Star Trek: Discovery: That Hope Is You, Part 2
January 7, 2021 8:30 AM - Season 3, Episode 13 - Subscribe

[Season Finale] As the Emerald Chain tightens its grip and the mystery of the Burn is finally solved, Burnham and the crew have one last chance to save themselves – and the Federation.

Memory Alpha is a queen:

  • In this episode, the lead character, Michael Burnham, receives a promotion to captain and is given command of USS Discovery. It is the second time in the history of the Star Trek franchise that the lead character is advanced to this rank at the end of the series' third season, after Benjamin Sisko became captain in "The Adversary".


  • Lieutenant Ina, who appeared in this episode and "Su'Kal" as a bridge officer, was played by Avaah Blackwell, who usually plays the Osnullus characters on the show.


  • Book reveals that "Cleveland Booker" was originally the name of his mentor; as revealed in "The Sanctuary", his birth name was Tareckx.


  • I don't recall Grudge making an appearance in this ep, although she's mentioned. Still the queen.


  • "In a very real sense, we are all aliens on a strange planet. We spend most of our lives reaching out and trying to communicate. If during our whole lifetime, we could reach out and really communicate with just two people, we are indeed very fortunate."

    - Gene Roddenberry, quoted at the end

    "Let's fly."

    - Captain Michael Burnham

    Poster's Log:

    Wow. A more-than-satisfactory ending to the most satisfying season of the show thus far. We get the shooty-splodey scenes that we've expected from DIS's finales, but we also get some nice people gently persuading an orphan to leave the only home he's ever known. The original title for this episode was "Outside", and while the title that they actually used was OK (this and "Unification III" are maybe the only time that the franchise has had non-consecutive same-named episodes), I like the idea of going outside the familiar as not only signifying the journey that Su'Kal has to take, but also representing this whole season--the ship and its crew leaving the more familiar (if substantially redesigned) prequel era of the first two seasons and going into Trek's far future. At the beginning of the season, there was Aditya Sahil and his lonely vigil; at the end, Sahil was commissioned as an officer in the Starfleet that finally has enough dilithium to really start rebuilding, and the Discovery crew finally donning the 32nd-century uniforms. This ep didn't throw in a last-scene cliffhanger the way that the finales of S1 (the Enterprise showing up) and S2 (the jump into the future) did, but there are still a number of unresolved plot points that hopefully S4 will dig into:

  • Will Stamets and Burnham work through what she did last episode? I liked the hints that it wouldn't be resolved that easily.


  • The Emerald Chain. I don't quite buy that it completely fell apart with Osyraa's death; maybe in temporary disarray. (Her death was maybe the only real misgiving I had about the episode; she was really starting to come into her own as the archvillain, and had more potential for the same.)


  • What's going to happen with Saru and Su'Kal, who is still basically the most dangerous person in the galaxy.


  • The still-small Federation having a near-monopoly on dilithium, and what that might mean to some of the great--or maybe formerly-great--powers of the galaxy, such as the Borg, the Dominion, and, oh yeah, the Klingons. (Resolution of their fates is sort of a meta-question for the series.)


  • Speaking of monopolies--or the cessation thereof--what are the implications of the Kwejian/space druids being able to use spore drives?


  • So, yeah, lots to look forward to.

    Poster's Log, supplemental: I don't think that Star Trek Online has done any 32nd-century content yet, although I'd be very surprised if they didn't, at least in terms of offering the uniforms and maybe a Crossfield-class (Discovery's class) variant ship with the 32nd-century mods.

    This episode's MVP: Owo, definitely.

    Also, I know that probably most if not all of us are still reeling from the very recent unpleasantness, and I deliberately avoided making any cutesy references here. I hope that other people will take some of the hope and optimism from this show and have it help them through this time.

    io9: Star Trek: Discovery Earned Its Sound and Fury This Time
    posted by Halloween Jack (73 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
     
    That was just what I needed. Wonkavators were cool. Lots of good feels all around.
    posted by mikelieman at 2:17 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


    I agree, this season was the most satisfying so far, but for me the previous seasons were so up and down and messy, that wasn't hard for them to do. This final episode felt a bit perfunctory, no real surprises, but I did like that it was a real ensemble that needed to work together to achieve something.

    Action is not why I watch Star Trek, but I love a good space battle and was happy with that stuff. Less happy with the turbolifts flying around a giant chasm of nothing. I'm from an era of Trek (Next Gen) where you could buy technical manuals that showed you every part of the ship. That scene felt like that moment in Galaxy Quest where there's the huge crushing things in a hallway, which just make no sense, but are good for the action. At least that was parody.

    I wish Osyraa survived, because I had grown to find her interesting. That was a pretty low-key death. I'm glad no one on Discovery died, even though it made me actually think Owo was in trouble. I mean, you give a character sudden backstory is such a "she's about to die" trope and then you subvert that, I appreciate it.

    This was also the season I finally came to understand/like Michael Burnham, which made the payoff of her becoming Captain all the more sweet. "Let's fly" is good.
    posted by crossoverman at 2:37 PM on January 7 [10 favorites]


    Su'Kal, who is still basically the most dangerous person in the galaxy.

    I don't think so. I think his pairing with the dilithium planet was the problem. Along with harmonies and resonances. And I think taking him away from the dilithium planet stops the possibility of the Burn happening again. I don't know if mining a half-destroyed planet gets you much dilithium, though. Enough to power all the space ships in the Alpha and Beta quadrants? Will be interesting to see how that plays out politically in season four.
    posted by crossoverman at 2:41 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


    Did anyone recognize Adira's holo-disguise species? I don't recall seeing it before, but they looked great. For that matter, Gray looked great as a Vulcan too. And once the holoprogram was turned off, and Gray disappears, and we see that Culber and Adira are back to their normal selves, it becomes kind of obvious that they're delaying showing us Saru so it could be a Moment... but damn if it didn't work as a Moment anyways.
    posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:21 PM on January 7 [4 favorites]


    no real surprises

    They spent the entire season telegraphing every little thing that would happen in the finale, but then at the end Saru just quit out of the blue, with no set-up at all?
    posted by 1970s Antihero at 4:01 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


    I disagree that there was no setup for that. It was emphasized early in the season that he hadn't seen another Kelpian since he left Kaminar. His reaction to learning it was a Kelpian ship. And a very strong connection between Su'Kal and Saru. I felt throughout this episode they were building up to Saru leaving, at least temporarily, to mentor (raise?) Su'Kal.
    posted by DevilsAdvocate at 4:20 PM on January 7 [3 favorites]


    Did anyone recognize Adira's holo-disguise species?

    I thought that they were supposed to be a Xahean, from Discovery season 2.
    posted by Kosh at 4:58 PM on January 7 [5 favorites]


    I wish any of my devices rebooted as quickly as Discovery.
    posted by mookieproof at 5:45 PM on January 7 [8 favorites]


    Action is not why I watch Star Trek, but I love a good space battle and was happy with that stuff. Less happy with the turbolifts flying around a giant chasm of nothing.

