Star Trek: Discovery: Brother
January 18, 2019 9:38 AM - Season 2, Episode 1 - Subscribe

After answering a distress signal from the USS Enterprise, the USS Discovery welcomes aboard Captain Christopher Pike and begins a new mission to investigate the meaning behind seven mysterious red signals. Michael Burnham grapples with her past growing up on Vulcan with her foster parents and brother Spock.
posted by Automocar (71 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
I loved it, overall. Even though the redshirt bait & switch was telegraphed so hard my fillings started beeping morse-code.

Really strong first episode for this season. I'm glad that Pike made everyone sound off so we can finally put some names to bridge officers.
posted by mrjohnmuller at 9:56 AM on January 18 [10 favorites]


Heh. I was mid-post about this. Thank goodness for preview. Here's what I had:

Memory Alpha is a little thin at the time of posting, as might be expected from such a recently aired episode. Here are some details:

Cast
> Anson Mount is the fourth actor to portray the character of Christopher Pike. Jeffrey Hunter originated the role in TOS: "The Cage", Sean Kenney portrayed an older disfigured Christopher Pike in TOS: "The Menagerie, Part I" and TOS: "The Menagerie, Part II". Bruce Greenwood portrayed his alternate reality counterpart.
> Liam Hughes and Ethan Peck mark the most recent actors to portray the character of Spock. Leonard Nimoy originated the role in TOS: "The Cage", Actors Carl Steven, Vadia Potenza, Stephen Manley, and Joe W. Davis portrayed Spock at ages nine, thirteen, seventeen, and twenty-five in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, respectively. The young Spock from TAS: "Yesteryear" was voiced by Billy Simpson. Jacob Kogan portrayed Spock's alternate reality counterpart as a young boy, while Zachary Quinto portrayed alternate Spock as an adult.

Continuity
> This episode picks up where DIS: "Will You Take My Hand?" left off.

Memorable quotes
"I see where the Federation puts its pennies."
"Do not covet they neighbor's starship, commander. Besides, we've got the new uniforms."
"And lovely uniforms, they are. Captain."
"Very colorful."
- Nhan, Pike, Saru and Burnham

"I was expecting a red thing. Where's my damn red thing?"
- Christopher Pike after not seeing a mysterious red burst that he had been searching for

"Wherever our mission takes us, we'll try to have a little fun along the way, too, huh? Make a little noise? Ruffle a few feathers."
- Christopher Pike to Michael Burnham on Discovery's new mission

Log entries
"Personal log. As a child, I had what my mother called nightmares. She taught me to control my fear by drawing it, rendering fear powerless. The nightmares have returned. The same vision, again and again. I now understand its meaning and where it must lead me. In the event of my death, I have encoded it within this audio file. This may be my last entry aboard the Enterprise."

This Week In:
Pointless Star Trek Online Comparisons: Engineering officers routinely use autonomous drones and self-guided support equipment of various sorts in the MMO.

Poster's Log:
The S2 season premiere is upon us. As the show is ongoing, I have less to say about it than in the rewatch threads at this time. A couple thoughts, though:

* Watching the science officer die mid-mansplain was pretty fun.

Also, the guy mentioned a Caitian cadet in his abruptly abbreviated anecdote, so now I'm wondering if we'll see a live action one on DSC sometime.

* Not sure what to make of DSC Spock.

One the one hand, the holographic dragon scene and whatnot felt weird and jarring to me, and turning Spock into a big mystery is the same kind of dissonance I used to complain about with Sarek, IMO. On the other hand, Sarek seemed to fit in better during this episode than he did in S1, so maybe this will work out as the season progresses.

* Pike was fun.

I like DSC Pike, and their Enterprise was indeed suitably impressive. The mismatched uniforms were weird though.

* Still dubious about stuff with Stamets.

I appreciate that they haven't dropped that thread, and his reaction felt pretty realistic, but I'm still unhappy about his dead SO.

* Hooray for Tilly.

It was fun to see Tilly back. (She is also adorable in her guest spot in the MMO, and I guess there'll be more of her in a few days, when the new Pahvo content rolls out.)

* The engineer on the asteroid was awesome.

I especially loved the inversion of the whole 'I'm a doctor not an [x]' routine with the 'but you're an engineer' thing. As callbacks to TOS go, that was maybe my favorite yet.

Overall, I really liked this, and am psyched for the new season.
posted by mordax at 10:13 AM on January 18 [11 favorites]


I loved the first season. And I'm really looking forward to the new stuff. I'm glad this exists.

But. . . damn, there were just to many needling annoyances to really enjoy this ep, starting with the reddest redshirt in the history of redshirts. The science-officer story is Scooby-Doo level dialogue. Throwing in a captain who's tough and unlikable at first but comes around and earns our trust in 45 minutes? Really? Is this an unused MASH script they've picked out of the recycling bin? Throw in enough meaningless scibabble and just-in-time rescues that don't make any sense, and it's hard to remember the good parts.

I really like the show. The actors and the technical crew are amazing. But, the writing of this episode mostly makes me feel embarrassed as a viewer. And that's before we get into the "let's examine Spock's internal conflicts once again, 'cause it was so exciting when Sybok did it," part of the script.
posted by eotvos at 10:20 AM on January 18 [4 favorites]


(Further thought: I really want to plug Short Treks for anybody following DSC.)
posted by mordax at 10:22 AM on January 18 [2 favorites]


That was explode-y.

