Review: ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Gets Its Timing Right In “Light And Shadows”

“Light and Shadows”

Star Trek: Discovery Season 2, Episode 7 – Debuted Thursday, February 28th
Teleplay by Ted Sullivan, Story by Vaun Wilmott & Ted Sullivan
Directed by Marta Cunningham


Like season one, the middle of the second season is seeing some strong episodes with “Light and Shadows” as a prime example. Writers Ted Sullivan and Vaun Wilmott ably dive into Trek lore and make some more along the way. First-time Discovery director Marta Cunningham puts it together in a tight package with character development at the core, surrounded by a fun sci-fi action wrapper. Along with strong performances from guest stars both familiar and new, Sonequa Martin-Green carries this emotional homecoming that was worth the wait.

“Light and Shadows”  Pictured (l-r): Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham; Mia Kirshner as Amanda



Time after Time

As Spock is seen as the key to unlocking the mystery of the Red Angel, Michael Burnham picks up on her vow to find her brother from the end of last week’s episode—and she wants to get to him before those Section 31 creeps. Convincing Pike of things is one of Burnham’s superpowers, so she talks her way into getting some personal leave. We will pick up on her adventure later.

The rest of the Discovery crew are left hanging around Kaminar, although strangely they don’t seem very interested in the fallout from Saru’s revolution on the planet last week. They are there to analyze tachyon radiation left behind by the red burst and thanks to Tilly’s weekly insubordinate burst onto the bridge, they know the readings are “frickin’ amazing.” Oh yeah—trying to break her season one swearing habit. But she can still nerd out with proclamations like “You know how I get around violations of causality.” She also has a lot of fun making things “sound cooler” by putting “time” in front, like warning of “the time bends.”  Yes, her Tilly-ness factor is notching up again, but Mary Wiseman still sells it.

The situation gets even more fun as they approach the anomaly and everything gets timey whimey on the bridge with time echoes and screens going crazy, because they “don’t deal well with temporal distortions.”  What Trekkie doesn’t feel joy hearing dialog like “It appears to be a rift in space-time, captain”?

Double the Pikes, double the fun

Pike is in full hero mode as he announces he is the most qualified to fly a shuttle towards the anomaly to launch a probe. He and Tyler remain at odds as the Section 31 operative invites himself onto the mission, but Pike really needs to up his game if he thinks calling this former Klingon a “bad penny” is going to slow him down. What does work is when he reminds the former Voq that he is a murderer. In a moment of candor, Tyler reveals that he doesn’t think he can totally rid himself of the Klingon within.

When the shuttle inevitably gets trapped inside the anomaly, Saru takes command. We can now sense more of the new post-Vahar’ai version of this Kelpien, free of fear, competent, and confident; with no indication this episode of any of the potential downsides of living without fear.

The bridge scenes as they work through the problem are classic Trek, containing technobabble mixed in with folksy analogies and dialog like “it isn’t where they are, but when.” In the end, the solution to the problem lies with Lt. Commander Stamets, with a callback to “when Mr. Mudd attacked” referencing the season one time-looping episode “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad.”

I didn’t go through Vahar’ai for this sh..

Deep in the Heart of Vulcan

Michael’s story takes her to her homeworld of Vulcan, where she makes it clear she is there as Sarek’s daughter and not as a Starfleet officer. Michael’s time on the planet is replete with vistas that are both beautiful and varied, showing both the traditional desert locations and Sarek’s home in a more lush area, including some rain. Some may balk at this, but the cliché that alien planets have a single homogenous environment needs to be broken (although Discovery does stick with Vulcans having a single haircut, because some things are sacred).

Michael’s return to the Sarek household is interwoven with flashbacks to her childhood. This house is haunted for her, filled with memories of being an orphan. We also see some growth of the younger Michael and younger Spock, after their icy meeting in the season opener “Brother.” The two grew closer, even sharing a smile as they play 3-D chess and Michael tries to master the Vulcan salute. They bond as kid Spock reveals “emotions confuse me.” Ironically some of the more touching scenes in Discovery were in this episode’s visit to Vulcan.

On Earth, they call this a “high five,” now let’s talk “down low”

Sarek is doing some hardcore Vulcan meditation called “tokmar”  which is a sort of homing beacon to find Spock, but it isn’t working. Michael suspects Amanda is hiding something—or someone. Spock’s mom has no intention of letting anyone get their hands on her boy to try him for murder, but she relents with a warning: “Spock is not how you remember him.”

The search for Spock finally ends at a Vulcan shrine, but not entirely, as he is found to have grown a beard and lost his Vulcan marbles. The famed science officer can only babble the first doctrines of logic in an attempt to “ground himself,” along with carving text and a repeated sequence of numbers into the wall, A Beautiful Mind-style.

The eyebrows are on, but nobody’s home

After some arguing over getting Spock some seriously needed professional help, Sarek shows up to complete the unexpected family reunion. In a nice callback to season one, Amanda reveals she would read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to Spock as a child to help him with a learning disability called “L’tak Terai” which is like dyslexia. Consistent with his character – because frankly, he is not a great dad –  Sarek is not sympathetic saying “your obsession with a book about chaos has done a disservice to our children.” To say this marriage is complex is an understatement as Amanda talks of loving Sarek in one breath and accusing him of never respecting humans like herself in the other.

Like he did with last season’s excellent “Lethe,” writer Ted Sullivan is not afraid to add lines to the sacred canon of Spock’s family and Vulcan culture. In so doing we see in these scenes the promise of Discovery as a prequel to both expand upon and give added context to the Star Trek that we love. Mia Kirshner’s Amanda has also grown, helping land these moments. However, James Frain’s depiction of Sarek is a bit of a hindrance as his portrayal continues to feel far too sentimental.

Michael breaks the impasse by revealing Spock’s childhood connection to the Red Angel to Sarek. It is decided that Spock must be brought to Section 31, as they are the ones most capable and motivated to unscramble his brain.

I swear, if you say “needs of the many” one more time

Octopus’s Garden

Back on the shuttle, Pike and Tyler continue to bicker over a strategy on how to escape the time anomaly. This conflict dynamic with Anson Mount and Shazad Latif is one of the highlights of season two as Pike continues to have to remind the former Klingon that he is an actual captain and not just giving out suggestions. Tyler has the temerity to start questioning Pike’s motivation, suggesting he took the risky mission to make up for sitting out the war during his five-year mission.

Eventually they start bonding over how they need to solve their problem or their battle of wills could last an eternity. Tyler finally accepts Pike’s authority, and they use the old ignite-the-plasma fuel trick to attract attention. Differences are put aside when a new threat commands their attention. Like V’Ger’s time-traveling evil cousin, the probe returns, modified into a robot squid monster by unknown powers 500 years in the future. Oh yeah, this is the stuff! This whole tense sequence, helped along by fun and frenetic effects and a score to match, delivers some needed action.

This is going to put them off calamari for sure

On the Discovery, Stamets uses his tardigrade power to map out the shuttle’s time-bending position as the four hours until they are lost forever tick away. In one of the many analogies used in this episode—and what is Star Trek without a good analogy to explain the technobabble—he laments finding them will be “like finding a grain of sand in a hurricane with tweezers.”

After Lieutenant Rhys gets a nice character moment identifying the shuttle by identifying Pike’s fuel burns as an old pilot’s trick, it’s time for the rescue to swing into action. The always fun pairing of Stamets and Tilly science it up, but even they see how weird time stuff is, with lines like “non-linear temporal progression is a mind-bender.” In a moment with echoes of Kirk taking a leap of faith to beam into the Genesis cave in Star Trek II, Stamets puts his faith in Tilly’s power of math to beam him over to the shuttle in the middle of the time distortion.

If I barf on the transporter controls, I’m definitely out of the Command Training Program

Meanwhile, the situation on the shuttle has moved from bad to worse as the robo-squid probe has worked its way inside and is scanning the computer, which is never a good sign. They decide to blow up the shuttle once Stamets clears the big scary time-thingie and they can be beamed out. But the future isn’t done yet, as whatever was scanning the shuttle breaches the ship’s system and instead of stopping it, Airiam appears to have been surreptitiously infected by it.

After escaping from what Tilly is now calling a “time tsunami,” Pike is finally able to kick back and chillax on his bridge, apparently unconcerned about what that anomaly is doing to the poor people of Kaminar. The ordeal has also added some chill to his animosity towards Tyler, with both admitting maybe the other isn’t so bad after all. The attack from the probe even has Pike warming up to Tyler’s warnings that the Red Angel may not be so benign. They agree that they have found themselves in “a fight for the future.” Both actors play this growth for their characters well, but let’s hope this isn’t a bromance and we can still see the pair spar.

Sorry sir, when I said “Kill all humans” I meant “All systems nominal”

Back to Black

The Spock storyline picks up on Captain Leland’s Section 31 ship, where Georgiou is impressed that Michael manipulated her mother to find her brother. In a scene evoking the creepiness of a Terry Gilliam film, Spock is slapped into an apparatus that is supposed to scan and repair his mind. Leland acts sympathetic but Georgiou pulls Burnham aside to drop a dime on her captain, revealing the plan is to extract Spock’s memory, which will destroy his mind in the process.

The evil dentist will be right with you

The former Terran Emperor has a deceptive plan of her own to get Michael and Spock off the ship, and it will—of course—involve punching, kicking and some light phasering. It’s deliciously unclear what Georgiou’s motivations are. Does she actually care for Michael? Is this just a power play? A bit of both? It’s all played much more subtly than some of her more cartoon villain moments earlier in the season and this character is now becoming fully realized, perhaps for the first time since hopping over from the Mirror Universe.

And sure, the staged fight may be an excuse to show off Michelle Yeoh’s legendary kung fu skills, but it was a lot of fun. At 56, the veteran of Hong Kong action cinema showed she has what it takes to spin kick her way into her own spin-off.

I’ve been wanting to do this all season

After their exciting escape, Leland isn’t buying that Georgiou was overpowered by Burnham. The Machiavellian tension between this pair continues to amp up, which is no surprise as a former Emperor isn’t the type to take orders. In yet another example of Small Galaxy Syndrome, it is revealed that Leland is responsible for the death of Burham’s parents. Really? Michael is the lead of the show but does everything and everyone have to have a connection to her?

Leland’s ship joins a squadron of other Section 31 ships of the same design, now hunting Spock and Michael who use the old hide-while-powered-down-on-an-asteroid trick, proving that Michael is a fan of Star Wars. Spock is still cuckoo for Vulcan Puffs, but his mumbling is decoded by Burnham to be coordinates, only backwards. Remember that dyslexia-like learning disability from earlier?

Perhaps it was all a bit obvious, but we still get a nice little surprise when it’s revealed that the coordinates are the location of Talos IV. There was no indication from Michael she was even aware of the planet. And even though it took a “let’s create extra tension” amount of time, there was no mention by the computer of Starfleet’s General Order Number 7, which prohibits travel to the planet under penalty of death. Perhaps Spock knows that the bubble-headed telepaths he and Pike visited in “The Cage” a few years earlier are the only ones who can unscramble his brain. So, issues of how this all fits into canon is left for another week as a new search—the search to fix Spock’s brain—begins.

The computer will let them know about the whole death penalty thing later I guess


Stacking mystery boxes

As one might say, now we are getting somewhere. The second season of Star Trek: Discovery is leaning hard into mysteries. We are reminded of this in the episode’s opening log as Michael says, “My mother taught me the greatest mysteries come in threes. The past, present and future.” Discovery is no longer trying to hide its puzzles in big surprises like it did in season one, choosing instead to put them all on full display.

Central to this is the Red Angel, which was featured in all of the promotions for the season starting back in the summer of 2018. Bit by bit, this Red Angel has come into focus, now detailed as a new addition to the opening credits as of this episode. At the halfway point of the season, Burnham gives us a recap confirming the Angel is from the future and saying it is “humanoid and wearing an exo-suit made of futuristic technology we have never seen.”

Season two is a big “who done it?” or actually more of a “who is it?” Theories are proliferating online by fans and media outlets—both serious and not so serious. And this is by design: Discovery has done a good job of getting people buzzing about the show. While there has been much talk of Discovery emulating Game of Thrones, the show appears to be trying harder to match the zeitgeist of HBO’s other genre hit Westworld.

However, they are also teetering on the same problems that show ran into in its second season, when things got so complicated you need a 4-dimensional map to find your way through it. Not only that, Discovery keep throwing more and more mysteries into the mix. This week we have something weird going on with Airiam, and this new twist of Section 31 killing Burnham’s parents. We still don’t know if Culber is fully himself, and have the same question for Saru. Don’t forget, there is still the big question about why Michael and Spock had their falling out and why he never spoke of her again.

Hopefully, now that we are at the halfway point of the season they start unwinding these things and putting some of the missing pieces to this big puzzle in place, because if they keep enlarging the puzzle they are at risk of making the show all about the mystery and forgetting the heart of the show with the characters and the sci-fi fun of Star Trek.

Hey look, I’m in the credits now too

Let Pike be Pike

Captain Christopher Pike has been a breakout character this season and certainly has been a big hit with fans. His mix of aww-shucks charm and stoic command has helped fans and crew move on from Captain Lorca, who turned evil in the latter half of season one.

However, Pike’s characterization has been mixed at times over the season, with his level of competence and command waxing and waning. “Light and Shadows” showed Pike at his best, strengthening him as a captain as well as adding some more nuance to the character and rounding him out.

The issue with Pike may simply come down to how he seems to be a different person when Michael Burnham is in the same room. Since she was on leave this episode, he was free to be the man he should be, warts and all. However, often when Burnham—who is the show’s lead—is around, Pike can often feel like a pointless foil, only there to be talked down from his by-the-book ways by Burnham.

Pike isn’t the only character on the show who seems to lose agency when Michael shows up, but perhaps it is more acute in comparison to the times when she is not present. One of the goals of season two was to make Burnham a more accessible protagonist, and they have mostly succeeded. But this does not have to come at the expense of other characters.

I make this look easy

Worth the wait

If “Light and Shadows” isn’t the best episode since the season two premiere, it is certainly one of the best. Even with the bifurcated storyline, multiple threads being pulled, and a shorter runtime, it all still came together in a nice cohesive piece of Star Trek. As you would expect from something penned by Ted Sullivan and Vaun Wilmott—who is also a fan—the episode was filled with callbacks to Trek lore, but importantly it tied together many elements within Discovery’s own internal consistency from both seasons.

This was the first episode of Discovery directed by Marta Cunningham, who impressed by drawing out strong performances throughout. Her calmer pace was welcome for the more emotional beats, while still being able to amp it up for the action without relying on camera tricks. Guest star Mia Kirshner stands out, adding new dimension to Amanda. Sonequa Martin-Green also carried much of the heavy lifting. It is still too early to get a sense of Ethan Peck’s Spock, but given what he had to work with here, indications are good. Mary Wiseman is always a delight, but the writers are relying on her too much to lighten things up.

Star Trek: Discovery continues to get better and better, and we now move into the second half of season two. This episode helped move along a number of arcs, and thankfully ended the Spock teasing that was growing tiresome. With tight writing, impressive effects, evocative sound design, and compelling acting, “Light and Shadows” was pretty much the whole package.

How many ships does this secret organization have?

Random thoughts, connections, easter eggs, and more

  • At a runtime of 40:14, this is the shortest episode of the season so far.
  • This is the first episode where former showrunners Aaron Harberts and Gretchen J. Berg are not credited as executive producers.
  • This is the first episode with James Duff credited as an executive producer. He joined the show shortly after Harberts and Berg were let go.
  • Director Marta Cunningham’s husband is James Frain (Sarek).
  • Even though the USS Discovery was in the vicinity of Kaminar for most of the episode, there was no indication that they or anyone else from the Federation is keeping tabs on the Kelpiens and Ba’ul after the radical transformation of their relationship which Pike and crew initiated in “The Sound of Thunder.”
  • Spock’s shuttle was found in the Mutara Sector, home of the Mutara Nebula, and future home of the Genesis Planet from Star Trek II.
  • Pike going out ahead of the ship in a shuttle to help deal with a time anomaly is reminiscent of TNG “Time Squared.”
  • Amanda notes how the “katra stones” in the shrine kept Sarek from being able to sense Spock. It is unclear if these are something new, or a different name for katric arks.
  • The design of the future-ized probe was reminiscent of the sentinels from The Matrix
  • This episode highlighted some of the analog old-school elements on the Discovery shuttle.
  • Like other episodes this season, the sound design also evokes more TOS elements, such as the “warp engines are straining” sound when the shuttle was out of control.
  • The shuttle also demonstrates a new ability when it deploys a kind of armor shielding, looking something like the 25th-century technology future Janeway used in the Voyager finale “Endgame.”
  • Pike’s use of igniting the shuttle’s plasma is reminiscent of Spock doing the same in TOS “The Galileo Seven.”
  • Tyler’s rank is given as Specialist, so he has not been restored to Lieutenant even though he is part of Starfleet Intelligence. Michael Burnham was also classified as a Specialist during the first season, until she had her Commander rank restored in the season finale.
  • The Vulcan shrine had a replica of the Kir’Shara—or the Vulcan bible written by Surak—as seen in Enterprise‘s “Kir’Shara.”
  • Amanda reveals that her family has diplomatic immunity to Federation law due to Sarek being an ambassador.
  • The Section 31 device to scan minds may be based on the Klingon mind scanner, or possibly the Klingons may have gotten the tech from Section 31.
  • Leland’s Section 31 ship registry is NCIA-93.
  • The coordinates for Talos IV are 749 Mark 148.


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.

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“Really? Michael is the lead of the show but does everything and everyone have to have a connection to her?”
Yes. Because TPTB are determined to shove this character down our throats whether we like it or not. It’s part of why I call her a Mary Sue, and part of why I can’t take her seriously.

Just make Saru the star.

Michael is by far the most interesting and fleshed out Trek lead since Picard. Love her.

I agree completely.

I like her a lot too. I’ve never seen her as a Mary Sue. No more than any of the other brilliant intellectuals of Trek past.

