‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Opinion: The Ba’ul Did Nothing Wrong

[DISCLAIMER: This is a satirical think piece based on the popular “Thanos did nothing wrong” meme. Please read it in the playful spirit in which it was intended.]

The latest episode of Star Trek: Discovery finally gave us the history of Saru’s homeworld Kaminar and the two races who call it home, the Kelpiens and the Ba’ul. Through “The Sound of Thunder” and Star Trek: Short Treks “The Brightest Star” we learned about how Saru’s people (the Kelpiens) are a low-tech society, living alongside the high-tech Ba’ul. The Ba’ul used their technology to create a mythology called “The Great Balance,” which whisks Kelpiens away when they reach what appeared to be the ends of their lives, preceded by a process called Vahar’ai.

However, Saru learned that the mythology was a lie and the Vahar’ai was not the end of life, but the beginning of a new stage for Kelpiens, one in which they lose their fear and transform into predators. The Great Balance was the Ba’ul’s systematic way of preventing generations of Kelpiens from reaching this stage by killing them. So, clearly the Ba’ul, who are presented as scary-looking black slimy swamp monsters and were exposed for being responsible for generations of oppression, are evil. But are they? A case can be made that they are not and it is stronger than the case for Thanos.

The Ba’ul’s choice

What the Ba’ul have done by killing generations of Kelpiens who reach Vahar’ai seems like an open and shut case, but before you judge, one has to think back to the moment when they enacted their plan. “The Sound of Thunder” established that after millennia of sharing the planet together, when the Kelpiens evolved to this second stage of life, they became predators who began to wipe out the Ba’ul. At one point, the Ba’ul population dwindled to less than 300.

It was only through their use of technology—presumably some breakthrough in offense and/or defense—that the Ba’ul were able to hold off their own extinction. At this point—around 2,000 years in the past—the Ba’ul had the upper hand, and they were faced with a hard choice.

Bear in mind, the Kelpiens were choosing to hunt and kill—presumably for food, but possibly for sport—the only other sentient species on their planet. That means the Kelpiens were committing genocide against the Ba’ul. When the tables were turned, the Ba’ul had the power to eliminate the threat of the evolved Kelpiens, which, given the circumstances, seems like a reasonable response.

Even Saru actor Doug Jones Doug Jones admits the revelation of the Kelpiens as predators changes things. “It takes the anger and puts it into perspective,” he says. “Okay, they had a reason for wanting to oppress us, because we were a threat. We were a big threat before.”

So what did the Ba’ul do?  They did eliminate all the “evolved” predator Kelpiens, but then they chose to reintroduce a population of pre-Vahar’ai Kelpiens back into the ecosystem. They then created the “Great Balance” mythology, where those who experienced Vahar’ai would sacrifice themselves in cullings. The pain around the process of Vahar’ai was used to even make this appear to be a mercy, as they took away the pain as a form of assisted suicide for what appeared to be the end-of-life process.

The Great Balance

And while there is much talk of oppression, there actually is no indication that the Ba’ul interfered with the Kelpiens at all. Saru admits that “in many ways” Kaminar is a “paradise” for the Kelpiens, a world without hunger or poverty. The Ba’ul found a way to create the same kind of life for the Kelpiens that humans were never able to achieve on their own until the intervention of the Vulcans following first contact.

On Kaminar, the Kelpiens live idyllic peaceful agrarian lives. There are no labor camps or secret police or other traditional forms of oppression, such as those seen on Bajor under Cardassian occupation. Short of leaving “Watchful Eye” obelisks around Kaminar to enact the Great Balance, the Kelpiens were left alone to live apparently long lives up to the point of Vahar’ai.

In TrekMovie’s interview with writers Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippoldt, who wrote both “The Sound of Thunder” and “The Brightest Star,” they admitted that the Ba’ul are not using the Kelpiens as slave labor, nor are they harvesting them as livestock. According to the writers, the Ba’ul, unlike the Kelpiens, did not want to commit genocide; they just wanted to go back to where the two species shared the planet in harmony. The writers explained, “They have coexisted on this planet with the Kelpiens for thousands of years, and in a twisted way, this is the ‘Balance’ that they have preserved via culling.”

