Star Trek: Discovery: That Hope Is You, Part 1
October 15, 2020 8:35 AM - Season 3, Episode 1 - Subscribe

[Season premiere] It's 3188, and Burnham shows up from the 23rd century, but where's everybody else?

As before with new episodes, the Memory Alpha entry is still sparse, so I'll fill in with a few bits that I observed:

- With her appearance in this episode, Sonequa Martin-Green becomes the only cast member of the series to appear in every episode.

- Although Doug Jones, Anthony Rapp, and Mary Wiseman are credited in the opening title sequence, their characters do not appear in the episode. This is the first episode of the series to not feature Saru.

- David Ajala (Cleveland "Book" Booker) is also known for playing Manchester Black in season 4 of Supergirl, and has also appeared on stage with Sir Patrick Stewart and David Tennant in the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

- Adil Hussain (Aditya Sahil) has appeared in English, Hindi, Assamese, Bengali, Tamil, Marathi, Malayalam, Norwegian and French films, including a number of Bollywood productions.

"Hope is a powerful thing."
"Sometimes it's the only thing."
"Our numbers are few, our spirit is undiminished."

- Aditya Sahil and Michael Burnham

Poster's Log:

So, it's the great leap forward, so to speak, and one that had been previewed sufficiently that the setting and most of the new dramatis personae weren't that much of a surprise, but there are still some big revelations in store in this season premiere, and promises of more to come, even as we are treated to some familiar science fiction tropes. People who have criticized DIS in the past for being excessively focused on Burnham, unlike the more ensemble-minded treatment of the cast in series past, will no doubt focus on the fact that she's now the only one of the main cast to appear in every episode since she's the only one to appear in this one, but that's something that the episode works to its advantage; Burnham's desperation and despair at the unknown fate of Discovery and her crew is palpable, and her working with, then against, then again with Book (and later Sahil) parallels her getting to know the Discovery crew, and negotiating her relationship with them in the context of her radically altered status, at the beginning of S1. She gets to briefly tour a standard-issue hive of scum and villainy, gets high on space truth serum, and gets an even briefer tour of the inside of a trance worm, aka Molly. Thanks to the preview at the end of this ep, we know that she will be reunited with what looks like most if not all of the crew (including Mirror-Georgiou), as well as picking up a newcomer or two; thanks to other previews (and the season's iconic graphic), we know that at some point enough time will have passed for her hair to grow out a lot. That's about all we really know about her and them at this point, since I think that most of the preview stuff was covered in this ep.

As for the 32nd century setting... still big mysteries there. Two main things seemed to have happened:

- The Burn: most of the galaxy's dilithium went poof, somehow, although there are still a few scraps available. There are also hints of other methods; i.e. the quantum slipstream drive which was first seen in VOY's "Hope and Fear", although their own attempt at using it didn't go well. If it turns out to be tricky (as it did for the Voyager crew), that might explain why the Federation didn't just use it instead. Discovery's mycelial drive may end up being the solution to all that.

- The Temporal Wars, which may be related to ENT's Temporal Cold War; time travel is forbidden. (Which doesn't mean that it's not possible, of course.) This may be yet another thing keeping the crew from figuring out what to do with the Sphere Data and going back home. It also explains what happened to all the groovy ships and tech that we saw from the 29th (VOY) and 31st (ENT) centuries, although there are plenty of other new toys.

That seems to leave the sort of very mercenary, nobody's-really-in-control situation in the ass-end of the Delta Quadrant that Voyager landed in, where it seems like everyone is trying to steal everyone else's stuff. Although the Andorians and Orions are finally getting along, so there's that.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased, and am looking forward to the rest of the season. It's kind of a Crapsack Galaxy, as far as we can tell, but there are still glimmers of hope: Book's secret mission, and Sahil, Prophets bless him, holding his lonely vigil. And, of course, someone now to raise the flag.

io9: Star Trek: Discovery Boldly Returns to Remind Us of the Burden of Hope
posted by Halloween Jack (55 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Where can I get a holographic bird clock?

Good ep. Great cinematography. But it feels a little out-of-character for Burnham to be poofing people with a gun with NO reaction at all.
posted by hanov3r at 2:14 PM on October 15 [4 favorites]


I was interested in the politics of thinking about the Federation in terms of nostalgia. Because if the Federation has been broken up for over a century, things will have shifted and altered, quite possibly irrevocably; why not aim for something else? (Obviously, there's optimism there, but also perhaps a commentary on people's attachment to previous incarnations of ST...) The Andorians allying with the Orions seems like a case in point.