The only thing that seems remotely Mary-Sue-ish to me, I suppose, would be the way in which they shoehorned her into the Sarek household. But meh… I’m over that little contrivance.

Just goes to show that everyone is someone’s favorite character. I find her more boring than Picard but that is because Stewart is such a good actor that he made that colossally dull character somewhat watchable.

I’m really wondering which scenes above posters rate as “intellectual”, even “Picard level intellectual”, in all of Discovery for Burnham! Her scenes and voice-overs are dripping with emotion, which is most curious for a supposedly Vulcan-raised character.

The adjectives with which I agreed were most interesting and fleshed out in terms of character development. And more to come.

I strongly disagree, out of all the trek captains I believe Sisko had the most fully realized character.
The show is trying hard to make us like Burnham, but I can’t bring myself to like or be interested in her at all.
Saru and Pike are the ones keeping me interested. Tilly started out great, but they are overplaying her and she’s been getting annoying.

Same here. Saru and Pike all the way. That both are male is totally coincidental and unfortunate; they did manage to create deeply likeable and credibly professional female characters in all previous Star Trek shows, starting with Uhura in TOS!

Burnham makes Harry Kim seem like an interesting character.

Burnham makes Geordi or Dr. Crusher interesting and fleshed out characters!

I agree. She is a great character, and I don’t care if it is retcon. It is great regardless of that.

No more a Mary Sue than Jim Kirk was.

It’s actually right up there in the review: “The issue with Pike may simply come down to how he seems to be a different person when Michael Burnham is in the same room. Since she was on leave this episode, he was free to be the man he should be, warts and all. However, often when Burnham—who is the show’s lead—is around, Pike can often feel like a pointless foil, only there to be talked down from his by-the-book ways by Burnham.”

Diminishing other characters (the captain no less!) to make the lead look good and powerful. That’s just bad writing. And this episode going the opposite route after physically separating Burnham for once proves the point.

Doesn’t make her a Mary Sue, no matter how many fans want to hold their breath over it. “Mary Sue” has a very real, set definition, and no matter how much you guys want to make it drift into fitting your POV, it doesn’t apply to Burnham.

Let’s not argue semantics for the umpteenth time, which is really just hijacking the actual point for the sake of political outrage. I don’t care what it’s called, the point stands that propping up your lead by counter-factually weakening important other characters (as even Anthony’s review notes) is bad writing.

Or…. you could admit you are wrong and move on? Not complaining about every minor detail and dragging the conversation down might also be a good move.

But he is not wrong, is he? I also agree with the point Anthony made, although I liked the episode. The writing is still a bit off when it comes to the characters, so why not point that out. However, I have to say that writing has improved so much this season that I really started to care about the characters, I hope this trend continues.

What conversation would you have then though? Gushing and congratulating is not conversation :) Improvement comes from (wait for it) pointing out things to improve!

“The other shows did it too” is the lamest excuse ever and besides is untrue, they were true ensemble shows. What do we actually know about the bridge crew of THIS series?

VS, yes. The other spin offs were ensemble shows but they STILL had the Captain as their lead.

ML31, this mismatch of character rank/position in Starfleet hierarchy and in narrative hierarchy creates problems as we see. They should move on like they moved on from hairless Klingons: 1) de-emphasize the lead and make it more of an ensemble show or 2) make Burnham the captain.

Vulcan Soul: “Improvement comes from (wait for it) pointing out things to improve!”
Yeah, that is why I was agreeing with you (my reply was to Ad Astra).

I think TG47 raised good points – my problem with the writing is not only that they try to squeeze too much plot into one episode – the directors are often forced to resort to “jumping” to solutions without any scifi problem-solving – a lot of deux ex machina lately. The second problem (somewhat resulting from the plot-driven first) is that lines often appear arbitrary and generic, could be mumbled by any character really, especially in scenes on the ship. (Yeah, that was not always better in TNG or VOY, but there was at least the infamous distinction by profession/function.)

I agree with the reviewers point, but this problem of taking over isn’t limited to Michael Burnham’s interactions with Pike. It’s got nothing to do with gender. It’s happening consistently whenever the four long-term leads are on the stage.

And while I was very much swept up in the episode I found this pattern hitting a jarring note while I’m watching.

As Saru has become more beloved as a character, he has increasingly diminished and taken the natural dialogue away from other bridge characters. I’ve noted previously that Saru’s savant-like communication insights come at the expense of the comms officer. (They’ve also let Tilly tell the comms officer what to do.)

Uhura at least got the dignity of proposing novel solutions herself of ‘working with other’s’ to find a tech or Morse code solution. Laforge would give credit to his team for coming up with options and solutions. They were able to maintain the illusion that there were more than 7 people contributing to the ship’s success.

In Light and Shadows, Saru’s leadership moment certainly showed his fearlessness. But it did so by making the rest of the bridge crew, who also are war hardened, spin out in a panic moment, and made it look like Saru was the only one who could think.

Basically, while I find it interesting that the creators made the choice to centre the ensemble for discovery around someone other than the captain, the persistent issues of this approach show through. The writers seem to be obliged to give all the Trek-smart moments on the Discovery to 4 characters: Tilly, Stamets, Saru and Burnham.

It’s making me think of the Roddenberry memo deep in the archives when he took Shatner, Nimoy and Kelly to task for wanting all the lines. Roddenberry said something to the effect that giving the lines of the minor characters to them was going to make them and the show ridiculous.

I don’t think that Discovery’s writers have gone that far. I’m also conscious that there was major strife with the writers room, and this is the first episode after the turnover.

But let’s hope for better.

I think you nailed it. Thanks for the post.

I don’t agree with some of your points in that this is a television drama. The formula is to have limited people carry the dialogue. As far as Saru taking command of the moment, well that’s what a captain or commander should do in that situation. Reminded me of Gene Krantz in Apollo 13

The thing is that some TV series do better at creating the illusion of a larger organization or ship than others. Discovery can do better on this point.

In Trek, I would argue that TNG did this best. The recurring minor characters from the O’Briens, Barclay, and even the Bolian barber layered depth.

Voyager was hit and miss, but some characters like the Vulcan engineer Vorik helped.

TOS made it hard to believe there were 400 people on the ship.

Discovery, in reaction to all of these, was designed to have a bridge of more than extras, but then recurrently treats them with less respect than TNG managed.

I don’t know about TOS making it hard to believe there were 400 people on the ship. I think it was very easy to believe. Every time we walked down the halls there were LOTS of people running about. Most looked like worker bees. Crewmen. Scotty had a staff he ordered about. McCoy had a nurse and a Vulcan specialist when the script needed one. And they had a transporter chief in Leslie just like TNG had O’Brian. To be honest the lesser believably came from TNG. Whose ship had 1000 people on it. Seems to me that over time it would require less people. Not more. And every single one of them, save O’Brian, were officers at that. I mean, when everyone is an officer, then no one is.

I know I’m pretty hardcore about what “Mary Sue” means, but I’m from the ’70s. I just realized I’ve dragged you over it before – sorry.

“Mary Sue stories—the adventures of the youngest and smartest ever person to graduate from the academy and ever get a commission at such a tender age. Usually characterized by unprecedented skill in everything from art to zoology, including karate and arm-wrestling. This character can also be found burrowing her way into the good graces/heart/mind of one of the Big Three, if not all three at once. She saves the day by her wit and ability, and, if we are lucky, has the good grace to die at the end, being grieved by the entire ship.”

Now let’s take Michael. She knows everything, even outside her expertise.She can solve every problem. She can last eleven minutes in 9 G and keep enough brain cells intact to brag about it. She even got cuckoo-egged into Spock’s very family.

Sure, maybe she doesn’t fit the definition exactly. But she fits it close enough to be ridiculous. She’s like effin’ Buckaroo Banzai, except that Buckaroo Banzai was a parody, while Burnham’s character is apparently meant seriously.

Boze… Except that your definition of Mary Sue basically applies to every main star / captain of a Star Trek show, Kirk, Picard, Sisko, Janeway, Archer, and quite a few other characters like Spock, Data, T’Pol. So the reason I don’t like fans calling her a Mary Sue is that they are applying that derogatory moniker to her and only her. I think there is something else going on here. Some reason ‘fans’ have a grudge against her. I’m not sure what it is, but I am sure it is not a very Star Trek outlook on life.

@Thorny She’s the wrong color and sex for them.

Rrrright, like anybody attacked Sisko or Janeway for that reason. We know who are the true racists and sexists here. It’s the ones who HAVE to drag skin color and gender into every single discussion of bad characterization in Discovery, lest their holy lead be stained by the uncouth words of the infidels!

You don’t get it.

A34: bingo. Janeway got this hatred, too, although VOY deserved it much more than DISCO.

The only thing that Janeway got was people writing about her hair style. Precious few seemed to care about gender to begin with. But then, the internet was not as widely used back then. And Discovery has earned the criticism. Voyager is friggin’ King Lear compared to it.

People talked trash about VOY on internet newsgroups.

I recall those. What a cesspool that was. Worse than anything you can find today. Not sure that is something to use to support your case. The occasional crazy person hardly signifies the overall feel among fandom. Jeez…

ML31, in fact the criticism of Janeway was also about bad writing and bad characterization, as in her being totally arbitrary of when to enforce the Prime Directive and when to violate, and when to hold herself to the high standards she held others to. Like I said, bad, inconsistent writing, which (I agree) Voyager had plenty in other aspects too.

What did NOT happen at the time, however, was posters libeling other fans by insinuating they were criticizing her for being a woman. Kind of like HRC still believes she lost because of “misogyny”. Save to say, this particular part of the population who is now on a mission to shut up others had not radicalized in today’s way back at Voyager’s time.

Hillary Clinton lost because of Russia’s influence, FBI over stepping their bounds during the election and Trump managed to squeak by in a few states that got him over because he was going to build a wall that Mexico will pay for and the yokels bought it. And yes her own mistakes as well. So I agree, its not because she’s a woman. ;)

Vulcan Soul,

During the time “Voyager” was on its initial broadcast run, I was in the US military. I really, really, really doubt your assertions that male fans “were [not] criticizing [Janeway] for being a woman.”

Posters probably didn’t “libel” other fans because any posters who might have been women knew they would be shouted down as “libbers” and “oversensitive”. Back in the day [yes, even as recently as the ’90s!] we knew what battles to pick. It was more important to be taken seriously in real life than in fandom.

This “particular part of the population” is not on a mission to shut others up, dude. We are finally able to make our point as equals to other fans instead of allowing dinosaurs to shout us down. Awfully sorry you feel picked on. Check thousands of years of misogyny and racism, then get back to me when you can spare some time from bemoaning equal status of people unlike yourself.

VS, it is fair to critizize Janeway’s character for how she was written to deal with the PD or other such things. It is NOT fair to criticize her character just for being female. Fortunately that sort of thing is happening less and less. The bulk of the criticisms of Burnham are because of character issues. Not gender or race issues.

They sent death threats to the studio when they found out that Janeway was a woman.

Sadly true. Garret Wang talked about it in an interview I saw. This myth that Discovery is the first show where people accuse the production of being SJW and PC police is false and proves what short term memories people have. The idea of a woman captain was considered blasphemy to many at the time. That went away pretty quickly when Mulgrew showed what a great actress she was and people got over it by the end of the first season.

And its exactly why for all the ‘outrage’ has over this stuff that once its shown they either accept it or just move on pretty quickly.

Tiger, mixing the very few people who maybe said this about MULGREW before the show aired with the much larger group who criticized JANEWAY (the character) for being inconsistently or badly characterized after watching the show for seven seasons (I believe Ronald D. Moore was one of them) is really a bad idea, and as obvious by the fruitful discussion on Discovery’s characterization and cast priorities on the whole, is also totally not what THIS discussion is about. It is a precious few here that continuously try to drag the discussion into the “social justice” corner in order to discredit any criticism, and those are really the extremists here.

I’m talking specifically about the people who hated the idea of being a woman captain and was pretty clear as I said the issue was mostly BEFORE the show aired.

Her consistency as a character is a different issue, but I wasn’t talking about that. But when people were literally threatening to bomb a studio because she’s a woman, that goes far beyond people complaining about how she’s written in season 5. That kind of complaining is normal. And it directly relates to the issue of Burnham because many of these same people accused her of being a know-it-all SJW because many DO have issues of it coming from a woman. I’m not saying everyone, but you have to be naive if you think the two are completely separate.

If that wasn’t the case why does the term ‘SJW’ always shows up in relation to Burnham and the criticism? Because she’s a woman of color and for many that alone is the only reason they feel she’s even there just like many felt the same about Mulgrew when she first showed up. But at least Mulgrew was still white to some of these nut jobs.

“If that wasn’t the case why does the term ‘SJW’ always shows up in relation to Burnham and the criticism? ”

Like I said, it shows up because certain people want to shut down all criticism of the character on the basis of her group-affiliation and accuse anyone critizing her of being bigoted to mute them. That same crowd NEVER showed up when I was criticizing Archer for many years for being an emotional, loud-spoken, low-brow GWB-clone who seemed to be where he is because of his family connections and to “prove daddy right” (just like GWB). The way he, and the crew in general, was smugly knocking Vulcans and their values at the time was really the precursors of Discovery’s hate on all things non-emotional.

The issue with Burnham is similiar to how the writers were immediately accused of “fridging” when they dared to kill off Culber, and basically had no choice to commit immediately to reviving him, lest they be boycotted by a mob of self-righteous viewers. Never mind Landry, an Indian women, was killed off earlier in the show in an equally shocking and sudden way, which nobody complained about.

As for Mulgrew, I don’t remember that case of someone threatening to bomb the studio and that seems to be an extreme fringe case. I neither remember anyone threatened the same for MSG and the vast majority of criticism has nothing to do with her in person, apart from maybe questioning her acting skills (which many people have done for other actors as well).

So my point is I don’t see how this particular criticism of Burnham, and by extension, the entire casting concept of Discovery of having a limited “lower decks crew” that nevertheless dominates the ship, has anything to do with Mulgrew/Janeway back then.

No VS, you misunderstood me.

I’m saying why do so many of her detractors always use the term SJW if its NOT about her being female or black?? I still hear it all the time. I’m going to make this clear, yes if you just think she sucks as a character, fine, but you know damn well many people label her that still and I don’t understand what makes HER a SJW? So it basically comes down to these people are saying she is only there for being black and a female to make a statement. Thats no different than the accusations Janeway got when the producers had the nerve to want a female captain. No one just used that term then.

I went on youtube and typed in Burnham and SJW and multiple videos came up but this idiot had the shortest one. Star Trek uniform and all.

You only need to listen to the first three minutes but this is my point. What’s funny is he goes on and on how it has nothing to do with her race, OK, but yet he keeps implying she’s only there BECAUSE of her race and blames the ‘liberals’ for putting her there. Oh and he doesn’t trust Michelle Yeoh because she could be a ‘feminist’. When you hear it said out loud and not just read it on a message board they sound even dumber.

But why does it have to be an ‘agenda’ when they are women or simply not white? If she WAS Scott Bakula and he thought he sucked too do you think he would blame ‘liberals’ and ‘SJWs’ for Bakula having the role or simply bad casting? You can’t have it both ways.

Tiger, not to mention the term SJW just came around in the last five years or so.

Spock went to the Vulcan Science Academy and joined Starfleet. Michael went to the Vulcan Science Academy and joined Starfleet.

Yet only one of these characters is criticized as a “know-it-all” designed by SJW writers. Sheesh, y’know?

Vulcan Soul, I definitely agree that the characterization of Janeway went this way and that. Sometimes it takes a while to firm up a character, but many times certain things “came in handy” to help drive the plot. That is rather bad writing.

But you seem ignorant about your own derailing of this discussion. You made these very statements in your first post: What did NOT happen at the time, however, was posters libeling other fans by insinuating they were criticizing her for being a woman. and Save to say, this particular part of the population who is now on a mission to shut up others had not radicalized in today’s way

And in this your latest a precious few here that continuously try to drag the discussion into the “social justice” corner in order to discredit any criticism, and those are really the extremists here.

Apparently I’m an extremist because I’m aware that racism and sexism still exist. And I make you uncomfortable. You make me uncomfortable too. But I’ve been dealing with stuff like this a long, long time. It’s new to you. Be grateful you haven’t had to deal with it all your life.

Talk about characterization and story writing and plotlines. That’s great! If you omit the parts where you condemn “certain fans/elements” and use the words “radical/extreme,” you won’t set “certain people” like me off, okay?

I remember it. I wish some people would move on from defending the Ways of the Past. One of the biggest problems in Toxic fandom.

“Oh no, Brie Larson is making ‘Captain Marvel’ about feminism!!” “We want our sci-fi/fantasy without feminist messaging!”

[facepalm] Please just grow up.

They all got hatred. Thats why I’m surprised people are surprised other hate Discovery. This is just how it goes. It looks like in time more will come around as others here are now but its going to take time for it to be fully accepted and it still has problems for sure. But I don’t think any one can deny it has vastly improved over season 1 at least. It doesn’t mean everyone will like it just the same.

Agreed, Thorny. As I really good specific comparison, look back to ST09 and STID: Kirk was ten times the upstart a**hole to Captain Pike that Michael’s been to him in DISCO, yet I don’t remember this level of vitriol. I wonder why.

” Kirk was ten times the upstart a**hole to Captain Pike that Michael’s been to him in DISCO, yet I don’t remember this level of vitriol.”

I do remember it! NuKirk was lambasted and ridiculed for being “cadet to captain” in the most miraculous way. People are really viewing AbramsTrek through rose-tinted glasses now.

Yeah, probably some do look at those films through rose colored glasses, VS, but I don’t. I was as annoyed as anyone by Kirk’s “Cadet to Captain” route, and then by his demotion (back to his promotion) act routine *again* in STID. Numerous people have complained about the narrative stupidity of this rehashing. But nobody that I remember argued that Kirk’s hubris and sudden rise was the result of a political agenda. Why should Michael’s ambitions (much better narrativized) be different?

