Review: ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Has No Fear In “The Sound Of Thunder”

“The Sound Of Thunder”

Star Trek: Discovery Season 2, Episode 6 – Debuted Thursday, February 21st
Written by Bo Yeon Kim & Erika Lippoldt
Directed by Douglas Aarniokoski


With a good mix of character, suspense, and action “The Sound of Thunder” brings another solid entry to the improved second season of Star Trek: Discovery. Delivering a big dose of backstory for Saru and the Kelpiens, longtime fans of the show should feel rewarded with both big and small moments tying into season one, season two and Short Treks. However, to keep the pacing going, many plot points seem oversimplified or in some cases ignored. Doug Jones again stands out as the character of Saru continues to grow and add new facets.

“The Sound of Thunder” — Episode #206 — Pictured (l-r): Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham; Doug Jones as Saru; Hannah Spear as Siranna



Home is where the hut is

This episode starts serenely with a voice-over from Doug Jones’ Saru—just like the Short Treks prequel to this episode “The Brightest Star.” As we follow Saru starting another day in the life, there is an element of sadness to the Kelpien, grasping for his lost threat ganglia like a phantom limb, and speaking about how everyone comes from “somewhere,” knowing that Starfleet rules keep him from ever seeing his home again.

As he visits sickbay, we pick up on the story of his transformation from two episodes ago when he lost his threat ganglia through the process of “Vahar’ai” and Dr. Pollard now informs him some kind of spikes or teeth are now growing in their place. So, nothing ominous about that. She also confirms that his fear response—which has been what has defined him—is all but gone. Saru is as curious as we are to find out “What is a Kelpien without fear?” Dipping into the theme of faith for the season, he also ponders if he is being “guided,” but with the mythology of his homeworld now seen as a lie, who he imagines might be guiding him is an interesting question.

And if Saru was looking for a sign, he may have gotten one in red neon, as the ship picks up one of those pesky red bursts. And—surprise—it’s coming from Kaminar, Saru’s homeworld, and so it turns out he can go home again. Pike also sees a sign, noting it cannot be a coincidence that after he starts poking into the whole red burst thing one shows up on the homeworld of his first officer. So if you were hoping the search for a certain Vulcan that has dominated this season would finally get some payoff, Saru is your Spockblock of the week.

The trip offers the chance for a big exposition dump, including some flashbacks from Short Treks. We also learn some new things about Kaminar, including how the Ba’ul , who dominate the Kelpiens, are native to the world and developed warp travel two decades before. Contact was made with the Federation; however, the signal sent out turns out to be the one Saru sent in Short Treks. The Ba’ul want nothing to do with the Federation, but the red burst means our crew has no choice but to go, even if they’re not wanted. Or run through Pike’s folksyizer: “Let’s knock on the front door and see if they answer.”

Pike and Saru may both be seeing signs, but they are not on the same page. The first hint of this comes in a fun moment when Saru awkwardly forgets to vacate the captain’s chair after Pike enters the bridge, but that is just the beginning. He is openly insubordinate, prodding the captain with “Why would you trust those who have enslaved my people for centuries with fear and lies?” Once they show up and the signal disappears and the Ba’ul start ghosting their requests for contact, Saru demands to be on the landing party, getting so agro that Michael has to step in. Saru acts very much like the out of control version of himself on Pahvo in “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum.” Yet, Pike is convinced by Burnham that Saru is needed.

Call me lanky again …

Once again this season, the red bursts seem to have turned the Prime Directive into the Prime Suggestion as they quickly decide it’s no big deal to make contact with the primitive Kelpiens because apparently, they have heard of warp travel from the Ba’ul. Pike handwaves some concern with “We can stretch General Order One, but let’s not break it in the process,” but he will soon forget his own words. Unfortunately, this means we don’t get to see Michael Burnham transformed into a Kelpien, with native clothing deemed enough for this diminutive human to blend in on a planet of beings that could all be in the NBA.

Once on the homeworld, Saru is calmed and shares a nice moment with Michael as he talks about his time living under the threat of “culling” and how his father was an unwitting “collaborator.” He tells her of the sinister “watchful eye” which, fittingly for this oppressed place, sounds like something out of The Handmaid’s Tale. Sonequa Martin-Green and Doug Jones continue to have one of the best dynamics on the show and we see more growth for both of these surrogate siblings as she drops her Vulcan side and comforts him by holding his hand. The trip is also a time for Saru to reunite with his real sister Siranna, who due to the “Small Galaxy” rule of Star Trek is the first person he runs into in his old village.

Thanks to the universal translator, Siranna meets her first alien, and for a primitive fear-based being, she seems pretty cool with it. Not a hint of ganglia. It’s a nice Star Trek moment as Siranna learns about the wider universe and how her brother has joined this thing called the Federation. Showing her inner Brit, she shrugs it off and invites them in for tea.

But things get testy as they play Siranna for Red Angel info and she realizes Saru isn’t there for her at all, and then she starts unpacking the family baggage. Turns out she is pretty pissed off at her brother for bailing on them. Oh and dad’s dead too, taken by the Ba’ul. She chides him: “You ran away because you were not brave enough to face the Great Balance as the rest of us do.” After the Ba’ul start shaking the whole village it’s finally time for Siranna’s ganglia to come out and the landing party takes that as their cue to transport back to the Discovery, empty-handed. This is probably best, as the way that family squabble was headed, Saru may have ended up in the Kelpien version of Cops.

Good tea. Nice hut.

A new man?

Saru isn’t the only person having a bit of a personal crisis. Over in sickbay, the newly resurrected Dr. Hugh Culber doesn’t know what to make of himself. He did spend nine months trapped in the mycelial network, and we saw in the previous episode how he lost his grip on reality. Now he finds himself back home, alive and he has that new body smell, as he is told he is “brand new, down to the last molecule.”

Paul Stamets is so happy to have his partner back he can’t see how Culber is freaked out by the whole thing, down to his missing scar. This Culber’s body may be “pristine” but he is not ready, and this is played well by Wilson Cruz who conveys a lot without saying much. This is a man who is still haunted and this show isn’t just hitting his reset button and moving on.

Look who’s got two tickets to the gun show…ka-pow!

Anger management

Back on the bridge, Pike finally makes contact with the Ba’ul, and they are pissed. To keep things creepy they only communicate via audio, which somehow also dims the lights on the bridge to add that extra level of malevolence. With a charm that would make the Sheliak seem like Talaxians, they demand Saru be turned over as their property, saying that Starfleet promised not to meddle in their affairs. Again ignoring Pike, Saru gets triggered and lays into the Ba’ul in full on rebel-with-a-cause mode, talking about how he knows the truth of the Vahar’ai and how the Ba’ul have “suppressed” the evolution of the Kelpiens. But he is taken aback by the reply of “you do not even know what you are.”

Pike takes back control of his bridge and even though they are already at red alert he orders Rhys to “warm up the phasers,” because that is how much he wants to shoot at something. He gives another good Pike speech about how Saru is “our people” and isn’t going anywhere, adding the passive-aggressive warning, “I suggest you consider your next move very carefully.” Unfazed by the huge ships surrounding the Discovery, Pike is just too excited that he has finally got someone worth getting photoned. He also finally orders the unhinged Saru off his bridge as he ain’t putting up with any guff from nobody; same goes for Tyler, who remains on Pike’s shit list.

We are totally surrounded, right where we want ’em

But as this is the new fearless Saru, rather than slink away to his quarters he goes straight to the transporter room, yelling at the poor transporter operator, who scurries away. When Michael shows up to stop him—setting aside the question of why she left her post on the bridge in the middle of a crisis—he pulls the Spock card, using the guilt trip to keep her from phasering him. These two truly are family, which means they know exactly which buttons to push.

After surrendering himself to protect his village, Saru ends up in a cell on some Ba’ul ship. They also transport his sister up to yell at him some more, because they are just that evil. She reveals she became a priest to find him, adding to his sense of guilt. Hannah Spear delivers an effective performance, making these sibling moments land. Doug Jones makes it look easy, but it really is an accomplishment to do this under all that Kelpien makeup.

The emotional reunion is broken up by the first appearance of a Ba’ul, who emerges from an oily black pool and is genuinely terrifying. With a look that evokes Armus—the creature that casually killed Tasha Yar—any Trek fan should immediately feel the threat. The spindly creature with its glowing red eyes has nothing but contempt for Saru. Kudos to the designers and makeup team who created a genuinely alien-looking alien using mostly practical effects. This was enhanced by excellent sound design and effective music.

Don’t think Visine is going to work on those

Geek Squad

Helping sort out the problem in the lab are Tilly and Airiam, the augmented human who, unsurprisingly, is just a whiz at sorting out massive amounts of data, like all the stuff they got from that ancient big red sphere in “An Obol For Charon.” Researching and analyzing data is a great Star Trek way to go at a problem and this team of nerds is up to the task, especially Airiam. Or, as Tilly notes, “When I said ‘we’ I just meant Airiam.”  Turns out the sphere is “a delicious slice of galaxy pie” full of info, including historical scans of Kaminar going back millennia.

Joined by Michael Burnham, and using the power of math, statistics, and more, the team figures out that thousands of years ago the Kelpiens “evolved,” just like Saru has done by going through the Vahar’ai. And the big twist is these second stage Kelpiens are actually predators who almost wiped out the Ba’ul. The Ba’ul then used technology to fight back and oppress the Kelpiens. At one point the Ba’ul population was down to 267, but they bounced back in a big way, eliminating all “evolved” and somehow reintroducing non-“evolved” Kelpiens into the ecosystem. This is one of those things that sort of makes sense until you think about it and then it gets a bit convoluted, so it’s best to just go with it for now.  Bottom line: the gang solved the big mystery, and pulled off the scary mask to find out it was the Kelpiens all along. Ruh Roh!

Airiam takes some extreme selfies

Viva la revolución

Back on the Ba’ul ship, Saru is working through some of the same issues in his own way, which includes demonstrating his new quill-shooting capability. This results in more disdain from the Ba’ul, who hides behind shields and drones to protect himself. He reveals Saru is the first Kelpien to pass through Vahar’ai in 2000 years, scoffing “your primal feral response is the same as centuries ago.”

Now as chatty as a Batman villain exposing his big plan, the Ba’ul lays out how they believe the Kelpiens cannot control themselves, and their only recourse was to impose the “Great Balance” to suppress them by Logan’s Run-ing them before they can Vahar’ai into predators. Slowly we realize it is the Ba’ul who live in fear as he says “we will never allow the past to be repeated.” Is there a message here about over-reliance on technology and how it can make you isolated? And perhaps also a message about fear of the other, and of change?

One has to wonder, why do the Ba’ul go to all the trouble? Why didn’t they just wipe out the Kelpiens centuries ago? It’s possible that the Ba’ul need the Kelpiens for some reason, maybe for slave labor. And of course, we did learn in the Mirror Universe that Kelpiens are delicious.

X is for xenophobic

But it seems in all these centuries, the Ba’ul have forgotten what a post-Vahar’ai Kelpien can do, as Saru shows off more superpowers, breaking out of his shackles and playing handball with the Ba’ul’s drones. The defiant, fully matured Kelpien declares he is now in “the form we were meant to take.” After the Ba’ul slimes away in fear, Saru MacGyvers a communicator and calls his pals on the Discovery. And now is when things get really cray-cray.

Saru smash!

Saru is now ready to take his revolution to the big time. He wants to use a combination of Big Red Sphere tech plus Ba’ul tech with some Tilly tweaks to give every Kelpien an instant Vahar’ai, to “demonstrate to Kelpiens and Ba’ul alike what we could become.” Forgetting concerns about bending the Prime Directive, Pike barely puts up an argument over this monumental decision.

Once again, Michael Burnham steers Pike, who has gone from Captain mode to almost docile. The arguments are full of Star Trek hope but feel naïve. Everyone seems shocked that the Ba’ul fight back against this plan. Their giant stronghold emerges Legion of Doom-style, ready to go for full genocide of the Kelpiens. While solving problems that are going to wipe out entire planets, species, and universes seem to be what this crew does on an average Tuesday, they are not entirely prepared for this.

