Review: ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Faces Its Fear In “Rosetta”


Star Trek: Discovery Season 4, Episode 11 – Debuted Thursday, March 3, 2022
Written by Terri Hughes Burton
Directed by Jeff Byrd & Jen McGowan


Discovery rises from its mid-season malaise with a smart, self-contained episode to bring back some of the sci-fi wonder the series was built for, while still building on the character and plot arcs for the season.


WARNING: Spoilers below!


“The coming… of death”

The ticking clock gives Captain Burnham 29 hours to stop the DMA before it takes out Earth and Ni’Var. With no way yet to make contact with 10-C, she risks spending precious time exploring the lifeless core of a former gas giant believed to be the original home of the elusive DMA builders in hopes for some “cultural context.” Saru, Culber, and Detmer join her for a slow-mo hero walk, hearing out but ultimately dismissing the concerns of the skittish first contact delegation, especially Earth General Ndoye.

Down on the dusty lifeless planet, all they find are some ominously big—like really big—bones… actually a mass grave of them. Not all the 10-C got out before the planet was destroyed by asteroids a millennia ago. As the landing party heads to the only intact structure, Saru goes all first-season Kelpien with visions of being under attack. By the time they get inside the mysterious structure they are still coming up empty in terms of finding anything useful, and now Culber and Captain Burnham are now crippled to “an exceptional degree” by the same fiery visions. Keyla Detmer is the only one keeping it together… for now.

“What kind of idiot would pull a practical joke in the middle of an existential threat?”

As for Book and Tarka, they are hiding out close by hatching a plan to latch onto the Disco like a remora–sorry a Kwejian nightsprey–to “hitch a ride” into the 10-C hyperfield. The plan requires a crazy daring infiltration of a starship constantly monitored by a sentient supercomputer, but luckily, Tarka is a supergenius who whips up some techno-armbands to hide the pair from Zora, letting them sneak around the Jefferies tubes to do some sabotage, mixed with some light peeping. And it is this prying that gives Book the idea to recruit Ndoye, who is itching for action. The smooth-talking former courier is able to talk her into helping them, as long as they agree to let diplomacy have the first crack at 10-C before they blow anything up.

Tarka busies himself with getting Zora to ignore Book’s ship, but first, he gets to watch a nice moment of Reno giving Adira some wisdom on how no one is as confident as they appear, and how Adira could approach their idol, boy-does-she-have-it-together Detmer. That coffee break inspires the mad scientist to get replicators across the ship to malfunction, distracting Reno long enough for him to install that sensor numbing patch, but not long enough for him not to get spotted hiding under a table upon her return. “Please tell me I just spoiled a surprise party.”

“I’m going to let it in”

On the planet, even in the grips of fear visions, the landing party works the problem like professionals, eventually figuring out the common factor was contact with some blue dust hydrocarbons the fancy 32nd-century EV suits didn’t know how to handle. Keyla reprograms the suits and presto, everyone is fine—and this is the key. The various alien hydrocarbons are somehow able to communicate universally like pheromones, with the point driven home when Michael experiments with some orange dust next to some long-dead incubators, filling her with feelings of love… the rest join in, with Detmer being particularly moved by the experience. “This is what we came for.”

Thanks to the team’s findings, Stamets is able to identify over a dozen different compounds corresponding to different emotional states,  reporting “this data changes everything.” Even the acerbic Dr. Hirai—after a glare from Rillak—expresses optimism this can lead to being able to communicate with 10-C, but there is still a nagging worry that it’s quite possible these beings may simply not care what the DMA is doing to the galaxy.

With just a day left for Earth, the course is set for the hyperfield, giving Saru and T’Rina time for a stroll on the holodeck (wink wink), Adira time to rustle up the courage to talk to Detmer, and Burnham an opportunity to have a heart-to-heart with Culber. Book also had the chance to (creepily) see Michael one last time before returning to his ship, now snugly attached to the Disco, only to find Tarka has brought along a surprise guest… Commander Reno. “Nothing like coming home to an unexpected hostage, am I right?” Indeed.


Once more, with feelings

With “Rosetta,” Discovery finally feels like it is moving again after spinning its wheels for a couple of episodes. Visiting an alien planet full of danger and mystery is pure Star Trek and done well here with a story that could have stood on its own even if it wasn’t—finally—making progress on the season’s big story arc. And what could be more on-brand for this show than finding a scientific solution tied to emotion and empathy? The visual effects on the planet were stunning and showed how the production team is getting more adept in the use of the new AR Wall virtual set technology.

Doug Jones was the MVP of this story, digging back into his earlier portrayal of a fearful Saru and showing more range as he went from a Kelpien crippled by visions on the planet, to inspiring leader with Detmer, to flirtatious boyfriend with T’Rina. Emily Coutts also deserves praise for helping fill out more dimensions of Detmer, as we learn more about her (of course tragic) backstory, with some earned emotional displays. All of this helped sell the overall theme of the importance of feelings, which now seems a key part of the 10-C plot.

The Tarka and Book B-story was not as strong, mostly giving the pair something to do as they waited for the Starfleet crew to make their discoveries. David Ajala and Shawn Doyle did the best with what they were given, even when it bordered on stalking. But their skulking around the ship did allow us to peer in on some fun moments with Adira, Linus, and the always fun Reno, with a welcome return of Tig Notaro. As for the whole logic of how Zora could be so easily tricked and not notice Reno leaving the ship, it’s best not to dwell. But adding her to the Book/Tarka mix promises to be delightful.

