Review: ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Confronts Uncertainty In “Anomaly”

“Anomaly”

Star Trek: Discovery Season 4, Episode 2 – Debuted Thursday, November 25, 2021
Written by Anne Cofell Saunders & Glenise Mullins
Directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi

SPOILER-FREE REVIEW

The follow-up episode to the season premiere delivers a perfectly balanced blend of sci-fi action, heartbreaking emotion, and even a little fun.

 

WARNING: Spoilers below!

RECAP

“Not on our watch”

Book is inconsolable, still not really coping with having witnessed the destruction of Kwejian and the loss of his family. Seeking isolation on his ship, he replays the tragedy over and over again. Captain Burnham feels his pain and is at a loss as to how to help, seeking her own refuge in the warm embrace of her old friend Captain Saru, who returns to the USS Discovery with a new Kelpien pin, a new (actually, renewed) position as first officer (but call him “Mr. Saru”), and a whole new demeanor as the ship’s resident wise man. Together, along with Stamets, they brief a Federation summit on the gravitational anomaly. They know it’s big, like really big, and it’s moving, and it destroys everything that gets near it, and that’s about all they know. Vance orders the Disco to head straight to it to get more answers. After a nice, brief, inspiring Burnham speech, it’s black alert time.

Arriving at the ginormous ominous phenomena results in some fun dueling science jargon from Stamets and Tilly about an “accretion cloud,” “dark matter,” and “gravitational Doppler shift,” but it was best summed up by “it’s bizarre.” Bottom line: They need to get really close to gather the necessary data. The only way to do that is to send in Book’s ship, and the Captain isn’t entirely sold on the idea of her grieving boyfriend being ready for such a mission. He says he is going regardless, so Saru has the winning idea to send a hologram projection of Stamets in with him, even though they’ve had an icy relationship ever since Book horned in on Paul’s spore drive monopoly. And Michael will be keeping them on a short leash, literally, with a tether connecting the ships.

“I fly, you scan”

Things between Stamets and Book start off awkwardly and only get worse as Anthony Rapp and David Ajala embark on a tour de force purportedly to explore the anomaly, but really to dive deep into their shared guilts and regrets. If dodging pieces of his destroyed planet wasn’t enough (thanks for pointing that out Paul, btw), Book is descending into visions of the destruction of his home planet and ghosts of his brother and nephew. Back on the Disco, the anomaly shows them who’s boss by wreaking “that wasn’t supposed to happen” havoc, giving those flame and spark canisters on the set a real workout along with some spectacular OMG-the-gravity-has-stopped-working wirework.

Tilly and Adira are tasked to figure out why the safe distance they had initially calculated turned into the danger zone. Sylvia does her best season one snippy Stamets with poor Adira, who just wants to be Tilly when they grow up. Their prediction of impending ship-destroying gravity waves forces a big decision. Captain Michael makes the tough call to cut Book’s ship loose, calmly asking her crew for suggestions on how to bring her boyfriend back alive.

“Things just don’t feel the same way they used to”

Even with all the action and character drama happing on that cut-off ship, the episode also finds time for other character moments. Hinted at in the first episode, we can now see how Gray will become a real person by being “incorporated” into an android body [Star Trek: Picard SPOILER ALERT] using the same technique that resurrected Jean-Luc Picard, who gets name-dropped along with Dr. Soong. Gray gets to do some fine-tuning as his android is being prepared, but this body-shopping moment is actually stressing him out. Adira diagnoses the problem: In a recurring theme for the episode, Gray is feeling guilty, although in his case it is guilt over being happy about being finally able to start making plans for a ghost-free life.

Tilly continues to feel unmoored, believing she came up short as acting captain last season—and the losses from her away mission in the last episode are not helping. Luckily, she has her surrogate dad Saru back to give her some comfort, and even a fun little bit of their old playful chemistry as she wonders if he has gotten taller in his time away. Hugh is also a big help, sensing her distress and helping her navigate the tension with Adira, noting there are bigger issues at play. Tilly knows “something’s off” and she asks the good doctor for some real counseling, like “professionally” and everything.

“I’m here. We’re all here”

The only way to get Book’s ship and the precious data back to the Discovery is to literally “catch” a gravity wave and “ride it out,” a solution courtesy of Tilly’s science and Bryce’s kite surfing. But Book remains lost, perhaps even resigned to his fate. Paul reaches out by admitting his distance from Book wasn’t ego, but shame over being helpless when Book had to take control of the Discovery’s spore drive to save his family back at the end of season three. Book appreciates the candor, but he is still haunted by his visions as he fails in an attempt to catch a wave. Saru sachets in with another perfectly timed piece of advice: It’s time for Captain Burnham to be girlfriend Michael. She activates the cone sphere of silence; reaching out to pull him back from his guilt spiral just in time to catch the last wave to safety.

The near-death experience breaks ice across both ships. There’s clapping and a high-five for Adira from Tilly. There’s some spore drive brothers bonding over on Book’s ship, but also a lovely moment when Stamets thanks Book for saving his family last season and pledges to find out what happened to Kwejian. Once he’s back on the Disco, Book admits to Michael that he wasn’t ready for the mission. Uh, no duh, but it’s all part of the wave of honesty and openness sweeping the crew. He may have lost his family on Kwejian, but she reminds him he has a new family on Discovery. Yes, there’s a lot of hugging too. That is until BuzzKilly Tilly reveals the anomaly actually changed direction, making its course entirely unpredictable. “It can go anywhere, at any time, and we may not have any kind of warning at all.” Gulp.

ANALYSIS

Certainly uncertain

This second episode kept up the pace of the strong season opener. Co-writer Anne Cofell Saunders, who joined the show in season three, is adept at weaving strong character exploration in with the action. There were quite a lot of great paired character moments throughout, but the heart of this was the powder keg pairing of Stamets and Book. Anthony Rapp and David Ajala delivered some of their strongest performances of the series and showed amazing chemistry even though this is the first time they really have worked together to this extent.

While Captain Burnham played a critical role, “Anomaly” left room for all of these other character stories to thrive, such as Tilly’s fallout from season three continuing to manifest into a full-blown crisis of confidence. However, and even with the five-month gap between seasons as an excuse, turning Stamets’ animosity towards Michael at the end of last season into a “too soon” joke about being blown out of an airlock felt a bit flippant, dismissing a potentially interesting character thread. On the other hand, Doug Jones’s sublime Saru was the MVP of the episode as he wove in and out of different character crises, always there with the right call. This new dynamic as Burnham’s first officer feels just right for the ever-evolving relationship, with the “Mr. Suru” title even evoking the greatest of them all.

Most of all, this episode was really about something, in the strongest tradition of Star Trek. The character stories are tied together with recurring themes of loss and guilt, including the survivor’s guilt that is plaguing Book and sending him to the edge. But the episode was about much more than that, manifesting the season’s theme of uncertainty. While it may appear the exploration of the season arc mystery took two steps forward and one step back, that was apparently the point. The anomaly is a clear allegory to the global pandemic and this episode was like March 2020, when it became evident that we were all in this together, and yet we had no idea where it was all going except that it was a very scary place. T’Rina foreshadowed what is to come with a warning of civil unrest; Saru countered by pointing to the elusive but only solution: openness and a unified strategy.

Weird science

This episode was surprisingly heavy on science and technology, from the wild to the weird, and much of it evoked more questions than answers. The titular anomaly itself dominates, but the writers deftly wove all the real and imagined sci-fi science into various character stories instead of the prolonged exposition that Star Trek is infamously known to employ. That said, some of the specifics are head-scratchers, starting with the given size of the anomaly at five light years across (or about the distance between the solar system and its nearest neighbor). Postulated to be a collapsing binary black hole, that would make this far, far larger than the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy, estimated to be 17 light hours wide. Clearly, there is more to uncover with this big bad (really really big bad) of the season.

