SPOILERS ARE JUST AN UNAVOIDABLE FACT OF LIFE
Last week, I truly LOVED the second-to-last episode of STAR TREK: DISCOVERY‘s third season, “There Is a Tide.” With so much happening going into the final episode, my hopes were high. Tilly and the bridge crew, along with the DOT-bot “army” still had to retake the ship from Oysraa. Michael had just been captured by Zareh while Book was already a hostage on the bridge. Osyraa was cornered, outnumbered by Starfleet vessels that could blow Discovery out of the sky (well, space) but holding the most valuable bargaining chip: the spore drive. But she couldn’t jump away because Stamets (against his will) was ejected from the ship by Michael…setting up lord-knows-how-many future fireworks between the two! Meanwhile, Saru, Culber, and Adira were stuck on the dilithium planet with the Kelpien equivalent of Black Bolt, trying to save the galaxy before dying of radiation poisoning. The clock was ticking!!!
With a set-up like that, what could possibly go wrong with the finale?
It’s hard to know where to start…or stop…or start…or stop again. I say it that way because that’s kinda how I felt as I watched the full 60-minute episode (the longest of the season). Have you ever ridden with a teen just learning to drive a car and they speed up and slow down and speed up and slow down over and over so much that it’s all you can do to hold down your last meal? The finale was kinda like that.
There was ample action—AMPLE!!!—lots of running and shooting and explosions and fighting and kicking people out of elevators and crew members suffocating and people running out of time and gosh darn it…things just moved at maximum warp.
And then there was Su’Kal. Gotta keep that kid calm lest he scream and destroy the galaxy again! So everything in the holo-chamber on the dilithium planet was super serene and slow, with lots of empathy and understanding from Saru and the others. Nothing necessarily wrong with that.
But the two types of scenes switched back and forth so that you were either rushing along at warp speed or else you were crawling at one-tenth impulse. And as a viewer, that unevenness didn’t work at all for me. Compare it to last episode, which also had differently paced scenes. There was Michael doing the Die Hard thing while the hostages tried to get free while Stamets talked to the Emerald Chain scientist while Vance negotiated with Osyraa. Why did that episode work and this one didn’t? Because the fast-paced scenes weren’t constantly super-fast, the hostage scenes were mostly medium speed, and the Vance and Stamets scenes, while slow, had tension and an air of not knowing what would happen.
Compare that to “That Hope Is You, Part 2.” (And by the way “That Hope Is You, Part 1” was the first episode of this season. I hadn’t even realized that there never was a Part 2 the following week! Well, twelve weeks later, now there is.) Anyway, as I said, this episode had only two speeds, and it jerked us back and forth. The fast was almost too fast, which made the slow feel too slow.
But unfortunately, that wasn’t the only problem that I had with the season finale…
TIME TO TURN OFF OUR BRAINS
Alas, I have an even deeper problem with the action scenes: they required turning one’s brain off to truly enjoy, and I just couldn’t do that this time. Perhaps it was because the previous night I’d been watching the last week’s episode of The Expanse (the fifth of season five). If you’re not watching that show, then you’re missing one of the best sci-fi series on television. I never have any complaints when I finish an episode of that show, but sadly, I can’t say the same for Discovery.
This episode of The Expanse I watched the night before had some really awesome action sequences along with some really slow parts, just like Discovery. But with The Expanse, the two types of scenes meshed perfectly (as they had with the previous episode of Discovery). What’s more, the action scenes on The Expanse make total sense and even follow the laws of physics incredibly closely in a way that few sci-fi shows ever have. And I love that!
Unfortunately, my head was still in The Expanse “mode” when I started watching the Discovery season finale, and instead of being impressed with believable action sequences, I was distressed and almost constantly annoyed and frustrated with sloppily-written, implausible, almost-mindless action sequences that made no sense.
I had this same problem back in 2009 when I sat in a theater watching things like a rebooted ZACHARY QUINTO Spock ejecting CHRIS PINE Kirk inside a valuable escape pod (just before taking the Enterprise into battle when an escape pod might have come in handy) rather than just putting Kirk in the brig or at least tranquilizing him in sickbay. Inane plot holes like that pretty much ruined the first JJ ABRAMS Star Trek movie unless I turned off my brain and didn’t think. And that shouldn’t be how Star Trek works.
