convince me that they always planned for the Klingons to have hair but they’re starting to move in the right direction now. I’m actually really looking forward to seeing the Enterprise bridge, I expect it to be very nostalgic but to bring it into the 21st century.

The issue for some is it all but looked like a reboot in name only. What’s the point of putting the show in the same timeline if you are directly avoiding most visual elements in that timeline?

Now it looks like they are trying to retcon some of their bigger mistakes in season one as you said from presenting TOS style uniforms to the giving Klingons hair (thank Kahless) and introducing the D-7, etc. They did more stuff like that from the beginning people probably wouldn’t be so bothered over it like they are today. But if you’re going to just avoid all the elements of the timeline then I don’t really see the point of having it there frankly. But yes, its starting to look closer to it, even if its superficial.

Discovery tried to do something different, which I give it credit for but Star Trek fans are some of the most fickle fans in fandom and exactly why every time we did see a glimpse of TOS in the other shows like DS9 and ENT they treated it like it like an artifact in a museum. Since the Kelvin movies that has all changed and that’s good IMO but it was also in another universe. As for DIS, it probably was a mistake to tell TOS fans they are going to get a ‘prequel’ to that show and then went out of their way to avoid everything that reminds them of that universe. It was only going to create a backlash on some level and they clearly recognize it now.

And yes, we obviously agree the show should’ve been post Nemesis but every time I mention that people yell at me lol. But if you wanted it in this time period, FINE, but you still could’ve done it better.

Yeah they made a rod for their own back. I didn’t have a problem with the revamp but some of the decisions were appalling. I really don’t know what they were thinking with the Klingons and if they wanted to use holographic projectors that’s fine but have them alongside standard view screen communication not instead of. I think I saw you say on here how maybe they’re still cleaning up Fullers mess and I think you might be right. It’s crazy really because we’d all been really excited about him showrunning but it seems he took it as an opportunity to correct all the things he thought was wrong with Trek. I’d always hoped that we might one day see Rob Moore back in the hot seat on but now I’m thinking maybe it’s best if these guys stick to original sci-fi in future!

Yes they are definitely trying to clean up Fuller’s mistakes. I don’t care how people try to convince themselves this was all ‘planned’, it wasn’t. Everything we saw in season one was simply what the era was suppose to look like, period. I said fans are fickle, which is true, but they are also pretty accepting of new things IF you also acknowledge the old, even if just a little. If they showed just ONE Klingon with hair last season or one guy from Starbase 311 or whatever wearing a TOS uniform, that’s all they would’ve needed to at least show this stuff still existed and people would’ve breathed easier. They didn’t because for Discovery it no longer existed….until now. At least not under Fuller.

And yes people like me was originally very excited to have Fuller on and didn’t think they could find anyone much better frankly. And in all honesty, Fuller didn’t do anything he hasn’t done with every project and make it completely his own. Many of us just thought since his career was born out of Trek that he was going to make it as familiar as possible, but just updated while telling the stories themselves differently for a new audience.

And then the Klingons showed up lol. From that point on I knew the show was going to deeply divide people no matter if the show itself was good or not. So I guess it is a matter of being careful of what you wish for.

I tend to disagree with that assessment. Even in DS9 and ENT, S31 seems to be steps ahead in terms of tech than the rest of the Federation.

I never saw them use tech that wasn’t time frame appropriate. Until Discovery.

On DS9 section 31 seemed to have much more advanced transporter technology.

@A34 and who knows that 24th Century Section 31 transporter technology might be making use of the mycelial network…

I think nobody argues with “steps ahead” ahead but the size of the steps. This is all just an excuse for the writers to include the “same shiny toys” as the 24th century+ shows, the same lack of discipline that Enterprise had with regard to first contact with 24th century species (which arguably was a lesser problem because this contact was often not well-defined before).

Please. The badges fall in the same category as holo-communications: the technology exists today. One of the worst tropes in Star Trek fandom is the idea that billions of 23rd century humans, and countless billions of their friends and neighbors warping around the galaxy ONLY have the technology seen in 79 hours of 1960s television. Yawn.

That’s why you don’t do prequels to such a show! If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the warpcore.

And to compare the magical capabilities of an interplanetary subspace communicator in a tiny badge with terrestrial smartphones is a false analogy to begin with.

So, the Picard show is being made. Feel free to stop watch Discovery any time you want since you don’t like the idea of prequels. I happen to enjoy it.

Since you’re clearly not disposed toward objectively assessing views not your own, what makes you think that anybody would choose to listen to you telling them what they should and should not watch? Just for YOUR convenience?

We’ll, you know what, kmart. If I don’t enjoy a show, I stop watching it. I would prefer to not work myself into a tizzy with each episode because I have so many complaints about it. But then again, some people like to torture themselves. I didn’t like Orville, so instead of complaining about every episode, I stopped watching! It really was such a simple thing to do.

And you have every justification for that POV. But clearly others feel differently, and have said so, presumably because they figure their views are worth expressing and that they have to watch the show to objectively critique it. That’s valid and doesn’t … excuse me, shouldn’t … encroach on anyone else’s enjoyment.

So I ask again…why watch if you clearly don’t enjoy it?

If you’re talking to Vulcan Soul again, I’ll wait for him to chime in or accept that his stated views should be evidence enough to answer you. Since I’m NOT watching, the question isn’t relevant for me.

We only know that it isn’t something that’s used or standard. No where does it say that it never existed. It would make sense that a Black Ops type organization would use tech that wouldn’t become commonplace for a very long time. That happens today in the real world.

no, it doesn’t. Gadgets in James Bond movies more often than not are fictional extensions of existing tech. What a spy agency would have, the military would have. Period.

I hope we are not comparing Star Trek with James Bond now. I think any and all seriousness as a science fiction show is out of the window.

Over the last two decades of commenting on net threads, I have to say, Bond comes up in Trek posts almost as often as Trek comes up in Bond posts … more often than you might think. I just came from a thread elsewhere mentioning that in 1989, Bond’s bad domestic office took it from its regular summer release slot to fall/Winter for the next three decades, and so I felt compelled to point out that ST 5 fell victim that same summer, and that it was 20 years before a Trek film (if you can even count the Abrams things as being Trek films) dared release in summer again. Then again, the Abrams had a budget that would let it compete in summer, which is more than can be said about any Trek film since TMP — making the TWOK through TVH films even more a credit to their ingenuity.

Now that I think of it, even my article on GENERATIONS’ VFX started with a Bond reference, noting that the plot of having a madman on a mountaintop threatening millions with a missile sounded awfully Bond-like.

With the (IMO terrible) Craig Bond films, those folks have managed to convince a lot of the audience they are seeing more serious films, but still allowing the wild suspension of disbelief that made the usually bone-stick-stupid Roger Moore films so popular. My issue is that if you are selling an approach as being more realistic, then you don’t get to take the copout of ‘doesn’t matter if it doesn’t make sense, it’s all in fun’ without consequences. I don’t think the TREK films have ever felt the need to be terribly realistic (except for the dubious ‘procedural’ feel of TMP, which strangely has grown on me over time), but they have gotten crazier this century, and I don’t know that the audience is rushing to embrace the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach for TREK. For me, BEYOND (which is as close as I’ve come to liking a modern TREK film) suffered massively from an absolutely endless ending, which is also often a Bond problem.

We DON’T know that it doesn’t exist yet. There is NOTHING in canon that says it doesn’t exist yet.

Like what and how do you know that? Do you think this generation of tv watchers even care ,nope they don’t. And Star Trek is doing fine with you or without you, pick.

A combadge is actually much less complicated than a communicator.

Maybe it’s not a violation of canon but it’s a violation of credibility ;)

Well put. Please canon lovers if you don’t like what your seeing, don’t watch Discovery ,we won’t miss you.

How is it a violation?

Again, it’s like giving someone in 1975 an iPhone.

Or like giving somebody in 2375 an iPad and claiming that the people of 2275 would think it was magic ;)

Don’t buy it. You are being reductively exclusionary about this insofar as calling it a canon violation, while being expansive with your assumptions on how you arrive at your conclusions (i.e.: Starfleet having access to Section 31 tech), especially things which are not in evidence in canon. In other words, there is nothing in canon which contradicts Section 31 developing a badge communicator in the 23rd Century.

It’s just some dumb bullshit to tell the audience that these guys have super advanced secret tech. Who cares.

Were going down that road .Look this Canon thing is a lot of BS What is canon anyways? It’s a tool used by the writers to move the story along and make the series interesting.All the series violated canon as you put it. They made shit up all the way back to TOS. So maybe Discovery will do the same thing, so what. Lets not get so anal about this.Star Trek is never going to be like the past.For the series to move on it may have to ”violate” canon.

Since the rule is whatever is on screen is canon then it isn’t really a violation.

I imagine s31 probably shouldn’t need a ship, since they can always beam direct to the klingon homeworld, using the KelvinVerse’s s31 teleportation equivalent to ‘ludicrous speed.’


My uncle is a weapons designer for the US Navy, and a Tech troubleshooter for the DOD. My cousin works for Boeing Aerospace. You would be flabbergasted by the real life tech that is A not known to the general public, and B only in use by intelligence agencies. This is how real life works already, nothing in this episode is impossible or even implausible, nor is it a canon violation, as if that should ever matter when canon, from beginning to end, was made up on the fly by writers and has been rampantly self contradictory since day 1.

The funniest part of this stupid complaint is undoubtedly the asinine assumption that a walkie talkie (combadge) is more advanced than a smartphone (communicator).

See, for me, it was a great touch.

I personally want to see some form of continuity but I am not going to sweat it. Especially when some of today’s technology has already surpassed what was seen on TOS and other previous iterations of the franchise. Today’s transparent OLED displays, touch screens flat panels, miniaturized bluetooth communication devices, voice activated AIs and more are already beyond the technology we saw on earlier series and movies.

None of that matters. What matters is in the world of Star Trek, they didn’t use such devices.

But the did. We all just saw it on Disco.

Which means that Discovery got it wrong as it contradicted what was set before it.

I think it’s the other way round.

Who would have thought size would be such an issue in a Star Trek show. Ships are too big and the communicators are too small.

Kirks communicator in TMP was the size of wrist watch (because it was a wrist watch) and in the WOK it bigger than the communicator in TOS so thats the size argument out the window in my book.

As for Section 31, There is decades between this iteration of S31 and the one seen in DS9. Plenty of time for them grow tired taking orders from Starfleet brass, go underground and fade from memory.

It’s about respecting what came before AND respecting the laws of physics. And the communicator is the smallest problem; all the more profound 24th century technology this Section 31 has 150 years before the rest of Starfleet is the real problem. I also see the bigger real world picture here. Of course writers who live in la-la land don’t understand the idea of constraints, cause and effect and logical development, so actually I’m not surprised.

Then don’t watch, if you don’t like it don’t watch. There are plenty of us who donenjoy it. And don’t gripe and grimace over every minor difference.

There are a ton of us here who are seriously sick of this ‘don’t watch if you don’t like it,’ malarkey, and I’d like to know what your justification is for trotting it out here. Censoring opinions is hardly the underpinning fueling any TREK (at least so far), and honestly, it just makes you come off as stupid and fearful in a Trumpish way. (If you’re in a time machine visiting from the early 2000s, feel free to insert ‘Bush the Second’ in place of Trump.)

The TMP com was NOT a wrist watch, and the TWOK model is presumably some kind of heavy-use field unit.

You COULD justify the TOS tech by saying it needs to be a certain size to protect against overloads and phaser hits and such … but I haven’t seen them offer up even this basic kind of justification, and if what I’ve read about the DSC holography thing being done away with for a dumb in-universe reason is true, that suggest the creatives are not being very inspired or inspirational in this area. And if you can’t deal with it in an engaging way, then leave it alone, because otherwise you’re digging yourself a bigger hole.

@kmart Well they wore it on their wrist and it looked like it might have been able to show the stardate. Point is, in universe there have been several different sizes of communicator shown between TOS and TNG. I just find the small = too advance arguement extremely weak. Its intresting that you can find a reason why the away team in TWOK would use a bigger non standard communicator to beam over to a space station but a smaller covert ops communicator hidden in a badge is a bridge too far. Apologises that you found my point as unengaging as I found your response

Or can just at it as, Picard and the 1701-E crew& the borg altered the time line from the events of first contact, as a result tech from the 24th century developed sooner than what we saw in TOS. I sware, how some of you can even still claim your fans, but have such a narrow mind as to how the show should look visually.

Expecting the most basic level of sense in a SCIENCE fiction show is not “narrow-minded” :)

But remember that most general fans still think of TWOK as being the highest level that Trek can aspire to, and as much as I enjoy that, I also subscribe to David Gerrold’s great crack about it, that in science terms, it is about as technically with it as the 1803 Farmer’s Almanac. And TSFS (mis)application of science and extrapolation is even worse.

