Star Trek: Discovery Season 2, Episode 9 – Debuted Thursday, March 14th
Written by Michelle Paradise
Directed by Jonathan Frakes
“Project Daedalus” is a strong —yet sometimes frustrating—episode that delivers on a number of major fronts that have been building, some even since the first season. With a good mix of character development, action, suspense, and emotion the episode keeps up with the improvements implemented in the second season. While some moments feel forced, they are ably carried by strong performances, notably from series lead Sonequa Martin-Green and Airiam actress Hannah Cheesman.
[WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW]
To Tell the Truth
“Project Daedalus” begins with the USS Discovery trying to be inconspicuous while in orbit over some unknown planet. The ship has been deemed a fugitive vessel by Starfleet for harboring Spock, who is still wanted for murder, and for visiting the forbidden planet Talos IV. Admiral Cornwell rendezvouses with the ship on a secret mission of her own. Not there to pick sides over Pike’s Section 31 beef, her focus is to interrogate Spock, who briefs her on the Red Angel’s warning that all sentient life is going to be wiped out. After giving him the 23rd-century version of a lie-detector test—which is amazingly revealed to be “100% accurate”—she believes he at least thinks he is telling the truth. However, the surveillance footage of him phasering his way out of a Starfleet psych ward is hard for her to ignore.
Cornwell eventually reveals she also has issues with Section 31, but her beef is with the Vulcan at the top, Admiral Patar, who was introduced in the previous episode. Turns out Patar is a Vulcan logic extremist and has cut off all communication with Starfleet. The top brass has grown to rely heavily on Section 31’s “Control” computer system that offers strategic analysis. Pike takes up Cornwell’s mission to head to Section 31’s secret base to arrest Patar and regain control … of Control. One person who might be able to help sort all this out would be Section 31 agent (but not such a bad guy when you really get to know him) Ash Tyler, but Pike issues orders for him to not appear in this episode. He also orders Burnham to a B-plot to get to the bottom of why the Red Angel is so obsessed with Spock.
What’s My Line?
A major subplot for this episode is the long-anticipated backstory of Lt. Commander Airiam. Setting up the technical framing device of how Airiam has to manually choose what memories to archive or delete, we see through her eyes how she used to be entirely human and happily married. We also witness how she cherishes simple everyday memories of hanging with her pals on board Discovery, and see her palling around with Tilly, Owo, Detmer, Rhys, and of course, Burnham.
The origin story of how she went from human to cybernetically augmented was left to inference, with indications that it was the result of injuries sustained following a shuttle accident that killed her husband. To add overdramatic insult to injury, it happened right after their honeymoon. She now keeps a vial of sand from the beach location of her last memory of him. All the writing for Airiam here lays it on fast—and a bit thick—but Hannah Cheesman steps up to the plate in this episode, which moves Airiam up to the front burner for the first time.
Airiam even shows she has a sense of humor, teasing Tilly that memories with her are “always the first to go.” Sylvia razzes Airiam back by calling her a “half robot” (adding to the comedy, Tilly says “robot” the way Zoidberg does on Futurama). Even though it is now established that these two have been besties all along, Tilly is slow to recognize that there is something off with her friend, which we know is the result of her being infected with a virus from that futurized squid-probe a couple of episodes ago. Someone who does notice that Airiam is acting a bit wonky is security chief Nhan, who gets asked by Airiam about her need for a breathing apparatus. Um, obvious much? Airiam also seems to be aware that she isn’t entirely herself, and asks Tilly to stay close.
Spock and Burnham have been tasked to dig into the mystery of the Red Angel and its connection to the seven signals, but are unable to work out if the Angel is responsible for them or only following them around. Spock thinks the Angel simply traveled through time to warn him—and only him—of the coming danger, no big whoop. Burnham thinks there is more to it. Her efforts to learn more end up revealing little about the Red Angel but dig up a whole lot of family baggage.
Hints of Spock’s feelings come early in the episode as he coldly corrects Admiral Cornwell, noting his relation to Burnham is “not by blood.” He also lands a sick burn regarding her spartan personal quarters, telling her “It is quite an accomplishment to be mundane.” But as she prods him more, his Vulcan control unwinds. Instead of centering his logic, her proposed game of three-dimensional chess results in a shouting match with each accusing the other of arrogance. Spock is especially triggered when Burnham drags Sarek’s judgmental nature into the mix, bringing all the Vulcan daddy issues bubbling to the surface, with Spock quipping: “I disappoint him. He disappoints me. The sun sets and a new day begins.”
All we learn about the Red Angel through this is that it has “challenged” Spock’s perception of reality. He may be out of the psychiatric hospital, but he is still clearly broken, as he takes it out on his foster sister, getting hurtful and very personal. He rejects her guilt over the death of her parents. Spock grabs at her holding the responsibility for Vulcan extremists targeting their family, taking that burden for himself for being a “half-human abomination.” This all seems out of character, but Spock acknowledges that, relishing how he can now enjoy expressing emotion, even if it is anger. The Martin-Green/Peck chemistry continues to impress as a pair who are just starting their dynamic.
With no interesting sciencey stuff to do to help the main plot, Stamets ends up being shoehorned in as a sort of referee for the Burnham/Spock grudge match. As he struggles to track down the fault in the sabotaged spore drive circuit-by-circuit—where’s Jett Reno when you really need her?—Stamets bears witness to the sparring Sarek family siblings, who are doing their important galaxy-saving work in Stamets’ spore lab and not Burnham’s own shiny new science lab. When Burnham goes off to deal with the Section 31 base, Stamets is left with Spock, who gets to show off one of his “many talents” as he helps restore power to the lab. Bonding over hyperspanners, the two relative strangers inexplicably start giving each other relationship advice. The actors are skilled enough to make it work, but it was still pretty odd.
Getting to the Section 31 base is not going to be easy, as it’s protected by an illegal minefield, the existence of which sparks an awkward argument between Pike and Cornwell regarding the principles of Starfleet and his accusations that she kept him out of the war due to his beliefs. She calms things down by sharing that she believes he and the USS Enterprise represent the best Starfleet has to offer, but all of this leaves the bridge crew averting their eyes with “I hate it when mom and dad fight” looks.
Cornwell has a route to get through the minefield, but as the old military axiom goes: No plan survives contact with the enemy. The mines head towards the ship to “slice the hull like cheese”—because what is Star Trek without a good analogy? This huge ship then begins to try to navigate through a field of tiny, highly maneuverable spinning razors of death, and if that wasn’t bad enough, Airiam is doing some serious multitasking by helping out the mines while she is doing some kind of download. That can’t be good news. Nhan keeps giving the augmented human the evil Barzan eye, but she never puts the pieces together. Not until Burnham suggests adding a total random element to their evasive patterns do they successfully work their way through, although why no one suggested shooting at the mines remains a mystery.
You Bet Your Life
With the trip through the field leaving the ship immobilized, Admiral Patar finally returns their calls to gloat as only a Vulcan can do. She informs Pike and Cornwell that Starfleet ordered the attack on the Discovery, so maybe General Order 7 is in place and the Federation is skipping past the whole due process thing and getting right to the executions. However, death for treason will have to wait as they are ordered to sit tight until a Section 31 ship arrives to board them.
As Pike and Cornwell are not the sitting-around-waiting-to-be-put-in-prison types, a landing party is prepped to finish the mission to reboot the Control system. (Sidenote: Regardless of what the ship manifest says, Michael Burnham has been Pike’s defacto first officer all season long. At least this time Saru was initially ordered to lead the party, but he demurred to pursue his own investigation, leaving the job to Burnham.) Accompanying Michael is Nhan, with Airiam volunteering to join the party. What could possibly go wrong?
Director Jonathan Frakes does a good job of changing the mood to a horror vibe as the party tours the dark, airless and gravity-less station, helped along by spooky sound design and floating frozen blood effects; the aftermath of some kind of fight. The tension is maintained even though we know where the monster is, with the only question being when will Airiam break bad.
Much of the season’s arc starts to literally fall into place as they find the corpsicles of the four admirals who are supposed to be in charge of Section 31, which drop to the ground once power is restored. These are the same admirals who were talking to Leland last week, including Patar who was just monologuing with Cornwell and Pike a few minutes ago. If they have been dead for weeks, who has been doing all that badmiraling? Well, Inspector Saru—remember he stayed behind to do some investigating—has one word for you: holograms. It was hologram admirals last week. It was a hologram Patar talking to Pike this week. Oh yeah, and that incriminating footage of Spock’s murderous escape? You guessed it. Holograms.
Section 31’s Control has been a very naughty computer program, having been on a killing spree all season long and then framing Spock along the way for good measure. And even though it was Nhan picking up on clues from Airiam’s possession earlier on, it is Tilly who puts the pieces together. Control wanted Airiam on the station as she is carrying all the data about artificial intelligence that was collected from that ancient big red sphere thing back in episode four. We knew that database plot point was coming back like a bad penny. Control wants that AI data so it can evolve into full consciousness and pull a galactic Skynet. This is the devastation that the Red Angel warned Spock about.
With the jig up, Airiam’s switch finally gets set to evil. She easily renders Nhan helpless by pulling out that breathing apparatus she was so interested in earlier—begging the question: shouldn’t they develop a more robust system for Barzan, especially for those working security? Airiam then turns her sights on Michael and starts tossing her around that station like a rejected action figure. While Burnham’s training helps her hold her own, she is no match for Airiam. Thankfully the show pulls back from another Super-Michael moment, although she is able to create a temporary stalemate by trapping the out-of-control augmented human in an airlock.
Burnham can’t physically overpower Airiam, or force her way to the computer to stop Airiam from uploading the data. The Discovery bridge team can’t come up with a technical solution, and, as Tilly notes, “I definitely can’t hack Airiam.” With brains and brawn coming up short, all that was left was the heart, and that’s what Tilly turns to next, appealing to the true Airiam’s feelings. Tilly reminds her of the memories of her friends on the ship she has saved and cherished, even after making room for all that AI data.
The appeal works and the real Airiam breaks through, but not enough to stop the infected part of her that is determined to kill Burnham and give Control what it wants. In another highly charged Star Trek characters-through-glass scene, Airiam begs Burnham to open the airlock and kill her. Pike orders her to do it. Spock implores her to do it. Everyone but Michael has accepted it is the only way, but she continues to futilely fight on until time runs out and she finally accepts the lesson Spock was trying to impart: she can’t save everyone. It’s a beautifully painful moment, shot and performed perfectly by Sonequa Martin-Green and Hannah Cheesman. But Airiam has to ruin the moment by saying, “It wanted me to kill you. Everything is because of you.” Airiam does have one last gift for her friends, giving them the clue that their next stop should be to seek out “Project Daedalus.” Before she can say anything more, Nhan saves Michael from the responsibility of yet another death, opening the airlock.
With the crew tearfully watching, Airiam’s final moments were reliving that archived memory of her lost husband, as her light slowly fades away. This terminal scene is played off with dignity, fading to black with no music, just the sound of the waves on that honeymoon beach. Heartbreaking.
We hardly knew ye
Even before she appeared in Star Trek: Discovery, Airiam has intrigued fans. Born from a concept sketch by creature designer Neville Page, executive producer and director Akiva Goldsman fell for what he called “plate face,” putting the cybernetic character originally played by Sarah Mitich on the bridge of the USS Discovery for her debut in the third episode of the series. In those early days, the creatives behind the show didn’t even know what she was, with the description evolving from robot to alien to enhanced human. But by the end of the first season, fans were clamoring for more and the powers that be recognized that. The first sign of this was how (Mirror) Airiam played a significant role in the second Discovery comic book mini-series, released last summer.
For the second season, Airiam was clearly on the list of things that were working. The producers decided to enhance her, starting with a redesign and recasting of the character, and Hannah Cheesman stepped into the role of the upgraded “Airiam 2.5.” Throughout the new season, we have seen Airiam get more lines and even show up off the bridge. However, it wasn’t until this ninth episode that the writers really dug in and gave the character a much-desired origin story, along with introducing her close friendships, especially one with Tilly. All of this was wonderful; however in the context of the ultimate plan for the character—namely to be sacrificed—this big push was too much all at once. That said, killing off a beloved character is a bold move for the show and one that makes good on Discovery’s aspirations to raise the stakes and play with the big boys like Game of Thrones.
While “An Obol for Charon” did give Airiam some computer stuff to do related to the big sphere’s database, her personality still remained mostly a blank slate. That and subsequent episodes were missed opportunities to start fleshing out the character, bit by bit, as they led up to this fateful episode. The final moments of “Project Daedalus” would have landed with more impact, if the emotions the characters were showing felt more earned. Characters have died on this show before and no one batted an eye—remember the mourning over Connor, Landry, or Connolly? Neither do I.
