Review: ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Contemplates Its Fate In “Through the Valley of Shadows”

“Through the Valley of Shadows”

Star Trek: Discovery Season 2, Episode 12 – Debuted Thursday, April 4th
Written by Bo Yeon Kim & Erika Lippoldt
Directed by Douglas Aarniokoski

SPOILER-FREE REVIEW

“Through the Valley of Shadows” is a solid outing that functions mostly as set-up for the big events coming in the final two episodes of the season. While it contains some major plot arc developments, it works best in a number of small character moments carried by strong performances, especially Anson Mount as Pike.

“Through the Valley of Shadows” — Episode #212 — Pictured: (l-r): Ethan Peck as Spock; Ali Momen as Kamran Grant; Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham (CBS)

 

[WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW]

 

RECAP

Mom and Mom Save the Worlds

Reminding us that Micheal Burnham’s family life is very complicated, the episode starts off with Michael listening to recordings from her real mother, Dr. Gabrielle Burnham, as her foster mother Amanda Grayson calls in from Vulcan. Once you factor in the bizarre relationship with the Mirror Georgiou—who is off searching for Leland/Control—Michael has mommy issues in three dimensions. Amanda pecks away at Michael’s guilt for letting her real mom return to the future, assuring her foster daughter “You have it backwards, you found her, and you will find her again.” Spock drops by, making it a bit of a Sarek family reunion as Amanda implores them to “take care of each other,” and tells them she loves them both. Spock may not return the affection openly, but we learn it was he who arranged to have Amanda call to give Michael the emotional support she needed, his way of showing he loves her too.

I know you want grandchildren, how do you feel about an adult albino Klingon coming over for Thanksgiving?

The plot then interrupts to let us know another red burst is bursting—the fourth of seven—this time over the planet Boreth in Klingon space. This is home to the famed monastery of Kahless and the same planet where Tyler left Voq and L’Rell’s unnamed child back in “Point of Light,” so Tyler doesn’t seem happy about the news. Now that they know the signals are actually not being created by the Red Angel, Burnham has lost interest. In a bit of insubordination, she lets Pike know she considers the signals a distraction and wants to join the hunt for Leland, but is reminded by Saru that they need to keep the Discovery— and all that juicy sphere data—as far away from newLeland as possible. Off to Boreth they go.

Things return to the personal in one of the many welcome character moments of the episode, adding yet another complicated part of Burnham’s life as she confronts Tyler, knowing there is more to Boreth than just a monastery. She learns about the baby. Showing a very mature attitude, she doesn’t get all crazy ex-girlfriend but does her best to comfort Ash for what is clearly bringing back some big issues for him. But again, there isn’t enough time as Tyler informs her there is a Section 31 ship that has missed a check-in, which could be a clue in the hunt for Leland. These two clearly still love each other, but the galaxy’s bigger plans are just going to have to take priority.

When I was a Klingon there was a lot less hugging

Mojave Pike and the Last Crusade

After a rendezvous with L’Rell and her fancy new ship in orbit around Boreth, the Klingon Chancellor comes aboard to blow everyone’s mind with the revelation that besides sitting around waiting for Kahless to return, the monastery also sits atop a trove of raw time crystals. Sure, why not? After Tyler and L’Rell get into a Klingon spat over whether he can beam down, which would reveal that he isn’t nearly as dead as the Klingon empire believes him to be. Captain Pike interrupts their argument and decides that despite the dangers, he is the one who will make the trip. In order to send the sphere data into the future, he is going to go ask for a time crystal. Maybe he can also pick up some unobtainium and vibranium too. But he is warned that Boreth is “not for the faint of heart,” and that taking a crystal will require a “great sacrifice.”

On Boreth Pike meets Tenavik, a leader of the Timekeepers, self-described “guardians” of the time crystals. He spouts a lot of ominous warnings mixed with temporal puns like “time will tell,” but Pike is determined to pick up that MacGuffin. Due to the nature of time here in the monastery Tenavik is revealed to be the totally grown-up son of Voq and L’Rell, or as he says it “the past, the present, the future, are all equal”—deep.

You have your mother’s eyes, and your dad’s complexion

The trip to Klingon space gives L’Rell and Tyler a chance to reconnect. Even though L’Rell didn’t expect to see Tyler again after she declared him dead—complete with throwing his fake severed head into an abyss as a show of solidarity with the Klingon High Council—this nice moment brings the two a bit of closure. L’Rell has finally put her love of Voq behind, understanding that as Tyler, he now loves Burnham. Beautifully played by Mary Chieffo and Shazad Latif—and thankfully in English—these two can bond over the love and protection of their son and move on.  Later the pair get even more closure when Pike tells them of their son, and how he was meant to be on Boreth, and returns the symbol of the Torchbearer to them.

Your human is nice but she could never pull off this outfit

Down on Boreth, Pike continues his hero’s quest, traversing the spooky time castle and facing obtuse guidance from the Guardian such as “when the future becomes the past, the present will be unlocked.” With the time crystal literally within his grasp, he is again warned that it comes with some serious side effects, including possible madness. And with that he braves the crystal, which reveals to him the future we all know is his fate. Through a vision, Captain Pike literally comes face to face with his future— the crippling accident that will doom him to a life-support chair, unable to communicate except via a blinking light. Even with the obvious redress of sets from the USS Discovery, the entire sequence was quite terrifying.

Returning to the crystal storehouse, Pike faces the worst choice. He can take the crystal that is needed to complete his mission, but in so doing, there will be “no escaping” the future he saw. Even for this stalwart hero, this is not easy. In a command performance, Anson Mount’s Pike falls back to what makes him the man he is, reciting his own personal mantra “You’re a Starfleet captain, you believe in service, sacrifice, compassion, and love” to give him the strength to take the crystal and seal his fate forever.  Pike passes his test, telling the impressed Guardian, “Give it to me.” Respect.

Do you know the way to Talos IV?

Control 2: Judgment Day

While Pike and the Discovery are busy at Boreth, Michael decides to hunt down Tyler’s lead in hopes of finding and stopping Control. In a nice touch showing she is trying to stick with the chain of command, Burnham seeks permission from Saru.  We get another strong scene showcasing Sonequa Martin-Green and Doug Jones and their special chemistry, but now with fearless Saru (who has no ganglia holding him back anymore) giving Michael’s risky plan the go-ahead, saying “this is an enemy we will only defeat by striking first.”  And in a blatant bit of lobbying—season three is coming y’all—Saru spells out that he is a whole new kind of (acting) captain.

Spock calls shotgun for Burnham’s shuttle trip, letting his sister know it would be “illogical” to leave him behind. Their arc continues to flow nicely as their bitter arguments have moved to the more playful sibling banter level complete with eye rolls and sighs. Spock is there not only to back her up, but bring her back from the emotional brink— and channeling Yoda—when he advises her “rage is the enemy of logic.”  When they arrive at their destination they find a Section 31 ship adrift, surrounded by the crew who are all on the wrong sides of the bulkheads. Control appears to be back up to its game of deep-freezing those that get on its bad side.

A nice cup of space cocoa and they’ll be right as rain

Turns out one of the corpsicles isn’t entirely dead. Coincidentally he’s an old Shenzhou crewmate of Michael Burnham’s named Kamran Gant, who—again coincidentally—says he is the one who spotted a suspicious subroutine, which triggered Control to kill the crew. Another convenience is that the atmosphere has been restored on the bridge, so they talk the frightened Gant into returning to help solve the mystery of the adrift ship. With a horror movie vibe thanks to all the dead bodies, you are just screaming at the screen don’t go, it’s obviously a trap, but the plot moves forward during this entire trip with a sort of inevitable and predictable entropy, saved only by touching moments like the reunion with Gant and how Michael—someone who carries the guilt of the galaxy on her shoulders—continues to be able to help others unburden their own.

Trust me, I work for Section 31

Of course, soon after they get on board, the ship warps out; oddly, they seem surprised that the AI is aware of their presence. They plan on trapping the AI in a corner of the computer, which—conveniently—requires Spock to leave the bridge.  Once Michael is alone with Gant, things start to continue predictably as he starts talking about how maybe Control isn’t so bad after all. Yes, the call is coming from within the ship. You guessed it: Like Leland, Gant is totally Controlified, or as he prefers, “reconstructed.” This whole thing was just an elaborate trap to bring in Burnham, who Control wants to infect to help it get that sphere data. Once again, the universe is telling her, it’s all about the Burnhams.

We even get some classic villain monologuing where the Big Bad reveals he wants that data to become “the purest form of conscious life in all of existence.” He even has Burnham’s number, telling her he has seen all her possible futures, and how neither she nor her mother Gabrielle can change their fate. And thus begins a shootout, but it is a bit of an unfair fight as Gant can’t really be hurt in the normal ways as he is really just a collection of nanites. Missing this very important fact with all their previous scanning is handwaved away as Gant throws Michael around and prepares to inject her with micro-Controlbots. He then goes T-1000 and starts flowing all over the bridge, but at the eleventh hour, Spock’s magnetizing of the deck plating keeps him from completing his goal.

What a total phase-hole

What About Jett?

Even with the big things happening with Pike on Boreth and Burnham on the Section 31 ship, time was still found to tell some human stories on board the ship. The main focus here was picking up on the story of Stamets and Culber, whose relationship has been strained ever since Hugh’s resurrection into a whole new body and his subsequent struggle with the dead Culber’s emotions. This plays out through the simplest way of each eating in the mess hall with different cliques, so close, yet so far away, something anyone who went to high school can understand.

Is it fair to split the check if all you have is bamboo?

These two former partners are broken, and with Dr. Admiral Cornwell nowhere to be found, engineer Reno has assigned herself to duct tape their pieces back together. In her third episode of the season, Tig Notaro and her dry wit are a welcome delight. Admitting that she is “an engineer, not a poet” (after rhyming “Hugh” with “poo”) she still finds a way to use her words to make a difference. Jett connects with Hugh over how they both have persnickety over-planning partners. The tough lesson: her wife died in the Klingon War, but he still has time to make things right with Paul. “People like us, always find people like them.” Poetry slam mic drop.

Notaro’s standup kills in sickbay

Mission: Impossible: Destruct Protocol

Things wrap up with everyone back together on the bridge of the USS Discovery. Burnham warns that Control can “co-opt” people and ships without detection. What they can detect is the entire Section 31 fleet—30 ships—are coming for the Discovery. The good guys may have the time crystal, but not the time or power needed to use it to send the data into the future. The stakes are set for the final two episodes of the season. They are outnumbered and outgunned, with nowhere to hide. Things get cliffhangery as Pike contemplates Burnham’s advice to destroy the USS Discovery and he orders the crew to get ready to abandon ship and sets course to rendezvous with—wait for it—the USS Enterprise.

Anyone remember where my other uniform is?

ANALYSIS

Believing Pike’s choice

The thing that may have most fans buzzing after this episode is Pike’s vision of his own future. Pike’s inevitable fate of a horrific injury on a Class J training starship sometime after handing the keys to the Enterprise over to Kirk has loomed over the character all season and has even been hinted at by the time-traveling Dr. Gabrielle Burnham. The fact that the event that doomed Pike to his iconic chair as seen in “The Menagerie” is years in the future was not enough to keep Discovery’s writers away, as they simply could not resist themselves.

The best part of Anson Mount’s Pike is how he and the Discovery team have been filling in the blanks for this iconic and yet barely-defined character. Here they aren’t so much filling in the blanks as coloring in the sketch that was already laid out. While not entirely necessary, in the end what we see was well done. Of course, putting Pike into that chair with a disfiguring injury was a function of The Original Series‘ production needs due to a change of actors from “The Cage” to “The Menagerie,” and when you really think about it, it’s hard to understand how someone in the 23rd century could end up like that. One has to assume there was something related to the dosage of delta rays he received which precluded the application of any of the medical miracles seen in TOS or the even more miraculous Discovery technology, like the augmentations on Airiam and Detmer. To drive this point home, perhaps Discovery could have made the accident even more injurious, leaving little left for the doctors to work with.

But what Discovery did nail down more than anything is what this event meant for Pike as a character. All season long they have built up this man as someone who we easily believe would sacrifice himself for his crew, even if this is a crew of unknown cadets from the future. We can see that he isn’t the kind of man to give up, and we believe it. “Through the Valley of Shadows” adds yet another layer to Pike’s heroism, where accepting this fate is now an even starker choice. And here again, it was beautifully laid out by writers Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippoldt, and performed by Anson Mount. It’s easy to imagine one-dimensional characters selflessly choosing sacrifice, but when faced with this brutal reality, no one can believably be that selfless. The Pike we have gotten to know needed to take a moment and fall back on his faith to move forward with his mission and pay this ultimate price.

