Star Trek: Discovery: The Galactic Barrier
February 24, 2022 2:46 PM - Season 4, Episode 10 - Subscribe

Captain Burnham and her crew must go where few have gone before: beyond the Galactic Barrier. Meanwhile, Book learns the truth of what drives Ruon Tarka.

Memory Alpha is going on a three-hour tour:

- Interesting evocation of the biases of the universal translator re: the assumption of spoken language; if it doesn't work with the DMA creators, we'd be talking a serious case of Shaka, When The Walls Fell.

- Musical Duty Stations: Bryce is taking a break to work with Kovich; Adira Tal is back.

- The golden ratio is probably the second-best-popularly-known irrational number.

- The description of Kayalise somehow reminds me of Sha-Ka-Ree. Here's hoping that, if it has a god, they have no particular need of a starship.

"You're my captain, too." - Burnham to Laira Rillak.

Poster's Log:

A very satisfactory episode; the ship squeaks through the barrier, Saru has an embarrassing moment with T'Rina but they seem to have recovered nicely, and Tarka seems like much less of an asshole, now that we know his deal. Tarka's friend/maybe-lover Oros (who I'm guessing--it's another heavy-makeup role--was played by Osric Chau, aka Ryan Choi in the Arrowverse) may or may not have survived, but now I care more about whether or not Tarka reunites with him (them?) than I did previously. I'm a bit disappointed that there wasn't a direct mention of the Enterprise crossing the barrier--you'd think that Burnham would have brought up that her foster brother was on that crew--but this crossing was, if anything, even more difficult, even if, AFAWK so far, none of the crew has gone Q with ascendant psychic powers.
posted by Halloween Jack (15 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Error: the quote from Burnham is "you're my president, too."
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:47 PM on February 24


I'm a bit disappointed that there wasn't a direct mention of the Enterprise crossing the barrier--you'd think that Burnham would have brought up that her foster brother was on that crew

This is the problem with DISCO being a prequel that is now a sequel - she wasn't around when that happened. You'd think they would have researched the galactic barrier a bit more though.

I enjoyed this episode quite a bit, even though everything felt a bit melodramatic. I'd still prefer each episode was a bit more focused on dramatic stakes, rather than trying to service every character's emotional journey.

Yes, I felt sorry for Tarka. I don't think that excuses him for the asshole he's been all along. His motivations are still hugely selfish, even if driven by love. But yeah, heartstrings were tugged.
posted by crossoverman at 3:24 PM on February 24 [1 favorite]


I'm a bit disappointed that there wasn't a direct mention of the Enterprise crossing the barrier

Not direct, no, but the mildly fan-wanky Burnham speech ("I, like many of you, dreamed of going where no one has gone before") referencing the title was close enough for me.

I really did not need Tarka backstory. I don't like the character, the backstory didn't make that any different, and there are better uses of my time here.
posted by hanov3r at 4:40 PM on February 24 [2 favorites]


Not direct, no, but the mildly fan-wanky Burnham speech ("I, like many of you, dreamed of going where no one has gone before") referencing the title was close enough for me.

Of course! I forgot that was the episode where it happened.

Sally Kellerman, who guest-starred in Where No Man Has Gone Before, passed away today.
posted by crossoverman at 6:46 PM on February 24 [2 favorites]


Yeah, the big reveal about Tarka is ... he was absolutely telling the truth to Book about his backstory and goals from the start (or, rather, since the moment he revealed the anti-DMA weapon and decided to enlist Book's aid)?

I'm immensely frustrated by the stakes-raising that out of the whole volume of the galaxy, it just happens to be Earth (& Titan & Ni'Var) that are threatened next. I mean, what are the odds of that choice at random? Discovery and the delegation should re-revise their supposition that the DMA is mining at random. The thing just picked two systems so dear to the crew and passengers of this ship that is right in this moment coming to meet them! Out here I know it's just what I said -- stakes-raising for us viewers -- but geez it screams hostile, not coincidence, if you think about it for a second.
posted by the antecedent of that pronoun at 8:05 PM on February 24 [5 favorites]


"No, no. Dig Fly up, stupid!!"
posted by Marticus at 12:14 AM on February 25 [1 favorite]


The description of Kayalise somehow reminds me of Sha-Ka-Ree.

