Star Trek: Discovery: Lethe
October 22, 2017 9:03 PM - Season 1, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Discovery engages in an unauthorized rescue mission.

Brief recap of events:
* We open on Sarek leaving Vulcan on a mystery diplomatic mission with an assistant.

* Michael is coaching Tilly on how to get fast-tracked to a captain's chair. Right now, she wants Tilly to shave some seconds off her running time for a commendation to help separate her from other contenders. Tilly complains that she's smart and has a great personality. Michael tells her everyone applying will be smart, and personality doesn't count. The Enterprise is name checked.

* Tyler and Lorca are bonding over ST:DIS era video games. Lorca is using the opportunity to check Tyler's story - Tyler says he's from Seattle, recounts a story of dead parents. Lorca reveals that he's checked all of this, and offers him a post as Discovery's new Chief of Security. Tyler accepts.

* The Vulcan assistant injects himself with something that turns him into a living bomb, revealing that he's part of a Vulcan supremacist group, (later given the name 'logic extremists'). The explosion looks devastating.

* Michael and Tilly are at breakfast. Tilly tries to order 'green juice,' but Michael takes over her order for better nutritional content, and Tilly grudgingly accepts her breakfast burrito as long as it can have some salsa. Tilly then moons over Tyler and cites his record of killing six Klingons. They go to sit with him, where we see that Tyler's settled for the green juice. Michael shakes Tyler's hand, and has a seizure.

* Michael transitions to a vision of her rejection from the Vulcan Expeditionary Group. Sarek breaks out of the memory, realizes she's intruding on his mind and summarily boots her out of his brain.

* Michael wakes up in sickbay and tells the gang that Sarek's in trouble. We learn about the incident where Sarek first mindmelded with her: it was to save her life after a similar incident, when logic extremists bombed her school. She reveals that she had been dead 3 minutes, but that Sarek performed an esoteric katra ritual to save her life.

* Lorca discusses Sarek with a Vulcan admiral who explains that Sarek was on his way to meet with representatives of two Klingon houses who didn't want to side with Kol. The Klingon faction was apparently hoping to get Vulcan assistance, and the Vulcans didn't tell Starfleet because they wanted to clean up the mess/end the war without further human interference. Sarek ended up lost in a nebula near Yridia. Lorca says he'll get Sarek. The Vulcan admiral objects strenuously, and Lorca just ends the call.

* Discovery reaches the nebula but the inteference is too strong for scanning, and it would take months to search via probes. Michael suggests using her.

* We cut to Michael wanting to use a variation on the navigation rig to enhance her psychic connection with Sarek long enough to wake him up - 'psychic adrenaline.' Stamets is super hyped about this, but warns them that (1) the nebula will interfere too much, and (2) they can't t take Discovery into the nebula or the spores will explode. Michael says she'll take a shuttle. Stamets calls his crazy in an approving fashion. Michael requests Tilly for backup. Lorca agrees, and also assigns Tyler as the pilot.

* We cut to the shuttlebay, where Lorca tells Tyler to bring Michael back in one piece or not to come back at all.

* The shuttle launches and Admiral Cornwell shows up to dress Lorca down. She's not just mad about the unauthorized rescue mission, but also about Stamets' highly illegal eugenic tampering, Tyler's inclusion on the crew without any treatment/counseling for months of torture and about Lorca going back to duty without any treatment himself. Lorca tries to defuse the situation with a drink and an offer to talk like friends, not officers.

* In the shuttle, Michael and Tilly discuss the vision as Tilly preps the makeshift Cerebro rig. Michael explains that Sarek's last thoughts are about her failure - she was supposed to prove humans could be equals to Vulcans and she was rejected. Tilly asks how she should know when to pull Michael out, and Michael says to leave her in no matter what.

* Michael returns to the vision, which starts at a slightly earlier point. Amanda is talking about an earlier trip the family took to Eridani for a book exchange. Amanda tells Michael to never to forget that she's human too, and to nurture that side. Sarek notices her again and they fight.

* In the shuttle, Tyler orders Tilly to sever the link, pulling rank.

* We cut to Cornwell and Lorca talking about old times. Cornwell expresses concern about Lorca pushing the crew so hard, disobeying orders and generally treating Discovery like it's his own personal fiefdom. She complains that he hasn't been the same since the loss of his last ship. He tries to defuse the situation by trying to seduce her instead of answering any of this.

* Back on the shuttle, Michael is deeply upset about Sarek's vision, but Tyler has a different spin. He explains that he's been near death before, and that he never thought about someone else letting him down, it was always about his own failure. He posits that Sarek is upset about how Sarek failed, not Michael.

* Michael goes back to the vision, where she fights Sarek again. This time, she's able to get him to admit that he's the one who failed. He shows her the rest of what happened that day, the part she never knew: they forced Sarek to choose only one human-tainted child to join the Vulcan Expeditionary Group, and Sarek chose Spock instead of her. Sarek reveals that he's deeply ashamed of this choice. Michael asks him to show her how to save him, the way he once saved her, and they mindmeld. Sarek wakes up on his wrecked ship.

* Back on the shuttle, Tyler says they've got a transponder signal.

* Lorca and Cornwell are in bed. She wakes up first, and examines his bare back. She sees branding or scars there, and touches one. He wakes in an instant, hand on her throat and phaser in hand, panting. It takes him a moment to realize what's going on and back down. She's furious and accuses him of lying on his psych evals. She says she'll take the ship. He admits he lied, asks for help and begs her not to take his ship, but she storms out.

* We cut to Michael and Lorca talking about their inability to get Sarek to the peace conference. Lorca suggests sending Cornwell in his stead, since no one else can arrive in time. Michael thanks him for agreeing to the rescue mission. Lorca said he did it for her and offers her an official spot on the crew in the science division. She thanks him and says yes.

* Michael visits Sarek in sickbay. She wants to talk about the vision. Sarek pretends he doesn't know what happened, but she knows he's lying. She wants to talk because that's what family does. Sarek points out that technically they're not related. She says she won't push him, but promises him that they'll have the conversation 'one day.' She calls him Father.

* Lorca is seeing off Cornwell in the shuttlebay. She says she doesn't want to ruin his career, and that they'll work on getting him back in the captain's chair if he gets well again. He wishes her luck at the negotiations.

* Michael sees Tilly jogging in the hall and apologizes for pushing her so hard, realizing she was being like Sarek had to her. Tilly reassures her that this is what she really wants.

* Michael goes to the mess hall and gets some green tea, then sits with Tyler. He asks about Sarek. Michael describes him as 'stubborn and impenetrable,' then talks about what she's learned from this: 'I always knew I could never be what he wanted, but now I know it goes both ways.' Tyler commiserates, but Michael says she feels unburdened by the new understanding. They talk about her feelings a little, and Michael shakes his hand again, this time happy to do so.

* We cut to Cancri IV: Neutral territory. The Klingons meet Cornwell, but it's a trap. Kol is happy to get her and promises the Klingons cloaks for their excellent service.

* Saru tells Lorca about this, expecting to go on another daring rescue but Lorca tells him they'll wait for orders this time. Saru's confused. Lorca tells him a rescue mission could lead to Discovery getting trapped too. Saru goes to hail Starfleet in the hope of orders. Our final shot is Lorca staring out the window, still packing heat.

Poster's Log:
Sorry to take so long with this, experienced some technical difficulties tonight. Memory Alpha link is here. AV Club review is here.
posted by mordax (139 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Tilly and Burnham were really sweet this episode. I'm still a little bothered by Tilly apparently being involved in absolutely everything Michael does (what's Tilly's actual job again? she's still a cadet, right? how is she doing all this high-level stuff with Burnham all the time?) but I buy the relationship they have. I like Michael making Tilly a project, I like Tilly's good-natured bristling at Burnham's strictness, and that beat near the end about Tilly liking that Burnham made her a project was the kind of small character moment I think the show's starting to lean into a bit more. Most importantly, though it wasn't meaty enough to qualify as an actual b-plot, Tilly's ongoing mission to become a captain someday gave the episode space to breathe. I still don't think we've seen the show settle into a reliable rhythm yet, but it's definitely not the breakneck, plot-heavy pace of previous episodes.

Also surprised to find I really like Ash Tyler and desperately don't want him to be the spy he so obviously is because COME ON. It's more than a little suspicious that he doesn't appear the least bit haunted by his experiences on the Klingon ship (but hey maybe that gets dealt with in a later episode), but I think Tyler's maybe the second crew member we've met who hasn't gone through a jerk phase yet. Lorca's still an idiot for making him Chief of Security but again, maybe that gets dealt with in a later episode.

I've seen a few reviews complaining about Lorca being an anti-hero, but I don't know that I buy that personally. Every vibe the show has given off so far is that Lorca is dangerous and unstable, and the hint here that a) Lorca suggested Cornwell meet the Klingons on purpose knowing it was a trap, or more likely b) not knowing it was a trap, but kinda sorta not lifting a finger to recover her and maybe leaving her to die feels like yet another way the show is telling you this man is beyond redemption, at least for the time being. Speaking of which, I'll be kind of pissed if Cornwell is dead, and I'm glad they didn't just make her fall for the "seduce the admiral to avoid tough questions about your mental fitness" thing, because boy would that have been disappointing as hell. (I still don't know how to feel about the fact that she slept with him anyways.)

The Sarek stuff was fine with me, mostly because my knowledge of TOS-era lore is vague and my ties to that era tenuous at best. I do see the criticism that relying so heavily on already established characters and situations leads to a much higher potential for canon contradictions and awkwardness, and it does lend this sense that only seventeen people do everything in the Star Trek universe. But since Sarek is still mostly just the name of some guy I don't really know (except for the Spock thing obviously), it still mostly worked for me. What didn't work so much is Burnham talking to Tyler afterwards and being all "what do I do with all these emotions." Lady, you've met that man for all of ten minutes from what we can tell. And I know he gave you that hint to seek out Sarek's failure instead of focusing on your own during the not-exactly-a-mind-meld segment, but it seemed weird for them to be having such an intimate conversation so soon. It feels almost like the writers trying to get us to trust Tyler so that his inevitable betrayal stings more. I'M NOT BUYING IT, SHOW.

Anyways. I liked the episode and the implications for the future. I still feel like something's missing, and I don't know what it is. It's still enough to keep me watching, though.
posted by chrominance at 10:03 PM on October 22 [5 favorites]


Man, Discovery keeps being wrong, but I don't wanna be right.