Will this season match up with Book's Short Trek? The time frame for the ship's evolution now seems off, unless there's another weird temporal anomaly coming down the hatch.

I liked that the scenario of all the dilithium going kaflooey did not result in catastrophic loss of tech more generally--really long-range travel is obviously out, but the new gadgets were all logical extensions of previous tech.
posted by thomas j wise at 2:18 PM on October 15


Will this season match up with Book's Short Trek?

Pardon?

The character in "Calypso" is Craft, played by Aldis Hodge. Different character and actor.
posted by hanov3r at 2:23 PM on October 15 [1 favorite]


Whoops, the perils of remembering an episode without going back to double-check!

Timeframe is still weird, I think?
posted by thomas j wise at 2:25 PM on October 15


Timeframe is still weird, I think?

I've been thinking about this. Zora says that she's been abandoned for almost a thousand years... isn't it possible that that didn't happen until after Discovery traveled to the 32nd century? There's nothing in the dialog to indicate they're NOT in the 5th millenium.

Actually, watching "Calypso" again now... I'm putting money on just that. And "V'draysh", Craft's enemies who prize "relics from long ago", is a mangled pronunciation for "Federation". (And, I see that Memory Alpha says that, yes, that's the case, confirmed by Michael Chabon hisownself)

So, yeah, "Calypso" is still centuries away.
posted by hanov3r at 2:43 PM on October 15 [2 favorites]


I enjoyed the episode, despite not being enamoured of the Federation's destruction now being canon. At least it was not a loss of ideals that cause it, just a highly improbable event making all antimatter reactors explode.
posted by Marticus at 3:46 PM on October 15


My reactions, as the show unfolded. "Wow, this is going to be Andromeda but done right... no, now this episode really wants to be Star Wars... whoops, we just swerved into Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid... OK, so it thinks it is Free Willy... and now we wrap up with a big dose of Batman Begins."

I am looking forward to next week.
posted by seasparrow at 4:24 PM on October 15 [3 favorites]


Season 3 review at Ars Technica:
Discovery has new blood at the off-screen helm as well as at the on-screen helm, and it shows. In short: season 3 is absolutely Star Trek in the classic mold, where problems can be solved, where diplomacy can reign, where clever Starfleet officers can think their way out of any trap, and where the Federation and its ideals are Good, Actually, for this fallen world.

CBS provided reviewers with advance screeners of the first four episodes, and each of those episodes follows a startlingly familiar format for Next Generation fans of old: there is an A plot, on the planet of the week, and a B plot, usually among the crew. These conflicts arise, are explored, and are largely completed by the end of the hour, freeing the Discovery to visit a new world and start all over again next week.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 5:00 PM on October 15 [3 favorites]


I lurrrve me planetary/ moon scenes where there's a giant assed planet/ moon hanging in the sky.

But nobody ever seems to consider what tidal forces would do to the geology. Won't somebody please think of the tidal forces?

thomas j wise the Federation in terms of nostalgia

Marticus not being enamoured of the Federation's destruction now being canon

I find the situation supremely salient;how the Federation is considered a historical era, after mostly ending from a black swan event. I think that this is "far future" science fiction done deftly, and is super cool starting to explore the depths that an eon of time takes.

But I'm interested in the rise and falls of empires in general.

The set design is lovely; humans still apparently appreciate wood grain.

hanov3r "V'draysh" ... is a mangled pronunciation for "Federation".

That is so freaking cool. Deft. Stealing a little from V'ger, though. Evolution of languages is fascinating (qv Belter in 'The Exapanse'); the ubiquity - and variable quality (I like Mr.Encyclopedia's conjecture in the ST:LD thread about the quality of universal translators gives rise to the Pakled misunderestimation) - has got to mess with that.

This is science fiction; the previous Treks are more-or-less space-flavoured fantasy.

I really hope they keep it up.

Nitpick - it feels like energy densities in general went way up. If that's the case, why still the reliance on dilithium (which is used because of its energy density)? Is it an allegory for petroleum - because that's what's been in use, there's existing infrastructure, and generally "easier?"

Also, Michael's sneakers look super this season. I'd wear Book's home planet-side leather jacket in a heartbeat.