Let’s discuss just a few of the most glaring examples of sloppy writing that didn’t make any sense…
Why is it so hard for the entire Federation fleet to destroy, or at least disable, Discovery? I mean, I understand that if the titular ship is blasted apart, the episode and series abruptly ends. But writer (and co-showrunner) MICHELLE PARADISE is asking viewers and fans to suspend a lot of disbelief when a dozen or more starships, shooting a constant barrage at a trapped sitting duck, can’t mange to at least disable the shields, weapons, or propulsion of a 940-year-old space vessel. I understand that Discovery was upgraded and refit, but the fleet has the latest weapons. I watched the opening minutes of the episode just shaking my head thinking “no way.”
Threatening to shoot pesticides at starships in space would be a good idea if—and only if—they weren’t in space! Space is a VACUUM. That means that it’s filled with—wait for it—nothing (well, other than stars and planets and stuff). Therefore, there is nothing for an “intake valve” to take in. As for hangar decks and airlocks, unless the doors are open (during a battle?), exploding a pesticide just outside would NOT result in the ship being flooded with poison. And if somehow the hangar or airlock doors were breached, pesticide would not suddenly flow in, air would rush OUT. And that’s assuming that the canisters don’t just bounce off the shields and that the pesticide isn’t totally denatured and rendered inert by the heat and dispersion of the torpedo blasts. I realize that the writers needed to give Osyraa some “teeth,” but again, you need to turn off your brain in order for the plot point to work.
Wait, Tilly was depressed on her birthday and went to hide out in a warp nacelle??? That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard on Star Trek! It is totally and completely unrealistic and unbelievable!! Don’t the writers realize that Tilly doesn’t get depressed??? She’s the ship’s cheerleader and chief hugging officer!
I’m kidding, of course. But seriously, folks, I would imagine that crew members are discouraged from ever hiding in a warp nacelle (unless they need to repair it) for a number of understandable reasons. First of all, it’s a frickin’ WARP NACELLE, not a bathroom stall or janitor’s closet! Those things create stable warp fields to take the ship at faster-than-light speeds through subspace. They’re located as far away from where the people are as possible. If the captain decides to go to warp and you’re hiding inside a nacelle, I doubt it would be a pleasant experience to be hanging out in there (heat, radiation, warp plasma…that sort of thing). Second, crew members shouldn’t “hide” on a starship. If you need some alone time and have quarters that you only share with one other person, just hang out there while your roommate is on her duty shift. Crew members who “hide” might get hurt (like if they’re hanging out in a frickin’ WARP NACELLE!!!), and if no one knows where they are, that could lead to all sorts of bad.
I’m all for a good suffocation sequence, but let’s remember that Discovery is a SPACE ship. Space has NO AIR. Therefore, one would assume that every corridor of the ship is filled with emergency breathing masks should an unexpected loss of pressure/oxygen happen. I mean, if we already have oxygen masks in our time over every seat in a passenger jet plane, I can’t believe that, at some point in the future when space travel began, someone suddenly decided, “Nah, we don’t need oxygen masks in a space ship!”
Okay, you knew I was gonna get to the turbolifts eventually. I call this next one: “For the ship is hollow and I have had enough!” Yeah, the turbolift sequence was cool to watch…assuming that they all live in a ship the size of a small city! Remember that every deck from 6 down had no oxygen. So that meant this entire sequence happened in the saucer section. So even if you believe that somehow those turbolifts can travel straight for that that long in a curved primary hull, you shouldn’t be able to look down into an abyss that stretches out as far as you can see. At most, the floor should be only a deck or two down…unless you’re right above the dorsal “neck” of the ship. But if you are, and the hollow part of the ship is pressurized with oxygen, then all the suffocating bridge crew would need to do is open the back of a turbo lift and let all that wonderful oxygen fill the corridors!
But really, this whole “Discovery is really a TARDIS” thing drives me nuts! I mean, look at this shot of Michael’s turbolift approaching the ship’s computer core…
Does it make any sense to put the ship’s computer core in a place that is not accessible in any way other than a single turbolift traveling through a completely open area??? And why is there gravity in that wide open area? Oh, and one last thing to point out: why are there so many other turbolifts going hither and thither? Sure, it looks “cool,” but there’s no one else on the ship except for the Regulators chasing Michael and Book (plus the suffocating bridge crew down below). And the Regulators know exactly where Michael and Book are. So where in heck are all those other turbolifts going???
