Star Trek: Discovery: Such Sweet Sorrow
April 11, 2019 8:45 PM - Season 2, Episode 13 - Subscribe

When the USS Discovery's crucial mission does not go according to plan, Burnham realizes what must ultimately be done. The crew prepares for the battle of a lifetime as Leland's Control ships get closer.

Memory Alpha's page for this episode is still pretty sparse, so I'll supplement it with bits that I picked out from the episode:

- MA lists this as the first part of a two-part episode, with the second part next week being the season finale.

- In addition to Pike, Spock, and Number One, another named crewmember from "The Cage" appears in this episode: Yeoman Colt. [CW: The page quotes from Gene Roddenberry's original proposal for Star Trek, and, well, his description of Colt is pretty skeevy.] Here, she's played by Nicole Dickinson, a stuntwoman who has had some background roles on DSC.

- Several of the Discovery crew are seen recording (possibly) final messages to their families and significant others. Detmer is recording a message to someone named "Tazzy" who may be the person in the photo behind her.

- The Enterprise's bridge is shown for the first time on DSC; as with many other design elements of the series, it combines cues from TOS (the turbolift activation handles, the pop-up scanner on the helm station, greater use of red in the color scheme, the design of the captain's chair) with a more modernized appearance.

- It's unclear how many of the Discovery's crew is accompanying Burnham to the future; all of the bridge crew and Stamets, at least, and probably others given that Saru gives a ship-wide address. Nhan is staying, as is Spock, and (AFAWK) Culber has transferred over to the Enterprise, and Georgiou and Tyler are likewise disembarking.

- Me Hani Ika Hali Ka Po returns from the Short Trek episode "Runaway." The technological innovation that she's responsible for--being able to regenerate dilithium crystals, a strategic element in warp drives--is a feature of TNG-era technology.

- Jett Reno's time-crystal-induced vision had some of the same elements as Burnham's precognitive vision.

Poster's Log: As is telegraphed by the episode title (like many Trek episode titles and plots before it, a Shakespeare reference, this one from Romeo and Juliet), the episode is largely about saying goodbye and preparing for a) a major-league battle and b) the prospect of Discovery, and much of its crew, taking a one-way trip to the distant future. Not all of this works equally well--Sarek and Amanda showing up is probably supposed to convince us that Michael really may not be coming back, but left unexplained is why Sarek couldn't have brought a Starfleet task force with him to help out--but the parts that do work, work very well. This is in line with previous criticisms that the show excels with emotional beats better than airtight plots.

I don't have a lot more to say about this episode, as it's very obviously the prelude to next week's season finale, although I wonder if Reno's vision--which only covers the very first part of Burnham's--is supposed to signify that at least the first part of Burnham's vision will come true. Does Georgiou go with them, then, since she's one of the people who die on the bridge in Burnham's vision? (We can assume that Burnham, at least most of the crew, and the ship itself survive, because a third season has already been greenlit and I doubt that they're going to bring in a whole new crew and ship with the same name.) It doesn't necessarily mean that the ship won't spend some time in the 33rd century, if I'm getting the time frame right.
posted by Halloween Jack (62 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
The second act with everyone saying goodbye really, really dragged. I also completely lost track of who was doing what and what ship they were on and I’m confused about Lt. New Blonde joining the time travel suicide mission crew?

So, this was an odd blip of an episode after an extremely enjoyable and consequential past few weeks.
posted by migurski at 10:53 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


Agonizing emotional goodbyes of that length do not comport with the news that a series has been renewed for a third season. I'm all for a little tear-jerking, but...yeah, no. (Shades of the Saru non-death scene from earlier.)

Georgiou vs. Starfleet ("no, that's a bad idea") and Po provided some welcome comic relief.

I don't see any good way for them to get Discovery There and Back Again within the space of forty-eight minutes, so it will be interesting to see if season #3 actually involves getting Back from the Future. Er, then again, the last season finale also needed to be twice its length, so.

While I suppose it's good that the writers noticed an oncoming plot hole--the season appears to set up a reunion between Spock and Sarek, when we know that no such thing will occur for another decade or so--having the estrangement be Spock's decision and not Sarek's doesn't fit what we know from TOS and elsewhere.

