Matt and Sean talk about a huge, yet surprising, reset button on Star Trek Discovery. This ends the current timeline as we get ready to jump to Star Trek Strange New Worlds. Does the show wrap up well?
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And we’re taking a look at the context at the time of original broadcast in history. So we’re currently talking about the last two episodes of Season 2 of Discovery. Which, strangely enough, means we are leaving Discovery behind for now, because, spoilers, the episode ends with a magnificent leap into the future.
So, in context, where are we? Well, we’re heading towards Strange New Worlds. So that’s some interesting, quick developments there. 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 Sinister Secrets of Singe, which is available in bookstores now.
And as always with me is my brother, Matt. He’s that Matt of Undecided with Matt Ferrell, which takes a look at emerging tech and its impact on our lives. Matt, how are you doing today? I’m doing
great. This, this past week was Halloween and on Halloween day, we had snow. I’m not ready for snow yet, but it was snowing.
I don’t know about
you. Here in the city, it was not snowing, but it was the first aspects of fall finally emerged in the city where the temperatures are cooler. It’s cooler at night. The fact that it’s already November and it took us that long to get there is a little unnerving but, here we are. Before we talk about the most recent episode, we always like to visit the mailbag and see what your comments include.
So Matt, what have you found in the mailbag for us this week?
Well, this week there was a couple of interesting threads that came up. Uh, the first one was, uh, they were both from the last episode, 119, Through the Valley of Shadows. It’s the one where Pike touches the time crystal and sees his future. Uh, Value of Nothing wrote, This episode uses, quote, science fiction to simply make a more heroic Pike, which is fine.
But this whole thing about once you see the crystal, then your fate is sealed just gives the impression that it’s more of a fantasy Rings of Power episode than a Star Trek episode. It’s not a great way to treat the character of Pike in a series because you now have removed his free will and his ability to make decisions.
A character must be able to make decisions to dramatically, to be dramatically interesting. And in response to that, Happy Flappy Farm wrote, I think it contradicts an episode of Strange New World as well. Part of what I do not like about that is it basically says fate. He can’t escape this. And then it’s kind of like you’ve just removed any kind of bit of tension from anything that happens to him.
If he’s in a point of danger, it’s like, well, you know, this isn’t when he dies, he’s gonna get hurt in the future, so he’s not gonna care. It’s like, ’cause it’s like, you know what I mean? It’s like it removes all tension and free will from that character and it kind of undercuts him all at the same time.
And it was just a really odd. But my choice, they did. Yeah, agreed. Um, then there was another comment that completely broke my brain Sean, because he made references I did not know, and I had to look up. Uh, Richard Gould, BlueRaven wrote, I think what they’re going for with Control is a mix of Rocko’s Basilisk and a paper clip maximizer, complete with gray goo, and I, to me, that was all gibberish.
And I was like, what does this mean? So I had to look it up, and found this. Fascinating. So thank you, Richard. So the references of Rocco’s Basilisk is a thought experiment, which states that an otherwise benevolent artificial superintelligence in the future would be incentivized to create a virtual reality simulation to torture anyone who knew about its potential existence, but did not directly contribute it to its advancement or development in order to incentivize said advancement.
Then, the reference about the paperclip maximizer, it’s a hypothetically artificial intelli a hypothetical artificial intelligence whose utility function values something that humans would consider almost worthless, like maximizing the number of paperclip shaped molecular squiggles in the universe. The squiggle maximizer in this canonical thought experiment showed how an artificial general intelligence, even one designed competently and without malice, could ultimatly destroy humanity.
And the third one, which was Grey Goo. Grey Goo, also spelled Grey Goo G O O, is a hypothetical global catastrophic, catastrophic scenario involving molecular nanotechnology in which out of control, self replicating machines consume all biomass and perhaps all, also everything else on earth while building many more of themselves.
Yeah. So in one short sentence, he packed, it’s the most densely packed statement I’ve ever seen on the channel. I have to do slow clap for you, Richard. That was amazing. Thank you very much.
That is really an amazing breakdown of control. It was really fascinating. And I thank you, Richard, for that comment.
It’s it’s, uh. It’s going to take me a while to digest that. So yes, Matt and I’ve been talking about what next week’s episode is going to be. So like quick teaser for everybody listening along, we’re going to do at the end of this, what we did at the end of. Enterprise. So next week, we’re not jumping directly into the next series, which is going to be Strange New Worlds.
We’re going to be having a recap episode where we talk about kind of big picture takes on Discovery character arcs, some of the storytelling, and how the show felt overall, and kind of, and just kind of recapping it. And we’re doing that even though we’re not done with Discovery. We did that when we were completely finished with Enterprise, but we’re doing it now with Discovery because with Discovery, obviously we have now a gap.
And if we stick to our schedule, the way that we plan on doing, we should be returning to Discovery sometime around the time that I am 70 years old. So rather than wait to do the recap, then we’re doing it. We’re going to do a partial recap now about where Discovery led us in the first two seasons. Uh, I say all of that to say, I think I’m going to be chewing on this comment for a little while and might actually revisit it as a topic of Big picture, how to discover, utilize AI in interesting ways.
And this could feed that conversation. So thank you, Richard, for that. That noise in the background isn’t just Matt trying to get me to stop talking about Grey Goo, it is the read alert, which means it’s time for Matt to tackle the Wikipedia description. It’s going to be a long one because this is a two parter.
