Review: ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Gets Back To Work In “The Examples”

“The Examples”

Star Trek: Discovery Season 4, Episode 5 – Debuted Thursday, December 16, 2021
Written by Kyle Jarrow
Directed by Lee Rose

SPOILER-FREE REVIEW

With a welcome return to the main arc of the season, “The Examples” deftly weaves together a series of connected stories with fast-paced action, character exploration, and nicely familiar Star Trek archetypes and dilemmas.

WARNING: Spoilers below!

RECAP

“And it’s back”

After taking a few weeks off, the DMA returns. After it was observed popping from one sector to another, Stamets and the USS Discovery command team quickly determine it actually isn’t a natural phenomenon, but something created by some unknown superpower for unknown reasons. When Admiral Vance is briefed on this new and shocking discovery, he lets the team know that Starfleet Security is narrowing down a list of Star Trek’s best-known god-like suspects—but apparently the Q Continuum has an alibi. For now, they are going with the uncreative moniker “Unknown Species 10C” for the new big bad. And now that the DMA is threatening a former Emerald Chain asteroid colony, Vance orders the Disco to head up an evacuation. He also assigns a famous scientist named Ruon Tarka to go along to help with the DMA, which irritates Stamets as this guy is heading up the work on the new Spore Drive and never returns his calls.

Book cajoles Michael into letting him join the rescue effort, looking for ways to ease his grief over those destroyed by the DMA on his homeworld. Upon arrival at the Radvek Colony, the magistrate informs them he plans to leave six “example” prisoners behind because screw them, they are criminals, right? Needless to say, Captain Burnham is not cool with that and, of course, assigns herself to a prison breakout, putting Rhys in command of the evac, at his own request. Once they’re on the prison asteroid, Burham and Book return to their wisecracking courier gap year banter as they action scene their way through the automated security system—which includes big scary exploding robot beetles–to get in, only to learn the inmates are serving life sentences for minor infractions, apparently a lovely Emerald Chain tradition. In another sign that the Federation has lost some luster in the post-Burn world, the prisoners are skeptical about the offer to help even in the face of possible DMA death. They won’t go unless Michael can guarantee they won’t just end up back in another “examples” prison after this is all over.

“Great intellect can be costly”

Back on the ship, Saru and Stamets withstand a barrage of awkward eccentric rudeness in the form of Ruon Tarka, who within minutes calls the Discovery an “antique,” Saru’s feet “strange,” and Stamets’ theories as “wrong.” But this Risian who sees himself as the 32nd century’s answer to Galileo may actually be onto something as he goes full-on crazy Richard Dreyfus in Close Encounters to demonstrate how he sees the DMA. There is some controlling mechanism at the core of the anomaly and it so happens he already has a schematic for an experiment to create a miniature version of it. Suddenly Stamets is on board for weird crazy science, and with the help of the always acerbic Reno (yay, Tig is back!) there is some power to spare to run it, but it takes a lot of cajoling (and even some kooky in-your-face primal screaming) to get Saru to agree to let them run the dangerous experiment.

All available power is needed because they are creating a tiny DMA (complete with an artificial wormhole) and a containment field to control it, and each needs more and more power as the experiment continues, or as Reno helpfully (and ominously) says, “The more you feed the monster, the more you need the cage.” Eventually, the mad science team builds their very own DMA in the lab, possibly proving Tarka’s theories, as he and Stamets channel their inner Dr. Frankensteins exclaiming “I was right!” and “It’s working!” But as they ramp up, the mini-DMA almost breaks loose to destroy the ship, so Saru (who’s been given a kill switch by Reno) shuts it down before they get all the data they hoped for. The scientists are pissed, but Reno claps back with, “That is the closest you have come to killing us all, and that is really saying something.”

“I’ve been lying to everyone”

While Paul Stamets was preoccupied with the arrival of Tarka, he did take a moment to notice something was a bit off with his partner Hugh. Dr. Culber has been keeping extra busy in his capacity as ship’s counselor, and it’s getting to him. Dr. Kovich does a quickie holographic house call session for Culber, who is recognizing he is burning the candle at both ends and acknowledges he needs some of that David Cronenberg deadpan brutal honesty (like he provided the dying Georgiou last season). Hugh admits that even though he is offering up hope to his patients, on the inside he feels like a failure and a fraud. Kovich cuts to the quick, diagnosing Culber as having a savior complex trying to help everyone as he ignores his inner survivor’s guilt resulting from his resurrection a few seasons back. “Your very existence is a middle finger to anyone who has ever lost anyone, which is everyone.” How is that for brutally honest? Before popping off, Kovich prescribes Hugh some other outlet to relax and suggests he stop using his counselor job as a crutch.

“The right choice is rarely the easy one”

Back at the prison, Michael finds a solution thanks to the Great Book of Starfleet General Orders. She will grant the prisoners Federation asylum, so no need for the brig. But first, they need to break out of the prison they just broke into due to an automated lockdown, so Michael reactivates that swarm of bug-mines to break through the door. Just the lead prisoner, Felix, is left to beam back to the Disco, but he informs Burnham he is choosing to stay—unlike the others, he really belongs in the prison. He committed murder decades before and has resigned to die there as part of his penance. Book is fiendishly determined to never leave anyone behind again at the mercy of the DMA, but Michael refuses to force the issue, respecting Felix’s right to his own life. The couple’s fun banter is over as Book hits her with “This is wrong” as they beam away.

