Star Trek: Discovery: Saints of Imperfection
February 15, 2019 11:35 AM - Season 2, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Stamets has a plan to save Tilly.

Memory Alpha has some details:

Memorable quotes
"All personnel, this is Captain Pike. Starfleet... is a promise. I give my life for you; you give your life for me. And nobody gets left behind. Ensign Sylvia Tilly is out there, and she has every right to expect us. We keep our promises. Please report to your stations in designated safe zones in the starboard section. Good luck, and Godspeed to us all."
- Christopher Pike, to the crew of the Discovery

"Mr. Stamets, are you ready to execute this very bold, deeply insane plan of yours?"
- Christopher Pike, to Paul Stamets

Background information
Continuity
> This episode picks up where DIS: "An Obol for Charon" left off.
> This episode reveals that Nhan has become chief of security for the Discovery. Nhan is the third character to hold the position after Ellen Landry and Ash Tyler.
> This episodes shows the earliest use of a combadge.
> This episode reveals that Hugh Culber had been trapped in the Mycelial plane since his death (DIS: "Despite Yourself").

Cast and Characters
> This episode marks the first time all season 2 main cast members appear in an episode and are credited during the opening sequence. Additionally, Michelle Yeoh receives her usual "Special Guest Star" credit alongside the main cast.
posted by mordax (45 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Poster's Log:
A lot of interesting stuff going on.

* The background stuff is funny.
I heard someone mention Hyronalin in the background during the episode, on the shipwide announcements.

* Glad they didn't wait any longer to resurrect Culber.
I still feel like killing him off in the first place was a misstep, if only for doing it before really establishing what the show was about. (This is similar to my complaint about making Burnham a mutineer in the premiere, rather than letting us get to know and trust her first.)

* Everyone knowing about Section 31 seems off.
In DS9, the very existence of Section 31 was in question. Unlike counterpart intelligence services like the Obsidian Order or Tal Shiar, they'd managed to keep themselves completely off the radar. That makes it pretty weird for everyone to know what their comm badges look like in DSC, and have Cornwell openly talking about the need for something like them.

That said, watching a Federation cruiser decloak was pretty cool.

* This was a pretty Trek story.
My favorite thing about Star Trek is the focus on diplomacy. Tilly agreeing to help May, then everyone managing to talk May into saving Culber was pretty great.

* Being Chief Security Officer of DSC seems like a bad career move.
They're going through Chiefs the way Hogwarts goes through Dark Arts profs. I hope Nhan sticks around, or this'll be a running cliche, like transporter accidents in TOS or shuttle crashes in VOY.

Anyway, liked this one pretty well despite my concerns.
posted by mordax at 11:44 AM on February 15 [9 favorites]


Everyone knowing about Section 31 seems off.

I suppose you could handwave this by arguing that at some future date, Section 31 was "officially" disbanded, only to be secretly rebanded.

Good that Culber is back from the dead, but this is the second time in a row that they've extracted Great Quantities of Angst from a death scene that isn't one. The solution to the problem was a bit rushed, I felt--pacing is still a problem.
posted by thomas j wise at 1:19 PM on February 15 [4 favorites]


Third time in two episodes if you count the Tilly's disappearance int he opening.
posted by cardboard at 1:29 PM on February 15 [4 favorites]


I really liked this episode. I thought that the pacing was much better. They still crammed in lots of stuff, but somehow it felt as if the subplots were complementing each other rather than competing for space. At the end I thought "that was a satisfying story" rather than "I wish they had spent more time on X instead of Y, and why was Z even there?".

I like the interplay between Pike and Leland, and was delighted to see Cornwell again. And I shamelessly love both AshVoq and the Emperor, so all reservations about the handling of Section 31 aside I'm always glad to see them.
posted by confluency at 1:57 PM on February 15 [3 favorites]


I am super glad they brought Hugh back. I am very strongly reminded of my mycelial hypothesizing last year when I asserted that the mycelial network was akin to fairy roads and that the (then hypothetical, now canon) mycelial universe was akin to Faery.

I was very, very, very unhappy with the reintroduction, inevitable as it was, of Section 31. Yeoh dominated the screen in every scene she was in, of course, and it's surely understandable that Paramount would like her to take center stage. But I HATE Section 31. I have hated them since they were foolishly inserted into DS9. They literally turn the entire idea of the UFP into a flat-out lie. They are the Enemy.

I'm happy to see they figured out how to get Tyvoq back on the ship, though.

I remain delighted with Captain Pike, both as written and performed. It's something of a new look for a Trek captain although he is clearly drawing on aspects of Kirk's character as written and performed. Something I find interesting about that is that I find myself conceptualizing this as an aspect of the way in which these captains engage with their roles as captains performatively. That is to say, both Kirk and Pike use wisecracks and nonchalance as a way of performing authority for the audience of their crew, not soley for the viewing audience. It communicates a sense of cultural continuity in-universe. I like it. I am nearly 100% certain this sense of cultural continuity is an entirely unplanned side effect of the writing and Mount's note-perfect performance in the role.