Perhaps now with the Federation intervening, as the Vulcans did for Earth in the mid-21st century, peace and harmony can come to all of Kaminar. But the Ba’ul did not have that option centuries ago when they were on the brink of extinction. Faced with their own genocide, the Ba’ul showed mercy. From their point of view, the Great Balance was the only way to keep the peace. In other words, the Ba’ul did nothing wrong.

What say you?

Sound off below on the choice the Ba’ul made and if you think they were in the right in creating the Great Balance.

Writer Bo Yeon Kim hopes the episode creates discussion and debate:


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

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

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alastair87

I thought the 2,000 year timescale was a bit implausibly low. It sounded too short a time for the Kelpiens’ collective memory to have faded. Humans still have some relatable handle on how we lived 2,000 years ago. I would have made it closer to 10,000, perhaps more.

MattR

Humans wouldn’t if someone consciously eliminated all records and structures from before a particular point in time, which presumably the Ba’ul did.

A lot of facist states, especially the Eastern European ones, have rewritten their histories quite effectively so that even after those states have fallen and been replaced, those written myths continue.

…that’s not even a hundred years of time passing.

For instance, see the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia vs. Greece” controversy that continues to this day…or the myth-making about the Kim family in North Korea. Both of those are far less than a century old.

Keep in mind, this wasn’t just a “clean sweep and done” operation. It was actively maintained via the culling and presumably by the overall apathy of the Keplians to their status, since Kaminar was kept so pleasent and peaceful, up until the Vahar’hai kicked in. The technology and thought processes required for the forensics and archaeology to uncover the past hidden by the Ba’ul, simply didn’t exist until a single Keplian left that environment, removed himself from the culling cycle, and took up science, technology, and (90+!) languages.

…that said, if Saru is a prime example of the intellectual heights his people are capable of, throwing on a strong predatory instinct and violent culture just shows exactly why the Ba’ul chose to regress the Keplians down to a simple agrarian society.

Saru has already shown incredible physical capablites…throw on advanced tech, wicked intelligence, a culture that sees all other species as prey…and I don’t think even the Klingons would compare favorably in a 1v1 match.

For a fair fight, you’d probably have to throw an example of Species 8472/The Undine at ’em…maybe a Jem’hadar, but only if they had access to their shroud.

Side digression: The switch from prey to predator may also be mimic’d by the Jem’Hadar, if they are indeed as a lot of theories suspect, related to the Tosk…the bio-cloaking reptillian prey species genetically engineered and used for sport hunting by another Gamma quadrant species…and according to the theory, may be the result of Dominion prototyping the genetic abilities that would eventually engineered into the Jem’Hadar. Ultimate Prey to Ultimate Predator.

Tawani

You really think human history is true? Do you really think there was a Jesus Christ and that humanity is only 6000 years old?

Steve

I believe there was a Jesus Christ. Whether he truly was the son of God is debatable but I believe that the person was real. History could have easily been rewritten though depending on who held the most power. Obviously we’ve been around longer than 6000 years. Some concepts can be lost in translation.

Adam Black

Not 1 single Historical Record from that time period, independent corroborated..Not one relic, not one journal, not one census, not one government record, not one eyewitness account. Not one mention in a history ( which isn’t proven to be forgery ) , not one mention by a relative.
Not one single Historical account for JC… None.

The trial of Steven is the closest history comes.
You can believe, but its ahistorical…. In a time period with decent records and 600 other messiah claimant s ( including john the Baptist ) made history.

The most likely scenario is many of these cult leaders left active cults, and they simply merged groups and stories and were rebranded under a common name.

jalo

Well tue 6000 is a no. But its likely that there was a or more jesus Guys.