Like eotvos, I was not thrilled about this episode, because some of the writing and characterization was un-great. Like, how many ways can you possibly telegraph that the science officer is going to soon be deader than dead? (Although I got a chuckle about the implicit redshirt joke.) And I agree that Pike's integration with the crew was awfully cliched. Not sure what is up with Emo!BabySpock (I mean, we know that he had childhood issues, but I was expecting someone to show up and shout "Look at me, Damien. It's all for you!" if you know what I mean.)

That being said, there's an interesting echo of Burnham's story about the creation of the Milky Way in the way that Spock and Burnham "throw" the computer drawings, so let's see if that goes somewhere.

More positively: can we keep the engineer from the Hiawatha? And I LOLed at "Where's my damn red thing?"
posted by thomas j wise at 11:16 AM on January 18 [4 favorites]


I was pretty unmoved/unimpressed by the first season and I really liked this episode a lot. It actually had personality and moved. And the bridge roll call was perhaps the single most meta moment in Star Trek history.

I really really really hope that Jet Reno becomes the Discovery's chief engineer. Mostly because I love Tig Notaro.
posted by Automocar at 11:33 AM on January 18 [9 favorites]


Hm. I liked some of it, but it felt a little ... rushed. It felt like they were throwing waaaay too much stuff at the wall. Hopefully now that they've set things up, they'll slow down a little?

It *really* bothered me that not only did obviously-going-to-die-guy died, but no one seemed to care. At all. Even if he was a jerk, I'd expect "we leave no one behind!" Pike to at least give have a moment of silence for his homie there. Come on. The show was just, "oh, he's dead, too bad, no one liked him anyway byeeee!"

On the plus side:

Tilly. Always.

TIG NOTARO. I WILL WATCH HER IN ANYTHING.

Also liked Pike. In general, the character moments were quite good all around. Just .. Jeez, slow down, you don't need to blow up everything always all the time.
posted by kyrademon at 12:28 PM on January 18 [8 favorites]


I liked the quieter bits of this, but that was a lot of tension-less action: will Captain Pike, who has appeared in the future in ToS, die??? (He won't.)

- I liked Anson Mount's Pike, but I would have preferred if they had just let Saru stay in command, or given us some wholly-new captain; I am drastically unenthused with trying to tie so much of Discovery back to ToS.
- Likewise, I mostly tuned out everything to do with Spock; Burnham is a more compelling character to me when they give her space to be her own character and I was kind of disappointed with how much of her time in this episode ended up as Actually Spock Time. They really ran amok with those flashbacks, for a season-opener.
- Back to Pike: 'Starfleet sent me these orders, trust me' is, even with the DNA-testing aside, kind of a nonsense thing for Starfleet to be doing as protocol in the wake of both Lorca's impersonation and the entire Klingon-in-a-human-body thing.
- Did we ever get an explanation of why the Enterprise was so badly damaged? I don't remember one, but maybe I missed it; I get the real reason is 'to give them an excuse to put Pike on the show,' which is...fine. Not compelling, but fine.
- Also fine and not really compelling: seven mystery-box 'signals' that they can't scan, but know are 'red.' And that somehow instantly reach across the entire galaxy at the same time (?) despite the Enterprise being so far away on it's five-year mission that it couldn't make it back in time for a year-long war. (I think this also signals we're getting the spore drive back to be able to actually visit these signals, right?)
- Given that Saru already name-checked 'space-time distortions' as a possible reason for the signals, and they're (1) red, (2) involve some form of weird matter, and (3) somehow tie into Spock, I am fervently hoping this isn't some weird Red Matter tie-in to the Kelvin timeline. But if is, I totally called it.

Tig Notaro was great. The cast as a whole was great as always, and whenever they give them the time and space to do character stuff or crack jokes the show is fantastic. But the writing -- as in a lot of Season One -- was just crazily fast-paced and yet also padded out with lots of action shots. Why did the pod launch through a giant series of tubes? Why even have that pod-racing sequence? Why have a guy die during that and have...no real response to that from the crew? (Why did they have an FX shot of the exterior of the elevator going through a giant chasm within the ship?)

It's a really promising season opener, but all the stuff that was promising was exactly what they haven't been hyping up -- the high-stakes mystery box plot completely failed to grab me, but if you told me that they were going to do an entire ep that was just Commander Reno re-adjusting to peacetime non-stranded-on-an-asteroid life with Saru/Pike getting into a war of politeness over their shared command, I would be ecstatic. They have the core of a great show here; this season opener was -- okay.
posted by cjelli at 12:38 PM on January 18 [7 favorites]


Their felt like a lot of fury which didn't lead to a huge lot, it maybe has the potential for an interesting series but . They managed to make a mess of Tilly I thought, with her first over energetic scene, and didn't work their way back with her later appearance.

What was going on with (imdb tells me spelling) Cmdr Nhan? The way it was being pronounced made me think it was some sort of running together of number one (ie no. one) into a single word but maybe not. The science officer thing was clumsy and a bit disappointing. Which was another poissibiltiy to justify why blue boy was going to get it and not her.

Tig Notaro was meh and reeked of stunt casting.

I see Kurtzman directed, which might account for the very Abrams ST feel to the (overly) whizzy action sequence.

I liked that Stamets is still grieving over his lost love and thought that worked well, except that going on about opera as the single point of reference seemed slightly unconvincing.

My general takeaway was that I didn't know WTF was going on for a large part of the episode because there was too much going on, in a way that two pints beforehand doesn't account for.

On the upside though, ST: TMP font on the emergency sheets on the damaged ship, plus ST:TMP/ST:WoK yellow alert alarms, so that makes up for a lot.

Not sure where Saru was coming from with his hackles rising etc.

