Star Trek: Discovery (DIS) launched in 2017 on the streaming platform CBS All-Access (an ironic name if ever there was one). I waited until it came out on DVD then, to kill time waiting for season two (to be released on DVD), I watched all of Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG), Deep Space Nine (DS9), Voyager (VOY) and the fourth season of Enterprise (ENT). By this time, DIS season three is out on DVD and I have yet to watch season two. Frankly, I wasn't all that impressed with season one... at least not as the prequel it is purported to be. As a reboot of the franchise, I liked it fine, yet the showrunners insist it is in continuity, despite the fact it seems to violate canon in a major way. I came to the show knowing that there would be no visual continuity with the original show and I was prepared to accept that, but I did expect there to be story continuity. (When I say "visual continuity," I am referring to the ships and uniforms, not the Klingons.) Honestly, I could have gotten to this discussion much earlier, I really just didn't care to. I am told that season two takes steps to reconcile the continuity differences. We shall see. I plan to start over with season one. Here's a look at what's ahead.
1. The Vulcan Hello - -p1
2. Battle at the Binary Stars - p1
3. Context is for Kings - p1
4. The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry - p1
5. Choose Your Pain - p2
6. Lethe - p2
7. Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad - p2
8. Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum - p2
9. Into the Forest I Go - p2
10. Despite Yourself - p2
11. The Wolf Inside - p2
12. Vaulting Ambition - p3
13. What's Past is Prologue - p3
14. The War Without, the War Within - p3
15. Will You Take My Hand? - p3
1. Brother - p3
2. New Eden - p3
3. Point of Light - p3
4. An Obol for Charon - p4
5. Saints of Imperfection - p4
6. The Sound of Thunder - p4
7. Light and Shadows - p4
8. If Memory Serves - p4
9. Project Daedalus - p4
10. The Red Angel - p5
11. Perpetual Infinity - p5
12. Through the Valley of Shadows - p5
13. Such Sweet Sorrow - p6
14. Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2 - p6
1. That Hope is You, Part 1
2. Far From Home
3. People of Earth
4. Forget Me Not
5. Die trying
7. Unification III
8. The Sancuary
9. Terra Firma, Part 1
10. Terra Firma, Part 2
12. There is a Tide...
13. That Hope is You, Part 2
Yes, hurt him. I get the impression that she rejected him in some fashion to keep him at a safe distance. Also I should mention that neither Amanda nor Burnham nor Pike believe that Spock killed three doctors.
Also, "now that the war is over," the Kilngons have begun to "let their hair grow."
AN OBOL FOR CHARON: These episodes are becoming increasingly difficult to summarize. Also, this is supposed to be the season in which the producers make an effort to smooth over continuity discrepancies with established canon, but I haven't seen any of that yet. Unless...
In the previous episode, Captain Pike expressed a preference to "flat screens" vs. holograms. Everyone looked at him the same way people look at me when I tell them I have a landline (a 1935 desk phone, actually) instead of a cell phone. In this episode, he orders all of the hologram projectors to be replaced with flat screens. I mentioned yesterday haw the Klingons are beginning to grow their hair now that the war is over. Also, previously, in addition to "Birds of Prey" (which looked nothing like the ships of established canon), the Klingons had D7 cruisers, which looked nothing like the D7 cruisers of TOS. Last episode, L'Rell revealed a new design, also called D7, for a unified Klingon Empire, the exact design from TOS. And we've seen the red. blue and gold uniforms of TOS on the Enterprise crew. If this is what everyone is referring to, color me disappointed.
With the Enterprise still undergoing repairs, Pike's "Number One" reports for duty aboard Discovery for duty. [NOTE: they haven't named her yet, but the name they gave her in the preview of the new series I posted a link to a couple of days ago is one I've not heard before. Whenever she appears (in comic books or paperbacks), she always has a different name, if she is given one at all. Perhaps whatever one they give her here will stick. then again, I don't really consider Discovery canon, so who cares? Discovery reminds me of nothing so much as the "Heroes Reborn" year of Marvel Comics, in which four titles (Avengers, Fantastic Four, Captain America and Iron Man) were removed from continuity and turned over to the Image Comics crew. Discovery is the "Heroes Reborn" of Star Trek. (This paragraph got away from me.)