” But nobody that I remember argued that Kirk’s hubris and sudden rise was the result of a political agenda. ”

I don’t think this is the basis of the argument. To wit, if Michael Burnham was male and white (don’t even need to change the name!) the criticism would still stand. He would just be an older Wesley Crusher. In fact, the way Saru challenged the captain in previous week’s episode (and he had a medical excuse) didn’t sit well with many people at all. It was just disrespectful of the Captain. Nobody argued that calling him disrespectful or agreeing with the Captain in putting him in his place and off the bridge was anything other than justified professional behavior rather than a political agenda.
So on the contrary, the political agenda here, if any, is to mute people and their criticism if a character is criticized who belongs to a certain group. That this didn’t happen for NuKirk, or Saru, is because neither belongs to politically sensitive groups.

“That this didn’t happen for NuKirk, or Saru, is because neither belongs to politically sensitive groups.”

Jesus, man . . . I just . . . I just can’t anymore. If you can’t honestly realize the irony (or hypocrisy) of what you just wrote than nothing I add will accomplish much. LLAP.

“To wit, if Michael Burnham was male and white (don’t even need to change the name!) the criticism would still stand.”

I really, really doubt that.

Yes. Mr. Pascale made a very valid point. Pike is better without Burhman around. Obviously because she is the lead and we cannot have anyone upstaging the lead. Even the Captain. I won’t rip the show for this because I do think it a tough situation when the captain is NOT the lead but his subordinate is. But yes, they certainly can handle it better. Perhaps let Pike be right sometimes and have him put Burnham in her place once or twice. Focus on how she deals with that, perhaps?

That’s spot on, ML31! Being the lead does not equate being right and all powerful, especially for a character in a lower position (compared to Captain and First Officer). I thought the whole point of NOT making her the captain was to give us this fresh, “lower decks” perspective. So it seems they undermined their own concept! Same with the other “not quite senior” characters like Stamets or Culber. The chief engineer and chief medical officer simply don’t exist in this universe and they don’t give input to the captain like in all other series. Instead these lower-ranked officers do. They simply made the main cast de facto-senior officers.

Yeah… That’s a good point that I have brought up before but let alone for some time. I thought that Culber was CMO and Stammets was cheif engineer until we were told they were not. Wha??? Then who the hell is and why are they not there advising the Captain as the heads of their departments? So Stammets is the mycedial network expert. His BOSS should be there WITH him when they are having meetings with the CEO. Or at the very least we need to see a guy walk by and have Stammets say, “Hi Lt. Cmdr Whateveryournameis!”

We’ve seen another doctor but now I’m conditioned to wonder if SHE is the CMO or not!

It would be nice, because part of being “lower decks” is dealing with the chain of command and being on call to advise your seniors of project status and so on. But it could be AWFULLY boring in a TV show where you’re trying to write an adventure to run for an hour.

They simply made the main cast de facto-senior officers.

This is a great observation; I never thought the whole “lower decks” concept was a viable one, any more than the original intention for THE WEST WING — showing Pres. Bartlett every couple of episodes in a glorified cameo — was. I hope DISCO continues to move in a more ensemble direction.

I think a good leader leans on a SME to provide counsel in situations. I don’t fought Pike for doing that and when she isn’t there he has to lean on his own knowledge and experiences

Yes, the CO/XO dynamic is very important. [See Kirk and Spock, Picard and Riker, Sisko and Kira, and Janeway and Chakotay.][And in West Wing, Bartlett/McGarry.] Sometimes one is the “good guy”,and the other the “decision-maker, the decision being unpopular, risky, or popular;” sometimes the CO/decision-maker is firm on their course and the XO who’s normally a “nice guy” [or in Leo’s case, all business] has to pass down and enforce unpopular decisions. It can be a very good dramatic device. We saw that in “West Wing” and it was really good.

The one place I think that Discovery is doing better in showing the XO’s role in developing officers (i.e. Tilly).

Other than the episodes with Barclay where Picard told River (and Laforge) to do their jobs rather than shifting a problem on another ship, we saw very little of the XO’s role in managing the ship for the Captain to lead.

Riker just banged them.

Ohhh, ML31, “put [Burnham] in her place” could be fightin’ words, but I suspect you are coming from a chain of command view? And you’re right, it could be dramatically interesting if the captain was right and the commander learned something valuable: “I’m NOT always right!” That could be a good watershed moment for the character, and a good moment for Starfleet protocol, because no person is right 100% of the time. So far, watching Kirk and Burnham and some others, I get the idea that the most highly awarded officers in Starfleet constantly ignore protocol! And yes there are times to do that, but it shouldn’t be ALL the times.

As[again] former military, I had a lot of problems with the previous episode, Saru talking over Captain Pike when he was trying to negotiate with the Ba’ul. Writing-wise, I think it would have been better if Pike had been the one to try and succeed in getting through to the Ba’ul instead of them calling Discovery.

But seeing Saru’s reaction to Pike’s idea of talking with them, I wish Pike had said to Saru, “Come with me, Commander” and taken him to the Ready Room for a quick conversation. Saru could express his passionate feelings about his race being subjugated for centuries [rather than countering the captain on the bridge]. And he and Pike could emerge and Pike could address those charges to the Ba’ul. Now this would be proper military decorum, but it would look bad for some reasons I will not address here, lest we derail again into a “SJW” discussion.

I can now see the writers’ reasons for doing it the way they did. Part of it was time and [what I thought might be poor] scene construction. You see, I only saw the military breach of protocol at first, but when I looked at it from Saru’s POV, I saw a person in considerable distress. And a captain who saw and understood it, and exercised compassion.

I do not have a problem with Pike turning to Burnham for consultation. However, like you, I would like to see him be the one who’s right sometimes. More of a Kirk and Spock dynamic.

Your suspicions are correct. Put in her place as in, she is not the captain and needs some way to comprehend that. Just as Spock had opinions and relayed them to the Captain, Kirk did not always go along with Spock’s council. And Spock understood. I think the Burnham character would be well served by being wrong from time to time. Now, she is the show’s lead and it may not serve the narrative for her to ever be wrong. But that is what makes for better characters.

Burnham’s interactions with Pike are similar to those of Spock to Kirk at times. I think gender is playing into some people’s perception

Except Kirk has overridden Spock’s recommendations more than a few times. I don’t think it comparable at all. I cannot speak for others but I know for a fact that Gender doesn’t play into it at all in this comment. And I don’t think such attitudes are that prevalent today and find it lazy to insinuate that it does.

(And I cannot believe I need to say this but I am not saying that sexism doesn’t exist. Just that it is less a thing than it ever has been today)

Kirk and Spock had a long time for the interaction to go both ways.
There have been a few poorly written lines, but I think folks are just reading too much into this IMO

From my perspective the reading too much into it is coming from some who assume what the reason is for those being bothered by Burnham’s super power (the ability to convince her captain she is right every time).

I have a problem with ANYONE having super powers not routed in credible talent or experience, and yes, that includes instant-cadet-to-captain miracle-Kirk in JJ09, or obnoxious Wesley Crusher lecturing senior officers multiple times his age in early TNG. And to bring a non-Burnham example, Tilly winning that half-marathon in the recent episode despite taking a lengthy break and – are we still allowed to say that? – not being in ideal physical condition for such an athletic feat. That’s unrealistic characterization at best and hidden agenda at worst. It’s also doing nobody a favor, in terms of role models, to suggest cause and effect do not exist and anybody can be in Kansas just at the click of their heels.

At some point the liberty that writers take needs to be checked

What? If you don’t like the writing for Michael as the star what difference would it make to have another character as the star. He or she will be the lead instead. Also Michael is far from a Mary Sue. Also because you quoted the question in article I am going to answer it. No it doesn’t. If fact it has been display through out the run of Discovery. The quoted question is an opinion and not factual.

1) The lead also being the highest ranked officer on the ship makes more sense and saves them from having a show with important senior personnel simply not existing (CMO, Chief Engineer). The lower decks perspective idea did not work out since they could not resist giving Burnham and other lower ranked characters the dominant positions on the ship.

2) I ask for a more ensemble show which DISCOVERs a DIVERSITY of characters. This is not “The Burnham Chronicles”, that’s one-sided and boring.

OTOH, TNG lacked an on-screen science officer. (ENT, too, if I’m correct in recalling T’Pol didn’t double as science officer?) TOS lacked an on-screen security chief. DS9 gained a counselor very conveniently, when Ezri showed up.

To be fair a Chief Engineer and Chief Medical Officer seem even more fundamental to the operation of a starship than a counselor or even a science officer.

To be even more fair, the ships counselor should not even have a station on the bridge. At best Troi should have been a recurring role. Not a regular.

Temarc, I think Data doubled as Science Officer and yes, so did T’Pol. That DS9 didn’t have a counselor seemed odd at the time, but Bashir filled that role until Ezri showed up [still upset about Terry Farrell, I am]. McCoy filled that role for Kirk.

You would think a ship with over 1000 crew members could find a full time Science Officer.

I was never upset at lack of counselors on any show. Troi sort of ruined the concept forever for me.

Data had the science hat too, according to the original PR.

Since he was an android, it was inferred that he could double that with Ops.

Not sure it worked. The Relaunch books have all given the Enterprise-E a separate Science officer. They’ve also separated the first-contact specialist from the Chief Counsellor. It makes for a lot of characters though.

While I’m on the fence with Michael week by week I never bought into this Mary Sue stuff. She’s one for being a competent and smart Starfleet officer? Well what would that make Kirk or Picard? I don’t really get the difference, especially since the definition of a Mary Sue is they don’t make mistakes and we seen her make a few, the biggest in the first episode.

The issue is not her being competent, but Pike being made look incompetent at some previous instances. She’s the lead, but he’s the captain. Being the lead is about screen time and not making other characters look passive or dumb.

But how does that make her a Mary Sue just because he looks less competent (and I think he’s been fine personally)? Maybe I just don’t know the entire definition but its just become annoying this word is tossed around to practically any woman with strong capable skills these days, especially in sci fi, Rey being the biggest target. They are already accusing that with Captain Marvel and they haven’t even seen the damn movie yet.

Tiger I didnt even use the word here! It’s the same as with Wesley, so it’s not about that. Having credible skills for the position and superpower skills are not the same, and standing on their own is not the same as diminishing other characters. Pike is one of 5 most decorated captains of Starfleet history as per Discovery, so lead or not, Michael shouldn’t dance circles around him at any time even if she was a he. Like I said I don’t care what it’s called. I want to discuss issues not words. Anthony sure noticed something too or he wouldn’t have put it into the review above.

Vulcan Soul, I agree, I wish the captain could be right sometimes. I sure liked the friction between Pike and Tyler. Like Anthony, I hope it doesn’t go away. It was very interesting!

I liked it too Marja.

Tyler is a very interesting character, and is hitting the Trek-trope of ‘having another mind in my mind’ and doing the hard work of showing what that might look like over the long haul.

Having Tyler and Pike challenging one another is providing character exposition and development by action, and is a counterpoint to Tyler’s relationship with Lorca.

My understanding of the Mary Sue is not what Burhman has been on Discovery. It’s being said about Captain Marvel? Was it said about Dianna Prince a couple of years ago?

I’ll restate that a good leader leans on a subject matter expert. It’s no different here.

Pike has been shown to be incompetent… when?

There were numerous instances earlier in season 2 where Pike wanted to do it “by the book” (or not do it at all), Burnham said let’s do it this and that way, and he went along. Starting right with the astroid mission in the season opener where she quite inappropriately critized him on the bridge for allegedly thinking the bridge crew did NOT have a plan. Now I agree with those who say this may just be his “laid back” command style, but can a captain who is not bigger than the sum of his bridge crew really be one of the 5 highest decorated captains in Starfleet history, as per discovery?

While I have maintained that a series lead does not HAVE to be overriding people who by their vita should be more experienced than her (Pike should be a role model for her on her quest for rehabilitation and one day having her own command, not the other way round!), I can see that this is where the bad writing habits are coming from. In short, I don’t see why this show should be “centered” around Burnham at all! It’s called “Discovery”, not “The Burnham Chronicles” for Surak’s sake! I think same as with many other things such as the Klingons, it is time for the showrunners to acknowledge this and make adjustments, ie turn Discovery into more of an ensemble show, starting with turning the bridge crew into actual characters rather than stage props and (worse) token guys.

Yeah sorry I don’t see it. It sounds like you have a specific beef with Burnham that you haven’t had the millions of times Worf has been dismissed on the bridge or when Ro fought with Picard or Kira fought with Sisko. I don’t know why Burnham makes you feel like he makes Pike dumb, but this explanation doesn’t pass even the barest analysis for me.

If you’re looking for Pike to put Burnham “in her place,” as it were, don’t hold your breath.

“If you’re looking for Pike to put Burnham “in her place,” as it were, don’t hold your breath.”

That’s what a captain should do when someone is acting out of the line, as he has done with Saru when ordering him off the bridge! As Georgiou did with Burnham when she rebelled. If the most basic and logical character interactions can’t happen anymore because of the social group a certain character belongs to (like we were told Culber can’t die), there is something fundamentally wrong.

I have to say it really grated on me when they had Pike say, “ranks aren’t important.” Yes, they are. They represent competence and experience [most of the time]. That way when the person who has a certain rank performs very badly, it can be dramatically interesting. Plus, people bust their humps to make rank. Pike knows that.

We have been promised that the bridge crew will be given more to do this year and I see it happening. But look back over Trek, and you’ll see there are always seven standout characters and three to four main characters. And there was always Extra doing Something at the Engineering station on the bridge, or other stations, and we never learn anything about Ms/Mr Extra.

So far we are learning about Detmer and Owosekun and Bryce and Rhys and Airiam. I think the balance is pretty fair. My spidey senses tell me we’ll be seeing a lot more of Airiam :^)

I have never once thought Pike to be passive or dumb in his interactions with Burnham. I wonder why you think that?

You should read some other (non-Youtube) forums and comment sections too to broaden your horizon then, rather than making sinister insinuations! Just Google for “Discovery Review Season 2” for starters!

The issue is not her being competent, but Pike being made look incompetent at some previous instances.

When, exactly? Because Pike accepts her recommendations? Was Picard made to look incompetent by saying “make it so” when he received recommendations?

Dude, you’re not making any sense.

She’s not a Mary Sue in any way.
Being a focal/central character does not make her a Mary-Sue.

She is also flawed ( in her actions and decisions, often ). Again, that is not a Mary-Sue.

Like that is going to get in the way of them trying to bash the show.


People need to stop using the term Mary Sue. It has been co-opted and perverted and twisted around like a game of telephone such that it has lost all meaning.

Just say you don’t like the character.

People need to stop using the term Mary Sue. It has been co-opted and twisted around like a game of telephone such that it has lost all meaning.

Just say you don’t like the character.

I had an issue with Michael as a character more in the first season, strictly from a writing standpoint. Great characters can really only have one or two main goals driving them. After that, they start to become incoherent and/or difficult to empathize with. There were just too many storylines and sources of drama with her every week last season that she became kind of a strained character to identify with. Daddy issues with Sarek. Daddy issues with Lorca. Sibling rivalry with Saru. Mommy issues with Georgiou. Love story with Tyler (who was his own ball of craziness). Etc. The scenes with Tilly I think were the ones I liked most because it was the only time it seemed like she chilled TFO.

But, that said . . . I think I like her a lot more in the second season because they’ve either minimized or stripped out a lot of the other stuff and just focused primarily on the Spock family dynamic, which I actually think makes her a stronger character.

Good episode btw.

This is what happens when you make a supporting crew member the lead of a show. It also doesn’t help that the people around her are better actors that she is. Jason Isaacs ran circles around her for most of season one and Anson Mount has quickly come to be a more interesting character in season two. Not to mention the fact that Doug Jones’ Saru has quickly evolved into a far more interesting character despite having a supporting role.

Part of the reason I want to see Prime Lorca is not only because of all the dramatically interesting issues he’ll have to face in dealing with the crew, [and possibly in dealing with some PTSD from the Mirror Universe] but also because Jason Isaacs and Sonequa Martin-Green have very good “chemistry”. Plus, Jason Isaacs is a really good actor who can be fascinating with just a few minutes of screen time.

And I think Pike, Spock and Number One deserve their own show set on “Pike’s Enterprise.”

Just another person who doesn’t know what a “Mary-Sue” actually is…..


General Order #7 always seemed a little overboard. Bet it gets instituted as a result of the upcoming storyline.

Talosians next week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was great be to on Vulcan this week.

From the glimpse in the trailer they look just right, IMO.

I’m waiting to judge until we see whether or not the backs of their heads look like butts.

Exactly! Nice of them to NOT show us the back. The dress and the front look great. But didn’t they have more of a pink complexion originally?

And they were played by women last time to give them a different feel. In the preview they looked very male. We shall see…

There’s clearly a male and a female actor playing the two Talosians we see in the preview. I do wish they’d had them look androgynous and more frail looking. One of the things we learned in The Cage is that they too are sort of trapped, they mostly live in their zoo specimens’ minds, and they’ve forgotten how to do practical things (repair their own machines).

Oops, I should have read further down the comments again ….

lol I thought the same thing. South Park this season had them and their heads had the butt and the pulsating heart

Unfortunately they didn’t cast women as Roddenberry did. He wanted the Talosians to be all brain, and fragile-looking bodies, because their society no longer relied so much on bodily agency. I’m not saying all women have fragile bodies! But the look of big strong obviously male Talosians seems all wrong to me. (Kind of like if you cast Doug Jones as a big blocky Moclan on “Orville.”)

I’m glad they didn’t try to change an alien race just for the sake of it for once! Though they had to shove down blue Vulcan sky on us once again (given Team JJ is involved, I saw this coming from a parsec away!) The latter is all the more inexcusable given that an orange sky looks so much more alien and exciting (plus usually they are in love with orange-and-teal). Vulcan is a dusty desert planet like Mars, so what’s the problem with going orange? Sometimes you gotta think they just do this to annoy fans. And they weren’t saving any cost since all of that was CGI anyway. So, why?