Would still like to know more about Detmer, Airiam and Owosekun. Would be happy to have that opened out more over the season.
posted by biffa at 2:27 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]


Given my general dislike of season one, I went in with low expectations and overall I enjoyed this episode quite a bit. There was some clunky dialogue, way too much action for a Star Trek episode - and I'm still not sure about putting Spock front-and-centre, even if offscreen for now.

But there seemed to be a better concentration on science, and figuring stuff out. The character scenes were better integrated into the episode story than last year. This felt a little bit like a soft reboot for the show, though hard to tell how much that will stick until we see more episodes.

I liked the fortune cookie fortune alluding to Pike's future in "The Cage" - but I'm really glad the recap that was on Netflix reminded me that Lorca had fortune cookies in his ready room because I would never have remembered that.
posted by crossoverman at 2:54 PM on January 18 [2 favorites]


All I'm saying is that if you're going on a space trip in a tiny landing pod maybe deploy your entire goddamn environmental suit before you even leave the Discovery, don't wait until you need to eject. That seems like a pretty basic safety rule.
Also there was a mention of a "red shirt" (the security officer) wasn't there? I guessed the science officer would die because having the red shirt die would have been too on the nose.
Finally, why were the bridge crew like "wait, if we're ready to transport... then... oh no the shields are down!!", like clearly they would know the shields were down so why the hell weren't they already in evasive manoeuvres given the amount of debris?

Anyway aside from that, I enjoyed it, although disappointed they're not keeping the Engineer/Doctor on crew. I love that she just bodged together a spare heart.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:00 PM on January 18 [4 favorites]


WHAT was with those Power Ranger outfits, hahaha -
i really like Anson Mount as Pike. i agree with all above the show needs to slow down, stop being so 'splodey and improve on the scripts. but i enjoyed it. Tilly is the best. kinda cool the women got to step up and save the day without it being patronizing. and yeah - please keep Tig Notaro. (but please improve the terrible dialogue.) i am really hoping Spock doesn't disappoint - that demon baby Spock was awful. but "grandson of Gregory Peck" holds promise...
posted by lapolla at 3:53 PM on January 18 [6 favorites]


Did we ever get an explanation of why the Enterprise was so badly damaged?

Only that it happened en-route to investigate the one signal that stayed lit. For some reason I was thinking that the system failures happened while they were trying to do a scan of it, but I just watched the scene again, and they don't indicate that the computers going haywire like a compass at the north pole when they tried was actually connected to the ship ending up getting disabled, and I only conflated the two in my mind.
posted by radwolf76 at 6:22 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]


I really hope Commander Best Name Ever Jet Reno sticks around. This ep felt like a two-parter squeezed into one though.
posted by sixswitch at 6:39 PM on January 18


we know that he had childhood issues, but I was expecting someone to show up and shout "Look at me, Damien. It's all for you!" if you know what I mean.

No, Gregory Peck was Damien’s father, not his grandfather.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:47 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]


I really hope Commander Best Name Ever Jet Reno sticks around.

Seconded. Tig Notaro has an unforced charisma, and is someone who can actually bring the funny. ST has in general been notoriously bad when it tries to be funny, and while my fandom days are mostly decades behind us now, when I try to recall actual professional comedians appearing on Star Trek, I get to one name: Joe Piscopo. My brain then goes into vapour lock.

I mean, I suppose we did see Sarah Silverman and Andy Dick in Voyager and Whoopi Goldberg was in TNG. And Brent Spiner comes across as pretty funny, but I dunno if he has ever done standup.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:02 PM on January 18 [2 favorites]


I loved Pike. I can see some merit in the complaints that he was accepted too quickly. But, from the first moment we see Pike on the transporter, his entire deal is being open, honest, and straightforward in a difficult situation. I guess more pushback from the Disco crew could have been interesting but I honestly found their acceptance of him (Detmer's smile!) refreshing and more than a little heartwarming. I'm kinda just glad it's not all doom and gloom. Maybe I'm a sucker.

Speaking of being a sucker, I honestly didn't see the science officer death coming. I was actually getting prematurely mad because I thought the female redshirt with barely any lines was the one who was going to get it. I certainly get the dismay at not giving more time to mourn that character. I definitely imagined the speech Picard would have given to the D crew about the sacrifices we make to learn more about the universe... blah blah blah... but Disco isn't TNG, and I don't want it to be. I'm fine if it's a little flippant and cute.

As for the Abrams-ification of the show with the big whiz-bang action setpieces, I quite like them. Seeing human figures in danger while zooming through through space (in a spacesuit, or in a pod) has become a staple of this show's visual and storytelling language. It's not much different to me than when the crew of other Trek shows having a phaser battle in a papier-mâché cave. It's mostly there to provide some action and excitement and possibly move the plot along. The difference is that they have a budget and it looks damn good. Don't get me wrong, there are some great model shots on TNG and DS9 that I love, but they just couldn't do what they can do on Disco.

Tig Notaro was a damn delight. I'm glad she's in something I'm watching, because I wasn't really able to get into her show One Mississippi. She delivered the technobabble with panache and made the lines interesting and funny but not in a cheesy way. (On preview, you forgot Jason Alexander on Voyager too. Atrocious.)

All that being said, I have none interest in the big mystery of the season. That's the Abrams style shit I can't stand. As for Spock I'll wait and see. I wonder if his portrayal will be something closer to the Spock we see in the pilot for the original series. Less logical, more emotional.

