Star Trek: Discovery: The Sanctuary
December 3, 2020 7:31 AM - Season 3, Episode 8 - Subscribe

Burnham and the USS Discovery crew travel to Book’s home planet to help rescue it from Osyraa, the formidable leader of the Emerald Chain. Meanwhile, Stamets and Adira continue their search for valuable information on the origin of the Burn.

Memory Alpha will never break the chain:

  • Ryn, the Andorian first seen in "Scavengers", is featured more prominently in this episode. Noah Averbach-Katz, Ryn's actor, is the husband of Mary "Tilly" Wiseman, and the two of them were classmates at Juilliard with Mary Chieffo, who played L'Rell in S1 and S2.


  • Adira Tal, Hugh Culber, and Phillipa Georgiou return after being absent last episode.


  • We get to see Kwejian, Book's home planet, and that at least one other member of Book's people, his brother Kyheem, has his mysterious forehead-glowing power. [This is purely speculative on my part, but "Kwejian" sounds an awful lot like Kwajalein, an atoll that's part of the Marshall Islands and the site of a big WWII battle and an American military installation.]


  • Janet Kidder, who plays Osyraa, is the niece of Margot Kidder.

    "If I had time, I'd poison your children."
    "If I had time, I'd have children."

    - Georgiou and Culber

    Poster's Log:

    This is a very busy episode, picking up a number of plot points, settling some, and introducing others. Luckily, it's got Jonathan Frakes at the helm, moving things along very efficiently. We're almost two-thirds of the way through the season at this point, so we can probably assume that we're setting things up for big things involving the Burn and the Emerald Chain to finish the season. I'll pick out a few things that stood out for me:

  • I'm a little underwhelmed by Osyraa at this point, frankly. Not every archvillain can be a Khan or a Dukat, but S1 had Lorca and S2 had Leland/Control. We'll see if Osyraa gets an upgrade from random gangster.


  • Kind of cool to see Book's home planet, and interesting that he picked "Cleveland Booker" to replace his original name. Also interesting that his people's powers can be boosted by tech. Wonder how they'd work on, oh, I dunno, a mycelial network?


  • We finally got Adira's coming out as non-binary, and their not being able to talk directly to Gray. The latter is generally how it is with Trill and their symbionts; Jadzia and Ezri had to do a little ceremony-thing to talk to past hosts.


  • So, the site of the Burn also has a Federation distress call, huh? Not sure if I want it to end up being a familiar starship, say, one with 1701 in the registry...


  • DetmerWatch seems to be over with How Keyla Got Her Groove Back, doing a nifty little Death Star run on the Viridian (which is a shade of blue-green, fittingly enough) with the aid of Ryn and Grudge. Tom Paris would approve of her use of physical controls.


  • GeorgiouWatch is still in effect. Interestingly, there's a credited actor for "San", the name she keeps calling out. Stick a pin in that one.


  • Workshopping the Captain's Official Action Catchphrase was the cutest thing.


  • Poster's Log, supplemental: In addition to apparently being a semi-regular for the time being, Noah Averbach-Katz is also DMing an online D&D 5e game that includes Anthony Rapp, Emily Coutts, Blu del Barrio, Ian Alexander, and Mary Wiseman. What I wouldn't give to sit in on that. Also, credit to fellow Trek FF poster hanov3r for giving me the idea to use bullet points instead of dashes; I only steal from the best.
    posted by Halloween Jack (39 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
     
    I'm a little underwhelmed by Osyraa at this point, frankly.

    I came away feeling the opposite. I thought Kidder played her with a decent amount of menace. Recalling that the Federation hasn't really been much of a threat to the Chain to this point, she brought out the transition from 'amused tolerance' to 'contemplating a serious threat' pretty well.

    We finally got Adira's coming out as non-binary

    Super-powerful, especially with its timing related to a recent real-life coming out.

