Review: ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Is Back And Ready To Play In “All In”

“All In”

Star Trek: Discovery Season 4, Episode 8 – Debuted Thursday, February 10, 2022
Written by Sean Cochran
Directed by Christopher J. Byrne and Jen McGowan

SPOILER-FREE REVIEW

Discovery returns with a fun, if fleeting, sci-fi excursion that moves the season plot forward a bit with added development for some underutilized characters.

WARNING: Spoilers below!

 

RECAP

“Do everything you can to stop them”

Picking up immediately after the mid-season finale, Admiral Vance is super-pissed Book and Tarka absconded with the super-classified prototype spore drive on a mission to build an illegal super-weapon to attack the DMA. And the President is even more pissed because Tarka–we learn–was handpicked by Vance and allowed to work without any oversight. A megalomaniac super-genius with access to huge resources—what could go wrong, right? But Chuck has a plan, revealing the MacGuffin of the week: isolynium, a rare black market substance Tarka is going to need for his big bomb. Find the source, find the mad scientist. Easy peasy, except POTUFP thinks Cap Burnham is too close to the problem due to her past with Book, so she is given the secondary task of data gathering for Species 10-C to prep for first contact. Plot twist! Vance pops over to the Disco to give Mike extra orders to get “creative” as she gathers data and hit two Tarkas with one ship. She already has an idea where Book may be headed: It’s off the beaten path where the Federation isn’t exactly welcome, but it (conveniently) is also where she can gather some 10-C locating star charts.

As for Book and Tarka, the pair isn’t exactly hitting it off like Butch and Sundance. Theirs is clearly a crime duo of convenience, with Ruon’s mega-ego envisioning that after they pull off their plan, they’ll return to be greeted as Federation liberators. Cleveland knows the score, they are headed for the Starfleet big house, but he is single-minded, determined to ensure no one else suffers as he has with the loss of Kwejian. The wary former courier heads to a remote alien planet where he thinks he can find some of that isolynium as he accepts how much all of this will cost him.

“Everyone’s a winner”

Arriving at a sci-fi riverboat casino (hidden inside a holographic sea serpent, naturally), Book and Tarka work their way through scum and villainy to find the colorful proprietor, Haz Mazaro. Happy to see his old pal, Haz says he can get them the stuff they need, but then takes all of their latinum to cover an old debt of Book’s, leaving them high and dry. The confident Tarka has a plan to make some quick cash, offering to find the cheaters that have been plaguing the casino. As for Michael, she is warping in via shuttle to keep a low profile, and she has brought Owo with her, nominally to help verify any star charts, but really to give the bridge officer a chance to get into the action after her antsyness was revealed a couple of episodes ago. They arrive at Mazaro’s, and while those star charts look look like an easy get, the price on isolynium has gone beyond what they have in their bag of lantium, but Joann has an idea.

Michael and Book meet up and the couple finds themselves at irreconcilable differences, so each heads off with their respective partners to farm some latinum for their fetch quests. Thanks to the impressive MMA skills (and impressive trash-talking) of Joann “Ow Wow” Owosekun, Michael (channeling her inner Don King) gets the cash she needs. Meanwhile, Book and Tarka suss out the cheating team—which turns out to be a single Changeling, rotating alien disguises. Both of these fun action sequences require a bit of assistance from the former lovers, showing they can still work together. However, Haz has one more surprise: There are now even more bidders for the MacGuffininium, with the latest two being Emerald Chain holdouts “hoping to become the next Osyrra.”

As all these hijinks are happening, back on the Disco Paul Stamets finds himself with some time on his hands after Zora offers to handle the 10-C data tedium; those two seem to have patched things up nicely. He finds Hugh in their quarters stress-cleaning and yelling at the Roomba DOT-23. The doctor is beating himself up for not spotting the signs with Book, taking on the weight of everyone on the ship and the whole galaxy. In a nice, touching moment, Stamets counsels the ship’s counselor, guiding him to give himself a break, and pointing all his own stresses to relate. Leaning into the season theme, he suggests they find comfort in being “terrified together,” with a stroll through the flowers on the holodeck. Aw.

“You leave me no choice”

Back on the barge, Haz has decided to hold a poker tournament to determine who gets the isolynium. Michael and Book can at least agree the two Emerald Chain would-be tyrants should not get their hands on the dangerous stuff, so they revert back to their fun courier chemistry as they (quite obviously) cheat to knock the two glowering thugs out of the game. Owo and Tarka watch, with Joann getting the better of some verbal jousting, getting the genius to reveal more of his motivation and the “degree of loss” he has suffered. With the last-minute Chain entrants dispatched, the stakes get serious with “the battle of bygone love” between Book and Michael as they gamble with what remains of their bond. She tries one more time to pull him back from the brink, making it clear if he stays on this path, Starfleet will go after him with everything it has, including her. But he is all in, taking the last hand and the precious isolynium.

Back at Starfleet HQ, Michael’s report gives the President another reason to scold the Captain (and the Admiral who instructed her to find a loophole to get around her wishes). But the commander of the USS Discovery reveals she knew she would lose to Book, so with a flair for the dramatic, she reveals how she snuck a tracker on the isolynium so they have something to do next episode. She also reiterates her commitment to Starfleet’s mission, putting the safety of the Federation ahead of any personal connections, including Book. As a bonus, the star data Michael gathered from Haz reveals a closer look at 10-C’s location, with Stamets identifying a giant artificial “hyperfield” requiring massive amounts of energy. And that was the final key to understanding the DMA: It’s not a weapon, it’s a dredge scooping around the galaxy for a rare mineral to maintain the home system. Vance points out if the DMA is their mining equipment, they don’t want to find out what kind of weapons these guys have. And if Book and Tarka blow up the DMA, they just might find themselves on the wrong end of those weapons. The prez lays it out, they have to be stopped, “whatever the cost.” Dun, dun, duuuuun!

 

ANALYSIS

Something different

“All In” is a fun and entertaining diversion, taking a trip away from the usual trappings to literally play some games. But between the quips and cards, Discovery pays off on earned moments between key characters Michael and Book, who now find themselves in opposition yet still can’t help but love each other and even have a little fun in the middle of these galactic stakes. While the episode did play with some tropes and clichés, David Ajala and Sonequa Martin-Green make it work by chewing up the scenery with some fun dialogue and situations.

The episode didn’t try to do too much (as middle-season outings of Discovery often do), giving some nice moments to characters like Saru, Stamets and Culber, but not so much as to distract from the main story. This was also a rare opportunity for Oyin Oladejo to take Owosekun on a mission, where she too showed some range—not just physically, but also jousting verbally with Shawn Doyle’s Tarka, getting him to reveal a bit more about the his motivation, which has something to do with a great loss. And after being away for a few episodes, Oded Fehr came back strong, revealing some more nuance to Vance and a bit more about his complex history with Tarka. Chelah Horsdal continues to impress as President Rillak, able to hold her own with all of them.

However, once again the series uses a hammer instead of a brush to paint the picture of the season’s theme of “uncertainty.” But it showed a bit more trust for its audience as it weaved in environmental messages, exposing the DMA as a form of galactic mining and providing another reminder that the Federation needs to get off of its dependence on dilithium.

A Kwejian walks into a bar…

Seedy alien bars are a sci-fi trope perfected by the Star Wars franchise but also a recurring element in Star Trek history. The “Karma Barge” casino was one of the more successful attempts to show the other side of life in the future. The production design was excellent, although they could have avoided some clichés (like various things unnecessarily glowing to look futuristic). But more importantly, Discovery eschewed some of the more tired tropes, like scantily clad space-babes, and the cashier (Oksana Sirju)’s deadpan April Ludgate delivery made the trip worth it.

This was all helped along by the memorable character of Haz Mazaro, who was injected with a mix of mirth and menace by veteran character actor Daniel Kash. Hopefully, we will see more of Mazaro in the future and hear more of his colorful phrases. Together, Haz and his bar help make this all feel real and grounded, which was the right setting for Michael and Book to have their showdown, away from the sterile trappings of Starfleet, although why she and Owo wore their Starfleet uniforms to a place that was supposed to be unfriendly to the Federation is a bit of a mystery. Perhaps the uniforms, which stand out like a beacon, were a way to show the growing chasm between Burnham and Book, who has returned to his element in this bar.

Going out on the fringe like this was an opportunity to bring in some Star Trek aliens, but for the most part, it was the usual suspects we have already seen wandering around the 32nd century. The one notable and exciting exception was the Changeling cheater. The updated morphing effects were very impressive, but it would have been nice to learn a bit about the fate of the Dominion and The Great Link, or at least how this one Founder ended up as a cheat on the edge of the galaxy.

Even with all of these alien games and character beats, “All In” did move the main season arc forward a good amount. While Species 10-C remains the big mystery, we did learn that they’re using the DMA to power the giant “hyperfield” surrounding their system. And the choice of Boronite as their preferred fuel is intriguing. But with five more episodes to go, it may be a while until we get to the bottom of all of this.

Welcome back

Five weeks of Prodigy filled the time well, but “All In” was a welcome return to the 32nd century with a mix of action, emotion, and some needed humor. A solid episode with a few questionable choices, but everyone seemed to be having fun with it and that rubs off as a viewer. It also doesn’t hurt that they threw in an extra helping of Star Trek lore nods (see below). More importantly, some intriguing new pieces of the big puzzle help spark the imagination and rekindle interest in Discovery for the back half of season four.