Informed the DMA is closing in, Michael Greyeyes’ Felix movingly tells his truth of regret to the crew, leaving Captain Burnham to fulfill his wish to return a stolen family heirloom (an Akaali “Lalogi” orb) to the daughter of his victim.  Feeling the grief of the moment, Michael gives that arrogant magistrate a dressing down after his outrage at the prisoners being granted asylum, and reminds him he is just a refugee now. She hopes he finds the “shelter and grace” the Emerald Chain was not known for. Pow. On the way to deliver the heirloom, Burnham has a curious turbolift chat with Zora, who can feel Michael’s sorrow in the microinflections in her voice, and now has the capacity to feel emotions, which Zora calls “a recent development.” As for Book, he drowns his sorrows at the bar where he is found by Tarka, who has read his file. The pair bond over both coming up just short of their goals that day, but we end with Book sussing out that there is more going on here; the scientist knows more about the DMA than he is letting on.

ANALYSIS

Now we are really getting into it

After some important (but sometimes plodding) character housekeeping for a couple of episodes, it was nice to return to the main arc of the season; “The Examples” is the best episode of the season because it was able to keep up the action while also serving those important character explorations. However, to keep up the pace and to deliver on those character moments, Discovery often sparks unanswered questions, like why did they need to do that experiment during an evacuation, or why didn’t Felix ever try to return that orb? (And let’s not think about how he even got it into the prison.) But it’s also a delight when Discovery revels in some of Star Trek’s greatest tropes, including the narcissist genius scientist, the arrogant planetary official, and a good old moral quandary. The episode also wove themes of difficult choices and hard truths throughout each story and even delivered more on the season’s uncertainty theme, although it may have upended the DMA-as-pandemic allegory by turning it from an unstoppable force of nature to just another mysterious superweapon created by a big bad.

Throughout the episode, “The Example” was elevated by a slate of strong guest stars, especially Shawn Doyle (familiar to The Expanse fans) as a quintessential Star Trek arrogant scientist. Doyle went toe-to-toe with Discovery vets Anthony Rapp, Doug Jones, David Ajala, and the always delightful Tig Notaro, and he still came out strong with a few layers of nuance on top. Even with so much action and exploration, Discovery still found time to give Patrick Kwok-Choon’s Rhys a moment, with a little backstory and action for him. And it was nice to have Reno and Saru remind us that Mary Wiseman’s Tilly is missed with a bit of humor to really nail it. And Michael Greyeyes’ solemn Felix turned what could be a clichéd storyline into a thoughtful character study.

“The Example” was not afraid to peel back the layers on some of our main characters, especially Dr. Culber with a very strong performance by Wilson Cruz. All season long he has come off as almost saintly as he floated around, always with the right piece of advice. Now we see him laid bare, as he too is in pain, just better at hiding it; his therapy dealing with Book’s survivor’s guilt in the previous episode triggered it, resulting in a great quick but impactful scene with Cronenberg’s Kovich to really nail it this week. Another fine example happens when Book and Michael go from joking about the old days to facing off on that moral dilemma. She has to be a Federation captain first and ignore his obsession with saving everyone from the DMA, shining a light on how maybe bringing your boyfriend on your away missions instead of a team of order-following security types is something to consider.

Riddles wrapped in mysteries, inside enigmas

When it comes to major plot arcs, the last couple of episodes started to tread water, but “The Examples” threw a lot of exposition, world-building, and even some new mysteries at us. The big reveal: “Unknown Species 10C” created the DMA, although how they were able to suss that out so quickly after weeks of being told the nature of the anomaly was practically unknowable was a bit handwavey. Perhaps the bigger issue is the aforementioned allegory of the pandemic. If this anomaly is some kind of creation with some (as yet unknown) purpose, then that sort of blows up the whole parallel with how society has been coping with a force of nature that has no will of its own.

While this does lead us back down the familiar road of a big bad adversary this season, which is a bit disappointing, it does open up some potentially interesting opportunities. Here, Discovery is dipping into Star Trek’s big pool of the superbeings, with a few name-dropped, including the Metrons, Iconians, Nacene (aka Voyager’s Caretaker), and the Q, although by the end it appeared clear Unknown Species 10C is a new member of that pantheon. And there is a nice mystery about Tarka and his connection to it all, along with the possibility that he had some other agenda for conducting his experiment on the USS Discovery. Maybe he was there to get closer to someone on board? There may be a clue regarding some backstory as an Emerald Chain slave (note the scar on the back of his neck from one of their control devices), but hopefully, the Chain is not 10C because that would be boring.

Speaking of mysteries, things are also starting to heat up with Zora. The ship’s resident AI with a mysterious future (see “Calypso”) continues to show she is chummy with the crew as they ask her for help. But when Zora starts offering comfort to Captain Burnham, revealing she has recently started to experience emotions and empathy, things really start getting interesting. This kind of quick bit is a nice way the show (hopefully) is planting a seed for what could be a major plot point going forward.

This is it

Discovery season four feels like it is really going strong with a great and almost perfectly balanced episode, brought to life by production design and visual effects that haven’t been mentioned enough. Everyone from in front and behind the camera is upping their game, creating even more anticipation for the next episode to see where they can take us next.