I agree with you about the sky. Blah.

It really can’t be all desert. How does an all-desert planet keep billions of Vulcans and other species alive? Where does the oxygen come from without lots of plant life?

Planets all being a single biome is just silly.

Maybe I should change my screen I.D. to “Always Late to the Party”. LOL.

Why not? Mars is all desert and once harbored life. It’s alien plant life same as Vulcans have alien biochemistry (green blood), why couldn’t they survive in this conditions? And Earth isn’t blue because of the oxygen, but because of the oceans.

If Mars once harbored life, it was far warmer and wetter than its current state.

A few bodies of water don’t make a planet blue. Vulcan is supposed to have alot of desert and dust like Mars and that’s what’s making the sky orange (in Mars’ case). How are they reconciling a supposedly still-orange planet with a blue sky? The source for the orange is the same.

Um… Mars was not just a few bodies of water.
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Also, can we please move past the ‘mono-biome/mono-culture’ Trek finally or are people going to nay say that idea despite it being completely realistic?

Where do you see a blue planet here? And what has it got to do with the sky if the orange planet has SOME water (which in most depictions of Vulcan, it did not have)? The red dust is making the sky hazy similiar to a vulcano eruption on Earth, and unless they show a Vulcan ship in the middle of that hypothetical Vulcan ocean we never saw, the sky should be just as hazy-orange alright!

And that mono-culture idea was unique and beautiful as each species was meant to be a metaphor for a different aspect of humanity. Can we move past the literal surface please?

Um, Earth’s sky is blue precisely because of the Oxygen in its atmosphere. Our atmosphere scatters all light, but blue light is scattered more as a result of O2 and blue light’s shorter wavelength. The ocean’s are blue because the sky is blue, not the other way around.

In addition, Mars is considered, at this point, to be a dead planet, and we still don’t know if Mars ever actually supported life. Had their been life on Mars, it would have been hundreds of thousands, if no millions of years ago. In that time span, the water on Mars either froze and settled under the surface, or, as Mars’ atmosphere thinned, water literally evaporated away into space.

I was talking about the planet color, Earth is blue because mostly being covered by water.

Mars the planet looks orange because of the ironoxide dust. The sky is orange for the same reason. Vulcan was previously depicted as a dusty desert planet as well rather than Earth redux, and sure enough the planet itself is orange. So why not the sky?

Earth’s sky is not blue because of its oceans, but rather due to Rayleigh Scattering in its atmosphere. Water vapor does contribute some to that, but its primarily oxygen and nitrogen

That doesn’t mean Vulcan’s sky can’t be blue, or at the very least red all the time. Mars’s sky is pinkish because as you said, iron-oxide dust. There’s little reason to believe Vulcan has the same atmosphere as Mars (in fact, with Vulcans being copper-based instead of iron-based, there is a good argument against it.) Vulcans breathe the same air as humans, which suggests a similar atmosphere content as Earth (neither could breathe on Mars.)

So where does Vulcan’s oxygen come from if not abundant plant life?

Didn’t Orci excuse it by saying the Vulcan sky is seasonal? I thought that a clever way to cover up the failure to follow the established Vulcan canon.

” I thought that a clever way to cover up the failure to follow the established Vulcan canon.”

Can this even be a failure (accident) and not a deliberate decision full well knowing canon? I just wonder for what reason. It’s like these people have this irresistible urge to remold Trek in their own image, even at the expense of making it LESS alien and interesting and diverse. Maybe they should create their own stuff then and not play with someone else’s toys?

You do realise that our own sky on earth can appear variants on blue and even oranges and reds depending on atmospheric conditions.

My guess was that making the sky orange for ST ’09 would have just cost too much money so it was jettisoned. And the seasonal excuse was as good an in universe excuse as any.

“Maybe they should create their own stuff then and not play with someone else’s toys?”

Right there, VS. To me, messing with the TOS era (and Vulcan by extension) is “someone else’s toys.”

I agree. If they wanted to piss off TOS fans, they succeeded.

Gary, I dont even know why anyone is arguing pro blue Vulcan sky other than being disagreeable, when there is precisely zero reason to change that after all series and movies gave us an orange planet. As per Mars an orange sky is not less scientific than a blue sky (a deeply orange planet with a blue sky, however, is scientifically questionable) . An orange sky sure is more interesting and exciting. It is also in keeping with 50 years of canon. This is basically the same thing as changing the Klingon makeup, except one COULD argue the new makeup made Klingons more alien. This, however, makes Vulcan LESS alien. So to quote Tilly, what’s the frigging point?

oh god, the klingons are not the same klingons as in TOS!!!!!!

Your creative use of exclamation marks does not substitute for an argument (or understanding mine).

You will literally complain about *anything* won’t you? It’s getting incredibly tedious now.

Not anything, just deliberate canon violations. And you can use your usual nickname, Ad Astra Per Aspera ;)

The sky bugs me a bit. But I am with Anthony when he says it would be good to avoid the Star Wars trope where entire planets have one climate type.

Really, does the entire planet have to have the same climate? Ours doesn’t. The color of the sky is a different matter, I suppose. Not an expert there.

Yeah SUPER excited about that now. I can’t wait to see how it all plays out. And they look great. Properly upgraded the same way the Andorians were from TOS to Enterprise. Not super cheesy or that they are in cheap make up which they definitely looked that way on TOS.

I didn’t think they looked cheesy in TOS. They just made the blood vessels on their giant heads look more real now (and added the vertical nose ridge, apparently). I wasn’t quite sure about it, but are they still using all-female actors for the roles? The left one looked quite bulky and male to me.

It could just be an age thing but I remember first watching it as a kid and it looked like something out of a bad 50s sci fi movie to me. And they came off too stereotypical looking but I guess they were probably pretty unique at the time. The ones we see here just feels more modern at least. And it looks like Talos IV itself has a major upgrade as well and not just regulated to a set.

As far as who is playing them, I have to watch it again. I only saw it once and I didn’t think to pause for some reason lol. I’m sure the pics are all online now somewhere.

Dang – I always knew that Meg Wyllie (sp?) Played the main one (the Keeper, with the pendant) – but thought the other ones were men. Looking at this pic, I still think that one in the back looks like a dude, but the one on the right looks like Lorraine Newman with her conehead malformed.
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No. Meg Wyllie was joined by two other females as the Keeper and their sidekicks.

I’m with you on this one too Tiger2.

When The Cage was released on video during TNG’s run, I recall that it seemed very 1950s, with a style of production closer to Forbidden Planet.

But the Talosians were the stuff of the horror-scifi movies shown after school. They may have given Tamara Deverell nightmares as a child, but even in the early 1990s as an adult I found them old-fashioned and cheesy.

If they weren’t credible 25 years ago, how could that work with a current audience.

Not to mention that Dann, the engineering character on the Orville, is a current offering that looks a lot like the original Talosians with speckles.

Exactly TG47!

They looked goofy to me in the 80s, I can’t imagine how they would look to someone today. For the record they were fine for TOS because that was made at a certain time and it was pretty clear The Cage didn’t have the highest budget or technology, but they would be laughed off the screen today.

I think the “update” is respectful and not too different, though I would have preferred they kept the all-women casting (with male voices) to keep the same “vibe”.

In the Cage, the main Talosian was played by a woman. The other two were played by men.

According to Memory Alpha, “The producers and Gene Roddenberry decided to cast the Talosian roles as females and then dub male voices over the footage.”

Yeah, the look is good and proves that the creatives on the show were very capable to make things from the Discovery world look like they could fit in TOS world if they wanted to go that way from day one. Which they should have. That is an old complaint. But one that I will continue to raise from time to time. :)

I’m really excited about the Talosians too, not just because of how they’ll connect to the Red Angel, but because I bet it’s going to set up a great Pike-focused episode or two. There’s so much to work with here that’s never been explored before.

Pike-focused episodes is what this season needs more of to make me shut up about Michael Burnham :)

For the record, I personally just want to see these types of stories because I am fascinated with how they’ll further fill in ‘Menagerie’s backstory. It has nothing to do with liking or not liking other characters on the show.

I’ve also been wishing for a long time that we could see what happened after The Cage.

So was I! I always found the Pike Era to be so very fascinating, idk why, cant pinpoint it really. Maybe because It looked and felt more serious and less cheesy than the Kirk era (the color palette alone…) and Pike always struck me as troubled and not the perfect human being. Space seemed so vast and cold in “The Cage”… in addition I always loved the uniforms better, the landing jacket etc. …

I know I am geeking out about it, but I wished so so badly they would use an updated version of the “Cage” uniform – even if it was just the gold or blue collar instead of the black one (newer liked the black one!)

General Order Number 7’s death penalty always seemed to be a bit over-the-top for Starfleet, especially considering the organization as it evolved through the Trek movies and TV series from TNG onward. I bet that it gets put in place as a result of what happens in the upcoming storyline, and we’ll finally have a good explanation for it.

This seems to be the only explanation given that Burnham did not seem to be aware of either the General Order nor acquainted with Talos IV in general, when setting course to there (“Where are you taking us?”) Meaning Captain Pike’s stint there several years ago could NOT be what put the GO in place, and made Talos “infamous” across the Federation.

Did Pike’s crew go to Talos before the events of Discovery? I thought that was still to come …?

I know Pike is going to be on the Enterprise for another 10 years because Kirk “got command of the Enterprise” from Pike.

We’ll have an explanation for it. We won’t have a good explanation for it.

Always the optimist :)

If you think General Order 7 is over the top, you’ll love General Order 24.

GO 24 was AWESOME! I loved when Kirk ordered it.

Exactly what I’m hoping for. Also it might give us a canonical reason why the Talosians contacted Spock to offer a home to Pike after his injury and not Number One (apart from the obvious reason that she wasn’t a character on the show anymore)

Those Talosians could mess up the whole of the Federation by thinking hard

On the shuttle the sound of the engines was straight out of TOS.

During the fight between Burnham and Georgiou, the bone-crunching sound was straight out of the Three Stooges.

Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk! Um, you’re not entirely wrong…

I can’t believe I missed that! Dang ears!

Since when did Star Fleet shuttles start having a warp drive?

When it’s convenient for the plot. I don’t think the original plan was to have them be mini-starships. In ‘Spock Must Die,’ James Blish has a duplicate Spock modify a shuttle to be warp-capable. But, by Season 3, you’ve got ‘Let That Be Your Last Battlefield’ and ‘Metamorphasis,’ where each shuttle clearly is on a long-range flight.

I always thought they were let out near where they were going while Enterprise continued on. Just my childhood perception.

I thought the Galileo shuttles on Enterprise had small warp nacelles on them.

The TOS Shuttlecraft had warp nacelles. They also had an impulse or ion drive at the back of the main cabin.

In The Menagerie, Kirk (along with Talosian projected Commodore Mendez) attempt to follow the Enterprise, and the Enterprise is at warp. If the shuttlecraft doesn’t have warp, why would they ever leave the Starbase? But we also know that Shuttlecraft range is limited – either extended warp or extended use of primary engines drains shuttle power, so it can’t be powered by the same type of system as the larger starships. Burnhams shuttle may have been refueled-recharged at Vulcan, and then again by Leland’s ship before she left for Talos.

Further, when she tells the ship to go to Talos at maximum warp, you would assume that the AI is smart enough to figure out that doesn’t mean actual top speed, but either maximum warp which reaches it, or maximum warp which allow a return journey. I’m guessing that it is smarter than Siri, and probably smarter than Alexa too.

I should have said THE Enterprise. I was not referencing Enterprise the show. I meant the Enterprise of TOS.

Yep, I was agreeing with that. especially when you said Galileo (which was a specific shuttle name of the #7 shuttle NCC-1701/7, not a class) – Columbus was the same class NCC-1701/2) which we saw during TOS.

And Copernicus was used in TAS AND The Final Frontier.

“Can we just have a second to think this through”?
– Lampshading Tilly reviews Star Trek: Discovery

Other than this common gripe about the show, what this episode has going for it is that we are now largely in uncharted territory. This may be Discovery’s most unpredictable episode, from Amanda hiding Spock right on Vulcan, Leland’s guilt and future alien takeover of Ariam, right to Discovery finally setting course for Talos IV (with Spock, no less!), this one is choke-full with new developments. Sure, we knew from previous episodes that with the Red Angel being from the future, time travel was going to occur, and from background info that the Talosians are gonna show up at some point, but unlike season 1 the actual twists weren’t visible from light years away. They also learned from earlier season 2 ADHD-compromised disasters to limit both the number of story lines and directors’ vacuous playfulness with the camera. Though as an adrenaline-pumped action show and exposition-filled middle piece of the arc, there wasn’t a lot of substance and meaning here opposed to last week’s episode (controversial as it was). Exciting as this was on a purely visceral level, I will say I still vastly prefer those mostly standalone outings with a mission, a message, and a graceful tie-in into the larger themes and arcs.

My only explanation is this episode was written for the sole purpose of kicking off the second half of the season and less for any type of resolution.

Right! For that reason I find it curious how many people rate this one as “one of the best”. It’s just a piece of a puzzle – a puzzle whose final picture we dont know yet.

Spock introduction, time anomaly, growth of some of the characters, going to Vulcan, Talos IV. I believe in this way it was very enjoyable.

Enjoyable, yes. Best? It’s not even a full episode (explaining its record shortness).

You’ve nailed it.

When I saw Spock in the trailer for this episode, I did an immediate count…

Yep, it’s episode 7, the midseason cliffhanger.

Just glad that there’s no hiatus this time.

Not as painful to watch as last week, but still the writing is focused on a teen/twenties emo sensibility. It’s hard to take some of it seriously. I’ve never seen more exposition used in a fight than the one between Pike and Tyler. Sure, it’s nice to see the Talosians, but it undercuts ‘The Menagerie’ (the court martial part anyway).

Seeing Discovery as Young Adult Scifi goes a long way to make sense of the perpetually infused emotionalism indeed!

Agreed, CmdrR. That comment resonates with me Big Time. YA Sci-Fi. That could be the explanation why the show gnaws at my brain in an annoying way I couldn’t exactly place before.

I don’t think it undercuts “The Menagerie” at all. In fact I think it makes perfect sense.

In his current condition, Spock is thinking the only group he has encountered in his short career that could even begin to help him out of his mental state are the Talosians. I think Burnham is taking him there because he knows they will help. I think this is when Spock and the Talosians develop a bond.

We know that Spock breaks Lord knows how many Starfleet regulations (and jeopardizes his relationship with his friend and commanding officer Kirk) to get Pike back to Talos IV. We know Spock cares deeply for his former captain and mentor, so we have to assume he trust the Talosians to care for Pike. I think what we could see next is how Spock and the Talosians developed that bond between the events of “The Cage” and “The Menagerie”. When else could it have happened?

There’s no direct contradication (yet). I said ‘undercut,’ because the Talosians should be mysterious. Ah well…

I remember saying the same about the Borg but we remember how they were milked for all they were worth and then some.

I here this after every episode. You can’t know where and why they are going. It’s a 14 hour movie and has to fold out before you can really know

Overall, a fabulous episode! Lots to digest.Thanks for posting this review at warp speed.

I really enjoyed this episode! This so far was the best episode for me despite being one of the shortest this season.


Looooved it! Loved it! Loved it! Loved it!

Finally ending the search for Spock, all the cool scenes on Vulcan (glad this one isn’t getting blown up ;)), the crazy reveal about Section 31 killing Burnham’s parents, the crazier temporal anomaly that sent their own probe 500 years into the future and back as a freaking sentinel, infecting Ariam in the process who is probably going to pull a compromised 7 of 9 soon and take over the ship any day now and last, but far from least, Talos IV!!!!!!!!

This gave me a lot of things I want in my Trek stories: time travel, mystery upon mystery, crazy technology (and great point about the shuttle shielding having similar tech we saw 25th century Janeway have, only 160 years early lol but whatever at this point) and a lot of great character moments. Spock had a weird introduction to say the least but I liked it! MU Georgiou was even great! That fight scene was fun.

This was a ride! It had a lot of great TNG and DS9 elements in it. It may even be my favorite episode of the season, pushing off my beloved New Eden. But I was enthralled with everything. And now with Spock going to Talos IV and Burnham getting visions of the future, it looks like its going to be a complete mind trip! It all raised so many questions, questions I didn’t think I would even be contemplating halfway into the season.

Isn’t it funny though how everyone is excited about temporal anomalies again when Voyager got lambasted for it on a regular basis? Though I suppose they did go to that particular well one time too often :)

I don’t recall ever lambasting Voyager over it. Timeless, Shattered, Relativity, Time & Again, Non Sequitor, Coda, Eye of the Needle, Future’s End, Year of Hell, were some of the best episodes of the show’s run.

I wasn’t talking about you personally, Afterburn :)

Understood, but the episodes listed are generally considered among the show’s best.

I liked them too, I’m just reporting on the general sentiment back then, and Voyager for sure was regarded as “Lesser Trek” (at least until Enterprise came along), especially compared to Holy DS9!

Great episodes. Voyager crashing in “Timeless” was some of Foundation Imaging’s best work on that show.

The Voyager crash in “Timeless” still holds up amazingly well even by today’s standards. Over 20 years ago, it was a brutal gut-punch and shockingly effective.

Foundation Imaging did truly incredible work for Star Trek and other genre shows back in the day. They did not deserve their fate.

I thought that crash was way better than what ILM did for the E-D crash in Generations. Shows how far things got in just a few years.

Rewatched it a few months ago, this is definitely true.

That was probably because at that point people were just tired of hearing it. Time heals all wounds

Yes this is a good point. When Voyager was on it was inundated with these story lines to the point people took them for granted. Now its been nearly 20 years since we seen them since Enterprise did a few of them but not nearly as much so its fun to see them back on Discovery.

But yes I always loved those episodes in Voyager and in fact rewatched a few of them that was pointed out in the last month alone. Voyager was easily the trippiest Trek in terms of these types of stories and a lot of fun because of them.