Maybe there is a good article in the idea of SENSE AND INSENSIBILITY on the bastardization of science (and common sense) in TREK, especially newer Trek.


Every single Star Trek series ever created after the original series has contradicted what came before, in the case of the original series it contradicted itself multiple times (United Earth Space Probe Agency, Space Command, etc etc ad nauseum). In TAS they had life support belts, they didn’t in TOS or TNG. In TNG the Klingons were members of the Federation and then they weren’t, the Trill that showed up on DS9 looked nothing like the Trill seen in TNG, where was the peacemaker Riva at Khitomer, again etc etc ad nauseum. Your argument is beyond flawed, it has so many holes swiss cheese is jealous.

Real world example, rail guns have been in development for over 40 years, they are doing public testing now, they were doing secret testing 25 years ago. The stealth fighter was operational 10 years before it was unveiled publicly. Etc etc.

The UESPA thing is so minor that it blows my mind people ever cite it, like the deck 78 thing in TFF. It was just a smart call, because can you imagine decades later Wesley saying, ‘we’re uespa – we don’t lie.’

Dean, the problem is the moral hazard is here now and they are going to escalate further and further from now on. There was a design and technology lineage in Star Trek before that even Enterprise mostly adhered to (to think that we actually bashed the ship for resembling the Akira 15 years ago feels almost unreal now, in comparison to what Discovery is doing). This show is destroying the credibility of the entire Star Trek universe bit by bit with “innovations” like this, as we now must assume that all technology and all designs co-exist at all times and all places throughout centuries, which makes the whole thing a product of fantasy and not science fiction.

Ok, Calm the farm geeks. Someone in the writers room just said “Hey,this’ll be fun to throw in…” End of story. Stop over analyzing it.

This one was really bad.. the worst of the 5th.
Seccion 31 leason officer? Really?

It was the best episode of the season. I can’t wait for the Section 31 show.

What’s a “leason” officer?

Someone who eats hamberders and drinks covfefe !

I “C” your point.

It’s a spelling error, should be “liaison”, hope this helps

Lol – it’s just a really bad show produced by people with little knowledge of Trek (I can hear the Disco fans foaming at their mouths typing “but Beyer knows canon… she drew a map for Chabon”.

I don’t know if I will ever like this show enough to foam at the mouth over it lol but Beyer does know canon. But she’s not the only one who is creating the arc for this show either. They clearly have decided on a new image for Section 31 and she’s simply following it. This probably all ties to the upcoming TV show and they are trying to soften their image a little. It makes sense on that level even if people don’t like it.

Please don’t pass your opinion off as gospel fact.

@Ad Astra – I’m so sick of that stupid complaint. EVERYONE states opinions this way. Intelligent people understand that when a person expresses their opinion, it is just their opinion. Nobody claimed “gospel fact” here, nor do they EVER when stating an opinion.

If you expect everyone to start every opinion with “Well, it’s just my opinion…” then you have a problem. Improve your reading skills instead of whining about the most non-issue ever.

I agree with The Collector completely. Do I need to say, “I think it’s my personal opinion but not a gospel fact that I agree with The Collector completely”? No, because that would be stupid.

Learn to hear opposing opinions without getting so defensive. Of course, that’s just an opinion, not God’s Written Truth. (there, feel better?)

No, it is not a problem to ask people to state their opinions AS opinions. You are making deliberately complex examples in order to try and make your point. That is a fact. All it takes are some simple two-word combinations like “I think” or “to me” to make all the difference in the world.

But that’s really not the main issue with The Collector’s post. The main issue is the apparent attitude of one looking for a fight.

@HubCapDave – Nonsense. It is OBVIOUS that what we state is what we think. If you cannot tell the difference between a statement of opinion and a statement of fact without someone spelling it out for you, the problem is your reading comprehension skills.

Clearly, everyone is able to tell that The Collector’s comment was opinion without an explicit disclaimer “This is opinion,” which undermines your entire comment.

Obvious opinions do not need to be labeled “Obvious Opinion.”

Thumbs up, PaulB. That is a standard internet thing where someone states an OBVIOUS opinion and someone later tells you you are presenting your opinion as a fact. As if all opinions need to be clarified with, “in my opinion”. Grown ups with the smallest ability to comprehend context have a pretty good idea of what is opinion and what is fact. In my view, it seems like those who do this sort of thing are the same ones who say foolish things like, “It is a known fact that the show sucks.”

Nonsense, per my comment above.

You have just justified my above comment.

No I didn’t. Far too many people go around social media proclaiming how “Discovery isn’t real Star Trek”, like there’s some objective measure of that. However, someone tells me “Discovery isn’t real Trek to me”, then I have no problem with that. Gatekeeping is a real thing, pal. That’s why it is important to label opinions as such.

Nobody here has the power to declare real/unreal Star Trek, so there is no need to label such an opinion as opinion. It obviously is opinion. “Discovery isn’t real Trek” already implied “to me”, so adding those words is needless.

You clearly know that “Discovery isn’t real Star Trek” is an opinion already, so why need to label as such? IT IS OBVIOUSLY AN OPINION.

My reading skills are just fine. There was no need to be so rude.

Your comment was needless. Nobody claimed their opinion as “gospel fact.” You complained about something that didn’t happen. That suggests a problem with your reading skills. Otherwise, why would you complain that an OBVIOUS opinion was being passed as “gospel fact” when you clearly knew it was opinion? Hmm?

You know it was an opinion, so your comment was 100% pointless.

Your rudeness was also totally needless and uncalled for. If you don’t have anything nice to say, might I suggest you don’t say anything at all?

And the OP framed his opinion as a fact- it annoys me and I said something. I’m sorry you are so triggered by it but why don’t you just move on. I’m sure there are other members of this community you can be rude to.

Since she wrote this episode I’m starting to question how much she really knows of Trek canon. Unless the sillier elements were changes made to her script. Which is VERY possible.

Have you read her Voyager books? You may be surprised in how much she follows the storylines of that show along with plot points in other book series.

And I think why so many are happy she in charge of the Picard show. If it was Kurtzman himself, I think people would be a lot more worried.

No, I haven’t read a Trek novel for decades. But if her books follow canon to the letter, and her TV script does not, that suggests a possibility that her scripts got altered. Or she abandoned canon for her TV gig.

Well you can’t look at it that way. For one thing we all know this and that is TV is written by a committee where as a novel is usually written by one or two people tops.

Most of us are saavy enough to know she didn’t write the episode on her own and that it probably was a half dozen or so people who had a say of what happens in every episode and they are ALL guided by what the show runners want to see generally. Beyer is not a show runner, she obviously have a lot of influence on the show but the show runners dictate what ultimately gets included and what doesn’t. So its hard to say exactly how much direct input anyone ever has on these shows when it comes to writing the episode. She probably came up with the thrust of the story and character beats but the details of it could be influenced by many others. Thats why I don’t focus too much of who wrote what
in terms of individual plot lines because nine times out of ten its done by a group of people, especially in serialized story telling.

OK. So you are saying her script got altered. Which is not surprising as you said… There are a lot of cooks in that kitchen. Even if uncredited.

No I hate assumptions like this. The credit for writing are there for a reason. Please use that to support your hypothesis.

Obviously she wrote the episode and if you have an issue with the story itself then of course she has to be blamed. But what I’m saying is TV shows don’t work in a bubble. They call it a writer’s room for a reason. Have you ever heard of a novel or a film having a writer’s room to craft their stories? No, because TV works by committee end of the day. The person who writes the episodes takes all the notes and story beats they created and craft the script but its rarely their story alone. And they told us a YEAR ago they were already outlining season 2. We know show runners are the ones who ultimately decide the direction of any script and has the final say.

Look, I’m not suggesting people can’t criticize the writer of the story. Obviously you can. My only point is you can’t say if they are the ones making the directions in terms of canon when they don’t have complete say over the entire season. Serialized story telling is a completely different monster than a crisis of the week story most of the other shows did.

You have to do a LOT of work to get credit for a script started by somebody else — which is why John Logan has an Oscar even though he stopped working on the movie 6 years before it shot, and why Walter Hill doesn’t have credit on ALIEN despite improving it a million percent over the credited writer O’Bannon. There’s a lot to credits, and Trek is no exception: TRIBBLES has whole scenes written by Gene L. Coon, who is uncredited, and Coon rewrote whole eps while getting only partial credit or no credit at all. GR rewrote tons of early TOS and early TNG w/o taking credit (or blame, which was more likely in the case of TNG.)

It is neither a bad show, nor is it produced by people with little knowledge of Trek. You are simply wrong.

They would have to have a liason officer on board to interfere with Starfleet policy. It’s like the old Soviet Union which had political officers on board to keep the crew loyal. Don’t agree with it — kind of totalitarian for Star Trek.

Section 31 keeping a liaison officer on board suggests that Section 31 does not trust Star Fleet. And it is likely Star Fleet does not trust Section 31. Except the few high ranking officials who seem work closely with them.

You sure it’s not so we can experience his poorly stifled crying while in close conversation with Burnham once an episode?

I found the episode very enjoyable, cleverly written, well acted, directed, and with great cinematography. Yeah, characters transporting on and off starships seemingly from and to nowhere stretches credulity, but then so does faster than light travel via warp drive, subspace domains, mycelial networks, or whatever. Willingly suspend disbelief, sit back, and enjoy the ride, says I.

I liked the part that Pike for once was not wrapped around the little finger by Michael! That he realized that Burnham is keeping the truth from him regarding Georgiou and Tyler made him more of an independent player and much more in line with being one of the most decorated captains in Starfleet, as found out by Saru in an earlier episode.

I agree. I especially like all the section 31 bits. And the fact that Pike isn’t that warm with Tyler. What I didn’t like was the resurrection part. For me the explanation wasn’t very clear. Didn’t get it at all.

It became clearer to me on rewatch, Andre. But I’m still a little fuzzy. LOL.

:Pushes up glasses: Cestus III was a colony destroyed by the Gorn, but Kirk fought the Gorn on an asteroid after being tranpsorted there by the Metrons.

Confused about a few things: Was that Admiral Cornwell or Georgiou in disguise? If it was Cornwell, where was she prior to her scene? Also… the transpod needed Culber’s dna to rebuild him (make him better, faster, stronger). Did we skip the part where someone grabs a follicle from his hair brush?

I think that Cornwell was really Georgiou makes alot of sense! As stated in the review it seems odd she was on that ship all the time, and we have seen Georgiou use this kind of “camouflage” technology before (where was she and everyone else on that busy bridge in that scene?) It’s probably all a ruse by Section 31 to get Pike to share his information on Spock with them. Also Cornwell seemed to pick up that latently misandrist vibe they have unfortunately been playing up with Georgiou this season, and that was out of character for Cornwell.

There still is the chance it was Cornwell. Don’t forget that we have seen Starfleet admiralty work with Section 31 before on DS9 when Sloan conspired to make sure that a Romulan senator seen as a traitor. Bashir saw just how much Section 31 had approval from Starfleet with Admiral Ross being involved with the plan and stopping Bashir from doing anything about it.

They put his whole body in it … the C ulber wandering about the mycelial plane was still human, wasn’t he?

I’m so confused :^P

Kirk and Co. fought the Gorn on Cestus III as well. They scrounged a photon grenade and fired back, forcing the Gorn to retreat.

Yep :)

Is there something I don’t understand? Kirk and Co. seemed to have no knowledge of Gorns before they encountered them on Cestus III. Yet, ten years before then, Leland is “up to his neck” in Alligators on Cestus III? “Arena” is a well known episode of TOS. I get they were trying to give a nod to the fans, but no one should know anything about Gorns on Cestus III until “Arena.” I really think these writers didn’t watch the show. It really bothers me. I would love to be wrong.

It’s for sure a “hey let’s toss in a reference for fan service.”

The joke seems to be “the idea of alien alligators is funny,” and then it also has double-entendre of sorts to fans, since the Gorn are also reptiles, and in ~10 years Kirk will encounter them on Cestus III.

They didn’t talk about the Gorn. Just the colony. So in theory they’re fine. In TOS they don’t establish how long the human colony had been there. However, I always figured it was a fairly new colony.

If you go by Discovery, then the colony is over 10 years old when the Gorn finally notice humans in their space (TOS “Arena”)? seems unlikely.

I have to say, I don’t think it’s particularly good fan service.

I played it again. Pike says to Leland “Last time I heard you were up to your ass in alligators on Cestus III.”
I assumed by alligators on Cestus III, it was a reference to the reptilian Gorns. True, they didn’t call them “Gorns.” Yet it seems to me that for it to be another reptilian species on Cestus III is unlikely. Matt, does it not seem that way to you? I respect your knowledge and insights of Trek immensely. It sounds like a Gorn reference to me, ten years before they were encountered by Kirk and Spock in “Arena.” Which bugs me.

