Matt and Sean talk about mistaking fear for ferocity, and how to recognize it. Star Trek Discovery has a bit of a misstep with this episode, but there still may be a nugget of a good episode hidden inside.
YouTube version of the podcast: https://www.youtube.com/trekintime
Audio version of the podcast: https://www.trekintime.show
Get in touch: https://trekintime.show/contact
Follow us on Twitter: @byseanferrell @mattferrell or @undecidedmf
We’re also talking about its context in history at the time of original broadcast. So we’re looking at things right now in the second season of Discovery, which means we’re also talking about 2019, which doesn’t seem that long ago, but trust me, it might as well be a millennia. I’m Sean Ferrell. I’m a published author, including some sci fi for adults and some sci fi for kids, including the most recently released The Sinister Secrets of Singe, which is available now.
And with me 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? I know you’ve been great. You’ve been traveling lately. I’m sure there’s some exhaustion in that, but you’re back safe and sound.
How were your travels?
Yeah, I, I went out to Vancouver for a, um, renewable energy EV event called Fully Charged Live. Um, I was on a few different panels and stuff like that. And it’s, it’s always interesting, Sean, cause it’s like, in my daily life, nobody knows who the hell I am. I’m just a regular schmuck just going to the grocery store, doing my shopping, going to Target, coming home.
Nobody knows who I am. Um, occasionally I’ll get a look. I can see somebody do kind of a. I think I recognize who that is, and then they don’t do anything. And it’s like, I, I usually I’m like, I think they probably knew who I was, but it’s very rare that that happens. When I go to an event like Fully Charged Live, it’s like taking basically most of the people who know who I am and concentrating them into one location.
And so it’s like this odd bit of feeling a little bit like a celebrity because I was getting asked for autographs. People were taking selfies with me. It was. A lot of fun. It was awesome. It was so cool meeting all the, all the people that came up and talked to me. I just want to thank everybody for coming up, but the final day of the event, I was, my schedule was jam packed.
I was having conversations with people. I was on panels. I wanted to get a chance to go around Vancouver a little bit. So my final day, Sunday afternoon, my last panel was done. I was going to check out and I was going to go do some sightseeing around Vancouver. On the way out, I’m walking outside of the, uh, the convention center and somebody’s walking Towards me and yells out Matt Ferrell and comes up and and they never shook hands We just were talking as we walked past each other slowly He said I love I love your channel and then there’s this pause he goes and I love your brother And then I see we’re passing we’re getting a little further away.
He just yells out Star Trek Walking away and I was like that is the perfect way To end my little bubble of fully charged live of that celebrity status, somebody just yelling out Star Trek at me. So if you’re listening to this, whoever you are, thank you so much. You really made my day.
Yeah. Jump into the comments.
And, and let us know who you were because I, Matt shared that story with me when he first got back and it made us both laugh. So thank you so much to that gentleman. And also thank you to everybody. Like we do this program because Matt and I would do this kind of talk. Without a podcast. Um, the number of conversations we’ve had about like, what’s the most pivotal scene in a certain Star Trek episode or movie and debated the meaning of these greater things.
That all happened well before podcasting was a thing. So the fact that we have an opportunity to do that in this format and. Turn it into something where we can invite other people to be a part of that conversation is very exciting. And so to know that people on the street are willing to say proudly, like yelling Star Trek at a stranger on the street, that’s the society I want to live in.
That’s yes. So thank you for that. As usual, before we jump into our conversation about the most recent episode that we’ve watched, we’d like to share some comments from previous episodes. So Matt, what have you found in the mailbag for us this week?
There’s a few good ones. Um, one from episode 99. I think it’s Lethe?
Lethe? I can’t remember how we pronounce that. Lathe. Lathe. Lathe. Okay. Lathe. Okay. There’s so many things, it’s from ValueofNothing2487,
and ValueofNothing has clearly been binging our episodes because we’ve done a lot of comments from you. Thank you so much for all the comments, I was reading through them all this morning. Awesome stuff. But one that caught my eye was from this recent one, episode 99. There’s so many things wrong with the Spock Burnham Sarek story.
First it’s mostly exposition and violates the rule that you shouldn’t do character development by exposition. Second, it’s done in flashback, which waters down the stakes. Third, it’s also done with constant cutting between the flashback and the current time, which is, to me, poor plot device. Also the relationship between Burnham and her father.
It’s not really related to the overall Klingon War, it’s tacked on to tell the soap opera story. And fourth, it changes the character of Spock, and it also continues Enterprise’s mistake in making Vulcans the logical, petty, racist. I thought this was a good one to bring up because it’s what’s going on in the story of right now that we’re talking about.