But thats not even a percent of Human History. Its not as simple as is it true or not.

Some of it is for sure…

invincible warrior

@Tawani: Where did alastair87 stated anything of Jesus or being a creatonist? 2000 years ago also the Romans reigned over Europe and we have still many relicts left. Even areas they tried to destroy like Carthage or Troy we still find relicts. So I find your comment very harsh.

But of course, the Kelpians are in another situation, as MattR mentioned. The Ba’ul will have deliberately destroyed everything what existed of Kelpians true history. And if this is done with a plan, two generations of conditioning might be enough. Especially considering that it can be assumed, that the Ba’ul try to breed Kelpians without/very late Vahar’ai. You can very much assume that Vahar’ai was not coming in so late for Predator-Kelpians, because there is no evolutionary reason that it needs at least 20 years (Saru left 18 years ago/his dad was very likely older as Saru now) to leave infancy and the Kelpians are clearly ready for reproduction long before.

@ Tawani – trolling much, do you? Generally, yes, the study of history is true. It’s also biased, which doesn’t necessarily make something false. That’s also why history continues to be debated, as flawed creatures we understand perspectives change. It’s also why where history crosses paths with philosophy/theology, it’s almost always a bad idea to blanketly dismiss faith as irrelevant. There are enough cross references in Greek and Roman texts to establish the existence of Jesus, as to his claims to be divine, it is up to the individual to decide how they do or don’t practice in their faith. As a believer, I understand that the practice of faith and philosophy have contributed greatly to the betterment of society, and to its misery when its abused. If you don’t believe, that’s fine, but I’d expect you to extend the same courtesy in return.

cacarr

“There are enough cross references in Greek and Roman texts to establish the existence of Jesus …”

Or just to establish the existence of crucifixion — or that there were some famous instances of that particular type of execution.

Adam Black

“There are enough cross references”
There are ZERO. None.

“in Greek and Roman texts to establish the existence of Jesus,”
Nope.

There are 2 , just 2 non contemporaneous … Written later on. Nothing from his supposed life. And both of those are proven to be forgeries , edited in by Christian scribes decades later. 4th century.

They got away with it by burning the libraries and having a monopoly on knowledge during the dark ages they caused.

Unless by “texts” you mean historical fiction written a century or more later. Those stories aren’t even self corroborating and contradict basic historical facts ( who was king , who was Emperor etc ) .

Adam Black

“history is true? ”

… Mostly

“think there was a Jesus Christ ”
Are ye ‘Homeschool ed ‘ JC is nt History. Historically Fict ion, ( like Abraham Lincoln , Vampire Hunter. Except Abe was a real human )

“humanity is only 6000 years old?”

Not history

Cole Jenkins

Cultures with only oral history actually don’t have any real idea how they lived 2000 years ago. As an example none of the surviving native American cultures related much about the Mississippian civilization that dominated a large part of North America or the massive smallpox and measles epidemics that swept through the continent in the 16th and 17th centuries even a hundred years later.

Adam Black

The second part of your comment is the cause of the first.
It was an a civilisation ending apocalypse. 90% of the populations wiped out across North America.

For contrast Massachusetts had 1-2 million people a few decades before Plymouth Rock.

pipper

the doctrine of manifest destiny embodies as a technologically advances “red angel” embed itself into the history of different worlds to justify change and universal dominance for its own desire. Does the end justify the means? You bet if the red angel is looking to dominate the future of the galaxy with its own plan.