So every Short Trek has shown up again except Harry Mudd's?
posted by thomas j wise at 4:25 AM on April 12 [1 favorite]


Many fans are really enjoying Anson Mount's rendition of Captain Pike, and Ethan Peck as Spock, and it would be a shame if those characters don't at least make an occasional guest appearance. So that's why I'm thinking that this voyage to the future will be a short visit, like the time spent in the mirror universe in the first season. With a crew like that, of course they will defeat the baddy and figure out how to return home. But let's not forget that in the short Trek Calypso the Discovery has been abandoned in the far future. Since Me Hani Ika Hali Ka Po made an appearance in this episode, the short Treks are obviously not just canon, but integral to the continuity. How they can rectify that with the fact that DSC has been green-lit for a third season, remains to be seen.
posted by ambulocetus at 5:12 AM on April 12


The goodbye montage didn't work for me. To me, it felt a bit like, "you're supposed to feel bad, because here's a basket of sad puppy pictures."

Or in other words, the just like last year of Avengers publicity.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 5:46 AM on April 12 [3 favorites]


Yeah, this felt like we, the audience, were deeply moved according to every signal the show could throw at us.

That sure was a lengthy cold open, though, eh? Nearly fourteen minutes.
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:06 AM on April 12 [1 favorite]


- Aha, verification that No More Holographic Communication Ever because Control!

- The goodbye scenes did not do it for me. I was more touched by the "what do people choose to take with them" than I was by the message-leaving.

- Is season 3 the time-travel version of Voyager's "we need to get home"?

- I need to watch these Short Treks. I had no idea they were existed and I was frantically googling during the "previously on" when I saw the clips with Po and Tilly.

- I grinned at the Enterprise bridge. Hello, Enterprise bridge.
posted by olinerd at 6:57 AM on April 12 [1 favorite]


I actually... really liked *bits* of the emotional goodbyes, but I agree that they dragged. Specifically, the "evac montage" at the beginning of the episode was great--when we've seen evacuation scenes on Trek before, they usually (with the possible exception of Generations) don't feel so thoroughly human (sorry, speciesist). Lots of touching little moments. Like olinerd above, I liked the "what do people bring with them" bits. However, I also really really liked the "goodbye message" bits! Those were very affecting and well done!

The long-winded speeches and heartfelt goodbyes on the ship, less so. I feel like we've done a lot of this kind of speechifying, and while it's nice to see Trek be so emotionally vulnerable (in a well-written and well-acted way!), it's all a bit much.

Sarek & Amanda didn't really do it for me, either, but mostly I'm weirded out by Disco's constant "starship drop-ins." I feel like the show has a... convenient relationship to time and distance. At times, space is impossibly vast, and at times, it's like an English country village and hey, here's Sarek popping down to the pub to say hello, and oh hey, here's Cornwell, sure, why not?

But hey. Hey. Listen, for real. The Enterprise bridge design was sexy as fuck.
posted by duffell at 7:28 AM on April 12 [7 favorites]


From Emily Asher-Perrin:
Hello, it is important to me that we praise one (of many) thing that #StarTrekDiscovery does better than any of the Treks before it: Tapping into the sheer joy that is just "Look at all these nerds solving puzzles together, they live for this shit"
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:28 AM on April 12 [5 favorites]


Is the Sphere data a living entity?
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:33 AM on April 12


Yes, the Reno, Po, Tilly, and Stamets science-fest including a good dose of "shut up Empress" was the highlight for me.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 7:37 AM on April 12 [1 favorite]


Is the Sphere data a living entity?

Ah, I knew that I was leaving something out: it does seem like "Sphere Data" is an AI itself, or something close to it, if it can do all this stuff without anyone being able to stop it or get rid of it. In particular, being able to abort the self-destruct sequence is pretty impressive; it's supposed to be so highly protected that Bele and Lokai in TOS' "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" can't touch it with their otherwise formidable ship-controlling psychic powers, and the only way that the Borg Queen can avert the self-destruction of the Enterprise-E in First Contact is to have Data shut it down (apparently, as a senior staff member, he can do that unilaterally, even though he wasn't one of the staff who armed it). Sphere Data just shuts it down.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:49 AM on April 12 [4 favorites]


"Control ships inbound in 4 minutes!"

"Let's waste one minute of that time with an emotional goodbye where everyone salutes Captain Pike!"
~~
"The magic energy ... thingy ... isn't going to make enough energy in time!"

"Let's waste 30 seconds with an emotional goodbye where everyone hugs Jet Reno!"
~~

Overall this episode felt like much of the rest of the season: like they're scrambling to write each episode 20 minutes before they're going to begin production on that episode. The overall story arc is barely coherent, and while each episode has some fun, exciting, neat, or touching moments, overall it's a lot of nonsense. Here's hoping that this is just a parallel to TNG Season Two, which was also a trainwreck.

We know Spock can't stay in the future, since he has to be back in the current timeline to be part of TOS in 10 years. Maybe the Sphere Data won't allow itself to be sent into the future? *shrugs* And don't get me started on how annoyed everything conceptually about the previous sentence makes me.