    Yeah apparently the outer hull of Discovery is basically a TARDIS? It's not the first time the camera has cut through disproportionately large spaces between decks but those could be taken as artistic liberty. Here we had people falling out of the turbolifts to their deaths far below and it weirded me out.

    The Discovery going from falling out of warp to being swallowed by the Viridian in the space of a few breaths mid flight also was impossibly sudden.

    Booker being able to spore jump minutes after the idea it was possible came out of nowhere too.

    Yet despite the strange choices and frankly the lazy dramatic storytelling shortcuts I liked pretty much everything else about the episode.
    posted by Pryde at 7:07 PM on January 7 [8 favorites]


    “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”

    Even given that, I felt that Disco - as a whole, even from the beginning - ventured from Star Trek's wobbly technicality and much further into the realm of fantasy; time traveling 900 years into the future notwithstanding.

    But I won't quibble (ahem, magnetic nacelles) and yes, exciting episode and I appreciate that it didn't end with a big cliffhanger but teases a future for the characters that we've grown to appreciate.

    Those droid thingies - are they completely autonomous (ie., individual memories - like Star Wars droids), or just individual extensions of a central AI/ controller (ie., interchangeable drones)? I felt that the concept was a little too cutesy and tried tugging heartstrings a little too aggressively.

    Personally I really liked that someone cared enough to go grab Aditya Sahil and get him a commission (as a lieutenant no less!). Adira looks like she has an ensign's pip - I have no idea how that works with Trill symbionts (it was an admiral or something, no?).

    Is Book just some kind of free agent tagging along with the Discovery, or does he have a title like 'Captain's Consort' (how Terran Empire!) or something?

    Tig Notaro didn't have a whole lot to do, but damn, she looks the part.

    Was a little surprised that Vance didn't end up badmiral, thought that Oded Fehr did a good job being a little ambiguous (and 900 years in the future).

    Closing out the credits with (a remix of?) the original theme song was cool - and fitting to promise exciting new optimistic stories from this franchise.

    I guess this is it for live-action Star Trek television until at least 2022?

    'Prodigy' on Nickelodeon is supposed to be out sometime in 2021.
    posted by porpoise at 7:48 PM on January 7 [4 favorites]


    I can't be the only one heartbroken that Saru is gone?!
    posted by Space Kitty at 7:54 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


    He's not gone. Confirmed back in season 4 in some capacity by the After Trek episode interviews
    posted by danapiper at 7:56 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


    I felt Saru’s rapport with the N’Var leader, and his constant attempts to always find a peaceable solution, lampshaded his evolving role. The federation is rebuilding — they need true believers, diplomats, and ambassadors to spread the gospel. Who better than Saru?
    posted by nathan_teske at 8:17 PM on January 7 [3 favorites]


    Tig Notaro didn't have a whole lot to do, but damn, she looks the part.

    When the crew lines up along side Burnham's path to the captain's chair at the end (a nice parallel to all the ships lining up welcoming Discovery back), everyone has huge smiles on their faces, and Jett Reno is... not frowning. Which is practically a huge smile from her.
    posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:21 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


    'Prodigy' on Nickelodeon is supposed to be out sometime in 2021.

    Isn't Wil getting a little old to still be called a prodigy? ooh ooh Traveller Wesley yeah


    I said over in the Dr. Who thread that Dr. Who is utterly failing to make me give a single good goddamn about aaaaany of the characters and yet here Disco is managing to finally make the bridge crew into more than just dramatic faces during action sequences, people I care about and want to see succeed.

    And yeah, I'm sort of glad it's not going to be the Viridian Chain vs Starfleet every frickin' episode, but I was really kind of getting to like Osyraa, she had depth, she wasn't just a grar rar baddie, her plans were not completely ridiculous, and you could see that she had a sort of a plan for the universe. Ok, a plan that would lead to her being the queen, but hey it's a plan.

    I was sort of hit and miss about WOO HOO the Ni'var are here to save the day oh wait no Michael just undercut the whole benefit of diplomacy welp I guess that's it then guys bit. There were a few things like that that sort of felt like they might've been trimmed for time that meant the emotional hit just sorta fell through. I dunno, have the Ni'var show up just as the Discovery pops off to warp, have them join the recovery fleet, or maybe mop up the chain, I dunno, but the way it was in the episode felt like FUCK YEAH!- oh. oh that's it? oh.
    posted by Kyol at 8:22 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]


    Also, the Wonkavators were both cool and ugh - so what _is_ all this damn empty space here supposed to be for? Comparing the exterior landmarks and interior landmarks doesn't actually leave that much open space, guys. I think we discussed this earlier and came to a not completely intolerable headcanon, but I don't remember it offhand...
    posted by Kyol at 8:26 PM on January 7 [3 favorites]


    I enjoyed this episode and thought it was a good season finale. Verdict is still out on "Let's fly," but let's see how it goes. Liked the new uniforms.

    The droid thingies were a little too Star Wars and cutesy for me.

    I missed Grudge.
    posted by shoesietart at 8:41 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


    Is Book just some kind of free agent tagging along with the Discovery, or does he have a title like 'Captain's Consort' (how Terran Empire!) or something?

    I was thinking "Independent Consultant", although--and please forgive me for saying this out loud--he could be the Neelix of this crew. (Even with Burnham spending a year as a courier, Book has a lot more experience in that area.) Plus, we'll see if the space-druids-as-DASH-drive-operators thing goes forward.

    WRT the droids: they premiered last season. (Well, technically those were DOT-7s, and these are DOT-23s.) Trek's always been a bit leery of autonomous androids, up to (and sometimes including) Data, but even so it makes a lot of sense that you don't have to have fully-sentient beings out on the hull doing spot repairs or whatever. Oh, and another Star Trek Online reference: both DOTs and KIDDs (the "kid" drones that Jett Reno made back in S2's "Brother") are available as useful pets; I almost always have a KIDD sparked up--they're hella useful in combat.
    posted by Halloween Jack at 8:58 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


    So, what is going to happen with Gray? Might he become a holo character like The Doctor from Voyager? Does Discovery have a holodeck?
    posted by shoesietart at 9:59 PM on January 7


    Since the EMH's mobile emitter was from the 29th century, and everyone's combadge has some sort of projective capability, I assume that NuDisco basically has holo-everything.
    posted by Halloween Jack at 10:05 PM on January 7


    I think Saru "leaving" was set up, but I think the pay-off under a voice over and with the Admiral handing Discovery to Michael robbed us of a poignant Saru/Michael moment. I do imagine Saru will be back as part of Starfleet HQ or perhaps as a diplomat, rather than a regular Discovery crew member. Would be weird if he was Michael's Number One.
    posted by crossoverman at 12:32 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]


    This is three times in a row that a Black woman (Gabriele Burnham, Michael Burnham, now Joann Owesekun) has saved the Federation, the galaxy, everything, and I'm here for it.

    The all-important sphere data that could've been exploited by Control to create an omnipotent AI that would wipe out all other sentient life ... that sphere data didn't seem to actually be all that
    ... formidable? in a crunch?

    How huge was the Veridian, those elevator scenes were ... it was like watching the battle/chase across the doors dimension in Monsters Inc..

