Star Trek: Discovery: Scavengers
November 19, 2020 9:01 AM - Season 3, Episode 6 - Subscribe

After receiving a message from Book, Burnham and Georgiou embark on a rogue mission to find him, leaving Saru to pick up the pieces with Admiral Vance. Meanwhile, Stamets forms an unexpected bond with Adira.

Memory Alpha won't tell you where they accidentally transported to when they got the new badge:

- I'm going to guess that the USS Le Guin is named after Ursula K. Le Guin.

- The perimeter "fence" at the junkyard/prison reminded me of the similar set-up in The Running Man, the 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger film that isn't very much like the Stephen King book it adapts.

- The crew keeping their 23rd-century uniforms while being part of the 32nd-century Starfleet reminds me of the original USS Constitution, a United States Navy vessel commissioned in 1797 and still officially in service as a museum ship, and crewed by active-duty Navy officers and sailors in 18th-century uniforms. Worth a visit if you're ever in Boston, IMO.

"Did you eat her?"
- Tilly, to Grudge

Poster's Log:

Well, last week I wanted a relief from the "a) the ship and crew go off to reconnoiter the current status of something that existed in their time; b) find out that the inheritors of that institution or location are suspicious if not outright hostile toward them; c) win them over by solving a problem for them with old-fashioned ideals and can-do spirit" plot, and I got it... with a return to the plot that began the series: a) Burnham is told not to do a thing, b) Burnham does the thing, c) Burnham suffers consequences for the thing. We have confidence that Burnham's quest for the explanation of the Burn will bear fruit, but Vance and the other latter-day Starfleet types may look a bit askance at this last-millenium newcomer thinking that she can solve what's stymied them for the last century or so. (Although I'm looking a bit askance at Vance's plan to use Discovery as a rapid-response ship, while keeping the DASH drive a secret; it would be like our navy having a tall-sails ship, albeit one with some modern upgrades, and have it suddenly appear halfway around the world--people would notice.) Being removed as XO probably hurts someone as ambitious as Burnham, although maybe not as much as Saru's exquisitely-modulated disappointment. We're left with the implication that this may be Burnham's last trip to that particular rodeo without doing permanent damage. Saru's conversation with Tilly confirms that he's not necessarily the only one who feels that way; I'm glad that we got some serious Tilly to balance out the silly-Tilly scene of her trying to coax Grudge out from underneath the bed.

Speaking of the rest of the crew, we got some great scenes with them, from the bridge crew exploring the new tech, to Linus figuring out the badge/combadge/personal transporter/look-it-just-has-all-the-apps-now thingy (his last unexpected appearance was one of the genuine laugh-out-loud moments for me, the other one when Grudge answered the ship's hail), to Stamets and Adira finding their common ground and Stamets later talking with Culber about it. And I think that we can set aside DetmerWatch for now (Keyla seemed a bit hesitant about the new controls, although that's probably normal for most pilots/helmspeople who get their "cockpits" rearranged suddenly), but now we've got GeorgiouWatch... and that raises some interesting questions. I think that there's a tendency for people to simply consider the Mirror Universe counterparts to be capital-E evil, but some of the writers and actors have pushed back against that, saying that at least some if not most of the MU counterparts aren't really opposite of their prime-universe versions, but basically the same people growing up and living under very different circumstances; Nana Visitor has said that about the Intendant vs. Kira, even though they present as polar opposites. Georgiou has and does always present herself as the toughest of cookies, and vastly better adapted to/for the crapsack galaxy than any of the other crew... but what if she isn't that different, and the PTSD of not just existing in the MU but thriving in it is catching up to her? Maybe what she's going through is what many if not most of the MU Terrans go through if they live too long before getting assassinated? If this is a clue toward what might be the character's redemption arc, it's not entirely implausible.

