Matt and Sean talk about clearing up the Klingon mess that Discovery accidentally left behind. Does this episode of Star Trek Discovery bridge the gap or leave you wanting more?
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The war within welcome everybody to Trek in time, where we’re watching every episode of star Trek in chronological order. We’re also talking about the context at the time of original broadcast. So we’re talking about 2018 because we’re talking about Discovery’s first season, which we’re almost done with remarkable.
Like I’ve said this last week, enterprise felt like it took a long time, especially season two and parts of season four, where the slog felt real. The exhaustion was evident from the production side of the show. So here now, we are in the first season of Discovery, and we’re already, blink, we’re almost done.
This is it. And who are we? Well, I’m Sean Ferrell. I’m a writer. I write some sci fi. I write some stuff for kids, including the recently released The Sinister Secrets of Singe, which is available in bookstores now. And with me, as always, is my brother, Matt. He’s the guru and Inquisitor behind the YouTube channel, Undecided with Matt Ferrell, which takes a look at emerging tech and its impact on our lives.
Matt, how are you doing today? Doing well,
hot and steamy. I know it’s hot and steamy there too. I was helping mom and dad yesterday at their apartment. And to say I was a sweaty mess would be an understatement. It was quite hot, quite
humid. While you were doing that, I was doing laundry in a laundromat, probably
even hotter and steamier than I was experiencing
to say that I came back with a little bit of heat exhaustion.
It would be another statement I rolled in so sweaty. I could have laid down on the tile floor. And if the floor was tilted, I would have slid from one end of the room to the other, totally disgusting. And on that note, let’s get into the discussion. What we usually like to do before we talk about the current episode.
We like to revisit comments from previous episodes. So Matt, what have you found in the comments for us this week?
There’s some fun ones from episode 103. AJ Chan wrote in the last podcast, you mentioned the level of technology it would take to rebuild a whole Klingon body to appear human. This was a reference to how Tyler was reconstructed to be.
This Klingon human hybrid and how the Klingons didn’t seem to possess the tech and medical expertise to make that happen Do they have this tech? Reasons they do have this ability in the original series the Klingon Arndarvan was made to look human in trouble with tribbles. His alteration was so good.
No human nor their tech Could detect him only Tribbles could spot him. So it established that the Klingons have this capability to a degree in the 23rd century. I just want
to say that is fantastic. Yes. That is so fantastic.
AJ Chant nailing it. But then he said reasons they don’t have this technology In enterprise.
They mishandled genetic augmentation from earth’s 20th century by the 24th century. Even Martok admits the Klingons make good warriors, but terrible, terrible doctors. And then L’Rell’s explanation in season one, episode 12 mentions reconstructing Tyler’s consciousness, which seems way beyond Darvin’s transformation.
Uh, so I, I thought this was a AJ Chan, I love this comment in every way, shape and form. I completely forgot about the trouble with Tribbles. It’s like, Oh, wow. They really are kind of probably doing a callback to that with how they came up with this. But then I also loved how you poked holes in that immediately with the, I also think that his
whole, the holes that he spots in his own.
In his own statement, don’t really fully undermine it. I think that all these things can be true. I think that the Klingons can have the ability to create Klingon spy that in the trouble with Tribbles is discovered because of the Tribbles. I believe that that then supports L’Rell’s ability to create Tyler out of Voq.
And then as far as the L’Rell’s explanation, which seems beyond Darvin’s transformation. Well, they didn’t try it with Darvin. They kept him as a Klingon consciousness. He was just masquerading as a human. And so all of these things, I think, but kind of makes sense. Big picture. It’s terrific.
But when you, when you think about this in terms of the original series, when it was made originally, and it was just this fun romp.
Which in Trouble with Tribbles he just, they make him look human, but that’s hand wavy. And then you go to how they basically retcon that in this series and how brutal that transformation is depicted.
The idea that they did that, that guy in the original series, I find that very funny. Yeah. Yeah. The other couple
of comments I want to bring up.
Just to interrupt you really quickly. It makes you think that when they catch him in that episode, that they take him and put him in a cell somewhere. And he’s like, I went through all of that to end up here.
Exactly. To get foiled by a tribble. It’s like, I just, I like the idea that he did all of that for, for this.
The other couple of comments I want to bring up is we’ve been posting short. Literally short YouTube shorts, little segments of our podcast, and there was a couple of good responses on one of them where it was a clip of us discussing. It was you’re not going to die on that hill, but we were making the comment of this show.