    Does the Federation now go on to protect itself from future Burns (protecting warp cores against soundwaves from subspace vis-a-vis dilithium) and then weaponise dilithium soundwaves across subspace? Is that what the Ni'var already discovered how to do? I wonder this as Ossyraa's (rest in peace most favorite 31st-century space villain!) main evil sciencedoctor Aurelio is just apparently an automatic addition to Discovery's bridge crew now.

    Thank you for all the insight and company here as I've binged all 3 seasons over the past 3 months, your company has been and is a treasure.
    posted by riverlife at 1:02 AM on January 8 [5 favorites]


    Huh, riverlife. Wow.

    Dilithium-DNAed Su'Kal is pretty darned close to Mycelium-DNAed Stamets.

    I wonder if the space druids have mycelium "DNA" in them like HERVs that we all have.

    But yeah, I can't get over being pissed at the non-resolution of the "Sphere Data/ Super AI" thing. Or that stupid "smart matter" data core thing that sucked Burnham in and she fired out of.

    My solace is Burnham, earlier in the sequence, triple tapping the sonic rifle to charge up a larger burst. Very FPS inspired. But I really hate DSC's vision of 32C small arms in general.
    posted by porpoise at 2:05 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]


    What about the universal earworm? I don't recall that being explained yet.
    posted by Coaticass at 2:19 AM on January 8 [6 favorites]


    Wow! This got really dumb all of a sudden! Also it felt a whole lot like a series finale for some reason??? Anyway looking forward to learning about Trill Force Ghosts eventually

    I will say that I was caught off-guard by the surprise twist that they gave us some background about a bridge crew member without killing her though

    anyway I spent a lot of this episode just laughing and laughing at it but I still enjoyed it anyway
    posted by DoctorFedora at 3:28 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]


    About the droids: I was surprised how little they ended up mattering in this episode after the end of last week’s. You have the one that helps Owo out, gets fried, then repaired, and that’s... pretty much it, right?

    The whole thing was super silly and I loved it. I’ll miss having this show as an escapist outlet during this terrible period in the world. The writing has been all over the place, including this season (though to a lesser extent than the preceding two), but I love this cast and agree with those who feel like they started to come into their own more this season. I’m looking forward to seeing what stories they tell now that the transition to the new setting is complete.

    I do agree we should’ve gotten a moment between Michael and Saru, though. I buy his departure (temporary as it may be), but the lack of a scene with him, other than the brief shot on Kaminar with no dialogue, felt a little abrupt.
    posted by Kosh at 4:04 AM on January 8 [2 favorites]


    I’m really glad that the GDQ run of Mr. Bones was yesterday because it makes a great point of comparison for this season of Disco Trek. Remember how we spent two episodes in a row on a spinoff setup? I’d nearly forgotten

    Mrs. Fedora managed to correctly predict “eject the warp core” as a thing that would happen sooner or later just because of the number of other clichés they’d already fit in (including eighties action movie clichés! Very exciting)

    I did bite my tongue during the torture machine scene because Mrs. Fedora would not have appreciated if I’d yelled “NOT TO FIFTY” at the TV
    posted by DoctorFedora at 4:31 AM on January 8 [2 favorites]


    Count me as another who mostly enjoyed this as a finale despite the many stupid things. I had unease about this whole distant-future-jump concept and, while they got a lot of good stuff out of it ("Unification III" might be my favorite All-Access-Era Trek episode), it all seems to have added up to Big Dramatic Setpieces. The promise of really exploring what the Federation means, the "connectedness" stuff, only peeked through a few times this season IIRC.

    Still a better and more coherent season than the first two, for sure, and I'm willing and halfway-eager to tag along for season 4. (And those new unis look dang good on this cast!)

    But if Saru is demoted to occasional-guest status, I will be sorely dismayed. It might even impact my willingness to continue DISCOing, depending on what season 4 has in store.

    I did bite my tongue during the torture machine scene because Mrs. Fedora would not have appreciated if I’d yelled “NOT TO FIFTY” at the TV

    I completely yelled that. Mrs. Cheeses did not appreciate the fact that I beat her to it, I think.

    I thought that they were supposed to be a Xahean, from Discovery season 2.

    That makes a lot more sense than my first thought, which was a Dosi.
    posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 6:36 AM on January 8 [3 favorites]


    Caveat: for those that enjoyed it, I'm really glad to hear. Not every ST is for everybody.

    But I didn't. I felt this season only doubled-down on the worst parts of Discovery where internally-established world norms/rules could be disregarded as long as you wept into camera.

    I don't understand how - in an established O2-limited environment, Tilly decided to tell an entire backstory instead of taking command and saying "this is what we have to do, let's go." ... and then decided, as people are slowly suffocating (but still speaking mostly-fine) in a corridor, having a scene of description instead of action. I don't understand how Disco, who needed, a few hours ago, the Viridian ship's weapons to be toned down, lest they be destroyed on the chase into Fed HQ... now can fend off the fleet, but the Viridian ship couldn't breach the defences... and now in this episode it will take the entire fleet "at least five more minutes" to hurt Disco? How "sound is a mechanical wave". How the command/billet structure seems to be mixed-non-existant based on which character needs a spotlight for a later-dramatic moment.

    I love ST. And scifi. ... but when you break your _own_ rules, it bugs me. And for some reason, for me, I can accept that "intertial dampers exist when you go to warp, but not when hit by a torpedo"... but it's the internal inconsistancies that bug me.

    I feel that Disco has been perennially guilty of - - and more so this season - - "if we just swell the music, nobody will think about the logic of what happened before", and in this episode, all of that turned up to 11. Why would ADM Vance - who heretofore has shown himself to care about the fleet, terrible personal consequences of utilitarianism be damned - risk letting Disco go because Burnham misty-eyed said "if you ever trust me, trust me now" ... what's the upside?

    I really wanted to love SMG as a main character, and for the first half - maybe the first full season, I did. ... but I don't understand why she's being used for so much - other cast (and crew roles) be damned. I don't like weepy speeches, delivered slowly... when your point is that you're rushed for time/consequences... gah.

    I'm not mad, I'm just grouchy. I want this show to make sense if you watch the episodes in order and let them build the world. I want it to be internally consistent - - at least mostly. And when not so, let it not be "oh, because they wanted to have a space battle and this is the only way the writers could get there."

    Anyway. Closing to reiterate that I'm really glad that the people that love it do. No shade whatsoever. I just don't know if I'll keep watching because I'm not very confident that they'll get to anything beyond cards-on-a-board plot points stitched together by orchestral swells and (admittedly absolutely brilliant - - if oft-nonsensical) CGI.
    posted by Seeba at 10:08 AM on January 8 [14 favorites]


    Yeah, I’m in the same boat. I’m glad people liked it but it didn’t make a lick of sense to me, and I found myself increasingly irritated during the last few eps, so I’ll be parting ways with the show now.
    posted by adrianhon at 2:18 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


    Seeba - have you tried reversing the polarity on your semantic parsers?
    Or degaussing the flux residue in your quantum logic circuits?