Random bits

  • The title “All In” refers to betting your entire stake, and Owo, Michael and Book each said “all in” at different times.
  • Sean Cochran has been part of the Discovery writers’ room since season one, and this is his fourth script credit and first for season four.
  • In a series first, the episode has two credited directors. This would be Christopher J. Byrne’s fourth time directing Discovery, and he worked as a second unit director in season one. This is Jen McGowan’s first Star Trek credit.
  • When Admiral Vance is looking for ships to join the search for Book and Tarka, he mentions the Eisenberg-class, a 32nd-century Starfleet ship class introduced in season three and named in honor of late DS9 actor Aron Eisenberg.
  • Isolyneum is a new Star Trek substance, required to make the isolytic subspace weapon that Tarka proposed in the previous episode. Isolytic weapons were banned as part of the Second Khitomer Accords, but the Son’a used one fighting the USS Enterprise in Star Trek: Insurrection.
  • Haz Mazaro’s Karma Barge is on Porathia, which was the location where the ISS Discovery and USS Discovery swapped places in season one. It has also been spotted on star charts previously on Discovery and Star Trek: Picard.
  • After being repaired at Archer Station, the USS Discovery is now using 32nd century Federation shuttles, first seen in detail in the fourth season episode “The Examples.” Captain Burnham and Owo flew in “DSC03.”
  • Stamets mentioned that the energy field surrounding the 10-C system works like a Faraday Cage, which is a metal mesh that can block any radio frequencies from being emitted.
  • The field around the system measures 220 million kilometers, making it the largest artificial object in Star Trek, coming in 10% bigger than the Dyson Sphere from the TNG episode “Relics.”
  • Haz Mazaro’s nickname for Book is “Glow-Worm,” presumably after his quest to save giant Trance Worms and not for the much smaller terrestrial glowworm.
  • Haz’s nickname for Michael is “right hook,” which she demonstrated by knocking out the fighter Kurr.
  • Burnham hypes Owo by saying she was “the most ferocious fighter this side of Felton Prime.”
  • One of the items Mazaro was selling was Devore Scanners. (They were on special, too.)
  • Tarka was not impressed, declaring the scanners “couldn’t pick out a Betazoid standing all alone in a Nieser cage,” but he still uses it in his scheme to catch the cheating Changeling.
  • The Changeling briefly tries to escape by transforming into a very fast tribble.
  • Haz Mazaro’s Karma Barge included a wide array of aliens including Mazaro himself, who was of an unknown species. In addition to the Changeling, familiar races seen included Human, Ferengi, Cardassian, Andorian, Lurian, and Tellarite.
  • Leonian Poker appears to have similar rules to seven-card stud, where a flush beats a straight; however, it also includes additional hands like a “Wardrobe” and “Emperor’s New Clothes.”
  • The home of Species 10-C was identified to be located in a star system outside of the Milky Way. These kinds of extragalactic stars are a real thing, believed to be expelled from the galaxy and no longer gravitationally bound to the galaxy.
  • Daniel Kash (Haz) has been on Discovery before: He played Duggan in season 3’s “Terra Firma, Part 2,” executed by Mirror Michael Burnham while in the brig.
  • Warren Scherer, who played the fighter Kurr, has no known fighting experience, but the bouncer (credited as “Beefy Guy”) was played by Nabil Khatib, who is also an MMA fighter nicknamed “The Thrill.”
  • The Emerald Chain holdouts were not named, but they were credited as Mat’Trub (Jason Gosbee) and Zakari (Claudia Jurt).
  • Book mentions “keeping off the RADAR,” again demonstrating how the 20th-century technologies of RADAR and SONAR continue to be part of the culture in the 32nd century.

More of Haz Mazaro’s colorful sayings

Haz Mazaro was full of delightful alien aphorisms, filled with some callbacks (including some deep cuts) to Star Trek lore. These include…

  • A swamp cat could’ve learned the Hortan Hustle since I last saw you.
  • I had to scurry like a spider cow.
  • I have missed you like a Cardassian misses cake.
  • It’s true what the Elasians say. Give a man a tor-bak, and you are warm in the desert.
  • I’m a banta tree either way.
  • What in the katterpod and Calaman sherry is going on here?
  • While you two were strutting around like Klingons in a Disco…
  • Act like an Armus, swim the Poranthian Ocean with weighted boots.

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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I loved that the DMA was not a weapon but a fuel collector, taking no heed of whether or not civilizations were destroyed in the process. It seems to be an alien race that is not antagonistic but simply unaware or uncaring about less advanced civilizations. This harks back to an idea that a truly old species (millions of years old) might not even see us as civilized and sentient. This is a cool idea that I hope will be explored more in the future.

It’s definitely much more Star Trek than if it was a weapon, kind of like how the Genesis torpedo was designed to create life.

It really is surprising how little we know about what happened to the races from the older shows. Klingons, Borg, Changelings et al. Heck, Michael is the only one the writers even bother to show checking up on what happened to her family.

I’m shocked how absent the Klingons are, perhaps because DISCO changed them so much in season 1 they don’t want to address it in the 32nd century.

I have a feeling they are going to be promenant in SNW, so obviously they are saving them for that. Just a hunch.

Agreed. The question is tho, will they be discovery klingons or worf klingons?

I think they will try to blend the Disco and worf klingons into one as much as possible. Then, everyone will be happy.

I think they will try and have both and show the DIS Klingons with the TOS films/TNG Klingons. Should’ve just done that from the beginning but whatever.

There are far more established choices than just DSC and Berman-era Klingons:

* TOS dark-skinned Klingons
* TOS light-skinned Klingons
* TAS pink uniforms
* TMP single-ridge Klingons
* TSFS/TVH bumpy headed Klingons
* TFF much less prominent single-ridge Klingons
* TUC diverse array of forehead styles, including bald Klingons
* Berman-era house specific foreheads, along with ridged noses, ridged feet, and backs
* Into Darkness bald Klingons with forehead jewelry
* DSC season one wartime bald Klingons with large heads, talons, recessed ears, and different skin colors
* DSC season two the same, but with peacetime hair and smaller heads

You ask that as if there are only two kinds of Klingons. We’ve seen dozens of different types of Klingons. Check out this article: https://www.herocollector.com/en-gb/Article/star-trek-the-many-faces-of-the-klingon

Probably so the other shows in previous timelines can have some fun with them. Prodigy, Picard, and Lower Decks all exist around the same time period (roughly) so I imagine they can expand on those species you mentioned. I hope that Prodigy does more with the Tellarites since we hardly know anything about them!

We know Tellarites have a reputation for being argumentative, which builds off of what we saw of them in Journey to Babel, and their appearances in ENT. Jankom Pog from prodigy sure seems to follow in those footsteps.

I loved the Tellarite merchant captain in the Short Trek The Escape Artist (with Harry Mudd).

“What’s a cudgel?”

Yeah but the show really isn’t about them so much as it is about Burnham and her quest to be even more great than she already is. But I think Amirami is on point when they may have decided to not deal with Klingons here and dredge up a divisive issue that they hoped moving the show’s time frame would avoid.

I’m not very hopeful about finding detailed information about my family from the year 1100 CE. With the Burn, changes to information storage technology, and the degradation of the old, civilian information from the 23rd century might only exist in scraps.

Oh come on, the Burn didn’t blow up the Federation’s information servers. We’re also well past when time travelers needed exacting records to complete their missions.

The writers didn’t think it was a good use of their time to have any character but Michael look up what happened after they left, it’s as simple as that. I know as Trek fans we are experts at explaining away nitpicks, but sometimes a spade is a spade.

It seems that people are forgetting that there was more than a century of Temporal War in the intervening period.

Burnham was likely privileged to have records of Spock and herself as his immediate family. I suspect that crew members with less illustrious families would have had their records survive or be recovered through the conflicts.

Again, it’s not like a writer came in and said they wanted to do a character piece where people besides All-Mighty Burnham adjusted to the 32nd century and found out what happened to the world and the people they knew… and was told, “Nah, can’t – Temporal War. Darn it!”

I’m wondering if some of this exposition is being left for a 32nd century Academy show.

Tilly’s group, when she supervised the away assignment gone wrong, had a Tellarite and an Orion, but a mixed group of other species in an Academy setting would be an interesting way to show rather than tell what’s happened to other species in the meantime.

This show is not good at showing versus telling. I doubt a spin-off would be much better at it.

We’ve seen that who the show runners are makes a huge difference.

The Academy show will have a different show runner than Discovery.

And they keep shoving the eternally-cringe Orions in our face, to boot…

Is this show ever going to leave the galaxy, or even the alpha quadrant? I mean come on, it’s the 32nd century. Tell me we have advanced beyond THIS!

I’m still not quite over the idea that by the time of the Burn, no one had come up with a workable FTL solution that didn’t need dilithium. Voyager and TNG both explored possibilities there.

And centuries before.

I will never get past that. It just makes zero sense. I would have thought they wouldn’t even really have a need for actual ships by then. That is pretty damn far in the future… Look at how far things have gone in the last 900 years. 900 years from 200 from things would advance even faster. Which again, I guess this horse isn’t dead enough, remains a huge issue with moving the shows time frame so very far forward.

The fact that you can’t get past the fact that every method of propulsion — including the likes of transwarp and slipstream — may indeed be powered by dilithium, is absolutely confounding.

Think about all the electronics we use: computers, cell phones, stereo music players, televisions, car systems, etc — they all work differently, and do different things, yet all are powered by electricity.

Heck, most of them are even powered by similar technology within them. I am fine with accepting that dilithium is simply an incredibly versatile power source whose properties are difficult to find elsewhere.

I mean really, with all that we accept on these shows, you can’t get past that. Incredible.

Electricity maybe isn’t as apt an analogy as using petroleum products.

Recall stories like The New Ground and The Voyager Conspiracy which posited new technologies, or Dragon’s Teeth with its sub space corridors, and Force of Nature which showed that warp drive needed to be reformed (and I know it’s why Voyager’s nacelles were angled, but technically this issue never was solved, as far as on-screen canon goes). It’s just a bit strange that in 900 years so little changed. Ships look more like concept cars, people beam a few feet instead of walking (yet haven’t gotten fat, impressive), and everything is made of magic matter. Not quite as inspiring as tricorders and communicators were 50 years ago.

I was about to say that gasoline is a better analogy. Does anyone think that in 900 years we will still be getting around using gasoline? I’d wager not. Hence, it’s just a tough thing to get behind. As I’ve said elsewhere, it would be like we still rely on wind and horses to get around today.

The show has sort of turned dilithium into a fuel, when TNG refined that it wasn’t. It was just a medium to contain, focus, and redirect the energy of a matter/antimatter reaction. It would be more akin to vacuum tube technology, which gave way to transistors, and so on. Never finding a replacement for dilithium, even an artificial one, seems ludicrous.

Come to think of it, was there dilithium in the solar system? How did Zephram Cochrane do his warp jump if not?

Slipstream technology requires benamite, another super rare element.

It’s a fault with human imagination; we can only advance technology so far before it becomes unrecognizable. That whole sufficiently-advanced technology and magic adage. If 32nd-century technology was more adequately estimated, the show would be high-fantasy in space rather than sci-fi.

Yes. And I have argued that is a huge problem with moving the show that far into the future. The tech would be so highly advanced it would seem implausible to the viewers. So they are limited with how advanced the tech is. This is why most far future stories include some sort of cataclysmic event that causes advances to cease or even revert to earlier status. The 900 year jump was just a terrible idea from the start. They should have gone perhaps no more than 300 years instead.

I assume that the current plot arcs drive which quadrant the ship operates in. As to extra-galactic travel, that’s actually is some respects fairly pointless even if you have the technology. According to the TNG Writers Guide, in Kirks time 4% of the galaxy had been charted. By the time of Picard, that figure had risen to 11% — but remember, that’s CHARTED, as opposed to explored. As Arthur Clarke once put it, even though you can walk from one end of the beach to the other, would you have time to examine every grain of sand upon it?

Plenty enough in the Milky Way to keep franchise heroes occupied, for a very long time to come.

Agreed. But I would have to assume if you could get there, the drive (pun intended) to do so would just be too great not too. I mean, remember, the same argument could be made for DS9. Why explore the Gamma quadrant when there is so much left of Alpha and Beta to explore?