Number One arrives with more information about Spock. Discovery is following Spock's shuttle when it is suddenly ripped out of warp by some huge space creature. At the same time, the ship's universal translator goes on the fritz and everyone begins speaking different languages. Saru is able to fix the problem on the bridge only, but he himself is suffering from some sort of virus. In engineering, Stamets and Tilly are joined by Denise Reno (my new favorite character), the engineer rescued from the asteroid a few episodes back. (Her banter with Stamets is literally laugh out loud funny.)
Feedback from the encounter the bridge is dealing with frees the spore-creature (which they refer to as "May" after the girl from Tilly's past it pretended to be), and it attaches itself to Tilly once again, feeding her halucinogenic drugs to keep her calm. Back on the bridge, Saru realizes that his body has entered into the final stage of his life, but he believes the creature is trying to communicate, not attack. the creature is hundreds of thousands of years old and is dying. It's last wish is to pass on its accumulated life experience on to Discovery. It is successful, but Saru is still dying.
In engineering, Stamets and Reno devise a way to let "May" communicate through Tilly using her voice. It turns out that, every time Discovery uses the spore drive, it wreaks havoc on her people. Then it transforms itself into a sort or cocoon, completely enveloping Tilly. Meanwhile, Burnham has accompanied Saru to his quarters so that he may die. He requests that she cut off the ganglia from the back of his head which will end his life. (He is too weak to do so himself.) Before she has the chance to, however, they fall off by themselves and Saru recovers from this artificially induced state brought about the the final stage of life of the creature and its efforts to communicate.
Saru has lived his whole life in fear, but now, with the ganglia removed, he feels empowered. He was a refugee from his planet, forbidden by the Prime Directive to ever return because his was a pre-warp society. He had been content to live that way (and had even asked Burnham to translate his journal to be given to his people once they were eligible for Federation membership), but now he wants nothing more than to return to his people to teach them the error of their way of life. Discovery resumes its search for Spock (no pun intended), while tilly's fate remains uncertain.
SAINTS OF IMPERFECTION: Discovery pursues Spock's shuttle into a nebula and tractors it into the bay. To everyone's surprise, out steps, not Spock, but [the MU] Philipa Georgiou. "She" and Captain Pike are old friends. She reveals that she is working for Section 31, but Pike does not know that she's from the MU (and Burnham doesn't tell him). She says she found Spock's shuttle drifting. In Pike's ready room, the three of them contact Leland, the head of Section 31. Pike and Leland were once friends but are now somewhat antagonistic due to their different career paths. Leland sends a Section 31 liaison officer who turns out to be: Ash Tyler.
In engineering, Tilly is no longer in the cocoon. Because there is no indication of human DNA (as there would be if she had been dissolved), Stamets concludes that she is still alive... somewhere. When the spore drive is used, the ship passes through the "mycelial network," which is where "May" lives. Stamets speculates that the cocoon acted as a kind of organic transporter, and that Tilly is alive within the mycelial network. His plan is to program a partial jump so that half of the ship is within the mycelial network and half outside.
In the network, May asks Tilly's help to defeat a monster that has been terrorizing her people. Soon after, Stamets and Burnham join Tilly and May inside the network. The "monster" turns out to be, surprisingly, Hugh Culber. Back when Stamets discovered Culber's body after Tyler had broken his neck, his tears somehow transferred Culber's essence to the mycelial network where it has existed ever since. A natural function of the network is to break down all foreign matter, but there is a certain type of "tree" which causes it pain. Culber used the bark of this tree to protect himself, which May's people interpreted as an attack. Culber is wild-looking and disheveled when they find him, his hair and beard grown out, but he soon calms down.