Spock is the centerpiece of this entire thing, um, so even though this is a number of episodes behind where we are right now, it’s still very relevant. And I thought, I don’t necessarily agree with everything in there, but I get where, uh, Value of Nothing is coming from, uh, completely on this. Um, for me, it’s like, I, I, I, the way they’ve altered the Vulcans from, like, when we were talking about Enterprise to now, not in love with everything they did, but I did, it’s good to have character development.
for the species showing how they’ve evolved along with us. Um, I think that’s important. Maybe the way they executed on it could have been better. Uh, but, uh, it is funny how they’re presenting the Vulcans really just as. Just logical racists. Yeah. It’s a little disturbing.
Yeah. I’m reminded of that comment and, and the idea of the tension between Vulcans and the rest of the Federation.
I can see, and I haven’t seen it done, but there could be a really compelling standalone story. And this maybe is something, uh, maybe our listeners are aware of, of something like this that was done as a novel. Um, I think it would make a great novel. I think it would probably make a great, uh, comic book, something like that.
A standalone story about Vulcans and Vulcan as a whole looking at the Federation as the most logical path that they hate. Because that is ultimately where they could be coming from. And I’m reminded of, I recently have been watching a lot of the original series. Uh, I put it on in the background sometimes when I’m doing some of the things around the house and there was a.
Recent episode that I caught, which was the story where they find the giant, effectively a giant space amoeba that is in this strange field of, um, energy consumption that creates just a black void in space. And when the enterprise punches through the, the void, They find themselves in this pocket of space, which is filled with this gigantic space in me, but that is consuming everything that comes across.
So the question is, how do they get away from this? And everything that is going on in the ship, the way that they’re getting through the field, they, they discovered that there’s a kind of like an. An energy inversion effect going on. So everything is running opposite of the way it’s supposed to, and they have to kind of like navigate, like physics is not working properly.
And all of this starts with Spock having a telepathic response to the death of a large number of Vulcans who are on a ship together. And it was a star. It was a star, it was a federation. Starship, um, a Starship, uh, That was completely a Vulcan crew. And as I was watching the episode, I’m like, I’m like, it’s really kind of weird that it was entirely Vulcan crew.
I feel almost like the creators of Enterprise and Discovery without even meaning to have created a terrain where as I was watching it, it started to make sense because there’s this kind of, okay, the Starfleet is creating a new vessel. And they are going to put a Vulcan in charge, and that Vulcan makes some kind of argument for, it should only be Vulcans.
Like, the idea that somehow that kind of racial element is still at play, and that it’s a slow walk to get Vulcans to feel willing to be integrated. At large, Spock is constantly commented on as he was the first to forego the science academy and go into Starfleet. And he has always worked aboard crews that were a majority overwhelmingly of humans.
The idea that, Other Vulcans in Starfleet would be like, yeah, we’ll be a Starfleet vessel, but we don’t want to be around anybody else. It started to make sense. And I think that fits within the kind of structures that have now been retconned, but it was taking place in the original series. So there’s a little bit of like, huh, that’s interesting that it kind of like makes that story element work better than it did in the original.
Broadcast. So lots of, lots of things to chew on. Thank you for the comment.
The other comment, it’s gonna be really quick, uh, from episode 112 in Obol for Charon or Charon, uh, from Jason Dumb, the titles of Star Trek discovery episodes are great. The episodes dot, dot, dot, it’s like, I thought that was a really kind of short, succinct way to go.
Urm, not so great, um, so thank you, Jason, for that comment. I disagree with it a little bit, uh, but I get where he’s coming from because we’ve talked about this before. There seemed to be burnout happening, uh, when you had the Enterprise, Star Trek, uh, the Enterprise show going on. And then there’s the J. J.
Abramsification of Star Trek, which happened with the movies and this show specifically is a reflection of those movies. It’s taking what JJ did and trying to make it into a series, uh, which has some tension there because it’s, it’s working in some ways and not working in other ways and times change and you have to evolve your storytelling a little bit for the audience and what we’re expecting.
We’re in a streaming age where. Story arcs go over the course of 12 episodes, 24 episodes. It’s no longer just single, you know, isolated episodes. So it’s, we’re watching an experiment kind of happening. Um, and looking back in time, Sean and I have talked about this, this, this series is better on a rewatch than it is on the first time through.
And that’s, uh, Sad because a lot of people just didn’t give it
a shot. That can’t be by design. You know, as a writer, I don’t write a book thinking the second time that they read it, it’s going to be great. They’re really like it then it’s like you can’t approach something with that. So that’s completely an accidental by product.
And everything you just said about this straddling between the Abramsification of Star Trek and Strange New Worlds, which clearly they were like, we’re going back to basics. We’re going back to a Roddenberry vision. Yeah. Um, the, this show ends up with a lot of really great moments that kind of get just, um, blurred out a bit by some of the.
Inefficiencies of we’re trying to tell a longer overarching story, but we’re doing it in 12 episodes. So we don’t have time for any kind of standalones. We don’t even have time for a bottle episode where bottle episodes are. Sometimes a bottle episode is terrible. Sometimes the bottle episode is great, but bottle episodes are a way for both the creators and the viewers to kind of like catch their breath and discovery very often feels like it is running a half marathon.