kbomb86

You’d be surprised at how little you know from just 400, or 300, or even 200 years ago because of how history is written and taught to new generations. It takes communication with peoples or cultures that haven’t rewritten that part of history. As an example, a lot of Americans believe revisionist history regarding Native Americans as a whole, or Pocahontas as an example (I’m always surprised at how many people believe the Disney interpretation is real), and even more Americans still believe Columbus was the first to reach the Americas from another continent despite proof to the contrary and suspicion of even a Japanese entanglement in western tribes. Now compare that to the collective species’ entire history being rewritten or erased in a single point 2,000 years ago and the issue becomes exponentially more compounded and revisionist. We must also assume that the predator historical period of the Kelpien species had a much younger age range for pre-Vahar’ai members of its culture. We can’t assume that post predator hunting, the Ba’ul still had Kelpiens at Saru’s age left in the “ecosystem”. Even if the Pre-Vahar’ai lasted until a much more adult period in life, the Ba’ul probably would have not just wiped out the Post-Vahar’ai members of the species, but anyone who remembered that it was possible, leaving, more than likely, just children in the care of the Ba’ul. Think of it like a “Burning of Alexandria” event on a species wide and planetary scale. We will never know what was in that library.

Of course, none of this has to do with whether the Ba’ul are right or wrong in their actions. While not committing genocide, I disagree with the columnist here that there was no fascistic gestapo-esque presence in Kelpien day to day society. The Watchful Eye was a very feared thing, and from the interaction between Saru and his sister in the episode, asking too many questions, or the wrong questions, can have you taken away. The end of the episode also proves that the Watchful Eye can be weaponised at any moment to wipe out a village, or the entire species, and it is eluded to that this has happened before. Personally, I believe that the Ba’ul are wrong. Upon discovery of the UFP, they could have asked for an arbiter or mediator to get them out of the prey/predator cycle if they had been truly benevolent. Personally, it appears that the Ba’ul kept the Kelpiens in that fear induced state for millennium instead of wiping them out entirely merely as a revenge-fetish while simultaneously giving them a moral escape route should it ever be discovered.

Jacob Burkey

The Native Americans who lived in the South when the Europeans first colonized North America had no knowledge of the tribes that lived there previously when Cortez scouted the same area 200 years earlier. Not having a written language is a serious memory problem.

Richard Blanchard

The Ba’ul were looking to survive, I get it. The problem though is that the technology was applied to keeping the Kelpians from learning their history, and keeping them from asking why. The Ba’ul had many opportunities over the centuries to equalize the playing field, but they had not.

I do not fully agree they did nothing wrong.

MattR

Agreed. They were definitely oppressing the Kelpians, and destroying an aspect of their culture and identity.

Erik

Learning their history would almost certainly lead to rebellion, which never ends bloodlessly. It was an act of mercy. The Ba’ul did the best they could under very difficult circumstances.

Dom

Like the Discovery crew, we’re still making judgements based on insufficient data.

We’ve seen a phase two of Kelpien development begin, which includes instinctive use of internally grown stingers. We don’t know whether there are third, fourth or fifth development stages. For all we know, the Kelpiens turn into something like the xenomorphs in Alien at some point.

The Discovery crew acted absurdly hastily (the episode takes place in under a day, it seems) with absolutely no concrete information – how do they even know the ancient data they’ve recently received is accurate and objective?

Such decisions as those taken in the most recent episode are unprofessional and unethical. The Federation would need to monitor Saru and his home planet (which is outside of Federation space and Starfleet’s jurisdiction) for years before deciding whether some kind of intervention is necessary. Now the Federation faces a potentially extremely violent species, all of whom have mutated at the same time, getting its hands on advanced technology. And who knows if Kelpiens won’t turn on each other?

This could end very badly for Kelpiens, Ba’ul and the Federation.

ML31

And of all beings it is the Ba’ul who are the only one’s who truly know what the Kelpiens will evolve into. Granted they mostly have their side of the story but their ancestors have actually seen it. It would not be completely unwise to consider what they say about the “evolved” Kelpiens.

Tiger2

Oh boy this might end up being a long thread lol.

And MAYBE at the beginning, I could buy this argument when they were just trying to survive several thousand years ago and they felt they had no other way.

