Star Trek: Discovery: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2
April 19, 2019 1:16 AM - Season 2, Episode 14 - Subscribe

The conclusion to last week's cliffhanger.

Memory Alpha has a little for us:

Background information
> This episode is part two of a two-part season finale.

Title
> The title comes from William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet: "Parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say goodnight till it be morrow."

Cast and characters
> Number One finally gets a name in this episode, "Una". This name has been used in various novels.

Continuity
> Burnham's suit computer gives the stardates of the missions to the five signals previously detected by the Discovery: The Hiawatha ("Brother", stardate 1025.19), Terralysium ("New Eden", stardate 1027.32), Kaminar ("The Sound of Thunder", stardate 1035.86), Boreth ("Through the Valley of Shadows", stardate 1048.66), and Xahea ("Such Sweet Sorrow", stardate 1050.8).

Memorable quotes
"This is Captain Pike. We have one job: To get Commander Burnham and Discovery through the wormhole. Section 31 is in our way. Once Burnham launches in the suit, second squadron will match course and speed to cover her and defend her perimeter. Squadrons three and four will be the front line of defense against the Section 31 fleet. You will lead the attack and draw their fire to give us the time we need. Enterprise will maintain fire on the fleet to cause distraction as long as we can, but as soon as Burnham is detected out there... we have to keep her safe. All shuttles and pods, use attack formation Gamma-Six. Squadrons one and three, coordinate positions to disrupt and target all main enemy vessels. This is Starfleet. Get it done."
- Pike addresses the fleet

"Leland. We were just talking about you. Everybody hates you. Congratulations."
- Georgiou, when Leland hails the fleet

"Good to go. Crystal's fully charged."
"Ensign Tilly, go with her and make sure it gets to Commander Burnham safely."
(aside, to Tilly) "He means in case one of us gets dead along the way."
"Hurry!"
"I'm going, I'm going! Get off my ass! Sir. Get off my ass, sir."
- Reno and Saru

"No, I'm gonna do a half-assed job because now's the perfect time."
- Dr. Pollard's sarcastic opinion of Saru telling her to "do her best"

"Leland, you look well."
"For a couple of batteries and a datacore stuffed in a meat sack."
"Kind of like an A.I. sausage."
"Ew."
- Georgiou and Nhan, on Leland/Control's human form

"Captain, plans A and B didn't work. We're now into the 'Hail Mary' part of the operation."
"That's been just about everything today."
Number One and Pike

"Tell the D-7 to target the drone fleet that attacks Discovery. We will wade knee deep through the ruin of our enemies."
- L'Rell

Pointless STO Comparison of the Week: Attack patterns Alpha and Delta are both consistent between this script and the MMO. Alpha's offensive, while Delta is for tanking.
posted by mordax (63 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Poster's Log:
I'm still mulling this over, but a few scattered thoughts come to mind:

* The alliance stuff was rousing, but I don't know that it scans.

- Tyler was supposed to be dead to cement L'Rell's status, but he just... went back and got her? Without even putting on a Mission Impossible mask or holodisguise or something?
- The Kelpians are flying Ba'ul ships, but it was unclear to me whether they were working with the Ba'ul, or had eaten them (the way the Ba'ul feared). I'm also not sure if them becoming a race of spacefaring warriors should be inspiring from a Trek point of view.

I get that having a Starfleet task force show up to bail them out would've ruined Discovery's faked death, but this still didn't really work for me with so little setup.

* Lots of good moments here.

- Cornwell's ending felt appropriately respectful. It was good to see her working with Number One, and her talk with Captain Pike about his destiny was pretty good. I feel like it was a decent sendoff that didn't drag on too long.
- I also liked the resolution on Culber and Stamets, and hope it sticks. That felt earned too.
- I liked Tilly, here, especially the 'I'll have to do it blindfolded' talk.
- Po's theory about Control's shielding reminded me of a similar bit in the novel The Kobayashi Maru, where Scotty figures out that there's a bug in the simulation he can exploit involving linked Klingon shield systems.
- Georgiou outsmarting Control was entirely in character. As soon as it called her predictable, it officially broke an Evil Overlord rule.

* Michael/Spock dragged a bit.

They really need to cut down the tearful goodbyes, next season.

Overall, I thought it was uneven but fun. Definitely on board for next season despite the flaws.
posted by mordax at 1:30 AM on April 19 [8 favorites]


“This is Captain Pike. We’re probably all going to die. Yes, again.”
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:53 AM on April 19 [7 favorites]


What?! That was *literally* the plot device used to end "The Principal and the Pauper" (edited because I originally misremembered it as "Sweet Seymour Skinner's Baadasssss Song", sorry!).
posted by MarchHare at 3:19 AM on April 19 [4 favorites]


thank you for not being Borg (so far???)
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:46 AM on April 19 [4 favorites]


Ugh. To be honest, I thought most of this was a trainwreck. So many "we have very little time! let's spend it saying a tearful goodbye!" moments.

Good bits:
* Po
* Tilly
* Jet Reno
* Stamets and Culber, I think.

Stupid bits:
* Yet another "Uhhh, this is Captain Pike speaking. We're all gonna die. Smoke 'em if you got 'em." moment.
* How does closing one blast door prevent a giant bomb from destroying half the ship? And sure, the lever is on the inside, but you're smart people - can't you maybe take your shirt off and tie the sleeve to the lever and pull it from the other side of the blast door?
* The recap of the circumstances surrounding the sending of each signal seemed unnecessary. If you're watching this Ep, you probably know what happened during the rest of the eps in the season.
* There are a ton of timeline issues ... I feel like in Saru's timeline it's been no more than a couple of weeks since they visited Kaminar, but his sister has learned to pilot a Ba'ul ship and made it halfway across the galaxy, formed an alliance with the Klingons (who are now magically friends of the federation and willing to fight for them? Ash is amazingly persuasive for a dead man), and is here to destroy control?
* If Enterprise could transport Spock back from the shuttle, why couldn't they just have transported Michael to the place she needed to be?
* So, there's this pile of nanites in the spore chamber and we're taking them into the future with us ... this seems like a bad idea.
* And soooo much technology that doesn't fit the timeline. There's going to have to be a reckoning of some sort in order for this to ever actually fit the TOS timeline, technologically.