Like, you’ve got to keep up. If you miss an episode, you are missing a lot of stuff. And as was pointed out in the previous comment, a lot of that stuff is in dialogue, which is a hard way to consume a lot of plot. So this, this really, like Matt just said, I think experiment is really a, a really terrific way to frame it.
And it’s an experiment that had to happen because how do you bridge an audience that is accustomed to. A certain era of Trek, and I mean the Next Generation through Enterprise era, and then a post 21st century, like, The, the streaming era and then the kinetic style of filmmaking that changed how people consume media.
How do you get there? And this show had to experiment with getting there. And I think the fact that we have new Trek on television means the experiment was successful. So I don’t look at any of these with a jaundiced, this is terrible eye. I’m always like, it’s a mixed bag and there are things in it that I find that like, okay, this is, this is what I’m going to hold on to.
This is the moment that works for me.
Well, it’s also not done. The experiment’s still going. Like, the strange new worlds to me. To me, I know other people are going to disagree, I think they figured it out. It’s like they’ve continued to evolve and they went a little bit back to those having bottle episodes, doing a little more isolated storytelling.
Even though there’s an overarching plot happening, the real focus is on what’s like monster of the week. What’s the thing you’re doing this week? And I really love the blend that they’ve been landing on for Strange New Worlds. It’s just a blast to watch. So it’s got a little bit of that J. J. Abrams to it.
Um, kineticism, but then it also has the old days of, oh, we’re in a bottle episode today. It’s like, it’s all on the existing sets. They probably did this to save some money because they blew all their money in the last episode. So it’s like, it’s like, you can just kind of go with it and it’s a lot of fun.
And I think those breather episodes, like you just talked about are perfect. It’s a perfect way to put it. You need that breather allows character development. It allows the audience and the writers and everything to kind of just kind of like marinate a little bit, which makes the following episodes even better because you’ve taken that moment, that breather that you needed.
Um, I love it.
Yeah. So thank you everybody for your comments. We really enjoy reading those. And now as we move forward, that noise in the background is of course the read alert, which means it is time for Matt to tackle the Wikipedia description. Matt, best of luck here.
You mean stumble my way through the description like I always do
Yes, that’s exactly what I mean
Stamets and Burnham conclude that Tilly has been taken into the mycelial network. She wakes up there with May, with the May parasite, wants her to help stop a monster ravaging their world. Discovery finds the shuttle Spock. Used to escape the psychiatric unit only to discover Georgiou on board. Section 31 Captain Leland assigns Tyler to Discovery as a liaison to ensure that Discovery does not interfere with Section 31’s own investigation into Spock.
Discovery conducts a half jump into a mycelial network to give Stamets and Burnham limited time to find Tilly before the network consumes the ship. Burnham and Stamets discover the monster is Stamets husband, Hugh Culber, the former Discovery medical officer who Tyler murdered during the war. Stamets was connected to the network when Culber died, allowing Culber’s energy to be recreated by the spores.
Burnham now convinces May to use the Parasite Cocoon on Discovery, through which Tilly was transported into the network to rebuild Culber’s body in normal space. They leave the network with Culber and Tilly. Well, that’s a nice way to wrap that up.
It’s a roller coaster ride going through that.
So this is episode number five of season two, Saints of Imperfection, directed by David Barrett.
We’ve seen Mr. Barrett’s work before. Some people may remember his work on Magic to Make the Sane Go Mad. He’s a former stuntman who became a director and he’s worked on a lot of different television shows including these two episodes of Discovery. Screenplay by Kirsten Beyer and I love… Miss Beyer background?
Uh, she started as a sci fi writer known for novels based on the Star Trek Voyager show. And she eventually became a staff writer for Discovery and a co creator and executive producer on Picard. She apparently, during Voyager’s run, kept sending them spec scripts. Just kept over and over sending them spec scripts and ended up at some kind of convention, meeting up with an editor involved in the publishing of the Star Trek novels.
And then she began pitching them novels. She was able to pitch them a couple of her spec scripts, turning them into novels. I don’t know that any of them actually came to fruition. But her conversations with them kept growing. And eventually she did write some novels and then has now returned to the television medium, which started her entire attempt to get into the, the industry.
And I just think that that perseverance is, uh, to be commended. That’s. That’s great. The original air date of this episode, February 14th, 2019. And we have, of course, the main cast, Sonequa Martin Green, Doug Jones, Anthony Rapp, Mary Weissman. And we have guest actors, Wilson Cruz, Anson Mount, Michelle Yeoh, Shehzad Latif, and Bahia Watson.
And co stars, Hannah Chessman, Emily Coutts, Patrick Kwok-Choon, Oyin Oladejo Ronnie Rowe Jr., and Raven Douda. And what was the world like on February 14th, 2019? Well, Matt, you will remember better than most that when you wanted to get your groove on, you turned on Seven Rings by Ariana Grande. Okay. Please hum a few bars for us right now.