The thing that's always in the back of my head is that grimtrek is really meaningful only against the backdrop of Star Trek. Another gritty space adventure we don't need, but viewing Discovery as psychotherapy for the franchise makes everything just laden with deep significance. Compare:
  • Janeway wistfully imagining what it was like for Kirk et al., how the "rules were different back then"
  • Sarek telling Spock that the real reason he was with her mother was because he loved her
  • The Voyager episode where their logs are turned into Greek tragedy, and the actor who finds playing the Vulcan distasteful is instructed to imagine Vulcans not as creatures of pure logic, but as creatures of deep, intense emotion struggling to attain an unattainable height of pure logic
Discovery keeps coming up with broken people being interesting. "I hate that I can't tell if this is really you." Discovery finally brings emotional/psychological depth to Star Trek officers. I believe Lorca would engineer or at least exploit the Admiral's disappearance, even as, in her absence, he starts upholding the standards of Starfleet behaviour for which she'll shitcan him, given the chance.
posted by fatbird at 10:04 PM on October 22 [8 favorites]


Oh, also: the computer talks up your food selections at the replicator? Um.
posted by chrominance at 10:13 PM on October 22 [5 favorites]


The judgey replicator is actually my favourite character so far.
posted by fatbird at 10:18 PM on October 22 [33 favorites]


My only quibble is that I'm sure the antioxidents comment is going to seem quaint by the time this show is in reruns. Otherwise, I enjoyed Lorca being devious, the acknowledgement that older people get laid, the Klingon trap, Michael deliberately calling Sarek father, Michael expressly asking for emotional support from Tilly, Lorca telling Tyler that he has to come back with Michael or not at all, and TYLER BEING SUSPICIOUSLY BLAND.
posted by jojo and the benjamins at 10:29 PM on October 22 [2 favorites]


"DISCO"
posted by mwhybark at 10:34 PM on October 22 [24 favorites]


Seattle! Issaquah! lol
posted by mwhybark at 10:36 PM on October 22 [4 favorites]


the acknowledgement that older people get laid

Honestly, this episode had so many salute-able bits, that I'm afraid this will get lost in the mix. A couple of 50 year olds rub one out together for old times's sake, and it becomes a crucial plot pivot... just, well done. People with wrinkles do fuck, and sometimes do it cynically.
posted by fatbird at 10:38 PM on October 22 [12 favorites]


without getting into Tyler's personal (apparent) ethnicity, I love that an actor of Pakistani heritage is (apparently) now portraying a character from Seattle's suburbs. The enormous and growing subcontinental emigre community of the PNW is a great and good thing from PDX all te way to VAN and beyond.
posted by mwhybark at 10:43 PM on October 22 [12 favorites]


yes, I am live-posting.

amusing battle of wandering accents in the training fight and post-fight walk-and-talk.

front-and-center in-script callout to adoption, *four times* in one exchange, just before the Sarek visitation. I have written here and on the Blue about this topic and will simply gesture toward it in this post.
posted by mwhybark at 10:54 PM on October 22


Discovery finally brings emotional/psychological depth to Star Trek officers.

Yeah. This is an intriguing fleshing out of issues that have been broached a lot in the past. We've seen Starfleet people go bad any number of times in the past - Evil Admirals are a total franchise cliche.

This is fun because Discovery is letting us see how it happens with a lot more depth than prior outings. Like, to me, Lorca actually feels a lot like Admiral Leyton from DS9, except that most of what we know about Leyton's past as an honorable man is exposition. DS9's only got a two-parter with him, so we just get the shorthand of 'Sisko served with him and he was a good guy back then.'

Lorca? We're seeing both why he's come to this, and - more interesting to me - how Starfleet is failing to catch him and prevent things from escalating. I love how he's recruiting officers that are loyal specifically to him - the way he manages both Tyler and Michael is artful and chilling. Plus, I love that he beat the psych screenings. I also feel like he's choosing not to rescue Cornwell to keep his command, rather than honoring her wishes.
posted by mordax at 10:55 PM on October 22 [9 favorites]


"logic extremists"
posted by mwhybark at 10:57 PM on October 22 [1 favorite]


Lorca's still an idiot for making him Chief of Security but again, maybe that gets dealt with in a later episode.

Oh, and meant to call this out specifically: I really think this is a move on Lorca's part to make sure the guy in charge of the armory is loyal to him over Starfleet protocol, if it should come to someone trying to relieve him of duty. I dunno how much of this is conscious planning and how much of it is just... cunning? But Lorca's actions look intensely manipulative to me here, over and above his obvious attempt to spin poor Cornwell. (And I agree: I really hope she isn't dead.)
posted by mordax at 11:01 PM on October 22 [5 favorites]


Cap'n Lorca crushes walnuts with his bare, callused meat clubs after working up an appetite slashing thru ribands of red tape like a cestii-et-gladius armed warrior.
posted by mwhybark at 11:06 PM on October 22 [3 favorites]


The xmas wrapping nebula! shroooom, bazoom, shhhhhzaappp
posted by mwhybark at 11:07 PM on October 22 [2 favorites]


ADMIRAL COUNSELOR
posted by mwhybark at 11:14 PM on October 22 [3 favorites]


why is Tyler wearing his Holodeck practice vest with the little lazertag emitter lens thingies on his shoulders whilst he pilots the launch deep into Xmas Wrapping space?
posted by mwhybark at 11:16 PM on October 22 [1 favorite]


"DISCO"

Some assistant producer said, "Oh shit! The internet is calling us STD, we need a better nickname."
posted by peeedro at 11:22 PM on October 22 [18 favorites]


super Crayola kid colors on fingers green Vulcan blood

exceptionally effective evocation of encountering parental prevarication in an adoptive relationship

Holy PTSD, Blind Captain!
posted by mwhybark at 11:23 PM on October 22


Yeah, I have complicated feelings about judgy replicator!

But I ADORE Tilley! Nervous-talking redheads unite!

I'm glad this episode didn't have a lot of Klingon talking, but annoyed that it had it anyway at the very end.

I have mixed feelings about how much this is an arc, vs. episode of the week.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:28 PM on October 22 [3 favorites]


Oh, was that why their shirts said "DISCO"? Was puzzling over that all episode.

I'm sad that admiral is almost definitely going to die because I LIKE her, a ton. I love that she's hot for Lorca, I love her manner and I love that she's nobody's fool. I hope she makes it, against all odds.

I too am in the Seattle area and was NOT expecting Issaquah to get mentioned by name on Star Trek, let alone get called out as "technically not Seattle"! As an Eastsider I had to laugh. But yeah the fact that they set up this backstory for him means of course eventually there'll be some horrible shot of an ancient personnel file he failed to hack into where he clearly looks totally different.

I am 100% on Team Judgey Replicator. In fact, I ship Judgey Replicator/Tardigrade, working on my fic as we speak, see y'all on AO3
posted by potrzebie at 11:38 PM on October 22 [12 favorites]


Pretty good episode! I would very much like to hear an international and/or transracial adoptee's take on some of Burnham's maaayyybe a bit-too-very-special-episode positive post-mortem bidniss, I have to admit.

Once the adoption stuff was fully surfaced, I realized that some of Lorca's character DNA actually comes from John Wayne's (horrible, genocidal, truly-an-antihero) character in John Ford's "The Searchers". This episode did lead me to wonder out loud if Lorca is actually the deep-cover spy instead of Tyler, who (except for wearing a frickin lazer tag vest to a christmas-wrapping party) came off as a stand up guy from the best place in the WORRLDUH P - N - DUBYUH P - N DUBYUH WOOOOOO GOOOOOOO RAIN AND DARK! GOOOOOOO RAIN AND DARK!

(We just have entered the dark season, it can provoke some unbalanced shit, my sincere apologies.)
posted by mwhybark at 11:42 PM on October 22 [3 favorites]


ENTER or ENTERP?
posted by juiceCake at 11:52 PM on October 22 [2 favorites]


(pretty sure it's accidental but the DISCO shirts reminded me of Abbi's CLEANER and TRAINER shirts at the gym on Broad City. It would be unlikely but AWESOME if there was a crossover. Hannibal Buress is Discovery's preternaturally cheerful dentist, say.)
posted by mwhybark at 11:55 PM on October 22


ENT has been the fanonical usage
posted by mwhybark at 11:56 PM on October 22


oh yeah, lemme grump out on Bad Vulcans here for a minute. The suicide bomber guy made reference to "true Vulcan ideology", which strikes me as an error in rhetoric, as ideology only functions properly when it is invisible to the subscriber. Therefore, ideology can never be "true" as in representing facts without bias nor "true" as superior to other schools of political opinion because only other schools of political opinion can be ideology - what is factually true cannot be ideology.

Secondly, logic is either logical, or it is not, in which case it is something else, like religion, or social interaction, or discussion, or biological imperative. I am displeased with the disparaging use of the term. A more accurate one, as we can observe from the suicide bomber guy's flawed rhetoric above, is "illogical extremists", or less pejoratively simply "extremists" or "Vulcan suprematists", I suppose.

Logic, as far as I can see, has nothing to do with it except that it may be the name of a set of Vulcan religious practices.

"Catholic extremists", "Protestant extremists", etcetera, I grant you. I can imagine the usage "Existentialist extremists", although one hopes and imagines the extremity to be inappropriate beret-wearing and excessive espresso intake.

So perhaps a more felicitous coinage might be "Logicist extremists". Or even more accurately, although without reasonable sociocultural usage in Trek, "Emotional-repressivist extremists".

End of Trek rant, thank you for your time. I do not believe I have ever live-blogged (meffied?) any episodic media instance of Trek before. I hope you found my blurts amusing and illuminating.
posted by mwhybark at 12:16 AM on October 23 [5 favorites]


Man, Vulcan terrorists would be right up there on my prime nightmare material were I a Federation official. They'd logic themselves right into the most horrific crimes, no doubt. "I calculate the destruction of [random Terran city] will apply the correct amount of pressure to achieve our aims. The deaths are regrettable but necessary."

I find myself crossing my fingers hoping the writers are well aware of the giant flashing red wolf-in-sheep's-clothing over Lt Tyler and have pulled some sort of fake out. It'll be extra amusing if he is Klingon, but decides he likes the Federation after all and ends up betraying the Klingons.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 12:57 AM on October 23 [15 favorites]


I'm pleased the show continues to allay some of my worst fears about it and is at least gesturing towards a reasonable deeper, Trekverse based, perspective on the questions they've raised so far.

Vulcan terrorists would indeed be fearsome and undoubtedly a thing given the nature of their society. Vulcan terrorists obsessed with racial purity and claiming such under the guise of "logic" should ring some bells outside Trekverse as well. It starts to balance out the ledger with the Klingons in a fashion that shows at least some cognizance of real world issues in a way that may not end up covering over them with the usual rah-rah white liberalism boilerplating.

Lorca as increasingly flawed due to PTSD makes him more understandable in a way that allows for the show to be critical without completely undermining the old Treks and adding more consequence to the history of characters beyond single episode visits or as simply obstacles to overcome as plot device is a plus as well.

This episode, and it appears next one, hit dead center at the kinds of dilemmas previous Treks have regularly made use of. Having to take a shuttle into a dangerous nebula for a rescue mission or other emergency could be the start of a synopsis for a lot of past episodes. They make good use of it here, separating the action from the possibly more dangerous encounter on Discovery between Lorca and Cornwell.

Both encounters explore bonds of the past and feelings of concern and betrayal. In Sarek and Michael's encounter the betrayal is in the past, but the feelings and thoughts about it are brought back to the present to be dealt with, if not entirely resolved, while for Lorca and Cornwell the feelings of the past lead to potential betrayal or feelings of such that will carry forward. In both encounters, the feelings of betrayal or worry of such are mixed with feelings of deep connection, but in each the connection is threatened in the end, though for very different reasons and suggesting of different outcomes in how Michael and Lorca face their new self knowledge.