Argh, it's too early in the morning for me to be this riled up. And those are just the ones I can think of without rewatching the episode. Season 3 will be the make or break for me. It'll either be good, or this will turn in to the Agents of Shield and I will hate-watch season 3 and then just give up entirely.
posted by jferg at 5:56 AM on April 19 [8 favorites]


So wait, hold up

Hold the fuck on

Leland was killed and the drones & Section 31 ships were immediately neutralized, Control was down...

so

like

why did they need to go through the wormhole at that point? Wasn't the mission fucking accomplished already?

If they still needed to destroy the sphere data, it wouldn't have taken more than a few missiles to destroy DISCO at that point, no?
posted by duffell at 5:57 AM on April 19 [14 favorites]


Or do we think the Control nanites infected the mycelial network?

There were some really solid bits in here, lots to like, but on balance this was messy as fuck
posted by duffell at 5:58 AM on April 19 [3 favorites]


Okay but seriously where did that Spock/Burnham ship come from and why am I so into it
posted by annekate at 6:02 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Watched it, but couldn't understand it because fucking CBS/Amazon seems to have this thing about distributing episodes with fucked-up subtitles. So I'm not in all that great of a mood about this one.

Leland was killed and the drones & Section 3 ships were immediately neutralized, Control was down...

While there have been a fair number of jokes about Season 2 lifting beats from Mass Effect, this is the first time I really felt that the writers were pulling the same level of fuckery as defeating a warship-sized superhuman AI by punching its cybernetically controlled meatpuppet.

How does closing one blast door prevent a giant bomb from destroying half the ship? And sure, the lever is on the inside, but you're smart people - can't you maybe take your shirt off and tie the sleeve to the lever and pull it from the other side of the blast door?

Why not levers on both sides? It's one of those "things work according to the principles of plot" moments that opens up the headcanon that other cultures think humans are the worst engineers in the galaxy and we are grudgingly accepted because our mistakes are glorious. And Star Trek uses naval metaphors except when it doesn't, like when it needs a big farewell speech for an actor rather than just ordering the first redshirt available to just do it. (Thinking specifically of both Troi's command fitness test and Reno's "of course" moment.)
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 6:21 AM on April 19 [8 favorites]


Here's my crazy theory that's probably wrong: this was the "series finale" of Discovery and next season we'll follow the adventures of the USS Enterprise. Too much about this episode screamed series finale to me: the tearful goodbyes to friends and family, the flashbacks in the middle of the episode, the way Discovery glided majestically into the wormhole, and the last 10 minutes, of course.

I'm probably wrong, but if the show is really going to be set in the 32nd Century next season, I'm worried. That will take a lot more talent that this middling writing staff has demonstrated so far, and worldbuilding has never been one of the show's strengths.

Plus, "Calypso" could act as a canon capper to "prove" that Discovery did make it to the future. And aside from a movie, neither Mount, Romjin, or Peck have any upcoming work on IMDB.
posted by Automocar at 6:39 AM on April 19 [3 favorites]


So if Calypso takes place in the 33rd century, and Discovery has been abandoned for "nearly a Millennium", that means that it would be Discovery from the current timeline (23rd century), and not Discovery from the future (33rd century). So there's either a paradox here, or Short Trek isn't 100% canon, or Disco does make it back to the 23rd century.

I'm personally wondering if Season 3 is going to be kind of Voyager-like. Hanging out in the Beta quadrant, trying to find their way home, the crew of Discovery has many adventures and gets to know each other better. Or whatever.
posted by jferg at 6:51 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


The production team did relatively well this season, given all the behind-the-scenes turmoil at the very top. Great space battle scenes too. Here and there they told the state of the battle very concisely, like an overhead picture of the Enterprise and Discovery surrounded by Section 31 ships.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:54 AM on April 19


Or, option 4, "Calypso" actually takes place in the 34th century, and Memory: Alpha is just assuming that Discovery was abandoned in the current timeline.
posted by jferg at 6:54 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


It's possible "Calypso" takes place in one of the "Control wins" timelines, or (more wonky) that organic matter interacts with the timehole differently than inorganic matter, and that the ship has to exist inside the anomaly the entire 1000 years while the crew will just pop into existence at the end of the time journey. I'm pretty sure we will see an Andromeda-style Discovery exploring the ruins of the Federation in season three, so I think they'll tie it in somehow.
posted by gerryblog at 7:02 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


it wouldn't have taken more than a few missiles to destroy DISCO at that point, no?

They tried that before, remember? Tried to auto-destruct Discovery, the sphere data shut it down; tried to fire on Discovery from Enterprise, the sphere data defended itself.

Here's my crazy theory that's probably wrong: this was the "series finale" of Discovery and next season we'll follow the adventures of the USS Enterprise. Too much about this episode screamed series finale to me:

It screamed finale for the Enterprise/Pike/clean-shaven Spock/Number One (at least within this show), not a finale to Discovery to me. The ending with Pike et al. on the rebuilt Enterprise bridge, looking even more like TOS Enterprise than before (right down to the funky psychedelic display and View-Master at Spock's station) seemed quite the send-off for them. And I was expecting a teaser of Discovery in the future after that, but we didn't get it - further emphasizing that this was Enterprise's send-off.

I'm not sure I buy "I must never speak of Michael to anyone again" as the reason we didn't hear about Spock's sister until Discovery. Surely "my sister died in the line of duty when Discovery was destroyed" would have been sufficient for their goal.