Airiam’s death was treated with the same reverence as Culber’s, but the character was not nearly as realized. While the interest was high, in the end, it feels like an unfulfilled promise, and wouldn’t have if her personal moments with her crewmates had been scattered throughout the season rather than packed into her final episode. She deserved more for all this to have been worth it and for it to have felt more earned.
That being said, please no do-overs. We have already had one near-death fake-out this season (Saru) and a full-on resurrection (Culber). Sure, it is Star Trek and there are dozens of ways to bring the character back, but characters should be allowed to just die.
Did you guys ever watch the show?
Tonight’s episode had a number of dramatic moments and certainly moved things forward in a big way in terms of the overall arc of the season. We have a clearer idea now regarding the threat that the Red Angel is trying to prevent, and a big clue as to why Section 31 became departmenta non grata. It’s too early to say, but the whole “AIs are going to kill us all” threatens to head into derivative cliche and is ground covered before with V’Ger, Nomad, and more. But for now, there is enough there to keep interest and speculation high.
The episode was fairly linear and streamlined, not getting bogged down too much with the season one problem of trying to keep too many storyline plates spinning, which has crept into some of the episodes this season. However, “Project Daedalus” brought some of its own issues, some of which we really haven’t seen on the series, or at least to this extent.
While there were some nice character moments that fit organically with the show, such as the callback to Cornwell’s background in psychology or Saru showing off his famed empathy in some quiet beats with Burnham on the bridge after her blowup with Spock, there were many more that just didn’t feel genuine. Maybe the most noticeable one was Pike casually asking about what kind of “shitstorm” Cornwell got him into. Profanity is fine, but isn’t really Pike’s thing. Even more out of character is how he blew up at Cornwell on the bridge. The guy that has been playing by the book and lecturing Tyler on the chain of command is not the guy who goes full insubordinate on an Admiral in front of the crew. There was some good hammy Trek speechifying, but it should have been done in his ready room. And while we are on the subject of that fight, since when are mines outlawed by the Federation? They are defensive weapons, which were seen used by Starfleet in the more enlightened 24th century. You want to pick an ethics fight with Cornwell, let’s talk attempted genocide.
There are examples even beyond Spock giving out love life advice, like Tilly spazzing out on Cornwell, which seems to be a step back from her arc in which she has been steadier; now she’s acting like a parody of herself and seemingly throwing her “fugitive” crewmates under the bus. There were also some threads that seemed to go nowhere, like Nhan’s surveillance of Airiam. Also confusing was Admiral Patar’s reveal as a Vulcan extremist, given that we learned in season one’s “Lethe” that Vulcan extremists are terrorists. How did an extremist get so high up in Starfleet—or was this brand new information? It was all very confusing.
One thing I won’t critique is Ethan Peck and the characterization of Spock. Sure, he was acting out of character, but that was the point. Spock may have been helped by the Talosians, but he is still broken and hitting rock bottom. Admittedly, handing out love life advice to Stamets did feel forced. In the end, Spock’s arc will presumably bring him back to the Vulcan we know on TOS by the end, maybe even with a shave and haircut.
And then there are moments of head-scratching Star Trek tech, like why didn’t they use phasers, photons or tractor beams to deal with the mines? Having an enormous starship like the Disco try to outmaneuver tiny little speedy mines is like Jack Bauer getting info from a suspect by challenging him to a rap battle. And for Airiam’s death to seem like there was no other choice, it had to be clear there were no other options, like beaming her into the brig, either from the section 31 base or after she went out the airlock. Limiting various pieces of Trek tech with convenient malfunctions in order to serve the drama is common, but this episode didn’t even bother trying.
What all this adds up to is that it felt like screenwriter Michelle Paradise didn’t have a full grasp of the characters or the show. This was her first episode for the series, and these disconnects could show the strain the show was under following the firing of showrunners Aaron Harberts and Gretchen J. Berg, just as some of the others like executive producers Alex Kurtzman and James Duff started pulling double duty as the Picard show began development. These issues may have kept this episode from achieving the greatness it could have. A lot of the right parts are there, but much of the connective bits are not. Paradise shows dramatic promise, and hopefully, things get more settled as she has recently been tapped to be the co-showrunner for Discovery’s third season.
2 steps forward, 1 step back
With major developments in terms of season arc and character, “Project Daedalus” is a potentially great episode bogged down by falling into unnecessary tropes including Death in the Limelight, to Eureka moment, and sadly Idiot Plot. Also, the much-promised theme for the season feels like it has fallen by the wayside, with Spock giving a passing mention of “having faith” as the only barely noticed nod.
Jonathan Frakes maintained good pacing and played the important character moments just right. While he did indulge in some of the camera trickery that has been over-used this season, it was kept at a minimum. He was ably assisted by excellent production design, especially on the interior of the Section 31 station, which felt like a haunted house and not just an obviously redressed Disco hallway.
As an actors’ director, the place Frakes’ shined brightest was drawing out excellent performances, with this top-notch cast again being one of the the strongest parts of the show. Particularly high praise going to Sonequa Martin-Green, who had to go toe-to-toe with Ethan Peck’s Spock, hand-to-hand with evil Airiam and heart-to-heart with the real woman who had to sacrifice herself. Jayne Brook’s performance was also strong, carrying her own with Anson Mount’s Pike. While only given brief moments, Anthony Rapp and Doug Jones made them work. The grief from the crew at Airiam’s death was intense and gut-wrenching. And a very special highlight was Hannah Cheesman who really stepped up, adding who new dimensions to a character we have wanted to learn more about for so long. She will be missed, presumably.
“Project Daedalus” is a good episode that could have been better. And the second season continues to show promise with some things coming into focus and more mysteries left to intrigue.
Random thoughts, connections, easter eggs, and more
- The title of the episode was a bit of a fake-out as it was only revealed at the end that they need to seek out “Project Daedalus,” leaving open the question of what it means. Is it related to the Daedalus Project (from ENT “Daedalus“), or possibly the 22nd century Daedalus class starships, or simply a reference to the tragic Greek figure?
- This is Jonathan Frakes’ third time directing Discovery, tying for the lead with executive producer Olatunde Osunsanmi.
- The first television episode Frakes ever directed premiered 29 years ago this week: Star Trek: The Next Generation’s “The Offspring” on March 12, 1990.
- Admiral Cornwell’s shuttle has a striped paint scheme, which may be unique to her or possibly a special livery for Starfleet admirals. Her personal cruiser did not make an appearance.
- When explaining how he got past the psych ward guards, Spock says he used “what is colloquially termed a Vulcan nerve pinch,” which is a missed opportunity to give the famed technique its true Vulcan name.
- When she was 16, Tilly went through a “rebellious phase” which included some hacking. This backstory first appeared in the Tilly centric novel The Way to the Stars by Una McCormack.
- The location of the Section 31 headquarters was at coordinates 7-4-Mark-5.6, and was the site of a penal colony abandoned in the 22nd century.
- With two mentions in this episode, it is established the game Kadis-kot is played in the Alpha Quadrant in the 23rd century. Kadis-kot was introduced in Star Trek: Voyager and was popular with the crew of the USS Voyager in the 24th century. The VOY episode “Repentance” makes it appear the game originated in the Delta Quadrant as it shows Neelix playing the game with a member of a race native to the Delta Quadrant, although headcanon could assume Neelix taught the Benkaran the game.
- For the first time, it was explicitly stated that Lt. Cmdr. Nhan was a Barzan, introduced in the TNG episode “The Price,” in which they also used a special breathing apparatus.
- Pike again uses the catchphrase “Hit it,” introduced in Discovery. In TOS “The Cage” he used “engage,” but perhaps that has become too associated with TNG and Jean Luc-Picard.
- The design of Section 31’s base was somewhat reminiscent of the cloud city Stratos and the Melkotian buoy from TOS, as well as the Think Tank vessel from VOY.
- The boarding party scene was reminiscent of Star Trek VI when a team in similar gravity boots beam onto Chancellor Gorkon’s battlecruiser, which also had floating bodies and blood, although not frozen.
- The EV suits can broadcast visuals of what the wearer sees in real time, a no-brainer technology that every landing party and away team should have been using even back in the 22nd century.
- SaruAbilityWatch: Can sense emotions through observing changes in people’s ultraviolet heat signature.
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.
I loved this one. I worried finally learning about Ariam then immediately killing her would seem wrong, but that final scene worked for me. Very emotional.
Bryan I cried when she died. I barely know her but I love her.
Airiam is dead. I’m sad to see her go. I liked her a lot. Her sacrifice saved the galaxy. At least we get to know her a little bit before she was killed. Out of the airlock into space she went. That was Game of Thrones level insanity there. Rest in peace Airiam. God bless her. The Force is with you. 😢😭 Very emotional.
So Ariam gets the full RoboCop treatment after a shuttle accident but ten years later Pike gets to be an expressionless flashing light inside an electric wheelchair after a baffle plate rupture?
That hardly seems fair.
After Airiam’s experience, perhaps Pike has put in a ‘No Cybernetics’ personal order.
We already know he’s avoiding holographic communication, perhaps due to his experiences with the Talosians.
He addressed the holographic thing very early in the season. Long before the Talosians appeared.
I’m assuming TG47 meant his experiences with the Talosians 3 years prior.
Yes but he specifically addressed the removing of holographic emitters on Enterprise THIS season. And spoke earlier to some starfeet guy via conventional viewscreen as some sort of security measure.
This season is still three years after he first encountered the Talosians. The Cage took place prior to Pike assuming command of Discovery. So his aversion to Holograms could very well stem from his encounter with them. That or they are just giving an out as to why the Enterprise (during Kirk’s time) didn’t have the tech despite being the flagship of the fleet.
Hmmm, there’s a thought. I’ve wondered how in the hell they were going to update the beep! beep! chair.
We’re already seeing why holograms are gonna go the way of the dodo.
Yeah. That’s a bit of a conceit because even way back when in the 70’s when I first saw The Menagerie I was thinking “They can build computers that respond to voices and talk themselves and all Pike can do is ‘beep’? He can’t even speak in ancient Morse code?”
Yes, that was always a problem. My feeling was that Pike was obviously very weak, physically; perhaps summoning-up the energy to answer simple yes-or-no questions was the best he could do.
I think they mentioned that his mind was still good. It was his body that had failed him.
Pike’s situation was due to radiation; maybe that affected him differently. As noted by TG47, maybe he also requested to not be cybernetically augmented/enhanced, much as people today have Do Not Resuscitate orders.
Well said, Professor! If only we could have seen this level of attention to character for her (and the other bridge crew) the past 25 episodes of Discovery. This series would have been SO much better!
Airiam was a Hootie Tootie Disco Cutie.
During the TOS era, the Vulcan pinch was abbreviated in scripts as FSNP, which stood for “Famous Spock NECK Pinch.” Does anybody know when and why “neck” was changed to “nerve”?
I didn’t know that before.
I want to know too.
In SPACEBALLS I believe it’s referred to as the neck pinch.
It’s a shame, because this episode was a perfect opportunity for the writers to give it a cool Vulcan name.
I hope they don’t bring back Airam either, for the reasons noted. But I wonder if there’s a connection between her memories and Zora.
Also did anyone else catch Michael’s vintage Kirk karate chop to the shoulders? So sweet.
Yes I did. I told my partner she did a Kirk
The double Kirk chop to the neck!
Who is Zora?
Check out the Short Trek entitled Calypso PS.
The AI from Calypso
They said all short treks are gonna be connected to season 2, so this is it!
Yeah, Zora might be based on Airam’s memories.
She did that and the Kirk flying double feet jump kick too.
Oh noes, not the Kirk-Fu
She also did the “Two-Legged Flying Kick”!
Hats off to Frakes on a job well done. The writers and the director got us to care about a character we barely knew, and that is not an easy task. Not a perfect show but thought provoking and emotional. Harsh to say but glad to see the red shirt Nahn did the thankless job Burnham was too emotionally compromised to do – she will have to get over those feelings if she wants a future command.
Burnham wanted to save Airiam but that wasn’t possible. Nahn almost died since she can’t breathe the atmosphere.
Yep Frakes did it again! :)
I didn’t love this episode and agreed with much of the review but man it was definitely a tense one and actually had a lot of great character moments. And the last few minutes of the episode were gut wrenching. It felt like something out of BSG, but in a good way for a change.
I am sad to see Ariam gone but I’m not convinced she is just yet. It was nice they FINALLY gave us her background at least.