Wasn’t the Botany Bay found near the Mutara Sector

Botany … Bay … ?

Botany Bay! Oh, no…!

“Ohh No!”

They never said where it was found, and we don’t know how much time passed, how far they traveled before the Enterprise deposited it Ceti Alpha V. Regula One was somewhere near the Mutara Nebula.

Airiam getting infected would have more impact if we knew more about her … but I suppose this will lead to some long-awaited backstory.

It’s true, right now this is more about her being a plot device for “alien ship takeover” than being part of some character arc, like with Tyler’s or Culber’s ordeal.

I think that’s the point though. Because we don’t know much about her, its a way to reveal what she is and how she works. People have been begging for an Ariam back story two minutes after she was introduced last season and it look like they are finally getting around to it. I can’t wait to see where that goes now.

Tiger2 Ariam should get her own show.

I be down for that. Anything over aMU Gerogiou getting her own show…but that’s still 10 times better a Khan show. So I guess we dodged that bullet.

Tiger, and they are still doing squat to “de-extremize” either Georgiou or Section 31. This week its Section 31 to get their evil part. Are we really suppoded to believe they would quasi-murder a Starfleet officer and Vulcan ambassador’s son for information on a phenomenon that has not even proven to be hostile, let alone threaten the existence of the Federation? This is the slippery slope they are readily sliding down. Or it could all be a ruse by Georgiou (ie we can only take her word over Lelands that this is what S31 planned. And why should we? We dont know exactly what Leland has done but she IS Space Hitler). So we can’t take anything this character or organization promises or says for real because they don’t havr ANY values.

Once again, I think we, the audience, are meant to side with Space Hitler Georgeau over evil spy Leland. Just like we were supposed to side with her over Lorca because he was obviously the bad guy because he paraphrased Donald Trump. The reality is they should all just go away never to be heard from again. Section 31 and Georgeau are both severely bring season 2 down towards season 1 levels.

ML31, I hope they spare us the inane reveals and speeches this time though! Writers who only know how to paint in black and white in the crudest ways should stay away from the metaphors.

Section 31 and Georgeau are both severely bring season 2 down towards season 1 levels.

Agreed. I’ve never cared for Sec. 31 storylines — TOS, TNG, and VOY did just fine without them — and it’s detracting from an otherwise excellent season of DISCO.

I know that CBS and Kurtzman are jazzed about Michele Yeoh (and I’ll say that last night I did really like her, and she was the most likeable, including when she was Prime Georgiou.

But now, there should be no denying that Anson Mount is probably the most popular character this season – and if we get a more traditional Trek show where he is the lead, it would be embraced pretty well. The more traditional Trek plotlines are more popular and less criticized than the Section 31 and the Klingon plotlines. A new show with Pike/#1/Spock & Enterprise, which is simply “Star Trek” running alongside “Picard” would be a hit for All Access.

I’m tending to think that too. I’m a convert. Before the season started that was the LAST thing I wanted to see. Mount has won me over.

Agree, this would be a joy. Just classic, slightly adjusted, classic TOS Trek on the good old Enterprise.

It has my vote!

And of course, now leading us to the conclusions that either Airyam is the Red Angel, or she is the AI on Discovery in 1000 years.

Oh, and unfortunate that her eyes turned red… on the same night that the red-eyed Kaylon attacked Earth on the other show.

Martin The Orville

I remember last episode people were debating maybe this will tie in to Calypso and while 500 years is only half of a thousand, its still a possibility this has something to do with Zora. I’m not convinced its her yet but it could be Airiam as you suggested and especially if she is like Data and can live for centuries.

Its also feeling like vibes from the Temporal Cold War and two sides hundreds of years into the future fighting to control the past. I don’t think thats what it is, but you can’t ignore the comparisons. And if Daniel shows up in episode 10…

As I noted above, if this is the Temporal Cold War 2.0 (or 1.0, still), there could be multiple factions in multiple centuries – one in the 28th and one in the 33rd century, for instance. Can it be a coincidence this probe is coming from the same century as Future Guy? With THESE writers?

Wow thats actually a good point. For some reason I thought Future Guy came from the 29th century but maybe I’m getting him confused with Daniels.

So yeah you could be right, these writers are ALL about connections to past canon and previously established groups, especially this season. It would be an odd coincidence both people manipulating the past are in the same century. But these people seem like they are more advanced than Future Guy was to be able to do what they did with that probe turning it into an advanced A.I. Its possible though.

I have to admit, I wasn’t sure what the whole Red Angel thing was going to be but they are actually thinking out of the box like the other shows did, so I’m really impressed so far. And I’m happy its not an actual angel lol.

Edit: Just checked Memory Alpha and you’re right, Future Guy came from the 28th century. Daniels came from the 31st. Hmmmm….

The Wells from the Temporal Integrity Commission in the 29th might get a nod, too. Lots of possibilities. Or something new.

Ok THAT’S who came from the 29th century. I knew somebody did lol. Trying to keep all these time periods together and who came from what century gets confusing, but that’s time travel for ya!

Would love to see the time ships show up again and would make sense they would be involved. Any time something connects to canon always brings a smile to my face, just as long as its not shoehorned in and this would be the opposite. So I’m excited for all possibilities when it comes to time travel stories.

Didn’t that guy whose timeship got stolen in Voyager [necessitating their visit to Los Angeles 1992] come from the 29th century? Sorry I’m bad with names. I just watched that ep two weeks ago.

Yes! And I rewatched Relativity a few days ago and they did originally come from the 29th century.

“I’m happy its not an actual angel lol.”

It didn’t need to be an actual angel. But it would have been much better to make it more obscure. We don’t need to be spoon fed EVERYTHING.

Do you mean make it more ambiguous? TBH I’m not sure how they could’ve done that. I mean they could’ve kept them in the dark longer I guess but I’m actually happy they revealed its a person who is in some type of super tech suit because it actually creates more questions instead of just wondering if its super natural or not. But I can see your point too.

I mean make it VERY ambiguous, yes. It is still a great leap to assume it’s a future being in a future suit. There are plenty of other things it can be based on the info collected thus far. But that is unfortunately what they are going for. They could have continued to drop clues here and there even all the way up to the end and then leave it up to the audience to decide what exactly it was. But that would be too much writing work, I guess. Easier to just spoon feed the audience because we can’t think.

Thats true. Many of us thought it may be a past group like the Iconians or the Preservers but now that theory has gone moot that we know its someone from the future. I guess you can believe they are in the future but you don’t want to make it too convoluted either.

There might actually be worse things than actually bringing the Temporal Cold War plotline from ENT, which was left dangling, to a satisfactory close. (Emphasis on the word “satisfactory.”)

“…bringing the Temporal Cold War plotline from ENT, which was left dangling, to a satisfactory close”

I would like that too! Who says they can only fill in blanks from TOS when they are sandwiched between two Trek eras?

I figured I wasn’t the only one who picked up on the temporal cold war thing. I REALLY hope they don’t use it but even though it looks like they are making better choices lately, they still have a history of bad plot choices and this season has not been immune to it.

That is a great theory. I actually think it makes some sense.

The AI on Disco said she never had a body.

Trek has a long history of showing rather than telling who the characters are, Ben Adams. Plot first, exposition later.

All the more so for secondary characters. Think of how many times we saw O’Brien in TNG before he was granted a name.

It’s easy to forget that it’s mainly worked that way when there are so many resources out there to fill in the backstory for those didn’t see all the series in first run.

You’re correct – but damn, Airiam is so much cooler than O’Brien. ;)

Did you guys notice: 500 years in the future is putting NastyProbe’s origin in the 28th century! Is Discovery going to bring back Enterprise’s Temporal Cold War? Red Angel is Future Guy, that mysterious “humanoid figure”? Finally a conclusion to this arc that Evil Space Nazis did not provide (thank god we have Space Hitler herself now)? Or another red herring? I’m seeing red ;)

I wish they`d stop using time travel over and over again in their “big mysteries” oO
… that said, the Temporal (Cold) War would likely manifest in most time frames of star trek because of… you know.. time travel.

Oh please no. I thought Future Guy was one of the weaker aspects of Enterprise. I hope they limit this to just a future Airyam or Zora, or future Tilly (best matched hips to the Red Angel) – and we can deal with it this season and be done and it is not some future factions “cold war”. Just a do-gooder working from the future on a few specific things.

Have you seen the preview for next week? These nasty probes are just babies compared to much bigger nasty mother ships! It seems there are way more people involved here than one “do-gooder”.

Regardless of whether you liked the TCW or Future Guy, it seems pretty weird for Discovery, which is predicated on starting a new Star Trek tradition for the 21st century, to go back to a poorly-implemented unfulfilled story point on the least popular Trek show that the fewest people watched. While Trek fans might salivate (or dread) the prospect, I can’t imagine that they are going to tie into this frankly arcane piece of lore no one else is expected to remember.

Just because the concept was not well received (it has been well documented it was forced on the producers by the network) doesn’t mean it is not worthy of using. It’s possible they take the idea and do something fascinating with it. Or they may do something even worse. Personally, I’m all for revisiting something that didn’t quite work the first time in an attempt to salvage it. It’s why if I see a remake, I’d rather see a remake of a bad movie or show than a good one. Perfect example… Battlestar Galactica. The original show was 100% garbage. The reboot was WAY good.

The TCW is definitely divided among fans and I basically thought it would never be revisited either, and I’m still not convinced it is yet. But its canon and maybe they want to use it within another angle which I’m fine with. TCW wasn’t a bad idea so much as it was badly executed. But I actually liked most of the episodes that focused on it, they were pretty trippy. The entire issue which the writers admitted was they didn’t even know who Future Guy was which to this day is just so dumb and it explains WHY the story line felt incomplete, because they were building on a multi-season story without even knowing who the main catalyst was. Its like building all season on the Red Angel and the writers don’t know who or what it is. That was just malpractice IMO.

But IF this is connected to the Cold War, maybe someone has decided who Future Guy is (finally lol) and wants to make it their own. I don’t have problem with that. This is the same show that is now going back to Talos IV after 50 years so I’m not shocked they might go this direction too.

I’ve been thinking that when the TCW was introduced in Enterprise there was a lot of speculation that it somehow tied into the 27th century timetravelling Vorlons from TNG’s Captain’s Holiday.

But whatever may be, TNG established that time travel tech was available in the 27th Century at likely more accessible level than the Delta-quadrant weirdness of Voyager.

And speaking of Voyager, Kirsten Beyer went all in with time travel trippiness and connecting up the dots of any number of wild Trek tropes in the Voyager Full Circle series of Relaunch books.
She was in the writers’ room for this DCS season, as well as being one of the creators of the Picard series. Let’s see if her influence plays out…

Wow, I never heard that theory but that would’ve been cool too. Especially if it was someone we already knew. I remember hearing it was probably Archer himself (which is funny since now I’m hearing the Red Angel might be Burnham herself…this stuff always comes full circle ;)). The one I loved was it being a Romulan from the future who was trying to manipulate the upcoming Romulan war which sounded brilliant! Something very tangible and connected to a big event from canon itself, only it literally hasn’t happened yet. But imagine if they had that in mind from the start while setting up the Romulan war in the process and it was all connected. They would’ve had the fans drooling.

Sadly it was no more than just a theory but its not like these guys didn’t have a huge amount of options out there. Its sad when fans are coming up with better ideas on their story line. Thats why the TCW was bad, because they only started with an idea and just pushed it along episode by episode instead of sitting down and figuring out the mythology and background from the beginning. That was the exact same problem that got LOST in trouble.

Oh and I forgot to add one of the biggest reasons I’m so excited for the Picard show is because of Kirsten Beyer! I’ve never read her Voyager novels but I do know they are considered really good and I know what they are about reading the summaries. But just the type of stories she makes are right up my alley and she obviously understands the 24th century, certainly more than everyone else there since she’s been literally writing it for over a decade.

So I’m very excited she’s on board and while I think it will be a more grounded political story (but nothing confirmed) I still want the trippy and weird stuff we get in Trek too. At least a few episodes.

“But IF this is connected to the Cold War, maybe someone has decided who Future Guy is (finally lol) and wants to make it their own.”

IF this is the TCW, it seems they have decided that Future Guy is Future Gal ;)

Did Burnham and Sarek really think that they could trust Section 31?

I don’t like how they make Section 31 THAT evil and at the same time have it operating fully out in the open as a part of Starfleet Intelligence. It really puts a stain on all of Starfleet and the Federation. Or maybe this is the final straw that will break Section 31’s back and force it undercover. But that the Federation could allow it to get to this point shows a level of corruption that is putting quite a dent into Utopia.

Vulcan Soul Section 31 is illegal and is against Federation values and ideals. Shut down Section 31 and make it go undercover for good.

They provide an interesting contrast with standard Federation ethics/morals. I don’t mind them being around a bit, but I do hope there’s some effort made to obscure their existence again.

By it’s very definition it is not illegal (being in the Starfleet Charter at the name-giving “Section 31”), and it was even there in Earth Starfleet already (see Enterprise)! So by definition Starfleet and the Federation need to take responsibility for its actions, no matter how much they try to twist this legally and semantically. It’s not like the US govt is not being made responsible for the crimes of the CIA abroad, and rightfully so.

Starfleet is still bound by Federation law though, and a lot of what they do is definitely illegal. Besides, I think they are really stretching the powers that the Starfleet Charter gives them.

You don’t like ANYTHING about the show, VS. Your relentless negativity and inability to meet any kind of other opinion half way demonstrates that. At this point it is coming across as you simply bashing us over the head with the fact you don’t like it over and over again. You are literally adding nothing new.

It’s also extremely grating.

Us? Feeling stronger in the group, eh? You know, you don’t HAVE to go ad hominem on me and can just ignore my comments if you prefer a sanitized discussion that shows proper respect for the Dear Leaders of this show :)

And for the record, I liked New Eden and Sound of Thunder. Just a little thin for 20 episodes so far compared to the other series!

Vulcan Soul actually praised last weeks episode. Maybe you didn’t read them but he said it was the best of the season if not the series. No matter how you feel about his views it proves he’s not here to hate the show or just bashing it. I wish people stop taking this stuff so personally, people are entitled to feel what they do over a TV show. You can certainly disagree but stop trying to limit his opinion because it doesn’t jive with yours.

And to me, people who find this show completely perfect and it can never do any wrong isn’t different than people who bash it all the time, both think in extremes which is odd to me personally. But of course if you love the show that much its your right. Difference is no one is getting on your case about it or calling you an apologist over it. So you should give others the same leeway.

Thank you, Tiger! Also I don’t HATE most episodes (apart from some of the Klingon angles like eating Georgiou or cutting off (fake) baby heads, or the Lorca Mirror revelation which was a travesty), but it’s mostly specific aspects I criticize which may very well changed or improved in the future just as Klingons could miraculously suddenly have hair again (after they said the baldness is biologically imperative for some “sensory organs” before season 1! But who cares heh). As it stands, season 2 is already a huge improvement over season 1!

Vulcan Soul, Hey, we agree, I thought the Mirror Lorca revelation was a travesty too :^

Trusting Section 31 is about as advisable as letting the Borg baby sit your kids or keeping two tribbles in the same room together. You just DON’T do it!

Sarek probably thought all their high tech stuff could help him than a regular hospital could but you would have to be crazy to leave them alone with him. That said I’m really liking Leland, he comes off both trusting but douchy at the same time. He definitely fits in with Section 31 lol.

I agree with that first line. Or Trusting Section 31 is like putting Isaac back on the bridge – especially now that we know his head cannons are faster draws than the red-eyed Kaylons.

You don’t even need TWO tribbles for jazz, Tiger! You just need one named Will.

With the repeated mentions of ‘Control’ being Section 31’s computer/model/AI, I am feeling that the writer’s room is building in the deep background from the Section 31 arc in the Relaunch books.

I know that David Mack has said it’s just coincidence, but the more we hear, the more it lines up.

So, what is the former Terran Emperor going to make of a behind-the-scenes AI that is trying to micromanage societal development, or nation-building as Admiral Cornwall put it?

Is Leland the true believer that Georgiou implies to Burnham?

Worse, did the Vulcan’s set up Control in the first place to socialize the humans and Andorians into the Federation? What does Sarek know really about Section 31?

Yeah its obvious they are going deep into Section 31 mythology with this show, which makes sense given they are setting up its own show. But I think every time S31 has shown up someone has thrown out the word Control which probably means they are setting up for a big shoe to drop with it. It may not be the same advanced AI from the books but now that the season is starting to hint at AI influences I wouldn’t be surprised that’s what it ends up being.

“It may not be the same advanced AI from the books but now that the season is starting to hint at AI influences I wouldn’t be surprised that’s what it ends up being.”

I wished they would say something meaningful and relevant too with this in the future, or should I say “new” (“we are only saints in paradise” or “the ends justify the means” are not). Such as exploring the moral ambiguities of AI being in control.

And perhaps the moral ambiguities of Vulcan using pervasive AI modelling and influence to shape micro behaviour.

(It should be noted that one of the two writers developing the S31 show has a PhD in neuroscience. She has the scientific chops to get into the whole societal level behavioural change story.)

This could be the morality tale for this generation. The current international debate about how social media platforms influence opinions, values and behaviour could be worked through by analogy.

Control in the books was involved in more than just intelligence. It was influencing social trends towards the Federation ideal.

The attitudes of Sarek and any of the 22nd century Vulcan’s in Enterprise make this a solid possibility. Add in the possibility of meddling in both directions from future centuries, and it may have been logically argued as an essential safety net to keep human and Andorians societies progressing towards there espoused ideals.

“Control” … I keep waiting for Maxwell Smart and Agent 99

As a politician, fully trusting the system, would you not trust the CSI/NSA? Intelligence Services are doing always ugly shit for the greater good, but this does not mean they ALWAYS do.
But as it might be uncovered that they do too much bad stuff, this will result in their demise and going undercover and ending as a typical conspiracy theory.