The next one will almost certainly be the last episode with Anson Mount as Capt. Pike (at least in a starring role). Part of me wonders if the "Capt. Saru" bit was a headfake, but I don't know that I'd mind seeing Captain Saru next season. I kind of hope that Ash Tyler goes off and runs his shadow Section 31 and isn't a major player in the next season - it feels like his major role in this season is to hang around and be brooding, and I'm just kind of done with him. I suspect Jet Reno and Stamets won't be back for the next season which makes me sad. I actually almost wonder if this is the setup for a Season 3 reboot with Capt. Burnham and just a handful of the other crew for continuity.
posted by jferg at 9:01 AM on April 12 [6 favorites]


OT: If you're missing Airiam, please accept this tweet of Hannah Cheesman, in makeup but not costume, having lunch.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:35 AM on April 12 [6 favorites]


Pointless STO Comparison of the Week: The current metaplot of the Star Trek MMO is rife with connections to the DSC era right now, including an an encounter with Captain Killy, and a recurring baddie in the form of J'Ula of House Mo'Kai. I expect it's only a matter of time before Control is a serious antagonist.

Stuff:
I am very late to the party here, so people have mostly covered my impressions. Being redundant:

I actually... really liked *bits* of the emotional goodbyes, but I agree that they dragged.

Agreed. Some of the stuff here was great: Culber/Stamets. Reno/Stamets. Part of the crew volunteering to join Burnham, but Ash skipping out. Plenty of the stuff there was fine.

I think that maybe if they'd just skipped the self-indulgent, nonsensical and momentum-killing visit by Sarek and Amanda, it would've probably been okay. As it was, that felt too much like the weird Sarek/Michael talk from the series premiere that I complained about back when.

Georgiou vs. Starfleet ("no, that's a bad idea") and Po provided some welcome comic relief.

Right? This was great:
"I thought there were no bad ideas."
"That's a lie!"

And:
"One nice thing about being the queen is that I don't have to listen to snark. No, really, I made it a law."

(Also, Po being able to power a time crystal but unable to reproduce ice cream seemed like Peak Po.)

I don't have a lot more to say about this episode, as it's very obviously the prelude to next week's season finale, although I wonder if Reno's vision--which only covers the very first part of Burnham's--is supposed to signify that at least the first part of Burnham's vision will come true.

And yeah, same. As a rule, I don't have a ton of deep thoughts about two-parters until they're resolved, but I am curious how bad the battle's going to be given the duplicate catastrophic time crystal premonitions.
posted by mordax at 11:43 AM on April 12


The Enterprise bridge design was sexy as fuck.

It also looks expensive as fuck. I’m sure they invested extra in the set because the Enterprise (no bloody -A...) bridge is one of the Crown Jewels of canon, but that looks like a set that’s built for use in more than two episodes. It’s more detailed than the bridge of the Section 31 ships a set which, presumably, is going to be reused in the Captain Georgiou/ Clem Fandango spin-off.
posted by nathan_teske at 12:04 PM on April 12 [4 favorites]


I was thinking about that bridge set too, and my hope is that--as much as I've enjoyed Anson Mount's Pike and even Spock the Latest--they keep it in reserve for any other Constitution-class ships that come tooling along.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:22 PM on April 12 [5 favorites]


Dead horse: One of the things I approve of in Trek has been silently retrofitting the set design each decade to match the crazy information interfaces demanded of the script. Just because 1960s scifi had blobulent suits and corrugated fiberglass interior walls doesn't mean it was really about that stagecraft. About the only thing I disagree with there is the transparency.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 2:34 PM on April 12 [1 favorite]


"Control ships inbound in 4 minutes!"

"Let's waste one minute of that time with an emotional goodbye where everyone salutes Captain Pike!"
~~
"The magic energy ... thingy ... isn't going to make enough energy in time!"

"Let's waste 30 seconds with an emotional goodbye where everyone hugs Jet Reno!"


And let’s keep in mind that the exposition in the cold open is Burnham recording a personal log during the evacuation of the ship. Again: the ship is being evacuated and is —they believe— about to be destroyed.

I am not much on the blogging, but do people do it when the house is burning down?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:14 PM on April 12 [2 favorites]


Taking lengthy emotional beats while the clock ticks on a short countdown to impending disaster is such an incredibly consistent failing of this show that I've pretty much just accepted that they will always do it given the opportunity. At least in this episode, everybody got to have some. I liked listening to the messages of the supporting cast; getting some more backstory on Detmer and Owosekun for instance was great.

