Review: ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Comes Together In “Unification III”

“Unification III”

Star Trek: Discovery Season 3, Episode 7 – Debuted Thursday, November 26, 2020
Teleplay by Kirsten Beyer
Directed by Jon Dudkowski


Deeply steeped in franchise mythology, “Unification III” neatly ties together eras of Star Trek while nicely progressing the story and character arcs of Discovery’s third season.

Yes, my brother is Spock… it’s a long story



WARNING: Spoilers below!

“This may not be my home anymore”

Stripped of her position as first officer, Commander Burnham is finally at the fork in the road she has been headed towards all season. She isn’t sure if she belongs in Starfleet anymore, and having Book’s loveboat stored in the shuttlebay as a distraction is not helping. Being torn between her galaxy-saving “messianic complex” and a desire to run away with this rogue courier with a heart of gold can’t go on. And the solemn romance that kicks off “Unification III” hints that she is thinking of taking her talents to another team.

Michael’s demotion was the price she paid for going off Book (see what I did there?) last episode, to get her hands on a third black box to triangulate the starting point of The Burn. However, Tilly points out space is three dimensional—uh, no duh, Sylvia—and so three points only narrow things down in two dimensions… oh right. Nerd!

The good news is an old Starfleet experiment named SB-19 with sensor data from all over the galaxy could pinpoint origin point of The Burn. The bad news is the SB-19 data is inaccessible on a planet named Ni’Var, aka Planet Vulcan. What? Vance gives Michael and Saru (and us) a history lesson on how the Vulcans and Romulans finally fulfilled Spock’s vision of unification, but they quit the Federation after the SB-19 experiment to create a a warp alternative failed. In fact, they think the SB-19 network actually caused the Burn, and they are pissed at the Federation for making them do it. If only there was someone with ties to Vulcan and Spock who could reopen those lines of communication. Wait!

You sunk my battleship!

“I am Michael Burnham, daughter of Sarek, sister of Spock”

All of this brings memories of Spock flooding in for Michael, including finding out where her brother’s path led him after they parted company in the 23rd century, which was just about a year ago from her perspective. In a poignant and beautiful moment, Michael sees a recording from Jean-Luc Picard’s private stash of Spock (and yes, it was OG Leonard Nimoy Spock) expressing his vision of bringing the Vulcans and Romulans together. I’m not crying, you’re crying.

After some niceties when arriving at Ni’Var, it is made clear the SB-19 data will remain on the down low, and even talking about it opens up some old wounds the locals want to avoid. Facing the stubborn and surprisingly sassy Vulcan President, Michael breaks the gridlock by pulling an ancient Vulcan ritual out of her back pocket. Classic. And the first rule of T’Kal-in-ket is: You don’t deny T’Kal-in-ket. Sneaky.

The Vulcan ritual is some kind of scholarly court to rigorously get to a fundamental truth. Burnham has been assigned a “Shalankhkai” advocate who arrives with unnecessary veiled mystery, only to be revealed to be her time-traveling mother Gabrielle Burnham, who is now a member of the “absolute candor”-loving Romulan Qowat Milat order of warrior nuns. Mom quickly spots that Michael is “lost,” with one foot out the door, and lets her know her data quest is a lost cause too. What what what?

You were a time traveler and now a nun, but you have a sword? I thought MY life was complicated

“Part of leadership is the acknowledgment that one is suited to it”

With Burnham out as number one, Saru went totally out of the box in picking her “acting” replacement. He tapped Ensign—again ENSIGN—Sylvia Tilly. She is as shocked as we are to hear about it, sending her into a bit of an existential crisis. She is given a day to decide if she is ready for the responsibility, which is good news as she looked like she was going to hurl when Saru first sprung the news. And the look on Paul Stamets’—LT. COMMANDER Paul Stamets’—face when Tilly told him was priceless. Speaking for everyone, his initial hot take when asked for advice is that this is “deeply, deeply weird.”

With Tilly dispatched to struggle with this issue, Saru continued to be the best Starfleet captain he can be. While Michael focused on her trial ritual, he took on the greater task of turning President T’Rina’s eyes back to the Federation. This is a new side of Saru, and Doug Jones plays this diplomatic captain with poise and grace as he learns the Vulcans have learned to “let go of maxims and proverbs” after centuries of experience, seeing risks to the Federation ignoring the “needs of the few.” Hmm. Going to have to think about that one.

Ensign, please don’t throw up, I just had this new floor put in

“I’m here for the duration”

The plan for the genuinely intense trial is to appeal to the logic of the Vulcan purist V’Kir, but he shoots her down like Tuvok dismissing Neelix’s cooking. Shira the “Romulo-Vulcan” is more tepid than Plomeek soup, and the Romulan N’Raj seems open but sees Federation plots under every plate. As for Gabrielle, turns out this candor stuff does not mix with attorney-client privilege, as she tells the trio of judges Michael cannot be trusted, is a former mutineer, was just demoted for insubordination, and is being used by the Federation as Spock’s sister. Not even an open court Burnham-ific speech can convince mom of her true intentions. Worst. Lawyer. Ever.

But there was a method to this legal madness. By stripping away the layers, they finally came to the truth of the matter both for Michael and for the fragile balance of Ni’Var, which she is threatening. Seeing this truth and in the spirit of Spock’s vision, Michael withdraws her request. “I ask you for nothing, but I am giving you my trust as a member of Starfleet.” Big brother would be proud. And the prez was paying attention, and no doubt also moved by Saru’s diplomacy, she slips Michael the data anyway (via Michael’s mom), trusting she will do the right thing with it.

Mom also helps her daughter go past her big decision, reminding her “duty and joy go hand in hand,” leading her to recommit to staying in Starfleet, and it looks like Book is along for the ride for now too. As for Sylvia, the crew, led by Paul, take it upon themselves to guide her as well. In a fun heartwarming moment, they gang up on her to tell her to “say yes” to the promotion; they would all follow her anywhere. It may defy logic, but XO Tilly feels right for the Disco. And Saru and T’Rina wrap it all up on promising terms, complete with a well-earned “live long and prosper.”

It’s an old-fashioned Vulcan standing stern-off


More than a sequel

“Unification III” delivered on the title’s promise as a sort of sequel to Star Trek: The Next Generation’s “Unification” arc. And as that two-part episode brought back Leonard Nimoy as Spock, those were big Vulcan shoes to fill. But this episode and that title had meaning beyond following up on the Vulcans and Romulans. We saw unifications throughout, most importantly Michael’s reunion with her (real) mother, leading to her finding a way to unify her drive for duty and the call of love. We also saw a union of the crew and their preferred new (acting) first officer, and a wayward planet potentially returning to the flock. It’s nice when an episode can maintain a theme like this.

A key to getting character development, mythology, and plot right is knowing what not to do. Sure we want to know what’s up with Georgiou and Kovich, if Adira is tapping into her Trill memories, if Culber has fixed Detmer’s issues, but it’s better to let those things wait. And that also opens up time to bring in some new characters and guest actors, like Tara Rosling’s intriguing T’Rina. And while the literal unveiling of Gabrielle Burnham was clichéd, Sonja Sohn was just the right person to bring back to reset Burnham, and put her in her place. Yes, once again Michael was the quintessential element for a mission, but that actually came back to bite her on her hubris.

Kirsten Beyer was the perfect choice to pen an episode both steeped in these characters and rich in Star Trek mythology. It also doesn’t hurt that she has spent most of her time on Star Trek: Picard lately, and could bring in some of those elements into the show. “Unification III” is also an excellent entry in the Trek courtroom episodes sub-genre, although why the ritual was held on the ship is curious. For a show that often telegraphs its punches, “Unification III” keeps you guessing on where all of these things are going up to the end.

While avoiding some of Discovery’s pitfalls, this episode did perhaps take itself a bit too seriously. Season three has been a delight for a lighter tone and sure we’re dealing with Vulcans, but that can also be an opportunity. Instead, there was a bit too much of the usual melodrama, speechifying, and of course, crying.

I want to thank my temporal agent, and my boyfriend Book, and yes, the cat…hey, what’s that music?

Rethinking the Federation

Even though this episode was essentially an elaborate fetch quest to get the data needed to research The Burn, there was still quite a bit of worldbuilding. Of course, we got filled in on Vulcan and Romulan history, and giving their unified planet a new name was a nice touch. Ni’Var originally comes from a 1976 short Star Trek short story about Vulcans, meaning “the duality of things,’ which is the kind of deep cut that could only come from someone like Trek novelist Kirsten Beyer.

And we are learning more nuance about The Burn and the period leading up to it, with a seemingly desperate Federation hell-bent on finding an alternative to the dwindling dilithium. We are getting hints that maybe this future Federation isn’t so squeaky clean as their spotless programmable matter floors would indicate. Could they be the bad guys after all? Hopefully not, as we are all growing too attached to Oded Fehr’s Admiral Vance to shunt him into the villain camp. But this is yet another clever way this episode confronts our assumptions. We can see that Ni’Var’s reasons for leaving the Federation seem pretty legit, putting the plan to get the galactic band back together into question.

Transporter pads… how quaint

Can’t wait for “Unification IV”

The mark of a good episode is leaving you wanting more, which is precisely what this episode does, even though it is a complete and satisfactory story on its own. This update to Star Trek lore was enhanced with excellent costumes and props. However, it still feels like we missed out on an actual visit to Ni’Var for the full ancient ritual experience, complete with location shooting. You don’t have to go back to Iceland, but surely somewhere in Ontario in the fall could have stood in for Vulcan with some creative cinematography.

First-time director (and long-time Discovery editor) Jon Dudkowski did a fine job, with the slower pace that a character and lore focused episode as this requires. Jeff Russo and his musicians continue to impress in the way they are more and more part of the story in season three.

This episode feels like a pivot point, which makes sense as it is the halfway mark for the season. The ship has been upgraded, Michael is recommitted, they have gathered the clues, there is a new (acting) first officer… the pieces are in place to move this story and these characters forward. After last week, Discovery is back on track to continue its best season yet.

Tilly realizes she will never have to clean the Jefferies Tube again

Random extra bits

  • The three black boxes Michael found come from…
    • the USS Yelchin, named for late Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin.
    • the Giacconi, named for Italian-American astrophysicist Riccardo Giacconi.
    • the Gav’Nor, possibly named for Tellarite Ambassador Gav or maybe it was a Klingon ship.
  • Ni’Var was also the name of a Vulcan Suurok-class cruiser from Star Trek: Enterprise.
  • The SB-19 system resembled space gates from the Stargate franchise but could be based on the technology behind the Borg system of transwarp conduits, albeit more advanced with instant travel.
  • Paul Stamets used his new easy-access-goo spore drive interface for the first time… and he really likes it.
  • The Discovery-A refit also gets a bit of an update to the spore jump effect.
  • While Vulcan has no moon, other planetary bodies were seen close by, possibly including Delta Vega.
  • Gabrielle Burnham arrived back in the future on Essof IV, where she was trapped by the Discovery crew in the 23rd century in “The Red Angel.”
  • Even if she is only acting first officer, Saru should bump Tilly up to lieutenant.
  • Why do people often appear to already be walking when they arrive via personal transporter?
  • Does Saru have a thing for President T’Rina?
  • Line of the week: “But first, we would like to present a list of grievances and requests.”

First standing order from Tilly, daily hugs are now mandatory

More to come

Every Friday the new All Access Star Trek Podcast covers the latest news in the Star Trek Universe and discusses the latest episode. The podcast is available on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPocket CastsStitcher and is part of the TrekMovie Podcast Network.

New episodes of Star Trek: Discovery premiere on Thursdays on CBS All Access in the U.S. and on CTV Sci-Fi Channel in Canada, where it’s also available to stream on Crave. Episodes are available on Fridays internationally on Netflix.

Keep up with all the news and reviews from the new Star Trek Universe on TV at

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This series sunk to a new low. Crediting Burnham with Spock’s success…. Excuse me. Revisionist history at its worst. Not only did this do a major disservice to Spock but to Burnham as well. Having her accept an accolade that didn’t feel earned. Meanwhile characters that really were part of Spock’s journey, Kirk and McCoy were conveniently forgotten. The writers should hang their heads in shame. Absolutely disgraceful

Thank you! That was one of the other things that irritated me.

It was mainly Kirk and McCoy who influenced Spock. The idea that Burhman made him the person he became was ludicrous. Just a way for them to make Burnham more relevant than she rightly should be. Truly pathetic.

Resentful much?

Especially as the opening tied exactly to the line from the S2 finale where Burnham encourages Spock to keep reaching for others once she’s gone, with a clear implication that he should keep himself open to friendships like the one he will find with Kirk.

Besides, affirming an evident contribution from a sibling doesn’t in any way undermine the influence of Kirk, McCoy, or Pike for that matter.

We all carry our families of origin with us for good or ill as part of the the layers that make us who we are.

I really loved Mama Burnham’s admonishment to Michael to stop feeling as though she had to choose from among all the families that she’d been part of, or feel disloyal if she chooses to put her found family on Discovery first.

Nope. Not resentful at all. And I must add that it was an odd conclusion for you to draw.

You are talking about a sibling he barely interacted with over the course of his early years. Such influence would be minimal especially when compared to the deep friendship and respect he garnered from people he lived and worked with for decades. To say that she was a major influence for him is an egregious exaggeration at best.

It was mainly Kirk and McCoy who influenced Spock. The idea that Burhman made him the person he became was ludicrous. Just a way for them to make Burnham more relevant than she rightly should be. Truly pathetic.

Ummm…Kirk, Bones, and the Enterprise-crew are the only other people Spock happened to encounter in his entire life who had an impact on him? Not Pike? Not Number One? Not Sarek and Amanda? Not other family-members? Not his childhood teachers in school or his other classmates?

This is like saying that only the friends I’ve made in the past 15 or so years are the only ones who’ve influenced ME.

Again, you misunderstand. Kirk and McCoy had the GREATEST impact on him by far. Not the ONLY influence. To credit Burnham for who he became decades later is foolhardy and ignorant.

Nope. Watch the episode again. All the Vulcan president says is, “[I] wonder how much of the man Spock became was a result of who his sister was?”

Pure speculation, in other words. A type of distant-musing that you or I or any of us might make in that type of situation. You’re blowing this up into a much, much bigger deal than the producers very likely ever intended a total throwaway-line to be from a woman who lived nearly a thousand years after Spock and who never even personally knew him.

You are a braver man than I to go back and check out the line. But you have to admit that line sure did stir up a little storm here. And honestly for good reason IMHO.

Thanks, but honestly, though, why did it stir up such a storm when folks are clearly misinterpreting it? The Vulcan president clearly never knew Spock personally, and only had perhaps a few hours’ interaction with his adopted sister to form any type of mental picture of their relationship, and simply made a 3-second offhand conjecture about their mutual influence upon each other, the way one real-life sibling might have upon another real-life sibling.

All of these, “THE PRODUCERS MADE BURNHAM THE REASON FOR ALL OF TOS”-complaints on Twitter and elsewhere by folks like Robert Meyer Burnett are just completely fucking nuts (Burnett in particular reads way too much into things on a regular basis), and aren’t supported by the actual onscreen evidence in the TV show itself.

See, I can understand why it raised such a storm. Spock is a beloved legacy character. We saw pretty much his entire life and how he evolved. A lot of people are resentful that Burnham was dropped in on his life by SH. So to many anything that looks like it can take away from the legacy of Spock’s development is seen as an intrusion. Even those who have accepted that she is an unnamed sister have accepted it with the understanding that she had little influence on what he would become. Then there is her telling him to essentially find Kirk (which also rubbed a lot of people wrong) and then there is this person citing a line that at firs glance was interpreted as suggesting she was so wonderful that it influenced Spock to become the person he did. That can certainly have the effect of rubbing people the wrong way.

I think that is the point he is trying to make. The writers and Producers of this show have just been sloppy from the get go. This series is a Hot Mess.


Its just a TV show, not a religion, who cares? Mary Magdalene and Jesus anyone???

 I agree. The Klingons, spore drive, a window instead of a view-screen, the uniforms all pointed to a hard reboot of the series.

Now the reason for Spock’s success was Burnham??? I’ll give her credit as his big sister, but the rest?

And Burnham’s mother is part of the Qowat Milat from Star Trek: Picard? It felt forced. It was akin to saying, “Hey, we’re in the same universe as ST: Picard!!!”

At first, I thought this show was about the ship Discovery and her crew, through the eyes of Burnham. But, now I realize it is about how Burnham makes discoveries about herself.

The producers should change the name of the show to Star Trek: Burnham.

Now the reason for Spock’s success was Burnham??? I’ll give her credit as his big sister, but the rest?

It was a quick, two-second throwaway-line that did not in any way impute nearly as much importance to Burnham as you (and a couple others here) seem to be giving it. No one who watched this episode would in any way suddenly think that this is what Gabrielle meant by that one brief line highly-speculative of dialogue.

remember how Captain Archer of United Earth Starfleet hat Suraks Kathra and fostered the revolution on vulcan? So that he is the reason what vulcans became? Pure gold!