Great. And at the movies, people were lining up to see the Lego Movie 2, the second part, which earned 34 million at the box office and on television. We’ve been going through a list of the top streamed series of 2019. We’ve made it through the first four. Series, which were Lucifer, Stranger Things, Thirteen Reasons Why, and Money Heist.
And number five will be a show that shouldn’t be a surprise to many for being on this list. It’s Orange is the New Black. This is of course Netflix’s program, which was a highly acclaimed award winning program about life inside a women’s prison. And in the news from February 14th, 2019, top headlines were love.
No. St. Valentine’s Day did not make the news. In the news, the New York Times published a story on February 14th about Amazon pulling out of a New York City headquarters. This I remember very well. Uh, Amazon announced a deal with the city to build a headquarters here. And immediately New York City’s response was nope, uh, did not want the potential congestion and heartache of a massive Amazon location right in the city.
Amazon ended up pulling out of their plans to build a headquarters in Long Island City, Queens. There were also reports on NBC and BBC about. Political appointments by President Donald Trump, the U. S. Senate voted to confirm Trump’s nominee, William Barr, as United States Attorney General with a 54 to 45 vote.
And in the UK, Brexit continued its. Death march to the sea, the House of Commons voted to reject British Prime Minister Theresa May’s negotiating strategy with the EU, though this motion has no legal force, but if anybody remembers what was going on in the UK at this time, they went through about 49 different Prime Ministers at this point, and every single one of them stood up and said, I know how to manage Brexit.
And every single one of them was voted down, uh, for quite a while. So here we are. Theresa May is at this point in February 14th, 2019. I think we’re getting kind of close to the vote of no confidence that would cause her departure. So on now to our conversation about this episode, this one, Matt, I’m really curious.
What did you think? And I’m happy to I invite you to approach this question in one of two ways. One path would be a big picture. What did you think about a big picture? The other path would be what was the one thing, positive or negative, that stood out the most to you about this episode that when you think about this episode, you’re like, that was the thing I either couldn’t get enough of, or I couldn’t believe they did.
Um, I’m not going to go there because I have a feeling you have something that you’re going to like. Pounce on for that. I’m really curious what you’re gonna say. Big picture though. Big picture. I’ll go big picture for me. I didn’t like this episode. I don’t know if it was my mindset. I don’t know if it was because I was exhausted from my trip.
I don’t know what was going on, but like, it did not click. I was bored through most of it. There was some good character development, but it felt a little too kinetic and chaotic and jumping between different… it felt like it was trying to do too much and it felt like they could have Cut out half the stuff that happened and focused just on the other half.
And it would have been way better, and it doesn’t matter what that half is. It’s like, dealer’s choice, just focus on something, and it would have been better. Um, and for me, the biggest part I think that was distracting was the whole section 31. It felt like, why are you, why are you doing this? Are you trying to do a spinoff?
Like, what, what is the whole, why are they so… It was, it was just, it was irritating because it was like, it was, it was detracting from the storytelling and, and making something cohesive because you were trying to cram this whole other crew and dichotomy into place. And it was just like, it just did not work.
But when you talk about it, just the stuff that was happening in Discovery, it was interesting. I thought it was a really interesting exploration around. Like, like you’re talking about, like, it’s all about perception. There’s a monster on board trying to kill. There’s a monster trying to kill me. And this is, we’re fighting for ourselves.
And then it turns out, well, they’re not a monster. They think you’re the monster. So it’s all about perception and trying to basically empathy, understand the other side. And you could work together and find a resolution. I think there was a really good message there that just got completely muddied up.
By how they constructed the entire episode, it just kind of fell apart for me, and I was bored.
Yeah, to jump into your, uh, comments right there, seeing the monster in the one who’s simply trying to survive, they set up, it’s, it, there’s, there’s a, uh, an element in fiction of, you know, parallelism to reinforce a theme, and they did it in this episode really well Up to a point.
And then they were just like, here’s the dead horse. Here’s the stick, go to town. And it felt like, it felt like they were, they were forcing. And I mentioned, um, the screenplay writer and my respect for her perseverance and getting, you know, through the many years of like, please take a look at this stuff.
And then finally landing an opportunity and turning it into now this career. I think she wrote a really great. Teleplay for this episode, but I have a feeling she was forced to put in all the section 31 stuff, which feels so tacked on and extraneous because even that is, and she does a masterful job, I think, of trying to make it match the theme, because we have the May Entity, which is viewed by the crew as a monster.
She brings Weissman, she brings Tilly into the mycelial network and says, there’s a monster in here. The monster she sees is Culber. So we have the whole, like, you’re simply trying to survive, but you’re viewed as a monster. And then we have the exact same thing going on between Pike. And Section 31’s captain.