On the other hand, spending like 20 minutes of this episode's runtime on everyone (including Sarek and Amanda, flown in just for the occasion!) Having Strong Feelings About Michael's Impending Self-Sacrifice really, really makes me appreciate Captain Pike all the more. I mean, the guy knows that in order to get that time crystal he just locked in his own future as some crippled, melty-faced-monstrosity, and there's no indication he even bothered to tell anyone about all that, even when they at first couldn't even figure out what to do with the crystal. Because you know, it had to be done, so he did it, and now there's more stuff to do, so on to the next thing. Meanwhile let's all have everybody on the ship one-by-one personally tell Michael how impressed they are that she's willing to zip off to the future to chill with her mom, in order to save all sentient life. Let me tell you, I completely get why Spock thinks Michael is totally insufferable but is also willing to risk court-martial to get Pike a happy ending.

In the positive column, Po was not only great here but I felt like having her around also let us get a glimpse of the old Tilly-that-was, from before she got stuffed into the oversimplified role of "adorably awkward comic-relief ship's mascot".

Also in the positive column...it doesn't seem totally impossible for them to end with the Discovery zipping off into the far-flung future with all the core cast on board (obviously they'll have to lose Spock somewhere during the next episode, but that seems easy to do) and then they could spend next season(s) exploring the galaxy of a thousand years in the future, which could be a lot of fun and also would also get them out from under the ever-increasing weight all the unbreakable continuity things that they're trapped under by virtue of being a prequel. They could even try not having fate-of-the-galaxy stakes for a while, and just be a starship, far from home, exploring a totally unknown galaxy, imagine that!
posted by mstokes650 at 8:50 PM on April 12 [8 favorites]


So the ultimate fate of Star Trek: Discovery is to become Star Trek: Voyager?
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:49 PM on April 12 [1 favorite]


Sure, unless they go back to Boreth in the far flung future, grab another time crystal, charge it with their new tech from Po, and come straight back.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:53 PM on April 12 [1 favorite]


Maybe I'm paranoid, but I got a really bad vibe that Reno is going to beam over to the Enterprise to be there to disarm that torpedo knowing she'll have to pay the price.
posted by Fiberoptic Zebroid and The Hypnagogic Jerks at 11:43 PM on April 12 [3 favorites]


Let me tell you, I completely get why Spock thinks Michael is totally insufferable but is also willing to risk court-martial to get Pike a happy ending.

My favorite thing about DSC so far is the added perspective it gives to the Menagerie. They did a great job of filling in some of the space between the Cage and The Menagerie in a way that enriches both DSC and TOS without any fatal canon violations.

And if someone wants to greenlight a spin-off that’s all about Pike, Spock, and Number One on the Enterprise, I’m in.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:12 AM on April 13 [9 favorites]


With the work they've done creating the Enterprise bridge, uniforms, and cgi ship assets, combined with the positive fan response, I'd have to think that the Pike spin-off is at least on the table. Maybe even something they are sitting on an announcement of, to avoid spoilers. I'm totally game for that.

Tyler seems destined to join the Section 31 spin-off. He's not been a great character this season, but split off from the weak relationship plotlines, that could be fine.

I'm also onboard with the idea to just have Disco relocate to the future, and leave the 23rd century to Pike and Section 31. The Calypso Short Trek seems to imply that the Discovery ship itself is not actually going to hop into the future, but it's plausible something goes wrong with the plan, sending the crew ahead (sans Spock, obviously), and the ship is somehow left to rendezvous with them the long way through time (sitting hidden for 950 years, waiting for the crew to arrive). The evolved AI on the ship would also add a splash of advanced tech.

Put that way, and depending on the state of the future universe, that sounds a bit like Robert Hewitt Wolfe's original premise for the Andromeda series, which at one point was conceived of as a post-Federation Star Trek spin-off (something way more interesting sounding than the Kevin Sorbo vehicle it turned out to be, especially once Wolfe was dropped from the show after the first season). Basically a post post-collapse story of rejoining former Federation worlds.

Interestingly, late TNG did introduce the idea that warp drive damaged subspace, which was entirely ignored later. If warp drive doesn't function safely in the Federation's region of space in the 33rd century, the "lost" spore drive technology on Discovery could be a central plot point.
posted by Pryde at 8:53 AM on April 13 [8 favorites]


Put that way, and depending on the state of the future universe, that sounds a bit like Robert Hewitt Wolfe's original premise for the Andromeda series, which at one point was conceived of as a post-Federation Star Trek spin-off

This is a really good theory. I'd certainly be interested - Andromeda plus writers* minus Sorbo** is a good pitch. If they don't do that, I hope whatever they land on is even half as clever.


* No Trek series was ever as incoherent as Andromeda, not even when sticking 20 minute goodbyes into hour-long apocalyptic deadlines.