The writers also subtly introduced what could be a profound new technology, the neurolink hologram projection used by Stamets. While simple projected holograms were seen back in the 23rd century, this super-telepresence puts someone into the location complete with tactile functionality. Depending on the range, this tech could prove quite useful, possibly even replacing space travel in some instances.

“Anomaly” gave us an update on a bit of Discovery tech that hasn’t been touched on in a while, namely the evolving artificial intelligence of the ship’s computer. We’re now seeing that the ship itself, combined with the ancient sphere data from way back in season two, appears to have become self-aware, or at least self-identified, choosing the name Zora. This is another big step in the promised connection to the Short Treks episode “Calypso” where the ship was found alone in a distant future, being run by the AI “Zora.” Actress Annabelle Wallis has returned to voice Zora, who now appears to be like Alexa as Captain Burnham addresses her directly. Having an AI as the ship’s computer opens up many possible avenues of storytelling, especially if Zora starts making decisions on her own.

In addition, Discovery also made a big connection to Star Trek: Picard, choosing to explicitly use the same technology that resurrected Jean-Luc Picard to “incorporate” Gray. Here we learn the tech has severe limitations—which is a good thing, as otherwise, the galaxy would be full of consciousness-carrying immortal androids by now. It’s a convenient way to not introduce yet another form of cheating death while finally allowing Gray to be seen, and hopefully, give the character some agency and distance from Adira to find his own path. This ties into the way Culber is fully coming into his own, doing double duty as resurrecting super doctor and sympathetic ship’s councilor, even getting a Troi-like moment on the bridge to advise the captain mid-crisis. Let’s hope Gray can come out of Adira’s shadow to be a full character, unless his fate is to return to Trill to become a Guardian, which is apparently his dream job.

This is big

All together “Anomaly” is one of the strongest episodes of the series. It moves the plot forward in a big way, but the focus remains on the characters. It also makes good on the promise of a coherent theme for the season, something previous seasons have only dabbled in. The future is uncertain, which again, is exactly the point.

Random bits

  • This is the second Star Trek episode titled “Anomaly.” The first was the second episode of season three of Star Trek: Enterprise.
  • This is the third Discovery writing credit for co-executive producer Anne Cofell Saunders, and the first for story editor Glenise Mullins.
  • Before it changed course, the models had the anomaly headed for the Riscot system, which we haven’t heard of before.
  • Saru points to Captain Georgiou’s telescope recovered from the USS Shenzhou to evoke her memory.
  • Saru’s Kelpien pin signifies his continued role as a council member of his village. Starfleet has allowed cultural-specific adornments with uniforms in the past, including Bajoran earrings, and Worf’s Baldric.
  • Saru has been offered the command of the USS Sojourner, also the name of a NASA Mars Rover, which was featured in the opening credits of Star Trek: Enterprise and was named to honor Civil War-era abolitionist Sojourner Truth. The US Navy also has a supply ship named for Sojourner Truth. There is also a Sojourner class of ships in Star Trek Online.
  • Having a captain serve as first officer is not unprecedented in Star Trek. Captains Will Decker and Spock served as first officers of the USS Enterprise under Admiral Kirk, and (the resurrected) Captain Spock stayed in the position even after Kirk was demoted back to Captain, in command of the USS Enterprise-A.
  • Among those assembled at Starfleet HQ was a Ferengi Starfleet Captain. Nog was the first Ferengi to join Starfleet back in the 24th century. In season three, Discovery featured a 32nd-century ship named in his honor (and in the honor of the late Aron Eisenberg). It remains unclear if Feringar is part of the new Federation.
  • Ni’Var is still not part of the Federation, but they will help analyze the anomaly data.
  • Captain Burnham has installed projectors in her quarters that can turn it into a sort of holodeck, although it’s unclear if you would bump into the furniture if you started running around.
  • Michael likes a program featuring the Cliffs of Surak from her time growing up on Vulcan where she used to run away.
  • Bryce used to kite-surf on Manark IV, a planet first mentioned in the TOS episode “The Empath.”
  • When they arrived at the anomaly it could only be seen on the viewscreen using a “polarizing spectrographic filter,” but at the end of the episode, it was somehow visible to the naked eye.
  • Even in the 32nd century, damage to the bridge results in a deck strewn with rocks. Headcanon: it’s programmable matter that has ceased functioning.

More to come

Every Friday the new TrekMovie.com 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 Paramount+ in the U.S. and on Fridays where Paramount+ is available around the world. In Canada, it airs on CTV Sci-Fi Channel on Thursdays, and streams on Crave on Fridays. Starting November 26, Discovery also streams on Pluto TV in select countries in Europe and is available as a digital download in additional international territories.

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

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Is it just me or nothing really happened in this episode? The plot barely moved forward.

It’s not just you.

It was a LOT of exposition with a dash of character bits for Book and Stamets. Enjoyable but not as “episodic” as episode 1 of the season.

Not really, no. I gave it the old college try this season but I’m tapping out. I’ll just read the reviews and feedback.

I’m trying too. Yet, this show, to me, is getting worse as it continues.

I have to agree. I remember the days of watching TNG’s Best of Both Worlds, or DS9’s The Visitor. I really got into those episodes; they had excellent stories. But I just don’t see the same kind of interest with Discovery. It’s disappointing.

I’m still waiting for those moments from Discovery but the serialized nature of this series makes that nearly impossible. We’re essentially watching an extended, 13 hour story which could be resolved and told in 2 or 3.

Touchy-feely Trek. Soap-opera Trek. Lots of violins in the background. Gag!!!

I’ve been doing that since the middle of S2 and don’t feel like I’ve missed out on anything, Cheers.

No, you haven’t. The only reason I watch it is only because it has “Star Trek” in the title. I’m a Trek fan, God help me.

You recall that my 2 Trek friends who shared CBSAA with me for season one thought that show was so very bad they had zero interest in watching it. And after I told them about Picard and Lower Decks they had no interest in those shows either. I’m the bigger fan so I stupidly keep watching. But that is the nature of fandom I guess.

Then you gave your friends bad advice because Lower Decks is awesome and has generally been well received. Of course there are the jaded “fans” who hate everything, but they will never be happy so who cares what they think ;)

No, I gave them excellent advice. Lower Decks doesn’t work on any level except as a contest for fans to spot how many old Trek references show up. It’s not funny and has no heart.

Prodigy, on the other hand, has heart and while it’s not great it is light years better than every other Secret Hideout production. And ironically is aiming at a much higher age group than Lower Decks does.

I like the show more today but I don’t really think you would enjoy it now knowing how you felt about the other seasons. I keep watching because A. I’m a sucker for punishment lol and B. I’m always an optimist. And I just want to keep up with the shows in general But so far season 4 is starting out the weakest IMO out of the last two seasons but still miles ahead of season 1.

You’re the biggest optimist and one of the nicest people on TrekMovie. Hard not to respect that!

I’m always grateful when you say that, but I have lost it with quite a few people here lol. I try not to but I have my limits too. I do feel bad about it afterwards though. ;)

But I love all of Star Trek while understanding none of it is perfect either and as fans we’re not a monolith. People will not like or hate all the same things but everyone’s tastes should be respected just the same. That’s what IDIC is all about!

Miles ahead of Season 1? LMAO. Burnham and the other characters were actually interesting and real in Season 1, not just fodder for a collection of feel-good Hallmark moments. To paraphrase Harlan Ellison, Discovery is so saccharine that it could cause diabetes.

I originally started out loving season 1 but by the time it ended I really hated it! Season 1 of Discovery is my WORST season of Star Trek in fact. This was confirmed to me by rewatchiing it twice in the last year. It just felt too cold and cynical for me and I really just didn’t like most of the characters. And the show feels like it takes place in a different universe.