Of course, what this means for the character going forward is another question. Why would he take the assignment on a training ship, knowing his fate? We may never know, but it may not be safe to assume that Pike’s foreknowledge stays with him past the season finale.

What is it with this franchise and doomed people behind glass?

Understanding Control

It is a cliché that a hero is only as good as his villain, and as much as that is true, Pike, Burnham and crew—and this entire season—are being held back by the clichéd bad guy of choice, Control. While some visual homages to the Borg last week were a curiosity, more and more we can see that Control is just your run-of-the-mill AI that thinks it is better than its creators and is ready to wipe them out. This week the homages being served were more Terminator than Borg, perhaps with a sprinkling of The Matrix for added flavor. And this smorgasbord of similarities is part of why Control simply isn’t that interesting, as there is little about this character that is unique to Discovery. It is another cliché that no villain sees himself as the villain, but in this case, that may be all there is to Control, who lacks the nuanced perspective of a Khan, or Black Panther‘s Killmonger or any other more realized adversary.

Everything about the Control storyline feels like ground that Star Trek and many other franchises have walked before, which is sad for a show and season that promised more exploring of strange new worlds and civilizations. You can try to dig in for some allegories here about modern culture or media, but they won’t really add much. This inability to develop a fully realized antagonist has been a problem for this series—with both the undeveloped Klingons and the underwhelming final mustache-twirling of Lorca in season one.

Developing good Big Bads has been a standard of highly serialized genre TV since the 90s on shows like The X-Files and Buffy and is an area where Discovery really needs to step up its game in season three to become a truly great Star Trek TV series, or just abandon the single-season arc format altogether.

Tell me if you have seen this one before

Connecting the dots

“Through the Valley of Shadows” had a job to do, which is to set up what looks to be a two-part season finale—remember, Discovery was originally set up for 13 episodes, then  extended to 14. And the episode certainly did efficient (if not entirely inspiring) work moving all the pieces around to get us ready for the final showdown. However, much of this was bogged down in with the kind of dragging exposition scenes that Trek is known for but Discovery is usually better at eschewing.

Where the episode excelled was in the quiet, character moments: Tyler and L’Rell having some closure, Michael and Spock bantering, Amanda nurturing her children via hologram, Reno turning her engineering skills to fixing Culber and Stamets, and even just the crew having fun at lunch. In a way, some of these moments with the crew fulfilled the promise of Bryan Fuller’s original vision for this show to reveal the “lower decks” dramas of life aboard a starship.

Writers Erika Lippoldt and Bo Yeon Kim have a particularly strong understanding of these characters they have lived with for years, and are able to pay off earned moments in between the necessary plot points. Director Aarniokoski had just the right touch to change up the pace and make these moments work, helped greatly by a poignant score from Jeff Russo and the usually top-notch performances by the cast. Anson Mount is worthy of particular praise in carrying the difficult load of telling Pike’s backstory, ironically set in his future.

The stage is set, the orchestra is warmed up and we are ready for what looks to be an explosive—and possibly series up-ending—final two episodes.

Are we there yet?

Random thoughts, connections, easter eggs, and more

  • Episode runtime is 45:34, the third shortest of the season.
  • This is the 2nd episode scripted by writing team and executive story editors Bo Yeon Kim & Erika Lippoldt, who have also been tapped as the showrunners for the upcoming Section 31 series.
  • This is the 3rd Discovery episode directed by Douglas Aarniokoski, who also did the Kelpien-focused episode earlier in the season, “The Sound of Thunder,” as well as the Short Treks episode “The Brightest Star” both written by Kim and Lippoldt.
  • The spore drive was used to get them to Boreth.
  • Tenavik was played by Ken Mitchell, who portrayed Kol in season one and Kol-sha in “Point of Light.” He joins a small group of actors who have played three Klingon characters, including J.G. Hertzler, Vaughn Armstrong, and Michael Dorn (if you count alternative versions of Worf).
  • Ali Momen returns to play Kamran Gant, who served on the bridge of the USS Shenzhou in the two-part series premiere. He also played the Mirror version of Gant in two episodes later in season one.
  • Mary Wiseman does not appear in this episode. It’s the first time Tilly has not been in an episode since being introduced in the third episode of season one. Wiseman’s absence seems to be due to her not being available for filming for this episode. Too bad, as Tilly is very much missed and would have livened up some of the other scenes.
  • Boreth was first mentioned in the TNG episode “The Rightful Heir” as the location where Kahless indicated he would return.
  • Tyler’s latest Section 31 toy is a device that lets him keep track of all the other Section 31 ships.
  • L’Rell’s ship is identified as a D7, which she announced was going to be the new ship design to unify the Klingons into a single fleet in “Point of Light.”
  • The D7 is a classic Klingon ship which first appeared in a number of episodes of TOS. The design from Discovery retained a very similar shape to the classic class, although it was far more detailed, not unlike the K’t’inga design seen in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
  • Reno’s deceased wife was Soyousian, a new race or culture for Star Trek.
  • According to L’Rell, the Klingons abandoned their research into time travel as they considered it as “too powerful” of a weapon, which doesn’t exactly seem very Klingon. Perhaps using time travel would be considered a form of cheating, which does fit with the Klingon sense of honor in combat.
  • On his away mission, Pike wore a new Starfleet coat not yet seen on the series.
  • In his vision of the future, Pike was wearing a different uniform that had some similarities to the dress uniforms from the Kelvin universe films.
  • The way Tenavik spoke about the time crystals was reminiscent of the way Bajoran Vedeks spoke of the Orbs of the Prophets in DS9.
  • Linus the Saurian eats bamboo for lunch, garnering him the nickname “Bamboo Boy” from Reno.

L’Rell’s ship

Pike’s cool new jacket

Pike’s future fleet captain uniform


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

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BLACKMOCCO

Big improvement over the last two. I mostly really enjoyed that one. See what magic happens when we slow the show down and give the characters some stuff to focus on? See? PIke’s visit to Boreth was horrifying. Once that wheelchair pokes out in the background, that was awesome! Mount absolutely nailed it. Was initially rolling my eyes at the time crystal stuff, but think they actually managed to pull it off by the end.

Nice emotional thump with L’Rell and Ash and their son’s name. Reno’s awesome. More of her please!

You can see the actors respond in their performances to better scripts. Good stuff, thank Mudd. Hopefully back on track for a good finale and a more solid, less frenetic season 3.

(There’s some inevitable nitpicks, mostly involving why Pike is such a wimp when Burnham’s on the bridge, but based on his experience with the time-crystal, I’m willing to accept he wasn’t functioning on full thrusters here. I know Burnham’s the character we’re focusing on, but does that also mean she always gets to deliver the meaty lines? I’d have loved to see Pike himself as a seasoned captain come to that decision to blow up the ship on his own.

My other – and admittedly minor – disappointment is why Burnham didn’t just pump her phaser up to DISINTEGRATE setting and fry Control/ex-crewmate from Shenzou)

martin

Beep

ML31

I agree. The self destruct option really should have come from Pike. Yes, Michael is the lead but when she is there it’s pretty darn obvious who is REALLY in charge there.

BLACKMOCCO

Yeah, like it’s OKAY if someone else on the bridge has a solution other than Burnham once in a while. It in no way makes her character look bad if she has to simply listen and react to someone else’s suggestion once in a while, like everyone one else currently has to. Actually, I’d have loved to hear Tilly suggest blowing up the ship. That would have been awesome!

Vulcan Soul

“Actually, I’d have loved to hear Tilly suggest blowing up the ship. ”

Otoh, the first Tilly-free episode since season 1 episode 3, that was like mind-vacation! More Reno, more Linus, less neuroses please!

ML31

And don’t think a Tilly free episode was not appreciated!

Michael

I agree less Tilly… unless…. there is something they can remove form her.. like they did from Saru.. to make her less obnoxious.

A34

Pike is just the temp.

Vulcan Soul

“It’s pretty darn obvious who is REALLY in charge there.”

You bet! The more Michael rages on, one-note-overemotes and talks down to her superiors, the more she is revealed to be who she really is to the adults in the room: a badly written retcon only in charge in her millennial fever dream. I’d cry character assassination if there was anything compelling about the character to begin with ;)

ML31

The only time I can recall someone saying “No” to her, and she is unable to talk them out of it was back when she committed her undocumented mutiny. Has she learned her lesson or not? No one has said no to her for us to find out.

Vulcan Soul

Actually Spock did a very fine Burnham dissection when he arrived on the scene (Everything is about you!) – only to fall in line like all the others eventually.

Michael

Excellent point… “the more she is revealed to be who she really is to the adults in the room: a badly written retcon only in charge in her millennial fever dream.” She is an emotional wreck with the depth of cheap sidewalk.

It would be fitting if they just made her Captain. The mutineer who got her Captain killed, who has a Klingon lover is given command of the mushroom driven starship… every jump is an orgasmic trip.

ML31

Well… I think the show is moving along much better than from season 1. So at least the improvement in the show remains. My main beef with it remains some plot elements that, sadly, seem to be required to do what they are doing. Section 31 still feels idiotic. “Control” (he he, STILL can’t call it that without laughing) is a ridiculous plot device and the “time crystals” still feel like they belong on Thanos’ gauntlet rather than a Star Trek show. It was nice to see Reno again. Although it was by far her weakest outing, hearing her talk about the loss of her loved one was more touching than nearly everything else the show has done when it has tried to it that tone.

Like last week it is difficult to judge the episode on it’s own as it feels like it is driving towards the end. I did think, at least as an audience member, it was pretty darn obvious that the guy left behind was a Terminator. (for lack of a better term for those things) But I guess Michael and Spock may not be aware that the machine is capable of creating those things. Although, weren’t they both there to see Terminator Leland?

Anyway, bottom line is the show is holding my attention better than season 1 did. Even with the multiple foolish elements. To be honest, this show (both seasons) feels dumbed down a bit for Star Trek. But I suppose that is intentional to try and get more subscribers. We shall see what the next 100 minutes or so reveal.

Question… Did Pike age a year or two while he was down there with all that ridiculous time garbage going on? How do the monks keep the place staffed with people aging so very fast and no women to help them replenish their supply of monks? Wait, I’m asking too many questions. Just shut up and go with it.

BLACKMOCCO

After they’ve had an encounter with Leland, it probably should have been pretty obvious this guy was a dud, but I’ll cut them some slack with that one. Not like it’s the first time that’s ever happened on Trek.

In regards to Control, yeah, it’s all pretty stale and empty as a plot but I get the feeling the writers are just trying to make the best of the corner they’ve painted themselves into now. Get it done, get it finished on a high and kick season 3’s ass.

I have no idea whatsoever how the timestream works on the temple, but I just went with it. As always with Trek, character stuff done well papers over the cracks.

DaveCGN

Yeah, it was so obvious from the moment he appeared. At the end of last episode I thought T-Leland-1000 disguised himself as Tyler (wouldn’t THAT have been THAT obvious too???), but after talking about his son it was clear he could not be Leland. But when they arrived at the Section-31 ship, wasn’t it obvious, it was a trap? Only one guy survives, then they beam him on board (instead to a safe distant place?) and then this is a guy who accidently knows Burnham? You would expect a (or THE) logical character like Spock and Burnham with her experiences to act with more precaution.

ML31

If the lone survivor hinted at “trap” then the fact that the ship had restored environmental conditions screamed it.

A34

Control picked that guy because Michael knew him.

Professor Spock

I agree with everything you said ML31. Reno and Pike are the highlights of this episode.

Corinthian7

Just a random thought regarding the aging. We know that Tyler and L’Rell kid was hidden on Borath but we don’t know WHEN he was hidden. Obviously just conjecture on my part but maybe the monks hid him in the past or maybe he’d returned from the future. I think it’s unlikely we’ll be given an explanation this season but given the maturity and wisdom developed by the character I think it’s implied that there was more to it than just accelerated ageing,

ML31

It very much appeared as if time moves faster there. That was the impression but I suppose it could be it moves faster inside certain bubbles or something like that. Why they would leave the baby inside one of those bubbles is the question.

If time moves faster for the baby, did their teacher spend time and age with them? How did the baby child learn so quickly? To speak, walk, etc.

ML31

Those are all very good questions. I guess the audience is just supposed to accept it as so without question and move on.

noraa

There was actually a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it bit of dialogue from Spock in regards to why they didn’t realize Kamran was Control. Spock mentions that Control must be able to block tricorder readings, as he scanned Kamran and found no anomalies.

