The Shuttle Pod Crew Lands On Talos And Reaches Into Spock’s Brain In “If Memory Serves”

Like last season, The Shuttle Pod has again transformed into Shuttle Pod At The Disco for the run of Star Trek: Discovery season two, with weekly podcasts about each new episode.

Shuttle Pod At The Disco – Season 2, Episode 8 – “If Memory Serves”


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Star Trek: Discovery Season 2, Episode 8

Brian, Matt, and returning TrekMovie editor Laurie land the shuttle pod on Talos IV and discuss “If Memory Serves.” There’s a lot of TOS love, specifically for “The Cage.” Burnham attempts to fix Spock with some Talosian memory tricks, and Spock returns to coherence, with sharp sibling barbs in tow. And the reveal of what drove a wedge between the two is heartbreaking, but also struggles to live up to the hype that’s been building. We feel Stamets’ confusion and loss over the new Culber, and find catharsis in Hugh’s fight with Tyler. Vina appearing to Pike is lovely, and helps to flesh out the “second act” of Pike’s life. Section 31’s storyline continues to be met with ambivalence by the podcasters, but at least Emperor Georgiou’s place in the universe is getting better defined.

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steve- o

Good episode of the shuttlepod :)…. I know “at the disco” is the main focus of the podcast RN, but would love a surprise standard episode, I miss the retrospectives!

When we can catch our breaths after Disco ends next month we will go back to our normal format :-)

The weekly Disco shows are a bit exhausting. I like talking about new Trek, but my fellow podcasters and I are looking forward to a change of pace and change of topic.

Professor Spock

Nice

Sam

We’ll wait. Looking fwd to The Search for Spock (and especially The Motion Picture) whenever you guys are all feeling it.

We for sure want to get to TSFS and TMP.
2019 is TMP’s 40th anniversary, Brian and I are big fans of TMP. And this is TSFS’s 35th anniversary year too.

steve- o

Fantastic! Thanks for filling me in. Keep up the great work :)

Danpaine

Excellent news, Matt. And again, much appreciation for all the effort put into this site. It’s really fantastic.

Professor Spock

Are you on Spotify? I listen to podcasts on Spotify not SoundCloud.

Spotify curates a list of podcasts that they choose to carry. We submitted our podcast some time ago, but I see we’re still not on there.

Reign1701A

Nice episode. I also agree about them doing the recap. Regarding the necessity of the reorienting the audience, I think it was a 100% wise move. Case in my point, my fiance can’t get into TOS and I had to explain to her how The Cage takes place before Discovery (she was confused because she thought it took place after Discovery like the rest of TOS). We did a re-watch of The Cage so that she understood the players of Talos IV better.

It’s wise of the producers to not assume that the audience is fully aware of the history and chronology.

Would have been better if they never violate cannon by introducing transporters on the pre-TOS era shuttles.
And would have tied back nicely to The Cage, if they used the camouflaged elevator in Talos to go underground

Mark Calcagno

I don’t think the writers think everything in the canon is important, and I tend to agree. It’s obviously not that big of a problem because we’re getting a season 3 of this show. If a lot of people had a problem with it, it would have been canceled by now.

ML31

I honestly think that is flawed logic. A lot of people had problems with season 1 and it didn’t result in cancellation. It resulted in attempts to remedy.

Tiger2

I have to agree with ML31 and as someone who likes season 2 infinitely more than season 1 that is REALLY flawed logic to the extreme. First off no Star Trek show is getting cancelled anytime soon. I have been saying this before the show even started, its going to go 3 seasons minimum because its not a typical show and its success or failure falls into AA’s success or failure.

And a lot of people can have problems with this stuff and still watch regardless. I complained about a lot of things last season. Guess what, those complaints were heard and we got changes over them. In other words most fans won’t just drop the show until they are convinced it just can’t be improved. Many CLAIM they stopped watching it but who knows? Thats the thing we don’t. Or maybe many did stop and why they went through such a big change in season 2.

But CBS is going to do EVERYTHING to make this show a success before they give up on it. They have way too many stakes on it. You’re only looking at it from a very narrow view.

Danpaine

There’s no way DSC was going to be cancelled after one season. No…way. Too much $$ and effort had gone into it. It would be interesting to see some real subscriber numbers, though. For instance, I’m not paying into CBSAA right now – going to re-up when the Picard show starts. DSC just isn’t grabbing me week-to-week – there’s a lot I’m not liking about it – so I’m hoping later on, when I can binge it all in a row, it will resonate better with me. Anyway, it’s hard to say with any accuracy how a show is doing without hard ratings to back it up.