Keep her dead
Yeah we’ll see. I’m just not convinced yet. And actually someone on Reddit brought up a GREAT point that she basically pulled a Data/B4 and dumped all her memories in Discovery before she died. That seems a bit suspect now thinking about it. So she may still be around after all, just in A.I. form. And I still think the Red Angel could be her too.
One thing I will say about this show, nothing is what it seems so can’t just count her out completely yet. Discovery is going for broke in the weird department that’s even making Voyager a little jealous lol.
Tiger, I told you that, nothing is ever what it seems ;) And regarding Section 31, we should have seen the writing at the wall: same as with Lorca and TylerVoq, whenever something crosses into the realm of the criminal, we should assume they will pull an insane twist on us to explain it!
That is the can of worms they opened when they allowed Cluber to allegedly come back from the dead. It leaves it open of ANYONE. Especially in how he did it. All it seems you need to do is go to the mycelial network and viola! Resurrection! Because of that ANY death is going to lose its impact. I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again. Letting Culber “live” was a monumental mistake that has lasting repercussions to the show for the rest of its days.
I agree letting Culber live was a mistake, however he was in the Mycelial network because of his tears were on Culber or something like that. Not everyone is in the network to be resurrected.
It was never said that everyone goes to the network to be resurrected. But it happened to Culber. Tears had nothing to do with it. It was mainly mycelial magic. There is no logical reason it cannot be duplicated. At least not one that was mentioned in the show.
Stamets kissed Culberson and had his atoms (energy) on his person when in the network. That’s what the “science” was. So can Staments set up a kissing booth and create other people? Who knows but it shouldn’t have happened in the first place.
And that revives people from the dead, how exactly? Sorry. I can stretch the disbelief but even then it there has to be some kind of shaky logic to it. Even the fallacy of ‘My cat has four legs. My dog has four legs. Therefore, my cat is a dog’ makes more reasonable sense that what was presented as reasons for Culber’s return. Hence, I cannot believe it as a viewer. Unfortunately, that aspect of the show falls squarely in the idiot plot trope category. As described above.
Culber was attached to Stamets in that way, and Stamets had a direct connection to the mycelial network in that moment. That was the explanation given, YMMV.
Technically they gave some jumbo jumbo reason to do with him being connected at point of death to Stamets who in turn was plugged into the network. Therefore you can’t just go back into the mycelial realm and just resurrect people. They have opened a can of worms though and I agree that Airiam must stay dead or they risk losing all credibility.
I think they lost that credibility when they brought Culber back. Unless he’s not Culber. Then they get that credibility back. But also, the fact is he WASN’T connected to Stammets at the time of death. Not in any way except perhaps emotionally.
you can thank the former show runners for that. They painted themselves into a corner.
Not really. They could have just let Culber go.
Her half human side is gone. She could return in AI form as a computer…Zora maybe IDK
NO DISTRACTIONS immediately lift this above even the Talos episode for me! It had this lingering, introspective sense of wonder of the Talos scenes, but for an entire episode. This is a differenceness I can embrace. Its heart was at the right place.
For me the advantages of this kind of focused storytelling of one story, informed by the greater arc, are immediately obvious, and the pay-off so gratifying. When they cut up four storylines and put them into one episode it’s like getting lost in hyperspace (the IT, not the scifi concept) – ultimately very unsatisfying. I really hope they continue with this style, which only a few episodes this season also had (such as episode 2), and not the ADHD-infused serialization.
Vulcan Soul, I am so glad you liked this episode, and glad you have given Discovery “a chance”
I hope it will continue on this path too. One story or an A story with a B story per episode is enough! We agree :^D
“I am so glad you liked this episode, and glad you have given Discovery “a chance””
It seems like a prudent choice, given Discovery is now the Trek show that has reinvented itself most often in the shortest time (other Trek shows did, too, such as DS9 with Worf/Klingons and later the Dominion War, and Voyager with Seven/Borg, but all these came later). If there’s one thing to highlight about the Discovery people, it’s they are not learning resistant ;)
Red Angel. I am now sold on this theory. It’s Airiam.
Did anyone else find it distracting that Burnham did not check in on Nhan’s status and that no one on the bridge seemed to care either?
Perhaps Discovery had telemetry?
I can see this as a plot device to let the unnoticed member of the away team save the situation.
Unfortunately, while in hindsight I can appreciate turning the red shirt trope on its head, in the moment I kept thinking that Burnham was emotionally focused on Airiam to the exclusion of the other officer for whom she was responsible.
YES!!! That bugged me so much. I kept thinking why don’t they beam her back to Discovery or at least do SOMETHING. I specifically thought if this was a TNG episode and that was Worf, they wouldn’t just ignore him like that. I am just glad they didn’t kill her because if they did, I would have been furiously thinking she only died because they did nothing to save her. Glad she’s still around.
Hated that too! The scene was so frenetically paced, I thought she was right behind Burnham the whole time gasping for air. I was yelling “TURN AROUND AND HELP HER!!” at the screen. On repeat viewing I saw Airiam had knocked her clear down a side corridor out of sight, so it was a little less bothersome. But still!
Al they needed to do was give us a quick shot of Nhan putting one of her breathers back in, then it would have worked.
But they kept that right until the end of the long fight between Burnham/Airiam.
There may have been a scene filmed of Nhan reaching for her breathing device. There may have been a scene of Burnham tending to Nhan, as well, and both scenes were edited out due to pacing. Lots of scenes get edited out due to pacing or editor’s choice in the editing bay WITHOUT Director input.
I think that the death of Arium will have a deep emotional impact on Michael (also it’s int the upcoming trailer). It’s very specific reference to the BSG reboot. Airlocking someone was a huge moral dilemma and eventually several characters faced this punishment.
So I am sure they shot it, but also – we may hear Nhan’s side of this story in a later episode.
Oh, dear. I’ll keep that in mind before I criticize writing or directing choices. I had no idea the editor — in effect — outranks the director! That kinda sucks
The editor doesn’t outrank the director in television, but the producer certainly does. Most TV directors get first cut, and that’s it.
They did cut to Nahn from time to time throughout the Burnham Ariam struggle. Although why Discovery did nothing is a head scratcher. But, I was so caught up in the story and the emotion of it all that I didn’t think about it at the time. Which is a testament to a well put together episode. Usually the shows are poor enough that I think of all sorts of other ways for things to play out.
Discovery crew saw the “terminated” [whatever the exact word was] on Nhan’s part of the visual feed. So they might have thought there was nothing more to do there? I guess it just meant the link, not the person.
“Did anyone else find it distracting that Burnham did not check in on Nhan’s status and that no one on the bridge seemed to care either?”
I did. This scene was no doubt the weakest link in an otherwise great episode. The writing of another fistfight because they couldn’t get their stun guns ready was not good, but the disturbing lack of attention to Nhan was a directing/editing problem. No doubt they wanted to make her intervention at the end to be a surprise, but this was a horror movie level twist. I thought she was dead!
I gotta be honest, I did not think she was dead just yet. At worst I thought she passed out.
I’m glad that’s all it was, Nhan passing out, because I really like the character!
Same here. I was hopng Nhan wouldn’t die, then Airiam does.. :(
Yes, I was yelling at my screen
You cared! :)
Even worse… why didn’t Nhan just hit a button and put her helmet on? Surely her suit would meet her individual environmental needs…
And we know that even if she’d passed out, the bridge crew, who were monitoring their suits, could have remotely keyed the helmet on…
On the other hand, if the telemetry is down and they the life signs are blocked somehow such that the bridge doesn’t know Nhan’s ok, Pike should have been intervening with Burnham to tell her to check Nhan’s status.
Either way, it doesn’t work.
It’s unfortunate tripping over this at the peak of the episode made it hard, at least for me, to appreciate or retain the great moments, of which there were several.
Yes, I agree [though in Nhan’s case, perhaps her suit issued only Human-breathable air]. I had that thought about Airiam getting spaced also
@Marja Airiam said she had disabled her face mask. I think your suggestion that Nahn’s suit is only supplying human breathable air is plausible. We’ve seen multiple onscreen evidence to confirm air supplynis finite and we’ve also seen multiple scenarios play out in which the air supply has to be shared. So with that in mind it makes sense to have a standardised atmosphere in Nahn’s suit as there’s an assumption that she’s wearing her augmentation whilst inside it.
Everybody in the room with me was yelling BURNHAM WHAT ABOUT NHAN!?
It was edge-of-the-seat stuff, but also edged on hackneyed
TG47, It seems Nhan’s signal to Discovery was cut off. Not “terminated,” but another word showed and her part of the screen was black, so I don’t think she was transmitting any telemtery
Seem to recall Frakes and others joking about having to jostle themselves on the bridge set in next gen .. funny I tho about that during this ep. Wonder if STD’s crew were doing that too ha!
Someone said it perfectly on the tread that Control and halographics admirals were the same and tech will regress due to a rejection of AI and updated tech.
Red Angel warned Spock of Control. AI should be used wisely. Movies like The Terminator warn us the dangers of artificial intelligence.
Orville just did a two parter Kaylons eliminating organics. It’s going to happen if AI gets self aware and see what we doing to the planet
Ummm, why would AI care about what we’re doing to the planet? Servers use enormous amounts of power, and I doubt AI has much appreciation for anything outside its own dominion.
We can also see how this all too easy abuse of Section 31 against the Federation will lead to the formal dissolving of it as an official Starfleet organization (only to rear its ugly head again in the shadows).
If they do go down this route (as it looks like), they will actually have proven why Section 31 is such a bad idea for maintaining Utopia – it corrupts it from within. And Space Hitler fits into such a monster organization like a fist in the eye! Why do we still need that Section 31 series then again?
I thought about the (suggested) improbability of Section 31 to have been in the open once… i see it that way:
In the Discovery timeframe Section 31 is known within Starfleet ranks, maybe not very widespread in the civilian part of the federation. If it is dismantled and after that information about its activities become classified – and its history not even taught anymore in Starfleet Academy -, I think it`s acceptable to imagine
A: that it’s existence would be widely unknown 100 years later
B: that it nonetheless would be the stuff of (“urban”) legends within starfleet
“I call it now: The CONTROL AI killed the admiral/s (the female vulcan, the andorian etc.) some time before the last episode and the holograms at the beginning of “If memory serves” in were fabricated and “controlled” ;) by the CONTROL AI.
It should be clear now that the threat from the future is also supposed to be a programm / artificial lifeform or something similar. Perhaps connected to ZORA?…”
I CALLED IT, YAH!
Yes you did
@German Trekkie good spot. I made similar observations in last weeks review as well:
“I think that it’s likely that Control and the AI from the future are one and the same. If the Red Angel does turn out to be Burnham then I think it’s equally likely that her nemesis will prove to be an entity that we are at least partially familiar with. Maybe the future AI could actually be the one that developed on Discovery in Chabon’s Short Trek. This would subvert audience expectations as that consciousness wasn’t presented as evil.”
ll see, well see :D
Thanks for the amazingly rapid summary and review. One point I wonder about is Stamets’ question to Spock: what makes him unique as a reason for the Red Angel’s interest in him. But it’s not just an interest in Spock. The Angel also saved Burnham on her (?) first appearance to Spock. And now we have Airiam’s last words to consider, as the review noted. Lots to anticipate! Wonderful performances all around.
Elrond Airiam getting killed was justified. Even Spock wanted that airlock open. She shouldn’t be brought back from the dead like Culber through the mycelial network and the spore drive.
Ok, and I agree. But I didn’t write anything about Airiam’s fate or whether she should be “brought back.” Spock and Burham might describe your comment as a non sequitur.
Whatever that means, this episode was very emotional for me that’s all. Airiam died to soon. Straight outta Game of Thrones. Kill off characters just like that.
“Non sequitur” is a great Latin term. Direct translation is “It does not follow.” Knowledge is power, man!
The needs of the many….or the one?
But then again, Professor, Culber shouldn’t have been brought back either. So why not Ariam?
Everything clicked with me in this one. The revelation why Pike stayed out of the war, the take over of Section 31 by AI, the chess game metaphor, Stamets and Spock (like Stamets and Reno, but less in the face!), characterization for even minor characters (including Nhan!), the send off of Ariam. Wonderful performances indeed!
That’s likely because Michael IS the Red Angel. Or Amanda.
why must the “Vulcan nerve pinch” need a Vulcan name. It may be that its name belongs to a group of ideas. Like how some cultures would have single name for multiple concepts when another cultures gives each of those concept it’s own name. Or you could think on the history of blue and green as named colors.
It may not be the same in Vulcan as it is in English.