We, we have conversations where the two of them know each other from the past. They are familiar with one another. They’re, they’re basically set up as like, at one point they were almost friends, but now they’ve taken very different paths. And each of them is viewing the other one as this, as the hurdle between what they have to do to do their job, right.
And I think that’s masterful to replicate that. You’re the monster. No, you’re the monster at that level, but it really, the section 31 stuff, if you pulled all of that out of here, you could have the exact same episode without any of that. And you wouldn’t. Miss anything. In fact, it would strengthen the episode.
You would have more time for development. You’d have more time for the characters to have conversation. There is a point at the end of this episode, which for me was symbolic of my problem with the episode. They are told, you’ve got 30 seconds to get off that ship. And then everybody stands around and talks for like three minutes.
Yes. And I’m like, what is going on? Like you got to get out of the mycelial network. It’s collapsing and the ship is going to be destroyed if you don’t get out of there in 30 seconds. And then it’s like a Lord of the Rings ending where everybody turns to everybody else And here’s why I love you and I’ll miss you and I’ll talk to you later and like, no, no, what is this?
What is this? Like, yeah, there needed to be that conversation needed to happen. Much earlier where everybody was like, how do we get Culber out of here? Needed to happen well before the ship was in that sort of critical danger. So then you can have the critical danger come while they’re trying to do their thing.
Yeah. They didn’t have time for that because they had to have a scene in which the captain of the section 31 ship brings his ship out of cloak and then uses his. And all of these, uh, tractor beam to try and keep the discovery from slipping completely into the mycelial network, which from a visual perspective is a lot of cool spaceship stuff.
Who doesn’t like seeing all of that? But it was so much extra baggage for what was happening and it’s competing. Ultimately, the relationship between the Section 31 captain and Pike is competing for our attention with what really should be. The focal point, which should be Culber, the aspects of a Culber who has survived for what is time like in the mycelial network.
We have no idea. Survived on what? And how, cobbling together, effectively, armor out of a type of growth, the bark is toxic to May’s species, they completely, like all of that could have been far more, uh, in depth, in depth. The pursuit of Culber literally takes about three minutes. They get to the mycelial network with Tilly.
She meets up with Stamets and Burnham, who’ve come to find her, within three minutes, they find Culber within three minutes, and have the full explanation of what, yeah, he is like, oh, I’m here now. Oh, they’re here now. Oh, Culber’s here as well. He survived wearing this bark. Oh, it turns out he’s not a monster at all.
We now need to convince May that he’s not. Like, this needed more time to… Have the kind of… of pacing and impact that the rediscovery of Culber deserved. And then once Culber is discovered, it should have been far more laborious to convince him that they were in fact real. His experience of the mycelial network should have been explored more because What kind of, like, does time operate it all in the same way there?
I wanted somebody, I wanted Stamets or somebody to say, time doesn’t operate here the same way. It both moves slower and doesn’t move at all. So that Culber’s experience would for Culber feel like an eternity and like he’d only been there for a few minutes. Like, I wanted that kind of telescoping of experience so that Culber is looking at them and for the first few minutes, what if he’s forgotten how to speak?
What if he, like play with all of that, make the biology of being a human who is surviving in this toxic atmosphere, because ultimately that’s what they’re saying. The mycelial network operates as basically a digestion ground for the refuse of our level of the universe. So for a human to survive in that means, would he in fact have gone completely psychotic?
Would breaking him out of that take more time? And would they be experiencing time in a way that the discovery would not be? I would have loved for Pike and Saru to be calling in to Burnham and saying, like, have you found him yet? And for them to say, like, we’ve been walking for what feels like hours and we don’t yet see anything.
And for them to be like, you’ve been in there for 48 seconds. Like I wanted something that was like. Playing with all of this kind of experience. And what if it had been a kind of through the looking glass kind of quest on the part of Stamets and Burnham and Tilly? What if they were in the mycelial network from a certain perspective for so long that they could convince May before they even found the monster, or that May could convince them before
they found the monster of their perspective, like, it really could have played with a lot of different Things, but I, I don’t feel like they had time because they were too busy saying we got to pitch the section 31 show, which just to wrap up my, my thoughts about that, we reviewed the episode from several weeks ago, which had section 31. We had. Uh, Tyler joining up with Georgiou, we had the end of the Klingon storyline, we had L’Rell’s depiction of the coup attempt as actually a rescue attempt so that she could reunify the Empire and say, the Federation’s been working against us, he was a traitor, he was a spy, he’s now dead, and my child is dead as well.
And we see Tyler with Georgiou taking that baby to a monastery where that baby will never know who his parents actually are. And Tyler’s like… I’m a person without a country. I have no place to go. So I’m going to stay here. That to me was the end of section 31. I had forgotten that this episode even took place.
And this is very clearly setting it up as this is the pitch for a spinoff. That previous one was so much better at it than this one was. This one just makes it feel like this could have been anything. It didn’t really, at a certain point, it didn’t feel like Star Trek. It felt like this could have been a standalone movie about mourning and grief.