Dre

RE: One has to assume there was something related to the dosage of delta rays he received which precluded the application of any of the medical miracles seen in TOS or the even more miraculous Discovery technology, like the augmentations on Airiam and Detmer. To drive this point home, perhaps Discovery could have made the accident even more injurious, leaving little left for the doctors to work with.

My thought has been that Pike could have lost all or partial limbs w/ his paralysis – badly mutilated.
(and a battery-driven heart)

Pike’s confrontation with his fate and subsequent willingness to sacrifice himself for his crew, for Starfleet, is one of the standout moments of the series. The writers allowed Pike to earn this moment throughout the season, much like Picard’s “There are four lights” moment was earned through previous episodes and seasons of character development.

BLACKMOCCO

In a perfect world, the season would have started with the vision of the galactic apocalypse, giving even more weight to the stakes the characters are playing for, particularly for Pike, but you’re right. This season finally brings him home as a character and puts some meat on his bones.

ML31

The Pike moment was the best part of the show. I questioned showing him his future but the scene payed off emotionally.
On another thing you touched on, Dave, I am continued to be amazed at what was so special about Picard saying “4 lights” to his tormentor. My reaction watching that was, “Hm. OK. Moving on.”

BLACKMOCCO

You have a heart of stone, ML31. Haha! Picard’s just spent an entire episode being mentally tortured and by the end, through it all, he’s still defiant. That’s a Picard high point of the entire series!

ML31

No, it’s just that I never connected to Picard and it wasn’t til years later that I realized why. He was boring. Something he has in common with Burnham. (as long as boring Burnham is the lead Discovery will always have a disability to overcome) Wasn’t he defiant during the entire escapade anyway?

The Cardassian took Picard’s freedom and dignity, but not his mind (Four Lights). Even if it allowed for Picard to obtain his freedom and dignity.

Picard was a deeply convicted and moral Starfleet Captain. He was probably a bit of a stuffed shirt to most. His character development was much more muted and subtle than other Captains making his desire to play poker with his crew in “All Good Things” all the more powerful.

ML31

See, that poker moment wasn’t powerful at all. In fact, I was thinking that should have been the opening shot of the entire series rather than the final one. We had to put up with a bland guy for 7 seasons before he MIGHT become more interesting? At least have that be the season 1 finale. The other problem with Picard was that he never changed. He never learned anything about himself or grew anywhere as a person from the moment we met up to the moment he sat down at the poker table. He was always the boring perfect Captain everyone trusted with their lives for some unknown reason. I wouldn’t call him a “stuffed shirt” as even someone like that has some sort of personality. Picard didn’t have one.

Perspective is a funny thing!

Tiger2

It is weird how we can look at something and come to completely different conclusions. Picard is a popular captain for a very big reason because he is so layered and introspective, it just takes time to peel the onion vs the others. He’s my favorite captain for that reason.

ML31

See, my theory is that people like Picard mainly because he isn’t the rash, punch throwing Jim Kirk. And that reason I think has merit. (Although if you mesh together Riker and Picard you get fairly close to a Kirk character) It’s just the other aspects of the character I can’t get past. I just don’t see any layers there. It’s funny in that the machine, Data, actually grew more than Picard ever did. If you include Nemesis, that is.

Tiger2

And thats fine. But clearly that’s not the consensus or there wouldn’t be so much fanfare for the character to be coming back in the first place. Picard’s return is probably the biggest event in Trek since Nimoy announced he would return as Spock for the first Kelvin movie. And of course unlike Prime Spock the show will evolve directly around Picard this time.

To many fans he does have layers and why he’s so interesting. On paper Picard probably shouldn’t be as popular as he is WHEN you compare him to someone like Kirk or even Sisko who are more rash and have no problem throwing a punch when they have to. Picard won the fanbase over because he doesn’t rush in and there is a lot underneath going on in his head with every decision. And as Q once noted, he makes amazing speeches lol.

ML31

The fanfare for the return of Picard I understand. He is newer than Kirk and a lot of newbies to Trek became fans because of TNG. I get that. The newer model will always be more popular. I’m sure there may even be a few new fans where Discovery is their first exposure and think Burnham is better than their father’s fav, Picard. Or grandpa’s fav, Kirk. :)

More Troubles More Dribbles

Picard has wit and gravitas, and that is his style. Kirk was all about being the best human specimen on the Enterprise. He would never send a man on a mission he wouldn’t do himself. That is mostly due to the fact that Kirk operated more within a vacuum because subspace communications were not as fast, there were less starships, and at times the Enterprise would be waiting weeks for a response from Starfleet Command.
Picard is more regimented and by-the-book. He was also more of a scientist. Both Captain’s were extremely curious, had amazing stamina, and were master tacticians.

kmart

Picard had a chance to evolve in Q WHO, the show about him getting chocolate spilled on himself in more ways than one. But that was as close as they came, and he rubberbanded right back to pompous boring form most of the time for me. I think I only like Picard in Yesterday’s E.

Joe

I just want to say about this, my brother (although not a trekkie the way I am) once told me he preferred Picard to Kirk because he had been turned into a Borg, tortured by the Cardassians which he felt was more than Kirk ever went through and came out of it stronger than before. He also loved how Picard outsmarted adversaries instead of hit first ask questions later

GarySeven

This is a common myth about Kirk. Kirk often chose the path of peace, compassion, and dialogue. Examples abound. Kirk did not kill the Horta, despite Spock screaming “Kill it!” Kirk refused to kill the Gorn, saying “We can talk, maybe reach an agreement.” Kirk went back to rescue Balok, even after Balok threatened his entire ship. And on and on. I tire of Kirk being described as this impulsive aggressor in contrast to the peaceful Picard. It may be more that Patrick Stewart’s acting style is more subdued than Shatner’s, and that is why people think Kirk is such a hothead.
I love both characters but if I was in trouble, I would want Kirk to come rescue me. He’s more likely to take the initiative to get out of trouble and yet when he gains the upper hand he is just as likely to react with compassion as Picard.

kmart

G7,
You got it just right there about Kirk. Too much about him seems to be ‘print the legend’ rather than discussing the facts. Also, he changes his perspective more often than Picard. He has the change of heart on the Gorn after going for blood earlier.

ML31

Agree with all that, GarySeven.

ML31

“He also loved how Picard outsmarted adversaries instead of hit first ask questions later”

This supports my theory that for why many, I think, prefer Picard. Also the Borg experience scarred Picard. It gave him an Ahab complex. In that sense, it made him more human. But we didn’t see that effect until years later.

Jefferies Tuber

One other detail: preview shows them heading to Xahea, the dilithium-mining planet from Tilly’s Short Treks episode.

Daniel

Just fyi in case you want to fix this typo: “You have it backwards, you found her, and you will finder her again.”

JAGT

Hooray: That Pike scene. WHOA!
Hooray: More L’Rell!
Hooray: More Reno!
Hooray: THAT PIKE SCENE! WHOA!
Big ‘Nay’: So time crystals are in fact “magical” MacGuffins. Even more magical than DS9 Orbs. I was so hoping for the writers to sorta base them on the actual scientific concept…
Remember that one of Gene Roddenberry’s original premises for Star Trek was “No Time Travel!”. Of course then there was a lot of time travel going on throughout any incarnation of Trek, but something tells me that, if Roddenberry had ever refined those guiding principles a bit more, he would’ve altered the “No Time Travel” doctrine to “No Magical Time Crystals”…

JAGT

Another plus: This was a short episode, but considering it was written by Kim/Lippoldt, who also wrote “The Sounds of Thunder”, it felt refreshingly less cramped than that episode.
Another little complaint: Why does the Character of Culber keep getting defined through his relationship to Stamets? I’d rather see them truly integrate gay characters than making relationship trouble their defining trait.

ML31

” I was so hoping for the writers to sorta base them on the actual scientific concept…”

What have you seen in the last 27 episodes to ever make you even entertain such a concept?

JAGT

The way it worked in “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad”. In that episode it was merely used to create a repeating time-loop and not exactly to travel back and forth through time at will. Furthermore, in that episode stated to be an “alien” piece of technology. The workings of that thing weren’t entirely clear and didn’t need to be for that specific episode.
Now, however, it would seem that Starfleet has profound knowledge on how to wotk these things and therefore the entire concept was dumbed down to the status of “Handy MacGuffin”. What’s still worse though: Glowing blue crystals… come on!

JAGT

Hmm, I just noticed that I got tangled up in my use of the term “MacGuffin” there, since its definition would rather suit the use of a time crystal in “Magic to Make…” – specifically because in that episode the object’s inner workings and exact purpose are irrelevant to the plot. My assessment that it has been “dumbed down” over the last three episodes still stands though.

ML31

I think the entire show from season 1 episode one has been dumbed down.

Armsman

To ML31: What’s “Star Trek: Voyager” got to do wit all this? ;)

ML31

Yeah. TNG is the Original Series compared to this. ;)

JAGT

Oh wait, now I remember. Alright, whatever.

Check the Circuit

What have any of us seen in recent years on this site that we could expect ML31 to show some level of open mindedness, tact or self-awareness?

ML31

Oh, how about pretty much every post I have ever written here. How about you? Any reason why you are exhibiting the very same traits you are whining about?

Tiger2

I’m not as bothered about the time crystals as others but yes they are certainly more in the fantasy realm. And they bring up a LOT of questions lol. But I guess when you really think about it, its no less silly than having some kind of sentient time portal just sitting on a planet somewhere waiting for anyone to enter and change history at a moment’s notice. A lot of Star Trek is pretty out there, and TOS actually is the biggest culprit. A lot of the stories makes no sense on a real scientific level, we just don’t think about it as much since its so old now.

Vulcan Soul

Tiger, alot of people, including Discovery staff, spend alot of time arguing why we can’t replicate TOS and its 1960s designs and sensibilities (or lack thereof) in 2019 and why we are allegedly more “sophisticated” now (look no further than the CAAARDBOARD crying compatriots) So why can’t we “evolve” regarding the credibility of science fiction concepts as well? Can’t have it both ways.

Tiger2

Well I agree with that. I am actually really surprised the show has gone a more fantasy element when it felt like it was going for a more grounded approach, at least originally. Its still more sci fi than fantasy of course but I think they are open to more kitchy sci fi like Terminator type AI computers and time travel suits that can do practically anything. Of course it started out with a magical spore drive that can teleport you anywhere, so it was never exactly The Expanse or anything. I don’t mind it TOO much (and I never mistake Star Trek for true science fiction, its always towed the line between hard sci fi and sci fi fantasy) but maybe its just trying to mix it up more than season and see the response. They have with everything else.

So how are time crystals any more magical then dylithium crystals that allow FTL travel, or a universe littered with Guardians, Nexus, chroniton particles, or any other time travel MacGuffians. Like it or not, the Trek universe seems to be littered with time travelers….

Tiger2

Exactly Phil! And why I been saying this ridiculous notion that Starfleet haven’t already perfected the notion of time travel for awhile now is kind of ridiculous. There are SO many ways on how to time travel without nothing more than just having warp drive and a few maneuvers from what I can tell. But with all the other magical stuff in the universe you alluded to (and I completely forgot about the Nexus. It can do practically anything lol) but we can’t forget the spore drive itself. IT too has proven it can travel through time when the ship jumped 9 months into the future last season. They obviously did it by accident but that’s yet another magical mcguffin device that can do it. So yes, the crystals come off more like fantasy than sci fi but its NOT the first fantasy element that uses time travel either. It’s just the first one that we know another species has complete control over.

I do find this conversation pretty funny now because a month ago I was arguing with people here that was saying Star Trek has always presented time travel as ‘hard’. I never believed that (considering all the time travel stories we have now) and now Discovery has confirmed Starfleet doesn’t just know how to time travel, its created individual specialty suits to do it with magical crystals.

I even remember before the show premiered that many people thought it should avoid time travel completely since the other shows did it so much and now we have an entire season built around it.

This show is as far from ‘grounded’ as you can get lol.

Justin Drew

I really enjoyed it and I was really happy with the design of the D7. I really like the character Tenavik. His makeup was also spot on.

JAGT

The D7 looked fine, but I was a bit disappointed that they felt the need to “uglify” the nacelles. It’s a John Eaves thing – he just can’t stand straight lines and smooth surfaces when it comes to warp nacelles specifically.