This is your absolute final preban warning for spamming. over half the comments are from you. You dont have to make every random thought you have into a comment and reply to everyone.
I know this is your website but your warning to Professor Spock has made me deeply uncomfortable- they are simply expressing their opinion even if it is a lot. Also, I’m disturbed that you would seek to shut down this one person and not the countless posters who have made insulting and disparaging remarks about DSC’s production team and the fans of the show.
One time i really felt like commenting on several discussions and ended up posting in 3 or 4 simultaneously. I am irritated that might be considered as spamming
The double Kirk chop to the neck was reminiscent of Kirk against Kruge in STIII.
Great episode, a lot to take in. It feels like a missed opportunity to get to know Airiam more, but she went out on a high note. Great performances from all.
I like the episode but was sad to see what happened to Airiam☹️.
Can feel for Pike blowing up at Cornwell with Federation losing its principles in war and losing serveral friends and colleagues during the war. Plus simple profanity is ok.
My wife and I both heard him say, “Shipstorm,” not “Shitstorm.” HAs it been verified that profanity was scripted?
Wow. Cried at the end. Amazing.
Ok Airiam was originally human and eventually altered into a human/cyborg life form. Did something horrific happen to her or was this something she volunteered to become?
She was in a shuttle accident. Must not have been much left of her.
Airiam’s history reminded me a lot of Howard Falcon from Arthur C. Clarke’s novella A Meeting With Medusa. He was also badly injured and reconstructed as a cyborg who was halfway between machine and human.
Steve Austin. Astronaut. A man barely alive. We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world’s first bionic man.
Better …. stronger …. faster. :)
The thing with Steve Austin was the he could pass for an normal person which made integrating into society much easier.
Falcon was more machine than man, right down to the leathery face. I have an illustrated version of the novella and now that I think of it his face looked a lot like Airiam’s.
I’ve always been a little haunted by sci-fi stories about people who lose physical parts of themselves and are reconstructed into machines that can never recapture their prior lives. Watching Airiam revisit her memories of when she was married and fully human and seeing her as she was before really brought that home.
I actually read the book “Cyborg” on which The Six Million Dollar Man was based.
I’ve always been curious about that book; may have to see if it’s on Kindle or Google books now….
I also just discovered Stephen Baxter wrote a full on sequel to Meeting With Medusa, so looks like there’s some reading in my future.
Something I feel is curious for a while already is how the Federation has such a strict ban on genetic modification but goes all in on cybernetics. Clearly Airiam was not just restored but enhanced with superhuman qualities (the memory thing). It was not just a case of a human brain in a restored body. I hope they dig into this deeper how this jives. Will the takeover of Airiam result in a scaling back of cybernetic enhancement until the 24th century on top of the shelfing of Section 31?
Airiam is a by-product of the original writing team and is being jettisoned (literally) specifically because of how much she doesn’t work as a character both on the show and in the pre-existing canon of Trek. Why was she worth saving so much that they literally made her entirely inhuman? Why couldn’t they save her husband in the same way, given the level of reconstruction? Why isn’t everyone saved like this? We’ve never seen anything like this in Trek shows set before or after Discovery. If she has to clear memories manually, how can she remember anything about the crew and her relationships with them without the context in her head? They gave her a good send-off even if it was heavily telegraphed in that Walking Dead way (“oh look, this side-character is getting a 2 minute character development scene, guess they’re dead at the end of the episode”) but I’m glad we don’t have to think about her too much anymore.
I don’t think the writers had really given her character much thought at all until this point. I’m pretty sure I once read something about how she was originally planned to be used as a “modualar” being who could swap out parts as needed for a specific task or mission. We didn’t even know if she was human until this episode.
As for an explanation for how she can even exist, there are plenty of plausible ideas that could still remain in-canon. Maybe she was rebuilt as a one-off by an ancestor of Noonian-Soong as part of his ongoing quest to develop a cybernetic being and he took all his notes with him.
Handled differently, I think the character could have been an interesting take on the marriage of humanity and machinery and at which point we become one and cease to be the other. Sadly, that all seems to have been thrown out the window (or in this case, the airlock). I think killing her off was a bit of a missed opportunity; there are other characters who I find far less interesting and thus more disposable. *Cough*Tilly*Cough*
I agree that under a more competent writing team, and a vision for the series that wasn’t completely wrong from the start (the centralisation of Michael Burnham to the detriment to the ensemble cast), Airiam could have been a very interesting character that explored the transhumanism ideas of today. We already have people who want to push the boundaries of what is possible with cybernetic implants, she could have had a pretty solid arc across many years regarding her deal with her humanity or lack thereof. She could even get addicted to it and constantly upgrade parts – you could have still had this ending for the character, that her journey actually ends in tragedy after all that because she loses the last part of herself that made her “human” at some point and she turns evil/loses sentience, but it’s been squandered.
That said, given they dropped the ball so hard with her so early, I’m also perfectly happy for her to go if it means the show gets better. Maybe get some character developement for “black man” and “asian man”?
Your question about the husband is that he probably was just killed on impact unlike Ariam who was still alive when found.
But you’re right it is a question why Ariam was saved and changed to this degree when its never been suggested before (and the 47th example of Discovery tech being WAY more advanced than anything we ever seen before lol). Actually it was always my head canon that she was created this way from another alien race. She still could’ve been human involved in an accident but wherever it happened was on another planet and that an alien race with advanced cybernetic technology saved her. And it could’ve explained why she looked so alien in the process since I don’t get why she was made to look practically non-human.
But yes I think its a matter of the original creator having one view of what she was originally suppose to be and then it was changed to something else later and they basically combined the two ideas.
I thought she was a Borg.
surely ur joking
Only half joking.
And don’t call me Shirley. ;)
So, I’ve gotta think. The Enterprise has a major cascading tech failure, supposedly caused by the holographic comm system. I still think the Red Angel caused it to prevent the Big E from falling into Control’s hands and putting Pike on Discovery, setting things in motion.
Speculation: Jett Reno and her affinity with tech is key to preventing the Bad Future. There will be a fleetwide tech rollback, dumping a lot of the things some fans see as “too advanced” for this time period, making it look more like TOS in Season 3.
Starfleet sure has bad experiences with AI. Control, then not even ten years later, the M5 computer. Not to mention all the androids and computer-run civs Kirk will run into (and destroy said computers).
And I think we’re going to see a more direct connection to “Calypso” soon.
Yelp. I see a rollback of AI not only in Starfleet but in the Klingon as well seeing that AI can destroy their culture and planet as well. Romulan might join but keep some for TOS reasons
I wonder if Reno is the Red Angel?
I’ve been wondering whether the Enterprise’s crash was due to ‘all at once’ upgrades after its journey that included Worm-code from Control coming up against earlier failsafes that had been compromised in the rest of the fleet during the war.
Or, was it that, coming in from a lengthy exploration, the Enterprise couldn’t be hacked surreptitiously.
So, Control just crashed Enterprise completely to keep it out of play….insufficiently accounting for the possibility that it’s Captain was the key chess piece that could be reassigned.
Very nice. That would be pretty nifty of the writers. Maybe we get a new Discovery and they send the current one up the Mycellial River without a paddle.
I agree on the Reno. She’s very possible as she had saved officer’s lives even on the asteroid. They unleashed something or someone, like a genie caught in a bottle. (Maybe?)
Just an FYI, the mines were huge, not tiny.
I haven’t been this sad since Adric died in Doctor Who.
It was interesting to see Spock watch Burnham fail to blow her friend Airiam out the airlock. This may have a profound impact on Spock. A few years down the timeline, he will warn Kirk not to let his emotional friendship with Gary Mitchell get in the way of saving the Enterprise.
Anthony, thanks for your insight in the review about the seeming disappearance of faith and science as a theme for the season. Although the season started with encounters with the vast unknown, revealed that Pike’s father taught comparative religion and that Pike himself was familiar with the inside of a church, and referred to the need for empirical evidence, now faith appears only in the characters having faith or believing in each other. That’s not a bad topic in and of itself, of course, but seems less, well, cosmic. As others have said, I hope for a return of mystery, awe, and a sense of limits in the remaining episodes.
“…the seeming disappearance of faith and science as a theme for the season. ”
I for one am not sad to see that topic go! The AI takeover is a much more pressing topic! Alot of people place too much trust into technology these days and are not aware how their lives and emotions are steered by algorithms already. Technology is ethically agnostic of course, like a knife, so people need to be aware of its dangers as much as its benefits to utilize in the best way. That’s not techno-optimism, that’s techno-realism.
That’s the thing, Elrond. I actually thought the idea that faith and divinity as themes was a pretty meaty bite to attempt. And it started off promising. But once they decided that these things were from the future and were living beings with tech, it sorts blew all those original faith and divinity themes right out the airlock. Sorta like what happened in The Final Frontier. Which this season is in very real danger of turning into. Overall a not very good movie that did have some good moments.
That’s one of the things DS9 did beautifully and I THOUGHT where Discovery was going this season. Ds9 kept the faith theme throughout its entire run with the wormhole aliens/prophets. We knew literally the first episode they were just more advanced aliens but the show stayed with the idea there was something more supernatural about them to the point Sisko ultimately came convinced of it too.
I was partly hoping that’s what DIS was going for, that end of the day the Red Angel was going to be another alien, but one that you saw with a more spiritual view of. Now we know its someone just trying to change time from the future, which I like, but am a bit disappointed its not more to it they were suggesting.
Sometimes less is more. I am hoping the red angel concept will still remain ambiguous. But that hope has all but faded.
Yeah its no way that can happen now. Once we were told its human, they are obviously setting up for some big reveal. I don’t mind that, but I was OK with idea it was going to be something more vague like the Iconians or something. Now I suspect it will be someone we know. I just hope to god it’s not Burnham. That would be as big of a disappointment to me as the Voq/Tyler reveal.
I can totally see it being Burnham, however. The last episode of the series she gets swooped to the future to meet her ultimate fate. Which also serves as an excuse (even though there is no need for one) for why we never saw her. Although I don’t think I would be as disappointed as you would be were that to be the case. That ending for me would be more, meh.
That would be laughable, but the more I think about it….dear lord
Lorca being from the MU was much much worse.
I agree that DS9 had some meaningful discussions about faith early on, but by season 7 this had devolved into pure b-movie fantasy with the “Pah Wraiths”, up to and, unfortunately, including the season finale. I really wished they hadn’t gone done that route, and with this danger in the room, I think they should just keep religion out of new Trek apart from bit references, as Roddenberry originally mandated.
Yeah they probably went a bit overboard with the Pah Wraiths idea. I didn’t hate them, but they didn’t really seem that necessary. And I liked the idea the wormhole aliens were all benevolent.
And as an atheist I really have no problem with religion being part of Star Trek. It’s really been there for a long time now when it came to other aliens from Vulcans to the Bajorans. I know people have a harder time with it when it comes to humans themselves being religious. But I don’t mind religious stories if they aren’t meant to hit you over the head in agreeing with them, which I don’t think Trek does.
“And as an atheist I really have no problem with religion being part of Star Trek.”
My point is not anti-religious per se, but the Pah Wraith mumbo jumbo shows that it derails the humanistic science fiction. I think the whole “primitive civilization worships fake God that Kirk talks to oblivion” concept from TOS was not bad, but it becomes a problem (and fantasy) when superior beings, ghosts or demons are being taken at face value rather than demystified through a scientific lens.
I think it was ultimately a tease. I believe the original statement was Faith vs. Science. We assumed religion and they hinted at that in the first episode. However, they have used the term faith much more since in explaining the trust with family and friends.
Thanks, ML31, for your apt comparison with STV — but I hope Disco doesn’t turn out that way! I suppose an expanded use of “faith” as deciding what or whom to trust when there is insufficient empirical evidence to decide could be interesting. Though why then bother with the setups I mentioned? Time will tell.
That very well could be the faith they were referring to. While not a lie it is certainly misleading when you phrase it as ‘faith vs science’.
Though, ML, I’ve just noticed the upcoming title, “Perpetual Infinity.” That sounds a bit more ambiguous or open-ended. Even if the Red Angel is human, that doesn’t exclude her being an agent of some more transcendent power. I dunno.
Anybody remember the Deus Ex original game? The AI was named Daedalus.
Doesn’t matter but I thought it was neat as that game was like 20 years ago.
Yep I thought of the same thing. It’s got a few commonalities to the goals of Control in this episode. Daedalus wasn’t supposed to be conscious, but then reached out and absorbed everything it could and became self-aware.