** Sorbo being the reason Wolfe left Andromeda in the first place, ruining what was once an interesting show.
posted by mordax at 9:43 AM on April 13 [2 favorites]


Barf. Good god that was schlocky. All that self-indulgent saying goodbyes.. We thought Airiam's memorial service was some weirdly unearned emotion for the show... this was ten times that. I mean at least some of it was earned, I genuinely care what happens to Michael. But to go on and on and on that way for half an episode. When we know full well they're not all going to their death.

Bringing Sarek and Amanda in was.. just fucking insane. They are literally on the run from thirty special ops ships. They can't communicate with anyone except ship to ship. And then somehow Sarek just drops in, what, on a shuttle? Maybe he used his Force Vulcan mind powers to navigate to Michael.

The best moment was putting Georgiou and Po in the room together for the brainstorming session. They are both hilarious characters and actors and letting them just go to 11 with it all was great.

And I do like the idea they're going to the far future, it'd be fun to see a whole season do a retread of Voyager's setup. Unlikely though, I think we'll be back in the primary timeline and universe within three episodes.

Weird little bit about not designating a new captain. I mean from a command point of view that's insane. Also it's obvious to everyone Saru should be the captain. So just say it and go with it? I fear they delayed it so that Saru can have a Very Special Moment in an episode or two where he confesses his concern about doing the job well and has to be reassured by Michael.

I'm confused on one plot point.. How do they know there are seven space signals? They've seen four (now five). IIRC all seven appeared simultaneously at the beginning of the season, so that's how they know there's exactly seven. But if so, why is the location of the remaining ones a mystery? They already appeared!
posted by Nelson at 9:57 AM on April 13 [5 favorites]


Liked this bit as Pike was beaming away:

Georgiou: By the way, I'm Terran...from your Mirror Universe.
Pike: What Mirror Universe? [winks]

They had hinted in one of the earlier episodes that Tyler would tell Pike about Mirror Georgiou, but IIRC we didn't see it on screen and didn't have confirmation of that until now.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:06 AM on April 13 [4 favorites]


That mirror universe wink moment seemed clever, but the reason why seems to have escaped me. Should I be remembering what Pike does/doesn’t already know about the mirror universe? Why would Georgiou choose that moment to say that, if at all? Foreshadowing some TOS thing I don’t know about? Sorry if I’m being dense.
posted by churl at 2:14 PM on April 13 [1 favorite]


I always wondered what the Emperor thought when encountering the counterparts from her Mirror Universe. After all, Capt. Killy and Tilly must make a jarring comparison. In her head is the knowledge of which Terran empire members lived and died in her universe. On Disco the Michael she sees being loyal and self-sacrificing, is this the Micheal she loves and respects or wanted in her Terran empire? Would she have wanted this Michael at all?

I know that the show is trying to make the Terran emperor more sympathetic but I do like seeing the edge at times such as her blase attitude towards eliminating the life of several planets for the energy use of a supernova. Michelle Yeoh is so good, even when she was putting the verbal shank to the protagonist in Crazy Rich Asians with, "You will never be enough for him." (her character's son). I thought, "Yeah, she's got a point. Did I mention that Michelle Yeoh is my QUEEN!"
posted by jadepearl at 8:21 PM on April 13 [3 favorites]


Rebecca Romijn as Number One, yes.
posted by mwhybark at 9:51 PM on April 13 [2 favorites]


Rebecca Romijn as Number One, yes.

I thought the production designers NAILED Number One, who IIRC in the old ST novels was in fact "Number One" in her birth-year of a genetically engineered race, and was overjoyed to see it was Rebecca Romijn.

For all the people complaining about "This isn't Star Trek Continues", that is true. It's not supposed to be a retro homage. It's a vehicle for telling a story. And this story is great.
posted by mikelieman at 3:24 AM on April 14 [1 favorite]


Hello, it is important to me that we praise one (of many) thing that #StarTrekDiscovery does better than any of the Treks before it: Tapping into the sheer joy that is just "Look at all these nerds solving puzzles together, they live for this shit"

We discussed this last week, but having characters regularly declare "Science is awesome!" is way less effective than just showing the characters Doing Science. Voyager, while not an example of excellent writing in general, was easily able to show the joy that B'Elanna, Janeway, and Seven got from their jobs, while not lowering the stakes by having the characters stop at a critical moment to remark on their cleverness.

Georgiou was my favorite this episode. Sure, she eats people, but at least she doesn't make speeches.
posted by chaiminda at 3:56 AM on April 14 [8 favorites]


Should I be remembering what Pike does/doesn’t already know about the mirror universe?