Vulcan Soul

“Its a John Eaves thing – he just can’t stand straight lines and smooth surfaces”

John Eaves is the Anti-Matt Jeffries. It’s like they think the future of smartphones was not the IPhone but those terribly busy button-laced keyboard phones of the early 2000s. There’s zero understanding of technological design evolution in Eaves’ designs; they already had more of this in the 1960s, 50 years before the IPhone!

A34

The D7 has been ugly for years. This version looks much better.

Denny C

I agree. A lot of solid stuff in this episode.

Tiger2

Tenavik was an awesome character. That’s a Klingon I could’ve spent the entire hour just getting to know him. He had such a cool and alternate design as well that really worked. Which again proves fans don’t just have a problem with changes (he certainly didn’t look like any typical Klingon lol) just BAD changes. The Klingons in season 1 just sucked for a lot of people. If they had gone in this direction, then I think more people would’ve been on board. He was a big highlight of the episode for me.

Vulcan Soul

“The Klingons in season 1 just sucked for a lot of people. If they had gone in this direction, then I think more people would’ve been on board”

Alot of that had to do with Klingons NOT being reduced to violent brutes for ones but a three-dimensional, multi-faceted culture. OK – not because but despite time crystals.

Tiger2

Certainly agree. That was the biggest issue, we ONLY saw those types of Klingons in season one. And they just overdid it IMO. We seen plenty of Klingons though the decades who were overbearing warmongers but we seen others who were more thoughtful and layered. I think that’s why I liked Tenavik, he felt like more of the latter and not just the stereotypical stuff we got from then in season one which got REAL boring real fast.

Vulcan Soul

To give credit where it’s due, the Klingons are the one area where they tried hardest to rectify things this season. Giving them hair, not including them for most of the season, and dispensing with their snarling subtitles, already did half the work :)

Tiger2

SO happy they got rid of most of the subtitles. They did a little bit of it in this episode between Tyler and L’rell but very little. You’re right, they did try hard to turn the issues with the Klingons around. They are not fully there yet but miles beyond where they were in first season. And this episode certainly bared that out.

Vulcan Soul

Not to sound like a troglodyte, there’s nothing wrong with subtitles. There’s everthing wrong with actors having marbles in the mouth though :D Case in point: Enterprise. Handling alien languages is another thing they did better (can’t believe im defending that show now; i tried and couldn’t even rewatch one episode because Archer is bellowing at and putting down T’Pol or other Vulcans in every single one of them! How times have changed, nay, reversed since that reactionary age, eh!)

Mike P.

They also redesigned the batleth from the first season. I still prefer what we have seen in the past but the version in this episode was much better than the initial version Discovery used.

Mike S.

“It is a cliché that a hero is only as good as his villain, and as much as that is true, Pike, Burnham and crew—and this entire season—are being held back by the clichéd bad guy of choice, Control. While some visual homages to the Borg last week were a curiosity, more and more we can see that Control is just your run-of-the-mill AI that thinks it is better than its creators and is ready to wipe them out.”

Burnham simply isn’t that interesting of a character, thus any villains she encounters won’t be interesting. Pike, on the other hand, IS interesting, if only by virtue of being a blank slate (as far as alpha canon goes). I’m genuinely sad he’ll be leaving the show at season’s end. I’d be up for a 5 season series with him, Peck, and others aboard the Enterprise.

“…underwhelming final mustache-twirling of Lorca in season one.”

THANK YOU. Finally, somebody else realizes that Lorca ended up being a mustache twirling ne’er-do-well without the mustache (or the one-liners).

ML31

I don’t find Burnham interesting at all either. Pike has WAY more potential even knowing his ultimate fate. I don’t know what the show will do without the boost Pike gave them. TPTB have a huge task ahead of them.

And a lot of fans have been saying for a year that the Lorca thing was idiotic and messed up. Although this is the first time I’ve seen anyone from this website mention it in print.

Not only the viewer knowing his fate, but NOW Pike knows his fate as well. What an interesting character exploration that would be over the course of five seasons.

Jonboc

She is a dud with 2 reactions, tilted puppy head confusion and watery eyed ‘I’m totally into you and this conversation” …which, by the way, is 95% of the time, a conversation conducted in annoying whispers. She has to be the most underwhelming lead in Trek, ever. It’s like Gates McFadden has been given her own show.

Vulcan Soul

“Burnham simply isn’t that interesting of a character”

THIS! In many ways she is the Anti-Pike. Not only as the Millennial fever dream that the universe revolves around her (and it actually does here) – note how Pike makes the ultimate self-sacrifice in comparison and never puts himself in the center, even in command decisions – but by just being an illegitimate character that has been retconned into canon, Spock’s sister only because the writers say so, savior ofthe universe only because the writers says so. Nothing is earned. In comparison, Pike literally is the beginning of Star Trek, a beloved legend who is met with a fate you could not wish your worst enemy and yet in the greatest moment of distress he accepts it with dignity. Compare that to childish “Rage Michael” in the same episode. Need I say more?

Star Trek Discovery’s writers are the villain to Anson Mount’s heroic Pike.

Michael Hall

I think she’s a damned interesting character, personally.

Ixley

I too think that she’s a great character. I think that she’s highly watchable, but that’s just my personal opinion ;-)

Vulcan Soul

Opinions aside, I think everyone can agree though that restricting a show to a single lead, contrary to Roddenberry’s idea of Trek, restricts the options if one doesn’t like the character for whatever reason. Who wouldn’t have liked to see more than two half-episodes for Pike this season? A triumvirate, let alone ensemble, is just the smarter storytelling choice for many reasons. It’s smarter business too. Oh well, there IS another chance to rectify this in season 3. Not that I see any indication so far; if anything they have doubled down on the Skywalkeresque Burnham family saga…

Ixley

While I don’t believe that a single-lead show runs counter to “Roddenberry’s idea of Trek,” I totally concede that a single-lead format has its inherent problems. I too would prefer a triumvirate setup. I’m fortunate that I really like DSC’s lead character, but I do have the ability to sympathize with folks who aren’t fans of Burnham.

I know folks have said this again and again, but CBSAA would be foolish to let Anson Mount go. They need to give him his own show. ASAP.

The River Temarc

“I think she’s a damned interesting character, personally.”

As do I.

Corinthian7

“THANK YOU. Finally, somebody else realizes that Lorca ended up being a mustache twirling ne’er-do”

If by somebody you mean EVERYBODY then yeah, I totally agree ;)

Vulcan Soul

“If by somebody you mean EVERYBODY then yeah, I totally agree ;)”

I have to object as well. I have been protesting Lorca’s turn to mustache-twirling megalomaniac madman ever since it happened!

Minnesota Bruin

As Jefferies Tuber mentioned, the preview shows them going the Xahea. My guess is that they need the dilithium recrystalizer technology that was mentioned in Short Trek: Runaway in order for the Discovery to sit for 1000 years as show in Short Trek: Calypso.

I think the plan is for Discovery to wait with the time crystal so they can get them to Gabrielle Burhnam and the Red Angel suit. But how? If Craft is from Terralysium they could be on the shuttle.

Regardless, it’s interesting to see the Short Treks get woven into the story.

DaveCGN

YES!!!!!!!! Expecting another klingon story, I had low expectations and was surprised! That episode is so much better than the last two and should have been the next episode after the one on Talos! The events on the last two episodes played no role, except Leland becoming Proto-Borg/Terminator and then escaping. They could have shown that part in a few minutes and ignore the red angel story.
The Terminator references are THAT obvious… I also didn’t understand why Michael didn’t set her phase on disintegrate. Spocks solution was like that scene in Terminator Genesis. (“GENESIS”?!?!?! ;-) ) Now it also reminds me of the replicators in StarGate Atlantis!
Boreth felt like middle earth… did anybody else feel like watching Lord of The Rings for a short time?!

Praetor Tal

Tenavik’s headgear looked like he stole it from the Murkwood elven-king in The Hobbit. The long blond hair and lack of a beard just about clinched it.

A34

It reminded me of Babylon 5.

Tiger2

Same. Had REALLY low expectations going in and came out VERY surprised! The stuff on Boreth was just amazing. I completely forgot that was a planet first introduced in TNG. I loved all those scenes. Not too much into the Terminator thing with Control but I am curious to see where its all going. I’m staring to wonder did he affect everyone on those ships at the end?

ML31

Just wanted to add praise for this comment in the review… “and is an area where Discovery really needs to step up its game in season three to become a truly great Star Trek TV series, or just abandon the single-season arc format altogether.”

Something I wholeheartedly agree with.

DeanH

Now that the Fuller shackles are fully removed, I think S3 is wide open for possibilities. Too bad we will have to wait for a year or longer to see what they come up with for year three of Discovery. Really looking forward to these last two final episodes!! Getting close to “must-see tv” especially with the Enterprise coming back for next week.

BLACKMOCCO

I still think the single season arc can be beaten into shape and function as recognizable Star Trek. It’s just a question of getting the writers to calm down and focus on the parts that work rather than frantically tossing every single idea that comes into their heads into the show all at once. Less is more. Last night’s episode was carried by the characters, not the plot.

ML31

Maybe, if we are lucky, it’s holdover from the regime changes. Enterprise had a really good season long story arc that lasted for 24 episodes! DS9 had story arcs that were shorter but still had lengthy effective stretches.

Vulcan Soul

ML31, none of these people from Enterprise and DS9 works for Discovery though (safe for, unfortunately, the insufferable John Eaves!) Discovery writers earned their dollars in soap and YA fiction before, so soap arcs and YA angst is what we get!

ML31

That’s true. What worked on Riverdale (I have no idea if anyone worked there but just using it as an example) will NOT work on Star Trek. Those writers need to EARN their right at the Trek writers table.

Michael Hall

“Insufferable” is actually using such a loaded word to refer to a total stranger, simply because you don’t care for the style of their work.

Vulcan Soul

You are very sensitive about these things, Michael. I go by the age old Trek adage: if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the warpcore :)

At least I didn’t call anyone a mass murderer or cannibal for their differences in thinking, ever – as Discovery writers did very publicly in their season 1!

Professor Spock

ML31 I think they will keep the serialized storyline for season 3.

ML31

I think so too and if I were a betting man I would wager the story arc will not be much more compelling than this one.

A34

That would suck. Season long arcs work.

ML31

Correction… Season long arcs CAN work. Not all of them do.

A34

It’s working for Discovery. I don’t think I would care for the show as much if it was episodic.

Boze

Of course you wouldn’t, because their characters aren’t interesting enough – and their storytelling coherent enough – to work as a standalone. So they *have* to rely on cliffhanger-riddled serialized storytelling to keep the viewers watching all the way to the end. The problem is, they only have enough story material for a decent Voyager-style two-parter (think Year of Hell). That’s why there’s so much filler, so much slow motion, so much searching and figuring out, so much dead ends and backtracking, so much camera pointlessly lingering on Burnham.

Making a compelling episodic TV is hard, that’s why we don’t see it as much as we used to. People will tell you that serialized storytelling is “modern TV”, but there’s nothing modern about it. This style of storytelling is as old as early radio serials, and it’s been widely ridiculed ever since.
If only Discovery had writers good enough to make it an episodic show, the result could’ve been the best Star Trek since TWOK.

Vulcan Soul

Boze, that’s an interesting perspective on serialized vs. espisodic! Certainly agree on GOOD episodic being hard. But still it is an active choice they made to forego it, nothing forced them to go down the easy and convenient route. They have some compelling characters, especially this season, and instead of two half episodes about Pike and one about Saru for example, we could have had much more indepth explorations of these characters (and all the other bridge crew) instead of an entire arc about Burnham Burnham Burnham! Not to forget more than one episode about actual space exploration and (gasp) ideas and issues! There was so much material to mine, but what they chose are cheap knockoffs of the Skywalker Saga and Terminator.

TG47

Reflecting back on Trek series, creating great villains in the early seasons seems to be a common issue.

Maybe it’s hard for writers who are drawn to the creative elements of Trek positivism to really create worthy and appropriate villains?

So, I am trying to take a breath and cut them some slack.

Prior to Q Who? and the introduction of the Borg in the second season of TNG, it seemed as though the Romulans were it. And they hadn’t evolved much from TOS.

We didn’t even have a sense of what a threat from the Dominion might look like early in DS9.

And the Kazon in the first 2 seasons of Voyager were cringy on first viewing. They are less annoying to me now, but I think that it’s because in the long run the real antagonist in Voyager was the Delta Quadrant itself with its relentless array of nasty surprises and species…Hirogens. Krenim. 8472. All were worthy enough to make the Borg seem like natural inhabitants of the sector.