I will be soo pissed off if they run a big dopey reveal in the last episode or something where he pulls off a rubber mask and turns out to be a Klingon played by Jim Carrey or something. Please don't do that, Show.
posted by mwhybark at 2:02 PM on February 15 [17 favorites]


OMG I think I just figured out the Spock nonsense. Oh my god, the show's actually been telling us what the deal is since the publicity dropped. Spock is wearing a beard in the images from that campaign, right? He's killed three doctors! He's Evil Spock! Like, you know, GOATEE Evil Spock! Darkest Timeline Spock!

LOL oh man it's really too early to tell, and it's a total rerun of the Lorca plot, but they pulled the same kind of shenanigans with his character's publicity, with Jason Isaacs going so far as to lie about Lorca. They also did similar real-world tomfoolery with Shazad Latif. Soooo....
posted by mwhybark at 2:11 PM on February 15 [14 favorites]


Oh, yes, Hugh! I was pretty sure he was coming back, and was spoiled for the reveal in this episode because I seek out spoilery previews. I did enjoy the initial twist -- for a moment I genuinely thought that they were going to back out of bringing him back permanently, and that his much-hyped return was either a setup for a surprise Stamets exit or just a "proper goodbye" to allow Stamets to move on. I thought the fans would eat them alive. It didn't last long; as soon as the technobabble started I knew they were going to go through with the resurrection after all.
posted by confluency at 2:12 PM on February 15 [1 favorite]


Re: Evil Spock theory: I love your theory, but oh god, I hope not. I think there needs to be a moratorium on secret doppelgangers for at least two seasons, as a palate cleanser.
posted by confluency at 2:16 PM on February 15 [7 favorites]


they kept saying the ship was in imminent danger and it had to be now, but then they all sat around and had a cosy chat about who loved who, it might even be worth putting a clock on the various bits where they said, 'Two and a half minutes!' and then sat around a bit more. Basically, I'm saying this episode got quite boring. Revealing Culber to be the monster was quite a nice twist and his hand disappearing also, but the bits between were tiresome.

I'm becoming convinced that Stamets lost his eyebrows in the mycelial interconnection place a while back and that his face is the refuge for deep-cover blonde caterpillars.
posted by biffa at 2:36 PM on February 15 [9 favorites]


Stamets lost his eyebrows

Side note: is the actor wearing, like, full-globe black contacts now, or are his eyes just naturally very dark? I kinda think they're just really dark but it would be amusing to me if they were contacts because then we'd get a little nod to both Dune's Navigators and Fremen at the same time as X-Files Oiliens!
posted by mwhybark at 4:01 PM on February 15 [1 favorite]


biffa, I felt the same! You've got 5 minutes people, have a happy little chat AFTER you've stopped the ship from being eaten! GET A BLOODY MOVE ON, I kept yelling at the screen!

In any case, I like the show and I'll keep watching. I think I've yelled at the screen in every Star Trek series I've watched, so that's consistent.
posted by h00py at 5:55 PM on February 15 [6 favorites]


Also Re: Evil Spock I'd like to point out that in Mirror Mirror Spock's mirror universe counterpart was by far the most reasonable person aboard the Mirror Enterprise. He may have been evil like the rest, but he wasn't bloodthirsty, and he canonically used the Tantalus Field to seize control of the Terran Empire and steered it in a more peaceful, logical direction, which resulted in it getting overrun by the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 5:57 PM on February 15 [8 favorites]


Tilly's Pinky Swear on the Edge of Forever is my new jam now. I mean, seriously, just watch to see if that doesn't start competing with the Vulcan salute at conventions now. Also, AshVoq being on the ship with a live Culber... hmm, awkward.

WRT Section 31, I think that, not only does it make sense to introduce them now--as with their appearance in DS9 and ENT, they surface proximate to a time of war--but also, contrary to mwhybark's feelings, they don't "turn the entire idea of the UFP into a flat-out lie", they help define what the Federation is by showing what it isn't. The upshot of the Section 31 arc in DS9 was that they were wrong, that their "solution" to the Dominion War would have made the Federation no better than the Dominion, and that the Starfleet people who aided and abetted them were tainted by association, even Admiral Ross, up until then one of the few non-crazy/evil admirals in Starfleet (that we've seen). It's nice to fantasize about a government that is above all that black-ops stuff, but that's not the world that we're living in now, and Star Trek is best when it balances the possibilities of a better world with an allegorical bent that's more relevant than comfortable.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:28 PM on February 15 [8 favorites]


Second time this season that the occupant of a shuttle was someone other than who we were led to believe.

