[Picard review starts at 18:58 / Discovery review starts at 52:25]
Tony and Laurie cover the week’s two big news stories: the addition of Paul Wesley as James T. Kirk to Strange New Worlds season 2, and the latest comments from Chris Pine and Karl Urban about the Star Trek movie (hopefully) coming in 2023. Then they review Star Trek: Picard episode 203, “Assimilation” and the Discovery season 4 finale, “Coming Home,” as well as season 4 as a whole.
James T. Kirk Is Coming To ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ Season 2, Played By Paul Wesley
Star Trek: Enterprise with the Borg: “Regeneration”
Star Trek: Enterprise with the Ferengi: “Acquisition”
Tony goes to Ten Forward in LA
Chris Pine Says ‘Star Trek’ Cast Is “Ready” And “Excited” For 2023 Movie… But Waiting For Script
Karl Urban Would “Love” To Reunite For ‘Star Trek 4,’ But Has A Scheduling Issue
Time travel scene from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Chronowerx Industries (and buy a Chronowerx T-shirt)
Terry Matalas tweet about director Lea Thompson
Seven More Predictions For The ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Season 4 Finale
How Zack Snyder got Tig Notaro into Army of the Dead
No one ever hangs up the phone in the movies (or on TV shows, we know!)
Mary Wiseman’s play in NYC, At the Wedding
Let us know what you think of the episode in the comments, and should you be so inclined, please review us on Apple.
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I loved this episode. Pacing was excellent, I was on the edge of my seat for a lot of it. And had so many good scenes. For example:
Tarka: “Why isn´t he here to stop me?” – gutted
When Books transporter signal was disrupted – legit tears.
Tilly and Vance drinking whisky waiting for the end – perfection
Owos look when they think Detmer is going on the suicide mission. – she loves her
I hate to say this but maybe Book should have died? Or General N´Doye?
Maybe the Stacey Abrahams cameo was a shout out to all those people who complain that “star trek is too political these days” when hello, Star Trek has always been political! Gotta respect that.
Oh, I had more than tears when Book’s signal was disrupted. I LOST IT in every single viewing. (And yes to Owo’s look when Detmer was going to go on the mission. That was quite a look.)
In almost every Discovery review, no matter how much you guys liked the story, you have critiques of the storytelling and how poorly the plotting and narrative construction are done. I share this critique of Discovery, and wonder why this is a constant problem for the show?
It seems like the show was narratively broken from the beginning with the turmoil over Bryan Fuller being fired, and has never been able to fix itself despite numerous attempts by numerous creative teams. What is your take on this?
Honestly, I think sometimes it’s just a matter of personal taste; I would make different choices. It’s also the style of the show. I’ve always loved the characters and many of the storylines, but I sometimes feel like they don’t trust the audience enough and therefore end up hitting us over the head with things. I think the frequent changes in leadership contributed, but they’ve had the same showrunner for a couple of seasons now, so that can’t be it anymore. I don’t think they feel it needs fixing.
I think you’re absolutely right that they don’t think it needs fixing, and that’s most unfortunate. Most of the concepts are truly entertaining, if only they were executed better.
I liked this season quite a lot and I also liked S3, but if there is one thing they need to cut back on, it is emotions and tear-shedding… There has been 20% too much of it this season and the weird emotionality starts being a nuisance at times.
I’m glad there are also tears of joy and relief amongst others and the show is far from being in that dark and gloomy place it started out from. But still, less is more and there needs to be a better balance of plot and emotions.
That being said, this season included some really awesome places and adventures and truly went where no one had gone before. I hope that tendency will continue to grow in S5 (and beyond)…
The emotional scenes also need to be placed well. They are constantly putting them right before a character is about to go off on a dangerous mission. All I can think as a viewer is….can we discuss this later? I also agree that the overt storytelling is too much. One episode is fine but almost every single one is indeed insulting. Trust in your writing that people will understand! For those viewers that don’t resist preaching to them! It rarely works. They just tend to tune it out. Subtle storytelling on the hand usually keeps people around longer and therefore gives time for the message to sink in.