    Those routine maintenance procedures have been required for all treks I've ever watched. I started with TNG (in elementary school) and I kept a notebook with questions:
    "why didn't they [x] when we know they can?"
    "what does [y] have to do with [z]?"
    "can't they just [a] the [b]? I could do that with a knife from the kitchen!"

    Then I showed it to someone who said "it doesn't sound like you're having fun watching that show", and I realized that I WAS having fun and that it would NEVER make sense. I switched to a tally system and never told anyone about it (except just now on the internet) so I could feel quietly superior. Later I tried writing fiction and I told myself that I could have HALF that many dumb things in each short story. It didn't help the writing any, but hey.

    I think this trek (probably my favourite after this season) did well to lean into that, but I do agree that most of the technobabble is just bad.
    "the ship is made of MATTER" "and this drum is made of matter! so..."
    "if we hit the drum, we'll create a WAVE in the ship!"
    "then we can SURF the wave with a board made of MATTER!!!"
    (dramatic swell in surfing music - cut scene of the ocean somehow in the jeffries tubes)

    Just surf the waves, seeba. This show is fiction, and fiction is entertaining. So by watching the show...

    [this argument in favour of lowering your standards has been brought to you via the network of... space fungus I guess? and the letter Q]
    posted by Acari at 2:20 PM on January 8 [5 favorites]


    How "sound is a mechanical wave".

    This is actual science. Sound is a "mechanical wave" because it needs a medium to travel through, ie. sound doesn't travel in a vacuum.
    posted by crossoverman at 2:42 PM on January 8 [5 favorites]


    Inside you there are two wolves.

    One says "Internally consistent logic is vital to suspension of disbelief."

    The other says "It's just a show, I should really just relax."

    They are both correct.
    posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 2:51 PM on January 8 [5 favorites]


    I have to say this seasons started out really promising, that it decompressed a bit and allowed the show to not feel like it was rushing wildly from plot beat to plot beat. I was excited to learn more about the crew who weren't primary characters, but it turns out that was thrown by the wayside quickly. The back half of the season was rushed as hell, (spending two episodes on a backdoor pilot isn't a great use of pacing turns out), and it fell into the same trap it always falls into; that there's 4 people in the entire universe and Michael Burnham solves every problem.

    They did Saru dirty by making him completely incompetent as a captain. It was legit exciting to see a non-human captain of a show focus ship, but at every turn they had him make the worst decisions that made him look incompetent by every measure.

    Osyraa was poorly fleshed out and written in a way where I didn't get what her actual goal was. We meet her as a person willing to kill her own nephew over a failure, but then later she's an honest negotiator with the admiral. I didn't feel like she had any interiority beyond being quippy and snide. The late introduction left little time for her to feel like she had a real personality. On a similar note, the admiral's demand that she face war crimes trials while she held all the cards was so baffling I thought they were setting him up to be the real villain of the season. A far more interesting ending would have been an actual very uneasy alliance between the chain and starfleet, but that's not going to get solved with a bunch of setpiece action scenes.

    All of this ties into one of single biggest issues of discovery, characters change to be whatever the plot needs them to be at the moment. Stamets is no longer an asshole but an understanding father figure, Saru is incompetent all of a sudden, Tilly is a great acting captain, Detmer is dealing with PTSD until she isn't, and Georgiou goes from cannibal space hitler to chaotic good just from proximity to starfleet. The plot needs are forcing characters into roles that don't feel earned.

    And the biggest and most consistent sin of Discovery is that everything comes down to Burnham. Sonequa Martin Green is a great actor, and she brings an amazing performance to every scene, but you can't solve every single problem with just one tool, and that's what Discovery does time and time again. Have Burnham face an incredible hardship or struggle, scream through it as epic music plays and find the strength to succeed at the last possible moment.

    S3 had so much potential to grow the show from what it was, but it fell back into the same traps that it stumbled into in the previous seasons. Moment to moment Disco feels like a great watch, but when you sit back afterwards and think about what happened it feels like empty calorie storytelling.
    posted by Ferreous at 3:43 PM on January 8 [21 favorites]


    still thinking about the powerful Attack of the Clones vibes I got from the turbolift scene, even now that I am no longer kind of drunk, the morning after watching this

    okay so Force Ghost Grey still requires a huge amount of explanation in order to even vaguely make sense, right? Like, nothing has been established in canon thus far to suggest that Trill continue to live on as actual literal ghosts in later hosts, rather than just a collection of memories and a personality that can occasionally be interacted with? That’s a huge thing that breaks the world, right?

    Mrs. Fedora noted that it felt like that scene was in there solely so they could put in a line about “being seen” that felt kind of like the writers talking directly to the audience in a bout of performative wokeness again, rather than the characters talking to each other within the world of the show — kind of like how Adeira waited through multiple episodes of being called “her” before finally addressing that, which kind of felt like maybe it undermined its effect? Like maybe that would have been better handled by just confidently treating “they/them” like a regular thing that goes unremarked on? TOS never really went out of its way to inform the audience how important it was that Uhura and Chekhov were on the bridge of the ship, after all. I dunno. I’m on the outside looking in at Gender Twitter topics like this, so it’s possible I’m way out of my lane here.

    Genuinely unsure what to expect from this show at this point! I really like pretty much all the characters and would be completely into just a story-of-the-week Trek show that just takes place in the future, without Michael Burnham, The Most Important Person in History, needing to save the universe once per season. On reflection, I enjoyed the first half of the season a lot more, and then it got kind of silly and stupid, which this show kind of loves, but the mirror universe episodes were a major plot momentum killer that really messed up any sense of urgency to the idea that were in a hurry to save the galaxy !!

    Lower Decks remains my favorite New Star Trek, as it is by far the most Star Trek of the new shows, but I’m still willing to look forward to more of this. At least it’s dumb and exciting instead of dumb and boring, heh.
    posted by DoctorFedora at 4:21 PM on January 8 [6 favorites]


    I'm experiencing the same dissonance other people are. I loved this episode and this season. It was big fun, it was emotional, and I feel genuine connection with many of the characters and their story arcs. At the same time it was really dumb. I hated the whole holo-Charlie-X subplot, so melodramatic, and the "all we need is a human Kelpian connection" conclusion was smarm of the worst order. But then also I almost cried. I loved the whole wonkavator scene but then WTF it makes zero sense spatially. Etc etc.

    The one real weak point for me was writing Saru off the show. Or maybe not entirely, but mostly? I dunno. After a whole season elevating him and his acting to be the center of the show, to then just say "and then he fucked off to eat kelp with his ersatz son" is a bit disappointing for me.

    I agree this would make a great finale. After years of stressful service and a full dislocation of their lives, the crew of the Discovery gets to retire to a calm and easy life playing escort to fuel tankers. Star Trek Discovery: Dilithium Truckers. I guess we'll find the job isn't so simple though. Once again they left themselves free to do anything next season. Which presumably will be significantly delayed thanks to Covid.
    posted by Nelson at 8:37 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]


    Just surf the waves, seeba. This show is fiction, and fiction is entertaining. So by watching the show...

