Star Trek: Discovery: Face the Strange
April 18, 2024 12:31 PM - Season 5, Episode 4 - Subscribe

It's a clip show! (It's not really a clip show) Moll and L'ak's new delaying tactic has Discovery jumping around in time, and it's up to Michael, Rayner, and Stamets to put things right without changing the past.

Memory Alpha will eventually have more than just a skeleton page, I'm sure.

Memorable quotes:

"Spare me the 'I get you' bullshit" - Rayner to Michael, echoing many watchers' feelings

"You have to be the only person in Starfleet to captain a ship that you first boarded as a prisoner" - Rayner to Michael

"I'm waiting, Dr. Truffles" - past Reno to Stamets

"Red is definitely your color" - past Linus to Michael, admiring her 32nd century uniform

"Ok, I need you to press pause on the 'gruff candor' routine" - Stamets to Rayner, again echoing quite a number of outside comments

Personal log:

I do wish a few more episodes had passed before we got Rayner dragging out the few facts he learned in "Jinaal".

Krenim shout-out! Callback to "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad"!

It was good to see Airiam again, along with Grudge and shirtless Book.

For about 10 seconds, I thought and hoped that we were about to get a connection to the Short Trek, "Calypso". Sadly, that plot hole still needs to be stitched together.
posted by hanov3r (14 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I liked this! I could nitpick some of the dialogue beats or complain about Michael stopping to indulge in personally meaningful moments while she's racing against the clock to save the universe (again), but I won't; this barely registered on the cringometer. I didn't fast-forward through a conversation a single time.

I had fun. I'm not a fan of time travel, but I liked this as much as the first season time travel episode (a lot)! I liked the continuity of Stamets still being detached from linear time and experiencing the loop in the same way as last time. I liked Past Michael immediately getting into a fight with Future Michael (Michael being completely unable to convince her past self -- the one person you think you'd be able to convince, as a time traveller -- to cooperate reminds me of one of my favourite Lem short stories). I continue to like Rayner, who has so far avoided decaying into a two-dimensional foil to the other characters; pretty much all his interactions with the rest of the crew were engaging rather than overly preachy monologues about the Importance of Feelings.

Finally, I can't fault the argument that it's very important to make friends with your crew so that you can persuade them that you really are a time traveller from the future trying to save the universe (again), given that on this ship that happens every Tuesday.
posted by confluency at 1:24 PM on April 18 [5 favorites]

I love how after all these years we can skip minutes of technobabble just by saying the time bug is a Krenim weapon. “Krenim time weapon? Yeah, they do that. Accepted; moving on.”
posted by Servo5678 at 8:06 PM on April 18 [4 favorites]

I loved this episode. This is a great use of the show's history and even if the production history of the show (and the quality of it) has varied so much, this was a great way to showcase how much the show itself has changed, as well as the characters. The Burnham/Burnham fight was great. The ongoing theme of "getting to know people is the best way to help" is making a lot of sense of the show's insistence on people talking about their feelings. And flashing back to a time where Stamets was a real asshole shows how he's evolved and how different showrunners have helped sand his edges off.

When I first heard "time bugs", I rolled my eyes. Then they mentioned the temporal war and I was okay with everything. It used to be that Trek had to go a long way to explaining time travel and now they live post-Temporal War, I let this convenient nonsense slide. Particularly because the story itself works on both a character level but also is another example of characters figuring out a problem. If the whole season is a puzzle box, each episode is a satisfying puzzle inside the larger box.

They chose great points to return to and even though I was hoping for a Jason Isaacs cameo, I was also okay with him not being there. And the return of Airiam was handled so well. Even the whole idea that all Burnham could point to about her was that she would die one day shows how far DISCO has come - that is all I remember about the character. She was in the background and then she stepped up and died and they gave us some emotional backstory to try to make her death mean something. (Was that two showrunners ago?)

Anyway, the episode was great and made me realise I am going to super miss this show, even if I've had a mixed relationship with it over time. I even gave up part way through season two but came back for season three because I was excited about the premise change.
posted by crossoverman at 10:11 PM on April 18 [6 favorites]

I do wish a few more episodes had passed before we got Rayner dragging out the few facts he learned in "Jinaal".