And ugh ugh ugh on like three more "time is critical so let's pause for an emotional personal conversation" moments.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:03 AM on April 19 [8 favorites]


Well, I was happy. Last week were all the emotional goodbyes, and this week we got the big damn space battle with a bunch of different things going on at once, and pretty satisfying in terms of giving people different things to do at different levels. I'd address some of the points that people have brought up in this way:

- Tyler was supposed to be dead to cement L'Rell's status, but he just... went back and got her? Without even putting on a Mission Impossible mask or holodisguise or something?

Probably holodisguise, which he'd have for the same reason that Georgiou did earlier in the season. It may have been damaged during the fight, but hopefully L'Rell's bridge crew is discreet enough not to mention that later. (She has to have some secret sharers; I don't think that it was just her and Tyler who cooked up the whole fake heads thing.)

* How does closing one blast door prevent a giant bomb from destroying half the ship? And sure, the lever is on the inside, but you're smart people - can't you maybe take your shirt off and tie the sleeve to the lever and pull it from the other side of the blast door?

And the Titanic was supposed to be unsinkable, right? What's up with that? Seriously, though, it was a photon torpedo, not a "giant bomb." In Star Trek VI, one goes completely through the saucer section, and the ship is still operational. This one took off a big chunk of the saucer; it just didn't blow back and destroy the bridge to boot. And I don't think that the lever worked that way. Maybe the months-long repair included better damage control measures.

* If Enterprise could transport Spock back from the shuttle, why couldn't they just have transported Michael to the place she needed to be?

Because there were a fuckton of torpedoes and phasers flying around. There were a lot less once the Klingons and Kelpiens showed up.

why did they need to go through the wormhole at that point? Wasn't the mission fucking accomplished already?

If they still needed to destroy the sphere data, it wouldn't have taken more than a few missiles to destroy DISCO at that point, no?


Didn't they think that they'd destroyed Control before, at Section 31 HQ? For all they knew, there was still a copy extant that could have infected, I dunno, every ship in Starfleet. And the Sphere Data was still in Discovery, so no.

While there have been a fair number of jokes about Season 2 lifting beats from Mass Effect, this is the first time I really felt that the writers were pulling the same level of fuckery as defeating a warship-sized superhuman AI by punching its cybernetically controlled meatpuppet.

Ha, yeah, good old Saren. ME had some incredibly weak end boss battles: the showdown with Sovereign and Saren basically boiling down to the latter becoming a Geth Hopper; in ME2, shooting a Reaper Larva that wasn't really that challenging; and in ME3, no real final boss at all. (You'd think that they would have cooked up a melee battle with TIM, it being the only time in the games that you get to meet him face to face, but no.) Even Andromeda had the final boss fight with the Archon, the big bad who's been dogging you the entire game, turn out to really be just another Remnant Architect fight.

Anyway, wrong franchise. It does seem stupid that Control wouldn't have left copies of itself seeded on the other Section 31 ships, but that just seemed to be Control's thing: it didn't want an AI empire, it wanted to be the only AI. Good thing that it wasn't really the proto-Borg, eh?

And Star Trek uses naval metaphors except when it doesn't, like when it needs a big farewell speech for an actor rather than just ordering the first redshirt available to just do it.

Well, that's been Trek's standard operating procedure from the start. Vital members of the command staff go on away missions, etc. And Cornwell really didn't seem like the kind of let-a-redshirt-do-it kind of person, as we saw in S1 when she went on that ill-fated diplomatic mission.

Finally, as cool as the new version of the Enterprise crew has been, I don't see them taking over the series, although I think that we may get some Pikeprise Short Treks yet.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:04 AM on April 19 [6 favorites]


Of course I don't *really* deserve a writing credit, but still my review for season 1 does seem rather prescient about season two:

A Discovery that is declared lost with all hands explains, to a point, why we never heard about any of this before. A Discovery that is by far the most significant ship of its era, not only singlehandedly prosecuting the Klingon War but singlehandedly securing its peace — in the process perfecting a cheap, safe, and easily scalable instant-teleportation technology and proving the existence of hostile alternative universes containing exact-but-evil duplicates of basically everyone alive — would be absolutely legendary, totally transformative of the Federation, its values, and its future well beyond the cowboy antics of Captain Kirk and his crew. That one of the major actors on the ship is Spock’s secret sister is just gravy. Instead of taking that franchise megatext seriously, though, and thinking through the consequences, someone quickly barks that “listen, just so you know, this is all classified” and the credits roll, and we move on instead to another set of stories we’ve seen dozens of times before, whose outcomes we all already know in advance.

...with the caveat that if we're really in the 32nd century now we're probably going to be telling new and weird stories we haven't seen before.
posted by gerryblog at 7:07 AM on April 19 [3 favorites]


I used to think I loved Spock. Now I realize that I actually loved Leonard Nimoy. Spock and the entire Spock-family are easily the least engaging thing in Trek since Neelix. I've never been so incredibly bored by film with frenetic pacing.

I love the cast, the characters, and the art department. The plot and the writing make me feel embarrassed most of the time, even when sitting alone in my own home. It's like a bad super-hero movie with the word "Trek" stapled onto the poster.

Here's hoping for a great third season. There are a lot of fantastic characters and beautiful sets.

After a full 25 minutes of tearful goodbyes in the last two eppisodes, they had better let some characters actually die. Seems like there's no going back for the admiral. But, we've been there a few times before.
posted by eotvos at 11:09 AM on April 19 [6 favorites]


One thing that I may have been reading a bit too much into was Michael's parting words to Spock that included this: "Find that person who seems farthest from you, and reach for them." Did anyone else think, "...and that person's name is Jim Kirk"?
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:36 AM on April 19 [10 favorites]


why did they need to go through the wormhole at that point? Wasn't the mission fucking accomplished already?

Not necessarily. I think some other things were going on here.

* They couldn't be sure Control didn't have backups or other contingency plans in place.

* Even if Control was gone, they do not appear to trust Starfleet Command with this data. This seems genre-savvy to me: the whole Evil Admiral thing is a total cliche in the Trek franchise, and it's worth noting that the brass made both Control and S31 in the first place. Plus, the idea they don't trust Command is borne out in the ending, where they lie about Discovery to keep anybody from looking for it.