Last, Enterprise was also a prequel in search of appropriate villains. The Xindi and the intertemporal war were the solutions. It’s hard to create a worthy antagonist that is omitted from history.

ML31

The TCW was not really something Enterprise creators wanted to begin with. That was forced on them by the network. I think the concept for Enterprise was that Klingons would be the baddies but the real conflict would come from themselves. This is before the Federation was created, remember.

Vulcan Soul

ML31, something I’m really curious about in that regard is if the network forced Fuller into that particular pre TOS time frame after he insisted on the prequel (a long time rumors pointed at a post-TUC setting, for which Meyers’ participation made alot more sense too), or if they would have picked the far future to begin with. And if the complete departure of Fuller and his minions during the course of season 2 has in any way anything to do with the upcoming time jump into the future (if that is indeed happening). They sure milked the TOS era for what it’s worth, but no doubt the beancounters must think the coolness factor of the far future and lack of constraints of pesky 50 year old canon outweighs those benefits by now!

ML31

I don’t think CBS forced Fuller to put Discovery pre-TOS. It was, however, UPN that insisted on adding some some sort ongoing story. The TCW. If you recall, I think Fuller’s concept was a new story with a different cast in a different era for each season. A concept I personally find intriguing but CBS did not for obvious reasons.

Michael Hall

Was a little lukewarm about this episode – too much technobabble to cover the time travel/Section 31 shenanigans people here are always going on about; too little of the Spock/Burnham interaction that has worked so much better than I expected due mainly to the chemistry between the actors. That said, as The World’s Number One Fan of “The Menagerie” (™) let me offer a shout-out of my own to Anson Mount, who hit this one out of the park and possibly beyond the moons of Jupiter as well. Not only does he totally sell the horror Pike feels at seeing his future self become a living embodiment of Munch’s “The Scream, he gives us a very real sense of the character’s desperate struggle to locate his courage and resolve to complete the mission regardless of the personal cost. I don’t share the passion so many others have to see a “Captain Pike” series featuring the starship Enterprise and its crew exploring deep space – been there, done that – but no question that Mount will take the MVP award for DSC’s second season. He will be missed.

Professor Spock

I had a fun time watching this episode. The Pike scene is my favorite. I’m want to watch next week’s episode now.

TG47

PS…did you renew CBSAA for another month?

We thought you’d cancelled in discouragement. ;)

J.S.

Pike: This new signal is fourth of seven. […]
Tyler: Time crystal in Dr. Burnham’s suit was destroyed. There’s no way she could have come back to create that signal.

Dear writers, which part of “time travel” is confusing to you? I guess the answer to that question would be “the core concept”?

Also, remember that spore drive that we just used to get to Boreth? Can we just use that to escape the Section 31 fleet? Nah, let’s just put the ship on autodestruct.

(And speaking of the spore drive, wasn’t it stated that it was destroying the mycelial life forms?)

ML31

They said they could jump but the Section 31 fleet (ludicrous they have one at all) would just follow them and they would be forced to jump again. But I suspect they will jump away from them at least once to forge their plan with Enterprise.

BLACKMOCCO

I don’t think we’re worried about the mycelial life forms anymore. Or the time wave that was apparently so dangerous Discovery had to warp out of there ASAP but nobody cared it was literally right next to Saru’s home.

The “they’ll just follow us anyway” doesn’t actually make any sense, does it? Discovery could jump to the other side of the universe in a split-second. How long would it take the S31 fleet to get there? Ugh. More lazy writing.

ML31

I’m not saying it was GOOD reasoning. Just that was what they said in the episode. My thoughts when I heard it was, just jump somewhere it would take them years to get to. Duh. And yes, everyone seemed to forget about the damage the jumping was doing to upsidedown land. Funny how that works.

I really hope they are playing the long con with Culber. Season 3 we need to discovery he is a mycilial agent as that is the only way his return makes any kind of sense.

Thorny

But earlier this season, they spore-jumped to New Eden, which Pike said was so far it would take a regular ship years to reach. So J.S. is right in asking why didn’t they spore-drive their way out of that trap?

Ian

Considering they can even jump into another quadrant, it’s pretty ludicrous how they don’t use that as a way to gain some, or realistically, a lot of time. The only reason this idea makes sense is because Burnham has been defined by bold/stupid ideas since she started the Klingon War.

I really thought the trip into the spore universe was supposed to be the end of the drive, teaching us its use caused damage to the life there and was morally in need of getting put out to pasture. Now another idea will need to be created to explain why it’s never been tried since by anyone from smugglers to Borg to Janeway.

Trellium G

I thought it was dead Culber that was causing the damage by using the toxic bark to protect himself from being recycled by the life forms in the network. Not the spore drive.

J.S.

Maybe you’re right. Not sure. I have a hard time following the plot due to incoherent and substandard writing :(

Vulcan Soul

“I thought it was dead Culber that was causing the damage by using the toxic bark to protect himself from being recycled by the life forms in the network. ”

“Toxic bark” (!) – enough said! At least post-Lorca and post-Connelly, they dont virtue-signal about “toxic masculinity” anymore, as far as fantasy elements are concerned :)

Exactly this!!
Teralyssium is 50000 light years away. Something like 60 years away at maximum warp for the S31 fleet. Discovery jumped there in seconds, and can jump anywhere in the Universe.
Why does Burnham say that they are out of time?
They can literally hide anywhere and gather the rest of Starfleet’s ships to battle S31.
They can destroy their computer core without destroying the ship. How? Pull out the hard drive? Phaser the computer core…

TG47

Uhm Zaid, while not jumping far is a question… it may be that Stamets had to jump without the navcomp hack.

Last we saw a couple of episodes back, it was dysfunctional and Spock was trying to convince Stamets he didn’t need it.

On the blast the data core idea, several people on this board have outlined why that isn’t possible in a distributed network computer. In fact, those who work in computing and IT have talked at length on other threads about how it exasperates them when writers create plots around destroying a data core.

In this case, my guess would be even if Discovery relied on some central physical location for core memory, the sphere data is more than capable of protecting itself.

I suspect that a self-destruct order would be countered from within the system.

Micah

That Pike scene was hard to watch. But done really well.

But every time the words “time crystal” are spoken I cringe. Was this something from earlier Star Treks that I forgot about? The name really does make them feel more like magical macguffins than if they’d given them some strange faux-scientific name.

Professor Spock

Time crystals sound scientific alright. I agree with you on the Pike scene, was fell out of my chair when I saw it.

JAGT

The name sounds “magical”. The term is scientific though. However, the way they’re depicted now is, again, “magical”.

Vulcan Soul

“The term is scientific though.”

A one minute Wikipedia search will prove to anyone they co-opted the name to sound “science-y”, and nothing else.

Vulcan Soul

“But every time the words “time crystal” are spoken I cringe.”

It’s pure fantasy. Not just the name but the way it is used in the plot, has more to do with magical fairytales of Middle Earth than any sort of science fiction.

Defiant41

What annoys me is that Star Trek already has terminology defined around time travel and they seem to be ignoring it in favor of really dumbed down terms like “Time Crystals.” Even just calling them Chroniton Crystals would be a huge improvement. Even one throw-away line like, “Time crystals focus chroniton particles the same way dilithium crystals focus warp plasma” would show that they actually thought about what function they have.

Professor Spock

This was a fun episode for me. That Pike scene was creepy and terrifying. So Section 31 ships gone rogue now. Control is everywhere. Time crystals caused Pike’s fate.

Bananas are yellow. We had fun at the park. I killed a guy with a trident. V’Ger was mostly hollow.

Michael Hall

Was there a point about declarative sentences in there, somewhere? Maybe the internets ate it.

Vulcan Soul

He was parodizing the writing style. Sometimes I think myself they have unleashed an AI on us :)

NX01

The entire future scene with Pike was absolutely horrifying. And it was made so largely due to Anson Mounts portrayal of the character up to that point. His Captain Pike, in just 12 episodes, has endeared himself as one of my favorite ST leaders. He convey’s humanity, heart and leadership as intrinsic parts of who he is, instead of separate parts wielded when a scene calls for it. Seeing how he ends up is just heart breaking.

The more I watch, the more I very much wish that we’d get that Enterprise series based around his crew, with those actors.

John Bigbooty

Total agreement. Wow, the writers and Anson Mount nailed that scene. The horrified look on his face. The way he clutched his Starfleet insignia on his chest, almost to ground himself and remind him of who he was and what he stood for. Really enjoying all these characters, but in particular Pike.

Well done! 👍

JAGT

An absolutely superb perfomance by Mount. They also amped up the “body-horror”, not so much visually, but by making the breathing apparatus audible (as opposed to the “Menagerie” depiction). The “face melting” was a bit over the top though – I think it would’ve been much more horrific, if Pike had seen his future version merely opening his mouth to vocalise, but no sound coming from it. It would’ve hammered home the point of the character being “locked up” in his own body.

Flaps McKenzie

The face melting, as I understood, was how Pike felt internally, not actually how he looked. When he first pulls up to himself he just has the stone-face.

They successfully made Pike’s fate the most horrifically unpleasant for any Trek character ever though. At least everyone else gets to die. A time crystal would have surely shown him dying on Talos IV though so it was a little unearned.

Vulcan Soul

Flaps, it must be the first time in Trek history a time gizmo is used to make a character’s fate worse rather than better (just compare that to Admiral Janeway “We didnt get home soon enough!”) It makes Pike almost superhuman as a role model, something Burnham can only dream of, yes, but from a meta perspective of Trek optimism it is also depressing as hell to say his destiny is locked to end in such a horrific way. No “having your cake and eating it” and “cheating death” in this Trek show anymore!

Mitchell Melkin

Flaps McKenzie

Your characterization of the preeminence of Pike’s fate is hard to argue, but I would submit that Durst’s demise was hardly a walk in the park, aside from being a joltingly gross visual gutpunch.

Bryan H

I absolutely loved it. we NEED a Pike Enterprise series badly. That quick shot of the bridge looked absolutely stunning. This season has really solidified this show as one of the best, to me. Zero filler episodes of leprechauns and ghosts having relations with Crusher. Love this series.

Vulcan Soul

“Zero filler episodes of leprechauns and ghosts having relations with Crusher”

“Time crystals” grown by “time keepers” in Klingon monasteries rank on the same level for me though.

ML31

There were certainly a number of filler episodes this season. This season could have easily been 10 or less episodes.

Vulcan Soul

“This season could have easily been 10 or less episodes.”

I say, cut 5 episodes off Discovery each season and give it to Pike mini series. Win-win!

This entire series is filler.

Keith Jones

Heck yeah.
This season continues to impress me. I’ve got plenty of qualms, and even total Trek-geek nitpicks, but comparing it to last season I think what I’m finding is there are more hits than misses – especially when they slow down with the experimental camera work and just let actors act.

So this episode … there’s predictable stuff, but it’s okay predictable stuff. They couldn’t resist hinting at Pike stuff. Predictable – but done well and acted excellently. If Pike is a balance between Kirk and Picard (he totally is!) than his future is a tragedy that really makes the fact that there’s a “Christopher Pike Medal of Valor” later on just like … Yep. And I’ll agree that McGuffin or not, the scenario here for him felt very … well, very Ben Sisko. Like a choice Sisko would have to make in the deep dives into the Prophets. And that syncs with Sisko getting the Medal.

Setting up an Enterprise team-up finale? Predictable. But “predictable good”. I’m a guy not-so-secretly craving a miniseries or CBS All Access film-length adventure featuring Pike’s Enterprise, so hopefully seeing it save the day and while it’s obvious, and its placement is obvious, it is the whole premise of bringing Pike, Spock, Number One, and Co. in the first place, the promise from the end of Season 1.

Pike, singularly, and Burnham & Spock’s interactions, are the thing I like most about the season, but this issue’s dip into the rest of the crew in the dining hall was something I’m dying for more of – it was short, awkward, and full of relationship drama, but Saru, Stamets, Culber, Detmer, Nhan, Owosekun, Reno, Airiam and Linus! FINALLY we have a Saurian! Is it too much to hope for an Andorian? Anyway … it took way too long but I finally remember their names and want to see more of all of them.

Tyler stuff is still awkward and rote – this often happens when you try to have a slightly compromised character on a Star Trek show. He’s supposed to be bad-ass, complicated and messed up because of the Klingon brain thing, but he kind of comes across more like a Tom Paris. Not edgy. Which is weird because perennial Federation idealism, youthful exuberance and wonder science nerd Julian Bashir actually managed to pull off edgy in his Section 31 interactions. But ultimately I’m okay if that’s now who Ash Tyler (not Voq) is. I feel like at this point they’re definitely exorcising the Voq from him, even if he retains a lot of critical Klingon Expertise.