As I said, season 4 hasn’t started out amazing either but the new setting alone makes it more interesting for me and I like most of the characters now although people like Burnham is still an issue for me (but I do generally like her).

We do agree about the melodrama in the show though. I don’t mind it some times but the show just leans into it too much none of the classic shows did.

I really want to like this show. I support it but it still has tons of issues for me.

I agree that season 1 was too cynical. But it has really shifted to the opposite extreme, which doesn’t feel real to me at all. Even Next Gen, where the Great Bird forbid conflict amongst the crew, didn’t resort to the kind of slavish fawning I’ve seen on Discovery the past 2 seasons.

Discovery is constantly trying to find itself. The tone has gone from ultra serious and a much darker show in first season to one of overly sentimentality now. I DO like the tone more today but I can’t disagree they been pouring it on with all the ‘feelings’ and ’emotions’ to the point it does feel like a soap opera.

There was actually a line in one of the pre-season 4 interviews David Ajala said about Book and Burnham’s new position as Captain that nearly made me gag: “if their love is strong enough, there’ll be enough space to allow Michael Burnham to grow and be the best version of herself.”

Who talks like this??? Can you imagine anyone saying this about Kirk, Picard, Janeway or Sisko back in the day? I get he’s talking about their relationship but it’s just overly touchy feely that none of the previous Trek shows ever did. This show goes head first to the point it just feels draining listening to it. I literally just stopped reading the interviews for the season because that’s the kind of talk it was for every character. It’s like all the actors were trained to speak in the most melodramatic ways possible like they are on a Liftetime drama and not Star Trek. But it just speaks in the direction Discovery has gone in the last few seasons and not for the best.

Yep. Agree wholeheartedly with your thoughts. At this point I’m just pinning my hopes on SNW!

It’s a bloody Gray’s Anatomy now…

Personally, I feel like this is a good thing and am a little surprised to see negative takes on it. For me, the primary problem with the show up to this point is its GO-GO-GO pacing that never takes a breath to let the moments sink in. I saw this episode as a character-centric follow-up to last week, which is exactly what I was wanting it to be. The show is learning to breathe.

Yeah I agree. We need more character building, especially more than Saru and Burnham.

AI = life. How many Feds have uploaded themselves into organics that they can breath in space and life forever? Or that’s top secret only for Picard and Gray (and top brass?), not for everyone else?
Maybe that’s why the Fed fell apart, refusal to share the tech?
No impact on society here, just uh technobabble gravity blob, oh no.
Turns out V’ger and the Borg didn’t need organics after all to be full life forms. Oops, their bad!
You know who wouldn’t need nor care about gravity (or a lack of dilithium since they can slow boat it anywhere and life forever?)… living androids with custom bodies for space exploration. Or living starships.

Also, what happened to all the Synths on Coppelius? What about all the tech that made up Airiam back in the 23rd century? So many plot points, wasted.

Culber explained that they tried to use the Golem tech again, but it usually didn’t work, and people eventually gave up on it.

But of course it works perfectly for J-L Picard…. (eyeroll)

Perhaps it worked for Picard because he had already survived the trauma of assimilation by the Borg and extraction from the Collective.

Gee, you’d think the Borg then would especially want that tech that they could make assimilation obsolete, live forever, breath in air, living unimind Cube ships and tech, etc… and it only works for them!

I’m sure the Borg would love to add that technological distinctiveness to their own, but Starfleet is always their to stop them.

You say that as though Trek characters wearing plot armor is unique to this series. Need I remind you how many redshirts Kirk lost who were within mere feet of him?

it has worked for JL so far……….

This response makes the most sense and has the most potential.

I don’t see Picard going beyond S3. I’m hoping the Golem body breaks easily and he eventually accepts his fate or joins the Q collective and that’s the end of that. I can’t see that show going on for 10 seasons with a 90 year old Patrick.

Plot twist:
Picard ascends to Q and he is responsible for the anomaly.

I did have an idea that he ends up BEING the Q that’s antagonised him this whole time. And we see that he’s been guiding himself form the very beginning. But i don’t trust these writers to nail it.

I think it is going to be up to Stewart. If he wants to keep doing it and they paycheck is still high enough then I can see it going more than 3.

Correction for writers: I believe the the place Michael has holo emitters installed in were her new quarters. Her initial meeting with Saru was in the ready room. The second meeting to discuss Book’s mission was a much larger room. It had varying levels and red furniture, with similar windows in a different configuration. It also appeared in some of the plubicity shots. I’m often annoyed with the ever moving camera making it difficult to get a clear look at the gorgeous sets.

Let’s hope for more info soon.

This was a solid episode but I am continually thinking that with the exception of Book (see below), people in the future will have a deeper awareness of the cycles of their emotions. When Discovery is gentle it feels like soap opera, not drama.

Michael keeps getting taught and is teaching, but it would have been nice if when she sat down with Saru to discuss Book their converstion was at a much higher level, not at all like the Hallmark version of trauma therapy this is.

I am also still, again, unsure what is unique about Book or his people.

That said, i described this episode to my partner and I was hard pressed to say what’s wrong with it in terms of what is expected from television.

What’s unique is there culture is grounded in empathy for life…Most often non-humanoid. Which is why Book was able to navigate the mycelial network. And it’s why he’s hurting that much more for his planet, family, and people.

I agree. I actually really like the human connection aspect of DISCO, but I wish we got more episodic eps, vs. season or half/season arcs.

*their

I think what’s wrong is that it’s still not compelling television. Watchable but not terribly compelling.

I’m try so so hard, but it’s a struggle with each season, to like this one. As a lifelong fan, this just isn’t agreeing with me. Right now, it’s for a couple of reasons:

– Whispering. So much unnecessary whispering, in every season. This one being no different two episodes in.

– Worry about a pretty poor payoff given how built up last season was, only for it to be centered around a kelpian screaming. This season we got a moving black hole that somehow Burnham is gonna be the one to solve for.

The only redeeming quality I have found so far these first couple of episodes is there has been a more solutions brought forth by others among the crew, giving them some much needed shine. I want to see more of that.

You do realize that Burnham didn’t solve last year’s mystery of the Burn. That’ was primarily three other characters. She was dealing with the Emerald Chain a much smaller part of the overall story of season 3.

Though I do wish that Trek (going back to TNG) was better at sticking the landing of the conclusion of a story. It’s something I don’t thank Trek has a history of doing well at all.

That’s why episodic and minorly serialized format works so well for Trek and heavily-serialized does not. If you don’t stick the landing in a one-off episode but the rest of the ideas were solid, it’s not a big deal. If you miss the landing on the capper for an entire season and every episode that season was 90% just buildup to the conclusion, well, then the entire season is basically wasted.

What about those weird fire explosions at the back of the bridge?

Yeah, introducing flamethrowers on the bridge that spit out fire every few seconds is just plain weired. It pulled me out of ever bridge action sequence in this and last weeks episode.

Seriously are they burning natural gas on the bridge…It’s not as big a deal breaker for me as the Turbo lift scenes (God how I hate those), but it does draw your attention out of the story.

I almost prefer the endless showers of cheap senseless sparks on Voyager’s bridge. It’s like a friggin heavy metal show on the bridge now.

The bridge has been turned into the Titty Twister :-) Next, I expect naked women turning into Vampires… Maybe Zora can pull an old holographic version of FDTD from her memory banks and holographically recreate all that :-)

So lame. Is the Great and Powerful Oz a bridge officer?