The Kaminar Laserium Show is not to be missed

Pike drops his politeness, calling the Ba’ul “bastards” and telling them “your fear of the Kelpiens has blinded you to a peaceful solution.” He also starts issuing some more nice threats about how if they keep it up “you’ll become our enemies, choose wisely.” But the USS Discovery is not in a position to take out the 4,056 pylons set to wipe out each village full of innocent Kelpiens. Finally able to shoot at something, he casually says “let’s get started,” even if the attempt is futile. While Anson Mount always delivers a strong performance, Pike is all over the map in this episode, and at times, infuriating.

Just when all hope seems lost, a Red Angel appears to Saru and Siranna. Saru was convinced earlier that there was a guiding hand, and he had concluded they were brought to Kaminar by the red burst to enact his plan to free his people. It turns out he might have been right, as the Red Angel does something that should be impossible (according to Detmer): Presto, the Ba’ul are neutralized. And that’s a wrap on the Great Balance.

Deus Ex Angelica

To drive home the point that the Kelpiens have emerged from their pupae, Saru is surrounded by butterfly-like creatures as he visits his home planet again, walking among his now “evolved” brethren who have no idea what to do without their ganglia. Siranna declares “you don’t have to be afraid anymore,” as we can see the weight of his world now lift off Saru’s shoulders. Doug Jones is a treasure.

I came. I saw. I kicked some… 

And in a lovely moment, we have Siranna visit the USS Discovery, to look down on her home planet from space for the first time. These kinds of scenes may be cliché for Star Trek, but it never gets old and was beautifully shot. Oddly he asks her to join him on his space adventures, which seems a bit reckless as there is a planet full Kepliens who need to be kept from eating all the Ba’ul by breakfast the next day. She is up to that task, telilng him “our minds must truly be free before Kelpien and Ba’ul accept each other.”

There is also a nice tie-in to Short Treks, as Siranna tells Saru “I know you did not leave Kaminar in fear but in hope and you brought that hope back with you,” which is about as Star Trek as it gets. Free of her fear, Siranna’s sense of wonder is infectious. After she beams home, Saru and his ship-sister Michael reconnect and she reveals this whole adventure has taught her she is ready to return home—to Vulcan.

So the search for Spock is back on…again.

I can see my hut from here

You say potato, I say time traveling being pursuing its own own agenda

Another small story running through this episode deals with Section 31 and their view of the Red Angel. Agent Tyler and Captain Pike continue to come into conflict, with Section 31 seeing dangerous enemies and Pike keeping an open mind, noting how so far all the signals have sent them on rescue missions. Tyler also suggests that the Red Angel is capable of “time incursions” and thinks it’s up to no good and may possibly be behind Spock going crazy.

After the mission on Kaminar is over, Saru’s super-vision offers his assessment of the Red Angel he saw as “a humanoid wearing a mechanized suit exhibiting technology far beyond present Federation capabilities.” Tyler talks more of the mysterious “Control” who assesses threats, but Pike thinks he is a bit paranoid. All of this adds up to some nice tension and conflict between these characters, with both actors standing their ground. Things also are personal for Tyler, who like Section 31, does not appear to have left the war behind, telling Pike, “Some of us are still torn apart.” (Especially those who are sort of actually Klingons.) Anson Mount does a great job subtly reacting to what Tyler said with a tiny bit of anguish, as we know Pike also has some demons from being left out of the war as we learned in “Brother.”

Did you say Control? Activate the cone of silence!


Truth and consequences redux

Last week’s review discussed how Discovery has had a mixed record when it comes to playing things through and showing consequences for the characters. But for the most part, this week nicely paid off on a number of elements from the season and even reached back into season one. This was especially true for the character of Saru, with this episode picking things up from his trip to Pahvo in season one, his origin story from Short Treks, and especially “An Obol for Charon,” where he went through the Vahar’ai. There are little things too, such as the mention of his superior vision in the first episode of the season, which plays into his ability to get the clearest view yet of the Red Angel in this episode.

And while the Culber storyline was kept in the background to make time for the big Kelpien story, we can clearly see that the return of the good doctor is not going to be a simple thing. He is not the same man, nor should he be. Even Tilly seems to have been changed by her experience in the last episode, now less frazzled and more focused. Although it is disappointing that the USS Discovery seems to have found the USS Voyager reset button—the one that fixes all the damage by the next episode—there was no sign of the damage the Discovery took while partially in the mycelial network from the last episode.

Overall, the second season continues to improve on how this show deals with its own continuity. While often the focus with Trek shows is how they tie into the canon of the other shows, being internally consistent is arguably more important.

“The Sound of Thunder” introduced us to a new Saru, who is without fear. As he was playing the part of savior to his people, his changes were mostly kept in a positive light. However, a number of hints were dropped that this new Saru could actually be quite dangerous and may have some serious anger management problems ahead of him. Hopefully, this story is not over yet and they are willing to take more risks with the character.

Saru gets his head examined

Domo arigato, Ms. Roboto

“The Sound of Thunder” makes another effort at making the bridge crew feel more realized. As the second season progresses, we are really starting to get more of a sense between of who these characters are, especially Owosekun and Detmer. A character that was given a welcome focus in this episode is the mysterious Lt. Commander Airiam, the technology-enhanced human who has intrigued fans since the first season.

While she had a lot to do and a few things to say, we still didn’t learn anything about her origins, and more exploration of this character’s history and season two upgrade would be welcome. One could argue that Airiam can offer a window into dealing with issues of reliance on technology or the coming era of artificial intelligence. But let’s be honest: She is cool, and we just want to see and learn more about her.

I can compile data from an ancient sphere, but can’t decode half of what Tilly is talking about

General Order WTF?

Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the episode was how it dealt with the Prime Directive, or Starfleet’s General Order Number One. The rules about non-interference are at the core of Star Trek and have been explored in many episodes as well as in the feature films. A planet with two sentient species but only one that is technologically advanced adds an interesting twist, and is something Trek has explored before. But in this season, it seems the arc of the Red Angel and red bursts is making this core part of Star Trek take a back seat. The irony is that a season dealing with the theme of faith is arguably committing Trek’s most cardinal sin.

What Pike and crew decided to do by drastically altering the nature of society and the balance of power on Kaminar deserved more than a few seconds of thought and discussion. Captain Picard would be appalled. Even Captain Kirk might be taken aback by what the Disco crew did, although he did something similar in “The Apple,” but even that didn’t have the same kind of risks as Kaminar. The Discovery crew even admit that what they did will not be resolved for generations. So, who is going to make sure that in the meantime, the Ba’ul and the fully matured Kelpiens play nice? We didn’t even see a scene showing a Kelpien and a Ba’ul together, beginning the reconciliation. They literally and figuratively dropped a bomb on this tinderbox of a dual-civilization and apparently are just going to leave and let them sort it out for themselves. Unbelievable. Unconscionable. Unacceptable.

This concern over the Prime Directive isn’t Trekkie naval-gazing or a longing for characters sitting at a long table where interstellar diplomacy is debated in endless detail. Yes, the Prime Directive as a plot device is meant to be violated, because that is where the drama is. How it is being handled in Discovery is a missed opportunity for drama and an over-simplification of Star Trek’s mission. Sure it’s easy to create villainous foils and swoop in to save the day and set things right, but as Admiral Cornwell said in last week’s episode, nation-building is never pretty and nor should reshaping a culture be so simple.

Starfleet is going to get billed for all those obelisks

Better than the sum of its parts

“The Sound of Thunder” was a good episode that tied together its various story elements well, and didn’t try to take too many other plot threads on, which has been an issue with other episodes this season. Combined with Short Treks “The Brightest Star,” which shares the same writers and director, we have a pretty well fleshed out story of Saru’s history and that of his people. But there are still many gaps to fill, and if you think too hard about how the whole Vahar’ai thing worked in ancient times and how the Ba’ul were able to come back from almost-extinction, you may get a headache. And even though the Spock tease was extended for another episode, we finally seem to be getting somewhere on the Red Angel plotline.

So, it is to the credit of Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippoldt that they tied together so many elements from previous episodes to pay them off here and set things up, while still providing a complete story. They know and love Star Trek and it shows in the way they wove in elements of lore and added some social commentary and allegory along the way.

Doug Jones had the heavy lifting in this episode and pulled it off, even as Saru got almost bipolar moving from mood to mood, scene to scene. Guest star Hannah Spear also rose to the occasion playing sister Siranna.

Director Douglas Aarniokoski kept the pacing just right, with an episode that had an almost perfect balance of quiet character moments, action, suspense and humor. However, the trend with Discovery directors to spin cameras around tables faster and faster needs to stop, as it’s distracting. Trust your audience, your actors and your score to maintain interest, even when people are just talking.

Are we there yet?

Random thoughts, connections, easter eggs, and more

  • The spore drive is not used, even when traveling to Kaminar which is “outside of Federation space.” The future of the drive remains unclear after previous episodes revealed its use led to damage to the JahSepp who live in the network.
  • Saru Ability Watch: Threat ganglia replaced with spike projectiles. And super-strength.
  • Kaminar is an M-Class planet. The Kaminar system has six planets at coordinates 404.119.381
  • In Short Treks “The Brightest Star,” Lt. Georgiou flew a shuttle with the designation “SHN 03” indicating it came from the USS Shenzhou (a ship she would later command), but “The Sound of Thunder” established she was actually stationed on board the USS Archimedes, named for the famed Greek mathematician of antiquity. So the “SHN” was removed from her shuttle for the flashback scene, but can still be seen in Short Treks.
  • And in yet another of this season’s nod to antiquity, Burnham cites Greek playwright Aeschylus—known as the father of tragedy—with the quote “He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget. Falls drop by drop upon the heart.”
  • Design of Ba’ul torture chamber and use of floating drones is reminiscent of Star Wars: Episode IV scenes with Darth Vader and Leia on the Death Star.
  • Saru’s late father’s name is Aradar.
  • The interior of the Ba’ul ship where Saru is held appears to be a redress of the transporter room set.
  • Burnham says “fascinating,” borrowing one of her brother Spock’s catchphrases.
  • Burnham spends some of the episode wearing a white Starfleet shirt not seen before, but probably standard when going undercover, fitting for under the robes she wore on Kaminar.
  • The Ba’ul was played by friend-of-Doug-Jones and creature actor Javier Botet.
  • The episode features the Kelpien spoken language (as did “Short Treks). Linguist Marc Okrand (who developed Klingon and Vulcan) is credited as a “Kelpien language consultant.”

Google Maps even includes Kaminar

Georgiou’s shuttle is painted retcon red

Another new Discovery shirt, coming soon to a retailer near you

I may be primitive, but can’t we just beam out of here?

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.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

First off, great episode.

Going on a bit of a rant here, but while I love the actor’s portrayal of Pike I’m not a fan of the command style they’ve written for him.

I noticed this from Episode 1, Pike does not act without some direction given from Michael.

In this episode Suru ignores his command and argues and Michael is the one to step in and tell Pike that Suru should come along, Pike concedes.

Later in the episode when the Ba’ul hail Discovery Pike has an uncertain expression and then turns to Michael, she then says “we should answer that”, only then does Pike accept the transmission.

This was a similar pattern in Episode 1 and 2. Again, he’s a fun character, but he’s not really the commander Lorca was. I’ve seen most of TOS and bits of TNG and VOY, but all the captains had the final say and the crew wouldn’t challenge them unless a first office wished to make a private comment in the Captains Quarters/ready room. The previous captains just seemed to have much more resolve in their decisions.

When the time comes I think Michael will make a good captain. I just hope Pike takes a bit more command further down the line and doesn’t second guess his decisions.

Pike is different from Burnham. The Prime Directive is one of those things that makes Star Trek unique. Saru was the best thing about this episode.

Pike is not the permanent commanding officer that’s why

True and Burnam is the lead but it seems to me that the way they are portraying Pike in this show is not the way Jeffrey Hunter portrayed him although we only have one episode to go by with him

Its clearly a total different portrayal of Pike and thats fine. It was only one episode and frankly I like this version better. The Pike we saw came off a bit too seriously and uptight IMO.

And this is Pike years later, he doesn’t need to mimic the very short screen time the character has had.

I dont agree. If your commanding a starship, the lives of the crew and there safety and actions of them and the ship are on you. Period.

I feel like there’s something MORE going on with Pike that we haven’t been let in on yet. Just my opinion though.

PEB, that’s an interesting idea! It’ll be interesting to see if you’re right.