Book's a little too good to be true...
posted by porpoise at 6:50 PM on October 15 [3 favorites]


Holy shit I just watched this and I am 110% excite! Wow. Absolutely excellent TV, and sci-fi at that. Love seeing Star Trek bent into the far future where they can do nutech and have fun with it. Love the idea of the Federation being a Lost Civilization, the remnants of Rome, with some true believers scattered about. Love Ajala in this. That actor is hot, and instant chemistry with Michael, and I'm a sucker for a Han Solo type and all I want is more of him and his cat-who's-clearly-not-just-a-cat.

They planted so many new ideas in this one episode I'm not sure they can even pay them off. What's with his religion? His language? With the cat? With the Federation? With the Burn? With the Orion + Andromedan syndicate? No mention of Klingons or Romulans or Vulcans or Cardassians at all, that seems ominous. The collapse of civilization, the fragmentation of trade and communciation networks. It's a trope but not a very well explored one and it promises a lot of possibilities.

I also like this episode is 100% Burnham. We know the rest of the cast is returning, there's no secret the Discovery is out there somewhere. But right now we have no idea where, or when, or what peril is involved. A true moment of anticipation, at least for those of us who managed to avoid any spoilers in the interim.

Sonequa Martin-Green is a hell of an actress to pull this off. Very excited about David Ajala too.
posted by Nelson at 9:55 PM on October 15 [1 favorite]


Dilithium isn't a fuel, but a way to contain antimatter and manage antimatter reactions. It doesn't need to explode to be a problem.
posted by Marticus at 11:08 PM on October 15 [3 favorites]


Dilithium isn't a fuel

Ah, I see. Structured (? hence the recrystalizers and whatnot) dilithium is like a dampener for matter/antimatter energy production?

So the analogy is that fission nuclear power went kablooey because the physics of a crucial containment element stopped being (the same) predictable?

I remember ST:TNG saying that (conventional) warp drive was causing environmental damage (fabric of space-time), and that the Federation made a warp 5 speed limit or something. But then the whole idea was discarded (or there was a tweak to warp drives to fix the thing; leaded gasoline --> unleaded; but it's still burning hydrocarbons).

But what about warp capable stakeholders who didn't care about Federation or "environmental" regulations?

Dilithium no longer works reliably along major space lanes now? Wow - downfall (and rise) of empires all over again; catastrophic trade route disruptions, not to mention general communications (a requirement for cultural hegemony).
posted by porpoise at 1:28 AM on October 16


I watched, and enjoyed the episode, the premise is good. I think it'll be enjoyable.
But with that caveat out of the way....

There seem to be a core of Star Trek writers who don't want to write star trek.
This, and Picard (and actually lower decks in a way re: Mariner) have all had a theme of Star Fleet/Federation is something distant or other or even bad.
I'm happy that there are shows outside of the TNG/DS9/VOY context. It's good. But I still hanker for a classic competence porn noble traditions of Star Fleet and the Federation type show.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:57 AM on October 16 [3 favorites]


They planted so many new ideas in this one episode I'm not sure they can even pay them off.

Agreed. I was actually surprisingly underwhelmed by this one—especially surprising considering I avoided most of the previews. Not that it wasn't a solid and continually-engaging hour of television, but like, something about its "setup" nature made a lot of this feel slightly rote to me.

That said, I also agree with this:
The collapse of civilization, the fragmentation of trade and communciation networks. It's a trope but not a very well explored one and it promises a lot of possibilities.
I could see this season being pretty bold and quite possibly DISCO's best—very likely DISCO's most even season.

the Federation made a warp 5 speed limit or something. But then the whole idea was discarded (or there was a tweak to warp drives to fix the thing; leaded gasoline --> unleaded; but it's still burning hydrocarbons).

Yeah, the (possibly not-completely-canon) explanation is that the Intrepid-class (Voyager's class) introduced some form of SubSpaceSafe TechnologyTM in its warp engines.

But what about warp capable stakeholders who didn't care about Federation or "environmental" regulations?

A very very good question. That could be a whole season-long story arc on, say, Lower Decks: the Orion Syndicate is flagrantly ignoring what is likely an interstellar law, some manner of subspace creatures in the vicinity are about to wage war on ALL of normal space as a result, and Tendi's loyalties are tested.

I'm happy that there are shows outside of the TNG/DS9/VOY context. It's good. But I still hanker for a classic competence porn noble traditions of Star Fleet and the Federation type show.