And Matt, I think you’ll discover that at a certain point, these Wikipedia editors putting this together thought, well, let’s just list out the plot points and not worry at all about anything else, including whether they’re in the right order or not. So enjoy. Oh,
geez. Discovery escapes to rendezvous with the Enterprise.
The Discovery crew is evacuated onto the other starship and they initiate the Discovery’s self destruct sequence. But the SPHERE data takes control of Discovery Systems and prevents that from happening. It also defends itself from torpedoes. Burnham!
Not only that it’s a short sentence, It also defends itself from torpedoes! Thank you for that very important plot point.
It makes it sound like it’s just an add on feature of the Sphere data. Which also comes with It slices, it dices, it defends itself from torpedoes.
How much would you pay for it now? That’s Burnham proposes that the time Crystal Burnham proposes that the time Crystal be used to take discovery itself to the future where control cannot get to it and plans to wear a copy of her mother’s suit to lead the ship there.
Pike agrees and resumes command of the enterprise. This is so awkward, Sean. Mm-Hmm. Pike agrees and resumes command of the enterprise to keep control distracted. A new signal appears, leading Discovery and Enterprise to the planet
which is ruled by Tilly’s friend, Queen
Me hani. You wanna say that?
Me Hani Ika Hali Ka Po
thank you, what he said. A brilliant engineer, Po Helps Stamets, Tilly, and Reno prepare the suit and time crystal for the journey. Some of the Discovery’s crew choose to stay with Burnham. As does Georgiou, while Pike makes Saru acting captain, and as Section 31 Fleet arrives, Discovery and Enterprise prepare for battle while the suit and time crystal are finalized.
Tyler receives the Klingon fleet. No,
Tyler Retrieves. Tyler
Retrieves. Filer while he could receive
Tyler retrieves the Klingon Fleet to assist in the battle. While Saru’s sister Sana Siranna Siranna, I got these names , while Saru’s sister Siranna arrives with Baul fighters after receiving a farewell message from Saru. Stamets is seriously injured and is cared for by Culber why is that important?
Important to point out ? It is.
Like I said, this is the point where they’re just like, plot points, just hit the plot points. A
Section 31 torpedo penetrates the Enterprise without detonating and Cornwell seals off the surrounding area which prevents further damage when a secondary detonation kills her.
Control Leland boards Discovery and is defeated when Georgiou magnetizes the Nanites in his body, allowing Section 31’s fleet to be destroyed. In the suit, Burnham travels to the past and sets the five signals and sets the 5 signals that lead them to this point. She then sets a 6th for Discovery to follow as she travels forward over 900 years and promises to set a 7th when they arrive.
The Enterprise crew tell Starfleet that Discovery was destroyed in the battle and are ordered to never speak of it or the crew again on Spock’s recommendation to prevent another incident like Control. Tyler is placed in command of Section 31 and months later the Enterprise detects the 7th signal as it begins a new adventure.
Crazy. That’s a, that’s crazy pants. If that was how the episode was constructed, it has some of the climactic moments front loaded and the rest of it’s just like epilogue. It’s pretty wild. These are episodes number 13 and 14, Such Sweet Sorrow, directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi. Michelle Paradise, Jenny Lumet, and Alex Kurtzman are responsible for the screenplays.
These originally broadcast on April 11th and April 18th of 2019. Main cast, as always, Sonequa Martin Green as Michael Burnham, Doug Jones as Saru, Anthony Rapp as Stamets, Mary Weissman as Sylvia Tilly. Guest actors include Wilson Cruz as Hugh Culbert, Anton Mount as Christopher Pike, Shehzad Lateef as Tyler, and Alan Van Sprang as Leland.
And of course, Georgiou is here as well. Played by Michelle Yeoh. What was Matt dancing along to? I know that in our comments, there’s always a, uh, there’s a betting game that people in the comments have developed around what Matt was dancing to. Well, this week, we’re going to talk about two songs that Matt was dancing along to.
One of course was Sunflower by Post Malone and Sway Lee. And the other one was Old Town Road. Which was, what happened to my comment, Lil Nas X. Something happened to what I typed up earlier. Characters have just deleted themselves. I’m not sure how. Lil Nas X released the song Old Town Road with Billy Ray Cyrus as a featured guest on the song.
A lot of people thought of this originally. As a Billy Ray Cyrus song, it’s Lil Nas. Let’s, you know, give him the credit that he deserves. This would be the number one song for, I think, about four months after this. But we will not be visiting that because we are going to be moving on from Discovery.
So we are… Pretty much done with 2019. And at the movies, the number one movie earning about 75 million over the two week period, it was number one, both weeks is the movie Shazam. Shazam is of course a DC comics superhero. Originally Shazam was known as Captain Marvel, but. To avoid confusion with Marvel’s Captain Marvel, eventually DC stopped referring to Captain Marvel as Captain Marvel and started referring to him as either Shazam or The Captain.
And this is the first of the two movies that they’ve made with this character, and this first one introduces us to the character Billy Batson, who, when he says Shazam, turns into the aforementioned superhero. And on television, what were people streaming? We’ve talked about… So far, many, many programs that have covered everything from Netflix, some Hulu, uh, this week we’re introducing two new programs.
