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.

SEASON ONE:

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

SEASON TWO:

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

SEASON THREE:

1. That Hope is You, Part 1

2. Far From Home

3. People of Earth

4. Forget Me Not

5. Die trying

6. Scavengers

7. Unification III

8. The Sancuary

9. Terra Firma, Part 1

10. Terra Firma, Part 2

11. Su'Kal

12. There is a Tide...

13. That Hope is You, Part 2

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SUCH SWEET SORROW: The Section 31 ships didn't "appear" so much as they are "on their way." Enterprise gets there first, with plenty of time to evacuate Discovery's crew to Enterprise via several force field-enclosed catwalks. But, the Sphere data overrides the self-destruct order in order to repair itself. Nor would photon torpedoes have any effect as  the Sphere data would raise shields. Their only hope is to use Discovery itself as they had planned to use the Red Angel suit, sending the Sphere data centuries into the future out of Control's clutches. 

Unfortunately, the time crystal is not powerful enough to send the ship into the future and back, so Michael agrees to pilot it herself. Because they know, from Michael's mother, that she did not send the "signals," Spock theorizes they they must have originated from a future version on Michael herself. A fifth signal appears near the planet where Tilly's friend (from a "Short Trek" story), Me Hani Ika Hali Ka Po (or "Po" for short) is ruler. Po knows the process to re-crystalize dilithium and helps modify the time crystal to better suit their needs. Discovery uses the spore drive to leap to safety. Enterprise follows about an hour behind, with the Section 31 ships 10 minutes behind. 

Quite a few of Discovery's crew (mostly the regulars, including Spock) decide to make the one way jump to the future with Michael (but not Tyler, who decides to stay with Section 31 to make sure nothing like "Control" ever happens again. Then the Section 31 fleet arrives, surrounding Discovery and Enterprise. Here's my take: being "stranded" 950 years in the future might not be so bad. Michael's mother existed in an empty galaxy in which all sentient life had been destroyed, but, if their mission is successful, Michael and her crew could just pilot Discovery to Earth where, presumably, they would receive a hero's welcome. 

SUCH SWEET SORROW, PART 2: This is an episode-long battle, the biggest we've ever seen in Star Trek. I'm not going to provide a play-by-play, but I'll try to hit the highlights. While the battle rages, Burnham et al race against time to create a Red Angel suit based on scans of her mother's. After the suit is completed, Spock takes a shuttle to guide Michael through the battle to the point at which she needs to open the wormhole to the future, but the suit refuses to cooperate. 

Meanwhile, the Kelpians have arrived to help as have the Klingons. Previously, which Michael touched the time crystal, she had a vision of the Federation losing the battle against Section 31, a vision which now seems to be coming to pass. All season long, Discovery has been tracing "signals" from the Red Angel which led them to ally with the Klingons, the Kelpians, find engineer Jett Reno, etc. Burnham's mother denied any knowledge of the signals, so it was assumed that Michael herself sent the signals from the future. suddenly, Spock realizes that the signals didn't come from the distant future, but from right now

In her vision, Burnham didn't see the outcome of the battle, but rather one possible outcome if they had to fight Section 31 by themselves. The signals were send by Burnham to lead Discovery to the elements that would help them win the battle. She now sends the signals to the recent past and closes the loop. Now the suit will allow her to travel 930 years into the future. She will emit a signal for Discovery to follow, but Spock cannot join them because his shuttlecraft has been damaged in the battle. Spock and Michael have a touching farewell. 

When Discovery lowered its shields to launch the shuttle and Burnham, Leland/Control beamed aboard. Georgiou engages in a violent battle with him/it. Meanwhile, an unexploded photon torpedo has lodged itself in the hull of Enterprise's saucer section. Admiral Cornwell sacrifices her life to save the ship from the torpedo, which was going to explode. Stamets is injured, and Culbert stays aboard Discovery rather than going to Enterprise as he had planned. Georgiou traps Leland in the spore cube and magnetizes it, thereby destroying the nanites and killing Leland. (Waitaminute... does this mean Discovery doesn't need to make the trip into the future as Control is now destroyed? Too late to stop now, I guess.) The Section 31 ships go dead and are easily destroyed by the fleet.

Later, at Starfleet HQ in San Francisco, Pike and his crew testify that Discovery had been destroyed. They are ordered never again to mention Control or Section 31 or Discovery or the spore drive under threat of treason. Later still, Enterprise receives the last signal from the Red Angel, indicating that Discovery arrived safely in the future. The whole "sworn to secrecy" bit is a band-aid for the continuity problems of DIS, but I suppose we can't really expect the series' 19 showrunners to write their own show out of continuity. 