* The sphere data is too destabilizing to leave where any other third party might get to it either. I mean, L'Rell's their buddy for now, but what about in six months? Or her successor? The archive is more than they can plausibly safeguard in current conditions.

One thing that I may have been reading a bit too much into was Michael's parting words to Spock that included this: "Find that person who seems farthest from you, and reach for them." Did anyone else think, "...and that person's name is Jim Kirk"?

Actually, my head first went to "Doctor McCoy," and then I decided they must mean Kirk.
posted by mordax at 12:53 PM on April 19 [7 favorites]


Count me as another one who immediately thought McCoy. Oddly enough, original slash pairings aside, I didn't consider that a Kirk reference till seeing it in this thread. I feel the 'furthest from you' bit is more McCoy.
posted by bcd at 1:15 PM on April 19 [5 favorites]


Also quite plausible.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:36 PM on April 19 [2 favorites]


I could have done with fewer explosions and more plot. On a positive note, no signs of the Borg.

Burnham and Spock have now tied Culber and Stamets for first place in the "badly-timed declarations of love" competition. (But at least Culber and Stamets will be back together, and Wilson Cruz was quite sweet.)

Got a chuckle out of the 2001: A Space Odyssey shoutout during Burnham's first trip through the wormhole.

I'm all for the crew staying put in the 32nd century: that neatly solves the stepping-on-toes problem of any prequel and opens all sorts of fun cans of worms. (Will we meet Craft again?) But since Captain Empress is in the spinoff, at least she needs to get back somehow...
posted by thomas j wise at 4:26 PM on April 19 [5 favorites]


Given how they've used two other Short Treks as important canon for this season, and Calypso was conveniently set right around when they are headed, it seems crazy to not be planning to pick up that thread.

That leaves the The Escape Artist one as an odd-ball - but maybe it's just intended as a nod towards I, Mudd with the androids and all?
posted by bcd at 5:28 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Well, that was very pretty.

It's a little beyond belief that the photon torpedo took a bite out of the saucer section - but a blast door (with a window!) completely protected Pike, standing on the other side of it when it went off.

The torpedo bypassing shields/ deflector (!) to slam into the saucer section? I must have missed something.

That the Golden Gate Bridge is covered in vintage 2010s solar panels is funny.

The nature of the space battle (drones, swarms of drones) and the sun dramatically glinting off a lot of solar panels screamed Appleseed: Ex Machina to me.

Speaking of drones, not sure what to feel about having them peel off the surface of the saucer section. Makes sense, if you wanted a carrier-type war vessel while sticking with the standard Starfleet ship geometry, but it suggests that the "carrier" lacks hull armor and must rely on shields/ drone swarm screening.

The success of drone-swarm type warfare feels out of line with ST, but maybe there was a point in time in technology where there was a "sweet spot" in achievable energy density/ shields/ primary capital ship weapons (phasers) where drone swarms made sense. Advances in shield regeneration or any number of tweeks to phasers (switching to burst mode/ more precision in targeting/ speed of target acquisition/ broader spread/ sustained broad spread firing) could completely obviate drone swarms and that why they aren't common in TNG+.

The immediate cut to Tyler in the office, with San Fran cityline unfocused in the background is also super duper manga-y.

Of course, the Angel suit, too.

'Minority Report' head-scratching holographic UI, but whatevs. I wonder if they sped up (on "film") Burnham's interacting with the interface?

So... a Klingon/ Human whatever-he-is is now head of Section 31? Georgiou's whereabouts covered up - really looking forward to what she ends up up to. Not convinced that they let her go out of gratitude just because she killed control - I wonder how she got the command staff on board?

Also noticed that Georgiou has really utiliful 21st century vintage (chopper) motorcycle boots compared to the slightly goofy Starfleet uniform boots.

Spock being out of uniform and wearing Section 31 adjacent fashion was a little weird. Again, I must have missed something.

re: TOS-if-ied Enterprise bridge - anyone else catch the "doo wee" instrument noise, too, just as Spock walked onto the bridge? A bunch of other TOS bridge sounds play after that, too.

Kind of pains me to admit it, but I like Zachary Quinto's Spock better than Ethan Peck's.

All in all, I've been happy with Anson Mount as Captain Pike but Doug Jones (Saru) and Jason Isaacs (Lorca) are all memorable.

The Kelpians going all in on bushido in - the weeks? months? since their species-level forced second adolescence is really weird. Maybe they picked it up from the Klingons.

Agreed, the ending seemed like a send off for the Enterprise, which is free to "snap back" into the cannon track. I expect future season(s), will focus on the Discovery in the fuuuuuuuuture - but I'm not confident that the current writing team is up to pulling it off.

I'm almost ok with this being the series finale, but we're definitely getting an S3.
posted by porpoise at 8:14 PM on April 19 [4 favorites]


Yay this was fun! Every one of the last few episodes has teetered on the "oh boy this is dumb" and "holy shit this was fun" fulcrum for me. Happily this time the see-saw is weighted towards "that was fun". I particularly like that they wrapped up a whole lot of plots in ways that were sort of satisfying and make sense. I particularly liked them all cooperating on a lie that Disco got blown up and then an agreement to never talk about what happened, as a sort huge ol "fuck you" inb4 the retcon is even asked for.

The Big Dumb for me was the blast door / torpedo. Seriously, there's a manual override and you spend all this time trying to do funky reprogramming of the torpedo? Why don't you just, like, get a fucking rope and tie it around the handle to pull it? Or send in a robot to pull the handle instead of sacrificing Admiral Awesome? I guess she wanted out of the contract.

Speaking of robots.. one weird thing in the last episode and this one is all the reliance on drones. The Enterprise suddenly has a vast cloud of shuttles and pods flying around it, all unmanned and autonomous, all flying combat missions. And then they send out a swarm of repair bots when needed, a totally gratuitous little tech wankery scene. (Not to mention the drone Section 31 starships and their fleet of thousands of little shards of hull, but maybe that's the evil time travelling AI's doing.) When did Starfleet develop this technology? How come we've never seen it since?