I won’t list all the others that we’ve already talked about in the past because the list at this point has become cumbersome to read aloud. I will instead just jump in directly to number 13 and 14 on the list. Number 13 being Dark. Which is, Matt, I believe you enjoyed this. I did not get a chance to watch this myself, but it is a German program that was available on Netflix.
And it has very, uh, kind of dark, lost like vibes while being about children who get lost in the woods. And at number 14 is Marvel’s The Punisher, which is, of course, part of the Marvel universe of characters that originally had appeared on… Netflix, and now those characters are being folded in by Marvel into the main cinematic universe in the form of the first step will be a new Daredevil program, which is being put together now.
And in the news over this two week period, what was the New York times sharing with us? Well, in April 11th newspaper, there was discussion about astronomers finally capturing the first ever image of a black hole. There was also a discussion around the U. S. immigration system may have reached its breaking point, which is interesting that this was being talked about in 2019.
And here we are in 2023 and we didn’t know what broken actually looked like in 2019. And one week later, there were news stories about the ongoing discussion about the Mueller report, what was shared, what was edited and redacted from it, and the New York Times was breaking a story that the White House and Justice Department officials had discussed the Mueller report before its release.
Also in the news on that day, North Korea was testing a new weapon. North Korea was beginning its process of launching rockets, launching missiles effectively past Japan in a demonstration of the reach that their weaponry would now be able to make. Now onto our discussion of the episode, lots of threads being tied together.
This did have the feeling of a series conclusion, which. Oh yeah. Made a lot of sense. There are certain aspects of the, the story that there’s a lot of hand waving to get to a place where they’re like, we have a plan, we know what to do, we know how to stop the villain. And then there’s a lot of hand waving to do that.
I just want to talk about the hand waving to get it out of the way. For one thing, let’s go to the future where we will not be able to be found by control. I don’t quite understand that logic.
Don’t think about it too hard, Sean. Yeah. Uh, I think if they had explained it, this is the way my head cannon filled in the gaps. Uh huh. Control, like you remember when they first encountered it, it had come from the future, back. Um, so it was an advanced AI that came back when the, uh, when, um, Pike. And, uh, what’s his name?
Tyler. Yeah. Tyler. Tyler, were in that shuttle. Yeah. They encountered the future control coming back. So I think the basic premise is if we go far enough in the future, we will leapfrog control and it won’t be able to find us because we’ll be somewhere in the future and it doesn’t know where we are and it won’t be able to find us.
That. It’s what I think they were going for, but it doesn’t hold up to any thought beyond a momentary moments, like, oh, okay, like, if you go beyond that, oh, okay, it
doesn’t make any sense. They’ve, they’ve talked a number of times in the, in the show leading up to this conclusion of the season that all life in the galaxy has been wiped out in the future because of control.
All life. So where is the safe Harbor to hide in the future? It doesn’t make any control whether they stop it. They leapfrog it in the future. It’s here in the present now. And they do the next big hand wavy thing for me that I just want to get out of the way. In they go out of their way to make the fight between Leland and Georgiou seem personal.
They didn’t actually have any stakes. Between the two of them, there was no antagonism there until Leland was now just completely taken over. And then Georgia was like, now I’m going to, somehow it seemed personal to her to have to fight him and. In that fight, she wins the fight by tricking him into Stamets navigation chamber, where she can magnetize the chamber to pull the nanites out of him.
And when she does this, it effectively shuts down control in all of the drone ships. That are fighting outside. Again, how? It is a nebulous network artificial intelligence. Leland is one aspect of it. Destroying Leland makes sense, but the fact that that would shut down the entirety of Control’s battleship operations in space did not make any sense to me.
Can I add on to the weirdness of the hand waviness with the time aspect of all this? Mm hmm. Which was… They established with Pike, he touched the time crystal and you’re going to lock in your future. So you can’t change it anymore, buddy, because you’ve seen it. It can’t be unseen. Well, Burnham touches the crystal, sees the future and tries to change it and kind of succeeds is what they’re saying.
So I think it kind of undercuts, it kind of undercuts what they were saying before. And the second problem I’m having with the time stuff is that. They created a time paradox, because if Burnham was setting all the points they were supposed to go to, and the only way that she knew what points she had to go to was because she, from her future, told her where to go, how did she originally figure out where to go without, you know what I mean?
It’s like, she never learned on her own what things had to be pulled together, what threads had to be pulled together.
I have less of a problem with that because your experience of learning where they needed to go was witnessing them as your younger self. Your older self is planting them in the past, your younger self is the one experiencing them, so that as you’re old, as you get to be the older self, now you know where they’re supposed to be because you remember it from when you’re younger.
That to me, it is a paradox, but it doesn’t cause consternation for me in that. Oh no,
but it’s a, it’s a complete time. Like you’d have to, like, you could say like if this is a loop, like she’s loop, this is her second time through this loop. The first time through her loop, she would’ve. Try to change the past.
So she would try to fix all, like, she would see the Enterprise blow up and get destroyed, she’d see them fail at trying to stop control, and she would leap into the past to try to stop it. Do you understand what I’m saying? And then she would go back and do all this stuff to, to set these seeds and things in motion to try to fix it, and then the second loop through, she’s now learned from her future self how to do it, so she does, she, so she can just avoid that catastrophe the next time around.
But they never showed her. Learning it on her own to create that second loop through and that’s to me where I’m like, what the hell? I, I,
I’d be interested if our, if our viewers, do you, do you side with Matt on this, that you think there’s an error in the time, the time, uh, timey wimey ness of it? Or do you agree with me that it actually isn’t a problem?