Well, in fact the Federation <i>wasn’t</i> actively exploring the Gamma quadrant, IIRC, before discovering the Bajoran wormhole. The Andromeda galaxy is still apparently decades or centuries distant, even with post-warp tech.

I been wanting Discovery to leave the galaxy once we found out about the spore drive.

But I think this may be the year for it to happen. 10c sounds like they could’ve came from another galaxy and maybe why they don’t know the harmful effects they are doing to ours (or just doesn’t care since it’s not their home).

I’m shocked Starfleet has not made it to the Andromeda Galaxy by the 30th century. Even if they are still not advanced enough to have a spore drive ;), there should be faster and advanced generational ships to make the journey.

Referring to my post above, why would you send a generation ship (which involves serious ethical as well as myriad technical issues) to another galaxy when there’s so much left to explore in your own back yard, especially when you could just send an automated probe to do the job?

This is kind of an odd question to me. It’s Star Trek, that’s what they do, explore. And because what the great Captain Kirk once said…because it’s there!

And I don’t understand how is it any different than having a generational ship in our galaxy.? If the ship breaks down going to the gamma quadrant, chances are they would still be stuck wherever they are at. And you can still send ships to multiple places, right?

It just seems like the next logical step in terms of exploration and being the closest galaxy.

Humans haven’t completely explored the Earth’s deep oceans, yet we’ve sent a probe to Pluto.

Yeah that’s exactly what I was thinking. I mean its so weird that Janeway can reach such fast speeds in the 24th century but in the 32nd we are stuck at warp 9 still.

I mean I know Andromeda is still going to take years and years and years with something like slipstream but I was under the impression that spore was like warp 10.

In the recalibrated ‘warp scale’ that debuted with TNG, warp 10 = infinite speed. Which, I guess, is why poor Kate Mulgrew got turned into a space salamander.

(Ye gods, but that was an awful show. People complain about current Trek content, and not without justification, but man, nothing has ever scraped the barrel that low.)

It was great Lower Decks referenced it lol. It’s another reason why I love that show now. And it got plenty of scorn at the time and still talked about now and again. Robert McNeill and Garret Want talked about it last year on their podcast and how horrible they thought it was. But it’s been 25 years ago already. It’s all been said at this point.

And the new shows gets criticized more today because they are, well, new. ;)

And there are multiple FTL drives by the 24th century as you mentioned, it’s beyond odd warp is the only thing they would even try using. By the 30th century (I go to that point since things get turned upside down by the 31st) seems like they would have a wide berth of options by then.

I give Prodigy credit because they are recognizing and employing multiple drives to get back to the Delta quadrant thanks to some of the tech Voyager picked up during her earlier travels. But very little of it seems to be active by the 32nd century.

Don’t get me started on the spore drive not just being part of every ship 900 years later but I have vented enough about that in the past. ;)

Even going to the Andromeda galaxy would require a massive jump in technology from simple warp drive, or even the spore drive. Even the Kelvan’s ship was basically a generation ship. It would be like going from Viking boats to warp drive. Besides, there’s no rush. There’s still so much of the Milky Way that has barely been explored. There have only been like 830 installments of Trek. Even if they thoroughly explored 100 million planets in every single one of those installments, that would only be 83% of what’s out there in our own galaxy.

But I thought that’s exactly what the Spore drive was? Didn’t they explain in S1 that the spore drive allowed instantaneous travel to anywhere in the universe? I would love to be wrong on this but that’s what I remember.

I don’t recall a range being stated one way or another. I might be missing something, but I don’t think the Memory Alpha article has anything on the range being unlimited, either.

It could also be down to needing some idea of what’s in an area before just leaping in with the spore drive. What if you end up inside a star or planet?

Exactly. Kind of like the issue with subspace radio.

Per Doug Drexler, the Universe-class Enterprise-J is a ship meant to travel to other galaxies and is a self-sustaining mobile starbase, suggesting Starfleet would be exploring nearby galaxies as early as the 26th century.

However, the current level of 32c Federation’s advancement is limited by the imagination of Disco’s writers

Yeah which is what I am not a big fan of. I mean when you look at the tech that Daniels had on Enterprise compared to what we see on DISCO its so much more advanced. And Daniels IIRC was like a century earlier.

One of the reasons I wanted to see a Trek show in the 26th century because I assumed by then they would start trying to head to other galaxies. Q states in Death Wish humans would be in the Delta Quadrant by the 25th century. I assume the same for the Gamma quadrant thanks to the wormhole.

So by the 26th century they would start to venture out of the galaxy. And of course it doesn’t mean the milky way galaxy will have all been explored by then. That would still take centuries to fully chart it. Probably another thousand years. But it doesn’t stop them from venturing to other galaxies either once they finally have the resources to do it.

As far as the 32nd century, I’ll give them some leeway and maybe there is a specific reason why they haven’t done it yet? Or maybe they tried in later centuries and it didn’t quite work out and Starfleet has decided to stay in our galaxy. At least for now.

Literally none of that is canon though if it isn’t directly mentioned on screen through dialogue or on screen information.

Going to another galaxy doesn’t magically change the nature of the storytelling. When DS9 and VOY ventured to the Gamma and Delta quadrants, respectively, it was still about dealing with aliens that serve as allegories for real-world politics and war. That would still be the case if we met people from the Andromeda or Triangulum galaxies, as we already found when we met the Kelvans.

Yeah, it’s not like going to another galaxy will suddenly solve the imagination/fundamental writing problems of this show.

My point is that there’s no reason to get super weird, when the whole point of Star Trek is to serve as allegories for real-world politics. Telling stories about seemingly implacable foes learning to communicate in order to solve problems is what Star Trek should continue to do, just as they’ve done in “But to Connect…” There are plenty of star systems in this galaxy that the audience has never even seen.

Yes, I got your point. There’s nothing new in another Galaxy to explore they wouldn’t be doing in this one the same way.

That’s not at all what I was saying. I’m just saying that there’s no reason that the hundreds of billions of stars not explored in this galaxy can’t be just as exotic, or that the stars in the Andromeda galaxy would be any more exotic, than what we’ve already seen.

But if any system gets too weird, it would stray too far from the real purpose of Star Trek, to be a venue for social commentary, to be about seemingly implacable foes learning to communicate in order to solve problems. If going to another galaxy accomplishes that, fine. If not, then there’s no reason not to explore more of the Milky Way. And that goes for any time period in Trek history. We’ve only seen a fraction of the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th centuries, so we could have near infinite shows in any of those periods, without even seeing anything we’ve seen in Trek before.

And that’s what I thought you were saying. But feel free to keep disagreeing.

It wasn’t mentioned onscreen, so while it’s cool and imaginative, none of the TV shows are beholden to it.

I liked it but didn’t love it! It was a nice little fun adventure but it was all pretty predictable. The card game was fun and Burnham seem to really be enjoying herself but it was obvious she was going to lose. But they made it part of the plot too.

Also liked all the scenes with Owo and nice she had a real part to play in this episode. And while Starfleet is basically a bunch of highly educated space hippies they know how to stomp major ass anytime the moment calls for it lol!

And I did love seeing the Changeling though! Nice to not only see a classic Trek species but one that has only been on one show until now, DS9. And yes it would be nice if SOMEONE informed us what happened to the Dominion. There are now four shows that can fill us in. But just seeing a changeling again and with updated FX was so cool.

I say this a lot but this is why it’s great to be going forward again! Every species out there can be shown again and with different back stories. A lot of fun to see who pops up next!

Also happy the DMA turned out to be nothing what I thought it would be. It’s pretty creative and not something anyone would’ve guessed. And I love it’s tied into Omega particles. Whoever created the DMA might also be advance enough to synthesize them. They probably use the Infinity Stones for gardening. 😜

But this season is doing exactly what season 2 and 3 did and parsing bits of info to the gigantic mystery to keep us on the hook to the point of tedium at times. Hopefully unlike the Red Angel and the Burn the reveal will be more satisfying and not a total eye roll.

I’m confused by the criticism of making Burnham lose be part of the plot. Of course they made it part of the plot. Everything is part of the plot. It’s not like it was a real game. From Burnham’s perspective, she expected to lose, so she had a contingency plan. But she had no idea if she would actually lose, since even the best players have bad days. Same for Owo. It looked like the episode might be about pulling Owo back from the brink of a hopeless cause, until she won. All four characters, Burnham, Owo, Book, and Tarka were operating with a specific plan, but with multiple contingencies should any of those plans go awry. That was the tension of the episode. We might know how it ends, but the illuminating aspect of the episode was how they get there, what choices the characters make, and what it reveals about them.

I didn’t say it was a big deal. It was one line in my entire review. And I said I mostly liked it.

I like it when a serialized show does a more standalone episode, even if it doesn’t move the story arc along much, although Stamets did make a profound discovery at the end about the DMA. Overall I agree that this episode was okay to good, but not great. Nothing really stood out as being strongly positive or negative. There were a few things I did like to see including the 32nd century shuttle and the Changeling, and the poker game was fun, but the gambling fight was a tad predictable since they needed the bars of gold pressed latinum haha. Not much else to say, but hope next week’s episode is a stronger one.

The Changeling thing bothers me a bit. Not sure how Burnham would even know what a Changeling is beyond breaking down the word and putting it in context. And using one just opens up questions of a Delta Quadrant species showing up and what happened to the Dominion that might allow Changelings to pop into the Alpha Quad so often that Book would see one and act like they are so well known or he sees them often enough that he has no surprised reaction to one.

Burnham spent a year as a courier.

Even if she hadn’t seen one previously herself, I would find it hard to imagine that awareness of the existence of a shapechanging species wouldn’t be high on the need to know list to survive.

I also have a feeling by the 32nd century multiple species from the Gamma and Delta quadrants have spread throughout the galaxy by now. In the previous episode at the Federation council it sounded like representatives from all four quadrants were there.

And I wouldn’t be surprised if Burnham just ran into one before when her and Book were couriers.

That doesn’t address my point, though. Book knew about them. Which just opens up a can of worms. It was yet another poor writing decision. One that could have been avoided had they just done something new.

Besides having a year as a courier under her belt, she surely read up on UFP history in her year back in Starfleet. She was probably most interested in the century or so after her jump and the history in the century or so on either side of the Burn. My guess is that she probably was less interested in say the Vorgon’s pursuit of the Tox Uthat up to around the time of the Temporal Cold War. So, she probably read up on Spock’s entire career as well the history from that time period.

Four seasons in and I still love Discovery… and it still has the same problems. I will never understand why the writers are determined to paint Michael Burnham as a great officer and a big damn hero. She isn’t! She has committed mutiny or completely ignored orders multiple times, she’s been in prison for treason, and she’s gotten her captain killed, plunging the Federation into a horrific war. Plus, she’s played by such a melodramatic actor who alternates between ludicrous crying and non-stop whispering. I do love Discovery… but I just can’t connect with Michael.