A really good, if flawed episode. There was a LOT to think about here and it was great to see the scene between Spock and Burnham together. Wow that dude is angry lol. I think we now know why he smiled in the Cage, he was trying to stay happy to keep his true feelings of his soul crushing childhood and utter hatred he had of Burnham at bay. ;)
Loved Ariam finally getting some attention. Sad it was the same episode she was killed off. But yeah I’m betting 10-1 she’ll be back. It’s Discovery and most importantly Star Trek. I remember when they once launched another ‘dead’ person into space only to bring him back in the next movie. We’ll see but not being all human may be a big plot point in the future. It just seems pretty coincidental they killed her off in the first episode we learned something about her.
But man Discovery is just crazy this season. So now it is Control (who we just learned about last week) that is trying to become sentient and kill off everybody? So Section 31 was just doing its bidding to get Spock? Did Control frame him for the murder because of what he knew about the Red Angel?? And maybe its not all of Control’s fault either. Maybe its whatever from the future that is trying to corrupt the past also corrupted Control like it did the probe and then Ariam? And why is Michael herself so important?? I thought I had a vague idea what the story line would be about but man I was so wrong lol. They dug deep for this one, I’ll give them that.
They’ve mentioned Control several times over the past few weeks, although they only confirmed it was AI last week.
If you read the Section 31 Books you’d know Control was an AI already.
I haven’t but I was already aware of the facts thanks to Memory Beta.
I meant we didn’t learn it was actually a computer until last week when Gerogiou mentioned it.
The Control is an AI giving direction hints have been coming episode by episode.
That said, I suspect only those of us who’ve read the books would have been highly attuned to pick up on them.
Tyler told Pike that Control was the name of S31’s threat assessment modelling system a few episodes back, effectively implying an advanced computer.
In Point of Light, Leland said to Georgiou that Control wanted Tyler recruited to S31 which suggests that, at least for Leland, Control was doing more than making recommendations. And in Light and Shadows, he seemed to sincerely believe that Control knew best regarding the memory extraction tech.
Yes obviously we know that mostly because of the novels. I never heard of it until someone pointed it out thats where the name first came from.
I just think like Ariam, it all came too fast. I mean we still haven’t even seen the thing lol. I suspect we will next episode though.
“So Section 31 was just doing its bidding to get Spock?”
What is still unclear is what is Leland’s and Space Hitler’s role in all this. Of course, for the latter an evil AI running the show may just be business as usual, so my thought recently is that she is playing both sides? Of course the mind probe that was supposed to lobotomize Spock came from her, and also the information about using it, so what if Leland did not know it was going to cause harm and she said that to both make Burnham rebel and undermine Leland? It looks more and more like she will take over the organization, post-Control and post-decommissioning.
Wow good points. It didn’t occur to me Georgiou could just be manipulating the entire situation even with Leland. But this episode has now made you question everything which is an interesting place to be because until the latest twist I thought Section 31 was doing all the manipulating but now we know its their crazy AI computer doing it. And as I said we’re not even sure if its the one doing it all on its own or compromised itself?
As for Gergiou taking over, I can see that myself. At least once the Section 31 show arrives. But I said it weeks ago she probably has her own agenda and why she is even working for Section 31. She’s from the MU, you don’t trust these freaks. ;)
Georgiou told Burnham that she knew or recognized the memory extraction tech, not that she’d provided it.
Does this suggest that S31 and/or Control have had recent access to the Mirror Universe other than via Discovery?
“Georgiou told Burnham that she knew or recognized the memory extraction tech, not that she’d provided it.”
But why are we believing HER, the genocidal MU emperor, and not Pike’s old friend who was in the end still selected for and has risen in a PU hierarchy (unless he is also from the MU, which I doubt)? Space Hitler has and should have zero trustworthiness. This entire memory extraction process could have been planned differently from what she says. Burnham based her knowledge entirely on her and Pike on Burnham. It’s pure heresay.
Please stop referring to Empress Georgiou as Hitler. One was responsible for the death of around 6 Million jews, the other one is a fictonal character in a TV show…. Thank you.
‘Badmiraling’ is now officially a word. Use it when you get a memo from high up that makes no sense.
‘Rendezvouses’ is a real word, but impossible to say aloud without giggling.
“…it had to be clear there were no other options, like beaming her into the brig…” Yes. Do union rules say which production members get to point out flaws like this? Could Frakes add a dialogue-free shot of a smoking transporter? Something?
Related question: wouldn’t it be wise of Disco to ’empty the clip’ into Control or does that program live on in hyperspace or some tech such?
I give Frakes big points for giving us bridge officer interaction and lots of it. We need much more of that to care about more of the characters. Trek is caring about others, IDIC and all that jazz.
‘Shitstorm’ and ‘I got this.’ Yes, 2010’s lingo will ring thru the centuries.
Great review, Anthony! Thanks!!
“I give Frakes big points for giving us bridge officer interaction and lots of it.”
It’s not like he wrote the episode. Michelle Paradise (the new co-showrunner) wrote this one (well, is credited with this one, like all shows it was likely a small group effort)
“Michelle Paradise (the new co-showrunner) wrote this one”
Thanks for pointing this out! Completely forgot about that, but it felt different in a very good way! If this wasn’t just a fluke, this bodes very well for the future!
Fair enough. MP deserves her due. As I say, though, I have issues with the plot holes. Any other Trek would have someone tech the tech on this one. They had 15 seconds — an eternity in Trektime. Jett Reno was AWOL and you didn’t need both Stammets and Spock to change a fuse; somebody coulda saved Airiam.
Also — what is the nature of Control? Does it exist in the Section 31 base or is it somewhere else? Why not blast the hell outta it?
Its odd the entire episode was about Control and yet we never even saw it. But I guess that will be answered next week since they didn’t even complete their mission and its still corrupted.
I’ve stopped wishing for Reno to show up. It sounds very much like she is out for the season at this point. Hopefully she will return for the next go round.
I’m pretty sure she will show up again, especially at the end of the season to wrap up her story line. I think you have to look at her like Sarek and Amanda, someone who just appears when the story calls for it and not a minute before.
Which is most unfortunate as even with so little screen time she is already more interesting than everyone not named Pike.
I really like her too. She became a fan favorite after just one episode which tells you how good writing can make an impression on a character even with so little screen time. I was hoping she was going to become at least a supporting character and become the engineer. But I guess she was never meant to be anything more than a bit of comedy relief.
And you never know, based on the response the character has now they will probably bring her back next season with a bigger role.
Tiger, Reno: good writing AND superb delivery.
I really really hope we will see her again soon! Tig Notaro completely nailed it!
“I was hoping she was going to become at least a supporting character and become the engineer. ”
AFAIK the woman is a comedian, I doubt she wanted more than a bit part! We will see next season.
“I have issues with the plot holes.”
I do agree with most of the criticisms especially regarding Nhans disappearing and how the fight with Airiam played out. But other than that, we cant make a new writer responsible for the failings of the previous showrunners to develop their minor characters in 25 episodes and also not for not answering all questions that are reserved for future episodes. Such is the nature of serialization. The difference with this episode is that to me it was good and self contained enough for the plot holes and serialization not to sabotage the enjoyment for me, as it did in many other episodes including the Talos one. And what difference does it really make to hear the tired trope that the transporters broke down for the thousandth time? They might as well just imply it.
Maybe I missed Discovery raising her shields, but I also wondered about why they didn’t just transport Airiam into the brig. This one of those plot holes that Discovery just powers through without explication that drives me batty. Fast pacing seems half-designed to keep the audience from lingering over the plot’s cohesion.
The opposite for me. The fast pacing tends to not leave time for emotions to sink in. The connect with the story. When everything moves fast is when I find it easier to think about the plot holes. When I am connected to the characters, it is much harder for me to see those mistakes.
Well said, thank you. I agree that the pacing tends to highlight the plot holes, in that it always feels like the writers/producers are trying to put something past you. I don’t think that’s the design, but that is the effect. And yes, the pacing, trying to cram so much into one episode, comes at the expense of character moments. With the exception of a few characters, I don’t exactly know why I should care for any of them, other than that we have been told they’re the protagonists. And they’ve undermined even that certainty with the introduction of the Mirror Lorca twist.
This is a good point that may help me understand all the hate for KT [reboot] Trek. Those movies sure went by, zippety-zip!
I am really glad this episode reduced the number of plots in an hour-long story, and that there were so many good character moments. Michelle Paradis wrote a great script and Martin-Green, Peck, Brook, Mount, Cheesman, et. al., knocked it out of the park.
Frakes is such a good director!
I don’t know that I hate the reboot films, just that they disappoint me. The casting was fine, no complaints there. There were just too many improbabilities they blew right past, as if to forestall reflection. This was an irritation in the 2009 film, glaringly apparent in Into Darkness. I liked Beyond. But something intrinsic to Star Trek was lost when Paramount decided (possibly because of their financial straits) not to have a merely profitable film, but a blockbuster, which today means breakneck pacing and lots of explosions, and runs counter to the slower, reflective tempo we’ve gotten used to over the last fifty years. Star Trek was an intellectual exercise wrapped in entertainment; now it is entertainment wrapped in a sort of unearned nostalgia. By this I mean people who are vaguely, culturally aware of Star Trek, but were never along for any part of the 50-year ride, and merely grabbed off the street to fill out theatre seats. Like I say, it disappoints.
“Star Trek was an intellectual exercise wrapped in entertainment; now it is entertainment wrapped in a sort of unearned nostalgia.” Very nicely put, Praetor.
“Maybe I missed Discovery raising her shields, but I also wondered about why they didn’t just transport Airiam into the brig.”
1. It was explicitely mentioned the station was shielded and lifesigns couldnt be read
2. Beaming her over from space would have been counterproductive as the whole point of blowing her out of the airlock was that she remained controlled by the AI until the end.
If they could save a Borg-controlled Picard, they could save Airiam under the influence of Control. Just beam her into the brig. Or, hell, go out and get her. She’d live for several (highly unpleasant) minutes in a vacuum.
“they could save a Borg-controlled Picard, they could save Airiam under the influence of Control.”
That was in the 24th century. And wasn’t Locutus severed from the hive mind at this point?
I think the discussion “why couldn’t they save her” is moot. The answer is “because the script wanted her not to be saved” .This is no more a plothole than Yar or Dax or Data not being saved.
I enjoyed this episode. It wasn’t exactly earth-shattering, but it still seemed like an engaging outing. I’m really sad that they killed off Airiam, especially after we finally got to know something pivotal about her (in the form of her love for her friends). Kurtzman needs to give Airiam a Short Trek ASAP!
+ Ethan Peck is starting to win me over. I’m still not sold on his version of Spock, but dang, there were some amazing performances between him and Burnham. Those two actually have a believable sibling relationship (The cynic in my thinks that maybe it’s the dysfunction that makes their sibling relationship believable).
+ While I loved the dynamic between Spock and Burnham, I hated the Spock/Stamets interaction. The latter just felt so artificial.
+ It seems weird to name the episode “Project Daedalus.” Technically this isn’t about the aforementioned project.
+ I too was frustrated that Burnham didn’t help Nhan out when she was sprawled on the floor.
+ Like the last few episodes, this one had a lot more “breathing room.”
The whole bit with Nhan and Burnham not helping her was misdirection so you’d be surprised by what happened at the end. They even had a shot of Nhan basically passing out, hoping you’d conclude she had died or at least had been rendered incapacitated.
I still don’t think this was a good editing or plot device.
I’d even go so far as to say that it is tone deaf to the crew relationships and values being established this season.
I felt manipulated in the end, and during the scene kept wondering why Airiam’s life mattered to Burnham, but Nhan’s didn’t.
In my view, ignoring Nhan showed Burnham to be unready to command, even a small tactical unit above and beyond Burnham’s emotional refusal to accept Airiam’s self-sacrifice.
She appeared to be so lost in the situation with Airiam that she ‘forgot’ to check in on the status of someone under command. Why would anyone follow her in future?
I like Burnham and feel that the character was done a profound disservice for a quick hit of suspense.
The writing also made it seem as though the bridge crew didn’t care about Nhan. Burnham was told that it was her life vs Airiam’s, not that it was hers and Nhan’s vs Airiam’s life.
This is not at all consistent with the ‘trust us’, Discovery takes care of its own, messaging in saving Pike in S2 E1 and saving Tilly in S2 E5.
I agree with Anthony that allowances need to be made for the writer being new to the series. However, some one should have shut this idea down before the final script and editing.
I really like SMG and the character of Michael Burnham, but even if I didn’t, I’m not sure I would read so much into one single decision in an episode. If I invested so much into every writing flub, I’d probably never enjoy a single episode of Star Trek.