    When they started with the techno-babble in this episode, my mind just filled in the captions with [technobabble], because hey, the writers running out of steam for technical correctness has happened often enough that at this point, it's something I just disregard and just enjoy the rest of the story.
    posted by mikelieman at 8:46 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


    I kept wondering why a spaceship doesn’t have emergency oxygen supplies and spacesuits everywhere, forcing them to share one tiny oxygen pack. That is a lack of emergency planning and basic safety that the Empire in Star Wars would be proud of. And those damn turbolift caverns. Why would anyone build a space ship full of giant empty voids. And yet they still require people to crawl through tiny maintenance tubes all the time.
    posted by fimbulvetr at 9:36 PM on January 8 [12 favorites]


    My handwavium for the TurboLift-Space: All the turbo lifts are running through a pocket of warped space due to the new (i.e. 29th Century) version of the warp drive. Instead of shafts they all run through this warped pocket of space that turns things smaller relative to the ship. This occurs along an ovoid gradient that allows transit through a ship's core but only takes up a small percentage of the ship's absolute volume. Not a pocket of space with an entranceà la a TARDIS but a warped patch of space that is closer to a singularity's effects without the issue of an actual singularity.

    Why don't they have emergency equipment in every section of every deck? An explainer[SLYT].
    posted by Ignorantsavage at 9:56 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


    I know it’s just a show, but this was so full
    of holes it might as well be a pair of fishnets.

    Is Su’Kal immortal? He’s like a 130 years old and seems younger than Saru.

    How are these wonkavators moving through the ship? That is, how is there this vast open void? Is Disco a fucking TARDIS now?

    Why would Tilly give up command? She just took back the ship and proved she could command. What was the point of that, narratively? In fact, what was the point of Captain Tilly at all if she’s just going to give it up for no obvious reason?

    What were the little robots for? They basically didn’t do anything, narratively.

    No explanation for the Admiral torpedoing the peace deal. They spent all this time foreshadowing the Admiral as being massively shady and evil and then suddenly he’s just a goofy dad.

    It was shiny and there was some nice action but from a story perspective it was an utter mess.
    posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 1:44 AM on January 9 [4 favorites]


    I'm actually kind of okay with the Osyraa-Vance stuff. I read it thus: she was never for a moment sincere about negotiation, but was instead simultaneously (A) offering a seemingly-sincere armistice that would actually have amounted to the leverage to dominate the Federation politically if Vance had fallen for it, and (B) buying time for her goons, because even if Vance didn't fall for it, she knew he'd have to waste time seriously considering it.

    It's a clever and halfway subtle scheme built on a foundation of brutality, which fits Orion characterization pretty well to me.

    And she didn't anticipate his demand that she be treated as a criminal because (like plenty of other despots) it never entered her imagination that she is one.

    Meanwhile, on the Vance side of the table, his demand (which he knew she'd never accept) was a damn ballsy way of communicating that the Federation won't be manipulated, compromised by shaky treaties, or eased down the slippery slope of ignoring despots' past crimes because it seems like the easy thing to do in a particular political moment. (Resonant!)

    That Osyraa-Vance stuff was probably my favorite part of the end of this season. It could've been the A-plot of at least one episode, though more focus than that would've likely been too much.

    I'm less okay with Osyraa's death scene, which seemed choreographed precisely to allow for the wound to be not quite lethal and for her to give us a horror-villain Second Climax, but then, not? I mean, cinematic language kind of demands a close-up of her face or the wound to at least suggest she's really dead.

    But also: can we praise this show for totally ignoring the whole Orion females' pheromones crap? IIRC it never once got mentioned or hinted at, right?

    okay so Force Ghost Grey still requires a huge amount of explanation in order to even vaguely make sense, right? Like, nothing has been established in canon thus far to suggest that Trill continue to live on as actual literal ghosts in later hosts, rather than just a collection of memories and a personality that can occasionally be interacted with? That’s a huge thing that breaks the world, right?

    It does need more explanation but I'm not sure it breaks the world, or even the world of Trill, due to the events of DS9: "Facets"—Odo manifests physical features of Curzon Dax, which isn't "supposed" to happen.

    Plus the original Trill episode from TNG established the fact that when you put a symbiont in a Human, weirdness ensues. DISCO was naturally gonna amp up any source of weirdness. (I could almost headcanon my way to an acceptable explanation with the notion that a pre-adult Human with a symbiont is always? or often? gonna have the imaginary-friend side effect.) And whatever the case, giving Stamets that opportunity to unconditionally accept this thing about Adira that he doesn't understand was, again, resonant.

    Basically, Grey's existence troubles me on a "but I can't 'really just relax'"-level a lot less than the Chasm of Eternal Turbolifts, the rightly-pointed-out pointlessness of the Cute and Marketable Droids, Su'Kal being the cause of a galactic catastrophe…

    My handwavium for the TurboLift-Space: All the turbo lifts are running through a pocket of warped space due to the new (i.e. 29th Century) version of the warp drive. Instead of shafts they all run through this warped pocket of space that turns things smaller relative to the ship.

    I had a similar thought. Someone somewhere is going to make a retcon like this "official" if not canon, I'm sure. Though I'd like it better as an explanation if we'd seen them, like, zoom past an oversized isolinear chip or some other similar thing that we had a predetermined sense of scale for.

    My other thought in that scene was "gosh, it's a good thing they're running full environmental systems inside these Death Star-scale gunnyworks."

    And because this comment isn't long enough, one more complaint: I wanted, nay needed, a much clearer look at those Ni'Var ships. Did they run out of budget and/or time??
    posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 2:48 AM on January 9 [4 favorites]


    This is actual science. Sound is a "mechanical wave" because it needs a medium to travel through, ie. sound doesn't travel in a vacuum.

    That makes a lot of sense - cool! Admittedly, I filed it into the "let's use technobabble but with words the audience recognises" that I thought I'd noticed in the show. Iff I end up rewatching, I'll be curious to see how much of what I thought was nonsense is grounded in something that I just didn't know.
    posted by Seeba at 3:20 AM on January 9


    I've replayed the scene where Gray walks to the edge of the holodeck a couple of times. It looks like they originally filmed him kissing Adira (maybe on the cheek?) then cut the kiss, because he leans into them and then we cut abruptly to him walking away. A kiss would make sense - he may have figured that he's a holo himself, and walking out to the edge might disintegrate him.
    posted by Mogur at 4:00 AM on January 9


    By this point Tilly seems to have wandered in from someone's fantasy life.

    Whole strata of the show seems to exist to provide validation to sections of the audience. Which is almost certainly a good thing. However, if you're not of that part of the audience, those strata register as a sort of absence - a number of emptinesses that the audience-member needs to fill in, which you can't do if the emotional resonance isn't there. For example, for me, the Tilly Gang are sort of not there - I don't understand why there are so many of them or who any of them are, although they are at least easy to tell apart visually.

    Which simply suggests that I'm not really part of the show's target audience, but there it is.

    It seemed a shame not to make the most of Bill Irwin's skills (it seems to me he works in a similar area to Doug Jones, but didn't really get to use it here). And I can understand Jones wanting to do something different now, but he was one of the interesting parts of the show.