Wow Discovery is really tapping into its 32nd century technology! I really liked a lot of it like Stamets hologram projection tech, Burnham’s private Captain chair private chat, programmable matter tethers and yes HOLODECKS!! That’s a 24th century technology obviously but I really loved how they did it on Discovery. I still can’t figure out was Burnham in an actual holodeck or can they now just turn any room into a holodeck? I can’t tell if Zora just beamed her back into her quarters (which look very nice) or was she just already there? I guess the latter? But glad to see them back on this show!

And it’s cool Zora now has her name. I’m liking the computer is becoming more and more conscious. And it didn’t take her 7 seasons to come up with her name like the Doctor did on Voyager. ;)

As for Gray and having a synth body, I’m still confused why there just aren’t more synths by the 32nd century? I remember discussing this with another poster here and that maybe we will see more. But the discussion Culber had with Adira that they are using 800 year old tech kind of sounds like there isn’t just more advanced Androids. Not a huge deal I guess, BUT I WANT MORE ANDROIDS!!!! But I did like the fact they made it clear Synths don’t just live forever either. Probably longer than the average human but eventually things still just breaks down.

As for the episode itself, OK, nothing amazing! I did like it though, but someone else said it and it didn’t feel like a lot happened although we learned something about the anomaly. But I was more into the tech stuff than most of the story since there wasn’t a lot of it. But did like it overall.

That’s right! That “private” channel brought out a belly laugh! It was her own personal “Cone of Silence”! Funnier than anything on Lower Decks! The only way it would have been funnier would have been if it didn’t work. That the crew heard every word and then we have awkward moments where they have to pretend they didn’t hear.

Another problem with the show. Unintentional laughs at inappropriate moments. That is more the director’s fault. I’m not a fan of this director. The one with the unique name that I cannot recall and am too lazy to look up. He should not direct another Star Trek episode ever again. This is also the same director who loves zig zagging into shots all the time. Not a fan.

I actually think this is the best episode of the series so far. You had all bridge members contributing. Capt Burman didn’t save the ship. Everybody on the show got to contribute as a real team. I thought this was really great.

I think it might be my favorite episode as well. Granted, I’m not a fan of the series, per se; but still, I enjoyed this beginning to end.

I agree that it seems that the writers have been listening to fan criticism that the bridge officers aren’t utilized. Definitely a plus.

What I am concerned about though is that the episode had at times a bit of the flavour of some of the Arrowverse shows, particularly the Flash and Supergirl, where the infamous “hallway” and “balcony” conversations seem affected, awkward and affected.

Not sure it was the writing, and all the actors are good to their craft.

So, I’m wondering and somewhat surprised if it’s Olantunde’s direction that was the issue. He usually directs the high action premieres and finales. Perhaps directing these character intense conversations where the camera can’t flare or spin isn’t his best thing.

The bridge officers are still just cardboard cutouts. Not one of them, other than Michael and Saru, are characters. It’s frustrating.

I loved this episode. Mainly the one on one discussions. I do not know if that was due to writing, Covid protocols or both. I am intersted seeing where this is going. Also loved how the Captain chair was cloaked for a “Private Channel” It is great Burnham has Saru’s support.

So, Zara is Gideon from Legends of Tomorrow but probably not as much fun.

LOL… Probably true!

And this AI is probably going to be a problem at some point down the line, too.

How could she not be?

Which leads to the question of what is the tech status of AI 900 years in their future? Does it work? Is is banned because AI’s had a failed rebellion against their organic overlords? Maybe they succeeded and all life is actually AI now?

Again, this is the problem with going THAT far into the future.

Tried to watch it, but skipped forward multiple scenes. There was too much Burnham whispering. And tears as expected. Ridiculous smiling and clapping scene on the bridge.
The”Burnham mission briefing” speech to the crew felt out of place, with no presence. It wasn’t like Picard’s speeches over the PA to the crew.
Too much unnecessary drama.
How can stammets maintain a hologram transmission, the ships maintain comms while the small ship was in the anomaly – yet they can’t transmit any data from their scans? It’s just stupid.
Why couldnt an unmanned 32nd century craft or stronger probe couldn’t be sent into the anomaly ? 24th century Voyager had autonomous multiphasic shielded probes.

I thought Stammets telling Book that they can’t send any data and it was all stored on the ship was purposely miss leading Book in allowing Stamets to stay. Of course, I can be wrong in thinking this.

The tether was necessary to send the data back, but that doesn’t quite jive with Stamets maintaining holo presence.

The only rationale that works is that the data was on many spectrums, and was even more dense and required more bandwidth than the holopresence. Also, it needed to be uncorrupted, whereas Stamets holopresence was flickering.

I thought that transmission thing as well. But to play the devil’s advocate for a moment here, I guess that any tech thing that doesn’t make sense could be chalked up as “super duper magic future tech”. While that is a legitimate explanation it’s one of the reasons why I’m not a fan of setting things super far in the future. The tech. It’s also why most sci-fi that is set that far in the future is set in some sort of post apocalyptic waste so they don’t have to deal with super duper future magic tech.

I love this show, but this episode was a snoozefest for me.

Love the show, the whispering, not at all – please stop the friggin whispering! It makes the conversations impossible to follow.

it felt really odd to have the characters discussing their feelings during moments of action and peril. Yes, please do talk about your feelings, but not when things are exploding! I have to wonder who in the writers’ room thought this was a good idea. If your house is on fire, do you talk about how you felt about something that happened last week while you’re running from the flames?

The TOS Writer’s Guide says, “Believability of the characters, their actions and reactions, is our greatest need.” That’s still true! I don’t care what century it is; the characters still have to behave just like real people.

Oh, and it’s so very good to have Saru back! I used to say that after Spock, my heart belonged to Data, but it’s starting to feel like after Spock, my heart belongs to Saru. :-) More Saru, please!

Actually on talking about personal issue during times of crisis, yes it can happen in real life (there are a huge number of military combat veterans who can attest to this. Does it happen all the time, absolutely not. But it absolutely does happen. And as someone whose has someone set their house on fire, I did talk with my boyfriend about the last fight we had while I was working to put out the fire and get help…

Plenty of former soldiers over drinks would open up about it (when I was in my 20’s I worked at an American Legion, had a lot of Vietnam, some Korean and two veterans of WWII that would recall you with stories.

Interesting. Thanks for your perspective!

I enjoyed the episode. But I have a couple nitpicks.

1. Actress playing the Pres. is laying the drama on thick with all of her physical movements at the round table. You’re not Shatner. Only he can make that brilliant form of over acting work. ;)

2. I’m really getting tired of EVERY main character being sad or wearing their emotions on their sleeves. Book, I get it. But everybody else should be focused on their jobs and getting stuff done so they can save the universe for the 8th time.

3. Why is there synchronized fire coming out of the walls?

End of my nitpick rant.

All valid points–and they all serve to take the viewer out of the story and remind us that we’re watching a tv production (sometimes stage production with the lame choreographed fire).

Now that Discovery is no longer the only game in town (so to speak), I think I look at it more critically than I did when it was the sole show trying to return the franchise to prominence.

I quickly watched E2 and I did see a few negatives. First of all Saru returning as first officer makes perfect sense with Tilly being demoted. With everyone so pre-occupied with how people are feeling in the 32nd century, I am surprised nobody asked Lt. Tilly what she thought about losing her position as Michael’s Number One. Second, although I like the character of Booker a lot, why is a civillian allowed to just wander into a senior level Star Fleet meeting. Finally, when they break the tether connection, why is Stamett’s halo still working?