Me too. And that's gotta be the plan for Strange New Worlds.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 5:51 AM on October 16 [3 favorites]


I think the Federation skepticism comes from the US experience of governmental authority. On the right, they see overreach and incompetence; on the left we see corruption and rising fascism. Gene Roddenberry and his audience were beneficiaries of the New Deal. Maybe we need a Star Trek series made in Norway to get that old Federation feel again.
posted by rikschell at 5:53 AM on October 16 [3 favorites]


That's a pretty good point.
Previous Trek has always been made when the US is on the up.
The difference between Trek and classic UK science fiction is pretty stark. The UK was still bleak post war, post empire kind of place. Our Sci Fi reflected that. (Blake's 7, Judge Dredd/2000AD etc.)
So maybe that explains a bit the way Trek seems to be going.

Scandinavian Trek would be great!
Lot's of pale wood and modernist shapes on the bridge. Several different crew saunas.
And the borg everywhere of course.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 6:34 AM on October 16 [6 favorites]


THE BORG IS EVERYWHERE
SEND BEARD TRIMMERS
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 6:53 AM on October 16 [4 favorites]


Scandinavian Trek would be great!
Well, scenes of the planet Hima were filmed in Iceland.
posted by ShooBoo at 8:06 AM on October 16 [1 favorite]


I really liked the worldbuilding and I loved the last five minutes. That scene signaled good things in store. I really dug that cultist's vibe. I'm gonna love it if Burnham keeps enlisting a bunch of people who still believe in the Federation but they're all quasi-religious QAnon types.

But most of the episode I found cringy. And I really like the first two seasons and was hyped for this one! It oscillated between very boring murderous action scenes and wildly hammy acting. Why is Burnham so chin-quiveringly astounded that the Federation no longer exists after 1000 years? It's 1000 years! 1000!

The episode had a real Star Wars vibe, I thought. Conversations between English-speakers and subtitled aliens, ships whizzing through space densely packed with debris, cities of a ridiculously unreal scale, stormtrooper gunfights, bounty hunter space pirates, quiet awe in the Force when that guy grew a plant, and cartoon physics (Burnham's body crashing that ship was just too much).

I'm really not a fan of Burnham just evaporating people and showing no remorse. She's the one who escalated things to killing! She was arrested and it looked like she could have talked her way out of it. But instead she teamed up with the guy who betrayed her for basically no reason and stole a gun.

It would've been funny if she took the same approach to him that she did to all the Morns and green Kyle McLachlan and just decided to waste him when he first became a threat, phasering him dead when he threw his first knife at her. But he's a protagonist, not some nameless alien, so she'll bother to use words on him instead.
posted by painquale at 10:55 AM on October 16 [3 favorites]


Why is Burnham so chin-quiveringly astounded that the Federation no longer exists after 1000 years

I think they recognized the stoic vibe wasn’t working for viewers so they are trying to compensate/calibrate it right now.

I got teary with the emotional impact and facial acting of the guy who had been waiting for them though. Blown away.
posted by corb at 11:23 AM on October 16 [6 favorites]


I also didn't like the repeated joke of Burnham sucker-punching Book in the face just because she was mad at him. It's the kind of casual violence that TV has completely normalized but Trek has always avoided. It's impossible to imagine Geordi or Riker decking someone because they felt betrayed.

(What other Trek character would be most likely to do that? Kira? Archer? Sisko? I still find it kind of hard to imagine any of them tossing away their dignity like that. Sisko punched Q, but that was in a boxing ring, and it was Q. Even Worf would just loudly complain about his injured honor.)
posted by painquale at 12:35 PM on October 16 [4 favorites]


What other Trek character would be most likely to do that?

Characters that immediately come to mind: Kira, Trip, B'Elanna. Maybe Martok.
posted by hanov3r at 12:38 PM on October 16 [3 favorites]


Worf to Sisko: “The next time, do not strike me with the back of your hand. Use your fist!”
posted by 1970s Antihero at 1:08 PM on October 16 [2 favorites]


It's worth noting that, in the scene above, Worf is instructing Sisko on the difference between a regular punch and a backhand strike according to Klingon courtesy; like so many other things in Klingon society, it's very ritualized. (Riker does much the same thing when he's doing the officer exchange on the Bird of Prey and gets into it with Klag.) While Burnham is obviously mad at Book, I think that she's also establishing that she's not physically intimidated by Book, and won't put up with whatever other bullshit he's got planned. (I just rewatched S1E3, "Context is for Kings", and Burnham likewise gets into it with her three fellow prisoners in Discovery's mess hall, not just in self-defense but apparently to establish to everyone else just what she will and won't put up with, no matter how penitent she feels.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:40 PM on October 16


Note that the Federation isn’t totally gone. Sahil’s scan shows two Federation ships within 600 ly, which suggests a pretty moribund state but he doesn’t seem surprised at the finding (i.e. he was not expecting there to be zero).
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:26 PM on October 16 [3 favorites]