ML31

I am in agreement with Tiger and Danpaine. No way that show was getting just the one season even if they got half the subscribers they got. Which were themselves below their projections. I felt the show was guaranteed 2 seasons for 100% sure and probably had an option for a 3rd. That had a 90% chance of happening anyway. At least until some other anchor show could take it’s place. And it looks to me like the Picard show may be that anchor show. There may yet be a 4th season of Discovery but with the other projects coming I would wager if there is a 4th it will be the longest hiatus they have had.

A good discussion thanks.

One thing that really surprised me, was that all 3 of the Trekmovie TOS fans were put off by the editing effects in the ‘previously on’ footage from The Cage.

For me it brought to mind the swirling transitions in Get Smart and the original Batman of the mid 60s.

It seemed very precisely ‘in era’ for a montage and I found it very cool that this editing style was intentionally respected.

It’s interesting that the group (who first saw Trek decades after I did) did not find the 1960s TOS sets dated, but found the editing style of the period unexpected and a bit bizarre.

I watched Star Trek in the 70s and a lot of 60s shows too. I just thought it was strange to choose a style that echoed the 60s but did not echo Trek. But like we all said on the podcast, it was done with good intentions. It didn’t resonate with me because Star Trek was never edited like that. (And I was watching TOS in the 70s so it wasn’t really dated yet!)

who first saw Trek decades after I did

The three of us actually span a few different decades.

Laurie saw TOS in early syndicated repeats in the ’70s, like many folks did.

Brian was next in the late ’70s and early ’80s.

I was introduced to Star Trek (TOS first, then TNG as it aired) in the late ’80s.

For me it brought to mind the swirling transitions in Get Smart and the original Batman of the mid 60s.
It seemed very precisely ‘in era’ for a montage and I found it very cool that this editing style was intentionally respected.

I get that, and that’s not a bad point as far what they may have been going for. I’m a big Batman ’66 and Get Smart fan. However you’re talking about a show that was purposefully campy and a show that was a parody of spy films. It doesn’t seem to fit tonally with TOS, and TOS itself didn’t use those kinds of transitions.

It’s interesting that the group did not find the 1960s TOS sets dated, but found the editing style of the period unexpected and a bit bizarre.

Those are two different points.

We don’t find the TOS sets dated because for us they have a timeless nostalgia. And also we can appreciate the effort that went into designing them in the context of the era. That’s not related to the second part.

I took issue with the editing style, because it is for a TV show in 2019, and as I noted above, it doesn’t even fit with some kind of esthetic TOS used.

By making the “Previously on Star Trek” totally different from their normal “Previously on Discovery” montages it signals to people that “this is kinda goofy and dated.”

Thanks for clarifying your timelines in viewing TOS.

I think my point still holds. The scenery, whatever it’s faults, seems to resonate across a broader time period than the editing style.

True enough, TOS didn’t do much in the way of montages, which were very expensive then, but it really was a dominant approach.

I find it truly curious how differently we perceive the stylistic fit across the generations. It suggests that Discovery’s editing style may date it more quickly.

As it happens, I’m of an age that I have seen it all in first run. I saw some of TOS (and the other shows that I mentioned) in kindergarten and primary grades. TOS was the basis for our childhood imaginary play.

Stylistically, it seemed a piece with those shows and Time Tunnel.

I loved it, but I always took the sets as sets, and knew immediately (for example) that the beloved Horta was a guy under a rug.

Later, I saw TOS in syndicated reruns and other 70s favourites (like Space 1999) and the newer series from TNG on as they came out.

Frankly, while I’ve been truly enjoying TOS again in recent years with our kids, there was a long time that it seemed ‘too dated and cheesy’ for me and I couldn’t get into it anymore.

What is ‘timeless nostalgia’ for many of us looking at TOS 50 years downstream, was more or less camp to me and many of my Trekkie friends in the late 80s.

It suggests that Discovery’s editing style may date it more quickly.

I tend to think it will. The camera movement, color grading, and the general editing style are indicative of the 2010s.

PEB

Is that necessarily a bad thing? I was re-watching 90s Trek on Netflix and it’s definitely dated but we all still watch and enjoy it. I’m not implying you’re saying it’s bad, simply asking.

Neither good nor bad, it’s the style right now.

I think the styles have changed quite a bit since the early 2000s and continue to change. So looking back at it in say 5+ years, I think we may able to pin down Discovery to an era, more-so than before.

Yes ’90s Trek looks like the 1990s, but in a kind of broader overview that style of shooting TV came into existence sometime in the late-60s to early-70s. There was a typical dramatic TV show style that most shows followed for about 3 decades.