Ok, now onto the positives. Although there is not a lot of plot progression, this was obviously meant to be a story about character development and relationships, something I was skeptical about at first, but I have to admit by the end I liked the storylines. First of all, in many ways Booker’s loss of his family and nephew and the feelings generated reminded me of Picard losing his brother’s family and nephew in Generations. Second, I like Saru returning as First Officer. Going back to TOS, Kirk was full of flaws, but he had Mr. Spock there to help balance things out with logic. Burnham needs that same sounding board and sometimes someone to bring logic to her decision-making. Ironic sinice she was raised on Vulcan. I also liked the show’s portrayal of how some technology has progressed in 900 years. It makes sense that the Captain should have her own private halo suite – ensuite. I also liked to see that android technology has also progressed, although at a slow pace and remote halographic crew interfaces is available.

Overall, I would give this a 3.75 stars. Maybe this episode did not advance understanding of the anomaly very much, but I did like the character stories and development. I also liked the feeling that the show is finally about the USS Discovery and its crew trying to explore the secrets of the universe. Something that was lacking in the first 2-3 seasons.

Okay time to watch the end of the Bills Saints game. Happy Thanksgiving America!

Just pointing out that I was wondering how Book could just waltz right on in on some high ranking Star Fleet meeting. One the PRESIDENT was in on at that.

Security is pretty low these days. Maybe that Kidder played character from last season should try now to deal with Star Fleet. She could just walk on in and phaser everyone.

I thought it strange. Book was not however the only representative of a non-Federation world at that special session.

It would make sense that Book was invited as the sole survivor of his planet, but hadn’t arrived on time sue to his grief.

The problem is that we weren’t told that he was invited.

It would have been easy to have included a sliver of dialogue in the scene where Burnham and Saru catch up in which Burnham says that the President has asked him to attend a special session, but that he wasn’t leaving his ship.

It makes me wonder if something was cut in editing.

This was a situation where show don’t tell didn’t work.

I’ll point out that the Tilly conversation re: her demotion was very specifically punted to a future episode via her request from the Doctor for counseling

What’s with the flame throwers on the bridge?!

It seems to be an Olantudne Osunsami thing.

It seems that he still takes serious the concept that Discovery is supposed to bring the feel of the Kelvin movies to screen.

Yes, he’s the supervising producer in Toronto, but it seems that he’s not quite evolving the style as the writers are evolving the writing.

But then the KT movies did not have flame throwers on the bridge :-) Lense flares are one thing, but turning the inside of a Star Trek bridge into the outside of a Mexican stripper club is just amazing…
There has been a lot of obsession with functionality and safety protocols on Starfleet bridges on various YouTube channels… These flame throwers open a whole new chapter in that legacy…
It’s just so weird, but funny at the same time…

Yeah it is VERY weird lol. I can’t even imagine the flame throwers on the Kelvin Enterprise. It just felt so immaculate.

In the high-level meeting toward the beginning of the show, the gravitational anomaly was estimated to be “five light years across.” Our solar system is about 79 AU (astronomical units) in diameter. There are barely over 63,000 AU in a light year. That means there are roughly 800 of those solar system diameters in a light year.

If the gravitational anomaly has a diameter of 5 light years, that would make it as wide as 4,000 solar systems the size of ours.

Yet, they estimated it to be a binary black hole? At that size? A supermassive black hole has an postulated diameter just 400 AU at the top end. A binary pair of those would only be 800 AU themselves but let’s give them room for rotation, say another 400 AU — enough to squeeze another in there — so the whole kit-and-kaboodle is 1,200 AU wide. That still lacks another 2,800 AU to match the gravitational anomaly.

So the graphic they showed in the meeting, where you see the binary stars obliterate Book’s planet is completely wrong. It wouldn’t just be a planet and its moons shattered. The entire solar system would be steamrolled by something so large it would be like watching a military tank roll across a pebble.

I need to rewatch and haven’t had enough time. Was the 5 AU’s it’s dimensions or its area of influence.

Now Ton 618 (I thank that’s the name is estimated far higher than 400 AU, seen some estimates between 1200 and 1300 for its upper range (don’t have any idea how accurate they are, still far, far smaller than 5 AU’s.

And yes anything even close to that size would even with a glancing blow devastate that star system. So unless they are saying its not only moving, and moving FTL as it would need to be traveling exceedingly fast to be any immediate danger outside where its currently at, unless they are talking long term evacuations (which is what you really would need for planetary bodies), but changing size….

Outside of something like Q, we do’t know of anything in Trek lore that could manage anything like that.

Alexa and I did the calculations on 5-light years and that is from our Sun to Alpha Centari (sp?). And we cringed when V’Ger in the original cut was 82 AU.

Again with the rocks.
Again with the flame throwers.
Again with the lens flairs.

I said how it was neat that Control from Get Smart had the cone of silence and now Discover has a sphere of silence as well.

“Alexa and I did the calculations on 5-light years and that is from our Sun to Alpha Centari”

Centauri :-) But yeah, that’s correct. Alpha Centauri is the closest solar system to ours so it sort of makes sense that this anomaly is still able to squeeze itself between the empty spaces of existing solar systems. Of course gravity would go haywire on an astronomic scale if something like that happened in real-life but then again, we ARE observing grave gravitational fluctuations, aren’t we…

On a galactic scale, 5 lightyears is still not very much… VOY was set 70,000 lightyears away and the galaxy is about 130,000 lightyears in diameter… And the Milky Way isn’t even a big galaxy…

So no, I don’t think it is too big if there is a good explanation where it came from…

“A supermassive black hole has an postulated diameter just 400 AU at the top end. A binary pair of those would only be 800 AU themselves but let’s give them room for rotation, say another 400 AU — enough to squeeze another in there — so the whole kit-and-kaboodle is 1,200 AU wide. That still lacks another 2,800 AU to match the gravitational anomaly.”

The anomaly is much more than just those black holes on their own. But then again, that was just a theory. It may be something completely different.

My theory is that they will explore the theory of a holographic universe as the common theme of the season. A 2D projector creates all we know into a 3D/4D spacetime. And that anomaly maybe a giant malfunction in that projection system.

Disco has to travel to the very edge of the universe to repair our “holodeck”. The overall theme is reflected in programmable matter, book’s visions of his nephew who is still present in the holographic matrix of the universe and Grey’s new artificial body…

And that explains why the anomaly is “moving” erratically. It isn’t. The malfunction’s just spreading or affecting different coordinates in space-time…

Yeah, these writers sometimes just don’t get it. All they had to do was start with a small anomaly, something reasonably sized with projections that unchecked it could grow to be something massive. But 5 light years in size?

I guess one could say it was wandering aimlessly between galaxies, so that is why it was never detected before. We shall see what the writers come up with. They have upped their game in many ways since S1, so maybe they will surprise us.

If that anomaly is a glitch in the holographic projection matrix of the universe, it didn’t come from anywhere. On a cosmic scale that glitch would be very small but from our POV it is huge! And of course it’s wandering aimlessly because it’s a malfunction that doesn’t follow any logical patterns.

This is what this COULD be a about…

I wasn’t overly fond of the episode. The best part was the camera pulling out at the end so we could see the ‘anomaly’s’ size and shape. And, if holo-Stamets moves around during his exchange with Book on his ship, is his real body on the D also making the same moves?

OK..

Subtlety is something this director and writer has no idea of. All the supposed “character” moments and backstories feel amazingly forced. Nothing feels organic or genuine. And that is another reason why it is difficult for viewers to feel anything for anyone in the cast.

The Gray getting Pinocchioed thing is really confusing. Originally I thought Gray was just a manifest of the slug of Adira’s significant other that now resided in her. Something only she sees and was a cinematic way of showing her communication with it. Then they started hinting that this is not just a subconscious communication thing. But no one ever explained what the hell Gray is and how is it possible for him to suddenly become real. For the time being I’m just going to chalk it up to preposterous Star Trek Discovery goofiness.