Well said.

Agree 100%. The Mary Sue argument I’ve heard made in this show is as apt as it ever was. she’s Space Jesus! Has the answer for everything, and is the only one who can do whatever the plot needs doing. It’s boring and sophomoric.

…pretty much the reason I stopped watching after season 2.

Being a life long Trekker, I have watched every iteration of Star Trek UNTIL Discovery. I watched the first two seasons and my eyes kept glazing over. It is so boring, with storylines about NOTHING. This is the first time I have ever abandoned a Star Trek show during its initial production run.

I did during the runs of “Enterprise” and “Voyager” (and still have yet to see all of the latter), with few regrets.

I’ve heard this in other places but I personally feel season 4 has improved a lot. I know its all subjective but it feels a LOT closer to classic Star Trek today versus the first season by far. I felt it was turning around by season 2.

But I have heard other people call this season more ‘boring’. It is a slower paced season for sure, but ironically I think that was due to all the complaints the show felt like it was going at warp 9.9 in other seasons and they couldn’t just let the character moments breath because it was so plot driven. This season it’s more character driven and they are slowly building back the Federation. But the main complaint does seem to be nothing is really happening this season.

Discovery is still my second least favorite show of the franchise after Picard but I am enjoying it more this season at least.

Tiger2, I really appreciate your detailed explanation. Fair enough, although when I said I tuned out after Season 2, that wasn’t really accurate. I watched most of Season 3 and just snippets of Season 4. I just can’t make it through 10 MINUTES of this stuff. I don’t give a damn about any of the characters and the plots are mucho mundane.

And that’s fair as well. You gave it a shot and you’re just not gelling with it. And not the only one who feel that way of course.

I personally think it’s getting better but I’m also an Enterprise and Kelvin universe movie fan so credibility questionable! 😁

Hey, your credibility is never in question, as you always have eloquent and reasonable arguments in defending your position. Now, as to a few others….. :-)

Really appreciate that! Thank you! :)

Great that you’re enjoying it. I just can’t agree with the Burnham hate.

She committed mutiny, and was imprisoned for that alone. She’s been insubordinate.

She was not responsible for the death of her captain or the Klingon war. It’s implied that (some) characters within the show blamed her for those things, but viewers were given more than enough context to see that was not the case, and she wasn’t convicted nor even charged in regards to either, because Starfleet clearly saw the facts in the same light.

Essentially, she’s pretty much done the same stuff Kirk did (or rather would later do), but within the in-world context had not accumulated nearly enough good will to warrant the lighter sentence of demotion. In the real world, a subsection of fans judge her against a curious standard that Kirk isn’t subject to. Insubordinate, mutinous, aggressive, prone to emotional outbursts, frequently self-righteous, prone to ill-advised romances… which of the two am I referring to? It could be either.

During S1, the focus on Burnham at the expense of the wider ensemble bothered me too. That balance has been adjusted bit by bit over the last 3 years, but some fans feel the ensemble should center over the bridge crew and not, for example, Stamets, Culber, Adira, Tilly, Saru, Book… etc etc. Because that’s how we did it for the other 5 live action shows.

SMGs performance… I’ve said it elsewhere… she’s brought Burnham on a journey from an insecure, immature junior officer who feels out of place everywhere, through conviction, downfall and redemption, to assured commander and level-headed (albeit spirited) captain. I think she’s done a wonderful job of it. She’s shown nuance where it was needed and let loose where that was needed too. Again, I wonder whether her expressiveness would be as prone to criticism if it were shown by Kirk or Riker.

Crying and whispering. Mary Sue. Bad writing. Sometimes it reads like someone published a list Reasons Discovery Bad and those uncomfortable with it just post-rationalize to fit that.

I gave up after season 2, so I’ll ask this: Have they ever given Burnham a hobby? Does she play an instrument? Play a particular sport? Play music? Build models? Have they given her quirks like an obsession with coffee? Chocolate? Shakespeare? Antiques? Baseball? Poker?

The reason I ask this is because when I think of memorable, nuanced characters from Star Trek, I think of their recurring personal quirks, along with all their big dramatic ups and downs. Have they done that with Burnham yet?

She enjoyed playing Chess with her brother. That’s all I got.

Thanks. Well, that’s something.

Have they ever given Kirk a hobby? Does he play an instrument? A particular sport? Build models? Does he have quirks like an obsession with coffee, chocolate, Shakespeare, antiques, baseball, or poker? Nothing was ever alluded to or explicitly mentioned during the entire run of TOS.

And even then, most everything we learned about Kirk was a Convenient Plot Revelation, important to the plot of that episode or movie, and mostly, never spoken of again.

By contrast, we know a lot more about Burnham – we’ve practically seen her entire life on screen, not just having knowledge nuggets drop when it’s convenient. We know exactly why she is the way she is.

And SMG’s acting style is no more overblown than Shatner’s. Or Avery Brooks’ for that matter. Man those guys could chew some scenery!

How is Burnham a Mary Sue, but Kirk and the Enterprise are always the Only Ship Within Range and Kirk the Only Person Who Can Solve the Problem because of (insert prior plot-relevant info drop from the beginning of the episode)? Paging Gary Stu….

You know, four years in, the showrunners are not going to suddenly read some random post on an internet forum and realize “Gosh! We’ve been going about this all wrong!” – they have clear ideas for the show and the characters and the arcs they’re taking us on.

The people making this show are professionals. They know what they’re doing.

The show they’re making is successful – it’s been renewed for a 5th season and without it as the flagship, we wouldn’t have all of this new Trek content (remember when having just two shows on was considered ‘saturating the market??’)

Discovery isn’t perfect, but this constant sniping about Burnham/SMG is tiresome.

Well, Kirk and TOS are the wrong comparisons to bring up with me, because I’m not a big fan with how they were written either, for the most part. It’s not until the movies that I began to connect with the character, and still that was mostly due to Shatner’s acting.

I said nothing about Mary Sue or SMG’s acting. I think she does a fine job with what she’s been given. I’m really only expressing why I didn’t connect with Burnham as a character. Mostly because I’ve always had difficulty connecting with the standard hero character who has big dramatic things happen to them but rarely gets to act like a real, quirky human being for a minute.

Not sure why you put so much weight on my comment, but hey ho, you got to yell at a stranger on the internet. Cheers.

I agree about the SMG sniping. I don’t really think Burnham’s a Mary Sue any more than Janeway was. She’s a similar character in that she’s unevenly written (I strongly believe for all his faults, Bryan Fuller’s vision for the character was the strongest and she suffered the most from losing his voice), and always has the answers.

But she’s also allowed to have flaws and misjudge things and people, and SMG’s performance is winsome, even if some people don’t like her performance tics. That’s no different than any other popular Trek actor.

The only thing I’d disagree with is that the writers have clear ideas on the arcs. They know the big plot arcs but have fumbled a lot of character work. They have done well by Saru, they have a good handle on what to do with Book, Culber, Tilly and Stamets now, but that wasn’t always the case (Culber was all over the place at first, Stamets being pissed at Burnham at the end of last season was brushed over easily). Burnham’s season 1 redemption arc is messy. Visiting the mirror universe in season 1 without having even fully gotten to know the characters in this one was not a great call. Mirror Georgiou’s arc was very badly handled – the endgame was great, how they set it up was a shambles. Gray was just there to be a trite metaphor, not a real character with personality. The attempts to flesh out the bridge extras are halting and feel shoehorned, though Owo’s scene with Tarka this week almost makes up for her outburst with Saru a few weeks back. They ladle on lots of emotion and feel good scenes and expect us to go along with it, we must be monsters if we aren’t so easily manipulated.

Say what you will about how stolid the Berman shows could be, but they knew how to weaponize emotional gut punches with surgical precision. Odo asks Garak to breakfast and it had might as well be the end of The Shawshank Redemption. Burnham finds her mom the first time and I could not care less.

I won’t say the writers aren’t capable (and Michelle Paradise is at least more assured than Berg and Harberts were), but they aren’t consistent.

That’s fair. It’s hard to give everyone in a relatively large cast enough screen time or character development. I think they’re doing OK, but yeah, there’s gaps.

Marti Noxon as head writer/EP was really good at giving everyone little character / exposition moments on Buffy, for instance, so by the later seasons everyone had memorable character growth and the traumas / victories felt earned, it wasn’t out of nowhere. But then again they limited their main cast to about 5-6 (the Scooby Gang) and then had memorable guest stars for the recurring roles.

They sort of trod the line between episodic adventures, lighter episodes, and then each season’s Big Bad arc, creating an overall arc towards the end of the whole show. So many shows have followed in that template. I think SNW will be more like that as per what they have said – it’ll be classic Planet of the Week storytelling, but without a reset button; consequences change the characters.

It’s not easy to give a big cast enough to do. Even when it was reduced to just 7, TNG struggled to give Geordi and Crusher meaningful episodes, though they were rarely absent from stories. There was so griping in seasons 5 and 6 of DS9 that Jadzia never got solo episodes without Worf, Voyager neglected a lot of characters in favor of the Doctor and Seven, and woe be the fans of Hoshi and Travis. Disco is down to just 6, so maybe that will help?

Still, the excuse of having to divvy up screen time doesn’t always hold water as so many guest stars were used sparingly and made great impressions. Guinan, Reno, Nog, Rom, Seska and Garak got very memorable introductions without have episodes be all about them at first. Quality vs quantity at work!

I’ve had my own issues with “Discovery,” and think that the “Mary Sue” criticisms are not without merit. But the SMG-hate I just don’t grok at all. I think she’s quite a capable actress, and very charismatic besides. I have no problem understanding why Bryan Fuller insisted on waiting until she became available.

You’re only as good as the material you’re given to work with.

That’s absurd. Ever heard of “elevating the material?” It happens constantly. In fact, I would say that most of Star Trek would be made largely unwatchable without the gravitas and capability of such strong performers like Stewart, Brooks, Mulgrew, Martin-Green. To say nothing of the supporting cast and character actors.

AtomicHorror,

Well said on all counts. I love that DSC finally broke free from the rigid format of focusing on the senior officers of Starfleet postings, paving the way for Picard, a show about people who left Starfleet, Lower Decks, a show about underdog officers, underdog ship classes, and even underdog villains, and Prodigy, a show about people who never even heard of Starfleet. I’d love for more Star Trek shows to go even further from that focus. I’ve long-wanted a show paralleling the reconstruction periods of WWIII and the Earth/Romulan War, and its effects on civilians. I’d love to see a Trek show about traveling journalists or actors. It would be great to see a completely planet-bound Trek show, either Earth in any era, a colony, or a completely non-UFP-aligned world.