I am listening now. Good one.
As a person who has often found the emotionality of seasons 1-3 to be too much for my taste, I found Burnham’s shock and grief (and Martin’s wonderful acting) to be stellar … well pitched and well earned. It reminded me of Adama (Edward James Olmos) in the Battlestar Galactica miniseries when he thinks his son Lee Adama is dead. He is in command and has a wrenching moment where he yells “Lee, Lee!” and breaks down for a beat or two. His XO tries to support him and keep things going and finally Adama gets himself together and resumes emotional control.
That’s what Martin-Green did here. That’s the character growth that she needed. She still shares her emotions and uses them as a captain, but she is able to see the big picture and do what needs to be done, as Rilak said she needed to do in the beginning of the season. I could write an article about how this season in particular takes a feminist perspective on emotions and leadership. And how President Rillak acts as a great foil for Burnham. As another woman she doesn’t dis-invalidate emotion. She demonstrates that she can lead and have emotional responses, that she knows the power of support and empathy, which among (21st century) men can be seen as weakness and liability. I did a similar analysis of Wandavision, albeit with an additional theological lens. In other words, I think we are seeing the difference it makes to have so many women writers in the room. This was certainly started with Janeway on Voyager. Mulgrew also never allowed her character to divorce leadership and strength from femininity.
There are plenty of ways I think it could do better. For example, I really, really find the it preaches its morality too directly. It talks directly about its political/moral stances, especially in the press way too much. Just show us complex, enfleshed LGBTQ characters. Don’t keep saying: “Do you see? Do you see?” Yes, we see. Star Trek has been most effective when it kept the commentary in the script via allegory. It’s not necessary for those of us who are already on board to shout about it in the press. We have other people to do that. And if you are trying to use art/popular culture to open up people’s minds you can’t be seen as so directly partisan (even if you are); you have to let people come to their own conclusions.
As the podcast hosts have often said, Discovery writers are often too explicit in their plot points. We don’t need the word uncertainty a gazillion times. Show us, don’t tell us. The best episodes of Trek in general, throughout the franchise, are marked by wonderful “what ifs” (speculative fiction), character building relationships, with an (ultimately) optimistic view of the human person.
There are many, many other things that often don’t sit well with me about Discovery. (For example, please, please give us a clear org chart for the Discovery crew. That is driving me crazy, haha!) But I am still enjoying it. As a black person it’s also great to see the kind of black love we have seen in the last two seasons. And its still a marvel to see black bodies and skin lighted and dressed so beautifully.
But I have been converted on the “emotional stuff” … a bit. I recognize that I tend toward a typical male perspective on this and cringe at what I call too much melodrama. And I think this season saw Michael Burnham most balanced, most integrated and capable of leading in her own way.
Let’s hope they lower the galaxy-destroying steaks next season (de-Marvelizing the show quite frankly) and give us a season arc that is compelling without Michael needing to save the universe one more time.
I don’t think I’ve ever disliked SMG on the series — I’ve disliked Burnham, but that’s not the same thing. On the other hand, I’ve rarely loved what SMG does, either.
That scene of her grieving Book and having to restrain herself from giving it full vent is as good as any acting moment on any episode of Star Trek ever.
Thanks for the feedback and insights
Didn’t Kenneth Mitchell say he was in Season 4? I don’t remember him in any of the episodes, or maybe I just missed it?
I think he said that they were paying tribute to him, which apparently was naming one of the evacuation ships in the last episode after him.
Ok, thanks. That was pretty cool.
In my opinion there is just one possibility what that thing with “Captain” Kirk means: Kobayashi Maru! That wouldn’t be the first time Pike is doing a test to someone.
Thanks as ever for the podcast. You covered the 2 episodes in a lot of detail and I found myself agreeing with your points throughout. Personally, I’d like Discovery to get back to more episodic storytelling, something I know that SNW is endeavouring to do.