Also, I reserve the right to dislike all of the things I mentioned above if they become overused or cheesy.
posted by runcibleshaw at 7:20 PM on January 18 [3 favorites]


Liked the statement about math. Otherwise, terrible. To Doctor Whoeey, Abramsimy for my taste. I'm done.
posted by juiceCake at 8:53 PM on January 18


I'm into it. It's definitely not the Kelvin timeline but I remain unconvinced we're in the ToS timeline here. I'm not obsessive enough to point out specific instances, but it feels like there have been at least a few instances where they've operated way beyond ToS and even TNG technology levels.
posted by jordemort at 9:49 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]


Mrs Clanger and I are firmly in the 'enjoyed it' camp; it was a bit diffuse in terms of plot, but that's because it's clearly setting up a story arc for this season.

Yes, Lt Mansplain's demise was telegraphed very blatantly, but then DSC has form for this; I recall DoctorFedora's comment on S01E09:

"Oh man, Stamets, though. He may as well have been a week from retirement and just bought a yacht named the Live Forever for all the heaping-it-on-thick they were doing there."

I quite liked the near-TOS costumes, although given that we've been shown that uniforms are replicated as needed, wouldn't everyone wake up one day to find a uniform update waiting for them? My rationalisation: Starfleet has been trialing the new uniform design on a subset of ships or personnel, which is what happens in real life. And for real continuity pedants, that would explain why the uniforms aren't quite the ones that Pike and the Enterprise crew were supposedly wearing a couple of year earlier during the events of 'The Cage' or the flashbacks in 'The Menagerie'; evidently Starfleet are tinkering with the uniform update.

Talking of continuity though, I had wondered if Cdr Nhan was meant to be Number One, Pike's first officer in 'The Cage'. However, a bit of online searching indicates (avoiding details because of possible spoilers) that this is not the case.

It was nice to have an ensemble acknowledgment of the rest of the bridge crew, although we still haven't been told much about Lt-Cdr Airiam. I wonder if it's significant that when Pike tells the bridge crew to name off and "skip the ranks", Airiam still uses hers?
posted by Major Clanger at 5:04 AM on January 19 [4 favorites]


I liked the episode well enough, but of course I'm still going to complain about two things:

1. This show is too asplodey for a Trek show. It's certainly not as bad as the Abrams films – but toward the end of the episode, I was like "I have no idea why this incredibly tense action sequence is even happening". (Granted, I was sort of half-watching for part of the episode. So maybe that's on me.)

2. Every new Trek show says "this is going to be a fresh new take on the Trek universe! we're going to explore new ideas!". And then, every new Trek show finds a way to shoehorn in Spock, or the Enterprise, or some other fan-favorite thing from the past.

And I love Spock, of course – but I really don't need to see the 17th iteration of The Adventures of Young Spock or Spock in an Alternate Timeline or whatever. Enough Spock. Enough Enterprise.

But. I'm still into the show.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 5:29 AM on January 19 [7 favorites]


I enjoyed it, having forgotten pretty much everything from season 1. Tilly was great, and I had no idea Tig Notaro was going to be involved in this, so this was a delight.
I don't care much for the overarching plot, I thought the strongest part of the episode was the sequence from the launch pods to the getting of the asteroid.
I'm more into it than I thought I'd be.
posted by motdiem2 at 6:29 AM on January 19


Discovery's course correction due to the Orville is I think mostly an improvement, though some of the humor felt forced; especially Tilley at the beginning. And several cutaways from some (too much CGI) action sequence to other characters for some humerous exchange and back, felt out of place for Trek.

But Tilley barking orders to engineering, and Stamets's reaction managed to be both laugh out loud and an important moment on her arc so far.
posted by joeyh at 11:33 AM on January 19 [1 favorite]


We liked it. I was literally in the middle of complaining about the damn asteroid pod race when it actually managed to capture my attention, something action sequences mostly do not.

Isn't it 100% obvious we are not in the TOS timeline? This Enterprise is not the same physical design, the uniforms differ, they have better suit tech (what is up with those helmets? nanoreplicators?)...

I mean, there's something to be said for being able to take common windscreen mesh and glittery orange fabric and turning that into a pressure suit that can drift between dimensions, but self erecting helmets is a whole nother banana tree.

After, I threw on The Menagerie to revisit Jeffery Hunter's Captain Pike and was reminded of what an interesting and remarkable person Susan Oliver was and that Hunter had the second lead in The Searchers, a role that seems to have informed his casting in the pilot. Both Hunter and Oliver died very much before their time - Hunter in 1969 and Oliver in 1990. Mount's Pike is more fun than Hunter's Pike.
posted by mwhybark at 11:49 AM on January 19 [1 favorite]


Yeah, if I have a complaint with the current Trekiverse in general it's that there doesn't really seem to be a reason for these to be prequel shows. Ok, if it were truly the Kelvin timeline (which I gather there's uncertainty about, vis-a-vis Vulcan still existing, I guess? Or maybe we're still before that? I haven't gone looking into the canon yet, and I haven't watched the 2009 movie lately), I suppose you could say "hey, this is just building on the current world we've developed, which just happens to have a lot of familiar names" but if they're plotting an entirely new _third_ universe, why? What does that get them? I mean, if they're willing to modernize the design anyway (which I don't have a problem with), they could've modernized past the beige TNG future too. Was it that post-TNG Starfleet / Federation of Planets got to be too much of a debate society, so they couldn't tell the punched up dramas they wanted to tell? I guess?

Don't get me wrong, I like it enough, I'm excited for Michelle Yeoh's Section 31 spinoff, I'll watch Patrick Stewart read a phone book dramatically, bring it all on. But did we really need to reset the canon to tell these stories?

And yeah, seconding the Short Trek minisodes, they were all interesting little character studies. And exactly what I love about the current state of the Trek universe. We can have 15-20 minute episodes with limited characters and extended story, and it's interesting.
posted by Kyol at 2:03 PM on January 19 [5 favorites]


maybe we're still before that

I *think* that's the case. Pre K/S, for sure.