Seems like a good place to repeat what I said many years ago when it was announced a new Trek show was going to be on CBSAA.

It had to be “Star Fleet JAG.”

Starfleet:NCIS:CSI:SUV

Yeah but JAG was a CBS show.

I’ve said this as many times as well. It’s great to see different formats of Star Trek. I felt that started with DS9 because it was not only the first show not to take place on a starship, it was also the first where non-Starfleet officers were a big part of the show. And it wasn’t even a Starfleet station, but an alien one. So there were definitely differences in the format even back then, it just didn’t stick because I guess research told them most fans wanted a show back on a starship and that’s what we kept getting.

But today is very different and when you have multiple shows at once, it’s easier to do different things. But like you I always wanted to see shows where people are living on a colony (which was the original proposal of DS9). Or a lawyer show or being on an alien ship that isn’t Starfleet but also exploring the galaxy like a ship full of Andorians or Bajorans.

There are many ways to go obviously. One of the ideas I had for a post-Nemesis show before we got Picard was a Federation convoy that would be relegated to Romulan space after Romulus went bye-bye and help part of the reconstruction effort. Kind of like what DS9 did with the Bajorans basically but this time a former enemy and that neither one fully trusted. It could be set on a station, planet or even another ship going planet to planet.

Yeah, I keep saying that DS9 was hampered by only overlapping with one other show. It could be different from TNG or VOY, but only by so much. Now that there are five shows running at once, each one HAS to carve out its own identity, which is a great thing. Of all the things I suggested, I think the element I most want out of a new show is to get as far away from Starfleet as possible, whether it’s Federation civilian life, or something else.

Agreed of course! And while they are not first on my list, I can see why they want to do a Section 31 and Starfleet Academy show because both of those are very different than more people on a starship exploring (although the Academy show can still be on a ship).

That’s why while I understand a lot of people still don’t like Kurtzman or a lot of these shows, I really like what he’s doing in general. Each show does feel really different from each other. Lower Decks and Prodigy take place only a few years apart from each other but feel nothing alike. And Prodigy is back in the Delta quadrant like Voyager was to just do its own thing (but may end up in the Federation at some point). And both main characters are not about senior Starfleet officers…or any Starfleet officers.

Prodigy is the first show to deal with non-Starfleet characters as their main characters. So I can see other possibilities like that in the future.

I’m kind of hoping the Academy show is mostly set on the Academy grounds in San Francisco, in part because it might pave the way for a spinoff that’s completely Earthbound and civilian-focused. Maybe there’s a popular hangout cadets go to and that hangout spins off into its own show.

But if it’s set in the 32nd century, which what they are kind of hinting at then that obviously can’t happen, From what I can tell on Discovery, Starfleet Academy is on a space station.

If it’s prior to that century, yeah it’s possible. I do have a feeling this may be a Tilly lead show. But now that I’m thinking about it, if Earth re-joins the Federation, then they could move the Academy back to San Francisco.

Yeah. As with the Section 31 show, it could nearly take place in any time period. I don’t think the Academy show will necessarily be a Tilly show. I mean, it could be, but I don’t think it’s set in stone yet.

I don’t think Tilly going to the Academy necessarily means they’re doing the show in the 32nd century. Right now, it’s just one of many options.

Great that you’re enjoying it. I just can’t agree with the Burnham hate.

I never used the word “hate,” so there’s nothing to agree or disagree with.

Made even worse by jumping her 900 years into her future. Where she would be even LESS useful than ever. Really her only use in that time frame, well, the entire crew really, is as a historian who specializes in the23rd century.

She’s never been portrayed that way. As you said, she committed mutiny. She’s lost two trials, one right after the Battle of the Binaries, and one in “Unification III.” The whole point of the show is to show her flaws, and her path to redemption. She starts out detached to the point of arguing for a Vulcan Hello, gradually integrates emotions with Stamets’ and Ash’s help, then takes a big leap of faith at the end of season one. But she still has a lot to learn over the course of seasons two and three, culminating in the harsh lessons in “Unification III,” which brings about a much more measured, transparent, and serene Burnham as she ascends to the captaincy. But through that time, she’s repeatedly shown to be wrong and often not even the person who saves the day. Often, the day will be saved in spite of her actions, as when she couldn’t let Airiam go. There’s a difference between a show focusing on her as the main protagonist and a show endorsing her actions.

Which Star Trek captain hasn’t disobeyed orders at least once? Michael also was not even remotely responsible for the Klingon War or Georgiou’s death. Georgiou woke up and stopped Michael before she was able to do anything. The war happened because T’Kuvma was a warmonger who was determined to start a war with the Federation. Georgiou died because she and Michael failed in their attempt to capture T’Kuvma.

This is exactly my problem with the Burnham-hate. Every little mistake the character makes is seized upon and paraded as an example of “bad writing” and definitive proof that she is an awful character. But it’s completely ignoring the fact that other characters have also made MULTIPLE mistakes, some of them heinous.

Kirk spent most of TOS disregarding most of Starfleet’s sacrosanct directives AND stole the Enterprise. In fact, he’s shown to be outwardly racist and xenophobic towards Klingons in TUC.

Picard openly rebels against Starfleet in Insurrection, refuses to carry out Starfleet’s direct orders on more than one occasion, interferes in the development of TWO pre-warp societies, let’s Worf off the hook for murdering Duras because it was convenient to Federation interests and then interferes in the Klingon Civil War despite standing orders not to.

Sisko spends seven years directly influencing the course of a civilisation outside of the Federation, hires a known former spy and assassin to dupe the entire Romulan people into joining a war and retroactively authorising the murder of a high ranking politician, he stands by and doesn’t really do anything while knowing that Section 31 are attempting genocide, openly manipulates Quarks on a number of occasions including forcing him to kiss the spectre of the Grand Nagus and enjoys doing so, goes on an 18 month long revenge quest which culminates in him losing his temper on the bridge, poisoning an entire world and manipulating the crew into believe Starfleet had authorised it.

Janeway often interferes in the course of alien civilisations, is very quick to resort to force to get her own way, refuses to go the long way round a hostile species territory on more than occasion and just ploughs through, forges an alliance with the Federation’s most implacable foe, absconds with alien tech with frightening regularity, directly interferes with the Q Continuum on two occasions and has the gall to yell at Harry when he falls in love with a woman.

Archer committed an act of actual piracy, directly interferes with Vulcan internal affairs on several occasions and is openly racist towards members of that species- including his first officer, delays critical negotiations with a species to look after his sick dog, authorises a string of morally questionable actions in the Delphic Expanse and on a number of occasions openly interferes with Klingon politics.

My point here is that Burnham’s decisions are literally dissected and highlighted as reasons to hate her character- but stunning her CO who she thinks isn’t making the right decision kind of pales in comparison to being a murderer’s accomplice, a pirate and a man crazed by revenge to name just a few, huh?

But for me at least, the problem with the character is not the choices she makes. The moral dilemmas for Captains is part of what makes for great Trek drama. It’s a lot of other things that individually don’t seem like a big deal. Among them is the circumstances in which she finds herself. How others see her. Much of what she has “accomplished” was either unearned or happened off screen. Etc…

Why did you use the word “literally”? How would her decisions FIGURATIVELY be dissected? I will never understand why so many people misuse the word “literally.”

Criticising somebody’s choice of wording? Not a cute look.

The poster did that to me before with the same word lol. I guess it’s just a pet peeve of theirs.

Chris Traeger would literally drive him insane! ;)

I loathe grammar Nazis.

I’m hazy on the details, but in the eyes of everyone else, was Burnham ever seen as not starting the war? Did Tyler tell everyone? I know we saw T’Kuvma’s POV, I just don’t recall if the truth was ever exposed as part of Burnham’s frustrating redemption arc.

As a viewer, I never saw her as the actual spark for that war at all. I found it to be rather unbelievable that she was seen as the primary reason for it. Also her shipmates went from shunning her to accepting her with open arms over perhaps 3 episodes, none of which showed why the crew’s attitude towards her would change.

The crew getting over their beef with her I always had a huge problem with. It’s terribly done – Detmer gets over her resentment too easily. Just like how everyone suddenly loves Georgiou in her last two episodes – great set up there, team.

But part of why I hated that Burnham redemption arc is that I assumed everyone would blame Burnham for everything. As far as they were concerned, she fired the first shot, so how could they ever prove the Klingons were about to strike? Unless Tyler set the record straight? Off-screen? But I’m in no hurry to revisit season 1, so again I am hazy on how that all transpired.

I think you missed that in the last two episodes of DSC season one that most of the crew thought that was Prime Georgiou. Remember, Saru ordered Burnham to keep secret the fact that she brought Mirror Georgiou back to the Prime universe. The only people that knew were her, Saru, Tilly, Cornwell, Sarek, and Tyler (maybe like one or two others. I don’t remember who was in that meeting where Cornwell phasers the fortune cookies). Detmer was glad to see her old captain back, but Burnham and Saru couldn’t let her know what was going on. That’s why there was all that sly banter in the finale between Mirror Georgiou, Burnham, and Saru.

As for the speed with which the crew grew to accept Burnham, I think it was maybe the Mudd episode at the very earliest (episode seven), only because that was kind of the first time the crew worked together as a team, and even at the beginning had that morale-boosting party.

I think you missed that eventually the crew was told it was Mirror Georgiou. They certainly knew by season 3.

The redemption arc is not a bad idea. But honestly I thought it was something that was going to take the entire season to earn. Instead everyone was pretty much good with her 3 episodes after joining the crew. And we saw nothing of why they had such a sudden about face. It’s as if it happened off screen because the writers did not consider her redemption worth examining. This sort of mistake has plagued Star Trek Discovery its entire run.

Exactly.

I just don’t understand what they were thinking. They had Michelle Yeoh in their cast for 3 years, and they didn’t bother to give her more than some action scenes and sarcastic snarky lines until it was time for her to leave. And Yeoh does her best work in those last episodes because it’s proper meaty material, but none of it was set up properly – in early season 3 she’s still acting petulant and reluctant to help anyone, pulling Linus aside for god knows why, and being kept at an arms length by the crew as is she’s a feral cat they dont want to be scratched by. Then the show carpet bombed us with their patented display of a few hugs and tears when she leaves as if that would trick us into believing they actually did the work to earn a redemption arc.

The Georgeau thing is a repeat of the Burnham mistake. Burnham arrives as a pariah but after 3 episodes of the crew shunning her and icing her out, suddenly she is accepted by everyone. No questions asked. Similarly, Georgeau spends her entire time being a jerk to everyone, including Burnham herself, yet when she leaves it’s like it’s a dear friend leaving. It’s truly bizarre.

So Haz Mazaro… is that Maz Kanata’s long-lost husband?

My very first thought was “that sounds like a Star Wars name.” So I enjoy that you said that.