    DetmerWatch seems to be over with How Keyla Got Her Groove Back

    I love Detmer. That entire sequence was gold. I would have preferred her including Rhyn in the post-action "No shit, there I was..." recap, though.

    credit to fellow Trek FF poster hanov3r for giving me the idea to use bullet points instead of dashes; I only steal from the best

    Awww, shucks. I think I stole it from earlier rewatches, but thanks.

    As noted in one of the earlier episode threads, Tilly is acting more like a real-life flag lieutenant would than a traditional Starfleet XO. I loved her guard-dogging Saru when Rhyn wanted to speak with the captain - enforcing respect the way she did was surprising, but very welcome.

    Historically, it's been pretty easy for Federation starships to ID a ship sending a distress call. What's so special about this one? And, has it been there, signalling, since the Burn?
    posted by hanov3r at 8:38 AM on December 3, 2020 [6 favorites]




    This episode won me over on Detmer. Not that I didn't like her before, but, like, this was to her what "The Wounded" was to O'Brien.

    Also interesting that his people's powers can be boosted by tech. Wonder how they'd work on, oh, I dunno, a mycelial network?

    In between our various druid jokes (most notably: did you notice they only use wooden weapons?!), Mrs. and I remarked in this episode that DISCO is overall much more nature-oriented than other Trek incarnations.

    So, the site of the Burn also has a Federation distress call, huh? Not sure if I want it to end up being a familiar starship, say, one with 1701 in the registry...
    [...]
    Historically, it's been pretty easy for Federation starships to ID a ship sending a distress call. What's so special about this one?

    Well, if it came from too far in the past for 31st-century Starfleet to readily ID it, and too far ahead of DISCO's time of origin for THEM to readily ID it…

    …Just sayin' that the ultimate fate of the 1701-B (Captain Cameron's ship) was never determined in canon. Bring Alan Ruck back to Trek!!!
    posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 1:22 PM on December 3, 2020 [6 favorites]


    I mean, the E-B had a close enough encounter with the Nexus to have had some lingering wibbly-wobbly-timey-(and spacey-)wimey effects, right?
    posted by Halloween Jack at 1:25 PM on December 3, 2020 [2 favorites]


    I'm holding on to the theory that the ship in the nebula is the "Calypso" version of Discovery, and there will be Even More Time Travel to come.
    posted by hanov3r at 2:20 PM on December 3, 2020 [4 favorites]


    Sonequa Martin-Green and David Ajala are really selling the love story between them to me.
    posted by porpoise at 3:24 PM on December 3, 2020 [12 favorites]


    I am aware that "face your fears and get over it in the space of a single episode" is not the correct way of portraying "dealing with PTSD", but damn if I didn't love Detmer getting a Big Cool Action moment. I do admit some bias here, since not only am I a sucker for a Death Star Trench Run, but I've been on Team Detmer since the first minute she showed up on the Discovery bridge nursing a still-largely-unexplained implant and a grudge against Burnham, but I thought the whole sequence was awesome.

    ...Aside from the setup to make it happen: the utterly-transparent "oh we'll say it was a PILOT GONE ROGUE" which fooled Osyraa for exactly 0.0 seconds and I expect will prove precisely equally persuasive to the Admiral back at HQ.

    If the writers absolutely must have a comic-relief character to be a running gag, I'm glad it's Linus this season and not Tilly.

    Speaking of funny, Saru trying out different catchphrases was pretty hilarious...though I have to imagine that it was inspired by the writers' room going through the exact same process. It's pretty hard to come up with a good one! In-universe I think Saru should ask the Sphere data for advice, that's how difficult a problem I think this is. The writers, alas, do not have that resource to draw on, so I'll be curious to see what they eventually come up with.

    I am completely over the scene where the villain is introduced by killing their incompetent underling that was the previous villain. I guess it beats having them smack Worf around to prove how scary they are....but not by much. Despite that, I am willing to give Osyraa a shot; I thought Janet Kidder did nice work with what she was given. She may never get to Dukat's level but I expect she could surpass Control/Leland, with a bit of room to breathe.