Strange new world

“Rosetta” filled in a lot of blanks on the mystery of the 10-C, revealing they could be the genuinely unique species they have been promised to be. Huge floating gas giant dwellers that communicate via hydrocarbons is intriguing, again something good Star Trek should strive for. And now we know they built their hyperfield after a planetary disaster 1000 years ago, so who knows how much more advanced they have become?

Much still remains to be sorted out in the two episodes remaining, most notably 10-C’s true motivation and awareness of the impact their DMA is having on the Milky Way. And speaking of motivation, here’s hoping Book isn’t again ignoring Tarka’s, because the scientist obsessed with getting the DMA power source may not care about the deal struck with Ndoye.

Final thoughts

Discovery is now back on course as we head to the penultimate episode. “Rosetta” entertained while reigniting the imagination, getting the audience engaged again in the big story and big themes for the season.


Random bits

  • The titular Rosetta Stone is a 2nd-century slab found in Egypt in 1799 with a decree in both ancient Egyptian and ancient Greek, currently on display at the British Museum.
  • This is the third Discovery writing credit for Terri Hughes Burton, who joined the series as a co-executive producer for season four.
  • For the second time this season, two directors share credit, with veteran television director Jeff Byrd’s first time with the franchise and relative newcomer Jen McGowan’s second for the season.
  • The episode starts on Stardate 865783.7
  • To distract Reno, replicators were programmed to make “steamed bananas,” a nod to the series premiere of Star Trek: Lower Decks and a repeated “banana, hot” replicator malfunction.
  • The original 10-C system included Dyson Rings, theoretical stellar megastructures similar to Larry Niven’s eponymous Ringworld. A Dyson Sphere was seen in the TNG episode “Relics.”
  • The team used shuttle DSC09 to get to the planet, with Detmer using “Disco Zero Nine” as a callsign.
  • For the second week in a row, the Ferengi delegate says nothing, and Dr. Hirai continues to snack.
  • Rillak guessed Dr. Hirai’s holographic crossword puzzle was Altonian, like the Altonian Brain Teaser puzzle Jadzia Dax played in Deep Space Nine.
  • The EV suits have color-coded accents to denote division.
  • Michael and Saru refer to his Vahar’ai in season two, where he was able to let go of his innate Kelpien fear (and his threat ganglia).
  • During the war with the Klingons, Commander Reno learned to enjoy the Klingon beverage Raktajino.
  • The Plim of Asp 27 communicate via changing the scent in their breath.
  • Burnham replicates maví, a tree bark-based beverage from Puerto Rico, to give Culber a taste of home.

More to come

Every Friday, the 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

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I couldn’t disagree more with this review. It was insufferable, with not 1 weekly cringe moment but a mere 3 or 4. “as we learn more about her (of course tragic) backstory” sums it up perfectly for me.

I’m sorry but I feel the disco writers are so out of touch with the fans.

I am more with the reviewer. It has some “too-much-feeling moments” (as to be expected from Disco), but the sci-fi story here was intriguing and intelectually engaging (my favorite type of Star Trek).

If it wasn’t for the mystery of the 10c, starfleet in the 32nd centry, and Suru, I would not like this show. I really hated that Burnham was made captain and not Suru. She’s the worst captain and my least favorite.


Not “out of touch” so much as just poor and lazy writers who prefer writing soap opera rather than serious science fiction.

Amazingly insufferable. Every week I think they can’t get worse… and they say, “Hold my beer while we discuss our feels…”

look… another interconnected organic emotional network…thing…it was an interesting idea in S1, now it feels derivative

The mycelial network isn’t at all like what was portrayed in this episode. The mycelial network isn’t an “emotional network.” And 10-C’s hydrocarbon compound isn’t a network.

I agree. It’s not that I’m against the expression of feelings. It’s just that the emotional conversations always kill the momentum of the story and comes across as clunky and awkward.

I feel the writing and film direction of much of this season has lacked dramatic tension. There was a moment where the chancellor questions why the majority of the command crew were going on the away mission. This is a legitimate question and it would have been brave of the writers to keep Michael on board. Instead, Michael rationalizes why four people must go. Why even bother having that moment if not to legitimize the presence and contribution of the chancellor? Instead that character looks even more unnecessary to the mission than before.

The science fiction settings on view were excellent. Discovery is looking very cinematic and has for some time. I just wish the character drama was better balanced within the adventure losing none of the potential excitement while giving us ST characters and arcs we have never seen in a ST show before.

It gets worse every week. The emotional angst of a bunch of 13 year olds is bad enough, but in the episide you had the General (Earth Supreme Commander – whatever her title is) and Burnham wasting time arguing that they don’t have the time to go to the planet and should go straight to confront the 10-C. I’m like WHAAAAAATTTT, really??

On a lighter note whenever they mention 10-C, I keep listening for music from the band 10CC, but no luck.

Michael, you do get the ironic humour in your listening for 10CC while complaining that the show is to focused on emotions.

(“I’m not in love, and don’t forget it. It’s just a silly phase I’m going through.)

I was joking

It’s not that I’m against the expression of feelings. It’s just that the emotional conversations always kill the momentum of the story and comes across as clunky and awkward.

This. There are a lot of problems with Star Trek Discovery but the last two season this issue has stood out as much as any of the others.

I did like this episode quite a bit, moreso than the last couple, but the end of this season is definitely going to be overshadowed for the next few weeks

Is this the first time since 1999 that we’re getting two new episodes of Star Trek on the same day?


It depends on your market. I always got TNG and DS9 episodes on the weekends, so DS9 episodes never coincided with VOY, which was on Mondays, then Wednesdays.

I was more asking if there’s been any overlap since LDS began.

You literally said since 1999.

You’re focusing on the wrong detail and losing the context. 1999 is the last time new episodes from different shows aired on the same day. There was no possibility of it happening again until LDS started.