I thought nothing could be worse than turning the Enterprise engine room into a pipe-filled Budweiser brewery that looked more like Willy Wonka’s factory than the interior of a starship. I thought wrong.
Okay, would you buy a computer that could literally eat you? The Discovery has a computer core that sucks in Michael and nearly suffocates her. I consider that a significant design flaw—especially if there aren’t any “Don’t eat the crew” safety protocols in place to prevent just such an occurrence from happening. That alone is hard enough to swallow (ouch…sorry!). But then Osyraa, who is not stupid, hears something behind her and then stares and waits to be shot? Did she suddenly forget that Michael was holding a gun?
Michael orders the rebooted computer to “Beam all Regulators off of Discovery.” Um, where to, Commander? Are they being beamed into space, or is the computer compassionate enough to beam them onto the Viridian? Of course, that’s only gonna buy them a few more minutes of life, as the warp core will shortly kill everyone on that dreadnought.
So Book’s magic “Dr. Doolittle” superpower also makes him a Spore Drive pilot like Stamets? Oh, how wonderfully convenient. And Dr. Auelio determined this in the few minutes he had prepping Book for a truth serum injection? Even more convenient! This episode almost writes itself!!! (Maybe that was the problem!)
Let’s get the following sequence of events correct. Discovery sets its warp core to explode. The ship then dumps its warp core into the belly of the Viridian. Then Discovery jumps away just before the core explodes. Very dangerous, very suspenseful! But in the same vein as “What does God need with a starship?” let me ask the following humble question: Why did Discovery need to dump and detonate its warp core? Wouldn’t it have been infinitely safer to simply jump away without risking being obliterated by a warp core explosion? Now, if Michael had said, “We have a chance to destroy the Viridian for the good of the Federation,” I’d be totally down with that. But no, they need to destroy it in order to escape? And yet they have to escape anyway BEFORE it’s destroyed? Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy!
I realize that it sounds like I’m just nitpicking my way through exciting storytelling…and that it’s only a show, so why not just go with it? And most times, I can. Star Trek isn’t always perfect, and not every law of physics has been followed to the letter over the past 54 years. But this episode went beyond the ridiculous and unbelievable far too many times (as you can see from my list) for me to truly enjoy what I was watching. I mean, the episode LOOKED fantastic (this show almost always does), the acting was top-notch, the VFX were awesome, music great, lighting, camera angles, make-up, costumes…technically, this episode was flawless.
But the sloppiness of the writing, the convenient plot contrivances and ludicrously laughable and lazy lapses in logic overwhelmed my enjoyment of this season’s finale–the same as happened in the finales of the past two seasons, and just like JJ Trek 2009.
OTHER SLOPPY STUFF
Sorry, not finished yet; there’s a lot to get off my chest. So meanwhile, back on the dilithium planet, not everything made sense there either. For example, we know that the holo-chamber is changing the appearance of Saru, Culber, Adira, and (surprise!) Gray in order not to freak out Su’Kal. (Actually, it’s because they wanted to give Doug Jones a chance to finally act with his face not buried and hidden completely by latex.) Apparently, Su’Kal’s too fragile to see two humans, two Trill, and a Kelpien. So instead, the program turned them, respectively, into a Trill, a Bajoran, a Vulcan, a Xahean, and a human. Whatever…I went with it. But if the computer was altering what they each person looked like in order to not cause Su’Kal so much stress, then why did it show Saru’s and Culber’s skin peeling off? That’s gotta be even more disturbing!
But the big “convenient” writing moment came when Culber says this…
Oh, goody! All we’ve got to do is get Su’Kal away from all this dilithium and his powers go away? No more walking-talking-ticking galactic time-bomb? And Dr. Culber determined all of this without ever once giving Su’Kal any kind of medical examination…even with a tricorder? Again, how wonderfully convenient that the writers don’t have to deal with the question of whether or not it’s better for the galaxy to simply end Su’Kal’s existence with either a phaser on full or a lethal dose of a sleep drug (probably safer to over-sedate him). Sorry to sound so callous, folks, but I just don’t know if I’d trust that Su’Kal will lose the subspace dilithium whammy simply because he’s off the planet.
Hmmmm, one last thought: why didn’t Su’Kal’s original scream upon losing his mother—a kind of predictable and disappointing cause of the Burn after such a big season-long build-up—why didn’t that first outburst also destroy all of the dilithium on the planet, as well? After all, it was kinda “ground zero” and there was sure a LOT of dilithium there. I guess the answer is: it didn’t destroy the planet because then the writers wouldn’t have had anything to end the season with!