And then there are references to things that I have actually completely forgotten about. The writers should not assume that all the viewers remember every little thing from previous episodes. So what you do is you write in a quick reference line whose function is to remind the audience of what they are referring to or for newbies to get a quick idea of what is being referred to. It doesn’t destroy pacing and it helps the viewers. For example Stammets telling Book how he saved his family. I don’t recall that at all. Later he mentioned how he ran the spore drive and I kinda recalled but the circumstances I just don’t remember. Also I have no idea what Tilly’s issue is that she is asking therapy for. If it was something from a previous season I just don’t remember. Again, would have been nice to get a one liner in there to help provide some recall. Or barring that, how about a “previously on Star Trek Discovery” in front of the episode? Then you show a clip of what is going to be affecting the characters in this episode. It seems like everything these showrunners do they do wrong.

Still wondering who the chief Engineer is if it still isn’t Stammets. I’m telling you at this point if it’s not him then that’s just another mistake for the show. Because it’s Stammetts who is showing up in meetings and discussions dishing out the engineering stuff for everyone.

Anyway… Same Star Trek Discovery. Same problems. Two episodes in and season 4 doesn’t look to be any better than 3. I know, I know… Still like 11 episodes to go. We shall see. But the early returns don’t look good.

A lot of shows do the previously on, for the start of an episode, and there is a segment of viewers that absolutely hate this. It generally telegraphs key parts of who’s going to appear and what the story is about, before it happens. That generally isn’t considered good story telling.

Generally the idea (And I am not saying Discovery is there, at all) is that if you are writing compelling material that really engages the audience they will be invested enough to remember the events of prior episodes. And with short serialized shows, you get less random viewer of the week, that was far more common on non serialized programming with 20 plus episodes a season.

You see a lot more of broadcast network material using the previously on as part of their shows. It’s less common (though plenty still use it) on premier content.

Tilly does mention more then once some of the issues bothering her. Now if they have her actually getting therapy in a later episode that material will be brought up in more detail (ideally). This is similar to how they handled Detmer’s trauma last season, we see what caused in the 2nd episode, but we see her dealing and processing it for 3 episodes afterwards, but they don’t refresh us, as they trust the audience to beware of what has happened.

A lot of shows do it and given the nature of short season shows having such a large lag time between seasons it is actually a VERY helpful thing. Sure, it telegraphs that that issue is going to be dealt with. But it sure is nice to be reminded that that issue happened. The concept of an invested audience is valid. But that is only true if the show is good enough for people to recall what happened. For example, I watched Game of Thrones and I recalled more from their previous seasons than I ever did from Star Trek Discovery. Why? Because Game of Thrones was engaging.

Tilly did not specifically mention what was bothering her. Only that she was bothered by something but for the life of me I had no idea what it could have possibly been. But again, “previously on…” is not the only way to deal with such things. Adding a quick line to help the audience is the other option. Yet it seems that the writers on Star Trek Discovery seem to think their work is more engaging and memorable than it actually is. This is at the very least borderline arrogance. They aren’t doing themselves any favors here.

They did explain Gray somewhat. He’s the previous host of the Trill symbiont; we saw an episode where he was killed and Adira took the slug as he was dying.

It feels to me as if Discovery is made by an odd assortment of outstanding professionals and apprentices who are just learning their craft. Most of the actors are excellent, and the people who make the music, props, costumes, makeup, and visual effects all seem to be at the top of their game.

The directors are a mixed bag; Jonathan Frakes is excellent, but some of the others seem to be not quite professional-level yet. I really dislike Olatunde Osunsanmi’s style of direction, because Osunsanmi seems to want to draw attention to his direction, rather than having the direction serve the story, and that’s just wildly unprofessional.

And the writers … I think they’re trying. I think they’re trying hard. But the stories they come up with seem to me to have a juvenile view of the world, with only the destruction of the galaxy being “big” enough to care about. No, if you write it properly, we can care about a single person; it doesn’t have to be the freaking galaxy at stake every time. And you don’t have to blow up an entire @#$% planet for us to care about a character’s pain; if you write it well, we can care about much smaller things.

I feel sort of bad for all the people who are working so very hard and pouring their hearts into this show, only to have all of that effort serve so-so stories with so-so direction. The actors, composers, costumers, makeup artists, and so on deserve better stories on which to exercise their talents.

I understood the original situation with Gray. But that explanation doesn’t include turning the dead host into a living breathing entity again. Gray is dead and his memories exist in the Trill slug. Bringing him back makes as much sense as bringing Jadzia back after she was aced. It’s just some sort of idiot Star Trek Discovery mumbo jumbo.

I do agree with you about the show’s crew. Those folks do a good to fantastic job, IMHO. Where the show severely comes up short is writing, directing and even the cast. Which with a few exceptions I don’t think are very good actors.

If all furniture is programmable matter (like it was for that communications guy), then she might not bump into furniture.

In TMP, Kirk and Decker go back to wearing captain and commander insignia, respectively, when Kirk takes command, so probably both were holding temporary ranks (as happens today). By TWOK it seems Kirk and Spock had permanent ranks. Scotty was also a captain (maybe at first also temporary) from TSFS, which also happens today. Also today, aircraft carriers tend to have both a captain and an admiral (who’s in charge of the fleet), but that’s another matter.

Seeing gravity malfunction was cool. We don’t often see that, somewhat inexplicably when all else is gone.

I liked this episode, but Saru being first officer is lame. I question whether Starfleet would allow that in the first place, but even if they did, is he not taking that position away from somebody? Apparently not, which is ridiculous and is clearly a side-effect of the writers knowing that they were going to put Saru there and not wanting to create a plot point of him bumming out Rhys or whoever.

This show is so, so bad at the simplest things. Worst Star Trek series to ever be made, and it isn’t even a close contest. And yet, I did like this episode; that’s two in a row, which is encouraging!

While I resisted the urge to fast forward through Tilly’s problems and Stamet’s confessions and Gray/Adira monotony, I struggled to think of any Star Trek characters I didn’t like at first on the other shows who managed to grow on me as late as season 4. I can’t think of a single one. Bashir was a slow burn, but I liked him by season 3.

At this point there are so many characters and actors I’m completely ambivalent about at best, and actively hope will be killed off at worst. The show really only has Saru and Booker keeping me engaged. I won’t bother to keep complaining about Discovery, I know it’s tedious to read, but I am so disheartened to be on the verge of just not caring about a Star Trek show at all, for the first time.

I’m no longer disheartened. Kurtzman Trek is the most disappointing schlock I’ve ever seen put to screen. The characters and acting and stories – it all rings hollow for me. I haven’t watched an episode of Disco since S2E2, and from everything I’ve seen and read, I’ve missed nothing. I have no interest in Prodigy, Picard was a dumpster fire, and LD is literally cartoon Trek – i.e. the ridiculousness of Discovery’s cartoonish characters, rendered as cartoons. None of it is transcendent, it’s all just “content” to fill CBS’s coffers with subscriber money.

I give Picard a little slack because of its production problems, and it managed some poignant moments for the TNG returnees. But plenty of problems abound.

LD I honestly think is the best of the lot. It actually has real heart and charm at times and characters I enjoy seeing each week.

Discovery has none of that. The emotions are overwrought and/or unearned, the characters and actors are unappealing apart from Saru and Booker. Losing Bryan Fuller may or may not not have been the worst thing in a series of missteps, but Michael is a casualty of not having his vision. SMG can act, but her character never had a chance after the one person who had a handle on her was fired.

What you said about LDX I find to be true about Prodigy. Thus far I find it to be the best of the lot and it is the show with heard and charm and characters I sorta enjoy seeing each week. I found LDX to be an unfunny nightmarish chore where the bulk of the main characters are either completely repulsive people or one dimensional dullards as interesting as a pile of rocks. If it had laughs I could handle it but 19 of the 20 episodes were unfunny garbage. Sorry.