Because what I’m describing is sort of a self generating, uh, self generating knowledge. As opposed to having had the experience in order to know what to do. She doesn’t need to see failure because she’s already seen the, she’s seen the lights in space. She knows where they’re supposed to be. So she
witnessed them there.
But from a storytelling point of view, we’ve, we’ve never, that wouldn’t, those lights would have never shown up originally if she hadn’t failed or hadn’t figured out how
to throw it. No, they showed up because she succeeded. They showed up because she built the suits. She goes back and she drops them into the right locations because she knows that’s where they’re supposed to be.
It doesn’t cause a problem for me. It doesn’t cause a problem for me. I, I, I think that it’s, it is, it is a paradox, but it is a paradox that makes sense. To me, and I’m interested to know from our listeners and viewers perspective, do you agree with Matt that there should have been a failure loop before there can be a fix it loop?
Or do you agree with me that there was no fix it because there was no failure? It is simply like, this is what has to happen because it is what happened. That’s, that’s where I land on it. So let us know in the comments. Having said all of that, it’s. Yeah, there’s the hand waviness of how does destroying one instance of control affect everything else?
Don’t worry about it. Why is Georgiou so personal in her fight against Leland? Don’t worry about it. How does the time paradox work? Don’t worry about it. Ultimately, I think if you pull those things away, this show is about reconnecting characters. To their best selves and to one another. It is a story of.
Everybody on Discovery uniting around Burnham and making the ultimate sacrifice in the form of you can’t get back if we don’t go with you. So we will go with you so you can get back without knowing how we’ll do it. That’s a very broad leap for this crew to make. And it’s a demonstration of where they have lined up with each other in the kinds of connections they have.
And that’s a nice, very Trek like. Motif on display. There’s the moments between Burnham and Spock. And that’s one of the places I want to start is their conversation in particular. It’s a little hopscotch y to do it this way, but their conversation at the end. was to me a really huge payoff for something that had been built nicely over a period of episodes where we had seen them barely able to be in a room together without breaking into an argument to eventually learning to work together and now we hear we have them Spock at this point had completely put himself In the crew of Discovery to say, I will go with you.
This is, this is a logical step. I should go with you to help you. And then through the turmoil of the battle, his shuttlecraft is damaged. She cannot wait to lead Discovery through a wormhole into the time, uh, the time jump to get to the future. And he cannot go with, so he is stuck in the present, and she will leave for the future, and the two of them have to say goodbye.
And it is a, we have talked a number of times, almost on a weekly basis, about moments that the show did not earn. I think this was one that everybody involved in the production knew they had to earn. They… Worked hard to build in the steps to get there. And by the time they get to this moment, I felt like they had absolutely earned these moments right up into.
Spock saying something in Vulcan, and Burnham’s response being, I love you too, it felt like this was a well crafted relationship and a well crafted story arc for the two of them. To have this moment of, I don’t know how I can move forward without you, and having that build to that moment. And for me, the power of Burnham’s commentary around, find someone who’s completely unlike you.
And then reach out to that person, they’ll reach back and you can’t hear that without thinking about every episode of the original series, without thinking of all the movies, without thinking about the Shatner Nimoy of it all. It’s a very well constructed moment for me and it really settled well and made all of this feel like this was.
A good story to tell and almost makes any confusion around like, why would they introduce a sister character to Spock? Like that’s not part of the canon. Why would they do that? This moment for me, like earns that entire retrofit. I thought it was, I thought it was terrific. What did you think about that?
We’ve talked about the retconning this show does. Uh, we talked about it a lot in the
last episode, I think it was,
um, this is where I think retconning, this is a good example of retconning done extremely well. It doesn’t undercut anything of the original series. It doesn’t undercut Spock in the original series or the movies or anything.
All it does, it successfully adds a really interesting dynamic layer to his background that we didn’t know before that adds a little more richness to this character. And then when you think of him. In the original series, it adds a little bit of this sad, tragic undertone to his life of he has this sister who is super important to him that he can’t talk about to anybody.
And it’s like, I love that. I thought that was a really great way to explain. It didn’t feel cheap to me that they were beautifully explained why nobody knew about if Starfleet had this spore drive, why haven’t we heard about it before? Spock has a sister? Come on, he doesn’t have a sister. It’s like, they did a beautiful job setting up why we’ve never heard of this before because they’re not allowed to talk about it.
Because if they do, they endanger themselves and control and all this kind of stuff. They earned, as you said, that, that emotional beat in that final conversation was fantastic. It like hit all the right notes for me and it made up for all of that. We were complaining about the hand waviness of all those other plot points that we thought were a little ridiculous.
It makes all that to me just moot. It’s like, I don’t care about any of that other gobbledygook because this like was so perfect in
my opinion. This show also rests a lot upon Stamets and Culbert to be a part of the emotional journey of these two partners. And they do, I think they do a nice job with it, but it felt a little tacked on from a certain perspective.
For me, because of the speed with which it happens, it felt like, I don’t know, I found myself thinking like, would it really have been so bad for the moment between the two of them to be Culbert helping Stamets in the, in the medical bay and saying something along the lines of, I realized I needed to come.