A Stamets character missing his husband and finding him in this alternate reality. That ultimately didn’t need to be Star Trek, but it felt like they were like, let’s, let’s really pitch this section 31 stuff. And they wasted 15 to 20 minutes of their storytelling time on it.
Well, it’s this, this episode also is to me is the epitome of what I don’t like about Discovery.
And I’ve brought this up before of how this entire series tends to take shortcuts. In storytelling, and they tell us that we’re supposed to love a character, they tell us these characters love us, love each other, and yet they don’t show us why we should love this character. They don’t show us why. They don’t give us time to kind of resonate with these different characters and allow them to resonate with each other.
We talked about that with the, um, the sequence where, uh, Burnham is talking to Saru and he thinks he’s going to die and his ganglia and all this stuff. And it was like this overwrought scene that was not earned because it was suddenly like they’re the best friends, they’re the Spock and Kirk, and they were never set up that way.
They’ve, we’ve, we as viewers have never experienced them that way, but now we’re being told we’re supposed to see them that way. Same thing with this. It’s like that, that rapid fire, three minutes on this. Oh, by the way, Culber’s here. Oh, and by the way, we got them out. And oh, by the way, this just happened.
And by the way, that just happened. And these two people love each other. And this thing’s happening over here. They’re telling us of how we’re supposed to be resonating with the show. They’re not letting us resonate with the show. That to me is a. Like the biggest knock against all of Discovery and it happens in future episodes It’s happened on what we’ve already seen but it doesn’t mean that there’s not good storytelling here It doesn’t mean that it’s not good acting and there’s not good action.
It’s like the show is good It just could have been great if they had just taken a little more time with their storytelling Yeah, and not felt like they had to cram Ten seasons of a show into eight episodes. It’s like they’re taking shortcuts and it undercuts them. And this episode to me is a perfect example of that because they tried to do too much in one episode and if they had just done some That, that editing technique of like, take what you’ve written, cut it in half, take that and cut it in half again, and there you go.
It felt like this was clearly producers saying, well, we want to do a spinoff of Section 31. You have to cram that in there. And it was, instead of cutting in half, it was like, they were adding to it and they were like, well, I have to add it to it again. And it was nobody, whoever was in charge didn’t like stand up and say, no, we can’t do this.
It’s actually hurting the show
by doing what we’re doing. And I, there are two things that I wanted to talk about. One was a negative and one is a positive. They’ve set up with the character of May, the idea that effectively, and this is, I don’t mean to sound dismissive of the, the creature that she’s supposed to be, um, they’re effectively sentient parasites, sentient digestive juices of the mycelial network.
So things go into the mycelial network. Um, I would have liked a little bit more about like the sciency aspects of like, how would something. Make its way into the mycelial network. What is the connective tissue there between the seen universe and the mycelial level? How would something end up in that place?
Is this kind of like, does it tap into quantum physics? Does it tap into black holes and, and dark matter and all of that? Or is this something? Is there something else? Is there a different way that it, that it would work? So there’s that aspect to it, but there is this May’s entire reason for being is I am here because you have been destroying my, my, my world.
You are ripping things apart. There is almost a, a role that May plays as almost an ambassador of a people. And yet when it comes to being in the mycelial network, she has, we never see another entity. We don’t see her having any impact on what is going on. And it is like the discovery partway through the mycelial.
Opening begins to be digested and the response from May is like non existent. She doesn’t even respond really to saying like, I can’t stop them. There is something that she says, which is along the lines of communication with the whole group is difficult that needed exploration that needed more time. So like that was a negative on the positive side.
to add on to that, this ties all back into the short changing and taking shortcuts. The whole explanation of Culber and how he’s there was such a yadda yadda yadda moment to me. It was, well, how did he get here? Oh, quick shot of a tear rolling down his face and then him, Sam is kissing it and then he gets the tear in his mouth and then he’s here.
It’s like, wait, what, what, wait, excuse, excuse me? It’s like, could you not spend maybe just an extra 90 seconds talking about this? Maybe this could have come up earlier and then they could have, you could have answered it slowly over the episode. It’s, it’s the same exact thing that you’re talking about of may not, uh, this one sentence dismissive.
Oh, don’t think about that because it’s hard. It’s like, wait, wait a minute. Could you expand upon this, please? Yeah. It’s like asking somebody a question of like, so like a job interview. Like, so, so how did, how did you get to where you are today? Well, I went to school for it. Yeah. Could you, could you explain a little bit more?
Like what drew you to this? Like, you know what I mean? It’s like, you’re trying to pull the answer out of people instead of just presenting it.
Yeah. I think that that’s the perfect example of there could have been. Discussion around how the mycelial network ties into the main scene universe that would have explained both, like for me to say, like, I am here because I, as an individual was ripped from my universe into this one and had the opportunity to connect with Tilly.