Don’t blame me for your poor phrasing, fella.

I am not the OP, fella.

Last autumn, Discovery’s “Kobayashi Maru” aired on Paramount+ the same day as Prodigy’s “Terror Firma.”

But this is the first time we‘ve had episodes from two live-action series released at the same time since 1999 (DS9’s “The Dogs of War” and Voyager’s “Equinox”).

The scenes down on the planet where they work the problem again remind me of the end of TMP when they discover V’Ger is Voyager 6. The production team has done a very good job with these kinds of scenes in these last two seasons.

I also liked that species 10C appears to be creatures that lived on a gas giant. I haven’t seen that idea used since the 2010 and 2061 novels.

gas giants don’t have surfaces though…and if they did you’d get obliterated by the heat and pressure but hey – it’s science fiction right?

Gas giants have cores, just like other planets. If they’re old enough that the gases dissipated, then what would be left would be the core:,around%20four%20billion%20years%20ago.

I felt that one of the strongest parts of this episode was that the away team actually showed a credible process of working through a problem.

One of my biggest criticisms of the first two seasons is that they was a lot of cheerleading about SCIENCE and MATH without showing anything that looked like a team working a problem. My spouse just howled and guffawed on the “I like science” silliness in season two.

Last season, with the introduction of Aurelio and this season generally, have been much more credible in representing scientists and teams working problems.

So, I would actually disagree to some extent with the review in that this episode showed how someone like Tarka would attach to and become determined to be with his soulmate no matter the cost.

There have been some criticisms this season that the pace is a bit slow. People want Itchy, Scratchy, and Poochie to get to the fireworks factory. I get it. And just like Book and Tarka’s plan to take out the DMA before it does more harm, that’s a very understandable human impulse. But one of the themes of the season is that maybe we shouldn’t rush through things sometimes, that a careful, methodical approach helps us not only avoid mistakes, but it demonstrates our good faith to a seemingly implacable party.
One of the other revelations that’s occurred to me over the course of the second half of the season is that the show is kind of building Species 10-C to be something akin to the Horta from one of my favorite episodes of TOS, “The Devil in the Dark.” There, a species was causing destruction for a group of miners who didn’t realize what the Horta were doing. The Horta merely wanted to lay eggs and raise their young.
Given what happens in this episode, I might have been even more on the right track than I realized.
Before first contact can be made, there needs to be a way to communicate with 10-C. And the only way to do that is to gather more information about them so we even have a clue what we’re saying and what they’re saying. Ever since TNG, Star Trek has tried to be a bit careful about setting up a line of succession on away missions so that the chain of command can be preserved. In this case. Discovery has set up two of its best-qualified crew for this particular mission up in past seasons. In the series premiere, Burnham is established as an expert xenoanthropologist. In season two, Saru incredulously demonstrates expertise in multiple languages. In season three, Detmer gets to go through hell and back as an ace pilot. In seasons three and four, Culber is an expert counselor, as well as doctor. They’re rock stars, whom Adira admires, by telling Detmer to “fly good.”
Once down on the desolate planet, they discover some giant bones, a building, and some blue dust of hydrocarbon compounds. All but Detmer come in contact with the dust, which triggers a reversion for Saru of his threat ganglia days, as well as hallucinations for him, Culber, and Burnham. Detmer figures out a way to filter out the hydrocarbon compounds so they can get some semblance of control. They learn that the building is a nursery, an ark for a planet that was destroyed, and these carbons themselves are the way by which they communicate. It also helps that we get a tad more backstory on Detmer, who lost her mother, then father.
With the away team on its mission, there’s a power vacuum on the bridge, despite the civilian diplomats and politicians on board. General Ndoye is still skeptical of first contact as potentially fruitful, and Dr. Hirai wishes the away team luck with a bit of glib sarcasm. I didn’t think what he said was particularly offensive, but President Rillak is a tad more sensitive about things like bedside manner, as a politician. So she admonishes him on tact, while he plays a bit of space Wordle (more accurately, a 3D crossword puzzle, but hey, trends tend to spring to mind more quickly…). There’s a slightly heavy-handed symbolism when she solves part of the puzzle with the word “obligation.” He later congratulates the away team on their breakthrough.
Book and Tarka hatch a plan to get into the hyperfield by piggybacking on the Discovery. Book suggests persuading General Ndoye, who might be a bit more sympathetic. It doesn’t go quite as he’d hoped, as Ndoye says she’ll take on their plan as a backup, given Tarka’s failure lead to quite an escalation.
Meanwhile, Reno’s back! And she gets some more to do this episode. She’s rather more gentle this time around, though still plenty dry and sarcastic. First, Adira mentions that they admire Detmer, and Reno clues them into Detmer’s bout with PTSD last season. So, Adira later breaks the ice. Detmer appreciates it and offers some playful teasing of their advice earlier that day.
T’Rina and Saru’s tentative courtship continues apace when the president asks him to the holodeck for a stroll.
But while Tarka’s meddling in the spore control room, Reno discovers him. Later on, she appears to be a hostage. It’ll be interesting to see next week how that happened.
Just two more to go, and now that the crew has a better handle of who 10-C are, maybe we’ll get to meet them and have our little chat.

I would say tedious more than “slow,” like when you have maybe 5 or 6 episodes worth of story and you drag it out for 13 episodes for commercial streaming purposes. Some defending the show by citing the “amazing emotions” – these too are simple and repetitive and do not go very far in mitigating the monotonous wheel-spinning plot.

Yes, I guessed some variation of Devil in the Dark early on, the twist would be if it isn’t that.