Not the same. Archer sorta got in the way of something that seemed to be underway to begin with.


It would have worked much better if they had instead had her be reassured about being “lost” after hearing about Spock’s journey. She would grow as a character after realizing Spock’s example.

In fact this was what I was trying to say in the other thread when I mentioned if Michael would get the credit for something that is essentially the legacy and success of Spock. It looks like I was right.

Star Trek is not above retconning its canon and continuity. Given how the Original Series holds up in this current world, I would completely understand altering the canon which if you are paying attention, they have already done on numerous occasions. They want to preserve the original timeline and have the liberty to change it enough where it doesn’t rub fans the wrong way. Too late for that.

Spock was influenced by Kirk, McCoy, and Captain Pike. To negate that influence is kind of foul. I genuinely enjoyed this episode and I cried when I saw Leonard on the screen.

Michael Burnham may be the most controversial character in Star Trek history because of her proximity to Spock. I wonder what Leonard Nimoy would have thought about this. Star Trek may be more polarizing than ever because nostalgia doesn’t give a damn about your new show or your movie. Nostalgia wants what it wants.

I liked the episode overall, but I hated, hated, HATED that bit! The writers have been having Michael ride Spock’s coattails since the beginning, and now they’re trying to tell us that HE rode HER coattails?! That’s not just untrue; it’s flat-out insulting to Spock, to Kirk, and to the rest of the Enterprise’s crew.

Come on, get a grip. It was just one line of conjecture by a character that never even met Spock.


Yet again it seems that the fan hivemind is determined to pile on Burnham for the sake of it. Its gross, weird and utterly problematic.

What’s gross, weird and utterly problematic is that you think this is good Star Trek…lol….it’s not even decent television.

I have to wonder how many fewer people would be complaining if Michael was a white man. It’s just shameful. Honestly, I actually liked it. We KNOW how Kirk and McCoy influenced Spock. We will see how Pike influences Spock in in SNW. This acknowledged the influence of Michael. There’s enough love and influence to go around, folks!

They are not interested… and have not been since it was announced that the main character was a black woman. This was before a single tear was shed. I am a proud Trekkie for the last 36 years and I find it to be straight up racist and misogynist.” Oh no, that black woman is crying!” Spock is turning in his grave!

Oh STFU with your race baiting nonsense. Typical. Garbage writing is garbage writing and you Mary Sue fan fic types are the bane of fandom. You dont want to be challenged, just pandered to.

They just hate Michael.

She was a very important part of Spock becoming the man who he became. Obviously Kirk and McCoy would go on to play major roles as well, but Michael was the first person to show Spock that you could experience emotions without fully turning your back on logic. And it was Michael who told Spock to seek out people like Kirk and McCoy to help him on his journey.

Holy crap. It was, like, simply one quick speculative line of dialogue (“Look how great he turned out!”) at the very end of the episode during an intimate moment between Burnham and her mother after viewing centuries-old historical records. You’re blowing this way out of proportion.

I wonder why that is. It couldn’t possibly be because the character is a black woman.

The low key and not so low key racism makes this place such a drag.

Yeah, if Michael Burnham were the straight, white, male someone was pining for on a different thread I suspect there would be a lot fewer comments here….

I can’t speak for sure for others but I strongly suspect that has absolutely nothing to do with it. There is no evidence of it. Have we come to this? That we cannot legitimately criticize a character if that character is portrayed by a female of color? Really? That’s very sad indeed.

As a long time reader of this website, you have shown your colors. You should write a diatribe about how many times Sisko cried and how annoying it was. He cried a lot.

Hilarious. Please do tell… What colors have I shown?

Regarding Sisko, I do recall a couple of times. But it wasn’t even close to what we are getting from Burnham. Does relating that fact display “true” colors as well? (eyeroll)

You mad at this? Come on man.

I agree with u eric

Agreed. So tired of Mary Sue Burman. What an ill conceived BS character. First we had Subok, Spocks unknown brother only to be outdone by his 7nknown sister who is clearly the lynchpin of the Trek universe. This is crappy fan fiction.

You need to rewatch it. Her mom says that the President said SHE WONDERED how much of what the man Spock became was the result of who his sister was.

HUGE difference. It was a compliment, not diminishing Spock’s accomplishments or misattributing all that he was to Burnham.

Overemotional and revisionist waddle.

Is Lower Decks back yet?

Yeah, I want that to come back ASAP!

Sad and unintelligible waddle.

Aren’t you tired of being this pathetic yet?

Wow. There is a lot to unpack here.

First, I hated to admit it but it was a nice moment when we saw Burnham see what became of Spock. I honestly wasn’t 100% sure if they would squeeze that in but as much as I still find her existence a bad creative choice, this was probably the best moment the show has had since season 1’s Lethe. Nice to see the Romulo-Vulcan union, too. Never was a fan of Romulan foreheads but I guess we still have to live with that.

But that was about as far as the positive things go. The idea that she could successfully argue in front of the Vulcans and Romulans was a huge stretch. She was making the weak gamble that their society would not change in 900 years. Which is pure foolishness. Even Spock said “Change is the essence of all things.” And we saw that just 90 years before Discovery Vulcans were not the same that we saw on TOS. And this is 10 times that.

Her mom showing up was too much for me but I guess they needed it for the plot to work, so there it is.

Tilly as “acting” first officer. Are you effing kidding me???? Really? When Saru asked to talk to here I immediately thought, “he’s not going to…” But yes. He was. This ranks as one of the dumbest ever decisions ever on the show. Not as bad as Lorca from the MU. But could be argued as the next dumbest. Saru’s reasons made ZERO sense. They ALL went through the wormhole. Tilly had her own issues. We’ve had scenes where she was having a tough time with it. So what made her so special except that she was a more prominent cast member than the others? And that “say yes” scene literally made my stomach turn. I kid you not.

Can we get an episode where Burnham doesn’t tear up? And if it’s not her it’s someone else. The way these writers are trying to push the emotion button has gone beyond embarrassing to full on pitiful.

The “federation ideals & values” crap has been wearing very thin for a very long time now. We don’t need to keep hearing that every damn episode!! Stop hitting the audience’s head with that sledge hammer, please!!

There are a few other things that irritated me but I’ll just stop here for now. Perhaps someone else will mention them.

In spite of the promising moment up front, this episode devolved very quickly into garbage. And yes, I will again say that my judgement is still guided a great deal by the 26 episodes leading into season 3. And yes, it might be unfair. But I cannot help but let that influence how I see the show now.

PS. Last week I had a first. No glitches! This morning they returned with a vengeance.

ML31, I sometimes think we keep barking up the wrong tree. Every week we complain Discovery is not foie gras like the previous Trek shows, but just a lowly cheeseburger. But it was never meant to be more than a cheeseburger, and likely never will be.

But here’s the thing: as far as cheeseburgers go, this week’s episode was a pretty good one! Yeah, it was still heavy on the Its all about Michael cheese (not to forget the Tilly cheese!), but there were enough positives in there to temporarily distract me from that.

This is the first episode in a very long time without any phaser fights, fist fights or any kind of gratitious violence. I don’t even remember any Discovery episode without that; we’d probably have to go back as far as the Thalos episode in season 2 (and that had destruction in the premonitions).

I can see this episode was written in good faith, with good intentions and without trying to score cheap political points. A message all factions, for all our differences, can get behind. What a far cry from season 1 when their allegories tried to paint their opponents as cannibals, fascists and genocidal murderers. Here, in finest Trek traditions, Romulans, Vulcans and Vulcan-Romulans all have good points (this was written even more sympathetic than the Earth – Titan conflict). That we dont have any stupid revenge villain this season SO FAR is refreshing. Of course, that may change soon and this season may still make a quick descent into generic drivel like season 2, but for the moment I am content! Cheese and all.

Well, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

I’ve never questioned that this group is trying to make decent Star Trek. It’s just that they are failing miserably. For me, I don’t judge good or bad based on how many things blow up or how talky they are. If they do dumb things it can ruin the entire thing. And this show just does way too many dumb and illogical things. And those things overrode the positives you mentioned about the factions among the Vulcans and Romulans. Which was done in a VERY simplistic manner but that is what we get this this group. Nothing very nuanced at all. Ever.

Well, after years and years of sub-par Trek, my expectations are low and not that difficult to fulfil after all. Of course, the tragedy of Discovery is that most of the time, they do not even meet that low bar!

Honestly, I think both of you ate a great cheeseburger when you were really hungry and you’ve retold that cheeseburger story to yourselves so many times that it became foiegras.

Fair enough. I’m a little opposite. I freely admit that that my opinions of this show are currently guided by the first 26 episodes. It’s going to be very hard for this show to get past those mistakes. So what might have been seen as above average if it were show #7 means I’m more likely to give it more scrutiny than might be fair since it followed 26 episodes of garbage or near garbage.

But… When SNW starts I’m going to do my best to have very very low expectations. Hopefully that will help.

I think SNW is gonna put discovery to shame. only because the guy that plays pike is really good at making lemonade from the lemons the writers and producers give him.

Spot on ML31!

very well said. This episode was a disgrace.

Is this episode a Star Trek deep cut throw down for beautiful effect ruined by afternoon soap drama?

Nailed it.

Great episode. I would have liked to have seen life on Vulcan during the ceremony.

What?! You’re joking right?


-The division of the Vulcans and Romulans was interesting as a society attempting to meld three philosophies into a cohesive society. Made me wonder whether modern day Germany has the sort of division (i.e., West German culture, East German culture, and people trying to meld both). Although, as far as I know, Germany doesn’t have insurgent factions threatening to move against the society based on those divisions.

-The Vulcan philosophy faction, while they revered Spock, seemed more similar to the Vulcan conservatives of the “Enterprise” era. And, arguably, the more conservative Vulcans on Ni’Var should find Spock’s actions as an illogical mistake given the way they treat the Romulan and multicultural factions, as well as being forced into the need to deceive for stability (when Vulcan philosophy is, in theory, supposed to make lying not possible if one’s pursuits are logical). It was also interesting that the Romulan faction was the most sympathetic to the Federation.

-Both Vulcan and Earth were founding members of the Federation. And by the 32nd century, both worlds have pulled inward, pushed away from the Federation, have identity issues among their own (humans within the solar system fighting among each other and Romulan-Vulcan) and accuse the Federation of putting other worlds and the galaxy itself before their own people’s.

-While it was never stated or even hinted at in “Star Trek: Picard,” one wonders whether reunification began after the destruction of Romulus after the events of season 1. Although, given the philosophy of the Federation at the time, it seems unlikely that the Federation as a whole would have allowed Vulcan to give large numbers of Romulan refugees safe haven in Federation space.

-The Ni’Var president’s criticism of the Federation as having expanded too far and attempting to fulfill “the needs of the many” at the expense of the few seemed like an echo of Michael Eddington’s rant against the Federation in “DS9” where he likened it to nicer form of assimilation akin to the Borg. In a way, that was the main thrust of the Maquis’ argument when their homes were exchanged and sacrificed in the name of peace.

-The theory that this is the Kelvin Universe gets thrown out the window in this episode with the video of Spock from “Unification.”


-Having Burnham’s mother show up just seemed forced. I liked the scene with the confrontation to force the truth for the tribunal, but, to me, it would have worked better if it was just a guest star who was someone that had researched the records on Michael and developed a relationship with her over the course of the episode. The mother-daughter thing was just awkward when tacked on to the Vulcan ritual aspects.

-Name dropping Spock is fine. But I didn’t like that the episode tried to build Michael up by saying who Spock was is owed to Michael. That just seemed like too much.

-How did Captain Picard make those videos of Spock for his personal log from “Unification” that Michael and Book watch? It happened in an underground cave on Romulus. Maybe a holoprogram that converts the events of a log into a recreation? That was a cheat the episode goes with because they wanted Leonard Nimoy.

-Tilly is the XO because she’s the most developed character beyond Saru and Michael (and she needs a storyline), not because there’s been character development that justifies it. During the second episode, with the confrontation at the bar, Saru tells Tilly to hide behind the bar and just get out of the way. And that’s the XO that’s going to lead away missions? Putting Tilly as XO would be the equivalent of Picard deciding to put Wesley in as his Number One.

“The Ni’Var president’s criticism of the Federation as having expanded too far and attempting to fulfill “the needs of the many” at the expense of the few seemed like an echo of Michael Eddington’s rant against the Federation in “DS9” where he likened it to nicer form of assimilation akin to the Borg. ”

More than that, I can see they did have a discussion after all over how empires fall, historically. Resource depletion and overstretching is a classic! And what is an empire without a way to maintain its vast infrastructure?

It also turns out Kurtzman was not quite honest with us when he said the Federation was as strong as ever and the Burn an external calamity. Well maybe it was in the end, but the whole dilithum depletion problem happened beforehand. As the Ni’Var president said, there were MANY grievances. The Burn may have just been a catalyst for the inevitable. As in reality, there are many complex reasons why empires fall, but they are often connected to each other.

The only problem with applying that logic to the Federation is that even with dilithium supplies running out, by the 30-31st centuries, would those sort of infrastructure issues be a problem with keeping a large empire together? And would modern supply issues really be as much of an issue?

The Federation economy is not centered on capitalistic trade between worlds or based on modern concerns of scarcity. If a Federation world has replicators (both personal and industrial), as well as now programmable matter, why would they be dependent on a supply run from 200 light-years away?

The only place where I could see distance come into being an issue given what we know about the Star Trek Universe is defense of territory and alienation from a collective identity. If a world is self-sufficient and a long distance from the Federation Council and Starfleet Command, where any call for help would take forever to get relief, there would inevitably grow a number of voices saying why do we need a far away government on Earth to tell us what to do when they can’t even send a starship to us?

How the UFP is organized was never explained. At least in canon. So it is pretty much up to the viewer to decide the logistics of it. To me, it felt more like a cross of the UN with NATO than anything else. But those things were never really necessary for the Trek stories and shows we have had so far.

For me, the Federation has always seemed like a version of United States federalism mixed with the structure of the United Nations where member states have a little bit more autonomy than U.S. states.

Things like U.S. federalism:
-Both a Federation charter and constitution have been mentioned in canon which delineates rights to Federation citizens across the entire Federation (TNG’s “The Drumhead” mentions one of the “guarantees” as being akin to the 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution)
-Federation law has supremacy across all member worlds and no member state can have policy which contradicts Federation protections of civil rights (“DS9” has an episode where Bajor’s application to the Federation is threatened by the re-introduction of a caste system)
-The president of the Federation is commander-in-chief of Starfleet and can declare martial law on a member world during an emergency (Both “DS9” and “The Voyage Home”)

Things like the UN:
-The Federation Council seems akin to the UN Security Council as far as setting policy
-Each member of the Federation has an “ambassador” to the government and each member state’s ambassador seems able to conduct their own foreign policy initiatives outside the purview of the Federation government instead of diplomacy and foreign policy being centralized to the Federation itself (The peace initiative to the Klingons in “The Undiscovered Country” seemed to originate with Sarek and Spock and took Starfleet and the Federation by surprise)
-The autonomy of member worlds allows a degree of freedom and more red tape in adjudicating enforcement of Federation laws (Kirk and his crew were able to receive protection and asylum on Vulcan for a time instead of being picked up and arrested by either local or Federation forces on the planet after the events of “The Search for Spock”)

Even then, its science fiction. Space is really big. planets may be scarce. But you could avoid one another. Theyre meeting up in space always, because they choose to. A Highly advanced culture would have solved all of that and thus became boring, or turning to more existential questions, but thats no drama for a tv show audience.

Just this… I disagree that this episode puts to rest the fan theory that this is the KU. Just because they use Nimoy doesn’t prove it. After all, Spock is still Spock in both timelines regardless of what actor is playing him. That logic says that because Ethen Peck played him this show is not KU or Prime.

And I think saying the recording came from Picard was just fan service. They really didn’t need to say where it came from. Attributing it to Picard from that episode means it’s more likely it will be asked how it was accomplished. Leaving it more vague would have been the better way to do it. I’m wondering if they paid the Nimoy estate for his image or if they legally had the use of it.

And yes, I earlier thought the only reason it was Tilly was because she was a prominent character. No. Other. Reason.

Just FYI. Kurtzman has stated before, several times, Discovery is not in the Kelvin Universe.

Yes but he also says this show is set in the Prime Universe and there quite a bit to suggest it is not. Kurtzman says a lot of things.

But they went to the planet formerly known as vulcan, not nuVulcan. also neither prime nor Kelvin Universe exists. Its a f****** tv show. Get a life, will ya?

As opposed to your life where you scream at people on the internet who talk about Star Trek on a Star Trek site?

As opposed to yours where you beat a dead horse after every episode? Vulcan was not destroyed. We saw footage from Unification I/II. You are the QAnon of Star Trek.

You make comments without evidence. Where did I ever say Vulcan was destroyed? I am also very well aware of where the Spock footage came from. I don’t throw this title out lightly but you are exhibiting trolling behavior. My advise is to cease.