It was SUCH A RELIEF to see Michael’s joy at there still being life in the future. She’s been a punching bag / carrying the sad ball for so long.
posted by sixswitch at 9:21 PM on October 16 [5 favorites]


I feel better now.
posted by Coaticass at 9:24 PM on October 16


I agree that Burnham being so punchy-shooty here is a bit much, and has a whiff of network insistence to it, but I can also think of a couple of mitigating factors w/r/t it being in-character or not for Burnham:

1- In the early scenes, after she realizes her ship didn't join her in the thirty-second century but before she even knows there's another ship nearby, there's a brief montage that seems (to my eyes anyway) to show her going through some pretty hardcore Stages of Space Grief, and before long she has a blank, "NOTHING MATTERS ANYMORE" sort of demeanor. Such an ordeal could very well induce a bit of lashing-out.

2- After meeting Book and getting a quick sense of this trading post, I think even I would be sharp enough to recognize that any problem-solving I'm called upon to do is gonna require some real "frontier diplomacy" in lieu of Kirk speeches.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 2:41 AM on October 17 [2 favorites]


I was pleased to get to the end of the episode and realize that I didn't see a single white character the whole hour. There were some white actors, but no white characters I can recall (recap notwithstanding). Well done.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 3:50 AM on October 17 [6 favorites]


I agree that Burnham being so punchy-shooty here is a bit much

She just went through a cataclysmic space battle, left her entire reality behind, went through a wormhole, smashed into a ship and crashed into a planet, got injured, discovered she managed to save every living thing in the galaxy, found out her entire civilisation/guiding philosophy died out, then got betrayed and, oh yes, drugged!.

It’s hardly surprising that she’s a bit emotional and punchy.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:36 AM on October 17 [5 favorites]


This one surprisingly got me in the feels. The plot that landed us here is frankly one of the most absurd things that Trek has ever done, but the actors completely and thoroughly sold it.

A lot happens in this episode, and it’s saying something that it was also one of the most restrained and well-paced episodes of DISCO to date. Let’s not forget that DSC’s pilot episode contained more plot than the first three seasons of TNG combined. Every indication seems to be that the showrunners are going to slow things down this season. Thank f—ing god.

The ‘hive of scum and villainy’ immediately screamed Star Wars (in a way that didn’t seem bad or good, as much as it was unnecessary). I’d love to see more downwell action on DISCO, but I sincerely hope that it isn’t all like this.

(Hey! Wanna bet that Book’s Jedi Powers are somehow related to mycelium?)

The dilithium shortage is going to become DISCO’s version of VOY’s “32 torpedoes” problem, isn’t it?

Cinematography was great – the outdoor scenes were unbelievably gorgeous, and left me wanting more. The portable transporters go “boop” in an extremely satisfying way.

Have we talked about the costuming? The costuming is extremely good.

This episode does not pass the Bechdel test, but it also might be the first Trek episode that features exactly zero white dudes in speaking roles.

Grudge is 10/10. Would hold.
posted by schmod at 7:07 AM on October 17 [2 favorites]


As usual, I will apparently be reporting the view from the Mirror Universe on this episode, because I thought it was awful. Just, absolutely awful.

Book was such a paint-by-numbers Science Fiction Rogue that I was able to predict all of his actions from miles away. (Even though the first thing he does is try to beat her brains out with a wrench, we know he actually has a heart of gold because he loves animals! But nonetheless he will betray her! For no reason whatsoever other than that saying, "No, the tricorder won't be enough by itself, you'll need to throw in something else" is apparently too hard!)

Why did they walk all the way to the Mercantile when he had a personal transporter the whole time? What was up with the completely casual murder of all those poor guards just doing their job? Why didn't the vault have any signs saying, "Vault! Keep out!" (especially when the episode later established that English is a language in common use for some reason.) Why did everything look like a Star Wars set?

And why the heck am I supposed to believe that the guy pointlessly cosplaying Deep Space Nine on a deserted space station for decades -- doing nothing but waiting for a representative of a government that hasn't existed for over a century to walk through the door -- is some kind of starry-eyed idealist rather than an utterly sad and pathetic loser?
posted by kyrademon at 7:57 AM on October 17 [2 favorites]


Why did they walk all the way to the Mercantile when he had a personal transporter the whole time?