Random bits

  • This is the third Discovery episode helmed by director Lee Rose, but the first since season two (“An Obol for Charon”).
  • This is the first Discovery writing credit for Kyle Jarrow who joined as a co-executive producer in season four. An Obie-winning playwright, Jarrow primarily worked in theater until transitioning to television in 2016. Jarrow is also a member of the band Sky-Pony, along with his wife.
  • Following Tilly’s reassignment to Starfleet Academy in the previous episode, Mary Wiseman does not appear in the main title credits for the first time in series history. She was credited in the first two episodes of the series even though she did not appear until the third episode.
  • This is Tig Notaro’s first appearance as Jett Reno since the season three finale. Notaro was credited in the main titles for the first time, with her previous ten appearances listing her as a guest star in post-episode credits.
  • Blu del Barrio (Adira), Ian Alexander (Gray), Oyin Oladejo (Owosekun), and Emily Coutts (Detmer) do not appear in this episode.
  • Manning Owo’s usual bridge station was a Shlerm officer, an alien species introduced in Star Trek Beyond.
  • The former Emerald Chain scientist Aurellio was mentioned several times. Played by Ken Mitchell, Aurelio appeared in season three. Mitchell hinted he will appear in season four “in a very unique way.”
  • The USS Janeway is presumably named for Admiral Kathryn Janeway (Captain Janeway of Star Trek: Voyager).
  • The Ni’Var ship NSS T’Pau is named for the 22nd and 23rd century Vulcan leader T’Pau. NSS presumably stands for Ni’Var Science Ship. There was a 24th century Federation transport named T’Pau.
  • The NSS T’Pau had ring warp nacelle configuration as 22nd-century Vulcan ships like the Suurok class and 24th-century ships like the Sh’vhal.
  • The “what the hell just happened?” emotional outburst from T’Pau’s captain likely identifies her as a Romulan.
  • Stamets reveals that the next generation spore drive program announced by the UFP president in episode one is stalled due to inability to solve the navigator problem, with Book and Stamets still the only ones capable. But Vance has faith Tarka will solve it.
  • Stamets mentions that he has told Tarka about the jahSepp to avoid harming them with the new spore drives.
  • Among the minor crimes the prisoners were being held for: making counterfeit latinum and counting cards at Tongo.
  • The Akaali first appeared as a 22nd century pre-warp species in Star Trek: Enterprise.
  • A star map noted a number of known Star Trek planets and systems (some fictional, some real) including Rigel, Kaitos, Ni’Var, Tellar, Vega, Tau Ceti, Deneva, Earth, Andoria, Inferna Prime, Zetar, Arcturus, Draylax, Bolarus, Benzar, Picus, Teneebia, Proxima, Wolf 359, Denobula, Veda, Calder, Devron, Yadalla, Dessica, Kaleb, Argelius, Memory Alpha, Tagus, Draken (spelled “Drayken”), Nelvana, Barradas, Nausicaa, Rator, Qualor, Kelfour, Tellun, Pollux, Toroth, and Prior’s World.
  • The map also included four Starbases (1, 9, 10, and 39).
  • Even in the post-Burn 32nd century, Risa has maintained its status as a “pleasure planet,” so not even a severe lack of tourists or trade can keep those Risians from partying and doing what they do.
  • Also identified were the real star systems Cor Caroli and Ophiuchus along and the new fictional system Pyrantia.
  • The 32nd-century badgecorders contain a significant amount of data as Burnham was able to search Starfleet regulations in order to find a solution for the prisoners without having any communication with the ship.
  • In addition to his Close Encounters of the Third Kind mashed potatoes homage, Ruon Tarka also paid homage to Jaws (another 1970s Steven Spielberg movie featuring Richard Dreyfus) when he said: “We’re going to need a bigger room.”
  • The Discovery’s “forward lounge” appears to only serve synthehol, leaving Tarka to smuggle in his own Risian whiskey.
  • Reno quip of the week: “I can just picture Tilly’s face as she learns we got sucked into a wormhole three days after she left.”

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 anyone else playing “Spot the scene filmed in front of the AR Wall” this season?

Here! Sometimes it seems really obvious when the set is all round, but I guess that not every entry is as recognizable.

I find it interesting that onscreen, especially our new television, Discovery season four looks incredible.

However, in the production stills the AR volume looks less realistic.

We’ve even noticed that the vfx space scenes are so much better this season. I was rewatching some of season three with one of our kids and the difference between the two seasons stands out.

I was wondering if TrekMovie has any information on changes in overall format that have been made to align with the use of the AR wall.

The AR volume is programmed to look good to the camera. Basically, it constantly tracks where the camera is and where it is pointed and optimizes the display for that. As soon as you photograph it from a different position (like the production stills) you’re more likely to notice that it’s just a screen and not a real environment. Also, I’m pretty sure that they do color correction and other tweaks on any scene in post production, so even though they don’t have to replace a green screen background like they did before the final shots won’t look exactly like what they shot on the day.

My issue with the special effects on this show have always been that space has never looked so colorful and that they always seem to nebulize every scene that doesn’t have a planet in it. The effects have almost always looked animated. The AR was almost helps it regain some realism in that depth of field is realized much better. Making the planets otherworldly and less Earth like May be a huge plus. As to me, that’s where they can go a little more crazy with effects, is in the environments of alien worlds.

Yes, the AR wall is VERY noticeable. One of my frustrations this seasons. It just doesn’t work on wide shots with the actors too close to it. It looks like they’re still learning how to use it. It actually only works when it is severely out of focus in the back ground. They shouldn’t use it in wide shots in focus, like at Starfleet Command in episode 1.

I think that it’s being used more than people realize.

This is the same thing the Mandalorian went through in the first season. S02 was a HUGE improvement.

ILM went from Unreal Engine to a proprietary solution between seasons and I believe, they made some changes to the volume itself.

Since Discovery’s Effects aren’t done by ILM – as far as I know – they’re probably using the same technology in principle but with almost no knowledge, how to use it.

Almost no knowledge of how to use it? That’s being reductive towards all the hardworking and Emmy-winning people who work on the VFX. They’ll adjust to the technology and refine how they use it as time goes on. It’s still leagues better than greenscreen.

Weil yes. It‘s a relatively new technology with all the experts working at another company. So: almost no knowledge of how to use it. That wasn’t a criticism. I’m sure, they’re handling it. Or will do so. The effects were never really the shows problem.

As to how much of a job they’re doing now: I have no idea, since I gave up after last season (and would have to pirate the show anyways). It doesn’t look great on the pictures here but I don’t know if those are screenshots or production stills.