But now? They have (somehow) become a technological advanced race where they have tons of options. Take us humans for example, we’re on top of the food chain but we have tons of animal predators on this planet that can kill us at any time. Did we wipe them all out? No, because we’re at a level now where we can separate ourselves, take preventive measures and so on. We didn’t kill off all the tigers and bears, we simply moved away from them and educated others on how to do the same to the point no one ever thinks about getting eaten by any of them today. It still happens but its very rare and its usually people being in places they already know they shouldn’t be. And we can’t just whisk off to other planets either.

And what’s disturbing about what the Ba’ul did is that the Kelpians are a sentient race like them. Once they reached a certain level of development the Ba’ul should’ve at least tried and work something out with them. They had the upper advantage just as we do now, try and work out a solution of SOME kind instead of wholesale slaughter.

But I guess we can’t assume the Ba’ul are reasonable people so maybe they didn’t want to work it out but it doesn’t justify what they did either.

Corylea

Advanced technology vs. being able to shoot darts out of your head. Yeah, I think advanced technology is gonna win there. :-)

But we don’t know anything about the psychological make-up of the Ba’ul. If they turn out to be just as fearful as pre-vahar’ai Kelpiens, then their attitude makes a bit more sense.

Really, I think we don’t have enough information to make any judgement. We need to know a LOT more about both the Kelpiens and the Ba’ul.

Tiger2

Thats why I said in my last line we can’t assume they are reasonable like we are. But I can’t excuse it either. But you’re right we DO need to know more about both which is exactly why the episode bothered me and Discovery decided to just change the balance of an entire society after discussing it for 10 mins. I don’t condone what the Ba’ul has been doing, but I wouldn’t have made the judgement Discovery did until they got a full picture of the situation.

Picard would’ve gave one of his famous face palms if someone suggested to do that on his ship and for good reason.

Vulcan Soul

Tiger, what exactly did we do with lions and tigers? We put them in zoos, reservations, cages. Anything to make sure where there is reasonable chance of contact with humans, they would pose no threat. Whenever they do pose a threat, they get hunted down and culled. The Ba’ul did the same thing, albeit to a sentient species. But comparing Kelpiens to lions and tigers would not be my choice of analogy :)

Tiger2

That’s not the same thing though. Zoos are for any and all exotic animals, not just predators. That’s not why they are there, they are there for us to experience them. And they only make up a tiny population of the animals in general. The great majority are actually free and roam in their original environments, those areas just have a lot less of human inhabitants. And there are plenty of places its illegal to kill or hunt animals, many places created just for this purpose like natural parks or reserved habitats. Just not everywhere unfortunately.

And I’m not suggesting we treat animals equally or anything, clearly thats not the case. We have a long way to go (or at least until the 23rd century according to Star Trek ;)) before we treat animals more humanely and not use them for slaughter for food or game.

But in this case, the difference is Kelpians are sentient beings who are not only being slaughtered but also held back on a societal level. Kelpians would probably be where we are technologically today if they weren’t purposely held back or killed. No matter what a bear or lion does, it’s not going to ever evolve to build cities, invent tech or explore space.

Cole Jenkins

The holocene mass extinction is like, a thing. We did wipe out large populations of predators, there aren’t any lions in North Africa, Europe, North America, or the Middle East any more. Many tiger and wolf populations are long extinct, few surviving ones are any better than Threatened and most are Endangered. The Haast eagle is gone. Sabertooth cats are gone…

Tiger2

Of course I know that. As I said in my other post, I’m aware humans have killed many animals obviously, I’m saying the more we evolve the less we do it and we don’t purposely kill animals because we are afraid of them. The difference is the Kelpians are being killed for simply who they are. Thats not the same thing as tigers becoming extinct because man have moved into their domain a thousand years ago. And animals aren’t sentient like the Kelpians are, we can’t reason with them.

Of course animals should be treated more humanely, but humans aren’t killing them off because they are afraid they will take over. And today there are just as many people fighting for animal rights because we know how important they are to the ecosystem and of course have the right to exist as we do. But is anyone on the Ba’ul side fighting for the Kelpians right to exist? Would love to know that.