I’m sure that CBS has the full rights to use any footage from prior Star Trek TV episodes in any Star Trek production. There may or may not be additional rights of personality, but I highly doubt that the permission of the Nimoy estate was required to use that footage, any more than the permission of Jeffrey Hunter’s estate was required to use the footage from “The Cage” last season.

Be aware, I’m not ripping on anyone or anything with that comment. I was just curious. I’m sure everything was on the up and up.

As Marina Sirtis has said she does not hold the rights to her own image as Troi.

Which is why she was in no way consulted about appearing on a stamp.

Images of Niven from TNG, would under the same agreements.

Didn’t they say Ni’Var is formerly known as Vulcan? Vulcan went kablooey in the KU, so this is either the Prime or another universe.

I wasn’t suggesting it was the KU. Just that the comment made above about it does not prove it is not. I would also say that Na’Var is not necessarily the Vulcan from TOS. It very well could be a re-named New-Vulcan. Just playing devil’s advocate here. Not saying this is KU. Only that it is not unreasonable to suggest it could be.

Ml31…. to say its not prooven that its not the KU is indeed sugesting that it is actually in KU.

You Sound like a Bit like… anyways

Ridiculous. Suggesting the possibility something is not proved is NOT saying it is something else. That is monumentally foolish and short sighted.

You sound like… Well, let’s not go there.

Nimoy played older spock in both universes. So, I don’t see his portrayal here validating either universe.

This Kelvin universe stuff is just silly. Discovery has always been in the prime universe — which is the same one as all the other Star Trek TV series — and it still is. Yes, Nimoy played “old Spock” in the Kelvin Universe, but no Spock in that universe ever tried to unite Vulcan and Romulus, because in that universe Vulcan was destroyed. The footage we saw from “Unification II” is from the prime universe, just like the footage we saw last season from “The Cage.” Discovery, like every other Star Trek TV series, is set in the prime universe.

Now, if you don’t like it, or you don’t like the production, design, or narrative choices made for Discovery — that’s fine. You can ignore it. But please, stop this nonsense of trying to make it fit with the Kelvin-universe movies.

Except Wesley is WAY more qualified to be XO over Tilly. He can say a complete sentence without rambling off subject for minutes on end, and has confidence in his own abilities. I can see any of the crew standing up to Tilly, and the first thing Tilly would do is run to Saru.

Loving Tilly

Although, as far as I know, Germany doesn’t have insurgent factions threatening to move against the society based on those divisions.

Sure, they call themselves “Reichsbürger”

I wouldnt call a random set of crazy people a faction.

-The division of the Vulcans and Romulans was interesting as a society attempting to meld three philosophies into a cohesive society. Made me wonder whether modern day Germany has the sort of division (i.e., West German culture, East German culture, and people trying to meld both). Although, as far as I know, Germany doesn’t have insurgent factions threatening to move against the society based on those divisions.”

Interesting question.
Well Germany isn’t fully reunited, yet. You still can see many, many divisions between East and West.

But even though it is a lot easier than between Romulans and Vulcans since the division lasted merely 40 years. And because it was not a reunification of equals, but more of a take-over by the West since the East basically was bancrupt at this time.

Germany is not fully reunited? As a german I doubt that. Its as united as it gets. Sure there are divisions but this is not systemic.

There is still a huge economical gap between West and East.
And I guess there still is quite a cultural gap, when right wing populists gain their biggest successes in the East and some areas you better don’t visit as a foreigner.

I am going to trust the german person on this one.

If Discovery was that desperate for qualified command candidate’s bring in an outsider from Starfleet. This promotion made absolutely no sense

And that would have been interesting. Bring in a cocky and brash 32nd century character with a clean slate who can teach and learn from this crew and provide some friction.

Yep. It actually makes more sense that if there were no qualified candidates on Discovery (which itself is a stretch) that the 2nd would be filled from 32nd century Star Fleet. Could be a liason between the old ship and the current regime. And gives them a chance to introduce a potentially interesting character. Which the show still desperately needs.

I do hope they still settle on a 32nd century Starfleet commander as permanent replacement, ideally Lt. Willa! It makes so much more sense in-universe, and from a narrative, dramatic point of view too to have an outsider-foil to Saru and the crew who still needs to grow to the cause but also represents her own legitimate interests. In short, the Colonel Kira of Discovery!

I personally thought Lt. Willa was going to be Number One. Makes more sense. They need to catch up with so much history, and Adira is not on the bridge.

The only way it makes sense is that Tilly is an officer that they are willing to follow.

And without that, no first officer can function.

It’s pretty clear that as a crew they are not ready to accept new crew and officers from the 32nd century.

Even though they are obviously short handed with 91 survivors including Georgiou, Saru is aware that unit cohesion and carrying on in usual roles is all that’s holding many of them together.

So while my initial reaction was a huge “Ben voyons donc!!!” , I am willing to go along with it as a development assignment for Tilly until Saru finds his long-term number one.

Just 91 people left and Burnham and Tilly are still roomies. Huh!

Burnham had her own quarters as first officer which we saw in 304 when Culber dropped in, but it sounds as though she was put back with Tilly when she was demoted.

Discovery lost a lot of volume in the secondary hull in the refit, but that may have been lab space. It’s hard to know what’s left and what’s been renovated in the saucer.

Shouldn’t Tilly have moved into those now empty quarters?

She’s only acting…

One doesn’t usually move offices or quarters for a short term acting assignment.

Well they did need to create some space for the new holodecks ;)

Yeah those things do need tons of room!

In the corporate world, it’s not necessarily the most qualified “on paper” person who gets the promotion every time. Some times, one person just clicks better with the manager.
It stinks, but is reality.
I assume it can be the case in this starfleet, particularly since saru just has a better relationship with Tilly and trusts her. He’s limited really to a few candidates on the ship.

I also wonder if there is a shortage of experienced officers within Starfleet, especially given their reliance on holograms for a lot of stuff. Maybe eventually they will appoint someone from the 32nd century to be the new first officer once the mystery of the Burn is solved

Good God I really hope that is not the case. I thought Trek future was a positive one. Where everyone is judged by their accomplishments and character rather than who they are buddies with.

Well, all the typical grievances are still there, but my verdict is that given the constraints and people involved this is probably as good as it gets for Discovery, and all future episodes will have to measure itself against this one (tough time, I already see action BS again in the preview for the next one)!

But here’s the thing. This week, I can look past those grievances to recognize that for once, this episode had something very important to say, just at the right time, about our divisions, as a forum, as a nation, as a species. I did not see Romulans and Vulcans on this Quorum but factions of this forum, and the country, any country, at this difficult time. And I think what was happening there (sans the crying!) this is very much what Star Trek should be about. Not soap opera. Not phaser fights. But a quest for understanding, and mutual coexistence. We are so different, we dont even know who we are. We dont know who THEY are. But we are still talking!

Amen. Yeah, it was still annoyingly-Discover-y, but it’s the first time a Discovery episode has actually said something.

I think it’s important to talk about how the federation isn’t magically united — clearly, divisions just don’t disappear and unity is constant, changing work.

What do you mean, “sans the crying?” 2020 most people to start crying at the drop of the hat. If anything, that’s the most realistic part of the comparison.

Not on my planet, dear friend, where public displays of emotion are still frowned upon ;)

You should move.

They really should just rename the show Star Trek: Burnham

It seems like the entire universe revolves around her. Even her mum ended up being conveniently fit into the plot for no good reason. Like how did she end up in this mystical Romulan order, introduced in the Picard show?

The ceremony she invoked to present a logical and philosophical argument was written poorly. The argument ended up being made on emotional merits (of trust) around Micheal Burnham.
No allusion to Federation ideals, morality, scientific merit, etc. We’ve had brilliant arguments made in the franchise in episodes like TNG: The Measure of a Man (arguing for Data as a sentient being), Voyager: Death Wish (Q right to suicide), TNG: The Drum head (human with Romulan heritage is treated with undue suspicion), TOS: Court Martial (Kirk vs the Computer). Terrible writing on Discovery!

If the Vulcans/Romulans were hesitant to offer all the data, why not just ask them to offer you specific data points, or just the results of the analysis that they compute?

How did the Discovery crew know about the Romulans? They are from a pre-TOS era, where Kirk encountered them. On Star Trek: Enterprise, although the Romulans were introduced, it was never face-to-face.

And Tilly, seriously?

“How did the Discovery crew know about the Romulans? They are from a pre-TOS era, where Kirk encountered them. On Star Trek: Enterprise, although the Romulans were introduced, it was never face-to-face.”

No, actually they did address that point. Admiral Vance clues them in that history “at their time” had forgotten that Vulcans and Romulans are siblings.

Other than that, many of your points of criticism are correct, and yet… I conclude this episode succeeds nonetheless because for once, it was MORE than the sum of its parts!

Yes there was a very brief “wow, really?” moment. But it was then swept aside and they all just accepted it. But to them it really should have been pretty darn huge.

I dunno, from the perspective of Discovery’s crew, the Romulans were somebody Earth (maybe allied with Vulcan, Andoria and Tellar) had a war with about a century ago, shortly before the Federation was founded… and then withdrew from galactic affairs. Sure, it would be a surprise for them to learn that the Romulans were exiled Vulcans, but in the light of all the changes they’ve encountered since arriving in the 32nd century it’s just about par for the course. Besides, the audience all know the connection between the Romulans and the Vulcans, and there wouldn’t really be much value in revisiting the story beats of “Balance of Terror” in this context.

The reality is that a lot of “Balance of Terror” did not make sense. There was this huge war, but the peace treaty was negotiated solely over radio? We have better technology than that *today*. The Federation couldn’t find a single Romulan cadaver in the wreckage of a destroyed ship (and this when the Vulcan captain disposed of the body of his centurion? A culture without warp drive and phasers poses a threat to constitution class vessels?

The only real explanation is that the Romulans were desperate to hide their true lineage, because it was useful in infiltrating Vulcan society.

I think ultimately there was far too much interesting stuff for one episode, and that was a victim of that. It was already 50 minutes long. I wished they had cut out some of the repetitive generic scifi action crap from previous episodes to make time for more philosophical examinations what the Fall of the Federation really means to its members and the galaxy. And the crew.

“Too much stuff for one episode” -> Exactly Honored Vulcan Soul…

TOS – TNG – DS9 – VOY – ENT -> most of these shows if not all of them had seasons with episode counts between 23 and 26 each year.

DISCO’s episode count is 13 for Season 3. Season 1 was the longest with 15 episodes.

They have to stuff 100 pounds of goodness (or 100 pounds of mediocrity based on some of your opinions) into a 1/2 gallon bucket. So the show won’t go into length on stories or details that deserve more time.

In my opinion, this would have been a great 2-parter, providing greater nuance and detail on:
– Romo-Vulcan unification (historically… how and when did “unity” finally metastasize)
– The political fractures and whether they are deep and threatening, or just superficial
– Their alt-FTL issues
– Their Romo-Vulcan Burn investigation
– The Tilly offensive (because I am offended)
– Mother & Child reunion
– Burnham reflecting on the legacy and loss of Sarek-Amanda-Spock whom she saw just 13 months and one time-dilated worm-hole ago
– “Does Burnham Finally Learn How to Stop Being an it’s-about-me-&-my-mission-Messiah-Type and just Love the Bomb”.

What I don’t get is this: DISCO is produced to be used on streaming services (with no time constraints), and for use with a couple of traditional broadcasters who have need for the show to be 45-50 minutes to accommodate commercials and other traditionally scheduled programs.
–> Why not release a director’s cut for each episode and air that on the streaming services while the traditional broadcasters get the abridged 45-50 minute cut?
–> Or why not expand the the length of the season to 17 or more episodes so that you can provide greater topical coverage of key issues? (Money is the issue. Can CBS-Viacom-Paramount afford to pay for more episodes? I think they can, otherwise how could they afford to be making 15 other Trek shows?)

I get what you mean Tarnwood.

It did feel a bit thin…

This also should and could have been the episode where Michael visited the resting place of Sarek and Amanda, making a connection that she did not on Earth. Even if they weren’t ready to show Vulcan overall, they could have shown Michael return to the katra tomb where she had found Spock.

There doesn’t seem to be the flexibility to say, once the season is broken, “Nope, that needs to be a two-parter” unless they are pitching an extra episode for the finale.

I was over on the Reddit DISCO forums and saw a TG1701 laying down all kinds of good logic bombs. Wonder if you are related? You TGs are good people.

What you said about taking a moment for Michael to visit her Vulcan family’s tomb… that is precisely what I desired.

That would have been a monumental gesture: emotionally, symbolically, narratively, developmentally from a character perspective, etc… That is the type of narrative logic, planning, insight, & thoughtfulness that gives you a mind-blowing, paradigm shifting, nuanced episode like TNG’s “Inner Light”. If the DISCO writers had that deeper level of skill and insight, it would have been a no-brainer to give us what you described.

In fact…

The last scene of that episode should have been Michael at the gravesite. Talking to the family. The irony would not be lost on the viewers… she just found her biological mom 931 years from the last time she saw her, while she looks at the graves of the family that nurtured her into who she is today 931 years after last seeing them alive. And that is just too much to handle in one day. But that it is a welcome thought to know that the people she loves are not far away. That’s home.

That would have been a scene where I am waiting for the right time to exhale so that I don’t miss a single sound.

It would have been a 2-3 minute scene. And a fairly obvious one to have done. Again, if they had more episodes or longer episodes, and writers thinking of all the core emotional beats that need to be there vs the emo beats that they want to fabricate… this should have been a given.

I would rather have had that I as the last scene of the episode, rather than the one with her and Book in the garage.

No, I’m not TG on any other Trek boards.

It was only after I started posting here that I saw there is a TG1701 on a couple of others.

But here I am as TG47 – and I’m happy to have called dibs on some excellent Prime number alias real estate.

Because, at the end of the day, this was not really a scientific dispute — it was a *political* dispute among Vulcans, Romulans, and the newer hybrid “Romulo-Vulcans.” And I have to disagree that there was no allusion to Federation ideals; what was the budding trust-building exercise between Saru and T’Rina?

No allusion to Federation ideals, morality, scientific merit, etc. 

Her try at the disputation was stupid and three data points were to few and the difference could have been in the margin of error. this was a very sciency scene and portrayed well. they even told her that, that her proof was way to weak, as every professor would tell their student if only three data points at hand. i enjoyed that scene.

Ah, once again, if it wasn’t for the existence of Michael Burnham, the entire Universe would implode. Jesus, stop writing the character as if she is the most important person who ever existed! Better yet, kill off her character in a blaze of glory, saving the Universe once again (of course), and (finally) get this TV show back to a PLAUSIBLE storyline. This could be done since the series is called Discovery and NOT The MIchael Burnham Show!

I have come to conclude that this show is written as young adult science fiction, certainly with all the emo-drama and identity issues of the young female protagonist all events center around. If you view it through that lens – the Hunger Games, Divergent, you name it – alot of things become more understandable (if not more bearable).

Excellent analysis on your part Vulcan Soul.

Honestly Hunger Games is a better story than Discovery.

CBS should change the show’s name to The Burnham Chronicles. That is more appropriate.

You beat me to it. Kirk, say, may have been a central character, but TOS was never the Kirk show, and DS9 certainly never the Sisko show, in the way DIS is quickly becoming the Burnham show. When the TNG movies began becoming the “Picard and Data Show” is when they started going downhill. (First Contact worked, but the next two, not so much.)

Heck, even Picard isn’t as much the Picard Show as DIS is the Burnham Show.

Actually Nachum, TOS was closer to being the Kirk show than any other series, but it was a product of its time in the 60s. In fact, it was somewhat pushing the ensemble envelope even then.

There was a persistent faction of naysayer fans in the 90s that didn’t like the ensemble wanted to get back to a smaller core. They wanted the captain and principal character to be the action hero and the centre of more stories.
Enterprise and it’s “Archer Syndrome” was a direct attempt to make those fans happy.

Michael Burnham’s central role, and having to be the A-plot if just about every episode is “Archer Syndrome” on steroids at this point. One of our teens actually pointed out recently that it’s becoming somewhat like Pandora – and our kids absolutely refuse to watch Pandora because they find it the character unsympathetic and ridiculous.

It seems as though SH feels it is contractually bound ot give the top-of-the call sheet almost every A-plot – we see the same in LDS and Picard. By my count in Discovery with a longer season, they give the captain-of-the-year one A plot per season.

I see what you mean.

Ironically, Discovery was first presented as a show that would *not* focus on the captain, for the first time. Which is true, I suppose, but it just shifted the focus- and not to some lower decks crewmember but to the first officer and best friend of each captain.

Happy Thanksgiving!

This episode is a Thanksgiving gift I can appreciate. Burnham is growing as a character and an improvement.

Vulcans and their religion, interesting. Romulans and Vulcans are distant cousins.

Faze Ninja and Eliza are distant cousins too.


Stop your trolling. The Burnham show is full speed ahead.

CBS should change the rename to show Star Trek: Burnham or The Burnham Chronicles.

It’s all about Michael Burnham and no one else.