But not all the experts are at ILM. There are LED/AR walls all over the place already, you can rent a soundstage with one right now if you want.

Watching the episode in question, frankly the fake rocks are more jarring than the AR wall.

I suppose we know how they’ll do Engineering in Strange New Worlds. Based on that one short Trek, they’re going go need it.

Oh definitely, and this episode was especially obvious during the scenes outside of the prison. With that being said, if you didn’t know they were using an AR wall, I’m not sure it would be especially noticeable.

It felt like an old TOS or TNG set. Which I actually felt kinda good about.

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i don’t get why they spent millions updating the look of tv ‘trek’ for TNG and then went back to using those fake planet sets OS style!

thank god for location filming in later eps and ‘planet hell’ working a stage to film scenes.

I think they were still trying to emulate a little of TOS for the old fans at the time, which didn’t bother me too much. But yeah, happy they got much more expansive in later seasons.

Some new viewers to ‘trek’ may have thought the show was living up its cheesy looking low budget reputation.

Because location shooting is expensive as hell. And it gets far more expensive when you get out of the Thirty Mile Zone (TMZ). That’s one reason we saw Vasquez rocks, it was within 30 miles of the studio and cost less to shoot there.

may of been less expensive back then and they were spending a lot to upgrade ‘trek’ production values too.

That’s what I VERY much appreciate about those scenes. I was TOS / early TNG and I absolutely loved it. It’s been updated by the AR wall but it has that classic Trek feeling. Absolutely gorgepus moments…

I like the uniform design, however the fabric appears way too thick and stiff and doesn’t fall properly on the characters. They just don’t fit well at all.

This is off topic, but has anyone seen the Netflix documentary “The Fantastic Fungi”? One of the main characters is introduced as a mycologist, named Paul Stamets! And throughout the show they discuss the mycelial network (they actually call it that) and how ubiquitous it is underground and how it links the trees to each other… Sound familiar?

During the Season 1 press they talked about the real Mr. Stamets and his research a couple of times and confirmed the character is named in his honor.

I didn’t know that. Thanks for the info…

We had the real Paul Stamets on After Trek as well. Fun guy!

OMG I must have been in hibernation under a rock somewhere! And here I was all smug thinking I had discovered this fantastic correlation with Discovery, when I was the last to know…

LOL. Glad we have some really good fans to keep us up to date with everything related to the franchise. This is also my favorite site. Have no idea how they can pull so many details, facts, and random bits for each episode so quickly. =)

So you’re saying the guy who knows a lot about mushrooms is a… fun guy?

I see what you did there.

The credits of Fantastic Fungi has a scene from Discovery

Another enjoyable episode: the season plot was advanced (though I hope the DMA is not just a mad scientist thing), several nice character moments, and Zora approaching or achieving sentience. Guess the Sphere data is not omniscient since it’s not much help with the DMA. Someone wrote earlier that the series is more and more resembling DS9 with a large roster of recurring characters. Looking forward to seeing the story unfold.

A thought that went through my head that I was surprised didn’t go through any character’s was that the DMA might be alive. I still think that’s a possibility that should be considered even with the mechanics at the center.

“…found time to give Patrick Kwok-Choon’s Rhys a moment”. LOL, that was a read. When we finally think he’s getting more screen time they don’t show his storyline and we only hear him on the com, after his ‘moment’.

Sorry, I got bored halfway through the episode. When the most thrilling moments are the so-called ‘name dropping’, and little moments like Zora emmerging, in stead of the overall writing of the story, than that is something to worry about,

I’m curious how they’re going to treat Zora being self-aware.

Zora already has more meaningful character development than any of the other peons on the bridge.

I still think the anomaly will be revealed to be something along the lines of V’ger. The fact that there appears to be a ship of some sorts at the center of the DMA lends further credence to that theory. At least, I’m hoping it’s more along the lines of V’ger as opposed to a big bad.

I’m thinking V’Ger too. I noticed that the waveform in the credits is similar to Uhura’s Photic Sonar screen in TMP. Voyager had fallen into a ‘dark star’ (old name for a black hole).

However, the usage of a Hypergiant star is making me think T’Kon or the Machine Guardians from Picard Season 1. The T’Kon had the power to move stars and were theorized to be behind the admonishion warning. The machine guardians opened a portal in subspace.

It’s now been revealed that the waveform represents Zora. (See newer news article on this site.)

I think it’s not only something along the lines of V’Ger but perhaps maybe even V’Ger itself. There are just too many parallels for it not to be.

Does anyone else notice that morph cut edit glitch at about 16:54 mark in the episode? I’ve played the scene on multiple devices, so it’s definitely a glitch in the episode itself.

I find Discovery to be rather boring since Michelle Paradise took over… which more or less occurred with the jump to the 32nd century.

So much potential has been wasted in all these storylines. The writing is bad.

The burn being caused by a child with abandonment issues sort of killed this show for me. They also found Starfleet way too quickly. It would have been far more interesting if they left the Burn as a mystery and the end of Season 3 being finding Starfleet. Discovery in a world without Starfleet and building the federation would have been very interesting. Instead, they took a cool premises and wrapped it up in about 5 episodes. Once again, the DMA is no longer a mystery. Chances are, after last season, it will be a creation of Tarka’s from future episodes that he lost control of and went back in time to cause destruction. Wait, that sounds a lot like the symbols from season 2.

Nothing in Discovery feels earned. It’s clear the writers don’t know where they are going when they start writing the season. The make stuff up along the way, and have no clue how it will end. They create a problem, bring in a character to explain it away and don’t really explore their thoughts.