I'm not complaining because in both cases I was happy to see that person, but it could become tiresome if done too much.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:33 PM on February 15 [1 favorite]


I'm happy to see Hugh come back, because having him leave -- and the specific circumstances of his leaving -- felt like a real misstep, and he and Stamets are great together. Having watched this once, I feel like I need to watch it again just to try and follow what exactly is supposed to be happening with Hugh, though: he's made of spores, but he's...destroying the spores? And the spores are powerless to stop him, but also totally capable of just kicking him out of the network? The apparent conflict actually being a misunderstanding that could be resolved through dialogue is very Star Trek and I'm very there for that.

It feels a bit like we're five episodes in and still busy undoing stuff that happening in the last five episodes of season one -- Ash is back! Culber is back! &c -- which I guess shouldn't be a surprise given the show's weird production history.

That makes it pretty weird for everyone to know what their comm badges look like in DSC, and have Cornwell openly talking about the need for something like them.

Unless I totally misunderstood the timing or the narrative here, the discussion with Cornwell happens on board the Section 31 ship after Pike beams over, and immediately following the other events of the episode. Right? We cut from Hugh coming back to a shot of the two ships in space, then cut to Pike beaming onto the empty Section 31 bridge. We see three people: one of whom is Cornwell, who Pike notes is "a long way from Earth," and none of whom is the leader of the Terran Empire, who feels kind of notably missing. Was Cornwell...on the ship the entire time? And just didn't get involved, at any point? Did she just arrive...on a shuttle? Just as the rescue was wrapping up?

Towards the end of the conversation, Pike asks about Ash/Voq, and Leland notes that his assignment will continue --
Leland: Unless you would prefer Captain Georgiou.
Pike: No, thank you -
Cornwell: [interjecting] - No. [Walks out, scene ends.]
Now: flash back to the opening "PREVIOUSLY, ON STAR TREK DISCOVERY " for this ep -- it's Georgiou in disguise as a Klingon using some sort of facial overlay technology, revealing herself as herself. Is it possible that Cornwell isn't actually Cornwell but actually (alternate) Georgiou in disguise?

No, this doesn't really make a lot of sense, but neither does Cornwell actually being on board the Section 31 ship. And it makes that last bit of dialogue read very differently: Leland baiting Georgiou-in-disguise.

Also in implausible predictions: "Tachyons -- a quantum field like that could imply...time travel."

I am re-upping my prediction from back in S2E1 that that the 'red signals' are going to be a Red Matter tie-in to the Kelvin timeline. Spock checks all the boxes for: time travel; weird red stuff; actually that's all the boxes, which is why I hope I'm wrong on this one.
posted by cjelli at 7:13 PM on February 15 [6 favorites]


Ash is back! Culber is back! &c

And despite this episode seemingly starting seconds after the end of “An Obol for Charon” Tig! has vanished from the centre of the action. The other serieseses did not have the season-long structure of Disco but I am hard-pressed to recall any two-parter where a guest star vanished without explanation at the end of the first episode while in the thick of the story. I am not sure what Reno would have added to this episode but her absence felt very conspicuous.

I am glad to have Culber back. He felt underused in the first season.

The tra-la-la attitude of the away team to the countdown was maddening. We have the bridge three-quarters submerged in the mycelial network while Burnham et. al. are hashing out possible solutions four decks down. Would have served them right if they returned to find the rest of the regular cast twisted through both axes.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:11 PM on February 15 [5 favorites]


This was a pretty Trek story.

Agreed; it felt like it could have come from TNG or VOY, though obviously not in terms of pacing (much more rapid here, and I'd argue too rapid) or character development (much more pronounced here, but possibly rushed). But whatever elements struck people as iffy here—and yes, I'll get to 31 in a second—I was pleased to get such a Trek story. This series has only had a couple of those so far. In fact, a remark Mrs. CoB made (and I agreed with) about season 1 was that the show felt reeeeeeally cinematic. Now, that's obviously by design, and arguably influenced by Game of Thrones et al., but it's…I dunno, just kind of hard to get used to as a lifelong Trekkie.

That is to say, both Kirk and Pike use wisecracks and nonchalance as a way of performing authority for the audience of their crew, not soley for the viewing audience. It communicates a sense of cultural continuity in-universe. I like it. I am nearly 100% certain this sense of cultural continuity is an entirely unplanned side effect of the writing and Mount's note-perfect performance in the role.

I love that point about command styles, and you're totally right. Pike here is just dynamite, and a valuable, rock-solid axis to help cohere this otherwise pretty odd crew (more odd now, with Tyvoq tagging along).