    My unrelated-to-this-specific-episode shower thought for the day: I'd really love to see what 900 years (and the collapse of dilithium as a resource, and the end of interstellar trade) has done to the hyper-capitalist Ferengi civilization, but to address that you'd almost be required to take a clear pro- or anti-capitalist stance. I think TOS probably wouldn't have shied away from that, but despite all the fine work this show has done with representational issues, I don't know that I really expect it to be brave enough to touch that lightning rod.
    posted by mstokes650 at 7:52 PM on December 3, 2020 [4 favorites]


    Was anyone else afraid that Adira was going to get rick-rolled when she reached for the "play" button on the signal? Anyway, it's a good setup for some memes.
    posted by jabah at 8:01 PM on December 3, 2020


    *they*
    posted by jabah at 8:38 PM on December 3, 2020 [11 favorites]


    Ship Nerdery: Ventral Planetary Sensor Dome (aka that lit up dome shown on the underside of ship saucer sections since TOS Enterprise, aka ceiling titty) For The Win!

    Weapons Nerdery: 1) taking down the shields and disabling the weapons systems of a 'heavy cruiser' class ship, with just our friend the Nissan Cube? But I too enjoyed Detmer's trench run, so whatever.
    2) photon torpedoes were developed as an upgrade to the ship-to-ship thermonuclear missiles that Starfleet had been using previously. I know they're variable yield, but. Shooting one into a lake on a planet shouldn't make a splash and a small fireball; it should turn the lake into a sphere of superheated steam expanding at the speed of sound. Much less dozens of them. Should have just said phasers or disruptors instead.

    Production question: for all the Orions (Orionians? Orioids? ) we've seen so far: nose and chin appliances augmented with CGI? Or is it all digital makeup / face tracking & morphing?

    Perhaps over the line: I continue in my weird perception / projection that Keyla Detmer is one of the very few crew member portrayals in Trek history who seems like they've actually had sex. Not 'fully versed in several forms of pleasure techniques', or Riker and Troi behaving like a frisky mom & dad. I mean a couple newbies having too many drinks at a welcome mixer and looking around the bridge crew and gossiping: "Virgin. virgin. virgin. hey who's the redhead, with the eye? That one looks like she fucks. Watch my purse, I'm gonna go buy her a drink."

    Workshopping: 3.2.1. Make Rocket Go Now!
    Or perhaps more appropriate for the Disco?...Spin It Up.
    posted by bartleby at 11:24 PM on December 3, 2020 [7 favorites]


    Seems to me that "Proceed" is more Saru's style.
    posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 4:09 AM on December 4, 2020 [6 favorites]


    I hope we see several failed catchphrase attempts and then the one that sticks is one he says in the moment without preparation or overthinking it.
    posted by Servo5678 at 5:12 AM on December 4, 2020 [3 favorites]


    the one that sticks is one he says in the moment without preparation or overthinking it

    "Lieutenant... we're waiting."
    posted by rocketman at 5:17 AM on December 4, 2020


    Followed by a clicking sound.
    posted by rocketman at 5:17 AM on December 4, 2020


    If I ever have sex with a long lanky white man again I will use whichever catchphrase Saru comes up with, I make this pledge.
    posted by h00py at 5:24 AM on December 4, 2020 [7 favorites]


    this was to her what "The Wounded" was to O'Brien.
    I wish Discovery were enough of an ensemble show to have an episode that focused on Detmer, Rhys, Bryce, etc. to the extent that "The Wounded" did on O'Brien. In addition to the show clearly being centered around Burnham (if to a lesser degree this season), the lower number of episodes per season as compared with TNG/DS9/VOY/ENT is probably also a factor.