Hey, can I drop a note here? How likely is it for Pike to casually and jokingly drop a derogatory term ‘alligators’ to reference a sentient species?

My take on the comment, Pah Raith, is that the “alligators” are just an indigenous creature found on the planet the colony had to deal with. But then, we still have the silly concept of why did it take the Gorn so long to notice the foreign base in their space.

Or, it could simply be the same expression we use in the US today. When we say someone’s up to their ass in alligators, we mean they’re dealing with a lot of conflicting and possibly dangerous things. Even if the only danger is to one’s career.

Thank you.

My thought was along the lines of Pah Wraith’s comment. I don’t think it was supposed to be a species slur about the Gorn. I honestly don’t think they even thought it through. Discovery has a history of rather sloppy fan service.

But I can’t entirely discount the possibility that they really thought they were being clever and obliquely referencing the Gorn. I sincerely hope not though. As you said, it’s quite problematic if they were.

The “space alligators” thing mostly makes me think of Futurama

We’re talking about Beyer, and she knows her canon. I bet this was put in there to provoke exactly the discussion we’re having here.

My take? The “alligators” are not sentient, and a native species of Cestus III. The colony had to deal with them while establishing itself. However, it makes sense the Gorn would value a planet in their space that is such a great natural habitat for alligator-like species, making them attack the human colony by Arena’s time.

Last, but not least, I think it makes sense to bring together Pike and Cestus III, considering there’s a baseball team hailing from there in the 24th century, and they’re the Pike City Pioneers, if memory serves me…

Thanks Matt. I hope you are right and I am wrong about this.

This new comment by Barry Ingram I think hit on it.

“Up to your ass in alligators” is a folksy southern America phrase. They love to make Pike folksy. So it may not even have had an intended double-meaning.

It’s even the title of a book about Americana from 1987:

The mention of Cestus III is still a bit problematic, since it’s pretty incredible that the Gorn wouldn’t notice a human colony in their space for 10+ years.

I see, Matt. Ok. But I just think it wouldn’t be hard, once they came up with that phrase, for somebody to have noticed and say, when we mention reptiles on Cestus III, we could confuse some fans (as I was). Why not come up with another folksy phrase, or alternatively pick another place-like any place in the universe- other than the one place where Kirk fought a reptile.
It’s really not a big deal by itself. It’s more problematic that it reflects the larger issue of sloppy writing, when I wish they were a little bit more thoughtful.

It’s really not a big deal by itself. It’s more problematic that it reflects the larger issue of sloppy writing, when I wish they were a little bit more thoughtful.

I agree.

Just a thought but I would imagine that planets need to be surveyed and assessed long before colonists actually arrive so it doesn’t necessarily follow that the Federation have an outpost on Cestus III at this point in time.

Just a thought but I would imagine that planets need to be surveyed and assessed long before colonists actually arrive so it doesn’t necessarily follow that the Federation have an outpost on Cestus III at this point in time.

That’s a good point. But say they survey it and make plans to colonize. I don’t think they’d wait nearly 10 years to do so. So it’s still problematic that they even made the reference to Cestus III, IMO.

I don’t know, I would imagine that to go from survey to actual colonisation could take years. Also it’s likely that the Gorn observed the alien invaders for a period of time before they launched their attack but yeah, you’re right it wasn’t the best fan service. With so many episodes to pick from they could have easily dropped an Easter egg that wasn’t a potential canon violation. Maybe they just like to stir us up from time to time!

It’s entirely possible. If the colony was small and set up to be self sufficient and didn’t have much radiation output, it might not be seen until a survey team came by years later.

Nope. I assume alligators. Gorn are not a known species until Kirk

Yes, it was a cute reference for fans. But as often happens with those cute references, they often don’t make sense to those very fans they are meant to make smile. In this case, it doesn’t make sense that the colony be there for more than 10 years before the Gorn notice. I always watched ARENA with the thought that the colony was awfully new. Less than a year most likely. And my favorite silly bit of fan service… Tossing a tribble into the background somewhere.

Thank you, Gary Seven. Sloppy writing pretending to be clever.

You could take what you wrote and apply it often to the series as a whole, unfortunately.

Yes, but we don’t see the Gorn until the asteroid! Interestingly enough, Captain Sisko also misremembers this fact in “Trials and Tribbulations”..

Most of the Kirk’s escapades are well documented in one way or another. It makes sense that people who came after him might be familiar with some of them considering Kirk’s status in history.

Tonight’s episode is brought to you by the phrase “I know you.”

A lot of cool things happened in this episode, but I felt like the writing and the direction didn’t give the story time to breathe. I think a slower pace would let me appreciate these events better; throwing them all at us so quickly makes it harder for me to care about any of them.

TrekMovie, I notice that you’re getting your reviews up VERY quickly. Are you just that fast, or does CBS give you early access?

Also, it’s DenEva, not DenOva.

Kwoe-nose… or Koe-noash?

Or Kro-noshe

Funny enough, I thought the opposite. The narrative voice over bookends really helped to slow down the episode and put everything in perspective, there weren’t too many plots for once but the focus on one central one, and no choppy leaps apart from Admiral Cornwell’s surprise appearance, which I think was intended as such.

I liked the voice overs as well

While many of the episodes contain too much “fast talking” this one I did not find as guilty of that. The only part that seemed to zoom by was the Culber alive explanation. (Which I STILL do not quite follow) In the pacing department I wish more shows were like this one, myself.

I thought the same. The voice-overs, as much as others hate them, help to slow things down and put them in perspective.

As a longtime player of Star Trek Online, the trick the Emperor uses to help Discovery reminds me strongly of an Intelligence Bridge Officer ability called “Override Subsystem Safeties”. Seems appropriate. And I hope we get that ship in the game. :)

Since Section 31 is part of the Federation charter, I wonder if Archer put them there.

They are part of the Starfleet charter, and has been so since before the founding of the Federation (see the Klingon augment arc in Enterprise).

Nope! In fact Archer was told Section 31 came from the Starfleet charter, Article 14, Section 31 stated here:

Article 14 was stated again in this episode.

You are right, it’s the Starfleet charter.

“You are right, it’s the Starfleet charter.”

Technically, Section 31 pre-dates the timeframe when the part referring to the Federation was included in the charter. Both the organisation and its covert activities already existed.

So, the name “Section 31” could just be a euphemism; similarly, the organisation simply ended up exploiting that part of the charter as legal cover.

Looks like they are following the books/comics for Section 31. They get all the toys.

Also they are learning things from the future in regards to Cloaking devices? (Pikes Statement)

I too think that they are leaning into the books. Hint hint… “CONTROL.” ;-)

Can you explain this?

It comes from a Section 31 novel, which is titled CONTROL and shows S31 takes its orders from an advanced AI computer of the same name that analyzes threat assessment. I never read it but from what I been reading what others say about it, it actually gets pretty deep in Star Trek mythology and even had a hand on the founding of the Federation. Some seem a bit put off by its implications though but I do like the idea of it. And it shows just how advance Section 31 is so I can see them using some of that on the show. But maybe not the help build the Federation stuff and since its AI at some point it turns evil lol. Some of that sounds a bit overboard but like I said I haven’t read it.

I would love a deeper exploration of AI because stunningly it’s been mostly left out so far (apart from robots and androids) and is very timely. We didn’t SEE any contradiction to AI running the show before (and we know the computers must be extremely powerful even in the 23rd century, save for the occasional printouts), opposed to visible violations of canon technology.

Yeah I don’t see any contradictions either. I always assumed Starfleet had very advanced AI technology, they simply rely on humans more for exploration. And I also think there is a caution to having too much AI as we have seen the technology go amok in TOS and other places. Star Trek has always seen it from both sides and that for every Data you have a potential Lore out there as well. So they have always been pretty moderate about it.

But I’m hoping both Discovery and the Picard show give us more AI stories in the future.

I have read it and it is very, very good. It really reminds that the road to Hell is paved in good intentions and the ending and its implications explain how 31 is so visible in the 23rd Century and a clandestine secret organization in the 24th.

Wow, that’s interesting. So that book itself actually explains how S31 becomes more secret in the 24th century?

I’m really curious just how much this version of S31 will be based off of canon from the books. But seeing they are going to be a big part of Discovery in season 2 and 3 (assuming its renewed) along with its own show they are probably going to use all the threads that exist around it already, even if a little bit differently.

And I think they are going to use S31 to fill in canon to TOS, especially now that we know their story line will deal directly with Spock himself.

I don’t love prequels but I have to admit, this is the kind of stuff that really intrigues me. :)

In a sense it does…


Uraei (or CONTROL) would disband Section 31 and reactivate it as needed during the course of galactic history to counter threats to the Federation that could not be handled through normal operations.

So I interpret this as how 31 is so visible in the 23rd Century and then so hidden in the 24th. The Discovery version closes and comes back later as a secret group

It doesn’t actually turn evil

Oh OK. But some have said it does become a bit Skynet and decides humans are too primitive to make decisions and wants to take over. But maybe I’m interpreting it wrong.

Sort of. It does take steps to ensure that the Federation remains protected and, because of its nature as a computer program, is privy to a LOT more than people realize.

It has even ended 31 because certain agents became a threat in the novels, but just gone deeper into hiding.

That’s an interesting twist, although I agree that it sounds too much like Skynet, especially the version shown in the Terminator tv series. A less genocidal version of Skynet, sure (at least towards the Federation), but it would still be the first thing many viewers would think of. So it might be fine for a novel but not necessarily for the tv show.

There are better options focusing specifically on humans, drawing on themes of “power corrupts” and the impact that access to lots of “secret information” would have even on well-meaning people. Plus Section 31 are literally “men in black”, with everything that could imply. Depends on how far back the writers want to take Section 31’s historical origins. But I’m not giving them freebies on ideas, so we’ll have to see how intelligent and imaginative they are ;)

They have certainly thoroughly “reimagined” Section 31 as being a proper part of Starfleet Intelligence rather than that unknown rogue organization it was introduced as in DS9.

And again, yet another element that would be a little easier to swallow had the show been a “reboot” or set post Nemesis.

Why? We’re well over 100 years from DS9. Who’s to say the organization doesn’t change (as the author of this article points out)?

I said in another post it is possible the organization went from clandestine, to in the open, to shady again. It just doesn’t seem reasonable. For me, the concept that if we don’t see it then anything could be possible just doesn’t fly because what we don’t see needs to be reasonable. Example: We never saw Scotty selling ice cream on the side to make a few more credits. But that doesn’t mean it didn’t do it. That argument is not a rational one.

I think you went a little too ad absurdum there…..

Why, exactly, does everything have to be reasonable? The point is, there is a lot we don’t know regarding Section 31, so why worry about the apparent differences in Section 31 over 100 years when we don’t know what transpired in those 100 years? Without knowing, it’s pointless to say what’s rational and what’s not.

This Is an actual Kurtzman quote from a few weeks back that was included in the Trekmovie review:

“If you know Section 31, you know that by the time Deep Space Nine comes around they’ve gone underground and they are this mysterious organization—but there’s nothing official about it. In the promos [for season 2] that you’ve seen so far, Section 31 has a badge. There’s a ship and all these different things, so the question is: how do they get from here to there? What happened in that window of time between those two pivot points in Section 31’s evolution?”

It would therefore seem that the writers have given a lot of thought to how they have presented Section 31 and that this is something that will likely be explored in the spin off.

Corinthian7, the most likely explanation is MU Georgiou corrupting Section 31 from the inside, and ultimately deciding to take the organisation into the shadows because she believes it can be more effective free from oversight. Or Georgiou does something that publicly disgraces Section 31, resulting in Starfleet Intelligence officially claiming the organisation will be “dismantled”; but in reality, Section 31 is allowed to covertly operate unhindered and actually expands its activities. Or there’s some time-travel angle where Georgiou’s gang deliberately change Section 31’s historical origins, resulting in the organisation being a much more clandestine deep state network when Georgiou etc return to DSC’s timeframe.

Even more interesting would be Starfleet Intelligence & Starfleet Command secretly turning out to be branches of Section 31 (“acceptable public faces”), rather than the other way around — but I doubt the writers will go there.

No, nemesis was boring.

He said post-Nemesis, not the film itself. You know, that time period the next Star Trek show will be taking place in.

That time period is boring. That’s one of the reasons I don’t care much for the old Picard and the sea show. Looking forward to the Section 31 show though.

And others disagree with you or there wouldn’t have been 21 seasons of it. ;)

And its funny, you called it boring and yet in another post you said you want the Borg to show up on Discovery. Take a guess what century they were born out of?