I really enjoyed tonight’s episode. I love how Michael Burnham cares about her brother Spock. Leland killed Burnham’s parents, I didn’t see that coming. Spock is mentally ill and I hope he gets better soon. Next week’s episode, we are going to Talos IV to save the future! Pike and Tyler look great together. The probe looked something out of Mass Effect. Amanda and Sarek are amazing. This is one of the best Star Trek: Discovery episodes ever. It was pretty short. The temporal anomaly was interesting and the Red Angel is from the future… Ariam was infected by a virus. Great episode.

It was a shorter episode but it felt much longer.

I hear ya’.

Speaking of the Sarek family stuff… Again it was an opportunity for Sarek to acknowledge that he lost Sybok and had no desire to lose another child. Instead, they pretended Sybok never existed. Which is a tremendous oversight and disservice.

ML31, it’s also hypocritical of the writers given that their own Michael only exists within such “oblivion”.

Skipping out on Sybok also suggests an arrogance on their part. ‘Yeah, we don’t want to acknowledge a never before mentioned half brother because he is associated with a lesser movie and we want OUR never before mentioned adoptive sister to be the only one as ours is a much better creation.’

The fact is mentioning Sybok would only help cement the existence of Michael. SMDH.

I’ve expressed my mixed feelings on this previously.

I’d like to point out that it’s still possible Sybok exists. I believe that Sarek said in this episode ‘I’m not willing to lose both our children in one day.’ The word ‘our’ is significant for a hair-splitting Vulcan logician.

What if Sybok, who was from a previous marriage, is much older and already alienated/estranged? So, not to be lost because already lost and never really Amanda’s step-son. The ‘We were raised as brothers’ type line in ST:5 never made chronological sense to me given long Vulcan lives.

What if Sarek’s rigidity about a purely Vulcan upbringing arises from perceived errors with Sybok? Or, what if he was equally rigid with Sybok while exposing him to human culture due to his diplomatic career?

I would need to hear the line again. It sounded to me like he said “my” not “our”. Important distinction. That said, Sybok was certainly older but it was my understanding that not so much older that he was not familiar with Spock’s childhood. Therefore, it seems to me that he was either a frequent visitor to the Sarek household or his later youthful years were spent there with Sarek, Spock and Amanda. And now, Michael. But again, as you ably brought up, Sybok is further meat to chew on regarding Sarek and how he opted to bring up Spock. And the producers are ignoring it.

Rewatched the episode ML31. Both Sarek and Amanda say ‘our children’.

But what’s more problematic is that Sarek retorts to Amanda in their argument along the lines of if he didn’t respect humans he would have married a Vulcan.

So, Sybok is not the product of a marriage? Marriage with Amanda is a remarriage (per ST:5)?

And as noted by others, Sybok would need to be at least 13 years older than Spock for the timing to work with Michael in the family. Could be Sybok was 20 and estranged or at least in advanced studies before she arrived…

That seems quite possible, ML31. Sybok seemed as if he were quite a bit older than Spock. Probably came home for brief visits or was estranged from Sarek. [Not hard to do.]

TG47, I agree. And I think Sarek said “OUR children.”
He also told Amanda “I would have married a Vulcan woman” if he didn’t respect Amanda. Perhaps Sarek had tried marrying a Vulcan woman, they had Sybock and everything went south.

Then he met Amanda and saw an opportunity for a moderation between logic and V’tosh T’kur [Sybok’s kind of “crazy” emotionalism].

But that still allows no explanation for how Sybok and Spock were “raised as brothers”.

All of this is just more gist for the mill of how Discovery only recognizes canon that suits their story and ignores canon that doesn’t. Sorta of like what someone doing a reboot would do…

Probe went 500 years into the future, so the 28th Century, also known as the time period of Future Guy from Enterprise. Would they dare make that connection?

Beaten to it. :-)

You mean Daniels?

No. Daniels is 31st century. Future Guy was the silhoutte who was in charge of the Suliban. I thought he was from the 29th century, like Captain Braxton, but I could be wrong.

Now this is the way Pike should have been portrayed all season. There have been times throughout the season that I felt Pike was made to look incompetent. Maybe not to the degree of John Harriman from Generations but incompetent nonetheless. This episode does more to show why he is listed as one of the five most decorated captains in Starfleet history then any other episode. Now all that being said I still hope that at the end of this season he will return to the Enteprise and Discovery will have another captain next season.

I don’t think he has been portrayed as incompetent at all. He simply leans in to the advice of those under his command more than other COs have done up until this point.

He leans in more than Jean-Luc “Make It So, Number One” Picard?

I felt Pike’s line in the premiere about trusting his officers implicitly set up the idea that he’s comfortable with the back and forth of ideas to come to the best solution. I don’t once remember him making an incompetent decision ultimately (or hesitating or stalling for time, like Harriman would), though there was that one point when he got a little over-defensive about being challenged. But I took that as Pike reminding people that, at the end of the day, he’s still in charge.

It’s not incompetence. He has made a few decisions and let Burnham talk him out of them. Which is fine. It happens. But when it happens so often that it is noticeable? I think that is what people, including the review’s author, are on about.

I see your distinction. Honestly, I guess I just hadn’t noticed myself yet. What’s the line between asserting ideas as a solution to a problem, versus giving orders that cannot be challenged at risk of insubordination? Maybe the earlier scene I referenced when Pike got so defensive speaks to this problem.

Another possibility is that the show’s natural tendency towards constant dramatic intensity gives these scenes a confrontational tone that intensifies these issues.

Follow me: I feel like the conversations Pike has with his crew here are not that much different in *substance* from those that Picard had in TNG. Honestly. The difference is in the tone, style, and narrative pacing. TNG took the time to have the whole crew all sit down and talk about the best course of action. This creates the effect of a genuine debate of ideas and not just constant insubordination. On the other hand, DISCO doesn’t take the time for that (everything has to be split second!), which is fine for me (I’m not making an evaluative judgment that one style is necessarily better), but maybe that constant intense need for heightened drama every five seconds in DISCO does create the *effect* of insubordination that some here are looking at.

I honestly cannot think of one instance where Burhman offered up her opinion to Pike and he didn’t take it either immediately or after her arguing for it. Whether he asked for it or not. That’s all.


“The difference is in the tone, style, and narrative pacing. TNG took the time to have the whole crew all sit down and talk about the best course of action.”

I think a good example (and a different one) was Saru challenging Pike in previous week’s episode, with (ironically) Burnham stepping in. And no doubt, the biggest failure of last week was making such far-reaching decisions for two civilizations without “sitting down and having a talk”. The difference however was that Saru was deeply compromised by his physical and psychological changes, and Pike acutely aware of that. Burnham as written has this tendency to challenge and override authority based on her convictions, as she sees fit (starting with Georgiou in the pilot) but is not immediately compromised in any excusable way (bad childhood doesn’t count). It means she is just not fit for command yet.

I do wish they’d pop into the Ready Room and talk in a circle at least [we really don’t need a conference table most of the time], not debate in front of the whole bridge crew. That’s just me tho.

Yeah I don’t see incompetence. I see someone who listens to people and is open to input.

Vulcan is a beautiful planet. We should see the Andorian home planet more. I want to go to Andoria. Andorians are little known in Star Trek. So are Tellarites. More Andorians in Star Trek Discovery please!

The greatest thing Enterprise did was actually show off the Andorians and give them a real back story. That’s why Shran is a fan favorite now because he made that species his own with his portrayal and set a new standard for them.

And I agree, that was another big let down for me about last season, it was waaaay too much focus on Klingons and Vulcans but very little else with other aliens. I was hoping the Andorians at least got some development and not just fall in the background again like they mostly were in TOS. Come to think of it, I don’t think we’ve even seen one Andorian this season. :(

I’m allergical to Klingons at this point and it WAS getting a bit stale, seeing more new races than old ones (apart from the Saurians, which have now gone into hiding again. Comedy time’s over (not that I miss THAT!)). In that light, the Talosians are VERY welcome!

Yeah, the biggest turn off for me about season one was hearing that it would be about the Klingon war as I just been sick to death of them. I didn’t mind characters like Worf or B’elanna but I didn’t want a show to focus completely on them like Discovery did. And they ended up being the worst portrayals out of all of the past Klingons IMO. I’m happy at least they got the message on that too and they are barely in it this season. If it wasn’t for L’rell there would be no reason to show them at all. They are just boring and one note!

The Talosians are indeed a welcome change. I was against the idea originally because I was sick of the nostalgia this show was shoving down our throats. But I have to admit the nostalgia this season is what’s been making the show worth watching so far. I can admit when I’m wrong and have no problem changing course if we are getting a better show out of it and so far we are.

To be fair the Talosians were exactly in 2 episodes of 50 years of Trek, while we had a felt 500 episodes about Klingons. Also the idea of cerebral aliens that have grown addicted to illusions sounds alot more intruiging in my book than your run of the mill warrior race (and how many warrior races does the Trek universe have really? Not much Utopia even outside the Federation if we are honest…)

Yes true, I can’t argue with that. Outside of the one episode literally made as the pilot we know nothing about the Talosians. Same for Pike, so it feels like they are essentially getting re-introduced unlike the Klingons who are a staple on every show. At least the movies don’t deal with them too heavily, certainly not TNG and the Kelvin movies.

I don’t want them to disappear or anything but its OK to give them the back seat once in awhile. Its another reason I’m not overly fond of doing more 23rd century stories because the Klingons do feel like its their only reel crutch to a formidable and well known villain. There are the Romulans too but they are usually in hiding (like now) or never given any real confrontations outside of a scuffle for an episode. Its exactly why I’m happy the Picard show is keeping the Romulus explosion because it forces them to think differently with them instead of the same old, same old. With Klingons its always the same thing, friend or foe, with the exception of going to war with the Federation on DS9. They actually had more layers there.

” They are just boring and one note!”

That’s the thing. They had the opportunity to be much more and it was an epic fail on their part. Especially after the pressers whey they literally told us the Klingons would be “explored like never before”. We got more about Klingons from Worf in any random 1/2 season of TNG than we got from Discovery.

ML31, that’s why their allegories fell flat too and ended up as insults. You actually have to explore and understand your opponent in detail in order to properly characterize them, literally or through metaphor.

Yeah thats so true. They made it sound like they were going to redefine the Klingons and present them in a way they were never seen before in the other shows but outside of their actual appearance they didn’t feel all that different. They made a big deal about Voq being a light skin Klingon and a few superficial lines about their fears about losing their culture over the Federation hegemony but outside of that it was the same stuff we seen in the last 30 years, just in a slightly different package…and a more uninteresting one at that.

Well given your reaction, and that of do many others, it’s a good thing that Ronald Moore didn’t get the ‘Klingon soap opera’ he said would have been his personal choice for a new series in the mid 90s.

Thank Kahless! ;)

I’m know there are people who love the Klingons and want to see them as much as possible. I just never been one of them and I love Worf. He’s one of my favorite characters but every time Michael Dorn brings up his Worf show idea my mind drifts off.

The Andorians in Enterprise were fantastic!

I loved the animatronics in the antennae.

Roxann Dawson is rightly lauded for directly the first episode with them. Shran in that episode took me from ‘don’t go there’ to WOW.

So, I’m open to letting Discovery also try to find a way to ‘a better idea’ with some canon aliens.

And I’m wondering how an Andorian would experience the spore drive ;)

I love Andorians and particularly Shran! I’ve loved them from the time of “Journey to Babel” and the older Andorian.

I was very pleased to see an actual Vulcan city instead of just desert stuff.

Same. That was the one highlight for me as well. I’m sick of every Vulcan story we get taking place in a cave or desert. Its nice to see real houses for a change.

Section 31 are evil. They wanted to kill Spock. Sick monsters!

Georgiou will make Section 31 great again.

Ruh roh. Hee, hee…

The writing is so pathetically weak! I thought this was one of those CW shows. The writers really do take shortcuts at each turn. Burnham is most definitely a Mary Sue and Pike is being wasted. Talosians? A return to Talos IV, this has great potential to be either really good or really, really bad.

I think involving the Talosians ties up with canon incredibly well. When Spock decides to take Pike to Talos in The Menagerie, he appears to have a connection to the Talosians that seems overly comfortable based on the singular meeting during the Cage. Now though, the trust Spock places in them to bring them Pike one day makes much more sense if they at some point healed his mind and helped him through the Red Angel mystery.

I tip my hat to the show writers, they have done an incredible job enriching the canon and adding layers that feel like they’ve been there all along.

That makes a lot of sense.

Especially since Spock didn’t really interact at all with the Talosians in “The Menagerie”! Unlike Pike, Number One and Colt.

We all thought they gonna send Pike due to his experience, especially after that cute little fortune cookie foreshadowing but once again it seems that was a red herring. Amd why would they repeat The Cage when they could explore a new interaction, and set up the Menagerie in the process?

Makes sense and goes to the point that if we let the show play out we will see a lot more of those things including the not knowing about Burnham in TOS and why Sarek hasn’t seen Spock for years etc etc etc

I’m very open to them using so many elements from the one Trek episode that was rejected as TOO CEREBRAL. Feels like late vindication, half a century later!

OK someone help me out here I been on Reddit talking about the Cage and Talos IV and according to many people over there, they HAVEN’T been to Talos IV yet and saying the Cage won’t happen for another three years. But according to the review (and what I thought) it happened three years ago already. But everyone over there is adamant it hasn’t happened yet. So whose right and whose wrong?

And I think it would be weird they would go there now but not remember it later, but that could just be part of big plot twist coming up later. Anyway…

The Cage took place in 2254. DSC is currently in 2257, three years later. Reddit is mistaken.

Funny enough when I went back to that thread, they realized they made a mistake with the dates. And it wasn’t all of them, just who responded directly but others corrected him/her. But yeah it puts a weight off my shoulders. I thought it was clear this came after the Cage from day one. Still, thanks!

Yeah according The Menagerie, the trip to Talos IV took place 13 years prior. Discovery takes place later on – 10 years before TOS. As it turns out, the Enterprise is not the only Earth vessel to visit Talos IV (pending the events of next week’s episode). More importantly we find out why Spock has such a good relationship with the Talosians – something not explained in The Menagerie.

Well, if the Section 31 ship goes to Talos, then it and any other ship (Discovery) with it could be classified and redacted from logs.

Would also be a good time to have Number One show back up with the Enterprise since she has a special relationship with the Talosians – she scares the hell out of them.

Thanks for this, I was a bit confused about Talos chronology myself.

I think the Cage has already happened. When I read the first Discovery book it declared that the story in that book happened one year after the Cage. Plus how would Spock know where Talos 4 is if he hadn’t been there before.

A lot of reddit is filled with wrong information btw.

“Plus how would Spock know where Talos 4 is if he hadn’t been there before.”

Well, they *did* feature a temporal anomaly that showed Pike scenes from the future!

That’s what you get for being on Reddit.

LOL! I actually enjoy being there. They are pretty broad fans of the franchise and specifically the 24th century shows. Here people seem to be more in the 23rd century shows but I think its an age issue mostly between the two and tons more people there so its fun to go back and forth.

Whats your username on reddit? I’m joedawson8. Perhaps we’ve interacted?

Hey there, for some reason I missed your post the first time. I don’t recognize the handle unfortunately (but its SO many people there lol). And to be honest I don’t like giving out my handles on different boards. I know its silly but I once had a stalker on another board who got banned but knew my handle from a totally different site and followed me there. It was creepy but he got banned again lol. Anyway, I don’t think anyone here cares but you just never know whose reading and I try to keep my anonymity on every board since that incident.

BUt if you like, next time you are on Reddit and you post something in a thread, just tell me here and I’ll be sure to go and say hello! :)

If memory serves, Spock said the events they saw at the hearing were from 15 years earlier. Which would put them some 4 years before Discovery season 2.

“If Memory Serves” is also the title of the next episode ;)

That’s why I used the phrase. lol

But Spock served with Pike for 13 years.

That really doesn’t sound right. Why didn’t they give Spock the ship after Pike left?

And that is another reason why I would be more interested in Kirk’s days leading up to him getting the Enterprise than I am with the Burnham-Spock family dynamic.

Great episode tonight. I think Ariam is the Red Angel thanks to an upgrade.

Me too.

it’s a stretch for me to go there. Why the Spock interactions as a child? What’s the motive to be so secretive? But the probe upgrade may have been foreshadowing.

The Angel help Spock to find Burnham.

I just don’t get the Ariam link. I obviously could be wrong

She cares about her shipmates.

Another episode in which the parts are better than the sum. The writing still relies on extraneous exposition filling up every moment to the point they just can’t let any moment breath. Also another badly edited episode, similar to the 3rd. I think editing remains a big problem for this series. Season 2 plotting and story writing are weaker than season 1, but the character writing has improved significantly. Loved the tension between Pike and Tyler, very well written and performed. Tilly and Stamets problem solving is again brilliant and fun. I like the building mystery, even if it seems obvious who the Red Angel is at his point. Spock is still a strangely uninteresting storyline which is ultimately where I think this season is really failing, although Spock is brilliantly played by Ethan Peck. I am still waiting for what’s to follow to strengthen what we’ve seen so far.

I have been extremely critical of DSC so far. But I do not understand this criticism. In my opinion, the staging was a great improvement over all previous episodes.

This episode marks the change in showrunners according to the title sequence. I expect we’ll be hearing different views on how that’s going as we see the second half of the season.

It swept along for me, but there were some small moments where it seemed uneven to me. I’ll be interested to see how things flow as we go on.

If the latter Short Treks are any measure, it should be increasing better.

I don’t agree. The things you are criticizing I thought were well done.

Finally DSC gives us a real Star Trek episode! A big compliment to the director, the cameramen and the author. We had to wait a long time for intelligent dialogues, a well thought-out script and the right narrative speed. Slowly DSC seems to find its way into the Star Trek universe.

The visual effects are fantastic and are in no way inferior to expensive cinema productions. The image sharpness, especially with closeups, is phenomenal.

The only downer: space and time play no role – as always in Star Trek. Vulcan is obviously only 5 flight minutes away from Kaminar.