He seemed to pull it off one of the Andorians during the fight.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 8:15 AM on October 17


doing nothing but waiting for a representative of a government that hasn't existed for over a century to walk through the door

As pointed out, er, nine comments above this one, it does exist, at least in some form. We have exactly one episode’s worth of offhanded references so it is folly to speculate on how diminished it is, but let’s please stick with what the show tells us.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:19 AM on October 17 [2 favorites]


The dilithium shortage is going to become DISCO’s version of VOY’s “32 torpedoes” problem, isn’t it?

Hopefully not, in the sense that I hope that they don't end up just handwaving it away with the random discovery (heh) of the Flibbertigibbet Dilithiumizer that acts as a big ol' reset button. I'm still thinking that it will be something involving the mycelial drive, which would open up all sorts of other possibilities and avenues of exploration.
posted by Halloween Jack at 3:21 PM on October 17


I though S1 had potential and S2 was dreadful so this came as a pleasant surprise. I tend to agree that Burnham went shooty too quickly but she's done that before. I didn't like the repeated punching thing either, it felt like it was supposed to be a joke but it didn't come off. Plot wise though, much stronger, looked great, scenes with federation guy were good, the new tech was well done. I'm hopeful. The only thing i didn't like was the Andorian/Orion get up, looked horrible. Worse than the make up on Enterprise.

his cat-who's-clearly-not-just-a-cat.

Book's a Caitian people trafficker?
posted by biffa at 4:25 PM on October 17 [1 favorite]


If you want to have the first episode of your season that's set in 3188 AD have a higher on-screen bodycount than most entire seasons of Star Trek previously, in order to set a baseline for just how grimdark things have become in the absence of the Federation, that's fine with me. If you want to have a traumatized, shell-shocked, drugged-out Burnham get trigger-happy as well, that's fine too (you're rolling back a lot of her character arc from S1, but that's okay! People regress, especially under incredible stress and in the absence of their support network).

But if you want to do those things and then spend the last five minutes setting up Burnham as the torchbearer (no Klingon cultural reference intended) for the ideals of the Federation and the Great Hope For the Future, you're definitely kind of mixing your messages there. I loved the last scene, don't get me wrong - thought it was incredibly affecting. (I don't know that I've seen Adil Hussain in anything before, but wow, he was awesome.) But Burnham in that scene felt very much at odds with Burnham in the entire rest of the episode in ways that didn't feel intended-by-the-writers to me. This seasons's got potential, but they're going to have either restrain their impulse towards making Burnham into Space Rambo, or they're going to have to restrain their impulse to put her up there on a pedestal as the Exemplar of Federation Ideals, one or the other.

Also my ongoing beef with Disco continues to be the lack of a science advisor presence or any attempt to make the made-up science sound even faintly sensible/believable/consistent. Having all the dilithium just spontaneously *poof* may be an interesting premise for the setting, but it doesn't do any favors for a show which has had past issues with treating things like dark matter and fungi as though they are literally just plot-advancing magic, unbound by any sort of rules or consistency.
posted by mstokes650 at 12:12 AM on October 18 [5 favorites]


Book was such a paint-by-numbers Science Fiction Rogue that I was able to predict all of his actions from miles away.

At first, yes, and I found myself counseling patience at myself. Where I warmed to him was when it became clear that he wasn't just a Space Rogue but a multiclassed Space Rogue/Space Druid, and I'm always a sucker for improbable multiclass pairings.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:19 AM on October 18 [9 favorites]


This seasons's got potential, but they're going to have either restrain their impulse towards making Burnham into Space Rambo, or they're going to have to restrain their impulse to put her up there on a pedestal as the Exemplar of Federation Ideals, one or the other.

Well, it's not as if there isn't a lot of prior art for someone who may have fallen from grace to some degree who gets nominated to be the great hope of the future, by circumstance or by someone who can't see how far they've fallen, and their character arc is precisely that they grow (or grow back) into that role. Coincidentally, I was just thinking about Galaxy Quest yesterday, and that's Jason Nesmith's arc--he was never that guy, but has to be. (It's also an interesting contrast to Burnham's S1 arc, where she's working on Discovery under the shadow of being considered literally the worst person in the Federation.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:00 AM on October 18


Book was such a paint-by-numbers Science Fiction Rogue that I was able to predict all of his actions from miles away.