That’s not a bad thing. Discovery should discover how the other characters feel not just the Burnham point of view.

That’s my biggest problem with Discovery.

Hence , below in these anti-Discovery comments we have the usual ‘traditionalist’ hardcore ‘fans’ who are offended by any new dynamic in the Star Trek universe. Each and every one of these so-called fans is a supreme judge of storytelling and always know what is better because they are obviously all expert writers themselves.
An example below is a criticism of the idea that Spock may take inspiration from his human step sister. Shock horror! Sacrilege! Well let me tell you this…all great people of history take inspiration from others to some degree. The episode did not imply in any way that Burnham was Spock’s only inspiration.
You people, just do me a favour…stop watching the show so the rest of us don’t have to tollerate your whingeing.

You should be a bit more open minded towards people who just dont like this show.
they are not “so called fans” … they are fans, just like you.

Quit your imperialistic gatekeeping. You don’t get to determine how anyone else thinks, feels or acts.

One could easily say the same of those constantly harping on Discovery. Do you think such folks didn’t exist back in TNG’s day? I remember a guy named Atsushi Kenamori when I read Usenet in high school…

I really loved this episode but I don’t have a single issue with people who hated it for those reasons you mentioned. It’s a message board! I don’t understand why people just can’t accept other people’s opinions, good or bad? When I thought the show royally sucked I had no issues with people who loved it, I simply felt differently and said so loudly. Now that I’m becoming closer to the love it camp, I have no issues with people who still think it sucks and ALSO says it loudly. Its funny all the people who used to get on my case because I criticized the show a LOT and wanted me to shut up about it didn’t seem to understand how message boards works and thankfully they are all gone now (or ignoring me ;)).

My opinion is certainly more positive today but I definitely understand why others still have issues with the show now. For me at least, there is just more good than bad now and I focus more on that.

But I think most of us come to the internet because we want to hear a variety of opinions, right? If it was just an echo chamber of everyone loving something it would get boring pretty quickly. Same if everyone hated something (but those are more fun to read though lol).

Do yourself a favor and just stop reading these boards if you are so offended then. Don’t tell others what to do because you can’t hear a little criticism about a freaking TV show. Instead of trying to run people off, then challenge them on their opinion. Tell them why you disagree. Show examples, make an argument, maybe some will see your POV. You may even change a few minds. That’s also why message boards exist.

And finally if no one is getting on your case for your opinion, then there should really be no problems.

This, this and this.

Speaking for myself, I like hearing all the different takes. And I like addressing some of them. Isn’t that why we are here? I do not understand the concept of, “if you don’t like the show don’t watch and don’t comment on message boards because I don’t want to read it.”

I 100% agree. This site needs some new posters. It’s like a nursing home up in here.

You’re one of the biggest trolls here man. You got kicked off and yet here you are back here anyway complaining about it. LOL, pathetic.

I know you’re mad because trump lost, but please don’t bring you negativity here. God bless.

This is literally my point and why you were banned before. You’re just here to bait people and not have any real discussions. Just a useless troll.

God bless. I truly wish you all the happiness in the world. Let go of that anger.

Exactly. Seriously, just because we saw Spock over a period of about 20 years (roughly from “The Cage” to TUC, and again in “Unification”) people seriously expect he had no other formative influences? That Kirk, and *only* Kirk, was the only person who influenced him?

I’ve always thought (even before DISCO season 2) that in “Unification,” when Spock told Picard that the latter reminded him of “another captain of the Enterprise I once knew,” Spock was referring to Pike, not Kirk.

Hence , below in these anti-Discovery comments we have the usual ‘traditionalist’ hardcore ‘fans’ who are offended by any new dynamic in the Star Trek universe… An example below is a criticism of the idea that Spock may take inspiration from his human step sister. 

Unification was filmed as a kind of precursor and advertisement for Star Trek 6 so I highly doubt Spock was referencing Pike with that line. It was definitely Kirk.

I didn’t think I’d give Disco another shot. After two seasons, I had enough. But I came back after hearing people say it had improved. And it has! There are still things that bug me (mostly Michael being the center of all things, even after a 1000 year time jump). But this show seems to be settling into itself finally, and I’m enjoying it more.

This episode was very smartly written and nuanced, using the show’s canon and culture to maximum effect, all while advancing the characters signficantly. More importantly the performances were all outstanding, chewing up some really dense dialogue. The Producers this season have done a far better job delivering the “voice” of Star Trek this season, it’s something Discovery has never had until now. You can tell there is far more appreciation and understanding of the world they are in now and it feels like a sequel to TNG/DS9/VOY. I think TNG+ fans will understand what I mean, I’m surprised by how well they’ve slid into the TNG side of Star Trek, I wasn’t expecting it to be so recognizable.

Admittedly the Mom reveal was eye-rolling and contrived, but the episode as a whole made it all worthwhile. It’s definitely something you come back to after seeing the episode and think…yeah, that won’t hold up to scrutiny. And I KNEW the the usual suspects would be triggered by Burnham getting some credit for Spock, they are so predictably miserable.

This season is just doing a MUCH better job telling a story that evolves with each episode, and they are doing it smartly and organically. The pacing is more natural and the writing is WAY smarter. I look forward to every episode and I haven’t been able to say that about any of the New Trek seasons yet. So far they haven’t lost a step yet and I’m extremely thankful to all the people involved for understanding how to make this better.

The show probably had a budget cut this season, the episodes are using action sparingly just like TNG, but it’s so much better for it.

Re: budget and its effect on storytelling: did anyone notice that this was a “bottle show,” shot completely on existing sets? The T’kal-in-ket setup was a redress of the mess hall set. And like some other Star Trek bottle shows, like “The Drumhead,” the absence of spectacle and action sequences allowed the drama and characters to breathe. That’s part of what’s making this season feel more like traditional Star Trek.

Bottle show or not, I suspect that there were significant expenditures on

– the new Discovery spore jump vfx;

– the design of new Vulcan/Romulan iconography;

– design and production of a range and large number of new Vulcan/Romulan costumes and props.

There’s no evidence of budget cuts, but definitely a balancing between budget and vfx heavy episodes like the last two, and episodes that rely on character interactions more than action scenes.

You will be pleased to hear I take no issue with the costumes this week ;) And that’s because Vulcans have always been traditionalists especially in clothing, so the slight update, fine craftsmanship but instant familiarity made alot of sense!

😉 glad you’re pleased with something VS.

Well, yes! I’m not that hard to please! You will notice I have actually been more positive about this episode than many “regular” Discovery fans, and thats because for me the positive outweighs the (undoubtedly existing) bad aspects, and the sum is greater than its parts, which is rare on this show. And if there’s something positive to focus on, there is also less reason to nitpick than on these empty calorie shows.

If Discovery’s writers, like all Trek shows before, made a more conscious and consistent attempt to include something for all the kinds of Trek fans that exist (not just the ‘shippers and the action fans), I think there’d be much less derision and division about this series than there has to be now!

Good points VS.

As we and Tarnwood have been discussing for a while now, this series isn’t targeted for us, but as long as there is enough to interest us and it isn’t jarring our sensibilities in the big things, we’ll find it enjoyable enough.

And I actually know some much older Star Trek fans, (like my mum-in-law) who were adults when TOS first ran in the 60s, who are loving Discovery and looking forward to seeing new episodes each week.

Strategically, I can understand that ViacomCBS needed to lead a relaunch of the franchise with a fresh new series that was both targeted to Millennials and very different from 90s series.

Personally, like Tarnwood, I’m still hankering for a Mandalorian quality mass market new series, but have no idea what that might be or what era it could be set in.

What so far has been an excellent season has been spoiled by some really stupid and nonsensical script choices in this episode. Despite that the episode felt very empty. Poor indeed

One episode of Discovery managed to rewrite Spock’s self journey, negating the bond he shared with Kirk, McCoy and the crew of the Enterprise, the very people who would eventually define who he was as an individual.

Now it was all about Michael as well as the Federation’s very existence it would seem.

They lost me again.

Nonsense. Spock’s journey is still Spock’s journey… and we’ve now learned that his life and service is remembered more than 8 centuries later. Imagine that, say, Geoffrey II, Duke of Brittany were to show up in the present day. He’s far less famous than his brothers, King John and King Richard I. If somebody from the modern day spent time with him and then said that knowing him helped them understand King John or Richard the Lionheart, that wouldn’t take anything away from the signing of Magna Carta or Richard’s victories in the Third Crusade. It wouldn’t have any effect on the actual lives of Kings Richard or John, or the relationships that might have been important in their lives.

Spock is still Spock. The addition of Michael to his backstory (and historical legacy) does not in any way diminish or alter his relationships with Kirk, McCoy and the Enterprise crew, or his role in the history of the Federation.

The writers are doing a huge disservice not only to Spock but to Burnham as well. I get that they want to make Burnham an iconic figure but they are doing so in the most ham fisted way possible. It isn’t working and it’s turning people off. They are over compensating and alienating long term fans. We know she wasn’t responsible for Spock’s success. It just reads like a massive lie.

Spock’s story has already been told and stands on own. Kirk, Picard, Janeway and Sisko as well. Burnham’s story has been embedded into Star Trek history, canon and lore after the fact which was entirely unnecessary and has worked against her and the series since its inception.

Plus she’s a woman right.

You need new material. It’s not because she’s a woman. It’s not because she’s Black. It’s because the character should have been able to stand on her own with her own backstory and her own experiences instead of being weighed down by a connection to such a firmly established character.

sure…sure…. Sorry I just don’t believe you.

We agree completely Dennis C. It was a mistake not only to make her Spock’s sister but then give her this big history making arc on top of it being the first mutineer in Starfleet history (which ironically it was made clear in TOS by Spock himself no Starfleet officer had ever mutineed) and was the cause and end of the Klingon war.

So much of it felt forced from the beginning since we know none of this should’ve really happened the way it did in canon if at all. And it’s also goes to the point I make over and over again that no one should have to be told that she is Spock’s sister since at this time Burnham would be one of the most famous (or infamous) Starfleet officers around. Besides the whole first Starfleet mutineer in history part her dad is the Vulcan ambassador to Earth and she is the only human to live on Vulcan at this time. I mean how is she NOT famous???

Yes maybe by Picard’s time she would probably just be a footnote in history but during TOS time she would at least be a household name, at least in Starfleet. It’s probably why the producers came up with the crazy idea of having Spock claim just saying Burnham’s name after the Discovery went through the wormhole would amount to treason because how would she not come up in conversations from time to time with Spock? Also why they moved the show a thousand years into the future because out of sight, out of mind.

Smartest thing they did though for sure. ;)

What I find odd is that for years Bryan Fuller had discussed the possibility of creating something new for Star Trek but immediately weighed down the series by tethering it to the series and characters that launched it all. Despite CBS pushing him out the door, the premise, characters and the overall look to the series was all Fuller. It wasn’t until the season that they were finally able to break free of what Fuller had established but they’re starting to fall into many of the same traps.

Discovery should always have started in the future and the premise established for season 3 would have been the perfect starting point: How do you rebuild the Federation after a cataclysmic event?

Agree with everything but it’s also why I’m still enjoying it so much more this season despite some of the issues. The bigger picture of a shattered Federation 800 years from everything we know is just so much fun instead of what the show was before where it just felt like it existed to fill in stuff about the TOS era. So boring for me. At least Enterprise was 100 years prior and can really add tons of canon.

But I know how many here feel about Burnham in general but I guess part of the problem is Discovery is still not seen as a ensemble the way the other shows were and Burnham is ultimately the star so they tie everything to her. I don’t have an issue with some things of course but it feels like it’s literally everything. In this one episode alone, she finds her mother, discovers a huge clue to the Burn on her own, is conflicted with leaving Starfleet or not and of course her entire connection to Spock and Vulcan is brought up again. This is all in one episode lol.

That’s the problem. It all revolves around her at such a deep level. And to be fair other characters are certainly getting arcs, but not in a way that it pushes the show forward the way Burnham arcs usually does. I was hoping this season felt more like a traditional ensemble but it still feel like its mostly about her even 930 years into the future.

I actually don’t have a problem with the concept of a shattered Federation. I just wish it was not NOT 800 years after TNG (200 years might have worked better) and would like to have seen it with a different set of characters entirely. As it stands now, it feels like they are trying to salvage what they can from a massive train wreck that destroyed the engines.

The issue is we know canon wise the Federation was going smoothly up to the 31st century so it couldn’t be any earlier to do this story line with. That’s why they pushed it passed literally every era of canon out there known.

If it wasn’t for that, I imagine the show probably wouldn’t be more than 1-200 years post Picard. But I really love it being in this era and can’t wait to see what they do in future seasons with it.

One could argue that anytime they show a future it’s only a “possible” future and could be altered.

Agree absolutely Josiah Rowe.

Somewhere, Sybok is mad as hell that he isn’t getting any love on this show yet :)

I thought that Vulcan DOES have a moon called T’Kut?

Difficult issue:

The Man Trap: “Vulcan has no moon.”

TMP: Dozens of moons visible in the sky over Spock’s Kholinar ritual…

and the moons were later removed in the remastered versions

…..even worse.

Yo – Anthony – Happy Thanksgiving.
I just wanted to say that I am thankful how you and the Trekmovie team always have a new article posted everyday. Working from home since March, its nice knowing that I will have something to read everyday – including a holiday like today – is really nice. I appreciate you. Hope you have a happy and safe Turkey day.

Considering that “Vulcan” is an Earth word, I imagine that it’s code here for “Whatever the Vulcans used to call their planet.”

Once I realized that the Romulan member of the Quorum really reminded me of Dan Castellaneta, I couldn’t unsee it.

“Why do people often appear to already be walking when they arrive via personal transporter?

Related, someone asked if this means the end of the transporter room. Based on this episode, I’d say no. Presumably there are good technical advantages to a transporter pad (much as in earlier Trek, where they could also beam spot to spot), as well as providing a good reception/security area.

“Does Saru have a thing for President T’Rina?”

Oh, not just me, then.

Anyway: If someone has a messianic complex, isn’t the best thing *not* to feed it?


Kurtzman, I was a fan of NuTrek. Not any more. Ego and arrogance.

Some people are taking serious issues with the role of Michael Burnham and the revisionst character of her story. I actually like her arc and her place in the universe A LOT because I believe a character like her is exactly what’s been missing from traditional Trek. It is the one issue Star Wars had been immensely superior over Trek for decades… and that is being a family saga.

There has never been a relevant main character related to a iconic character from another show. Roddenberry opted to role with all new characters on TNG (though threy are losely connected to his Phase 2 set-up) and that recipe was copied time and again with DS9, VOY and ENT. We always got entirely new characters, none of which related to any other character.

“Picard” could have easily been Kirk’s grandson, “Archer” his grandfather, “T’Pol” Spock’s great-grandmother. Such character connections would have glued the saga tighter together and I think that’s exactly what they are doing with Michael her: creating a link between Trek’s most iconic character Spock and the centuries to follow. I love that idea a lot, even though it comes off a tad shoehorned at times.

I’m not saying that all characters have to be related somehow but at least some families in Starfleet should have ancestors and offsprings who play a pivotal part in the saga, too.

Star Trek is not supposed to be sagas and their dynastic relationships. It’s about democracy and meritocracy, and how problem solving works.

The great thing about escaping your family is that anything is possible – Star Trek offers that and dare `I say a well-organized and intentioned military can offer that. Science offers that.

I enjoy Star Wars, but it offers me literally nothing in real life that I didn’t try to run away from. Anyone who tries to turn Star Trek into Star Wars should be brought in for questioning.

But wouldn’t this also make the larger Star Trek universe more smaller? That was one of my biggest issues with Star Wars, yes everything was related to Skywalker, but until the expanded universe came around the universe was much smaller because of it.

All –

Kurtzman and Company (this includes JJ) NEVER intended to create a New Trek that targeted hard core, traditional, canon-based Trek Fans.

Kurtzman and Company (this includes JJ) NEVER intended to create a New Trek that adhered to what a traditionalist Trek fan thinks “is supposed to be in Trek.”

They made New Trek precisely to attract a new, young generation of attention deficit people who are emo and that are not ideologically handcuffed or hidebound by tradition and canon and what came before… that could grow with Trek for another 10-20-30 years.

JJ stated years ago that his Trek would pull more DNA from Star Wars precisely to help attract more of those types of fans. He also did that because he liked SW more than ST. He felt that any traditional Trek fans that wanted to join him for the ride would, but that he would pull in more new fans to easily off-set the volume of hard-core Trek fans that would walk away from his Trek creation.

And that is now what we have. JJ’s Trek took root.

Kurtzman and Company have grown it exponentially within the TV space. Kurtzman and Company’s New Trek DNA will eventually spread to movies, if we ever get them again.

I want to complain about the current state of Trek. The writing. The character development. The plot armoring of certain characters (I am Black so do not come at me with BS about my issues with having a strong Black woman at the front and center. This is about effective story telling. Not about gender or color of skin.).