My only gripe about Mount's performance is that, in the unaired TOS pilot, Pike seemed downright depressive IIRC. A years-later Pike could certainly be in a better place emotionally, and could maybe even have been influenced a little by his science officer w/r/t inner calm and what-not, but sometimes DISCO Pike comes off slightly too close to Ted Danson in Cheers to me. But of all the continuity discussions to be had about this show, that's a vague and minor one.

The tra-la-la attitude of the away team to the countdown was maddening. We have the bridge three-quarters submerged in the mycelial network while Burnham et. al. are hashing out possible solutions four decks down. Would have served them right if they returned to find the rest of the regular cast twisted through both axes.

Right? There must've been a way for them to have the bulk of that discussion WHILE the ship was jerkily extricating itself. This show LOVES tonal-whiplash intercutting and voiceovers, after all.

Now, regarding Section 31:

First off let me say that my metaknowledge of a Georgiou Show is making every scene with 31 here, particularly on their ship, bug the shit out of me. I mean, as a backdoor pilot, at least it's not as tonally jarring as TOS: "Assignment Earth" was, but OTOH that was only one episode, not two with presumably more to come.

In DS9, the very existence of Section 31 was in question. Unlike counterpart intelligence services like the Obsidian Order or Tal Shiar, they'd managed to keep themselves completely off the radar. That makes it pretty weird for everyone to know what their comm badges look like in DSC, and have Cornwell openly talking about the need for something like them.
[...]
I suppose you could handwave this by arguing that at some future date, Section 31 was "officially" disbanded, only to be secretly rebanded.

Disbanded and presumably disavowed to the point that Ensign Walk-On Extra is directly forbidden, by the brass, from discussing it a la the Genesis Planet in Search for Spock (er, the other one). I keep feeling like a LOT of things in this series are going to end up suppressed in the canonical timeline.

The upshot of the Section 31 arc in DS9 was that they were wrong, that their "solution" to the Dominion War would have made the Federation no better than the Dominion, and that the Starfleet people who aided and abetted them were tainted by association, even Admiral Ross, up until then one of the few non-crazy/evil admirals in Starfleet (that we've seen). It's nice to fantasize about a government that is above all that black-ops stuff, but that's not the world that we're living in now, and Star Trek is best when it balances the possibilities of a better world with an allegorical bent that's more relevant than comfortable.

I agree with all of that, but so far I'm not optimistic that the DISCO creative team will be thinking along similar lines. I wouldn't have been optimistic even before I knew Mirror-31-Georgiou was getting her own show. I'm less optimistic after this episode, in fact, because of that moment where Georgiou smiles when the mission is successful—it seems to hint that the writers intend a (presumably lengthy) redemption arc for her.

I like the interplay between Pike and Leland

I liked it right up until the clunky-ass, network-TV-cop-show line from Cornwell about how "you two are going to have to get along for the sake of the mission." 9999_9999

I am re-upping my prediction from back in S2E1 that that the 'red signals' are going to be a Red Matter tie-in to the Kelvin timeline. Spock checks all the boxes for: time travel; weird red stuff; actually that's all the boxes, which is why I hope I'm wrong on this one.

I hope you just mean a tie-in in the sense that "red matter is a thing that exists." Because while I don't see how actually binding the events of this show to the Kelvin timeline could make any sense timeline-wise, (A) the mycelial network clearly allows this show to do some pretty out-there stuff, so why not, and (B) behind-the-scenes-wise, you're right, this seems depressingly plausible.

OTOH, this show has managed to impress me more often than piss me off, so I choose to be optimistic.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 4:04 AM on February 16 [2 favorites]


I really, really want to like this series. But, they sure do make it hard sometimes. This entire episode just made me feel bad for the talented actors who have to slog through such an incredibly silly and pointless script. They might have saved some money and just shown an edited for TV version of The Core with a short time-travel and body-switching explanation wrapper before the credits. It would have made exactly as much sense, and the actors could have spent a few weeks doing more rewarding things.

As much as I like Culber, I like dramatic narratives where death sometimes happens even more. They're really beating us over the head with the "nobody is ever actually in any danger" approach to television this season. (Maybe we can kill off Ash? I suppose that doesn't have the same impact as killing off a character that it's possible to like.)

To be fair, there are many point during season two of TNG that are far worse. I remain hopeful.
posted by eotvos at 3:50 PM on February 16 [1 favorite]


Section 31

You can't tame the krypteia. A society that permits their existence is a society which is dependent on slavery and terror. I explicitly include our own.
posted by mwhybark at 3:59 PM on February 16 [1 favorite]


...Also, an observation. In TOS one of Captain Pike's Talos IV illusions was (as is well known) his apparent (imaginary and imposed, we expect) post-Star Fleet career as a Space Merchant, the scene in which we first encounter the concept of Orions, the green-skinned people. Vina (Susan Oliver - who, geez, what an interesting person) is recast by the Talosians as an "Orion slave girl", and another Starfleet officer at the imaginary event makes small talk with Pike, implying trade connections between the UFP and the Orions.