So something I've been noticing lately - anecdotally, sure, but it seems pretty broad - is that over the last year, a lot of series I've been watching have been kind of adjusting their racial romantic pairing assumptions. Like - there have in the past just not been a lot of black men in romantic lead roles. Over the last year, a lot of shows I've watched have been very much changing that, ending relationships and starting new ones or what have you, to place men of color and specifically black men into romantic leads. And I think they're doing that in this one, with Burnham. So I think actually it is significant that they put Book, as a black man, into the paint-by-numbers Science Fiction Rogue Romantic Hero role. That they're giving a black man a role as the Han Solo of the series. So at least for me, I really liked it. I liked that they gave him the cheesy meet-cutes, the sexy-eye-candy shots. Yes, it was cliched, but I think it was cliched for a purpose, and if I'm reading it right, I like that purpose.
posted by corb at 3:15 PM on October 18 [10 favorites]


Book was such a paint-by-numbers Science Fiction Rogue that I was able to predict all of his actions from miles away.

Except he's only posing as a rogue. Unlike Han Solo, he's not out for just himself. He has a cause, and he's prosecuting it with limited resources. He just doesn't want to get caught up in someone else's drama - not because he has no interest in helping, but because he's desperate and on a strict timeframe.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:35 PM on October 18 [1 favorite]


I wonder if the showrunners remembered that Romulan ships are powered by artificial singularities rather than dilithium-moderated matter/antimatter reactions.
posted by ckape at 7:45 AM on October 19 [6 favorites]


Memory alpha confirms Romulan ships are powered by something completely different. I'm not normally one to nerd out too much about tech continuity and consistency in Star Trek, but that particular fact seems hugely important. If all your fuel regulator blew up wouldn't there be a huge rush to some alternate technology? And there's one working already, in one of the major empires. The Romulans would obviously start with a leg up but everyone else would copy it soon. It seems an inevitable part of the history.

I wonder if the Disco writers just are going to ignore it? It seems unlikely they all collectively just forgot about Romulan tech if it's right there in fan's memories and on Memory Alpha. Reddit discussion has a few folks also talking about how the Romulans have a different power source. I guess they could just retcon it all by informing us that Romulans used a different fuel but also needed dilithium as the regulator.

Another dumb idea I bring back from Reddit; it's gonna turn out that it's called "The Burn" because it was caused by Burn-ham. Hold the door for that prediction.
posted by Nelson at 8:27 AM on October 19 [5 favorites]


Grudge is 10/10. Would hold.

I might have to eat some Wheaties first but yeah, gorgeous Grudge was made for snuggling and cuddling. Good casting.
posted by fuse theorem at 10:01 AM on October 19


Season 4 officially confirmed.

Also, WRT the Romulan thing: maybe they hadn't used singularity drives in a while, maybe having to do with the Hobus supernova? We'll probably find out something in episode 7, which will be called "Unification III" and is presumed to be a sequel/continuation of the "Unification" two-parter from TNG, which involved Spock trying to reconcile the Romulans and Vulcans.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:32 PM on October 19 [2 favorites]


If all your regulator blew up wouldn't there be a huge rush to some alternate technology?

The implication of dilithium failing is that all of a sudden all the antimatter in the federation was no longer separated from regular matter, not just a power outage, but every reactor making a big boom. Every starship, base, and probably large city would stop existing as connected molecules.
posted by Marticus at 2:00 PM on October 19 [4 favorites]


@skrishna on Twitter:

Judging by @startrekcbs’s available promo photos it is CLEAR they know exactly who the star of this season of #StarTrekDiscovery is

Also, me showing this to Mrs Clanger: "I'd bet good money someone is already writing Grudge/Goose crossover fanfic."
posted by Major Clanger at 2:47 AM on October 20 [2 favorites]


Also, WRT the Romulan thing: maybe they hadn't used singularity drives in a while, maybe having to do with the Hobus supernova? We'll probably find out something in episode 7, which will be called "Unification III" and is presumed to be a sequel/continuation of the "Unification" two-parter from TNG, which involved Spock trying to reconcile the Romulans and Vulcans.

!!!!! Holy shit, dude, I thought you were wryly joking at first, but yes, there it is on MA: "Unification III". Brilliant idea.

And w/r/t Hobus: unless I'm missing something, Burnham is in Prime-Timeline 3188, which means Spock vanished into the past and never came back, and the Romulan Empire might very well be in utter ruins. Or it could just as easily be ascendant, being the only game in town for non-dilithium-based long-distance travel?

!!!!! And I just remembered talk that the writers of PIC (which involved Romulans quite heavily) were indeed coordinating with the writers of DISCO. Hmmmm!
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 1:00 PM on October 20 [2 favorites]


I've been watching Star Trek since the mid 1970s. I guess there's a kind of pessimism and fatigue that occurs when you've seen a clever idea strung along for decades. This show did not impress or excite me. Honestly, it seemed like someone fed some recent SF scripts into an AI network and this episode came out. Why does nothing make sense in science fiction scripts anymore?