At one point I compared DIS to Marvel's "Heroes Reborn," but it also shares certain similarities with DC's Hawkworld in that, had Hawkworld simply been labeled an "Elseworlds," a whole lot of continuity problems could have been avoided. Similary, if DIS had been set in the future to begin with, many of the continuity problems associated with this series would be mitigated. That's the end of the show's second season. This seems like a good place to pause until after the Thansgiving holiday. 

I've been reading your summaries with interest, Jeff. As Tracy says, it's interesting to see what stands out to you. I'll get to some of what stood out to me in a bit. But first:

The continuity bits never bothered me. Mainly because of Enterprise. I gave up on that show quickly because of my distaste for their depiction of my favorite part of Star Trek (and my wife's favorite part), the Vulcans. But given the callouses grown from that, and from the Kelvin franchise, I have become more flexible in my Trek philosophy.

Which is to say, I have learned that I can't be a purist about anything, or if I do, I have to give it up, because nothing that becomes popular remains true to its genesis. Iron Man. Star Wars. James Bond. This happened, as I said above, with Enterprise, Trek brought back by people who loved Trek but weren't purists, and who peppered the new show with "neat ideas" (in Commander Benson's term) and "upgrades."

I couldn't stand the changes, so I stopped watching. But now I find I regret not having watched it, because I no longer share a database with my fellow fans, and can't discuss it. But I still can't bring myself to invest the time to watch it, because there are other things to watch. And now, I probably never will.

Which didn't happen with Discovery, because when a gross violation of Trek canon occurred, the older, wiser me thought, "I either blow that off or stop watching. Remember Enterprise." So I blew it off. In a sense, I adopted your attitude, in that I just regard Discovery as another continuity, a parallel world. I don't try to make it fit. I don't regard it as "Heroes Reborn" so much as "Ultimate Universe," because I like the latter better. But the effect is the same: I don't waste any mental energy on square pegs and round holes.

And I have discovered (no pun intended) that I enjoy Discovery for its own sake. And, pointedly, that appreciation started at a pretty low bar, but has grown over time. I think so far that Season 1 is the worst season, and this season (season 4) will be the best yet, because it is starting where the show should have started, with Burnham as captain, and the ship completely divorced from Trek continuity, someplace where no one has gone before (well, except Burnham's mother). Now we can have some fun without any worries about pegs and holes!

Some things that jumped out at me:

1. Yes, absolutely, Burnham should have been thrown into a deep, dark hole after her mutiny. My wife and I agreed on that immediately, and never changed our minds.

But in addition to that, she kept making bad decisions. Think back over the seasons you've watched, and how many times did Burnham zig when she should have zagged? Who actually did start the war, by (accidentally) killing a Klingon after disobeying orders and going farther than she was supposed to in investigating the anomaly? Who was it that fell into bed with a secret Klingon spy surrounded by red flags? Who kept getting the ship into trouble, or a landing party marooned, because of foolhardy (and emotional) decisions by a quasi-Vulcan?

I don't mind for shows to begin before the status quo is set, or for a hero to be shown growing into the role -- that seems to be the norm now, possibly started by Arrow -- but Burnham's record of bad decisions was so alarming in the first two seasons that I felt that she wasn't qualified to run a taco stand. It made for great drama, but the unintended consequences of her accumulating record of incompetence, compounded by the mortal sin of mutiny, were hard for me to ignore.

And it was absurd that any character show her respect, as Saru did.

She's much better now, and is convincing as a good captain. I just try to forget her past, because her earlier errors were so egregious that it isn't plausible that she was allowed to grow into the job. She wouldn't have been allowed anywhere near the center chair anyplace where she wasn't first on the call sheet.

2. I initially despised Saru. Of what use in the bridge crew is a species that is biologically predisposed to cowardice? That is exactly how Saru described himself in the first episode, and I thought "Why is this guy on command track? He will always decide to run away." Sure, allow his race into Starfleet and encourage them to be all they can be. But if they are biologically prevented from having courage ... uh, maybe keep them away from jobs that require it.

But that character has grown, and the actor has grown into the role. I love the way he walks, with his hands swaying like tails. It's really bovine-looking, which is extremely appropriate. Also, the biological fear thing has been dropped. He's pretty cool now. I've even gotten used to his bizarre appearance (although that makeup will still never allow any facial expressions).

3. Stamets was a horse's ass, wasn't he? Again, the character has mellowed and is pretty tolerable.

4. Agreed, Tig Nicotero is hilarious.

5. I find the trans/non-binary character irritating. It just seems like pandering, because I don't think that sort of thing would even be noticed in the 23rd century. Worse, "they" are boring.