I expect Species 10-C to be a giant melodramatic letdown. It is in keeping with Discovery’s horrid writing…

I don’t see Kirk wasting his time venturing onto a strange planet that may help him with first contact. He would call up a hot linguist.. get her help and then sleep with her. then unfortunately she would probably get killed on the away mission (if she is wearing a red tunic)

1960s sexism vs 2020’s wokism… hard argument either is good.

You mention the return of Reno. Who I has always liked. But not so much this season. She has not been as entertaining as she has in the past. She seems to have caught the “sappy happy family” disease that permeates the crew. Which is unfortunate. She is still a little on edge but doesn’t have that thing about her that set her apart from the other characters.

Tig was a badly needed bright spot in this otherwise boring and often cringey episode. And once again we are told what is happening and why, instead of being shown. The show badly needs to tell a story, yet they gloss over everything for convenience so they can just stand around killing time. There is no real discovery, just…there it is! This show is insufferable, my eyes are going to roll out of my head if this keeps up, some of the worst Star Trek TV I’ve seen. And this is happening alongside the exceptional debut of Picard Season 2.

And some of the acting in this show is just incredibly bad. The actress playing Rillak has this weird nodding habit to express emotion in her speeches and it drives me nuts. The casting on this show is so hit and miss.

I will say they did a phenomenal job with those space suits, I bet they were hell to wear! And I love the idea of Gas Giant creatures, but a few good ideas in a joyless and lazy show is just not going to cut it.

Funny, this doesn’t ring true at all to me.

It does to me!

It’s called an ‘opinion’. It doesn’t have to ring true to you or anyone else here at all.


In general, I really don’t have a problem with Discovery’s focus on feelings and emotions (especially when compared to past Treks), but I do feel like the writers interject these moments at inopportune times. This week in particular was fairly egregious with Adria’s out of nowhere sudden admiration and emotional connection to Detmer. It’s not that this potential storyline is bad or anything, it’s just that the moments (as Discovery is wont to do) are both unearned and overly melodramatic.

On the other hand, I really enjoyed the scenes on the alien planet and how the crew worked through exactly what was going on. Even in the midst of what I can only imagine was overwhelming fear and panic, they stayed calm and figured out a solution – something that is very, very Trekian. The subplot with Book and Tarka was…fine. It wasn’t bad by any means, but felt more like the writers wanted to give them something to do, so they shoehorned them into the episode.

With all of that being said, I can’t help but feel the Discovery has been spinning its wheels the past couple of weeks. Last week and this week in particular felt like two half episodes that were stretched out to fill the time of a full episode. In other words, from a plot perspective, the “Galactic Barrier” and “Rosetta” could have easily been merged into a single episode. I don’t particularly have a problem with a slow-burn conclusion, but that only works when the story really sticks the landing. Unfortunately, Discovery has shown us thus far that it really can’t do that. Perhaps 4th times a charm.

I agree with your assessment. I like Discovery, but the pacing and timing is absolutely annoying. There is exciting stuff going on in that Planet, and then: cut, and some of these delagates have a chat. And of course, heavy emotional music in the background. They need to turn it down. For real.

I laregly agree with you. One of the problems is that we all know how it will end. It will all be a some giant misunderstanding or a clash of cultures. 10-C will not be an evil Borg type enemy that Discovery will have to destroy. Somehow Book will be key to the solution or else he is going to prison for the rest of his life (wait, shouldn’t Burnham be there to??). Burnham and Book will have a couple crying moments together before its over.

It looks like Adira and Gray are heading for a split. Will they make Adira and Detmer a thing? Will the big cliffhanger be a will they or won’t they???? That would be fitting for this show, and a lot more interesting then most of what has happened this season.

Also, I never thought of the Galactic Barrier like some barrier to a new twilight zone dimension like they played it to be. Isn’t is just a boundry between sections of space? Why would the laws of physics be different? Is it reasonable that in the 900 years before the burn, SF never went there?? SF and the federation were relatively young in TOS and even TNG, but we are talking 800 years after TNG.

I really want to like this show, but they make it soo hard.

The actor portraying Gray can’t act, same as the actor portraying Adira. I guess their dynamics are too cringeworthy.

I have no problem with diving into the emotional aspects of the characters myself. It’s usually a plus and often draws the viewer in the story even more. But not so here. Nothing character related works on this show. I agree. Everything character related is completely unearned and overly melodramatic. Thumbs up on that comment.

Also, the last two episodes could have easily been merged into one. This has been a Star Trek Discovery problem ever since they moved to their future. Not enough story to fill the season order. So there are a lot of “filler” episodes.

My review: go watch Picard S02 ep1. The episode is just too slow, the biggest problem is pacing, the planet storyline could be done in 10 min. Reno was in just to have screen time because she is a fan favorite. Book and Tarka did nothing. Funny enough we got Adira admiring Detmar out of the blue, also they gave even on the planet attention to Detmar to build up her character. I don’t know if it’s foreshadowing like with the robot lady Ariam from season 3, when she got screen time she got killed, to fake to the audience that the stakes were high, because of the instant feels for her. I so hope the finale will be good and not a whimper.

Discovery is a bunch of high school kids in their first acting class being told to over emote to make things dramatic. At least that’s how it “feels” to me. ;)

After this episode, I feel more strongly about what I posted here two months ago:

Star Trek: Discovery differs from prior Trek series by exploring the value of empathy as a key part of its DNA. Some viewers hate the series for its regular displays of emotional expression, but I think it makes this Trek series contemporary to our times, much like prior Trek series did in their times. We live in a time where people have become more angry, more demanding, more rude, more self-centered… and more fearful. Opening up to others, being vulnerable, and expressing empathy is seen as weak and worthy of ridicule and scorn. This Trek does deal with contemporary moral issues, just not the same ones where the story resolution makes us feel superior to that alien race that is racist, or war-mongering or patterning themselves after clearly bad role models (gangsters, Nazis, imperial Romans). DSC challenges us to overcome our fear of, and hostility to, those who have insulted us, hurt us, or even killed us, and instead, focus on those actions and emotions which can lead to future peace, partnership and harmony.”