    I agree with all the likening of the attack on the Viridian to Star Wars, but I disliked it for that reason. I was taken out of it enough that Detmer calling for manual controls reminded me of Riker using the manual steering column on the Enterprise E in Star Trek: Insurrection.
    posted by Strutter Cane - United Planets Stilt Patrol at 6:17 AM on December 4, 2020 [3 favorites]


    Do we have a good theory as to who caused the Burn yet? I can't imagine it's the Chain, that would be super anticlimactic. It's gotta be mirror universe peeps, right?
    posted by Justinian at 2:59 PM on December 4, 2020 [2 favorites]


    A queer friend of mine said that the show was depressing as fuck, in saying that even a thousand-plus years hence, genderqueer characters still can’t say anything to their closest friends. I myself thought that although it is set in the 32nd, it is aimed at the 21st, and to have a coming out scene with zero angst and immediate acceptance was actually pretty good. This is a franchise that, after all, took fifty years, seven different TV series, many dozen main characters and the better part of a thousand episodes to even show us a gay couple. I’d say this is progress.
    posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:43 PM on December 4, 2020 [9 favorites]


    Oof, your comment hits hard ricochet biscuit. I'm a gay cis-guy. I think your friend isn't wrong that it'd be nice to have an imagined future where being genderqueer isn't unusual. (Particularly for a species with as complex a gender as the Trill!) But this episode was Star Trek for 21st century audiences, where anything other than basic male/female is still considered unusual, and I think it delivered.

    I came here moments after watching excited to post how wonderful it was, after fifty years of Star Trek, to finally have one perfect little queer moment. Stamets and Culber as surrogate gay dads to Adira. Adira who is brilliant, out of place, a little awkward. Just like Stamets. They need friends and support and a little mentorship. Also they're genderqueer, not like Stamets, but adjacent. And Stamets and Culber are there for them. That final scene with Stamets putting his coat around Adira was just perfect.

    I'm also reflecting on the irony of me loving this scene so much. The first couple of episodes of Disco I really didn't like Stamets and Culber, I felt their portrayal was too much in a particular stereotype direction. Reflecting now I think my comments were partly coming from a place of internalized homophobia and maybe a little the actors figuring out their characters. It's great to see a moment on screen I can unreservedly appreciate and feel is part of my culture.
    posted by Nelson at 10:09 PM on December 4, 2020 [10 favorites]


    I really don't understand why no one has shot Georgiou yet, just on general principles. I mean, she's Space Hitler many, many, many times over. She's an absolute monster - though, to her credit, she'd be the first to admit it. At the very least, why didn't the Federation arrest her once Discovery reached them? Starfleet clearly knows what "deposed Empress of the Terran Empire" means, and it means Georgiou has committed pretty much every war crime they can think of. Why not charge and arrest her?
    posted by Mr. Excellent at 11:51 PM on December 4, 2020 [1 favorite]


    I assume the in-universe rationale would be because Starfleet doesn't claim jurisdiction over alternate universes (though I assume they would simultaneously argue that war crimes and crimes against humanity [crimes against sentience?] are universal crimes over which everyone has jurisdiction) but it's the best I've got.

    The out of universe explanation is of course because Michelle Yeoh is awesome and cool and menacing and charmingly roguish and if she were an annoying charmless disgusting old slobbery dude she'd be in the brig before you could say Mudd.
    posted by Justinian at 12:28 AM on December 5, 2020 [7 favorites]


    I do think it's worth keeping in mind any time one grows too fond of her that she has eaten way more people than Hannibal Lector and with even less justification.
    posted by Justinian at 12:30 AM on December 5, 2020 [3 favorites]


    I was just relieved that Adira's coming out was phrased in a way that made it clear they were nonbinary long before being joined. "Trans because of alien slug" would not be the representation we need right now.
    posted by polytope subirb enby-of-piano-dice at 1:12 AM on December 5, 2020 [10 favorites]


    So I'm kinda wondering about the whole sort of "Federation Summer Camp" thing - what did the Federation do in the intervening 930 years to make them the boogeymen to children in the alpha quadrant? Were they already on a downward trajectory (towards, say, mirror-universe-like activities) before the burn, and the burn was something of a relief to the rest of the quadrant?
    posted by Kyol at 7:09 PM on December 5, 2020 [1 favorite]


    Do we have a good theory as to who caused the Burn yet? I can't imagine it's the Chain, that would be super anticlimactic. It's gotta be mirror universe peeps, right?