6. Anson Mount is terrific.

7. Rebecca Romijn is also terrific. Her expressions and remarks are often oblique, so I have no idea what she's thinking. That's intriguing, and an improvement over the original (in The Cage).

8. Ethan Peck looks VERY Spock-y. Sadly, he is often give things to say and do that aren't very Spock-y. (A sister? Lifelong hallucinations? An insane asylum? Seriously? You'd think some of those things would have come up over Romulan ale at some point ...) But, as I say above, this is a parallel-world Spock, and enjoyable as a character in his own right. I assume we'll see him assume his Leonard Nimoy persona over on Strange New Worlds, no doubt with some melodramatic adventures/decisions attached.

9. I was wondering all during the preparations for the jump to the future how they were going to plausibly prevent Spock from going. I thought they came up with a good solution.

10. The Mirror Universe Georgio has been a delight. Her sheer joy in being nasty kept making me laugh.

11. OK, I've said that I don't need for Discovery to adhere to existing continuity. But I do require story coherence. The 142 producers don't always succeed, but I'll applaud where they do: 

-- Lorca being his MU counterpart all along explained away a LOT of questions.

-- I can easily accept that Starfleet would have a Section 31, but I would expect it to rankle the rank and file, who have consistently been depicted as a principled and high-minded lot. Eventually it did, which I applauded.

-- I thought "The Burn" to be a clever way to make the Discovery and its crew useful 400 years in the future. Because otherwise they would be like cavemen in the modern world.

There's probably more, but that's what occurs to me today. Enjoy your turkey!

"Brought back by people who loved Trek but weren't purists, and who peppered the new show with 'neat ideas' (in Commander Benson's term) and 'upgrades.'"

You were referring to ENT, but that description applies even more to DIS. And, not that Commander Benson would be predisposed to like (or even watch) this show in the first place, but I feel confident to predict that the whole "mutineer recruited to a position of authority" angle would sour him on the whole series. 

SEASON THREE

THAT HOPE IS YOU, PART 1:

Burnham pops out of the wormhole in the year 3188 and immediately collides with a ship. Both crash on a nearby planet. She sends the Red Angel suit back into the wormhole to self-destruct and to send a message to Spock. She walks to the crash site of the ship and comes into conflict with its pilot, a ne'er-do-well type named as Book. Book needs dilithium to repair his ship, but it's a rare commodity since "The Burn," some sort of event which destroyed nearly all dilithium in the universe some 100-120 years ago. (I wouldn't be too shocked to learn that that, too, is somehow Burnham's fault.) The Federation has collapsed, but she can barter her "antique" equipment for dilithium.

They walk to a city called Requiem, which reminds me of Mos Eisley if Mos Eisley were a shopping mall. Book betrays Burnham and she is subjected to a very potent form of truth serum. Book ends up fleeing from the authorities as well, and he and Burnham partner up in order to escape. Book is an environmental activist who has many strange talents. Burnham tries to contact Discovery but there is no response. He then takes her to an abandoned Starfleet station where she meets a man acting as Starfleet liaison (as his father and grandfather before him) although he was never commissioned. Burnham grants him a field commission and sets out to find Discovery and rebuild Starfleet. 

To anyone watching Discovery for the first time, I would recommend skipping the first two seasons entirely and just starting here. I kept waiting the the show to retroactively remove itself from continuity (which, I see now, was never going to happen), but what it has done with season three, in effect, is to move so far into the future that continuity doesn't matter. I would rather have seen the upgrades to the ships shown being  slowly acquired over time, but you can't have everything. 

Seriously, a Starfleet officer pops into the year 3188 from 930 years in the past. that's all you need to know. 

"That Hope is You" makes several references to the Temporal War (or the Temporal Cold War) from Star Trek: Enterprise. The Temporal War happened in the 29th century, and Discovery season three is set in the 32nd. I don't necessarily expect DIS to adhere to the continuity of ENT, but apparently "The Burn" took place at some point after the Temporal War. (See also 31st century Temporal Agents.) I think Discovery S3 is as far forward in time as Star Trek has ever come.

FAR FROM HOME: S3 E1 followed Michael Burnham; S3 E2 follows Discovery. Discovery, too, crash lands upon exiting the wormhole, but sensors and communications are down so they don't know where or when they are. Saru assigns Tilly to accompany him to a nearby settlement while the rest of the crew are given various assignments to get the ship up and running again. Saru and Tilly have brought dilitium to barter in exchange for things needed to repair the ship, but they run afoul of a local crime lord. Meanwhile, Discovery is threatened by "parasitic ice." 