The conversation between Burnham and Culber at the end of the episode couldn’t make that more clear, and these last few episodes have been a pleasure to watch.

That said, am I the only person who thought the away team mission reminded them of a creepier version of “Beyond the Farthest Star” from TAS?

What moral issues? Discovery is one giant therapy session for Gen-Z’rs… That’s all it is…

excellent point,

emotion / connection is beyond a doubt absolutely the overall theme the entire series is targeting every season

Yep. And they’re going to club it into our heads whether we like it or not.

The elevating of emotion over reason is the hallmark of Discovery. Its first three seasons fit in very well with the zeigeist of Naomi Osaka and participation trophies and self-care.

Trouble is, events of this week have reminded us of the value of grit, stick-to-itness, and getting the job done. It suddenly looks like a giant anachronism.

It’s a show about a military organization, even if noone wants to call it a military organization. They wear uniforms, they carry weapons, the have a uniform code of justice. How long would any similar organization (or society for that matter) survive if it’s leaders (particularly one who keeps literally saving the universe over and over) keep having emotional meltdowns. Emotion is important (watch STVI the Undiscovered County, or even DS9), but C’mon man!!.

if you want emotional angst go watch thritysomething.

Yep, not surprised the usual suspects are out to bash the show, as usual. If you hate it so much, just stop watching. What does surprise me is a consistent thread of generational hostility. Any viewer who is Gen Z is ripe for disdain, because they’re assumed to be a bunch of whiny weaklings or something. Even though the writers of this show are likely either Gen X or Millennials, but whatever. Haters gotta hate.

Not sure why Naomi Osaka is held up for ridicule here. The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the need for real human connection and the negative impact on mental health. TNG got roasted in its early years for having a counselor on the bridge, so I remember how mental health was belittled by a segment of fans back then. Are you sure its Osaka’s support of Black Lives Matter that’s really driving your animus?

There’s always been a segment of fans who share Nicholas Meyer’s view of Starfleet as primarily a military organization, and that certainly can be argued. It seems to be the only real-world counterpart to which 21st century humans can draw parallels. However, the idea that a future humanitarian organization (for lack of a better term) would be more open to emotional expression 1,200 years from now does feel like a science fiction concept, because that thinking is far more advanced from where we are now. I mean, in our current world, we use electricity, fly in the air, have representative democratic governments, and understand that mental health, viruses, nutrition and sexual orientation are real things. Those are concepts that average humans in the year 800 AD couldn’t even comprehend. So, the way that the Disco runs things may not be far off the mark at all.

People who tell others to “not watch” just don’t understand the concept of being a fan of something. Hard core fans don’t stop following and watching just because the product currently sucks. They still watch and follow and complain about it. That’s what fans do.

Covid is no excuse. And I like to point out that the problem isn’t the pandemic. It’s the response to to it. And not may people know what organizations BTS people follow or really care that much. I know I sure as hell don’t. I found it odd that you pulled that little nugget out of your arsenal.

Overall I enjoy Disco, but one thing that annoys me about it in contrast to at least TNG, DS9, & VOY is that nearly all if not every piece of dialogue seems to be accompanied by music. The other shows have plenty of important conversations without any scoring, and the drama stands for itself not feeling as overdone or melodramatic. Anyone else notice this?

Also, a plot question from the latest ep is bugging me: is my understanding incorrect that the DMA already moved and it’s the resulting debris field bearing down on Earth and Ni’Var? That was my impression, so I am confused why they’re still fixated on stopping the DMA–of course other than to stop another DMA jump? I don’t think that would do anything to the debris field that’s already in motion…are they assuming the 10C can stop the debris field from the already deployed DMA?

That’s mostly because Rick Berman airlocked TNG composer Ron Jones for the cardinal sin of actually making a score for the episodes.

As I watched this episode I kept wondering how Book comes back from this (if he even does). He’s undermining Michael at almost every turn. I don’t think they can just kiss and make up.

I’m expecting him to die heroically preventing Tarka from doing something disastrous. It’ll break Burnham’s heart — she may or may not cry — but either way the haters will complain about it.

Ahhhh…that just breaks my heart. ; )

Sure they can. It makes as much sense as most of this show. Love Changes Everything (Andrew Lloyd Weber).

Remember she still loved Ash after she descovered he was a Klingon.

and I’m sure she will cry.

He won’t. He’s going to die preventing Tarka from using the weapon is my bet.

Last week, they had 12 hours. They spent two saying “I wuv voo” and good-bye to everyone. This week, they had 29 hours and spent nearly four rolling in thousand-year-old emo dust. So… the clock will reset to??

Honestly, I see nothing in this episode that advances the season arc. That’s the third recent episode with nothing much to add. I LOATHE the emotion dust conceit. It bordered on “Devil in the Dark,” but instead gave us “they have emotions just like ours” — which is nonsense. The whole script was emo sludge. It also forced Detmer to utter the idiotic line “…programmable matter suits can’t stop what they don’t recognize.” What? Shouldn’t the suits stop everything???

I love that Detmer got something to do. I like that they mentioned her PTSD from last season, although that plotline seems underserved. Um, captain… when your longtime navigator spills her guts about her father, you might call her by her first name. It’s Keyla, in case you and the writers forgot.