But you don’t have to watch the Picard show, although I guarantee you plenty more will be tuned in to that show. But you’ll be watching anyway lol.

The Borg was one of the few interesting things about TNG and that era. No wonder Voy used the Borg so much. Also I never said I wasn’t going to watch The Geriatrics Patrol Show. I’m just not that into it.

Uh huh. Its so boring and you’ll be watching anyway lol. I always hear how ‘exciting’ the 23rd century is suppose to be and yet the Klingon war was the most boring ‘war’ Star Trek has ever done and it was only 10 episodes. On the other hand, I have rewatched the entire Dominion arc about five times in its entirety. Don’t get me wrong, I grew up with TOS, but how those stories were done was simply another time. And why so much of season 2 of Discovery could literally be done on in the 24th century since its episodes has emulated TNG and VOY and why they are so much more popular now. To pretend other wise is in denial.

But I know you’re just trolling. Keep it up, you’ll be gone in a few weeks.

The first Discovery season took place during the Klingon war. It was never about it. It was about Burnham’s redemption. I guess you missed that part.

I thought the way Burnham was ‘redeemed’ was rushed and ham fisted at best.

And that still wouldn’t excuse a boring Klingon war arc regardless. The entire season was set around the war, make it interesting!

I can actually buy the organizational change of drifting away within 100 years (and Kurtzman outlined it just as that in a recent interview), especially now that they employ the Space Hitler from another universe, much more than the 24th century technology this Section 31 is using NOW (in the 2250s) already.

Thats part of the reason I hope they are incorporating the novel backstory:


Uraei (or CONTROL) would disband Section 31 and reactivate it as needed during the course of galactic history to counter threats to the Federation that could not be handled through normal operations. That could explain why it is so well known in the 23rd Century and gone by the 24th. Plus it is a computer program that has infected every major government through a means few expect (replicator technology) so it could probably easily erase itself from records.

That could also be used in the debate above about technology and the combadge. Perhaps it was transferred to Starfleet in one of these periods of disbandment.

What if Evil Lorca is hiding inside of Culber?


Oh, Lorca’s lurking alright. If Culber can come back from the dead via the network, so can Lorca.

So can anyone. Apparently in Discovery death does not mean dead anymore.

Just like in Star Trek TWOK!

This is addressed below.

Didn’t Spock come back to life thanks to the Genesis device? You would think they would use the Genesis device every time someone dies on Star Trek.

But they only had one, so….

No blueprints to build another? I don’t buy that.

Genesis resurrectees would basically be zombies unless their memories/personalities could be placed back into them.

Good thing they have their last transporter pattern on file.

That’s what I’m thinking, but I rather see prime universe Lorca.

I think we’d all rather see Prime Lorca. I suspect that he was onboard the the MU version of Discovery, most likely as a prisoner and if we get a season 3 we’ll most likely see the story of what happened to this ship.

It’s story is in the Star Trek Online Discovery tie in.

Maybe this is “evil” Culber? Which in all honesty would make for a better story line than Evil-Georgeau.

Overall another enjoyable episode. I’d give it a 3.75 out of 5. One issue I have to get used to – how out in the open Section 31 operates and how well known they seem to be to Pike and the rest of the crew and Starfleet Command. I guess they went underground sometime between Discovery and DS-9.

My thoughts. This is not the same organization as presented on DS9, and there certainly could be explanations as to it gradually becoming corrupted by its power and drifting outside of the organizational structure of Starfleet within that century in between. That certainly makes alot more sense than the other way round. Maybe we even see the start of that process on Discovery, and its “thanks” to Space Hitler?

One thing is that over the next century it is very possible that Section 31 get put in mothballs. Officially (wink wink). But that does not explain why they operated in a similar manner 150 years earlier regarding Malcolm that they did in Bashir’s time. Did they go for behind the scenes to public to behind the scenes again? I guess, but I consider that a bit of a stretch.

Someone on another site brought up the fact on Enterprise Section 31 operated during the time before the Federation was officially founded so they could’ve operated in a very different light then and became a more legitimate arm once that came into existence.

Now of course all of this is just more retconning but this is what prequels do and you know my feelings on prequels. But I can SORT OF buy it because we are literally talking centuries between Enterprise, Discovery and DS9. A lot can happen in 200+ years. And we don’t know hardly anything about S31 (although we are clearly going to find out a lot more ;)) so I’m going to wait and see what they do with it. But I don’t disagree with you, so far it feels like a stretch but they have a lot of time to explain it.

Exactly! Judging from thousands of years of history of civilization, apart from a very few exceptions social development is a lot more flexible (in both directions) than technological one. The Ancient Greeks already had a form of democracy, but they didn’t have electricity.

I think you could MAYBE compare it to the struggle between centralized power in absolute monarchy and the decentralized running of the show by gentry and warlords that happened in many cultures, back and forth, over the centuries. Since we are talking about 200 years of history, that is possible. The design and technology lineage they show, alas, is not.

If they keep to the novel influences (like Control) then 31 will frequently be disbanded by uts leadership so that it can go deeper into hiding.

One follow up question. How did thr S31 ship track down the Discovery in the network space?

They didn’t. The ship was “half in half out”, as stated in the episode.

I don’t see this as odd, but more of just changing times. Pike and other captains, in their logs, likely cannot record everything about Section 31 activities, and maybe cannot refer to them by name. So later generations of Academy graduates may only hear whispers or less about a group like 31. Just like covert organizations in current governments at times they are more in the shadows and more in the open. Later heads of StarFleet may bury 31 as well, only to have them surface later – especially if they are buried from orders by the UFP to disband them, instead some Admirals may just keep them around in total secret.

They went underground after Kitomer Accords

Did anybody actually read the review? Anthony actually included this very quote from from a few weeks back by Alex Kurtzman where he actually discusses how open Section 31 are compared to what we saw on DS9:

“If you know Section 31, you know that by the time Deep Space Nine comes around they’ve gone underground and they are this mysterious organization—but there’s nothing official about it. In the promos [for season 2] that you’ve seen so far, Section 31 has a badge. There’s a ship and all these different things, so the question is: how do they get from here to there? What happened in that window of time between those two pivot points in Section 31’s evolution?”

I’ve only seen the first two eps of the season at this point so I can’t speak to this one yet. But I can say that what I’ve seen with this season just doesn’t rectify enough of the problems I had with the last one. The pacing is just way too fast and unnatural. Literally this show at times feels like a parody of actual Trek. There are so many good ideas, but I would love it if they just made the episodes like 2 minutes longer to allow for some natural spacing between the dialogue. As it stands, it’s like they go from problem to solution in about 18 seconds, like “oh how about this” “oh hey let’s try it” “oh hey it worked next scene” like it’s nothing. And there are just so many little things about this show that make no sense to me, and Star Trek is a show that I’ve always felt makes a lot of sense, like that’s one of its main characteristics, that it makes sense. I really really hope that by the time I get around to actually watching this week’s episode, it will have worked out these kinks. But I’ve been saying this since the pilot 17 months ago now and it still rings true today. Disco need to slow tf down.

I read a review of tonight’s episode that described Discovery’s pacing as a “perpetual trailer” that never seems to slow down enough to flesh out a full story. I don’t know about perpetual, but yeah, it wouldn’t hurt to slow it down some.

I’m enjoying season two; however, I absolutely agree that the show can be really frenetic. I too would like longer episodes and more “downtime” between key scenes. However, I’m kind of getting resigned to the fact that this manic vibe is part of the show’s identity. Alex Kurtzman described DSC as a “bullet”, and I’m starting to see why.

I think what compounds the aforementioned mania is the fact that the writers are balancing so many threads and arcs at the same time. We’ve never seen Star Trek do this much threaded storylines before.

For what it’s worth, this current episode was approximately 50mins (not including the end credits, previews, and recap intro).

I wonder if this is age-related. The TV shows I grew up with had comparatively long two-person scenes [Kirk asks Spock what’s up with him in “Amok Time”] that had long shots; today’s shows change shots flip-flip-flip.

As I posited, this is Star Trek reimagined for the Generation ADHD ;) I guess fans of more introspective and less action-focused Trek will have to wait for the Picard Show, even though that one may not be any less gritty and emotional than Discovery.

I was thinking the same thing the other day, that Star Trek Discovery is Star Trek with attention-deficit disorder. It is far from certain that the Picard show will be significantly less ADHD. Our times, the Idiocracy we live in, may mutate Picard into something closer to Transformers than TNG. I hope so much this doesn’t happen, but seeing that Kurtzman was a big part of the JJ movies and Discovery, it is quite possible that it will. He has not demonstrated an awareness of introspective Trek. In other words, Star Trek from 1966 to 2001.

I have the same suspicions about Picard actually. I read the other day that Stewart has already started to work out for his role. Given how Insurrection and Nemesis turned out giving actors some creative control usually is not a good idea… and Steward has always been a fan of “Action Picard” (“Starship Mine” much?) He also made it clear he only agreed to do this show if it’s thoroughly different from TNG. So I think the BEST we could probably hope for is First Contact style Picard, but almost a quarter century older (as credible as that is!)

As far back as season 3 of TNG, Stewart was pushing the writers to make Picard an action character. He wanted to punch people and get laid. The episode ‘Captain’s Holiday’ was to help placate Stewart. As much as I love him, I don’t entirely trust his instincts about the character, especially after the whole dune buggy fiasco.

No one wants a boring Picard. Picard was much better in the movies.

While I, myself, don’t want “boring” Picard it seems that there is a sizeable portion of the fan base that does.

And you wonder why Trek doesn’t work at the Box office.

Because to a lot of us, he wasn’t boring, just the opposite in fact. Picard is one of the most fascinating characters in Star Trek because he is so introspective and thoughtful. That might come off boring to some because he doesn’t get into constant fights like Kirk does or is quick tempered like Sisko but he comes off more realistic as a Starfleet captain IMO.

And don’t get me wrong, I didn’t love him when he first showed up (I think like many, I wanted someone like Kirk again) but I grew to love him pretty fast and in fact like TNG itself really grew to love that show because it wasn’t trying to be a copy of TOS, just in the 24th century.

Personally, I did not expect him to be Kirk. He needed to be his own person. The reason why I found him boring was because he was too introspective. TOO thoughtful. He was so darn PERFECT. He was everything to everyone. It’s not that he was always right so much that he was always confident that he was right. I never saw him doubt a command decision. Even privately. He had some sort of aura around him that just engendered loyalty. And for me, it never felt earned. It was just there and assumed. Throughout the entire run of the series Picard was ALWAYS the smartest man in any room he walked into. He could talk entire societies into stopping war and was also the best military mind in the Star Fleet in his day. He never had doubts. He never had fears. He had no demons. He had no flaws. The first time we ever saw him act human was in the feature film, First Contact.

This is why I want this new old Picard to have human frailties. To have a real dilemma. I really WANT to care about him but I currently don’t.

I definitely get your point, but I just never had a problem with that because exuding confidence is what a good leader does, even when he’s wrong. They actually made that point in the episode Attached where Picard and Beverly are kidnapped and kept together by a device that can read each other thoughts. And in one scene Crusher realizes he didn’t actually have all the answers he just always pretends to and Picard responded that’s just what a good captain does because then the crew is confident of the captain.

It’s a small insight but I bring it up because thats just who Picard is. He doesn’t believe in showing weakness or being indecisive, even when he is. But its not to say he’s never shown any human moments. He’s shown plenty, from his family dying in the fire to how he was affected being assimilated by the Borg. But yes through it all, he stays who he is as much as possible, which I don’t mind but its different for everybody.

When I look at Spock, he doesn’t come off any less perfect to me either and always come off confident and right even when he’s not. But we have seen him actually cry more than Picard so that’s something lol.

Did you ever see the episode “Family?”

I’m with you on this one Tiger, introspective and thoughtful Picard was easily the best Trek captain for me. I’d be very surprised if we’re getting “action” Picard on the new show.

With all the fanfare of him coming back to Star Trek, clearly he can’t be that boring to most fans out there. I hear what ML31 is saying but that doesn’t gets translated to boring to everyone. Picard is the definition of Star Trek to me because he holds dear to the ideals of Starfleet more than any other captain we’ve seen.

Sure, I get its fun to see people like Kirk, Sisko or even Janeway break the rules more when they feel they have to or have more personal issues to deal with but I really like that Picard is more stoic and rarely let his emotions get in the way. He probably would make a great Vulcan. ;)

I think that’s also why people love Pike because arguably he is the most Picard-like Captain since, well Picard! There was a real desire for this type of Captain and no show since TNG has given it to us.

Agreed about Pike. That’s exactly the reason why I like him, because he reminds me of Picard, but also comes off a bit more friendly and funny in the process. Its clear the writers wanted a Picard like captain for Discovery (probably especially after the heat they got for Lorca lol) and its working! Maybe TOO good lol.