Poster's Log, supplemental: "Did you eat her?" Grudge as a secret flerkin: still in play.

io9: Star Trek: Discovery Is Smashing Michael Between the Future She Wants and the Past She Let Go
posted by Halloween Jack (43 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
but some of the writers and actors have pushed back against that, saying that at least some if not most of the MU counterparts aren't really opposite of their prime-universe versions, but basically the same people growing up and living under very different circumstances;

Ur-example: Spock.
posted by Fukiyama at 9:13 AM on November 19 [3 favorites]


I got SO ANGRY when the two ships jumped to warp from about 1,000 feet up, deeeeep inside the planet's gravity well. One of the ST books that I have the most complicated feelings about (_Prime Directive_, Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens, 1990) has, as a plot point, the horrible effects of jumping to warp in a gravity well. Yes, this is the 32 century and Things Have Changed.

At this point, the ship upgrades completely invalidate "Calypso".

I Do Not Like Philippa speaking ill of Grudge's chonkiness.
posted by hanov3r at 9:26 AM on November 19 [5 favorites]


I was wondering if the upgrades were the final signifier that the ship will never return to the 23rd century; maybe some wibbly wobbly timey wimey acting as a big reset button?
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:38 AM on November 19


It seems that Calypso has become more of a prototype for this season rather than something that is still likely to happen in canon. Maybe it's an alternate reality where instead of traveling to the future directly to protect the sphere data the ship is hidden in a hostile nebula and left to travel to the 32nd century the slow way.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 11:40 AM on November 19 [2 favorites]


I Do Not Like Philippa speaking ill of Grudge's chonkiness.

But that's a super Georgiou comment. And Tilly takes a swipe, too ("Did you eat her?").

re: Calypso and 'Calypso' - time travel always screws things up.

Not sure what to feel about the detached nacelles thing (and modular "magnetic" ships). I guess it's the aesthetic; when you really like your hammer, everything looks like a nail (floating furniture).

I still think the Starfleet descendant who never got sworn in because he hasn't ever met a Starfleet officer (but is able to track some Starfleet vessels) is messy. Why wouldn't surviving Starfleet search for surviving Starfleet assets? I guess subspace (massively FTL) communication is mucked up. But, still, the whole subplot is unsatisfying.

Little bit surprised Detmer didn't get an upgrade?

Really dig Georgiou's tunic, except for those studs. Needs to be toned down a ton, or go full 80's (1980's).

Loving Burnham and Georgiou's resumed relationship evolution.

I've noticed before but don't think I've shared - but Saru's heels are kinda hot.
posted by porpoise at 6:15 PM on November 19 [1 favorite]


Self-sealing stem bolts!
posted by Kyol at 7:16 PM on November 19 [8 favorites]


I got SO ANGRY when the two ships jumped to warp from about 1,000 feet up, deeeeep inside the planet's gravity well. One of the ST books that I have the most complicated feelings about (_Prime Directive_, Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens, 1990) has, as a plot point, the horrible effects of jumping to warp in a gravity well.

Well, the Bounty (the captured Bird of Prey) did it in Star Trek IV while it was at cloud level, so there's at least one canonical example of that happening on screen before.
posted by Pryde at 8:11 PM on November 19 [2 favorites]


I will say that I like the Reeves-Stevens' books a lot. They also not only tie heavily into continuity, but also do a decent amount of speculation based on continuity, so they are repeatedly overridden by canon; it's the same problem that John M. Ford's excellent The Final Reflection ran into, over and over again. As far as the ships jumping to warp, maybe the bigger problem was that the planet was surrounded by the ships' graveyard--their deflectors must have gotten a major workout.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:29 PM on November 19


I am continually impressed by how much face acting Doug Jones can do through all that latex prosthetic. It's remarkable.
posted by seasparrow at 10:18 PM on November 19 [9 favorites]


I noted the Le Guin, also the name Kardashev.
posted by Marticus at 12:26 AM on November 20 [3 favorites]


Why wouldn't surviving Starfleet search for surviving Starfleet assets?
I assumed that the assets in question were so minimal that they weren't worth the effort of contact. Like an abandoned colony of a collapsing empire, only not even a colony -- just one dude taking care of a bunch of equipment.
posted by confluency at 2:42 AM on November 20


One thing about the future tech that really rang true for me were the multipurpose badges. This was like showing a time-traveller from the 70s or 80s that a pager was now an entire phone and also a watch and a camera and a fully functional computer.
posted by confluency at 5:02 AM on November 20 [9 favorites]


The proceedings here felt a lot more rote and predictable to me than the bulk of this season's episodes. Nevertheless, by no means a bad one, and definitely less messy than DISCO so often has gotten. Effectively despicable acting from Orion Asshole, and likewise, effectively admirable acting from Ryn.