WHAT A WASTE OF SUCH GOOD MATERIAL
With so much crammed into this episode (the longest of the season), I felt frustrated that way too much potentially powerful stuff was left undeveloped. To wit…
Stamets appeared twice. Once he was being dragged out of the command center kicking and screaming, and then he wasn’t seen until the end when he gave Michael the stink-eye. (Actually, Stamets is also on the bridge at the very end in a spiffy new uniform…the only one not really smiling.) This is a plot that is obviously going to need to be explored next season. Michael jettisoned Stamets, preventing him from saving Hugh. But ultimately, she did save Hugh, so everything is okay, right? And Michael made the right decision after all…or so everyone keeps telling us. (Actually, she got very, very lucky.) Paul Stamets and Michael Burnham have some difficult times ahead, but if you blinked, Paul’s uncomfortable glances were easy to miss. So this very potentially explosive dramatic conflict from last episode didn’t really pay off in this episode and will have to wait a year to develop. I’m not sure it wouldn’t have been worth another 30 seconds to show Michael trying to approach Paul and being turned away with malice…establishing that not everything came up roses for her after all.
Engineer Jett Reno also appeared twice, and had no lines! One of the most intriguing, compelling, and entertaining characters on the series said nothing at all. Instead, she just fixed a DOT-bot and then stood at attention when Michael walked onto the bridge. This entire season, we’ve seen Reno a frustratingly few number of times, and her last two episode appearances were minimal. BOO!!! Now, rumor has it that actress TIG NOTARO, who is 49 and one of the oldest actors on the show (DOUG “Saru” JONES is 60 and ODED “Vance” FEHR is 50) and also a breast cancer survivor, wanted to minimize her time on set once the pandemic started. So it’s possible this lack of Reno wasn’t the writers’ fault. But once the vaccine is out there, season four really needs to show more of Reno…especially now that the only other voice of sarcasm on the show disappeared through the Guardian of Forever, a.k.a. Carl.
Kovich. Best unused character ever. Imagine how much more awesome he’d have been if he actually, y’know, got to DO something! Vance was developed wonderfully. Kovich was completely neglected.
Dr. Aurelio was actually a intriguing character, as well. I was really looking forward to him standing up to Osyraa and possibly even helping to engineer her downfall. But of course, Michael Burnham always has to save the day, so instead Aurelio just argued in sickbay, almost got choked to death, and then showed up on the bridge just in time to tell us that, hey, Book can jump the ship just like Stamets.
Another plot line that kinda went nowhere this season was the “Gray ghost” and Adira. Both actors did a fine job, but the Gray story was almost as immaterial as Gray himself. I kept wanting to see more of this, and I’ll admit to being intrigued by the holo chamber “showing” Gray (not sure how that was possible, but I had enough other pieces of plot contrivance to deal with). But in the end, this was a story line of the season that went almost nowhere and felt very unsatisfying to me.
The Ni’Var fleet…they came, they saw, they blocked the exit. Did I miss anything? What a waste!
And last and sadly least, there was the adorably cute Sphere Data/Zora/DOT-bot army. Or rather, there wasn’t. The cliffhanger to last episode was kinda awesome, as Tilly gets an unexpected ally (possibly dozens or even hundreds) to help retake the ship. And then…what? The bots become whack-a-moles for the Regulators in one scene and then aren’t heard from again until one of them saves Owosekun. How about if they’d helped Michael? (Oh, wait, Michael needs to save the ship all by herself…almost forgot!) How about if they’d helped repair the oxygen leak so that the crew didn’t suffocate…or bring them more oxygen masks? What if the super-intelligent Zora/Sphere Data came up with the idea of blowing the nacelle instead of Michael thinking of it? (Oh, wait, sorry. Michael needs to single-handedly save the ship…even if she’s just telling others how to save it.)
Anyway, a total wasted opportunity to do something truly interesting and exciting with this new “character” that is the personified Sphere Data and will likely become Zora and right now is living in a DOT-bot. And hey, isn’t the Sphere Data so massive that it needed the entire Discovery‘s computer core to contain it? Now it fits into a single DOT-bot? Hmmmm, I guess 930 years would see better computer memory storage, so this time, I won’t kvetch about it.