I needed to, I needed to stay here on Discovery because this is where my home is without the extra touch of you are my home. I felt like the conversation didn’t need to repair every single bridge between the two characters. It could have been a moment of, I’m leaving the door open, you and I need to talk more, and I can’t do that if you go to the future and I stay here in the present.
And I felt like it might’ve added to some of the tension of what would the future hold, knowing, okay, Culbert decided to go. Does that mean they’re going to reconnect? I felt like it almost overplayed the hand. And I wonder if there was something in the background with Maybe Paramount was unsure about bringing Discovery back for another season.
It just had that feeling of like, Oh, they’re wrapping up a lot of stuff and almost all of it completely. I wonder if they were speculating, will we come back at all? And so that’s where I was left with, Oh, they didn’t need to cross every T in that conversation and dot every single I, but they did. I wonder why they did that.
It felt like too much in the, in that scene.
Yeah. I. Did not remember how well they, they, they tied it up everything with a nice, neat little bow. And the only thing that they did to leave the door open was you see the signal from the future. That was, but every other plot point was wrapped up. And it, so if the series ended now, you wouldn’t leave the viewers being like, Oh, what’s going to happen with X, Y, and Z?
It’s like, none of that matters because they wrapped everything up. So I wonder the same thing. I wonder if they weren’t sure it was coming back or not, and so they wanted to kind of like wrap things up, but leave a door open in case, um, cause that’s what
it felt like. And there’s the, all the other things that are wrapped up.
You see Saru’s sister come back with the Ba’ul fighters. Um, I don’t know about you. We saw a lot of Saru’s sister, which is great. It’s nice to see a character call back like that. And she’s like, I’m here for your brother. You’re not fighting alone. I wanted to see some of the Ba’ul. In that fight, I wanted to see them with their like, like, yeah, we’re kind of buying into being able to work together with these people.
Um, I wanted something in that vein to kind of like, feel like that was being wrapped up in a, in an interesting way as well. Uh, and then of course, we see Ash Tyler return with the Klingon Chancellor. Now that they’ve moved, you know, they put into place all the masquerades around. How he would leave the Klingon Empire and she would hold onto the chancellorship.
And then we’ve had so many episodes now that. would just completely undo that and yet somehow they don’t. He is giving orders on the bridge of this Klingon ship and I’m just like, what
is he doing there? Like,
he didn’t need to be there. As far as the Klingon Empire is concerned, he was a spy. They killed him and now she is leading this ship.
Into battle on behalf of Starfleet. And I could understand completely him pulling her into the battle. I could understand her coming in to rescue. I think it might’ve served logic a little bit better if he had been returning to the Enterprise on a shuttlecraft. I would think the same thing. Said like, I got some help.
It’s on its way. And don’t, don’t, uh, look too deeply for communication from them when they get here and have a Klingon fleet show up and have her barking orders at all. The Klingon commanders who are looking at her as scans, I think it might’ve added to some tension to have Klingons looking at her with a kind of confused look and her saying, this isn’t about us rescuing Starfleet.
This is us about stopping. The mess that Starfleet has created. This is another instance of Starfleet stepping in it. We are going to shut it down because we need to protect the Empire and we need to learn the lesson that these people can’t be trusted. Look at what they’ve done. So that would have been, I think, she could have twisted it to hold on even more.
It had a lot of very, this is the last thing I have to say about this, having said all of that. It did feel trekkish in the Klingon ness of it all, the things they were yelling, today’s a good day to die. They pulled out all the old motifs that we want to hear a Klingon saying, and she said all of these things.
And it was like, oh, is she coining the phrase? Is she the one who invented, like, today’s a good day to die? Like, all of that. It, it feels like they’re putting a lot at her feet to say she’s the, she’s the mother of the Klingon empire that we will know moving through next generation.
The fact that Tyler was on the ship really bothered me, and I had thought the same exact thing, of, if they were gonna hold true to the Section 31 ness of his character, considering he’s gonna be the head of Section 31, Section 31’s like the CIA, they work behind the scenes, they’re not on the bridge of the attack ship, they’re the ones that pulled the strings to get the attack ship there, so it would’ve made more sense to have him on Warp back in on a sh on a shuttle and they, like, Tyler’s back, he has a message, he’s, and you have him come up on screen and goes, I brought some friends, and then you have this giant ship come flying in.
It’s like they could have just done that, and he wouldn’t have been on the bridge, it wouldn’t have brought raised all those questions of like, the Klingon Empire is supposed to think you’re dead but yet you’re here on the bridge giving commands, what the hell’s going on here? Just imagine
that ship getting back to Klingon space and the Klingons on the bridge being like, you’ll never guess who we saw on the bridge.
You’ll never guess who told me it was a good day to die. Guess who? Yep. It was that guy. Yep. Yep. That’s right. Yeah. Mr. I used to be a Klingon. Now I look like a human.
Yeah. It’s, but again, it’s the wrapping up of moment after moment. We have also in this one, a moment where we see Saru just full blown captain mode. There’s no hesitation in him as a leader. He is, he is giving directives to everybody. He is demonstrating he has a eye on the big picture while caring about deeply about the personal, uh, connections around him and he’s balancing those two beautifully and it really is presenting this character who if Burnham was not involved in the show.
Like, he as a main character has a tremendous character arc. He is a really beautiful character in that he starts off genetically predisposed to fear. And a kind of useful paranoia, there are threats everywhere around us, his ganglia showing up and sending that message and eventually evolving, literally evolving past that to become who he is in these episodes where as he is giving orders and everybody is looking to him and he is giving no quarter To Hesitation.