    I'm still maintaining it's Ham, Burn Ham. And if I'm wrong I'll eat my ham.
    posted by Marticus at 11:30 PM on December 5, 2020 [4 favorites]


    The Discovery from the Mirror Universe caused the Burn. Is my random speculation.
    posted by crossoverman at 1:24 AM on December 6, 2020


    "I am completely over the scene where the villain is introduced by killing their incompetent underling that was the previous villain. I guess it beats having them smack Worf around to prove how scary they are....but not by much. Despite that, I am willing to give Osyraa a shot; I thought Janet Kidder did nice work with what she was given. She may never get to Dukat's level but I expect she could surpass Control/Leland, with a bit of room to breathe."

    I found Osyraa predictable but not necessarily boring.

    I mean the entire scene of her killing her Nephew, whilst heavily implying that she also had killed her Brother to get her Nephew to act as an underling in the first place, was pretty creepy.

    Also showed her sadism. She could have easily just shot him, but no.. she enjoyed playing with him first almost like a cat.

    The prosthetics/face cgi (?) was mildly distracting though.
    Did the Orion's canonically always have extended humanoid facial features or is this new to the DISCO era?
    posted by Faintdreams at 6:56 AM on December 6, 2020


    Did the Orion's canonically always have extended humanoid facial features or is this new to the DISCO era?
    It's new for DISCO. Previously, it was just green full-body paint and a black wig.
    I'm not mad at it. Just intrigued about how they're doing it.

    It's early days for digital makeup, but I can see a future where instead of spending all morning in the makeup chair getting latex appliances glued on, it's 20 minutes getting tracking dots painted on, and they apply the klingon forehead/blue skin/2nd set of eyes in post.
    "I'm not a deepfake, but I play one on TV."

    BTW, for a TOS era Orion centered episode, try the Lolani episode of Star Trek Continues, the fan made series on YouTube. Lou Ferrigno back in green paint!
    posted by bartleby at 12:37 PM on December 6, 2020 [1 favorite]


    Georgiou has committed pretty much every war crime they can think of. Why not charge and arrest her?

    Like Kevin Uxbridge before her, they have no punishment to fit her crimes.
    posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:56 PM on December 6, 2020 [6 favorites]


    It bugged me how Stamets was talking as if Adira wasn't there when they were in fact standing right next to him.
    posted by ckape at 9:01 PM on December 6, 2020 [1 favorite]


    I thought this episode was one of the weaker ones this season. Not bad, just sort of meh.

    Burnham is starting to remind me of someone who is playing Mass Effect but has zero interest in the main plot and is rushing through the game to get to the content she really cares about: the romance options.

    Stamets has always had this inconsistent characterization where he's sometimes a supportive and caring colleague and sometimes a condescending techbro jerk. There's no apparent reason for these character swings, just sometimes he's one and sometimes the other. This makes it very hard for me to accept him as the loving parental figure they're trying to make him into now. Like his "I care about you" smirk is just too reminiscent of his "I think you're an idiot" smirk.

    That was one reason I found the coming-out scene a little hard to appreciate fully. Another reason is that the whole scene, and its dialogue and its gender dynamics, feel very embedded in 2020. Like, the whole scene could be in any random network TV drama set in 2020. So it's showing us that in the 32nd century, nonbinary people still exist (that's good), but that exactly zero progress has been made in terms of how nonbinary identities are recognized, how common or well understood nonbinary people are, or how easy it is to come out. Like, in the 32nd century you still have to have an awkward conversation with your boss where you patiently explain that you've never really felt like a "he" or a "she", and so could you please use "they". Just given how much society has changed in the last 5 years, it strikes me as both unbelievable and pessimistic to say that we've hit the end of the road here and the way people think and talk about nonbinary identities in the 32nd century is going to be the same as in 2020.

    And just the emotional treatment of the scene is odd. It would be like if in season 1, Stamets hesitantly said, "Captain, I have something important to tell you. I'm...gay" while heartstrings-tugging piano music played in the background. By not showing us such a scene, the show established that being gay in the 23rd century is fully normalized. But they're treating nonbinary identity in the opposite way. Like, surely in the 32nd century there's just a pronoun field in your personnel file and it's no big deal.