There plan to to return him to normal space, but he cannot pass through the barrier because he is not composed of normal matter. He and Stamets have a tearful goodbye, but Tilly has the idea that May can "transport" him into the "pod" which is still in engineering. The plan works, but Tracy points out, "Wait until Culber meets the Section 31 liaison officer... AWKWARD!"
It's not everyday you get to confront your murderer.
This was a good episode even though I am not enamored with some of the characters.
Jeff, you are doing a great job summarizing the episodes. It's interesting to read what stands out to you.
She says she found Spock's shuttle drifting. In Pike's ready room
I initially mis-read this as all one sentence, and was like, "Wow, that must have been weird."
Tracy of Moon-T said:
Jeff, you are doing a great job summarizing the episodes. It's interesting to read what stands out to you.
Thanks, Tracy. There's a lot going on in these episodes. You know that, two days ago, I turned to you after the show was over and said, "Great. How am I supposed to summarize that?" and we both laughed. Every day after I post, something else I should have pointed out occurs to me. For example, in the same episode in which we learn Michael did something to hurt Spock years ago, Amanda admits she never showed Spock enough love in respect of Sarek's wishes to rear him in the Vulcan way.
In the 24th century, Section 31 is very clandestine, even bordering on myth, but on Discovery they operate openly, with black identification badges, and they even have their own starships. At one point in the show last night, Tyler activates a "Next Generation" style com-badge, to which Pike observes, "What kind of communicator is that?" I thought that was a nice touch.
THE SOUND OF THUNDER: We learn a lot about Saru and his people in this episode. Let's review what we've learned so far, then proceed. Saru is a Kelpian from the planet Kaminar. Kaminar supports two races, the Kelpians (who are prey) and the Ba'ul (who are predators). The Kelpians core belief is "The Great Balance," in which they accept that they are prey and must be hunted an killed when they enter the vahar'ai (that "end of life" phase which was artificially imduced in Saru a couple of episodes back.
The Ba'ul are a warp-capable species, therefore eligible for Federation membership. The Kelpians are not, but they are aware of the Federation due to Federation contact with the Ba'ul, so First Contact with the Kelpians if a grey area. 18 years prior, Saru gained control of a Ba'ul communication device and sent a general distress call which was received by the U.S.S. Archimedes and Saru was rescued by then-Lieutenant Philippa Georgiou. I should mention the at cost of Saru's asylum was the understanding that he could never contact his people again. the Federation offered the Ba'ul membership, but they proved to be too aggressive and warlike.
Discovery receives a signal that the "Red Angel" has reappeared and they trace it to (you guessed it) Kamimar. By the time they get there, the Red Angel is gone, and Burnham and Saru beam to the surface where they meet Siranna, Saru's sister. The Ba'ul have pylons set up in every Kelpian village worldwide, and they react to Discovery's presence, forcing Burnham and Saru to retreat. The Ba'ul threat to use the pylons to commit global genocide unless Saru is turned over to them immediately. Pike orders Saru off the bridge, but Saru beams himself to the planet's surface. The Ba'ul ships withdraw.
Meanwhile, Tilly has been analyzing the data from the 100,000 year old creature that triggered Saru's vahar'ai in the first place. Analyzing the data from Kaminar, specifically, Tilly learns that, 2300 years ago, the Kelpians were the dominant species. The world's population was divided roughly 1/3 pre-vahar'ai Kelpians, 1/3 post and 1/3 Ba'ul. At that time, the Kelpians were the oppressors, but the Ba'ul rose up and destroyed all of the post-vahar'ai Kelpians. (It is after they undergo vahar'ai that they become dangerous.) for the last 2000 years, the Ba'ul have maintained the "Great Balance" by killing all Kelpians who come of age.