Heck – Michael should have known about asylum without having to look it up. The old Michael would have said “you need to ask for asylum from the Federation” with out looking puzzled and checking her book to help out the prisoners. Also – what’s with her dropping an entire rescue mission to go after some prisoners. Send Rhys to do that and create some tension he might not make it out alive.

Also – what’s with her dropping an entire rescue mission to go after some prisoners. Send Rhys to do that and create some tension he might not make it out alive

Exactly. There were not one, but two, much higher priority missions requiring the captain’s attention, and she goes off on another jaunt with her boyfriend. This writing just stretches belief, and it was a wasted opportunity to develop one of the secondary bridge crew. Every modern Trek show had some episodes showcasing characters other than the two leads (even in TOS, McCoy and Scotty had their moments).

Michael: “Don’t worry sir, I wil personally oversee the rescue operation myself.”

Also Michael 5 minutes later: “I’m taking my boyfriend to an off-grid prison rescue mission, bye”
:)

Sadly that fits a lot of high profile thinking today, though.

But… Yeah.

To be fair the characters are bad so they are awfully tough to write for. But I whole heartedly agree that nothing on Star Trek Discovery feels earned and the writers just have not been up to the challenge. Everything feel contrite and cliche. And yes… Even I thought of the political asylum thing. Why she didn’t consider it straight away I have no idea. Did she think it was no longer a thing 900 years later?

Agreed about the child. Here we are. The United Federation of Planets. A thousand years of advancement. Thousands of member worlds. Unheard of technologies that allow them to travel instantaneously through time and space (At least when ENT’s Daniels was around, Discovery undid all of that apparently). Then a baby cries and boom, a thousand years of history and advancement are obliterated in an instant. W. T. F!!!

About the DMA, I think Tarka has something to do with it, but I still think it is related to V’Ger some how. Maybe a recreation of it, maybe V’Ger reprogrammed. But related in some way.

The crying Kelpian kid breaks the galaxy for a century storyline REALLY took that season down a huge level for me. I thought I could get over it by now but still can’t. It was the dumbest thing these writers have thought of and that’s saying a LOT! And I like the show.

Agreed. I mean ANY OTHER explanation would have been better. Anomaly. Q snapping his fingers. Omega. Trelane broke a mirror. Seriously. Anything.

I mean, hell, why are they even still using dilithium in the 32nd century anyways? They nearly found away around it in the 24th century.

I put it to you that it still wasn’t nearly as dumb as Lorca being from the MU.

Lorca being from the MU was bad. Really bad. The MU should know about the prime universe from the events of Enterprise, but they should have no clue how to travel back and forth.

But a baby crying and blowing out the galaxy? No. That beats any stupidity you can possibly find in 55+ years of Star Trek.

I understand why people thought that was dumb too, but the Kelpian kid just breaks all barriers of basic story telling logic. Lorca was a lot more subjective. I still think Tyler being Voq was much much worse because at least Lorca knew who he was. With Tyler you have to pretend they not only erased his entire life (which I still have no clue why they had to) as Voq but then can suddenly act completely human based on someone else’s memories alone….from a guy who has never even been in a room with a human until he became Tyler.

Man, Discovery has had some really ridiculous plotlines lol. The worse of the worst in Star Trek thus far. Well OK, Threshold and/or Spock’s Brain probably still holds the reigning title lol. But those were just one episode, not an entire season of dumbness.

Another ridiculous thing about the Tyler/Voq storyline is how the producers used it to show a graphic rape scene, sealing the show’s fate (on top of the Rated R violence) as not being family-friendly. The whole, “Oh but it wasn’t a rape, he was misremembering!” reveal is immaterial – the intention for the audience was for it to be perceived as anything but.

They’ve toned it down to just swearing which I would think most parents don’t really care about (all those bloodless sword fights a couple weeks ago for example), but the whole first season I would think a lot of parents would consider a non-starter for younger kids. I know the 90s shows had their moments (Conspiracy and Faces say “Hi!”), but for the most part you could show TNG-Enterprise to pretty young kids… who are now in the market for a live action show they can enjoy with their own children. I hope Strange New Worlds delivers on that, it is good for the franchise’s long term prospects if so.

I’ll be honest, the rape scene never bothered me personally. It was a two second shot so I never thought that much about it. But I still completely agree with you, it didn’t need to be there either (it added nothing story wise other than a red herring) and it probably did upset a lot of people for just having it.

Discovery in season one was just trying to be like a lot of these shows are now and that is darker and edgier. That’s what most shows are today, especially the ones that are the most acclaim. Those are the shows people and critics seem to gravitate to because they are provocative and not cookie cutter affair like most sitcoms and family shows. Everyone always cites Battlestar Gallatica as another example of that and the producers probably wanted something like that in mind when the show first aired (although I don’t remember any rape scenes or anything).

But Star Trek itself was never about that and another reasons so many old fans had trouble with Discovery early on. Yes there were definitely darker episodes here and there on the classic shows as you just referenced (and we know how controversial Conspiracy was to the point they ignored the entire story after it aired) but the shows overall were family friendly. Even DS9, which I cited in another article recently was darker but it wasn’t dark either. The show still had tons of fun family friendly episodes. It was more adult but it still didn’t have tons of graphic sex and violence either.

And obviously they learned their lesson because DIS today has toned down a lot as you mentioned. It’s much more family friendly today. There is nothing ‘edgy’ about any of the shows, just more mature. They still curse more but my guess is the other shows would’ve had more cursing too if they could’ve gotten away with it. We saw that with the TNG films because they were simply allow too (but still never any F bombs).