I agree about Lower Decks as well. It’s easily my favorite out of the new shows right now. As you said it has a lot of heart and I like the Berman era type of feel to it although it is a comedy. But it feels like classic Star Trek in all the best ways!

I think my second has to be Prodigy, at least right now. It’s only 5 episodes in so I don’t want to make any big declarations about it yet, but so far so good at least. It’s really the show that feels the most Star Trek from the outset IMO. And completely love having Janeway/Mulgrew back in whatever form! ;)

We’ll see about Picard season 2. Season 1 did start off amazing but just lost steam halfway through and turned out into a complete mess by the end. My second rewatch of the show really confirmed it. But I agree with you, all the returning legacy characters I loved deeply and can’t wait to see more like Q and Guinan. And I still hope a few DS9 characters pop in next season!

As for Discovery, it’s still the little show that can. I want to generally love it being on its fourth season now, but at the moment it’s still on low end of shows I like, just beating Picard at the moment. I’ve always given them major credit for all the changes and I do love it being in the 32nd century. That alone was the best idea for the show among everything else. But it still falls into the bad writing traps and a lot of the characters are still not fully realized. And I’m still not sure I buy a former mutineer as Captain but she did save the galaxy, so whatever. ;)

I agree. Saru and Booker are at the moment the most engaging characters. Reno would make that list too if she showed up more. Saru more so than Book. But I do think that Book was interesting enough that destroying his world to engender empathy for him was completely unnecessary. It’s sad that this show feels like they need to overexaggerate everything. But that’s an old and oft told complaint.

I do want to say that I’m not missing Space-Stalin whatsoever. So that’s a positive.

I at least liked Michelle Yeoh. I can’t stand most of these actors as well as their characters, it’s rough.

Plus points:
SLOWER PACE. Noticing that some Discovery megafans saying it’s too slow. Whereas Discovery critics actually prefer the slower pace.
SARU RETURNS. He steals any scene he is in.
NO TEARS EVERY 2 MINS. Almost, but it feels like they have actually taken note of people’s complaints, last season’s characters would be bursting out in tears at every turn.

Negative:
BRIDGE EXPLOSIONS.
BURNHAMS WHISPERING
ADIRA AND GREY SUBPLOT ZZZZZZZZ – Grey fast becoming the shows most irritating character on track to overtake Tilly and Burnham.
USE OF MID 21ST CENTURY U.S. COLLOQUIALS IN CONVERSATION.
THE EVIL UNIVERSE ENDING NATURAL ANAMOLY PLOT.

Well I enjoyed that overall. The return of Saru greatly helped to add balance to the bridge crew. Not having the First Officer was hampering the story telling. I think having someone that Burnham can trust implicitly, essentially the “Spock” role will really help.

I like that Burnham is referring to the bridge crew by their rank or surname, it makes her more of an authority.

I thought putting together Booker and Stamets was brilliant and classic Star Trek really. Thinking back to Picard and Wesley Crusher, or O’Brian and Bashir. It’s a great way for the audience to get to know the characters.

The episode motored along quite well, although the slow bits did slam the brakes on a little but too much but that’s just me. I’d say the best episode of Discovery so far, lots of it felt like “mystery of the week” Star Trek.

You had me at “heartbreaking emotion”. This. This is the very core of Star Trek.

To me it seemed like too much “touchy-feely Trek” – I felt like I was sitting in on someone’s counseling session half the time…

I was wondering further up the thread if it was the direction that was off for this episode.

However, we need to keep in mind that these were among some of the first US productions in Toronto shot under COVID protocols.

Alex Kurtzman had noted that they were having to make decisions between fewer scenes and optional material vs fewer takes per scene.

It may be that this is why some of the conversations ran on longer and the performances might not have been as polished as usual.

I can’t wait for Grey to get a body and use it to leave the show. What an uninteresting, pointless character. His only function being there is to check the diversity box so the producers can pat themselves on the back.

Alexander is not a great actor, it’s really disheartening to see a potentially groundbreaking storyline handled so amateurishly.

I sometimes feel like this site’s reviewers are bound and determined to make every episode seem great, even if it’s not. Opinions differ, sure, but calling this episode–in which very little happened and we just saw a lot of people standing around sadly–“one of the strongest episodes of the series” is a bit absurd.

Agreed. These reviews aren’t written by a critic but by a fan. Every other review I’ve seen for this episode has been pretty negative, and the current rating on imdb (5.2/10) also shows that people don’t care for it.

To be a bit of a Devil’s Advocate, IMDb is all reactionary fanboys who have rated The Matrix, Fight Club and all three Lord of the Rings films amongst the top 20 movies of all time.

Discovery season 3 is no worse than seasons 1 and 2, but the user ratings took a huge dip – coincidence that this is when the show took on some storylines that put it in the crosshairs of the culture wars? Probably not.

I have noticed that this reviewer also loved every single Lower Decks show too. I’ve stopped reading them because I know he’s just going to gush over the episodes. I feel like there might be the possibility that if he writes a negative review he may lose some press access or something…. Maybe not but it certainly is not illogical to think that.

He was spot-on with his reviews for Lower Decks.

Let me rethink my opinion on that….

Ummmm…..

No. He was dead wrong on every episode in every way.

I’ve just watched both episodes on Pluto TV. Overall, I’m truly impressed. Trek has always been kinda critized for a lack of direct physical confrontation with threat, being too sterile, too remote, too protected… These episodes felt a lot more direct with gravity going topsy-turvey on the bridge and the station.

However, they went one bridge too far with those nonsensical flame throwers on the bridge. What is it with those? I felt constantly reminded of the Titty Twister from From Dusk Till Dawn, on the starship bridge???

What an awesome episode! I really like the beginning of the season! Much better balanced characters and emotions. Burnham works surprisingly great as captain and the Archer spacedock moment with the enterprise theme in episode 1 made me goose bumps. While the trailer didn’t excite me regarding the anomaly I am now fully into the storyline, glued to the screen and can’t wait to see the continuation of the story and what’s up with the anomaly. By the way: they really have to do something in regard to the power circuits on the bridge – they look like some flame throwers… ;-)

Star Trek Discovery is one of the best looking TV shows out there. The production values are incredible. I feel like the creative / technical departments are firing on all cylinders – the art department, costume, hair and make-up, props, camera, sound, visual effects, editing, music. It’s such a gorgeous show to watch and listen to. Hat’s off to all those incredibley talented people.

However I find the acting, dialogue and direction is continually really bad. The tone is extremely melodramatic, to the point of ridiculousness. It almost makes Douglas Sirk’s work look gritty. There are way too many reaction shots featuring close-ups of characters in shock, or teary-eyed, or smiling kindly at each other and nodding in congratulation. It’s like a high budget soap opera.

I actually paused this episode a few times, just to rewind and make sure I wasn’t imagining how truly basic some of this dialogue and acting was. Adira and Gray’s scenes in particular are difficult to get through I find. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those awful people who just doesn’t want to see actual diversity in Trek; I very much love that there are non-binary and trans characters. But I just find everything about their scenes so heavy-handed, forced and one-dimensional that it does a disservice to the complex and interesting ideas that their relationship and characters could actually bring to the show.

I will say though that I think David Ajala continues to be, for me, the most welcome addition to the show and has become easily my favourite actor and character. He brings a natural and grounded quality to his work that elevates the whole show.

Also, the music is essentially non stop. Was thinking how much better a lot of these scenes would be if they were allowed to breathe but now all I hear is that music just droning on and it is distracting.

melodramatic?

have you watched some of the OS lately?

I thought this episode was really bad. Almost nothing about it makes a lot of sense.

-I know it’s the 32nd century. I know they need to differentiate the time period. But some of the “tech” in this episode just seemed stupid, or at least stupid in the way it was used.