Seems like maybe the show runners at one point claimed they were in TOS-Prime (alpha?) but I don't buy that for one retconned minit. I mean, even when Discovery found info tying the Empire to Hoshi Sato and the lost Intrepid, that constitution-class ship was shown with differing hull, pylon, and nacelle designs from TOS-Prime's ship.

Granted, I can absolutely live with the idea of different actors portraying given characters (Spok, Kirk, Pike, whoever) and don't see that as determinative of a different timeline. But boy, mess with my hardware, bub, and I'm on board the USS Multiverse so fast I'm in two places at once.
posted by mwhybark at 3:16 PM on January 19


So substantive to the episode, if one thing stuck in my craw, it was that somehow either the Hiawatha crashed into a factory complex, or suddenly it was a much bigger ship than it seemed, because Michael's run to safety was going through some awfully typical Sci-Fi Factory Space.
posted by Kyol at 3:43 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


This cast interview on BUILD includes a lovely discussion of the meaning and use of science fiction from Anson Mount (from 21:55), the whole thing is very charming.
posted by Coaticass at 5:14 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


All I'm saying is that if you're going on a space trip in a tiny landing pod maybe deploy your entire goddamn environmental suit before you even leave the Discovery, don't wait until you need to eject. That seems like a pretty basic safety rule.

Space OSHA will get right on that after they notice that starship chairs could have maybe used seat belts for the past 50+ years of media productions.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 6:32 PM on January 19 [9 favorites]


Also, uhh, it's nice to know Anson Mount has a voice I guess? So there's that.
posted by Kyol at 6:52 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


According to Memory Alpha, season one of Discovery was in 2256 while the Kelvin timeline was branched off during the initial appearance of the Narada when it destroyed the USS Kelvin in 2233 (when James Kirk was born), so we're well past that here.

The main action of the reboot movie, including the destruction of Vulcan and the initial launch of the Enterprise, occurred in 2258. In the prime universe, Memory Alpha gives 2245 as the Enterprise's launch, which generally fits better with Disco's Enterprise.

I've seen fan theories that suggested the temporal war plotline from Archer's Enterprise series could have kicked off an earlier timeline split, from which both the Kelvin and Disco timelines were born. (Though you'd still run into the issue that the Defiant that the mirror universe Archer and Hoshi found was clearly the TOS version of the Constitution class, so whatever....)
posted by Pryde at 9:11 PM on January 19 [2 favorites]


Was was it me, or did Sarek's house have a lot of wood in it?
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:53 PM on January 19


My wife was grumbling about both the house and the landscape outside. It didn't help that we're in the middle of the Vulcan arc on Enterprise where Vulcan is depicted entirely differently.
posted by Kyol at 11:04 PM on January 19 [2 favorites]


So I figured that the fortune cookie fortune was foreshadowing of Pike's adventure in "The Cage" but according to Memory Alpha, that episode was set before this episode, so he's already been to Talos IV the first time - which I'm happy about, since I was worried we might see a remake of that episode or something. He'll, of course, go back to Talos IV in a wheelchair later.
posted by crossoverman at 2:25 AM on January 20


My wife was grumbling about both the house and the landscape outside. It didn't help that we're in the middle of the Vulcan arc on Enterprise where Vulcan is depicted entirely differently.

I have zero problem with this, because one of my pet peeves has always been the tendency of science fiction to depict alien planets as monoclimates. Like, Vulcan is a big planet--of course not all of it is going to look the same.
posted by Automocar at 10:17 AM on January 20 [7 favorites]


Also, uhh, it's nice to know Anson Mount has a voice I guess? So there's that.

Damn I think I had managed to repress Inhumans. I had sort of the opposite problem, I associate him first with Hell on Wheels (great show! and it has Colm Meaney as a scenery-chewing bad guy!) so when literally his first line was about "back in the Mojave" I kinda wondered if they had somehow typecast him as an Old West cowboy, but in space this time. Jury's still a little bit out on that for now, but at least he's about 800% more cheerful than he ever got to be in HoW. Or Inhumans for that matter, since you had to go and bring it up.
posted by mstokes650 at 11:09 AM on January 20


Sarek’s home is a moderately well-known Toronto house, the Integral House.
posted by sixswitch at 12:13 PM on January 20 [6 favorites]




Sarek’s home is a moderately well-known Toronto house, the Integral House.
I thought so! I've been in that house a couple of times and it looked familiar.

I liked the episode; loved Tig Notaro. I'm hopeful that we'll see more development of the crew this season. Previous Treks have been more of an ensemble and I miss that.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 4:14 PM on January 20


I think getting hung up on the tech in this series as opposed to the old is missing a key point:  the difference in tech is more or less irrelevant.  It's set dressing.  It will never match up to TOS because to enslave ourselves to a half-century old version of the future makes absolutely no sense.  It's there to serve the story; the story doesn't serve the tech.  They've made plenty of nods, from the basic cut and colors of the outfits to the shape of the Enterprise nacelles, and in my eyes, that's plenty good enough.  I'm watching something filmed and created in the 21st century, not the 1960s.  