Amirami and Tiger… I guess the reason I rank the Lorca thing as the dumbest is because of what they did to a potentially fantastic character. Before the reveal he was shaping up to be a super interesting guy. The first morally gray captain. I thought that was brilliant! Some people guessed the MU thing but I dismissed that theory as monumentally stupid. My reasoning was, and remember at this point Secret Hideout did not have any kind of history, no way that’s it because it’s just too ridiculous. Then they did and they completely destroyed what was up to that point a complex and conflicted character. It was like the producers were saying to the audience, “no no. This is not a complex or intricate character. He’s REALLY just a one dimensional cartoon mustache twirler.” I found it insulting to the audience. It was such a gut punch to make those watching feel like complete suckers for expecting something unique and different.

The Kelpian scream creating the burn was pretty ridiculous. But I didn’t feel betrayed by it. By that point I was expecting stupidity from the Star Trek Discovery people. Nothing they do will be considered as bad as that first screw up. Nothing.

That is why I consider the Lorca thing to be the worst. There was more to it than just a dump plot point.

Well OK, that’s fine. I just don’t have an issue with it that much personally and have said that to you before. But yes I see why it bothered you so much because you wanted to just see a more conflicted Captain which we never had before.

And that WAS the original idea. I think I mentioned this in the past, but Lorca was just supposed to be a captain from the prime universe. They came up with that twist later. Now it doesn’t mean he was going to be as conflicted either, they may have just added that in when they came with with the MU twist but he probably was suppose to be a more ethically questionable character. And I would’ve been fine with that too, especially since he was never going to live past first season anyway.

Well, it’s a longstanding Trek tradition that there are frighteningly powerful children or child-appearing creatures in the universe. “Charlie X,” “The Squire of Gothos,” TNG’s “Imaginary Friend,” for example.

And even regular children can do horrible things under the sway of other beings (“And The Children Shall Lead”) or when there are no more adults to supervise them (“Miri”).

Agreed. The writing on this show leaves a LOT to be desired. Despite some upside to this episode, I agree the show is nowhere near as interesting as it could be. It’s a soap opera in space. The dilithium detonation arc and it’s resolution is still one of the worst ideas I’ve ever seen, and not worthy of the pantheon Star Trek.

Last season it was a cosmic event caused by a scream. This season’s big reveal will be a yawn.

I gotta admit, last year’s big reveal was utterly ridiculous. I literally can not think of a more disappointing ending.

Tarka is like the Dr. Koracick of Star Trek Discovery. I don’t like him. I was happy that they revealed that the anomaly wasn’t a natural phenomenon, but the whole colony storyline was a snoozefest.

My Spidey sense tells me there is still no big bad. That the controller of the DMA will be something we never saw coming!

I keep hearing Sulu say, “12th Power!” It better not be V’ger.

My guess is that it will be like last season, and whoever is behind the DMA isn’t actually trying to harm anyone.

Tarka was a Borg. Or Keanu.

What else was that scar on the back of his neck?

The other site said “Emerald Chain” – that he was a prisoner. Oh well.

In the episode where Book was a prisoner in the Orion Chain ship
salvage yard, the prisoners had the neck implants that would blow off their heads if they tried to run beyond the perimeter.

I forgot about that. I thought it was a subtle tell. I guess it still is.

I keep thinking about those alien parasites from TNG first season episode “Conspiracy” they had a “snorkel” that stuck out the back of their hosts.

I think it’s them. Data predicted that would be back after having sent a warning of humanity… The snorkel may be missing or the makeup just been updated.

This is a very special thing for me. Ever since I had seen that episode I wanted then to return… The Shadows of B5 (Morden!), the Goa’uld on SG… I had always thought Trek could have done well with those aliens as a recurring player. I really hope they’re finally back…

I’ve been wanting them to pick up that story for some time. But now I’m fine if it stays dead.

They did return in ds9 novel ‘unity’

Not a Borg and not an Emerald Chain thing… First I thought Tarka was the Kosinski of DSC, now I’m sure he’s the Remmick of DSC…

Before the season started I thought about using the Conspiracy aliens again. After it had been “confirmed” the DMA was just a natural phenomenon, I discarted that notion and thought of it a potential plot of S5 or the inevitable Voyager J spin-off. But now I’m sure it is them.

But maybe they are not behind that anomaly at all but try to protect the Federation from an even bigger fish…

No offense intended here but why would invasion of the body snatcher style aliens use a planet destroying gravitational anomaly in their plans? It doesn’t add up. We also haven’t really seen any known characters acting weird like they’ve been taken. The Conspiracy aliens may one day return. This is not that day.

Just had another thought since my earlier post. Taros explains to Stametz that his original theory about the DMA being a primordial wormhole wasn’t entirely wrong. Rather, there is an artificial wormhole at its center. Where have we heard about, indeed where is the only place we’ve ever heard about an artificial wormhole before?

So we have a DS9 wormhole that has Sisko in the center of it, acting like V’Ger but eating planets like the Doomsday Machine on mushrooms?

What if there is a connection with red matter? Maybe there’s a connection with the Kelvin timeline! I feel it’s more likely than V’ger or Sisko or something like that.

🙂

1) STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE
2) DS9: “Emissary”
3) DS9: “Rejoined”
4) DS9: “In the Hands of the Prophets”
5) VOY: “Pathfinder”
6) VOY: “The Omega Directive”
7) INTO DARKNESS: onscreen graphics

I would watch the heck out of a Trek series featuring Greyeyes.

He was great. I’m a big Stephen King fan, and he’s playing Rainbird in the new “Firestarter” movie which is coming out next year. He’s going to be great in that.

He has a very strong and captivating screen presence. So strong I bought the idea he had to stay behind to atone for his sins. I’ll be honest it teared me up.

I just saw the episode and have no idea who Greyeyes is.

What’s really going to bake your noodle is that Greyeyes also saw the episode and has no idea who you are, either.