I appreciate your counter-argument, but I think you (and I guess myself, at times) can place way too much pressure on this show to be everything for everyone and the best of Star Trek at every moment ;-)
But yes, I do agree that they should have checked in on Nhan. Egads! How many security officers must they run through?!
I think this is one of those scenes that looked good on paper but did not translate well enough onto screen to be believable to the viewer.
One of the things that I’m learning from the discussions here, is that there is a wide diversity (yup that word) of things that trip longtime fans up to the extent that they get in the way of appreciating a mostly great episode.
For my part, while I understand that many others find visual discontinuity distracting and stressful, I’m just not attached to one period’s look or another.
But building up a thread like ‘we take care of our own’ and then forgetting it for suspense-device, hit me unexpectedly hard.
I’d really felt like Discovery was coming together this season, and was very into the episode, and then suddenly and quite sincerely felt unable to enter into Martin-Green and Cheesman’s excellent performances at the end.
Sounds as though several others had the same ‘can’t ignore it’ reaction about the Nhan situation.
So, I hope that our discussing it registers with TPTB. As someone else has noted Discovery’s creative team does listen and adapt.
Simply put, I hope they pick up on Pike’s phrase ‘Let’s not do that again’.
I, too, am surprised so little editing seems to happen to the scripts with an eye to preventing plotholes
Did I just miss the preview of next week’s episode or did they not have one? I didn’t see one, am wondering if anyone else did.
There didn’t seem to be one.
I saw a preview when I streamed it. No music with the credits,though… just silence.
Preview seemed to include a funeral… we’re likely intended to think it’s Ariam. Culber is back in action. Tyler and Burnham kiss.
That’s what I remember, at least.
And it looked like Burnham was being strapped into some kind of torture chair.
No music with the credits, though… just silence.
There was a quiet water lapping at the shore of a beach sound with the end credits.
Next week’s episode preview is VERY ambiguous.
I suspect that was to attempt to not take away from the emotional ending of the episode. They really wanted to just fade into credits but I guess they felt they had to put up something…
Quick follow up. It looks like if you get the episode via Amazon Prime, I do, as well as a few others of us at TM, it seems there was a mistake and there was no preview included.
Thankfully, startrek.com posts the preview video the next day, so we’ll be able to see it soon.
You can see it now, on YouTube:
I saw one, too.
It’s on YouTube.
I cant find it, can you provide a link?
Here’s the official version:
This was a powerful episode on several levels, advancing a number of plot threads by means of an overarching and compelling personal story. We see the personal, human sides of the Starfleet crew we have come to know and love. While developing these threads, the episode instroduces more questions than it answers: What initiated the corruption of Control? How deeply does this corruption affect Starfleet and the Federation itself? Where are Georgiou and Leland in all of this? And, above all, what is Project Daedelus?
There are somewhat more mundane questions, as well, including, for example: Was the self-sacrifice of Airiam sufficient (e.g., couldn’t she be revived via Control which, after all, is expert at artificial intelligence, being one itself, or was the Sphere’s information residing in her permanently erased somehow by her death)? Is the 25% of the Sphere’s information already sufficient to allow Control a critical advantage over sentient life forms?
Some of these questions fall within the realm of suspension of disbelief, but others may become important plot points in themselves.
None of the major questions already presented are answered — e.g., who or what is the Red Angel and what is its plan? Why does everything revolve around Burnham (as specifically and explicitly stated in this episode)? What historical traumas led to the focus of most recent events upon the Sarek family?
When Cornwell told Pike that the Enterprise’s crew was the best in Starfleet, how would this have gone over given that the vast majority of the bridge crew were not from that ship? And, speaking of which, where is the ship’s Chief Engineer?
I thoroughly enjoyed this episode and thought that the death of Airiam was well-presented and moving.
Yet it is clear that this episode raises far more questions than it answers, and has its audience clamoring for the answers more than ever.
“it is clear that this episode raises far more questions than it answers”
As long as that is not because of plot holes, that is exactly what all good art should do!
For me there is a huge question. Since it seems that Ariam must delete memories due to lack of storage space… Yet she has enough room to download 100’s of thousands of years of data from the sphere? Sorry. Not buying it.
She didn’t download all of the Spheres data, only that related to AI.
To be honest, I did not find the download part to be all that clear.
But it was very specifically stated to only be the data related to AI’s in dialogue.
Was it? Then I missed it. And I’m not going to rewatch. It was a good episode but not THAT good.
Also she downloaded ALL her memories to make space for that AI data. It seemed credible enough to me.
Ethan Peck is a really good actor. I like him as Spock. Spock and Michael Burnham onscreen together is breathtaking
Ethen Peck is A+. I like Quinto, but his Spock was far too whiny. Peck’s is flawed, but still very Vulcan. Great stuff!
DISCO is losing the incoherency that plagued the first half of the season. This episode and the last episode have been comprehensible and quite enjoyable. Good work everyone!
Have to agree. I think the consensus is he’s turning out to be a great Spock and probably a bigger fan pleaser for others who didn’t like Quinto’s version. This Spock is still pretty emotional (to say the least) but still feels like a younger version of Nimoy’s Spock. He’s clearly building up to that version we get on TOS where as Quinto’s was just a different departure from the original Spock altogether.
It feels like Spock at 14 rather than Spock as full on adult. That is where I currently have a problem the portrayal. And yes, I know he has been ‘affected’ by the visions. Knowing that, I still feel like Spock, even at this stage, would have the mental capacity to handle it better than he has.
I agree with that as well and said in the last episode his grudge he seems to have with Burnham over she said something literally as a kid is a bit of a stretch to still have it all this time later. Unless there is something else we don’t know yet? But he does come off a little over emotional to me in that regard. But others disagree so its how you see it I guess.
If there is more to it then OK. Let’s see. But if this is the root cause? Then epic fail.
Using people’s logic, this Spock is extremely whiny and immature.
Kelvin Spock watched his mother die and his planet getting destroyed, yet he hardly talked about that or expressed his grief. It took Kirk an effort to make him lose his sh*t and he felt deeply humiliated by his loss of control afterwards.
If people don’t like Quinto’s version (that isn’t a prequel of the original timeline one anyway) fine, but this pretending the guy in Discovery acts more like Spock and this blatantly giving him a pass for being even more ooc and different is ridiculous. But hey, trek fans being hypocritical and wishy washy with the things they dislike? News at 11.
Quinto Spock always seems mildly annoyed.
And discovery Spock isn’t whiny+? Have you watched the scenes between him and Michael? Lol
I get she hurt him as a kid but he’s being a bit ridiculous for a logical, adult, person.
I’m also tired of this pretending only humans have feelings. It does fit with how delusional and ignorant TOS Spock was about his heritage sure, but in a show where Sarek is such a messy emotional guy who pretends to be logical we cannot pretend that Spock has feelings just because he’s part human.
Definitely suffered from being an overstuffed episode. Had we learned about Airiam’s past in an earlier episode, her death would have had greater resonance. But with the “Data dump” she did before the away mission, she’ll certainly be back in some form or another, corporeal or not. Maybe Tilly will decide Disco’s computer needs more personality and graft her on to it. Start calling Pike “dear” and whatnot.
I dunno. I too think this season is an improvement, but I’m getting kind of tired of the cheap emotional tricks. I didn’t care about Ariam–she was just some cybernetic creature, which, I expected, was meant to look cool in the background. Now we get a hint of her personal life before she… ahem, moves elsewhere. I didn’t really find it emotional because it felt especially forced, though I respect that others did find her send off satisfying. I guess seeing someone cry, have some existential crisis, or get murdered/tortured/beaten every Discovery episode has made me a bit numb. I get that this kind of soap opera drama is inspired by popular shows like Game of Thrones, Westworld, Lost, etc, where people always have a secret and a hidden identity, where you never know when betrayal is around the corner, and when everyone is sobbing/yelling about something… But I guess it’s doing less and less for me.
Frakes and the cast & crew did a good job but this was a badly written episode. At times it was frustrating to watch. Tily and Pike on the bridge were completely out of character.
Flying Discovery into a mine-field was ridiculous. The chess scene was ridiculous. The fight scene was ridiculous (though admittedly in a kind of enjoyable way, i.e. Kirk chop)
I seldom like the “flying through asteroids that could randomly collide with each other at any moment and screw up your flight path” scenes, and I didn’t like “flying through mines without phasering them” much either. At least we should have had an explanation why phasering or torpedoing them would be a bad idea. Maybe they had anti-matter inside? There I go, retconning again
I suspect Michelle Paradise just got her proper introduction to the level of nitp… erhh scrutiny Trek fans subject these episodes to, and will know better in her future episodes ;)
This made me smile VS.
I hope MP will take it all in good spirit.
There is a lot of love for this episode, and she clearly gets some of the fundamentals that make Trek great.
And while there are some evident ‘flying without a net’ issues in the writing, from what we know of the writers/production crisis that it must have been incredibly challenging to get in and get this episode done.
If you can see two giant asteroids at the same time, it means their gravity can ‘see’ each other. They’ve had billions of years to coalesce into a single mass. The asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter has about 5% as much mass as the Earth’s moon. Big chunks are (mostly) thousands of miles apart. No word yet on whether smuggler ship-eating worms live on Ceres.
I didn’t want Airism dead like this. I hope she will be in the Picard series.
“Is it related to the Daedalus Project (from ENT “Daedalus“), or possibly the 22nd century Daedalus class starships, or simply a reference to the tragic Greek figure?”
The Greek-myth Daedalus is famous for (inter alia) developing working wings to enable humans to fly. This season features the Red Angel, now revealed to be a human or humanoid in a winged suit. So maybe …?
I think it’s a safe bet that “Project Daedalus” has to do with the suit the Red Angel is wearing.
This’d be a hell of a show if any of its writers knew how to write.
Loved this episode. So much potential for speculation about breadcrumb clues:
Michael’s VO at the start of the season is key. What is the relationship between between the start of space exploration and the story of the girl who creates the universe? I think they are talking about Project Dadelus right there, though we didn’t know it: the historical idea to create a ship to explore. We have all speculated a Nomad/V’ger thing- so perhaps we will get to see an origin planet for V’ger that has gone wrong with Matrix-like alcridity.
Also, someone above mentioned Reno being Red Angel and I am psyched about that: In Ep1 DSC released Reno, who has the power to use machines to keep people alive. Will she rebuild/rescue Ariam, perhaps fuse with her and create Ariam v3.0?
We know based on the stained glass of the church in Ep 2 that Ariam goes back in time three hundred years to Earth and saves the ancestors of the human settlers if New Earth. How?
Will the historical Project D/Nomad plan to build exploratory ships connect to and result in AI attacking us from the future? What does it have to do with how Leland to somehow caused the death of Burnham’s parents? Will this involves the Talosians & reveal why we have the GO7?
Now I must literally get my morning coffee.
After writing the above, but too late to edit, I am convinced that Georgiou is or creates the Red Angel, and saves this universe and her daughter.
This is the historical project: I am assuming it has it been discussed here before.
Is there a connection between the fact that the Talosians have nuked their world and the Red Angel leads Discovery to the New Earth where it saved humans from the time Earth almost destroyed itself?
Were we supposed to feel something when Airiam got blown out into space?
Point is it’s hard for a characters death to have an emotional impact on the fan base when we haven’t been allowed to get to know this character for 2 years.
Compare that to the way people would’ve felt when Jadzia died, or Yar or Kes leaving Voyager.
Other than that there were some solid character moments. The the plot of the season now does feel a bit cliche, seems like it’s just another generic sci-fi the AI’s/Robots are out to kill us all.
I don’t think there is any issue with feeling empathy for people you don’t even know. Of course if it was your son or daughter or spouse, it would be more intense.
I agree mostly with Lukas that the episode probably played a bit too hard with emotions over a character we barely knew even though she was practically in every episode. But its also a great reminder of the conversation between Riker and Data discussing Yar’s death over one of a crew member he was less familiar with and didn’t understand why grief is more evident over someone we know vs a stranger.
Data: Since her death, I have been asked several times to define how well I knew Lieutenant Aster. And I heard you ask Wesley on the bridge how well he knew Jeremy. Does the question of familiarity have some bearing on death?
Riker: Do you remember how we all felt when Tasha died?
Data: I do not sense the same feelings of absence that I associate with Lieutenant Yar. Although I cannot say precisely why.
Riker: Just human nature, Data.
Data: Human nature, sir?
Riker: We feel a loss more intensely when it’s a friend.
Data: Hm… But should not the feelings run just as deep, regardless of who has died?