Using the Ba'ul's own pylons (with an assist from the Red Angel, who has reappeared), Discovery transmits a signal which couses all of the Kelpians to undergo vahar'ai. (I should mention at some point that the Ba'ul look like a cross between the xenomorph from Alien and a swamp creature; thet're pretty nasty.) So now the Kelpians are dangerous, but they're still primitive in comparison to the Ba'ul. Saru impresses Federation values upon his sister, and she becomes a sort of high priestess whose mission is to unite the Kelpians and the Ba'ul so the cycle does not repeat.
Other subplot progress as well. Hugh Culber, for example, has fully recovered from his ordeal *but he has not yet come face-to-face with Tyler). Discovery also learns that the Red Angel is a humanoid being, possibly from the future. Speaking of which, when I first encountered the Red Angel in the Autobiography of Spock, I kind of glossed over those sections because I figured it was a plot point from DIS that I didn't want to spoil for myself. The release date of that book had been pushed back so many times I assumed the author was having trouble meeting deadlines, but now I figure it was pushed off to allow this arc to play out on TV.
LIGHT AND SHADOWS: Burnham takes a leave of absence to search for Spock. Her first stop is Vulcan because she believes Amanda may know his whereabouts. Her instincts are correct because she's is harboring Spock in a cave beneath the family estate. Spock is delusional and is repeating a series of seemingly random numbers (among other things). When Sarek finds out Spock is there, he insists that Michael turn him over to Section 31, believing only they are capable of restoring his mind.
Meanwhile, Pike and Tyler pilot a shuttle near the temporal anomaly left behind by the Red Angel. they launch a probe into it which causes a series of temporal shockwaves. The probe returns, from 500 years in the future (they are able to determine), upgraded with future tech and it begins to attack the shuttle. Pike vents plasma to attract the attention of Discovery, and Stamets, who can navigate the anomaly due to his connection with the spores, beams over and saves them, beaming out before setting the shuttle to self-destruct and destroying the now-hostile probe.
On the section 31 ship, Leland begins a procedure on Spock and orders Michael to leave. Georgiou tells her that the procedure is designed to kill Spock, and tells Burnham to attack her and kidnap Spock. This will not only save Spock, but it will make Leland look bad, and therefore Georgiou look good. Burnham escapes with Spock, and we later learn that Leland is responsible for the death of Michael's parents. At the end of the episode, Burnham realizes the significance of the numbers Spock has been reciting. As a child, he suffered from a kind of Vulcan dyslexia. She reverses the numbers, which are the co-ordinates of (wait for it)... Talos IV.
That's the mid-season finale. But this time it does mean that I'll be taking a break as well. Tracy left on a trip about an hour ago and won't be back for a week or so. She has forbidden me from moving on until she returns.
Now's your chance to watch something she doesn't like!
Jeff of Earth-J said:
She has forbidden me from moving on until she returns.
She has given me permission to proceed with Ultraman 80.
IF MEMORY SERVES: This episode begins with a "Previously on Star Trek" sequence and then shows a montage of "The Cage," which was a nice touch, but only serves to highlight the differences between the original and the new series. Clearly, we the audience are supposed to mentally substitute the visuals of "The Cage" for those of DIS, but I would have preferred it if they hadn't chosen to point out the myriad discrepancies. It occurs to me that DIS season two coule immediately follow season one, or it could immediately follow "The Cage." Although "If Memory Serves" is a direct sequel to "The Cage," I still choose to believe that TOS and DIS occur in two separate and distinct universes (which is not to say that the U.S.S. Enterprise did not have almost identical adventures on Talos IV). Spock's goal all along has been to return to Talos IV to seek the Talosian's help in dealing with his mental issues after encountering the "Red Angel." Continuity is tight with "The Cage" (as well as "The Menagerie").
The Talosians agree to help, but their price is Burnham's memory of her split with Spock. Spock is suffering from a mind meld with the Red Angel. who is revealed to be a human being from a future in which Federation planets, including earth, have been destroyed. A mind meld with Burnham reveals that spock did not kill three people when he escaped. but rather neck-pinched them unconscious. How (or even if) they died is left unexplained for now, but I suspect Section 31.