The big moment here for me was Book's ship pulling those badass maneuvers right above the ground in the escape-fight. I was pretty lukewarm toward the design of that ship, until right then.

Saru's exquisitely-modulated disappointment

Very well put. I do hope the next few episodes give him more to do.

I also hope they don't do the predictable Drama thing and make Tilly the new XO in order to try and foment tension between her and Burnham. (Owo, being Ops, might make the most sense for the job, barring a surprise addition to the crew roster in the near future.)
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 7:02 AM on November 20 [2 favorites]


Did anyone else feel like both the Orion and the Andorian had really rubbery prosthetic faces? It was almost to the point where I was wondering if they'd managed to just do the Orion in CGI and I was looking into the uncanny valley.

I mean, I'm ok with Disco not just slapping a coat of green or blue paint on an actor and going "voila! the alien!", but ecccch it was weird looking.
posted by Kyol at 7:36 AM on November 20


Owo, being Ops, might make the most sense for the job

I figured it would either be nu-Airiam (had to look it up: Nilsson) or one of the 32nd Century officers, likely the security officer we've seen a lot of, Willa. Feels like Vance would want one of his people embedded.
posted by supercres at 8:47 AM on November 20


Ohhhh yeah—DISCO is out a security officer anyway due to Nhan leaving. So it's definitely gonna be Willa.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 8:49 AM on November 20 [1 favorite]


nu-Airiam (had to look it up: Nilsson)

Who is also old-Airiam (Sara Mitich was Airiam in Season 1).
posted by hanov3r at 9:07 AM on November 20 [3 favorites]


I know ST tends to handwave their military protocol, but under no circumstances would Tilly be an XO: that is traditionally the second-most senior officer on the ship. So where is a LCDR? Nilsson is a LT, as I think are the rest of the bridge officers.

What is Stamets supposed to be?

Given the lack of senior officers around, I suspect that Willa might in fact be put in...
posted by suelac at 11:44 AM on November 20 [2 favorites]


Stamets and Culber are both LCDR. Jett Reno is a full Commander.
posted by hanov3r at 12:06 PM on November 20 [1 favorite]


Jett Reno as XO (Number One) would be a hoot!
posted by suelac at 5:24 PM on November 20 [7 favorites]


Rank Nerdery: I think Reno is the only person we've seen that ranks for XO, being a Commander, and thus trusted to control a vessel (under certain circumstances)?
Trivia Lore: when the Enterprise-D separates, the saucer section needs its own commanding officer. The two officers who hold Commander rank, and are tasked with that duty? Dr-Cmdrs Crusher and Troi. At least in later seasons and one of the books.
Or wait, have we figured out yet what the deal is with Staff Officers vs Line Officers in this version of Starfleet? Do you only get to be in charge of the ship if your badge is Command track gold, not Science silver or Operations copper?
Do my credits transfer if I switch majors?
posted by bartleby at 6:29 PM on November 20


Ship nerdery: Does Booker's ship have a name?
Unless / until I hear otherwise, I'm calling it the Nissan Cube b/c that window.
I'm not sure if making a u-turn by DISASSEMBLING AND REASSEMBLING the entire ship so it faces the other way is justified, even by the rule of cool. But it at least gave us some scale, so we know there's just the one room.

About the Discovery and detached nacelles...have they...tested that?
I had this vision of Disco doing its black alert spin-drop-transit thing, and just leaving them behind, hanging in midair like Elmer Fudd's hat after stepping off a cliff.
posted by bartleby at 6:38 PM on November 20 [16 favorites]


The crew keeping their 23rd-century uniforms while being part of the 32nd-century Starfleet reminds me of the original USS Constitution, a United States Navy vessel commissioned in 1797 and still officially in service as a museum ship, and crewed by active-duty Navy officers and sailors in 18th-century uniforms.