Stelios Arianoutsos

“You think you know everything Kelpien. But you do not even know what you are”. For sure we have lot more to see for after Vahar’ai Kelpiens. And the assumption we got from this episode, that the Red Angel is good, it’s very premature.

Vulcan Soul

The Discovery brass loves their shocking twists, so if they really go for a straight line from here to there, we’d be disappointed ;)

Vulcan Soul

Trekmovie, excellent analysis (if a bit clickbait-y)! I wouldn’t say “did nothing wrong”, but facing extinction they came up with a system that upheld peaceful coexistence for 2000 years rather than resort to the “easy, final solution” of wiping out their nemesis in the face of complete annihilation. And even if some posters would like to have that otherwise, isolationism in itself is not a crime ;)

CmdrR

The Ba’ul only keep younger Kelpians around for Ganglia Taco Tuesdays.

Wow ,great comments ,Right now the writers hair is on fire. Looks like more to come on this issue.

Professor Spock

The Ba’ul reminds me of the Cardassians from DS9. Mysterious alien race with so much potential.

odradek

I disagree. Cardassians are inspired from history. Ba’ul are inspired from “The dark Crystal”

Tiger2

I really hope we get the Cardassians back on the Picard show. One of the best villains Trek has ever created. Ba’ul could be potential villains but I have a feeling its going to be a one and done group unfortunately.

odradek

Cardassians were no villains, they were adversaries. Some of them were villains, like Dukat but most Cardassians were decent people, I guess.

FLB

That’s actually what made them so interesting in the first place. All shades of grey. The Cardassians weren’t villains just for the sake of it, but rather antagonists.

NCC Lincon 1785

You mean a regional power that had no chance against the Federation or Kiligons and hooked up with the Dominion to be their puppets. Ok that’s a villain you want

Adam Black

They were equal to , or exceeded both.

The federation couldn’t win militarily over the dominion either. That took genocidal bioweapons And literal intervention by Gods.

Jacob Burkey

Well, whatever gets Their attention.

Tiger2

You can say that about every species of course (except maybe the Borg lol). Not every one in a group wants to kill everyone in the Federation and reign over Earth but Cardassians as a group has done some pretty evil things. Certainly no less than what Klingons and Romulans have done in the past.

ML31

The Cardasians always came across to me as Klingon-lite.

Jacob Burkey

I hope they didn’t spend all that money to create the Ba’ul with no plans for their future.

odradek

I now want to see the Ba’ul film:”Your job on Kaminar” analog to the short film: “Your job in Germany”. Short Trek, maybe?

Jack

Why keep the Kelpians alive at all? (From the logic of the Ba’ul). Do they provide labour (Do the Ba’ul need kelp?)? They’re not actually eaten, are they?

odradek

-Why keep the Kelpians alive at all?-

Ethics!

ML31

My thinking was there was more than ethics as reasons to keep them around. I bet the “Great Balance” was not 100% made up. The Kelpiens must provide something for their planet the Ba’ul need. Just spitballing here…

Tiger2

One of the many questions the episode left vague. If they were going to just wipe them out so easily once the Kelpians would be aware they would evolve to a predator state, why not just do that long ago and get it over with? They were already killing them systematically, just because they didn’t wipe them out at once doesn’t make it any less genocidal.

odradek

The whole thing reminds me a little of the Morgenthau-Plan. I’m thankful that the Americans followed the Marshall-Plan instead. Thumbs up for that America. (That is why I once loved you)

Ian

That’s the thing, we don’t know. The Ba’ul are called a predator species and look evil, so the writers fall into the trap Star Trek has surprisingly set for itself quite a few times, and make it okay to side against them, despite a little lip service paid to flesh out the Great Balance.
I remember when Enterprise happily made it so only the Xindi who didn’t look appreciably human act antagonistically towards the crew. Voyager found ways to sympathize with Species 8472 later, but having them look so alien made them easy villains (and only by literally humanizing them could they make them relatable, though that was surely a budget decision).
In any case, I think we were left to fill in the gaps based on how creepy they looked and sounded, which is a bit lazy.