As with Sarek, Lorca too must deal with being "found out" by someone they share a bond with, some hidden aspect of themselves revealed. The icy cold irony of Lorca acceding to Cornwell's desired method of operating only at the moment of her peril is chilling for what it suggests about the lengths Lorca will go to to retain his command, even more so since Jayne Brook has played Cornwell so warmly and as someone who obviously cares about Lorca, with unnecessary in person meetings being made to assess and help Lorca, and maybe get a little extra "personal" time on the side.

Tilly and Tyler come off well here too. The opening bit amuses, including the excellent computer breakfast exchanges, and does work to build the relationship between her and Michael in ways that are both encouraging but also potentially fraught with some worrisome aspects which may or may not into problems. It's a nice line to walk with the two of them, where growth and difficulties both could come from their early bonding.

Tyler is interesting to read as both or either who he says he is and potentially someone who isn't who he claims. Trying to see what's genuine and what may not be and trying to align all of it to the other character he might be is really enjoyable thanks to the character himself getting off to a good start. Many of the things he says can read well as having more than one possible way of looking at them. His answer of "Being human" to Michael when she asks about what the complexity of her thoughts and feelings means is perfect for carrying multiple possibilities. That's of course assuming Tyler is saying more than he means, the show did a fine job in hinting that maybe Lorca is the one we shouldn't be trusting instead, or in addition to Tyler.

The line where Lorca tells his new best buddy Tyler to make sure "she" comes back, emphasizing Michael, or they shouldn't bother to come back at all is almost as laden with darker possibilities as the ending of the episode.

The new "Groovy" Stamets looks like fun too for much the same reason as we try and gauge what is and isn't "true" with him. Lot's of uncertainty being developed, but all of it seems legitimate from not yet knowing the characters all that well yet, a perspective we share with Michael in that regard, where only Saru, so far, seems filled in enough to trust.
posted by gusottertrout at 1:59 AM on October 23 [5 favorites]


Some assistant producer said, "Oh shit! The internet is calling us STD, we need a better nickname."

They've been calling it DISCO TREK on Tumblr for weeks. Apparently.
posted by crossoverman at 3:09 AM on October 23 [3 favorites]


Anyone got any idea what the font used on the DISCO t shirts is?
posted by Faintdreams at 4:12 AM on October 23


Burnham seems to be looking for someone whom she can admire and follow unquestioningly, and now that Georghiou is dead and Sarek knocked off his pedestal, she has seized on Lorca. Unfortunately for her, Lorca is just as given to instrumentalizing his personal relationships.

The Logic Extremists provide an interesting antecedent for DS9's Captain Solok--who is, of course, just a picayune jerk, not a terrorist, but whose anti-human bigotry is still rooted in the same sort of attitudes. Sarek's failure is not just that he chose Spock over Burnham, but that he refused to challenge the grounds on which he was forced to make that choice in the first place. It's all the more ironic because TNG established that Sarek never performed a mind-meld with Spock (Spock only achieved a posthumous connection with his father via Picard), so Burnham is actually closer to Sarek, given that she's toting part of his katra around.

I liked the deliberate "is he/isn't he" seeds sown around Tyler, including the throwaway "you fight like a Klingon" line (um, well, about that...) and the "not quite from Seattle" bit (which is either the kind of fuzziness you might expect from a human who hails from a less recognizable area, or understandable alien kludging).
posted by thomas j wise at 4:33 AM on October 23 [6 favorites]


Oh, was that why their shirts said "DISCO"? Was puzzling over that all episode.


I want to believe that Tilly came up with the PT uniforms herself, and then convinced Michael that they were issue.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:35 AM on October 23 [22 favorites]


I thought this episode was the weakest so far, but it's Vulcan-heavy, so I'm happy. I feel like a lot of shows would bungle this kind of prequel/character building but the conflict with Sarek and Michael actually enriches what happens in canon (explains why Sarek was SO pissed that Spock went into Starfleet, beyond just Racism.) I really liked the bit about the end where she has to reconcile her dreams of her father with the actuality of her father. That rang very true to me. Plus, there's enough serial stuff going on--is Stamets a mirror Stamets? Is Ash Voq?--that it didn't feel completely episodic. Nice balance there.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:13 AM on October 23 [6 favorites]


Also I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who wants a DISCO t-shirt.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:13 AM on October 23 [6 favorites]


The shirts are available for sale on startrek.com. $26.95 for a t-shirt. Whew.
posted by zarq at 7:37 AM on October 23


I watched the Stamets scene twice. His making the explodey sound and gesture made me laugh out loud.

The whole scene is even better if you watch purely for Jason Isaacs' reactions. He's clearly wondering what the hell has happened to his grumpy engineer and even takes a physical step forward towards the end while looking like he wants to get to the bottom of it.

Then Burnham distracts him.
posted by zarq at 7:42 AM on October 23 [1 favorite]


Stamets got a lot looser after he shot up space mushrooms.
posted by mrjohnmuller at 8:17 AM on October 23 [6 favorites]


Does Captsd Lorca not know that there's a Type 1 phaser inside that Type 2, and that he could just velcro it to the small of his back under his glittery-sleeved muscle tee? Also, why didn't that shirt say "DISCO" on it?
posted by mwhybark at 9:54 AM on October 23 [3 favorites]


If this season is headed in an "Apocalypse Now" direction, can we call it "Apocalypse DISCO"?
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:04 AM on October 23 [2 favorites]


So Stamets crosses his DNA with mushrooms and becomes a fun guy?
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 10:21 AM on October 23 [51 favorites]


Omg, los pantalones.
posted by potrzebie at 10:53 AM on October 23 [1 favorite]


Man, Vulcan terrorists would be right up there on my prime nightmare material were I a Federation official. They'd logic themselves right into the most horrific crimes, no doubt. "I calculate the destruction of [random Terran city] will apply the correct amount of pressure to achieve our aims. The deaths are regrettable but necessary."

Mildly off-topic, but there's a character in Ada Palmer's Seven Surrenders who turns into basically this after a certain pivotal plot event, and it's legitimately terrifying in what it portends for the future of that story.

As for "logic extremists" not, strictly speaking, being all that logical, that's kind of the thing with Vulcans, isn't it? They talk a good game about being motivated by logic, but they all have a deep well of emotion that they're constantly struggling to master. Usually to their detriment. I have to assume that the "logic extremists" are sort of the same way. They applied their powers of Vulcan logic to cooking up rationalisations to justify what is ultimately an emotion-driven supremacist ideology. And, yeah, the parallels with the real world are not lost on me.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:20 AM on October 23 [5 favorites]


So perhaps a more felicitous coinage might be "Logicist extremists". Or even more accurately, although without reasonable sociocultural usage in Trek, "Emotional-repressivist extremists".

I think it's what they call themselves, which tracks with me - extremists usually pick something that they think reflects who they are, rather than how the rest of us see them. When I was taking notes for this - similar to the liveblogging thing you were doing, I stopped like every two minutes - I called them 'Vulcan supremacists' until they got named in Lorca's holo-conference.

The Logic Extremists provide an interesting antecedent for DS9's Captain Solok--who is, of course, just a picayune jerk, not a terrorist, but whose anti-human bigotry is still rooted in the same sort of attitudes.

Agreed. And racism has always been a thing with Vulcans - the notion that Vulcans are better than humans, and that Vulcan space exploration is more worthy than Starfleet - dates back to Spock. Not every Vulcan is a jerk, (Tuvok's pretty chill, for instance), but it's a common character flaw among them.

I really liked the bit about the end where she has to reconcile her dreams of her father with the actuality of her father.

Yeah, me too.

Upon preview:
As for "logic extremists" not, strictly speaking, being all that logical, that's kind of the thing with Vulcans, isn't it?

It totally is, yeah.
posted by mordax at 11:23 AM on October 23 [4 favorites]


This episode did lead me to wonder out loud if Lorca is actually the deep-cover spy instead of Tyler

At various times I have suspected Saru, Cornwell, Tyler and Lorca of being a Klingon plant.

Saru just sort of gave me an Eddington (ugh, Eddington) vibe for a while, but after his heart to heart with Michael about Georgiou I feel much better about him. And Tyler, the fan theories have gone over all the compelling evidence, but he just seems really genuine now that we get to know him, so I'm chalking that up as just a red herring (and will be actually sad if he does end up being a spy).

Cornwell... well she's an admiral, and this is Starfleet, so I'm suspicious on general principal. Her being in cahoots with the Klingons would explain why Lorca had to come all that way for a face to face meeting, it was so she could orchestrate his kidnapping. And her being part of some conspiracy would make more sense why she was so upset about Lorca running off to save Sarek that she went to Discovery in person. Running off to rescue Sarek was one more in a string of impulsive moves, but why would it be so dangerously alarming? Unless perhaps, Sarek was *supposed* to be killed and miss the meeting.

But right now I'm leaning towards Lorca because 1) Lines from Cornwell about "I can't tell if this is the real you" perhaps more right than she knows? 2) Where is the desk tribble? It's been gone since his return. 3) Did he forget how to eat a fortune cookie? Although those all also work perfectly fine at face value. (Cornwell is genuinely concerned, maybe Saru tossed the tribble out the airlock after the tardigrade, maybe smashing the cookie was an f-you to the concept of fate.) And I do think it would be too bad if his increasingly alarming behavior was dismissed by his being a secret Klingon, perhaps less interesting than if it's about him slowly falling apart.

Of course I've become kind of locked onto the Klingon spy concept, and I've started to suspect everyone might be the "secret Klingon". But maybe it's all just jumping at shadows. I initially was pretty suspicious Lorca might be a secret mushroom person because of his aversion to bright light, I kind of tend to overthink things.

Spy or self-interest, Lorca sending Cornwell off to her fate with the Klingons was cold. Especially considering he was willing to kill his entire former crew as a merciful alternative to letting the Klingons have them. I am kind of holding out hope that there will be a reveal later that before heading to the meeting she specifically told him not to come after her.