    It's still astonishingly pretty, though, and very, very shiny. There are so many startling images than none of them really has any effect, but they keep on coming.
    posted by Grangousier at 6:31 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]


    Two more quibbles, on morning.

    I agree with red thoughts above; the little robots had no real purpose in the story. It would have been super simple to have not written them in. Sure they provided a tiny bit of help to the crew but you could have gotten from A to B other ways. And if you are going to suddenly introduce a huge new force like that, you really need to do something more with it.

    It felt jarring they build two giant new (virtual?) sets for this. The all-white data core with its puffs of cold vapor. And the giant void of wonkavators, although that void sort of been shown in the finale of last season. Anyway neither set is ever used before and quite possibly never again, either on this show or any other Trek. In fact Trek usually has these set pieces in specific parts of the ship; the warp core, the nacelles, the Jeffrey's tubes, the bridge, the med bay. To add two more new spaces in one episode felt off.
    posted by Nelson at 7:47 AM on January 9 [3 favorites]


    I think a bigger overall problem with discovery in general is that it doesn't have room for/interest in character development. It seems to build up characters just to get rid of them. We learn about Airiam just so the pathos hits harder, Nan gets built up a bit so we can leave her on a ship, Georgiou gets some actual character development but that is to justify another show. They bring up Owosekun being raised in a luddite colony and I want to know so so so so much more about that, but outside of having a heroic moment in the finale she's mostly there to ask Detmer if she's okay. It feels like everything that happens is in service to finding a way to have a fight scene with lots of shiny objects where Burnham can save the day via sheer force of will.

    It keeps feeling like a show that chews through characters and either ditches them or puts them into the background once they've wrung the value out of them. After a while I start to care less about any given character because odds are they'll basically die or turn into background noise so that we can have something new and exciting to focus on. They keep using the same story beats and tricks but changing the set dressing via new locations and characters so it feels different.
    posted by Ferreous at 10:54 AM on January 9 [11 favorites]


    Like many others here, I'm of two minds about the finale. It was fun. It had gigantic plot holes. I would like to see characters beyond Michael get character development. I would really like it if the writer's room would decide that next season one episode gets centered around each non-Michael character.

    I would like to see characters other than Michael save the day – although here I feel like we got that between Owo and Book and Saru. (Side note: LOVE that Owo's got experience in free diving! That was a really good and unique character item.)

    It would have been REALLY FRICKING NICE for them to lay in "Oh Book might be able to work the spore drive!" early on and have him try and fail a couple of times through the season. It would have made the moment here feel much more earned.

    Like others, I wish they'd kept Osyraa around.

    I like Tilly. I like showing that Tilly can command. I HATE that they jumped her up to First Officer as an ensign. That's some Wesley Crusher stuff. I would like to see them bring in an XO from the existing Federation in the next season, who could give some insider info on what's been going on for the past millennium.

    Like everyone else, the fact that there was no conversation between Michael and Saru bugged me. I was going to blame it on COVID but they wrapped filming in February so clearly they don't get the benefit of that doubt.

    They need to do more with rolling out the spore drive to other ships next season.

    I think the setup for next season is good. Going to a bunch of different planets with dilithium leaves an opening for exploring strange new worlds. If they haven't been in touch in a century, who knows what is going on there?
    posted by rednikki at 1:10 PM on January 9 [3 favorites]


    I honestly don't know if the showrunners are willing or capable to go episodic for the next season. They sort of did that in the first half of this season, but it felt like every episode followed the exact same arc: Discovery realises they need to go somewhere>That place is on the brink or has a messed up ideology>Star fleet optimism wins out and the planet they visited realises the error of their ways. It was fine until you realise they did the same thing on earth, trill, na'var, books planet.
    posted by Ferreous at 1:30 PM on January 9 [5 favorites]


    I am super glad that Osyraa is dead. The “sadistic all-powerful bully” type of villain seems increasingly common across all types of media, and I don’t find watching those kinds of characters even a tiny bit entertaining anymore. On top of that, her fashion sense sucked. Good riddance.
    posted by jordemort at 6:21 PM on January 9 [1 favorite]


    I want a Trek show that features a Black woman as lead to be really, really good. Discovery is really uneven.

    With this season I'm wondering if the problem (well, one of them) is the original idea: since the start it was going to focus on Burnham. In early days it was all, "We won't even know the captain!" I still think that idea is sound – what does it look like from someone who is in (well, was in) middle management? And mutinied? That would make it a fundamentally different show. I would still like that show, I think. Really sticking with Burnham, but not seeing so many things because they wouldn't impact her.

    But what we have is a lot different. With the musical chairs of show runners, we've basically come to an uncomfortable marriage of the original Burnham focus and traditional Trek. Because we didn't spend time with almost any characters in S1 and most of S2, those characters are pretty empty. And now that the show has shifted very far from its original idea, it's trying to do more with characters who aren't well developed.

    So we get a milquetoast show that really tried hard, like really hard, in S1 and a little less in S2, and basically dropped all Big Television attempts and just decided to be another iteration on TNG and Voyager (or so it seems, anyway). I want Discovery to live up to the promise of the first half of S1. It's had fits and starts, but wrapping up this season it kinda lost me. I just stopped caring as much.

    That said, I hold out a tiny, tiny speck of hope – the FX are great and I think the actors are doing well with the material they've got. I just... don't have confidence in the show runners.
    posted by hijinx at 8:11 PM on January 9 [6 favorites]


    I thought the previous episode was a promising setup. But while this finale had some good moments and character beats (Su'Kal's development was more satisfying than I expected, and Owo finally gets something to do other than cast meaningful glances at Detmer), it ultimately just had too much stupid for me to enjoy, unfortunately.

    Wonkavators speeding for minutes through a vast, surreal landscape that is somehow the interior of Discovery. Burnham getting swallowed by the wall of the computer core and then dramatically reemerging, coughing up bad software or something from her lungs. Increasingly silly technobabble about dilithium-infused DNA leading So'Kal to be able to literally make sounds using subspace as the medium. A bunch of narrative threads that never paid off, like the Sphere Data R2-D2 units that showed up like the cavalry at the end of the last episode and then did nearly nothing in this one.

    Looking back on the season, there have been a number of things I've liked. But the things that have been good about this season, like the slightly better character development for the bridge crew, feel like they're being doled out to us in dribs and drabs. Yay that we got to know Detmer and Owo a tiny bit better. But I still don't know offhand the names of half the bridge crew or what their jobs are, I still couldn't name the chief medical officer or chief engineer of the ship, and the very geometry of the ship makes no sense and so it doesn't feel like a real place. If I'm watching Star Trek, I want meaningful storytelling that hangs together narratively, I want competent characters who work well together and solve problems, and I want a coherent setting that makes the future feel like someplace I can imagine living. Flashy explosions and dramatic plot twists are OK in moderation, but I'm not here to watch a mindless action movie.

    And yeah, I'm also a little bummed that Saru is stepping down as captain. And after all the captains Discovery has had, Burnham finally becoming captain feels a bit like Snape becoming Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher.
    posted by Syllepsis at 9:44 PM on January 9 [6 favorites]


    It's all leaving me kinda cold, at this point. The attempted-maybe-treaty situation was the most interesting thing in the season. The action runaround stuff feels rote, generic. We've done to the well, many, many times now where resolving the plot involves having someone just like weep uncontrollably. Was Tilly's imaginary friend last season so amazing that we really needed to have another one right away?