I have zero love for what PICARD (the show) is. I spit in your general direction Star Trek Picard! I think the show should have been night and day different – earth-based and focused on Federation politics as a disillusioned ex-Adm Picard tried to work the back channels and interwebs to disrupt a far less noble Fed and weed out corruption and spies, and so on.

But no one asked my opinion.

I have issues with much about DISCO. I want to complain about it as well. But no one wants my opinion on it either.

It makes little sense to complain too aggressively. There is no one with power to hear it other than those on forums. It will result in no gains to argue about what Trek is supposed to be. There is no one who is going to give me “what Trek is supposed to be”.

Rodenberry is dead. Thus, what Trek is supposed to be… “That world has changed: I feel it in the water; I feel it in the earth; I smell it in the air. Much that once was is lost, for few now live who remember it.”

Kurtzman and Company (this includes JJ) have redefined Star Trek. They are telling us weekly not what Trek is supposed to be, but what Trek now is and what Trek will be.

That is the reality of Star Trek under Kurtzman and Company. And they hold the keys to the kingdom.

As for me, I have found the point at which my sense of Trek and Kurtzman’s sense of Trek can balance. As long as I remain at that fulcrum, there is much that I can enjoy. But I have to turn things off at PICARD, and much of LOWER DECKS (which is sad because while I hate the execution, I love many of their points/critiques. The 2nd Contact issue is brilliant, and the last episode of LD Season 1 was awesome.).

OK. Looking forward to DISCO 308! Come on Kurtzman!!!

I just watched the newest episode of The Mandalorian. The execution of Mando provides a great comparison and contrast in the vision of the production teams and executive leadership behind New Star Wars (on Episodic TV … not JJ’s Star Wars movies), and New Trek.

Jon Favreau (creator of The Mandalorian series) expands and grows the Star Wars legend and legacy by honoring what came before, maintaining canon, and filling in the blanks and grey spaces with careful nuance and thought about impacts to both the history and the future of the franchise. It helps that Lucas and Dave Filoni work with him as well. What Favreau has done has been 100% for the benefit of the story and for the benefit of 100% of the fan base. I don’t know his core franchise agenda, but I am certain it is not to piss off Lucas, Filoni, or any cohort of the SW fan base.

Kurtzman and Company (including JJ) have been far more cavalier in their handling of Trek, of canon, and of traditional Trek fans. I don’t know what their core agendas are beyond what I listed in my earlier comment.

But one manages their child as a thoughtful and adoring caretaker. The other manages their child with thoughtfulness, flash, far less nuance, and with a clear eye toward maximizing growth, audience share, syndication options, and franchise expansions.

Nothing wrong with either parent. Both can raise great kids. But one kid is going to be a little more superficial than the other in the long term.

Just my opinion. Full disclosure, I truly enjoy a lot – though not all – of Favreau’s work.

Thanks Tarnwood, appreciate the perspective.

I think that the question will be how much Kurtzman will permit in terms of variation across the menu of Trek offerings.

Given how McMahan was given his head with Lower Decks, I really wonder why you infer that if a Favreau analogue came along who wanted to make ONE series as a thoughtful and adoring character, SH might not get behind it.

I just don’t think that was ever what Discovery was meant to be, or what Patrick Stewart could have been persuaded to sign on for in Picard.

On the other hand, if there is any truth that Avery Brooks is willing to entertain a return as Sisko, one suspects that he will want a very coherent and thoughtful vision for Sisko as a human man seeking to move forward in a challenging universe.


I am drawing a blank on this one.

But don’t analyze my remarks too deeply. I am simply not that deep and not capable of implying any hidden meanings. For that matter, my contrast could be off. I am just as happy to withdraw it as defend it if there is merit and if I can.

But help me with SH.

I think my main point was that I feel as though I can be a fan in one world quite comfortably because one creator is working with a pleasing focus on me as a fan. Like a bird watcher.

In this world here, I feel like I have to come to it braced and girded up each week because I don’t know what the creator will throw at me. In this case, I am like a bird being viewed in crosshairs by a hunter rather than a respectful watcher.

Is that any better?

Mandalorian is just one live-action in the menu the television products for SW. We don’t know if further offerings will be as balanced and successful at drawing a mass audience.

Up to now, with a focus on the last cinematic trilogy, television has been animated series (Resistance and Clone Wars). These have been more of a mixed bag, although Clone Wars is well received be fans.

So, my point is that, your are judging Trek by products that weren’t targeted to you against the one SW series that is meant to have mass market appeal.

More, SW doesn’t have 700 hours of live-action television in its own franchise to differentiate from at the same time as respecting continuity.

Secret Hideout seems to have been very much challenged by the conventional wisdom of the 2000s that 1) there was nothing new left to do in Star Trek; and that 2) the 25th century technology post Voyager would be magic so there were no sci-fi stories left to tell.

I give JJ and Kurtzman credit for pushing back on that narrative, but at this point I think Kurtzman and ViacomCBS should let go of preoccupation with overcoming the narrative that the franchise was exhausted. It’s looking like “generals carrying on fighting the last war” at this point, and that’s always a prescription for strategic failure.

Kurtzman is a better strategist than that from everything I’ve seen, so I hope he’s be open to some new vision and new EP talent that could challenge them to make Star Trek’s mass market series for this generation.

SH is short for Secret Hideout – Kurtzman’s production company.

It’s SH that has the deal with ViacomCBS to manage and produce the television Star Trek series.

Heather Kadin and Jenny Lumet are also senior executives in SH and have the lead on some productions. e.g. it sounds like Kadin had the final word on Lower Decks episodes.

You mentioned that McMahon was head of Lower Decks. But given how that show ended up having a lot of similarities to STD I’m sort of wondering how much authority he really had as showrunner. And if he was truly in charge then based on this outing maybe he ought not be?

ML31 — we know you loathe LDs — but there is a large group of fans who love it but are still struggling with Discovery.

So, let’s just stipulate that it been successful in grabbing a fairly mass audience, whatever your personal view on LDs.

“Large” group of fans is subjective. But its level of popularity had nothing to do with my comment.


But no one asked my opinion.

I have no idea why Tilly being promoted to First Officer is such a big deal.

An ensign made First Officer is a lot less radical than having a cadet made Acting Captain in the KT. She has been in the command training program since S1 and it’s a logical progression of her story.

Stamets and Culber wouldn’t fit. They are closer to Scotty and Bones. Neither one of them would have worked as a Command officer. Maybe Detmer but I guess her arc is going in a different direction…

Your comment points out the obvious issue… Many of the characters aren’t developed enough. That’s why you bothered to mention Stamets and Culber, who aren’t even bridge officers. And that’s also the problem, Tilly isn’t a bridge officer. It doesn’t matter if she’s in the command training program, she has no command experience. And even though she sometimes attends stations on the bridge, she is not a bridge officer. She’d be the last person on the bridge that Saru would turn to and say ‘you have the conn’. So logically it should be Nilsson, Detmer, Owo, Rhys, or Bryce… at least temporarily. If Tilly finished the program and became a command division officer, that might make a little more sense, but ideally Starfleet would provide them with an experienced XO.

It should have really been whoever was next in line. I find it difficult to believe there is not ONE higher ranked person on that ship who was not qualified to be his 2nd.

No. The one and only one reason it was her was because the show made the mistake of NOT using higher ranked officers or even department heads in their cast. I mean, they have had full on staff meetings and NO Chief Engineer and NO Chief Medical Officer. What gives? Originally I thought Stammets and Culber were them. But later we were told they were not. So where are the senior staff on this ship?

Well yeah, it’s been a mess since the beginning. Just look at Discovery’s rotating list of captains… and now XO’s too. I think Doctor Pollard is the CMO, but if she isn’t, I wouldn’t be surprised. I don’t think we’ve even heard the name of the Chief Engineer, but we’ve seen other engineering staff. Come to think of it, is Rhys even Chief Tactical Officer? Because it seemed like Landry was in that position, but I don’t remember when Rhys slipped in there… And wasn’t Tyler also in that position after Landry?? Nilsson also took over for Airiam. I think they not only want to focus on a handful of main characters, but they also want to keep the rest of the cast expendable, and interchangeable… which is pretty sad.

I think it’s even more of a mess now that half the crew left the ship in the past, and I don’t think they’ve been replaced.

Most of those names I don’t even remember. That is how bad things are. Yes, I don’t recall even hearing the name of a Chief Engineer. Why is that person NEVER around? Do they even have one? Pollard was said to be CMO I think but Culber has been doing things she should have been doing. So is he the CMO? It is truly a huge mess and for some weird reason they never sorted things out.

But — perhaps apart from the confusion over who the CMO is — this is probably a good deal more realistic than the TOS/TNG model of “the same top officers keep their post for 15 years.”

It wasn’t a mistake.

A34, It’s hard to make the case that the show is about Burnham’s career progression through ranks and roles while completely ignoring how they work.

It actually undermines the narrative.

You worry too much about rank. This show isn’t about that.

A34 Discovery has literally been pitched as Michael Burnham’s personal journey to become a captain — when she was on the cusp of achieving that rank in the series pilot.

So if her demotions and progressions at the crux of the show, it’s hard to argue that the show isn’t about that, at least in part.

The same place where Kirk’s chief of security or Picard’s or Janeway’s science officer are: in the background, doing their duties, but not part of the main cast.

And never once being called into important meetings or invited to dinners?

Nope. Not buying it.

It should have been Reno.

It is unlikely that an ensign would be elevated to the rank of first officer unless there was some cataclysmic event that took out virtually every other senior officer on board. More likely than not Starfleet would either reassign an officer from another vessel or find a candidate currently serving on Discovery.

It was a plot convenience.

In the real world, I wonder at what point a captain’s poor judgement gets over-ruled by an Admiral?

I wonder if Vance becomes aware that an ensign was advanced ahead of more qualified DISCO officers to the XO role (acting), if he will over-rule Saru?
– If he will perhaps do a staffing review/reassessment on DISCO?
– If he will tell Saru that command and advancement are about merit, patterns of effective judgement in routine functions and in life threatening situations, ability to manage crew in life or death scenarios and retain crew respect and morale, patterns of accomplishment, and development… not emotions, favoritism and a total disregard for the merit and skill of his ship’s command team?

930 years ago, any of Saru’s command team would have recourse to complain about such actions. ADM Cornwall would have set things right. Pike would have schooled Saru.

Who does the bridge staff or the command team know now in the New Fed / New Fleet that they can talk to if they are upset with what has been done?

I don’t see how this is not damaging to the morales of people dealing PTSD and massive future shock… who are faking “everything is roses” and big smiles just to get through the day.

How many people were gritting their teeth and thinking “RUFngKM?!!?!!”, as they said, “Say yes!”


All I could think of during the “Say yes!” scene, with the cloying hands and beaming faces of the bridge officers, was that the bridge actors were really showing their skill as actors in looking genuinely delighted – as with a young child that had just succeeded at something — when there was virtually no credible motivation for the characters they were portraying.

But that’s exactly what Tilly displayed in “Far From Home” and “Scavengers.”

– If he will tell Saru that command and advancement are about merit, patterns of effective judgement in routine functions and in life threatening situations, ability to manage crew in life or death scenarios and retain crew respect and morale, patterns of accomplishment, and development… not emotions, favoritism and a total disregard for the merit and skill of his ship’s command team?

In Far from Home, Tilly hides behind a bar in a fight.

I don’t recall much of her in Scavengers. My fault on that one.

I was actually skeptical of the “Tilly as XO” theory posted here a few days ago. But the way the show presented it, it actually felt organic, for a couple of reasons:

1. If DISCO’s crew had made it back to Earth at the end of season 2, rather than time travelling, it’s likely that Tilly would have been promoted to lieutenant. Lieutenant-to-XO isn’t much of a stretch. You can easily envision, say, Worf or Geordi being named XO on TNG.

2. You also can’t divorce Saru’s decision from context. The crew is time-displaced, 1000 years in the future. An external candidate doesn’t work from a unit cohesion perspective. But he also needs someone he can trust to put modern Starfleet’s needs above the narrow needs of the ship. Tilly demonstrated she could do that, when she disclosed what Burnham was up to.

3. The other candidates? Stamets clearly joined Starfleet on the science/skunk works track, not command. Even if he wanted to switch, at this point, he’s the only person in the entire galaxy who can fly a spore drive. Detmer is having PTSD symptoms. Rhys’ role still seems too marginal *dramatically*. Nilsson might have made some sense in-universe, but dramatically, the same applies to her. The only other realistic choice was Owosekun as ops officer. And…we know that Tilly clicks with Saru. That does count for something.

My thoughts are in opposition. It looks like the American Navy has a ranking coda that is as follows: 1) Warrant Officer 2) Ensign -> Fresh from the academy and still in training 3) Junior Grade Lieutenant -> ensign is promoted after 2 years 4) Lieutenant ->a division officer, service head, department head, or platoon leader 5) Lieutenant Commander -> a department head or XO 6) Commander (CDR) -> a Senior officer who commands vessels, teams and installations Time travel or not, for a person who comes to the bridge in a night gown and who would need a decade more service time to equal Worf or Geordi, Tilly should not be any higher than a Jr. LT at this present time. A Captain with qualified LTs and CDRs on staff who have exceptional merit… that Captain names a qualified LT or CDR to be XO when you have them on staff. Period. Saru’s context…. I would be careful with this issue. On the one hand, the writers have created a narrative that prioritizes the actors’ screen time and importance in tiers. For season 3, SMG and Doug Jones are T1 (more pay, more lines, and more screen time). Mary and the actors who play Culber and Stamets are basically T2 (moderate pay, moderate lines, and moderate screen time). Then you have the rest of the actors (base pay, minimal words, and screen time measured in seconds per episode). Narratively, Mary, Culber and Stamets must have a certain amount of screen time and lines within the allotted 13 episodes. Within THAT context, the writers have selected the XO based on who they can work with contractually. That is a Tier 2 actor. Mary. On the other hand, if I want this future world that has been created to reflect some reality, it is Saru’s job as Captain to pull from qualified experience. His LTs and CDR’s have ranks that prove they have more experience and should have more trust than the fresh academy graduate. The needs of the ship are served by placing solid, unassailable experience in command: 1) command of the one ship in the universe that can do what DISCO can do 2) command of the one ship that will have an X on its back when word gets out about its mushrooms (which means your XO and command staff need command level combat experience driving that ship) 3) the one ship that has the most knowledgable A.I., most likely, in any Fed ship or installation (meaning the XO needs to have immediate experience with security and intelligence protocols to keep an eye on that A.I.) If Saru had no qualified Senior Officer, then it would be his duty to put qualified LTs in training ASAP while requesting of Vance the temporary assignment of a Fed CDR to the DISCO. That is the best for the ship because it gives you an experienced XO while immediately telling your staff that you are not sandbagging their career paths – you are creating a solid path for advancement for them WITH training for the existing LTs. The issue is one the writers created. They have not developed the LT characters, who are all played by Tier 3 cast members who don’t get paid to get higher profile screen time and profuse lines. The other candidates… Again, I am careful. This is an issue of how the characters have been written. On a real ship, officers are being trained and evaluated daily as to whether they are meeting the needs for the next level rank and position. Better said, it is the Captain’s job to ensure her or his command staff and officers are trained to fill the next layer of rolls. If that Captain does not trust that his team is capable and has not developed his team, that Captain needs to have his or her command stripped and given to someone who can develop and manage a team. My opinion is that Saru is “no bueno” as Captain. I think he knows he is not ready for all that the Captain spot requires, which is why he picked a “compliant” person to soothe his ego… who will not question his authority or embarrass him… rather than selecting a strong, qualified and trained LT or CDR. He is better suited as a suit, politician, or ambassador. Or he simply needs more training in how to lead and develop a team which WILL include people and personalities who will not always click with his. His family dinner shows — as do his 2 attempts to seek team leadership guidance from the ship’s computer – shows that he is not yet ready to develop and lead people as a Captain. Manage a ship – sure. Represent the Fed on new worlds –… Read more »

Such a crazy episode!!

So much to digest, my god!

I literally rewatched Unification 1 and 2 right before the episode aired and it synced in better than I thought it would. To see Nimoy’s Spock from that episode show up made me squeal. And then I squealed when they mentioned Picard’s name. Why am I squealing over that??? And yet I did lol. But I did love that they made it official and Spock’s dream happened (although some do seem to hate the retcon of Michael having such a big influence on Spock over it but welcome to prequels people….or former prequels ;)).

Ni’var lives! That’s amazing, but seriously are we going to run into ONE planet we know that is still part of the Federation???? It’s getting depressing.

I thought the courtroom storyline was a little strange at first but good. And Discovery FINALLY got a courtroom episode. I knew it was going to happen at some point. It’s not Star Trek without a courtroom episode. No one was accused of murder, if they are sentient or not, destroyed a ship full of civilians or sleeping with someone’s wife, but it was still a nice touch. This was in the sake of science and….(sorry) discovery. Classic Trek ls back and it feels goooood!