In non-conspiracy-theory observations, I'm continuing to love Tilly and the Tilly/Burnham friendship. I think the events around Sarek's choices with Michael and Spock worked really well with the existing canon (it's not a retcon, and it's not just namedropping events from TOS. Like others have mentioned, it really adds a nice layer of depth to the strained Sarek/Spock relationship). And I liked the replicator bit. It did remind me a bit of the appliances in Hitchhhiker's Guide. Also I would love to know what Judgey Replicator's commentary was when Tyler ordered his full English "I've been in Klingon prison for seven months" breakfast with extra green juice.
posted by Poogle at 11:40 AM on October 23 [5 favorites]


The Diane Duane book "Spock's World" (the first Star Trek book to be released in hardcover) had Vulcan secession from the Federation as a plot point. In the book, a group of anti-human Vulcans spark a planet-wide referendum for Vulcan to leave the Federation. Human emotionality and destructiveness are offered as some of the reasons why. Spock's World delves deeply into Vulcan's history, their philosophy and attitudes.
In the final analysis, Vulcan has a fascinating, previously unknown species, and the Vulcan people are still exotic, psychic, and mostly stoic. Vulcan civilization uses media to handle controversial issues in a logical and democratic manner that only superficially resembles American Idol. On the other hand, Duane points out that they’re only mostly stoic, that the Vulcan past is almost unimaginably bloody, and that Vulcans don’t like humans very much. They handle interpersonal conflict like the cast of Dynasty. If you were looking for a more civilized race to emulate, you probably need to keep looking.
The book is a favorite of former Trek producer Roberto Orci, who is not working on Star Trek Discovery. However, his former writing partner and collaborator Alex Kurtzman is Discovery's Executive Producer.
posted by zarq at 11:40 AM on October 23 [6 favorites]


I just came in to talk about Spock's World. Also AC Crispin's Sarek goes pretty deep into (what is now non-canon) history of Sarek's diplomacy on Vulcan, his relationship with Amanda, and his conflicts with others, and the portrayal of Vulcans rings true to that, too. Also Trek VI. I'm a Vulcan nerd in the way that other people are Klingon nerds and Vulcans are pretty much big, racist, superior assholes and I'm glad they're digging into this, even though I suspect a lot of people think there's nothing more to do with the green blooded bastards.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:10 PM on October 23 [8 favorites]


Yeah, we've talked a bit about how the perspective of Vulcan life would potentially run afoul of human ideals in the Voyager threads, I mean raising children as Vulcans do would almost certainly be considered child abuse by human standards for one thing, and how the show sort of treats them as both superior in some ways, but also completely full of shit at the same time. I think there's a lot more they can do with Vulcans in the shows, though I'm sure they might have covered some of it in other media.

The exchange with Sarek over being able to only have one of his "experiments" allowed into the Vulcan Expeditionary Group was really well done. Pretending to be an open minded "logical" discussion but with all sorts of undertones of power involved.

As it was, choosing Spock probably made the most sense, logically, since he's at least half Vulcan and may have found some better chance of fitting in, but the nastiness of insisting on there being a choice and calling Sarek's own son an experiment, which of course implies Amanda is one too, made any decision Sarek made certain to encounter fierce prejudice and likely failure. From what we've seen of Michael, I don't think she'd be willing to endure that attitude for long without a fight, which is exactly what they could then claim as proof of her being unfit. It was a stacked deck basically and, in this revision, ends up suggesting it may have worked to make both Spock and Michael more distant from their home as was the desire.
posted by gusottertrout at 12:53 PM on October 23 [6 favorites]


'Star Trek: Discovery' Renewed for Season 2 on CBS All Access

Not sure if distribution on Netflix outside the US (how I watch) is being renewed.
posted by PenDevil at 1:40 PM on October 23 [8 favorites]


The editorial comments from the replicator crack me up, and I enjoyed the interplay between Lorca and Cornwell. She reminds me of Admiral Cain from BSG in the best of ways, and I'm glad Lorca deploying his masculine wiles wasn't enough to turn her brain off. Equally, I'm glad to see Lorca be more subtly ruthless than the tardigrade torture episode. I seem to be in the minority, but I would've preferred less Tilly. (I'm assuming she's an Ensign-equivalent? So it doesn't really make much sense why she's so involved with higher level work on the ship, at least to me, especially given that the show is really painting her as being in the middle of the pack in terms of academics/qualifications.) The high collared Vulcan outfits were fun to see, and Michael even pulls off that asymmetrical bowl cut well.

I choose to pretend that Lorca puts the tribble in a vivarium like Picard's fish whenever he gets tired of batting it away from the fortune cookies.

Speaking of the broader Vulcan canon, I could have sworn they had some strong current taboos about mechanical telepathy assistance dating from their early history when they had much stronger telepathy. Did that get retconned, or am I just conflating something from fandom with book canon?
posted by tautological at 1:47 PM on October 23 [3 favorites]


The Diane Duane book "Spock's World" (the first Star Trek book to be released in hardcover) had Vulcan secession from the Federation as a plot point.

OMG, I had totally forgotten about that book! Thanks for mentioning it!

I had more or less every Bantam Trek novel in paperback released between 1970 (Blish's Spock Must Die) through the first of the Pocket Books ones, which launched with Vonda N. McIntyre's The Entropy Effect sometime around 1990. There were some really excellent, coloring-outside-the-lines titles in that set of novels often written by known authors interested in trying their hand at writing the KSM trinity, just as Duane was doing with Spock's World.

One of the weirdest was what I think was the very first of these Bantam books, published in 1976, called Spock, Messiah!, by Theodore Cogswell And Charles A. Spano, Jr.

It's been years since I read it but in hindsight I think they were trying to take Stranger in a Strange Land and Dune and apply that template to the character of Spock. I was ten when I first read it and had not yet read those other books. I believe it broke all sorts of the rules we associate with Roddenberry-era screen Trek.

There were even some collections of works that had originally been written for fanzines! The New Voyages was, I think the first of these, edited by Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath, who went on to produce their own series of novels featuring a newly-minted antagonist, Omne.

I see that Spock's World was initially published in hardback in 1988 and paperback in 1989, after I had stopped chasing down new Trek novels, so it seems likely I may never have read it! Goody! Once I finish this multithousand page stack here (last few Miéville, Moore's Jerusalem, couple few more) it's on the list!
posted by mwhybark at 1:55 PM on October 23 [3 favorites]


If it is going to be DISCO TREK, then they should really have something like this play when Discovery does its funky spore jumps.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:03 PM on October 23 [1 favorite]


Say, do any of you guys know if the show is in current day-to-day production, or is it all in the can already?
posted by mwhybark at 2:10 PM on October 23


If it is going to be DISCO TREK, then they should really have something like this play when Discovery does its funky spore jumps.

Or this?
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 2:11 PM on October 23


Sorry, I don’t want to get too far off-topic, but it turns out that this is my new favourite genre of music.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 2:18 PM on October 23 [1 favorite]


Does anyone else feel like this feels like Diana Duane trek generally? Lots of Vulcans, lots of aliens, a big, busy universe. Maybe a bit of DC Fontana thrown in too. Like that a lot.

I see that Spock's World was initially published in hardback in 1988 and paperback in 1989, after I had stopped chasing down new Trek novels, so it seems likely I may never have read it! Goody!

Highly rec you chase down the omnibus Sand & Stars that contains both this one and Sarek!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:49 PM on October 23 [3 favorites]


I got Spock's World for Christmas when it came out. It remains one of the very few Star Trek books I'm not vaguely embarrassed to have read.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 4:08 PM on October 23 [3 favorites]


If it is going to be DISCO TREK, then they should really have something like this play when Discovery does its funky spore jumps.
Or this (yt) ?

Nah, this. Take that, logical extremists! tho we do need your funky spore jumps

I don't think I've ever before watched a series early enough to be in sync with Fanfare, so thanks, Netflix UK. I'm feeling at home in this series now, nearly trusting it to be Star Trek, and not some misappropriated revamp. Nearly. It looks like it's going to be okay with ambiguities and with ambivalence. Have to agree that this look at Vulcan ideology is reassuring about where they are taking the Klingon themes, after an alarming beginning.

I would very much like to hear an international and/or transracial adoptee's take on some of Burnham's maaayyybe a bit-too-very-special-episode positive post-mortem bidniss, I have to admit. It's been interesting to read people's comments about that. I'm not adopted but I am a two-culture person, and Michael's revelation, that she'll never be 100% right for Vulcan culture* but then again, it'll never be 100% right for her, she'd have to not be her for that to happen - well it's a journey I know about, to get to that point. Without the discussion I guess I would have absorbed that it felt real without realising it is a point of note.

A couple of 50 year olds rub one out together for old times's sake, and it becomes a crucial plot pivot... just, well done. People with wrinkles do fuck, and sometimes do it cynically.
Why did you think your parents wanted you to leave home, young people?

*Vulcan culture, family, family member, social circle, whatever
posted by glasseyes at 4:16 PM on October 23 [6 favorites]


When I saw the DISCO shirt I was really hoping for someone else to jog by wearing one with VERY on it. Possibly passing on the wrong side. That would be so very disco. :)
posted by Marticus at 4:21 PM on October 23 [9 favorites]


I'm not adopted but I am a two-culture person, and Michael's revelation, that she'll never be 100% right for Vulcan culture but then again, it'll never be 100% right for her, she'd have to not be her for that to happen - well it's a journey I know about, to get to that point.

Seconding this as a biracial person who was not adopted either.

I especially relate to the 'journey' part - I was an adult before I even started to understand this stuff with any kind of depth. Her only coming around to it here felt right, and helped me relate to her more. (I didn't like Michael much in the pilot, but am warming to her rapidly.)

I seem to be in the minority, but I would've preferred less Tilly.

If it helps, I'm also not that big on Tilly - she's not bad necessarily, but feels like she belongs on a different show to me.
posted by mordax at 4:27 PM on October 23 [3 favorites]


I think I'd like one of those DISCO t-shirts, possibly with Keats' Ode on Melancholy on the back.
posted by Coaticass at 5:25 PM on October 23 [1 favorite]


Say, do any of you guys know if the show is in current day-to-day production, or is it all in the can already?

Looks like they wrapped just under a couple weeks ago.
posted by sideshow at 5:37 PM on October 23 [1 favorite]


Highly rec you chase down the omnibus Sand & Stars that contains both this one and Sarek!

Will do PhoBs! Miss you from Twitter days, don't miss Twitter! Do they do slushpile for Disco? Go for it!

I'm not adopted but I am a two-culture person ...
...
Seconding this as a biracial person who was not adopted either.

That would tend, I think, to indicate effective universalization of the plot point, which is of course also present in Spock's arc. So good for you, so far, Show!

I want to also clarify when I riff on Michael's experiences and characterization as a (fictional) adopted POC, I cannot address the issue from personal experience as an adoptee of color or of international origin. I do want to, very much, let you guys know how interested I am to hear your takes on her experiences and characterization as it reflects your own experience.

I attend an adult-adoptees support group here in Seattle. This is not the thread for it, but maybe later as we get a little more into the season we can look at ways to expand this discussion, which is close to me as it is to you.

(short version: limnal genre fiction characters, that is, fictional characters who have either a literally split identity, like Superman, or Harvey Dent, or those who have experienced cultural and familial doubling often via childhood displacement or misattributed or supernatural paternity, such as Herakles, Jesus Christ, and the Rock's recent and wonderful turn as Maui, are often used as fulcrums in the story being told and exhibit strange or dominant powers, which reflect and justify their status as outsiders and potential dangers but also powerful allies. Michael, as Spock before her, and maybe Voq or perhaps Lorca or both, reflect these themes with what appears to me to be careful, craftsmanlike tooling.

This plot usage and convention offers possible benefits to the self-esteem of adopted kids, but has rarely been harnessed in this service. I don't know if it's been identified as beneficial for biracial or emigrant/immigrant/bicultural folks, but certainly Michael Chabon's fantastic Kavalier & Klay gestures in that direction.)
posted by mwhybark at 6:58 PM on October 23 [2 favorites]


If it helps, I'm also not that big on Tilly - she's not bad necessarily, but feels like she belongs on a different show to me.