It’s going to be different for everyone. I grew up on TOS, and at the time, it looked extremely sophisticated compared to, say, Lost in Space. I never saw it as campy. It was a product of its time, but it was not campy, minus a few exceptions (like the space hippies).

ML31

For me, even though other more modern shows “looked” better, there were other elements about Star Trek that rose it above the outside skin. It was much deeper than things that came years later. And THAT is what, for me at least, causes the TOS episodes to stand the test of time better than the other shows.

Definitely, TOS, even when winking and tongue-in-cheek, was definitely taking on serious social issues and putting forward a decidedly different vision of the future.

I always saw TOS as a level above Lost in Space several other sci-fi television products of the 60s and 70s in terms of stories. But once TNG rose to the level of TOS stories, I found it hard to watch TOS.

TOS production design was pretty much of the era, and was strongly influenced by the introduction of colour television as Discovery is by HD technology.

Even the primary coloured set accents and pastel coloured costumes, are in hindsight attributable to the poor colour definition in early TVs.

When I look at remastered TOS, the colours come across as too bright, and comic-strippy…not because that was how they were intended to look, but because even the highest end TVs couldn’t reproduce those colours at the time of first run, and the sets and costumes were calibrated accordingly.

ML31

That’s fine. I recall watching TNG and the end result was it made me love TOS even more. While the PD certainly looked better (even though I was never a fan of the design of the E-D nor it’s Hilton-like interior) it still lacked an intangible spark that TOS had that TNG attempted to recapture but ultimately could not. TOS was sort of a perfect storm of unintended consequences. And nearly all of those elements worked. TNG completely felt like it was trying to force together what TOS had done naturally. And those attempts almost never work. For all it’s so-called “cardboard sets” and alleged “winking” it was still the superior production. For me, TNG felt like the first attempt at new tech. It didn’t work like it wanted to but still showed the concept had value and future versions (the other spin offs) were all the better for it.

Danpaine

“We don’t find the TOS sets dated because for us they have a timeless nostalgia. And also we can appreciate the effort that went into designing them in the context of the era.”

This^….very much this. Exactly my feeling about the look of TOS.

Michael Hall

Agreed. I get what they were going for, but aside from the transition from Hunter to Mount, which I thought exceptionally well-handled, I didn’t care for the editing of this sequence. The “swirling” transitions in particular were just plain tacky.

ML31

I was not a fan of the “previously on” montage of The Cage. I felt it was way too fan servicy and it was pretty much only decipherable by people who were already familiar with The Cage. Was nice to see as a fan but it really was a jumble. The one good thing from it was the dissolve from Hunter to Mount.

I am with you guys. I discovered Trek around 6 or 7 and the fact that the show was visually dated did not matter to me in any way shape or form.

I think Georgeau sipping her drink was a like a knowing wink. A poke to irritate.

Count me in the not a big fan of Section 31 myself. There are other, better, ways to involve an intelligence service. I have liked the Pike-Tyler conversations. That has worked well. But overall Section 31 brings the episodes to a halt.

I put it out there… The reason Pike has been a better captain lately is because Burnham hasn’t been around to counterman his command decisions.

Question… If Enterprise was in “deep space” on a 5 year mission and therefore could not be brought back for the Klingon war… Wouldn’t Talos IV be pretty darn far away as well?

The “travel there is prohibited” thing doesn’t bother me because there is nothing stopping anyone from crossing into the neutral zone, either.

The Talosian “payment” still doesn’t make sense to me. I saw nothing in The Cage that suggested that is something worth while for the Talosians.

So far, I buy him as Spock as well. At this point, I like him better than Quinto.

I, too, don’t find the big thing to be that huge a deal as well. Adult Spock certainly would have reconciled. Therefore, I am hoping there is more to it than that.

Regarding Stammets, he is pretty much the ONLY person on board who has an excuse to just be pleased Culber is back. No one else on board should just accept him and I’m floored everyone is just accepting him as Culber. That is patently insane. Because of this error, I am having a tremendously hard time with the emotional aspect of the story. Because logically, there is no way in hell that can be Culber!

Haven’t mentioned this but I did like the dueling transporter concept. Never seen THAT before.

The “faith” comment at this point was misplaced. Since that aspect of the show has seemingly been thrown out the window.

I was fine with the Talosians. The new look was fine. I would have liked that they be more frail. But in the end, it’s not that big a deal for me. I also was fine without the “butt-heads”. But had they been there I would have smiled.

Glad you mentioned Georgiou sipping her drink ML31.