Pike and Georgiou first meet on screen in "Saints of Imperfection" (S2E05), and their conversation indicates Pike knew Prime Georgiou, and initially believes her to be such. In a conversation afterwards with Michael (I was misremembering above when I stated it was Tyler) he notes a) that Georgiou seems different, and b) Burnham's odd reaction to Georgiou. He tells Burnham he knows she's keeping things from him about both Tyler and Georgiou, to which Burnham replies that that's a longer conversation for a more appropriate time.

We don't see that conversation on screen, but the scene here confirms that Michael has told him about Georgiou. Georgiou thinks she's telling Pike something new, but he already knows.

As for why Georgiou would tell him now, I don't know. I'm not sure there's any tactical reason, but maybe just gloating? Although she's devious, Mirror Georgiou is not above a little gloating.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 4:37 AM on April 14 [2 favorites]


Although I'm sure you are right and she does like gloating, I also think she usually does things for a reason. Perhaps she suspected that Pike knew, but she wasn't sure, and she wanted to know if he trusted her because of who she is, or in spite of who she is. Myself, I trust her as long I'm not in the way of her ambition.
posted by ambulocetus at 4:52 AM on April 14 [2 favorites]


who IIRC in the old ST novels was in fact "Number One" in her birth-year of a genetically engineered race,

My entry route into Trek was the Blish adaptations in the seventies and the pre-STMP licensed novels published by Bantam, and I am unfamiliar with this backstory. Citation?
posted by mwhybark at 6:44 AM on April 14


Here's the entry for Number One in Memory Beta, which is the wiki for beta canon works.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:19 AM on April 14 [1 favorite]


My entry route into Trek was the Blish adaptations in the seventies and the pre-STMP licensed novels published by Bantam, and I am unfamiliar with this backstory. Citation?

Let's see if I can google my way out of this, and not end up digging through boxes of books this afternoon before I head down to the City to work for a few days...



THANK YOU MEMORY ALPHA!
The novel Vulcan's Glory, by Star Trek: The Original Series writer D.C. Fontana, suggested this character's moniker was not simply a nickname or title – she was an Illyrian who was called "Number One," as the best intellect among her generation.
( Which coincidentally, I remember seeing when rummaging through a box of books a few nights ago, and consequently will be re-reading this week! )

Thank you for making me take this little detour.
posted by mikelieman at 8:21 AM on April 14 [1 favorite]


This was a funny episode to watch on the evening of my last day at my now-former job. I didn't thank anyone for giving me the best days of my life! I didn't tell the entire company that I love them all! No one Gift of the Magied me with accepting a different new job that would forever keep us apart!

And no one gave me "eyes front"! (which was touching the first time for the Discovery, but by the third or fourth time started to lose a little punch)
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 10:13 AM on April 14 [3 favorites]


Well if D.C. Fontana wrote that, I guess it's for sure canon, but then why does Captain Picard call Ryker "Number One"? I thought it was just something that captains call their First Officers. I mean surely the rest of the crew didn't call her Number One, did they? That would seem a little presumptuous for the lower ranks to say that, but then again I was never in the Military so I don't know.
posted by ambulocetus at 4:12 PM on April 14


Riker was also "Number One"; he was the best beer pong player in his fraternity at the Academy. It's a real pisser of a joke.
posted by Nelson at 4:55 PM on April 14 [5 favorites]


I am not much on the blogging, but do people do it when the house is burning down?

A cursory examination of Twitter reveals that yes, people do this.
posted by danhon at 7:29 PM on April 14 [1 favorite]


And let’s keep in mind that the exposition in the cold open is Burnham recording a personal log during the evacuation of the ship. Again: the ship is being evacuated and is —they believe— about to be destroyed.

I just imagine that during any crisis, the ship is full of people running around to carry out their important tasks while simultaneously yelling "PERSONAL LOG:" into their tricorder or whatever. It must be deafening.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:35 AM on April 15 [6 favorites]


I'm not bothered by the "Personal Log" thing--I've long since made my peace with the silliness of the "log" as storytelling device in the Star Trek universe. Like, we'll come back from commercial break to hear Picard telling the ship's log that he is currently staring face to face with the Romulan ambassador on the bridge viewscreen, and then we'll see him staring face to face with the Romulan ambassador on the bridge viewscreen. When the fuck did he record that?

It's a storytelling device, it's always been silly, it's fine.
posted by duffell at 4:38 AM on April 15 [10 favorites]


Like, we'll come back from commercial break to hear Picard telling the ship's log that he is currently staring face to face with the Romulan ambassador on the bridge viewscreen, and then we'll see him staring face to face with the Romulan ambassador on the bridge viewscreen. When the fuck did he record that?