I recall reading a few years ago about a... destroyer escort, maybe, in the navy being decommissioned. This ship had sunk an Iranian patrol boat in the Straits of Hormuz decades ago, and its being cashiered meant that the Constitution was the only ship remaining in the US Navy that had sunk a enemy vessel in combat. It’s odd to ponder what distinctions the Discovery would hold in the 32nd-century Starfleet.

I did enjoy Georgiou scoffing at the antique TNG-era phaser.

I have not seen any mention of the locations for the filming, but dollars-to-Timbits the crapsack salvage world was in the decaying industrial sector in the north end of Hamilton. I may have spotted the lime system outside #1 Melt Shop at Dofasco, where I passed my eighteenth summer.

And while I’m running out of ability to enjoy the Burnham-disobeys-orders-again story beat, it’s good to see she suffers some consequences. In 35 episodes she had been everything from a life-sentence prisoner to nearly the captain. She is the anti-Harry Kim.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:43 PM on November 20 [10 favorites]


I have not seen any mention of the locations for the filming, but dollars-to-Timbits the crapsack salvage world was in the decaying industrial sector in the north end of Hamilton

I see what you did there.

(Timbits are the donut-hole brand from Tim Horton's, which was founded in Hamilton.)

And wow... it just sunk in that "dollars to donuts" is one of those idioms that no longer makes sense. Individual donuts are often more than a dollar. Maybe it will persist like dialing the phone.



For some actual episode content in this comment—are we supposed to recognize what's happening in Georgiou's flashbacks? Post hoc ergo propter hoc is poor reasoning in the real world, but that Cronenberg cameo wasn't for nothing. I am working on the assumption he somehow triggered them?
posted by bcd at 6:20 AM on November 21 [1 favorite]


I'm assuming that Cronenberg infected Georgiou with some kind of empathy retrovirus which has very belatedly led her to process some early trauma (which I don't think we've seen on-screen before). There was a throwaway line about some biological mechanism that makes Mirror Universe people into assholes.

I'm not entirely sure if I like this, but I guess it may make the character more palatable to viewers who haven't forgotten that she's an evil overlord space cannibal.
posted by confluency at 7:21 AM on November 21 [7 favorites]


While the Cronenberg cameo can't have been for no reason, to me the red blobby thing in Georgiou's flashback looks a lot like the red blobby thing that appeared behind Saru when the ship's computer decided to helpfully suggest a dinner party.

I guess I've been assuming a connection of sorts between: The Core-The Ship's Computer-Detmer's PTSD-the DRONES-maybe the Burn-and now Georgiou.

The opening credits to the show have always seemed to give some hints about the arc of the season. Last year it was red angels. This year, drones, which I just don't remember ever seeing before, but suddenly they are everywhere on the ship, and Detmer is concerned on their behalf because they can't get Stametz' blood off the deck.

TLDR: What are those drones up to?
posted by instead of three wishes at 8:53 AM on November 21 [3 favorites]


(I looked this up on IMDB; Cronenberg's character is called Kovich in the credits. I think it was heavily hinted that he's from the MU himself, or perhaps is descended from denizens of the MU.)
posted by confluency at 9:31 AM on November 21


(Although I'm sure that they have tech in the future to shield eyes from radiation which is much less obtrusive than giant-ass obvious glasses, so he was wearing them on purpose to mess with Georgiou -- but is it because he is from the MU, or because he isn't?)

That whole scene felt a lot like the bit in a tabletop RPG campaign where the GM gives the chaotic-neutral-or-maybe-evil loner party member their own special time slice with a similarly aligned NPC, and I loved it.
posted by confluency at 9:35 AM on November 21 [1 favorite]


It’s not just the perimeter fence that’s reminiscent of The Running Man, it’s the entire labor camp escape setup. I just rewatched the beginning of the movie and they borrow so much it’s practically a full-blown homage!
posted by migurski at 10:55 AM on November 21 [1 favorite]


It's always good in ST to see actual consequences for someone going off script (Sisko has to do something similar to Worf in DS9). But removing her badge at the end suggests that Burnham may have something more drastic in mind.