She's Chekov, Wesley, Jake, and Harry*. She had to be there.

*I'm sure the character existed on ENT but I gave up so early - THANKS B&B and DIANE WARREN - I couldn't tell you who it might be.
posted by mwhybark at 7:05 PM on October 23 [1 favorite]


She's Chekov, Wesley, Jake, and Harry*. She had to be there.

Oh, I know what she's doing there, but it's not gelling for me in that capacity. I think maybe it's because they're at war, but she doesn't seem to be - I don't feel like there's a ton of introspection or struggle going on with her, which makes her out of place compared to everyone else. For contrast, Harry spent a lot of time grappling with Voyager being stranded.

(Wesley didn't really work for me either since he had literal superpowers. Jake's probably my favorite take on the subject matter since he ultimately didn't join Starfleet.)

I don't feel like Enterprise had this character, and I think it's something they did right: the notion wasn't really tenable given their premise. (When everybody's got a starship, putting an idealistic young person on board is one thing. If it's the first starship, spots are harder to come by.)

I attend an adult-adoptees support group here in Seattle. This is not the thread for it, but maybe later as we get a little more into the season we can look at ways to expand this discussion, which is close to me as it is to you.

That'd be interesting. If you have any suggestions later, I'd be down.
posted by mordax at 7:26 PM on October 23 [3 favorites]


Last week the Tyler=Voq theory looked pretty persuasive. This week? I'm not so sure. Voq has been depicted, as leotrotsky nicely put it, as not the sharpest Bat'leth in the drawer, and if anything rather lacking in the Klingon version of 'people skills'. Yet Tyler, as well as speaking fluent idiomatic English, is perceptive and empathic. It's in some ways harder to credit that Voq could carry off the role of Tyler than it is that he could be altered to look like him. For that matter, Tyler had ample opportunity to sabotage the mission to rescue Sarek, but was instead shown to have given Burnham her crucial motivation to succeed.

So, one option is that there is some subtle misdirection going on here, and that we're meant to think that Tyler is a Klingon agent (presumably Voq) but it will turn out that Tyler is who he says he is and that there is some other plot surprise.

Even more intriguing though is another possibility: Tyler indeed is Voq, but it will turn out that Voq - placed in a context where he is a good-looking hero rather than an appearance-coded outcast - finds himself able to do a better job of being a human than he did of being a Klingon. And if so, what might that do to his psychology and motivations?
posted by Major Clanger at 12:02 AM on October 24 [9 favorites]


I'm starting to wonder too if the fact that they share an actor is just a matter of, like… giving that actor something to do when his other (heavily costumed) character isn't on screen at all (and also serving as a red herring to credits-checkers).

On the other hand, there was an awfully conspicuous tribble in an earlier episode, so.
posted by DoctorFedora at 12:38 AM on October 24 [1 favorite]


There is no way Tyler gets put on active duty after being a prisoner of war for 7 months unless he gets a full medical exam. If he's a secret Klingon, surely that would get picked up. Right? I don't want this show to be dumb.

But maybe the Klingons have turned him.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:24 AM on October 24 [1 favorite]


There is no way Tyler gets put on active duty after being a prisoner of war for 7 months unless he gets a full medical exam. If he's a secret Klingon, surely that would get picked up. Right? I don't want this show to be dumb.

Heh. If we can accept the Klingons have a way to turn one of their people into a human, then I can't see it being any harder to believe that they could do it well enough for him to pass medical tests, especially since they'd have no reason to test any human for "Klingonness", however that would be detected.

As to Tyler's behavior, his interactions are often punctuated by pauses and meaningful seeming stares, not a lot of involved information exchanged and much of his empathetic moments are just general enough to cover being read as thoughtful or empty which the listener can interpret to suit their needs. His use of language is a it difficult to account for, other than being part of whatever science/magic might have transformed him physically if indeed he is someone other than who he says at all. Thematically that would make sense, but then again it could also make sense for them to only suggest it and it not be true as well. Fun!
posted by gusottertrout at 2:50 AM on October 24 [2 favorites]


Tangent: maybe it’s just because I just binged the Queens of England podcast, but I still have to briefly remind myself each time he appears on screen that Sarek isn’t Thomas Cromwell from The Tudors.

And yeah, I’m live-blogging this as a second run-through (really, I know I’m grousing, but I really love ST and am trying to get there on this one…) so, probably a bit more wordy than normal.

No chairs on the Vulcan bridge. Huh. Well that’s a choice.

Hey guys, speaking from some measure of experience… if you’re running for time… you probably shouldn’t speedup/slow down with the flow of conversation, and you should probably be running hard enough that your speaking patterns don’t sound like you’re sitting at a table… though alternatively, if you’ve enough gas in the tank afterwards to start a sprint as the scene draws to a close, then I suspect we’re not looking at a difficult six seconds to trim…

Which brings up a question about Michael’s “mentorship” of Cadet Tilly … you’re looking to help her get into the command program… skipping a few steps there, but okay, eye on the prize… the career path is cadet, “transfer to a Constitution class vessel” (… I’m going to just assume that commissioning occurs at some point in there…) then “first officer track”? Even knowing that the writers are more focused in drawing parallels between the rigorous Vulcan training that Burnham received and her mentorship, there are some glaring omissions in that career plan. With hundreds of officers and crew aboard each vessel (and variable lifespans, so, presumably, variable viable career lengths), even after the Cadet is commissioned, she’ll presumably spend years in various roles before going to a high-level leadership school/program. I guess I don’t mind that she’s focusing on improving every aspect of her fitness report, but there’s no mention or focus on the more short-term milestones that would make up the bulk of her next 20-odd years of service… (speaking of which, ranks/ages, even among the human members of the crew seem to be pretty scattershot). (Yes, I fumed at JJTrek’s “Cadet Kirk, you’re the first officer now” and nearly let it ruin the movie for me)

“First vacation in 12 years” … I’ve been living in Holland too long because, what? So much for the shining future where we’ve fixed the problems of providing for humanity’s basic needs… Ah well. Maybe she was a workaholic and all regulation about such things has been confined to the dustbins of history.

Someone needs to give lessons to the holo-Klingons in close combat tactics … or at least suggest to them that they don’t run without using their weapons in column down the 3 meter corridor towards the two stationary targets… there were two shots where my wife and I both shouted at the screen “what the hell” when the Klingons just seemed to be jogging to their deaths…

Huh. Holographic enemies and environs, real weapons. Okay. I can dig it.

Speaking of rank, what the hell is Tyler’s rank? Captain Lorca keeps referring to him as “soldier”, which presumably means he’s not an officer? Except he’s also now chief of security. … which seems a good time to harken back to the fact that this ship of 120-160 (I forget the number) seems to only have four or five officers on board. If the Captain is looking for a security chief whose primary quality seems to be loyalty (“We went through some hard times together, me and old whatshername…”), then what does it say to his entire security staff (presumably who’ve had someone in charge for the last few weeks, and before that, an entire hierarchy and command structure) that you pull a non-com who (as the Admiral rightly points out, probably has more pressing needs, though the Captain’s own experiences would speak to his ignoring those) just got out of prison to run the place? “I need someone I can trust. Someone that understands war.” … nice job saying to your existing cadre that you don’t believe that they do. (edit for later: I realise some of these decisions may be argued as evidence of the Captain running his ship “like a personal fiefdom”, but even in that context, they’re not really the expedient or effective choices. Huh. Oh well.)

Sarak realised he was betrayed, and spent 42 seconds allowing his colleague to monologue and go critical before moving a muscle in his own defence. Not too swift on the uptake there, buddy.

Oh shit, and we’re just to the opening credits. … I’m going to take a break and … … well. … go for a run and make a burrito.
posted by Seeba at 4:11 AM on October 24 [1 favorite]


gusottertrout: The difficulty with saying that Starlet medical tests can't detect a Klingon altered to look human is that in 'The Trouble with Tribbles', set a decade after this, McCoy takes about five seconds with his medical scanner to ID 'Arne Darvin' as a Klingon, simply on the basis of basis of heartbeat and body temperature. (Perhaps Tyler/Voq, if he is a Klingon, will have some sort of scanner spoofer that Starlet later learn how to penetrate.)

Seeba I've grumped before about the rank insignia in ST:Discovery, which are small pips along the bottom of the Starfleet badge. Tyler is a Lt and has been referred to as such in dialogue.

(In the original series and Next Generation it wasn't even clear if Starfleet had enlisted ranks; the most junior personnel we saw were ensigns or cadets. It wasn't until DS9 that it was made clear (or more accurately, retconned) that O'Brien was a non-commissioned officer; DS9 then had enlisted ground troops, and Enterprise followed suit.)

I interpreted the line about vacation as meaning 'a substantial trip away for pleasure' rather than just time away from work. With transporters, antigravity and the kind of energy economy that can manufacture antimatter, Earth ought to be a planet where travel anywhere is quick, easy and relatively cheap. If so, then 'vacation' may well be understood colloquially to mean an off-world holiday. (In theory the Federation is meant to be a post-scarcity society, but the writers keep on forgetting that.)
posted by Major Clanger at 5:01 AM on October 24 [4 favorites]


Major Clanger ... fair enough, somehow I missed the callout to LT Tyler. Mea Culpa. :^)

I was always amused that Chief O'Brien seemed to be just about the only (Starfleet) non-commissioned officer that you'd see. There's a series of cartoons about the good Chief that amuse me, and in that vein I always wondered "maybe he's the only one... alone, surrounded only by the dark side (officer corps)..." (Even TNG's Lower Decks focused on JOs instead of NCOs or lower enlisted... guess hot-racking isn't TV-sexy anymore after the Das Boot director's cut)

After my burrito, I'm substantially less grouchy so will finish up the watch. A lot of my questioning/nitpicking about rank/career path isn't trying to compare it to any existing military, but rather I'm trying to get a kind-of frame of mind for the world being built. I don't care if Starfleet is 90% officer, as long as the worldview that they're showing is consistent and sustainable. The writing on the show is pretty trite, and the stories are... comparable to early-season ST of any era... so I have hope that it'll improve. ... but what I'm really looking for is a fleshed out world that I can trust, so that as they keep moving forward with future series', they don't have to over-explain things that would seem out of place... I mean, if I start explaining "That bell means the food is ready, having been cooked at a preselected time and power output" every time I go to the microwave, I'm going to be banned right quick... and with hundreds of hours of TV to build upon... I figure they'll eventually start using more than just names/characters, and trust that we're paying some measure of attention.
posted by Seeba at 5:15 AM on October 24 [1 favorite]


gusottertrout: The difficulty with saying that Starlet medical tests can't detect a Klingon altered to look human is that in 'The Trouble with Tribbles', set a decade after this, McCoy takes about five seconds with his medical scanner to ID 'Arne Darvin' as a Klingon, simply on the basis of basis of heartbeat and body temperature.

Sure, but we don't know how, in theory, Voq become Tyler, could be something different than later, mind transference, complete DNA rewriting, or some other nonsense, but even beyond that, if Starfleet, at this point, has no reason to suspect Klingons capable of "becoming human" then there isn't any reason to scan for such a thing at all or take tests that show some difference as proof of something that, for all they know, simply can't be.