And as a result of that, I’m changed. I will, I am now this thing. Whereas everything else here is disparate, unique, doing its own thing. And so the idea of there being the ability to communicate with the larger network is an impossibility. So like you could have had some. Discussion around that. You could have also in describing how do things like the question that somebody would have asked, Stamets could have said like the role of your species appears to be to break down that which comes from the seen universe.
How does that stuff get here? For them to have a conversation of like, how do we get back? What does it mean to transfer between the quantum seen universe and the mycelial network and for there to be some kind of conversation of what does it mean for something to end up here? What does that look like?
Because that then could have explained how Culber is there. And effectively they got, I feel like they got 10 percent of the way there in the reference to Stamets being connected to the mycelial network. He’s like a lightning rod. So he’s pulling stuff in. Like, he’s kind of like a vacuum going one direction.
If they knew this was where they were headed, then when he was connected like that, what if they had shown him having that kind of impact in a larger way? You have May come into this universe in the form of, there’s the, the cloud, the explosion of the spores, and then one of them lands on Tilly. What if we saw an opportunity where something.
At first ethereal, and then maybe more and more physical over a period of episodes, Stamets makes disappear, so you end up with him maybe, like, in the An environment where there’s something like mist in the air and it kind of looks like it sucks into him. And then in a later episode, he actually holds a cup or is drinking water or something disappears and he’s in this vague out of body cloud in his, you know, his clouded eyes.
You could have had that like, Oh, he’s taking stuff to another place. Then when Culber dies and he’s holding the body. We would see that and immediately connected to like, what does that mean? Did he kill Culber? Has he taken that thing? Has he taken Culber into that other universe? Then we find out it knows, we know it’s Tyler.
Tyler killed Culber, but when we see Culber in the mycelial network, we would immediately be like, Oh, Stamets had that thing. that he was doing. He was bringing things into another place. This is the result of that. We would have a far fewer questions about the technical aspects because we would have visually been given cues to understand how he’s working as a dimensional gateway.
So there’s that aspect to it. And then the other side of it for me that could have really. Um, been fascinated to explore is the idea of May inadvertently creating the gateway out by using elements in the recognizable universe to create that pod. And again, it’s kind of the flip side of everything about how is Stamets the one way gateway.
Here’s the other gateway. And I really did like the sci fi aspect of Culber exists as an energy here that cannot transfer like a transporter without material. There is no material. This is a mycelial thing that we’re talking to, but it is Culber. But because there is biomass on the other side, that is.
Otherwise it can become the material. I loved the idea of that and I wish that it had been played with more in the question of what does it mean for May to be a thing, for May to be a person, for May to be an entity, what was she in the recognizable universe when they capture that thing in the. In the engineering room, they have a small force field around her.
What is that? Is that corporeal? Is it energy? Like to explore a little bit of that, but the, the maneness of it and the mycelialness of it could have given us what we needed to know, like, how is Culber going to be? And Ultimately, this is, I would have appreciated a little bit more of a, this is effectively a carbon copy.
So Stamets has to prove himself to Culber, and I like the fact that Culber doesn’t have to prove himself to Stamets, but I wanted other people to say. To Stan, I know you love your husband, but is this your husband? Like to play with the idea of, is he in fact a projection of your wish, of your understanding of him?
Does he know what Culber knew or does he only know what you knew of Culber? And for there to be a scene in which Burnham in a sort of, she can’t help it, logic first sort of response, I would have liked it if she had been liked. Like how can we even try to bring something back that may not in fact be Culber and have Culber have to do something for Stamets that Stamets has already done for Culber.
Stamets tells that whole story about how the first time they went on a date and you reached back your hand and I took it. Like that’s how he proves himself and it’s a lovely moment. I wanted there to be the inverse of Stamets saying, I don’t need proof. I do not need proof. This is my husband, but everybody else there looking at Culber and having Culber say, the first time I met him, and then tell a story, and it would have been especially dramatic if the story that Culber told, because this Culber has been hurt.
Has been abandoned, has been alone, and if time works in a weird way in the mycelial network, how heartbreaking would it be for Culber to tell a story that Stamets is not aware of and for it to be a heartbreaking story? Maybe tell a story about doubt of their marriage. We had been married for a year and yet I didn’t trust that he would put me first.
Have him tell a story that makes the Stamets standing right there be like, Holy cow, like I have basically emotionally been abusing my husband. And have him prove to everybody but Stamets, I really am Culber because I have an internal life that this guy doesn’t even know about because he ignored me too much.
That would have been, for me, a really incredible moment, because it becomes, it becomes, effectively, this is all one way, it’s all one direction. Culber is only there for stamets to have something to run after. And it’s like, okay, give us a little bit of the other.
You’re, you’re not wrong. I love your rewrite.