Discovery is so much better on a rewatch, and it’s a shame they made a show so good on a rewatch, but not As great on a first viewing. Yeah. But we, how we really appreciate the show rewatching it. A pale ghost 69 wrote, I don’t know. Still seems like a four out of 10, not spiritually star Trek. Like when it first came out to be honest, I wouldn’t continue with it without this podcast.
Totally get that, but I appreciate that you’re sticking with us on this one. Pale ghost. And then Wayne hall, nine, nine, three, nine wrote drink deeply. My friend. There’s more Kool Aid where that came from. I’d be laughing for
a while when I read that one. Yeah, there’s, there’s definitely, I can understand completely why people are turned off from modern Star Trek, contemporary Star Trek.
Ultimately part of me understands that. But I’d rather have contemporary Star Trek than no Star Trek. I’m in the same camp. Yeah. So it’s like, yes, it’s not, it’s not completely of the same cloth. It is a take on those things, but it would have to be because to make. Explicitly original Trek would be, I can’t even imagine how watchable that would be.
It would be it’s it’s of such it’s era. And that’s kind of the point of our podcast here is to take a look at the era that was producing these things. And we’re talking now about the idea of authoritarianism and the. efficacy versus the immorality of authoritarian regimes in a show that was put together during the first years of a presidency here in the United States.
Which had leanings toward authoritarian operation. So, but there’s also
streaming, Sean, it’s even, even the way it’s being delivered. It’s like streaming changed the way storytelling happens in TV shows. So it’s like basically a monster of the week back in the original series. And now it’s like this continuous one storyline that’s going across an entire season
and hammering out ideas over a longer period of time and giving up in some cases.
It’s an opportunity for something to develop and for there to be reversals in thinking to really explore things inside out where the original series spent a lot of time doing in some cases very dramatic storytelling simply through the visuals through the lighting through the music. It was more operatic.
In ways than contemporary Trek and there are strengths to that. And it was part of an era of television where television was expanding what it meant to tell stories on the small screen in comparison to movies. So I’m really looking forward to having those discussions as we get toward the original series, which given the pace that we’re moving through the contemporary Trek streaming shows.
It now seems far closer than it did previously. It’s suddenly like, Oh yeah. In a couple of years, we’re going to be talking about original Trek. And won’t that be wild. We’ll be talking about the sixties and how interesting that will be. Thank you so much everybody for the comments. They really are terrific.
Okay. Everybody that sound in the background, you’ll be familiar with that. That’s the read alert. That means it’s time for Matt to tackle the Wikipedia description. The Discovery is
boarded by Cornwell and Sarek, who explain that the Klingon houses remain divided and fight between themselves to see which can destroy more Federation assets.
The only safe refuge for Starfleet beyond Earth is now Starbase One, and they warp there with Cornwell. Assuming command, after emergency surgery performed by L’Rell, Tyler now has his personality back, but can still access Voq’s memories. Burnham is unable to forgive his actions as Voq and rejects him.
The crew finds Starbase One conquered by a Klingon house, and the remainder of Starfleet’s command withdraws to protect Earth. Georgiou tells Burnham that she defeated the Klingons in the Mirror Universe with a surprise attack on their homeworld of Kornos. Cornwell agrees to replicate that now. Now to jump into Klingon territory, Stamets terraforms a desolate moon to grow a new crop of spores so they can use the spore drive.
Georgiou tells Sarek and Cornwell of other essential information she has, and they have her pose in this universe’s original Captain Georgiou to lead the mission. Woo. Yeah. Yeah. I forgot how many plot points there were. My gosh. Yeah. There’s quite a
few. Yeah. The war without the war within directed by David Solomon.
David Solomon is an American television director and producer, and he’s well known for directing Buffy the Vampire Slayer between 1997 and 2003. He’s also directed Firefly, Las Vegas, Private Practice, and shows such as Knight Rider, Dollhouse, The Gates. La Femme Nikita, True Calling, Chuck, Burn Notice, Once Upon a Time, Fringe, Agents of Shield.
So this is a guy who knows what he’s doing. Writer Lisa Randolph is Newer to the industry. She’s a producer known for Jessica Jones, Star Trek discovery and rush. And Jessica Jones in particular, every time I see that name pop up anywhere in any of the producers or writers of this series, it always makes me want to re recommend it to all of the listeners.
If you haven’t checked it out, it is a terrific series. It is one of the better Marvel shows done, and it was done prior to Marvel shows being on Disney. This is a originally a Netflix production. And I believe it is available on the Disney app. The original air date of this episode was February 4th, 2018.