If we take the showrunners at their word about fitting this into continuity, something they may well fall short of obviously, then there are a lot of ways that this could work right up until they give us good reason why it couldn't.
posted by gusottertrout at 5:23 AM on October 24 [2 favorites]


The thing that always sort of gets me about secret fakes and such is, y'know, the transporter yanked his ass out of the escaping shuttle. You'd think they'd have it set up to go "hey transporter chief? The lifeform I just rematerialized is not human / has a bomb in his abdomen / looks like a gotdang fish I mean seriously" and yet I can't remember the technology ever being useful that way.
posted by Kyol at 6:15 AM on October 24 [4 favorites]


Speaking of officers, I am actually puzzled about Burnham, who...doesn't appear to have gone through Starfleet Academy? Sarek drops her off on the Shenzhou immediately after the expedition fiasco, and she's a Lieutenant Commander seven years later, with no apparent time off. Unless Starfleet accepts the Vulcan Science Academy as an acceptable alternate route for a science officer? (But surely not for the command path?) IDK.
posted by thomas j wise at 6:32 AM on October 24 [3 favorites]


I am enjoying Mallory Ortberg’s recaps...
posted by sixswitch at 6:37 AM on October 24 [4 favorites]


Also: Dear OS X, please do not autocorrect 'Starfleet' to 'Starlet', or at least do so more obviously!
posted by Major Clanger at 6:38 AM on October 24 [2 favorites]


If this is "DISCO Trek", I preemptively claim "DISCO Inferno" for future punnery.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:39 AM on October 24 [1 favorite]


They should just have "VERY" on the back of the shirt.
posted by cardboard at 7:17 AM on October 24 [1 favorite]


Damn it, missed Marticus saying the same thing.
posted by cardboard at 7:27 AM on October 24


I'm hoping Tilly is the Klingon spy, because I'm essentially not a very nice person.

Also, I find myself wishing that Jason Isaacs was doing the Yorkshire accent he brings to Zhukov in Death of Stalin.
posted by Grangousier at 7:38 AM on October 24 [4 favorites]


I am enjoying Mallory Ortberg’s recaps...

Thank you so much for sharing those!
posted by mordax at 8:31 AM on October 24


This being Trek, there will be the inevitable "time travel back to 20th Century Earth" episode. Ms Hare and I are holding out for the inevitable Judgey Replicator/Mail Robot crossover slashfic.
posted by MarchHare at 8:44 AM on October 24 [2 favorites]


Also, I find myself wishing that Jason Isaacs was doing the Yorkshire accent he brings to Zhukov in Death of Stalin.

This. So very much this.

And in this episode it would have done very nicely for his line to Tyler about bringing Burnham back or not coming back at all.
posted by Major Clanger at 8:52 AM on October 24 [1 favorite]


"Discovery engages in unauthorized..." feels like an evergreen lede for episode summaries of this series.
posted by dry white toast at 9:37 AM on October 24 [3 favorites]


Star Trek’s shown us the mirror universe several times over the years with incursions going both directions, but they’ve never centered a mirror universe driven story wholly in our own that I recall. I wonder if Lorca’s been swapped with evil Lorca, perhaps during the events that cost him his old ship being used to mask his crossover, even. His behavior is clearly abnormal for him if Cornwell’s reactions are any guide, and maybe he’s not falling apart mentally, but rather reverting to type. Doing so would allow them to swap out Lorca’s character flaws for a less troubled and more Starfleet-appropriate version of the man. It feels like that’d help avoid him becoming a caricature of himself as the season(s) progress. Also, if you swap eLorca for Lorca, then voila, writers instantly get more material to play the character beats again, only different, which would be perfect material for a budget-economizing bottle episode. Brannon Braga, also claims the entire fifth season of Enterprise was possibly slated to take place in the MU, make of that what you will.

I'm starting to wonder too if the fact that they share an actor is just a matter of, like… giving that actor something to do when his other (heavily costumed) character isn't on screen at all (and also serving as a red herring to credits-checkers)

I rather like this idea, and it would gibe with them muddying the waters behind eLorca. It would also be a reasonably clever way to conceal identity—barring the IMDB screwup—if the idea to make it harder identifying eLorca as a swapped MU character occurred a bit late. This would have an added welcome benefit of their mixed British-Pakistani actor cast in dual rôles avoiding the cliché of associating said actor of Pakistani heritage with a villain. That puts his character’s ancestry firmly into the Star Trek wheelhouse of inclusion. Come to think of it, if he’s carried forward into further seasons, it only makes more sense to list him only as Lt Tyler. Intermittent guest appearances of a favored antagonist also become much easier.


Also: Dear OS X, please do not autocorrect 'Starfleet' to 'Starlet’…
Right-click and select “Learn Spelling.” I’d apologize for that bit of pedantry, but this is a MeFi ST thread, so I’m going to double down instead and point out that the Text tab of the Keyboard preference pane in System Preferences also has a list of text replacement shortcuts you can customize to your heart’s content; sort of a TextExpander lite. The letters “stf” could automagically expand into “Starfleet,” for example…
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 10:15 AM on October 24 [3 favorites]


I very strongly want the Tyler plot to be about Lorca dark-mentoring Tyler into his toady/enforcer after losing Landry (who seemed creepily devoted to him) -- and I love the observation up-thread about how Burnham herself seems to be in a version of that plot as well. After last week I thought the Vox theory was guaranteed to be true, but this week I'm renewing hope that it might be misdirection for a future shock reveal that some other character is the one who has been compromised (I think I'd have to point at Saru as the most likely candidate, unfortunately).
posted by gerryblog at 11:12 AM on October 24 [2 favorites]


if you’re running for time… you probably shouldn’t speedup/slow down with the flow of conversation

Yeah, this also irritated me. I guess that was their warmup and then they were going to do the actual run later? If all she needed to take off was six seconds at a pace that allows casual conversation, then Starfleet has a much mellower fitness policy than I was led to believe. (I guess they had to run in the corridor since Lorca and Tyler were in the holodeck, but I did sort of pity the random people who had to dodge them while Doing Science or whatever.)

She's Chekov, Wesley, Jake, and Harry*. She had to be there.

To be entirely fair, I usually wanted Harry to fall down a Plot Hole of Forgetting as well, and two out of four of those characters are minors who accompanied their parents into the Fleet, so I cut them more slack for wacky hijinks. I will choose to pretend that she's on the ship as a political hire that buttered up an admiral she's related to or something, since she seems so weirdly out of place on Lorca's ship.
posted by tautological at 12:37 PM on October 24


"–Good evening, I'll be your replicator this evening and you want sprouts to combat the cholesterol, lardbutt"
posted by monocultured at 12:42 PM on October 24 [1 favorite]


There is no feeling greater than “Star Trek anxiety, followed quickly and efficiently by Star Trek relief,” and friends — for we are friends — that is the feeling I was privileged to experience during this week’s episode.
Mallory Ortberg wrote this in her recap of ep. 3 and yeah, with ep. 6 I'm there, though it's taken a bit longer.

I actually would have preferred not to know the speculation around Voq/Tyler. Is there maybe a way to separate off spoilers and scuttlebut so they can be avoided by readers of the main thread? In the meantime there is Tyler who holds his face, his mouth, in exactly the same way as Voq under all that prosthetic, so *shrug*. I would have preferred for that to dawn on me slowly really.

Man. Star Trek. I never in my life knew anyone else who would watch it until my kids grew into teenagers. And here we are and it's a thing. I will NEVER not love Voyager! Watching Kate Mulgrew figure out how to inhabit that role in the absence of paradigms, swinging her arms and taking up space. Never mind the really stupid episodes, and the dull episodes, and the plain misguided episodes, and Robert Beltran's half-hearted passive-aggressive sniping, none of that tarnished the ideas and ideals behind it. I cried watching the final 2 episodes: #notashamed.

mwhybark, counter-readings of dominant narratives are always a thing, you know? I seem to remember a seminal essay about it. I'm not being snide or anything, they don't always get disseminated; a lot of the media I consume is fine art based, and in those circles it's easier to be ... thoughtful and discursive. I mean, with DISCO Trek here there is a piece of *properly funded and resourced* popular culture where it seems nuance and awareness non-mainstream points of view are integral to it's conception and I'm just happy people with that mindset have been able to make a product and get it out there and get paid. It's hopeful. Like TOS.
posted by glasseyes at 1:20 PM on October 24 [2 favorites]


God, if DISCO Trek doesn't live up to its promise I'll be crushed.
posted by glasseyes at 1:24 PM on October 24


SPACE DISCO + STAR TREK: DISCOVERY! Space Trek: Disco Star!
Next week on Disco Trek: Space Star...having gone through puberty on Vulcan, Michael Burnham has ever since experienced a kind of 'phantom pregnancy' version of Pon Farr from time to time, which she is really embarrassed about. Coming back to their quarters after a shift, Tilly opens the door to find Burnham engaging in an emotion-purging meditative ritual. [Picture Tilly's initially shocked jaw-drop, then head-bob/lip bite/finger pop "ok, oh yeah, I'm super into it" faces] Cut back to the hallway moments later as Stamets arrives with a PADD of the latest engineering specs for Tilly; he opens the door, pauses, but does not enter. Instead he opens a comm channel to Dr. Culber - "Um, Hugh...just get down here..like right now".
Cut to Lorca several minutes later, unable to find any of his bridge officers. Tracking noises to Burnham's quarters, he opens the door to Burnham doing her thing, Tilly doing the Elaine Benes, Stamets and Culber grinding in their underwear, Keyla Detmer and Airiam on opposite bunks go-go dancing, just in time to witness Saru doing one of his Kelpian 'I sense the coming of Death' Diva Drops.
posted by bartleby at 4:35 PM on October 24 [1 favorite]


I found this episode less engaging than the last five, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. This episode felt more "episode of the week" and less heavy on the forward plotting, which I appreciate.

I'm getting to know the crew more and everyone is overall less of a jerk (which has been a major complaint in most Trek circles).

I loved learning about Michael and Sarek's relationship. Her final comments to Voq/Ash about accepting who her father is rang close to home for me - someone who has a very emotionally distant and yet volatile father. I see the parallels between Michael and "maybe" Voq continue.

Re: the Voq theory. At this point it seems SO obvious that I really don't know - maybe it is all a red herring? But that's having been tainted by the internet experience. I'm trying to work out if I would have thought that Voq was Ash without being on the internet - but Voq being absent since Ash appeared seems like the most glaring evidence for it.
posted by liquorice at 4:58 PM on October 24 [2 favorites]


> ENTER or ENTERP?

The two USS Enterprise aircraft carriers in the 20th century had the nicknames "The Grey Ghost" and "Lucky E" (CV-6, the WWII-era ship) and "Big E" (CVN-65, the first nuclear powered aircraft carrier, with a whopping 8 reactors aboard, compared to a modern CVN's 2, because they didn't yet know what they'd need). The latter ship was also called "Mobile Chernobyl" and "Three-Quarter-Mile Island," owing to her superfluity of nuclear power plants.