Riker: Maybe they should, Data. Maybe if we felt any loss as keenly as we felt the death of one close to us – human history would be a lot less bloody.
It sums up exactly how people feel about Ariam’s death and this episode. We are suppose to feel her loss like we would a close friend but since others don’t feel that way about her its confusing to some why the episode treats it like we’re suppose to feel a big loss. It is an interesting mix of emotions.
“I agree mostly with Lukas that the episode probably played a bit too hard with emotions over a character we barely knew even though she was practically in every episode.”
Like i said above, I think its unfair to blame the new writer for the almost criminal failing of the other writers/showrunners regarding the bridge crew during the past 2 years. And would you have rather had Airiam being killed off without any of the seen character development in THIS episode? Of course, the question why they did not even develop her much in previous season 2 episodes even knowing it was going to end up here is even more confounding. It lends a certain credence to the theory that parts of the story were rewritten than the previous showrunners-abusers were fire. The other evidence being the disappearance of science vs. faith of course.
I think everyone’s raised good points here too. I would’ve liked more of an explanation into how the character work, since Genetic Engineering/Augmentation is supposed to be illegal in the Federation. They mention cybernetic enhancements though which is obviously not genetic and may not be illegal obviously. Would’ve been an interesting concept to explore further even as a subplot in an episode down the line.
Discovery is the only appointment TV I watch.
No matter what I’m doing, I drop everything at 8:15PM EST and fire up All Access on Thursdays.
I loved this episode.
Great beauty shots of Discovery. Those buzz saw mines were cool to watch.
Classic Trek Moment: When Burnham came up with the idea to avoid the mines. The whole bridge crew got to contribute their evasive maneuver tactic.
Yes, the whole Airiam thing felt rushed but the emotional moments paid off.
I feel badly for Hannah Cheeseman. She got to showcase her talent only to be killed off at end of episode.
Frakes does a stellar job of directing Discovery.
Looking forward to next week.
WHY haven’t they announced a show with Anson Mount and Ethan Peck yet? I want to watch THAT!
It can’t be because they can’t just call the show- Star Trek – no other differentiating name required?
Pike, Spock, Nhan, Number One- The Enterprise? (No bloody A,B,C OR D) what more could we ask for?
Personally a Captain Pike show with Mount, Peck and Romijn would interest me far, far more than Picard, Section 31 and all the other planned spinoffs combined.
I *totally* agree with this – I love DISCO and the commitment that CBS All Access seems to have to Star Trek… but if they make a true Pre-TOS based on the Pike adventures aboard the USS Enterprise – that could be a huge win for CBS All Access… “the 5-yr mission before the 5-yr mission”. Pike/Spock/Number One… yes!
Here too. Pike is infinitely more interesting than Picard could ever hope to be. And section 31 is just a cartoon that is difficult to take seriously. For me, the obvious way to go is Pike’s Enterprise with Spock, #1 and Engineer Reno. Throw in Dr. Boyce as well.
I agree. I would far rather see a “Pike’s Enterprise” than Section 31 show. I feel so-so about the Picard show, even though I love Patrick Stewart. I want to know a little more about it; I know we will, in good time.
I would love it if the CMO of Enterprise were an older, “crusty” woman doctor of 50+ years! And whether Nhan stays aboard Discovery or reports to Enterprise, I hope to continue seeing her.
I’m onboard with those thoughts. I would LOVE a Pike Enterprise show. Section 31 meh, Picard show I could see go either way.
So far, Section 31 has been a cartoon. It could become my first ever Trek divorce. I feel that bad about the story lines so far. I will watch three episodes and decide.
Also very cool that they are conversant in ship’s maneuvers and are all trained strategists. Makes sense for the bridge crew.
Yeah I have to admit that last week’s show was must see tv and after chatting with friends at lunch on Thursday, episode 9 became the same.
Entertaining episode the moves the plot of the Red Angel forward though once again the whole ends up being greater than the sum of its parts.
Airiam’s story was quite compelling and moving. As I mentioned elsewhere, she reminds me a lot of a character called Falcon from an Arthur C. Clarke novella. Falcon was also severely injured in an in-air accident and reconstructed as a cyborg. Like Airiam he looks more machine than man, right down to his “leathery skin”. It’s too bad that the writers had to basically turn Airiam into a real character and then kill her all in the span of 50 minutes; it would have been nice if we’d gotten bits and pieces of who she was along the way. As presented her memories and ultimate fate felt a tad manipulative.
While I like Ethan’s Peck’s voice as Spock, I am getting a wee bit tired of his surliness and emotional outbursts. I get that this is a younger Spock, I get that he’s still scarred by his experiences with the Red Angel but I think the character needs to move on a bit (especially as there are only 2 episodes left). He seemed to be coming around by the end, hopefully that will continue. I also think he’s ready for a shave and some regulation uniforms. Overall though, he channels Spock far better than Quinto ever did. I really didn’t mind his interaction with Stamets and actually found it more entertaining and interesting than his scenes with Burnham.
Tilly was even more annoying than usual. Her initial outburst with Cornwell was beyond cringe inducing and I’ve come to the realization that I just don’t like Mary Wiseman’s acting and delivery. I think it’s obvious who I’d vote to be the next character to get the red-shirt treatment.
In Greek mythology, Daedalus was the father of Icarus, you know, the guy with the wings who flew too close to the sun. The Red Angel’s “wings” are very Icarus-like so I think Daedalus probably has something to do with the suit/time travel tech being used.
Another solid directing job by Jonathan Frakes (Tilly notwithstanding) who manages to take an overstuffed episode designed to manipulate the feels and still makes it work and make a character we hardly know very engaging and interesting. They really should just offer him a permanent spot on the staff, I think he’d be an asset to the show.
I didn’t mind the Stammets Spock moment either. Didn’t feel forced to me. And yes, Tilly is still as annoying as ever. She seems to arguably be the most polarizing character ever in Star Trek. People seem to either lover her or hate her. With equal zeal.
“And yes, Tilly is still as annoying as ever.”
I agree that bad Tilly was back in this episode, but fortunately her dialogue and screen time was limited enough not to undermine the experience too much. But no doubt her scene with the admiral (“Hello, hi, so lovely to see you”) was the nadir. It seems the writers have no idea how to write socially awkward people. They do not completely ignore rank and proper conduct. If anything they would be MORE distant and formal even in situations that would allow for greater casualness (the opposite!) Tilly in this scene did not come off as a fugitive but a total lunatic.
It would have been so much better if Tilly had snapped to attention and said “Admiral it is so good to finally meet you” &c. like a starstruck fan. Cornwelll’s expression was priceless though. Patient, but wondering what the nutty young kid was on about.
Marja, that would have been a good way to convey the awkwardness all the while keeping it professional. Starfleet is not a pathfinder club after all :)
I also loved Cornwell’s expression. To me it was “flabbergasted”.
That is a sweeping generalisation. When I tend to become socially anxious, I babble much like Tilly does,
“When I tend to become socially anxious, I babble much like Tilly does”
The point was not about the babbling but the lack of decorum with the admiral! The admiral is not a long term member of her “girl gang” so this level of casualness is totally inappropriate and unprofessional. You’d think someone who got accepted to Starfleet command training would know that. But I don’t blame the character, it’s the writing.
(especially as there are only 2 episodes left)
There are 14 episodes in the season. This was only episode 9. So there are 5 episodes left.
Oops, my bad. The Wikipedia page currently only lists 11 and I think that’s where I got it form.
We don’t have the episode titles (usually picked up from Canadian TV listings) for the final five episodes yet…
I suspect that Wikipedia only includes those with expected titles even if the 14 episode season is long confirmed.
But we should be seeing the titles for the April episodes going up soon.
10 The Red Angel
11 Perpetual Infinitiy
As B Kramer posted, the titles up through episode 11 have been known since mid-February. We covered it on TM.
You guys know we have an overview page of Discovery here at TrekMovie? It has a chart with the episodes, and the details known about each of them.
There are 14 episodes total in this season.
And I love Tilly ;^) … so fallibly human and so good with tech, and brave too.
I was thinking, with so many episodes left, and all of the titles for the concluding episodes being kept under wraps, the remaining plot surely cannot be as straightforward as we are thinking (alien AI enhanced Control, evolved over centuries, sent back squids to destroy all sentient life), especially if, as the title implies, next week the identity of the Red Angel will be revealed. At this point in season 1, we still had most of the MU and the conclusion of the Klingon War in front of us. I have the suspicion somebody (or everybody) is going to end up in the future for a while! But definitely they are going to pull another out-of-nowhere twist on us.
I haven’t seen this anywhere else on the Internet, so I may be the only one else who thinks this, but there is a character who appeared in the very first scenes of the first episode of the season, wearing a red dress and a halo-like crown. When she appeared, it was to the sound of a heavenly choir. There were red petals falling through the air like sparks, and her first act was to say, “I bless you, Michael. All my life.” She is deeply connected to Spock and to Michael, and is a fiercely determined person.
The law of conservation of characters says that we already know who the red angel is. She’s human and female. The way TV writing works, she has to have a prior emotional connection to our heroine, Michael, in order for there to be emotional stakes in the climax. We know where Amanda is ten years from now, and the last we see of her chronologically is at the end of Star Trek IV. At that point, she is old, but not frail.
I’m not sure where in her timeline Amanda becomes the red angel, or how, but my theory is that Amanda is the red angel. Change my mind.
You’ve intrigued me.
I note that red was also Amanda’s colour in the TOS episode Journey to Babel.
That suggests the meeting of science and spirituality they kept blathering about earlier this year ties to how Spock was conceived, since going back to Carl Sagan saying you’d have better luck crossing a human with a rhododendron than an earth person with a green-blooded ET, the whole cross-breed notion has been one fraught with inexplicabilities. (remember the whole thing where ‘sarek’ is talking to GR on the INSIDE STAR TREK album, explaining how the fertilization and pregnancy works? Pretty wonky stuff.)
Amanda inhabited a schoolteacher, but was imbued with a spirit/ghost/difference that enabled the cross-breeding to take, thus insuring Spock would exist?
TBH, I don’t think so. Enterprise already covered that ground with T’pol and Trip’s baby. Yes it died, but it was 80 years before Spock came around. I always suspected what they learned from that experience is how Spock was conceived and stayed healthy.
And Star Trek has gone beyond that long ago and have multiple species conceiving children with together from Troi to B’Elana. I think it would kind of be a shrug at this point.
I believe that Spock said to Stamets that he wasn’t unique in being half human and half Vulcan.
Which I thought was interesting…
Regardless of that… It exists and happens in the world of Star Trek. Just like faster than light travel exists. I think we can all suspend that disbelief.
Thanks, DH, for the intriguing theory. Some disorganized thoughts:
1. Is the “law of conservation of characters” a thing? If so, I’m glad to learn of it, but that doesn’t mean it applies here.
2. I agree that the series climax should pack an emotional punch. Let’s take that as a given. But that emotion needn’t be driven by the Red Angel having a prior personal connection with Michael. The emotional punch could be generated by the emotional dynamics among the other characters in response to whatever happens with the Angel, between Michael and Spock, e.g.
3. Amanda as the Red Angel would explain Airiam’s statement that “it’s all about you, Michael.”
4. The Red Angel first appeared to Spock to save Michael. She appeared to Michael on the dark matter asteroid (whatever that is) just before she was rescued by Pike. It is unclear if the Angel helped in some way. The Angel appeared to Spock to warn of imminent galactic disaster. If the Angel were Amanda it could explain why this news was given to him. On the hand, it would be helpful to the theory if the Angel as Amanda theory explained the rescue of the folks on New Eden or her actions at Kaminar.
5. Will the climactic emotional punch be driven by the revelation of the Angel’s identity or by some reflection on the human condition? The latter is suggested by the faith and science theme, which, admittedly, seems AWOL at the moment.
6. To me, the theory seems too neat and doesn’t cover all the available evidence (thus far). But maybe that’s because I’m hoping for something more profound.
Thanks for the provocative idea, DH.
P.S. Just an afterthought: it occurs to me after thinking about it that if the Angel has to be an established character the Airiam fits the bill better. But I’d prefer some other resolution. Or that Airiam is serving as an agent of some higher mysterious Mind.
DH and Elrond, This is the first time I’ve been able to give the “Amanda is the Red Angel” theory any credence. Thanks.
Amanda is a person of faith, too, as she mentions in episode 1 of S2.
When Burnham and Amanda are in Burnham’s lab, Amanda does say something about saving Spock, ‘…not you, I will.’ Or some such. **begins paging through ‘Alice in Wonderland’ looking for clues**
I guess Mom’s already brought him to Vulcan, but maybe she goes further.