But before now I had 3 solid theories on probably who caused the Burn:

  1. The Romulans
  2. Probably the Romulans
  3. More than likely the Romulans

And I was proven WRONG on all three. C’mon!!! It’s the fucking Romulans, you don’t trust them in any century, the 22nd, 24th, 32nd, they are ALWAYS UP TO SOMETHING!!!! I was more than sure that’s why they were trying to keep the data from Burnham. Because they’re still Romulans.

I learned something (again) today, some people can change after a thousand years and their planet wiped out…

…until we find out ULTIMATELY it will still be the Romulans (theory still pending until further evidence).

But the twist NONE of us saw coming….Michael’s mother living on Ni’var and part of the Qowat Milat? What???? C’mon! I like it though. I bet there is a huge statue of Elnor they all pray to now for that big thing he will do in Picard season 3.

Tilly becoming First officer though…I’ll leave that one alone for now. But yeah many saw it coming.

It’s crazy though, Discovery is 800 years from most of Trek canon and yet this season has probably connected on a level the first two seasons never did.

Query. What dream did Spock have are you referring to?

I mean the dream of reunification, not an actual dream.

Got it. Thanks for clarifying.

Tiger, just the other day I was thinking, if this was a Classic Trek show, we’d have a courtroom episode of some powerful alien empire of this century taking Discovery hostage and putting the crew on trial for its crimes against the Temporal Accords, with all sorts of nifty arguments (Nulla poena sine lege etc.)

And this week, we get one, even if not at all the one I had in mind! As is par for the course for YA scifi, it revolves all around Michael’s emotional issue in the end, but I can appreciate the good intentions. In its own ham-fisted way, it had something good to say about people as different as Romulans and Vulcans in an uneasy union, and I strongly hope this will be explored more in the future!

(I do take note that people only reply to my comments when I have something exdeedingly negative to say. Pavlov would say, that’s not a good conditioning ;)

Actually VS, I think that it’s what they call “New Adult” rather than YA. It’s the next stage and is a rapidly growing niche in books.

Burnham may be a commander but her social development fits more with the new adult journey.

Just once, I want to see Discovery acknowledge that Burnham has TWO brothers, not one.

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!

Vegas? Vega! Delta Vega you mean!

I am also still waiting, no mention of Sybok at all.

Yep. Season 2 was just BEGGING for a Sybok drop. But it didn’t happen. Which I felt shows the arrogance of Secret Hideout Trek. They didn’t want to bring up the last time Spock had a until that moment unknown half brother. Probably because it wasn’t super well received by fans. But THEY can have their own until that moment unknown family member and THAT one is GREAT!!

Few years back, I wondered if in their minds, Michael was not aware of Sybok. Something for a special episode. But Sarek transfering his Katra and now Michael in the future, puff, those possibilities disappeared. =)

Still look forward for Picard to mention Michael. Picard also connected with Sarek.

I believe Roddenberry took the view that the events of “Star Trek V ” might not be canon, and referred to the story as “apocryphal.”

Add to this that the distance from Earth to the center of the Milky Way Galaxy is 25,000 light-years, which the Enterprise seems to travel to and from over the course of a few days and makes no sense when trying to fit it with “Voyager” and everything else.

And I can’t think of an instance where anything in “The Final Frontier” has been referenced in another episode or movie.

It doesn’t matter what Roddenberry believed, he wasn’t in charge of the movies then. But yes, I think the hatred of Sybok is so big everyone that has made Star Trek since seem to have just decided to ignore him. I mean if there was a time for him to be mentioned again it would’ve been with Discovery. I guess he can eventually pop up on SNW but not holding my breath.

Roddenberry has never owned Star Trek, so it was never his call.

I suspect Sybok was out of the picture before Burnham arrived, though, so she may not consider him a brother at all. There was no sign of Sarek’s first wife (Sybok’s mother) when Burham arrived. Perhaps there is a yet-to-be-seen episode of Divorce, Vulcan Style to explain what happened to Sarek’s first wife and their son. Or maybe Mrs. Sarek died and Sarek sent Sybok off to the Vulcan Academy at a young age. Spock doesn’t seem to have been particularly close to Sybok, and he was an actual blood relation.

Spock doesn’t seem to have been particularly close to Sybok, and he was an actual blood relation.”

But he never seemed particularly close to Burnham either. But that is neither here nor there. Sybok ought to have gotten at least a shout out in Season 2. This group claims to be up on all the Trek lore and they missed that one?

Spock embraced logic, Sybok passion. Michael landed somewhere in the middle. This should have been referenced at some point.

I don’t know… So far we have seen pretty much zero Vulcan influence on Burnham. Emotionally she is a bag of cats.

Burnham was quite Vulcan in comportment in the Vulcan Hello — it was her starting point in the series.

It would be really great if she could centre herself and find some of that self-management again, but with the self-awareness that she’s gained side then.

That wasn’t due to Vulcan societal influence. That was merely a fact from Vulcan history she was aware of other’s weren’t. It requires pretty dexterous maneuvers to place that bit of knowledge in the category of “Characteristics that came from being raised on Vulcan.”

More than likely, she never knew Sybok well. He wasn’t a child of Amanda; he was Spock’s half-sibling, did not grow up in the household, and was older than Burnham, much less Spock. And to top it off, he was a heretic of sorts; probably the type to distance yourself from if you’re applying to the Vulcan Science Academy.

I’m really trying as a lifelong 25+ year fan of Trek to give this series the benefit of the doubt, but this latest episode I think sealed the deal for me. Not speaking for anyone else. Just my own opinion. This show is making a clear point to me that their (the writers and CBS) goal is to make this series, and main protagonist, the most important and impactful series and character in all of canon.

Taking a notable TNG two parter and adding their own spin to it seemed like a selfish move to me. I also agree with many of the others here about the points around how Burnham is now the reason for Spocks success. No. That is a bold move, and an incredibly forced one at that, and I think it’s also an acknowledgement from the writers that they know how forced everything about this character is. How far can the bar be raised with her, is essentially how I am seeing this season.

Sadly I’m at the point where I’m watching based on a feeling of obligation, not enjoyment. We’ll see where it goes.

Yep. This is like being a fan of a perpetually bad ball club. Every season is a 90+ loss season yet I am sitting there anyway. Cheering them on and hoping they will get better when there is no evidence whatsoever they will. It’s just what fans do.

ML31, if that helps its pretty obvious to me this show was never meant for cynical old geezers like us but an audience far younger, more emotionally invested and (dare I say) female. As I wrote before, viewing it through the lens of YA scifi and that intended audience makes it look alot more coherent. Classic Trek, this is not.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with having different Treks for different audiences, but Kurtzman’s strategy has an obvious blindspot that even if he achieves “something Trek on every week of the year”, there won’t be overlap. So if we are not supposed to watch Discovery but no alternative new Trek is on, and wont be on for a long time, what do we watch?

I do realize I am beyond the age most media is trying to reach. And I haven’t seen anything YA since my kid was in that category nearly a decade ago. I actually agree with the concept of having different Treks in different styles. I was just hoping they would be better than they have been. Maybe my standards are higher than they should be? I mean, there is more on TV today than ever before and it seems like there is less quality on TV than ever before. My DVR used to get filled with stuff. Now there is hardly anything on it.

I was saying something similar to my wife. There is far less appointment viewing than there used to be and with volume of programming available today it should be held to a higher standard.

The US has been struggling lately, as each faction has its own set of “facts.” It makes sense to me that Star Trek would want to dramatize how messed up this is — as they did with the hearing in this episode — but I wish they hadn’t used the Vulcans to do it. I prefer the Vulcans in the role of older sibling or mentor to humanity — someone one step further down the path than we are, who can help to show us the way. A lot of writers seem to want to reduce Vulcans and make them less than we are, but we already HAVE plenty of BAD examples.

Too bad Leonard Nimoy isn’t here to see that he’s been featured in another Star Trek show; I’m sure it would have tickled him!

But that is what TNG did for their run. Humans were always the bestest beings in the universe.

I’m primarily a TOS fan, so I don’t hold with that. :-)

I’m primarily a TOS fan as well and I did not see that displayed on TOS. But there was definitely a “humans are the greatest” subtext all over TNG.

Again, you say that like its so obvious but point out an episode or something. There’s 176 of them and four films. If it’s so clearly there, then well a direct example shouldn’t be that hard.

And sorry but TOS wasn’t always perfect in that regard either. The Undiscovered Country and the dinner scene ring a bell? “We do believe all planets have a sovereign claim to inalienable human rights.” And he got called out on it too.

See, that’s how you give a direct example man. ;)

That’s the thing. You can’t really cite one example when something is just an overhanging subtext. There were plenty of times where obvious disgust was shown at “backwards” cultures. Picard often would say how it was not our place to judge but he did so with a touch of superiority and smugness. Something that if pointed out in one spot is not going to convince everyone. It’s an overall sense emitting from the situations and how they said things. As I said, it took a while to notice but it it was noticed eventually.

The TUC line you bring up could easily be seen as generic and meaningless to Federation citizens. Just as Kirk saying “everybody’s human”. We know what he meant. Spock just took it literally. And the “human rights” line was also obviously placed so the Klingons could call them on it. It was a low point of a decently written scene, though.

Then no offense dude, it just sounds like your belief and nothing more. If you can’t actually point something out. This is why I don’t take this claim remotely seriously. Just because how Stewart says a line doesn’t conclude humans think they are better than everyone.

And trying to spin a line from TUC that literally goes to the heart of what you’re trying to say about TNG (without evidence) is pretty hilarious. Yeah, Chekhov said it because that’s how he felt. I won’t go as far as to say that’s how everyone in the crew or Starfleet felt but clearly it’s there in some quarters.

I completely forgot about Kirk’s ‘everyone is human’ line, so thanks. But yes another example how human-centric they looked at things at times, but that doesn’t imply it’s always a good thing like Chekhov’s line, just that everything is filtered through a human lens, but it’s still a show written by humans and watched by humans (and the only species that is not fictional in the show) so I’m not going to over think and understand why it was written.

I’m sorry you feel that way. I’m a bit disappointed that you need something tangible as evidence to a non-tangible thing. One cannot prove subtext because it is hidden within the acting and writing. If you don’t see it then it is likely you probably never would even if we sat down and watched all 7 seasons together and I pointed out every time I got that feeling from the scenes. But it is there. It is a thing. I can cite a scene where I saw it but that doesn’t mean you would see it. And in this sort of thing one scene isn’t enough. Two or three isn’t even enough. It is something intangible that shows up.

I still think the Chekov line was just a writing set up for what came later. It seemed to me something they wouldn’t be saying but had to because the writer couldn’t think of a better way to steer the conversation that way. That’s how I saw it and still do.

But honest question… Do you know what Kirk meant when he said “Everybody’s Human”?

Dude you’re literally the only one who brings it up lol. I mean the show is over 30 years old now, I have been on boards for 20 of those years, not once have I seen this as an issue with TNG fans. That’s why I keep saying its mostly just you and pretty subjective. Can others feel like you, of course, but that doesn’t make it a fact. And again the fact you keep trying to spin TOS wasn’t suggesting it when the guy LITERALLY says it just tell this is a waste to continue discussing it. But its clearly been there in TOS if you honestly believe that about TNG. So yeah.

Clearly? Pretty much the only time it was was TMP. If it was in TOS then it was very nearly invisible. But just because you don’t see it in TNG doesn’t mean it’s not there. The two shows were similar but there were some pretty heavy differences. Mostly due to the nature of network vs syndication and two decades difference.

I don’t ever remember Vulcans being portrayed as inferior to humans on TNG. They were always treated as equals.

And this assumption is just bizarre since I asked you once to give me an example directly from the show and you couldn’t. But people see what they want.

“people see what they want.”

Like everyone having their own set of facts, you mean? Guess we have come full circle here ;)

Actually there is a lot of truth in that sentiment. Some may find it messed up, but it’s not wrong at all. It’s acknowledging reality. Humans are inherently biased and subjective because we are unable to perceive the universe without running through our interpretative filter, which is the sum of our experience and existence!

You’re right we are. I guess this isn’t really an objective question but when if you make that observation then you should at least be able to back it up with examples, even if others still disagree with it.

And it’s nothing wrong for ML31 to believe that, but I admit it really bothers me because I just see it completely different and it just seems offensive to what the Federation is suppose to be. Star Trek in general isn’t suppose to be about the the arrogant know-it-all just because they are better off and have more things than some others (usually what I as an American get portrayed as quite often ;)), but someone who thinks all life is just as important as they are and why something like the Federation exists in the first place. But it doesn’t mean everyone has to agree with it or want to be part of it either which has also been expressed many times on TNG. They think it’s great but they know it’s not for everyone either (it’s a lot of damn rules for one ;)).

But I also think some may sound a little too much of themselves when they spout off Federation ideals, but that’s not TNG alone, not by a long shot. They all do it to a degree, many pointing how much DIS has been doing it lately themselves.

You know Discovery may particularly get a lot of flak for this because it matters WHO makes these speeches. Burnham is no Picard, no Janeway and no Sisko, she is simply too young and has too few achievements, too little career milestones. The show was almost self-mocking in the last episode by pointing out Burnham’s hypocrisy, who she is biographically and how that disqualifies her from being the big truth speaker. And that’s entirely on the writers. They claimed to do a lower decks story but wanted to reap the same awards as any Trek show. And that fundamental dishonesty comes back biting them now (not just Burnham but “Number One’ Tilly too! You get the idea).

Well yes that’s completely true. Burnham is definitely nothing close to any of those characters by a mile, so I understand why it may feel a little too forced when she does it.

I actually like Burnham, I don’t have the same ill will towards her as so many seem to do here, especially in this thread lol. BUT yeah I always hated how they made her so important in the overall Trek mythology when the irony is as you said she was suppose to be this lower decker character, at least how she was originally sold to us.

In other words, I don’t mind who the character is as a person (she could do a little less crying though) but all the historical and family ties they threw on her was too much and what made her such a divisive character from the outset. That was the mistake, making her feel so important, and why putting them into the future rectified that a little…until we got to this episode and the old wounds are coming back lol.

But I actually do like Burnham as a person, because she clearly cares about people (to an unhealthy emotional level ;)) and believes in the principles of Starfeet. I think what rubs people the wrong way is she is willing to ignore those principles when she has to, but to be fair ALL the characters have done this at one point. Sisko is probably the biggest example with what he did In the Pale Moonlight. The difference being that was just a much better well written episode by far than Discovery has ever done and we knew and understood who Sisko was by then. We liked and trusted him and why there was never any animosity towards it. If anything, he became MORE liked over it because we understood the dilemma he was in (and they were still dirty Romulans, so….).

But with Burnham we just met her and didn’t know her when she pulled a very rash mutiny and it never got better with a lot of people. But I did love how she wasn’t considered some big hero in the episode by the Vulcans and Romulans too just by being a relative of Spock. I mean they were literally told that day what the Romulans really were, so she had nothing to do with it until the writers threw in that nugget her influence on Spock somehow help make it happen. Not a smart idea lol.

The portrayal of humans as the greatest on TNG isn’t what the Federation is. It’s what the TNG show is. And in a sense it’s a bit understandable. GR wanted a show to highlight the HUMAN condition. The show is made by humans for humans about humans. It’s not a surprise that part of the message is that even though there are aliens who are older, stronger, or smarter than us, we have something they lack. Humanity. TOS touched on that in TMP. That was pretty much the first time TOS really got into that. And TMP is the most TNG like TOS ever got. GR was a big reason for that.

But it’s just your odd opinion, it’s never stated or perceived in the show. It’s just something you seem to feel, which is fine, but it’s far from a fact because it isn’t.

But your point about about humans having something aliens lack isn’t a TNG thing, that’s just Star Trek man. I mean if you look at TOS itself, it claimed to be part of this vast alien alliance and yet 99.9% of the time we only saw the humans doing all the work. Starfleet is the only one out there taking on the Klingons and Romulans who are both thousands of years older than Starfleet and yet Starfleet, a century old organization seems to be the only one to have the manpower and resources to take them on…alone. It makes no sense lol. But that’ what Star Trek has always done for the most part.

But if you just watch TOS and you are told nothing about it, you would just just think the Federation=Earth, right? Outside of episodes like Journey to Babel Starfleet is seen as the leader in the group, makes all the big decisions like to go to war or not, controls all the colonies, leads the charge in everything. How many times did we hear the term Federation Council in TOS to make it clear there was a leading body above Starfleet to make the bigger decisions? I think I can remember it in maybe one episode. I’m sure there is more, but it was pretty rare. Nearly every episode it’s clear Starfleet is just doing its own thing for the most part but all in the name of the Federation.

So again, I get your point, but you seem to try it lay it on TNG alone when in reality this is just what Star Trek has always been. Starfleet is given immense power for what is supposedly one of the younger space faring species in the group. I mean in reality humans probably should’ve just joined the Federation like other planets has done given given so many of the other species are so much more older than it. When the Vulcans landed on Earth to make first contact with Earth, there probably should’ve been one already the Vulcans were a part of and the next century or so should’ve seen the humans trying to advance enough to join it like we seen other planets. But instead, it literally invented the thing.