In all reality this Pike doesn’t come off like the Pike we met in the Cage at all and he doesn’t have to be. But that guy was a lot more hardened and uptight (which oddly IS like Picard lol). They basically gave this Pike the same background as the original but with a more laid back and personable nature (like Archer) along with the same idealistic and almost dogmatic belief in Federation values like Picard.

I think that the fact that The Cage showed Pike at a particularly low point when he was mourning the loss of crew members and questioning his future in Starfleet gave them a wide latitude when imagining what he might be like on a normal day.

A lot of fans of Spock were big fans of Picard, too. I was a big fan.

In retrospect I enjoy the more “dramatic” captains more [especially Lorca, before his showed his colors; Sisko and Janeway. And Kirk, in early TOS.] Picard often seems a little *too* perfect.

Thanks for sharing that bit from “Attached,” Tiger. It was definitely a great point about the character and about leadership.

Sisko is not quick-tempered. When his irritation builds to the boiling point, he lets off steam. And he has the best loud resonant voice!

Picard has a motorcycle in the new show.

A Pennyfarthing bicycle is probably more his speed — then & now. Be seeing you.

You can use a CGI Picard for the motorcycle scenes.

Have to agree with this. I liked the episode but it was going super fast. I couldn’t keep up with all the stuff that was going on with Culber or the crazy techobabble. It was all happening at warp speed. They could’ve slowed down a bit but it was pretty satisfying. I’m just happy to see Star Trek doing crazy science again and going where no man has gone before….except Culber. ;D

The technobabble approaches Voyager-levels of absurdity to me, and it’s said so fast it’s like oh yeah don’t you stupid viewers know about neutron flux? The solution is so obvious! ughhhhhfdsiofjds

LOL, true. But to me that’s Star Trek. I just sort of shrug and assume it makes sense to them at least. I still don’t get how they transferred Culber over. I know it has to do with the cocoon itself, but its still crazy they gave him a new body lol.

I get how they brought him back to Discovery in the pod. What I don’t get is how he got from the morgue to inside the network to begin with.

You need to rewatch. It was explained.

Through Stament’s and his connection to the Mycellial network. They said his consciousness passed on through him after he died. That I can get because its vague enough to accept, at least for me. But what I don’t get is why did they rebuild him in the network? At least from the way May describe it, they gave him a body. That I don’t get because he apparently became a threat to them. So a lot of it is still confusing to me too.

I’m sure someone is going to break it all down or I will catch it more on a rewatch. But yeah they speed through a lot of this stuff with a lot of crazy technobabble.

At least from the way May describe it, they gave him a body. That I don’t get because he apparently became a threat to them.

Right, they reconstituted him. He wasn’t a threat initially, just another bit of life energy moving from one state to another. Once he was reassembled, Culber found that they (the JahSepp) were a threat to him, so he covered himself in the poisonous bark so they’d stop trying to break him down.

Thank you Matt but I don’t understand WHY would he be a threat if they rebuilt him in the first place? Why not just keep him as energy then? And I find it hard to believe something that has been around as long as the universe wouldn’t have done this countless times over with other species since its part of the multiverse but my head starts to hurt when I think of all the implications to this place lol.

I find it hard to believe something that has been around as long as the universe wouldn’t have done this countless times over with other species

Actually they make it pretty clear that this is unprecedented, it’s not normal. The only reason why Hugh even made it to the mycelial network was because of Stamets in his crazy white eyed “channeling the mycelial network” state.

You can’t use this method to make just anyone come back from the dead. Most people don’t have a spore possessed significant other hold them as they pass into oblivion.

The spore stuff has always been weird science. Really they had to come up with something to get Culber back, but also show that it’s not some portal to immortality for anyone/everyone else.

But thats why I find it hard to believe in the first place. Something that is billions of years old and this is the FIRST time this has happened with any species? And I have never brought the idea Staments or humans in general, would be the first species to interact with the mycellial network for the first time, but yes I guess we just have to believe that since thats what the show itself suggests. It just feels ridiculous to me, this isn’t just coming up with new technology like warp drive, its literally interacting with the very fabric of the universe itself but I digress.

But yes I get this is all weird science as you put it and I like that they went this direction personally. I don’t have a problem it was used to bring Culber back, I have been saying literally since we heard he was coming back it was going to be through the mycelial network. Outside of time travel or cloning there was really no other way to do it. I just don’t buy the explanation itself I guess.

We all interact with the mycelial network when we die, especially if we are buried without chemicals. Life becomes life.

Whoa, man, I’ve been watching “fungi”, the real Paul Stamets ….

It feels to me like they could duplicate this situation anytime they like. Just keep Stammets around to do it. Someone dies, Stammets plugs into the network, holds the person tight, their “katra” flows through him to the other side. They go to the other side and retrieve them. It is a bit of an effort but it sure seems like it could be duplicated. I did not get the sense that it couldn’t be at all.

OK. So somehow his consciousness made it into the mycellial network. Not sure how said consciousness made it out of his dead body to begin with however. I don’t recall seeing any Vulcans around to extract it before his neck got borken. ;)

How a body was created for him there is something I cannot explain either.

All of this adds up for me in that I feel it obvious it isn’t really Culber. I have this horrible feeling that in this case he will end up being the real Culber. Mainly because all evidence says it shouldn’t be. This would be a really good situation to do the old “switcharoo” like they did with Ash or Lorca. But I’d wager money they don’t.

I much prefer it if technobabble is the only reason “not to follow” and not the inept weaving of a gazillion storylines!

Really? It felt pretty normal to me.

I think the Culber babble was intentional as there probably was no good way to resurrect the man. So the reasoning was hidden in classic TNG Technobabble. The thing is, in TNG I was able to perfectly follow the babble. This scene… Not at all.

I have to re-watch EVERY episode to understand it.

The fact that I watch the first run with chatty friends may have something to do with that :^)

“While all these stranger things are happening…”
“Where everyone knows your code-name…”
This may be one of the best-written reviews of a Star Trek episode I’ve ever read. And I’ve read thousands. What a fun post. Anthony, I assume you’re getting these episodes in advance for review purposes. My new Thursday night routine: watch Discovery, watch the Orville, read Anthony’s review. Keep it up!

Yes I agree. Anthony is an entertaining reviewer

I’m not so sure this was my favorite for all its emotionality, but I will say this: this was much more deftly executed than the hot mess that was the 3rd episode, when it comes to combining multiple storylines, and it was probably the first episode this season that didn’t feel rushed despite its warp speed plots (all the voice overs and moments of reflection certainly helped). It really shows that Discovery’s narrative style needs top notch directors to rise up to the challenge and when they fail at that, they fail spectacularly. Focusing on one plot only (rather than trying to juggle four in episode 3) and keeping Section 31 as the supporting storyline and the search for Spock as the anchor certainly helped!

Agreed! Not my favorite episode (still New Eden, thank you) but at least felt much more cohesive where episode 3 felt like a total mess. You’re right, it was basically one major story line (although Section 31 originally showed up for the constant Spock stuff) and it all came together well if still a little loopy even by Star Trek standards. But I honestly have very little complaints about it and I really liked Section 31 in this too. I was one of the few people who was excited to hear they were coming this season but even I wasn’t sure how they would be used. But seeing their hands in the cookie jar so to speak with everything from keeping L’rell in power as Klingon Chancellor to help track down Spock as a fugitive shows they are going to be involved in every major story line it seems.

And I have a feeling for them, finding Spock is more than just about bringing a fugitive to justice and wants to know what he knows about the Red Angel. I think there is still a lot more going on then they are letting on. Their involvement adds an interesting layer to already interesting story line IMO.

If my and other’s theory (see above) is correct that evil Georgiou (literally) pulled a Cornwell in order to coax Pike and Discovery into sharing all their knowledge and resources with Section 31 in order to find Spock, but 31 has their own plans for him, the solution to this season’s arc will surely bring the chickens home to roast!

TBH, I don’t know if I buy this one because it would take all of two minutes for the real Cromwell to tell them she has no clue what they are talking about. I think that was the real Cromwell and in fact it kind of makes sense now how Section 31 would know about the real MU Georgiou and that is Cromwell told them about her. Someone who is willing to blow up an enemy planet is probably someone Section 31 wants to get to know better lol.

But I obviously agree with you about the other part and that is they are looking for Spock for their own agenda. Nothing should ever be taken at face value with them.

I just say it fits the way we have learned these writers like to work characters and did so in season 1. How many characters turned out to be not what they seemed to be? And we have seen Georgiou use the camouflage when she first turned up to clean up on Q’onoS.

But you are right that the real Cornwell showed a “pragmatism” in ending the Klingon War that probably makes her sympathetic to Section 31 as well.

Either way, we will know soon enough!

Well you certainly got me there lol. Discovery is the first show where you are constantly questioning who is who. I’m shocked five episodes in and no one has proven to be a Romulan spy yet, but we still got a long season to go.

Could be that Section 31 had been trying to convince the leadership to end the Klingon threat forever.

And, though people speak of genocide, I make a comparison with the US Manhattan Project in WWII. It was a despicable thing to drop the atom bomb on Hiroshima and still moreso to drop a second bomb on Nagasaki. But the US leadership felt justified in doing this. They thought it would save millions of Allied lives.

I compare the US with the Federation because they are two “nations” which consider despicable means to end what seems a hopeless war. At least the Federation was able to pull back from the brink and learned the error of their ways.

Does that super futuristic face camouflage device also change your voice?

Why not? Isn’t that the easiest part? Apparently the universal translator already does this, as seen recently (unless this was meant as a stylistic device for the viewers). That said Cornwell’s voice sounded unusually creaky compared to before. Maybe the actress is having a cold and I’m overreaching here ;)

Mission Impossible does that all the time, and that’s supposed to be present-day! Look at Scotty pretending to be Wolf Blitzer in “Fallout”.

Another decent episode! :)

Overall I enjoyed it. Some of it was a bit…odd, but decent. The theory I and others had that the whole spore thing landing in Tilly was going to be the ultimate connection to Culber was right on target (although I originally thought it would be Culber himself, but we got ‘May’ instead). And it wasn’t the spore drive that was causing damage to the Mycellial network, it was Culber. So an interesting twist.

And I liked Section 31 in this. They are definitely retconning them though lol. Now they are basically known throughout Starfleet. So much so Pike is friends with Leland. So I guess that made it clear they aren’t underground in the 23rd century like they were in the 22nd and 24th. And yeah, they are going to go nuts with the technology. It took me a minute when Tyler tapped his starfleet badge to contact Leland and Pike acted surprised. I didn’t understand why he was surpri….oh right!!!! That way of communication won’t be made for another 70 years lol. So I guess that was Section 31 tech all along? I’ll go with it! ;) And I liked Georgiou more in this episode too. She came off sane but interesting.

And I like how they explained the mycelial network more and its not just a transportation hub but an actual dimension with advanced lifeforms living inside it. It hit me it felt a bit like the wormhole aliens that inhabited a phenomenon that is also used to cut through space.

Its still all a bit confusing and this episode made things feel extra crazy. But Captain Janeway said it best, “We’re Starfleet officers, weird is part of the job.” ;D

It’s good to see Discovery feeling like Star Trek again. Welcome back!

Tiger, et. al.,
That way of communication won’t be made for another 70 years

Who’s to say it doesn’t come into being right after the time of STVI?

It’s been said so many times before, but it is definitely worth saying again–Captain Pike is the single greatest reason that season 2 is as amazing as it is. Yes, many other things have improved, but he is definitely THE number one reason. I don’t think it’s very likely, but can we PLEASE get a Captain Pike series?!

I know! Anson Mount’s Pike is great. Saru and Pike are the only characters that feel like Star Trek to me. Tilly doesn’t, but if they medicate her properly she could come along because she would still be fun but less annoying. Then the three of them can zoom along on a show that I could see loving.

Pike is great, I think he has to go back to the Enterprise after this season but I hope he appears again in the show in future seasons.

Captain Pike needs to lose his shirt. Often. Please!!!!

He’s just a temp and he’ll soon be Mr Yes and No 🤣

That’s cold, dude. BEEP!

Absolutely agree. I know at the start of Discovery the producers said it was to make the main protaganist someone other than the Captain, but this season has certainly changed that!

Not really, Burnham is still in the center of the show.

I would rather see a “Pike’s Enterprise” series than a cartoon or even the Section 31 show. For me it’d be neck and neck with the Picard show. Maybe even ahead by a nose.

Oh and it looks like we are getting a time travel episode this season too! You don’t throw out the term tachyons in Star Trek unless you are hinting at time travel (which Pike all but said it) so maybe, just MAYBE the Red Angel is a species that is traveling through time? Maybe an assumed extinct species coughIconianscough that has the power of time travel and came to the 23rd century for some special reason?