It is really a, it’s a tremendous character. It’s a great story arc. He’s a well written character overall. And in this, I feel like this is a demonstration of Doug Jones. We have a handful of, of actors in movies and television who you never see their face. You only see them through prosthetics. Andy Serkis, Doug Jones, like the two of them are two of the finest actors out there.
And yet. What do they look like? You rarely ever see them. Uh, I will also call out that Doug Jones is a semi regular on the show, What We Do in the Shadows, which is a tremendous comedy on FX, which is about a, a clan of vampires who live in Staten Island. And he plays a count who is effectively responsible for having created several of these vampires in this little vampire clan.
And terrible, terrible stuff happens to, to him to the point where. At one point, he is so disfigured and scarred with burns that it’s, again, Doug Jones is hidden behind all this prosthetic and clearly as an actor, he lives there, he doesn’t care. And he’s got this physique, which is unusual in its stature.
And it’s skinniness. So he leans into that beautifully. And here with Saru, he’s created a character who I think for me really wraps up a lot of what the best in Trek of like taking the other and making the other identifiable and the strengths and weaknesses of the individual being as important as the events around them.
And Saru is that character for me. Another aspect in the show, and I touched on it briefly, was Control versus Georgiou, and there’s this, I feel like Georgiou is an interesting character for them right now in these two episodes, because they really, they clearly like her, they like Michelle Yeoh, they like her, they like her arrogance and swagger as a result of being a Terran, um, they have a nice .
Comedic moment where she reveals to Pike, like, Hey, guess what? I’m a Terran from your mirror universe. And he winks at her and says, what mirror universe? It is this like, yeah, I already knew that, you know, like, don’t pretend that, you know, you’ve got something over on me. Um, I like those moments, but in this ep, these two episodes, it feels like they were like, well, she has to have a goal, a purpose.
And they latched onto this kind of like, I’ll finally get one up on Leland. And I didn’t quite get the tension there or what she was working toward. They,
no, they, they did try to set that up. Like in all the section 31 scenes on board the section 31 ship before Leland gets taken over, there was a. a dynamic they were setting up between the two of them where they did not like each other and she was constantly trying to undercut him.
Yes. Because she’s Georgiou, she’s trying to take charge. But the difficulty I have with that. not
like him. Yeah, but the difficulty I have with that is this is not Leland. This is control. I know, I
know. And it comes across as like a personal
vendetta. Yeah. It comes across as a personal vendetta and I kept thinking like, why is she talking about this as if it’s Leland that she’s getting one over on?
Leland is gone. Leland is not a collection of Grey Goo to coin, uh, uh, to refer to a comment that we had earlier. It could have
been very easy where she was not referring to it as Leland, but like she wants to get one over on Control. And it would have been very easy to tie that back because in the episodes where, uh, Burnham finds her mother and they trap her, you know, on the planet surface, Georgiou is duped by Control.
Control, this is when Leland has been taken over. He tricks her into going and trying to do something in his behalf and screwing over Burnham. So she would have a chip on her shoulder for you duped me. I want to destroy you. And so it’s like, they could have just, if she had to saying, I wanted to destroy control.
But the fact that she kept saying Leland, it’s like, dude, Leland is dead. It’s like, what are you doing? It didn’t make any sense, but they could have very easily just changed to what she was saying. And it would have made
more sense. I also think there was an opportunity here to like, go back to the mirror universe of it all.
And what if she had had a line along the lines of, at one point there was an insurgency and there were some people who developed an AI thinking the AI would be able to outdo the empire. And they were wrong. We proved them wrong. So that she is effectively like, I was able to defeat an AI before I should be able to defeat this one.
And then that adds to. The moment you just described of control via Leland had duped her, she would then double down on that. Like, Oh, now it really is like, this isn’t just me demonstrating that I’m better than a stupid computer. It is me demonstrating that I’m better than this specific one. And then it becomes personal.
It’s a little problematic that we have to kind of like piece that together ourselves in this. Yep. Yep. But again, there’s enough. There’s something about the second episode of this. That is so overwhelmingly space battle, so overwhelmingly action oriented that the only thing in there that really like, kind of like holds you is the Burnham Spock relationship.
And it’s enough for me. With all of the little other things, Stamets and Culbert have their moment in the second episode. You see Tilly introducing her friend. The friend is charming. It’s a little head scratchy. It’s like, why are they introducing this character literally in this episode to then become this heroic rescuer?
But it’s okay. It’s like, there’s a lot of stuff in here that comes across as okay. And I think that demonstrates the power of the Burnham and Spock. Story arc. It is so strong for me that all this other stuff, which is weaker is okay. And so we get through a lot of this stuff, including Georgiou and Control having their literally like fist fight through the ship is really at a certain level, just kind of silly.
It’s. It’s just kind of superhero stuff. Um, my favorite part of it being they go into that one hallway and you hear the computer voice say, grav plating malfunction, and they proceed to then fight in a 360 degrees around the exterior. That is not how grav plating works. That is not how any artificial gravitational system would work.
across to me as, we have Michelle Yeoh. She’s a kick ass fighter. We gotta do something really cool with her. Let’s make a hallway spin 360. It’s like, that’s what it came across to me as
was, wouldn’t it be cool if Let’s build a hallway that can actually rotate and then we’ll film them fighting in that rotating hallway.