And our actors include Sonequa Martin Green as Michael Burnham, Doug Jones as Saru, Anthony Rapp as Paul Stamets, Mary Weissman as Sylvia Tilly, Michelle Yeoh as Philippa Georgiou, Shehzad Latif as Ash Tyler, Jane Brooke as Admiral Cornwell, and James Frayne as Sarek. And what was going on in the world on February 4th, 2018?
Well, Matt, your prayers have paid off. Because the song you’ve been chomping at the bit to be the number one song, as we refer to these episodes in history has finally come to fruition. That’s right. We’re talking about God’s plan by Drake, which Matt hum a few bars, good..
And at the movies, well, it turns out this one’s a little bit of a vampire Jumanji. Welcome to the jungle earned 10 million to take the top spot, a signal as usual. We’ve talked about this before, January, February are kind of the dead zone for the box office, especially in these pre, uh, pandemic days where the studios were basically just putting out things that they didn’t know when else to put them out.
And Jumanji reclaimed the number one spot, which it had held previously. And this is its seventh week of release. So that’s really kind of remarkable. It’s the first film to do that since Avatar to top the box office in its seventh weekend, it also became the first film since star Wars, the force awakens to top the box office for weekends.
As well as the first film since the Martian to drop the box office to four non consecutive weekends. So this is a, like, when I think of big hits, I don’t think of Jumanji, welcome to the jungle, a film I’ve never even seen me either, but here it is, there’s a reason why they wanted to keep making them. And on television, what was.
The number six most watched show we’re talking about streaming programs, binge watching programs. So we’ve seen shows like friends, Grey’s Anatomy, 13 reasons why, and La Casa de Papel. And here we are our first CW program to hit the top numbers, Riverdale. Which was a very widely acclaimed series when it first arrived, taking the Archie comics and turning it into a kind of Twin Peaks ish storytelling.
Have you ever seen it? I have not seen it.
I’ve only watched the first season, but the first season was quite good. It was surprising. I did not expect to like it, but it was
enjoyable. And then in the news from the publication, the week, some stories that were the top stories of the week at this time, February 4th, 2018, Trump says the FBI and FISA court were used to manipulate the 2016 election.
President Trump followed up on his initial claim. The Nunez memo, a memo, which was leaked in order to support the claim that Trump. had been undermined by the FBI totally vindicates Trump in the Russia probe with additional tweets Saturday evening, accusing the FBI and the foreign intelligence service court, surveillance court of being used to manipulate the 2016 election.
It is important to remember that the memo that Trump was claiming vindicated his claims of FBI involvement in undermining the election, that memo does not actually support his claim. And in addition, he’s making complaints about an election that he won. So also in the week, a story about China decrying us cold war mentality.
At this point, the United States was talking openly about China as an adversary and building up its military in order to stand up against a militarized China. China was making claims that this kind of. Old thinking did not have a place in a contemporary setting. And yet it would only be a few years later that we’d be shooting down balloons that were floating over us airspace that had been launched by China.
So take from that what you will also in the week. Paul Ryan deleted a tweet touting a 1. 50 pay raise. House Speaker Paul Ryan on Saturday tweeted, then deleted, a post celebrating a woman who received a small pay bump because of the GOP tax reform law. A secretary at a public high school in Lancaster, Pennsylvania said she was pleasantly surprised her pay went up to 1.
50 a week, Ryan wrote, quoting an Associated Press report. She said that that will more than cover her Costco membership for a year. The tweet quickly came under fire as critics noted a dollar 50 per week hike or 78 a year is not a large gain.
I’m sorry. Yes. Oh boy. Funny. If it wasn’t so sad.
I know. I know I’m crying as I’m laughing. Oh
my gosh. So, in talking about this episode, we’re left with a number of, it feels very much like a clean up episode. Like it’s kind of like mopping the deck in preparation for the season finale. But it doesn’t make it a bad episode, is what I would argue.
What did you think about this big picture? I would
argue my, yes, it is absolutely a mop up episode. It’s a transitional episode and
it felt like that to me and it
wasn’t bad, but this is a skippable episode in my opinion. It was, it was like, it didn’t wow me. It didn’t disappoint me. It was just kind of like, okay, I watched an episode of star Trek and it was, it did not stick with me in a way that I would, I would really enjoy.
Um, like the previous episodes, I’ve really enjoyed this one. This kind of felt
like a filler. To me, for me, there were a few moments that felt like they yada, yada, yada, their way through something, which I could understand why given the number of episodes per season, I think if this was a 22 episode season, I think we would have had two or three episodes to explore some of the things that are being done very fast track in this one.