In the Starfleet Battles wargame from the 1980s, one of the big factors in various races' ships was whether they could carry drones or cloaks. Starfleet was always distinguished by having neither (but having photo torpedoes as an offsetting power). I get that SFB is in no way canon but it was hugely influential in thinking about the military aspects of Starfleet. Guess not anymore. Or not in a few years either, since Starfleet loses the capability again. It sure woulda been handy vs the Tholians for instance.

Meanwhile back in 2019... One huge loose end in this show is that when the musical chairs ended Georgiou is on the Discovery. In the far future. How are they going to bring Michelle Yeoh back to be the star of their new show? My money is on the whole future-travel escapade lasting one, two episodes at most in season 3 of Disco. I'm also assuming that the Enterprise and Spock and Pike exit the scene entirely although so much has been put into developing those characters and that set, maybe they bring them back from time to time.
posted by Nelson at 8:33 PM on April 19 [4 favorites]


Yeah, when the scene with all the little repair droids came on, I literally yelled "This isn't Star Wars!" at the screen.
posted by jferg at 8:39 PM on April 19 [5 favorites]


Yeah, aside from Georgiou ending up tagging along with them to the future, and Cornwell needlessly checking out, this played out more or less like I thought it would, after last week. The show did the things they do well, well (big action set pieces! frenetic pacing!) and they did the stuff they do badly, badly (tearful goodbyes while in time-critical situations, lack of actual science) and fortunately this episode was much heavier on the former than the latter so overall it was fun. And they used the season's plot arc as a way to get themselves out from under the onerous restrictions of being a prequel, which seems wise.

How are they going to bring Michelle Yeoh back to be the star of their new show? My money is on the whole future-travel escapade lasting one, two episodes at most in season 3 of Disco.

Certainly possible, but honestly, I hope not. I'd rather they spend 2 or 3 episodes looking for a way to get back to the 23rd century (probably a McGuffin that can power up Michael's suit again), only to have Georgiou doublecross them and take the time-travel suit for herself, leaving them permanently stranded while she returns to the 23rd century with a bit of (potentially-abusable) knowledge about what the distant future holds, plus the ability to make up all sorts of useful lies about what she saw in the future.
posted by mstokes650 at 8:47 PM on April 19 [8 favorites]


Of all the things I never expected out of Star Trek, this one takes the cake: I'm actually kind of excited by the possibility of Discovery becoming an Andromeda reboot.
posted by mordax at 9:52 PM on April 19 [6 favorites]


Between the space suits and the naval battles, this really did feel in part like a Mass Effect tribute.

The thing I don't get: Discovery-with-the-Sphere-Data wouldn't let the remote self-destruct work AND it engaged the shields. Somehow it can go toe-to-toe with a Constitution-class vessel. And yet it let people beam aboard. People who could have been carrying a jug of anti-matter and blown the thing to pieces. End of show. No moral.

Also if they can jump and be hours ahead, maybe jump to a Starbase and get some help. Then jump and jump until your damn suit is finished instead of trying to build it at the last minute like some junior-high science project.

Dammit, I wanted to like this, but the more I think about it the more it annoys me. Same problem I had with Undiscovered Country, now that I think about it. Loved it while watching it, the gossamer logic falls apart in the light of any moment's reflection. Guess I should stop thinking about it while I'm ahead.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:24 PM on April 19


Oh my god, the repair droids

Mrs. Fedora’s immediate reaction to them was “I didn’t know the ship had Scrubbing Bubbles!” And you know what? She was right
posted by DoctorFedora at 11:28 PM on April 19 [9 favorites]


Trying to fit all of Star Trek into a coherent technological timeline is the least interesting angle I've seen people examining this show from.

It's 2019. The future looks different from here than 1966, or 1987, 1993, or whatever other obsolete future people are stick on.

"Why is there holographic communication?! We've never seen that before!" Because all they could imagine (or afford) back in 1966 was a big TV. There are people watching Discovery on bigger TVs than the viewscreen on the bridge of the TOS Enterprise.

Even if Discovery takes place "before" TOS, it still has to project a future from present day. I don't watch this show and ask "How does it seemlessly link into TOS?" I ask myself "What would TOS look like if we kept going on from here?"


Even repair drones. You think someone should go EVA everytime they need to do any repairs on the hull? That's the future from 2019?
posted by yonega at 11:34 PM on April 19 [10 favorites]


Also if they can jump and be hours ahead, maybe jump to a Starbase and get some help. Then jump and jump until your damn suit is finished instead of trying to build it at the last minute like some junior-high science project.

Fucking jump to Terralysium in the Beta quadrant, where Control couldn’t reach them for decades!
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:35 PM on April 19 [2 favorites]


Maybe I have just severely misunderstood the gibberish that was this season's main storyline. But wasn't a fairly major plot point the fact that it was Mama Burnham in the suit on the occasions when the Red Angel physically appeared to people? Whenever we saw the Red Angel pop in for a face-to-face encounter with a cast member, that was Michael's mother - which is why it was A Twist™ when they revealed that she had nothing to do with the original signals. So why, for the love of Roddenberry, did we just see Michael jump back and turn out to have been the Red Angel during those encounters? Appearing to herself at the wreck of the Hiawatha, appearing to Saru and Siranna, etc. etc.

Like.

What? Am I just stupid? What am I not understanding?

Also: Michael jumped back to set the original signals in order to lead the Discovery to the various plot devices they would need. Those signals appeared before Discovery showed up at the location in question to Do The Thing. So why are we seeing Michael appear while Discovery is already Doing The Thing to set off the associated signal? To use the Hiawatha example again: a signal goes off near an asteroid. Discovery turns up to investigate; finds the Hiawatha; shenanigans ensue. During the shenanigans, Michael is wounded, and the Red Angel appears... to set off the signal that appeared earlier and was supposed to lead the Discovery to the Hiawatha in the first place?