Humans basically ARE the greatest when you see how much they have been vaulted in the Federation and Starfleet. They are given a position of immense power. Why? Well because the TV show was made on Earth lol, so we know why. But it still drives home the point that humans are basically the ones in control because they seem to know what they are doing more so than the rest, right?

I say it about TNG because that is the only show where I ever saw that kind of subtext. Apart from TMP (and there it was more than just subtext) I didn’t see it in TOS and not from DS9 onward. I don’t know what to tell you. If you don’t see it you probably don’t. But I have to say that just because you do not see it doesn’t make it an “odd” opinion. I’m not the only one who has seen it, either.

I strongly suspect it was GR’s addition to TNG which explains why it was absent on the other shows and why it only appeared on TMP. It wasn’t in TOS because it was the 60’s… There was only so much he could push or even do. And obviously I figured the only reason we never saw more aliens on TOS was mainly because of budget. Same reason we never saw more on TNG. And originally the concept was that it was an Earth ship. But they sorta never ironed that out. Eventually they settled on the UFP and Star Fleet. But it was certainly inconsistent. Unlike a lot of others I do not place things that were production decisions as ironclad universal canon. Like Spock smiling in The Cage. It doesn’t need to be explained away. It was a directors decision made before we knew anything about the character. That’s enough for me.

Anyway, I’m rambling on. Where was I? I’ll just quit here.

I don’t know what to tell you since you seem to be the only one here who even seems to believe it. You can’t give me ONE direct example, so yeah let’s quit here and just agree to disagree.

It was a while ago but I do recall dishing out a few examples of the subtext from Q’s fascination with humans (over all the others out there) to the disgust of the crew at alien cultures that crossed with what we superior humans did. It was rarely overt but it was there between the lines. I didn’t start picking up on it until perhaps the 3rd season myself.

Yes, they think Q suck…and can you blame them lol.

But alllll the other they meet and interact with, new and old, I never once saw them pretending to be better. Sometimes better ideas, they are the Federation, usually they get called in because someone usually think they have better insight and know how to solve a crisis. But on a societal level, I never saw them acting any differently. Picard especially respected all people. It’s literally why he fought so hard for Data in Measure of a Man, because as far as he was concerned, Data shouldn’t be looked at as inferior for being a machine which we as humans do today (but we don’t have a Data yet). That’s proof to me how much they respect all life and treat as equals. So again, I guess we just see what we see.

Okay, the Doctor didn’t get treated so well at the beginning though, so I guess I just killed my argument lol. BUT we are talking TNG and not VOY. ;)

Hi Tiger2,

Couple of thoughts….

I do think that there was a “humanocentric” thread in the Federation, but there are also characters and alien cultures that call Starfleet officers on that from TNG on.

DS9 definitely had an ongoing thread of that tension with the Bajorans, and Picard commented in the first TNG ensign Ro episode that the Bajorans were an ancient culture that should be respected and basically criticized an unconscious bias against Bajoran refugees. So, the franchise has challenged itself on this, and made it a focal point for an entire series.

What I can say is that there is a persistent undercurrent of Federation Exceptionalism in Star Trek that can come across as a future version of American exceptionalism.

The podcasts here on TrekMovie have mused on how this may be one of the things that limits Star Trek’s global appeal. I’d say that it’s a fine line between articulating aspirational values and the coming across as an expansive version of “ugly American” paternalism. And if any show was particularly guilty of that, I can think of a few TOS episodes that really stick in the craw of those of us who aren’t American. (I cannot make myself watch The Omega Glory which makes out as if the U.S. Is the only model of a democratic constitution that exists for example.)

I like that this Discovery episode had Sarek being questioned by the Vulcan leader about the purity of the Federation’s intentions and his willingness to acknowledge that there may have been hubris that needed correction. This is heading in the right direction in terms of a realistic balance of perspective and aspiration.

As for the treatment of the doctor on Voyager in the early episodes, I attribute that to the extreme circumstances and the fact that unlike Data, the Doctor evolved unexpected into a sentient being rather than his being the result of a determined experiment. We as viewers were given an out-of-universe heads up that the holographic doctor would become sentient, but it wasn’t something that happened instantaneously. Worse, he was designed with a built-in abrasive personality. In a rationed, conflictual crises situation, I can forgive Janeway and the other senior officers for being inobservant.

I agree with pretty much all of this. I think that is a great point you make, especially about the idea of Federation exceptionalism which is yes always been a thin veil about American exceptionalism, especially if you think that Roddenberry used the America as an analogy for the Federation itself. Funny thing is I NEVER agreed with that and I always thought he based it around the United Nations, but we can go around that merry-go-round forever.

But let’s say it was the former and yes that’s always this thin line between having aspirational values that you think everyone should aspire to versus just thinking you are better than others for simply having them. That’s always been the problem in the real world at least. And yes the ‘Ugly American’ trope comes from because it’s not just ‘We’re Americans where we believe everyone should be equal or free and where you can do anything if you set your mind to it mentality’ but it quickly can turn into ‘We’re Americans and we better than you because we believe this and why we are so better off.’

That in itself is almost a contradiction to the so-called American values we supposedly believe in but it’s one of the things that always been there, at least that perception to a huge part of the world. I can go into huge essays about this and my own personal issues with it growing up a poor black kid from Compton. I certainly didn’t feel that way about America growing up lol. And I imagine if you were a poor minority you never really felt that way. And if you were one like my parents and grandparents were when things like Jim Crow and segregation was still around, even less so, but I digress.

But getting back to Star Trek and TNG, I never once ever felt this. If anything it’s always been the complete opposite. Again, I go straight to Picard since he basically represented both the show and the Federation the same way Kirk did on TOS. This guy has constantly spouted out Federation ideals, but the irony is most of the time he does it is to defend lesser groups and people. Picard never pretends he is better off than anyone just because he lives and works in such a progressive and technology advance society. If anything, it’s that same society that has taught him that.

For heaven’s sake, TNG literally made an entire episode about this issue in “Who Watches the Watchers”. That’s what that episode was about, that Picard and the Federation are NOT gods. They are no different or better people than the Mintakans were and in fact were like them in their early development. They simply evolved and reached a more advanced stage, which anyone can do in time including the Mintakans.

The episode was the familiar ‘people with cool tech=gods to developing people” science fiction story line and we saw plenty of in Star Trek. But this episode was making a much bigger point than that obviously. To Picard the Mintakans weren’t less smarter or civil than anyone else in the Federation, they simply are not as advanced yet. Those are two different things which Picard spent the entire episode trying to get across to them. Everyone has the same potential to be what what every culture in the Federation is and more if given the same opportunities and circumstances as they grow and develop.

Now, in that sense, that is an American ideal I can believe in (the issue is not everyone GETS those same opportunities obviously). But that’s how Picard sees the Federation versus all the societies they meet. Humans aren’t the ‘greatest’, they simply evolved and developed a system where everyone can now be given the chance to be the best of who they can be. But that doesn’t mean anyone not at that level is considered ‘lesser than’, but it’s still a galaxy where not everyone is given those same chances just like so many people on Earth today. But in his eyes, every society has that exact same potential as humans, that’s literally point of what the Federation is and Picard represents as a character. This is literally why I love both Star Trek and TNG so much.

It’s completely mind boggling to me someone can read it so differently. Yes art is subjective, but c’mon.

Tiger2, I must say that I always saw the Federation like a UN too, with a United Earth as one of its member states.

However, there has been this other thread that is very American, and promoting not just universal aspirational values that are shared by Americans and other current societies but American law and institutions as if it was the last word on the evolution of just and democratic societies.

This America is best assumption definitely surfaces from time to time, and The Omega Glory is particularly offensive, but it’s also from after Roddenberry moved to to work on another series. So, I agree that it’s not entirely obvious that Roddenberry was promoting this view. On the other hand, he coined the unfortunate “Wagon Train to the Stars” pitch which is deeply burdened with American manifest destiny attitudes.

I really do think that the 90s Berman shows were conscious of this as a potential issue for the franchise and countered it consciously. We’ve both cited examples where Picard and Sisko actively challenged both conscious and unconscious bias.

The unfortunate thing is that I don’t think that Kurtzman and Kadin are as conscious of the risks around this, and it’s a bit of a blind spot. Discovery and Picard seem more overtly American than 90s Trek series (with the unfortunate exception of Enterprise).

Many great points again TG47, we’re in complete agreement.

Funny thing is I just rewatched The Omega Glory a few months ago out of sheer boredom. I don’t think I seen it in over a decade, probably even longer than that, and yes it doesn’t get anymore American loving than that lol. It just feels SO ridiculously out of place for Star Trek. I still don’t even understand how this primitive alien planet has the American Constitution and flag or even why, but whatever.

But yes I agree, the irony is the later shows tried very hard to get away from the American vibe like TOS. Of course TOS was just in a very different time and the show was new, so it was understandable. And even then it was probably still very progressive for its time with the idea all countries are part of a new world order, so it deserves immense credit obviously.

But in the other shows, America is there, it’s just not given any more importance than the other countries and part of a United Earth.

And the Wagon Trains to the Stars was just a marketing pitch for the show. It’s not like it was ever said on the actual show, it’s just brought up a lot. Cmd. Brennon here treats it like it’s some kind of manifesto lol. He cites it all the time which is just odd to me, but I leave that alone.

But yes I also agree it’s something the newer shows are not doing as well as the 90s shows but its not that big of a deal to me either.

Being an American I never made that connection between the UFP and the USA. I guess I can see how it might be seen that way from the outside. That is an interesting view.

But to be fair, TOS was made in the 60’s and little regard was given to out of country viewing. Such a blatant placement of flag waving would NEVER have happened had the non-American market been considered.

I never really saw it with the Vulcans on TNG. But then they intentionally tried to shy away from the bulk of the TOS aliens. The smugness about humans being superior mostly showed when dealing with the alien culture from that week particularly when they had some custom that most humans would find offensive or odd. And again, it was subtle.

I like Tilly’s character, and Mary Wiseman’s performance.

But elevating her to second-in-command as an ensign *makes no sense,* and suggests that the writers of DISCO can’t even abide by the rules of the universe they have created. They’ve shown us why her crewmmates would love Tilly, but not why they would respect her enough to follow her orders. The fact that she needs them to give her a party of love to take the job suggests she’s not yet qualified.

It’s a storytelling problem. I’ll still watch. But it’s a storytelling problem.

*PS: My wife notes that Saru didn’t give a straight answer when Tilly asked if she was chosen because she’s compliant.

Very insightful Joel — you’re right that Tilly needs her create respect rather than love to lead them.

I’m thinking on some of the same lines about Saru’s choice further in the thread.

Ok, so let me start off by saying I’ve enjoyed Disco, particularly the visuals – which are beautifully done. That being said, this whole Michael Burnham focus is getting old.

I don’t recall any other ST character ever being so integral to the fate and existence of universal life. Pike, Kirk, Spock, Picard, Riker, Sisco and Janeway all had their “galactic” moments, solving some sort of major shit. But Burnham…season 1, she started and ended the Klingon War (which the federation was losing) all by herself. Season 2, she figured out Control’s endpoint (with help from none other than her mom), lead the effort to build another time travel suit and then ushered Discovery nearly 1000 years into the future to escape Control, thus saving ALL universal life (her idea too). Season 3 – we now learn in this episode that she’s going to solve and fix the causes of “The Burn” (conspiracy theory is that she somehow caused it because its called the “Burn” – short for Burnham). So many characters and backgrounds to chose from, yet Disco relies so heavily on Michael.

A few other irritating things:

Burnham monologuing in EVERY episode. No other ST character has done this.

Burnham’s emotions. It began late season 1 – increasing ever since then. Enter season 3, she gets emotional and cries at least once in every episode! Saru demoted her, and she quickly went to tears. YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE A STAR FLEET OFFICER! This too is something never done before.

Again, Discovery is fun to watch. But at this point, the series should be renamed “Thank or Blame Michael Burnham for Everything”.

I liked most of this ep. However there is a tick the writers have which is lazy and i’m tired of. Everybody meets Michael and can instantly read her character arc and motivations. It’s like everybody is a Lawaxna Troi to her. And damn this is one small galaxy when her mom just happens to be in just the right spot for all of this. Ugh.

The vulcan stuff was good and makes sense given the history and the history they developed so this was still a good ep, but it has issues.

Has any of the writers watched TNG before? Why would the Romulans need to run a dangerous experiment to find an alternative to dilithium based warp when they already used singularity core since decades which didn’t need dilithium?

Right! That someone like Kirsten Beyer who so niftly tied together 23rd, 24th and 32nd centuries, and added some Trek lit for good measure even, would forget about the Romulan quantum singularities is puzzling. I mean, if something as obscure as slipstream from one alien from one Voyager episode deserves a shoutout, in the season opener no less, surely the long estabished Romulan drive technology does? At least a half sentence why it is a non-solution. Somehow it looks now like they decided to ignore the thing altogether, which is unfortunate.

It’s not established in canon that the singularity core doesn’t need dilithium as a regulator Ixal.

The difference is in the reaction (singularity vs matter-antimatter) rather than the crystal matrix that keeps the explosive power from blowing up the ship.

First Officer Tilly, Burnham’s dead mother turning up as a Romulan nun. Sometimes I think the writers just can’t help themselves. No restraint, no understanding of credibility being a finite commodity. Ugh, and they were doing so well this season. Let’s hope this episode was an outlier. Also, another issue, but why do they pepper apostrophes all over alien things? Ni’Var? Is it a contraction of some sort? Because it sure as heck isn’t a glottal stop. Angry huffing emoji.

This is the first episode of Discovery that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. I really look forward to more complexity and bigger, smarter conversations. It was nice to hear Star Trek talk about ideas again.

(The president’s comment about Spock was too Burnam-worshippy — she is a politician, however — but I think some of the other ideas made up for it).

I actually came away from it thinking it was Discovery’s best episode. We’ll see how it holds up on repeat viewings.

I would note that there was no Georgiou in it; she’s the character that doesn’t work.

Ni’Var. Now It’s Vulcans And Romulans.


That’s how I’ll remember it now!

Ah, this episode was a big improvement on last week although I did like how they progressed Georgiou’s storyline in E6.
Finding a way to fit Burnham’s mother into the story was important so we could see Michael get called out for her faults and questionable past decisions. Of course, this was also done to let her clearly see where her priorities lie. I like the way S3 is progressing the character’s storylines – the last thing I wanted to see was a long drawn out storyline about Burnham trying to find herself and whether or not she would leave Starfleet.
Of course, I really liked the way they fit Spock and Picard into the story and the fact that Spock’s dream of unification finally happened. Wow, the Romulans seem to be the voice of reason on Nivar – now there’s a surprise. All that said, I must say I was confused about how Nivar knew about Spock’s sister, but this is 900 years in the future – so I guess anything is possible.
As for Tilly, I laughed that Stamets got to react to the news that she was asked to become acting first officer. I am sure his first reaction mirrored that of most of the viewing audience including myself. I for one thought Lt. Nilsson was going to get asked but I was wrong. I still have doubts, but I guess in some ways, Saru’s decision reminded me of acting ensign Crusher becoming the navigator on the Enterprise D.
Oh well, overall I thought this was a much better story than what we got last week, and I hope that continues in E8.

Saru’s decision reminded me of acting ensign Crusher becoming the navigator on the Enterprise D.”

I did not think about that but that was monumentally stupid, too.

Yeah cannot argue, now I guess we shall see if Saru has a hidden motive about making her acting first officer in the next few episodes.

I think Saru has a hidden motive, but it may be unconscious. Tilly’s suspicion that Saru had a criteria that his first officer must be compliant was likely right on point.

It probably wasn’t only because she’s compliant, but that was a necessary condition.

Saru, at his worse, is coming across as a leader in the mould of his father on Kaminar. He’s accepting the received orders and wisdom, patronizing, paternalistic, and not really looking for the input of his entire group of department heads and bridge officers.

He’s only engaging the officers one-on-one, with the exception of his disastrous dinner.

More, he’s stomping down on challenging views when he was once a youth on Kaminar looking up to the stars and going rogue, building a communications device when his father refuses to entertain any consideration of another way of life than submission to the Ba’ul.

Compare Saru’s leadership with Pike or Picard who actively sought input from across their leadership teams.

Where has the innovative, roguish Saru disappeared to?

Perhaps Saru himself is coping less well with the dissociation of the timejump than he realizes — he’s definitely reverting to timid, Kelpian herd behaviour. It could be he’s floundering more than we see and is avoiding friction and threat.

So, Tilly who is in a mentor-mentee relationship, is probably the one person Saru thinks he can count on not to challenge him as head of the herd.

What does everyone think about Burnham’s “intense whisper” speaking style?

Her therapist said it’s a legitimate coping device to mitigate her borderline issues.


Sometimes women are coached to whisper rather than raise their voices when they need to express intensity rather than raising their voices. This is to avoid being labeled as “shrill.”.

Or, some parents and teachers use a “pay attention to me” whisper when delivery difficult messages.

I can’t say I like it, but it is a thing.

I can’t help thinking that it is an unfortunate way to cope with sexist reactions to powerful women or to women’s anger.