I hope that’s what’s going on, because I hate to think he’s the kind of captain who won’t take a decision for himself and will let his staff walk all over him.

Maybe the effects of Talos?

Pike’s been the highlight of the season for me but I get what you mean, in order to make sure that Burnham is still the star they risk undermining the Captain. However, in relation to the Saru incident I have an alternative take on it. Saru’s behaviour as we know was a result of the biological changes he’s going through, Pike recognises this and he doesn’t flinch when his science officer takes up an aggressive posture. I think it’s clear here that Pike was not going to budge, this is evidenced later when he orders Saru off the bridge without hesitation. The reason he changes his mind and lets Saru go on the away mission is an indication of how much he trusts Michael’s judgement rather than him backing down or being wrapped around Burnham’s finger.

This is a great observation and I agree wholeheartedly. We were seeing a hint of the Kelpien dominance that comes with the transformation. Saru was moving in on Pike in an increasingly threatening manner – something he himself did not fully understand. (Doug Jones did a tremendous job here.) Burnham’s interference was obviously a move to protect both Saru and Captain Pike.

I agree. I know the writers and showrunners wanted Pike to be very different from Lorca, but Pike is so laid-back as to be nearly lackadaisical. I don’t find him very believable as a Kirk-era Starfleet captain, and that’s not a problem with Anson Mount; it’s a problem with the writing and direction.

He feels a bit like Archer to me who was basically friends with his crew but pulled rank when he had to. But I don’t mind that and we do see when Pike can get impatient or put his foot down.

I’m afraid I thought Archer was an idiot who would have gotten them all killed a dozen times over if the scripts hadn’t cheated in his favor. :-)

To be fair the script cheats all of them in their favor. All these captains probably should’ve died first season lol.

He did do some dumb things but he was also the first Starfleet captain dealing with the crazy stuff. He didn’t have much of a rule book or other people to lean on. It was just them out there alone. By the time Pike and Kirk showed up 100 years later, Starfleet had tons of ships and captains and had worked out a lot of the stuff he had to go through they now had policies and precedence for.

But I do feel Archer and Pike have the same leadership style which is a bit more relaxed and crew friendly leadership. You can definitely say that about Kelvin Kirk too which came off like he was everyone’s buddy. Lorca was probably the first real hard ass since Picard and Picard lightened up a lot in the films.

And lorca wasn’t even Lorca.

Yeah, I agree. Pike is way too easily swayed in DIS. In TOS, TNG, ENT,VOY and DS9 all have strong willed captains or commanders. The Pike that’s always portrayed in the other series (even the Kelvin universe) is more of a father figure and a teacher.

Arguably the Pike in the Kelvin universe shows even more extreme examples of trusting his crew. As soon as he learns that Jim is George Kirk’s son his instincts tell him Kirk can be a great leader. Subsequently he surrenders himself to Nero, makes his number one Captain and appoints somebody who has been suspended from Starfleet Acadamy as first officer and tasks a crew composed predominantly of cadets with the job of stopping a threat so big that its already wiped out half of the Klingon armada and the Starfleet task force.

I think he’s strong willed he just believe in letting others have their say. New Eden people thought he was too rigid and now he’s accused of being a push over.

Exactly. Perhaps the order that sums up Pike best was when decisively instructed that all the holo technology be stripped from Enterprise. There was no hesitation here, no second guessing and he was demonstrating what he’s consistently shown – that he considers people to be his most important resource not technology. Both the Kelvin and the Prime versions have shown that they’re good judges of character who put their trust in their crew.

Dan, I could not agree more. They are writing Pike as more collaborative than Picard, and that’s saying a lot.

I really disliked the scene of Saru shouting over Pike. It dishonored Pike’s character by having him tolerate such disrespect AND such interference with what Pike was trying to accomplish at the time. Pike didn’t have enough resolve with Saru. I feel like Saru should have been in the captain’s ready room making his case and being shouty. That would have been a different script, but it might have been a little better.

I feel like sometimes there are so many moving parts that writers, editors and directors are trying to fit together, sometimes they just can’t make it work. And it’s a shame, because the actors are fantastic. How nice it would be if each season could be a little longer, and the episodes had “breathe” time built in.

I think the whole point there was to highlight how Saru’s biological changes were messing with his behaviour, causing him to act out of character. It would also make sense that he’d be cut some slack for that reason, but not that Pike would let it go unaddressed.

It does raise the question of what the doctor was meant to be doing apparently immediately certifying he could go back to duty (which potentially meant command of the ship) when he is undergoing mysterious, unexplained changes. Perhaps the next one is trying to eat the bridge crew?!!

Maybe Pikes confidence was affected by his time on Talos?

Ehh, we’ve seen he can put his foot down, take an authoritative stance, and act on his own. Without input from his crew, he seems to take a ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ approach. And I think he knows that, which is why he trusts and welcomes input from his bridge crew. Also, for those that think he’s misaligned with Jeffrey Hunter’s portrayal because he seems conflicted and hesitant at times, keep in mind that Hunter’s Pike was considering leaving Starfleet because he doubted himself and the pressure was getting to him.

Wow, you mean the Captain relies on his somewhat more intelligent First Officer–the way Kirk relied on Spock? SHOCKING!

This was the best episode of the season by far. Saru is the best Star Trek: Discovery character. He is my favorite. The issue on General Order One or the Prime Directive is another issue entirely but you have some good points. Great episode because I signed up for CBS All Access. I’m excited about the Picard Show.

My issue with the Prime Directive in Discovery is that I think it should not apply to Kaminar or New Eden at all. New Eden was a colony of humans who should deserve the same protection as all other humans, regardless of how they got there. Kaminar is a civilization that clearly already knows of interstellar civilizations, even if some part of the population doesn’t quite know that (although Saru suspected 20 years before and it seems unlikely to me he’d be the only one.)

If Pike, Burnham and Saru are ever brought before a board of inquiry about their actions at Kaminar, I’d think any good lawyer could get them out of it quite easily by showing how the Prime Directive was improperly applied in the first place.

Some line of dialogue that Pike asked the Federation to send in a team of diplomats to help oversee the reconciliation of the Ba’ul and Kelpians would have been nice and only added 30 seconds to the show, though.

As I said in my comments, I think both times when the Prime Directive was debated, while I understand it might be a bit murky, I think I sided pretty easily with the side of “show ourselves to the population.” In New Eden’s case, it was humans who have been transported off Earth. They needed to be contacted. In Kaminar’s case, it’s more gray but one side has already been contacted. The other’s are sentient beings. I would side with showing up there, too. I mean they have highly advanced tech in all the villages anyway. The only argument against is that the one side is the dominant race on the planet and MAYBE the Federation should respect how they decide to run their planet.

Perhaps a young Samuel T. Cogley could represent them!

“Some line of dialogue that Pike asked the Federation to send in a team of diplomats to help oversee the reconciliation of the Ba’ul and Kelpians would have been nice and only added 30 seconds to the show, though.”

Yes, please!

I agree, Professor Spock! Forgiving the episode’s flaws, I actually felt like I was finally watching Star Trek.

LOL!!!!!!!! “Another new Discovery shirt, coming soon to a retailer near you”!

If only they would ditch the appalling poly-blend for 100% cotton, I would happily buy a Disco t-shirt or two.

On Thursday, I watch Discovery and then The Orville. This week, I badly needed The Orville to be good and it came through in spades. I won’t sugar coat it: Discovery ‘The Sound of Thunder’ is a bad episode. Worse, it’s a missed opportunity. The producers/writers turned in an early draft and it shows. The dialogue is flabby and includes small errors that should never have hit air. In one scene, Saru is calling Disco using Wraith — urm, Ba’ul — tech. On the bridge, Burnham TELLS her captain “You need to take this.” STOP IT. There’s a place for officers who question/tell their captains what to do. It’s called the brig. I do not fault any of the actors, but Burnham has become a character who walks around moping about men (Spock, Ash, Sarek) and telling other characters how to feel. THIS IS AWFUL!! It is terrible writing. For the rest of the episode, we got evil guys evilling and technology that did whatever the script called for. The Sphere is SpaceWiki. How nice. What should have been a focused story on Doug Jones’s wonderful portrayal of Saru was a melodramatic mushball of awful dialogue. I WANT DISCO TO SUCCEED. But, it’s time to go dark and have a strongly worded talk with the writers. FIX THIS SHOW! –ps — Couldn’t care less about seeing Emo Spock next week.

Anyone notice that this orville show always airs around the same time Discovery airs. That’s pretty sad.

Awesome Disco episode BTW.

This is a bit silly and inaccurate. For one thing Orville was announced back in the summer it would air on Thursdays. Discovery second season date wasn’t announced until October, which meant it moved its day after Orville did.

If people want to do the silly (and sad) nerd battle between Orville and Discovery, have at it I guess, but at least gets your basic facts right if you want to insult one over the other.

I would not call it a bad episode because the main story was well conceived and acted brilliantly by Jones. I do totally agree with you about everything else. The sphere crap doesn’t have to be in this story. The Burnham remark was shocking, Saru is Scotty and Data combined and on Steroids. Did you notice Tilly when she referenced Ariam, she paused like she couldn’t remember her name. How did that slip by in post production? Can’t they dial back on the tech? Throwing holograms around. Good Lord what are they going to have to come up with the Picard show to out do this? And I’ll leave on this note, how did the Ba’ul create all that technology while floating in a tar pit?


What are you questioning?

The sphere should have been use since it a computer and holds all information it collected through time and space it was alive

You didn’t need another piece of tech that is hard to explain in the Trek universe was the point

Funny, I had the opposite reaction. I am finding that Discovery is getting better and better and finding that Orville is getting worse and worse. I watch both shows as well. It almost seems like they are just lifting old scripts and scenarios from TNG. I really wish Orville could stand on it’s own without being a cheap TNG knock off. I applaud Discovery for doing something original and bold. They have learned from season one and have only become stronger and tighter in season 2.

Orville seems to be just hanging off the coattails of Star Trek. That’s never a good sign. They even put the show on the same time as Discovery.

Actually it was CBS who put their show on the same day as Orville. Orville was on Thursday since it started (save for their Sunday premiers). Discovery was made available on Sunday’s last season and moved to Thursday this season.

The first season of Disco premiered in September, and that’s only because it was pushed back do to Fuller. The Oreo premiered the same month BTW to ride the coattails.

Why did the Oreo push their show to January premiere? Why isn’t it waiting until september?

Coattails all the way with that show.

Orville was pushed back because the NFL took precedent on Thursdays on FOX this season. But we weren’t talking about months. We were talking about being on the same day. However, the coattails Orville is riding are not Discovery’s. They are most certainly TNG’s.

Oh they are riding Discovery’s coattails.

You just have to read all the paid posts they make on reddit and sites like this one. It’s very easy to buy posts on reddit for example. Hence all the copy and paste posts about how the orville is the only true Star Trek.

I’m never on Reddit. And it is painfully obvious Orville is linking itself to TNG.

The people on ST reddit the drove me up the wall, I deleted my account a year ago.

Anyway yes you’re right. The show is a blatant rip off of TNG, but they also try to use the increase fan interest generated by Disco to get ratings.

Another consideration is that Orville is an alternative for people who aren’t so fond of Discovery. I know a few.

I think the timing was just happenstance. Seth is a big Trek guy and I think Orville is his attempt to be in TNG. But I think that the only way he could sell it was to pitch it as a comedy. Which is why the first season had so many jokes. But ultimately he wanted what we are getting this season. TNG. It is unlikley he or FOX were trying to latch on to Discovery. Especially considering that Orville very likely has many more viewers than Discovery will ever have given the nature of how one can view each. Now if both shows can help each other then I’m sure the producers are welcoming it. But neither was planned with the idea to glean viewers from the other.

TrekFan, I am in the same boat. Last season, Discovery was the terrible show while Orville was the promising one. This season has been a complete turnaround. Discovery is now promising while Orville has regressed. In fact, if Orville had led with this season I would have abandoned it. It has been THAT bad. I am only continuing to watch Orville at this point due to the goodwill it created from the first season.

Orville has been horrible all season. This last episode at least had some excitement

The problem with “Identity” is that it is pathetically obvious how part II is going to get resolved. And, yes. Orville this season has been horrible. No way around it.