I've said it before, but I think it bears repeating: it helps (me,anyway, YMMV) to think of various iterations of Star Trek the same way I would various productions of a well known play.   The set doesn't matter, it's the story.   So this Enterprise looks a little different, so what?   It's just a new stage prop.  Do I see two nacelles?  The old pie-plate and popsicle sticks design?  Good enough, slap an NCC-1701 on it and let's get on with the story.  Same for half the little tech anachronisms.  Computer voices were always depicted as laughably mechanical, but now—today—they sound far more natural.  Are we going to insist they resurrect the old machine voice just to make it fit?   No, that would be silly.  I'm a little disappointed they sound machine-like at all, TBH.  I suspect computers will be indistinguishable from human voices in our lifetime, much less in several hundred years.   You, of course, do not have to agree with any of this.  This is Star Trek after all.   IDIC.

Was it just me, or did it sound like Peck was borrowing that distinctive cadence that Nimoy and Lenard used for their Vulcans? I hope so. Tim Russ did it really well too, and I always thought it must be fascinating to perform your craft through a restraint such as that. That measured delivery always seemed a nicely subtle way to get across how the Vulcan character differed from humans. And it always struck me that an actor might find it an interesting challenge to put your stamp on a character while deliberately muting both your facial and vocal emotional range.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 5:33 PM on January 20 [23 favorites]


Well, fair enough, Señor Pantalones.

I'm fortunate enough to live in one of the places where classic TOS has actually been portrayed by an indie troupe (Trek in the Park, Seattle, the command leads are portrayed by women in an ultra budget setting with live musical accompaniment. It's fantastic).

So abandoning FX and CGI and every element of hardware is actually not necessarily a problem for me, *except when it's in the commercial broadcast property.* When I see YA new ship design I literally roll my eyes, in part because it's merch marketing. I do want to note that my favorite Treks beyond TOS and TNG are fanseries, with special attention to Star Trek Continues, which is a mimetic 5th season of TOS.

I'll resist your commentary on computer voices, too, btw - that's just a recast role that was originally and continuously voiced by Majel Barrett until she passed away. So I don't hear it as a tech-swap.
posted by mwhybark at 7:27 PM on January 20 [1 favorite]


Ok, y'alls convinced me; this is yet another universe past a different 'brane.

You've got the TOS->TNG->DS9etc. universe.

Then there's a TOS/TNG/DS9 that shares a "mirror universe."

Whether that shared mirror universe is also shared with DSC is debatable, but prime* DSC is in a completely different 'brane from TOS/TNG/DS9.

JJ Abram's movie ST is in yet another completely different (and totally lame) 'brane.


*in the show 'Counterpart,' its implied that the universe that is most congruent with the viewer's is called "alpha" and the splinter(?)/alternate world is called "prime," which is counterintuitive to me
posted by porpoise at 7:52 PM on January 20 [2 favorites]


No, you're absolutely spot-on about the voice of Majel Barrett, but I was thinking of TOS, that really artificial mechanical-sounding computer voice they had her using initially. The new series would have to go pretty severely backwards to recreate that sound.

Trek in the Park sounds fun. I'll have to keep an eye out for them. Looks like their favorite location is only a couple miles from my apartment.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 7:57 PM on January 20 [1 favorite]


I'm not completely sure why, but I expected Pike to, well, be a complete piker but he seems competent and not a flagrant asshole.

I really enjoyed the intro.

Big fan of Tig Notaro. Excited to see more of Yeoh.

mordax "I especially loved the inversion of the whole 'I'm a doctor not an [x]' routine with the 'but you're an engineer' thing. As callbacks to TOS go, that was maybe my favorite yet."

Yes, I loved that sooo much! That always kind of bugged me about Bones - but I could see how it was a product of it's time - but scientists/ engineers/ and-indeed-doctors are problem solvers in general and first and shouldn't be limited by the artificially set limits of their professions.

Although I guess Bones usually got things taken care of, despite his complaining.
posted by porpoise at 8:02 PM on January 20


So speaking of tech and whatnot - do we think the transporter tech was wearing a proto-VISOR? And is Detmer's Super Blue eye a bionic replacement (matching her silvery exowhatsit), and what does the availability of bionics mean for VISORs?
posted by Kyol at 8:14 PM on January 20


do we think the transporter tech was wearing a proto-VISOR?

I took it as a definite homage from production people, if not necessarily an in-universe predecessor -- but possibly a predecessor.

And is Detmer's Super Blue eye a bionic replacement (matching her silvery exowhatsit), and what does the availability of bionics mean for VISORs?

Bionics were always an option - just, as with the medicine of today, an option with pros and cons that different from other options:
PULASKI: It's possible to install optical devices which look like normal eyes, and would still give you about the same visual range as the visor.
LAFORGE: You say almost. How much reduction?
PULASKI: Twenty percent.
And that's leaving aside the First Contact-bionics.
posted by cjelli at 8:37 PM on January 20 [5 favorites]


So really, Geordi was a VISOR hipster. The highest highs, the lowest lows, that warm feel you can't get from a bionic eye.
posted by Kyol at 9:15 PM on January 20 [6 favorites]


Oops, Trek in the Park was PDX, my bad. SEA's version was Outdoor Trek. I guess TitP has hung it up; Outdoor Trek appears to be pursuing other franchises.
posted by mwhybark at 9:56 PM on January 20


I don't really mind the updated look and feel of Disco's technology either, but I did enjoy the way DS9 and Enterprise both paid homage to the look and feel of TOS on a couple of occasions.
posted by Pryde at 9:58 PM on January 20


... the difference in tech is more or less irrelevant. It's set dressing. It will never match up to TOS because to enslave ourselves to a half-century old version of the future makes absolutely no sense. It's there to serve the story; the story doesn't serve the tech.

... think of various iterations of Star Trek the same way I would various productions of a well known play. The set doesn't matter, it's the story. So this Enterprise looks a little different, so what? It's just a new stage prop. Do I see two nacelles? The old pie-plate and popsicle sticks design? Good enough, slap an NCC-1701 on it and let's get on with the story.