I genuinely can't tell if I am just too thick to understand what is supposed to be happening here, or if the writers just completely forgot A) everything about the entire season that they themselves wrote, and B) the basic relationship between cause and effect.

I hate that I'm going full Comic Book Guy about this, but I think I'd be less irate about DISCO's abject failures if I didn't genuinely love the stuff it does well. This season has wrung real tears from me at several points, and those little chair-wriggles of delight when they pull something off exactly right. Unfortunately, this just makes it all the more frustrating when the writing completely shits the bed.

SIGH.
posted by jurymast at 6:41 AM on April 20 [4 favorites]


ALSO they sure spent a lot of time talking about how the dilithium MacGuffin will fry the time crystal before Michael can jump back to the present, making this a one way trip to the future, just to send her on a leisurely multi-stop space-time jaunt around the universe before blasting off into the 32nd century.

It's fine though. I'm done complaining. It's fine. This is all fine. It's fine.
posted by jurymast at 6:47 AM on April 20 [2 favorites]


why did we just see Michael jump back and turn out to have been the Red Angel during those encounters?

My understanding is it goes like this. Mama only appears when Michael's about to die, she swoops in and does something to save her life. (e.g. on Vulcan when Michael was a child; note we didn't see that again last night.) Som Other Red Angel, it turns out it's Michael, appears to set the 5 signals which are the clues to the past coming from the future.

Now I agree last night's clip show part was a bit of a jumble. Sometimes it looks like Michael's Red Angel is in the place Mama's is, particularly on Tig's asteroid with the Hiawatha. I didn't try to dissect this too closely but maybe somehow Red Angel Michael stuck around long enough to see Red Angel Mama briefly visit past Michael. Or something. It's a time travel plot which means it's going to be dumb no matter how hard you try to make sense of it.

The part I still don't understand / remember is how they know they are going to be seven signals. Wasn't there something in the very first episodes this season about how all seven appeared simultaneously across the galaxy or something? And Spock somehow divined them all? I need to go back and watch that again (or read a recap) to understand if they ended up making sense of that through the whole season. Particularly confused because a big plot point was not knowing where / when a couple of the signals were going to show up, like signal #5.

I'm amazed at the audacity of Michael just jumping into the hastily-assembled-suit and diving right into space. She'd been studying her mother's recordings, so she knew how it worked. OK. But still you'd think she'd be a little nervous about whether all those micro-welds really were completed correctly. Also it's a good thing she's the exact same size as her mother because that was one very tight-fitting red angel suit.
posted by Nelson at 7:16 AM on April 20 [3 favorites]


Not only did I think the episode riffed a fair bit off of Mass Effect, we also had Burnham do a large number of Marvel Cinema money-shot poses. Probably another Marvel influence are the strong production aesthetics combined with plots and character development that makes you want to scream at the screen the more you think about it.

Roddenberry's scripts quite clearly went well beyond the capabilities of 1960s stagecraft and even available electronics at the time that ToS aired. And the process of retrofitting the stagecraft to match those descriptions started in the 1980s.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 8:10 AM on April 20


Memory Alpha helps answer my question about the seven signals. At the start of the season we learn that all seven appeared "over a span of 24 hours" but disappeared before anyone could get a fix on where they were. (Consistent with Star Trek generally, there's no explanation of simultaneous observation vs. speed-of-light limitations.) Later the signals appear one by one, more stable, and those are the ones we spend Season 2 chasing down.

Still no explanation of why all 7 appeared briefly at the same time, then disappeared, then start appearing again over several months. Nothing we saw this last episode explains that. I'll just chalk it up to "that's the physics of Red Angel time travel". Also Spock's foreknowledge of the signals is not clearly explained although given his exposure to time traveling Red Angels and the general Vulcan psychick magick stuff, ech, that's Star Trek.

Anyway I'm satisfied the story basically all holds together throughout Season 2, within the bounds of the usual forgivable sci-fi TV silliness.
posted by Nelson at 8:15 AM on April 20 [2 favorites]


I will say that visually, the entire time travel sequence was just gorgeous. Some real Interstellar vibes, which is fine by me. I loved how they managed to capture both the terror and the wonder of that unknown frontier, combined with the alien strangeness of something so outside our normal perception. It was an arrestingly beautiful setpiece. If only it hadn't also been so... dumb.
posted by jurymast at 8:18 AM on April 20 [7 favorites]


Still no explanation of why all 7 appeared briefly at the same time, then disappeared, then start appearing again over several months. Nothing we saw this last episode explains that. I'll just chalk it up to "that's the physics of Red Angel time travel". Also Spock's foreknowledge of the signals is not clearly explained although given his exposure to time traveling Red Angels and the general Vulcan psychick magick stuff, ech, that's Star Trek.

That plus the math never working out with "Calypso" makes me think there was a late season rewrite.
posted by gerryblog at 8:46 AM on April 20 [1 favorite]


That plus the math never working out with "Calypso" makes me think there was a late season rewrite.

Kurtzman has been very open about the fact that they only had a loose plan for the season and went into the finale knowing they had to tie things up but not how. Take from that what you will.
posted by Automocar at 8:54 AM on April 20 [3 favorites]


They have a plan, part the second.

Dear writers: stop doing this.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 1:00 PM on April 20 [10 favorites]


That the Golden Gate Bridge is covered in vintage 2010s solar panels is funny.

Yeah, it was a nice idea to acknowledge that cars might be outmoded (though Kirk jr steals one in ST 2009 while still in the prime timeline) only to then use the space for another outmoded tech. This has felt like a common theme through this series, writers not familiar enough with the ST universe to follow through on even basic implications of some of the established ST technologies. Its just lazy.