WHY is Adira on board? What has she ever done on this show? I’m not slamming the actress or her relationship with Gray… but what has she actually done?? Pointless security guard. Redundant engineer. Trill fill-in, when it’s convenient to remember that.

WHY does Stamitz debrief the away team? What does he know about which dust hits which feels?

WHY did they forget how to write for Reno? Her lines used to be clever. Now, we get “she’s (?) the sh*t” “pro tip” and “power through” all in one scene. Is she living in the 32nd Century or giving the Powerpoint presentation you’re currently napping through?

Tarka is back to being a bad guy who’s bad. He’s bad. Got it? Whatever the patch is, they could have done it without stumbling through Disco’s nether areas for way too long.

The “delegates” apparently exist to whine. The general exists to spy. Got it.

This show needs better writers.

This is the last season of Discovery I’ll ever watch. It’s going into my dustbin of series I wish I had never watched…

Tarka = a poor mans Baltar in search of his bestie. Maybe the 10-C are the Final Five

I was taken aback by the inefficiency of the suits as well. They should stop everything and if something is able to get though then there doesn’t seem to be much they can do about it.

Also correct about Reno. You said what I was trying to get at. Writers forgot about how to write for Reno. She’s no longer clever. They dialed her back from where she was. Which is not a good thing.

Amusing to see some cherry-picking the history of Star Trek (like the most extreme dictates of Roddenberry circa 1987) to craft the false narrative that “Star Trek was a show of cold Vulcanian logic until it was rescued by the beautiful emotion of Discovery.” If I wanted to list all the times emotions of Starfleeters played a central role in the storytelling of Trek episodes, I would be here for days. The difference is regular cast members of Starfleet were also depicted as professionals, e.g. if they were in the middle of a life-or-death mission to save the galaxy or the multiverse, they generally wouldn’t have to pause for a therapy session– this doesn’t make your show more human, this is making your show an unintentional comedy.

An unintentional comedy. And just plain nauseating.

if they were in the middle of a life-or-death mission to save the galaxy or the multiverse, they generally wouldn’t have to pause for a therapy session

Bingo. In Q-Who, Picard, the very epitome of grace, cancelled the list of casualties coming up on screen when figuring out what to do about the Borg. Discovery would have had them hugging.

Anthony, I’ve always believed that us Anthony’s have to stick together. But…this review and many previous ones from you make me wonder: are you capable of writing a negative (frank) review of anything with ‘Star Trek’ attached to it’s name?


I don’t read the reviews anymore as I know what they will say.
I’m here only for the comments now.

After the Lower Decks reviews I’ve stopped reading the show reviews as well. I know what they are going to say.

Glad someone else noticed that.

I liked the episode but frankly it’s really dragging this out a little too much. Species 10c better be something out of this galaxy for all this ridiculous build up.

But I did like all the hints to what they are on the planet. They could be huge giants which someone on Youtube predicted last week. Maybe not but it’s feeling that way. They did another awkward ‘let’s bring up another bridge officer sad past in the middle of a crisis’ again. They found a way to connect it to the story but it still felt a bit forced. It’s nice Detmer got a lot to do this time and I think, could be wrong, it was her first away mission (that we seen).

And what was up with Blu suddenly super into Detmer??? I don’t think they once said a word to her or about her,, now she is Blu’s hero? Discovery has some weird writing at times.

The Book and Tarka stuff was OK, but again just felt like they needed to give them something to do. But kidnapping Reno was a nice twist at least. I thought it would be Tarka who ended up in the brig.

Again, overall OK, but yeah just reeeeaaally dragged for me and twice in a row. Discovery just always feel like it’s on the cusp to turning into a great show, but something always seems to hold it back every season for me. This is turning out to be history repeating itself. Maybe the reveal will be something awe inspiring but considering the last two seasons….not holding my breath unfortunately.

10C will just be a bunch of giant emoticons…

LOL. Good call.

Luckily for Book and Tarka, the Discovery crew regularly goes without seeing Reno for weeks at a time. Nobody will notice that she’s gone.

Good one :)

She has been in space quarantine!!! or maybe just passed out in the Discobar

She’s clearly an ancestor of Joe Carey.

Another good one!

I thought this was a good recovery from last week. I thought all the stuff on the planet was great, and I was especially fond of seeing Detmer get something to do.

Too funny! Just as I suspected! This season has been all about “feelings” (whoa whoa whoa… feelings) and now, guess what!, emotions are the key to communicating with Species 10-C. What a laugh! And still, we’re going talk about our feelings in black vinyl while the plot moves nowhere for 55 minutes of the show (or however long it was). these hack writers have no new ideas at all. This is absolutely the WORST season of Discovery ever.

“the plot moves nowhere”. I don´t think we were watching the same show.

Probably not. Pray tell what you think moved forward?

Guys you’ve convinced of something I have thought all along. Your access to ST news is based on your ability to put positive spin on their shows.
Disco went downhill post season 3 and each episode reaches a new low. This episode was uninteresting, dull, unambitious and just badly written. They have so drawn out the show to the point where they need to have the Eps stars do a slow-motion walk through the sets (guys, that’s a couple of minutes of run time. Now let’s think of other ways to get in 50 minutes…yes, let’s have the characters walk aimlessly through the sets doing nothing in particular …)

Keep it up guys, there’s only 100 mins left of this to go.

This show has become content, nothing more. Season 5, dear God, will only prolong the agony, but at least they will be able to say they beat Enterprise before getting cancelled. The main difference being that Ent got better after the reboot ..this hasn’t.

Disco went downhill post season 3 and each episode reaches a new low. 

For my tastes Disco is trending upwards.

Fortunately mine is also downwards.