But when it gets cancelled fans will say it was the greatest show ever made. :)

I agree Best of Both Isaacs Pt. II could easily be ‘Isaac wakes up and puts his evil bot pals to sleep.’ I’m HOPING the producers go another route. I’d love to see them kill off Isaac. I would also accept that his crewmates defeat the badbots on their own and ‘deprogram’ Isaac from the cult, done over several episodes. I don’t LIKE Isaac, but I at least appreciate the efforts to give him something worthwhile to do this season.

I actually like Issac. Quite a bit. It is disappointing what they are in all likelihood going to do to him. I also find the plot line of the evilbots attempting to take over the Union to be amazingly lazy writing. Again, if it were comedy, they could go there. But Orville has 99% abandoned the comedy for this season. Obviously it’s what Seth wants but I believe it to be a mistake. Seth is not that good an actor to anchor a dramatic show like this. But if it were played for laughs, then he can.

I liked Issac until last week when he had a romantic relationship with the Doc. That’s just effing weird and McFarlane’s lack of dramatic acting skills really showed this week.

Yes, I wasn’t a fan either. It was too much like the lame “Data learns more about what it means to be human” episodes. But it seems they had to do it in order for him to save everyone in this story.

Agreed, I didn’t like the date episode however it will probably spark the humanity he needs to save the crew and probably Earth.

I think the Orville has had several good episodes this season, but they tend to not stand out. I agree with the comment below that they are playing it safe.

I like Seth probably more so in this show than others, I think he’s been doing very well with the role.

A little more comedy might help differentiate the show, just not like last year please.

Bortus is more likable playing the humor avoiding curious alien, than he was previously as just being odd.

I don’t think the Orville is getting worse, but the Orville is “playing it safe”, whereas Discovery actually at least tries to bring something new to the mix, even though it sometimes fails.

If you don’t fail occasionally you are not trying to do anything new.

My point exactly. And DISCO Season 2 has been pushing more right buttons than wrong ones as far as I’m concerned.

Yeah, I have seen a few episodes of The Orville and it is good but as you said, the show is based on a trusted and proven formula that worked 30 years ago and still appeals to many today. DS9 and Enterprise started to make changes with long story arcs and now Discovery is pushing the envelope even further. From its casting to the way the show looks with its production values, to the way the show is delivered to the audience – Discovery is very different. Some of those differences are good and others, well not so great, but it is in some ways revolutionary and I hope it lasts for a nice long run.

The same formula that killed Star Trek in the late 90’s?

I can’t argue with your logic but I must say, in retrospect DS9 was fantastic story telling and something I didn’t appreciate until well after it was off the air.

And eventually all shows end. Some overstay their welcome, others go while still popular. But eventually things change. The same will be true of Discovery.

DS9 was the exception to the rule. DS9 and Discovery are my two favorite Treks.

I agree. I enjoyed much of season 1 of the Orville to a point. By that I mean that I was waiting for it to force its own identity. It never really did. After a few episodes of season 2 I just lost interest. I became bored. The Orville doesn’t seem to have evolved or learned lessons from its inaugural season.

Discovery on the other hand, while still flawed, has clearly learned lessons from a first season that started bold and had tons of potential, but then squandered it on cheap plot twists that seemed to exist for shock value and little else. All at the expense of character development. The mirror universe might have been interesting in the 60s, but in 2018, it just came off as cartoonish and silly. And it instantly transformed the most intriguing captain in Star Trek history from mysterious, possibly unstable, likely even morally compromised (but according to all reports, he was once a great man, so I was dying to know what changes him), to a silly, evil caricature. Ugh. I was utterly captivated heading into the break. And it all unravelled when season 1 resumed

Luckily Pike has been a reasonable, if decidedly less risky, replacement. He’s essentially a microcosm of season 2. They’re dialing back on the bold risks, but on the flip side, the show seems more sure of itself. It’s more consistent. It has more balance between humour and drama. It’s taking more time for character development. It’s taking the time to reveal its mysterious target than throwing increasingly ridiculous plot twists at its viewers one after the other.

The mirror universe killed everything Discovery had built up in season one. All for cheap thrills. Let’s hope season 2 doesn’t repeat those mistakes. Let’s hope it stays the course and continues to build on its foundation. It has a lot of potential. Now the writers just need to figure out how to realize it rather than squander it.

We were watching Pike and whispering things like, “Lorca wouldn’t play that” … not even Prime (and presumably tamer) Lorca!

The characters and the excellent actors who play them are sometimes very badly served, and this week’s show was one case of that. There were good scenes, or parts of scenes, and the portrayals were excellent so far as they could go with the scripting.

I’m not trying to knock Kim and Lippoldt here; it’s just that the showrunners need to let everybody slow down and breathe a little. Episodes whip by at such speed that I have to rewatch to understand them thoroughly. It all seems a bit slapdash for $8M / episode.



(I said RIMshot!)


Yeah, I liked “Spockblock” as well. Good call.

There was a good rim-shot when the Discovery was at warp… buh-dum-TSS

Whoa. The review came up just in time after I finished watching the episode! And though I have made it a habit to reserve judgement until I’ve watched any given episode at least twice, one thing is certain about this one: It damn sure felt CINEMATIC. “Big”. To go a tiny bit into detail: I absolutely loved the first half of the episode! To finally witness some of the thought processes within the crew, people proposing and discussing hypotheses, Pike making a moral judgement – that was Star Trek at its best!

The second half, however, once again made me question the sense of a “serialised” format. Everything happened so fast, I just couldn’t help but wonder whether stretching it out over two episodes wouldn’t have been a better option. It felt like bits and pieces just got left out here and there in order to “streamline” the episode, like [SPOILERS AHEAD!] Saru “MacGyvering” (yes, that was the term I also immediately had in my head there) a communication device out of some random broken bits and pieces, Tilly just having the right part of the Sphere’s signal readily at hand (without Airiam’s help, mind you!) and Saru just intuitively knowing where to put the transmitter… oh dear!
Conceptually, the showdown was quite alright (I know there’s that whole thing about Pike throwing the Prime Directive out of the window for good to assist the Kelpiens, but I would argue that he was essentially forced to do so, inch by inch), but all those bits were far too convenient!
In my head I’m just making up parts of a script that would’ve warrented a second episode as I go along: What if Saru was first forced to find the right location for the transmission? What if the Ba’ul that was apparently in the room with our Kelpien friends just hadn’t conveniently disappeared never to be seen again? What if there had been time for just a two
more minutes of consideration on everyone’s part? Yes, that’s just where things went by far too quickly…

But then again, let’s think about production reality for a moment: I have a feeling that they had gone wayyy over budget with that episode (locations shoots, effects needed to create the Ba’ul, all the spiffy space scenes etc.). I doubt that otherwise the only room that we get to see inside the Ba’ul “fortress” would’ve been such an obvious redress of the transporter room set. Maybe, given what’s still to come, there would have been no realistic possibility to stretch the plot out over two episodes – we’ll just have to wait and see.
Okay, I’ll have to rewatch it right now! But all in all, this was one helluva ride – just as the title of this review’s last section suggests: The episode was better than the sum of its parts…

Oh and one more thing: I really really like how they seem to be setting up that completely new dynamic between Pike and Tyler – the “explorer” Pike vs. the “warrior” Voq/Tyler. Hope to see more interaction of the kind seen in this episode.

I agree that a lot of the info they got was pretty darn convenient. It’s like when people in shows turn on the radio and get the exact news report they need to move the plot along at that very moment. It’s not the first time this season Discovery has done that. I’m trying to just go with it.

And once again, where the hell is Reno? This show is better with her around.

Amen about Reno. I keep forgetting to question that. Is she part of the crew now or not???

She’s a guest star.

Yeah agree. I can accept a certain amount of plot conveniences for the sake of moving things along, but at some point there were so many happening one after the other my suspension of disbelief got really thin. I liked this episode over all, but I wish the “bullet” that was ST: Discovery would take a much needed breath.

Also agree with the comment in the review about the swirling camera when people are sitting around a table or display. The one in this ep felt silly. Not every dialog scene has to feel like “WOAH MAN CRAZY YEAH WOW IT’S LIKE FIREWORKS BUT FOR WORDS!” But maybe I’m not the target for such cinematography styles.

That said, for the most part, I’m finally feeling connected to the characters of the show more than at any point before. Ready the for the next ep.

Yeah, I was missing Reno too. But to cram her into that episode too (without a lot to do) would’ve been detrimental to the script.

I’d rather see her than Tilly and the others from last season, myself.

Hmmm, you’re not a Tilly-fan, I see. I absolutely loved Tilly in the last episode – I think they’ve steered clear of making her “Wesley 2.0” by now – but I can definitely see some problems on the horizon with that character. The good old “where do we go from here?”-question.
But, hey – ever the optimist, I think they might find a way. After all, it would seem they’re even turning Tyler into a proper character now!

Forced to admit. Tilly is a mere one tiny step above Wesley Crusher on the annoying Trek character list. I’m of the opinion that like Wesley, the less we see of Tilly the better the show will be.

Tilly wouldn’t pass a psych profile to be aboard a starship. She pioneered the way for the Barclays of the world

Haha, I see that about Barclay. I’d rather watch a season of Wesley and Barclay than Tilly. She has her moments, but overall not a fan.

I want MORE Tilly. More…….

Reno is like Nurse Chapel in TOS or Chief O’Brien in TNG. Only appears when required by the story. Reno wasn’t needed in “The Sound of Thunder” (although she was conspicuously missing last week.)

Which is unfortunate as in her few appearances she has proved herself to be infinitely more interesting than anyone else on the ship, save for Pike and Saru.

She has stuff to fix.

Spockblock of the week… genius

Did anyone check out Airiam last night. She has a nice……

Go ahead… Finish that thought.

I know what your thinking A34…

There’s a great shot of her in the science lab. 😋

Beyond disgusting.



…hard drive?

Well she did get my hard drive going. 😉

The red angel looks very much female. The picture seems to end the chances that it is Spock (good).

I thought exactly the same although the whole red angel thing reminds me of ‘The One’ from Babylon 5, specifically during the Babylon Squared/War Without end arc and it wouldn’t surprise me if they pull the same trick and it’s a different crew member in the suit in each incident..

Good one. It’s Archer!

I thought so too which is kind of inconvenient for my theory that the red angel is Picard.

Unless it’s a different captain in each suit, we could look out for a Shatner shaped red angel next week!

So just a blob with wings.


Picard as a transgender person would make a great show.

I was not convinced until my wife yelled at me “Are you kidding me?! Of COURSE the angel is female, LOOK AT THOSE HIPS!!!!”

More accurately, “Of course the angel is a female. The character is a savior and this is ST: Disco.”

Yeah, the hips are definitely female … unless that’s the suit. :-)

I think it’s Future Burnham

Georgiou using future S31 tech?

and apparently are just going to leave and let them sort it out for themselves. Unbelievable. Unconscionable. Unacceptable.

Pike said we would mediate. You have to think Star Fleet/UFP were notified and a ship was dispatched.

Exactly. A lot of people only go off what was seen on screen, they don’t fill in the blanks themselves.

I missed that ‘mediate’ line.

He said it when trying to convince them to not kill all the Kelpians

Okay, whew. That’s a load off my mind. Probably the line whizzed past me.

Still a few glitches. It seems like CBS is either taking their time fixing the problem or plan never to.

Overall this was a pretty solid episode. Nice to get some background on Saru. I liked the prime directive stuff, myself. The idea that one population is aware and another is not makes it a bit murky. I get the controversy but for me the better case in both instances this season was pretty clear. Go ahead and show yourselves. My fear for the planet is that the technically superior Bu’al would just automatically wipe out the newly weaponized but technically inferior Kelpians before they realize what happened to them. Unless there is some sort of need for them to be around. However, it seems to me that even in that case they could pretty much wipe them down to endangered species level and be pretty safe.

The bit with Culber is really weird. Everything about his return should have a flashing “Red Alert” yet no one is noticing. You’d think after the duality of Tyler the crew would be on edge about such things.

While I have normally been anti Section 31, I did like the difference of opinion between Pike and Tyler. I just wish it was something else besides S31. At the very least just make it Federation Intelligence. But I guess that is not sensationalistic enough for this show.