Harry Ballz

To TPTB, too bad you banned my last post, where I said Discovery was the worst piece of crap ever produced by the studio. I’ve been watching Trek for over 50 years,and Discovery is unwatchable. I cannot labor through even a single episode. It is THAT BAD!!!!

Let me be blunt……IT IS GAWDAWFUL!!!!!!!

590208

Let’s just say the Ba’ul is planet earth and planet earth is a sentient being. Humans are the Keplians and humans are predators. We human knows we are killing our planet. But humans are in denial kind of paralysis. For me the Ba’ul did the right thing to save them all from extinction.

Boze

What if the Ba’ul are keeping Kepiens alive in the same way we’re keeping our farm animals alive? Still acceptable?
Maybe they started eating them as a revenge at first, and then they developed a taste for ganglia. Now they’re purposely breeding them and farming them instead of letting them extinct in peace – and possibly they’re even justifying it by ethics: “We’re the good ones, we’re keeping them alive when we could just wipe them out instead.” Sure – and it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact they’re tasty. ;)

Either way, I wonder if Ba’ul creature design was intentional. If so, then the episode is basically the story of a white guy returning to his ancestral homeland to save it from black oppression and make it great again. How did it ever get approved in this day and age? Don’t they have a Party committee in CBS, or what? :P

Such a nice, morally ambiguous, thought-provoking plot. I’d be more willing to forgive Discovery’s shortcomings if they had more plots like this…

Taiwan

That was also my first thought. But they purposefully reversed the colors.
Yes, the blacks are oppressed but it is for their own good. They were once the predators/oppressors and almost oppressed the others to extinction.

Antonio Wilson

A really interesting point of view. Perhaps it could be used to one fading world we know, before it destroys itself to fight the “infection”…

Joe Nick

Armus :-)

TonyD

The problem with the Ba’ul was that they were presented as completely one dimensional villains and the story really tried to manipulate you into hating them from the outset thru their appearance and actions: refusing to accept Discovery’s hails, unilaterally demanding Saru with no dialog, trying to kill his sister despite her obviously being an innocent bystander, trying to commit genocide on the Kelpians (wouldn’t that have also disrupted the “great balance?).

This story could have really benefited from being expanded into a two-parter to better flesh out the Kelpian history, the Ba’ul motivations and how Discovery came to the decision to interject themselves into the conflict. As presented it was an entertaining but manipulative episode with what in hindsight is really average writing.

Also, kind of off topic but that rotating camera used in the opening scene was making me dizzy; it was really distracting and off putting in a “look at me what a clever cinematographer I am” kind of way.

Richard G

If the Kelpians commit ritual suicide when they become Varai…wouldnt the transformation caused a large population to commit suicide?

Wes

I will have to side with the Ba’ul on this one. They could have eradicated a biological threat, albeit sentient, but instead they chose to save it for future generations. A major issue I see with a lot of ideology in the comments is that we are forcing Human ideology on other races and species with different neurological and biological makeups (Given it’s a TV show). What the Ba’ul did worked for thousands of years (2,000 by the information given). That has worked longer than even the Federation was a thought.

ML31

It seems to me that mistakes may have been made on both sides but perhaps it was the Ba’ul who were the more enlightened at the time. They did not cave in to their baser instincts and wipe out the Keliens when they had the opportunity, as it appeared the Kelpians were pretty much ready to do to them. What the Ba’ul did had risks. Eventually the Keliens would HAVE to discover the secret. But I guess that fell under then “we’ll deal with that later” category. The obelisks, it seems to me, are partly there as insurance against that very thing.

BTW… Regarding Thanos… As with many bad guys he had the right idea. Overpopulation is a very real issue. But eliminating half of all living things not only is amazingly drastic and short sighted, but doesn’t solve the problem.