AND SO THE SEASON ENDS…
I gotta tell ya, I’m going to enjoy NOT seeing new Star Trek for a while ’cause these blogs are a bear to write every week! I started doing it for the ten episodes of Picard, then I wrote two for Lower Decks, and now thirteen for Discovery. That’s probably more than 60,000 words…the length of a decent-sized novel! Why do I do it? Because each one I publish gets TRIPLE the views (on average) as my regular fan film blogs. Go figure! But give the people what they want, I always say.
So what do we have going forward into season four? Well, Michael the Mutineer is finally Captain Burnham…just like Kirk at the end of Star Trek 2009. Mutiny sure ain’t the career-ender it used to be! Is Michael ready for the center seat? Despite every character except Stamets telling us viewers over and over and over again that yes, Michael should be captain, I’m still not convinced. While I would have given anything to serve under Kirk, Picard, Sisko, Janeway, or Archer…I’d be scared shipless to have Michael Burnham as my C.O. It just seems like she gets by more on dumb luck (or plot contrivances) than from making truly rational and informed command decisions.
Fortunately, for the time being, Michael will only be commanding the equivalent of a FedEx (Federation Express) delivery truck, jumping back and forth to and from the dilithium planet, delivering crystals to all the good little boys and girls while enjoying gelato. In the meantime, Saru is taking R&R on Kaminar (hey, that rhymes!) and making sure that Culber was right and Su’Kal isn’t about to devastate the galaxy again. By the way, yes, it’s been confirmed that Doug Jones will be retuning as Saru next season.
Okay, the longest episode of the season has produced the longest blog of the season. I don’t know about you, but I’m sure exhausted. I guess it’s time to cancel by subscription to All Access until Star Trek comes back…
22 thoughts on “DISCOVERY’s third season finale was like watching STAR TREK 2009 with speed bumps! (editorial review)”
Excellent blog. Bravo and well put! I totally agree–some majorly missed opportunities and a lot of plot holes and sloppiness on the part of the writers.
My major disappointments were similar to yours. First and foremost was the child’s scream that brought on The Burn. Seriously? I would add that I was very upset that after all that build up, after all that confidence placed in her, that Tilly was never given a chance to shine. She needed to be more than just brave, she really needed to hit the ball out of the park and she was never given a chance. Another missed opportunity.
It also troubles me that we are three seasons in and the characters, in general, are still not clicking. They now have isolated, expository, pseudo-relationship moments, so we can they can openly discuss their affection for each other, but the writing is not bringing out enough character in the relationships in the course of action. The writers basically telegraph to us who they are. So Bunham is a maverick, Tilly is silly and full of doubts, Saru is serious, Stamets is often brooding, etc.; most other characters are pretty vanilla. The camaraderie also seems forced. (Oddly, the most well rounded out character is actually Reno–she gets the cynical but lovable one liners and just seems real. Number two would be Book.)
I think they are too busy working out odd sci fi concepts to tell rather than show who the characters are.
And the writing is so uneven you never really ‘get’ them as people. If you think back to the Kirk-Spock-McCoy triumvirate, they had relatively few heart rending conversations throughout the course of TOS . They did, however, have distinct personalities and from the word go you could understand their relationships. This is a fault of the writing, not the acting, I think.
Wow, you should write blog reviews, too, Jonathan. They’d be just as good as mine and a shipload shorter! 🙂
Right on all counts. That’s how I saw it And that turbo lift fight in an immense chasm of a hollow ship sequence really bothered me.
Or why didn’t the sphere data just take over the whole ship and fix everything?
Actually, that was dealt with last episode (which is why I didn’t mention it). Osyraa purged the computer files and replaced them (which is why Michael had to do a system reboot). The Sphere Data “fled” into the DOT-bots. I was kinda okay with that.
I’m kind of glad you wrote this review as I read it only an hour or so after watching the episode myself.
Why was I glad?
Because I thought I’d missed something!
Yes, I agree there was a lot in this episode that just didn’t make sense. The turbo lift scene was a joke. I thougth the characters had somehow got off the ship because I agree, the cavernous spaces are a crazy idea. I agree about the nacelle part too, it didn’t seem to do anything for the story apart from allowing the ship to drop out of warp and be captured. Plenty of other things too, I won’t go on because you’ve made the points already and I agree with the vast majority of them.