I can’t stop thinking that the DMA is a Wesley Crusher science experiment that has been growing for a few centuries

I wish I could upvote this.

Hell, why couldn’t it just be an evolved Wesley Crusher that was enhanced by some machine race? lol

Oh, so that’s why Wil Wheaton is so extremely enthusiastic about the show on the Ready Room ;-)

To be fair, he’s extremely enthusiastic about everything on The Ready Room, not just Discovery.

A very enjoyable episode. Discovery is in the plus column for me this season; we’ll see if it stays there, but so far, so good.

Worst things the DMA could turn out to be:

(1) Anything involving Georgiou
(2) Anything involving Control
(3) Anything involving Airiam
(4) Anything involving V’Ger
(5) Tarka and Book accidentally create it via paradox while trying to figure out where it came from

Agreed!

5A) wouldn’t be bad necessarily – but it shouldn’t involve anything related to the UFP President and revenge by or against the Emerald Chain.

I could at least imagine something like that being satisfying. I don’t know if I trust these writers to make it work, but hey, we’ll see.

Better than Airiam surfing out of it like the herald of Galactus or some such nonsense.

Your number 5: lol. Thanks!

:)

I really do believe it’s going to be V’Ger or at least V’Ger related.

1) It looks Identical to V’Ger.

2) Its even bigger now than V’Ger was in TMP which means if it is that it has grown over the centuries which makes sense.

3) We now know it was artificially constructed.

They only thing that might not make sense is that technically V’Ger is now at least part human when it merged with Dekker.

Yes – VGer was discovered and investigated and reasoned with by competent Star Fleet officers.

Then it “merged” (whatever that meant) with a Star Fleet officer. If anything, it should then have had some innate perception of right and wrong as well as had deep knowledge of Star Fleet data and protocols. Goodness, VGer, by now, should be something akin to the sentient Sphere data planet, but with greater ability to communicate desire/intent, and apply logic/reason.

No way it would have reverted back to being some vague doom of the week.

But the writer’s room may disagree.

It’s been a thousand years. Who knows what V’Ger encountered or learned in that timespan? I mean, I’m not the biggest fan (understatement) of what the DISCO writers come up with, but this is a wide open field here.

I am with you on the understatement. But my feeling by now is that sometimes you just stop worrying and decide to love the bomb.

(“Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb“)

So I don’t kvetch about Nu-Trek as much as I used to. And rarely do I post any more. It is more a pleasure for me to read these threads.

I love “Calypso” and Zora. If only for those two things that have come to me via Nu-Trek, I will overlook the rest. Mostly.

I just don’t want anyone on Discovery meddling with V’Ger, man. That story ended perfectly; leave it ended.

I have to agree. I don’t see the point of it being V’ger. And they already kind of did that with the Sphere Data merging with Discovery itself. Do we need more of this kind of thing?

We do not. Not if you ask me, at least. But hey, we’ll find out soon enough; I’ve enjoyed the setup, so hopefully the follow-through will hit me the same way.

I have to agree. I don’t see the point of it being V’ger. And they already kind of did that with the Sphere Data merging with Discovery itself. Do we need more of this kind of thing?

I was very late to the party, but I suggested on the TMP thread last week that the next Trek movie should perhaps be a sequel to TMP. Not about V’Ger directly, but a PICARD-era classified Starfleet mission to find the “machine civilisation” that upgraded V’Ger. “Ice Station Zebra” in space, in a way. (I posted a lot more details in my comment on that TMP thread — you should find it interesting). But it would obviously need to be in the right hands; I think it would be best if DSC’s storyline doesn’t go anywhere near anything to do with V’Ger.

Having said that, DSC and to a lesser extent PIC do have a track record of things (possibly deliberately) turning out to have very different explanations compared to viewers’ initial theories/predictions. So the apparent similarities to V’Ger might be misdirection this time too.

Desmond Dekker?

Unless I missed a random line, there seemed to be one big plot hole: Why did they have to do the experiment on a ship, and why at the moment that ship is trying to save a whole colony? Stamets says “We’re on a timetable” when Tarka orders the mashed potatoes- are they? Doesn’t Stamets eat and sleep? (Of course he does.) And once they were done transporting…why couldn’t they have just run it again, with the extra power? Stamets was like, “We didn’t get everything we wanted.” You were in a lab! It wasn’t like flying through debris with Book.

But that’s only one point. I really liked Tarka, especially as it became clear that he’s a master at manipulating people, consciously or not- he is from Risa, after all. Stamets, Reno, Saru, and maybe even Book…It was disturbing, really, but I think that was the point.

And I’m wondering if Kovich is just sort of the Mycroft Holmes of the UFP, a guy so smart he sits at the center of everything and everyone turns to him.

That was a HUGE issue I had. Why did they have to do it on the ship WHILE it was on a rescue mission? Seems kinda dangerous. They could have easily done it in a more proper environment while Discovery ran off on their rescue. Or they could have just waited until the rescue was complete. It feels like it was done only to create a bit of tension. But the reasoning just doesn’t wash.

It’s funny I had the same view with episode 3, but in the opposite way. I wondered why when giving Grey a synth body why did they have to do it ON the ship as well? Why not just do it on Trill or Starfleet headquarters? Because in this instance they were trying to track down the rogue Qowat Milat who killed a starfleet Captain. Why not take Discovery to track her down but do the Trill transfer somewhere else? I didn’t bring it up in my original review but it was odd to me since it seems like it would be appropriate to do that somewhere else and use the ship with all its resources to track these people down. Not just send 4 people in Book’s ship to do it.