That’s, we make it such a better episode. But it comes all ties back to what we’ve already talked about. Yeah. They couldn’t do that because they had to take half the episode to talk about section 31. Yeah. About something we don’t care about and we never see again. Yes. It just kind of vanishes. With a
character as the captain that I can’t even remember his name.
I think it’s Leland? I mean like. Yeah. Yeah. Effectively, like, what. What is the takeaway here? Um, and having Pike and the other captain debate, what does it mean to be a Starfleet captain and the one guy saying, we’ve seen it before in other programs. We’ve seen it before in other Trek where it’s like, well, somebody has got to go out and do the hard jobs that nobody else is able to do.
You know, that’s, that’s very familiar territory. And, um, to take away from that. Not to,
not to jump series, but there was a totally different take on that captain to captain conversation in the last season of Picard, season three. The captain… I can’t remember his name. Uh, uh, played by Stashwick.
haven’t seen season three.
Okay. I won’t say anything, but the way his captaincy is portrayed is like I’ve never seen in Star Trek and it was so refreshing and it was like, wow, that is so cool. Instead of having, I’ve seen things you’ve never seen. There’s a polar opposite of that. It’s, it’s a very interesting. portrayal of a captain and his motivations.
And it makes you question, like, is this a good captain? And how that character evolves over the show is just like a chef’s kiss. So well done. And like you just pointed out this cat, this guy, it’s like, it’s, we’ve seen this before. There’s nothing really new here. Uh, for how they’re portraying him, uh, why, why even do this?
like, he’s practically barking out Jack Nicholson’s lines from A Few Good Men of you need me on that wall. And it’s like, okay, we’ve been, we’ve been there before. Um. Yeah. So, ultimately, uh, this episode felt like a bridge to get Culber back so that we can get into some new terrain, which I am looking forward to.
I remember some of the particulars of what they do with Culber upon his return. And it’s a bridge trying to get Section 31 to look like a show that has a ship. And has a crew and has tension between a captain who’s trying to keep Georgiou under control, trying to keep Tyler on the right path, and showing a growing relationship between Georgiou and Tyler that we’re supposed to think is, um, worth caring about.
And I say all that sounding very dismissive, but I, I’m really not feeling dismissive. I think that there was stuff here to do. They just put too much into one episode and it kind of made a, uh, a jambalaya out of the whole thing. Like it’s hard to differentiate one flavor from another and it all kind of melted together in a way that makes it kind of, eh, okay.
So you’re actually going from point A to point B and you got this midpoint here that you needed to hit. And it just didn’t work for me in the ways that I would hope it would, especially when, like I’ve, Just said we’ve stumbled in this episode into our rewrite territory. Let me know what you think. Jump into the comments.
Do you agree with some of my ideas around rewriting some of the elements here? Do you think there was something worth salvaging, or do you think that this episode was perfect as is? Do you think Matt and I are both bonkers for not liking it? Let us know in the comments. Next time we’re going to be talking about the episode, The Sound of Thunder.
As usual, I’m going to invite people to jump into the comments and predict what the episode is about, but wrong answers only. And before we sign off, Matt, is there anything you wanted to share with the listeners about what you have coming up on your main channel? Yeah. By the time
this episode’s out, I have one about why American houses suck.
On my main channel, as well as our other podcasts still to be determined, uh, where I interview Matt Ressinger. There’s a whole aspect of how American houses are built today and the standards we have, and it’s lagging way behind many other countries and areas of the world. And Explore why that is and what we might be able to do better.
As for me, I invite people who want to find out more about my writing to check out my website SeanFerrell. com. You can also, if you’re just looking to buy the books, you can jump into Amazon, Barnes and Noble, your local bookstore. My books are available everywhere. And as I mentioned before, The Sinister Secrets of Singe out just recently in June of 2023.
I’m currently working on book two of that. So if you’ve got a young reader in your life or you just like adventure sci fi. Uh, on your own, I invite you to check out the Sinister Secrets of Singe and prep for book two, which should be coming out in 2024. It’s really good. Thank you. It’s really good.
Unbiased opinion from somebody who’s a blood relative. Don’t forget, if you’d like to support the show. You can review us on Apple, Google, Spotify, wherever it was you found this program. Go back there, leave a review. Don’t forget to subscribe and please do share it with your friends. That really does help.
And if you’d like to more directly support us, you can go to trekintime. show. Click the become a supporter button. It allows you to throw some coins at our heads. The welts will heal. And once they do, we don’t like to record when we have bruises, but sometimes we get a little bit of a bump. That’s fine.
You can’t even really see it. And when you do all of that, you automatically become an Ensign, which means you get subscribed for our spinoff show Out of Time, in which we talk about other things that don’t fit within the confines of this program. So we talk about some other sci fi, sometimes horror, sometimes TV shows, sometimes movies, whatever it is that’s catching our eye.
And we hope you’ll be interested in checking that out. Thank you so much, everybody, for listening or watching, and we’ll talk to you next time.