As do a lot of the names in Prodigy (“Jankom Pog,” etc.); the chance that this is coincidence is diminishing rapidly.

Yeah, Tars Lamora, somewhere in the Outer Rim, just outside the Rishi Maze :)

I’m just glad Star Trek no longer names their alien species a four syllable name that begins with T and ends in “ians.” That got old after like the 30th species with that naming convention in the Berman era.

Loved seeing Shawn Doyle and Daniel Kash together. Felt kind of like an Expanse reunion, except not, because their characters on The Expanse never met, haha.

But I’ve always loved seeing sci-fi actors pop up all over the, well, cosmos.

We need more Canadian comedy cameos on Discovery. Get more of the Kim’s Convenience cast on there. Or some of the Tallboyz / Baroness von Sketch performers.

Haz didn’t say Elasians. He said Elysians. You’ve got the wrong link up above. It’s a reference to The Animated Series’ “The Time Trap.”

Yep. Listen to the word. He didn’t say “Elasians.” He said “Elysians.”

Shockingly, this would not be the first time in Hollywood where the closed captions don’t faithfully reflect what an actor says onscreen.

Cue the debate over which is canon.

Except that if you listen and play it back a couple of times with some minor adjustments to treble and bass on a high quality sound system like mine, you will clearly that he said, “Elasians,” which tracks EXACTLY to the caption.

Just listened to it several times in high fidelity — you are incorrect. He clearly said “Elasians.”

Honestly, this season has been boring, predictable, and unsatisfying. It’s full of cliches and unimaginative situations and places. This week, we get to see that Burnham is good at poker. Yippee.

It would have been rad if after she’s taken down in the ring, Joann’s real superpower is that she is really good at cards and picks up that kind of stuff stat. She still could lose to Book, but it creates a situation where she is there to protect SMG from too much pain.

Otherwise, I liked the way SMG had to confront Book very directly over cards, knowing she was not going to win. That was interesting.

I think it would have worked much better if it was what’s her name’s skill rather than putting her in the ring. Which was ridiculous.

Conversely the confrontation we do have, where Owa is very conscious of the psychology of her opponent was also skilled. She learned a lot. That will help the Admiral do more research. And in the long run perhaps convince Book that he’s not going in the right direction.

Boring and unsatisfying are pretty subjective, so you can have those of course. Predictable… that’s interesting. Where’s the story going from this point to the end of the season? Broad brushstrokes are fine, but please, go ahead and predict.

I just want good sci-fi. This isn’t it. This is more like mysticism and sorcery than an interpolation of technology. The spore drive might have worked if they started in the 32nd century, and not 10 or so years before TOS. A light years long ‘anomaly’.. another in a long string if implausible and massive sized plot devices that threaten the galaxy! This whole DMA thing is short on intrigue while they’re off doing random stuff like taking a whole episode to meet with this shady guy, have a MMA fight, and play cards. This is probably headed for a very unsatisfying and simplistic resolution, as the only real trick up anyone’s sleeve is that there is this big mystery to solve, and once solved, it’s mundane but neatly wrapped up into a bow. All except for the PTSD carryover into next season so they can create some measure of conflict on the show. Blah. Not everything has to be this huge season long mystery. I really hope Strange New Worlds can do what Discovery just can’t.

If it was your franchise, what would you do? I suspect that they won’t come to any conclusion at the end of this season. This is a new alien life form they are going to have to live with. They can’t stop pumping oil, can they?

Mysticism and sorcery like: Gary Mitchell, Charlie Evans, M-113, the Shore Leave planet, the Metrons, the Organians, Trelane, the Guardian of Forever, Apollo, Vaal, Sylvia and Korob, Zephram Cochrane’s Companion, the cloud that killed half the Farragut, the giant Amoeba, Sargon & Co., the Kelvans, Isis, the lights of Zetar, Lucien, Bem, “God” in the center of the galaxy, Chameloids, Q, Edo, the Crystalline Entity, Armus, Allasomorphs, John Doe, the Cytherians, Kamala, the Imaginary Friend, the Iyaarans, Masaka and Korgano, the emergent life that left the 1701-D, the Prophets, the visions of Rumplestiltskin and Buck Bokai, Nidell, Meridian, Lwaxana’s love infections, the Pah Wraiths, the Kosst Amojen, the Caretakers, the Nechani, and the Sphere Builders?

This is a great list of all the mystic aliens that inhabit the Star Trek universe. Every time someone tries to convince me Star Trek is suppose to be a ‘grounded’ show and is about ‘us’ in the future, I always have to laugh. I never believed that outside of the peripheral. Star Trek exist in a very bizarre and strange universe where literally anything can happen in it with a lot of magical aliens and technology in it.

It’s funny Star Wars is considered the science ‘fantasy’ franchise and yet it doesn’t have any god like aliens or magical creatures in its universe. Once you get away from ‘the force’ it’s a very grounded universe with just a bunch of humanoid aliens living together. There are no Q, GOF or Organians that exist in there. The Force would be a joke to someone like the Q continuum. They would probably just consider it basically a parlor trick and nothing more.

And while the 32nd century has more advanced technology, nothing in it is stranger than what we seen in the 23rd or 24th centuries already.

Of course, if the universe is a simulation, all of those God-like aliens become possible.

Well, there’s a few ultra-powerful / mystical beings in Star Wars, if you watch the Clone Wars and Rebels series, such as the Bendu (voiced by Tom Baker!) who wields the Force in the ‘gray Jedi’ sense, neither dark nor light; or the Mortis beings, the Ones, an ancient family of Celestial Force wielders; the Nightsisters, a sect of the Witches of Dathomir; and the Force Priestesses, who held the secret to immortality.

We’ve seen that Jedi who corporeally merge with the Force at death (like Obi-Wan, Luke, and Yoda) can reappear as full-bodied apparitions that can interact with the world – Luke catches the lightsaber, Yoda calls down lightning upon the sacred tree, etc. We don’t know exactly how powerful these beings are (like the Organians who could freeze entire fleets of ships) but they’re pretty powerful.

I think the worldbuilding of Star Wars is such that they don’t really have a lot of technology that involves reordering matter, like teleportation, replicators, nanotech; so it makes sense there wouldn’t be a species like the Q, capable of just instantaneously creating or destroying things. It wouldn’t fit into the ‘world’.

Star Wars doesn’t really have anything like parallel universes or higher dimensions (except for hyperspace and the Force-dimension, i guess), and they only very carefully allowed a hint of time travel via the World Between Worlds, probably an ancient Celestial artifact, but there’s no time travel generally (no temporal loops, chronoton / tachyon technobabble).

There are force fields / shields, antigrav repulsors (seen on hover-carts, landspeeders, X-wings etc). Most tech seems based around energy manipulation and storage (lightsabers, kyber crystals, hyperdrives etc) and the rest is standard electromechanical / hydraulic stuff.

OK. Here are my comments.

Serviceable. Moved things along, albeit slower than most shows and movies today. That would not be a problem on other shows but it sorta is on this one because of, well…. The problems the show has to begin with.

They employed a trope I am not a fan of at all but I’m not going to wade into that.

It was rather obvious Book was going to get the unobtanium or whatever the hell it was. If he didn’t the plot pretty much ends.

So even 900 years later they STILL haven’t ventured past that “great barrier”? Good grief….

At any rate… Another “meh” episode. Which for this show is downright great.

Agree 100%. You know what dawned on me today? There’s no watercolor talk surrounding Discovery after it airs. These Star Wars shows? I gotta stay off of social media. The only place I have to avoid Trek spoilers is here, yet even that isn’t a problem. This show is not thought provoking. Not from a character standpoint, and not from a story standpoint. I follow plenty of Trek people that just do not feel the need to talk about the show because of what they just watched. Kind of sad, actually. The best I seem to see, is that they like it.

Maybe, but I watched the first episode of Book of Boba Fett and have no interest in watching any more. If Boba is supposed to be thought-provoking, I’ll stick with Discovery.

Um, no one here brought up Boba Fett, let alone said it was supposed to be thought-provoking.

While not specifically mentioning “Book of Boba Fett”, heyberto contrasted “Discovery” with “These Star Wars shows”. I don’t watch any of them but as far as I know “Book of Boba Fett” is the most recent one.

I wouldn’t go as far as to say all shows get water cooler status because they are thought provoking, at least in the in the cerebral sense. Sometimes it’s just down to having cool action, hot actors, cute critters, memorable lines, or bawdy sex scenes. That certainly sums up why shows like Bridgerton, Boba Fett or Reacher got buzz.

No matter what you personally might think of Star Wars, those shows are doing well, and people are rushing to social media to talk about them, to the point that spoilers become hard to avoid. I don’t have that problem with modern Star Trek. I’m engaged in both franchises equally and have always been fans of both for different reasons. But I just don’t have to avoid what’s happening on Social Media because they are not generating much buzz at all, in the very community that is it’s primary target. We don’t know what viewership really is, but outside of Seasons 1 & 2, Disco isn’t producing the buzz of other shows, and when the episodes and characters are as uninteresting as these have become, It’s just not resonating beyond the core that loves it, I think. Sure, I could be wrong, but I think there’s a strong case to be made that the show quality is declining. To be honest, my own interest is dwindling since season 2 aired. If you love it, then I’m thrilled for you, seriously.

I actually don’t disagree with you when it comes to buzz about the Star Trek shows versus the Star Wars shows. I watch both as I’m a fan of both, but a bigger Star Trek fan by far. But sadly while I personally know other people watching the Star Wars shows I don’t know a single soul watching any of the Star Trek shows.

I do have a brother who grew up watching Star Trek like I did but mostly just TOS and TNG growing up. He grew out of it by time DS9 showed up (but have watched all the films). The only new show he bothered to watch was Picard and stopped watching it by episode 3 when he realized the Enterprise wasn’t showing up. But with the Star Wars shows, he’s watched them all. I know most people whose watched at least Mandalorian, a few not huge SW fans either, but the buzz for that show is pretty crazy.

It was weird listening to Youtubers go on and on how Star Wars was dead because how much they hated the Sequel trilogy but then ignore how much praise the Mandalorian was getting. SW is clearly doing fine even if fans are having issues with the content like Book of Boba Fett (I personally thought it was fine, but yes could have been better).

That said, obviously the Star Trek shows still must be doing pretty well. For starters, there will soon be five of them! You don’t have that many shows running at the same time if they aren’t getting a good number of viewers. And two, they all keep getting renewed.

And lastly you don’t pay Alex Kurtzman $160 million dollars to keep making Star Trek shows if they are doing badly. For a guy the internet kept predicting was going to be fired every six months he’s standing pretty tall right now and a sign they love what he’s doing with the brand.

So yes, maybe the shows aren’t resonating beyond the core. I can agree with that. But it must be a pretty big core who are watching them at least. And of course Prodigy was designed to get non-Trek fans into the show but that probably won’t bare out until a few years if it’s grabbing a strong set of younger viewers or not.