I wish I could set this entire comment in 144 pt Impact, put it on a billboard by a major highway interchange, and illuminate it with searchlights.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 4:17 AM on January 21 [7 favorites]


Surprised no one here has talked about the B plot, Ensign Tilly's capturing of the asteroid. It felt like a weird tacked on thing at the end. But it was important because it was Tilly's very first command. And she did great! I love how, well, girly she is in everything and how that's just fine, one of her great strengths. And plenty strong and decisive and smart when it's called for too.

I thought this episode was fun. I liked the energy and sparkle of it, it was exciting. Then again I liked the Abrams Trek too, well except for the Space Bees. I liked the quiet contemplative Short Treks too. More Trek, is what I'm saying.
posted by Nelson at 1:14 PM on January 21 [2 favorites]


I agree with the person who said that we really don't need them to keep hitting us over the head with retconned SPOCK and PIKE and yadda yadda from TOS or TNG or whatever. Like, just be your own show for fucksakes. No one was impressed to learn that Anakin apparently made C3PO as a child, it was so cringe. It hasn't changed since then. Please stop doing this. You're a fine show on your own, DISCO, just be you. yanno?
posted by some loser at 1:25 PM on January 21 [9 favorites]


Show of hands, how many people were stoked to learn that we might get to see what Spock looked like or sounded like as a child? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
posted by some loser at 1:26 PM on January 21


Surprised no one here has talked about the B plot, Ensign Tilly's capturing of the asteroid. It felt like a weird tacked on thing at the end. But it was important because it was Tilly's very first command.

Yes!
And also important, because it's clearly Chekov's Season-arc asteroid!
posted by coriolisdave at 1:38 PM on January 21 [4 favorites]


Wow, tough room. I wasn't dismayed so much by Lt. Mansplain's death being telegraphed (it was foreshadowed, in retrospect) so much as it seemed to be a repeat of Spock's story from Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Spock is going on leave from Starfleet, maybe permanently, so the Enterprise gets a replacement science officer, but they have an accident en route. [Mild content warning for, well, it's a transporter accident, although not as bad as the one in The Fly.] And then Spock comes back, troubled by some sort of psychic contact with... something. Something... out there. Something, you know, menacing. They may serve up some surprises and it may yet be quite different from TMP, but that's not how it's being sold in the season preview.

Regardless, it was pretty good. I do like this version of Pike the best, I think, and Notaro's Jet Reno would be great even if she weren't named Jet Reno. Great bits with Tilly and Stamets, and I hope that the intro of the bridge crew means that we'll get to see/know more of them, especially Detmer. (I wouldn't mind seeing a Short Trek of her post-Shenzhou that maybe talked about her adapting to her prosthetic and getting on board Discovery.) Also looking forward to seeing what that fortune left in the ready room means.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:14 PM on January 21 [4 favorites]


I thought this episode was great! I thought the humour, conversations between characters and pacing of the episode was vastly improved from season 1. I care about these characters! Pike has chemistry with everyone! The story is engaging and less doom and gloom! The bridge crew had lines!

Introduce the colour uniforms to Discovery and I’ll be quite content.
posted by liquorice at 3:08 AM on January 22


Show of hands, how many people were stoked to learn that we might get to see what Spock looked like or sounded like as a child? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Considering that the last time television addressed Spock in his childhood, the episode "Yesteryear" from Star Trek: The Animated Series, that episode went on to be consistently listed as the most popular of their two seasons, was explicitly granted canonical status by both Roddenberry and the Okudas during the era when it was first decided that TAS should be treated as non-canon (the only episode to merit this exception), got the series nominated for an Emmy, and established many concepts that would be revisited in later Trek, I know I was actually quite interested in getting another glimpse into Spock's life from that era, and I suspect that I might not be the only one.
posted by radwolf76 at 5:20 AM on January 22 [4 favorites]


Sooooo... everyone's forgotten that Star Trek '09 had Young Spock (throwing down with racist Vulcan kids) in between Kirk being born and stealing his stepdad's Corvette?
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:28 AM on January 22 [3 favorites]


I think getting hung up on the tech in this series as opposed to the old is missing a key point: the difference in tech is more or less irrelevant. It's set dressing.

IMNSHO, while the actors of the TOS were looking a nixie tubes, film slides, and rear-projection screens, they were clearly talking about information-rich, dynamic, and complex computer interfaces that could display whatever handwavium they needed in the moment. In fact, I think the pilot introduced both the viewscreen and the handheld computer. The 80s sets quietly retconned the Enterprise bridge to a 360-degree panopticon of (simulated) CRT screens, glowing buttons, and early "computer" animation. So I argue that what we see on the screen is just now catching up to the human-computer interactions described in TOS and that updates to the set designs have been a thing since the movies.

I'm still a bit on the fence on this, largely because I think large parts of Season 1 were an exercise in gratuitous grimdark. There's a bit of that still here, but the story of an engineer who went down with the ship rather than abandon its most critically injured is a nice change. It combines two of my favorite missed opportunities of the Star Trek universe, the hospital in space show that never got off the ground, and Starfleet Corps of Engineers which is in the written fiction universe.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 7:28 AM on January 22 [3 favorites]


Sooooo... everyone's forgotten that Star Trek '09 had Young Spock (throwing down with racist Vulcan kids) in between Kirk being born and stealing his stepdad's Corvette?