I can live with the great burn reveal although I’d have liked another explanation. This story line would have made a good episode in itself. Particularly if they’d thrown in the dilema that someone should have suggested doing away with the Kelpian who was the root cause of the problem rather than risk another burn by extracting him peacably. The arguments and, in Star Trek fashion, the characters electing to do the right thing would have been a good watch. They seem to tie themselves up in knots storywise preventing things like this.
Anyway, overall, I still enjoyed watching this season but, alas, it is again one I won’t be coming back to although it’s a big improvement. You’re right, they’d got all the pieces in play for a great ending but they ‘stuffed it up’ as we say when we don’t want to swear.
I’ve been saving starting The Expanse until Disco was done. Glad to hear that it’s as good as ever (I’m going to look into Doom Patrol too at some point – that you mentioned to me a month or so back). The Boys was fantastic.
Enjoy your break from episode reviews and stay safe 🙂
Great blog and I agree with most.
The part I disagree about is I think the writing on the show has been questionable from episode 1 (season 1) and last week was no better. There is little story concept, true sci-fi wonder, and the villains are mustache-twirling – no better. That said, your blog is right on.
I was actually not at all disappointed this season as I went into the season expecting it to be awful. It was exactly what I expected (and don’t get me started on the Guardian!) That said, I have a bigger question to ask… “What the hell has happened?”
Television sci-fi and even filmed sci-fi, in general, has gone so far down the drain (in my opinion) it is worse than all of the “B” movies put together in the 50s. All the classic and iconic shows are just terribly written. Trek in general contains nothing that made the original and Berman eras so popular with good sci-fi, moral tales, and creative/sharp writing. Doctor Who has been completely destroyed all the way back to episode one! The new version of The Stand, which I was so anticipating is just exploitive non-linear garbage. Add to that new shows like Away or Another Life (or I can keep going with the list) are just so horribly written with so many scientific impossibilities and clichés they are impossible to watch.
While any TV show from years ago had some bad episodes (and surely Trek did), on the whole, the season was balanced with good writing, great sci-fi, escapism and wonder, scientific plausibility, and moral/ethical and human dilemmas. Where did the talent go?
Well, I think the talent and quality are still there, David, but you might be looking in the wrong places. A show like “The Expanse” is a pinnacle of sci-fi. And who doesn’t love “The Orville” (whenever it comes back!)? All three “Walking Dead” series are amazingly strong, each in its own way. “The Boys” is a total game-changer. “The Mandalorian” is amazing…and I expect many of the other Star Wars series to shine, as well. The Marvel movies have all been superb, and the new Disney+ Marvel series look to be winners, as well (I’m particularly looking forward to “WandaVision”). And if you have HBO MAX, check out “Doom Patrol.”
Yeah, I know that only a teensy portion of that list is sci-fi, but to be honest, there never was a time when there was a plethora of really amazing sci-fi on TV. Star Trek was usually alone in being truly above-and-beyond. Occasionally, it was joined by shows like Babylon 5 or Battlestar Galactica or Firefly (very briefly), but most often, the number of REALLY good sci-fi shows on TV was usually limited to 2 or 3 at most at a time. Right now, we have “The Expanse” and “The Mandalorian” and eventually “The Orville” again. There’s your 2-to-3. Add in “Walking Dead” and the other fine shows I listed, and we’re above the average. 🙂
Okay, you make a point on a few, but what has then happened with the legacy shows? By the way, I have heard from so many that the Expanse is amazing, and have tried to watch it 3 times. I can’t get past the first few episodes.
Oh, the first season of The Expanse was like swimming through molasses! You are correct to be totally bored, David. But stick with it. But the middle of season two, you’re roped in. And by season three, you’re on the edge of your seat. Season four started off a little slow again but finished incredibly strongly. And season five has just blown me (and at least one planet) completely away.
I purposely wanted to write this as a second thread. Not only is the writing terrible and concepts not believable, they just don’t pay attention to their own traps. Let me give you some examples…
1. In Picard, they now have a tool that can fix anything they need by thinking about it. That is a trap that makes no sense and can now be used to get out of any situation. Oh, and where is that tool 900 years later?
2. If Book’s people can now pilot the spore drive (forgetting about how ridiculous a mushroom drive is), then why can’t the spore drive be duplicated in every ship with multiple pilots everywhere?
3. If Discovery is that unique, how come the Federation didn’t put one of their people in command? And fill the ship to capacity?
4. 900 years later, they still use the same colors on uniforms? Please!