Just ignore me, I drunk too much synthehol tonight. I can’t hold my liquor like Georgiou apparently does.

This seems to have been largely overlooked in the reviews but I also suspect that time travel will be a major twist in this season’s arc. They are only at episode 5 and surely don’t want to run out of steam any time soon by finding Spock and the secret of the Red Angel all in one neat swoop. Otoh, they can’t drag out the search any time longer so I smell a plot complication coming ;)

Oh please God no time travel. If they do that they will have touched on very quickly three elements of Trek I have never been a fan of. The MU. Section 31. And time travel. Looks like they are aiming for the triple crown of bad Trek tropes.

It’s not Star Trek without time travel. I also want the Borg to show up.

See for me, some of the BEST episodes (and movies) are the time travel ones. If you look at every Trek series, I can guarantee you there are at least 1 or 2 time travel based episodes that are in their top 10 of favorite episodes.

Everything from City on the Edge of Forever to Yesterday’s Enterprise to The Visitor to Year of Hell is highlighted over and over again because of their clever use of time travel. And that includes some of the best films: FC, TVH (but I know how you feel about that one lol) and Star Trek 09 are so popular because of the time travel element. It shows when it works, it really works.

But I do hear people say they are sick of time travel stories and yet that is where Star Trek does some of its best work. They can definitely over do it like they did with Voyager and Enterprise with the temporal cold war but I don’t have a problem with an episode once a season.

To me time travel in Star Trek is just as important as a conflict with the Klingons or making first contact with a new species. Its a really important part of the show’s DNA and has been from the beginning.

Agreed, Tiger.

True, there have been a few really superior episodes that have dealt with it. But they have done it so often there have been a n number of dog episodes as well. And the worst Trek movie ever was centered around it. It’s because they do is often, and so cavalierly that I, someone who at one time really like the time travel concept, have grown VERY tired of it.

What “worst Trek movie ever” was that?

Disco already traveled 9 months into the future last season.

I think I don’t mind them going the time travel route per se, but with these writers and what I’ve seen about their callous handling of canon, let alone the credibility of science and technology, I fear they will not handle it responsibility. Time travel could quickly become the panacea to explain away anything. Section 31 has 25th century technology? “Sure – they just acquired it from that time!”

It’s ironic that writers have bitched since TNG how perfect humans destroy drama, stakes and relatability, but they don’t seem to realize their perfect technology at all times does exactly the same.


Regarding the perfect tech … Maybe this is why they broke the ship so often on TNG. I remember a CFQ issue where the writers proclaimed proudly that they had gone nearly a whole season (s6 maybe? not a total TNG guru) without breaking the ship.

For me it really really depends on when they are time traveling too.

Traveling to fill in the gaps in history or such like DS9s Past Tense I am all for. Traveling back to our current day is one of the worst things Trek ever does imho because it immediately dates the show and is always fish out of water cringe. I hate TVH, I love FC. I love Past Tense, I hate… whatever that stupid Voyager one where they go to the 90s.

Past Tense was AWESOME.

The Voyager 1990s episode was okay. The most fun for me was seeing Chakotay dressed like Sonny Crockett on Miami Vice

We already saw that Disco is still around in the future. That ship didn’t look 1000 years old.

It’s interesting they said ALL short treks are tieing in the second season so that would mean they could throw in a twist and transport Discovery into that future temporarily.

That just means that it didn’t get left parked outside in a rust belt. Outside of fading from overexposure to sunlight or micrometeroid damage, what is going to age it in the vacuum of space?

Given that they already used two in the very first season (plus the Klingons as another endlessly overused species), I’d say it’s more likely than not ;)

When they started to talk about tachyons, I thought about the Romulans and their crazy warp experiments and their cloaking experiments. Of course time travel would be much more cool and a great episode to see.

In a massive twist shock – i’ve already seen comments elsewhere online that

” This show keeps getting worse and worse and Saints of Imperfection is the worst episode of Trek ever made ”

…until next week of course!

Oh great – plank of wood Cornwell is back.

How to make Discovery passable:

– Cancel

Is she or isn’t she? From what we experienced in Season 1 and know about Kurtzman’s and the JJ Gang’s favorite writing style, “all may not be what (and who) it seems”!

Actually I think she is a breath of fresh air from the often used crazy Admiral trope we have gotten throughout Star Trek. I like the actress and the character.

Wouldn’t it be fun if she demotes herself and becomes the next Discovery captain.

I think there is a next to 100% chance now the next captain will be female (Alien or not).

Well I do love women.

Cornwell would bring an interesting dynamic to the Captain’s chair given her “pragmatism”. She’s way more Captain Archer/Sisko than Captain Pike.

Me too, Richard. I sure hope they don’t take Cornwell to crazytown.

I love this show. Tonight was a good episode. However, it just continued to validate for me my not being able to get behind Burnham. There character just doesn’t do it for me. Something about Burnham just screams to me “this is my show” (which I suppose it is given she inserts herself into everything), but I love the rest of the cast. L’Rell has been my fav, and I hope for more of her and the Klingons this season. Pike has been a fantastic addition so far.

Didn’t you love though how Pike was immediately suspecting something smells funny about “Captain” Georgiou and Tyler and confronted our favorite Mary Sue about it? An independently thinking and acting character on Discovery whose name is not Michael! Who would have thought!

On cue, Vulcan Soul makes sexist/racist use of the Mary Sue trope.

On cue, the usual suspects are feeling triggered ;)

Not a Mary Sue. Don’t use the jargon if you don’t understand it.

It seems there are tons of viewers who don’t understand it then since this is a common complaint about her on dozens of review sites (not the Youtube kind). Check it out!

The internet latching on to a term that don’t understand to demean something… no way! Like people using ‘triggered’… like you do… huh

Yes, I’ve heard the “Mary Sue” assertion many times on other web sites and forums and when I’ve challenged it, I have been insulted, belittled, muted, etc. But that doesn’t mean I’m wrong. Burnham is not a Mary Sue. You are entitled to your own opinion of the show, but not your own facts.

The plaintive whimper of the incel: ‘why does this black woman starring in this show think she’s the main character?’

So true. That’s exactly it. I feel sorry for those low lives.

You bringing in her race and sex says more about you than anything else actually. I compared her to Wesley before, an equally unlikable character to many for similar reasons, and last time I checked he was neither black nor female.

I think you are all getting it wrong. Green is great, it’s the character that I am not a fan of and I personally point to the writers. Burnham seems to have a hand in almost every plot point, or has the solution to every problem, and it doesn’t feel necessary. I think there is more opportunity for this show to give more to the various cast and I feel like Pike is the only and MAYBE Tilly are the only two that are getting these moments.

The whole Mary Sue and race has nothing to do with this so quit making assumptions.

Mary Sue started out as a way of belittling amateur female writers of Star Trek fanfic, and it still has the same edge–that the character and the writers aren’t worthy. The worthiness aspect is what makes it a popular proxy for sexist and racist criticism, when a racist or a sexist knows they can’t say (eg.) they don’t find it plausible that a black woman could be a xenobiologist, qualified for the Vulcan Science Academy, and test pilot an experimental landing craft.

You have a lot of thoughts about this that you insert into other people’s minds. The point is about a character being unrealistically perfect at the detriment of the other characters and drama, that’s all.

Trust me, the day we overcome racism is the one a black character can just be a normal, flawed character (and a gay character can be killed off) just like everybody else, without near-constant crying of DISCRIMINATION.

And that will be a great day, but we’re not even close to that yet because a bunch of people still see any new or previously marginalized group being given even a non-representative fraction more screen time is an attack on them personally.

… (in TOS Spock)seems to have a hand in almost every plot point, or has the solution to every problem, and it doesn’t feel necessary.

Thanks for explaining my line of thought so eloquently since it saves me a lot of time :)

Some people need to check their own prejudices when jumping to racism/sexism conclusions immediately when none such was implied. These terms shouldn’t be weaponized or they become meaningless.

Hey, the reason you get this feeling because SHE is the LEAD! Have you not watch show were there is lead and everyone else is supporting character? This had been the case for many shows.

Oh, Vulcan Soul knows. It’s the most obvious bit of trolling I’ve ever seen from that poster.

We discussed this ad nauseam in previous threads before, but being the lead has nothing to do with a character being too perfect and making other characters look dumb for no reason. Wesley was not a lead and guilty of this in early TNG.

Pike is an older, more experienced and more decorated officer than Burnham so it stands to reason he should not be made look like a lackey to Burnham no matter if he has less screen time. And this has absolutely nothing to do with race or sex.

He is not a lackey to Burnham at any point. He quite reasonably consults her because: (1) she is a good scientist and (2) because she is Spock’s relative and may have insight into Spock that he doesn’t have.

Burnham. Is. The. Main. Character. In. The. Show.

And I agree on L’Rell and Pike.

I quite enjoyed tonight’s episode. For me it was a solid 7/10.

My favorite moment in the episode was Tilly’s bitchy response to May’s comment about how the crew might have died trying to save her. I loved that. I appreciate that Tilly reacted to her kidnapping with a range of emotions that weren’t exactly pretty (i.e. initial anger and rage). Quite often, Starfleet officers behave with incredible dignity when they’re kidnapped. I’ve always found that unrealistic.

I thought Culber’s return seemed WAY too convenient, and I hope that there’s something more to the whole situation. I don’t appreciate the whole “Ta dah! He’s back!” route. There has to be consequences.

I enjoyed seeing Georgiou again. But honestly, I’m far more excited about Leland. The few glimpses we’ve had of him seem really intriguing.

Now that we’re on episode five, I still feel like we’re on an upswing; however, I’m quite nervous about what comes next. For Disco to win over its detractors, it’ll have to pull off one helluva journey…..

Seems like Culber returning is just a late realisation that they hyped the hell out of the “first gay couple on Star Trek!” and then just killed one of them off for cheap shock value. Having gone through this experience so early on in his development – before we even really knew him at all – might result in a character with some interesting depths.

What disappointed me a little was how much Saru was left out in the cold and seemingly unaffected by the enormous events of the last episode. If you want to do serialised episodes, you can’t just drop a thread like that when it’s not convenient.

I disagree. They clearly had this idea in mind from the beginning or that spore that entered Tilly wouldn’t have happened last season. They literally planted the seed for his return in her. In fact many people like me thought the spore was Culber, they simply used it to create May to help bring him back.

They knew before the filmed him being killed he was going to comeback, they told Wilson Cruz as much because as an activist he was extremely angry they were killing him off and perpetuating the trope, and flat out told him that he would be brought back, and likely had some idea how.

I’m surprised that you think he was “extremely angry.” My impression from watching his interviews on BUILD, After Trek, and the Ready Room was that he was very impressed by the care with which Harberts and Berg handled the situation. Then again, that’s just my impression of the situation ;-)

Remember that any actor being interviewed about a show they’re in is an employee of the show ….


Saru will feature in 2.6, don’t worry.

I enjoyed that episode, but someone engaged the bullshittium drive and never turned it off. I’m guessing that was the only way to bring Culber back, though, so I can live with it.

I was hoping they’d bring May on as a regular character; that’s my actual big complaint, that they seem not to be doing that.

“Oh that old trick! Are you freaking kidding me?!” – I’m starting to love Tilly more and more in this season! Mary Wiseman is really, really good, isn’t she?

Oh and the episode was fun! Had me at the edge of my seat throughout its entire duration – and, unlike many earlier instances, it was just well plotted! It didn’t feel like three only marginally related stories were thrown together at the expense of story-depth.
Sure, there’s stuff to nitpick as always, but off the top of my head, I couldn’t think of anything that would’ve downright bothered me. I’m just holding out for a bit more information here and there (again: How come Section 31 seems to be so well known throughout Starfleet and how come they make themselves readily identifiable by carrying those black badges? – Are we to presume that this was only the case during that specific time? Also: Culber apparently contaminated those trees all by himself but he needed their bark to protect himself?) , but such is the nature of serialised storytelling and I’m slowly getting more comfortable with that fact.
It means getting accustomed to the possibility that apparent plotholes are explained at a later point and that that’s not exactly “retconning” but simply “clearing stuff up at a later time”.

– – “It means getting accustomed to the possibility that apparent plotholes are explained at a later point and that that’s not exactly “retconning” but simply “clearing stuff up at a later time”.”


I totally agree with what you wrote. Kurtzman (as quoted in Anthony’s review) seems to imply that Section 31 will eventually pivot to the clandestine org that we know from DS9. So I guess it’s just a matter of waiting around. Of course, whether or not there’s a great payoff in the S31 stuff remains to be seen.

Overall, I don’t think we can judge the success or failure of S2 until we see the entire thing.