Enterprise got 97 episodes. Star Trek Discovery is still sitting on 56. With them getting cut down to 10 each outing they will have to survive 4 more rounds before getting within 1 episode of Enterprise.

I would submit that “assignment” is a better match for the puzzle parameters than “obligation”.

Not much to say about this episode, but maybe a mediocre score of 6.5 out of 10.
IMO, they could have easily edited about 20 mins out of this episode by cutting all the scenes about “feelings”. Ì did enjoy the line, don’t screw this up – which of course was not liked by the President.
The actual story without all the emotional baggage is actually not bad – so let’s see what they come up with for the finale and S5.
Btw, bravo to P+ for premiering Picard last night. Discovery was on a mild roll mid season, but these last three weeks have been meh. Picard got things rolling again.

Sadly I agree with everything you said DeanH. We both weren’t super happy with the previous episode and unfortunately this one wasn’t much better. I didn’t hate it, but it was pretty tedious and no real plot besides discovering the aliens have feelings. And this being Discovery, we got entire scenes of our crew becoming temporary Betazoids basically and feeling the aliens emotions….from over a thousand years ago. I mean, yeah…

And they definitely could’ve cut out a lot from this episode. It just felt too much like filler but that’s been a lot of episodes in the second half. This season needed at least another strong arc to contend with it or make it a little more interesting for 13 episodes.

And yes thank Kahless Picard was dropped at the same time. This episode would be much more scrutinized right now if people weren’t on such a high we got in The Star Gazer.

The episode felt long and aimless. The constant stopping for therapy sessions and to express inner feelings to one another is becoming beyond odd. The burn was caused by an abandoned kelpian having a temper tantrum and now they are going to communicate with 10c through feelings expressed with different hydrocarbons? Also, why is Book still working with Tarka? Why didn’t Reno call security when she found Tarka laying on the floor trying to hide? I really do not understand this show. It is so completely foreign and does not resemble anything Trek anymore. I have tried and tried to like it since they sent the show into the future, but each season it just becomes more strange and difficult to understand and follow.

They really need to take a good look at Picard and the other shows to guide it back into something recognizable as Star Trek. They also need to dial back the therapy sessions, and also dial back on the galaxy ending threats that only Michael can solve even though she is from 900 years in the past and somehow smarter than everyone in the future and needed minimal catch-up learning. It also wouldn’t hurt to get acting coaches for a couple of their actors. Especially the one whose range is limited to only looking like she accidently messed her pants.

Well let’s see how this season ends. I’m not optimistic.

So part of this show that makes me want to give up is that the show wants characters to talk about feelings. But characters never ask anyone anything with any specificity. Instead, characters feel free to give one lecture about behavior after another. That’s coaching not psychological therapy. That is not how the work is done.

I took to long to edit the above, so:

This episode was awful. Saru is an established leader. When he was feeling WEIRD he wouldn’t, shouldn’t just blow off the feeling. He would explain it and do his best to help his crew.

Sure I KNOW that the producers were trying to avoid: Alien cliches and perhaps previous Treks, and even “Scream” cliches.

So the part of this show that makes me want to give up is the show wants characters to talk about feelings without having even ONE character who asks anyone anything with any specificity. Instead, characters feel free to give one lecture about behavior after another. That’s coaching not psychological therapy. That is not how the work is done.

For example, Dr. Hirai was “kind of mean” so he gets a lecture, but previously, Kovich, Tarka and Reno get passes because “it’s their character.” We are supposed to think this that some balance between the President and Michael is our human ideal. Really?

Dark humor is the thing that helps people who are stressed. All Treks had this truth hidden somewhere in the effort to figure out a problem. That is totally missing from this show, which makes it the least human. It feels like the worst corporate environment, not even a high functioning one.

As I warned at the end of the first episode, Book’s character could have been so interesting, but then his planet was gone. And then he was a survivor, but he immediately snapped into “I can solve this mode.”

To wit, because of the structure of shooting during Covid, they had so much TIME for him to engage with Book’s pain to actually unpack what it is to be survivor. Once again, Star Trek has squandered this kind of character.

I really like discovery… But this was actually the first episode I fell asleep watching. I’ll have to check out the last 15 minutes of it later today. My daughter who is 16 had watched 3 1/3 seasons, and really liked it, but gave up on it after episode 4 this season which is a shame. I’m enjoying the concept of the season but I do admit that some of it is being a little dragged out. Still love the show though and won’t give up on it. I would like to see something fresh and new next season.

have they dropped the science consultants from star trek?

Is the planet a gas giant or a terrestrial planet with a surface? Oof. Haven’t seen the episode. Maybe they don’t call it a gas giant in the episode, because if it really is a gas giant: there is no surface and if there were, they would have been crushed down to Kelvan sized tiny cubes thanks to the pressure. Which…now that I think about that episode…the Kelvan’s lived beyond the great barrier….

Gas giants have cores, that’s what drew in all the gasses when they formed in the first place. According to, Jupiter’s core is..

an Earth-like rock that’s 14 to 18 times the mass of Earth, or about 5 percent of Jupiter’s total mass.

Pressures are enormous at the bottom of the Marianas Trench, but there is still life down there. And we don’t know how long ago that planet lost most of its gasses. It could have been Earth-like 1,000 years ago, having lost most of its gasses over the preceding million years.

Another boring episode that left me wanting to snooze. I keep coming back week after week out of loyalty to the cast and what the first two seasons originally represented, but the Discovery writers are really tanking this show. The only thing I can assume from this week’s episode is that these aliens are some sort of empaths, which means it will likely be Book who will communicate with them and get them to stand down.

I liked this episode, it was much stronger than last weeks. The scenes on the planet were exciting giving us an extra mystery, one that they solved together by sciencing their way through it, true Star Trek!