I’m perfectly happy to kind of flip the episode on its head and start with the. Biggest issue and work our way back from there. And for me, the biggest issue is Emperor Georgiou, who spends the episode talking with various people aboard the ship, including Admiral Cornwell, including Burnham about what is she supposed to be here?
What is she supposed to do here? What is the offshoot of like, I used to be an Emperor and now I’m not even a prisoner. I’m just here. Like, what is, what is my role here? And it culminates at the end of the episode with Cornwell effectively giving her the captain seat of the discovery, which to the rest of the crew is presented in exactly the same format as.
Burnham’s subterfuge in the mirror universe. Oh, you all thought I was dead, but I was actually alive. So she walks aboard the bridge and everybody there is happy to see her. And except for Burnham, who knows who she actually is, except for Saru, who knows who she actually is. And she’s given the captain seat.
And we are very clearly being pushed to the assumption that the mission that Burnham and Saru are arguing for is not the mission as it’s actually going to take place. Putting Georgiou in place, a woman who very gleefully said, Oh yeah, I defeated the Klingons by blowing up their planet. And now… We are presented with a mission to effectively map out the planet with the intention being to undermine their war making capacity by striking military targets, but the woman in charge is somebody who’s Already demonstrated.
Like, yeah, I can pull that trigger. I can blow up the planet and they’re going to do this from inside the planet. So there is a lot of moving parts to this plan. There’s a lot of talking, which is very quick. I also think there’s a little bit of a ham fisted writing when we come into a scene where apparently the Admiral has just laid out the plan and says, okay, now you guys repeat it back to me.
So I know you know what you’re going to do. And then three different people. Repeat the plan back to her. I was like, why is that constructed in the way that’s not how people talk? I can’t imagine a military commander saying like, I’m going to tell you the plan and you’re going to repeat it back to me right here so that I can like, okay, good, good job, John.
You do know what you’re going to do. Like, it just seemed like, why not just have Cornwell say like, here’s our plan. Here’s what we’re going to do. So the way that this is all presented is clearly leaving us the viewer to make assumptions like, Oh, Cornwell is happy. To blow up the Klingon homeworld. So using Georgiou as the trigger.
Is what is being hinted at. And I think that’s a pretty big development. I think if this was a longer season, I think we would have had two or three episodes exploring that idea, exploring what Cornwell is doing. The way that this is presented, I felt pretty conflicted about the way it treats the entire crew.
Did you pick up on the same thing I did, which is. Cornwell presents Georgiou is like, good news. Everybody thought she was dead, but she was actually in a Klingon prison. And so here she is to lead this mission, captain Georgiou and the entire crew is apparently a bunch of idiots because where have they just been?
They know. They know all of this. They know Georgiou was emperor in the mirror universe. They know they were there. They know Burnham went over to the emperor’s ship. They know that Burnham came back. And now suddenly Georgiou is presented as like, good news, everybody. She was alive. And I’m like, why is this written as if every person on this ship is a moron?
It was very distracting for me. I’d like, yeah. And I said before the mop up, the mop up aspects of this don’t make it a bad episode. But there are things here that do make it a bad episode. Well,
it’s the moral quandary, the ethical dilemma they’re trying to deal with, which is Starfleet nine months into this war.
They’re losing. They’re desperate. They have to make horrible decisions. They’ve come to a point where they’re putting their morality to the side and they just want to win this war at any cost. That’s an interesting
deal with, but I agree with you. The fact that she was so casual and easygoing to, you know what, I’m just going to lie to this entire crew and I’m just going to dupe everybody.
It’s like, what do you think is going to happen when this is all over? You will have burned every bit of trust. within the fleet about you’ve just lied to everybody. You’ve destroyed a planet when you told us that’s not what we were going to do. The, the, the ramifications of this may win you the war, but it would cost you everything.
And it, like you said, it came across as she’s, she’s playing them as fools, which feels so antithetical. It feels like that’s one step too far for the Admiral. It’s like, it feels like she wouldn’t have gone there. It’s like it would have made more sense for her to say to them. And tell them the truth. You know what I mean?
Like, this is what we’re doing and have them being like, I don’t want to do this. It’s an order. You’re doing this. It’s like it would have been more, I don’t know. It would have worked out that way, but you wouldn’t, you wouldn’t have the soap opera aspect of what they were trying to play up in the episode, which was having Georgiou back in the captaincy.
Yeah. I think it’s interesting. I was taking it from a perspective of the realism within the show that the people on the bridge would gullibly accept that this is Georgiou. Their captain Georgiou is one layer of taking. You know, I’ve responded to the episode and you’re taking a different track to the same destination, which is, you’re like, like they haven’t presented themselves.