I think a lot of these questions come down to production reasons. Discovery may have a bigger budget than any Trek show before it but it is still a TV show with budget restrictions. Having the transfer take place on Trill would have required sets and probably some establishing shots to convince us we are on the Trill homeworld. Having the DMA experiment take place somewhere else would have required that “somewhere else” to be built. Remember last season when they had the Vulcan “trial” episode take place entirely on Discovery? I think that was purely a budget decision to do a bottle show on the ship. All previous Trek shows had those bottle episodes. You probably wouldn’t expect it on Discovery but they, too, have to cut costs sometimes to go big on other episodes.

Honestly I’m disappointed in short season shows having to rely on “bottle episodes”. The main reason for those in the past was to save money. But when your season is only half as long as normal or less, there really is no excuse for that. IMHO.

They didn’t send Discovery because Rilak and T’Rina agreed to send two Starfleet and two Qowat Milat on the mission. Since Discovery wasn’t doing anything else that day, it was as good a place as any for Gray’s incorporation.

I understand the explanation, it just seem like a ridiculous one. Yes, let’s not send a starship with resources and fire power to track and take down these deadly assassins, let’s just send four people instead and one of them with hardly any combat experience at that. But hey, it’s Discovery, what else do we expect? ;)

And on top of that, what if, you know, there were more of them? They just assumed it was only a few of them together, but she could’ve recruited a lot more people they didn’t know about and then really been undermanned once they found them.

Remember how in that OTHER universe they sent the Enterprise to go after Khan who was just one guy? Why? Because he was really dangerous and they knew it. They didn’t just send Kirk and Spock in a shuttle alone.

I thought the reason they sent the Enterprise was that they were trying to provoke a war with the Klingons.

I just a had a realization about this season: the individual episodes are very good and feel more Star Trek-y than most Disco episodes before. However, the overall plot of the mysterious space anomaly is just lame and been done too many times before.

Much better this week. Agree about some of the core ideas feeling more classic Trek, but this secretive mystery alien creating this stupid anomaly just screams something fan servicey is coming, and I hope I’m wrong.

Well… This must be some sort of record. I keep expecting the show to return to its natural state of sucking but we have just had three “meh” episodes in a row. They didn’t suck. But they weren’t good either. They were just kinda there. I guess I should just take the gift with no questions…

Glad to see Reno back, although she really didn’t do a whole lot. She’s been better so if Tig’s time was really an issue then why waste it with something they could have had literally any other background character could do?

One other thing… They brought up their version of the “Cone of Silence” again and again, it brought out another belly laugh. I think they may get a lot of laughter mileage out of that device without even realizing it.

I believe that the anomaly is William Shatner’s toupee, which was sucked through a wormhole and has achieved sentience, and is now very angry.

But seriously, I think it will be connected to V-GER in some way, as its overall shape is no accident. That visual effect was clearly designed, and I don’t believe it was just to be a cute red herring. Maybe the joining with Decker did not ultimately work as expected, and this new life form was created out of a sense of loss or grief. That certainly would tie in with the theme of this season–Book’s arc in particular.

What’s with that placeholder name for the “species” responsible for the anomaly? Even if there are biological lifeforms behind it, they may as well be multiple species. They might even be individuals of familiar species. It’s totally useless to create such a designation.

I wondered about this. Perhaps “species 10” was a bunch of characteristics, almost like specifications.
Version one of their observations.
Species 10b was the same but with additional qualities which they’d observed, therefor the species 10 designation didn’t describe it properly.
And 10c is the most recent definition perhaps

Maybe it’s Species 8472 ;). It would be a cool tie in if it was the Sphere Builders or Future Guy (who turns out to be a Romulan) but it’s not gonna happen

BTW does anyone think that the musical episode is eminent when the unknown species is called 10c? *(as in 10cc)??

Who wants to bet that Clint Howard is in the middle of that little spaceship singing, “I’m not in Love”

Every time a life-threatening obstacle confronts the characters in the show they just miraculously press some floating buttons to solve it. It’s lazy writing, and I’m weary of it…

As opposed to all the old shows, where they just pressed regular buttons?

I’ve been really wanting to see them flesh out more of the background bridge officers – who sometimes seem to only exist to give Michael a knowing and/or gleeful glance to spoon feed the audience an appropriate reaction. However, after seeing how Patrick Kwok-Choon handled his “big moment” I can understand why they would want to avoid that. Very poor acting.

The bridge crew are not interesting characters and are not portrayed by strong actors. I think the show does better when they’re ignored.

Now we know the anomaly is not naturally and created/caused by someone/something.
I whish they would come up with some cool and fantastic sci-fi-stuff. There already has been the theory that they live in a big simulation. How about a 4-dimensional object moving trough 3-dimensional space? That would cause an object appearing and increasing out of nowhere, disappearing and rereappearing on another place.
Just take a look here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4ruHJFsb4g&ab_channel=TheActionLab

This is starting to look a lot like Enterprisd sason3, with the Xindi story arc.

What if the species 10c create de anomaly because there planet was severely impact by the burn

and they are trying to find from which planet it came.

Should it be taken as bad news for the god-like aliens that weren’t name checked by the admiral?

The Organians and the Prophets aren’t mentioned as part of the group.

They’re both generally benevolent, so it makes sense they weren’t name checked.

The DMA, at least in part, seems to come from something with the ability to form artificial wormholes, or something close to it.

It was just strange that he wouldn’t mention the “wormhole aliens” that live in an artificially created wormhole.

Better episode for the sciencey stuff, again justifying why the Stamets, Saru et al are way more interesting than Mary Sue Burnham and Han Solo galavanting on another unnecessary mission. Poor scriptwriting again, opportunity for one of the cardboard …sorry…bridge officers to take that other mission to rescue prisoners but they fail to let it run.

As for the anomaly…..Control is my bet?
Or a Borg tie in perhaps to link up with Picard Season 3, anything is possible…