In the non-canon Star Trek Continues, a mimetic recast fanseries (of which I am a huuuge admirer), the implications of this are drawn out in the episode Lolani in which Fiona Vroom (also seen in the Kelvin Universe in what may be the same role) and *Lou Ferrigno* respectively play Orions, green skin and all. She's a slave seeking freedom; he's her enslaver and seeking to reclaim her, as is his treaty right.

There are other hints of slavery extant outside of the UFP but within the economic reach of the Federation, or within the Terran Empire in the mirror universe, throughout subsequent shows. I do not think any of these story elements intend to present slavery as desirable, but they tend to show it as a handwringing inevitability of the Federation's style of governance and interaction with other galactic cultures and polities.

In this context, my absolute rejection of the validity of the concept of Section 31 certainly is questionable, but not because they are doing the hard work that has to be done. They are simply there to defend and maintain institutional terror and (in my view) we have an obligation to be critical of the inclusion of the concept.
posted by mwhybark at 4:19 PM on February 16 [2 favorites]


My only gripe about Mount's performance is that, in the unaired TOS pilot, Pike seemed downright depressive IIRC. A years-later Pike could certainly be in a better place emotionally, and could maybe even have been influenced a little by his science officer w/r/t inner calm and what-not, but sometimes DISCO Pike comes off slightly too close to Ted Danson in Cheers to me.

Cheeses, fair and true point. Jeffery Hunter is probably still best known for his role as the second male lead in The Searchers, possibly John Ford and John Wayne's most celebrated film. The film, to us today, is problematic in numerous ways but much of the operatic tension and tragedy in the plot and performances remain accessible to us, at the same time that the unforgivable and intended-as-antiheroic racism of Wayne's character makes the film extremely difficult to watch. Hunter's performance in The Cage (go watch it, really, I'll be here) uses that angry, PTSD-fueled style of male authority, and he comes across as an unlikeable, possibly unstable, martinet. The script is kind of a mess too, but Hunter's Pike is unmistakably fueled by rage, just as Wayne's character in The Searchers had been.

I totally agree that Mount's Pike does not appear to be the same character - that is, his character does not appear to have been shaped by the same experiences or reactions to them - as Hunter's Pike. I believe I prefer this year's model, on the whole, although Hunter's work in the role is strong. It's just not what we - and ultimately Gene Roddenberry - want from a series lead.
posted by mwhybark at 4:41 PM on February 16 [2 favorites]


(Apologies, folks that haven't been tussling with us for years in the FanFare Trek threads, we get pretty deep in the weeds sometimes. This is our first realtime-as-aired Trek thread and honestly the fact we're getting about nerd deep in 'em here would tend to indicate this here show has legs.)
posted by mwhybark at 4:44 PM on February 16 [8 favorites]


Here's Kurtzman addressing the 31 stuff (I found this quote here):
“If you know Section 31, you know that by the time Deep Space 9 comes around they’ve gone underground and they are this mysterious organization – but there’s nothing official about it,” he told Digital Spy.

“[In Discovery], Section 31 has a badge. There’s a ship and all these different things, so the question is: how do they get from here to there?”


I guess I pretty much assumed that this was on their radar, but it's nice to have reassurance. It remains to be seen whether the question he asks here will be answered in a manner consistent with the franchise's spirit of "working to better ourselves"—which, so far anyway, DISCO has been OK at, it seems to me.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 5:13 AM on February 17 [3 favorites]


Also Re: Evil Spock I'd like to point out that in Mirror Mirror Spock's mirror universe counterpart was by far the most reasonable person aboard the Mirror Enterprise. He may have been evil like the rest, but he wasn't bloodthirsty, and he canonically used the Tantalus Field to seize control of the Terran Empire and steered it in a more peaceful, logical direction, which resulted in it getting overrun by the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance.

Further explored in the excellent Star Trek Continues episode Fairest of Them All

( and yes, as mentioned the casting Ferrigno as an Orion Trader and painting him green in a different episode was genius... )
posted by mikelieman at 8:19 AM on February 17 [1 favorite]


Tilly's line (and it's delivery), "Oh, that old trick!" was really great.
posted by jabah at 9:43 AM on February 17 [5 favorites]


I liked many things about this ep, but argh, that Burnham voiceover at the end was unnecessary and didn't do much for me.

My spouse pointed out that if you were an ordinary crewmember, and you heard your captain come on the loudspeaker and start by saying: "Starfleet .... is a promise." you might reasonably think, oh crap. I was hoping today could be an ordinary day, and now we're all gonna die.