I know I’m at odds with most fans here, but my favourite season so far was Season 2 and in particular, the episode “New Eden” which I thought was a wonderful little standalone story of the type Star Trek used to do so well.
Living in the UK, the casting of Stacey Abrams went right past me, so thanks for filling me in.
I was wondering if people outside of the U.S. would recognize Stacey Abrams! I may not think it was a great choice for the show, but I really do admire her tremendously.
I felt exactly the same as you — I get why they did it, and wish they hadn’t even though I like her. I thought she did a fairly good job in the role, though; I bet people who had no idea who she was just thought Earth has a happy-looking President.
Absolutely Bryant. I just thought that this was a very warm and happy President and had no idea that Abrams was a US political figure.
I also really like season 2!
Let’s talk Disco:
I agree with you on the following
1) Yes, the finale was safe. I thought for sure Ndoye went fully kamikaze. I was scared for Detmer at first but knew someone had to be sacrificed. The first episode was Kobayashi Maru for a reason. I’m not emotionally invested in Ndoye so I was ready to say bye. Nope, she survived. And everyone survived. No TWOK moment.
2) I agree with Laurie. It would have been hilarious to have a scene where Reno tried to go through the forcefield cat door. Disco could use some more humor and lighter moments.
3) I agree with Tony. The story could have been tighter with 10 episodes. We did have a few fillers, but I’m still happy with the end result.
4) I agree that they hit the themes over our head. You can create a drinking game over the word uncertainty this season. It didn’t bother me because Star Trek hasn’t always been allegorical. It did get preachy at times in TOS and TNG.
I disagree with the following:
1) Meh Rating: In my opinion, this was a great finale. I’m invested with these characters. I loved how it ended with a successful contact with an unique new species, concluded the themes, brought the ship home for a new season, and brought Earth back into the UFP. It was a very trek kind of ending.
2) I didn’t know the President was Stacey Abrams. I was just excited for the next chapter for Earth and the UFP. I googled it afterwards. But, I’m happy with the choice. It’s probably just a cameo anyways.
I’m happy with S4. It’s a major improvement over S3. It had a Sci Fi mystery, themes to modern times, character growth, and excellent guest stars. I’m ready for S5. I’m full.
Thanks for letting me post my tidbits. Keep up the good work. I’ll talk Pic next week.
I like the parts where you said “I agree with Laurie.” :)
If I’m correct, I think we’ve all missed a historic first in the finale. Am I right that Hirai was not shown snacking in any scene? :-)
I’m hoping I’ll be excused for raising a totally off-topic question, but I’ve been wracking my brain about it: does anyone know in which TOS episode or movie Spock says to Kirk something like, “You’re too obstinate, too inflexible once your mind is made up”? Thanks!
Oh, we mentioned that on the podcast. The biggest surprise of all!
Ooops! Missed that.
After listening to the podcast, it is pretty obvious which Star Trek show they prefer between the two: they like Picard much more than Disco. And I agree.
The best thing about Disco this season, for me, was watching the difficulty and strides the crew made in communicating with the 10-C. They were the most alien aliens they ever met, so this was refreshing. As a scientist myself, this sequence felt the most like real science. Others may have found it boring, but I loved it. Other than that the thing that bothers the most about Disco is the lack of formality amongst the crew. You even mentioned in the podcast how it is typical of the Disco characters to hug and jump with each other. I just can’t imagine the crew of any other Star Trek show doing that. And yes, Stacy Abrams should NOT have been on the show, and I’m a Democrat.
Onto Picard, you are right that Jurati was amazing this episode. And the Borg Queen is terrifying. I loved the crew in modern day LA. This felt like real Star Trek. Actually, all three episodes this season felt like real Star Trek. Lol now I sound like that old guy: hey you kids, get off my lawn!
Apparently they’re doing some filming of SNW here my city.