And I was like, it’s, that’s just anti grav not working. They should have all floated. And then fought in Zero G, but okay, so they do an Inception like hallway fight. Somebody had seen Inception, was just like, let’s do that on Trek. Like, does it make any sense? No, but let’s do it anyway. Uh, yeah, yeah. But all of that is, if that’s eye candy, it was enough to keep me watching.
Yeah. And then we go back to the Burnham and Spock, and it would be like, oh, all of this. And as we moved into the section that you talked about, beyond the them leaving for the future. The moments with Spock back on the Enterprise, him looking at himself in the mirror and wondering about the beard, and he, it’s like this almost unspoken moment of, he remembers the last thing she said about the beard was, do you really think the beard is working?
So he goes to the trouble of he shaves it off and he returns to the bridge. I did think the directing in that moment was a little. Funny in that he arrives on the bridge and everybody turns around and almost gasps as if they’ve never seen Spock. He was a bridge crew member when he left. So it’s like a beardless Spock at the science station.
Is nothing new to anybody on this ship. And yet they look at it. We literally know that the original pilot, which is supposed to be a precursor to all of Discovery, he had no hair, like they worked with him and he was barking out like, you know, and it was all of that was being done. Years earlier, and yet they turn around and look at him and just like, Oh my God, he doesn’t have a beard.
And I’m like, okay, let’s just get beyond that. It should have been a couple of knowing nods and maybe number one, you know, saying something to him before he goes to his station. But the, the wrap up of all of that is supposed to be very emotional. We understand that he and his family have decided they’re not going to talk about Michael in front of anybody ever again.
I’m like, was that even necessary? Like, did we need that? But I’m okay. Like, Yeah, so we get to all these moments where it’s like, they put all these things to the, they put all these things away. It’s like the, all the toys are getting put on the right shelves. And we end with that moment of Spock. In the place where he’s supposed to be.
And we are really looking at now a spinoff is clearly launching from this, uh, which is where we’re going to end up in the future. So with all of that in place, the stuff that held me through it, the fisticuffs through the ship with a artificial intelligence. The Tyler on the bridge of the Klingon ship barking out orders.
It doesn’t matter. You know, the overwhelming amount of space battle sequences that we saw, it really didn’t matter because it all felt like the thrust of the show. And so, that was the relationship of these siblings saying goodbye to each other.
Uh, the one, my impression of all those space battles was, you could have cut half of this out and made it one long episode versus two, and it probably would have worked better.
Um, but I also wanted to bring up something I kept thinking of, there was such an overwhelming amount of slow urgency in this entire thing. Two episodes where it was this torpedo is inside the ship and it could go off any moment. You probably have minutes. So let’s have a 90 second slow discussion, say goodbye to each other before you walk away or rang under the bridge and being like.
Control’s about to take everything out and they’re throwing torpedoes at us left and right. You know what, let’s spend a little time on the uh, bridge talking about our feelings for a bit. Spock and Burnham on that like, remote like, piece of debris that they’re watching the battle unfold. It’s like, we have to do this right now!
But let’s talk about our feelings for a couple minutes. It was like, there was that happened again and again. It was literally somebody would say, shit’s going down right now. We got to do something. But first it always ended up with that. Like, I did not understand why that kept happening, and it was like, the show writers reversed that a little bit.
You could have had the, uh, we’re gonna have to do something, you know, but you know, what, how do I feel about this? Oh god, this is gonna happen right now, we gotta do something, and then you do it. It’s like, why are you delaying it again and again? It made the, it made it feel like the Lord of the Rings.
To me? Yes.
Where it was like, all the most laborious 40 minutes. And they say goodbye again. And then they say goodbye again. It’s like, okay, enough already. It was, that’s how it felt to me with all of these moments of just somebody stating, this is happening right now. We have to do something.
And then there were these long overwrought. Emotional thing, like Stamets and Colbert did it. It’s like everybody had these moments that felt out of place for the urgency that the show had created. That just, it drove me nuts. And they could have tightened that up and made it one long episode
Yeah, yeah. And I think that it kind of goes back to something you and I have talked about before and I don’t recall if we talked about it in the podcast recording or just off. The podcast recording, but something I saw recently about an interview with Hitchcock talking about how do you build tension?
And that was the last episode of film and, uh, his description of you have four people sitting around a table and you have a bomb go off and the four people before the bomb goes off are talking about something and then the bomb goes off and they, and they’re killed. And what do you have is you have a few seconds of, of emotional outbursts from the audience at the time of the explosion, but you have several minutes of boredom leading up to it if the characters are talking about something else.
But if what you do is you put the bomb in a place. under the table and the audience knows it’s there but the characters don’t and then the characters are having their conversation about baseball or whatever. Then you have several minutes of tension in the audience, wondering when the bomb is going to go off, knowing it’s going to go off.
And this is on display beautifully in the show, The Fall of the House of Usher. There’s a episode titled The Pit and the Pendulum, in which a character is in danger, and you know the character’s in danger. The character knows the character’s in danger, and it is a question of when is it going to hit. When is that going to happen?
You know, it’s going to happen about when that is masterfully done. This feels labored and not as well constructed. And I think that where it misses the mark is we are given, not only does the torpedo get embedded in the saucer section of the enterprise and it could go off at any minute, we need to figure out what we’re going to do.