I agree with mwhybark that I haaaaate Section 31. Here's my "hey, it could happen!" hope:

Georgiou, schemingly, gets a ton of inside info about what Section 31's been up to (we see an example of this in how she plays Leland). Unlike nearly everyone else within Section 31 (e.g. Ash), she does not actually believe in the Federation at all, and she has way more experience than they do at deceiving colleagues at close quarters, so she has no compunctions about and no barriers to "accidentally" sabotaging missions and gathering power for herself.

Once she's made sure she's got blackmail material on all the section chiefs, etc., she goes public with what she knows. Goodness gracious! As a beloved and decorated Starfleet captain, she willingly went into service with Section 31 when she was told the Federation needed her, but once she knew what Section 31 was really up to, she had no choice but to expose their crimes, which undermine the principles the UFP was founded on!

Section 31 is publicly forced to disband. Georgiou gets to run the new secret successor organization. It has to hide its budget and operations are stripped way down -- no more ships of their own, for goodness' sake -- and is supposed to concentrate on defense against other sovereignties' secret intelligence groups, e.g., the Tal Shiar. Those few who know where she really comes from find some way of keeping her on a leash, e.g., she needs regular access to [technobabble] to keep from decomposing since she belongs in the Mirror Universe. She grows reasonably content with having hella secret power and nearly never flexing it, and dies heroically saving Burnham from something.
posted by brainwane at 9:50 AM on February 17 [17 favorites]


I like brainwane's proposed arc for Georgiou and Section 31, although I wouldn't have her die saving Burnham or anyone else; I think that, eventually, she just has to return to the Mirror Universe, with a bunch of secrets that she got from S31, intent on regaining her seat as empress... only to find out that the Klingon-Cardassian alliance has conquered the Terran Empire. She then teams up with Mirror-Spock to form the resistance.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:06 AM on February 17 [4 favorites]


My spouse pointed out that if you were an ordinary crewmember, and you heard your captain come on the loudspeaker and start by saying: "Starfleet .... is a promise." you might reasonably think, oh crap. "I was hoping today could be an ordinary day, and now we're all gonna die."

Ha ha ha ha, yes! Your wife is clearly a genius. I appreciate your unwinding take on S31.
posted by mwhybark at 11:00 AM on February 17 [2 favorites]


mwhybark, my husband is indeed pretty great! He wrote an as-yet-unpublished military scifi novel so he's thought a lot about, for instance, what actual crewmembers would think of pompous speeches by their commanding officers. (Also, whenever a Starfleet captain starts a Big Speech, he or I will usually insert: "Once, on Earth, I saw a gazelle giving birth" which is a reference to an absurd first line of a Jonathan Archer speech during Enterprise.)

Glad you and Halloween Jack like my suggested S31 arc. Halloween Jack, oooh, I like that! Honestly what I kinda want for Mirror-Georgiou's death is: betrayal-assassination by a Kelpien.

Oh yeah, and: this season of Discovery has every reason to feature Sybok. Or, heck, Mirror-Sybok??
posted by brainwane at 11:27 AM on February 17 [4 favorites]


Yikes! That's what I get for not verifying gender identifiers and just sticking with it, my sincere apologies!

Once, on Earth, I saw a gazelle giving birth

Fine house canon!
posted by mwhybark at 11:46 AM on February 17


Liked this episode. I took a step back and didn't try to analyze or project how this episode fits into an arc, or the Star Trek Canon. Just enjoy it for what it is. And it is good rollicking fun. They've got the pacing and characters dialed in now, I think, and are delivering fun space adventures on TV.

Then I start thinking hard about some of it and get pretty mad. I don't like any aspect of the mycelial plane lore. I'm glad Hugh is back but they never should have taken him away and everything about it has been clumsy. Tyler/Voq is great but getting him back on the bridge as a permanent spy for Section 31 makes no sense whatsoever. I dunno where Spock and the Red Angel are going but I fear it's nowhere smart. Etc etc. I'm fine rolling with it, but it's a lot of rolling. Of my eyes if nothing else.

OTOH I'd give anything for a series of GIFs of Michael staring daggers at Evil Mirror Georgiou. That was delicious.
posted by Nelson at 11:47 AM on February 17


Mirror-Sybok

Looks like Laurence Luckinbill's slate might be clear.
posted by mwhybark at 11:48 AM on February 17


Oh man, this was a marked improvement over last episode for me. The dialogue was less stilted and delivered more naturally. Though there were still some clunkers. The death-not-death scene of Culber for one, and the totally unnecessary speech Pike gives for another.

They made a smart choice and made this episode almost entirely A plot, with a little Section 31 B plot thrown in, but it was barely a divergence. I too am annoyed by how well known Section 31 is in this show, but I think I have some residual nostalgia for them from DS9 and Enterprise so I let it slide. Besides that, I'd watch Michelle Yeoh watch paint dry, so I'll take any exucse to have her show up. I guess they've also got me on the hook for her show too.