Burnham collides with a planet, can barely move, recites her Federation serial number (That's the thing that inspires her to move forward!?), and soon after is doing Kung Fu acrobatics. I mean, cause and effect is a pretty basic concept. She could have wisecracked, "Give me a break, I just fell onto a planet!" before fighting or something. Or rubbed her bruises Jackie-Chan style.

I feel sorry for people tuning in and watching the show cold. There was no exposition and precious little story. OMG, Orions working with Andorians! So? Why is that a big deal again? I get it, but most people will not. How about introducing some new aliens rather than re-treading the old less-interesting ones? I guess, over a thousand years, phasers evolve into virtual fist-puncher things? Burnham understands the controls on a ship 1000 years more advanced than the Discovery somehow, despite the fact that the controls are just sort of digital sand that isn't doing much at that moment?

And what about that dude who was sitting there for 40s years, doing nothing apparently? Do you really want that guy on your team? I mean, talk about lack of initiative. He had to wait around for someone to show up from 1000 years ago who knows literally nothing useful just to get him out of his chair. Jesus, you've been sitting there for 40 years, put the Federation flag up already, you worthless bureaucrat!

And the episode really didn't make the case that the Federation even needs to be re-established. So, what is the threat they are facing in the future? Commerce? Over-fishing? I don't know!

Positives: liked the location shooting, Sonequa Martin-Green's earnestness.
posted by jabah at 7:32 AM on October 21 [2 favorites]


I feel sorry for people tuning in and watching the show cold. There was no exposition and precious little story.

Who, pray tell, is tuning in to watch the 3rd season of a serialised narrative show cold?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:43 PM on October 21 [2 favorites]


Me. I saw about ten minutes of the pilot and that was it, completely missed the rest of season 1 and all of season 2. I have watched some Youtube clips. That being said, I'm familiar with ST lore form other shows, so words like "transporter" and "Federation" fill in a lot of info for me.
posted by Mogur at 1:46 AM on October 22 [1 favorite]


And the episode really didn't make the case that the Federation even needs to be re-established. So, what is the threat they are facing in the future? Commerce? Over-fishing? I don't know!

I mean, if you don't mind the closest thing to a government being a bunch of murderhoboes who apparently do nasty things with sentient beings (i.e. the trance worms), then I guess not. Book's job would be a lot easier with some sort of halfway-decent local governing authority, and then there's the possibility of a strongly-hegemonic power like the Borg or the Dominion showing up out of nowhere, in which case it's a little late to organize for the common defense.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:23 AM on October 22 [2 favorites]


The thing that bugged me was Burnham's "that's impossible, the federation is forever" bit, when in her time the federation was less than a century old. A more logical reaction might have been "holy shit, the federation lasted for 800 years? that rules!"

honestly it'd be like if a US Civil War veteran had traveled to the TNG era and been like "what do you mean, America isn't a country anymore?"
posted by Jon_Evil at 6:27 PM on October 22 [7 favorites]


honestly it'd be like if a US Civil War veteran had traveled to the TNG era and been like "what do you mean, America isn't a country anymore?"

Well, consider that your Civil War veteran has just fought the bloodiest war in American history (at least in terms of American casualties) to preserve that Union, and probably knows a popular song that, while not officially the national anthem, is widely known and assumes the existence of the Union in the form of a rhetorical question, and, as with the Federation of Burnham's time (and well beyond that, although we don't know if that continued all the way up to PIC), that union is still expanding. England and France have both existed for many centuries, even if their borders and forms of governance have shifted greatly.

Something else, too: we don't know for a fact that America isn't a country any more; there's a United Earth government, but the status of individual nations hasn't been determined. It probably isn't a sovereign nation as we understand it. Technically, the Federation still exists, too, it's just not what it used to be.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:48 PM on October 22 [2 favorites]


The thing that bugged me was Burnham's "that's impossible, the federation is forever" bit, when in her time the federation was less than a century old. A more logical reaction might have been "holy shit, the federation lasted for 800 years? that rules!"

I had the same thought, but given Burnham's unique background, it kind of makes sense to me on a characterization level that she might be a more hardcore UFP evangelist than is typical in Starfleet. Like, Reno probably would've said exactly what you proposed, had she been in that situation.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 6:59 AM on October 23 [1 favorite]


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