But the best thing for Star Trek was to land on All Access. As much as many hated it at the time, the brand is prospering like never before there even if it’s nowhere close to what Star Wars is doing. And look how much trouble it’s taking Paramount just to get another movie off the ground? Based on a movie series that people thought would last for a decade if not longer when it first started in 2009. We been movieless for nearly 6 years and counting. That’s clear evidence when someone doesn’t believe in the brand or simply worried they can’t get enough viewers.

Not the case with the shows! We’ll be getting an episode a week, every week, for at least the next two years. It’s pretty crazy where the streaming side is going.

Streaming makes the Trek world go around these days. Hard to say how that translates… but I don’t think it would perform well on regular TV. The theater experience is lacking. We’ll see how it goes, but the public will never know if they’re happy with the actual streaming numbers because those will not be released. There are no B movies in the theaters.. it goes to Streaming and is turned into a series nowadays. It’s the only way this will be really affordable. They will do some movies, but I expect they’ll have a ceiling.

I agree that Star Trek probably wouldn’t do as well on TV as streaming. Out of the 3 shows that got on network, Voyager was the only one that did over five seasons and it was losing ratings too. In fact I always point out that’s why having it stream turned out to be a blessing in disguise because even if you have a hit show on TV, I still doubt we would have this many shows on so quickly because there probably isn’t the demand for it like it is on streaming.

TNG was a huge hit, probably still the most watched Star Trek show to this day. But we only got DS9 because TNG was leaving and they wanted to replace it with something. If TNG stayed on the air a few more years and UPN never existed, we probably wouldn’t have gotten another show so quickly.

So yes it’s definitely a different metric. But dude, you can’t ignore the obvious either. No one puts on five shows of ANYTHING unless it’s successful. If Discovery was struggling or not pulling in the numbers, then yes I think you can argue they could bring in another show like Picard to bring in viewers who were disappointed in that show (which I honestly believed happened, at least partly). But then if BOTH of those shows were struggling, I don’t think their solution would be just to make another show…and then another and so on. I think they would stop at two and try to build those up first.

Or at the very least, they would cancel some of the lower performing shows and replace it with another. They haven’t done that. All they done is increase the output which tells me they are at least satisfied with the numbers. Could I be wrong, of course, but this is just common sense.

But I agree with you that Star Trek, as much as we all love it, simply has a lower ceiling when compared to other major franchises. It just does. But I don’t think that has anything to do with the perceived quality of a show. The irony is every Star Trek show is considered pretty decent quality (not truly bad), it’s why it has the following it does. But it still has trouble attracting new viewers on a level like Marvel or Star Wars does and the entire issue with the movie franchise and why that has stalled for as long as it has now. I still doubt another film is coming next year based on the total silence on everything thus far. Really hope to be proven wrong though.

But as a streaming show, it’s clearly thriving. At least for now.

The Star Trek shows on P+ are in a very similar position to how Voyager was used on UPN. Using the Star Trek brand for a flashy debut even if it operates at a loss? Check. Trying to capitalize on that audience with similar additional programming at first? Check. Being satisfied with numbers that wouldn’t earn a renewal on a traditional network but do on a smaller network/streamer? Check. Looking for the next big thing to graduate from depending on Star Trek? Check (see: WWE Smackdown! and all the other schizo scheduling decisions UPN made after its first non-Trek genre shows didn’t take; Halo, Yellowstone 1883 and Mayor of Kingstown on P+).

There’s a cap on the audience a Trek show will pull in these days, but it’s clearly big enough to be lucrative now that the shows are behind a paywall. I still say we’d have gotten 7 seasons of Enterprise if they’d moved it to Showtime.

Disney+ is huge compared to Paramount+ though (130 million subscribers to 47 million between both Paramount+ and Showtime). So of course you’re much more likely to find people talking about Boba Fett than Discovery. That happens when your service also offers all the enormously popular Marvel, Pixar, and classic Disney movies and Paramount+ offers… well, not much else really. For about the same price.

But I pay for both and watch both. I think the Star Wars shows look great and so do Discovery and Picard. Where they all fall down is the writing and acting. All the rush to social media? I don’t see why. Boba was boring and the acting was terrible. Mandalorian was a one-note show that should have been renamed Baby Yoda (Luke showing up a the end was really cool, I’ll admit, and worthy of great social media buzz. Not much else was.)

I have no personal beef with Star Wars. I’ve seen the movies. I’m just not interested in signing up for Disney+ to see any of the shows. That said, Star Wars has been more popular with general audiences since it first came out so I’m not surprised that Star Wars would create more buzz on Social Media. Doesn’t bother me at all because I don’t follow Social Media.

While Discovery isn’t my favorite Trek show I have so far enjoyed season 4 more than season 3, which in my opinion was an improvement over season 2. Then again, season 3 also had a stronger first half than finish in my opinion so let’s wait and see how successfully they wrap up season 4.
To be perfectly honest, I’m tired of the endless discussion how well or badly Discovery is doing in terms of viewership. The show is doing well enough that CBS keeps making more of it. Not only that, they also got rid of Netflix as a financial partner who used to sponsor a large chunk of Discovery’s budget.
My enjoyment of the show doesn’t depend on how popular it is with the masses. As long as I don’t hate the show I’m happy if CBS makes more of it.

At the end of the day maybe Discovery is not capturing a wide range of audiences but it’s clearly getting a big enough of old and new fans or it wouldn’t have made it to season 5, especially when there is obviously enough new Star Trek now to replace it with.

I have my ups and downs about Discovery as a show as well. I like the show, but it’s still far from a favorite of mine. But I also think every season has gotten better than the last which says a lot about it. I felt the exact same way with Enterprise. So even if I still don’t think it’s amazing television, it’s at least decent. Others could feel the very opposite of course and that the show is getting worse and worse but most seem to think it has improved since first season at least; certainly on this board. Again, it may not be a huge improvement, but its there.

And I think Viacom buying Discovery from Netflix FINALLY proved that the show isn’t just surviving because of Netflix. That was the one talking point the haters used why the show still existed. But it proved the opposite and that the show was clearly strong enough on its own. And they lost millions of viewers in the process, most likely tens of millions of viewers. It shows Discovery is at least getting the viewers it wants and is a big draw to the service and betting many of those people who watched it on Netflix will pay for it on Paramount+ as an additional service when it arrives in those countries.

That’s a lot of faith for a show no one watches or cares about apparently.

Um, no one here brought up Boba Fett, 

Heyberto compared Discovery to “these Star Wars shows” which to my knowledge there are only two (live action anyway): Mandalorian and Book of Boba Fett.

Star Wars has always been way way more popular than Star Trek.

This show got some good buzz in seasons 1 & 2, and they were talked about in the circles I frequent online. That hasn’t been the case with seasons 3 & 4. I don’t directly know why, but when I sense that the quality has declined, of course I’m going to wonder if that’s the reason. I don’t think it’s an unfair correlation to make about ST DISCO, or PICARD.

In my experience, Discovery has never had much “water cooler” talk, and the vast majority of Social Media discussion is of the “STD stinks” mode, usually from “fans” who clearly hadn’t seen anything but trailers. Picard got a decent amount of social buzz, though, and Season 2 continues to get lots of buzz, mostly thanks to Q and Seven.) There are still way too many ordinary Joes unaware of Lower Decks, Prodigy and especially the upcoming Strange New Worlds (whenever I mention it, I have to remind people that’s the Captain Pike show.) There is still a disturbing number of friends and acquaintances who ask me “how much is CBS All Access, is it worth it?” So Paramount still has a lot of work to do in the promotion department.

I agree with all of this. I don’t know how much these shows are hitting outside the bubble frankly because most of my own friends and family has never heard of most of these shows until I mention them (and I don’t come from a big Trek family so it’s rarely brought up). Picard obviously had the biggest buzz out of all of them because it was bringing back an iconic character in a big way. That was the only show I saw mentioned with my local news when it was announced.

SNW is just weird in terms of marketing. I mean it’s on less than 3 months and there has been NOTHING for it outside of those Paramount+ commercials where they show a few of the characters; in terms of the mainstream. I know once they start they will flood the market but to me I think they are just basically relying on the old fans to watch it and not really pushing it for new ones. I felt the same with Lower Decks.

Prodigy seems to be the only show they really want a new audience to get into and that’s probably because it will be on Nickelodeon. And even now I don’t think there is a big push outside of the usual channels but probably will come later.

Maybe I’m just not perusing sources that others do but I don’t see promotions for hardly any streaming show anywhere. I mostly hear about them if they garner some sort of buzz AFTER they stream. There very rare exceptions to this. I did hear about Amazons Middle Earth show quite some time ago. But tons of shows are on those services. The only ones that seem to venture out beyond the streaming services menu are the franchise shows.

Because Book ripped Haz off last time, Haz Mazaro should have captured Book and Tarka on the spot, then demanded reward money from the Federation, far greater than whatever he could gain from catching changelings or emptying Book’s and Tarka’s pockets, to extradite them. He’ll tell the underworld that he’s not cooperating with authorities so much as punishing someone who dared to double cross him, which is Book, instilling fear in future cheaters, double crossers, etc.

He’ll then sell the isolynium to the Emerald Chain, thus being in the good graces of both the Fed and the Chain.

The end result is Haz making far more money than he ended up making in what was aired, and cowering the underworld into obeying him unless they want to be handed over to authority governments too.

But then he’s a snitch and on the Federation’s radar forever. Bad for business in the long run.

He’s already on their radar forever now. And he’ll only tell on people who cheat him.

That’s not Haz’ style. He’s more like Quark, someone who fancies himself a people person who prefers to charm compliance from his associates.

I can agree Eric Chung.

Haz is more of a self interested gray profiteer than a bad guy. He’s also still outside Federation authority.

He’s more like Quark was when the station was in the vacuum of authority between the Cardassians and the Bajoran/Federation control.

I would like to reiterate the “Oded Fehr is knocking it out of the park” sentiment. Starfleet C-in-C spin off show please.

Vance has been awesome his whole run. He had one of the best negotiation scenes in Trek history in “There is a Tide…” and is an expert in emotional intelligence and psychology, always with wise words, eloquently written. He’s been great, but almost too perfect. I’m glad to see just a little angst from him, regarding his regret about Tarka. It adds a nice layer to the character.

This was not a great episode to come back from hiatus. The writers have made Book so unlikable that I’m actually hoping he’ll get killed off by Burnham by the season finale. The only positive thing I can say about this episode was that they showed a changeling. Sadly, they proved that they’re still getting treated like crap in the 32nd century.

Also sad to see one reduced to both being a petty thief and easily captured. Way to distill a complex, proud and well-developed race into a superficial callback.