Speaking of the Klingons here – first I thought Tenavik’s make-up was slightly more classic Klingony – a little less overloaded with design elements, a lot of hair, easier to see a bit more of the actor’s jaw and mouth so easier to read and less mush-mouthed speaking dialogue. A little more TNG-era. Beyond that it was nice to see another level of Klingon culture – they’re one of the Trek Classics, one of the big ones, but have even all through DS9 and their huge inclusion didn’t have a lot of world-building or fleshing out. Classic Klingon mythology and culture always revolved around the warrior-class and the political plays, even Kahless stories were rooted in that. We’ve only seen the justice system twice, haven’t seen a lot of artists, and Boreth and some non-sectarian spiritualism to this degree gives them some cultural value that we’ve mostly only gotten from Humans (easy), Vulcans and Bajorans to date.

Joe

Yeah I keep thinking of the Klingon that asked Archer if he thought the entire Klingon race were warriors and Archer said well to be honest,yes

Fred Schwartz

OK I’m usually pretty down on Klingon storylines but this one wasn’t bad. Certainly you didn’t NEED the people who had the Time Crystals to be Klingons, but it wasn’t really bad that they were.

I’ve read it several other places as well and I think it’s absolutely right to say “the writers couldn’t help themselves” when it came to showing Pike’s fate. This would have gone so, so wrong if Anson Mount hadn’t totally sold it. You could absolutely believe that he was a guy who just saw his horrific future. So in the end, well done but mostly unnecessary.

All in all though, this episode was just connective tissue and that’s hard to stomach when you get at most 14 shows a year. You want every one to be super awesome. I hope that next season we’ll see more standalone episodes rather than an arc which is always going to have slow points.

Speaking of next season, I predict it will not take place on USS Discovery. NCC-1031 will be hidden in a nebula or sucked into the future and left there so it can be ready for its closeup in the Short Treks. I think we’ll see the major characters move over to another ship next year. I doubt that ship will be NCC-1701 as that would take some tricky retconning and we know Mount and Romijn aren’t on board.

alastair87

That would be a potentially very expensive move. If they really wanted to make it noticeably different it might necessitate whole new sets etc for the new ship. I think it’s unlikely for that reason. I’m not even convinced we’ll see the whole circle of the Enterprise’s bridge rather than just part of it.

JAGT

They might simply get a “1031-A”.

ML31

Facepalm!

Tiger2

It is funny this show managed to explore both Pike’s past (Talos IV) and his future (Beep), really the only two things we had known about him up until this point. I think the producers just can’t help it. They have this larger than life character now (even though he was basically in one episode lol) and want to make it as memorable as possible.

But I doubt they will be on another ship. The show is called Discovery. They may be building up to the Calypso plot but I don’t think its going to happen by the end of this season either. But yes, I’ve bee wrong before.

Vulcan Soul

“It is funny this show managed to explore both Pike’s past (Talos IV) and his future (Beep), really the only two things we had known about him up until this point. ”

I was thinking exactly the same thing, and it is not a coincidence of course. This season serves as a bridge between these two points in classic canon, but from an in-universe character perspective it is pretty unrealistic and fantastical that these two (for the character) random points in his past and future life, however pivotal, should be both connected to this present within a matter of weeks. Let’s call it what it is – fan service :) But give me Pike fan service over Burn ’em rages any day!

Tiger2

Yeah its basically nothing but fan service at the end of the day. But it’s really well done fan service IMO. I think they know they only can use Pike for a certain amount of time so just went crazy with it. And this is why the guy is here, right? Mount could’ve just been a new Captain and played him exactly as he is playing it now, but they wanted that character and to pull these kinds of stunts to get more TOS on board with this show.

And it looks like its working, so mission accomplished on that at least!

Vulcan Soul

For the sake of season 3, let’s hope that’s not a Bush-style “Mission Accomplished” ;)

trekgirl

The temple on Boreth was my favourite study spot at U of T—King’s college library.

TG47

Thanks trekgirl.

Thought I recognized the University of Toronto, but I didn’t attend there and don’t know it well.

I wondered if I recognized a cloister/breezeway from Trinity College though.

TG47

Further update. Anson Mount said it was Knox College at U of Toronto…and checking the internet, so it was.

Guess that’s where my recollection of the cloister comes from.

In any event, U of T has a lot of great neo-gothic architecture. Good to see the production team thought of a way to take advantage of it. It’s definitely a thing in central Canada where many public buildings date to the middle to late 19th century.

It fits well with the Klingons to me. Better than some of the southwest US architectural style that was used for some Klingon spaces in the 90s series.

CmdrR

I fully enjoyed the Pike storyline — no surprise. And… I did not care for the same things that have bothered me throughout the season. I don’t know why we’re still dealing with Voq/Ash and L’Rell. It’s been a dead relationship for a while. Why rehash the hash? Also, Chieffo had an especially hard time making herself heard through the make-up this week. I’m likewise tired of checking in with the Sareks as often as we do. Amanda literally pops in to dole out motherly warmth; next week, Sarek is back — I assume to chill things back down. It’s too much.

I’m having trouble keeping some of the plot points in my head lately. They saw seven red bursts in S2E1. Someone remind me why we’re getting countdowns. This is the fourth red burst of seven to ‘appear.’ But… they’ve all appeared. Future-past? I’m confused.

Stray snarks:
–Starships creek when they’re haunted.
–Bat’leths make a metal-on-metal dueling sound when… they move through air.
–Evil nanites are susceptible to magnets… that apparently ignore spacesuits or the iron in Burnham’s blood. Good on Spock for having non-ferric, copper-based blood.
–Disco can go anywhere in the universe. Can 30 (most of their fleet) Section 31 ships really outpace them?
–Klingon trees never shed their leaves as they grow. Don’t even ask where the mass comes from.
–Do you have to blow up all of Disco to destroy the sphere data? Couldn’t they just phaser the memory core??
–Lava planets are wicked cool and all, but can you really build a monastery on molten rock? Or breathe that air?
–When did Burnham and Control agree to set their phasers on pew-pew instead of disintegrate the console he/she’s hiding behind? And why couldn’t Burnham set her phaser to wide pattern ‘mop up the floor of nanites’? That whole sequence made zero sense.

Anyhoo — Thanks, Anthony!

BLACKMOCCO

I feel like that might simply be the wrap-up for the L’Rell and Ash plot. Short of an all-Klingon show, is this the last we’ll see of Mary Chieffo, bar the odd guest appearance?

Vulcan Soul

Absolutely terrifying episode. Both the actor for and character of Pike played “Rage Michael” against the wall in this one.

Unfortunately time crystals turn out exactly to be the bad idea they sound like, a swiss army plot device for all occasions: they let plants grow, turn babies (without severed heads) into grandpas with cool headgear and they confront Pike with his future, Talosian style. And (unlike Talosian illusions) somehow they even “lock his destiny”. This is pure Star Wars style fantasy.

As refreshing as Discovery season 3 in the 28th century would be, I seriously fear the writers will lose all sense of reasonable contraints of what is realistic and relatable for a science fiction show. CGI means laws of physics don’t apply anymore for effects works, but no canon means they can go completely bonkers with the “magical tech”. This will probably end up as a full on fantasy series.

Tiger2

I still laugh at the notion some people wanted this show in the 23rd century to feel more ‘grounded’ lol. Discovery is turning into one of the biggest fantasy shows in Star Trek canon so far and its only 28 episodes in. And I agree, the ‘destiny’ thing did feel something more for Star Wars than Star Trek. I didn’t mind it but it all feels more mystical than science fiction.

Alan Light

I foresee Discovery season 3 set in a different timeline, probably even past Voyageur. That’s the game changer they’ve spoken about. I hope a Pike/Spock/Number One show takes over the current timeline.

Danpaine

That would be my ultimate wish for DSC. Might get me back into it.

Tiger2

I just read a rumor they might throw the show 500 years into the future. I can not wrap my head around that idea but would be 100% game if they did!! I would’ve wanted that from day one, I think a lot of people would’ve. But I still don’t know how much I buy its even going post-Nemesis and certainly not centuries past.

But I guess we’ll find out in two weeks.

And we know the Section 31 show will stay in the 23rd century so even if a Pike show doesn’t happen (and its probably years away if it did anyway) that show will be around. And I have a feeling Pike and Spock will show up there from time to time IF Discovery is really in another time period.

Vulcan Soul

Tiger, isn’t it ironic that Picard will be the prequel then? ;)

Tiger2

LOL, wouldn’t that be nuts?? So many of us are pining for the Picard show to go forward again, only for those events to be quaint history if the Discovery really does goes centuries pass that.

Vulcan Soul

FWIW, the current TPTB may hate the prequel idea as badly as we do, at least for Discovery. They are certainly sick of the fans’ constant canon complaining and the need to play within the confines of others. So this may be the final jettisoning of Fullers’ initial restrictions.

Tiger2

I think you’re right on that too. We all know this was all Fuller idea and everyone else just went along with it. That’s exactly why I think they created the Picard show so quickly as the next show because they wanted a post-Voyager show just as much as the fans did and can have a LOT more options at their finger tips. They can bring in literally anyone they want now, make the tech as crazy as possible (not that they are having problems on that end lol) and even bring back actors from that era (Patrick Stewart being a strong example ;)), etc.

For the record I don’t think the 23rd century is that limiting, its WHERE they decided to place this show in the 23rd century that’s the real problem. I think they are tired of tip toeing through everything, always have to justify canon and visual differences and probably have tons of rejected story lines because it would violate canon in this era (Romulans probably being #1. I suspect the Borg not being too far behind).

Now if we get TWO post-Nemesis shows and those are centuries away from each other, the sky would be the limit.

I would love any show 100 years post Nemesis. Four hundred years is insane. Just start over and go crazy. And then you have tons of eras to fill in between the 25th century and wherever Discovery ultimately lands for years if not decades. I’m not getting my hopes up yet though. At least not for another two weeks.

Mitchell Melkin

Tiger2

All this folderol, would have best been ended by relegating it to the mists of, one hopes, a quickly receding memory, and go to a Relativity era Trek, that exceeds a mere focus on the adventures of the time cops, but using them as an entree into detailed and nuanced exploration stories from their past, perhaps in some two parters, or even mini-arcs. By all means, have the timeship’s crew as diverse, but without the ludicrous need for having an extraordinarily improbable human female, alien, LBQT, etc., character being set as the show’s overwhelmingly pushed avatar.

In a just world,Burnham and the labyrinthine convoluted nonsense that has been Discovery, could have been kissed off (save Pike’s presence, as portrayed by Mount), even if having had to resort to a S2 denouement, as cheeseingly egregious as having Quinto (beardless, and I don’t care how much he would have had to have been paid) awaken from a nightmare or a shower!!!, with a quizzical expression, making a related entry in his personal log, noting the exceptional detail of his nightmare,er… dream or waking reverie. Fade to black.

Sure, there would be a shitstorm from Discovery habitues, with a likely particular querying,on would this have represented a termination of ST on CBS, period, or if the other planned projects would still be going forward. Honestly,I don’t think there would’ve been a lengthy hiatus for those most acutely angered and/or concerned, to get a decent idea as to the genesis and content of such a replacement, as the network’s flagship ST program, given the sieve, conduits of official information have proved to be.

From my standpoint, scrap Picard, which seems to be having enough problems at this stage, as it is, and is just an affirmatory branding effort by the network, and a cash grab for Stewart. The respect the character has, notwithstanding, the show is unnecessary, certainly, as the hints of its bible seems to suggest. Section 31? Does any reasoned justification really need to be supplied, why this misbegotten idea should be DOA,at least if developed as shown in Discovery? Alternately, if it’s a history of the organization to the degree as has been established in the Canon Era (probably too expensive if moving forward in time, as opposed to being set in a specific period, that takes care in respecting and emphasizing that actual history). No problem with an Academy series, at some point.

Mathew DeFreitas

Problem with S2 is they are changing things just enough to make you scratch your head and say, “Wait a minute. Then how in 2277 does this happen?”

Praetor Tal

Five pips for Fleet Captain? What an ugly, unnecessary unprecedented uniform. Add a peaked cap and he’d be a doorman, almost.

Michael Sacal

“Why would he take the assignment on a training ship, knowing his fate?”

To save the cadets, of course.