Not quite certain what you mean by ‘a wink’, but I thought that Georgiou was signalling to Pike and Tyler to take the orders from S31 for the diversion that they were.

That is, she was consciously undermining the order by her comportment, but doing it within the cover an ungracious sign-off.

ML31

I think it was a calculated maneuver. A little poke. It’s what the schemers do when they think they are pretty invulnerable in stories.

Nebula1701

All this talk about the rooms? I never thought they were impractical. I don’t understand how that pulls you out. huh

CmdrR

I enjoyed the Burnham parts — for a change — because she was in a plotline where she belongs instead of butting into another character’s story. Peck was awesome. The kids were super awesome! The Pike-Vina moment was wonderful.

And then there was targ poop: Ash/Culber and Section 31’s cartoonishness. (btw, Stamets/Culber was fine.)

VZX

It’s awesome that the big TOS fans were the ones to review this episode. And I really liked listening to Matt and the others discuss their entry into Star Trek. That might make for a neat podcast topic! BTW: my entry was similar to Matt’s in that I started watching TOS the same time as TNG was on the air so it was all at the same level of discovery and enjoyment for me.

Anyway, as a TOS fan I liked the “last time” montage but agree the after-effects were not needed. Also, like Brian said, I wish the Talosians were more elaborated upon, but I like what they had. But maybe they will be in future episodes? I hope? They would make for an awesome Big Bad for a season arc since they aren’t really evil, just creepy and voyeuristic.

Section 31 needs to be dropped entirely from the series. I don’t like it at all. It was fine in DS9 as a cheesey spy story, a little too much in Enterprise but it gave Malcolm more to do (and I loved the story about Malcolm struggling with loyalty to Archer), but this whole thing on Discovery is just stupid. Why would a secret organization have their own uniforms, badges, ships, command structure, etc. that’s not supposed to have a building? Ugh, it really sucks and it’s the number one worse thing about Discovery, even worse than the silly lens flares. Also, I don’t think Roddenberry would have approved of such a thing in his Utopian idea of Star Trek.

I find it interesting that, for many writing here, it’s difficult to accept that the degree to which an espionage organization is semi-public or not varies through time.

Several western democracies had very secret organizations with military hierarchies that became public over time.

Other countries have officially disbanded their organizations only to have them resurface later, sometimes even under the same name.

Control, and S31, in Trek-lit seems to have this quality of resurfacing after being stomped out.

We’ll have to see where it gets taken in the current television arcs, but the books use S31 to look at the temptations in crossing into black ops, the risks that operating in the grey and black pose to positive Federation values, and the personal risks that officers with integrity take to uphold Federation values.

In the books, Kirk is one of a few officers to establish a secret cabal to keep S31 from gaining holds on Starfleet leadership once again.

In my view, even in an ideal society, it will be necessary to resist internal forces that press to undermine those values.

Michael Hall

My guess is that S31 is disbanded as a direct result of the events of this season. It promptly goes underground, eventually becoming the clandestine organization seen in Sisko’s time.

ML31

Does this mean we will get a series about how it went from the clandestine organization of Archer’s time to the front and center organization of Pike’s?

Trek in a Cafe

Does anyone think that Starbase 11 can move? Perhaps they don’t yet realize it’s too close? Love the podcast…

PEB

Really hard to listen to these at work. I turn up the volume loud enough to hear a softer speaking person (or just farther away from their mic) and then someone will jump in with a “yes” or “oh right” and they’re super loud. Just a nitpick as you do with the show.

Captain Dunsel

It may leave you breathless, ShuttlePodsters, but the Disco reviews have been terrific and quite welcome. Please keep your pace up through this marathon. So worth it.

Laurie! What a wonderful presence you are to the podcast. I love your take on things, and the thoughtful sincerity of your views. Having been a teen in the early 70s when Star Trek made its UHF syndication ascendance, I was tickled with the “Previously on Star Trek.” In the moment. It was quite reminiscent of the “Star Trek Next Voyage” episode trailers (with the horrible non-Star Trek font) from the original TOS broadcasts. And I loved, loved, loved the cut from Jeffrey Hunter to Anson Mount. It was only upon reflection that the quirkiness of mixing styles, especially the “Previously on Star Trek” with the TOS typeface, that it felt a bit like fan service. How would it have looked, I wondered, if they had tried to cut the flashback as if it were a Captain’s Log of Pike’s to which we had gained access?

I also enjoyed the pacing of this episode, even with all the plot threads being serviced.

Looking forward to tonight’s Episode — and the next ShuttlePod.

Laurie Ulster

Well that pretty much made my day. Thank you. I love talking Trek with the TrekMovie team/ShuttlePod crew.