Exactly. This was a species that was supposed to be above the petty concerns of a solid’s existence, and innately preoccupied with justice and order (to the extent the two are compatible. But once we see a changeling leave the Great Link, he goes to….a casino, to count cards. Count me underwhelmed. The Grays with their blinking game were much more interesting.

Are we sure that it was even supposed to be the same kind of changeling we saw on DS9? I mean, “changeling” is a pretty generic term. You could call any creature that can change its form a “changeling”. Wasn’t there a shapeshifter (not the DS9 kind) on one Lower Decks episode as well?

There was also the Chameloid from TUC and the aliens from The Dauphin. But do we really think the writers intentionally wrote that to be a different kind of shapeshifter and Booker was just jumping the gun on the species?

They thought it would be a whiz bang cool DS9 reference for us, even though it’s all surface, no substance.

Look at the Changeling, the physical characteristics are clearly the same the founder have… clearly a founder changeling!

I saw a picture now. Yeah, it’s pretty clear, I guess.

And another sign they didn’t really pay attention to why DS9 did anything – the Founders only looked like that to make Odo feel more comfortable. So they would mean this is a Changeling who knew of Odo, at least, and still has resorted to a life of petty crime. Scintillating development of the Changelings, Team Paradise, all so they could throw VFX money at a lazy callback.

Odo’s inability to fully achieve human form I found to be really odd. He could perfectly mimic all sorts of forms far more complex than a human. Yet he couldn’t look human? He’s been changing into things for years. Others of his kind has no problem mimicking humans. But not Odo?

And remember, I’m nitpicking with love. DS9 is my 2nd favorite Trek show of all time.

It was always a bit silly, considering how intricately he could copy a rat or a bird. But he was also stubborn and seemed to like not quite fitting in, so perhaps he did it on purpose, eventually.

It’s the look that most fans associate with Changelings (when they take a human form).

A relatively minor nit I have to pick is that the casino seemed really *empty*. Maybe it’s covid protocols or something, but it was a small space (and the ship looked really small from the outside) and still seemed very lacking. No noise, no excitement, no crowd.

A bigger thing that occurred to me is that, absent some switcheroo, this is shaping up to be the *same exact plot* as last season, “Major disaster turns out to be caused by misunderstanding which we will hug away.” I mean, Trek is accused to repeated plots over decades, but over one year?

I guess the natural form of Changelings isn’t liquid anymore….it’s powder.

Wow this was a horrible episode. The poker scene was terrible. Completely unwatchable and downright silly. Burnham was complete camp in this.

Experiences will vary, but I enjoyed the episode.

Overall, was one of the better Starfleet
officers go to a gaming establishment or seedy place to get something episodes that I can recall.

They almost all get a bit campy. I’m not sure why, but it seems to be something the franchise struggles to pull off across every show.

I think she was trying to be as non-Starfleet as possible, but I did also wonder why she and Owo showed up in uniform.

Yes, I found that weird. All it would do is call attention to them. Unless that was the goal?

Yeah that was so weird to me too.

I mean, they changed uniforms between season 3 and season 4. Maybe they thought that people wouldn’t recognize them as Starfleet in the new outfit ;-)

Agreed. The changeling dust effect was just the icing on the poo cake for me.

The writing is frequently dumb, and actually very boring. I found myself on my phone a lot during the episode, it completely lost my attention because I don’t care about any of the stakes or the characters. I didn’t care about that Joanne woman who was fighting because who even is that person? I don’t care about that mystery guy who has some secret trauma. And I don’t care about the DMC because tbh the future times that they’ve shown so far doesn’t seem great; full of crime and underworld shenanigans and slavery and isolationist folks.

I realised during this episode that Culber is a great example of everything wrong with the show. Off course the psychiatrist would be hyper-emotional and crumble to pieces at failure. Hasn’t this man died? Has he not gone through years of training and techniques to cope with anxiety and depression that he can use on himself? Not saying that psychiatrists and councillors are immune from mental health issues at all, but where is this particular character’s perspective given everything that has already happened? And where is his counsellor’s counselling like they have in real life? Is that just not a thing in the future? Kovich talked at him like…once. And that was more of a shade throwing competition than help. However the character is being played by someone who is actually a good actor that is trying to do their very best. It is so frustrating to watch.

The alien was also more demon from Buffy the Vampire Slayer for me too, in looks and character.

The article says “five episodes left” but there is only three left since this season was announced to have 11 episodes:
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5171438/episodes?season=4

Will we get two new Treks for three Thursdays next month, or will one of the other go to a different night?

Thanks for the clarification Anthony! IMDB is indeed wrong on this and got me confused as well! :)

Although this season feels fairly bottled up for such a big story, I’m still very pleased with the pacing, writing, and tone of the show. It’s amazing how much the show resembles Berman-era Star Trek once again. Characters have their moments to breath on screen, the story progresses logically, and the pacing is no longer crammed with extraneous expository dialogue with unearned emotional beats. But the other thing that reminds me of older Star Trek is that the show feels lower budget more and more. The world building is just not happening and I’m pretty sure it’s because they just can’t afford to do it, something I feared would be the issue with this setting. They have tons of opportunity, but every show is bottled up to a few characters and sets, minimal VFX. Maybe they are saving it for later, but this season feels particularly forgettable and inconsequential.

COVID was a significant issue in production this season.

Discovery was one of the first major shows to restart production in the fall of 2020, and with shutdowns, the reshoots were only completed at the end of summer 2021.

The show clearly reduced its use of location shooting and is relying on the AR Wall and some new sets at Starfleet and Federation HQ that were added.

If there was location shooting, I would expect it to appear in the last third of the season.

“It’s amazing how much the show resembles Berman-era Star Trek once again.”

I do find this pretty funny. There is a large subset of fans who really hated the Berman era and think Star Trek became worse for it. And yet, all the new shows today, the most popular episodes from them seems to be the one that imitate those shows the most. I feel it’s why Lower Decks is so popular because it basically is like those shows, just with a comedic angle. Same with Prodigy.

It’s probably why I personally am enjoying Discovery more this season as well since I gravitate to that kind of story telling the most. But I never shy away from how much I love the Berman shows, but a fan of all of it.

I will always be a huge fan of the Berman years, except for Enterprise where things stopped working for me. But the thing I didn’t expect to be nostalgic for is just slower pacing. It can only work however if the writing and acting is there to fill up the screen, and they certainly are doing better this season IMO. Still not great, I would say Voyager, DS9, and Enterprise had more action and excitement than any given episode of Discovery this season. Discovery still lacks a strong leading cast which I think remains its fatal flaw. Picard otoh has an incredible cast, just terrible writing.

Well “The Berman Era” is pretty much all of the 90s up to the end of Enterprise. Hating that means you’re only into TOS, TAS and the Movies. And fair enough, if that’s your thing.

But for me the difference between Berman and Kurtzman is, that the former at least got the shows and characters right and managed to hire really talented writers. So even, if there were episodes that didn’t work, you at least got to see the people you like, inhabiting a universe you feel at home in. And let’s not forget, that the episodic format is a lot more forgiving in terms of boring stories, since you know that most what you don’t like about an episode won’t spill over to the next.

None of that is necessarily a question of better or worse (though I do think new Trek ist terribly written). It’s just very different from what Star Trek was at its core.

Thank goodness, going years without Star Trek was awful, but somehow going a couple months with only Prodigy was even worse.

wah.

I’ve liked Discovery episdoes and disliked some. I disliked this one but whats new is it could barely hold my attention. I was looking at my phone a lot trying not to be bored.

This was the fun “seedy space bar” episode that back in PIC Season 1 I hoped Stardust City Rag would be…

Thanks for this Bird of Prey.

I agree, many of the seedy space bar episodes have been poorly done across pretty much all of the Trek series.

Even the flashback in TNG to a young Picard getting into a fight with Nausicans lost its power because the seedy bars and taverns never are credible.

Quark’s on DS9 built up a credible mix of the familiar with underlying potential for menace, but it stands out as an exception.

I did find the the blatant cueing between Book and Burnham in the card game to be overdone to the point of camp though. What was the director thinking?

The episode reminding me of Battlestar Galactica and Dr. Baltar, though nor done nearly as well as BSG. It still makes no sense that the entire fate of the known universe keeps relying on a 1,000 year old person who was convicted of mutiny in a 1,000 year old ship. Yes, the ship has been upgraded with detached nacelles (talk about a waste of energy), but that’s like putting weapons from a modern naval ship on the Mayflower.

In 4 seasons of Discovery, Earth and the federation (and the known universe) has been saved literally by one person each time. More than in 29 seasons on television and 12 movies. Even Kirk needed Sulu to defeat Chang.

And I’m sorry, but kill the AI, there is a reason no one is on ship in the short treks episode. Haven’t they seen Terminator????

Maybe attitudes towards AI are different in the 23rd century (where the Discovery crew come from) but me, I would be VERY nervous with a sentient AI running the ship listening and watching everything every member of the crew says and does. It’s a recipe for disaster. And even if the Captain orders Zora to not eavesdrop, I still wouldn’t believe it wasn’t happening.

Well, a bit of forward movement and a lot of “let’s share our feelings”… How are they ever going to be able to accomplish missions with all that navel gazing. Thank goodness for fast-forward.

From the (TOS) Star Trek writer’s/director’s guide, revised in 1967:

“The time is today. We’re in Viet Nam waters aboard the navy cruiser U.S.S. Detroit. Suddenly an enemy gunboat heads for us, our guns are unable to stop it, and we realize it’s a suicide attack with an atomic warhead. Total destruction of our vessel and of all aboard appears probable. Would Captain E. L. Henderson, presently commanding the U.S.S. Detroit, turn and hug a comely female WAVE who happened to be on the ship’s bridge.

As simple as that. This is our standard test that has led to STAR TREK believability. (It also suggests much of what has been wrong in filmed sf of the past.) No, Captain Henderson wouldn’t! Not if he’s the kind of Captain we hope is commanding any naval vessel of ours. Nor would our Captain Kirk hug a female crewman in a moment of danger, not if he’s to remain believable. (Some might prefer Henderson were somewhere making love rather than shelling Asiatic ports, but that’s a whole different story for a whole different network. Probably BBC.)”

I think the above has been a big problem with Discovery. When you predicate the protagonist’s motivations on emotional decisions and interpersonal romance, it undermines the believability of their decision making and their believability as a captain. And it undermines the show.

In the current season, we have an anomaly that has destroyed entire planets, is spread across multiple light-years of the Milky Way, and is such a threat that most of the major powers have determined it to be a threat to civilization. And yet, you would think the bigger threat was Book’s and Michael’s relationship by the importance the show gives to things and the actions of the characters.

I found this episode so boring that it made me want to stop watching the series. The casino part was fun, but all the supposed affairs that Book and Michael went on are completely implausible to me.