I’m ashamed to admit that I had obviously skipped over that part earlier on. Yes, Kurtzman has basically made it clear as day what we should expect in that regard.

“It means getting accustomed to the possibility that apparent plotholes are explained at a later point ”

Understood and that is typically the nature of a story arc in episodic TV. However remember last season… Where they did the same thing and ultimately it was just a mishmash of silliness? And the last 3 episodes have had more of a season 1 vibe to them…

“Mary Wiseman is really, really good, isn’t she?”

Maybe. But the character of Tilly is the one I would LOVE to see go away in any way. Transfer her, kill her, give her a job on the ship where we never have to see her. I don’t care which.

No she isn’t. And A34 this is just another example of your trolling. You come off like another poster who was banned (and rightfully so) for this same kind of baiting. I’m not accusing you of anything but it has all the same similar patterns of that guy, the constant love of everything Discovery and attacking anyone who disagrees with it. But then takes it farther by using silly bait tactics such as this.

You may not like ML31 opinion of the show but he has every right to feel the way he does. Just say you disagree with him and move on. How hard is that? Or better yet just ignore him completely if his opinion of the show bothers you as much as it does. Your constant attacks and bait posts comes off childish around here.

JAGT, She really, really is!

Deep down I feel like this show has no heart. The characters have no emotions. Or given little to no broadcasted time for emotions to happen. There are no crafted lines which show moral insights because they’ve basically faced off against —-nothing? Nothing is earned. It is like watching a shell game. They babble about faith but the point of serialization is to build characters. I see few.

Agreed…the “feelings” mostly seem to be all clinically derived…sterile and cold.

I refer you to TNG first 2 seasons

TBH I was in college, saw the premiere of TNG and didn’t watch it again until much later. I knew people liked it but…. I was too busy. I wish I was less addited now! And seriously, the stakes are higher — the level of production is incredible. If any of those TNG episodes could have been as visually outstanding, the producers would have thought about every impact. Not the shell game to just keep us there.

They ruined the surprise about Culber, but happy he’s back! Weird context and all.

When will the search of Spock end? Lol

Remember, only a handful of the Discovery crew know that Georgiou is the Mirror Georgiou. Detmer was pleased to see her in penultimate episode of last season. Only Burnham, Saru, the transporter chief, Leland, and Cornwell know (of the people we saw last night).

I really needed this palate cleanser after last night’s Orville episode. Tilly is saved, Ash is back, and best of all, Hugh has literally risen from the dead! We’ve got all our guys and gals in place; let’s go find Spock!

Only watching ORVILLE currently, but not getting the palate cleanser remark at all.

SPOILERS AHEAD for The Orville 2/14/2019 episode “Deflectors”
In my opinion, “Deflectors” was by far the darkest and most depressing episode of The Orville aired thus far, and I include season one’s “About a Girl” in that tally. I was a quivering wreck by the end of the show and am still processing what I saw and heard. So, by “palate cleanser” I mean that after that emotional roller-coaster, I really needed the happy ending we got for Tilly and Hugh on Discovery.

It was in fact the first time that an episode of Discovery ended on an overall happier note than an episode of The Orville.

A couple of other items – Once again the run time was about 70 plus minutes with commercials. More long episodes please. Also, next week’s show looks like another episodic standalone story.

Holy cow! That means CBS inserts over 20 minutes of commercials! That’s more than a broadcast hour includes! Shame on you CBS.

No this is Space Channel up in the great white north. Btw I think the average per 60 minute TV show is about 14 mins, so maybe just a slight bit higher than average.

These days one broadcast hour includes approx. 18 minutes of commercials. I cannot speak for Canada, however.

^ From what I understand Space pads out the timeslot for Discovery however long they need to air a given week’s episode uncut plus get in the typical amount of commercials expected for a commercial supported TV network. So the timeslot expands or contracts slightly week to week, depending on the runtime of the actual episode and what they have scheduled next on the channel.

They likely padded things out to hit the next 15 minute or 30 minute interval (on the 1/4 hour or 1/2 hour) for scheduling.

Depends on the platform I think. I didn’t experience anything like that.

looks like those amazing episodes we could only dream about when we read the pocket books. Gorgeous imagery, weirdness all around. It´s a good time to be a trekker.

Yes a lot of my favorite Trek is when its weird Trek. And this was definitely weird lol.

I too like Trek when it hits a zanier note. I do feel like we’re in a minority though?

Quick first impressions…a techno-babbly mess trying really hard to force in a tiny dose of “feel-goods” amongst the techno-gobbledygook. With a terribly written, terribly forced sappy voice over at the end that cues us all when to applaud. And I’m to believe the mirror emperor is going to carry her own Sec 31 series?? Ugh. This episode was chock full of stuff, yet almost completely void. Could we please get Pike and Saru together on some strange world for an hour, and leave the rest on the ship? That would be very refreshing. On to next week!

I’m not a fan of Burnham’s monologues either. I don’t think the character has earned that kind of status and whenever Burhman talks there is a certain subtext of smugness about her this season that wasn’t there last season. I’m slowly moving from not caring about Burnham to being irritated by her. Not there yet, but that is where this road feels it is leading.

Are you ever happy?

I will be happier when you stop trolling me.

I just want to see you happy. I’m your friend.

Sorry she the lead, so she already earn it, in the writing room.

Yeah I definitely didn’t like the monologue at the end. It just felt really forced and ham fisted, especially because the episode wasn’t actually about Burnham. Give Tilly the monologue in this episode. Or Staments, someone who was directly affected by things.

But I’m liking Georgiou more though, at least more than I did last season. But I think she is a really divisive character so it will probably take awhile when people really accept her.

To me, Burnham’s monologues are hard to listen to. They seem like what a 15 year old would do when told to sound ”deep.” Real people don’t talk that way. Sometimes less is more.

Honestly I just think of them as her diary/personal log and she’s one of those people who tries to sound like that in her diary.

I rewatched the episode again yesterday. Still enjoyed it but the monologue didn’t feel any less cringy. And it just felt so off to me like Burnham just over came something big in her life. Just wasn’t done well at all.

It was entertaining television. I don’t hold Trek to a higher standard. The voice over reminds me of when my wife watches Grey’s Anatomy. I think they are going for that. I can take it or leave it. I agree about the Section 31 spin off not looking good. Michelle Yeoh is mediocre at best. Anthony above pointed it out as well. What is their fascination with this actor/character?

I don’t get the fascination either. The whole time I’m watching her, I’m thinking it’s a mustache-twirling performance without the mustache.

Another great episode. There’s certainly things I still don’t like – Section 31 is poorly drawn, Yeoh is too hammy, I thought the Doctor’s experiences were rather glossed over and we got the solution a bit easily (although at least it wasn’t ENTIRELY Michael Burnham who saved the day again) – but overall that was solid like most of this season has been (aside from the dreadful Episode 3). The directing was excellent too. Even small details – liked the Discovery and the S31 ship flying beside each other in one transitional shot. Very filmic – shades of Enterprise & Excelsior at the end of TUC.

If they could kill off Yeoh at the end of this season and then pretend S31 doesn’t exist for the rest of the show’s run this might actually turn into a solid Trek show.

Apart from the fact that it seemed over so fast I really liked the episode… they really need to engage some space-brakes, although I understand the fast pacing.

OK. First, I wish to point out that there are STILL too many glitches associated with watching on CBSAA. Is that ever going to stop?

So the show started off promising but it is really starting to hit a lull. The last couple of episodes felt like nothing of real significance happened. This one started with a tease for Spock only to pull away from it. I’m now officially in the the camp of “sh*t or get off the pot” when it comes to Spock. The next time they bring him up he better friggin’ show up. I very much think that thing that brought this episode down for me was simply the inclusion of Section 31 and Georgeau in such a major way. The worst episodes this season thus far have both had her prominently in them. I don’t think that a coincidence. Section 31, which I wasn’t a huge fan of in the first place, is becoming a cartoon. They seem to have their own ‘Q’ branch with their own special tech that is 200 years in advance of everyone else. And they share nothing. The camouflaged ship did nothing but induce a facepalm. I like the idea of an intelligence service in the Federation. (And NOT a part of Star Fleet) It makes sense for there to be one. But giving them such insanely advanced tech ruins it. The end result, being so Section 31 heavy brought the show down and makes me think maybe I ought to avoid the upcoming Section 31 show altogether.

The other big thing in the episode was the return of Dr Culber. The only character from the first season I liked upon first impression. Which made his death the only legitimately shocking moment in season 1. And as such, makes his return all the more silly. Yes, we knew he was coming. Which was also a tremendous mistake. And the method of his return is TNG technobabble at it’s finest. I STILL don’t understand how he could be alive. At least Spock’s resurrection, while sci-fi silliness, one could follow the process from A to B to C. In this instance, nothing made sense. I still don’t see how Culber’s body got from the morgue to inside the network. Could someone please explain this to me? And the way I see it, so long as they have access to that network they literally can bring back from the dead ANYONE. The only way around this is if, and God I hope this is the case, it’s really not Culber. This is some sort of spore manifestation with a nefarious purpose. Or maybe it has no idea what it is? Either way it cannot be Culber.

The other thing this episode cemented is the show’s desire to “cry wolf” with the audience. Two episodes in a row we had a character on the verge of going away forever only to be saved at the last instance. And quite frankly, had Spore-Culber sacrificed himself like he was about to it would have been a FAR better episode. And it would have been good for Stammets. He would have gotten the closure he needed and Culber did something majorly good. But, alas, that is not what TPTB seem to want. It’s unfortunate because after such a promising start this show is now slowly following the season 1 path.

I totally agree with you on the too advanced tech part for Section 31! They even seem to want to justify this in canon by giving them time travelling abilities (cue tachyons) but they never seem to ask themselves the question: just because it is possible and maybe even explainable in canon, SHOULD IT BE DONE?

One other bit that I missed… Where the hell was Reno in all this? She needs to become a regular cast member. Yesterday!

She was off ship doing her stand-up routine. She had a full house.

Yes, Yes, Yes about Reno! Last week, the trio of Tilly, Stamets and Reno spent a good chunk of the episode ‘shroomin their way through the situation at hand, but I guess her shift must have ended:)

LOL it is crazy how she was so involved in the whole mushroom episode last week only to completely disappear literally minutes after Tilly disappeared. Its not the end of the world but if you are going to have the character so involve previously it would only make sense to have her back in this one.

Maybe the actress is only signed up for a certain amount of episodes and they are trying to spread them out or something.

She had stuff to fix.

yes, it was disappointing not to see her again

I think she might have been rather busy holding the ship together.

I hate to say it, but I totally forgot Discovery was on last night, and am honestly in no hurry to see it. Still love Trek of course – always will – but there’s more about this show I dislike than like. Scenes with Super Burnham and Tilly grate on my nerves, ridiculously fast pacing, manufactured tension, overly melodramatic dialogue. Pike and Saru are the only bright spots for me this season, but the stories are so uneven it’s hard to get excited about them. Not interested in the arrival of Millennial Spock in the least. New Eden was an exception, great episode which I’ll be watching again. I think I may binge the season when it’s over on a rainy Sunday, but I’ve seriously lost any motivation to watch this show weekly. Time will tell. Anthony’s well-crafted reviews will suffice for now.

I surfed across this most recent episode using the “fast forward 10 seconds” option on the bottom of the screen. The plot was so telegraphed — “Tilly’s matter is gone so this cocoon is like a TRANSPORTER! It’s a TRANSPORTER, you say? Yes, a TRANSPORTER between our reality and mycelial network! Oh, a TRANSPORTER!” — and the turns and plot points so predictable, that it saved me a lot of eye-rolling.

When I sensed an overly drawn out and melodramatic portion arriving, I hit the button.

Lost in treknobabble that serves little other use than flimsy rationale? Hit the button.

Padding time with action sequences only present to create tension? Hit the button.

That button must have gotten a workout during all the other Trek series then. Especially Voyagers Technobabble bs.

The motto of the series is: “Tell, don’t show.” Except Burnham. She has to show her same sad or helpless facial expression all the time. And at the end she has always some good advice for us:

“Beer before wine, you’ll feel fine; wine before beer, you’ll feel queer. Wine on beer, give good cheer; beer on wine, you’ll repine. Snow and ice in February makes the summer long and hot. Thank you for watching. See you next week.”

I feel very similarly.

I’ve never had a single buffer or problem with CBSAA…but you seem to have a problem with everything DIS, sad for you…

The issue with CBSAA goes back to last year. The only time I saw an episode that had ZERO glitches was the premiere on the CBS television network. Once streaming, the best I got was one show this season had perhaps 2. Beyond that, every episode has had at least 6 or 7 glitches. This is not unique to me. Many others have had that claim and many who did moved to CBSAA on Amazon. As I do not subscribe to Amazon that option is not available to me. If you are watching it with no glitches then either you are watching on Amazon (Which I hear works just fine) or you are very very lucky.