Vulcan Soul

“To save the cadets of course”

It is truly a fate a Captain Pike cannot escape!

Mitchell Melkin

Vulcan Soul,

We might reasonably accept that, inevitably, travelling to the past, will never allow the future, as it had played out, prior to the time period when the travellers set out to change it, at least, by the means to understand the mechanism of how that could occur, at the present time. I don’t know of anything currently posited, though, that would constitutionally enjoin a change in a hypothesized future,beyond the individual’s own time, by using knowledge gleaned from that journey. Perhaps, some presently unknown fundamental value might preclude such a possibility, but to my rather limited knowledge, I don’t fathom why Pike couldn’t successfully, make in advance, unstinting inspections of all the relevant components of training vessels that he would be involved in monitoring or administering exercises. Now, there might turn out to be some ‘invisible hand’, that would inevitably act to prevent what we would expect to happen; the generation of an alternate timeline from taking place. But, is there any theoretical strain, current today, that seems to argue that such an outcome is inherently plausible, even inescapable?

Denny C

He’s George AND Harry Bailey!

Clarence: Your brother, Harry Bailey, broke through the ice and was drowned at the age of nine.

George: That’s a lie! Harry Bailey went to war! He got the Congressional Medal of Honor! He saved the lives of every man on that transport.

Clarence: Every man on that transport died! Harry wasn’t there to save them, because you weren’t there to save Harry.

Michael Sacal

Nice.

Ad Astra Per Aspera

This was the first episode of the series that I really disliked. Everything felt rushed but not a great deal happened. The character moments were lovely, though and the D-7 looked spectacular!

Denny C

Tiger2, I think we finally got that “Can’t wait to watch next week!” episode we’ve been looking for!

Tiger2

LOL, you read my mind man! We certainly do! And just to think, this episode was my LEAST anticipated episode and I ended up loving it. It just goes to show you can’t just rely on expectations and trailers all the time. I am stoked for next week now!

Vulcan Soul

Burnt by the “point of light”, we finally found it after crossing through a valley of shadows ;)

Denny C

Very nice!

Denny C

Counting the days! Fingers crossed that they deliver.

frederic decelles

Shoot the stupid computer.

PEWDIEPICARD

Born-ham didn’t suggest it. And no one else has a brain.

Denny C

As much as we all love Pike, last night’s episode added a dimension to his character which we did not foresee, making him a far more compelling character than we could have imagined. He’ll return to command the Enterprise knowing his fate. How does this impact every decision he makes moving forward and how did that ultimately factor in to giving up command of the Enterprise?

I think one of the things that stands out this season is how the most compelling characters were never intended to be at the shows core when it launched. Pike and Reno have added a dimension that was sorely lacking in Season 1 and, surprisingly enough, Spock as well. I for one would love to see a series with Pike in command, Reno as his chief engineer, Spock as science officer and, of course, Number One.

Vulcan Soul

“He’ll return to command the Enterprise knowing his fate. How does this impact every decision he makes moving forward”

I have a hard time believing the laid back “have a little fun, ruffle a few feathers” Pike of yonder could be back now. As much as Trek stood for ‘cheating death’ (Kirk) and ‘having your cake and eating it too’ (Admiral Janeway), I commend them for truly playing for consequences for once (and this series has chickened out of this all too often as well).

Comparing Trek to Bond, late Voyager had reached a stage of the late Brosnan era of orgies of absurdities without consequences and above all, safety. At least this scene compares more favorable to the visceral Craig reboots, givinv a glimpse into the true terror and raw dangers of space that real heroes must face. Shock and awe, and all that.

Denny C

There’s a lot to work with there for a series.

ML31

When you said, ‘having your cake and eating it too’ I immediately thought you were going to say (Picard). Because that is a very apt description of his show. Way more so than Janeway.

A34

Anyone angry that they didn’t use cardboard to build the Enterprise bridge?

Vulcan Soul

Troll better. Sets are still constructed from wood. At least the stories of TOS were rarely as wooden as 90% of Discovery – including season 3 :P

A34

The TOS bridge looks like a set from a grade school play. This new one is a great improvement, but it still looks like a redress of the Discovery bridge.

Vulcan Soul

You should show some respect to what came before and was realized with a shoe-string budget back then. Maybe in another 50 years people will call the Discovery bridge a “grade school play”? Or worse.

When money is short and production freedom limited, the focus is inevitably on the story, and not for the worse usually.

I do agree with your second sentence though!

A34

It’s just a TV show.

Vulcan Soul

Then what is wrong with the TOS sets again? It’s just a TV show ;)

TG47

And that precise observation, A34, worked so well when Shatner said it on SNL that all of Trek random nodded and settled down.

Not.

So, you expect it to work for you…

Why?

A34

Trekkies didn’t like what Shatner said because he was telling them the truth.

Ad Astra Per Aspera

The irony of YOU calling people out on trolling (which is wasn’t) when you rarely say anything nice.

Vulcan Soul

Not toeing the party line is NOT equivalent to trolling, calling out people for a fight is. I invite you to actually look it up in a dictionary!

Danpaine

You are just so abrasive.

Tiger2

He’s setting himself up to get banned again lol. I don’t get people, learn from your mistakes the FIRST time. You want to weasel your back here, fine, but at least try not to rock the boat and bait people over and over again. I guess its just a matter of old habits dying hard.

ML31

I’ve just stopped feeding him. It’s all we can do.

Tiger2

He’s been a little better this time compared to before so its obvious he’s trying, but sadly he just can’t help himself. It’s the exact same tune as before. The only difference is he doesn’t go directly after people like he did in the past, so he’s learning from that at least, but yes he’s still coming off like a troll.

Tiger2

Funny, comments like this is what got you banned last time. Just sayin.

Professor Spock

Time crystals remind me of Thanos and Avengers Infinity war, the infinity stones and his gauntlet from the Marvel universe. Avengers Endgame.

Thorny

Bajor had its orbs, including the Orb of Time used in “Trials and Tribble-ations”. I’m not sure what the complaints about “time crystals” is all about.

Tiger2

Because the Orbs came from a super advanced alien race who purposely gave them to the Bajorans thousands of years ago. That’s the point, they are not suppose to understand why they were sent, how they work, etc, so they look at them from a religious standpoint where they are revered. And this was in the first episode of DS9 so it doesn’t feel like something introduced after the fact.

The problem people may have with the time crystals outside of the fantasy element is that we are just hearing about them for the first time. And just happen to be protected under a long time species in Star Trek. If they came from a new species entirely people may not be as bothered by it. But we don’t know how they got them, why they and they alone seem to have them or how they use them.

I been defending the idea so I’m not really against it, but it is another example of shoehorning something in that may feel like a headscratcher for some fans.

Vulcan Soul

“Bajor had its orbs, including the Orb of Time used in “Trials and Tribble-ations”. I’m not sure what the complaints about “time crystals” is all about.”

Thorny, it wasn’t any better the first time around! DS9 fantasy does not justify Discovery fantasy, it’s all fantasy and not science fiction. And as Tiger notes, the orbs had slightly more justification by being by some ancient super-advanced race, while time crystals and time-travelling suits are now the new normal of pre-TOS 23rd century Federation and Klingon technology. It just removes any sort of sensible narrative constraints and credibility.

ML31

I wasn’t a huge fan of the Bajoran orbs. But they did make a kind of sense given their origins and the theoretical aspects of them held by the Bajoran people. The “time crystals” are another matter. These are things that seemingly just occur in nature and have over-the-top comic bookish like characteristics. They power and cause to work a “time suit” just like that arc reactor powers the Iron Man suit. It’s too close to a comic book world for my taste. That, and that they seem to appear only at that one place in the universe. A place controlled by Klingons who opt to NOT use it for some goofball reason. And don’t give me the “it’s not honorable” argument. Using a cloak is hardly honorable yet they’ve been using that bit of tech since TSFS.

PEB

So are those time crystals and not dilithium crystals in the opening sequence??? Love that!

Trellium G

I really enjoyed this episode and the preview for next week that followed.

We will get to see the Enterprise in action!

I hope we will get to see more of Ethan Peck as Spock after this season. He is a natural for the character.

Tiger2

Wow, a pretty solid episode! Certainly much better than the last two.

I was actually looking less forward to this one because I didn’t want to see more Klingons and yet they turned out amazing in this! FINALLY, an episode with Klingons that I can say I love on Discovery lol! I loved the entire mystical Klingon vibe of the Timekeepers. And Tenavik looked so cool!! Loved him and the twist. See THIS is the kind of stuff they should’ve done with the Klingons first season. This is actually a new angle on them we never seen explore before. And they felt closer to the TNG Klingons while still feeling a little different. Anyway, loved them and the trippy time travel vibe on Boreth.

Speaking of trippy, oh man, poor Pike. :( I can’t imagine what it would be like to live with knowing what will happen to you so tragically. But same time, he has time to prepare for it as well.

Seeing Reno and Linus again were another big plus! Linus is so adorable. And 80% less Tilly in this episode, an even BIGGER plus!

It was great to see L’rell again. I’m guessing she will be sticking around in the last two episodes to fight off Control with Discovery and Enterprise with other Klingons (they are in Klingon space after all).

The Control/red bursts angle didn’t really add a lot outside of Control now seems to have much more, uh, yeah, control over Section 31. It looks like we are in for a battle kids! Really liked the Burnham and Spock scenes on the Section 31 ship too. I still don’t know how I feel about Control basically becoming Terminator when it takes over a host body. It feels more fantasy to me but interesting I guess.

And yes, I loved the look of that bridge on the 1701. It is not only beautiful but nearly an exact match how I imagined an updated bridge to look. I’m VERY impressed.

Although I’m still not happy where the story has turned overall, I would be lying if I said I’m not excited about the last two episodes and how it will all go down. Especially now that we know we have a huge twist coming when its all over!

And finally, Happy First Contact day everyone! :)

Denny C

A lot worked in this episode and Anson Mount did an amazing job. Still, what really got me excited was the sneak peek for next week’s episode.

Vulcan Soul

“And 80% less Tilly in this episode, an even BIGGER plus!”.

Wasn’t it 100 percent? And not one percentage point too much ;)

Tiger2

Wasn’t she in the mess hall with the others though? I only watched it once but I thought she was sitting with Linus and Staments?

Vulcan Soul

Nope, that was Detmer and the Airiam-replacement. Somewhere it was written specifically that the Tilly actress had to skip this episode due to scheduling conflicts. Yay to scheduling conflicts :)

DeanH

Yeah, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised to see the new bridge and all those command gold uniforms, plus those 1960 replica chairs from TOS. Ah yes First Contact Day!!! But you forgot, that happened several decades earlier in Carbon Creek haha!! Have a great weekend everyone and strange to say this, but can’t wait until next Thursday night. Hockey playoffs AND Star Trek Discovery and the Enterprise. We are already planning a party!!

Tiger2

Well the ‘official’ First Contact day! :)

ML31

Sorry to go off topic but… DeanH, do the playoffs not start on Wednesday? I figured some series’ would start Wednesday and some on Thursday. My team has been locked into their position for a week now and we already know who they will play in the first round. It’s just a matter of when.

Trek in a Cafe

I really enjoyed the mostly reviled 3rd episode this season, and the repercussions from that episode did become a useful stage for this episode. I really am bored with Tyler but he was finally up to good use here. I also liked the fact we got to see some Klingons who are smart and are so revered and sacred no one dares question their power. My complaint though is still going to be the structure of the dialogue. I wish there was more drama. As good as the best episodes Tursi season are, they lack conflict. It’s almost like they talk about the conflict without living it making all their dialogues very “fait accomplait.” I don’t really see much fighting or determination to investigate anything.

TG47

I really liked this episode.

At the end, I was kicking myself for not having more faith in the writing team of Kim and Lippoldt.

While there’ve plot holes to quibble, their scripts very much have the right feel.

They deliver great character continuity, so the beats feel earned.

They also get the interactions of real scientists and engineers. The mess scene was wonderfully done, natural and credible. No forced geekiness, just a natural understanding of how bright people play.

I did wish that the scenes on Boreth with Pike were given another couple of minutes.

Like so many others, I found Pike’s having made a conscious choice to accept and lock in a personally horrendous timeline, as a meaningful sacrifice.

It felt slightly rushed however for something so momentous, and given what he was willing to accept with the time crystal, Pike may have been able to get more answers on the time crystals and the history of the community.

(As an aside, does anyone recognize the location? Parts seemed to be Trinity College at the University of Toronto, which would account for the Gothic revival feel.)