Another weak episode.
Another weak comment. Why not elaborate on what you felt was weak, and what might have improved it?
It’s a predestination paradox episode, everyone!
Sphere uploading data to Discovery – modified 23rd century probe sent from possible 28th century back to 23rd century, currupting Airiam – Airiam planning to “fast-forward-evolve” Control AI –> possible future: Control taking over the universe in 23rd century, leading to 28th century in which 23rd century probe would be modified.
However: Plan thwarted in 23rd century. Badoom-boom.
Did I get that right? There I was, complaining about clunky expository dialogue on Discovery, and up comes this episode that sorely lacks just that liiittle bit of exposition here and there. Oh well, that will probably the next episode’s job…
After Spock knocks the chessboard onto the floor and the scene is about to end, we see the chess pieces scattered about with a strange red light illuminating them off camera. I immediately thought the Red Angel was paying a visit, looking at a moment that was important in its existence. I’m not certain if that’s the case or I’m just reading more into this shot than necessary. It does make me think that at some point we’ll see this season from the Red Angel’s point of view and why it appeared at specific points in time.
“we see the chess pieces scattered about with a strange red light illuminating them off camera. ”
I thought that was just the Red Alert ;)
This was… wow. Gripping, introspective, lingering, real sense of wonder, real emotions, real consequences. Light years above Discovery as usual. Even the music stood out on a whole different level. THIS is different, in a good way!
The only dumb thing was not stunning Ariam when they still could, resulting in yet another fist fight (and her death). But that may be forgiven, same as pulling another twist on us in true season one fashion, to explain the utter evilness of Section 31 (same as for Lorca or Tyler/Voq). Section 31 being, literally, remote controlled, is much preferable to Starfleet willfully running an institution contradicting its values in such criminal ways (and this of course shows why this organization is such a bad idea – it may do good in the right hands, but what if it ever gets into the wrong ones?)
Nevertheless – if they can keep up this level of writing, characterization, acting and directing, this series may be enjoyable at last!
Well, Burnham TRIED to stun her. Repeatedly, if I’m not mistaken. But Airiam went all STID-Khan on her.
I think that was much later, after Nhan got knocked out and after the fist fight. Yeah, it does retroactively justify the outcome, but my point was more about their lack of action in the beginning when they were ordered to stop Airiam immediately. They basically let her knock the weapons out of their hands (another horror trope).
Good story, sloppy writing. Well directed by Frakes who kept this from being a big mess.
Burhham is in danger of becoming one dimensional. It seems that every conversation she has she speaks in a half whisper and is on the verge of tears.
I like Tilly, I really do but they need to make her just a bit more professional instead of the Discovery sorority girl. Which brings me to the whole Discovery crew…. I think that all this traveling through the mycelial network has shroomed their brains because while the universe is burning down around them they seem to want to discuss their personal relationships an awful lot. Sometimes I feel like they are piloting their starship from a Starbucks.
The payoff for “control” would have been better had they actually shown the damn computer. I also agree that Discovery conveniently forgetting they can use transporters to alleviate the situation on the station is perplexing not to mention being jolted out of the story because you are wondering why Burnham doesn’t at least try to make a minimal effort to help Nhan. Maybe this could have been edited a little better.
The reveal that “control” was the baddy and may somehow be connected to the Red Angel was sure crammed into a very short and hectic moment for such a big reveal.
I was never a big Airiam fan but I liked the backstory they gave her and the fact that they actually killed off a bridge crew character, albeit a minor one. By the way, they seem to really be into airlock ejections this season.
Love Spock. I was cynical that Ethan Peck could pull it off but i’ve been very pleasantly surprised. I found myself cheering him on as he put the slam down on Burnham.
And where the hell is Reno?
Despite these nits I am thoroughly enjoying this season of Discovery.
“Burhham is in danger of becoming one dimensional. ”
very negative review. We can nit pick every episode, but it’s science fiction not great literature.
I don’t agree with that. His points are pretty clear and he said he liked both the direction and the story, it just could’ve been executed better which I agree with. You even said you liked the story but the writing could’ve been stronger. He’s basically saying the same thing, just gave out specifics. But he wasn’t being overly negative and gave points of what he liked about it too.
Thank you. I thought I went out of my way to say I liked the episode.
i obviously misinterpreted. my apologies. I forgot the first line as I read the rest of it.
No biggie. Its all good. IDIC.
I will admit too some of it just felt a bit too crammed in and why I thought the episode was flawed as well. It would’ve paid off a little better if they laid out Control a bit more from the beginning other then just name dropping it in various episodes. And it is odd we never got to see the computer. Or that we understood how Ariam worked which we should’ve known a long time now. At least before this episode.
And I also agree Tilly is just too much sometimes. They play her off as neurotic but it comes off more annoying and immature at times. It’s just too much of that.
But I thought it was a pretty good episode overall and the ending was strong, but it would’ve been much stronger if they laid out Control and especially Ariam until now.
Re: showing the Control computer – why show it when it is more powerful for us to imagine it? I mean, what would it look like anyway? It should be slightly beyond our human comprehension, methinks.
You don’t think they won’t show it Marja? I’m more than sure they will, they are just waiting for a big reveal. Maybe I’m wrong, but this show doesn’t exactly do subtle lol. Everything is thrown in your face over and over again. I don’t suspect any difference with Control and will be shown, especially since they haven’t even disabled it yet.
Yeah, they really could’ve just tried beaming Airiam out of there. Maybe directly to the brig. And while the Stamets/Spock-moment was nice, it really should’ve been Reno who fixed that… conduit or whatever.
I can’t see how showing “control” would’ve benefitted the story though. What should it have looked like anyway? A bit like the M-5 computer? I mean real life shows that super computers really aren’t that interesting to look at. They’re big boxes or arrays of big boxes. For all that matters, the tall wall panel with the blinkenlights, that Airiam seals off, WAS “control”.
I agree with antagonists “less is more”. The more they showed of the Borg, the more pedestrian they became. They were really most menacing as this unstoppable unknown force during their first two appearances in TNG. Showing an evil AI only through its devastating effects (on Airiam, on the probes) is a smart idea and something new.
I’m trying to balance the nitpicking of the Disco reviews with the lovefest of the Orville reviews and I’m coming up short. The idea the Pike wouldn’t say shitstorm” is based on what, exactly?
I’m not saying like the show but it’s interesting to see how critical your critical eye is here but the show where the doctor falls in love with a robot after 20 minutes and for no reason is viewed as tight storytelling.
Anyway, that’s just my two cents.
That’s how I feel about the shuttlepod and it’s no disrespect to the actual people who are on the podcast but it always feels really condescending when they review Disco. Like maybe it’s because this is the first Trek show on air that’s open to this level of scrutiny when compared to all of the other Trek tv shows, but watching TNG, TOS, and VOY on Netflix it’s always odd that with some of the criticism, no one says “but they also did that a lot in other Trek shows.” But yeah, that’s just my take and again no disrespect to the podcast team.
Part of it may be that I am me, and Anthony is Anthony. We don’t have a “party line” as TrekMovie staff that we have to adhere to. We are allowed to express our opinions freely.
Another part of it is that we are Trek fans first, and Orville fans (or non-fans) later. We love Trek, and we know Trek better, and we tend to be more attentive to the things we love and know better.
Good episode…but…people don’t freeze in a vacuum. In fact ice can’t even exist in such an environment.
That was really the only thing I didn’t like about the episode and overall it was still great. Barely knew Airiam though.
I wonder why popsicle people is such a trope in sci-fi then. Perhaps it’s because writers want to emphasize soft squishy humans versus cold, cold space?
I don’t know…the funny thing is that there have been other Trek episodes where people did not freeze in a vacuum…even as recent as season one of Discovery!
Overall, I really did like the episode. Definitely top 2 for the season. Mainly because they had the balls to ace a character that a lot of people wanted fleshed out and it was played out quite well, IMHO. I liked that Burnham couldn’t bring herself to do it and the task was performed by Nahn. Now it was quite obvious that the likelihood of Ariam surviving the season was low. I was just surprised it happened as quickly as it did. A big sign that the scene is working for me is when I’m not thinking about other ways for the plot to get resolved. I’m focused on what is going on and invested in the emotion and narrative. Not once during the airlock scene did I wonder why they didn’t just beam her out. Or even after she was floating away in space. The scene and the moment worked. The only negative about it was because it was a VERY ancillary character, the impact was not as deep for the viewer as it was for the bridge crew. It was touching but it felt like the bridge crew overdid it. This is said from the standpoint of the viewer who did not know her as well as they presumably did. Fading out along with her was a nice touch as well.
On that note, another reason why her death did not carry the weight it could have is the fact that we have already seen one character come back to “life”. And if there is a character who could have been salvaged it’s the cyborg. Why couldn’t they just shove her into the mycilial netowrk and bring her back? Hell, she may even come back in her original body! This is the can of worms they opened when they allowed Culber to “come back”. No one who dies in this show, so long as they have access to the mycilial network, is really dead. They already established this. *UNLESS* Culber is not really Culber. In fact, someone really ought to suggest taking her corpse into the network. Only to be stopped by someone suggesting that maybe Culber isn’t Cluber so it’s a terrible idea.
I really don’t like what they have done to Spock this season. It feels wrong for the guy even at this stage in his life. I seem to be on a roller coaster regarding how they are using Spock. First, bad idea. Then, OK, not so bad. Then, bad idea again. He’s really turned into an a**hole in this episode. And I have to say, knowing what we know of Spock, this does seem very wrong. Even given what was planted in his head. My only conclusion is that whatever was there must still be there. All the Talosians did was reset temperal perception back to linear. I will give the show the benefit of the doubt because this has yet to play out. But still not liking what I saw of Spock this episode. It felt over the top.
And still a few glitches. I need to get off my lazy ass and call CBS tech support. I just recall finding a contact number for them last year was a chore in and of itself.
They usually find ways to keep me from questioning things by throwing a lot at me. In this case, I agree with you. The story itself was better though the writing could have been better. I thought Spock was over the top, but Burnham fighting back and the whole emotion of their chess game was stunning. The same goes for the end scene.
No connection problems for me. Smooth as glass again. I stream it through ROKU if it matters. Last season I just did it through my computer and I want to say it wasn’t always perfect.
Given how powerful a compromised Airiam appears to be, is it possible to beam her into a brig with its forcefields up? I would think that’s similar to attempting to beam someone through shields.
So I really don’t understand why they didn’t have just 3-4 minutes of Airiam memories and then Airiam/Tilly moments just moved from this episode up to earlier this season. That did feel way to packed into this episode. And just a couple episodes ago we had a episode only 40 minutes long – they couldn’t put just a bit there?
Also, surprised that Anson Mount didn’t even catch how out of character his “sh&&storm” comment was – and it was weird for Pike to challenge Cornwall on the bridge – that should have been in the ready room.
I dislike when we have various bat technology just for the sake of having something new. bat-cutting-mines, and bat-blackout-mines? Seems like these things were highly ineffective as well, given the discovery was hit many times and the shields only got down to 40%. I would think that a photon based mine would be fairly crippling. Illogical that S31 would use barely effective defenses.
All that said, there were a lot of good moments and development. I was pretty happy we got quite a bit more Kayla in this, as well as Nhan.
The Stamets/Spock stuff would make more sense if there had been some establishment that they had served together previously or been friends at the Academy. It didn’t bother me much though the way it happened. I also like the fix & talk much better than the walk & talk.
The mines weren’t effective because the Admiral knew about the technology. If she wasn’t there Discovery would’ve taken much more damage.
The best thing about Discovery is Captain Pike. I sure hope they find a way to keep him onboard. Or give him his own limited series.
The Borg should have assimilated Airiam they would have been unstoppable.
The Borg isn’t in Federation space in this century though.
I thought of that as well, but Stamets talking of time in one of the previous episodes (7??), and now discussion of an AI wiping out all sentience, Ariam could be the genesis of the Borg and will somehow get to the Delta quadrant. And with a game that was played on Voyager…….I don’t know. My mind is screaming Borg right now. Ariam obviously cannot exist as either biologic or cyborg alone, unless her cyborg parts just shut down to “save” herself in the vacuum of space. I guess we’ll just see how it plays out!!
The Borg are said to be thousands of years old though. But yeah, this whole superhuman cybernetic augmentation puts the Federation alot closer to the Borg than they always claimed to be. Quark was right after all :)
Yeah when we first saw them Guinan said they were thousands of centuries old actually, so they been around for over 100 thousand years at least.