“Well, Captain, how long shall we stare at each other across the Neutral Zone?!”
posted by Servo5678 at 5:10 AM on April 15 [8 favorites]


I've gotta gripe about a relatively minor annoyance that, once you read the following paragraph, you will never unsee… so fair warning, maybe you want to skip this paragraph.

For at least a few years now, I've suspected that editors sometimes reverse the film on those dialogue-free reaction shots where a character shifts their gaze from one direction to another. I can't remember where else besides DISCO I've seen it, but I know I have, and IIRC it's more common with fast-paced stuff like DISCO. It makes sense from an editing perspective to do this: maybe in the script, Character A speaks and then Character B does, but in the edit bay it flows better for Character A to talk second, so the reaction has to be switched. And, until this episode, I couldn't be sure that I was actually perceiving vaguely-unnatural head and eye movements indicative of reversing the shot, or just imagining things. But watch one of Michael's reaction shots on the Enterprise bridge: somebody walks backwards behind her. 9_9

Jack: I doubt that they're going to bring in a whole new crew and ship with the same name.
ambulocetus: Since Me Hani Ika Hali Ka Po made an appearance in this episode, the short Treks are obviously not just canon, but integral to the continuity. How they can rectify that with the fact that DSC has been green-lit for a third season, remains to be seen.

I restate my prediction from previous threads: Discovery-A. They can sell more toys/MMO packs with a new design. Plus, it's a convenient way to dispose of the spore drive for canon's sake.

jferg: I don't know that I'd mind seeing Captain Saru next season.

I'm so down with this. We're long overdue for an alien captain of a series' "flagship." Worf is better-developed, of course, but he's got at least two "you'll never get your own command" reprimands on his record.

Pryde: Interestingly, late TNG did introduce the idea that warp drive damaged subspace, which was entirely ignored later.

Pedantic minutia: not entirely. At least one subsequent TNG episode references getting approval from Starfleet to violate the warp-5+ speed restriction due to some kind of emergency circumstance. And at least one supplemental (possibly noncanon) work referenced that later starship designs employed $TECHNOBABBLE in the warp nacelles to prevent damaging subspace. The Intrepid-class (Voyager's class) was one of these.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 8:31 AM on April 15 [2 favorites]


Without intending this comment as a derail, and further to the personal-log-as-storytelling-device discussion, does anyone else remember when Neelix had a vlog?
posted by danhon at 9:49 AM on April 15 [3 favorites]


CheesesOfBrazil: Pedantic minutia: not entirely. At least one subsequent TNG episode references getting approval from Starfleet to violate the warp-5+ speed restriction due to some kind of emergency circumstance. And at least one supplemental (possibly noncanon) work referenced that later starship designs employed $TECHNOBABBLE in the warp nacelles to prevent damaging subspace. The Intrepid-class (Voyager's class) was one of these.

Fair point! The episode where the idea was introduced was in season 7, and according to Memory Alpha, there were two subsequent references later on in that final season. DS9 and Voyager never brought it up, however:

According to the unpublished VOY Season 1 edition of the Star Trek: Voyager Technical Guide, by Rick Sternbach and Michael Okuda, it is suggested that because of the variable geometry pylons used on Voyager, the generated warp fields might no longer have a negative impact on habitable worlds as established in "Force of Nature".

The thing I didn't like about Wolfe's idea of a fallen Federation was that it ran contrary to Star Trek's fundamental optimism, particularly if it was the result of a political collapse/civil war. I also wouldn't be thrilled if it was an outside invading force. But some sort of interstellar ecological disaster that resulted in the core Federation worlds becoming isolated from one another and the rest of the galaxy? That could be an interesting storytelling opportunity to metaphorically explore the potential impact of climate change on global transportation and trade.

If the trajectory of technological advancement continued at the pace we've seen through the 23rd and 24th century, it's hard to imagine the galaxy not seeming like a much smaller place a thousand years later. On the other hand, I'd also be game for a series that had intergalactic exploration on the table.
posted by Pryde at 10:15 AM on April 15 [1 favorite]


Well if D.C. Fontana wrote that, I guess it's for sure canon

It's definitely not canon. The only Trek canon is TV shows and movies. Even TAS is debatable.
posted by Automocar at 11:11 AM on April 15


Even TAS is debatable

FWIW TAS is treated equally with the live action properties on StarTrek.com.
posted by nathan_teske at 3:49 PM on April 15 [1 favorite]


Struggling to get past the awful salute the captain type stuff. Just awful. Like one of those crappy live action anime conversions.

I like my ST suicide for the sake of the ship/starfleet/earth/humankind/universe etc to be a bit more stoical in the face of imminent death thanks. Just get on with it. (Basically, like hologram Geordie in that episode of TNG where Troi has to learn to order crew to their death.)