And for the record, I think your final comment shows you do not read the posts. I have praised the show for improving in their 2nd season and the addition of Pike and Reno as well as the growth of the Saru character.

but if ANY of us don’t have a problem, and there are a lot of us, how can it be All Access? Increase your internet speed

Good lord… (facepalm) It’s NOT the internet speed. Netflix and YouTube stream just fine. Only CBSAA has the problem. And others HAVE had a problem. It’s even been mentioned in articles on this site.

Might be your device? I’ve only had a problem with streaming quality once, and that was the fourth or fifth episode of Season 1, and that seemed to be on CBS’s end as there were numerous online complaints that night. It has been fine ever since. (Usually watch first time on the Apple TV in my living room, sometimes I re-watch on Amazon Fire TV in bedroom, both are fine.)

Yeah, I only have problems with it on the Firetv stick. Maybe I need to upgrade it.

What streaming device are you using?

I have buffer problems with the firetv CBSAA app. No problems when I watch it on my PS4.

I can’t tell what people want anymore and I don’t think they can either. So many people complained about the serialized format and wanted more stand alone Trek like TOS or TNG. They do that and we get complaints….Section 31 is just part of the season, it’s a plot twist. You don’t know how it will play out. Give it time……I don’t like the Culber character because I’m not a fan of Cruz. He has that Deer in the Headlights look that bother’s me and as others have said, if someone dies, let them be dead…….as far as “glitches” I and many others have no problems. And since we don’t have problems it has to be either the equipment you are streaming with or your internet connection. It’s not All Access.

The first time I saw May, I thought, “Doctor Who called, and they want their character back”. But she’s a grower, and I hope she isn’t gone for good. Quite apart from the story potential of a mycelial life form in our world, different accents give the Trek universe more of a three-dimensional and lived-in feel. Most characters speak, for obvious reasons, with North American accents, but we’ve had other characters – Scott, Chekov, Picard, O’Brien, Bashir, Reed – who have added more depth. Kind of why I wish Isaacs had chosen to go with his native Scouse accent – we’re yet to see a Liverpudlian on Trek. Other accents add depth and breadth. I’d love to see an Aussie accent – but where do you cast that happy-go-lucky voice? Helm, medical, or engineering, I guess.

Love Anthony’s evenhanded, thoughtful reviews. But I believe he overestimates Trek fans and underestimates Trek’s history of voiceover. Maybe the themes and allegories are obvious to him/me/some, but any review of comment boards and Twitter shows Trek fans are better at kvetching about Bussard collectors and demanding fan service than discussing literary allusion or Jungian analysis.

My take on the “up to your ass in alligators on Cestus 3” is that the reference is a euphemism for a sticky situation, fairly common here in the south, and not an actual reference to Leland dealing with a reptilian life form.

Good point. They’re making Pike quite folksy at times, so it would fit.

From the preview: are the Ba’ul also known as the Tholians?

They don’t look the same ….

Loved everything about this episode and the quality of the production. This is certainly MUCH better than the 3rd episode in which the multiple plots had little to do with each other and were sped through with lazy writing and exposition. This was a tightly told story with lots of action, suspense, emotion, and framed with a crisis that gave their characters lots of opportunity to shine and work together. This is an episode that SHOWED us, rather than told us the story. This episode also brilliantly worked in some mind-bending science fiction and gave the characters screen time to problem solve together, something I’ve always loved about Star Trek and was completely lacking in Season 1.

The story did have some big logic issues. The threat Culber posed to the Network didn’t make that much sense and wasn’t really demonstrated, which makes the premise fall apart a little bit once you get to that revelation. It wasn’t really explained how this small and nearly dead Human was wiping out their species just be wearing a protective bark that grows in their environment?

Like I said, I’m not really interested in repairing canon if they are just going to start upsetting it in other ways, and that’s certainly what’s happening with Section 31 (which had already been happening with Star Trek: Into Darkness). Star Trek has never had rock solid canon, but if ‘fixing’ it opens up GOOD storytelling opportunities, I’m fine with it. I’d prefer Star Trek to focus on telling a smart story while utilitizing the canon as much as possible, but I’m not going to get hung-up on it as long as the story is good. I’m well aware of how a TV show is made and the difficult process required to get this complex universe together without letting it get in the way. If there is one thing I don’t mind changing, it’s the design of Star Trek, it needs to evolve with the times.

Something that just isn’t holding together so far is the “Search for Spock” premise which is being dragged like a thread through each episode but absolutely nothing has been accomplished since the first episode. The thread has no relation to any of the episodes so far and the mystery has largely been put on the back burner. That whole aspect of the series isn’t really coming together like I hoped.

The Spock thread is basically what I feared they would do with it: make it a carrot on a stick to string along viewers. By now, I expect the show’s writers/producers to keep him off screen until they feel they absolutely need to him. Then he’ll be in an episode and disappear again for a while.

In a way, the appearance of Number One was utilized the same way. Sure, she gave opportunity to retcon about the hologram tech. More so, she was an obvious callback to something show runners know will keep the hopes of older fans heightened.

Our lives have been spent in an age replete with this kind of manipulation in entertainment. Surely, you expected this, no?

Actually Spock not showing up now is not exactly a surprise. Ethan Peck wasn’t even hired until after they shot the first five episodes and I believe they were literally working on episode 6 when he did land the role. So common sense would tell people he wouldn’t have shown up until episode 6 the earliest but its clear he’s not in that one either so he probably didn’t start shooting until episode 7 or 8. But what gets annoying instead of just saying when he will come they rather just dangle the carrot because I guess they think people will tune out until he actually shows up or something.

To me it’s playing out in a very tedious and uninteresting way. I could understand if the carrot pulled the episodes together and each episode contributed to solving the mystery or finding Spock, but so far it just not progressing at all. I think we’ve had two or three episodes talking about a strained relationship with Michael and Spock and they’ve made NO progress explaining that or showing it, just a constant drumbeat of the exact same exposition. And then there is the Red Angel mystery which I thought would be the main driver of the season, but nearly half-way through and it’s largely forgotten.

Another episode has come and gone… and still no mention of Sybok.


You shouldn’t be, though. Just mentioning him I think would give credence to Burnham. It ought to be done.

Sounds like someone was eating the mushrooms while they wrote this thing. I like how “not a bug but a feature” got worked in. Thats how in IT we described something going wrong after an update, especially in something from Microsoft.

That phrase is an absolute Apple thing. You know?

Uh… politely disagree about the S31 part.

At best, it could be a cool plotline. At worst, it could be a grand misstep. But either way, this idea of an ‘out in the open’ S31 was intentionally instituted, therefore it isn’t a retcon ;-)

Has anyone noticed that the Barzan woman from the Enterprise (Nhan) seems to be wearing a miniskirt variation of the normal discovery uniform? I caught it last week, when she was in the conference room, and again this week. Since she’s only on screen for a few seconds where her full height is visible, it’s very hard to spot (or confirm).

Yes. We mentioned it in the random observations bits at the bottom of review for last week’s episode, there’s a screenshot of her skirt with pants combo as well.

What an insane opinion of the author!
I’m so glad they do NOT kill off main characters like GOT. Such things would turn Star Trek into a horrible good times bad times soap like Game of Thrones is, just with sci-fi painting instead of fantasy.
I love it to see all the people evolve over time.

*yawn*. Oh look, another “hereeee’s Spock!” misdirection. They’ve milked it to a point where it becomes grotesque. I guess he’s only going to appear in the last episode, 5 minutes before the credits start to roll.

I admit, I’m getting sick of that too. It was one thing when they were stopped from reaching his shuttle last episode, now they baited and switched him with another person entirely. Its getting a bit silly. We know Spock is going to show up, we don’t need every episode to keep pretending he’s showing up.

everyone wants what they want when they want it…

But I’m not bothered about not seeing Spock. Its just the way they are dragging it out that is feeling tedious. I rather they just ignore him until he shows up instead of another ‘well, we were thisclose to catching the guy but scorned again. Darn it!” To be honest I wish they had him break out of his mental institution later and we just spend one episode trying to find him instead or three or four of them.

I’m actually GLAD he’s not here yet. I’m one of those folks who is quite nervous about his eventual appearance, so the longer they protract it, the better. I do agree that they shouldn’t have hyped him to kingdom come.

But the reason they DID hype him to kingdom come is because they needed to. Season 1 did not bring in the subscribers like they hoped. So… “Hey world! Spock is back!”

That is hypothesis that has no real factual basis except your interpretation.
They definitely marketing Spock because he popular character. However, that correlation doesn’t mean that they need Spock for viewers. It is speculation on your part.

Yeah… that’s why CBSAA is ahead of their original goal for subscribers…

I’m not complaining that he’s not here yet. I’m complaining at the
– oh look, it’s not Spock, it’s a different science officer
– oh look, it’s not Spock, it’s actually Amanda
– oh look, it’s not Spock, it’s Georgiou
sequence. It’s grotesque. Unless it’s supposed to be a “running gag”.

And guess what, when he finally appears it’ll be:
– oh look, it’s not Spock, it’s actually Mirror Spock. The beard, DUUUUH!

I actually REALLY like that Section 31 has tech that isn’t “standard” until later. It makes sense and this fleshes out the kind of organization they’re supposed to be. Some might hate it but I LOVE this kind of stuff.

Me too. I really like stuff like this and proves S31 is on another level than Starfleet itself is.

I agree

Great review Anthony! I think you’ve been taking writing classes.
This episode was entertaining. I don’t expect Emmy award winning drama from Discovery and to be honest we have never received that with Trek, so I don’t agree with a lot of the nit picking in the above posts. The style of the show is what it is. It’s usually moving too fast for any thought provoking moments though. I see attempts to change that and the voice overs are part of it. Section 31 was always going to be a part of this show when Bryan Fuller pitched it. It’s in the DNA, but I imagine it will go away after this season with either the spin off or the writing. Much like the klingons aren’t ever-present anymore. Michelle Yeoh is not good in this role. She was palatable and Cpt. Georgious, but barely. Culber is back and I don’t care. Anti-climactic and unnecessary. Just one more reason to dislike the show runners in the first season. I really disliked not seeing Jett Reno in this episode. They are really missing the impact she has when she is on the screen. What are they going to do when Pike leaves? He is the best part of the show.

Anson Mount’s Pike is getting better and better, whereas Michelle Yeoh’s Philippa Georgiou is becoming an annoying time-waster – a waste of the actresses abilities, and a reason to maybe go see if her prime universe version isn’t also stuck ‘in the network.’ The character’s interactions, perhaps as a lead-up to a new show, are becoming trite and clever, and betray little of the emotion that should be there with Michael. Show the brilliant strategist and and maybe a path towards finding a goal for existence in this universe, apart from just having loads of fun messing stuff up for Starfleet. Yeoh is a brilliant actress, and her original Captain Georgiou was immediately our favorite character last year, before the writers pulled a ‘Ned Stark’ on her. Lots of time to fix it, which I hope they’ll do.

She was. My favorite character by far. She was a real Star Trek character and captain and removing her from the show really upset me.

Spot-on. And she was equally as good in “The Brightest Star.”

I have to admit, she rather hammed it up in this episode. Though I did like her response to Burnham’s “go back to your snake pit.”


I am over the moon. Having to pinch myself to see if not a dream. Star Trek is back and better than it has ever been. Better drama, humor, excitement, suspense, heart, than ever has been seen for Star Trek. Still trembling. Counting down the hours to next Thursday.

Just a detail I noticed… When the Discovery was jumping back from being dipped in the mycelial space, its saucer section rings spun as usual. If it’s the entire interior spinning, it would mean pretty much all of the saucer crossed the barrier. So this has to be happening just on the surface. Well, either way, it still doesn’t make any sense.
Also, why was the barrier vertical on the bridge? From the exterior shots it looked like it should be almost horizontal, and it wasn’t moving consistently with what we saw from the outside either.

Thank goodness I don’t have to pay for this garbage. Really looking forward to the Picard show. Everyone on this show, esp Burnham, just keeps getting more annoying. Why is that doctor so important? Why is he alive? So dumb. BUT there is no other Trek to watch so beggars can’t be choosers.

cool story

“Why is that doctor so important?”

Because, that’s why. Why is any main character important? Because the writers said they were. Why the heck was Barclay important? Why was Ro important? Why was Garak or Nog important? I want you to flat out tell me that Nog was more important that Doctor Culber when DS9 got to 20 episodes. If you do, you’re freaking lying.

Did anyone try to bring Nog back from the dead?

This show kind of reminds me of Star Trek. But Star Trek used to have more intelligent dialogues and stories and more likeable characters.