I prefer a decided and powerful Kathryn Janeway projection of a firm clear voice. Or Deanna Troi dropping and projecting her voice. Kira raised her voice, and I don’t think people found it off putting.

I like it, it’ll sound great when she’s captain.

I enjoyed the episode overall. I’d been looking forward to it, got a little choked up over Nimoy’s cameo, and I liked a lot of the ideas introduced here. But two things bugged me:

1) The tensions between the Romulans and the Vulcans seemed like the sort you’d see of a much younger alliance, not one that had been in place for centuries. It wasn’t necessary for Na’Vir to be having internal strife, only for them to be mistrustful of the Federation, and adding that in just so Burnham could show off her motivations didn’t quite work for me. Didn’t hate it, just really would have enjoyed a hard dissection of the problem and additional information on the Na’Virins more than Burnham and her mother airing their laundry in front of witnesses.

2) I get that Burnham’s the main character of this show, but does literally everything have to come down to her issues? It doesn’t usually bug me much, but there were so many more interesting things that could have been explored this episode. I was so stoked when they namedropped the Qowot Milat – that was one of more interesting cultural tidbits out of PIC. But no, it’s just Burnham’s mom carrying a huge conflict of interest into the scene. Big letdown.

Still. The planetary president was pretty awesome. Really liked her interactions with Saru. I hope Tilly gets to keep the XO position – after this ep, I feel better knowing Burnham isn’t indispensable.

“The tensions between the Romulans and the Vulcans seemed like the sort you’d see of a much younger alliance, not one that had been in place for centuries.“

Ideally, but have you watched American news lately?

A much better example: England and Scotland have been unified since 1603.

There’s still no United Kingdom national football team.

Or that the UK insists on competing as FOUR separate nations in the Commonwealth Games.

The UK competes as the UK in the Olympics, however. Often wondered why that is.

I was surprised at the lack of mention of Spock’s fate. As far as anyone in the prime universe knows, Spock died trying to save Romulus from a supernova. Dying for the dream of peace between vulcans and romulans would have been a powerful thing to mention.

Overall I thought it was a good episode, her mom showing up was a little contrived and they still are doing a little too much over correcting from how dark season one was by making things a little too campy (“let’s show them what starfleet is” speeches.)

For me, this was by far the weakest episode of the season, which is rather sad I was really looking forward to it. There were some great aspects to it, such as the video of Leonard Nimoy’s Spock, call backs to the Qowat Milat introduced in Picard, the change of Vulcan’s name to Ni’var (a wonderfully obscure callback) and just the general continuation of the Unification arc. The problems with this episode didn’t lie in the story itself, but rather how the story was told.

First, I though that after Discovery went to the future, and her entire existence became classified, that Spock also buried that he had an adopted sister. Perhaps I just miss read those final scenes of Disco Season 2, but that’s just the impression I got. Regardless, I will echo other’s sentiments that insinuating that Spock’s work toward re-unification (among everything else) is as a result of Michael is a huge slap in the face to Kirk and McCoy – but I DON’T think that it was the writers intended by any means, I just thing it was poor storytelling.

In that vein, having Michael’s mom be the Qowat Milat sister bound to her as her Shalankhkai was a silly twist for multiple reasons. The writers were going to have to address what happened to Gabrielle at some point, but doing so in this way just felt cheap – as if the writers weren’t sure what to do with Gabrielle and just shoehorned her in her to get that plot point out of the way. I liked the idea though! both in how it harkened back to Picard as well as in how it showed the melding of the Vulcan and Romulan cultures. Even the overall outcome of the T’Kal-in-ket including Burnham’s recognition of what she’s hiding, and withdrawing her request worked – but the journey to get there was lackluster.

Speaking of the T’Kal-in-ket, it had the potential of being another classic Star Trek courtroom drama, but it veered far too much into personal drama (i.e. Michael’s personal drama) which took away from learning more about how Vulcans and Romulans are balancing their two different cultures. I’ve given ‘Vulcan Soul’ a hard time in the past when he complains that Discovery is all about “feeling” Star Trek, but that was definitely the case during the T’Kal-in-ket, as it was all about (again) what Michael was feeling, and nearly ending in her being in tears…again.

I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating, I DON’T dislike Burnham. I think she is a perfectly okay character, and maybe would be a great character if it was her own series. However, it has become abundantly clear that her character (at least in her current form) just does not mix well with an ensemble cast. It seems like the writers are stuck as to what to do with Burnham. On the one hand, they’ve tried to make the ensemble stronger, by both increasing the screen time of the bridge crew as well as focusing on some of the already existing strong characters (i.e. Tilly, Sara, Stamets, etc.); on the other hand they can’t seem to help themselves by making Michael the center of every story.

It is rather telling than that I found the rest of the episode rather strong, i.e. the parts of the episode that did not involve Burnham. I think Tilly will make a great acting XO. I loved how Saru asked her, and I loved how the crew supported her. The “say yes” scene was incredibly cheesy, but it was an earned cheesiness. I also found the scenes b/w Saru and T’Rina to be quite interesting and enlightening in regards to the Federation pre-Burn and the efforts by Vulcan (and the Federation) to develop non-warp faster than light travel. Speaking of non-warp FTL, whatever happened with the “soliton wave” introduced in the TNG episode “New Ground.” I imagine it was abandoned at the time due to the issues it experienced, but maybe SB 19 was about resurrecting the idea/technology?

With all of that being said, I agree with his review in that this episode felt like it was a turning point for the season. The various puzzle pieces are all in place – we know what the Burn was, we’ve found what is left of the the Federation/Starfleet, and (based on the promos for next week’s episode) we now know where the Burn originated – so it feels like the “real” story can really begin now.

This may have been an underwhelming episode, but it wasn’t bad, it just didn’t reach the lofty heights that it’s premise promised. I’m still very much looking forward to next week’s episode though and the rest of the season as a whole.

I borderline hated this episode. Burnham is handily among the worst characters in all of Star; that’s usually mitigated for me somewhat by the fact that I actually do like SMG’s performance, but I thought she was pretty bad this week. Her mother suddenly being one of the Romulan warrior women is laughably awful…

…but it’s awesome compared to the travesty that is Tilly being (even temporarily) made first officer. In no way is Tilly leadership material; she’s not qualified to be in charge of third shift at a Walgreen’s, much less be the XO of a quasi-military starship. If the Discovery was still being deployed in a largely scientific capacity, then *maybe* there’s an argument to be made; any sensible commander would shoot the argument down five seconds later, but at least you can make that particular argument.

As is? Absolutely not. For one thing, if you have to talk someone into taking on a leadership role, they’ve already demonstrated they aren’t ready for it. Move on; maybe you can come back to them later, but only once they’re ready. Leaders lead; they don’t wait for someone to suggest that they could. Tilly hasn’t shown anything in the way of leadership potential; she’s a great scientist and a valuable crewman, and might potentially be able to put herself in a leadership role someday, but that day has yet to come.

I guess the takeaway from this episode suggesting that despite that, she’s precisely the right person for the role is this: all you have to do when you want something is wish for it. You don’t have to work particularly hard for it; you don’t have to meet any sort of standard or qualification. You can just have it, because people like you (for no apparent reason, by the way) and want you to learn that life can be great even you are a super awkward misfit with no filter. But that’s been this show’s approach from day one: say it and it must be true, whatever it is. No need to earn it; saying it is all you need.

What a disappointment. It felt to me as if the show had turned a corner this season, but I might have been hasty in feeling that; this episode was a harsh reminder of just how inane a series it can be.

“Her mother suddenly being one of the Romulan warrior women is laughably awful…

Not as awful as that Agrarian Kelpien lass, Saru’s sister, suddenly being a Ba’ul starship fighter pilot after 6 months, no?

With Discovery, everything is relative. You gotta appreciate the rare ‘not as awful as usual’ spots ;)

True, and I did think some of the Ni’Var stuff here was alright. Buried in an otherwise terrible story about Burnham, but alright.

This Tilly thing, though… Yikes.

Well as for Tilly, it may help its just a temporary appointment (is it?), and they did mention pretty much all objections on screen, through the mouth of the character no less!

Now, I loathe viewing everything through the prism of politics and yet… I can’t help but notice the similarity between all these fantastical biographies of young women on the show like Tilly, Queen Poe (most ingenious dilithium scientist in the universe), Saru’s sister and Burnham herself, of course, that bear no semblance to reality. To me it reveals a deep insecurity that they feel this is necessary which is probably the opposite of what they want to express, so I wonder are they really doing a favor to the watching female audience in terms of ‘inspiration’ or isn’t this more of a mockery knowing a career path like this could never happen in the real world?

The Tilly thing bothers me too. It makes no sense in reality. And I was reading the OTHER Star Trek site where people seem even more upset about it lol and someone brought up a great point. They now live at Federation headquarters, they are a thousand years behind their counterparts so why not make someone from there Saru’s first officer??? Not only can they find someone with real experience and rank but also someone from this actual century and be their guide and resource as well? Why give it to Tilly when you literally have an entire fleet of people that is not a thousand years behind the curve you can choose from?

It’s entirely possible that that’s what they’ll end up doing. After all, she’s only been named acting first officer; so it’s even possible that Burnham will end up taking her old job back. But I cry foul on Tilly even being put in that position temporarily; and if she ends up in it permanently, that’s a real stain on the show. At least for my money, it is.

Because an outsider like Willa, imposed on the time-displaced crew, would have been disastrous for morale.

Thumbs up from me on this one.

That’s pretty demonstrably false, as an survey the literature on leadership from political science and business academia would show. Leadership can absolutely be cultivated.

For one thing, if you have to talk someone into taking on a leadership role, they’ve already demonstrated they aren’t ready for it.

In your world, “a great scientist and a valuable crewman” apparently means less than “being in charge of a third shift at Walgreens.”

Tilly hasn’t shown anything in the way of leadership potential; she’s a great scientist and a valuable crewman, and might potentially be able to put herself in a leadership role someday, but that day has yet to come.

Leadership can be cultivated, yes; but until that process has completed, one is not a leader. You’d be a fool to put somebody who has barely begun that process into a leadership role of any import.

Gawd, that was one boring episode. Burnham has worn out her welcome with me.

My theory is that the The Burn was caused by Michael Burnham’s tears. The sheer volume of crying she does in each episode ripped a hole in the space time continuum of the star trek universe which caused the Burn. Mistery solved


How could the Federation not have the technology to synthesize dilithium? They have replicator technology. They have programmable matter. The queen of Bahia invented technology to recycle dilithium into a reusable form. It makes no sense that they run out of dilithium.

My Comment on this Episode: A Show where everybody is a Wunderkind, is nothing more than a Kindergarten-Story.

I agree with previous comments about Michael getting credit for Spock’s work and legacy – it is a bit ridiculous.
I am getting tired of watching The Michael Burnham Show – everything is always all about her – the other characters have such great potential but have been sidelined to fill up space, it’s a crying shame. We only ever get a glimpse of what the other actors can do. In the Trill episode for example wouldn’t it have been better for Hugh Culber to accompany Adira and help her? It would have been a great opportunity to let the other characters shine in the own right without Michael poking in there all over the place. Instead she is everywhere with her tears and motivational speeches, all the freaking time – it’s exhausting. Only Kirk was so very much over present – no other main Star Trek character was always at the center of everything in every single episode, I’m really getting sick of it and I miss the Star Trek Discovery that could have been.

If you search on YouTube, you can find a visualization of what characters got the most screen time in each of the previous Trek series. Even on the so-called ensemble shows (TNG, DS9, VOY), the series lead had far and away the most screen time.

Wow, we watched the same episode?
Burnham’s Mom? A Romulan Monk? How did that happen? I went WTF?
Tilly, as acting first officer Wesley Crusher, I mean Sylvia Tilly? What in the actual f*ck was that?
Please, don’t get me wrong. I love both of these actors, have been enjoying their character development thus far, but…Number One? I don’t buy it.
On a ship full of overachievers, there are other officers with experience, who were on a career track to make it to First Officer.
Or, there are officers being groomed to be First Officer. We may not see them but I suspect there are officers working for that job. I could have bought into a promotion, not leapfrogging to that role on that ship.
Lazy writing folks, pure and simple.
An INTERESTING choice would have been Hugh Culber. How do Stamets and Culber deal with that dynamic? Culber could have then asked Tilly to become his support training officer. Definitely better ep than last week, though.
Why no location shoot for Vulcan? Probably budget restrictions. I don’t know when episode was filmed but if it was beiing filmed in colder months? I could understand why they filmed on the ship sets.

I thought of the same analogy. How would we have felt if Picard made Wesley acting XO? Or what about Sisko making Nog acting XO? Yeah, makes SO much sense…..

I loved most of season 1 and season 2.
I loved Lorca and Pike and Giorgiou.
I like Saru.
Tilly is annoying and useless and drags the show down. Obviously one of the writers is something like her which is why they keep including her in the story lines.
And don’t get me started on the Michael Burnham character.
Let’s just say she’s okay and very very small doses and that’s that.

For me season 3 has been just like 2020….. I complete non-event and a wash.

Most elements of season 1 and season 2 had all kinds of great things like special effects a plausible story villains struggle and conflict and people working together in Star trek fashion.
There were not overly long exploration episodes of people’s relationships and emotions and blah blah blah soap opera stuff.

The comments on here are very polarized people either love season 3 or they think it is a pile of steaming crap.

I continue to watch this season 3 hoping it will become something better and so far it has let me down.

I don’t like what they have turned this into however.
I was hoping they would not turn this into a space Opera but it looks like they’re all over the place with an identity crisis of whether they are Star wars or Star trek or some kind of soap opera.

I am looking very forward to section 31 and anything with Captain Pike in it. Hopefully these two will be gritty and exciting and interesting because season 3 of Star trek Discovery surely does not fit the bill.

For me I am becoming accustomed to fast forwarding through a lot of the boring and mushy garbage that has become season 3.
For the life of me I do not understand those viewers who think that this season is good.
There are some good elements, yes, but overall this season is a very large struggle for me to watch each episode.
I keep hoping the next one will finally be good.

Well to be fair that was literally the same issue with season 1 and 2 and people either loved it or thought it was a steaming pile of crap lol. But I also notice every season does seem get more and more people to like the show (including me) so I think it’s improving a lot.

But yes it still has lots of cracks. The melodrama definitely a big problem, but that’s ALWAYS been there, right? I was kind of hoping with 900 years separated and the Spock family firmly left behind that maybe they would’ve done less of that this season, but they still found a way to turn it into a soap.

Worst StarTrek episode ever……

Seriously? Worse than “Manhunt” and “Threshold” and “Spock’s Brain”? Worse than the TNG clip show?

I get that you didn’t like it, which is your right. But get a sense of proportion.

It seems folks are incredibly polarized on this one River Temarc.

While there are a lot of us here who are still finding the show isn’t a good fit for us but see this season as the strongest yet, it seems that whether professional reviewers or fans the opinions on this specific episode range from — that show is stuck / why did they do that? — through “meh / 5 out of 10” — all the way to best Discovery episode ever / top ten “must see episodes” of the entire franchise.

Wtf this is a spoilerfree review?? I learned everything about the episode without watching it

The spoiler free review is just this part :Deeply steeped in franchise mythology, “Unification III” neatly ties together eras of Star Trek while nicely progressing the story and character arcs of Discovery’s third season.

After that it clearly states ‘spoilers below’

Why would you read a review of something if you were trying to avoid spoilers?

As a tangent, can I just say that I find the Vulcans interesting in part because of how problematic they can be interpreted with modern sensibilities.

In the era of The Original Series, there is a nobility to the Vulcans, with the culture seeming to be one of disciplined stoic intellectuals, and they help express Gene Roddenberry’s ideas about a Utopian future where humanity is at the center of an accepting society based around scientific knowledge and cultural diversity. However, newer iterations of Trek tend to take a much dimmer view of Vulcans. They’re usually portrayed as arrogant elitists who cloak their bigotry of anything different in a belief of the superiority of their ideology.

Some fans might chalk up this shift in characterization as a failure to truly “get” Star Trek by the people in charge of continuing its legacy. But another way of looking at this is that if someone accepts the characterization as it has been presented over the past five decades, Vulcan society is actually fucking horrifying. The Vulcans are a culture where from birth to death the entire planet is indoctrinated to suppress their emotions, passions, and desires in adherence to an ideology, and anyone who doesn’t is made to be an outcast. It’s a fictional culture that seems all too relevant to present day churches in its conformity, since it’s rooted around fundamentalism toward an idea, to the exclusion of an individual’s feelings, as an article of faith in how to live.

In its own way, the Vulcans can basically serve as a Star Trek-ian allegory for conversion therapy (even beyond the more explicit one from The Next Generation). The Vulcans are a people where at least some members carry around a lifetime of regrets about their inability to say “I love you” to the ones they down deep feel it toward.

My therapist has suggested that I learned some harmful lessons about emotions from Spock as a kid (that I shouldn’t have any) — but I don’t think now the show was ever arguing that suppression of emotion is actually good.