Jed

It was an act of survival and mercy as far as the narrative goes. The Ba’ul could have killed the entire specie of Kelpiens, instead they let them live in peace. Choosing instead to create a ‘balance’. They should be lauded for their mercy.

Dillan

I will say they were bloody intimidating! Scariest aliens in a TV show in a while.

Roman Cernjak

it would have been much more elegant if the Baul WERE the post-vaharai kelpiens… no villain, just natural evolution.

AtzeH

Ba’ul are the last stage of kelpian evolution. They are in danger because the mid stage hunts them down.
“I am your father, Saru!”
“Nooooo!!!!!!”

Avi

“…but then they chose to reintroduce a population of pre-Vahar’ai Kelpiens back into the ecosystem”

That’s a weird way to put it. Vahar’ai is like puberty. If you wanted to kill off all post-pubescent humans, you wouldn’t have to reintroduce pre-pubescent humans to the ecosystem. You simply leave them alive.

I wonder if the author was confused by the abuse of the word ‘evolve’ used in the episode? It’s more like the way a Pokemon ‘evolves’ rather than biological ‘evolution’.

Actually, the article is sticking to what was shown in the episode. There’s some seriously bad science on display in the episode. On screen the display of the sphere data shows zero pre-Varha’ai Kelpiens (“un-evolved”). And then the Ba’ul are said to have killed all the post-Varah’ai Kelpiens (“evolved”). So if you have zero first stage Kelpiens, and killed all the second stage Kelpiens…. you have no more Kelpiens.

Avi

Oh dear. That’s not good. They probably should have thought it through a bit more…

My bad.

Jon DMA

I honestly think that the episode would’ve been better if the Ba’ul were evolved Kelpians, since the Ba’ul were never seen up to that point. I 100% thought that was going to be the case, especially when the Ba’ul said to Saru ‘you don’t even know what you are’.

Worthy of note, the Ba’ul also backed down when Saru went back to the surface. The Ba’ul showed restraint (again).

I believe that superficially the Ba’ul were not wrong. But, a more evolved peace would allow the Kelpians to become predators while respecting the Ba’ul as sentient beings equal to them. I guess that was the hope of the Red Angel.

Tony

Curious what everyone thinks, do we know that the Ba’ul didn’t eat Kelpiens they culled? It’s pretty clear in the mirror universe that Kelpiens are good eats but the article seems to imply they were not “what’s for dinner”. I would be of the opinion that any sentient that barbecues another sentient might be “bad guys”.

SiGGeR

StarFleet violated the prime directive. Saru is becoming an angry madman. His species will co-opt Ba-ul technology and start war on the ‘Alpha Quadrant’, thus re-confirming the need for ‘General Order One’

SiGGeR

Since it does. at 46:21. we are not completely sure what is happening with this torpedo.
So, perhaps, the Read Angel is a ‘True Q’ with no hilariousity about Starfleet and humanity.

Why Q? All the violence stopped!

Slyeek

I am still curious how a sticky lifeform became so technological. (I.e. lots of tech, need clean rooms)

Djeewhy

Deciding the fate of another people is always a bad thing.

Scheduling a permanent genocide is always a bad thing.

If the Ba’ul had the technology to survive and project themselves into space, then there were 300 of them who could choose another path, exile. By what right can just 300 individuals decide the future of whole generations of another people? What exactly right can they claim to maintain a whole population in social stagnation and ignorance?

The Ba’ul, no matter how advanced, have made bad choices. Moreover, no one really knows what will happen to Great Balance in the future and how reconciliation will be possible on Kaminar.

Tell me, it’s nice to transpose our own human weaknesses on imaginary extra-terrestrial races, but by thinking a bit about it, knowing only one dominant race on our planet, do not we live like Kelpians?

Are there not some Ba’ul on this planet who decide, dominate and plan with sometimes very different interests from the mass of the human population? “What is useful to many outweighs the desires of the few”

Don’t they do anything wrong?