At any rate, this was a return to better episodes after the last few. So hoping this trend continues as we are nearing the half way point and that is when things ought to be amped up.

for the untold number of times, it IS your internet connection. I have ZERO problem streaming. There is NOTHING for CBS to fix. LOL you are killing me

I watched the episode without any issues. Maybe you have bad wifi.

Except it’s NOT the internet. EVERYTHING else streams just fine. Netflix and YouTube stream with no problems. Only CBSAA has these issues. Further, if CBSAA didn’t have issues why would it be recommended for people to use Amazon for better streams? Stop telling me it’s my connection. It is most certainly not.

it’s your connection lol

Then explain why literally EVERYTHING else works with no glitches or problems?

Because it is a different app on different devices. CBS-AA on Amazon Fire TV (Android), AppleTV (iOS), Roku (Linux), and PC (Windows) are all different software. What are you using?

It does seem strange that you are the only one complaining about streaming quality. Most likely some combination of software and router are to blame.

I am not the only one. CBS even acknowledged the issue last year. There are fewer complaining about it now because many are streaming through Amazon, which I am told is vastly superior. I don’t do that as I have no desire to double what I am already paying just for Trek. It’s idiotic.

And I’m casting to a Chromecast. And again, I do the same for Netflix and YouTube and have no issues whatsoever. Maybe CBS ought to invest in a smart TV app so I can stream directly to my TV.

It has been well over a year since the issue CBS acknowledged. I had the issue at that time, too (around Episode 5, with Apple TV and because of the issue, I tried Amazon Fire TV as well, both were glitchy) but have not had any issues since.

A few TVs have the CBS-AA app. Not many, though. Newer Samsungs have it. That’s up to the TV manufacturer, not CBS.

You might want to bite the bullet and upgrade from Chromecast to something with more horses under the hood. Chromecast isn’t exactly known as best of the best. You’d have to buy the device, but if you buy a Roku, Fire TV or Apple TV, you won’t have to pay twice for CBS All Access, you just log in with your credentials on the new device. You don’t have to pay for Amazon Prime to use a Amazon Fire TV.

If it is the Chromecast then why does literally everything else work just fine over it? I originally wanted to go with Apple TV… Until I saw their absurd price. In fact, I didn’t even want to buy the Chromecast! I shouldn’t HAVE to buy some otherwise worthless device just for the privilege of paying for a subscription service. But until Netflix starts giving me fits with the Chromecast I’m sticking with it. And will continue to blame CBS because that is where the evidence points.

I’m casting to a Chromecast and have never seen CBS All Access buffer.

I suspect it is not Chromecast as I use it to cast Netflix and have not had a problem.

There’s your problem – the Chromecast. I’ve had issues with some sites working with it (Fox notably). I used CBSAA and switched to Amazon Prime. No difference, no issues with either. CBSAA I may have had some issues with the first couple episodes or so but not in a long time. Roku works great.

He’s not the only one.

It’s the CBS AA servers, it can’t handle millions of people trying to all watch it at 8:30 pm.

It also can’t handle me watching it at 3am. It’s always fine for the first half or so, and then begins glitching toward the end. Never badly enough to prevent me from watching it, but badly enough to be annoying.

Here too. The glitches are not enough to stop watching. But just enough to be irritating.

ok I don’t doubt you are having problems, but why would others not have any problem at all if the error is with CBS?

Others ARE having a problem.

Last night I watched it at 1 am. No buffering. A few hours before it was buffer town.

Same for me, ML31. I never have a problem on any other platform but CBSAA freezes up and crashes at least once per hour – regardless of what I’ve chosen to watch. The platform seems most likely to glitch/crash in the transition from show to commercial and back. The only remedy I’ve found (and it’s a temporary one) is to do an unplug style full reboot on the box. Sometimes this resolves the issue for the time being, and sometimes it starts glitching again almost immediately.

I cannot correlate what brings on the video glitches. The sound continues yet the picture freezes for a second or two, then catches up. It happens at least 3 times per episode. Which to be fair, is down from last year when it was at least 5.

I see that sometimes, but not with CBS All Access. I’ve seen it on History Channel’s app while watching “Project Blue Book” and on the TNT app while watching “I Am The Night” (the TNT app experience is slightly less painful than root canal.)

Well… I’ve never had a problem with any kind of glitch using my DVR. From time to time I will stream from the network’s site on the browser. And on rare occasions it will freeze when their commercials start. But it happens so infrequently that I cannot really consider it a problem. And that only happens when I am mobile as that is the only time I will watch from those sites.

I agree with you. Everything else streams fine on my system except CBSAA. It’s not terrible, just the video freezes often for about a second. I watched Season 2, Ep 1 on Youtube with zero hiccups.

If you have Amazon Prime, have you tried watching an episode via their app (All Access is one of Amazon’s partners that can be streamed via the Prime Instant Video app) just to see if performance is any better?

I do not have Amazon Prime nor do I have any intention to get it. The only reason I even get CBSAA is for Trek. The instant the show is done I cut the service as it, like Amazon, is a tremendous waste of money.

I think it’s the fact that everyone wants to watch it at the same time and it overloads the servers. I had problems with it buffering with the PS4 and a Firetv stick.

So I waited a few hours, and watched it at about 1am eastern time and I had no problems whatsoever. I really wish CBS would just release the show at midnight like how Netflix does it. Having a premier time makes no sense in the steaming age.

Possibly. But I watched the season premiere on a Sunday. Three days after the fact. And still had glitches.

At what time of day? Weekends always have more internet traffic. Anytime Netflix has problems streaming it’s almost always on the weekends or holidays.

Sunday evening. But I have not had a glitch with Netflix no matter what time I stream for at least two years. It obviously is something CBS can fix if they really wanted to.

Sunday evenings are the worst. I have the same problems with CBS AA around those times also. Netflix on the other had has servers all over the country to prevent problems like that, but even they can get overloaded sometimes.

Try watching the show from the CBS AA website, less people watch it on the website I think so less traffic issues.

Two weeks ago I watched it there and had no problem watching it at 8:30. It only buffered like 2 times throughout the whole episode.

Last year I tried watching a couple of other Trek shows on CBSAA. One was very late at night. Still had the same issues. I watched the Short Treks on a Sunday morning. Same issues. Besides, I shouldn’t have to change my viewing habits to accommodate CBS’s technical shortcomings. I don’t need to for Netflix. I shouldn’t need to for CBSAA.

I had the same problems last season also. The same with the Short Treks. They really need to work on it. I think I’ll send some feedback to them.

The only problem I have experienced lately is the closed captioning on my ROKU when I watch Discovery is about 1 minute behind what is being said on screen. I only turn it on because sometimes its hard to understand everything being said onscreen. Had to turn it off because that was really annoying, lol.

I hate the closed captioning. It is done in large black fields that get in the way of the image. Why can’t it just be text placed as low on the screen as possible? The aspect ratio is more cinema like this season… There is space on the bottom to put the CC. The Netflix CC is not nearly as primitive. CBS needs to up their game. A lot.

I also watched the episode with no problems in the stream.

Best episode of the season.

No trouble whatsoever last night using AppleTV to watch “The Sound of Thunder”.
Youtube’s stream of last night’s SpaceX launch was a mess, though.

Everything about this was better. Yes, it had those moments that were unforgivably unreal, given the stakes (Saru’s communication while they are unable to track his signal? Really?) and the results (liberation of the planet, kind of). But most of all, I really liked the pace. Despite the few jumps of logic, it really felt like it wanted me to understand it and believe it. So, phew. Good one.

I might have to rewatch but i think Saru also transported to the surface with the shields still raised.

If you know the shield frequency you can transport through the shields without much problems. Saru is pretty smart, so that’s what he did. I’m guessing it can be dangerous and thats why is safer to just drop the shields when transporting.

Pike was great again. Saru was phenomenal. Doug Jones nailed it. My only problem with the episode was that Saru could not only make a communication device but a transmitter that could connect to the Ba’ul network. Had to SMH on that one.

Two Hmm moments:
1) Is the creature in TNG episode “Skin of Evil a Ba’ul?
2) Did you see Culber turn when Staments touched his shoulder and move away when he went for the scar?

Regarding the Ba’ul, it most certainly did not look alien. It looked like a thin actor covered in black goo. If they wanted to make it alien it needed to NOT be humanoid.

Armus was weird. He was supposed to be what was left of some alien being after the alien shed all of its evil. Or something like that. Hence the title “Skin of Evil”. It was without form (a puddle of blank ink and Metamucil!) that turned vaguely humanoid to confront the Away Team.

I don’t know if you watched the Short Treks episode that was about Saru, but in that episode, it showed him experimenting with Ba’ul tech for most of his adolescence. So he wasn’t picking it up from scratch; he was actually very familiar not just with Ba’ul tech but also with how to repurpose that tech and make it do things it wasn’t designed to do.

yes, that was the justification but hard to buy except to say it’s Star Trek

Star Trek science has always been … special. :-) And I say that affectionately!

I’m happy we got to meet Saru’s sister and see his home planet. The Ba’ul remind me of the xenomorph from the Alien films. This episode had a horror vibe to it.

You may want to check out The Brightest Star short trek episode then. If you have CBSAA it’s listed in Season 2 I believe. If you have Netflix it’s under Trailers and More

Perhaps check it out if curious. But I would not recommend it. It doesn’t clarify anything for this episode at all. And in fact the episode itself answers a bunch of questions found in the short. Not the other way around.

Alien was what I thought of, too.

Nice review, Anthony. I continue to enjoy your comments under the screenshots – “I can see my hut from here.” LOL.

That made me laugh so hard! Thanks to Anthony!

A solid hour of great looking entertainment, but not a terribly smart story with way too many conveniences and plot-holes. This review did a good job raising the problems with Discovery making potentially catastrophic decisions for a civilization that only work because the story demands they do. It’s possible there will be genuine consequences later on, but even within this story all of the potential complications work out way too easily and the decisions made don’t make sense…like forcing the Vahar’ai. Again, the Prime Directive becomes something that has to be addressed but ultimately ignored, a lost opportunity for sure.

I do like that they are starting to thread the Red Angel fiber through the season a bit better than they were before. The Red Angel’s physical appearance does deflate the mystery quite a bit however, it’s immediately clear they want us to know it’s a small humanoid female wearing a piece of technology. But at least we are making some progress now. I can’t help but think it’s Michael Burnham or even Tilly and it certainly seems like the season has been building up to Michael becoming a savior. I just hope this season’s payoff doesn’t turn into something as obvious as Tyler’s.

Culber’s return is being handled with far more consequence than Star Trek typically does with death fake-outs, so I’m very curious to see where that goes. But something that seems very frustrating is the obvious lack of acknowledgement from the Doctor or Stamets who don’t seem to recognize his suffering despite obvious signs. This is just old fashioned storytelling, the audience gets it but the characters don’t. The Doctor stopped just short of sending him back on duty when it’s clear to us he’s suffering a crisis. So I guess they just want to hold off that realization for another episode.

The Ba’ul also don’t make much sense; why were they so easily defeated on their own ship? They should at least have been able to stop them from using their technology, it’s not as if Saru killed or incapacitated them. Weren’t they listening to their conversations inside their own ship? They inexplicably just disappear for the convenience of the story.

All in all, weak story writing squandering some interesting ideas. But it’s visual style and world building help to make it enjoyable nonetheless.

The doctor should have been the FIRST person to offer up doubts about Culber’s magical return from the dead. She should have been wondering that if this were Culber, what is that in my morgue? She just blindly accepts that it’s a “rebuilt” body. Rebuilt from what? And what exactly is that inside that body? And again, given the Tyler fake out this crew more than any other ought to be expressing doubts about Culber’s magical “return”. Yet so far no one is fazed by it.

She said he was rebuilt from his DNA. It’s no different than being torn apart and put back together with the transporter(Murder Machine).

Where did the DNA come from? His body did not get transported into the mycedial network. It was either rotting away in Star Fleet morgue or was shot into a star in a photon coffin.

You can get DNA from a strand of hair, or from his last transporter pattern.

Again, how did it get into the mycedial network? Stammets was in there before. They could have put Culber into a Stammets copy and it would have made more sense.

It’s just technobabble. Just go with the flow. LOL

No one should trust Culber. He’s a myceilial agent.

Stamets was holding Culber when he went into the network, so he had some of Culber’s DNA on him.

We shed skin cells all the time, so if you hug somebody, you end up with their DNA on you.