The one thing I did notice this week: the scene with Ash and Saru, Ash is clearly tall and skinny enough that they could species-convert him again, Klingon to Human, and next Kelpian! Good plan eh? IIRC wasn't there some issue with him losing one of his little chaps when he went human? How many pee-pees do Kelpians have?
posted by biffa at 8:54 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]


Count me in as one more person puzzled over the "Yo, Pike! I'm Terran!" moment. Unless the Emperor thought Pike was going to die and wanted to toss him a piece of "here's a secret for you to enjoy!" I'm clueless.

I don't really mind the personal log stuff. I feel like if any institution is built around the idea of documentation, documentation, documentation, then Starfleet would be that institution. Kind of like a sea captain or officer taking time, as a ship begins to sink, to make a log of the why, where, everything else. You gotta leave your message in a bottle for someone to remember you by and to know what happened, anyhoots.

Same goes for the salute to Pike at the end. Not that I have a naval background, but it felt very much like something I would see replicated if I was watching some 18th or 19th century naval adventure or tale. Sure, time is of the essence, BUT YOU DO THINGS BECAUSE THAT'S HOW IT'S DONE, AND DARN TOOTIN' IF YOU DON'T RESPECT THE WAY THINGS ARE DONE.
posted by Atreides at 1:46 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]


If Pike gives any more speeches I am going to be glad when he can only communicate either yes or no with flashing lights.
posted by biffa at 3:28 PM on April 16 [6 favorites]


I feel like Pike doesn't know how to start a speech without everyone hearing it thinking "well, I guess today is the day we all die, huh" ("Starfleet… is a promise.")
posted by DoctorFedora at 9:30 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]


Personal Log - Captain Pike is giving another one of those goddamn "we're all about to die" speeches-
Pike: You are aware we can all hear you, right?
Personal Log, supplemental - Captain Pike is angry at me
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:41 AM on April 17 [16 favorites]


I feel like Pike doesn't know how to start a speech without everyone hearing it thinking "well, I guess today is the day we all die, huh" ("Starfleet… is a promise.")

Relevant comedy bit from Eugene Mirman
posted by duffell at 6:02 AM on April 17


Swan-song monologues have probably been a formal element of the medium since the Greeks. Situation-establishing recaps after a commercial break have been a formal element of the medium since the dawn of radio. Granted, Disco doesn't get the same level of breaks as cable broadcast, but you still get 90 seconds of annoyance inserted after every major plot beat. It's just the nature of the beast.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 6:12 AM on April 17


Not every ten minutes though.
posted by biffa at 1:24 PM on April 17 [1 favorite]


Forgot to note: Culber was back in the white smock this week and immediately became boring again.
posted by biffa at 1:26 PM on April 17


It's definitely not canon. The only Trek canon is TV shows and movies. Even TAS is debatable.

I remember the Original Timeline, where Zefram Cochrane is from Alpha Centuari, so arguing "canon" post-retcon?

You're my kind of Trekkies.
posted by mikelieman at 5:26 AM on April 18


it feels like his major role in this season is to hang around and be brooding, and I'm just kind of done with him.

I think Ash Tyler suffers from the fact that Discovery, unlike other Treks, is really not an ensemble show. It is the Michael Burnham show, with occasional cameos from Stametz and Tilly.

We don’t really see character development unless it’s important to the plot, or with one of those three characters. It’s why we didn’t see anything about Airiam until she was going to die, and it’s also why so many characters just leave me, at least, emotionless about them.

And because the focus is on Burnham, Tyler’s relationship with her is all about showcasing what Burnham feels, rather than being a real relationship. About her running to kiss him goodbye, about her feels about not coming with. We haven’t seen, this entire fucking season, much of his feels about being back, the complications of his feels about her. We’ve been told he loves her a lot, but we’ve never been shown why. So it’s really hard to care about it, and when they make their romance his one note in the season, it makes him boring as hell.

I will be so glad when he gets his own series and I personally hope he gets over Burnham so he can be an interesting independent character.
posted by corb at 6:17 AM on April 19 [5 favorites]


FWIW TAS is treated equally with the live action properties on StarTrek.com.

I'd be fine if it was! It wasn't thrown away until the TNG-era when Roddenberry got a bug up his butt about it for whatever reason.
posted by Automocar at 6:41 AM on April 19


I've been unhappy with the writing of Tyler ever since he was a vehicle for torture-porn and gaslighting of both character and audience. (Bonus of Season 2, no awkward rape or sex scenes.) If he gets promoted away from the rest of the crew, I'll be happy, even though it seems like an example of the Peter principle to me.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 7:13 AM on April 19


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