I've mentioned before that I hated the mycelial network when it was introduced in season one of Disco. It struck me as the kind of JJ Abmrams-esque "stupid scifi" that I'd come to expect from a show like Fringe. To me "stupid scifi" means a science fiction concept whose only purpose is to show something cool happening and nothing else (Fringe was almost entirely made of this, besides the main multiverse plot). Science fiction works best for me when it's used explore the consequences and implications of an idea. I think by continuing to use the network in the show Discovery has done just that. It doesn't always make sense, but they are probing the implications of a living network that allows instantaneous travel and having some fun things happen.

I'm really glad they brought Culber back. It was a stupid idea, and an overused trope, to make one half of a gay couple die tragically. I don't even care a little bit how much handwaving they had to do to get it to happen. I really hope they don't pass up this opportunity to have two great actors perform an ongoing same sex pairing in Trek.

Though I'm glad Admiral Bob... errr... Admiral Cornwell is back, I don't think we needed the scene with her at all. I know it was needed to explain why Tyler is still on Discovery and let Section 31 pop up in future episodes but felt real hamfisted and overall detracted from the episode. Also, this tension was hinted at in the episode when Stamets sees Tyler, but I'm real interested to see how they deal with the whole Tyler/Voq killed Culber thing in future episodes.

One last thing:
Can someone explain to me what the hell Georgiou was doing at the beginning of the episode. Why was she in Spock's shuttle and why was she running away from the Disco with it? I know she explained that she found it empty, but why would she then just starting tooling around in it? Didn't make any sense to me.
posted by runcibleshaw at 4:20 PM on February 17 [4 favorites]


I liked the Trek-ish bit in the middle. I even sort of like the framing story even though when you look at the clock geezapalooza the season arc framing is a full third of the episode. I'm not sure they're doing the best job of bolting them together in any coherent way though. I think DS9 did a better job of making each episode have an independent story while still carrying on the overall arc, while this has been sort of hodgepodge.

On the other hand, it's only just barely to the end of the first season in any other Trek. They're still trying to avoid just 100% infodumping. I get that. And I'm totally game for a show that has arcs over yet another episodic "we're in space because we like to explore" type show.

I'm totally along for the ride, and I'm enjoying the change of framing from a ship-wide thing to a much more personal story even if I'm not entirely certain I particularly care about Burnham and Spock and Georgiou and blah blah blah, I enjoy what it's permitting the writers to do with the characters that Burnham is involved with.
posted by Kyol at 10:39 AM on February 18 [1 favorite]


Anyone else get a Stranger Things vibe? A lovable but socially awkward redhead gets sucked into a parallel dimension and fights a monster; except this time there was a happy ending because Culber was both the demogorgon and Will Byers.
posted by peeedro at 2:05 PM on February 18 [1 favorite]


Can someone explain to me what the hell Georgiou was doing at the beginning of the episode. Why was she in Spock's shuttle and why was she running away from the Disco with it? I know she explained that she found it empty, but why would she then just starting tooling around in it? Didn't make any sense to me.

I don't think the episode-as-shown offers a reason, which is dumb. I do have two theories:
1. Georgiou / Leland were lying when they said they found it empty, and beamed Spock (or whatever they found) off to the cloaked/hidden Section 31 ship during the chase, and Georgiou stayed behind to provide a (semi)-plausible cover.

I'd note, here, that the dialogue during the chase notes that there's 'one life sign detected' and yet both Georgiou and Ash/Voq were both on the shuttle -- or at least, there's no scene in the episode where Tyler arrives separately from Georgiou (although he's not shown leaving the shuttle); and Pike is shown to not be aware of the presence of disguised Section 31 ship until much later in the episode, after Ash/Voq's arrival. The whole thing is confusing, specifically because it's not clear the show is actually trying to say anything with this, which leads me to --

2. The writers don't know and just wanted some action for some reason? And wanted to have the scenes with Tyler earlier, rather than later, so he's just there...somehow?

Also, on a rewatch, it is really, really glaring that Jet Reno is in the 'last week on...' bit and then not in this episode at all, despite the opening scene being Burnham racing to the very place where Reno was -- as the episode shows. It's hard to tell what's basic failures in continuity and what's intentionally-designed directorial efforts to hint at subterfuge.
posted by cjelli at 2:50 PM on February 18 [7 favorites]


I got the vibe that the Tyler parts of the scenes were filmed later and then cut into the show. Like that the whole episode was made without him, then they decided to write him in.
posted by Nelson at 3:28 PM on February 18 [2 favorites]


Hi! I'm finally caught up on this show and am looking forward to commenting each week, horray!

The other serieseses did not have the season-long structure of Disco but I am hard-pressed to recall any two-parter where a guest star vanished without explanation at the end of the first episode while in the thick of the story.