Like they really missed the more dramatic story, which would be an episode where Cornwell speaks to Georgiou in, let’s say the first 10 minutes of the episode. And walks out of the room saying she’s right. What we have to do is blow up the Klingon home world. And she spends the episode effectively being the anti Lorca instead of manipulating and lying and conniving her way to her goal.
She puts all of her cards on the table and says, we don’t have a choice. We are talking about the existence of multiple planets within the Federation. They will all be decimated once the. Once Starfleet falls and the Federation is broken, none of those planets, Andor, Vulcan, Earth, none of them are going to be able to sustain themselves against the Klingon empire.
It would have been a far more
entertaining episode to me because then you would have this scenario where it’s like an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. Where it’s, you have Georgiou on one ear saying, this is the only way you’re going to survive manipulating her. And on the other side, you have Burnham and Saru and the rest of the crew trying to convince her you’re going about this the wrong way.
We can figure out a better way. This is not the answer. And you could have had this wonderful character for Cornwell. Like even, even Sarek could still have done what he did, like say to Burnham, logic says she’s right and going off to try to convince the Vulcans to do this. So there’s a, there would have been this tension between Burnham and her father.
There would have been tension with Admiral Cornwell. So by the end of the episode, when Cornwell is convinced to not do this, it would have had way more weight because the entire crew has been trying to convince her the entire time and they finally get through to her of like, this is not the answer. So it’s like it would have had more weight where it felt kind of like a cheat.
The way they did it. It felt
very short changed. Yeah. There’s also in this episode, the, again, the mopping up and this storyline I thought worked better is the Burnham Tyler storyline. Yeah. Where we finally, when we were in the mirror universe. Tyler was largely forgotten, except for the procedure that was conducted in order to vanquish the Voq persona, which was the original persona, but was at war with the implanted one, and there would be no future.
I think that there was a little bit of an opportunity for L’Rell to maybe express a little more explicitly. There is no future for Voq anywhere. So I need to save last vestiges of his body as the only thing that can be saved at this point, which means Tyler will survive and Voq will not. But now we have Tyler effectively mournfully wandering the ship and without a task, he does not any longer have any kind of rank.
And the questions of what he will be in the future are all that plague him and his guilt for what he was in the past. And he’s given the line that he recalls everything that Voq did, but it’s like watching somebody else’s life. It’s at a distance. So there is a interesting component to this of his knowledge of being a Klingon while not feeling Klingon.
And we see a couple of interactions before we finally get to the Burnham scene, both of which I thought were really remarkable in their own ways. There’s Stamets and Tyler in the hallway. Yeah. This is another case where the performance that comes out. In Stamets as Anthony Rapp plays him is so remarkable because the anger, the sheer fury in his eyes comes through so remarkably while his ability to understand, I am not talking to the person who killed my husband.
I’m talking to the body that killed my husband. And that’s not the same thing. He’s able to be angry and somehow forgiving. In that anger, it’s a remarkable scene for, for the way that he conducts himself to say your guilt. Is enough for me right now. And then to walk away, I love that scene. Yeah. It was a really good scene.
Yeah. Then we get a follow up scene, which one of the things the discovery does extremely well, and it does it well in a way that anytime there is that callback in track where there’s a touchstone that will occasionally be repeated again and again. And for me, one of the most powerful ones is Picard’s flute.
Which every time that flute appears, you think about, Oh my God, the life he lived in that alien construction and what it means to him is remarkable. And the touchstone that they’ve created in discovery is simply who sits with whom at lunch. I love their ability to make the cafeteria have this much emotional impact, and it’s always Tilly.
They clearly. In the writer’s room had some sort of like big character discussions about like, what are the strengths of these various people? And here’s Tilly, the person who repeatedly says throughout the first episodes, I’m known for talking too much. When I’m nervous, I’m known for being awkward in interpersonal communication.
Yet she’s the one who multiple times in this series has broken the ice and welcomed somebody into the larger group. Of the, of the crew simply by being present, she shows up at somebody’s table. And she sits down and she does that here where she leaves one table to join Tyler, who is eating alone as everybody’s awkwardly looking at him.
Nobody knows how to interact with him and you get this repeated moment that happened with Burnham. Tilly sits down, she says, I’m here, you don’t have to talk, but you can if you want to, but let’s just have lunch. And then… They’re joined by the, the
pilot, it’s the, it’s the bridge crew, the bridge
crew, everybody individually starts joining them.
The communications officer sits down and pretty soon people at other tables are standing up and just going over and saying, welcome back. There is this moment of welcoming. And it’s to me. It feels like it’s the echoes of Burnham in that they were all hesitant to welcome Burnham and then see what a critical part of the crew she’s become.