For me, it’s the best episode so far. Who would have thought that in the end the authors would manage to integrate DSC so cleverly into the canon? I had already given up hope.

I wasn’t ready to just write off the show with so few episodes but I was afraid maybe they just view Star Trek very differently than past writers and producers and we were going to have more of a dark, war type show even if it got better. Good stories but not like the stories of old.

But this season has felt more and more Star Trek which is crazy to say for a Star Trek show lol, but its true. The production values are crazy and it does feel like you are watching a min-movie every week. But I never complained about any of the spin offs productions. TOS is a bit different obviously. Discovery by far is the costliest for sure though.

But I am really enjoying it and since I’m the fan who likes the weird trippy Star Trek with crazy temporal anomalies, advanced transdimensional aliens, mind altercations, etc Discovery is hitting it out the park for me on that end. Just a lot of fun episodes. Next week looks like its going to hit all that and more.

Do you regret that the specialist for trippy Trek, Brannon Braga, is on The Orville and not Discovery? I most certainly do. He would also balance out against the 13 hour long movie style crowd;)

Braga is one of the main reasons we lost TV Trek until Discovery. He had absolutely no imagination. Enterprise and Voyager rehashed god knows how many TNG episodes. And you want him back? Yeesh.

He was one of the few people doing high concept science fiction stories rather than the tired soap operas, ‘ships and fictious political yawners. And given how many people here seem to watch the Orville, it seems he did learn a bit from his mistakes.

That’s because he had made hundreds of episodes on three separate shows. Its silly to say he had no imagination, this guy made some of the best episodes in the franchise (but yes some of the worst too).

I just wish people didn’t treat everything so black and white on the internet. You make one good story, you’re a genius. You then make one bad one you’re now labeled a hack. Ask Rian Johnson about that one.

None of these people are perfect. Alex Kurtzman last Star Trek vehicle he worked on before he got Discovery was STID and he was responsible for such winners as white Khan, magic blood, quadrant wide transporters and a ‘homage’ to TWOK by basically copying it beat by beat at the end of the film. According to people on this very site he should’ve never got near Trek again after that film and now he runs the whole thing.

And I’m OK with that, my only point is everyone who works on these things make about as many stinkers as they do winners. The problem is the longer you stay people just remember the stinkers more. Braga is treated like a pariah which is just sad. And my guess is the second one of these shows falter so will Kurtzman and other writers will be given the same treatment. Many still hate him now and why so many are adamant to hate DIS now.

This silliness needs to stop. That said if you’re not happy with what he wrote, fine, but fans need to stop thinking everything is binary depending on the last thing someone did. And he seem to have a strong followers who love Orville so he’s doing something right.

I’m with you Tiger2. Braga, Kurtzman, Moore – they are growing and evolving human beings.

Not everything they do will be marvellous or horrid, nor will it be fit for the time or audience.

And like Roddenberry, they have had to respond to pressures from the network. TOS was not Roddenberry’s original or preferred concept for the show. It worked in it’s time, and I loved it as a kid. But TOS vs. The Cage and TNG really demonstrate that the product is a compromise in any era.

A great example of what I am talking about is George Lucas himself. After the prequels were labeled as horrific as genocide to some fans, there was outright jubilation and joy Disney brought the franchise. Now everyone can move on from Lucas for good and not have to worry about another Jar Jar binks or eloquent dialogue about sand. And just a few years later because Disney made one bad film (in their eyes) they are turning on that company in droves and actually begging for the guy to come back they wanted out just a few years ago.

It tells you everything about fandom. There are even rumors he’s working on Episode 9 with Abrams and wrote scenes for Luke (since he created him and all) but that hasn’t been confirmed.

Sorry for the rant and not trying to get on your case personally. I’m only making the point fans can certainly criticize someone’s work but they shouldn’t be outcasted out right over it or believe the falsehood they think they found a ‘savior’ when the guy is replaced by someone else. Disney lost that title in two years. Abrams had it with the first Kelvin movie and lost it immediately with the second one. And who knows how Episode 9 will go but seeing so many out for blood he must be nervous either way.

I often joke that I’m not sure which fans are worse: Star Trek fans or Star Wars fans. I reside in both camps and I think that fight has ended in a draw. I absolutely despised The Force Awakens for lazy writing and essentially being the first three films reimagined into one. It was a creatively bankrupt cash grab. But, oddly enough, I really enjoyed The Last Jedi for being not at all what I was expecting and for it’s underlying snarkyness.

I’m sticking with Discovery. It’s been fun this season. That said, its flaws are still apparent and my gut tells me that once the show has completely settled in with a showrunner who can map out an entire season and ride it through to the end it will be a much better series.

Regarding Disney Star Wars, I enjoyed Force Awakens but mainly because it wiped the bad taste of the prequels out of my mouth. Once I stepped back and looked at I realized while it was better than the prequels, it was just a retelling of something we already got! Then I got annoyed with it. Last Jedi was originally jarring to me but upon a 2nd viewing I grew to like it a lot more. For doing something DIFFERENT while still being star warsy entertainment.

Denny C, I too did not understand the hate for The Last Jedi. I thought it was the better of the two. I agree with you on TFA. Ugh. Homage maybe. Copy, more like, IMHO.

Are the producers aware that other colours exist apart from cold blue and warm orange? Those are literally the only two colours used in the grading of this series. It’s so generic.

They are giving it the Michael Bay treatment of “Orange and Teal” ;)

I had a theory that Airiam was the red angel after last week, and now I’m thoroughly convinced after this episode.

That was impressive. This makes me want to rewatch the original pilot, unedited. And ALSO: OK, so where we are now – along with the season’s opening VO. What does it mean?

I just rewatched The Cage: the Talosians need humans to create a race of artisans on their planet, can’t rebuild their own machines, but still could power down the Enterprise, and create illusions. They rebuilt Vina’s body and despite Number One’s assertation, the Talosians were confident that putting Pike and Vina together would create offspring to populate their planet’s surface. And they downloaded the entire databank of the Enterprise.

The opening shots of this season show spaceships from the past, There is the entity that has been around 100,000 years that wants to transmit information. In this episode, Tyler accuses Pike of not having an exciting past, but he does. On the shuttle, the returned probe is yet the latest stealing of data. Is this data dump a trope or a real plot point? In The Cage, Number One is willing to self destruct Pike and Company rather than being slaves. Ariem is attacked by the Red Angel during a datadump. The time-Tsunami does what to the Kelpians? And Burnman figures out Spock wants to take us back to the Talosians.

I am sincerely enjoying this morning, distracted by not having any idea about what is going to happen next!

The opening shot is not just Cassini, but also a story narrated by Michael about “The Girl Who Made the Stars.” It is never mentioned again. She says she is “not ready for it.”

I wasn’t overly wowed by this episode, but I definitely found it to be quite entertaining. This felt more like a bridging episode in a wider arc, but there were some great moments. I TOTALLY agree with Anthony’s comparison to Westworld. The mystery element of the show has practically become a character of its own, which presents a mix of pros and cons.

Some thoughts:

+ It’s too early to determine if Peck has a real grasp of Spock. So far I’m not holding my breath though :(
+ General Order 7 might not yet be instituted at this point. A lot of fans are assuming it went into place right after the events of the Cage, but there’s no confirmation of the exact timing. So just cool your jets, people :-)!
+ I freaking LOVED the transitions in this episode. They were gorgeous. The transition between the plasma trail and the spore drive chamber? Gorgeous. The transition between Airiam and the S31 ship? Awesome.
+ Is Airiam infected by S31 technology? That transition could have some specific meaning.
+ The Vulcan external shots were really well executed.
+ The time rift stuff felt really clunky. The technobabble was ridiculous IMO, even by ST standards.
+ Tilly and Stamets have a really sweet friendship.

All in all, I’d give it a 7/10. Anyhoo, I’m really pumped about our upcoming visit to Talos.

How about a theory that Jett Reno is the Red Angel? After the mushroom trip with Stamets, she whips up a time traveling future suit and goes on a mission to save the greater good. That would explain why we don’t see her around much:)

Wow, they packed a lot of story into the shortest episode of the season. So many layers to enjoy and this might be the very best episode so far, Overall I would give it a 4.25/5.

I really like the temporal anomaly storyline – which leaves a lot of questions to ponder. What is the 28th century probe going to do with Ariam? What are the time displacement waves doing to Kanimar? Lots to ponder. Btw I liked to use the old style warp audio and toggle switches in the shuttle, reminded me of the fuel jettison switch from The Galileo 7.

The return to Vulcan is always fraught with potential canon issues but Sarek did not speak to Spock as father and son, so the whole 18 years issue is intact. As for Section 31 – unbelievably the writers have actually got me interested in what the heck is going on with Georgiou and who can you trust because Leland seemed pretty convincing.

The best for last – the trip to Talos IV. While watching The Menagerie, it seemed very strange that Spock would have a relationship and trust the Talosians, enough to mutiny, kidnap Pike, risk his career and the death penalty – all based on his very limited encounter 13 years prior. Now we get a backstory that will hopefully answer a lot of questions. As for the General Order 7 – I wonder if it is because if Section 31 ever learned the powers of illusion, then as the Talosians said, the humans would destroy themselves? Should be fun to see this story play out.

Complements to the writers on an episode which really grabbed my attention and IMO is the best of the season and perhaps the series.

” but Sarek did not speak to Spock as father and son, so the whole 18 years issue is intact.”

They ought to be happy for that little tag on line from Journey to Babel. What if Amanda had just said “spoken for 18 years”? They’d be up a creek! ;)

Season 2 started with promise but has quickly turned into season 1, 2.0. This was another terrible episode full of plot holes and weak storytelling.

It is interesting to hear such a different perspective of last night’s show. Conversely I thought this was the best of S2 so far. I know that serial storytelling is sometimes a pain in the butt, but for the most part I have gotten used to it. Oh one thing I did not like was the use of the ablative shielding on the shuttle but I guess the Galileo 7 did have screens so this is just the same thing but with updated special effects.

I wouldn’t go quite that far! Nothing beats the lows of “Remain Klingon” cannibals and Mirror “Make the Empire Glorious Again” Lorca. In that sense, season 2 is exponentially superior to season 1!

Those are exactly what made S1 interesting. Classic Trek “beat you over the head” allegories ala TUC.

The difference is the allegory in TUC actually made sense and was not pure vilification of a group the writers don’t like. In fact TUC was incredibly balanced in that it had both sides participate in the conspiracy AND even the hero Kirk challenge his own racism. If this is “beat you over the head” then Discovery is torturing us with a jackhammer! In fact given some of the gruesome images last and this season, let’s not give them ANY ideas ;)

And you don’t think they’ve ever attacked groups they didn’t like in Trek? It’s one of the series’ social allegory hallmarks.

In TUC they were attacking the hardline communist factions, though not as blatantly, in TOS they attacked the opponents of civil rights, in TNG they openly attacked the religious right on many occasions.

No, they never equated their intellectual opponents with war-hungry cannibals and genocidal mass-murderers, and literally so in dialogue even (I laid out in detail how TUC was very balanced and layered). That’s no social allegory, it’s a whole different level of “sledgehammer”. The “Jews are sub-human” kind of sledgehammer. Cheap, dishonest and libelous. I’m glad if Discovery does not go there again in season 2, or ever.


AB, if you can’t see there is something seriously, disturbingly wrong with equating peaceful isolationism (not interventionism) with warmongering, let alone cannibalism, I can’t help you. The comparison to TUC is doing the latters’ writers a huge disservice. Not all allegories are born equal. Some are just BS at best, and nasty political indoctrination at worst.

When TOS took sides, it was a side that pretty much everyone could get on board with. Like, racism is bad. Or, slavery is bad. When there were moral quandaries they tended to be a lot more balanced.

Thank you, ML, that’s totally my point. Which is why Discovery is divisive in ways that no Trek show was before. The best they can do now is to leave the toxicity behind and think of what Trek does best: respect different points of view, nonviolent resolution and peaceful coexistence!

Exactly – but it is not just Discovery season 1 that was that way, it is many, many shows now. TOS led the viewer to the water, and invited them to take a drink with the stories and morality, it didn’t shove the viewers head in the water to drink or drown. TNGs failure in early seasons was to get too preachy compared to TOS – where TNG later and then DS9 returned to a place where they told very strong stories and things aren’t always as clear cut good & evil, but leads to you understanding that there are better ways than other ways.

TOS was never offensive to a large proportion of the audience – and you really did have a lot of racism and sexism then – Now, with everyone more open and accepting than they were in 1960s, you have shows that really go out of their way to shove agendas and anger viewers – which isn’t going to lead anyone to thinking any different – just turn it off and switch to something else.

Continued facepalm.

But Klingons do eat their enemies in canon. Worf was very firm that Jadzia wouldn’t go to Sto-Vo-Kor because she had never eaten the heart of an enemy.

A good question is – is cannibalism eating members of one’s own species, or does it extend to eating members of other intelligent species?

Ben, the problem is not with Klingons practicing cannibalism (or whatever you want to call it) – although the eating of a main character in Discovery’s pilot two-parter was crossing a line -, it’s with Discovery’s creators insisting Klingons are a now a new real world allegory for their political opponents within America which is really just giving them sub-human traits and not acceptable criticism.

I gotta side with VS on this one. Those all contributed to making S1 awful.

Well, I know this comment will seem picayune, but that won’t make it unusual here. 🙄 I’d just like to point out that the Klingons eating Georgiou is not technically cannibalism since they were not consuming the same species. Otherwise, all carnivores or omnivores would be cannibals. Moreover, these Klingons were starving; it’s not as if they just wanted a snack. The real immorality was seen in the Terrans eating subjugated Kelpians as an hors d’oevre. So it was (mirror) humans who were the most offensive, modeled of course on similar real world instances.

VS: who are these real-world intellectual opponents of Trek writers you regularly refer to?

Also: to equate the act in one episode to a the social allegory in another is off-base.

If they say A IS B, and B does C, so A does C. That’s the problem when people who should paint walls are painting Picassos.

OK. It’s not cannibalism. But it is the eating of another sentient species. Which does feel like it crosses a line. A human line, at least.

Agreed, ML. I was just trying for greater precision, admittedly picayune, to which I’d add another. The Klingons (T’Kuvma) did not kill Georgiou to eat her. Her corpse was later eaten to survive. Again, different from the Terrans.

Yeah, once we had Klingons eating humans, they lost any sympathy from me and just came off like savages. Its funny because listening to Fuller when he was still on the show he kept making the point we would see the Klingons POV by the time the season was over and yet I never remotely felt that way. I understood the Founders side more than the Klingons and they were just as bad but they were given a reason why they hated solids. Klingons just came off like bullies and dicks.

Exactly, Tiger! “Savage” is the perfect word. And whatever disagreements, equating your opponents with savages is never a good idea to win the argument (let alone win THEM over!) This black and white painting was getting tiresome real quick, as you pointed out DS9 did this much better already a quarter century ago when, according to some, we didn’t even have the “sensibilities” we are supposed to have today!

Elrond, that’s a detail about cannibalism; my broader point is they first announce an allegory very openly in their marketing drives, and then they give these stand-ins sub-human traits that are not at all fitting with reality, which is really stemming from the nastiest propaganda techniques in human history. Who do these sentient-species eating Terrans who conspicuously also complain about “aliens spilling over our borders” REALLY match with in our history?

The writers may disagree with isolationists, non-interventionists or critics of illegal immigration (which happen to be alot more common points of view outside the Western world, which of course is ironic given Discovery’s claim of diversity). But that doesn’t give them the god-damn right to equate them with animals and mass-murderers.

I think there is a difference between allegories and allusions to current issues. The former are clear correspondences, the latter are vaguer echoes. Mirror Lorca spoke about aliens infiltrating the Empire (or some such) and making the Empire glorious again; the Terran Empire was depicted as xenophobic alienophobes (?) that was destroying the multiverse by using technology with total disregard for its ecological consequences. Surely there are echoes of Trump policies here (I’d question your “peaceful isolationism”), but it seems to me that these allusions are more warnings of where things could end up rather than an attack that this is how things are.

The problem is the false equivalence. There are highly respected cultures today, such as Japan or, to a lesser degree, Switzerland, which are nevertheless unabashedly anti-immigration (if not xenophobic, in the former case) in ways that are going much further than any majority group in America (not to forget, America’s very founders were isolationists more than anyone is today). Yet I never see them associated with mass-murder and savagery, or alluding that their closedness or homogeneity (in the former case) is a sign of the Third Reich coming back. Believing in rule of law and border security is the opposite of savagery. So these black and white arguments they are presenting, if it can even be called that, are just wrong and insulting. The idea that all humans and human cultures have the same values and thinking is wrong. The way forward is peaceful coexistence, which makes non-interventionism such a prudent choice. Incidentally, respecting and protecting nature should just be a facet of that. But that’s where they get when they break down complex, heterogeneous issues and groups into the most crude friend-foe imagery.

VS: To draw on a phrase we’ve heard twice in recent Disco episodes: this is a much longer conversation. A few reactions:

You didn’t engage the distinction between allegory and allusion. Paraphrasing JRR Tolkien, one is the purposed determination of the author, the other resides in the freedom of the reader (viewer). Imho, it is you who are allegorizing allusive Disco elements because (it seems) you are dedicated to “rule of law and border security” and “non-interventionism,” which are not all the same thing.

Re Japan: it was actually its hyper-nationalism that led to its invasion of China and the Philippines in WW2 and the brutal savagery that ensued. Japan’s pacifistic culture today is partially the result of disarmament being imposed it on by the victorious Allies. And given the impact of Western culture on its music and other art forms, it is hardly xenophobic. North Korea would be a better example, but, then, it is a military dictatorship.

The USA as a place where people from all nations could immigrate means that simplistic comparisons with nations based on a single ethnicity cannot be made. Moreover, it is too facile to claim that its founders were isolationists. In his Farewell Address, Washington warned against “foreign entanglements” not because he was an isolationist, but because he feared that the US was too weak to risk wars with the superpowers of the day, as the War of 1812 would prove. Far from being isolationist, the early US sought to increase trade with as many nations as possible, including, tragically, perpetuating the slave trade.