There have been 10 HMS Discoverys since 1600, but I can't find any mention of their nicknames. There have been 4 Royal Research Ships with the name, including one still afloat. The 1901 hull by that name carried Scott and Shackleton to Antarctica.

There was also an HMCS Discovery in WWII, but it wasn't a ship, it was a "stone frigate," which is a shore emplacement of some kind, run like a ship, and can be found in Stanley Park, in Vancouver. Weird, but you do you, RCN.
posted by Sunburnt at 5:02 PM on October 24 [1 favorite]


> I'll be your replicator this evening

I haven't seen the new season, series 12(!), of Red Dwarf, but the last two series have had a modicum of personality-infused talking food dispensers. However, it, and Star Trek Discovery, will likely never top the first and worst: Howdy-Doodley-Do!
posted by Sunburnt at 9:20 PM on October 24 [3 favorites]


I'm waiting for the replicators in the next episode to encourage users to "share and enjoy"
posted by DoctorFedora at 11:17 PM on October 24 [5 favorites]


Here's another example of this show doing something right without making any fuss about it. Post-Rude Awakening, Admiral Cornwell zips out of bed away from her old FWB and the camera clearly shows that first she puts on her underwear and then she puts on her trousers. As you would, after half-naked sexy times that included, like, actual piv sex. All this without showing her body AT ALL. I'm thinking this is the first time I've seen that moment portrayed on screen in this way: with the sequence and the inferences being so clear and without any titillation or ogling.

And again it's under the radar, like it's the series default, just the way the showrunners think about how and what they're portraying and whose point of view is part of the representation ie male gaze is not privileged. And Michael being able to matter-of-factly articulate her mixed identity, which emotional base line is integral to story logic and character and situation, is all part of the continuum of how the showrunners are approaching their material. So yeah, I've got Star Trek relief atm and it's nice.
posted by glasseyes at 4:34 AM on October 25 [10 favorites]


Glasseyes, that's a good point and it's good to see that level of natural behaviour, especially given ST's particularly difficult (... why yes, I did just come from the Voyager thread) history with issues like that ... ... but I'll admit, my first thought when watching that was, for both of their characters "who gets half-dressed after cocktail hour + sex?" (I mean, I have the same question when people in some films are dressed when sleeping, but different preferences for different people, I suppose)
posted by Seeba at 5:19 AM on October 25 [2 favorites]


Liked this episode. Apparently I'm on board with weirdo Grim Trek. As fatbird said, "Discovery keeps being wrong, but I don't wanna be right."

I liked all the emotional nuance in the show. This episode is basically a soap opera. But with space themes, and then some remarkable complexity in Burnham's adoptee relationship and not-quite-Vulcan emotional management. And Lorca, I love Lorca, this could be a show entirely about Lorca and I'm on board.

The callouts to Tyler being a secret Klingon at the start of the episode were so glaringly obvious that I now think the whole Voq/Tyler theory is a red herring.

Weird thing at the end, when the Klingon General does the Big Reveal he thanks his co-conspirators. First of all, are we supposed to know who this particular Klingon is? They all, um, look the same to me. Second, he promises everyone cloaking devices for their ships. Really? I'd thought cloaking devices were a surprising new technology no one inside the Klingon Factured Group of Tribes knew was even possible until Voq showed up. Now they're being given out as gifts? I suppose that means Klingon General is working with Voq and L'Rell.
posted by Nelson at 8:23 AM on October 25


First of all, are we supposed to know who this particular Klingon is?

Yes. He's Kol, from the House of Kor. He's the guy who talked down to T'Kuvma in the first episode, then stole Voq's crew and ship from him in episode 4. He was shown in the "Previously on" segment at the start of the episode.
posted by zarq at 8:33 AM on October 25 [5 favorites]


Oh, and the ship Kol stole was originally T'Kuvma's. The one with the cloak. He presumably either has reverse-engineered the technology or is in the process of doing so.
posted by zarq at 8:34 AM on October 25 [2 favorites]


The House of Kor is... well, the House of Kor. The late, great John Colicos played Kor in The Original Series and again on Deep Space Nine. (That link includes spoilers for the character, for anyone who hasn't seen his episodes on either TOS or DS9.)

Deep Space Nine's episode Blood Oath added an interesting wrinkle to his character arc. The three Klingon Captains we meet in TOS are Klang, Kor and Koloth. From Memory Alpha:
During the late 2280s, a band of depredators, led by the Albino, began raiding Klingon colonies. Three Klingon warships, led by Kor, Koloth and Kang, were sent out to stop him. Their mission was successful, as they captured most of the depredators. However, the Albino was able to escape. In the Albino's last message to the Klingons, he promised to take his revenge on the firstborn of each of the three captains. Within the space of a few years, he kept his word and managed to infect the warriors' three innocent children with a genetic virus that eventually killed them all.
From Voq's skin coloration and the deprecating remarks about it from his fellow Klingons, it is very possible that he is an albino. Whether or not he's the Albino remains to be seen.

Something amusing... when you search for Kor, the non-canon Memory Beta wiki also has a page on him. (again, spoilers.) This is their disambiguation paragraph:
This page details Kor, son of Rynar in the primary universe; for the Kor, son of Rynar in the mirror universe see Kor, son of Rynar (mirror); for the Kor, son of Rynar in the Kelvin timeline created by Nero's temporal incursion, see Kor, son of Rynar (alternate reality); for the Kor, son of Rynar in the mirror universe created by Nero's temporal incursion see Kor, son of Rynar (mirror) (alternate reality); for the Kor, son of Rynar in all other alternate universes see Kor, son of Rynar (alternates).

posted by zarq at 8:46 AM on October 25 [9 favorites]


Sorry for the comment flood. Here's the Fanfare re-watch post on Blood Oath.

Some trek-obsessed weirdo posted it.
posted by zarq at 8:58 AM on October 25 [5 favorites]


First of all, are we supposed to know who this particular Klingon is? They all, um, look the same to me.

Kol has what appears to be a broad red stripe of some sort running down center of the right side of his face. I don't recall it being bilaterally symmetrical, and have therfore taken it as some sort of facial decoration, makeup or paint or something, rather than a biological feature of his epidermis. It could just as well be a scar, of course.

I imagine it was added to his creature-design specifically in order to make him have a more individuated facial appearance.

Regarding the House of Kor, what do we know about Klingon lifespans? Could the house have been founded by another Kor, not Colicos' Kor? I mean, obviously the showrunners could just recast Kor and point to the character and insist that their lumpyface Kor is the same guy as smoothface Kor in TOS - Arne Darvin here providing the hinge on which facial restyling must pivot - but Colicos' Kor comes across as a pretty dominant character. I have a hard time imagining that he'd temporarily handed his house over to a guy with the suspiciously similar name of Kol. I wonder if Kol was originally written as Kor and they realized they'd have to come up with some extreme canon gymnastics immediately if they did that.

I mean, they are certainly teasing us with the idea that they'll provide us with a canon resolution for lumpyface -> smoothface -> ridgehead but one assumes they have a vested interest in keeping their powder, er, phase induction crystals dry.
posted by mwhybark at 11:35 AM on October 25 [3 favorites]


I would honestly not be surprised if the big reveal this season is that the Romulans are actually behind the war, and that they did in fact provide the cloaking device to T'Kuvma. We don't know that the cloaking device was originally a component on T'Kuvma's father's flagship, and who else would have more to gain from two other major powers in the quadrant destroying each other in a pointless war?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:55 PM on October 25 [8 favorites]


I would honestly not be surprised if the big reveal this season is that the Romulans are actually behind the war, and that they did in fact provide the cloaking device to T'Kuvma.

That would indeed make a ton of sense.
posted by mordax at 1:36 PM on October 25 [1 favorite]


Regarding the House of Kor, what do we know about Klingon lifespans?

Per Odo in Blood Oath, Koloth was around 150 years old and Kor was over 100. There's no canon defined life span for Klingons, which makes sense considering they're a race of warriors who think dying of old age (as opposed to doing so in battle) is dishonorable.

Could the house have been founded by another Kor, not Colicos' Kor?

Star Trek Discovery takes place in 2256.

The Stardate for the events of Blood Oath is unknown. The nearest DS9 Season 2 episodes for which we have stardates are Shadowplay (47603.3) and Tribunal (47944.2). The Stardate Calculator puts the episode between August 9th, 2370 and December 11, 2370.

So, 114 years later.

Could be Kor.

Could also be someone else named Kor.

Star Trek tends to not give multiple characters the same name, but it could happen.

I have a hard time imagining that he'd temporarily handed his house over to a guy with the suspiciously similar name of Kol.

He'd be a relative. Could conceivably be Kor's son. Who has just stripped a very pale, possibly albino Klingon of his ship and the only House he called home.

Could be significant. ;)
posted by zarq at 2:56 PM on October 25 [5 favorites]


I mean, obviously the showrunners could just recast Kor and point to the character and insist that their lumpyface Kor is the same guy as smoothface Kor in TOS - Arne Darvin here providing the hinge on which facial restyling must pivot - but Colicos' Kor comes across as a pretty dominant character.

OK, so, because DISCO is is only coming out one episode at a time, I've been champing for more. I want to binge, but I can't. So I have rewatching other Star Trek. Including, out of sheer desperation, Enterprise. Which is as awful as I remember. And the Klingons on that are TNG style Klingons!

So, Klingons start out as ridgeface in Enterprise, go Geiger alienhead for DISCO, smoothface in TOS, and then back to ridgeface in TNG onwards. I just don't get why they did this redesign.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:11 PM on October 25 [2 favorites]


I feel like there will be an explanation. But also, I don't care. They never provided an explanation for ridgeface until Enterprise which means we went 20 years without an explanation for the redesign in the first place. People seemed to care about that a lot less last time around.
posted by liquorice at 6:19 PM on October 25 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I'm just choosing to ignore it. It's just retcons all the way down anyway.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:02 PM on October 25 [2 favorites]


He'd be a relative. Could conceivably be Kor's son. Who has just stripped a very pale, possibly albino Klingon of his ship and the only House he called home.

I like!

It's just retcons all the way down anyway.

retcanon, here, apparently.

After I posted about Kor I noticed the TNG ridgeheads in ENT. So the apparent temporal precession of Klingon forehead morphology both begins and ends with ridgeheads, exactly as Mr. Red Thoughts notes. I presume he may have been groping toward this formulation:

it's turtleheads all the way down.

Jonesing rewatchers, including Mr. Red Thoughts, are reminded that the active FanFare Trekker's rewatch series at the moment is VOY. They have been run roughly in airing order, thus, VOY followed DS9. I do not know offhand if there have been rewatches for TOS or TAS. I have found them to be a fine appendage to the MeFi media empire.
posted by mwhybark at 9:22 PM on October 25 [2 favorites]


I prefer to just think of Discovery's Klingons as being redesigned to look more "alien" because they're still generally considered an unfamiliar threat. Like, as a point-of-view thing.