Why use that teeny tiny bit when you have a much more ready (and living)sample to build from? Sorry, but the Culber resurrection just doesn’t pass the “smell” test. If Culber had died in the network they would have something to work with. But in this case, no sane person would (or should) trust that thing masquerading as Dr. Culber.

Lorca died in the network…. hmmmm

That’s a good point! They’ve already been burned by the Tyler/Voq thing, so the Discovery crew should be suspicious about people who claim to be someone they shouldn’t be able to actually be.

Running ‘every test in the book’ on the new body (as noted by Culber) doesn’t sound too trusting on Dr. Pollard’s part.

But, there’s also the medical protocol of not pathologizing a patient before there’s evidence support it.

Reason to suspect and watch for trauma – certainly. Diagnosis ahead of evidence – not good practice… but let’s take note of the meaningful look Dr. Pollard gave Stamets when she handed the PADD-thing off to Culber and said “You tell me.”

That close up Airiam shot where half of her face takes up nearly a third of the screen, is that an intended or unintended homage to the odd face shots where a character’s half face takes up half the screen seen often in Star Trek: The Animated Series?

Hehe, nice one! But I think if it had been intended as an homage, she would’ve been leaning into the shot from one corner of the frame.

I hope Georgiou has stocked up on Kelpian threat ganglia, looks like it will be in short supply!

If Mudd was there he could make a killing from selling that stuff.

Anyone notice that Saru’s threat ganglia shriveled and vanished, while on Kaminar, the Kelpians walked around holding jellied glans like they’d just sneezed in their hands?

They went through a much faster process.

Uncle Mudds fresh frozen ganglia! Looks like Georgiou will just have to get used to the replicated variety.

Thanks A34 for the idea:)


I was just thinking of something. How would the whole situation have played out in previous instalments of Trek? Namely the moment when the Ba’ul prove to be quite hostile.
ARCHER: Damnit. Looks like our ship’s gonna take a beating again. Contact our insurance company!

KIRK: Spock, Bones, let’s beam over. If I can’t talk them to death, maybe I can beat their captain in a fistfight.

PICARD: Suggestions?
RIKER: My guess is as good as yours…
TROI: I cannot discern their true intentions.
WORF: We should ready weapons!
PICARD: Oh come on, Worf!
DATA: We could readjust the deflector dish to act as an inverted tetryon emitter to weaken the dampening field that is affecting our sensors.
PICARD: Get to work on it! (And then tell me why it didn’t work)

SISKO: BAT-TLE-STA-TIONS! Let’s throw all we’ve got at them!

JANEWAY: Let’s throw all we’ve got at them! Twice!

VOY – Neelix: And afterwards, I’ll bake a cake and we can have a party.

Kirk would have gave weapons to Kelpiens

The Kelpians ARE the weapons in this case.

I eagerly await these reviews as much for the snarky photo captions as the spot-on, in-depth analysis, and once again I was not disappointed. Thanks Anthony!

Got home from game night very late last night/early this morning and didn’t have time to watch “The Orville” yet, so I’m going to vamoose before someone inadvertently spoils the episode for me… but honestly… I continue to be a bit underwhelmed by Discovery this season. After a strong start with “Brother” and a relatively weak Orville start with the pee episode, I thought this would be DSC’s year to comparatively shine. But (at least through last week), I continue to come away from the back-to-back comparisons of each series’ latest installment with the sense that—while Discovery has definitely improved overall—it is “The Orville” that continues to knock it out of the park week after week (well, except for that silly astrology episode). Put another way: for my money, Disco went from a B- student to a strong B+, but Orville leapfrogged from a C+ to a solid A.

I really respect and appreciate both series and I very much want both to succeed, but honestly, I think “The Orville” has been the more satisfying and entertaining of the two shows this year. It will be interesting to find out if this trend continues when I watch the “Identity” episode of “The Orville” tonight. LLAP!

From my perspective, Discovery went from F to C thus far. And Orville went from B- to D.


True that!

I’ve found good episodes in both series, maybe one or two great ones. Alas, consistency does not seem to a hallmark at either shoppe.

Now that…is a proper statement, CmdrR.

OK, so I watched part one of The Orville‘s two-parter “Identity” and the Saru episode of Discovery back-to-back with my best friends last night. FWIW, they’re also diehard Trekkies (the three of us met at the premiere of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country).

I’m going to hold off on sharing my thoughts on “Identity” until the official TrekMovie review thread is posted, but I will say this:


So yeah, the trend definitely continued this week. Honestly, for me Star Trek Discovery is starting to feel a bit pedestrian in comparison to The Orville. The fact that I read this week’s Discovery review before watching the episode says something for my diminishing enthusiasm–I just had a feeling I wasn’t going to be engaged by the plot so I read the review to decide whether we should even bother watching it together. We did–and for the most part we agreed that The Orville had the far superior outing.

One of my fellow Trekkies was nonplussed by the cavalier handwavium dismissal of the Prime Directive, which spoiled the Saru episode for him. (Then again, he was also annoyed that the Planetary Union didn’t think there was any danger in relations with a race of sentient androids with superior technology.)

The seasons are not over yet for either show, and maybe it’s just the endless Spockblocking (which judging by the previews will finally come to an end next week), but at this point I think Seth MacFarlane is producing a series that feels more like Star Trek than the actual Star Trek.

I do want to make one observation on this episode, and it concerns the true nature of The Red Angel.

This week we got a much better look at this season’s pro(an?)tagonist. When The Red Angel appeared before Saru and his sister, the creature was feminine in form. Someone downthread theorized that it might be Burnham from the future in a high-tech spacesuit. In a way it makes sense–Star Trek Discovery all but worships Michael with savior-like reverence. I sincerely hope that this is not the truth, and moreover, I don’t think it is Burnham. For one thing, why the wings?

No, I think there is a much more plausible explanation for the true nature of The Red Angel, suggested by TonyD among others: The Red Angel is a Preserver. Consider this:

1. The Preservers–a near-mythical race of beings who seeded planets with humanoid lifeforms across the galaxy–have been canonically established in the franchise for fifty years now, ever since the TOS episode “The Paradise Syndrome”.

2. Everyone associated with Star Trek Discovery has repeated the mantra over and over again that their mission statement for season two is to tie the show into established canon. Given that, an “origin story” for The Preservers seems like a natural fit. Keep in mind that, by the time the events depicted in “The Paradise Syndrome” rolled around, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy were chatting about The Preservers like they were an established historical fact. That throwaway conversation has always bugged me–that Star Trek could toss such a fascinating concept out there and then move right past it without further examination. I think it is plausible we are now examining it!

3. The feats that the Red Angel has performed thus far (saving the Terralysians from being nuked, preventing the Ba’ul genocide of the Kelpians, etc.) are very Preserver-ish in nature.

4. The Ba’ul obelisks are almost exactly the shape and size of the Preserver asteroid deflector seen in “The Paradise Syndrome” (just upside-down and floaty).

5. Last season in “Context Is for Kings”, we saw what was unambiguously a Preserver asteroid deflector obelisk (this time right-side up and on its proper pedestal) when Burnham took a spore drive trip in the reaction chamber. Foreshadowing!

I was right (sadly) about the nature of the Kaylons on The Orville, and I think this theory is right, too: The Red Angel is a Preserver.

Why does the Ba’Ul / Ba’Ku (!!!) just leave Saru and his sister unattended to plan the transmission and escape?

How advanced are they truly that a couple of tiny drones is all they have in their arsenal for one single Keplian??? C’mon, ladies and gentlemen. We’re stretching it.

And now that the red angel is a time travelling humanoid in a suit, don’t know much about this season being about “faith”.

The true identity of the “red angels” remains to be seen. The way I see it, if they truly are examining faith v science then I would hope that what they are is never fully revealed. Leaving it up to the audience to form their own theories.

I’m not counting on this season being about faith. The cast/crew say a lot of stuff during the junkets. They said there’s be time to breathe and consider what happened with Lorca. I guess that’s set for Ep. 11. If there are one or two moments, the pr department generalizes to make headlines. I’ll watch the shows, but am not going by what’s been promised.

Given what was said last season that is a wise move. I take what they say with substantial grains of salt at this point. But in fairness they have kinda sorta stuck to what was said thus far…

It seems like a running theme so far is dealing with situations where a faith is holding together an existing social order for better or worse, and determining when it’s necessary to stomp on that faith.

It was an entertaining episode that kind of falls apart if you start to examine it to closely.

– Pike seems out of his element, reacting instead of acting and ultimately not accomplishing much.
– Saru spends 9/10 of the episode acting in a way that would justify the Ba’ul’s fears only to turn enlightened at the very end.
– The crew can’t pinpoint where Saru is being held but they can transmit the data to him to effect their plans.
– The Ba’ul were particularly underwritten and made no sense. They went from being all but extinct to having warp capability and advanced technology in less than 2000 years? Why would a xenophobic race even need or want warp capability? How can a race of creatures that perpetually ooze slime even build an industrialized society?
– The data from the alien sphere is fast becoming a lazy crutch to advance the plot. It tracked Spock’s shuttle. It had detailed files on the Kelpians. What’s next?
– The Red Angel’s EMP effectively removes the Ba’ul’s technological advantage but everything is left in a state of flux and uncertainty.

The acting was good and it held my attention but it was all resolved a little too quickly. It’s also obvious that the Red Angel is in fact a time traveler from the future. All that remains to be seen is who it ends up being.

BTW was it just me or did the Ba’ul obelisks on Kaminar look like the obelisk from The Paradise Syndrome upside down? Is that a thinly veiled clue? Will the Red Angel end up being a Preserver?

I noticed that too, and I don’t at all think it’s a coincidence.

Yeah. I liked the episode on the surface when I watched it. Only a couple of things did I outright question at the time. Where the episode falls apart is upon reflection. Which to be fair, happens on most like shows.

The data from the alien sphere is fast becoming a lazy crutch to advance the plot.

That’s indeed a risk! As far as this specific episode is concerned, I think it was as good a plot-device as any, but I sure hope that there will be limitations to the way the data can be used in the future.

The crew can’t pinpoint where Saru is being held but they can transmit the data to him to effect their plans

Keep in mind the timeline of events here. They’re only able to transmit the data AFTER he contacted them – no real plot hole here.

I have even more questions:

– The ba’ul live either underwater or in space, what are some tiny kelpien darts going to do to them?
– Why is ash tyler, former war torchbearer and sleeper agent, lecturing pike on the dangers of war?
– Why are little pieces of drones enough to contact discovery?
– Why does the puberty affect some people really late in their age (the elder, Saru’s dad)? What advantage is it to be a prey kelpien surrounded by predator kelpiens?
– Follow-up: did the kelpiens hunt each other?
– Was the planet hovering around the kelpien planet for hundreds of thousands of years getting doing detailed population analysis?

Your points along with those of TonyD are valid. In the Christian church of my youth, questioning inconsistencies was negated or frowned upon by citing the trope of “faith,” saying intellect or logic undermined God’s plan.

Perhaps that’s the ultimate irony of this season’s “faith” theme, that unquestioning obedience is best applied to the scripts. Just keep your head down and fall in line.

“They went from being all but extinct to having warp capability and advanced technology in less than 2000 years?”

To be fair, we went from a bunch of Agrarian, polytheistic slaveholders to moon rockets and smartphones (not warp drive!) in 2000 years. And we have no idea what state either Ba’ul or Kelpien societies were in at that time. The Kelpiens could’ve been technologically equal but thrown into a dark age by their submission and the establishment of the Great Balance.

I enjoyed this episode but still feel the first two of this season have been superior. Then we have a mixed bag. However I find it far better than season 1. Just a few thoughts:

– not sure if mentioned in the review or previous comments but Sarus wrist band restraint seems to come loose at one point and no one seems to notice.
– I did not like the cinematography in this episode. It was a paler color palette and everything seemed like it was shot through a wide angle lens.
– the aliens reminded me a bit of the tholians and would have been neat to see some ship to ship combat which hasn’t been done this season. Perhaps last season had too many ship battles.
– some plot issues like Saru given the total freedom to construct a communication device and send a devestating signal
– I miss the torpedo and phaser styles from TNG and TWOK :(
– the tractor beams though are awesome

Regarding Saru’s ability to construct communications devices, he did the same in the Short Treks episode. I too questioned its plausibility, but I guess he is some form of comm engineering genius. Similar to the way some people perceive music, recall memories, manipulate numbers, etc. Saru can do extraordinary things.