Not as lazy as the writing in the battle scene however. Did any of the orders Pike give have any effect on what happened in the battle? Does evasion pattern whatever mean anything when your ships seem to be barely moving? Does the targeting instruction they get from analysing the S31 ships have any impact? Do they even bother to tell the Klingons about it when they show up? The same with Ash on the Klingon ship, shouting Return Fire, All the Klingon ships were clearly already firing full on, while also sitting entirely still in space. We don't see any effects of virtually any order given by anyone for the whole battle. The actions of the individuals are again robbed of any degree of urgency as the writers feel unable to present even the most minor action scene without either sentimentality or poor quality snark.

I feel the whole series has been a disappointment.
posted by biffa at 4:29 PM on April 20 [2 favorites]


(though Kirk jr steals one in ST 2009 while still in the prime timeline)

No, the Narada timeline split off as soon as the Narada appeared. Kirk’s father didn’t die in the Prime timeline, so he wasn’t as much of a brat.
posted by Automocar at 8:02 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]


Yes of course. Don't know what I was thinking there. Cheers.
posted by biffa at 12:26 AM on April 21


Gosh, that scene with the admiral sacrificing herself by throwing a lever sort of typifies everything that's wrong about STD. My son and I were shouting at the TV, "Use a string. A piece of rope. Anything!" I mean, they showed an army of 'repair droids' in the same episode. And then the ridiculousness of Pike watching from a window as a giant pie-shaped piece of hull blows up on the other side. Good thing there was a 'bulkhead' there!

This show has a dazzling cast of good actors, but it won't let them have any real conversations, just tearful goodbyes. And lots of zingers. And the accoutrements are all there—love the sets, graphics, costumes, sfx. But the stories are like impressionistic fever dreams. Part of that is the inevitable gotchas of making a season based on time travel (stop that, please). But like others have pointed out, there seems to be no geography or distance between the stars. People get in a little shuttle craft and suddenly they are on Earth or Vulcan. Then back across the galaxy after the commercial break. The writers go out of their way to throw something in to prove that they know Star Trek (Tilly in a Jeffries tube), then throw in 10 more things that make you cringe (solar panels, repair droids, cracked windscreens).

Season one started with some heavy drama tropes (even down to the close-up shots of peoples' clenched fists shaking, like you see in Korean dramas) and I'd like to see more of that; strong characters interacting to wrestle with problems and find solutions, while living their life and having a little adventure along the way. That makes for good drama; 'OMG the universe is going to end' scenarios really don't.

I was hoping that the Enterprise would leave drydock looking like TOS Enterprise—white paint, lose the potato peelers, bring back the christmas tree lights. Oh well.
posted by jabah at 6:44 AM on April 21 [11 favorites]


> Gosh, that scene with the admiral sacrificing herself by throwing a lever sort of typifies everything that's wrong about STD. My son and I were shouting at the TV, "Use a string. A piece of rope. Anything!" I mean, they showed an army of 'repair droids' in the same episode. And then the ridiculousness of Pike watching from a window as a giant pie-shaped piece of hull blows up on the other side. Good thing there was a 'bulkhead' there!
Hell, Pike should have done a Kirk: whipped off his shirt and tied a sleeve around the damn door lever. Solves the problem, keeps the Admiral alive, and bonus cheesecake/Kirk callback for the viewers.
posted by Fiberoptic Zebroid and The Hypnagogic Jerks at 11:09 AM on April 21


Presumably they rebuilt it just from blast doors.

So did Pike avoid his fate or is that still to come?
posted by biffa at 11:10 AM on April 21 [1 favorite]


Time travel isn't necessarily a deal breaker for me in my fiction, but time travel with no internal consistency, and also no external indicators that the timeline is actually being effected are .. frustrating in the extreme.

I know that Time Travel is not treated scientifically in Back To the Future, but at least I, as the audience had a clear indicator WHEN Marty changed the timeline and HOW that affected his personal timeline (changes to a photograph from Marty''s initial timeline or to Marty himself usually)

ST:Disco seemed to think that was unnecessary. The entire fate of all sentient life in the universe is at stake, but I (and I am following the story as closely as I can) don't have a clue as to whether any actions taken by the protagonists actually effect the supposed outcome.

When Burnham talked about the closed time loop they were in that meant she had to go back in time to place the seven red signals was maddening, because if you're inside a closed time loop, you wouldn't know you 're in a closed time loop!

I wanted to enjoy it more than I did is what I'm saying.
posted by Faintdreams at 12:30 PM on April 21 [4 favorites]


Just before they closed the blast door, there was some idea dismissed as too risky. If you're going to close the blast door and sacrifice yourself, isn't that a great time to try the too risky idea? Worst case, it blows up, which it was going to do anyway.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 12:46 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


Needed more face melting.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 1:58 PM on April 21


I genuinely can't tell if I am just too thick to understand what is supposed to be happening here, or if the writers just completely forgot A) everything about the entire season that they themselves wrote, and B) the basic relationship between cause and effect.

I figured out what this season reminds me of: Inception, in that it uses sci-fi phrasing to paper over the fact that various story elements make no damn internal sense.

Now, obviously, that's not new to this franchise. Trek has perennially veered between actually-plausible fictional-science given the circumstances (TNG "Ship in a Bottle" and "Parallels" come to mind) and teetering on or kareening over the edge of ridiculousness (VOY "Threshold," needless to say). But DISCO season 2 is the first time I've felt that everything on screen—the story, the character beats—has been dependent on Inception-esque paper-over-ing.

In this context, Spock's line about the universe being under no obligation to make sense to him felt metatextual, and directed at the audience, and therefore defensive. It's possible I'm reading too much into that, but given the timing of the remark—during the big denouement voiceover where lots of writers, including these, get extra-writerly—I don't think I am.

The success of drone-swarm type warfare feels out of line with ST, but maybe there was a point in time in technology where there was a "sweet spot" in achievable energy density/ shields/ primary capital ship weapons (phasers) where drone swarms made sense. Advances in shield regeneration or any number of tweeks to phasers (switching to burst mode/ more precision in targeting/ speed of target acquisition/ broader spread/ sustained broad spread firing) could completely obviate drone swarms and that why they aren't common in TNG+.