That scene was a remake/homage to a similar scene from Yesteryear. The TAS version had less punching though. But that's why I specified "the last time television" dealt with kid Spock, specifically because of that scene. (And I suppose Star Trek III, which isn't particularly relevant, since GenesisWave Spock's childhood was vastly accelerated, and sorely lacking in Vulcan cultural context.)
posted by radwolf76 at 8:17 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


I ended up watching all of ToS in the space between Disco seasons, and trying to reconcile a very 1960s episodic adventure show with a 21st century idea of continuity just is going to make your head hurt. It's much better to follow the prime directive of pretending that half the cinematic works didn't really happen, and learn to roll with changes in production design every iteration.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 2:04 PM on January 22 [3 favorites]


Of course, the title of the episode must certainly refer to Sybok as well, a hearty fan-favorite we all look forward to seeing in future childhood flashbacks of the past household of Sarek and Amanda.
posted by mwhybark at 2:32 PM on January 22 [6 favorites]


What is it with the brain dead scripts we've been getting from SF shows lately? You mean to tell me they can't find a science advisor anywhere? Like, why does ultraviolet light cause the parts of a chopped up Dalek to migrate in space and time, which further causes it to return to life? That makes no sense! Why not just have it desiccated and self-mummified like a tardigrade, then have someone accidentally spill a glass of water on it and have it reactivate? That would make sense, scientifically.
And here, in this show, where a shuttle craft is "too dangerous" so instead they take a joy ride through an asteroid field in what appear to be delicate hand-blown glass spheres with rockets attached? I'm so sick of the "cracked windshield" thing, which they would have laughed at in 1960s Trek. Just replace the glass with a goddamn forcefield already! Here's an idea, Captain "my space helmet is stuck" Pike, put the goddamn helmet on before you leave the Discovery. Why did they even bring RedShirt/BlueShirt guy along if he couldn't follow orders? How did he even rise that high in the ranks? And what were the senior officers doing flying those snow-globe things?
Why didn't they just spend the money on a cool shuttlecraft set that they could reuse instead? Classic Trek was VERY good at amortizing nice sets and effects over a whole season. So they get to the asteroid and the castaway lady has single-handedly build some flying robots. Maybe they can use those robots to deliver some pattern enhancers down to the asteroid next time this happens? Or remote fly the glass spheres down with a pattern enhancer in each sphere? Or build a few "pattern enhancer" missiles designed to deliver them? And when are we going to ditch all these prequels that the studio shirts/money people are obsessed with? Hint: Star Trek fans have NEVER liked them! Enterprise / New Trek / Discovery have, on the balance, all failed creatively and financially, because they were based on a premise (sentimental revisit of the past) that works great for one episode, not so much for a series/franchise. Thanks for letting me get that out of my system!
posted by jabah at 4:42 AM on January 23 [7 favorites]


I want to believe that the thing between Michael and Spock isn't another stupid pon farr script, but given how they handled rape last season...
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 11:51 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Comrade Doll has been greeting every appearance of young Spock in the flashbacks by singing "Baby Spock! Doot doo doot doot doot doo! Baby Spock!"
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:19 PM on January 25 [4 favorites]


soundcloud (or smiliar) or dint hapn

Doot doo doot
posted by mwhybark at 9:50 PM on January 25


Does any one know if the minisodes have been made available in the UK at all? Not on Netflix and don't appear to be on YouTube.
posted by biffa at 6:49 AM on January 26


The minisodes should be on UK Netflix (as of late Jan. 2019), under the 'trailers & more' heading for Discovery proper, rather than listed separately.
posted by cjelli at 7:20 AM on January 26 [3 favorites]


They are! Brilliant! Thanks cjelli, that's new ep and these to watch tonight!
posted by biffa at 9:03 AM on January 26


I'm late to the DISCO party here, having temporarily closed my All Access down following the disappointing second Mudd episode.

I disagree with the common opinion in this thread re: too explode-y. It's a season opener! Trek has always tried (note my phrasing there) to "go big" in season openers, even moreso in soft reboot season openers. And here, I thought the whiz-bang action was at least presented more-or-less logically and definitely interestingly. One thing I like about this show's goodly number of original characters (and double that number for Mirror duplicates) is that, most of the time, I have no idea what the next arc of any character's story is going to be. That's new to Trek; not even DS9 could say that, really.

But I share the concern about integrating too many Characters We Know the Fates Of. And the distaste for the writing in this one—it was at times starkly infantile, compared with much of season 1.

I don't really mind the updated look and feel of Disco's technology either, but I did enjoy the way DS9 and Enterprise both paid homage to the look and feel of TOS on a couple of occasions.

Mostly agree. I think the Pike-crew uniforms are a perfect sweet spot between update and homage. (Why CAN'T stuff be colorful, Michael? Bring on the color!) And yet, at seemingly random times, I seem to get surprisingly irritated by tech updates. The helmets was one such moment. In summary, nu-Trek is a land of contrasts.

we really don't need them to keep hitting us over the head with retconned SPOCK and PIKE and yadda yadda from TOS or TNG or whatever. Like, just be your own show for fucksakes. No one was impressed to learn that Anakin apparently made C3PO as a child, it was so cringe. It hasn't changed since then. Please stop doing this. You're a fine show on your own, DISCO, just be you. yanno?

It's possible CBS is worried about getting enough viewers and decided to inject some Stuff We Know You Like. OTOH, how was this show NOT going to involve Spock at some point, even peripherally? But yes, I do have some concern about his apparently major role in how the season will unfold. Maybe this is just season-premiere-itis, and the show (of which I have seen only up to this point so far) will feel more like itself again before too long.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 5:31 AM on February 8


Anyone else think that black and white Saturn footage with Michael's voiceover was a new intro sequence?
posted by vibratory manner of working at 12:21 PM on February 11 [5 favorites]


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