I think it's a pretty cool reinterpretation of what they look like, to be honest, and I'm not super concerned about Explaining The Continuity — if anything, I'm worried that efforts to do so may harm the storytelling.
posted by DoctorFedora at 9:25 PM on October 25 [4 favorites]


Can we all agree the delivery of the Klingon lines is awful?
posted by Nelson at 10:09 PM on October 25 [1 favorite]


Jonesing rewatchers, including Mr. Red Thoughts, are reminded that the active FanFare Trekker's rewatch series at the moment is VOY. They have been run roughly in airing order, thus, VOY followed DS9.

I thank you, Sir Why Bark. I am aware of the VOY threads. I did a full VOY rewatch about 3 or 4 months ago so I have been reading along with interest.

I presume he may have been groping toward this formulation:

it's turtleheads all the way down.


I mean, yes, obviously that's what I meant to type.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:22 PM on October 25 [2 favorites]


Can we all agree the delivery of the Klingon lines is awful?

I generally haven't minded, but I think in part it's a reaction to the over the top hyperbole I've been reading online about people complaining about the subtitles and delivery as if it has ruined the whole show for them.

As an aside, I noticed that the subtitles on CBS All Access look different to the ones we get on Netflix. The All Access ones have an exotic font and are in all caps (which would be frustrating!), whereas for Netflix they're just in standard type and font. I wondered if maybe that was also causing a reaction.
posted by liquorice at 10:57 PM on October 25 [4 favorites]


I haven't minded the delivery of the Klingon dialogue much either. It seems to have improved in recent episodes, perhaps because Shazad Latif, if he is playing dual roles, hasn't been seen as Voq recently, which removes him from having to differentiate his speaking patterns. Since Voq was one of the Klingons with the most dialogue early on, maybe that was causing some of the issue. Or not.

One thing that hasn't been mentioned yet that I find kinda interesting is that the title for the episode is Lethe, the name of the Underworld river of forgetting in Greek myth, but the episode was more about remembering. That Lethe can also mean concealment or oblivion is something that can be considered, but so too the effect of the reminiscence leading to Michael moving away from Sarek and Lorca, perhaps, abandoning Cornwell. So "forgetting" in that sense would be a purposeful choice rather than a lapse of memory.
posted by gusottertrout at 1:11 AM on October 26 [2 favorites]


I mean, ALL CAPS DOES SORT OF WORK to reflect Klingons’ general shoutiness, but the font is just a weird choice. I’d prefer Netflix-style.
posted by sixswitch at 1:12 AM on October 26 [2 favorites]


Just to finish the probably obvious thought, in the sense of concealment the title then would be referring to Sarek's withholding of his role in Michael not getting into the Vulcan Expeditionary force most directly since he is on the border of death and fights to maintain the concealment of his actions. It would also be applicable to Lorca concealing the extent of his mental issues from Cornwell, even to the point of inaction in the face of her possible death. There is also that other possible concealment regarding Lorca's new recruit of course, but that's something only hinted at so far.

Anyway, it's a nifty title for the episode since it does work in multiple fashions, covering all the main plot points yet allowing for the meaning to remain flexible enough in its interpretation to encompass it all.
posted by gusottertrout at 1:41 AM on October 26 [2 favorites]


Oh, and is it just me or does Admiral Cornwell remind anyone else of Dr. Bloom from Hannibal? There's a strong Fuller vibe around the Admiral which doesn't make that bedroom scene any more reassuring as it calls to mind some of Dr Bloom's rather unfortunate choices in partners.
posted by gusottertrout at 1:51 AM on October 26


perhaps because Shazad Latif, if he is playing dual roles, hasn't been seen as Voq recently, which removes him from having to differentiate his speaking patterns.

This is what I reckoned. Star Trek has a long history of actors playing multiple roles under makeup (including one one memorable occasion, two entirely unconnected alien races in one episode) so I figured that having all Voq's lines be guttural deliveries of things like qeylIS wovmoHwI' vItoy' throws viewers off the scent even more for trying to connect the actor(s) to the role(s).
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:54 AM on October 26 [2 favorites]


A continuity item relevant to this episode that has not yet, I think, been mentioned is the Vulcan Isolationist Movement from the fairly good TNG two-parter "Gambit."

I thought this to be the weakest individual DISCO :) episode since the first two, and yet it helps continue to ease me towards considering this to be actual Trek, possibly in part because it's yet another episode where an ambassador can't do his damn job and they have to bring in a sub (it happened to Sarek himself in TNG: "Sarek"). The soapy Admiral stuff likewise felt quite TNG, albeit with that satisfyingly dark Lorca undertone.

Story-wise and writing-wise, the conceit about Burnham entering Sarek's mind felt kind of clunky, like "we have to get some more Burnham-Sarek exposition in, so let's come up with a Vulcan mad-bomber dude to imperil Sarek and thereby necessitate a mind-meld." However, it led to some good character moments for Tilly and Tyler, and in particular, I've gotta say that even though the brain-combat between Sarek and Burnham was totally corny, it was also totally what Sarek would do.

I absolutely, completely thought that Mia Kirshner (who plays Amanda Grayson) was Amy Adams.

One more nitpick: it annoyed me that Sarek's landing-pad exchange was "Live long and prosper" / "And also with you" instead of what it's actually (*push-up-nerd-glasses*) SUPPOSED to be: "Peace and long life" / "Live long and prosper"

#morelikeCaptainPORKa
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 5:45 AM on October 26 [7 favorites]


Speaking of sooo Trek, I really got a kick out of Stamets being asked to build a Katra tracer and he's totally down with that and whips one out in a few hours. You couldn't ask for a more Treklike attitude towards tech than that.
posted by gusottertrout at 5:52 AM on October 26 [4 favorites]


P.S.: The fact that Tyler's first name is Ash? And Voq is an albino? Yeah, I'm placing my bet on "not a red herring."
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 6:29 AM on October 26 [1 favorite]


Can we all agree the delivery of the Klingon lines is awful?
No, Nelson, as you cannot tell the Klingons apart it is impossible to agree with any other opinion you may express about them, even when totally accurate.

By the way I would like to nominate this + associated clarification paragraph as best ever comment on any Star Trek thread wot I have heretofore read.
posted by glasseyes at 10:09 AM on October 26 [3 favorites]


"Live long and prosper" / "And also with you"

I blame the Catholics.
posted by glasseyes at 10:16 AM on October 26 [5 favorites]


I blame the Jedi.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:25 AM on October 26


Note to self: see what the Klingon language camp people think of this latest iteration of their language.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:34 AM on October 26 [1 favorite]


Mia Kirshner

I was actually struck by how her character design appeared in part intended to make her resemble Jane Wyatt in the role! In looking Amanda up I happened to notice that the role was portayed by Wyatt in ST IV, but was played by Cynthia Blaise for ST V, making it possible that Amanda is the first of the TOS characters to be recast.
posted by mwhybark at 11:05 AM on October 26


> Also: Dear OS X, please do not autocorrect 'Starfleet' to 'Starlet', or at least do so more obviously!

Standby, I need to ponder the implications of Starlet Academy.
posted by Sunburnt at 12:11 PM on October 26


Only because it was a younger flashback version of her in V.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 12:17 PM on October 26


That triggered a quick search through these threads to learn that, happily I think, the only mention of Sybok in them was in this bon mot from DevilsAdvocate in the first episode thread.
posted by mwhybark at 1:10 PM on October 26 [1 favorite]


Mia Kirshner

Also from Defiance. It bugged me until I caved and went to look it up.
posted by Kyol at 1:35 PM on October 26


I blame the Catholics.
posted by glasseyes at 2:16 on October 27 [2 favorites +] [!]


I blame the Jedi.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:25 on October 27 [+] [!]
LIFT UP YOUR HEARTS

WE LIFT THEM UP TO THE FORCE
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:08 PM on October 26 [5 favorites]


I just had a *headdesk* moment when I realized that the ending inverts "Journey to Babel": instead of Spock helping to save his father's life (via blood transfusion) and all of them apparently living happily ever after, Burnham helps save Sarek's life (via shuttle rescue) and...their relationship promptly implodes.
posted by thomas j wise at 5:43 PM on October 26 [2 favorites]


Can we all agree the delivery of the Klingon lines is awful?
posted by Nelson at 10:09 PM on October 25

No. Just, no. Did you watch the 'shall we uncouple' scene? That was hottt--in any language.
posted by jojo and the benjamins at 9:18 PM on October 26 [4 favorites]


Could be Kor.

Could also be someone else named Kor.

Star Trek tends to not give multiple characters the same name, but it could happen.


Colonel Worf in STVI - Kirk's and McCoy's defense attorney - is supposedly the grandfather of TNG/DS9 Worf, so there's precedent for reuse of names within Klingon houses.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:47 AM on October 27 [6 favorites]


I happened to notice that the role was portayed by Wyatt in ST IV, but was played by Cynthia Blaise for ST V, making it possible that Amanda is the first of the TOS characters to be recast.

There were four actors playing various versions of young Spock in STIII. Also if you're counting movie-only TOS characters, Robin Curtis as Saavik in STIII.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:52 AM on October 27 [2 favorites]


M-A on the House of Kor strongly implies that it was founded by a different, likely ancestral Kor than the ONE! TRUE! FUNNIEST! Kor.

Hmmm, young-actor recasts such as young Spock seem a bit of an edge case. On the other hand, Cynthia Blaise's scene appears to have been... a childbirth flashback? It's pretty much right there, in the Grayson son area.

(ducks)
posted by mwhybark at 2:08 AM on October 27


Yeah, the show is definitely toying with the idea that Tyler is a Klingon. In addition to Lorca's comment that Tyler "fights like a Klingon", mentioned above, there was the moment when Burnham shakes Tyler's hand and reacts strangely. It turned out that she was, uh, fainting from katra sickness, but initially I read her expression as confusion and surprise, as though she had sensed something odd add disconcerting about Tyler through some kind of magical Vulcan-trained touch telepathy or something. (Heck, maybe she did and that's why she was so insistent about shaking his hand a second time at the end of the episode, to take another crack at figuring out his weird vibes.) That shouldn't really be possible, but it was another moment that struck me as poking at the is-he-or-isn't-he thing.

> At this point it seems SO obvious that I really don't know

I'm pretty sure I would not have had an inkling about this unless I'd been reading these threads. My spouse is watching with me, free of spoilers and fan theories, and has no idea that this is a thing. I think some folks here are maybe overestimating the average viewer's ability to put things like this together without an Internet hive mind.

> the conflict with Sarek and Michael actually enriches what happens in canon (explains why Sarek was SO pissed that Spock went into Starfleet, beyond just Racism.)

Yeah, this was one of my favorite things here. Sarek's attitude toward Spock joining Starfleet was always a bit weird given Sarek's general prohumanism and reasonableness, but this episode retcons it brilliantly so that everything clicks into place.
posted by Syllepsis at 11:21 AM on October 28 [3 favorites]


When I saw the DISCO shirt I was really hoping for someone else to jog by wearing one with VERY on it. Possibly passing on the wrong side. That would be so very disco. :)

I can understand them not doing it on the show, as it would be a little too silly, but they should at least sell VERY t-shirts on the website along with the DISCO shirts, because "VERY DISCO" is just too good to pass up.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:24 AM on October 28 [1 favorite]


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