Not only does that happen, but we’re given that as part of a vision. So the very fact that it does happen is itself undercut. So the tension is gone, doubly so. The torpedo hitting the saucer and being embedded and then way too much time spent trying to figure out how to fix this is one problem. Giving us the foreshadowing the way they did is a second problem.
And I think both of those things could have been solved if Burnham’s vision had been of the Enterprise simply blowing up, unexplained, just seeing a huge explosion. And then what if it wasn’t a torpedo that was embedded in the saucer section, but what if control managed to get something small and nefarious to embed itself into the saucer section, and it’s digging through the hull to get inside, and it will blow up once it gets to the right power junction.
And then you have somebody, and they don’t know it’s there, and you have somebody on the crew say something offhanded like, I’m getting weird power fluctuations in this one section of the ship. And Cornwell says, I’ll go check it out. You all have to stay here and do your jobs, but I don’t need to be here right now.
Pike’s got this. I’ll go check it out. And then she goes down, discovers what it is, and manages to lock down doors with herself in a chamber with this thing, which she then In a communication with Pike, it could have been a really much more interesting moment of, uh, accepting death. If she reaches out to Pike and is like, You’ve gotta blow this section, you don’t have a choice.
And then he’s like, but you’re in there. And she’s like, you heard me. And then he has to do it. She dies. They destroy the thing. The saucer section still gets majorly damaged to the point where I liked at the end that this thing is flying around with a huge, it looks like a Crescent because it’s lost so much.
Uh, you could have had all of the same pieces, but the tension would have felt ratcheted up. In the form of, oh, they don’t know the thing is there. Burnham had a vision. It’s going to blow up. We know, the audience knows that thing is going to blow this thing up because of her vision. Oh, now Cornwall’s going down there.
What’s going to happen to her? How’s this all going to work together? And discovering that, oh, the explosion is not. A failure. The explosion is them avoiding calamity because they get the thing off the ship just in time to cause just massive damage instead of complete destruction. That to me would have been a little bit more, okay, that’s tension in the Hitchcockian vision as opposed to we’re going to put a bomb in the middle of the table and then we’re just going to sit around and say like, before that blows up, I really want to let you know, I love you.
Like, that’s not the part that bothered me is
like, they could just tightened it up. Restructured put like they put the or the you know cart before the horse kind of a thing. They did the arrangement in the wrong way and if they had just moved things around a little bit and tightened it up it would have been fine, but that through the entire two episodes was like getting on my nerves by the end of it was like okay stop saying something’s about to happen in the next two minutes like we have 60 seconds before this thing happens but we’ll take two minutes of the show to have something it’s like what it would have blown up by now you guys are too busy gushing over each other why don’t you just like Do
Yeah. Yeah. I even would have liked it if it had been, um, in the Burnham Spock scene, if one of them had said to the other one, we don’t have time for this. There’s like, there’s too much urgency. You have to move. You have to do this. And the other one could have said, we’re talking about time travel. We as much time, we have as much time as we need.
Like, call it out in that moment, especially if like Burnham is like, Spock could have said, there is no time, you have to move now, you have to go do these things because it’s that urgent. And she could have said, I’m wearing a time suit, I have time to say goodbye to my brother. Like it could have even offered a nice moment to like remind the viewer, they really do.
I mean, it’s, it’s one of the absurdities, one of the paradoxes of time travel adventures. Ultimately. When you say something is urgent or not, or something is delayed or not, it starts to fall apart if time travel is involved. And I include in that the delay, the months long delay to the final signal. I’m like, there’s no reason why that would have been delayed at all.
They would send it back to whatever moment they chose to. So she would have sent it back to literally five minutes after the battle was over. But although,
not to give, the, when Discovery picks back up again, the time aspect of things, it’s screwed up. Like, the timing of how people arrive when they arrive and what happens is not super precise.
And so it’s like, fast forwarding into what happens in the future, it’s like, you could kind of explain that away when you see what happens on the other side.
We’ll see. Not to give anything away. We’ll be having that debate in approximately 20 years. We’ll be in the old folks home. That’s right. We’ll be recording this face to face and everybody will be watching it holographically.
So, as I mentioned before, uh, next week we’ll be doing a kind of big picture recap of the entire series, talking about some of the character arcs, some of the decision making around the show, and what we thought on a whole about the entire program up to this point, the first two seasons. The week after that is when we’re going to jump into Strange New Worlds.
So, as far as Like keeping up in the viewing, you’ve got a week off and then the following week buckle up because we’re entering the current ongoing series. Two weeks.
It might be two weeks after that because Thanksgiving is in there and we’re not recording on
Thanksgiving. This is true. Yes. So two weeks.
Yeah. Yeah. Before we sign off, Matt, is there anything you want to let everybody know about the upcoming up on your main channel? Yeah.
There’s a episode coming out. That’s about should be out by the time this one comes out about. Floating solar panels on the open ocean. And when I heard that this was not just a concept, but is actually being tried right now, and there are companies trying to do this, my first reaction was, that’s not going to work.
So I wanted to look into it to see how well it could actually work. And so it was a video just exploring that.
If that in fact is the answer, that’s going to be one of your shortest videos. Like, Solar Panel’s on the ocean.
This doesn’t work. Yep. This doesn’t
work. As for me, if you want to find out more about my writing, you can visit my website, seanferrell.
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