Yeah, that was a little facile, and the climax was weirdly rushed/anticlimactic.

But otherwise, this was among the more solid and memorable of Treks like this. Very good balance of wacky and serious. And I expected it to be more self-indulgent than it turned out to be; really, I'm perceiving a lot of restraint this season.

Anyway, the episode was great and made me realise I am going to super miss this show

My similar realization was w/r/t Sonequa Martin-Green's performance as this character. She feels more captainy than ever this season, and it's meatier because of her elaborate journey, but I kind of wish we were getting a couple more seasons of it. Well, who knows: if the Section 31 made-for-TV-streaming Movie Event goes well, I wouldn't be shocked to eventually get a similar thing as a DISCO reunion.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 11:12 AM on April 19 [2 favorites]

This was fun. I like fun. Love a good time loop episode. Disco is now two for two on time loop episodes.
posted by danhon at 6:27 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]

Yesterday's Enterprise: Exposition Edition
posted by fairmettle at 8:51 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]

Reno's "Are you stuck in a time loop, Stamets?" was such a perfect and perfectly delivered line I wish they'd run with it instead of backing off and making like it was a joke.
posted by Pryde at 9:37 PM on April 19 [12 favorites]

yooo we got some Star-Trek-ass Star Trek in this season of Discovery
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:57 PM on April 20 [4 favorites]

Hah, I was _absolutely_ in line with the Krenim having time war weapons. That was a fun little Voyager two parter, sure, let's bring it over to Discovery.
posted by Kyol at 6:43 AM on April 22 [3 favorites]

And yeah, on the one hand I kind of miss TV when it was 20+ episodes a season and we got to watch our TV friends on screen for like half a year for 5-6 years. On the other hand, aside from a few telltale nerd specific things (Riker's beard, Sisko's hair, Kes vs 7, etc) it can be hard to call out any particular episode from any particular season. Meanwhile in this new modern 10-15-ish episode season streaming landscape, it's kind of wild to think back on everything that has happened to Michael Burnham over the past 60-ish episodes.

Like, so much stuff, and they talked their way through alllllllllllllll of it.

I mean, don't actually ask me to remember any particular plot arc from Discovery, but there was a lot in the last 5 years.
posted by Kyol at 2:10 PM on April 22 [3 favorites]

man, yeah, as much as I enjoyed the leaping-through-time parts, at times it did feel like a parody of clip shows or maybe even that one episode of Lower Decks where they just kind of leap around from one improbably extreme scenario to another without context

this show sure has had a lot of entire-universe-threatening dangers, huh
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:48 PM on April 22 [3 favorites]

Having thought it, I can't un-think of Moll & L'ak's names as Moloch now. But making a earth religion reference is probably not what the writers have in mind with those two names.
posted by the antecedent of that pronoun at 7:10 PM on April 22 [1 favorite]

I really, really liked this episode. Yeah, it at first looked like it was setting up for a clip episode, but then they went with the idea that of course the crew would assume that Future-Burnham was a shapeshifter or something and that that's how she would have to prove that she wasn't. And seeing Past-Burnham was also very well done; their fight reminded me, of all things, of Captain America fighting himself in Avengers: Endgame. (One way that they could have ended that would have been for F-Burnham to pull off a move that only P-Burnham would have, and for P-Burnham to recognize that.) One of my favorite non-SNW-character-featuring episodes of DIS to go back to is S1E3, when Burnham is getting transferred to another prison and ends up on Discovery for the first time, because Martin-Green is so good as someone who is barely containing her emotions while facing a bunch of people who mostly want to kill her, and we get some of that in P-Burnham here. It is too bad that we didn't get Isaacs or Yeoh or somebody from SNW or whatever, but Airiam being the one to say, yeah, she's legit because she's right was a great moment.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:09 AM on May 14

I kept accidentally saying "Loll & M'ak" or something similar. Now my spouse and I call them "Pop and lock".

This episode was fun! Also, Rhys instantly defending his fandom by saying that everyone loves that kind of ship was hilarious.
posted by brainwane at 9:13 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]

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