This episode was one of the better ones.

Great episode. Hated that the Ba’ul pool chamber was obviously the transporter room set redressed. Just tweak those lights on the sides of the pad people. They are super recognizable.

Glad somebody mentioned this, it really bothered me. They could have done way better on that. It was so noticeable that it had me wondering if the Ba’ul had just cannibalized some Fed tech or whole ships, which would actually explain a few things…

I watched last night’s episode between hockey games and overall I thought it was good but not great. One of the things that bugs me a little about Discovery is that the characters always seem to be willing to break the rules. Whether it is Burnham or even Captain Pike, they play pretty fast and loose with the prime directive. TNG was a lot more “by the book” and principled, which is what I liked. If they did decide to break the rules, then there was a long discussion about why it was being done. TOS on the other hand was anything but. In just about every episode, if Kirk didn’t like the way a society was progressing, or not – he would decide to intervene. I guess considering this is a pre-TOS backdrop, I shouldn’t be surprised to see a more cavalier attitude towards General Order One.

I wouldn’t say in just about every episode. It did happen from time to time. But also in those days it was not uncommon for the Federation to survey planets and societies by interacting and talking with people. McCoy spent time on Capella and Kirk on that unnamed planet in “A Private Little War.” Perhaps the Prime Directive did not preclude interacting with the natives in those days?

Sorry that was obviously an exaggeration but in episodes where they came across pre-warp civilizations, more often than not they broke the prime directive. Examples included A Private Little War (Just because the Klingons intervened first), The Apple, Patterns of Force, Return of the Archons, Miri, A Piece of the Action, For the World is Hollow… etc., etc. Now to be fair, in a lot of instances they would have had to die to follow the directive of general order one, but isn’t that technically what was expected. Of course then there wouldn’t be a show so I guess we can cut them some slack haha.

In most of those cases the damage was done before Kirk ever showed up. And again, back then the Prime Directive did not seem to be as strict as Picard interpreted it.

And correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t Kirk say that the prime directive still applied in the episode The Paradise Syndrome even though those people were from Earth just like those people on the New Eden episode?

Who else thinks the Red Angel is actually Spock from the future? (I think the more female silhouette of the suit was to throw is off) It could also be Burnham from the future. My money is on one of those two options.

I don’t think the Red Angel is future Spock. I think the red Angel is an Iconian

Based on what we’ve seen so far, I’m inclined to think it’s a Founder.

The oblelisks on Kaminar look a lot like the one on The Paradise Syndrome upside down and the way the people in New Eden were transported to a faraway world is almost identical to how the Native Americans in the aforesaid Paradise Syndrome were also transported to a faraway world.

Edit: I meant a Preserver in my prior post.

I’m thinking the same.

Red Angel is definitely not Spock. Note the slender shoulders, curved hips, and svelte figure. It’s most likely a female IMO.

It’s someone that’s using Red Matter.

I think its a Talosian.

Future Burnham.

Oh god No! No! No! No!

Burnham seems to be hated in a lot of circles including here because its perceived she hogs the lime light and can do no wrong (even when she does). I can only imagine people losing their minds if they find out the Red Angel is a future Burnham who is there to save them all. I really hope that’s not it. I personally would love if its no one we actually know but I wouldn’t be shocked if it is a crew member who traveled from the future. Just hoping its not her.

I’m personally still holding out for the Iconians. Those guys are begging for an appearance.

If not Preservers then Iconians…that would be cool too.

I don’t think it’s Burnham. For one thing, why the wings?

TonyD‘s Preserver theory seems more than plausible:

1. The Preservers have been canonically established in the franchise for fifty years now, ever since the TOS episode “The Paradise Syndrome”.

2. The feats that the Red Angel has performed thus far (saving the Terralysians from being nuked, saving the Kelpians, etc.) are very Preserver-ish in nature.

3. The Ba’ul obelisks are almost exactly the shape and size of the Preserver asteroid deflector seen in “The Paradise Syndrome” (just upside-down and floaty).

4. Last season in “Context Is for Kings”, we saw what was unambiguously a Preserver obelisk (this time right-side up and on a pedestal) when Burnham took a spore drive trip in the reaction chamber. Foreshadowing!

I actually totally forgot who the Preservers were until someone reminded me about them here a few weeks ago. And I wouldn’t have a problem with them, but the only issue would be Spock himself. In The Paradise Syndrome when he first learned about them, he literally acted like its the first time he heard about them (which it was). But on Discovery he’s been obsessed with whoever the Red Angel is his entire life starting from when he was a kid. It just doesn’t gel with the Spock we saw just a decade later on TOS and his interaction with them. I mean it literally drove him insane.

But I guess they could come up with some explanation or even have him forget them but it would feel a bit convenient thats how they resolve it.

Burnham is the center of the show. If they can’t handle a women in Star Trek, they should just stop watching.

I don’t disagree with you on that. But I still think it would be a mistake if she were the one in the suit. But as I said I hope its no one from the actual crew (but prepared if it is). I would hope they are thinking bigger in general.

Not to mention making it Future Burnham would feel a little too similar to what Babylon 5 did with Commander Sinclair in Babylon Squared and the two-part War Without End.

The true identity should never be figured out, IMHO. Especially if they want to dive into the science v faith thing. I really hope we never know what those “red angels” are.

Perhaps Georgiu using future S31 tech?

Great episode, with some caveats and, another great review.

It seems pretty clear after last night the identity of the Red Angel is going to be the reasoning for Spock going lampy. I’m assuming he’s discovered who – or what – it is and has reacted pretty dramatically to it.

While I get the story was always going to demand Pike would dump the Prime Directive, I would have liked to see him at least put up a LITTLE philosophical resistance before giving in. He came across pretty wishy-washy last night in that regard.

I also wonder – in an alternative reality, obviously – would a story that took a different turn, leaving the Kelpians to the mercy of the Ba’ul due to the Prime Directive being followed properly by Pike, have been a more interesting dramatic turn? Leaving Saru riddled with guilt that his new brashness had caused his own race to be exterminated? Yeah, it’s a little Season 1, I grant you, but again, was surprised how easily Pike went along with all this interference. Ultimately, he should never have let Saru go down to his home, particularly as he was acting out of character.

Ba’ul was terrifying. Loved how simple the concept was. Doug Jones rocks, as always.

Funny thougth: If the Ba`ul where the prey species 2000 years ago and where also creatures covered in black oily goo then… cant imagine they tasted so good XD

That’s delicious dark chocolate. LOL.

Or licorice XD

Next week’s episode has to do with Spock. Burnham goes back to Vulcan to see him. Saru saved the Kelpians from extinction by the Ba’ul.

This episode is a classic case of missed opportunities and “What were you thinking?” plot choices.

Firstly, I think it should have been at least a two parter. There’s a lot of ground to have covered with Saru coming back to his homeworld, and I felt that exploring and explaining the mythos of the great balance and the people there needed some more time and attention. It felt rushed.

Second, there were some very questionable plot holes and character choices in the episode.

Especially noticeable was Mr. Black Goo just chilling while Saru and his sister broke out of their bonds and contacted Discovery. Was he taking a nap or something? His goo pit was right there in front of them! He only popped up with the plot demanded it. Also, does his ship not have cameras monitoring prisoners? Do the robot drones not have any capability to sound an alarm or notify someone that the prisoners are escaping, or doing things they should be doing?

Also, Discovery was all like, k, you’re evolved now, good luck dealing with the Ba’ul. You got this, right? Also, we’re not going to punish or limit them or anything, even though they totally pulled the trigger on wiping all of you out and you were saved by the Red Warframe…er…I mean angel, not because of us. But hey, bygones are bygones I guess. In TOS, they would at least throw a line or two in there about the Federation sending some ships or an envoy to take over and help out.

On top of that, Saru should have at least hung out for a couple of hours to get his people up to speed on what the hell happened. How his people reacted to their evolution would have been a great thing to explore, given the air time to do so. Instead, they just went the route of “Here sis, you tell them, I’m outtie. By the way, really cool that you all are taking this evolution and no more fear thing so calmly.”

Third, and more minor but ongoing, it’s another episode where Airiam finally gets some screen time, but its again limited to “nebulous robot lady who does things to make the plot move forward”. She’s easily the character that’s the most visually striking on the crew next to Saru, but all she does is serve as plot filler and background noise (sometimes literally with the weird, overly loud robot moving noises they put in for her). For the love of everything, do something with her that has some substance for a change. I feel bad for the actress having to put on that much makeup and prosthetics just to serve as exotic window dressing every episode she’s featured in.

Fourth, the director got way too crazy with the cheese whiz on the cinematography. At times the camera felt like it had ADHD. Too much weird movement, too many weird angles, and too many odd points of focus. It felt like a LeVar Burton directed episode of TNG.

This is the first episode of Discovery that I watched and genuinely felt short changed and perplexed after watching it, made worse that it’s such an important episode to Saru’s overall story.

Quick side bar. None of my paragraph splits appeared in my post, making it one bit lump of wordy rant. Any idea why?

If you click the “Read More” button it expands your post and puts the paragraph breaks back in. It looks fine.


The Prime Directive in “Discovery” can be interpreted here like the the US Constitution. Approaches vary widely to its interpretation, and as the US goes through subsequent governments and leaders, with various interpretations of the document’s meaning and intent, so do Starfleet captains. Without the latitude to interpret General Order One in the field based on threat to life (Pike’s over-arching mission) or other overriding Federation/Starfleet priorities, 23rd Century Starfleet captains would all be court-martialed. Perhaps by the 24th Century, Picard’s interpretation is more ‘by the book’ on principal, or the Federation just simply frowns on “Cowboy Diplomacy” as a way forward when necessary. General Order One may also be subject to precedent, so Kirk in “The Apple” can say “Pike did crap like this when I was still on the Farragut and he wasn’t prosecuted” and he’d be right.

I really enjoyed the episode. It definitely wasn’t perfect, but I found it to be consistently engaging.

My favorite moment was the brief hand-holding between Saru and Michael. I thought that was really poignant. Sometimes there’s nothing you can say to a friend in need; All you can really do is be there for them.

I loved the first contact between Michael and Siranna, and the ‘re-contact’ with Saru and Siranna. Beautifully written. Quintessential Trek stuff. I also really liked everything on the planet and the dovetailing of a lot of earlier material from S2.

I’m sheepishly glad that we didn’t get a protracted discussion of the Prime Directive. A lot of Star Trek’s PD discussions have been thought-provoking morality plays, but IMHO quite a few have been obligatory ‘due diligence’ stinkers. And even if the Disco writers had fully fleshed out a Prime Directive focus, I’m actually not excited for a PD song and dance. I’m probably in a tiny minority. *Shrug*

I HATED how Pike just let Ash Tyler walk all over him. I still don’t understand why Ash needs to be on the show. Shazad Latif is a fantastic actor, but his character seems more obligatory than anything else. There’s more than enough moving parts in this show (maybe too many!), so I don’t see why the writers need him.

I also agree that the spinning camera work needs to stop. Unfortunately we’ll probably see this for the rest of S2 since they’ve finished shooting and it’s too late to course correct. In season three, Kurtzman and Co will probably have a knee jerk reaction and shoot each scene with nothing but static shots. He’ll talk it up as a glorious return to the magic of 90s television ;-)

Overall: 7/10

Love the spinning.

LOL. Why did I know you were going to say that ;-)?

I love you too😄

Yeah I’m not happy with Tyler’s role here. I feel like they’re just shoehorning him in.

Ash Tyler is on the show so that we can appreciate Shazad Latif’s extraordinary beauty on Thursday nights.


I’ve gotten to the point where I can just sit back, relax and enjoy this session. I’m so pleased. I’m a pussy cat and Star Trek Discovery is rubbing my belly as I purr.

Could Pike have faked his injury and joined Section 31 and the Pike we see on TOS is just a clone with Pike’s memories implanted. Section 31 has the tech.

I watched the episode and while I liked it overall, I felt very divided on it as well. I don’t know but for me, I thought the first half was really strong but then it fell apart in the second half or whenever Saru went to the Ba’ul ship.