    It's really cool that in Season 1 you can see the kernel of where Lorca and Tyler were going, and the development of Burham, Tilly, Saru. amd Stamets were revealing more all the time. Now we're just kinda left with the quirks. Quirks and crying.
    posted by StarkRoads at 1:28 AM on January 10 [1 favorite]



    " it felt like that scene was in there solely so they could put in a line about “being seen” that felt kind of like the writers talking directly to the audience in a bout of performative wokeness again, .."


    "Performative wokeness"

    Please explain wtf that is supposed to even mean?

    That seems like such a sneery, unnecessarily uncharitable thing to say. If that part of the narrative didn't speak to you.. maybe it wasn't meant for you?
    posted by Faintdreams at 2:17 PM on January 10 [4 favorites]


    So I think I realised one of my core issues with Discovery today. It's that all the characters exist almost entirely in a state of reacting to trauma. The audience barely sees them in a state of rest where you can see what they are like outside of having their lives or the existence of the universe threatened. Even Michael, who we know the most about of any character has so little explained about her life that isn't related to trauma. Losing her parents, losing Spock, committing mutiny, etc. What do we know about Michael in her downtime that isn't directly related to her trauma or dealing with trauma of another character. Her relationship with Tilly is almost exclusively one of dealing with fears or insecurity.

    Maybe I'm pining for something antiquated but a lot of what made trek feel alive for me in older series was the interpersonal relationships between characters. Kira and Dax chatting over coffee, the tng crew goofing around in holodecks to unwind (even if it always went wrong), the doctor riffing with seven. It was the interactions between people that made the shows feel and the world lived in.

    I know the compressed seasons make room to breathe an issue, but I want to know about people when they're relaxed and happy. There's so little room for that and the victories feel so fleeting that despite having "good endings" the universe feels like purgatory.
    posted by Ferreous at 4:46 PM on January 10 [11 favorites]


    I love being involved in a good show and seeing where it goes. Discovery is not like that. My son and I basically sit, watch, and laugh, because everything is so nonsensical and non sequitur. I'm so glad there's a (live action) Star Trek on the air, and I think all the actors are great, but nothing makes sense. And I agree with Ferreous—it's hard to care for the characters when you don't really know them.

    This is actual science. Sound is a "mechanical wave" because it needs a medium to travel through, ie. sound doesn't travel in a vacuum.

    Trivia: Sound obeys wave-particle duality, and can also be quantized as a quasi-particle called a phonon! A phonon is a packet of mechanical energy like a photon is a packet of electromagnetic energy. This quasi-particle is predicted to have negative mass and gravity because it travels faster in denser materials. Cool stuff.
    posted by jabah at 7:40 PM on January 10 [6 favorites]


    Hunh, reading this thread makes me feel sort of out-of-sync with Metafilter, TBH.

    Here's what I wrote about the Season 2 finale: The show did the things they do well, well (big action set pieces! frenetic pacing!) and they did the stuff they do badly, badly (tearful goodbyes while in time-critical situations, lack of actual science) and fortunately this episode was much heavier on the former than the latter so overall it was fun.

    ....and yep, feels like I could basically write the same comment word-for-word about this one. But while a lot of people seem to be finally getting fed up with many of the same flaws that drove me up the wall last season, I guess I've finally hit the point where I've resigned myself to the show being what it is, and having the flaws it has, and finding a way to enjoy it anyways. Which I basically managed to do!

    Although, this episode did tease me with one thing that I think might genuinely represent a structural improvement to the show: making Burnham the captain. Yes, it's shitty for Saru, and kinda shitty for Tilly, too, but this show has right from Season 1 episode 1 struggled with the fact that Michael Burnham is the main character but not the captain, therefore you have to constantly find ways to sideline or undercut everyone else so that Michael gets to make the big plays and big decisions and save everybody all the time. Whereas we know from many past Treks that it's very easy for the captain to wind up being basically "the main character" even in a much more ensemble show than this. Trying to separate those two roles was an experiment, they tried it, that's fine, but sometimes things work the way they work for a reason. If making Burnham the captain affords the writers the ability to relax and not have to work quite so hard all the time to keep the focus on Burnham, the show will be better for it. (Though worse without Saru, even briefly, so we'll see how that evens out.)

    Personally I really liked that someone cared enough to go grab Aditya Sahil and get him a commission (as a lieutenant no less!).


    Probably my favorite moment out of the entire episode (and quite possibly the entire season), not gonna lie.
    posted by mstokes650 at 2:21 PM on January 11 [4 favorites]


    " it felt like that scene was in there solely so they could put in a line about “being seen” that felt kind of like the writers talking directly to the audience in a bout of performative wokeness again, .."

    "Performative wokeness"

    Please explain wtf that is supposed to even mean?

    That seems like such a sneery, unnecessarily uncharitable thing to say. If that part of the narrative didn't speak to you.. maybe it wasn't meant for you?
    posted by Faintdreams
    I should probably clarify that I do not mean anything against the actual groups being represented onscreen! Mostly just that there have been a couple of scenes this season that felt like the writers not having the confidence in what they do to simply let a thing be, without explicitly pointing out a thing they did, directly to the audience. Like I said, I feel like Adira's they/them thing would have felt more effective if it had simply been presented as a normal, uncommented-upon thing for the setting, rather than going multiple episodes of calling Adira "her" and implying that they hired a nonbinary actor to play a female role, before drawing attention to it roughly exactly around when audience members aware of the context would likely have come to this conclusion.

    And like I said, I could be way out of my lane on this! But at least in my case, it felt like if TOS had a scene where Kirk explicitly drew reference to Uhura and Chekhov being on the bridge being Meaningful, rather than just presenting it as a thing that, centuries into the future, would be normal enough to go unremarked upon — like if the Rodenberry quote about "in the 24th century, they wouldn't care" that Picard is bald made it into the show itself.

    I dunno! There is a reason why I have kind of complicated feelings about it, and the show as a whole has not exactly been known for subtlety overall, either. I thought it was really cool that they had a nonbinary character played by a nonbinary actor! I just also felt like the show kind of went out of its way to pat itself on the back for this fact, in a way that felt kind of weird to me.
    posted by DoctorFedora at 6:04 PM on January 11 [8 favorites]


    the show kind of went out of its way to pat itself on the back

    I agree with DoctorFedora.