Yes. So now they’re short cutting it with him where he’s back and they’re not even hesitating to welcome him back. They are very quick to say like. You were not in your right mind. This was not you who did these things and we are welcoming you home. So I
like this scene, but I also felt like the scene was doing that little bit of the yada, yada, yada,
Would have benefited from a little more time in the oven, but I got what they were trying to do. And I also wrote down in my notes at this point, this one scene to me screams. Like Star Trek because Star Trek’s ideal is ideal. How humanity has hit like this utopian ideal, like we are the best of us and we always look to the bright side of things and optimistic future.
That one scene felt very Star Trek-e to me because it’s like he literally murdered people on this year. But the fact that everybody recognizes it was Voq, it wasn’t Tyler and Tyler is sitting here with us and he’s been through a horrible ordeal. And they kind of reach out to him and that felt very optimistic, utopian, or, you know, not everybody is going to feel that way and not everybody’s going to be able to compartmentalize and set that aside.
And they do that with, you know, Burnham and of course, Stamets are both kind of holding out because they, they, they’re so viscerally damaged from what had happened, but it felt a little too, a little too Pat, like everybody was coming over and saying, Hey dude, and like, you know, And I’m back. It’s like, nah, come on.
It is. There should have been more of a smattering of people sitting by and just glaring like now it’s like there should have been a
little bit more. We then finally get the scene between Burnham and Tyler and it’s preceded by a cover before you
get to the scene. Yeah. I would like to, I want to know your opinion on this.
I got. Uncomfortable. And it was, it felt like it was designed to make me uncomfortable, but the way that every interaction between Tyler and Burnham through the entire episode, it felt very much like an abuser, like, you know, a husband who abuses his wife and how he kind of inadvertently is trying to gaslight her a little bit or guilt her into like helping him.
Like I can only get through this with you. It’s like, yeah, yeah. He’s saying things to her that feel very manipulative. Yes. Right. Yeah. And it, it kind of made me feel kind of gross and like, like that doesn’t quite feel right that he would be saying those things because he’s, he’s not the abuser. It was literally a split personality that was doing all this stuff.
So why would he say that it was like, it felt a little weird to me. I
accepted that he would say that in those moments, because for me. He is, it’s almost like it’s a melding of the abused and the abuser are into one individual. Okay. And it’s almost like it’s represented representative of the chain of abused and abuser abused often become abusers themselves because it is the model that they know.
So it is this almost like he on some level in trying to repair himself is trying to Manipulate her into joining with him. He is the same person who manipulated her previously into saying, trust me, I will call for help if I need it. Right. And then he did not do that. And she calls him out on that specifically.
The writing in this is really, really strong in that she stays fact based and he’s about emotional resonance. He is throwing things at her that he feels are going to have the biggest emotional impact as opposed to him being able to say, look, here are the things I did. And it wasn’t enough, he doesn’t ever make a factual argument.
It is all emotional arguments appealing to their relationship. The line, it, it sticks up like a red flag. It is terrible moment when he says, I can only get this through. I can only get through this with you. Like, yeah, that’s not her burden to carry. Like, yeah, even if you hadn’t tried to kill her, even if you hadn’t killed the doctor to say to somebody, you have to carry this water for me.
Is an extremely heavy burden to put on their lap and, and it’s a wild statement for him to make given the context of, Oh, by the way, when I tried to kill you, that wasn’t me, but I can only get better if you stick by me. And I think the writing does a really great job of putting her in the position of, it is extremely murky terrain to be wandering in as far as responsibility, but there is a shining spotlight on her that says, but she can help nobody if she does not help herself first.
She needs to do what she is comfortable with and the way that she’s comfortable doing it first. Regardless of what is being asked of her and the series up to this point has demonstrated her finding that spotlight. She starts off the series at operating completely on instinct and out of fear. That’s how this whole war starts.
This is how like her mutiny. Against Georgiou is all because of this childlike panic. I will lose the people I care about again, if I don’t act. And then when she joins the discovery crew under Lorca, it is episodes of her operating under a cloud. There is no spotlight of certainty about self care. She is effectively in the very first episode, kind of pleasantly suicidal in her assessment of, yeah, this shuttle craft.
Might depower because of this thing that’s on us, and then we’ll all freeze to death and we’ll just be a little casket with three bodies floating in space. And she seems pleasantly accepting of this. So it is a person who has found their way back into self care and self care in this scenario, she could have ended this scene.