I read through some of the comments and a lot of the issues raised I had with it but mainly how so much of it felt too convenient and/or rushed. I don’t know how I felt about Discovery just accelerating an entire species evolution (and in just a few minutes no less but yes welcome to Star Trek ;)). And I’m trying to figure out for the life of me where did the Ba’ul live on that planet? How do you have a species made of oil/tar/whatever able to coexist with the Kelpians? We only seen a tiny area of that planet but there doesn’t seem to be a place they would evolve from unless they came from the water. They did hint that’s where they live or at least where one of their bases were.

And its funny they showed one Ba’ul who went through the effort to get Saru and his sister only to disappear like a Bond villain when it was time to do what he brought them there for. And why only one??? And Saru creating a communicator out of drone parts just felt like a ridiculous stretch. I rather he just had a communicator on him but I guess not a huge deal.

This is probably my second worse episode of the season. I was really excited to understand how the Ba’ul and Kelpian relationship worked after The Brightest Star but its even more confusing to me after they explained it.

Tiger2 what happened to the Ba’ul?

LOL that’s my question. Are you asking about the one we saw and left? That’s what I would like to know. Saru threw some dart thing at him from his skull which were deflected by the force field and he just went back under the goo and that was it. And why did no one else show up once Saru disabled all the drones? I don’t get it? At the very least bring him back after they changed the Kelpians to see his reaction to the changes or have a talk with Saru about it.

That’s why so much of it felt rushed or incomplete. We never got to see how the Ba’ul reacted to the ending. We are just left to assume it will all work out. And I still don’t know what stops them from just wiping out the Kelpians once Discovery warped out? The Red Angel (conveniently) showed up to stop them from using their weapons to kill the that time, but nothing suggests they can’t just fix it and try it again. If they had a reason to destroy them all now, this would be the time to do it. That’s why it would’ve been nice to see one show up again to at least make it clear they would work together or SOMETHING.

You see how much this episode bothered me lol.

It sorta feels to me like the ending of The Trouble with Tribbles. Scotty says beaming the tribbles into space would be “inhuman” yet he beamed them aboard the Klingon ship. What did he think the Klingons were going to do to them? I think they put their batleths to some very good use over there.

@Tiger2 Hell must have frozen over that I liked an episode better than you! I suppose I can forgive an episode’s weaknesses if they are quintessential Star Trek tropes (especially coming before the “fast and loose” TOS – for once prequel works to Discovery’s advantage!) and its Star Trek heart was definitely at the right place. Villains we can believe in :)

LOL! Yeah it is pretty rare when you like an episode more than me. In fact I was pretty surprised this episode seems to be well liked by most people here. I expected it to be a lot more mixed because it just passed over everything so conveniently. They already been listed but everyone sees things differently. I didn’t hate it and it was nice to do a deep dive with Saru and the Ba’ul but I guess my expectations were really different. I guess it did feel a little TOS and it just wraps things up too suddenly, but I still expect a show in 2019 to be more complete. And I just expected something a little different after seeing The Brightest Star which I loved and watched it again before this episode.

But I’m going to give it a second watch and maybe feel better about it with another viewing.

You liked “The Brightest Star”? I felt it was completely unnecessary. It was also amazingly confusing to me. This episode made everything clear but it seeing the short before this one was completely unnecessary.

Well now it is lol. But yes it was the story that introduced us to Saru’s plight and I did really like it (and I found out they shot them both together which makes sense). And I think it was suppose to be confusing on purpose, they wanted you to question a lot of it to prepare you for the actual episode. This story was decent but just didn’t follow up well enough for me.

I liked the episode overall. Pike didn’t abuse the Prime Directive. He was trying to save Saru home planet. Sometimes you have to break the rules at the worst possible moment.

This certainly wasn’t a terrible episode, but am I the only one who felt like this was a two-parter that was cut down at the last minute? There were way too many jumps in the plot-line, the whole intro felt like a condensed voice-over summary of an episode that never aired, and I caught a number of what looked like minor editing errors where a character referred tangentially to a scene or event that had presumably just been cut entirely. The whole episode felt like it was rushed and missing some pretty important pieces to justify the crew’s actions, so much so that I had to double-check that I hadn’t somehow missed last week’s episode.

Nope not the only one. Whats crazy is this episode was nearly an hour long, probably the second longest after the premiere this season. But it just felt too rushed and didn’t really take the time to work through their reasoning with anything.

Is it just me or did Saru beam down to the planet through raised shields? Maybe I’m remembering wrong, but they were at red alert which should mean the shields were up. Oops!

Good episode though. It feels like Discovery is gradually starting to find its footing and its identity

He did, and it irked me hehe

I don’t know who they are?? Maybe I am too young or don’t know enough about Star Trek. But my father suggested that the Red Angel might be one of the Preservers?

This is a terrific article. Even the captions alone are a blast!

I enjoyed the episode greatly, and the world building surrounding Kelpian/B’ule culture. The disturbing aspect of the episode was the lack of repercussions for Saru’s insubordination. If I was Captain Pike, I would not want him as first officer anymore after he escalated the encounter with the B’ule, against Captain orders, and cavalierly beamed himself over (through the shields?). He should have been demoted. They could have promoted Michael to first officer, which would have created a nice parallel to her mutiny/demotion.

I haven’t finished watching it yet, BUT the Culber and Stamet’s stuff is my least favorite part of Discovery, and NO it’s not the gay thing, necessarily. Its that I feel like Culber has no function OTHER than to “be gay.” Not to mention I find him completely uncharismatic and his acting far too technical, measured and theatrical to be authentic or engaging. And Stamets remains completely unlikable to me even as they’ve tried to soften his edges — what’s with all the squinting and phony smiles? Although, I felt like the chemistry between him and Jet Reno was magical. So it’s not that he’s unredeemable to me…I want more of him and Jet for sure. I loved it. I just can’t help but feel that Culber was killed off for shock factor and brought back for gay factor (read purely political reasons.) Star Trek does main-cast romances worse than anything. I mean, Tom and B’Elana, c’monnnn. There was no need for this narrative, and very little demand, from what I saw. Not to mention, we’re only on Season 2 — we weren’t connected to the characters enough for his demise OR return to have any emotional punch. In the end, the actor doesn’t have anything to do other than play the sympathetic gay guy, and re-enforce Star Trek’s worst trope of bringing back all of the dead. Not to mention the science of his resurrection was a flimsy reach at best. Not to finish the show finally, which I’m otherwise VERY MUCH enjoying!

Yeah, who needs well-rounded characters? Let’s get rid of all of the partners, boyfriends, and girlfriends on all of the Star Trek series, and while we are at it, The Orville as well! No one is interested in seeing the personal lives of these characters when they’re not on the bridge or in a shoot ‘em up with the alien bad guys of the week. Less talk, more pew pew pew!


I like Culber and Stamets. Star Trek is all about inclusivity and diversity. Their gay homosexuality thing doesn’t annoy me.

You’re both missing my point. My fault for not being more clear. I think that they’ve reduced Culber’s character to being “the gay partner.” I don’t think they’ve broken any barriers here. They brought so much attention to the fact that there would be gay characters and that these two were the gay characters that I think it ended up being disrespectful to gay people in general because Culber is nothing BUT gay. His character is shallow and reductive. And I feel like they only brought his character back to life because the character was gay. They should have either not killed him off in the first place and developed the character instead or not brought him back and done something else entirely. It feels so politically on-the-nose that I’m wondering if anyone feels similarly. I just think they handled the whole thing very poorly. And to top it off, I find both characters PAINFULLY unlikable. At least Stamet’s is central to the plot in general. But Culber continues to exist only in the gay partner roll and I think it’s lame. That’s all. And no @Scott Gammans, I don’t think they should ditch character development. I just think that in this arena, of main-character romances, that Star Trek rarely succeeds in character development. But hey, maybe that’s just me. I’m just saying that we’re spending a lot of time on my personal least favorite part of the show and I don’t think we’re doing a particularly good job of it and I’m wondering what the point is and why it’s worth derailing the narrative.

I am with you i’mpaul. The entire Culber death and resurrection was VERY badly handled. The reasons you outlined are a large part of why.

I do not think you are wrong when you say that we really are not that immersed with the characters yet to really get the impact of the death of one of them. The seasons are so very short that the main impact of Culber’s death was the jarring aspect of it rather than the personal and emotional aspect of it. There is a big difference between, ‘holy cow he just killed that guy!’ and ‘Holy cow he just killed that guy I’ve come to know and have gotten attached to!’ For Culber’s death to have significance beyond shock value they needed to wait quite some time so the audience can get familiar with the characters. Tough to do when your season (and episodes) are shorter than most.

The thing that bothers me is that they gave no thought to wider consequences. We don’t know what fully matured Kelpiens are like. For all we know, they turn into something akin to the xenomorphs in Alien after a few months.

For the Discovery crew to travel outside of Federation space, look at a thousands-of-years-old society on an unaffiliated planet – a civilisation they don’t understand – and completely annihilate its existing structures is crazy, given that their first officer, who has just lost his threat ganglia, is acting like a psycho and could well have beaten his superior officer to death had Burnham not intervened.

To make such a drastic decision in the space of a few hours without any attempt to understand the reasons things are the way they are debases everything Star Trek is supposed to stand for. At the very least, Pike could have put in a request for the Federation to initiate a study of what was happening on the planet and decide whether some sort of intervention was necessary. Certainly, in light of Saru’s increasingly violent behaviour, further study of Saru for a few months or years would logically be necessary first. Indeed the evidence that the matured Kelpiens almost drove the Ba’ul to extinction requires a good deal of thought before unleashing them on high technology. For all we know now, the Kelpiens are going to go through another evolutionary phase and become violent space marauders.

All in all, a dangerously naive, ‘Federation Big Brother knows best’ episode that appears to try to validate every disastrous military intervention we’ve seen the USA indulge in for the last 50 years. I hope there’s a future episode where there are serious consequences for such ill-though-out actions.

Disappointing. Thus far, I prefer season one.

I will tell you this… Saru instinctively shot pins at the goo creature. If he doesn’t learn to control this how long before he shots them at a crew member who just irritates him?

No idea in how far this was intentional (this whole season *is* faith-themed after all), but in thus episode (plus “Obol for Charon”) Saru comes off as the Kelpien… Jesus. (Or is that what is called the messianic archetype?)

At first he goes through a torturous ordeal that everyone expects to be his certain death (vahar’ai / crucifixion), but comes out of this alive. (Granted, Saru doesn’t get exactly resurrected, because he never actually dies. That… is CULBER’S* role in this episode…)
Then he proceeds to completely change many people’s worldview and religion.
And there is even an angel who sort of announces his arrival! And what does the biblical angel say to the shepherds? “Fear not!” Which is exactly what the Kelpiens stop doing after losing their ganglia…

Though I am probably reading too much into this. After all, if you also take “Brightest Star” into account, you could just as well argue that Saru’s whole story arc fits the Hero’s Journey after Campbell astonishingly well…

* Oh, I am predicting a “major existential crisis” story arc for Culber… After all, if his body is 100 % new, how is he any different from a clone that merely got a backup copy of the REAL (and still dead) Culber’s neural patterns uploaded into his brain…

Listen at 38:03 in “The Sound of Thunder.” Saru frees himself from the Ba’ul chamber, crunches the drones, and drops to one knee–at 38:03 he emits a distinctly Ba’ul snort/exhale. Moments earlier, as the Ba’ul image drops, it shows spikes along the creature’s spine. I think it’s a lock on the Ba’ul image bing the evolved Kelpiens. Whatever the Ba’ul are, they’re using the Kelpiens’ evolved image as a scarecrow to intimidate the Kelpiens.

As to what the Ba’ul are, look at the preview for S2E7, when Pike’s shuttle is attacked by a squid-like machine with tentacles tipped with the Ba’ul drones. In short, I think the Ba’ul are highly evolved cephalopods from the Kelpien ocean that were once the Kelpien’s protein source.

Taking Anthony’s butterfly thing one step further, it’s quite possible the Red Angel is Siranna in her final form arranging for her people’s freedom.

Doug Jones as Saru has been one of the only things that has kept me interested in STD. This episode, though much better than others, still had some unevenness and plot issues. That said having a Jones/Suru centered episode was welcome. I had significantly fewer of the usual “grit my teeth” or “roll my eyes” moments that I have come to expect with this series.