I don't know how much of this setting or these characters will play into future episodes (little I suspect), but if they do I'll delve a little deeper at such a time. Suffice it to say that Discovery doesn't quite make it free of the ice, until a mysterious ship appears overhead and locks it in a tractor beam. To the crew's relief and surprise, the ship is piloted by Michael Burnham, who has been waiting for Discovery arrive for a year. 

Saru and Tilly seem to be developing a similar close relationship that Saru has with Burnham. I mentioned last night that I don't like Georgio but I know I'm not meant to like her machinations and bloodthirsty behavior. The actress is phenomenal in her role. I do appreciate that. The other Section 31 characters have been cardboard compared to her. Especially when she was wearing Leland goo. 

Do I wanna know whaat "Leland goo" is?

Leland met an explosive end. Georgio decided to stomp on parts to make sure he was dead. The rest was scooped up with a shovel. 

The Baron said:

Do I wanna know whaat "Leland goo" is?

Thanks.  I was afraid it might be something really gross.

Tracy of Moon-T said:

Leland met an explosive end. Georgio decided to stomp on parts to make sure he was dead. The rest was scooped up with a shovel. 

The Baron said:

Do I wanna know whaat "Leland goo" is?

PEOPLE OF EARTH: Burham has spent a year traveling with Book (short for "Booker") and learning about the 32nd century while waiting for Discovery to arrive. With no warp drive, she has been unable to visit Earth  because of the vast distance, but with discovery they can get their toute de suite using the spore drive. All of Discovery's dilithium is loaded into Book's cloaked ship, and the ship is in turn put in Discovery's shuttle bay. They have detected a message from Starfleet Admiral Senna Tal which was sent from Earth 12 years ago. When they arrive, they are met by the hostile United Earth Defense Force. 

Since The Burn, Earth has become extremely isolationist. UEDF forces instantaneously transport aboard multiple parts of the ship for inspection. (I should also mention that the 32nd century has personal transporters, eliminating the middleman.) Earth has been fending off attacks from a hostile group led by an alien named Wen. Shortly after Discovery arrives in Earth orbit, Wen forces appear. The UE forces attempt to beam back to Earth, but something is blocking their personal transporters. 

Without consulting Saru, Burnham and Book take Book's ship to provide a decoy for Wen's forces. UE forces open fire on Book's ship to prevent the dilithium from falling into Wen's hands, but Saru orders Discovery into the path of fire to take the hit. Shields drop from 100% to zero after only one hit. Burham offers the dilithium to Wen and offers to beam it over to him if he'll retreat peacefully, but when he lowers his ship's shield, she kidnaps him instead and returns to Discovery

Back on Discovery, it is revealed that what they thought was Wen's head was actually a helmet and that he is actually a human from the colony on Titan. They tried once before to ask Earth for help, but were repelled so they decided to become raiders. Now that Earth knows Wen's forces represent a colony from Earth, diplomatic negotiations begin. 

While all this has been going on, Stamets discovers that the UE transporters were brought down from within Discovery by a 16-year-old prodigy named Adira who came aboard with the UE forces. She is extremely full of herself and is meant to be annoying (to the crew, at first), but she's the best new character to be introduced since Jett Reno. Stamets and Adira come clean with each other, telling the truth and moving the plot along in a way rarely seen on episodic television. Adira sabotaged the transporters only so she could have more time to study Discovery. She joined the UE Defense force in hope of finding a starship one day. (The Burn destroyed every starship that was at warp at the time.) Most shockingly, she reveals that she is the human host of a Trill Symbiont. Not only that, but the Symbiont she carries is/was Admiral Senna Tal. The problem (probably because she is a human and not a Trill host) is, she cannot access Senna Tal's memories. She is assigned to Discovery on detached service. 

The Baron said:

But of course, one can set up one's own mythos however one likes.

I'm glad you said that (albeit in an entirely different discussion) because that's exactly what I am going to do now. I have finally found a way to accept Discovery as "canon" although admittedly it involves a bit of unintended jiggery-pokery. 

Could the Discovery universe be the future of the Abrams movies (a.k.a. the "Kelvin" universe)? 

No. 

No, it definitely could not. I considered that solution early on and immediately dismissed the notion as seasons one and two represent an outright contradiction to the new series of movies which began in 2009, so I never even mentioned it. But Discovery doesn't contradict that universe any more than it does TOS universe and all the spin-off series since, so I feel free to completely ignore DIS seasons one and two. If, therefore, one were to skip directly from the movie Star Trek Beyond directly into DIS S3 E1, all of those discrepancies are magically swept aside. QED

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