    Much of it felt insincere to me, which may be worse than being overlooked.
    posted by porpoise at 11:07 PM on January 11 [2 favorites]


    it felt like if TOS had a scene where Kirk explicitly drew reference to Uhura and Chekhov being on the bridge being Meaningful, rather than just presenting it as a thing that, centuries into the future, would be normal enough to go unremarked upon

    They effectively did this in "The Savage Curtain" when the (fake) Lincoln came on the bridge and referred to Uhura as a "Negress." Also, TNG had any number of instances (mostly in the first season or two) in which Picard went out of his way to tell people that humanity is so much better now than it used to be; it's in the very first episode, and the last ep of the first season has him telling some recently-thawed-out 20th century folk the same thing. By contrast, the scene with Adira and Stamets is just about them coming out to him.
    posted by Halloween Jack at 8:27 AM on January 12 [1 favorite]


    That’s fair too! And I genuinely don’t know if representation in a show’s casting is cheapened or undermined by drawing attention to it. It’s also entirely conceivable that this sort of stuff was meant in good faith but just handled hamfistedly by a show that only knows how to wink with both eyes
    posted by DoctorFedora at 2:58 PM on January 12


    In the penultimate episode, there's a scene where Vance refers to the President of the Federation as "he or she" (I think that was the context) and I wished he'd said "he or she or they". That's the sort of subtle representation that the show should be striving for along with the scene were Adira explicitly tells people about their pronouns. Because pronouns are not the same kind of easy-to-identify representation as having an African-American or an Asian-American on the bridge in the 1960s. The thing I liked about it was that Stamets accepts them for who they are and there's no real struggle. Yes, maybe having a non-binary character on the show without remarking on it might feel like future progress, we don't live in that world yet. (Any contemporary drama that features that same story would have much more dramatic fallout - and lead-up - and people wouldn't be so accepting. I'm glad that Discovery made it so easy for Adira and that acceptance was not a problem.)

    Anyway, this whole commentary about the show "patting itself on the back" and "performative wokeness" just feels too close to YouTube shit-posts where people hate on the show for having a black woman at the centre in the first place. And so many complaints I've read about "making Star Trek political" which is just a ridiculous misreading of the entire history of the show.

    The show isn't subtle in a lot of ways. Attacking it for that alongside its (hugely important) representation seems hugely problematic to me.
    posted by crossoverman at 4:22 PM on January 12 [4 favorites]


    Yeah my complaints are 0% about the representation and 100% about the “check out the Representation we did” writing in places, and I agree wholeheartedly about the “he or she” about the president feeling like a big swing-and-a-miss moment in that regard especially
    posted by DoctorFedora at 9:11 PM on January 12


    I can see where DoctorFedora is coming from and comparing say The Expanse to Discovery appears to show two different paths. However The Expanse is literally Bezos' plaything and there's an undercurrent of titillation on that show which seems to want to play both sides.

    Ultimately, representation is a difficult thing to get perfectly correct and whether it's the "look bewbs!" queerness of The Expanse or the slightly awkward Discovery method it's a fuck of a long way from requiring alien intoxication or industrial strength subtext that used to be the hallmark of mainstream science fiction edging slightly away from it's straight, white manly baseline.
    posted by fullerine at 3:28 AM on January 13


    “Star Trek” actress Mary Wiseman comes out as queer & proud. Wiseman plays Tilly.
    The actress does not identify as straight, but since she’s in a heterosexual relationship — with Noah Averbach-Katz, her co-star that she married in 2019 after years of dating — she feared being outward about her sexuality as a “straight-presenting” woman would subject her to scrutiny and criticism.
    (Averbach-Katz plays Ryn, the Andorian who escaped Osyraa.)
    posted by Nelson at 2:16 PM on January 17 [4 favorites]


    They managed to avoid doing the two things I was most worried that they would do this season (travel back in time to prevent The Burn, have future Starfleet turn out to be evil), so that's nice, anyway.
    posted by ckape at 6:36 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]


    Is Osyraa really dead? Orions have six hearts and their blood runs both ways, very complex
    posted by polymodus at 12:55 AM on January 19


    Is Osyraa really dead?

    See, the more I think about that scene, the more it bugs me. It feels like they may have staged it so vaguely to give themselves an out: they can open season 4 with a "flashback" to that room for her Surprise Escape if they want to bring the character back / if the actor wants to come back, or they can just leave Osyraa in the dust if they decide Emerald Chain is basically over for season 4. But either path makes that whole sequence feel kinda cheap—and underscores the haphazard feeling that this show so often has (esp. when you look back and realize that this season really tried to build up Osyraa as a major antagonist).
    posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 6:20 AM on January 19


    > the Discovery crew finally donning the 32nd-century uniforms

    ...made from cut-up Wet Okoles. But hey, they're waterproof and stain resistant!
    posted by The corpse in the library at 4:08 PM on January 19


    Yeah, I hope they bring in an actual tailor for their 32nd century uniforms before the next season, because they look like they move about as well as stiff cardboard or neoprene. Lord, they're terrible.
    posted by Kyol at 6:44 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


    I think they chose Communist grey as a statement, because the setting and theme established this season Starfleet purity and morals, against Emerald Chain's capitalism with real apples
    posted by polymodus at 2:11 PM on January 20 [1 favorite]


    Wow; so I just finished downing 2.5 seasons of ST:D this week. I really liked the "Klingon Cold War with Spies and what not" that was building in the first season I just got sidetracked with life and didn't come back to it.

    Interesting, fresh, ambitious & pretty.

    The next 2.5 seasons (perhaps this season finale most of all) not so much. Well they've kept the pretty; this is a very nicely produced piece of entertainment. It just isn't ha;f so interesting, fresh or ambitious.

    I think thats why the 'wokeness' parts earlier comments refer to bugged me so much: I want a Star Trek with this kind of cast diversity and diversity in storey telling ideas (think of the number of franchise defining plot elements they've burned through in 3 seasons!) to be truly great! Instead it's kinda... not great on the follow through. Given how trekky the storey telling has been (not to mention thin characters, weak dialogue and extremely leaky world building) I almost wish they'd stick to the nice productive double and leave the grand slam homerun attempts to something that might do them better justice.

    Representation is important but it doesn't mean that every attempt is equally valuable. Case in point: Adira's coming out scene? Fine! Great! Sure! People doing people things all people-y like! Gray's getting to be "seen" after he's dead and only truly existing as a kind of ghost and/or delusion in Adira's imagination? Booo!

    I'd honestly like S4 to be a lot more like a live action Lower Decks; let's try for a little character development, avoid the unobtainium/technobabble miracle-story-resolvers by not relying on putting the crew in nonstop peril for a season, and take one or 2 big ideas and flesh them out just a little. Smaller scope, better execution, and some follow-through please.

    Or, y'know, give up entirely on the big-idea sci-fi and return to the more well worn path - make an entire season of monster-of-the-week bottle episodes. Either way choose a path and walk it well.
    posted by mce at 8:47 PM on January 20 [1 favorite]


    They're unlikely to do the latter since Strange New Worlds (a.k.a. The Pike and Friends Hour) will be largely non-serialized, so we're told.

    But you're totally right about the character development being uneven at best, and with a cast this good, they really need to knuckle down. They're free to do so now that they spent a season reacting to/establishing the Distant Future.
    posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 7:13 AM on January 21


    Yeah, I hope they bring in an actual tailor for their 32nd century uniforms before the next season, because they look like they move about as well as stiff cardboard or neoprene. Lord, they're terrible.

    I think Discovery has the best uniforms of any Star Trek! TNG and DS9 were terrible and had shoulder pads.
    posted by shoesietart at 8:36 PM on January 22


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