I think that there could potentially have been a scene written with every single line still being the same, right up to her saying, and I will help you. But not right now, or I will help you. Well, I, because I do care what she was saying was all about. I need to be taking care of myself first. The results of that could have landed anywhere.
It happened in this one for her to say, and I need you to leave. I cannot be a part of your, your,
because the way I read that scene was different. It was when she lays it on him. She basically. Yeah. It’s a very awesome stuff. She says, yeah, but it’s along the lines of only you can help yourself. Yeah. Was it was, I was reading, was her saying, I can’t help you.
You have to help yourself. I’ve been helping myself and it’s really hard and it’s really hard for you. That’s it. And then she walked out. So I thought that was a great response where has she basically turned what he had said, I can only do this with you. And she just turned it on its head and basically said, you’re on your own kid.
And it’s like left, and I thought it was a very appropriate response. The whole, for me, that this was the storyline that held the most weight for me in the episode. And I wish they had done more with it and gotten rid of all, got rid of half of the plot that happens in this episode. It’s so plot heavy.
It’s the only storyline in this episode that really was critical to exist. After they got back from the mirror universe, they could have come back and the work had been over and, and the federation won, this storyline would still have to exist. So this one really did need to be the a plot. And I feel like it was, it was given a little bit too much of short shrift in the form of if you’d strengthened it a little bit more and made it more of the core, and then maybe done a little bit of what we talked about earlier of Cornwell, not trying to.
Subterfuge her way into being able to blow up Kronos, but just being absolutely smitten with Georgiou’s strength and fortitude. And up to this point, it’s important to remember Cornwall has never met other than Lorca, she’s never been to the mirror universe to see the kinds of turmoil that interpersonal communication.
What that looks like for the Terran empire, she has not been exposed to, Oh, they are constantly backbiting. They stab each other in the back. They turn tables on one another. They are immoral. She’s never done that. She’s only seen Lorca. And if she came into a conversation with Burnham and Saru and basically said, we know Lorca.
Got it done. We know that. So Georgiou is the one to get this done. Like that would have been, I think, a far more compelling first 15 minutes of the episode. And then sprinkle a little bit more of those moments. Like you were saying in the cafeteria, expand what it means to be trying to welcome him back in.
What does it mean for Burnham to? Be wrestling with all of this and, and kind of flip the a and the B a little bit, not to remove one entirely, but just to massage it a little bit in a different direction, because I agree with you, it feels like this is the heart of the episode and yet it’s treated as if it’s the passing background storyline, because we end on the, I think this scene with Burnham would have been a better ending scene.
If it had been preceded by Cornwell saying, nobody gets a vote. This is not a democracy. Georgiou has created a plan. We are going to go to Kronos and we are going to blow it up and end of story and make then the following episode, the tension between a crew that is looking for every opportunity to convince Cornwell, this is a bad act.
We cannot do this. Yep. While seemingly going through the motions of carrying out her plan. That might’ve been a nice turning of the Lorca captaincy on its head and given the, given the opportunity to explore these things. One last thing I wanted to talk about, what do you think about, and I understand that it has to happen.
Storyline to be conducted the way it is. What do you think about the fact that they present in this, the idea that the reason that Starfleet is losing the war is because of the Starfleet, they call it a couple of times in the episode, the Starfleet mentality of how to wage war, what they set as their goals and how they conduct war.
What did you think about that as a general thrust of the episode.
Okay. I’m torn, but I kind of, I, my general sentiment is I did not like it. It comes across as Starfleet is rigid, not creative, not able to adapt, and they’re putting their morality above all else. That’s not the Star Trek I’ve watched over my lifetime. Uh, they’re very adaptable. They’re very creative. They come up with fantastic solutions for impossible scenarios.
And the idea that the only crew that can do this is discovery crew is just, ah, come on. Really? Come on. Yeah. It’s like we’ve watched so many different seasons of different shows and different episodes and different crews. And they’re all. incredibly creative and adaptable. And the idea that Starfleet at this time and juncture for some bizarre reason is completely rigid.
It’s bananas to me. It would have been a better explanation to me just to say that because they didn’t couldn’t detect these cloaked ships, the Klingons. Keep getting the leg up and we can’t we haven’t been able to figure out a way around it and they’re just keep out maneuvering us because we’re fighting 24 mini wars instead of one massive like thing.
It’s all these little sects coming at us. It’s like that would have been a perfect explanation because it’s like they’re adapting. They’re trying and nothing’s working because they just can’t overcome this insurmountable force of this wave. They’re just being you. Trounced just from the sheer numbers and
veracity of these attacks,
then it’s not putting Starfleet down, but the way they portrayed this is that Starfleet is, uh, effective.