Along similar lines, I said to Mrs., "Oh, so Tarka is Sybok." Maybe the Evil-Not-God this time will turn out to be Oros, space-deified and driven mad by his transporter sending him Somewhere Else. Actually, that might explain the show giving half an ep to Tarka's emotional backstory: the better to make his confrontation with Ten-C/Oros all the more tearful and wrenching. Maybe Tarka in the end has to fuse himself with Ten-C/Oros a la Sybok or Decker. I'm probably wrong, but I kind of hope I'm not?

I really did not need Tarka backstory. I don't like the character, the backstory didn't make that any different, and there are better uses of my time here.

I see what you mean, but I do like Tarka, a bit. It's a good performance and he's been given some of the better lines this season. I like him more after this ep, but then, he has plenty of opportunities ahead to un-redeem himself. But you're right that it will be very strange to have given him this much backstory-screentime if the Oros thread is left unresolved.

I mean, what are the odds of that choice at random?

Well, if my nutty Oros theory is correct, then we know it was indeed a deliberately hostile act. But Occam's Razor suggests you're right: it's most likely just stakes-raising. But if so, it'll frustrate me too, because IIRC every other case of "the threat is focused on Earth!" in this franchise made sense: Federation capital (Dominion, Borg, Xindi), some Romulan's personal grudge (Shinzon, Nero), origin of a certain interstellar probe (V'ger), talkin' to whales (whale probe), or temporal fuckups on Earth (DS9: "Past Tense," VOY: "Future's End").

Speaking of frustrating, the Earth vacation plans conversation was sooo forced. That's two consecutive episodes with moments of kids'-show-level writing.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 4:07 AM on February 25 [8 favorites]


Enjoyed this episode even if the actual action was a bit silly. The whole Tarka subplot really worked for me. I was super cynical about his Lost Love story when they introduced it, it seemed really clumsy. But I found the conveyance of it genuinely touching. Props to the actor Shawn Doyle who played it well. He's been acting well the whole time but until this episode he was just playing a jerk. Nice to see him perform something sweet.

Excellent point about how non-random it must be that the galactic wrecking ball is now swinging to Earth and Na'Var. You'd think with all the geniuses and sentient AI (remember her?) on the ship they might have considered that possibility. To be fair they've been pretty busy jumping from ice floe to ice floe, now that they've surfed on beyond the barrier maybe they'll consider it a little more carefully.

Shout out to Astoria, Oregon which until this episode was never once described by anyone as being like heaven.
posted by Nelson at 6:44 AM on February 25 [7 favorites]


She probably played the Goonies holodeck program one time too many.
posted by dr_dank at 7:42 AM on February 25 [1 favorite]


I don't trust Tarka. Even with the flashbacks. He's full of shit, and I would love to see this be an Unreliable Narrator situation.
posted by SansPoint at 9:35 AM on February 25 [5 favorites]


Tarka, Book, Tal, Adira... this series is deeply committed to adding uninteresting recurring characters with tedious backstories. I'm imaging The Next Generation putting Tam Elbrun or Okona in half the episodes, or us devoting four episodes to Mr. Mot's angst over his estrangement from his cousin.

But more Jett Reno please.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:14 PM on February 26 [6 favorites]


I'll defend the backstory stuff because the theme this season is as much about trauma, and how we deal with it, as it is about the idea of a species so technologically advanced that it puts everyone else at risk.
posted by SansPoint at 10:05 AM on February 27 [1 favorite]


I'm coming around to the idea that 10-C is going to be related to Space Elon Musk Except Smart's former roommate, because it would at least sort of justify spending an episode telling us that the guy who has unilaterally acted against the authority of everyone who has given him a chance onscreen is sad, maaaan. It stuns me that he has experienced basically no consequences for his actions thus far. Not even a punch in the nose for potentially sentencing the galaxy to death for what are, ultimately, selfish reasons.

man, though, I keep getting shades of that quote about how the villains in fiction are all that way because they've suffered, while the villains in real life are all that way because they've only ever known comfort.
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:22 PM on February 27 [3 favorites]


on the upside, they spread around the thankless task of important, whispered speeches this week, to provide a bit of variety for a change, and we did at least get a bit of Star-Trek-shaped Star Trek with the whole "breaking through the galactic barrier" subplot. On the other hand, I did start laughing at the reference to wanting to go back to Hawaii, given the one Lower Decks episode
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:25 PM on February 27 [6 favorites]


At the current rate, Discovery's opening credits are going to be happening more than halfway through the episode.

The cold opening from this episode was more than 14 minutes long!
posted by schmod at 5:56 AM on March 28 [3 favorites]


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