TOS offered a vision of a United Earth founded on principles of unity amid diversity, but, to be honest, based on American constitutional principles that welcomed “first contacts” to invite others in. Vulcans were good guys because their “logic” led them to espouse the same ideas (IDIC). Klingons were bad guys because they were nationalistic aggressors who subjugated others (but became quasi-allies by TNG). It seems to me that Disco wants to spotlight those ideas in its iteration of Trek.


Great episode, very classic Trek. I think the writers are making a conscious effort to place Discovery in the TOS mindset, complete with Captains that break the rules any time they feel like it. That’s good. On the other hand there are just so many rules, and it’s been established that General Order VII is one of the ones you just don’t break.

This episode was so good that I didn’t notice it being so short, which is quite a difference from last week. I think that seeing Spock’s family dynamic in this time kind of informs why they are so messed up ten years in the future.

A little too much fan service – does Spock really have to go to the Mutara sector? A throwaway line but seriously it’s a big quadrant, why would he go there? There are obviously other nebulae he could go to.

Finally, I know that they have to update the makeup effects and this is just my hangup… but I don’t dig what they did to the Talosians. The TOS makeup for them is one of the few that really holds up after 50 years and part of that is the way they used older women, giving them very small faces with inscrutable features. Now they kind of look like the TNG alien of the week, nothing more. But as I said that’s my hangup.

I wonder if General Order 7 for Talos IV was implemented after the events seen in The Cage or if implementation was ordered after what we are going to see next week or later this season?

Nice review! I loved this line in the review: “Convincing Pike of things is one of Burnham’s superpowers.” So true.

As for your statement “Discovery does stick with Vulcans having a single haircut, because some things are sacred,” in “Amok Time,” both T’Pring and T’Pau had elaborate hairstyles, not the usual one. And in TOS even Spock had a different cut than what we see nowadays; his hair was brushed forward from the back of his head, not straight down the way subsequent shows did it. TOS Spock didn’t actually have a bowl cut; his version was much cooler than what became the standard Vulcan hairstyle.

You say, “The famed science officer can only babble the first doctrines of logic in an attempt to “ground himself,” along with carving text and a repeated sequence of numbers into the wall, A Beautiful Mind-style,” but actually, there’s something closer than A Beautiful Mind. In “The Naked Time,” Spock grounded himself against the polywater intoxication by repeating numbers, saying “Two. Four. Six. Six times six.” His grounding himself by repeating the axioms of logic seems like an extrapolation from that.

In general, I liked this episode much better than most of DSC’s episodes, but I don’t buy that Spock has some sort of learning disability that makes him get the numbers backwards. While it’s true that some people with learning disabilities are smart, even brilliant, we know a LOT about Spock’s relationship to numbers, and there’s never been the slightest evidence that he regularly gets numbers BACKWARD.

I was thrilled to see Amanda finally stand up to Sarek. Finally! I’ve been waiting for that since I first saw “Journey to Babel,” SO many years ago now. Mia Kushner is doing SUCH a wonderful job as Amanda. More Amanda!

I had line breaks between paragraphs, but the site’s software seems to have removed them. Hey, no walls of text, please!

Haha just a heads up, as soon as you click more, then the expanded version of the text shows up. Maybe can address that issue but how I see your 6 paragraphs.

Until I added the paragraph about line breaks, there WASN’T a “Read more” to click. I know about that property, and I added the extra line on purpose, to make my post long enough to GET the “Read more.” But before I edited it, it was just a wall of text with no “Read more.”

” In “The Naked Time,” Spock grounded himself against the polywater intoxication by repeating numbers, saying “Two. Four. Six. Six times six.””

Good call! If that was the inspiration for the the writers then they get a gold star for that.

Yeah, I was impressed that the writers had extrapolated from his behavior in “The Naked Time” in that way.

Nobody noticed the first LCARS Screen at the Shuttle self distruct screen?

Wow I didn’t! I do love this show is trying to make all these connections with the other shows. I guess on my rewatch I’ll pay closer attention, thanks!

Does anybody know why Sara Mitich was replaced by Hannah Cheeseman as Airiam in season 2? Not sure if I missed a news post about it. I initially thought Mitich wanted to play a human (as she did in 201), but haven’t seen her since.

Don’t know, except I think I have heard there will be another Airiam. But that might have been referring to the major version patch she just got in this episode and not a new actress.

Mitich is showing on imdb of being in Ep 12 also, her first appearance since Ep 1.

For that matter, where was Cmdr Nhan? Isn’t she Chief of Security? I’m really liking her – and she’s only around intermittently. Also noticed that she was wearing a skirt when we last saw her

I like Nhan and Reno and hope to see both of them again. I think, sadly, each show can only give so many lines to so many people.

As for Sara Mitich, I wondered why she stepped away from Airiam, but then thought perhaps she has an allergy to silicone or the stuff they use to apply it?

I have a theory…. Airiam may have become a doomed character and they wanted to keep the actress around?

All these flashbacks and still… no Sybok.

Is it really that bad if we don’t touch on that? It’s a bad movie sans some good character stuff. I bet a lot of the audience is unaware of it or doesn’t care.

It kinda is. The quality of the film doesn’t matter. If quality determined what was and was not canon we could eliminate the entire first season of Discovery as non-canon. If they want to claim to be in universe then they need to follow the established rules and situations. We KNOW Sarek was married before Amanda and sired Sybok. To ignore that as often as they have is a disservice to the source material and only serves to suggest arrogance on the producers part.

Roddenberry didn’t like Sybok or the backstory that Sarek had been married- but doesn’t look (from searches) that he tried to actually strike it as true. Further, the official site, and memory alpha (the canon side) tell Sybok was Spock’s estranged half brother.

Some put his age at 6 years older than Spock… but I think it makes more sense (IMHC) if he is more like 12-20 years older than Spock. At 6 years, he should be in the house with Michael… but if he is 12 years older then he would likely not be in Sarek’s house when Michael joined it.

That doesn’t mean he couldn’t show up now though. Given that our story is dealing with an emotionally troubled Spock and the overall arc is dealing with faith this season…. that stuff is right down Sybok’s alley. And, it certainly seemed from Luckinbill’s portrayal that he did love and care for Spock…but just as Spock did upon maturity, Sybok broke from Sarek hard.

” Given that our story is dealing with an emotionally troubled Spock and the overall arc is dealing with faith this season…. that stuff is right down Sybok’s alley.”

I’ve been saying that since they told us of the science v faith theme for the season. Throwing Sybok in that mix seemed perfect. But, alas, by admitting the angel is some high tech future time traveler pretty much throws their science v faith themes completely out the window.

OK. First, only two noticeable glitches. Could CBS be improving their streaming tech?

Overall this was one of the better episodes this season. The Sarek family stuff was pretty good and considering Lethe was the best episode from season 1 it is starting to feel that the Vulcan visits are becoming the most consistently good thing with the show. I still don’t think Farin feels much like Sarek but the Vulcan family moments are still engaging and pretty well thought out.

Likewise the time problems Discovery dealt with were pretty well done as well from a sci-fi and “feel” standpoint. Good dynamic for Pike and Tyler in the shuttle together. I like it when they are antagonistic to each other. Although it feels like it was always a little one sided in that Pike is the one who has the most problems with Section 31. And that leads into part of what was bad about the episode. Section 31. This will likely become a regular thing as S31 is playing such a huge role this season. But it feels very much like Section 31 is going to become Season 2’s mirror universe. In that, ‘OK, it’s here. OK, it’s still here and now they have their own Q branch. OK. I’m sick and tired of section 31. Can we move past them yet?’ Section 31 works best when they are not in the open and only show up SPARINGLY. And even then it’s a bit of a gamble. The more we see of Evil-Lyn aligned with Section 31 the more it is revealed keeping her around was a tremendous mistake. Plus… Now S31 has a squadron of ships? How does such a thing even happen? Perhaps the Section 31 show ought to be about how it came to be and how they amassed their unbelievable budget and tech?

Enough about the groan inducing S31 part of the plot. The show started off by admitting something to be the case that I didn’t think was all that cut and dry from last week. That the “red angel” is a time traveler from the future wearing some sort of Iron Man suit. How was THAT determined? There was literally nothing to confirm that. At best it’s a working theory but to say that is for sure what it is is a pretty damn big leap. If that truly is what it is then it’s pretty disappointing as I was actually interested in the science v faith thing they teased us with earlier. So half way through the season they have definitely come down on the side of science. Too bad. The show continues it’s past of taking risks in ways it shouldn’t and not taking the risks it should. The identity of the red angels should have been clouded in mystery and never fully revealed if they really wanted to keep their science v faith thing.

Smaller bits… Mutara? Really? Again, small universe.
The thing that comes back from the future and then inhabits Ariem feels like it is setting up a little bit of a “temporal cold war”.
All this stuff was going on in the skies above Kaminar. How were they affected by the time stuff?
So Stammets can beam TO the shuttle but he can’t beam BACK?
Tilly remains annoying and still wishing someone would punch her.
Discovery warps away from the “time tsunami” yet doesn’t seem to care what it will do to Kaminar. It’s right THERE! Well, I guess the issue of the Ba’ul vs the Kelpiens has been dealt with.
And it seems that General Order 7 has yet to be placed in the books. Perhaps it’s after this 2nd star fleet visit?
And where the hell has Reno been? Did she get transferred a couple of weeks ago?

ML, I resonate with many of your comments, especially those about the Red Angel. I hope all sense of mystery isn’t lost by a sort of modification of Clarke’s Law to something like: “The farther from the present time frame that a time traveler comes, the more they will seem supernatural.” That would be taking the easy way out.

Don’t share your subjective urge to punch Tilly, though. 😳

Thanks for the interesting thoughts!

It was OK. I know many are tripping over themselves to heap praise on this episode but overall it was OK.

Still mad the show got renewed?

A34 he’s not mad

Good to hear.

sounds like it

Denny C it was a decent episode. Spock is mentally insane but at least her sister cares about him. Section 31 are evil monsters. The Red Angel and Talos IV hold a key to the future.

What are they doing in Talos IV. I thought they can’t go there because of General Order 7 or risk the death penalty. I guess Talos IV holds the key to solving the Red Angel mystery.

Maybe General Order 7 was just an illusion along with that admiral.

I speculate were about to find out why General Order 7 was created. I speculate that it will be created after this season.

When was General Order 7 put in place? We don’t know…

Others said it, it was never said when it was actually established. My guess is it will be this season and whatever events transpire.

Hello, my name is Johnny Optimum and I am from Athens, Greece. English is not my first language.

I really think that Discovery is extra-splendid, really first-rate, but my favourite ST series is original series. It is so full of excitement and adventure!

There are two things that I do not like about Discovery; I think the spore drive is a foolish idea (I do not like the way that Discovery spins upside-down when the spore drive is activated) and I do not like the robot girl on the bridge (I cannot remember her name); maybe this is because we know so little about her? Is she full robot girl, or part human, part robot? I hope we find out more about her! But I do like Discovery very much, in particular the second series.

Your English is terrific! :-)

Thank you my friend!

She is called Ariam. I believe now that she is involved more we will learn a lot more about her. As far as the spore drive, a lot of people in the 60s said the same thing about warp drive. Both drives have some basis in science though

Thank you for this information my friend

Agreed. Your English is fantastic for a non-native speaker.

Thank you very much my friend!

As much as I love the spore drive, I can definitely understand why its so divisive, mostly just feeling like its in the wrong era (but that’s 80% of the show lol).

But Ariam I think is a great addition personally, we just haven’t found out anything about her and thats CLEARLY about to change now. Again, why they didn’t focus on her and other bridge crew a little more in season one I will never understand but to be fair they had a lot of story to get through and the thinking probably was Burnham was going to be the bigger star so outside of her and the main cast everyone else was just there. This season though its feeling much more like an ensemble like how it was done on DS9 so everyone is getting more to do and say. And no she’s not a full robot but a cyborg (although she does look fully robotic).

And agreed with others your English is great. My Greek however is nonexistent ;).

I’m not a fan of the spore drive myself. But could handle a lot better had it been developed in the TNG era. The tech feels sufficiently advanced to be later and it’s fate would not be already known before it is even tried.

Nice sentimental touch that the week we finally get Spock is the week we remember Leonard Nimoy’s passing. Surprised no one has mentioned how his backwards number/mumbling thing has a nice future Tuvok similarity (in a good way) from the Voyager finale.

Love that this episode was a bridge to kick off the second half. The slow paced Vulcan scenes contrasted well with the time rift scenes.
* No Reno AGAIN
* Amanda said she would do anything to protect her TWO children
* Tilly is back to spazville unfortunately
* I think the Red Angel is one of the Preservers
* The shuttle has a warp drive?
* Only thing Staments has to do is associated with the spore drive
* I still need a better explanation why Enterprise did not return and help in the war

The shuttles have had warp drive since the first season.

Aside from the sublight “pods” featured in ENT, there’s no indication in Trek lore that the shuttles haven’t had warp drive since the beginning of TOS, fan assumptions to the contrary.

“* Amanda said she would do anything to protect her TWO children”

Correct from a certain point of view. Spock, her biological child and Michael her adopted child. Sybok was not hers but belonged to Sarek from a previous marriage. However, Sybok clearly at the very least had dealings with Spock as a child if he wasn’t outright living with them. So Amanda had to at least be aware of him existing.

it still was a great opportunity for the writers to throw us a bone

Yep. It was another opportunity for a Sybok name drop that the writers did not take. At this point, I think they are going to pretend he doesn’t exist. Which is a shame.


I overheard that…. seriously? dumb!

“The coordinates for Talos IV are 749 Mark 148.” Wouldn’t the coordinates for a planet change depending upon your location in space?

I guess the computer can adjust for that when doing the calculations.

Actually the coordinates are an absolute address relative to 000 (Earth). (Earth is in sector 001, but the coordinates of Earth (or more likely Sol) is 000).
I suppose when in battle and they say turn to 187 mark 4 that does not mean a cosmic address but instead the heading relative to the ships current path.

If you look at memory-alpha, article Star Trek Maps… it was a book in 1980, which was highly technical and has been used since. Since it is a book though, it isn’t canon. At memory-beta (the non-canon and book side) it shows that Talos IVs address is 7.49s 1.48e. So Discovery did use one of the oldest references to get to the Original planet on Trek.


So a warp drive is better than a spore drive?

So…ah… did that “time tsunami” thing just wipe out Kaminar? Discovery sure seemed to be in a hurry to get the hell out of there. Hate to say it, but I think this show is losing me. Felt like this one was a real mess.

Yeah, I had a similar reaction. They bolted out of there to leave Kaminar in the wake of a “time tsunami”. You’d think they’d feel obliged to back and see what happened… Did the atmosphere protect them? Did the Ba’ul have some sort of temporal shielding tech? Did they all get zapped to the future?

I mean, shouldn’t they have had to do something to protect Kaminar from the time tsunami instead of just bolting out of there? Shouldn’t that have been the next episode? If the idea is really to embrace the notion of serialized storytelling, it would be nice if there was some follow through from one episode to the next rather than leaving a planet sized black hole of a plot point. I’m delighted Trek’s back on TV, I’m thrilled it looks so good, but Christ, the pacing is so compressed that the show barely has time to breathe.

Granted, I’ve been rewatching BSG lately which hasn’t done Discovery any favors. Regardless of whether it’s one’s proverbial cup of tea or not, it’s a show that managed to spin all the same plates in terms of character/world building and serialized storytelling in a far superior fashion.

Can’t deny that, though the final year was a real mess.

Yeah, they really shit the bed with the Final Five nonsense. Still, up to that point it’s as solid as it gets.

I love BSG too (watched it for the first time just four years ago and binged watched it in a week. I was hooked!).

But I will NEVER forget the episode where they are explaining the Final Five and why their memories were wiped and working on the other side and all of that and it was very, very clear no one had thought it through until one season too late lol. It was so convoluted, but outside of that it is a great show and yes it did make Star Trek pale in comparison on some levels…but Star Trek is still the show I prefer overall.

Maybe that’s why the Ba’ul got the chance to beat the Kelpians – they travelled back in time and restored the population and with the tech they easily controlled the Kelpians.

I sure am late to the party… but a nice little easteregg nobody mentioned so far was the computer in the shuttle giving off a very classis TOS phrase “Working…”

Disappointing that the show is perpetuating lame stereotypes about dyslexia. Mirror writing is not a symptom of dyslexia- many children reverse letters and numbers when they are learning to write, but this is not more correlated with dyslexia, as studies have shown. Too bad the Discovery writer, Ted Sullivan, could not have done a couple minutes of research.

Steve Novella? Is that you?

To be fair, they said it was LIKE dyslexia. It’s also an alien malady so it really can cause nearly anything the writers need it to.

To be more fair, Amanda says his condition was “human difficulties” which means that she agrees it was a “learning disability inherited from his mother”. And since they use the word “dyslexia” in the episode, they should be responsible in the depiction, especially because perpetuating myths can make some go undiagnosed. Dialogue also suggests dyslexia is like “dysphasia”, which is inaccurate and insulting.

Which doesn’t change any of what I said.

I can’t edit, but I should have said that reversing letters at an age older than other children can sometimes be a sign of dyslexia, yet long-term mirror writing is not a defining feature, and moreover, dyslexics don’t see backwards. From U of Mich website:

While it is true that dyslexic children have difficulties attaching the appropriate labels or names to letters and words, there is no evidence that they actually see letters and words backward.

Backwards writing and reversals of letters and words are common in the early stages of writing development among dyslexic and non-dyslexic children alike. Dyslexic children have problems in naming letters (i.e., remembering and quickly accessing the letter names), but not necessarily in copying them. Because many people erroneously, and incorrectly, believe that letter reversals define dyslexia, the children who do not make letter reversals often go undiagnosed.

So what are people’s thoughts on the look of the Disco Talosians?

From the tiny glimpse we got of them they look intriguing.