Yes, the Keystone cops. And I did not. Like that, it didn’t make sense.
They even go so far as to say star base one had a compliment of, I forget how many thousands and 80, 000 or something like that, something like that. And now it has like 240 Klingons aboard and like, like, like, yeah, like a star base was overtaken by a Klingon attack.
With those numbers, like it really, I agree completely with what you said about how it’s portraying Starfleet as rigid when what we have is, I mean, I’m just thinking, I just let me, let me say this real quickly. We have in enterprise, which is the series where we see the initial, you know, outgoing, uh, Starfleet crew and.
How do they operate? They operate completely freewheeling for the most part. They are out coming up with solutions because they are further out than any other human ship in next generation. Picard reprimands Spock for cowboy diplomacy. Cowboy diplomacy doesn’t work anymore in the Federation and Spock’s.
Affront at like cowboy diplomacy, like the idea that, yeah, you’re the only ones out there on the range. So you get to make the call that doesn’t work anymore, but now we’re presented with the idea that somehow between enterprise. Cowboy diplomacy and Spock living cowboy diplomacy. Somehow in the middle, Starfleet became super rigid and, and ultimately I have a problem with, as, as you pointed out, arguing that it’s Starfleet’s ideology and tactics that cannot.
Adapt to the reality when the entire point that they keep making within this very program about what Starfleet is and what the Federation is, is a multiplicity of voices. So how is the rigidity when you have Andorians? In the mix, a species that is more than ready to, we’ve seen an enterprise at this point.
They were an unknown quantity in the original series, but an enterprise, they were explored beautifully and we know them as a people that they are ready. They are ready for war and they are not afraid of going toe to toe. So you’re telling me that in a Starfleet that incorporates Andorians into their thinking, Vulcan logic into their thinking, the Vulcans who, again, We’re presented as how did the Vulcans.
Go toe to toe with the Klingons. Every time they met a Klingon ship, they shot at it until finally the Klingons were like, we respect them. We’re not going to, we’re not going to do anything. You’re telling me that the Vulcans involvement in this would not have an impact. It just doesn’t ring true unless you do what you just suggested, Matt, which is they have a line in there that if they just relied on that one line.
We are not fighting one war, we are fighting 24. Every time we adapt a tactic for one house, another house shows up with a completely different tactic. We can’t move fast enough. We can’t anticipate which house is going to come from which direction they don’t seem to be operating with a plan. It is like we are fighting an insurgency.
Every time we try to do anything, the fact that they can cloak their ships keeps us from even being able to strike back. Our numbers are depleting not because they have overwhelming force, but because they are chipping away at us. The loss of ships is just adding up to too much. It didn’t have to be, you know, we just can’t, when you said, when you
called them, when you called them Keystone cops and Starbase one, all I could see in my head, Sean, was just these Klingons coming on board and shooting and then having the yackety sacks music playing in the background.
It’s like, Oh my gosh, here comes Benny Hill, everybody strap yourself
in or to meld or to meld the complaint of contemporary Star Trek is too much like Star Wars. Maybe they got a board and it was just a bunch of sword troopers and storm troopers can’t shoot the side of a barn. So maybe that’s why in any event, there’s a lot here in this episode.
You know, Matt was trying to wrestle through the Wikipedia description and it was a lot of plot points. And my feeling is just because it’s clean, clean up episode doesn’t mean it has to be a bad episode, but the things that make this one not particularly pleasant didn’t have to be here. So that’s, that’s my judgment.
It sounds like you’ve got a similar assessment. Yeah, me too. So let us know everybody. What did you think worked and didn’t work in this episode? Do you agree that it’s kind of a, a kind of a murky mess? Or did you think that this was the perfect transition point to lead to the series conclusion? Let us know in the comments next time.
We’re going to be talking about the finale of season one’s remarkable that we’re already there. But before we sign off, Matt, is there anything you want to remind the viewers about? What do you have coming up on your main channel? Yeah, on Undecided I
have a episode coming up about a space aged battery, literally a space age battery.
It’s a nickel hydrogen battery can last for decades is extremely good. And for some reason we just haven’t used it here on earth. We’ve only been using it in satellites, but there’s a company that’s trying to change that. And it’s, I hope they succeed because it’s a really promising path towards very resilient energy storage that
Sounds right up star Trek fans alley. Yep. As for me, you can check out my website, Sean, Ferrell com, or you can just go directly to your local bookstore or Amazon, Barnes and Noble, wherever you buy your books, my books are available there. Don’t forget to check out the sinister secrets of singe, my newest book.
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