    As I'm writing this, though, I'm developing a new headcanon. Adira, as a 32nd-century human, recalls learning that nonbinary identities were not well understood or accepted in the distant past. But they can't really recall whether that was, like, 900 years ago, or 1,300 years ago, or what. Like, these Discovery people might as well be Vikings, right? So Adira patiently explains the whole thing to Stamets on the assumption that he has never heard of the concept before. And that's why Stamets has that weird smirk, because he's like, "Haha, yeah, I know, we're not from the Stone Age, but I'm gonna let you finish."
    posted by Syllepsis at 9:03 AM on December 7, 2020 [13 favorites]




    "Star Trek: Discovery stars share their exploits and lessons from playing Dungeons & Dragons together"

    Of *course* Tilly plays D&D. :)
    posted by Mogur at 2:01 PM on December 7, 2020 [1 favorite]


    Lou Ferrigno back in green paint!

    And it was marvelous!
    posted by mikelieman at 7:45 PM on December 8, 2020


    Never go Full Manual
    posted by OHenryPacey at 7:02 PM on December 9, 2020


    So are we just fine with the computer getting sentient a few episodes back and recommending a dinner party and that just... doesn't get addressed?
    posted by The corpse in the library at 5:00 PM on December 10, 2020 [5 favorites]


    So Adira patiently explains the whole thing to Stamets on the assumption that he has never heard of the concept before. And that's why Stamets has that weird smirk, because he's like, "Haha, yeah, I know, we're not from the Stone Age, but I'm gonna let you finish."

    I read it a bit as telling your dad you want to be a violinist. Like, it's not unconventional, actually a lot around, fairly visible, but you might not be sure how your dad specifically is going to react. And yeah, the smirk is like "kid, I pay for the lessons."

    I mean they're 16. Teenagers often overthink how big a deal things like that are, so its possible they just were worried because Teen, not because the 32nd century is bigoted towards non binary folk.
    posted by Jilder at 11:56 PM on December 10, 2020 [5 favorites]


    I find I am struggling a bit with this season, and a lot of this episode typified why.

    One underlying thing I’m having to suspend a lot of disbelief on is, oddly, the future. It somehow doesn’t seem... future enough? This is 900+ years from where we started, and you’re telling me that (for example) enbies still need to have pronoun moments? Heck, even the future that Enterprise showed us - which was in this vicinity - felt strange and alien and just weird. As it should! It should be incredibly hard for these people who we know and like to be here. And the people from this time, like Adira, should probably be having a harder time relating to the Disco crew.

    I honestly think the lack of serialization this season is hurting the show and undermining its points. Other than different tech, and a few political realignments, it’s seeming too comfortable and too similar to what we know. I want to see the challenges, the strife, the “wait, we don’t do that anymore?” more and more. It’s nearly a millennium later!

    I am still watching as I like the cast and I still like new Trek. But this season - outside of the first few eps and Unification III - just have been a let down for me.
    posted by hijinx at 6:40 PM on December 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


    Strong agree, hijinx.

    My apologia is that after the Burn, there was a 'Dark Ages' effect going on and technology generally regressed. I could imagine a lot of planets/ systems relying on importing technology to sustain non-homebrew tech and/ or trade systems where critical components of core technologies become unavailable.

    So, lots of regression overall and survival mode hampering development of new tech.

    Would have liked to see bigger disparities in tech (even within a system - but it could be argued that we saw that with Earthers and the space pirates hanging out near Jupiter), and I've already mentioned that the energy densities as depicted are all kinds of wonky. That trade nexus looked like it consumes more energy than 23C drydocks/ stations - would have liked a mention that because they can't use dilithium to power antimatter* generators, they had to use something else that created a ton of pollution or something.

    (*the problem with antimatter is that you need to expend a tremendous amount of energy to create and contain it - antimatter is more of a battery than a generator...?)
    posted by porpoise at 7:14 PM on December 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


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