-It would have worked so much better for the drama of the episode if they just put Stamets in the ship with Book. Justify it as a huge risk that Michael is taking, but one she makes that expresses her judgment as a captain deciding the threat of the anomaly takes precedence.

-It makes absolutely no sense that they can broadcast Stamets’s thoughts back and forth across the anomaly but they can’t send sensor data? Also, if you can broadcast a real-time hologram into Book’s ship capable of interacting with the environment why was it necessary for Book to physically be there at all? Just project Book in too.

-If the “Golem” tech allows for giving Gray a body, does this mean that Vulcans never die now, since you should be able to transfer their katra into a new form every time.

-One problem I have with <i>Discovery</i> is that how every episode seems to devolve into melodrama and people, especially Michael, almost in tears. It really undercuts the professionalism of the people involved if they bring their personal issues to a crisis. It also doesn’t make those emotional moments special if you do it every episode.

-The computer now calls itself Zora. Found it odd no one, either Michael or Saru, mentions the sphere data. Is Zora the sphere data? Or do all Starfleet vessels have sentient AI now?

Excellent point about the Katras and the robot tech. I still want to know how they have dealt with AI in the 32nd century. I mean given what we have seen 800 years earlier you’d think there would be aI everywhere, right? Or did they eradicate it? Or do they not want to touch the subject at all? That would be the weakest excuse. They opted to go a millennia into their future. The tech is a part of that.

-It makes absolutely no sense that they can broadcast Stamets’s thoughts back and forth across the anomaly but they can’t send sensor data? Also, if you can broadcast a real-time hologram into Book’s ship capable of interacting with the environment why was it necessary for Book to physically be there at all? Just project Book in too.”

Maybe they needed someone who sees directly what happens and reports it.
But that is a point which often doesn’t make sense in 55 years of Star Trek at all.
If they have crew members beam down and let them describe via communicator what they see… why not simply have them wear small sized body cams? If they can send audio, they can send video too.

Does anyone know if there is going to be an episode of The Ready Room to accompany this episode? I thought in last week’s episode Wil Wheaton talked about “next week” but a new episode hasn’t dropped yet. If there isn’t an episode planned every week, does anyone know how often there will be one? Thanks!

Good question. I think they had two episodes for Lower Decks, one at the beginning and one at the end of the season.Since they built a new studio to tape the show it would suggest maybe having more episodes of the Ready Room but clearly they are not back to doing an installment each week.

Everyone complains about too much action in DSC but when the show slows down and builds on science, teamwork, bridge scenes, secondary characters, camaraderie and relationships, then everyone complains that nothing happens. Yes, the camera shakes too much and MB whispers too much. Of course it’s okay to criticize DSC, but for so many to not give more credit to the production team for giving fans so much more of what they wanted seems asinine.

That’s because it’s very difficult to get invested in any of these characters. Hard to deal with camaraderie, relationships and such when the audience doesn’t have any reason to care.

Part of the problem is that the necessary character work was so sloppy, after 3 seasons it feels like very conscious and clumsy retrofitting. Obviously there are loads of thinly sketched main characters from TOS through to now whose appeal is often reduced to broad generalities or how much we like what the actor contributes. I mean, Uhura didn’t get a first name onscreen until the reboot!

But because of the focus on spectacle and dropping characters for weeks, a lot of the Discovery characters are just defined generally or as a list of ticks to me. Tilly is a ball of nervous semi-comic relief sidekick energy driven by how Wiseman interprets that. You basically like it or you don’t, but there’s not much more to her. Stamets is smart and kinda grumpy and pale and cares about his husband. Michael to me is semi-impenetrable, I’ve never really gotten a hang for her character at all. She feels deeply about everything, the argument that she is a Mary Sue is worth healthy debate, she starts out as a mutineer for reasons that still puzzle me, and I still don’t really get her worldview apart from how she broadly believes in Federation ideals.

So when they drop in things like Stamets pouring his heart out about feeling useless or Burnham being so free and joyous temporarily in the season 3 premiere, or having characters spell out why they like Mirror Georgiou despite no real effort being made to show that progression beforehand, it doesn’t work for me. I am sure people here can properly break these characters down, but I just have no investment at all, apart from Saru and Booker (and I kinda came to grips with Georgiou at the end of her arc, but that was a stretch). It doesn’t help that there are so many disposable bridge crew who are blank slates. And then there’s an unfortunate layer of my just not really liking a lot of these actors’ acting choices, which I honestly was not expecting to be the case. First time that’s ever happened – normally I only am iffy on a couple actors in a cast at most, and really until Voyager I liked them all.

Just popping in to say I’m really enjoying S4 of Discovery. It’s so much better than Picard that I honestly don’t know what happened on that show. I wasn’t expecting TNG S8 but I definitely wasn’t expecting that dark nightmare. The first 3 episodes were fine…But once they got to space it was just bleh. Stardust City Rag is one of the worst Trek episodes ever. S2 needs to be a LOT lighter in tone. Please no more torture.

Strange New Worlds needs to be basically TOS but made in 2022. That’s what i’m hoping. Weekly adventures that reset every week and end on a joke on the bridge.

Strange New Worlds needs to be basically TOS but made in 2022. That’s what i’m hoping. Weekly adventures that reset every week and end on a joke on the bridge.

That sounds like Star Trek: The Orville ;-)

Except The Orville doesn’t joke much anymore.

Kinda glad they stopped their humor because I liked the show when it was trying to be perhaps 40% humorous. Because if they kept up the humor I might feel compelled to get Hulu when it starts there later. Now I don’t feel compelled to get Hulu as the show just isn’t that good without the jokes.

Still wishing MacFarlane did Lower Decks. The chances it would be funny would have gone up quite a bit.

Imho Lower Decks already is the animated version of The Orville. ;-)

LOVED the sense of DREAD at the end when Tilly said they can’t predict the course of the anomaly and that huge pull back.

Another plot twist:
Riker’s holodeck programm after “these are the voyages” continues in a storage device and every show we have seen since Enterprise is a holodeck novel. Discovery will meet Prof Moriarty and both will be aware of that. The anomaly is created by Morirarty to find a way out of the holographic world.

Did anybody notice that Adira seemed to be reaching for something in their boot when they were startled by Grey?

Saw the first two episodes and sadly simply stopped caring.
Season three had a few wonderful episodes and some true stinkers, but at least I cared for the crew and the characters. Even that has stopped now. If the entire nonsensical 31st century gets retconned into a parallel “possible” future at some point, I won’t mind a bit.

I’m trying to wrap my brain around how this episode was “one of the best of the series”. I wanted to love it, I really did. I loved episode one, but this one was just… boring. Nothing really happened. I felt myself thinking of Doctor Who series 11 when the writing just wasn’t good. Where I started watching my phone half way through an episode because nothing was moving forward anymore. This was the same. And basically, it’s now a week later, and I’ve seen episode 3: the same again. I feel bad because I want back what season 2 gave me. This was boring with awkward scenes. Stamets (Anthony?) feels off. I want to get to know (really know) the rest of the bridge crew by now (it’s season 4 for crying out loud). And I really don’t care about the Adira and Gray characters. I’m gay and I love Stamets and Culber, but these two kids are just not adding anything to the show or the show’s dynamic. They feel like a separate show and separate from most of the other characters. Mostly they take away time and storylines from other characters I’m way more invested in. Of course I will keep watching season 4, but I want to be on the edge of my seat again, kept guessing again and made to cry, because the actors play it beautifully and it comes naturally. Not because it’s forced down my throat by the writers like they’re Disney. Please… don’t be Disney. Be better.

I have always enjoyed Star Trek but I’m almost done with Discovery. Feelings play too much of a role in the interactions and dialog. Every episode is a giant hugging story.