Making Georgiou develop a capacity for remorse would be the only way of rehabbing her character, yes. Still left with the whole racist genocidal empress thing, though.

I join in everyone's admiration for Doug Jones' acting: he's achieving much more subtle effects than anyone else in the cast through an awful lot of makeup.

That being said, now I'm getting puzzled by the tone with which Adira's ongoing relationship with Gray is being treated. Are we supposed to think that Adira seeing Gray is a good thing? Because that's how the final conversation between Stamets and Culber came off, yet the entire situation seems more like "um, the personalities appear not to have integrated properly because of the adolescent host's trauma," not "isn't it amazing that Gray's soul is still present." (Or maybe they're fragmented and in need of reunification, sort of like the Federation.). I would have expected ad hoc counselor Culber to say WHAT THE WHAT NOW, not coo over Stamets bonding with them.
posted by thomas j wise at 7:00 PM on November 21 [1 favorite]


(Timbits are the donut-hole brand from Tim Horton's, which was founded in Hamilton.)

And wow... it just sunk in that "dollars to donuts" is one of those idioms that no longer makes sense. Individual donuts are often more than a dollar. Maybe it will persist like dialing the phone.


Indeed. I think even if you buy individual Timbits they are twenty cents per item now. Incidentally, I went to see if I could verify or disprove the morbid joke that Timbits were introduced the same year that Tim Horton himself died in a high-speed single-vehicle accident on the Queen Elizabeth Way, the major highway between Niagara and Toronto. (There was actually a two-year gap.) Curiously, when I googled “tim hortons timbit introduced,” the autocomplete my phone offered me was “tim hortons timbit introspection.” Huh. That is going to stay with me.

For some actual episode content in this comment—are we supposed to recognize what's happening in Georgiou's flashbacks? Post hoc ergo propter hoc is poor reasoning in the real world, but that Cronenberg cameo wasn't for nothing. I am working on the assumption he somehow triggered them?

It is the biggest loose thread so far. Right now it feels like the labels occasionally visible on Jeffries tubes piping: GNDN (Goes Nowhere Does Nothing.) It is odd to bring in a Famous Person — even if he is much more famous as a director than actor — to do one scene of ambiguous meaning and then have him vanish.

Now that I think about it, I think the choice of Cronenberg specifically is possibly an artifact of Discovery being produced in Toronto. The studios are twenty minutes from Cronenberg’s house. In a theoretical Hollywood-produced show, the cryptic interviewer was David Lynch.

Incidentally, as CBS All Access shows it 24 hours before the service I see it on does, I spend one day a week avoiding spoilers as much as possible. In a slip-up last week I saw the first couple of lines of a review/recap someplace and before I closed it, I could have sworn it declared the big reveal was that Mirror!Lorca had actually survived and was revealed this episode as the Big Bad. If so, this was too subtly done for me to notice.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:57 AM on November 22 [1 favorite]


In the flashbacks, I'm fairly sure MirrorGeorgieou is calling "San!" with an 'n'. Do we have any idea who 'San' is?
posted by Mogur at 7:18 AM on November 22


For what it’s worth, the subtitles have her saying “San.”
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:37 PM on November 22 [1 favorite]


Incidentally, I went to see if I could verify or disprove the morbid joke that Timbits were introduced the same year that Tim Horton himself died in a high-speed single-vehicle accident on the Queen Elizabeth Way, the major highway between Niagara and Toronto.

See, the morbid joke I'd heard was "How many Timbits are in a box?" "29, one for each man on the Edmond Fitzgerald"
posted by hanov3r at 4:46 PM on November 22


About the Discovery and detached nacelles...have they...tested that?
I had this vision of Disco doing its black alert spin-drop-transit thing, and just leaving them behind, hanging in midair like Elmer Fudd's hat after stepping off a cliff.