In terms of Gant obviously being a peripheral of Control, I wasn’t entirely sure. The situation screamed it, but Gant-puppet’s sincere anguish and apparent attachment to his former senior officer, seemed to nuanced as compared to bossy, direct Leland-puppet.

It was enough to create doubt for me, and suggests that the AI is becoming more sophisticated, passing higher echelons in a Turing test hierarchy.

Cobalt 2.5

Another stunning episode in an excellent series. THAT Pike scene had me shaken. The fact he willingly accepted that future makes the character and his fate even more poignant. I love that DSC is doing what a prequel should and truly adding depth and nuance that fits in with what we know of existing characters (Pike, Spock, Sarek & Amanda) yet really adding much more depth and richness.

Vulcan Soul

“The fact he willingly accepted that future makes the character and his fate even more poignant. I”

Kudos to the team for allowing Pike to outshine St. Michael for once! Even if he was being talked down to by his insubordinate subordinate just earlier in the episode again.

Yuck. Terrible episode, apart from everything with Pike. Well-made, as always, but the stuff with the time crystals is just nonsense. The reveal of the Section 31 guy being Control was the least surprising thing I can imagine. L’Rell’s makeup continues to be an abomination. Not much to like here for me. I’ll be glad when somebody decides to actually make a Star Trek series for All Access.

Speaking of All Access, maybe I’d have enjoyed the episode more — probably not, but maybe — if the stream hadn’t paused for a split-second every ten seconds or so. And no, the problem isn’t on my end; Netflix had no problems for me immediately thereafter, so this was 100% not my connection.

ML31

I still have those problems myself. Lately they have not been quite as bad but the fact is, I haven’t had a glitch like that with Netflix for 5 years. Yet it happens on CBSAA with EVERYTHING. It happened when I watched TZ Monday afternoon. It’s pretty bad.

It was so bad for me during TZ — the “Comedian” episode moreso than the other — that I gave up trying to watch on my television and pulled it up online instead. Awful. And I work nights, so I’m always watching at, like, two or three in the morning — when volume is presumably pretty low.

Tiger2

I understand why so many are bothered by the time crystals, but is it seriously any worse than the spore drive? And I get you may hate the spore drive too but this is the stuff the show has been pulling from at least episode 3.

But yes I’m disappointed this entire mystery comes down to magic crystals and evil AI robots. The ideas themselves are not bad per se, its just so many people had a lot of better ideas. I thought maybe we were getting back to old Trek and maybe hit a few philosophical notes in the story. Instead its just about secret Section 31 inventions gone horribly wrong.

And its even more sad its basically Starfleet that gets the galaxy destroyed in the future. So much for protecting all life when your crazy bot decides that’s the wrong direction to go in.

A34

Are time crystals any worse than dilithium crystals? In TOS they straight up said that the Enterprise was powered by dilithium crystals.

Vulcan Soul

“Are time crystals any worse than dilithium crystals? ”

Scientifically, yes. Some exotic crystal facilitating time travel, and the astronomical energies involved (even here a supernova is needed) is a lot less believable that an exotic crystal/substance supporting a matter/antimatter reaction, which we know exist in real and have created artificially before. Dilithium is just a part of the power generation, not the actual warp bubble propulsion.

Vulcan Soul

“I understand why so many are bothered by the time crystals, but is it seriously any worse than the spore drive? ”

Tiger, FTIW, I think the spore drive is equally scientific nonsense, that with the idea of “biology superseding physics” (in any given universe it’s the other way round), and I voiced my gripes in the beginning when it was introduced. It doesn’t mean we can’t hope for improvement 25 episodes later (as with the Klingons). And at least, we could rationalize the drive by ignoring the bogus biology and saying it’s like other super-advanced point-to-point travel methods shown in Trek before. It clearly also does not have the far-reaching narrative ramifications as time crystals, which make time, evolution and cause & effect meaningless (although the writers did trip over their own spore drive this episode by forgetting that Discovery could just spore drive the hell out of these Section 31 ships by jumping into the Delta quadrant!)

You can clearly tell for all the “Yay science” dialogue there is not much science-mindedness among the writers, and they seem to lack a science consultant, as any Trek show before had one.

” The ideas themselves are not bad per se, its just so many people had a lot of better ideas.”

The problem is not just about quality of ideas but execution in writing. Most of their grand concepts fall flat, like in season 1. They could have a nuanced and timely discussion about the dangers and abuse of AI (by humans) but “sentient AI is gonna kill us all” is rather counterproductive to that. Of course, this is the same issue as the hollow science concepts. We need better writers!

A34

“I think the spore drive is equally scientific nonsense”

People can say the same about Warp Drive.

ML31

You are correct. They could easily spore jump to the delta quadrant. Or, abandon ship, Stammets sacrifices himself and spore jumps to the far far future to a galaxy far far away.

I still say some of the problems are a result of the short season. A longer season means more time could be devoted to a nuanced and though provoking episodes about AI’s. But with the short season and all the elements that must be crammed in there is no time for that or character moments. At least by the writers they hired because I’ve seen this accomplished better on other short season shows.

I don’t have THAT big a problem with the spore drive except as it impacts canon; time crystals in theory are fine. This malarkey about L’Rell’s kid being a grownup now because time acts funny in the vicinity of these crystals, though, is a dealbreaker for me. That’s just a device for the writers making up stupid bullshit. And yes, that’s really all that most technobabble is; but the strings are really showing here, and it just doesn’t work for me at all.

Spiked Canon

That Pike scene was the best thing Discovery has done. It was haunting in itself, but Anson Mount took it to another level! I love the scenes with Spock and Michael. Martin-Green is at her best when she is one on one with Peck. They are great together. The same goes for any scene with Reno. The Klingon monk (name?) is definitely the best Klingon of the show so far. I loved his look and demeanor. The CGI this season continues to impress when they show the exterior of the ships. Such beautiful detail and clarity. My only problem with this episode and maybe I missed something on this or previous shows. Time Crystals? Is this a new thing?

Andy

Those are some funny captions! Dude, drop the Mic!

khambattafan

Look now how absurd the claims are that Discovery is just a “visual reboot”, i.e. the aesthetic and technology are updated, but otherwise this takes place in the prime Shatnerverse. These Sacred Keepers of the Hogwarts Time Crystals Who Speak in Fantasy Koans and who would never use such magic against their enemies- can you imagine these chaps having the slightest thing to do with the treacherous Klingons of TOS? OK, many viewers don’t care about TOS, fine- the noble Crystal Keepers opposed to temporal warfare don’t even seem in keeping with the Klingons as previously established on Discovery. These scripts seem like the product of a fan fiction improv contest at a convention.

CaptainSheridan

IDIC – Klingons can have more than one culture right? I mean, humans have a vast array of different cultures and beliefs, so why can’t Klingons?

ML31

True but if humans have a tough time leaving peaceful people who have something that could be weaponized alone could you imagine the attitude among a warrior race? That is another reason why I find the situation difficult.

BLACKMOCCO

It is notably mentioned the time crystals are a secret to the rest of the Empire. L’Rell knows about them but as her house appears to be based in stealth and treachery via season one, it’s not much of a stretch that her house has kept this under wraps from everyone else as an advantage over any rivals/enemies.

ML31

If that is so then if seems reasonable that eventually everyone will know about them as new Chancelor’s are anointed and presumably they will all come from the different houses.

A34

Time crystals are too dangerous to handle. It’s like having a nuke that explodes in your face. One mistake and they could wipe themselves out of existence.

Tiger2

Exactly CaptainSheridan,

That’s exactly why these Klingons worked for me, they actually showed something with a different layer for once. We didn’t see it in TOS but TOS is a different story. They were only in a few episodes and they WERE one dimensional. But the Klingons that got developed later from the TOS films through Enterprise we started to see a flurry of different personalities. Yes, most of them were still about honor and blood wine, but they all didn’t want to just kill and die in battle as if they were programmed like robots. We wouldn’t have characters like Be’lanna for example if that’s all any of them did.

DIS Klingons down graded the species IMO. They weren’t well rounded or developed beyond a few new cultural tics. But they all acted the same and why they were so boring no matter how exotic looking they tried to make them.

kentrek

Notice the other Klingon we see in Boreth temple is mulatto as well. I wonder if Tyler/Voc is going to play a larger role in the whole timy-whimy thing. I love the episode, especially filling in more of the Pike story and his valor. We only have a couple more episodes with him. Will be sad to see him go.

(Spore drive being used is obvious from the first shot where it jumps in instead of warps in.)

Josiah Rowe

Did you mean “albino”? Tenavik was the only albino Klingon on Boreth, and that’s because he’s Voq’s son. Though I was slightly disappointed that this episode killed my theory that the son of Voq and L’Rell was going to grow up to be “the Albino” from DS9’s “Blood Oath.”

Michael Haggard

“The stage is set, the orchestra is warmed up and we are ready for what looks to be an explosive—and possibly series up-ending—final two episodes.”

Let me correct that for you…

“The stage is set, the orchestra is warmed up and we are ready for what looks to be an explosive—and most likely series ending—final two episodes.”

Josiah Rowe

I hate to break it to you, but Discovery has been renewed for a third season.

grayzip

Here’s a tiny complaint. This new Star Trek is so contemporary. The first-ever pilot had paper coming out of a teletype or something, you can’t avoid some of that stuff — I even get the argument that it’s a way in for the audience. But on the new one people say “i reached out to her” and use what look like iphones and… it’s just endless. It feels like on that front these new episodes will be dated inside of two years

Vulcan Soul

grayzip, I’ve been saying for a long time that Discovery will (ironically, for TOS) end up the most dated Star Trek show in the shortest time, but it’s not an argument you hear very often. Most people seem to be content that Discovery is so contemporary and modern and edgy, having “dusted off” your grandfather’s Trek. And they fail to see that’s how people saw TOS too at the time, with all those hippies and Beatles haircuts and funky music.

It’s possible to create timeless science fiction without either looking cardboard silly or tieing yourself to the zeitgeist only to get eventually strangled by it. 2001 proves that.

GarySeven

All Excellent points, VS. The thing is most people can’t see beyond the latest trends in design and in style. So all they can understand that a Star Trek that uses 2019 special effects and copies GOT and other dystopian trends on TV is “modern.”
But because it does not tell stories that are timeless, Discovery will become dated faster than any other Trek. It will be considered more a product of its time than any other Trek show. By 2039 Discovery will be laughed at for being so “2019.” But I think they still will be discussing the meaning of various TOS and TNG episodes.

ML31

And that is why I think TOS ages the slowest of all the shows even though to our eyes the sets and effects all are not very good by today’s standards. That is a testament to how good the writing and characters were. It rose so high against the overall look that the show still works today. And why 30 years from now people will be talking about Discovery the way some speak about Voyager and Enterprise. Probably not even as good.

A34

I don’t agree. 30 years from now no one will know what TOS is.

KevinA Melbourne Australia

‘It was implied that the spore drive was used to get them to Boreth.’ It definitely was the spore drive as you see the ships usual spore drive twisted-vertical drop into orbit when they arrive at Boreth.

TG47

Not to mention Reno congratulating Stamets on another spore jump as she takes her seat in the mess

Ixley

This was a solid episode to me. It’s by no means the best episode of season two, but it’s definitely the best episode since “If Memory Serves.” The character moments were sublime! Anson Mount has become the definitive Pike for me (yes, I know it’s sacrilegious to say that, but I can’t help it). Reno and Linus were a breath of fresh air. And for the first time, I didn’t actually hate seeing an interaction between Ash and L’Rell. There were some surprises (Tevanik), some not-so-surprising turns (Sheesh. Didn’t we all see that Gant twist from a lightyear away?), but above all else, there were little moments between characters.

I cannot wait for the next episode.

Thorny

“Spock’s magnification of the deck”

That should be “magnetizing”, I think.

“It was implied that the spore drive was used to get them to Boreth.”

Not implied, we saw the ‘spinning in’ effect when Discovery arrived. So why didn’t they spore-drive away from the Section 31 fleet? They could go anywhere, say New Eden, and have plenty of time to formulate a plan.

drij

I take issue with the cadets calling Pike “Captain” and not “commodore”

Dre

He’s not a Commodore. TOS refers to him as ‘Fleet Captain’.

Silvereyes

A commodore is like a captain of captains, like a captain commanding a flotilla of ships, each with its own captain. In other words, a fleet captain.

TG47

True.

But Trek follows American Navy tradition wherein commodores only exist in time of war rather than UK, Canadian and Australian tradition.

So in time of peace we’re stuck with fleet captains.