5. Personal transporters – get out of any trap any time. Weak story telling again. As bad as in JJ Trek the ability to transport between planets obsoleting starships.
6. Just stupid science – sound in space? Really?
7. We know that sub-space in canon is not instantaneous (“Takes 3 weeks to get a response from Starfleet” in some cases), but the 7 signals in season 2, and the burn in season 3 are close to real-time. No!!!!!!
8. If the spore drive is real in Trek developed in the early 23rd century, you can’t tell me that in over 900 years no race has ever discovered it again (forgetting about how ridiculous it is no one talked above it after season 2).
9. Seems like the Vulcans/Romulans have tons of dilithium. No problem getting a bunch of ships there in no time at all.
10. How long does a Kelpian live? He has been there a long time and is still young? Really?
There is more, but this gives the point Just not well thought out.
1. Well, the future of the future now has “programmable matter.”
2. Not Book’s people, but just Book himself. He’s kinda special, you see.
3. The first question is due to the Discovery crew being the most familiar with the ship and its functions/capabilities. The second is pretty obviously something that Starfleet totally should have done.
4. Nothing says they didn’t go in a different fashion direction and come back. Also, medical is now white, not blue.
5. Well, transporters were always a limiting factor for certain kinds of stories. Imagine Star Trek V: The Final Frontier if the Enterprise had been joined at Nimbus III by another starship with a working transporter. Beaming between planets, however, remains one of Trek’s greatest over-reaches.
6. You can’t complain about sound in space only in Discovery. It’s been a part fo sci-fi since the talkies! It’s not like we couldn’t hear X-wings and TIE fighters, y’know!
7. Yeah, you’re right on this one…almost as bad as having Spock being able to see Vulcan destroyed while standing on the surface of Delta Vega in a snow storm…unless Delta Vega was a moon of Vulcan…or the same stupid scene in “The Force Awakens” when the citizens of the Republic could all look up and see those planets being simultaneously destroyed.
8. Considering that nearly every Earth culture has independently invented some version of the burrito, I can’t fault you on this one.
9. Apparently so!
10. Holo chambers have very good exercise regimens!
Okay, that’s all I got. 🙂
“Tilly was depressed on her birthday and went to hide out in a warp nacelle??? ”
Computer, where is Tilly? Computer: Tilly is in a warp nacelle.
Last time I took your challenge and watched the episode. I had planned to watch this one. But when I saw negative reviews elsewhere, I decided to wait. I’m glad I did because I was saved from wasting an hour because I would have had many of the same issues as you did.
As far as CBS All Access goes, we’re enjoying “Mystic Britain” on the associated Smithsonian Channel and have others teed up for when we finish that series. With everything that is flying around now, we need shows where the presenters have a wry sense-of-humor about historical events and controversies. So our subscription will stay alive probably at least until the next season of Picard.
“Live Long and Prosper”.
Picard likely won’t be back till close to the end of this year…possibly next year.
Gotta be honest, this episode was good, great action, great acting and VFX. And while this entire season was damn good on all levels, especially when compared to Season 1 and some of season 2 (still a huge fan of Mounts Pike). There were some minor not picks. And some of it was me hoping for some more fan service. Yes we saw Voyager and a beautiful homage to Nog and Aron Eisenberg, we got a small homage to Anton Yelchin, the Constitution Class and and Picard, and a not so small homage to the late great Leonard Nimoy and The Guardian of forever . However I wish we heard more about other characters. Like where was the Doctor? And I don’t mean the one that made it back to earth with Voyager, I am talking about the 9ne from the Voyager episode Living witness. Did that episode happen in 3070’s?? He should have made it back. Maybe next year. And I am so happy not to have seen a Klingon this year. Although we did see a Cardassian. And one question that bugged me, did the Bajorians get involved with the slave trade? Cause knowing their history they wouldn’t have.
I do have one question slight off topic, but not. Does anyone know if jumping to the future was the plan for Discovery from the beginning? Or was it planned because of all the backlash from Season 1?
Your last question is somewhat tricky to answer. The original idea for Discovery was that each season would take place in a different era of Star Trek but follow the evolution of the Federation/Klingon relationship. The first season would show the big war 10 years prior to Kirk. The second season would show how the alliance formed between TOS and TNG. And the third season would jump forward again to a time after the movies when the Federation and Klingons were once again at war. No more than three seasons were planned initially because the All Access venture was too new to assume there would be more seasons. And in fact, and any season could be considered the end of the series without needing to produce other seasons. Cliffhangers were not initially planned.