Does Discovery even need nacelles? As I understand it the nacelles generate the warp field, which is not used for the shroom-zoom drive (although Disco is also fitted with conventional warp drive).

If Starfleet reallocated Disco's dilithium to another vessel they'd have two ftl* ships, not just one that has two ftl options, and the nacelles would become vestigial.

* maybe the spore drive is not technically ftl, but ykwim
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 1:06 PM on November 23 [1 favorite]


Remeber the Enterprise first-look scene in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, where they fly around the ship for a long time just admiring it?

I want a sequence like that, but with Grudge as the subject.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 1:10 PM on November 23 [5 favorites]


I would have expected ad hoc counselor Culber to say WHAT THE WHAT NOW, not coo over Stamets bonding with them.

U.S.S. Discovery is from a time before Trill had revealed the joined nature of some of their species to outsiders. Culber wouldn't know what's "normal" for the experience of a joined Trill.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 4:18 PM on November 23 [1 favorite]


Bangin' fun episode, even if the basic escape plot was a retread. As an experiment I tried this out on my partner who has never seen an episode of Disco and only barely knows about Star Trek. He was not so impressed with my 20 minute briefing before the show ("and this special spaceship drive; what fuels it?" "mushroom spores!") but he enjoyed the show itself. It made me appreciate how much depth Discovery has accumulated and even if the details are silly, it builds to something. My partner thought Linus' random entrances were hilarious.

For me the highlight was Michelle Yeoh bullying the boss' nephew at the salvage yard. "FORM A SENTENCE!" "I don't care about your eyes unless they were dangling from my belt." It's great seeing Servalan back on TV.
posted by Nelson at 10:06 AM on November 24 [2 favorites]


That being said, now I'm getting puzzled by the tone with which Adira's ongoing relationship with Gray is being treated. Are we supposed to think that Adira seeing Gray is a good thing? Because that's how the final conversation between Stamets and Culber came off, yet the entire situation seems more like "um, the personalities appear not to have integrated properly because of the adolescent host's trauma," not "isn't it amazing that Gray's soul is still present."

Stamets says something to the effect of "I thought joined Trills got the memories of former hosts, not their 'souls.'" Now, there's no way for Stamets to know this (he's only known about the existence of joined Trills for a very short time and I don't expect him to get all the nuances right), but I don't believe that's entirely supported by canon. There are at least two cases in DS9 where we clearly see that not only the memories of Dax's former hosts survive joining with a new host, but something of their personalities or "souls" does too.

In "Facets" (DS9 S3E25) Jadzia Dax undergoes the Zhian'tara, which involves temporarily transferring the memories of each previous host to one of her friends. But Kira doesn't merely experience Lela's memories, she expresses Lela's personality, and so forth for each host in turn. And in "Field of Fire" (DS9 S7E13) Ezri Dax brings forth Joran through the "Rite of Emergence" — in a form visible to her, and whom she can communicate with.

In fact, Adira's interactions with Gray are not that different from Ezri's with Joran's in "Field of Fire" aside from, you know, Gray being a kind and funny boyfriend vs. Joran being a duplicitous murderer, and Adira not having undergone any formal rite to bring forth Gray.

In that light, I'm willing to accept Gray's appearance to and interaction with Adira as an unintended but not unwelcome effect of Gray and Adira being close before Adira's joining, and something akin to an extended Rite of Emergence, and not necessarily a cause for alarm due to insufficient integration of a previous host's memories.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:53 AM on November 24 [3 favorites]


Grudge isn't just a big fluffy cat, right?
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:35 PM on November 24


Grudge is a Queen.
posted by Nelson at 3:46 PM on November 24 [1 favorite]


But of whom? (Me, obvs.)
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:33 PM on November 24


"Grudge isn't just a big fluffy cat, right?"

I am expecting that Grudge to be like Goose, a Fierken from the MCU. Because Royalty.
posted by jadepearl at 4:53 PM on November 24 [1 favorite]


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