Back on Discovery, Pike has been ordered to remain in place but, after being contacted by Vina (you don't need me to explain who she is, do you?), he decides to use the spore drive to jump to Talos IV. The spore drive has been sabotaged, however, and all signs point to Tyler. Someone has also sent messages to an unknown recipient using Tyler's access codes, but they could have been stolen. Speaking of Tyler, he and Culber have their first face-to-face encounter since Tyler killed him. (It does not go well.) Also, Culber seems to have all of his previous memories, but none of the emotional associations that go along with them. He wants to break off his relationship with Stamets.
Pike orders the ship to head to Starbase 11 (two light years from Talos) for repairs, using conventional warp drive, intending to change course midway, but Section 31 is following them. On Talos IV, we learn from Michael's memories that she rejected Spock only to protect him from pro-Vulcan extremists (which we viewers suspected all along). The adult Spock realizes what the child Spock did not. Both ships arrive and Talos IV simultaneously and both ships establish a lock on Burnham and Spock. Section 31 is willing to rip their atoms apart but Pike is not, so he lets their ship have them. We soon learn that the "Spock" and "Burnham" beamed aboard the Section 31 ship are illusions (Pike having been in contact with Vina), the real Spock and Burham having boarded Discovery via shuttle. At this point, Discovery becomes a renegade ship.
This is my favorite episode so far.
PROJECT DAEDALUS: Discovery does have a regular bridge crew. I haven't mentioned them too much so far because they are largely ciphers (like the Enterprise bridge crew who is not Sulu or Chekov or Uhura) and haven't really been given much to say or do for the first season and a half. Honestly, I'd be hard-pressed to name them. But one of them, Airiam, is about to play a significant role. Airiam is a very mechanical-looking android robot, but it turns out she is not a robot after all: she is a cyborg. In this episode we learn that she and her husband were in a shuttlecraft accident on their way back to duty from their shore leave/honeymoon. He was killed, and she was given cybernetic implants to survive. Circumstantial evidence points to Tyler as being the "mole" aboard Discovery, but it's been obvious to viewers that it's been Airiam all along. (She was "infected" with something that that probe a couple of episodes back.)
As the episode opens, Admiral Cornwell arrives aboard Discovery via a shuttle, with evidence that Spock did kill three attendants when he escaped from the starbase. (I'm not sure how Cornwell found them when Discovery is a ship of fugitives, but she did. I asked Tracy and she wasn't sure, either.) She subjects Spock to a lie detector test which proves unequivocally that he is telling the truth. Yet she has video evidence that is equally unimpeachable.
Cornwell reveals that Starfleet's decision-making has been transferred to Control, the AI of Section 31. They approach a supposedly abandoned penal colony, when the messages using Tyler's code were sent, which Cornwell identifies as Section 31 HQ. Airiam is hard at work supposedly decrypting the messages, but she is actually downloading all of her human memories to Discovery's main computer. Section 31 is surrounded by mines which are attracted to a ship's defensive shields, so they have to go in with shields down. They are contacted by Admiral Patar, a known Vulcan extremist and head of section 31. She informs Cornwell that now she is a fugitive, too, and her command access has been revoked by order of Starfleet Command. also they should prepare to be boarded.
Instead, a landing party consisting of Burnham, Airiam and Nhan (the chief security officer) beams down in an attempt to restore Cornwell's command access. Life support is down, and they discover the corpses of the station personnel, including Patar, who have all been dead for two weeks. Saru discovers that the transmission of Patar was a hologram, as was the video footage of Spock committing the murders. Airiam seals herself in a room and begins to transfer all of the data from the probe to Control. It is believed that the data from the probe will make the AI invincible and it will go on to destroy the universe, which is what the Red Angel was warning about.
Tilly transfers some of Airiam's personality back to her. Burnham tries to reach her but, although Airiam's personality an speak, the AI is still in control. Pike orders Burnham to blow the airlock blowing Airiam into space before the transfer is complete.