This all went totally out the window along with Bryan Fuller (it was his idea). The studio felt that such a series would cost far too much because sets would need to be struck each season and new ones built, and that made no financial sense. Likewise, a complete cast of new actors, new costumes, and new make-up each season wasn’t practical, as the show needed to develop a loyal following of continuing characters. So after season one, the idea was always to keep Discovery firmly in the present…until it wasn’t.
Sometime in the development of season two, the idea was floated to move the series forward a thousand years or so in order to give everything a “clean slate.” By this point, Picard was in the works, so skipping Discovery far over the 24th/25th century made the most sense. Indeed, that was kinda foreshadowed in the Short treks vignette Calypso, as the original idea was that the crew would travel through time but Discovery wouldn’t…and the ship would be waiting for the crew’s emergence into the far future in a dystopian galaxy where the Federation was a distant legend. A sentient Discovery with an evolved A.I. would greet them, and the crew would work to bring back the Federation.
Obviously, a lot changed as season two progressed so that Calypso wasn’t quite the roadmap it started out to be. And that, Jim, is the complex answer to your question! 🙂
Just one point from lil’ ol’ moi,. We were told that canon would be restored by the end of season 3…did I miss the big re-set somewhere in the this inexcusable cacophonous mess?
Lord, there were moments and passages in S3 I truly enjoyed and thought ” redemption is nigh” but alas, the rug of hope was snatched away repeatedly.
The writing staff need to be sacked and a new team pulled together. Get people steeped in Trek Lore to come up with stories or vet submissions from writers and vet final scripts; have GOOD writes write the darn dialogue and set the emotional tone. OH, and please don’t score every single moment to ensure we have the intended emotional response. writing, acting and direction can do that alone if they are well executed. It can be done! I’m sure I’ve seen it, even in Star Trek.
AND STOP USING IDIOM THAT IS 10 CENTURIES OLD!!!
Seriously, will humanity will still be using “FYI”…CRINGE!
Nuff said… I’m off to watch The Expanse Season 5 (grown up stuff).
Fingers crossed for “Brave New Worlds”.
Don’t mince words, Bones. What do you really think?
This read like a caricature of a typical Star Trek fan – hyperventilating over nitpicks and over-comparing to what’s-come-before so much that you can’t just ENJOY something. I agree the episode was not perfect, I’d give it a B, but I’m just getting sick of reading any Trekkie fandom news/sites at all… nothing but heaps of moaning. Also, I watched the entire first season of Expanse and it left such little impression on me that I can barely remember anything at all about that dull, drawn-out, flavorless show (based on a tedious, never-goes-anywhere, I-gave-up-after-book-6, lackluster novel series.)
No need to agree with me, Jimmy, or even to read my blog. I won’t take it personally. I just call them as I see them, and I saw this episode in a way that you didn’t. That’s why Baskin Robbins has 31 flavors. 🙂
You’re right in that season one of The Expanse plodded along at a glacial pace…much like most of Babylon 5’s first season. And like B5, The Expanse doesn’t find really its footing until season two. By the middle of that season, I found myself on the edge of my seat nearly every episode. And it just got better from there.
When nearly everyone who is currently watching The Expanse is universally saying it’s a must-see, that might be a clue that maybe you got off the train too early. But again, I leave that decision to you, Jimmy.
Well, as a Trek purist I must agree with Jonathan and others above in all aspects (except Jimmy), and with other Trek site critiques of this episode and season also. As intriguing as the jump forward was, and for all the exciting potential plot material the first half of this season teased, the conclusion was a wasted head-scratcher for sure. One plot element however, did pleasantly surprise me, and not commented upon here….Osyraa’s unanticipated proffer of detente to Admiral Vance, confirmed as sincere by Starfleet’s Frank Gorshin-lookalike AI. That entire exchange, doubtlessly dangling umpteen plot angles for next season, was strangely realistic in content and tone. Of course, the leader who chokes out her lead scientist and casually liquidates nephews may not be so good with standing trial, but it was refreshing to finally find an admiral who aced Starfleet Academy’s “Picard Optimism Laced With A Commitment To Truth” senior seminar. I’m sad to not have Lois Lane’s niece back for future villainy! Thank you Jonathan for deep dive episodic reviews!
My pleasure, Stuart. Thanks for commenting!
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