I was bothered less by the chronological brow-furrowing of this battle than by its feel. It may be the most J.J. Trek thing we've seen, apart from all the red shit of course. Does every property have to double as a showcase for the latest breakthroughs of its effects house? And have they forgotten the wise words of the Federation president who told us, "Let us redefine progress to mean that just because we can do a thing, it does not necessarily follow that we MUST do that thing."

Anyway, I'm pleased that they at least didn't completely forget to show the slow grandeur of big ships in space maneuvering, but those uncountable dust clouds of meaningless sprites had about the same polluting effect as the corny CG insertions around the periphery of classic scenes in the Star Wars Special Edition.

Kind of pains me to admit it, but I like Zachary Quinto's Spock better than Ethan Peck's.

Ditto, though in both cases, their stories plausibly explained the very different styles of performance. Nobody these days would likely sign on to the role if the contract stipulated "Must always imitate Nimoy."

It's like a bad super-hero movie with the word "Trek" stapled onto the poster. / we also had Burnham do a large number of Marvel Cinema money-shot poses. Probably another Marvel influence are the strong production aesthetics combined with plots and character development that makes you want to scream at the screen the more you think about it.

Ya know, when they first told us DISCO was going to focus on a single crew member, we all should have guessed that it would end up feeling like a superhero movie. I also thought of Marvel during her big suiting-up and suit-flying sequences—but in the show's defense, they did take the time to truly develop Michael. (Given the premise, it would have been a total failure of the show NOT to…)

In fact, the mere choice to make Burnham the Savior of Everything as early as the end of season 2 is itself very Marvel-ous. After that, I don't see how this show goes back to a fairly routine Starfleet-ship-bound space drama focusing on real character development (even a la Voyager, given the likely stranding of their ship).

Not that I'm saying it has to. DISCO season 3 should probably embrace the show's inherent weirdness, but do less imitating (of TOS, contemporary popular cinema trends, Marvel, etc.). They managed to confront and set aside the prequel stuff; time to boldly friggin' go.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 7:02 AM on April 22 [3 favorites]


So did Pike avoid his fate or is that still to come?

Assuming other Enterprise sets are inspired by original series sets, Pike's vision did look sort-of like a modernized version of the engine room set -- a room with control equipment on one side of a divider peering into a red area.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 12:37 PM on April 22


How are they going to bring Michelle Yeoh back to be the star of their new show?

I assume she borrows/steals/copies the Red Angel suit. It makes as much or more sense than anything that happened in this finale.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:23 PM on April 22 [3 favorites]


Interesting that so many of us saw this episode as wrapping up the Pike storyline. I really thought it was overly setting up a spin-off Pike-centric series, but that could just be my own wishful thinking. I like Disco fine, but I'd be really excited to see the early adventures of Enterprise. I need more Number One in my life.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:18 PM on April 22


All I really want from the next season is more Jett Reno, who is this series' Bones McCoy.
posted by D.Billy at 10:23 PM on April 22 [6 favorites]


I agree, more Jet Reno because you need some bitter with all the sweet. The accident with Pike, if you look at the uniform seems to happen when he is an instructor at the Academy; notice the similarity of the uniform from JJ reboot Trek and the way he addresses people during the vision.
posted by jadepearl at 5:17 PM on April 23


I'd watched both parts back to back in the company of That Friend Who Has Wrong Opinions About Everything (seriously he thinks that Thor: Ragnarok is the worst film in the MCU, he is wrong about everything), which admittedly effects my viewing experience, but I didn't think the goodbyes between Spock and Burnham were quite that bad. At least they didn't literally have a countdown in the background this time, and they'd been out doing their thing for a while. Two more minutes to say goodbye didn't feel that ridiculous.

And yeah, I thought they still had to go through the wormhole because they weren't really sure that Control was completely gone, just Leland. And it's not like it would have been better if they'd stopped, talked about it , and then had another round of tearful goodbyes now. I took it as a rare case of them trusting their audience.

The Admiral death would have worked a lot better without the explanation and goodbyes - just a countdown and the Admiral shoving Pike out, or something.

The goodbyes in the previous episode didn't work quite as well, and I could have also done without the flashback for the importance of every single red angel sighting - we got it already. Trust your audience a little. And yeah, I laughed a little at the fact that the Airiam replacement was tagging along on the Discovery, despite only being there for maybe two weeks? I'm trying to imagine what else was going on in her life that made that a good plan.

I'm also disappointed that there's not more Po/Tilly fanfic on AO3 yet. C'mon, people. (Said friend who is wrong about everything hated Po, which predictably means that I would die for her)

Yes, more Jet Reno, more Jet and Stamets interacting (I loved their 'I still hate you' goodbyes)
posted by dinty_moore at 7:48 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


So is Discovery running a skeleton crew into the future? In that scene she said to Burnham, there are others with us working right now, but we're coming with you. That was confusing especially since sickbay was still staffed, and I thought the original plan was to autopilot Discovery so that only Burnham would be going to the future.
posted by polymodus at 1:33 PM on April 26


Yeah, after watching how many staff were required to run Discovery, I wasn't really sure how Burnham's solo mission would work.
posted by freethefeet at 4:16 PM on April 26


Nobody these days would likely sign on to the role if the contract stipulated "Must always imitate Nimoy."

I am not even an actor and I would be pleased to modify my contract to include this requirement.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:00 PM on April 26 [1 favorite]


That little bit where they show the insides of the ship, the turboshafts, etc, as the damage comes in was great.

Lotta wasted space though.
posted by mikelieman at 5:26 AM on April 28


All I really want from the next season is more Jett Reno, who is this series' Bones McCoy.
As much as I love the actor and my childhood memory of the series, I don't understand why McCoy wasn't fired early in season one. Every indication is that he's an incompetent asshole. I don't understand why Spock is willing to put up with his colleagues. (I guess childhood trauma can really screw up decision-making.)

I agree about Reno, though. She's great.
posted by eotvos at 9:42 AM on April 28


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