TNG's Birthright comes immediately to mind. That's not really a defense, because it was glaring as hell when they did it. (But that was partly because the entire, sizable 'B' plot vanished from Part 2, not just the guest star.)

My spouse pointed out that if you were an ordinary crewmember, and you heard your captain come on the loudspeaker and start by saying: "Starfleet .... is a promise." you might reasonably think, oh crap. I was hoping today could be an ordinary day, and now we're all gonna die.

I snorted.

Tilly's line (and it's delivery), "Oh, that old trick!" was really great.

Man. The acting on this fucking show. Like, we had plenty of good actors on TNG and DS9 particularly, but the emotional range (and humor!!) of these actors is beyond what we've seen before, don't @ me. I'm on record saying that the best actor we've seen in the cast of a Trek show (BESIDES the Shakespearean titans of Stewart and Brooks) is Nana Visitor, but holy fuck, Sonequa Martin-Green? Mary Wiseman? Michelle Yeoh? (OK, she's not in the *cast*, but close enough.) An embarrassment of riches!
posted by duffell at 8:28 AM on February 20 [5 favorites]


Man. The acting on this fucking show. [...] An embarrassment of riches!

I don't intend this as a slight against DISCO at all, but when I heard CBS was going to tentpole another network with a Trek show, I basically assumed the calibre of acting would increase compared to previous Trek shows, simply because previous Trek shows existed in the age when television wasn't what "serious actors" did (see Warden James Lipton's insult in one of the early, good seasons of Arrested Development). Now, of course, TV acting seems to be pretty much caught up to film acting in terms of actorly prestige.

It's funny, too, because we recently finished a full series rewatch of Voyager on FanFare, and IIRC one of the few unanimously-agreed-upon strengths of the show, perhaps the only one, was its cast. And as you say, DISCO's cast is pure dynamite—no weak link that I can think of, really—which may make me that much less likely to rewatch VOY in the future! XD
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 9:27 AM on February 20 [2 favorites]


I feel like this season so far has gone out of its way to undo some of the worst fuckery of the first season. Culber is unfridged, which I'm fine with because I don't think his fridging really paid off. We have multiple characters openly addressing the reality that Tyler's situation was really fucked up, but unfortunately Discovery apparently doesn't have a Troi to prescribe mandatory counseling.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 7:57 AM on February 21 [2 favorites]


Yeah, everybody needs therapy on this show.

I'm not complaining about DISCO undoing a lot of the shit from last season that really needed undoing, but it does mean that I don't really have a good handle of what the show is trying to be right now - it still seems to be reactionary rather than making its own statement. I'm hoping that going forward it can focus more on what it wants to be rather than apologizing for the first season.
posted by dinty_moore at 10:58 AM on February 21


Pike seems ok, but he seems less a character than a plot device for Burnham and Saru to perform around.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 11:33 AM on February 21


On one hand i like that there is currently a visually fulfilling and pretty fun Star Trek show running.

I like Burnham, Pike, Tilly, Saru, Jet Reno (!) and Stamets and I want to like the rest of the bridge crew if they'd let me get to know them.

i don't love the giant rubber Klingons, the fact that they brought Ash back on board, the fact that they accept Empress Georgiou into the secret federation spy club and I hate the idea of section 31. Any universe that would have a section 31 would also admit that the spore drive would immediately be confiscated by section 31 and that would be the end of code blacks for our crew.

I want a ship called Discovery to boldly go where no one has gone before. i want away teams (in red, blue and gold shirts) exploring the galaxy and i want it all to feel like it's happening concurrently with TOS, or why make it concurrent with TOS.

Wouldn't it be fun to re-visit the adventures of Kirk and company by showing us the ripples of their decisions? Surely a few of their more questionable adventures will have repercussions that would make for interesting stories. Harry Mudd was fun, i don't want it all to be that, but I could use a bit less of things like the spinning pods that landed on the asteroid that are obviously even more advanced than even the latest trek tech (again why make it historical)

I'm going to keep watching, but i'm hoping they find their identity sooner rather than later.
posted by OHenryPacey at 12:39 PM on February 21 [4 favorites]


I think the other thing is - if the mycelium networks provided resurrection, they would never be allowed to leave them unexplored.
posted by corb at 7:00 AM on March 6


Tilly's line (and it's delivery), "Oh, that old trick!" was really great.

Tilly is the most bestest. Smart and feisty and awkward and soooo eeeeaaarnest without being as mopey about it as Federation doofuses usually are. And the showrunners haven't forced her to be stick-skinny and let her just keep on' having her giant shock of Merida hair and don't make her up with preternaturally wunnerful skin.

Maybe it will turn out she's a plant from Contact.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 9:39 PM on March 12


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