The 10-C just got more even more interesting, they left their world when some kind of catastrophe forced them to leave 1000 years ago. I may have my timeline confused but wouldn´t that put it around Discos first seasons? They were gigantic if the bones on the planet are any indication and they left behind some kind of dust which communicated the emotions felt then and there. As Spock would say, fascinating.

I also enjoyed the scene between Reno and Adira, we haven´t had enough of either of them lately and it was good to see them. There was something that grabbed my attention in that scene, they sort of zoomed in on the black box thingy on the table with ominous music playing, and Tarka seemed very interested in it.

I do see General N´Doyes point about not having time to mess around on the planet. I feel her need to just make contact with 10C already, time is running out. On the other hand it´s prudent to have as much information as you can about such a dangerous species before meeting them for the first time.

A few side notes:
I wish they would let the Ferengi delegate talk!
Love how General N´Doye totally had Books ass when he was sneaking up on her.

You are obviously easy to please.

With exception of Doug Jones, this iteration of Trek is just irritating crap every which way. I come away from this show feeling as if I’ve been groomed to accept certain perspectives on gender and sexuality that, as someone reasonably enlightened, is out of step with the inherent fairness and acceptance that I treat everyone with.

I really resent this. It’s completely unnecessary.

Fear dust. Love dust. “Fly good!”. The corridors with the exact right pulsating stealth lighting for creeping up on a United Earth general, but probably in reality a major health and safety issue for anyone who just wants to walk down them to get from point A to B.

Ugh this show.

It’d be hilarious if Dr. Hirai was a Kelvan, enjoying food, beverages and puzzles while seemingly disconnected from the noise of the annoying humans… all the while unworried from being outside the galaxy. I’d get a chuckle from that.

All I’ll say is I’m glad Disco will only get 10 episodes next time.

As badly as I want Discovery to be good. As much as I like the cast. As much as I like the new far future setting. I have to agree with you. And maybe go further and say I hope the next season is the last. In my opinion Discovery was irreparably flawed from the start. And the new season of Picard shows what the new era of Trek should be. All of course is my personal view. I certainly respect those who feel differently. IDIC.

I realize the show has people who like it. But I share your sentiment. This show had irreparable damage from day one. To the credit of the show runners they did try to repair things but the damage runs too deep to fix. And with apologies to those who still love the show, I personally think it would be a plus for all of Star Trek to put this show out of its misery.

I feel the same way these days, especially after the last two seasons. Maybe less will be more with this show.

Just for the record, the Rosetta Stone did not “need a third language.” They used one to translate the other. It wasn’t quite that simple, but the third language on the stone was not part of the process.

How is it the rank badges split and uniform collars open with no sign of a seam when they’re closed?

Gersha Phillips (costume designer) moved to new clothing construction techniques when the show moved to the 32nd century.

So, nothing is sewn. The seams are all fused. Likewise, I would assume that the closures (hidden zippers or other) are fused in and not stitched.

Interesting! Still impressive.

Why keep adding the pointless touchy/feely conversations every 10 minutes? Absolutely kills the momentum of the show and needlessly drags out the storyline. Pacing of this episode was terrible!
Also, I wonder if 10C was responsible for the doomsday machine in the TOS episode?

That’s also my impression, that the show moves veeery slowly and doesn’t get to the point.
But maybe that’s the problem with airing the show once a week.
Maybe that would work if you could binge-watch it at one time.

“It feels like LOVE!”

God this show can be so insipid. Of course they would encounter a dust made of feelings. I doubt any of the cast are going to put those scenes on their reels anytime soon.

As always, A+ production values, the design of the planet was cool, so were their Tron-ish EV suits that somehow can’t keep out dust. The 10-C sound interesting. The Adira admires Detmer scene was top-shelf clumsy, even by Discovery standards. So was Detmer’s turn to spit out this week’s Moment of Ancillary Character Backstory™. The scene where the two of them chat was fine, though the awkward blubbering character Adira has turned into is sometimes difficult to reconcile with how they started out.

I get that in these times when the importance of self-care is taking a front seat in our lives, it’s good to acknowledge feelings and encourage discussing them, and being open to forms of therapy. It certainly looks like the show’s climax will hinge on finding emotional connections with 10-C. But there’s still a time and a place, you’d have forgotten there was a ticking clock for all the soul searching done in this story. If Deanna and Ezri stopped every critical mission cold to talk through how to process everyone’s feelings… Discovery probably would have time warped into the Alpha Quadrant division of the Borg Collective or the Dominion. ;) It feels forced to me so it’s certainly not doing much for my personal empathy with these characters, and it very much weighs down the dramatic urgency of the show.

Seems that the overlap with Picard is not doing Star Trek Discovery any favors now. After seeing the above average (for Secret Hideout) Picard opener first this episode severely lacks. Now to be fair Star Trek Discovery as been no good at all since the beginning. But putting the shows side by side sure doesn’t help.

At any rate, the show is nearing the end of its story and at this point things should be ratcheting up. Except things are not. It’s still plodding along in uninteresting fashion. And it seems we just aren’t going to get away from the sappiness. That seems to be the hill the show is willing to die on at this point.

At any rate, this show felt very much like a filler episode. Everything in it felt overly stretched out. But that has been the story of the season. Not enough story to fill the season so everything gets stretched out beyond reason. This season really feels like the story could have been told in 8 episodes tops.

As a Star Trek fan I hate to say this but it’s true. Star Trek Discovery remains embarrassingly bad.

They should do the stardates like how they do it in the Kelvin Timeline Trek movies; Begin with the year, then the date. The stardate style from TOS/TNG/DS9/VOY is practically pointless now.